Thu, 18 Sep 2003

Helicopter needed to lift wreckage

PEKANBARU, Riau: The Air Force needs a helicopter to lift the wreckage of a historic warplane found last month in a forest in Pelalawan regency, Riau province, an officer said on Wednesday.

Spokesman for the Pekanbaru Air Force Base Capt. Soetrisno said evacuation of the wreckage was impossible at present due to the difficult terrain. The AVRO Ason plane was discovered in a peat bog, which is surrounded by a swamp to a depth of one meter.

Soetrisno said a team of officers had been sent to evacuate the wreckage from Sept. 2 through Sept. 6, but only some ammunition had been lifted. The airplane was broken into eight pieces, scattered around the area.

"Given the difficult terrain, in order to recover parts of the warplane we'll need a powerful helicopter," he said.

The warplane was being flown home from Thailand by then Air Commodore Halim Perdanakusuma and his aide Iswahyudi on Dec. 14, 1947, when it crashed near Tanjung Hantu, Malacca Straits, due to bad weather.

Halim's body was found in the nearby coastal area and buried in Jakarta's Kalibata Heroes Cemetery, but Iswahyudi's body remains undiscovered. -- Antara

;JP;AMD; ANPAa..r.. Scene-editor-trial Year in jail demanded for editor JP/4/editor

Year in jail demanded for editor

JAKARTA: Prosecutors demanded on Wednesday a one-year jail sentence for the executive editor of Rakyat Merdeka daily for insulting President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Chief prosecutor Wahab Arief told the South Jakarta District Court the editor was found guilty of violating Article 134 of the Criminal Code on defamation of the president and vice president, punishable by a maximum six years in jail.

The defendant, according to prosecutors, was responsible for a number of articles that had libeled the head of state, including one titled, "Mega in the same league as a regent," published on Jan. 4, 2003, "Mega's mouth smells of diesel fuel," on Jan. 6, 2003, and "Mega the profiteer," on Jan. 8, 2003.

Wahab insisted the headlines came from facts collected in the field and were in line with the Press Code of Ethics.

The Central Jakarta District Court sentenced last week the daily's chief editor, Karim Paputungan, to five months in jail, suspended for 10 months, for insulting House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung. -- Antara

;JP;TSO; ANPAa..r.. Scene-NU-meeting NU leaders hold four-day crisis meeting JP/4/NU

NU leaders hold four-day crisis meeting

JAKARTA: The country's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), began on Wednesday a four-day leadership meeting here to respond to various issues, including an internal dispute within the party it founded, the National Awakening Party (PKB).

Influential clerics, such as Sahal Mahfudz, Fachrudin Masturo, Said Aqil Siradj, Mustofa Bisri, Masdar M. Mas'udi, Chotibul Umam and Muchit Muzadi, who all sit on the NU Syuriah (law-making body), and chairman Hasyim Muzadi, are attending the meeting.

Hasyim said the meeting was discussing strategic issues that would affect the interests of NU followers, but the results of the discussion would only be disclosed to the public on Saturday.

The clerics have threatened to withdraw support for PKB and set up a new party after party chief patron Abdurrahman Wahid led a move to dismiss the secretary-general, Syaifullah Yusuf, for allegedly violating the party's rules.

The clerics said the dismissal would wreak havoc with party preparations for the 2004 general election.

NU has some 40 million followers across the nation. PKB is one of several parties that claim to represent NU's interests. -- JP