Indonesian minister says evidence against international school staff is strong

Indonesian teacher’s aide Ferdinant Tjiong and Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman had their prison sentences for sodomy at the Jakarta Intercultural School reinstated by the Supreme Court on appeal in February this year. Photo: Michael BachelardIndonesia’s chief security minister says he will show the ambassadors of four countries – including Australia – solid evidence against teachers and cleaners accused of sexual abuse at a prestigious international school.

Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman and Indonesian teacher’s aide Ferdinant Tjiong had their prison sentences for sodomy at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) reinstated by the Supreme Court on appeal in February this year.

The shock decision attracted international ire because it was at odds with that made by the Jakarta High Court, which acquitted the men in 2015.

Chief Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan said he had asked the Jakarta Police to brief him on the case after ambassadors had complained.

He said he would invite the ambassadors from Canada, Australia, the US and Britain to see the evidence.

“We will invite the respected ambassadors because they insisted that we were wrong,” Mr Panjaitan said.

“We try to deal with the JIS case seriously, we don’t want to be accused on baseless grounds. In a short time we will invite the four ambassadors who complained about the case to see the evidence so they will believe in our law and trust our credibility. We don’t want to be repeatedly accused of (mishandling cases). We are not a banana republic.”

US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake’s statement at the time was remarkable in its forthright condemnation.

“We are shocked and disappointed by the decision announced by the Supreme Court to sentence two international school teachers,” he said.

“In August 2015, the Indonesian High Court found that there was not sufficient evidence to support the teachers’ conviction. It is not clear what evidence the Supreme Court used to overturn the High Court’s decision. The outcome of the legal process will impact international views about the rule of law in Indonesia.”

The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson, was more measured but said in February he hoped the teachers would be acquitted in line with the Indonesian High Court decision.

“As a founding member of the board of the school we have a significant involvement in the Jakarta Intercultural School and will be following this case closely,” he said at the time.

The high-fee school, now Indonesia’s largest international school, used to be called the Joint Embassy School, after its Australian, British, American and then-Yugoslavian partners.

Mr Panjaitan said after checking with the Jakarta Police and the Attorney-General’s Office and reading the report into the case he was convinced the investigation had been professional.

“I would like to invite them (the ambassadors) and show (them the report),” Mr Panjaitan said. “After we make the presentation we will see what they say.”

Asked if he was aware the international community was following the case, Mr Panjaitan said: “I don’t care, you know I trust my own people, we have strong evidence so we’ll prove it. We will show them this is the strong evidence from the government of Indonesia. Why do we have to care so much about the critics when we have strong evidence?”

The teachers’ legal team have said they will lodge a judicial review to ask the Supreme Court to review and examine how the law had been implemented.

They said a medical document from a hospital in Belgium said one of the alleged victims had never contracted a sexually transmitted disease as had been claimed.

The legal team also claims a medical examination of one of the alleged victims in Singapore showed no signs of sexual abuse.

But Mr Panjaitan questioned the need to go as far as Belgium for evidence.

“We have independent doctors, forensic experts, specialists on genetic diseases,” he said.

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Should Ballarat hospitals can fizzy drinks?poll

CALORIE loaded, sugar laden drinks are staples in all vending machines, but do they have a place in our hospitals?

Ballarat Community Health dietitian Kerri Gordon says soft drinks are major contributors to poor health and poor nutrition. Picture: Dylan Burns

A small health service is leading the push to can the drinks –by providing water only to patientsthrough both its vending machines and cafeteria.

As one of the highest soft drink consumers in the state, will Ballarat be the first major city to lead the way when it comes to a healthy future?

A 2011/12 health population surveyshowed Ballarat’s sugary soft drink consumption to befive per cent higher than Melbourne.

Nineteen per cent of the city’s population drinks soft drink on a regular basis.

Heart Foundation statistics also revealed Ballarat to be one of Australia’s fattest places, with residents also having a high rate of type 2 diabetes.

These same factors pushed East Grampians Health service to ban all drinks except water, tea and coffee three months ago. The movement is gaining momentum. Murrumbidgee Local Health District, in Southern New South Wales pulled all sugary drinks from its vending machines at more than 30 health locations in the district. It attributed a high rate of obesity to the unprecedented decision.

East Grampians Health Service chief Nick Bush said it was the responsibility of the health service to lead the way when it came to healthy living.

“We have a focus on reducing obesity and we decided we needed to take leadership,” Mr Bush said.“It’s a very important step and we hope through positive leadership other health services will follow us.”

Ballarat Health Services chief allied health officer Wendy Hubbard said it was “crazy” that soft drink consumptionhad got to this stage.

“We have tried to do things, like put water at eye level. But it’s not enough,” Ms Hubbard said.

“We have certainly recognised these (soft drinks) as an important issue and major contributor to a range of health issues.

“BHS’ Population Health and Primary Care Committeeis currently developing a strategy to address the issue in healthcare and other organisations across our community.”

St John of God Ballarat hospital director of nursing Maria Noonan said there were no plans to remove any beverages from distribution but stressed the hospital had a range of healthy options.

Ballarat Community Health dietitian Kerri Gordon said hospitals were at the“coal face of health” and any positive changes they could make in terms of health promotion would be hugely beneficial.

“There is evidence that obesity contributes to chronic disease and poor nutrition,” Ms Gordon said.

“We need to make peoples’ access to health services positive.”

Ballarat is currently engaged in the H30 Challenge to help fight the rising obesity problem.Ballarat’s obesity is 2.8 per cent higher than inMelbourne.Vic Health chief executive Jerrel Rechter last year toldThe Courierthat sugary drinks were costing Ballarat residents both financially and in terms of their long term health.

“Ballarat is pretty high up there on the scale,” Ms Rechter said.“Sugary drinks are the highest sugar intake in our diet. It’s just become what people drink.”

Ballarat mayor Des Hudson did not support the push to ban soft drinks because he feared it would take away personal choice.He saidthe decision was ultimately up to hospitals and health organisations. He stressed council had engaged in the H30 initiative to promote healthy choices.

Anotherreport labelled Ballarat as one of the most unhealthy cities in the world.

The ABS figures this year showed Ballarat had the second largest increase in any major urban areas of obesity among adults. There was an 8.2 per cent increase leading to a total of a 75.3 per cent obesity rate.

Australian Beverages Council CEO, Geoff Parker labelled a NSW Labor push to ban all soft drinks at hospitals as misguided.

“Australians need to continue to focus on the sensible, practical management of nutrition, not extreme regulatory measures ordered by the latest wave of anti-sugar discourse,” Mr Parker said.

“As an industry, we are strong advocates for better education, consumption in moderation and a common sense approach to all aspects of an individual’s diet.”

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Wineries offer fans opportunity to rent vines and make their own personal drop

Brian Spencer, his son Spencer Page and dog Annie at the Shiraz Republic, their winery and brewery in the Heathcote wine region. Photo: Paul JeffersFancy serving your own custom bottle of wine at your next dinner party? You could name it after yourself or perhaps your dog – Quin’s Shiraz, perhaps?

For a handful of Victorians who appreciate a boutique drop but don’t have the time – or the millions of dollars to set up their own vineyard – they are jumping on the sharing economy bandwagon and renting vines.

The Shiraz Republic, located in Toolleen, in the state’s north, is one of a handful of wineries that allow wine enthusiasts to rent vines and then have their grapes turned into their own signature bottle of plonk.

The business runs a bit like ride-sharing company Uber or rent-a-home business Airbnb – it’s a temporary rent that allows someone to experience something that is normally out of their reach. And while many people fantasise about owning their own vineyard, the the cost and hard work behind the dream makes it impossible for all but the biggest diehards.

Spencer Page, who runs the winery, originally ran the company as a traditional family business but quickly realised that offering non-winemakers a taste of making their own wine brought the customer closer to the action.

“It started with a couple of people who couldn’t grow their own wine but wanted to, and then we started to sell grapes to home winemakers and it all went from there,” he says.

“The appeal is mostly to find out how the operation of a winery works and how to make wine themselves but it’s also a fun and social thing,” he says.

Some customers are happy to leave the everyday work to Page and simply wait for their shipment of wine to arrive on their doorstep, while others are more hands-on, even bringing their own fertiliser to help grow their grapes.

“During harvest, it feels like a big family holiday, because everyone is working together and talking and learning,” he says. “It’s a really social thing we do over three or four weeks.”

People who rent a vine can expect about 25 bottles of plonk from their investment per season.

Page says that like the ethical food movement, which demands to know where food is produced and know that workers are being paid properly, growing your own grapes and making wine gives customers plenty of control over what they drink and serve their friends.

“It’s about being more involved and this is a good way to do that,” Page says.

Other wineries that rent their vines include ones in the Macedon Ranges and the Adelaide Hills, and it’s a trend that has taken off overseas, too. In the winemaking centre of France, Bordeaux, a winery also rents vines and has called itself … Shiraz Republic.

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Duo appeal sentences in Port Kembla pub robbery

On the afternoon of April 29, 2013, three men walked into a bar …

A few minutes later they left with $37,000.

The bar in question was the Steelworks Hotel at Port Kembla, and the three men –Mark Humphries, Wade Ponfiled and Jhy Wilson –were in the mood for a robbery.

Two of the men were armed, Humphries with a pistoland Ponfield with a knife, when the trio pushed open the doors of the hotel and made their way to the main bar, demanding cash.

A woman working behind the bar had the gun pointed at her and was ordered toempty the till.

The trio also demanded access to the pub’s safe and weresubsequently taken to a back office by another worker where they obtained tins containing the pub’s takings.

They then fled the scene.

Documents tendered during court proceedings for the trio said the incident was captured on CCTV cameras.

Humphries was arrested on June 14, whilePonfield and Wilson were apprehended five days later.

They each pleaded not guilty to a charge of robbery armed with a dangerous weapon, however were all found guilty after a jury trial.

Ponfield was sentenced to a minimum jail term of three years and seven months; Humphries to a minimum of five years; and Wilson to a minimum of three years and six months.

Wilson accepted his sentence, however Ponfield and Humphries challenged theirs inthe NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

In a decision handed down this month, judgesClifton Hoeben, Robert Beech-Jones and David Davies dismissed Ponfield’s application, finding his sentencehad been appropriate, however agreed to reduce Humphries’jail termafter finding the original sentence had been too severe.

Humphries was re-sentenced to a non-parole period of three years and nine months, making him first eligible for parole in October 2018.

Ponfield will be eligible for release to parole in June 2019, while Wilson is due for release later this year.

Each man will be required to serve a lengthy period on parole.

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Kangaroos ready to hit their straps


Dan Overeem has had his eye in for the Roos this season and will be looking to find the sticks against the Nomads today. Photo: Gareth Gardner 300416GGE07

THE Tamworth Kangaroos will be out to avenge last year’s TAFL grand final loss this afternoon when they host three time premiers New England Nomads at No. 1 Oval.

The Nomads have been a cut above the pack over that time, although Roos coach Tony Bishop believes that the Roos have a big opportunity to turn the tables today and set their season up.

“We have beaten the Nomads three times in four years but just can’t do it when it counts,” Bishop said.

Last season the Roos were the only side to beat them, and that was in round one, although after getting on top of the premiers for a good part of last year’s grand final has given fresh hope to the Roos, despite a slow pre-season.

“We had an ordinary pre-season and will take a while to hit our straps,” Bishop said.

“This game is an opportunity to make amends and get right back in the competition.”

It has been a tough start to the season for the Roos in a competition of have and have nots, with a first round loss to Inverell followed by three hundred plus point wins and a very close win over Gunnedah with no bench.

Following this game the Roos have a bye before heading back to Inverell, and the coach knows that two losses in that time could end any hope of finishing in the top two come September.

“The Nomads play a speedy game while we naturally play a more physical style.”

“When we control their talls like Zac Economou and players like Dave Richards we can compete but when we don’t we struggle to counter-act what those players can do.”

“We have a good scoring ability and the two midfields are probably the best in the comp and cancel each other out.”

“I don’t really have a big strategy, it is just harass, put pressure and numbers on the ball and force turnovers.”

The Roos are benefiting from the return of Ben Mitchell, who has been getting better with every game, as well as captain Dan Johnson, with Bishop looking to these two to lead the charge.

Vice captain Brad Rees will be given until game time to prove his fitness after suffering a back injury, and would be a big boost to the defensive unit while Dan Overeem and Brad Hodge have been showing form up front and will have to be on target to beat the Nomads’ stiff defence.

“Brock Quinn, Daniel Leon and Dean Hoy have been carrying the side a bit from the mid field,” Bishop said. “We can’t afford for that to happen against the Nomads – everyone has to play well.”

“We need to keep the intensity up and play our best all game if we want to win.”

The other matches in this round will see the Tamworth Swans searching for their first win of the season with a trip to Moree, while Gunnedah and Narrabri will play the Namoi derby at Wolseley Park.

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