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Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It consists of over 17,000 islands, including Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, and parts of Borneo and New Guinea. Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state and the 14th-largest country by area, at 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles). With over 279 million people, Indonesia is the world's fourth-most-populous country and the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population.

Indonesia is a presidential republic with an elected legislature. It has 38 provinces, of which nine have special autonomous status. The country's capital, Jakarta, is the world's second-most-populous urban area. Indonesia shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia, as well as maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and India. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support one of the world's highest levels of biodiversity.

Indonesia consists of thousands of distinct native ethnic and hundreds of linguistic groups, with Javanese being the largest. A shared identity has developed with the motto "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" ("Unity in Diversity" literally, "many, yet one"), defined by a national language, cultural diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. The economy of Indonesia is the world's 16th-largest by nominal GDP and the 7th-largest by PPP. It is the world's third-largest democracy, a regional power, and is considered a middle power in global affairs. The country is a member of several multilateral organisations, including the United Nations, World Trade Organization, G20, and a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, East Asia Summit, D-8, APEC, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. (Full article...)

Location of Aceh (red) in Indonesia

The province of Aceh in Indonesia enforces some provisions of Islamic criminal law, the sole Indonesian province to do so. In Aceh, Islamic criminal law is called jinayat (an Arabic loanword). The laws that implement it are called Qanun Jinayat or Hukum Jinayat, roughly meaning "Islamic criminal code". Although the largely-secular laws of Indonesia apply in Aceh, the provincial government passed additional regulations, some derived from Islamic criminal law, after Indonesia authorized the province to enact regional regulations and granted Aceh special autonomy to implement Islamic law. Offences under the provisions include alcohol consumption, production and distribution, gambling, adultery, rape, sexual harassment, certain intimacies outside marriage, and certain homosexual acts. Punishments include caning, fines, and imprisonment. There is no provision for stoning; an attempt to introduce it in 2009 was vetoed by Governor Irwandi Yusuf. In 2016 Aceh processed 324 first instance court cases under Islamic criminal law, and carried out at least 100 caning sentences.

Supporters of Islamic criminal law defend its legality under the special autonomy granted to Aceh. Critics, including Amnesty International, object to the use of caning as a punishment, as well as the criminalization of consensual sex outside marriage. (Full article...)
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A carving from a Rumah Gadang, a Minang home

Photographer: MichaelJLowe; License: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 2.5

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Roekiah, c. 1941

Roekiah (Perfected Spelling: Rukiah; 31 December 1917 – 2 September 1945), often credited as Miss Roekiah, was an Indonesian kroncong singer and actress. The daughter of two stage performers, she began her career at the age of seven; by 1932 she had become well known in Batavia, Dutch East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia), as a singer and stage actress. Around this time she met Kartolo, whom she married in 1934. The two acted in the 1937 hit film Terang Boelan, in which Roekiah and Rd Mochtar played young lovers.

After the film's commercial success, Roekiah, Kartolo, and most of the cast and crew of Terang Boelan were signed to Tan's Film, first appearing for the company in their 1938 production Fatima. They acted together in two more films before Mochtar left the company in 1940; through these films, Roekiah and Mochtar became the colony's first on-screen couple. Mochtar's replacement, Rd Djoemala, acted with Roekiah in four films, although these were less successful. After the Japanese invaded the Indies in 1942, Roekiah took only one more film role before her death; most of her time was used entertaining Japanese forces. (Full article...)

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Jakarta Post

  • ... that the first offices of The Jakarta Post (logo pictured), which has been described as "Indonesia's leading English-language daily", were in a laundry room?
  • ... that staff at the Indonesian film archives, Sinematek Indonesia, receive less than US$120 a month?
  • ... that a common theme in modern Balinese literature is dealing with tourists?

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