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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        15  February 2011

Indonesia, Finland sign renewable energy agreement

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Indonesia and Finland signed an agreement to start a bilateral program to promote the utilization of wood-based biomass and agricultural residues as renewable energy sources in Central Kalimantan and Riau province on Monday.

The Ambassador of Finland to Indonesia, Kai Sauer, said that the program, which is called the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP), aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change by providing modern, accessible and reliable services in rural areas and industrial applications.

"This program is a manifestation of our commitment to develop the two nations relations through concrete programs," he told reporters at a press conference held after the agreement signing ceremony in Jakarta.

He continued that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland has granted EUR 4 million (Rp 48 billion) to Indonesia to run the program for the period of 2011 to 2014. The funds would be used to sponsor feasibility studies, demonstrations and pilot projects.

"Project proposals are expected to come from actors representing public and private sectors like local administrations, nongovernmental organizations, universities and research institutes," said Ambassador Sauer.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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