The winner of the struggle (jihad) between proponents of a secular state and radical imams calling for a theocracy stands to capture a valuable prize -- one of the world's most strategically important countries.
ALSO the fifth richest nation for natural resources, and yet the west is pumping in millions of dollars.
All major shipping routes connecting Europe and East Asia pass through the waters off this island nation.
It is precisely here, in this archipelago between the Straits of Malacca and the Celebes Sea, which a new front in the battle of cultures is emerging.
May-be it was a small victory for Playboy, there still has not been any prosecutions of much worse crimes
Now for some that is not being discussed and I would like to draw attention to:
Javans fired up over reactor next to volcano
Ian MacKinnon in Mount Muria, IndonesiaThursday April 5, 2007
Indonesia is forging ahead with plans to build its first nuclear power plant in the shadow of a dormant volcano, despite mounting opposition from environmental groups who fear a catastrophe in a country beset by earthquakes and natural disasters.
The favoured site on the north coast of Java is overlooked by the brooding presence of 5,250ft (1,600-metre) Mount Muria.
Critics are concerned that the slightest tremor could trigger a fresh eruption and spell disaster for any nuclear reactor in its path. The consequences of a radioactive leak, through earthquake or eruption, could prove disastrous for Java - home to 100 million Indonesians.
"A nuclear plant on that site could become a genocide for the people of Java," said Chalid Muhammad, director of Walhi, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment. "It's a highly risky proposition: 83% of Indonesia is very dangerous - prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and landslides."But the Jakarta government and the National Nuclear Energy Agency (Batan) brushed aside the concerns, citing the growing population that will double electricity demand by 2025.
Companies in Japan, Russia and France are vying for the contract to build four proposed 1,500 megawatt reactors on a site near the village of Ujung Lemahabang 280 miles east of Jakarta. Construction of the first is set to start in two years and it will be commissioned by 2016.
Studies highlighted by Indonesia's nuclear agency also show the site is safe geologically despite the country's precarious location on the unstable Pacific "ring of fire" volcano and earthquake belt. The agency maintains the reactor will be earthquake proof. "We're completely happy about safety," said Taswando Taryo, of Batan. "Seismic activity is one of our key concerns. But the reactor will withstand earthquakes.
We also assessed Mount Muria. It's a small volcano and couldn't affect the reactor."To ensure the plan does not suffer the same fate as an earlier project that foundered in the teeth of vitriolic opposition, Batan has embarked on a campaign to win over wavering farmers who will live in the shadow of the plant.
Handouts of irradiated rice seed - matched by gifts of cows and job-creating construction projects - are crude efforts to convince doubters that nuclear is not dangerous since the crops have been treated with radiation."It's like comparing apples and oranges, the two things are totally different," said Nur Hidayati, a Greenpeace worker. "They're saying this is 'nuclear rice'.
That's their communication strategy."
A new geological study has unearthed minor faults in the area that suggest the government is playing with fire, she said."Nuclear power plants are dangerous technology at the best of times, but when put in an unstable geological location like Indonesia the risk is even higher," she said. "They say Muria volcano died a long time ago, but no one can predict the future."
Campaigners maintain alternatives were not seriously examined. They are at a loss to explain the government's renewed enthusiasm after it backed away from the nuclear power option in 1997.
Some Indonesians even doubt their own ability to build and run a nuclear power plant safely.
"In every accident in Indonesia - planes, trains and ships - the government always blames human error," said Walhi's, Mr. Chalid. "If that's so, can we build a nuclear reactor in Java and operate it safely with such weakness in our human resources?"
In the coastal town of Jepara, near the planned reactor site on a government rubber plantation, apprehensive inhabitants fear they are being put in jeopardy and caught up in geopolitics.
"If there's an accident or an explosion then the whole community will be the victim," said Ahmad Cholil, a religious and community leader. "This is just a showcase project to give the government a bargaining chip at the nuclear table. But we'll pay if it goes wrong."
Indonesia already has the International Atomic Energy Authority's blessing. Its head, Mohamed El Baradei, visited Jakarta in December and said the predominantly Muslim nation should face no obstacle developing its nuclear programme as it had met its nuclear non-proliferation treaty obligations......