Social/Culture/Education

Trade Surplus for the Smelly Durian

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The fact that Indonesia has been a net importer of durian for nearly a decade could ignite a nationalism-fueled deba

te in this campaign season. Fortunately, Indonesians may just be spared such an unfruitful wrangle after recent government statistics showed that the country is now shipping more of the fruit abroad than it is bringing in, setting it on a course to see its first durian surplus in nine years. “Exports of durian from January to September 2018 increased to 1,084 metric tons, while 351 tons were imported. So the surplus was 733 tons,” Suwandi, director general of horticulture at the Ministry of Agriculture said on Monday, citing Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data. The country recorded a 524-ton deficit last year. (Jakarta Globe)

Report Heresy Via a Smart App

A new Indonesian government app that lets the public report suspected cases of religious heresy is drawing fire as rights groups warn it could aggravate persecution of minorities in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation. Users of the app can report groups practicing unrecognized faiths or unorthodox interpretations of Indonesia’s six officially recognized religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism.
“Smart Pakem”, which was launched Sunday and is available for free in the Google Play store, was created by the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office, which said it would help educate the public and modernize the current reporting process.
The app will also list religious edicts and blacklisted organizations and will allow users to file complaints instantaneously, instead going through the often cumbersome process of submitting a written accusation to a government office.
“The objective…is to provide easier access to information about the spread of beliefs in Indonesia, to educate the public and to prevent them from following doctrines from an individual or a group that are not in line with the regulations,” Nirwan Nawawi, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told AFP in a statement. “This is going from bad to worse — another dangerous step to discriminate religious minorities in Indonesia,” said Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono. (France 24)