Fri, 18 Jul 2003

Dengue fever kills 26 in Cirebon

CIREBON, West Java: Twenty-six out of 496 people affected by dengue fever in 27 subdistricts in Cirebon regency, West Java, died in the six months since January, local health officials said on Thursday.

Herry Septjanti, a senior official at the Cirebon health office, said the areas worst hit by the epidemic included Weru subdistrict, where at least 68 dengue fever cases resulted in three deaths.

The subdistricts of West Cirebon and North Cirebon were also among the worst affected areas. There were at least 62 cases of dengue fever and three deaths in West Cirebon, and 32 cases with one death in North Cirebon.

Herry, who heads the office's disease prevention and eradication division, said the increasing number of hemorrhagic fever cases was mainly due to a lack of public awareness about how to maintain a healthy environment.

"The local people are less aware of the importance of good sanitation to prevent and eradicate the aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread the illness," he said.

In order to control the disease, he said, his office had deployed health officials to educate villagers on how to avoid being infected by dengue fever. --JP

Police told to fight sugar smugglers

MEDAN, North Sumatra: North Sumatra Governor T. Rizal Nurdin asked police here on Thursday to crack down on what he called the sugar smuggling mafia that had been operating in the province over the last few months.

The rampant smuggling of sugar should be eradicated, otherwise it could cause losses to the government in import duties and harm domestic sugar production.

"I'm convinced that such illegal activities will cease as soon as the police arrest the contraband mafia bosses," Rizal said.

The provincial legislative council backed the governor's call, saying the local police and prosecutors should launch joint operations against the sugar smugglers.

The mafia was believed to involve local officials.

The North Sumatra Police recently seized around 100 tons of illegally imported sugar from India from a warehouse in the Medan Sunggal area. Three trucks were also seized and two suspects detained.

In addition, the police also seized 77 containers of sugar illegally imported from Singapore.

North Sumatra Police detectives' chief Sr. Comr. Satria Hari Prasetya said he had made a list of the suspected smugglers but still lacked sufficient evidence to make arrests. --JP

Ex-senior officials jailed for graft

SURABAYA: Former Surabaya legislative council speaker Mochamad Basuki and former city secretary Muhammad Yasin have been jailed for corruption.

The Surabaya District Court found Basuki guilty of abuse of power, causing losses of Rp 2.7 billion (US$329,268) to the state, when he was speaker of the council, Antara reported on Thursday.

He was jailed for 18 months, fined Rp 20 million and ordered to repay Rp 200 million to the state. Prosecutors had demanded a two-year-jail term for Basuki.

Judge Miswari Ismijati said the defendant was not guilty of the main charge of having enriched himself.

Prosecutors and Basuki's lawyers are both considering filing appeals.

In a separate trial, the court sentenced Yasin to nine months in jail for his involvement in the same case. He was ordered to return Rp 25 million to the state. --JP