3 Indonesian cities included in ASEAN Smart Cities Network

Google map showing the "smart" cities of Jakarta, Banyuwangi and Makassar in Indonesia.
Updated 30 April 2018
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3 Indonesian cities included in ASEAN Smart Cities Network

  • The ASEAN Smart Cities Network is an initiative of Singapore, the wealthiest of the Southeast Asian regional bloc
  • ASEAN leaders said the network is meant to “synergize development efforts, share best practices, and catalyze more opportunities for growth, innovation, capacity-building and sustainable development.”

JAKARTA: Three Indonesian cities will be included in the ASEAN Smart Cities Network (ASCN) as the Southeast Asian bloc moves ahead with its regional integration.

The cities are the national capital Jakarta, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi province, Makassar, and Banyuwangi on Java island. The 26-city network is Singapore’s flagship initiative for its ASEAN chairmanship this year.

Singapore asked each member state to propose three cities, including each nation’s capital, to be included in the ASCN, Indonesian Foreign Ministry official Nur Rokhmah Hidayah told Arab News.

The tiny sultanate of Brunei is an exception, with only its capital Bandar Seri Begawan included in the list. 

Malaysia is also an exception, with four cities — Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Johor Bahru — on the list.

Almost a third of Banyuwangi is forestland, and the city has a population of 1.6 million. Its inclusion is a big leap for the city, said Yayat Supriyatna, an urban planning expert at Universitas Trisakti in Jakarta. “It shows that to be a smart city, it doesn’t have to be a metropolis,” he added. 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo said the ASCN will help tackle increasingly complex urban challenges in ASEAN cities.

The initiative “is very good,” and will “develop inclusive and sustainable” cities “based on innovation and technology,” he added.

ASEAN leaders said in a statement on Saturday that they agreed to establish the network to “synergize development efforts, share best practices, and catalyze more opportunities for growth, innovation, capacity-building and sustainable development.”

They added: “We further agreed that the ASCN would promote an inclusive approach and take into account city-specific needs, potential, local and cultural uniqueness, as well as level of development.”


Thousands of protesters try to storm Georgia parliament

Updated 3 min 49 sec ago
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Thousands of protesters try to storm Georgia parliament

  • Tens of thousands rallied in Tbilisi, demanding speaker Irakli Kobakhidze step down after a Russian lawmaker addressed the country’s parliament from the speaker’s seat
  • The Russian MP’s presence in Georgia’s parliament prompted outrage in the ex-Soviet nation which in 2008 fought and lost a brief but bloody war with Moscow

TBILISI: Thousands of protesters attempted Thursday to storm the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi, furious that a Russian lawmaker addressed the assembly from the speaker’s seat during an international event.
Demanding that the parliamentary speaker resign, about 10,000 protesters broke riot police cordons to enter the parliament courtyard, an AFP reporter witnessed. Police pushed them back, but several protesters continued trying to enter the building.
Earlier, tens of thousands rallied in central Tbilisi, demanding speaker Irakli Kobakhidze step down after a Russian lawmaker controversially addressed the country’s parliament from the speaker’s seat.
Russian Communist lawmaker Sergei Gavrilov was speaking during an annual meeting of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO), a forum of lawmakers from predominantly Orthodox countries.
The Russian MP’s presence in fiercely pro-Western Georgia’s parliament prompted outrage in the ex-Soviet nation which in 2008 fought and lost a brief but bloody war with Moscow over breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
A group of Georgian opposition lawmakers demanded the Russian delegation leave the parliament’s plenary chamber.
Many protesters held Georgian and EU flags and placards that read “Russia is an occupier.”
“This is a spontaneous protest by ordinary Georgians, it has not been organized by any political party,” an MP from opposition European Georgia party, Giga Bokeria, told AFP at the rally.
Georgian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili — widely believed to be calling the shots in Georgia as the leader of his ruling Georgian Dream party — said in a statement that he “fully shares the sincere outrage of the Georgian citizens.”
He added that he told the speaker to suspend the session.
“It is unacceptable that a representative of the occupier country chairs a forum in the Georgian parliament,” Ivanishvili said.