President Jokowi Reiterates Commitment to Support Palestinian Independence

President Joko Widodo on Friday met Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Zuhair Al-Shun at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, where the President reiterated Indonesia's support for the Palestinians struggle.

Ambassador Al-Shun said, in the meeting he greeted muslim Indonesia Happy Ramadan as well as conveying his appreciation to the governmenment and the people of Indonesia for continous support for the struggle of Palestinian to earn its independence.

On Wednesday, Indonesian Government through the Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement, condemning Israeli Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich's statement, deniying the existence of Palestine.

In the statement, Indonesia reiterates its support for the struggle of Palestinian.

North Korea Launches Strategis Cruise Missiles

In Korean Peninsula, military tensions are at a high point, as the pace of both North Korean weapons tests and US-South Korea joint military exercises has accelerated in the past year in a cycle of tit-for-tat responses. 

North Korean state television early on Friday (24/3/2023) showed images of missile launches, reporting that they took place earlier this week from 21-23 March. 

That coincides with the last time South Korean authorities said they detected the north launching missiles.

The korean central news agency said, Pyongyang launched four "Strategic Cruise Missiles" and also deployed an "Underwater Nuclear Attack Drone." 

It also reported, that Leader Kim Jong Un said, the drills showed that Pyongyang's "Nuclear war deterrence capability is being bolstered up at a greater speed."

South Korea's Air Force released details of a five-day joint aerial drill with the United States, hours after North Korea claimed it had tested a nuclear-capable underwater drone, designed to generate a gigantic radioactive tsunami, that would destroy naval strike groups and ports.

The five-day joint drill with the United States began monday and concluded friday above waters off South Korea's western coast and included live-fire demonstrations of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons.

The air force said the exercise involved various South Korean fighter jets and at least one US. A-10 attack plane. 

2023 'Mudik' Traffic Projections

Jasa Marga is projecting that around 2 point 78 million vehicles from the greater Jakarta area, will pass through 4 main Jakarta-Cikampek toll gateways this Ramadan. This number increased from the initial 6 points to 77% from last year's Ramadan.

Corporate Communication and Development Group Head of Jasa Marga Lisye Oktaviana said, that the projection is considered for the 7 days before and 7 days after Eid. Besides that , Jasa Marga is also predicting that the peak will happen on the 20th of April 2023. Meanwhile, traffic going back to the greater Jakarta area is predicted to fall on the 25th of April 2023. 

Jasa Marga will continue to coordinate with relevant parties, regarding traffic on public holidays, logistics, and operations limits as well as optimizing functionality.

Jasa Marga is also ensuring that the 10 days prior to Eid, all road-work on tollways predicted to be the busiest will be completed.

TikTok Banned in United Stated

TikTok influencers and Billboards are in the nation's capital, to make the case that the hugely popular video-sharing app, shouldn't be banned in the United States.

The heavy public relations campaign comes a day before TikTok's CEO Shou Zi Chew plans to tell congress that the company is committed to user safety, data protection, and security, and keeping the platform free from Chinese government influence.

Chew will attempt to persuade lawmakers not to pursue a ban on the app or force its sale to new owners.

Authorities in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific have already banned the TikTok app, mostly on government-issued phones or devices used for official business citing cybersecurity concerns.

Both the FBI and officials at the federal communications commission have warned that byte-dance could share TikTok user data, such as browsing history, location, and biometric identifiers with China’s authoritarian government.

Owned by parent company byte-dance, which has offices in Beijing, TikTok has 150 million American users but it's been dogged by persistent claims that it threatens national security and user privacy or could be used to promote pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation.

Philippines Edca Infrastructure

AUS official says that, the Philippines will soon announce new local sites for the American military installations.

VOA’s Jessica Stone reports. Let's take a look.


Philippine Chine Relations

Senior Chinese and Filipino Diplomats were meeting in Manila on Thursday (23/3/2023), to review their relations amid thorny issues, including Beijing's alarm over a Philippine decision to allow US Military presence in a northern region facing the Taiwan strait and escalating spats in the disputed South China Sea.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong and Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Theresa Lazaro led the talks aimed at assessing overall relations.

The discussions would focus on the long-seething territorial spats in the disputed waterway on Friday, The Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila said, the back-to-back meetings are the first under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who took office in June last year.

Marcos met Chinese President Xi Jinping in a state visit to Beijing in January, where both agreed to expand ties, pursue talks on potential joint oil and gas explorations and manage territorial disputes amicably.

But the territorial conflicts have persisted as a major irritant in relations early in the six-year term of Marcos whose administration has filed at least 77 of more than 200 diplomatic protests by the Philippines, against China's increasingly assertive actions in the disputed waters since last year alone.

That included a February six incident when a Chinese coast guard ship aimed a military-grade laser that briefly blinded some crewmen of a Philippine patrol vessel off a disputed shoal.

Andy Murray Beaten in Miami Open First Round By Dusan Lajovic

Andy Murray is out of the Miami Open in the first round as he suffered a straight-sets defeat at the hands of Dusan Lajovic. The world no-52 lasted just an hour and 36 minutes on court as the serbs dispatched him 6-4 dan 7-5.

Murray and Lajovic were facing off for the first time with the brit playing under the watchful eye of on-and-off coach Ivan Lendl.
In a battle of two veterans, the 76th-ranked serb forced a break in the seventh game of the opening set.

Murray sets up break point chances with Lajovic serving at 1-2 and 2-3. But after Murray failed to capitalise on his opportunities, he found himself broken to love and quickly went 3-4 down.

The two-time champion in Miami couldn’t impose himself on Lajovic for the rest of the set, losing it 6-4 in 42 minutes despite outclassing the serb on every service statistic and hitting fewer errors.