Indonesia

Flash floods in Indonesia and Timor Leste kill more than 50

Torrential rain sparked widespread destruction, with flood water from overflowing dams submerging thousands of homes on the islands.

The affected area stretched from Flores island in eastern Indonesia to the neighbouring nation of Timor Leste.

Rescuers are still attempting to find survivors, and officials warned the death toll could rise further.

"Four sub-districts and seven villages have been impacted," Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati told reporters.

Indonesia earthquake: Heavy rain hampers search for survivors

The death toll has now risen to 73, including five members of one family.

Thousands of people left homeless are living in makeshift shelters, and there are fears of a Covid outbreak there.

In recent days Indonesia has endured deadly landslides, the loss of a Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737 with 62 people on board, and a volcanic eruption.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where tectonic plates collide, and the country has a history of devastating earthquakes and tsunamis. More than 2,000 people were killed in a quake in Sulawesi in 2018.

Boeing 737 plane feared crashed in Indonesia

The Sriwijaya Air disappeared from radars four minutes into its journey to Pontianak in West Kalimantan province.

It is thought to have dropped more than 3000m in less than a minute, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.com.

Witnesses said they had seen and heard at least one explosion.

Fisherman Solihin, who goes by one name, told the BBC Indonesian service he had witnessed a crash and his captain decided to return to land.

"The plane fell like lightning into the sea and exploded in the water," he said.

Parrots found stuffed in plastic bottles in Indonesia

Police said the crew discovered 64 live parrots and 10 dead birds after hearing noises coming from inside a large box.

Indonesia is home to the highest number of threatened bird species in Asia and a rampant illegal trade in birds.

Birds are sold domestically in giant avian markets or smuggled abroad.

The destination of the parrots found on Thursday morning in the port town of Fakfak was unclear, local police spokesman Dodik Junaidi told AFP news agency.

Viral photo sparks concerns about Indonesia's 'Jurassic Park'

The multi-million dollar site is part of the government's plans to overhaul tourism in Komodo National Park.

The viral image has sparked questions about the impact on the conservation of the famed dragons, the world's largest lizards.

Officials said no dragons had been harmed and their safety was paramount.

Komodo dragons are only found in the wild on a handful of Indonesian islands where they are estimated to have roamed for millions of years.

Indonesia woman spared jail for taking dog into a mosque

A video of Suzethe Margaret entering a mosque wearing shoes before letting her dog run around went viral in July.

It sparked anger in the Muslim-majority country where many consider dogs to be impure.

A panel of judges in Bogor, a town near Jakarta, found her guilty of blasphemy on Wednesday but said she could not be held responsible for her actions.

Margaret has paranoid schizophrenia, according to psychiatric examinations in 2013.

Prosecutors had demanded she be sentenced to eight months of imprisonment.

Indonesia appoints new roving ambassador in the Pacific

The Wellington-based diplomat said his new role was aimed at increasing Indonesia's presence in the Pacific.

This is to be done through strengthening of economic, political, and people-to-people links with countries and territories in the region.

Tantowi Yahya was a driving force behind the launch last year of Jakarta's 'Pacific Elevation' strategy for greater connectivity with Pacific Islands countries.

According to Kumpuran News, the ambassadorial appointment by Indonesia's foreign ministry comes as it develops its Indo-Pacific Outlook.

Indonesia lifts tsunami alert after powerful quake causes panic

     

The quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and its epicentre in the sea was 139 km (86 miles) northwest of the city of Ternate at a depth of 45 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. More than 20 aftershocks occurred.

Indonesia's geophysics agency lifted the tsunami warning after two hours because it detected only small waves in Ternate, Jailolo and Bitung.

Miftahudin, an official in Jailolo in the Halmahera area of the Moluccas, said residents had fled to the hills.

Over 11,500 flee West Papua town after clashes

It comes as violence continues to rock Papua and West Papua provinces, where dozens have died during clashes.

An official with the country's social ministry said the air force has flown around 7,500 people out of Wamena after unrest there in the past month.

Reuters reports Harry Hikmat saying another group of nearly 4,200 residents left on commercial flights.

A police spokesperson said the situation in Wamena is now stable, with shops and markets again open.

     

Thousands of West Papuan students return home over safety fears

Racist harassment of Papuan students in university dormitories in Javanese cities last month sparked weeks of widespread protests and unrest in Papua.

While Indonesian police have started investigations into the harassment, many students claim they continue to face threats and feel unsafe.

As of Monday, 2047 students had been recorded by Papua's provincial government as having left their studies to return to their home region since August.

The majority of the students are from Highlands regencies in Papua.