Thu, 22 May 2003

W. Lombok nets biggest drug cache

MATARAM, West Nusa Tenggara: Police in West Lombok regency seized 3.6 kilograms of marijuana from a suspected drug dealer, the regency's biggest drug catch so far this year.

Police arrested on Wednesday morning Ahwan Tanwir, 34, and found in his possession three one-kilogram pouches of marijuana and smaller pouches weighing about 600 grams total.

"We received information from the public about a drug deal taking place and so we went up there and caught the suspect," said West Lombok deputy police chief Comr. Edi Djubaedi.

He said the marijuana found with Ahwan could be worth up to Rp 15 million (US$1,700) on the streets.

Suspect Ahwan said the marijuana was to be sold in the provincial capital of Mataram.

"We found out the marijuana is of top-grade quality and comes from Aceh," Edi said.

Indonesia's westernmost province Aceh is infamous for its drug trade. Aceh-grown marijuana is sold throughout Sumatra and reaches markets in Java and eastern parts of Indonesia.

Some said that rebels in Aceh grew the marijuana to fund their struggle for independence. The military and the police are believed to also profit from the trade by turning a blind eye, or even by protecting the illegal business. -- JP

;JP;bkm; ANPAa..r.. Across-Bandung-Semarang-railway Bandung-Semarang railway reopened JP/5/Across

Bandung-Semarang railway reopened

BANDUNG, West Java: State-owned railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia reopened on Tuesday its Bandung-Semarang route after a three-year shutdown because of declining passenger load.

KAI spokesman Akhmad Sujadi said the all-executive class train Harina began its operation on Tuesday night.

Harina runs every night from Bandung and Semarang over a 7.5- hour route. Passing through Cikampek, Cirebon and Tegal, Harina uses a different route than its predecessor, which ceased to operate in April 2000.

Akhmad said the first Bandung-Semarang route was opened in July 1998, and was shut down when the average passenger load fell to 40 percent.

Travelers now pay Rp 100,000 (US$11) for a Bandung-Semarang executive ticket. The ticket costs Rp 75,000 for the Bandung- Tegal, and Rp 50,000 for the Bandung-Cirebon route. -- JP

;JP;bkm; ANPAa..r.. Across-Jambi-legislators-drug Legislators urge rehab for drug addicts JP/5/Across

Legislators urge rehab for drug addicts

JAMBI, Jambi: Parents with drug-addicted children should bring them to the mental hospital for rehabilitation, urged councillors dismayed by the lack of drug addicts undergoing treatment.

Councillors of the provincial legislature recently visited Jambi mental hospital and found only two people being treated for their drug habits.

"People in Jambi, especially parents, are still reluctant to take their children to the mental hospital for treatment," chairman of the council's Commission E on welfare issues Zakie Hanim said on Wednesday.

He said Jambi has thousands of children who are addicted to drugs, but parents did not admit them for rehabilitation, fearing that people would think their children were mentally ill or retarded if they were admitted to the mental hospital, Zakie explained, quoting the hospital director.

He said that drug rehabilitation includes treatment by a psychiatrist, and the mental hospital had the facility and expertise to handle such cases. -- Antara

;JP;bkm; ANPAa..r.. Across-Kupang-lack-teachers East Nusa Tenggara lacks teachers JP/5/Across

East Nusa Tenggara lacks teachers

KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara: Children throughout East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) face a shortage of teachers, totaling 18,000 from kindergarten to senior high school, officials said.

How many teachers were needed for each school remained unclear. "We still don't know the exact number of teachers needed in this province," the deputy secretary of the provincial teachers support committee, Ismail Kasim, said on Wednesday.

He said the committee had invited the head of the education department in each regency to outline their demand for teachers next week.

The province could then develop a proposal for Jakarta with a detailed account of how many and what type of teachers they needed, he said.

He added that, starting June, 4,457 teachers from other parts of the country would be posted in East Nusa Tenggara. -- Antara