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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Foreign aid workers to have military escorts

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia Jan 13, 2005 — Indonesia on Thursday ordered foreign aid workers in tsunami-devastated Aceh province to have military escorts in areas facing violence by insurgents, even as the vice president welcomed a cease-fire offer by the rebels. The total death toll from the disaster rose to more than 157,000.

Relief groups have not reported any security problems in Aceh, where rebels have fought a low-level separatist war against government troops for three decades, and some worried that the new restrictions could harm their reputation for independence.

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Don't forget terror threat amid tsunami relief effort

EVEN as the region picks up the pieces after the tsunami disaster, countries cannot afford to divert their attention from an invisible fault-line in the world today: Transnational terrorism.

"It would be a disaster if countries relaxed their guard to this immediate security threat," said Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Security and Defence Tony Tan, on the sidelines of the inaugural National Security Conference yesterday.

In his opening address to some 50 security experts, gathered to examine the level of Singapore's homeland security, Dr Tan said that over the next one or two weeks, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) would be pulling out of Aceh, Indonesia, as most of the relief and rescue missions there had been completed.

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Indonesia Should Let Tsunami Aid Forces Fulfill Tasks, UN Says

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Indonesia's government should let overseas military forces helping in the aid effort for survivors of last month's earthquake and tsunami stay as long as necessary, the United Nation's top emergency official said.

Armed forces from the U.S., Australia and other countries are helping ferry supplies to survivors in Aceh province in north Sumatra. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla yesterday gave them till March 26 to leave Aceh province, where the country's army has been fighting a separatist rebellion for three decades.

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Indonesia woos Singaporean investors to help in infrastructure development

Hello and welcome to Connections. I'm Yvonne Gomez.

AB: The total amount of money we need in ten years’ time is 150 billion dollars, in which 75 billion dollars should be in infrastructure projects in the next five years. And out of the 75 billion dollars, 20% will be financed by the government, and another 20% by the Indonesian private sector. But the bulk of the 60% should be made by foreign investors.

Speaking ahead of the Indonesia Infrastructure Summit 2005 to be held in Jakarta next week, Mr Bakrie said that the development of infrastructure in Indonesia has been slow compared to China and India.

To facilitate this development, the Indonesian government has identified several obstacles to trade.....

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Last SCDF rescue workers in tsunami-hit Khao Lak to return home Fri

SINGAPORE: The last 12 members of the Singapore Civil Defence Force who were helping in search and rescue operations in Khao Lak, Thailand will arrive home on Friday evening.

They are from the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) who stayed behind after the rest of the 68-strong contingent had left, to help in possible search operations

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MediaCorp artistes render first aid to Sri Lankan tsunami victims

SRI LANKA : Seven MediaCorp artistes, who arrived in Sri Lanka on a humanitarian mission for tsunami victims, immediately put into practice the first-aid lessons they had learnt.

On Thursday, the artistes - Celest Chong, Ix Shen, Xie Shao Guang, Bryan Wong, Vincent Ng, Rayson Tan and Eelyn Kok - rendered basic first aid when they arrived at a temple in Matara.

Two medical tents were set up. Besides giving medical help, the artistes also handed out gifts to cheer up the children there.

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Tsunami-hit Asia appeals for tourists

SINGAPORE (AP) -- Tsunami-wracked Asia has a new appeal to would-be helpers: Take a vacation.

"If you have not planned a visit, please consider booking a trip. If you wish to make a difference, visit," the president of the Bangkok-based Pacific Asia Travel Association, Peter de Jong, said in a recent appeal to travelers.

Images of the killer waves crashing into Asian beach resorts have badly spooked the tourists those areas rely so heavily upon for income. The tsunami that took more than 150,000 lives devastated Indonesia's Sumatra island, but also wrought havoc on tourism-dependent coastal communities in Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

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Fewer tsunami orphans than feared

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (Reuters) - The head of the U.N. Children's Fund says there were probably fewer orphans than originally thought in Asia's tsunami-hit areas, and efforts should be directed towards uniting children with family members.

Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF, spoke on Friday just hours after the U.N. agency spoke of reports that Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers were recruiting children displaced by the tsunami and said it had told the rebels to leave under-age survivors alone.

Indonesia found almost 4,000 more bodies, taking the global death toll from the disaster to more than 162,000 with searches completed in areas most damaged by the December 26 tsunami.

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Time for tsunami relief efforts in Aceh to move to next phase: Minister Teo

SINGAPORE: Singapore's Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean has said it's time for relief efforts in Aceh to move from emergency relief phase to the reconstruction phase.

Speaking at an event to send off Red Cross volunteers on board the RSS Endurance to tsunami-hit Meulaboh, he noted that the Singapore Armed Forces has been in the area since the very beginning and being involved in a variety of things.

Minister Teo noted that the most important thing was that Singapore was able to get in there when nobody else was able to get in immediately after the disaster.

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