Tue, 16 Sep 2003

Residents reject council's bonus request

SEMARANG: Residents of Sragen regency, Central Java, gathered here on Monday to oppose a request by local councillors for bonuses of Rp 50 million each when they end their five-year term next year.

The demonstrators from the Sragen Community Forum rallied at the Central Java governor's office in Semarang, the provincial capital.

They voiced their opposition to the request by the members of the Sragen legislative council for the bonuses.

Mukafi Fadli, the leader of the community forum, which comprises several non-governmental organizations, said an opinion poll conducted by his group found that about 89.38 percent of respondents were against the bonuses.

Most of the respondents suggested that the money be used instead to provide scholarships for students from poor families in Sragen, he said.

"We are asking the Central Java governor to join us in rejecting these bonuses," Fadli said.

He recalled when the government rejected a request by the Karanganyar legislative council for health funds from the regency budget.

"He (the governor) should do the same thing in the Sragen case," Fadli said. -- JP ;JP; ANPAa..r.. Across-suicide-policemen Officer 'commits' suicide over affair JP/5/acros16

Officer 'commits' suicide over affair

PALU, Central Sulawesi: A police officer in Central Sulawesi, Brig. Max Purnomo, allegedly committed suicide early on Monday after he was caught having an affair with a friend's wife.

Max, a police detective, died at the Woodward Hospital in the provincial capital of Palu, of a gunshot wound.

Palu Police deputy chief Sr. Comr. Sambas Kurniawan said Max's friend, Djaelani, discovered the affair when he arrived home at about 1 a.m. on Monday.

Djaelani apparently became suspicious when it took his wife a long time to answer the door, and when she did answer she appeared frightened. Djaelani searched his house and found Max hiding in the bathroom.

The husband snatched up a pair of scissors and attacked Max, who pulled out his gun and fired two shots at Djaelani. Max reportedly then pointed the gun at his own head and pulled the trigger, killing himself.

Djaelani was injured in the incident and is being treated at the hospital.

Sambas said officers were investigating the matter. --Antara

;JP; ANPAa..r.. Across-rhinos-Sumatra JP/5/acros16

Sumatran rhino on brink of extinction

BENGKULU, Bengkulu: An environmentalist warned on Monday that unless adequate measures were taken, the Sumatran rhino, which live in protected forests in Bengkulu province, would soon become extinct.

The head of the Bengkulu provincial office of the Natural Resources Conservation Board, Agus Priambudi, estimated the number of Sumatran rhinos (dicerorhinus sumatrensis) living in Bengkulu's protected forests at just 10 animals.

"Illegal hunting is considered to be one of the reasons for the continued decline in the population of the Sumatran rhino," he said.

He further noted that only 50 Sumatran tigers (phantera tigris sumatrae) continued to survive in Bengkulu's protected forests.

He said wealthy people frequently went to Bengkulu to hunt the rhinos and tigers.

"They usually pay the locals a large sum of money to hunt these beasts," Agus said.

To prevent poaching, he said, his office had intensified efforts to patrol the habitat of the rhinos and tigers in national parks in Semidang Bukit Kaba, southern Bengkulu, and Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan, both in Rejang Lebong district. --Antara

Children make up 30% of Batam sex workers

BATAM, Riau: Some 30 percent of about 15,000 sex workers in Batam and Riau islands are children, according to the coordinator of the Health and Humanitarian Foundation, Lola Wagner.

"Based on our studies in Batam and Riau, some 30 percent of sex workers are children. The syndicate involved in trafficking women often forge their ages (on their ID cards)," Lola said here on Sunday.

The syndicate prepares fake ID cards and fake birth certificates for the children to be employed as sex workers on the island.

She said Batam and Riau drew traffickers because of the high demand for prostitutes. --Antara