Domestic tourism soars in China but foreigners stay away

BBC/KATHERINA TSE A popular thing to do in Wuzhen is to pose for photos dressed in traditional hanfu clothing
A popular thing to do in Wuzhen is pose for photos dressed in traditional hanfu clothing

With the Chinese economy facing massive challenges, there have been concerns over its growth potential, at least in the immediate future.

Yet a key exception is emerging in the form of domestic tourism.

Last week’s five-day public holiday to mark labour day saw 295 million trips made within China, according to figures from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This was 28% higher than pre-pandemic figures recorded in 2019.

The Transport Ministry’s figures are also staggering: 92 million rail trips; almost 10 million air trips and 1.25 billion highway journeys.

However, this comes as international arrivals continue to lag, with foreigners currently entering China at barely 30% of 2019 levels. Why the disparity?

The beautiful historical river town of Wuzhen, a short drive from Shanghai, is considered one of China’s top visitor sites for travellers of all types. When we arrive the little pathways and old bridges which cross narrow waterways are filled with visitors.

A popular thing to do in Wuzhen is to pose for photos dressed in traditional hanfu clothing – as if you have really been transported back hundreds of years.

Two women in their 20s, friends since high school, are visiting from Jilin Province in the north east. After arriving, they spend an hour getting their hair done in an elaborate imperial-era style – and they are full of praise for Wuzhen’s classical beauty.

We ask if, following the post-Covid opening up, many of their family and other friends have been travelling much? “Of course, after the pandemic, we’re all visiting other places.”

Nearby a local man who is selling ice-creams also says tourist numbers are “not that bad lately”.

As good as before Covid? “Almost the same,” he replies.

Shopkeeper Wang Ying, who sells traditional snacks, echoes this sentiment with a big smile on her face. “Business is going well, and it’ll only get better.”

BBC/KATHERINA TSE Wuzhen is considered one of China's top visitor sites
Wuzhen is considered one of China’s top visitor sites

All this will be seen as good news for the Chinese government. It’s been saying that a push on domestic consumption can counter the significant faltering portions of the economy.

Major players in the once-mighty property sector are struggling to stay afloat, local government debt continues to rise, and persistent youth unemployment has left highly qualified university graduates uncertain of their future.

Amid all these challenges, the Communist Party has set a target of “around 5%” GDP growth for this year. Apart from the fact that analysts have long questioned the veracity of the country’s official growth figures, economists are also asking how such a target can be reached, in any genuine sense, in 2024 without significant extra stimulus.

One lifeline could be a more buoyant travel scene which could bring broader business opportunities and greater service industry employment.

Schubert Lou, chief operating officer at travel agency Trip.com, told the BBC: “We’ve seen very strong domestic travel demand with search volumes in hotels up 67% compared to last year, and flight volumes up 80%.”

Tourism industry consultant Peng Han from Travel Daily is following the investment trail to see how the business community really views the possibilities in the sector.

“With famous international hotel brands – like Intercontinental, Marriott and Hilton – you just have to look at their growth in China in 2023,” he says. “Then check the performance goals for these large hotel groups in 2024 which have also been set relatively high. This shows that they are very optimistic about the growth potential of the Chinese market.”

But, while the volume of local travellers might be up, Mr Peng does point to the problem of per capita consumption which remains persistently low.

He says general uncertainty about the Chinese economy is putting more emphasis on saving, so people are looking for good value options. They are going on holidays and paying for things but doing so much more frugally.

This is where an increase in big-spending foreigners could help. But they are simply not travelling to China in the numbers they used to.

In 2019, nearly 98 million international visitors came to the country. Last year it was only 35 million – including business trips, students and the like. Mr Lou describes the domestic versus international market as “uneven”.

For many in the tourism industry here specialising in services for foreign travellers, “uneven” would be an understatement. Three years of harsh Covid prevention measures drove down arrivals from other countries, but that alone can’t account for the current situation.

Huang Songshan, the head of the Centre for Tourism Research in the School of Business and Law at Australia’s Edith Cowan University, blames this weakness in part to “the shifting geopolitical landscape globally”.

Getty Images Chinese performer
China’s culture and heritage has traditionally been a big draw for tourists

In the peer-reviewed East Asia Forum, he pointed to a 2023 survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre, writing that, “Most individuals in Western nations hold unfavourable views towards China. The Chinese government’s tightening grip on societal regulations could potentially cause discomfort for foreign travellers in China.”

Official travel advice from some governments echo this sentiment, at times quite harshly.

Washington warns potential travellers to “reconsider travel to Mainland China due to the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, including in relation to exit bans, and the risk of wrongful detentions”.

Australia advises “a high degree of caution” warning that “Australians may be at risk of arbitrary detention or harsh enforcement of local laws, including broadly defined National Security Laws”.

The political environment has also taken a toll on flight availability and price. This is especially the case with connections to and from North America. Last month’s 332 scheduled round trips between China and the US contrasts with 1,506 in April 2019.

As a result, finding a seat on a direct flight can be extremely difficult and those that are available are very expensive.

President Xi Jinping made a speech at a dinner on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in San Francisco last November addressing this point. “Today, President Biden and I reached important consensus,” he told the crowd.

“Our two countries will roll out more measures to facilitate travels and promote people-to-people exchanges, including increasing direct passenger flights, holding a high-level dialogue on tourism, and streamlining visa application procedures. We hope that our two peoples will make more visits, contacts and exchanges and write new stories of friendship in the new era.”

Washington has since increased the number of Chinese airline flights permitted to land – but only from 35 per week to 50. It is still well short of the 150 weekly trips pre-Covid.

The Biden administration is coming under pressure from unions and US airlines to not increase this any further because, they argue, Chinese airlines have an unfair advantage over them as they have state support; don’t face the same onerous Chinese regulations; and, crucially, can fly over Russian airspace, making trips shorter and cheaper.

A letter to the US government from the Chair of the House Committee on China, Mike Gallagher, and the committee’s top Democrat representative, Raja Krishnamoorthi, reads: “Should the US-China passenger carrier market expand without the US government addressing these significant issues, US aviation workers, travellers and airlines will pay a hefty price tag.”

Mr Lou says the frequency of international flight connections is definitely having an impact.

“What we are seeing right now, based on civil aviation data, is that inbound flight capacity won’t get back to even 80% of 2019 [levels] by the end of 2024.”

Then there are other potential turnoffs for those considering travelling in China, like the country’s state-of-the-art phone app payment and booking systems which work very smoothly for Chinese citizens and residents, but which can be an enormous headache if you have just arrived.

There are certain sites, transport options, and purchases which can only be accessed via Chinese electronic apps which are, at times, only available in Chinese.

Professor Chen Yong at Switzerland’s EHL Hospitality Business School is an authority on the economics of tourism in China. He thinks that hurdles relating to payment and booking apps can pose a real problem.

“Technologies such as social network websites, online maps, payment apps, among others, which foreigners have long been accustomed to using, are either unavailable or inaccessible when they travel to China,” he says.

“On the other hand, there are Chinese alternatives to these technologies that remain inaccessible to foreigners due to language barriers and differences in user habits. We need to bridge this divide because it affects the tourist industry badly.”

Back in Wuzhen, the presence of international travellers is much smaller than in years gone by, but there are still a few foreign faces in the crowd.

An Italian couple says the process of linking up to and using China’s payment apps was a challenge but that it was not insurmountable, though they add, with a laugh, that it is “much, much, much easier” if you have a Chinese friend to help you.

BBC/KATHERINA TSE Woman and child pose for selfies
Chinese officials have acknowledged that the foreign traveller numbers have been low but they are trying to turn this around

Eliseo, from California, says he has had problems making payments to small vendors who don’t accept credit cards and really no longer deal with cash. Another hurdle for him has been his bank at home which has blocked some payments, flagging them as potentially fraudulent coming from China.

Chinese officials have acknowledged that the foreign traveller numbers have been low but they are now trying to turn this around.

One way they’re attempting to attract more foreign visitors is by increasing the number of countries whose citizens don’t need a visa to enter. Trip.com says this resulted in an almost immediate increase in passenger arrivals from Southeast Asia.

In 23 Chinese cities, transit passengers from more than 50 countries are also able to stay for a few days visa free if they have an onward ticket. In Shanghai, hotels above a three-star level have been told that they should prepare to deal with international credit cards and an initial batch of 50 taxis have also started accepting them.

However, Professor Chen says “it would be too optimistic to envision a long-term growth in China’s inbound tourism”.

“The key is to establish a culture that puts service providers in the shoes of foreign tourists. They should imagine themselves being a foreigner who can’t speak or read Chinese and who doesn’t have a Chinese mobile number, payments apps and so on.”

He says that the culture around this can’t be changed overnight.

Yet, in places like Wuzhen – where the local travellers have already returned – the tourism companies are hoping that incredible sites like theirs will eventually be too much for foreigners to resist as well.

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UN rights chief ‘horrified’ by mass grave reports at Gaza hospitals

Reuters Palestinian civil defence workers dig mounds of earth in the grounds of Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip (21 April 2024)ReutersPalestinian workers are exhuming bodies at Nasser hospital with shovels because they have no heavy machinery

The UN’s human rights chief has said he is “horrified” by the destruction of Gaza’s Nasser and al-Shifa hospitals and the reports of “mass graves” being found at the sites after Israeli raids.

Volker Türk called for independent investigations into the deaths.

Palestinian officials said they had exhumed the bodies of almost 300 people at Nasser. It is not clear how they died or when they were buried.

Israel’s military said claims that it buried bodies there were “baseless”.

But it did say that during a two-week operation at the hospital in the city of Khan Younis in February, troops “examined” bodies buried by Palestinians “in places where intelligence indicated the possible presence of hostages”.

Ten hostages who have now been released have said that they were held at Nasser hospital for long periods during their captivity.

Prior to the Israeli operation at Nasser, staff there had said they were being forced to bury bodies in the hospital’s courtyard because nearby fighting prevented access to cemeteries. There were similar reports from al-Shifa before the first Israeli raid on the hospital took place in November.

The Israeli military has said it has raided a number of hospitals in Gaza during the war because Hamas fighters have been operating inside them – a claim Hamas and medical officials have denied.

The war began when Hamas gunmen carried out an unprecedented cross-border attack on southern Israel on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people – mostly civilians – and taking 253 others back to Gaza as hostages.

More than 34,180 people – most of them children and women – have been killed in Gaza since then, the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry says.

A spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office said it was currently working on corroborating reports from Palestinian officials that 283 bodies had been found in Nasser hospital’s grounds, including 42 which had been identified.

“Victims had reportedly been buried deep in the ground and covered with waste,” Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

“Among the deceased were allegedly older people, women and wounded, while others… were found with their hands tied and stripped of their clothes.”

Mr Türk called for independent, effective and transparent investigations into the deaths, adding: “Given the prevailing climate of impunity, this should include international investigators.”

“Hospitals are entitled to very special protection under international humanitarian law. And the intentional killing of civilians, detainees, and others who are hors de combat [not participating in hostilities] is a war crime.”

On Monday, a spokesman for the Hamas-run Civil Defense force told BBC Arabic’s Gaza Today programme that it had received reports from local Palestinians that the bodies of a “large number” of people who had been killed during the war and buried in a makeshift cemetery in the hospital’s courtyard were moved to another location during the Israeli raid.

“After research and investigation, we learned that the occupation [Israeli] army had established a mass grave, pulled out the bodies that were in Nasser hospital, and buried them in this mass grave,” Mahmoud Basal said.

Gaza Today also spoke to a man who said he was searching there for the bodies of two male relatives which he alleged had been taken by Israeli troops during Israel’s recently concluded offensive in Khan Younis.

“After I had buried them in an apartment, the [Israelis] came and moved their bodies,” he said. “Every day we search for their bodies, but we fail to find them.”

Hamas has alleged that the bodies include people “executed in cold blood” by Israeli forces, without providing evidence.

Contains some violence and disturbing scenes.BBC Verify authenticates video from key moments in the story of Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in a statement on Tuesday: “The claim that the IDF buried Palestinian bodies is baseless and unfounded.”

“During the IDF’s operation in the area of Nasser Hospital, in accordance to the effort to locate hostages and missing persons, corpses buried by Palestinians in the area of Nasser hospital were examined.

“The examination was conducted in a careful manner and exclusively in places where intelligence indicated the possible presence of hostages. The examination was carried out respectfully while maintaining the dignity of the deceased. Bodies examined, which did not belong to Israeli hostages, were returned to their place.”

The IDF said that its forces had detained “about 200 terrorists who were in the hospital” during the raid, and that they found ammunition as well as unused medicines intended for Israeli hostages.

It also insisted that the raid was carried out “in a targeted manner and without harming the hospital, the patients and the medical staff”.

However, three medical staff told the BBC last month that they were humiliated, beaten, doused with cold water, and forced to kneel for hours after being detained during the raid.

Medics who remained at Nasser after the Israeli takeover said they were unable to care for patients and that 13 died because of conditions there, including a lack of water, electricity and other supplies.

Reuters Palestinian officials tape off the courtyard of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City as workers search for human remains (8 April 2024)ReutersThe UN Human Rights Office said it had received reports that 30 bodies were buried in the courtyard of al-Shifa hospital

On 1 April, Israeli troops withdrew from al-Shifa hospital, which is in Gaza City, following what the IDF said was another “precise” operation carried out in response to intelligence that Hamas had regrouped there.

The IDF said at the time that 200 “terrorists” were killed in and around the hospital during the two-week raid. More than 500 others were detained, and weapons and intelligence were found “throughout the hospital”, it added.

After a mission gained access to the facility five days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) said al-Shifa was “now an empty shell”, with most of the buildings extensively damaged or destroyed, and the majority of equipment unusable or reduced to ashes.

It also said that “numerous shallow graves” had been dug just outside the emergency department, and the administrative and surgical buildings, and that “many dead bodies were partially buried with their limbs visible”.

The IDF also said it had avoided harm to patients at al-Shifa. But the WHO cited the acting hospital director as saying patients were held in abysmal conditions during the siege, and that at least 20 patients reportedly died due to a lack of access to care and limited movement authorised for medics.

Spokeswoman Ms Shamdasani said reports seen by the UN human rights office suggested that a total of 30 bodies were buried in the two graves and that 12 of them had been identified so far.

Gaza’s civil defence spokesman told CNN on 9 April that 381 bodies had been recovered from the vicinity of al-Shifa, but that the figure did not include people buried in the hospital’s grounds.

The UN human rights chief also deplored as “beyond warfare” a series of Israeli strikes on the southern city of Rafah in the past few days, which he said had killed mostly women and children.

The strikes included one on Saturday night, after which a premature baby was delivered from the womb of her pregnant mother, who was killed along with her husband and other daughter.

Mr Türk also again warned against a full-scale Israeli ground assault on Rafah, where 1.5 million displaced civilians are sheltering, saying it would lead to further breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

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IPW bantah ‘tudingan politisasi’ atas laporan kasus dugaan gratifikasi Ganjar Pranowo, KPK didesak independen

Calon presiden nomor urut 3 Ganjar Pranowo menjawab pertanyaan wartawan usai pertemuan dengan TPN Ganjar-Mahfud di Gedung High End, Jakarta, Kamis (15/02)
Keterangan gambar,Ganjar Pranowo, salah satu calon presiden dalam Pilpres 2024, dilaporkan ke KPK terkait dugaan gratifikasi.

Pelapor dugaan gratifikasi Ganjar Pranowo ke KPK membantah bahwa laporannya memiliki motif politik, sementara pakar anti-korupsi menekankan pentingnya KPK mempertahankan independensi dalam menangani kasus tersebut.

Ketua Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) Sugeng Teguh Santoso melaporkan mantan Gubernur Jawa Tengah yang juga mencalonkan diri sebagai calon presiden dalam Pemilu 2024, Ganjar Pranowo, ke Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) atas dugaan menerima gratifikasi atau suap pada Selasa (05/02).

Juru bicara Tim Pemenangan Nasional (TPN) Ganjar Pranowo dan Mahfud Md, Chico Hakim, menuding laporan itu bermuatan politik, karena baru muncul setelah wacana pengguliran hak angket disuarakan secara terang-terangan oleh Ganjar.

Ia juga menyinggung posisi Sugeng yang juga menjabat sebagai Ketua DPP Partai Solidaritas Indonesia (PSI) Bogor.

Peneliti Pusat Kajian Anti Korupsi Universitas Gadjah Mada (Pukat UGM), Zaenur Rohman, mengatakan apa yang dia sebut sebagai “aksi saling jegal para politisi” dalam pelaporan kasus korupsi adalah “hal yang wajar”.

Namun dia menekankan motif politik itu tidak boleh mempengaruhi independensi lembaga anti-rasuah dalam menangani kasus tersebut.

Apalagi, KPK kerap dianggap tak objektif dalam menangani kasus-kasus yang melibatkan politisi, sehingga masyarakat sering mempertanyakan independensi KPK.

Juru bicara KPK, Ali Fikri, menegaskan bahwa KPK tidak pernah memandang unsur politik terkait laporan yang mereka terima. Ia juga membantah ada pendahuluan laporan yang dilayangkan Sugeng terhadap Ganjar Pranowo.

“Kacamata kami sama dengan laporan lainnya, akan dianalisis dari sisi hukum semata,” ungkapnya.

Apa kasus dugaan gratifikasi yang melibatkan Ganjar Pranowo?

Selain Ganjar, IPW juga melaporkan Direktur Utama Bank Jateng periode 2014-2023, Supriyatno, atas kasus yang sama. Gratifikasi itu, kata Sugeng, memiliki nilai total yang diduga mencapai hingga Rp100 miliar.

“IPW melaporkan adanya dugaan penerimaan gratifikasi dan atau suap yang diterima oleh Direksi Bank Jateng dari perusahaan-perusahaan asuransi yang memberikan pertanggungan jaminan kredit kepada kreditur Bank Jateng. Jadi istilahnya ada cashback,” kata Ketua IPW, Sugeng Teguh Sutanto, kepada awak media.

Sugeng mengatakan bahwa ia menduga Ganjar Pranowo menerima gratifikasi berupa cashback dari perusahaan-perusahaan asuransi yang memberikan jaminan kredit kepada kreditur Bank Jateng.

Cashback tersebut diperkirakan jumlahnya 16% dari nilai premi dan dialokasikan kepada tiga pihak dalam kurun waktu 2014-2023.

Pembagiannya dirincikan menjadi 5% bagi operasional Bank Jateng, 5,5% untuk pemegang saham Bank Jateng yang terdiri dari pemerintah daerah dan 5,5% diberikan kepada pemegang saham pengendali Bank Jateng yang diduga adalah kepala daerah Jawa Tengah, yakni Ganjar Pranowo alias GP.

“Itu diduga terjadi dari 2014 sampai 2023. Kalau dijumlahkan semua, mungkin lebih dari Rp100 miliar untuk yang 5,5 persen tuh. Karena itu tidak dilaporkan, ini bisa diduga tindak pidana,” kata Sugeng.

Ketua Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) Sugeng Teguh Santoso menjawab pertanyaan awak media
Keterangan gambar,Ketua Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) sekaligus Ketua DPP Partai Solidaritas Indonesia (PSI) Sugeng Teguh Santoso melaporkan Ganjar Pranowo dan Direktur Utama Bank Jateng periode 2014-2023, Supriyatno atas dugaan gratifikasi.

Menanggapi laporan tersebut, Ganjar Pranowo membantah tuduhan bahwa dirinya menerima gratifikasi seperti yang disebut oleh IPW.

“Saya tidak pernah menerima pemberian atau gratifikasi dari yang dia tuduhkan,” kata Ganjar, seperti dikutip oleh detik.com pada Rabu (06/03).

Menurut penjelasan yang tertera dalam UU Nomor 20 tahun 2001 pasal 12B, gratifikasi diartikan sebagai pemberian yang meliput uang, barang, diskon, komisi, pinjaman tanpa bunga, tiket perjalanan wisata, pengobatan gratis dan fasilitas lainnya.

Berdasarkan undang-undang tersebut, setiap gratifikasi kepada pegawai negeri atau penyelenggara negara dianggap pemberian suap, apabila berhubungan dengan jabatannya dan berlawanan dengan kewajiban atau tugasnya merupakan tindak pidana.

Juru bicara KPK, Ali Fikri, membenarkan bahwa laporan dari IPW tersebut sudah diterima oleh KPK. Ia mengatakan KPK akan terlebih dahulu melakukan verifikasi dan telaah terhadap data yang terdapat dalam laporan tersebut.

“KPK juga secara proaktif akan menelusuri dan melakukan pengumpulan berbagai keterangan dan informasi tambahan untuk melengkapi aduan yang dilaporan.

“Apabila aduan tersebut menjadi kewenangan KPK tentu akan ditindaklanjuti sesuai ketentuan hukum yang berlaku,” ujar Ali kepada BBC News Indonesia.

Apakah laporan IPW bemuatan politik?

Jubir TPN Ganjar-Mahfud, Chico Hakim, mengatakan bahwa pihaknya curiga bahwa laporan yang diajukan oleh Sugeng Teguh Santoso memiliki motif politik. Sebab, waktu pengajuan yang ditentukan oleh IPW beriringan dengan wacana hak angket.

“Pak Ganjar adalah orang yang begitu vokal dan pertama kali menyuarakan wacana pengguliran hak angket,” ungkap Chico kepada BBC News Indonesia.

“Yang kedua, kita melihat dari latar belakang pelapor, yaitu Pak Sugeng yang ternyata juga adalah anggota dari Partai Solidaritas Indonesia atau PSI,“ ujarnya kemudian.

ia juga mempertanyakan mengapa laporan dugaan gratifikasi yang ditemukan oleh IPW 10 bulan yang lalu baru diberikan kepada KPK saat hak angket sedang ramai diperbincangkan.

“Tentunya momentum sekarang ini masih dalam tahapan pemilu dan seperti kita ketahui, Pak Ganjar adalah salah satu calon presiden yang sedang berkontestasi. Dan tahapan pemilu ini belum selesai, masih dalam penghitungan suara,“ katanya.

Sugeng Teguh Santoso dari IPW membantah tudingan motif politik yang ditujukan padanya, seraya menegaskan bahwa IPW tidak pernah mengomentari atau memihak pada kelompok politik tertentu.

Ia beralasan, sebelumnya, IPW telah membongkar sejumlah kasus korupsi lainnya, seperti dugaan perkara suap eks Wakil Menteri Hukum dan HAM, Eddy Hiariej, dan pemeriksaan terhadap mantan ketua KPK, Firli Bahuri terkait kasus dugaan pemerasan mantan Menteri Pertanian Syahrul Yasin Limpo (SYL).

“IPW tidak pernah mengomentari, berpendapat, berpihak atas aksi-aksi politik partai-partai. Jadi, kami tidak ada urusannya dengan hak angket,“ kata Sugeng kepada BBC News Indonesia pada Kamis (07/03).

Sugeng mengaku tudingan politisasi itu “sah dan halal“ karena posisinya sebagai Ketua IPW sekaligus Ketua DPP PSI Bogor. Namun, ia menegaskan bahwa statusnya sebagai anggota PSI tidak memengaruhi keputusannya untuk melaporkan Ganjar Pranowo atas dugaan gratifikasi.

“Waktu itu saudara Ganjar sedang dalam proses tahap pencalonan sebagai capres. Kami tidak mau menganggu, menghalangi hak politik. Justru kalau kami laporkan waktu itu, kalau disebut politis, tidak bisa dibantah oleh kami. Kami menunggu,” dalih Sugeng.

Apa kata pengamat anti-korupsi dan KPK?

Pakar anti-korupsi dari PUKAT-UGM, Zaenur Rohman, mengatakan bahwa sah-sah saja jika masyarakat memandang laporan yang dilakukan Sugeng Teguh Santoso sebagai tindakan yang bermuatan politik.

“Itu bukan suatu hal yang perlu dikhawatirkan. Misalnya aktor-aktor politik itu saling berkompetisi dan kemudian mereka saling lapor, itu suatu hal yang merupakan sebuah keniscayaan dalam politik.

Menurut Zaenur, yang terpenting adalah kuat atau tidaknya barang bukti yang diberikan dalam pelaporan kasus tersebut.

“Orang bisa punya motif apapun ketika melaporkan sebuah dugaan tindak pidana. Tetapi apakah ada alat bukti yang dimiliki oleh pelapor atau tidak. Pelapor menurut saya sah-sah saja ketika misalnya punya motif politik,“ jelas Zaenur.

Namun, hal yang paling penting, menurut Zaenur, adalah lembaga penegak hukum yang harus bersikap independen dan obyektif dalam memproses kasus tersebut, dalam hal ini KPK.

“Selama bukan aparat dan institusi penegak hukum yang bermain politik. Maka muatan politik dalam sebuah laporan dugaan tindak pidana itu bukan suatu hal yang perlu dikhawatirkan,“ ujarnya.

Kabag Pemberitaan KPK Ali Fikri (tengah) memberikan keterangan pers terkait penahanan tersangka Kepala Badan Pelayanan Pajak Daerah (BPPD) Kabupaten Sidoarjo Ari Suryono di Gedung Merah Putih KPK, Jakarta, Jumat (23/2).
Keterangan gambar,Kabag Pemberitaan KPK Ali Fikri (tengah) menyampaikan KPK tidak pernah memandang unsur politik dalam menindak laporan yang masuk.

Zaenur menilai bahwa KPK dianggap bermasalah dalam menangani kasus-kasus yang melibatkan politisi. Oleh karena itu, masyarakat sering mempertanyakan independensi KPK.

“Masalahnya publik mulai mempertanyakan independensi KPK setelah KPK ditempatkan dalam rumpun kekuasaan eksekutif setelah revisi undang-undang KPK,“ katanya.

Ketika ditanya apakah ada jaminan yang memastikan bahwa KPK dapat menjalankan tugasnya sebagai lembaga anti-rasuah tanpa campur tangan politik, Zaenur mengatakan hal tersebut tidak ada.

Oleh karena itu, pengawasan oleh masyarakat sekaligus Dewan Pengawas menjadi krusial agar KPK berjalan sesuai dengan ketentuan hukum yang berlaku.

Juru bicara KPK Ali Fikri mengatakan bahwa tidak ada prioritas penyelesaian bagi laporan yang dilayangkan IPW dan akan diperlakukan sama dengan laporan-laporan lainnya yang diterima KPK dari masyarakat.

Ia juga menegaskan bahwa apabila aduan tersebut menjadi kewenangan KPK tentu akan ditindaklanjuti sesuai ketentuan hukum yang berlaku.

“Sejak KPK ada sampai hari ini telah memiliki mekanisme tindak lanjut laporan masyarakat. Jadi tentu kami tidak pernah memandang dari sisi politik maupun latar belakang sosial lainnya,“ ungkap Ali. https://kasikan12.com/

Lancashire chocolate factory goes into business with royalty

His Royal Majesty Oba Dokun Thompson Gureje IV and Queen Angelique-Monet of Eti-Oni
Image caption,His Royal Majesty Oba Dokun Thompson Gureje IV and Queen Angelique-Monet of Eti-Oni travelled from Nigeria

A Lancashire chocolate factory has gone into business with an African king and queen.

Beech’s Chocolates, in Preston, is making a new range with cocoa beans from Eti-Oni province in Nigeria.

The money made from the bars will go back into the province, which is home to Nigeria’s oldest cocoa plantation.

His Royal Majesty Oba Dokun Thompson Gureje IV and Queen Angelique-Monet visited Preston to launch the bars.

King Oba said his great-grandfather started the plantation in 1896.

“When we start seeing the proceeds from the chocolate, we know that we are on to something that will transform our community,” he said.

The Eti-Oni plantation
Image caption,The first cocoa trees were planted by Gureje I, the great great grandfather of the present king

Over 90% of Eti-Oni’s people are cocoa farmers, working in an industry worth $130bn (£102bn) a year.

But the growers in Eti-Oni only receive a Fair Trade allowance on top of the price they sell the beans at.

The Whiting family, which owns Beech’s Confectionery Group, funded the start-up and development of the Gureje IV brand.

It is wholly-owned by the people of Eti-Oni, and all international sales of the bars will go into chocolate processing equipment and cocoa farming infrastructure there.

The Gureje IV brand
Image caption,The Gureje IV brand is wholly owned by the people of the province of Eti-Oni

Beech’s chairman Andrew Whiting said he first met King Oba at a chocolate convention in 2018.

He said the king had given a “very moving speech about the fact that they’d been growing cocoa beans for many years” and the idea of the chocolate range sprang from a conversation they had later.

“We had this idea that if we could produce a chocolate bar sold in the western markets, all the proceeds could go towards making the processing plant a reality,” he added.

Queen Angelique-Monet said launching the new chocolate is “going to be really exciting”.

“We’re creating a new culture at Eti-Oni,” she said. https://kasikan12.com/

Australia: Child among 10 killed after severe storms hit country’s east

A Queensland house damaged during a severe storm
Image caption,Roofs were torn off homes and electricity poles ripped from the ground in Queensland

At least 10 people, including a nine-year-old girl, have died in eastern Australia during severe thunderstorms on Christmas and Boxing Day.

Most of the deaths were in the state of Queensland, where tens of thousands of people are still without power.

Victoria and New South Wales were also hit by widespread flooding and destructive winds.

Further thunderstorms have been forecast but conditions are expected to improve over the next day.

The winds were so strong in places, they tore roofs off buildings, felled trees and ripped concrete-based electricity poles from the ground.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever had a concrete power pole destroyed by a storm, that’s pretty significant. That’s unprecedented,” said Queensland Premier Steven Miles.

Residents in parts of New South Wales and South Australia were shocked to find hailstones the size of golf balls blanketing their lawns in summer.

“I haven’t seen anything like this in probably the 20 years I’ve lived in the town,” a resident of Melrose in South Australia told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The latest storms come more than a week after major floods inundated parts of Queensland during Cyclone Jasper – with some areas experiencing more than a year’s worth of rain in just a few days.

Mr Miles said the cost of damage from both storms could run into the billions.

They follow a series of heatwaves that have seen states including New South Wales battling bushfires recently.

The country is currently enduring an El Nino weather event, which is typically associated with extreme events such as wildfires and cyclones.

“When you start to piece together the experiences of this summer so far it is clear that we are living through an era of escalating climate consequences,” Simon Bradshaw, research director at the Climate Council – an independent communications organisation – told the Reuters news agency.

Australia has been plagued by a series of disasters in recent years – severe drought and bushfires, successive years of record floods, and six mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef.

A future of worsening disasters is likely unless urgent action is taken to halt climate change, the latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns.

Among the 10 people killed in the extreme weather over Christmas and Boxing Day was a girl, named in local media as nine-year-old Mia Holland-McCormack, whose body was found in a flooded storm drain after she went missing.

“Mia loved adventures and getting up to mischief,” reads a statement from a relative on a GoFundMe fundraising page set up to help Mia’s family following her death.

Three men drowned after a yacht capsized near Moreton Bay, off the coast of the city of Brisbane. A further eight people had to be rescued from the water.

A man whose body was found in Victoria’s Gippsland region is thought to have been camping with a woman who was also killed.

Two women were found dead north of Brisbane after being swept away by floodwaters into a storm drain, while a further two people were killed after being hit by falling trees. https://kasikan12.com/

Map of Australia showing Queensland and New South Wales

Peter Roebuck inquest: Cricketer took his own life amid sexual assault probe

Peter Roebuck
Image caption,Peter Roebuck played for Somerset from 1974 to 1991, and also captained the county side

A former cricketer arrested on suspicion of sexual assault was “in despair” before being found dead in South Africa, an inquest has heard.

Cricket journalist and ex-Somerset captain Peter Roebuck, 55, died in November 2011 in Cape Town, while working as a commentator.

Mr Roebuck had allegedly assaulted a 26-year-old man in his hotel room, Cheshire Coroner’s Court heard.

The inquest concluded Mr Roebuck had taken his own life 13 years ago.

The batsman, from Wirral, played for Somerset from 1974 to 1991 and captained the county side, was a former summariser with BBC Radio’s Test Match Special.

The Sydney Morning Herald columnist was staying at the Southern Sun hotel to commentate on a match between Australia and South Africa.

The inquest, held on Friday, heard Mr Roebuck had allegedly sexually assaulted a 26-year-old man in his room on 7 November, when they arranged to meet to discuss whether he could financially support the student through university.

A complaint was made to the police on 12 November, and officers went to Mr Roebuck’s hotel to arrest him that evening.

In a statement, commentator Jim Maxwell, a friend of Mr Roebuck’s who worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, said he received a call late that evening asking him to go to his room.

Mr Maxwell, who was staying on the same floor of the hotel, said he went into the room after being greeted by a police officer and saw his friend sitting on the bed.

“He was totally in despair,” he said.

He said Mr Roebuck asked him to contact people at his home and told him he needed a lawyer, before police then asked him to leave.

‘In control of himself’

In a statement, arresting officer Det Aubrey McDonald said: “Peter Roebuck mentioned he was well known in the cricket fraternity and that his arrest will be front-page news worldwide.”

Mr McDonald said he stepped outside the hotel room to make a phone call and heard his colleague Lt Cecil Jacobs shouting at Mr Roebuck.

An incident then took place which resulted in Mr Roebuck’s death, the inquest heard.

Mr McDonald said: “At the time of the incident the deceased appeared very calm and in control of himself.”

The court heard post-mortem examinations carried out in South Africa and the UK both found the cause of Mr Roebuck’s death was multiple injuries.

The same cause of death was recorded at an inquest held in South Africa, which was not attended by family members.

Dr Matthew Lyall, the forensic pathologist who carried out the post-mortem examination in the UK, said in his report: “There were no findings to specifically suggest that a third party was directly involved in any of the injuries, but the involvement of a third party cannot be ruled out solely on the basis of the pathological findings.”

Concluding the inquest, senior coroner for Cheshire, Jacqueline Devonish, thanked family members who had attended court.

She said: “I’m sorry the case has taken such a long time for us to progress, but it was in part waiting to find out about a renewed hearing in South Africa which hasn’t come to pass.” https://kasikan12.com/

The Body Shop to shut up to half of its UK stores

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Woman walks pasts The Body Shop

The Body Shop is set to shut up to half of its 198 stores in the UK and cut the size of its head office, leading to hundreds of job losses.

Closures will begin immediately on Tuesday, the firm that is overseeing the restructuring of the beauty retailer said.

The Body Shop employs around 2,200 people in the UK, including 750 staff at its head office.

The cuts would “help re-energise” the brand, the administrators said.

The stores immediately affected include four in London, where rents and other overheads are highest. The chain’s remaining shops and the website will trade as normal as the restructuring proceeds.

“It is expected that at the conclusion of the restructuring, more than half of The Body Shop’s 198 UK stores will remain open,” said the administrator, FRP Advisory.

It is understood that The Body Shop’s global franchises in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the rest of Europe are not affected by closures.

The Body Shop stores closing on Tuesday are:

  • Ashford Town Centre, Kent
  • Bristol Queens Road, Bristol
  • Canary Wharf, London
  • Cheapside, London
  • Nuneaton, Warwickshire
  • Oxford Street-Bond Street, London
  • Surrey Quays, London

The UK arm of The Body Shop was put into administration last week, a couple of months after it was bought up by Aurelius, a German private equity firm.

Consumer expert Kate Hardcastle, who spent time with The Body Shop founder Dame Anita Roddick, said the closures were a stark reminder of the current “volatile” retail landscape.

“However, relevance is equally crucial. A brand must evolve with its audience. The challenge lies not just in upholding these values but in communicating them effectively to a generation that demands authenticity and action,” she said.

FRP said: “A reduced store footprint, will coincide with a renewed focus on the brand’s products, online sales channels and wholesale strategies.”

A closure notice in The Body Shop, Nuneaton
Image caption,A closure notice was put up in The Body Shop, Nuneaton

Staff headcount at the head office in London will be reduced by approximately 40%, as part of a “more nimble, financially viable model” following the earlier sale of loss-making businesses in mainland Europe and parts of Asia.

The Body Shop’s Ambassador Programme, which allows representatives to sell the firm’s products directly to customers, will also close, FRP said.

The retailer has already announced that its original direct selling network, The Body Shop at Home, which operated for 30 years, will close this month.

Aurelius bought The Body Shop for £207m at the end of last year from Brazilian beauty giant Natura.

But the private equity firm said the chain’s performance over the festive period was “worse than [their] worst-case assumptions”, prompting the move to call in administrators.

It is the first major retail failure in the UK this year.

Aurelius is The Body Shop’s main secured creditor – meaning it is first in line to receive payments from the company as it is restructured. As a result, it is also considered to be in pole position to take back control of the retailer.

Retail analyst Natalie Berg said the closure was a “reminder of the dangers of complacency”.

“The Body Shop was once a trailblazer, but they’ve settled into the status quo. Standing still is the most dangerous thing you can do in retail. You have to continuously evolve in order to stay relevant to customers. If you don’t, someone else certainly will,” she said.

The Body Shop was founded by the pioneering British businesswoman and activist Dame Anita Roddick and her husband in 1976, and quickly established itself as a ground breaking ethical, sustainable brand – rejecting animal testing on cosmetics, and promoting environmentally-friendly products and ethical sourcing practices.

However, since then it has faced increasing competition, in particular from High Street rival Lush which was co-founded by Mark Constantine who used to be a supplier to The Body Shop.

In 2006, Dame Anita and her husband sold The Body Shop to French beauty giant L’Oreal, which some of its original customer base viewed as a sell-out.

Later its adoption of aggressive sales tactics, including ferocious discounting, put people off paying full prices for its products. https://kasikan12.com/

Unggul di hitung cepat, ‘kemenangan’ Prabowo Subianto dinilai ‘cacat’ dan dikhawatirkan membuat demokrasi merosot

Prabowo Subianto saat mengikuti debat capres yang digelar oleh Komisi pemilihan Umum (KPU).
Keterangan gambar,Prabowo Subianto saat mengikuti debat capres yang digelar oleh Komisi pemilihan Umum (KPU).

Kemenangan Prabowo Subianto dan Gibran Rakabuming Raka di hitung cepat Pilpres 2024 dinilai cacat oleh aktivis demokrasi, sedangkan peneliti media khawatir kebebasan pers bakal terancam. Namun kubu Prabowo membantah tudingan dan sangkaan itu.

Aktivis demokrasi dari Usman Hamid menyebut kemenangan Prabowo cacat karena dipenuhi praktik kecurangan yang terstruktur, sistematis dan masif.

Kecurangan itu, katanya, dimulai dari keputusan Mahkamah Konstitusi yang kontroversial, penyalahgunaan peran aparatur negara dan penyelewengan bantuan sosial.

Peneliti media, Ignatius Haryanto, juga menyatakan khawatir kebebasan pers bakal terancam. Pasalnya rekam jejak Prabowo di masa lalu yang berulang kali menunjukkan watak antikritik saat berurusan dengan pers.

Namun Juru bicara Tim Kampanye Nasional (TKN) Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Viva Yoga Mauladi, membantah sangkaan itu.

Dia mengatakan tidak perlu ada yang mengkhawatirkan kebebasan pers, kebebasan berekspresi, dan masalah-masalah HAM di bawah kepemimpinan Prabowo nantinya.

Pada Rabu (14/02) malam, Prabowo-Gibran tampil di depan para pendukungnya menyambut hasil hitung cepat (quick count) sejumlah lembaga survey yang menyebut pihaknya unggul sementara ini.

“Semua penghitungan semua lembaga survei termasuk lembaga-lembaga yang berada di tiap-tiap paslon lain menunjukkan angka-angka yang memang paslon Prabowo-Gibran menang sekali putaran,” kata Prabowo dengan penuh keyakinan.

Meskipun demikian, dia mengimbau untuk menunggu pula hasil resmi dari Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU).

Keterangan video,Kemenangan hitung cepat Prabowo: ‘Yakin menang satu putaran, tapi jangan jumawa’

Akan seperti apa demokrasi Indonesia di tangan Prabowo?

Direktur Eksekutif Amnesty International Indonesia, Usman Hamid, mengatakan kemenangan Prabowo-Gibran – berdasarkan hasil hitung cepat sementara – akan membawa demokrasi Indonesia menuju kemerosotan yang lebih buruk lagi.

Di mana aksi-aksi protes akan direpresi oleh gaya kepemimpinannya yang disebut Usman sebagai otoritarian.

Sebab meskipun usia Prabowo sudah menginjak 72 tahun, namun personalitas mantan Panglima Kostrad ini identik dengan gaya bicara keras dan otoriter. Ditambah lagi ambisi berkuasanya yang sangat besar.

“Jadi meskipun dia sudah cukup tua di usianya 72 tahun, tapi usia bukan penentu apakah seseorang akan memajukan atau memundurkan demokrasi Indonesia,” ujar Usman Hamid kepada BBC News Indonesia, Rabu (14/02).

Usman meyakini suara-suara yang mengguggat keabsahan dan kecurangan pemilu masih akan terus berlangsung meskipun proses pelantikan dilakukan.

Apalagi jika dua kubu yang kalah dalam hitung cepat menyatakan tak menerima hasil pemilu.

“Itu mungkin protes-protes dan turbulensi akan makin besar.”

Mahasiswa menggelar aksi demonstrasi atas penyalahgunaan bansos di Jakarta, Indonesia, pada 8 Februari 2024.
Keterangan gambar,Mahasiswa menggelar aksi demonstrasi atas penyalahgunaan bansos di Jakarta, Indonesia, pada 8 Februari 2024.

“Tapi kalau dua kubu itu menerima, mungkin turbulensi akan datang dari masyarakat sipil yang akan terus mengguggat keabsahan pemilu.”

Itu mengapa Usman berharap Anies Bawedan-Muhaimin Iskandar dan Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD mau mangambil langkah hukum untuk mengguggat dugaan-dugaan kecurangan itu.

Termasuk menempuh langkah politik di parlemen demi menjaga komitmen mereka pada pemilu yang adil dan jujur.

Tapi terlepas dari itu kemenangan Prabowo-Gibran, menurut Usman, sudah menempatkan demokrasi Indonesia menuju otokrasi.

Kondisi di mana proses demokrasi seperti pemilu masih berjalan namun tidak berlangsung secara bebas dan adil.

“Indonesia akan terus mengeklaim masih demokrasi karena punya pemilu tapi pemilunya menghasilkan otokrasi. Jadi menang dari proses demokrasi, tapi sebenarnya melaksanakan kebijakan yang melemahkan sendi-sendi demokrasi, hak asasi manusia, dan kebebasan berekspresi.”

Kondisi seperti ini juga terjadi di negara-negara lain.

Sebut saja kemenangan Viktor Orban di Hungaria, Narendra Modi di India, dan Donald Trump di Amerika Serikat.

“Jadi ini wake-up call bagi aktor pro-demokrasi di Indonesia untuk benar-benar alert pada kemerosotan yang berlanjut pada demokrasi Indonesia.”

Akankah kebebasan pers terancam?

Peneliti media dan dosen jurnalistik di Universitas Multimedia Nusantara (UMN), Ignatius Haryanto, berkata jika Prabowo Subianto menang pemilu dalam satu putaran dan menjadi presiden – sejalan dengan hasil hitung cepat terkini sejumlah lembaga survei – kebebasan pers dikhawatirkan bakal terancam.

Dia mendasarkan hal itu pada rekam jejak Prabowo di masa lalu yang berulang kali menunjukkan watak antikritik saat berurusan dengan pers.

Prabowo, misalnya, kerap menolak wawancara dengan media tertentu, terutama yang pernah mengkritiknya, serta pernah menandai sejumlah media yang kritis padanya, kata Ignatius.

Ruang gerak pers bisa jadi akan lebih terbatas dan pembredelan media bisa saja terjadi kembali seperti di era Orde Baru, tambahnya.

Puluhan mahasiswa berdemonstrasi menuntut pemilu yang adil dan mengkritik Presiden Joko Widodo atas apa yang mereka gambarkan sebagai membangun politik dinasti dengan dukungan implisitnya terhadap Prabowo Subianto
Keterangan gambar,Puluhan mahasiswa berdemonstrasi menuntut pemilu yang adil dan mengkritik Presiden Joko Widodo atas apa yang mereka gambarkan sebagai membangun politik dinasti dengan dukungan implisitnya terhadap Prabowo Subianto.

“Bredel ada kemungkinan itu akan dilakukan, karena saya kira juga kekuasaan hegemonik yang sudah ada oleh pemerintahan sekarang ini kan tinggal ‘dilanjutkan’ dengan karakter yang lebih keras,” kata Ignatius pada BBC News Indonesia pada Rabu malam (14/2).

Apalagi, Prabowo disebut datang dari era Orde Baru yang menyuburkan pembungkaman pers dan punya trah keluarga Cendana.

Sebagai catatan, Prabowo adalah mantan suami Siti Hediati Hariyadi alias Titiek, putri kedua mantan presiden otoriter Soeharto.

“Saya kira rezim-rezim otoriter itu kan selalu melakukan cara-cara untuk membungkam. Jadi saya kira memang kita bisa agak khawatir dengan situasi ini,” kata Ignatius.

Prabowo Subianto menunjukkan jarinya setelah memberikan suaranya di TPS pada Pemilu 2019 di Babakan Madang, Indonesia.
Keterangan gambar,Prabowo Subianto menunjukkan jarinya setelah memberikan suaranya di TPS pada Pemilu 2019 di Babakan Madang, Indonesia.

Sasmito Madrim, ketua umum Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), juga mengungkapkan pandangan serupa.

Selama ini, menurutnya, dialog antara komunitas pers dan Prabowo tidak berjalan baik, termasuk saat pemilu 2019 ketika Prabowo kerap merasa tidak nyaman dengan pemberitaan yang ada.

Sasmito juga menyoroti Prabowo dan Gibran Rakabuming Raka, pasangannya di pemilu 2024, yang tidak hadir secara langsung di acara “Deklarasi Kemerdekaan Pers” yang diadakan Dewan Pers pada Sabtu (10/2).

Saat itu mereka hanya diwakili pengusaha Rosan Roeslani sebagai ketua Tim Kampanye Nasional-nya.

Bila Prabowo menjadi presiden, Sasmito mengatakan komunitas pers harus solid dan menjalankan fungsinya dengan baik sebagai “watchdog” atau “anjing penjaga” bagi publik.

“Tanpa soliditas dari teman-teman pers, rasanya akan sulit kita berharap pada pasangan Prabowo-Gibran,” kata Sasmito.

“Saya lebih berharap ke teman-teman media sendiri daripada harus berharap ke Prabowo.”

Selain itu, Sasmito menilai publik harus mendukung pers untuk memastikan pemerintah tidak melakukan kontrol berlebih yang akan mengembalikan situasi ke era Orde Baru.

“Tidak ada cara lain, publik harus membangun kekuatan menjadi oposisi dan pers harus independen agar bisa melakukan fungsi kontrol terhadap pemerintah dan lembaga negara lain,” pungkasnya.

Prabowo, Gibran
Keterangan gambar,Prabowo Subianto dan Gibran Rakabuming Raka di Istora Senayan, Rabu (14/02) malam

Sementara itu, Ketua Dewan Pers Ninik Rahayu menolak untuk berspekulasi.

Menurutnya, lebih baik semua pihak menghormati proses pemilu dan menunggu hasil penghitungan suara resmi yang akan diumumkan Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU).

Lebih lanjut, meski Prabowo dan Gibran tidak hadir secara langsung di acara “Deklarasi Kemerdekaan Pers”, Ninik mengatakan perwakilan tim pasangan ini tetap hadir dan menandatangani komitmen kemerdekaan pers.

“Bagaimana implementasinya? Itu yang nanti kita lihat lima tahun ke depan, siapa pun nanti pemenangnya,” kata Ninik.

“Saya kira kita sama-sama nanti akan menagih. Kita tagih komitmen di dalam deklarasi yang sudah ditandatangani ketiga pasangan calon.”

Apa tanggapan kubu Prabowo?

Juru bicara Tim Kampanye Nasional (TKN) Prabowo Subianto-Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Viva Yoga Mauladi, mengatakan kepada BBC News Indonesia bahwa tidak perlu ada yang mengkhawatirkan perihal kebebasan pers, kebebasan berekspresi, dan masalah-masalah HAM di bawah kepemimpinan Prabowo nantinya.

“[Anda] tidak usah terlalu curiga dengan Prabowo-Gibran. Tidak usah takut. Selama ini toh pers bebas dan bertanggung jawab, kan?” ujar Viva Yoga melalui sambungan telepon.

“Ada Undang-Undang Kebebasan Pers, Undang-Undang ITE. Prabowo-Gibran kan menjalankan Undang-Undang. Jangan takut kemudian nanti ada perubahan pemerintah menjadi otoriter, pemerintah menjadi restriktif.”

Mengenai kebebasan berekspresi, Viva Yoga berkata: “Kalian bebas demonstrasi asal bertanggung jawab dan Pak Prabowo-Gibran itu menjalankan amanat Undang-Undang.”

“[Anda] harus move on ini yang menang Prabowo. Jadi harus dibantu, ya,” pungkasnya.

Dalam pernyataannya pada Rabu (14/02) di Istora Senayan, Prabowo menegaskan jika terpilih memimpin Indonesia bersama Gibran, dirinya akan mengayomi rakyat Indonesia seluruhnya.

“Kita yakin demokrasi Indonesia berjalan dengan baik, saudara-saudara,” ujarnya kepada massa pendukung yang menjejali Istora Senayan, Jakarta. https://kasikan12.com/

PVMBG ajak warga waspadai awan panas guguran Gunung Karangetang

PVMBG ajak warga waspadai awan panas guguran Gunung Karangetang
Gunung Karangetang di Pulau Siau, Kabupaten Kepulauan Sitaro. ANTARA/HO-Pos PGA Karangetang/aa.

Pada periode evaluasi tanggal 1-15 Februari 2024 tersebut, kondisi visual tidak teramati adanya kejadian guguran/erupsi efusif

Manado (ANTARA) – Pusat Vulkanologi dan Mitigasi Bencana Geologi (PVMBG) Kementerian ESDM mengajak warga mewaspadai awan panas guguran Gunung Karangetang di Kabupaten Kepulauan Sitaro, Sulawesi Utara.

“Kubah lava lama masih berada di puncak yang sewaktu-waktu dapat rubuh bersamaan dengan keluarnya lava. Karakteristik awan panas guguran Gunung Karangetang terjadi dari penumpukan material lava yang gugur/longsor,” kata Kepala PVMBG, Hendra Gunawan dalam laporan evaluasi yang dibagikan Ketua Pos PGA Karangetang, Yudia P Tatipang dalam grup percakapan ‘Info G Karangetang’ di Manado, Minggu.

Pada periode evaluasi tanggal 1-15 Februari 2024 tersebut, kondisi visual tidak teramati adanya kejadian guguran/erupsi efusif.

Dari seismisitas jenis gempa permukaan seperti gempa embusan dan gempa hybrid/fase banyak mendominasi kegempaan gunung di Pulau Siau tersebut.

Kejadian ini merupakan kesetimbangan dari kubah lava di permukaan, katanya.

Dia menambahkan, akumulasi material hasil erupsi efusif yang berada di lembah-lembah jalur luncuran/guguran lava pijar berpotensi menjadi guguran lava ke bagian hilir.

“Hal ini memerlukan kewaspadaan masyarakat yang tinggal di sekitarnya serta masyarakat yang akan melintasi lembah atau sungai tersebut. Selain itu juga perlu diwaspadai terjadinya lahar di waktu hujan di puncak,” ujarnya.

Pada Februari 2023, status Gunung Karangetang di Pulau Siau, Kabupaten Kepulauan Sitaro dinaikkan menjadi siaga setelah terjadi rentetan peningkatan aktivitas vulkanik.

Saat erupsi, material vulkanik yang berada di puncak atau tubuh gunung longsor dan menyebabkan beberapa kali terjadi awan panas guguran, permukiman yang dekat dengan lintasan arah guguran sempat diungsikan. https://kasikan12.com/

Sabang gencar bikin agenda pariwisata guna tingkatkan kunjungan turis

Sabang gencar bikin agenda pariwisata guna tingkatkan kunjungan turis
Sejumlah pengunjung berwisata snorkeling di kawasan Pulau Rubiah, Desa Wisata Iboih, Kota Sabang, Aceh, Sabtu (10/2/2024). (ANTARA FOTO/Khalis Surry)

Banda Aceh (ANTARA) – Pemerintah Kota Sabang, Provinsi Aceh, terus berupaya meningkatkan kunjungan wisatawan atau turis ke Pulau Weh itu, salah satunya melalui penyelenggaraan berbagai kegiatan atau agenda pariwisata, budaya untuk menarik minat orang untuk berkunjung.

“Dengan kegiatan kita harapkan akan adanya dampak secara ekonomi karena akan banyak masyarakat yang terlibat, akan ada UMKM yang bertransaksi pada kegiatan itu,” kata Pj Wali Kota Sabang Reza Fahlevi di Kota Sabang, Jumat.

Ia menjelaskan, Pulau Weh Sabang biasanya ramai dikunjungi saat libur panjang. Salah satunya seperti baru-baru ini momentum libur peringatan Isra’ Mi’raj dan Imlek 2024, dengan kunjungan wisatawan ke Sabang mencapai lebih 5 ribu orang dalam beberapa hari.

Sebab itu, lanjut Reza, Pemkot terus berupaya agar Sabang ini tidak hanya ramai saat libur panjang. Maka salah satu langkah yang dilakukan yakni dengan menyelenggarakan berbagai agenda pariwisata dan budaya, salah satunya seperti Sabang Marine Festival yang bakal digelar pada 1-3 Maret 2024.

“Maka dengan adanya event kita harapkan (kunjungan) itu bisa sama (seperti libur panjang),” ujarnya

Ia menambahkan, pasca pandemi COVID-19, Sabang hanya kunjungi sekitar 250 ribu wisatawan per tahun. Sementara sebelum pandemi, data Dinas Pariwisata Sabang mencatat kunjungan wisatawan ke Pulau Weh itu rata-rata antara 600-700 ribu orang per tahun.

“Mudah-mudahan (event, red) ini meningkatkan kunjungan wisatawan, bisa 300 ribu bahkan bisa sama seperti sebelum pandemi dulu,” kata Reza.

Untuk Sabang Marine Festival (SMF) 2024 yang digelar awal Maret mendatang mengusung konsep aktivitas bahari, kebudayaan, dan konservasi lingkungan.

Kegiatan ini digelar secara kolaborasi antar lembaga yakni Badan Pengusahaan Kawasan Sabang (BPKS), Pemerintah Kota Sabang, Dinas Pariwisata dan Kebudayaan Aceh, serta Kementerian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif (Kemenparekraf).

Tidak hanya sebagai saran promosi, acara tersebut juga menjadi satu wadah kreativitas untuk mengekspresikan dan menyalurkan bakat.

Acara ini juga terkandung pelestarian nilai-nilai tradisi, lantaran menampil tradisi bahari, seni budaya, sehingga menjadi wadah edukasi kepada masyarakat, khususnya generasi muda untuk merawat seni tradisi.

“Event ini juga kampanye tentang sustainability, kelestarian lingkungan, yang menjadi standar yang ingin kita capai. Misalnya dengan ayo gerakan membersihkan laut, zero sampah plastik sebagainya, hal-hal seperti ini yang terus kita ingin lakukan,” ujarnya. https://kasikan12.com/