Wednesday, December 17, 2014


WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a half-century of Cold War acrimony, the United States and Cuba moved on Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations - a historic shift that could revitalize the flow of money and people across the narrow waters that separate the two nations.
President Barack Obama's dramatic announcement in Washington - seconded by Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana - was accompanied by a quiet exchange of imprisoned spies and the celebratory release of American Alan Gross, a government contract worker who had been held in Cuba for five years.

And now for somewhere completely different...
Earlier this year, when seeking to unshackle myself from political and economic analyses, I filled this space with potted descriptions of places where one could escape the madding world. Curiously, none of my columns has ever elicited such a flood of uniformly positive comments as that one did.
Those responses almost certainly owed less to my compositional prowess than to people’s hankering to break free and head off on the road less travelled.
Not only does it make all the difference, but it is tremendously liberating to find yourself in a place unlike any you have previously experienced.
So, please indulge me, because I am about to tell you about such a place: East Timor.
In May, after flying to Bali for the 70th birthday of a fellow journalist, I had an urge to explore somewhere else nearby, rather than going straight back home.
When my eye caught on the two daily flights from Denpasar to Dili, East Timor’s capital, I did not hestitate, for that only breeds trepidation and concern about unpotable water and scorpions in the bathroom.
I promptly bought a ticket on the Indonesian carrier, Srijiwaja Air. I’d not heard of the airline before but it turned out to be fine, although I was bumped off the early flight and put on one two hours later for no clear reason, except perhaps because both flights were jam-packed.
But it left and arrived on time and I was seated next to Johan, the lead singer in one of Dili’s better-known bands, and I was invited to his next gig three days later. That’s how it goes when you escape.
The first task on entering Dili’s tiny terminal is to fork out US$30 for a visa on arrival. No need to change money: The American dollar is the currency of East Timor and they happily accept dirty and crumpled notes.
After exiting, I popped in the nearby Timor Plaza, a spiffy new shopping mall that would not be out of place in Singapore, and picked up a SIM card for $5. Connectivity turned out to be good, as it was for internet.
Then it was straight off along the corniche that hugs the long crescent-shaped bay and leads into the town. Dili is like a cross between a South American pueblo and a medium-sized town in Myanmar, like Pathein.
Ringed by jagged mountains and facing an opaline sea with an island on the horizon, it has a location to die for and it’s got that laidback, slightly seamy, Hispanic-cum-Asiatic flavour of somewhere that’s going to be edgy and fun to discover.
Where to stay? I decided on the centrally located Discovery Inn, which includes return airport transfer, unlimited internet usage, loads of eateries nearby – notably the renowned Kebab Club, plus its own restaurant, the Diya, which is arguably Dili’s classiest.
Aside from the splendid staff, including father-and-daughter owners, Sakib and Zeenat, resident manager Ryan, and the incomparable driver Honorio, another of the Discovery’s assets is the complimentary happy hour every evening that includes a plate of zesty tapas and two drinks.
Although East Timor is somewhat off the map, it immediately felt as if I’d been welcomed to a magical house party. I met locals and visitors alike and the conversation ranged far and wide and covered trenchant appraisals of the region’s leaders and their policies.
Next day, what to see? Dili has a list of standard sights, but I’d focus on four of them: the Cristo Rei Statue, the Resistance Museum, the Santa Cruz Cemetery, and best of all: Chega!
At the far end of the bay, the hill top Cristo Rei, a rather naff copy of Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer, was ironically built by Indonesia in 1996 to mark the 20th anniversary of its occupation of East Timor.
While that may leave a sour taste, it’s still nice to climb up to the statue at dusk and take in the gorgeous view of Dili and the bay and surrounding mountains.
The vast and rather garish Santa Cruz Cemetery is where Indonesian troops massacred a peaceful procession of Timorese in 1991 – an incident that galvanised the pro-independence movement.
Dili’s elegant new Resistance Museum commemorates the guerrilla war against the Indonesians, but more evocative of this victorious struggle is Chega! (Portuguese for “Stop, enough!”) – a former Guantanamo-type torture centre run by the Portuguese and later the Indonesians.
It contains some incredibly moving murals and etchings scratched into the walls by detainees and some heart-stopping “dark cells” where prisoners were essentially left to rot.
After that, light respite was needed so I cut along to La Esquina on Rua Berlamino Lobo, and ordered caldo verde soup, followed by cured ham, cheese, olives and red wine, and finished off with an espresso and an aniseed-flavoured Liquor Beirao.
Next day, it was time to venture further afield and take a minibus some 130 kilometres (81 kilometres) eastward along the coast to lovely Baucau, where a typical Portuguese pousada offers excellent rooms and meals.
It also affords access to a garden area with a large spring-fed swimming pool, and there is a steep winding road down to one of those untouched beaches that you thought were extinct.
Not this one. It reminded me of Barbados and Ngapali in years gone by. I was the only person on it and I called Bangkok to let others hear the gentle sussuration of waves breaking on the white sand.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Avelãs Alerta: Futuro do Ferrero Rocher está em risco
Não é o doce mais tradicional do Natal, mas certamente também fará parte da tradição de muitas famílias portuguesas receber (ou dar) uma caixa de Ferrero Rocher. Pois bem, tenha atenção. Segundo uma notícia publicada pelo Daily Mail, há risco de este doce poder acabar. É que a juntar-se à ‘crise do chocolate’ há uma outra a pôr este ‘bombom’ em risco.
Alerta: Futuro do Ferrero Rocher está em risco
Indonesia Seen Facing Challenges in Human Resources, Technology 

Timor-Leste and India are also in discussion for the establishment of a technology center in Dili.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a damning indictment of CIA practices, Senate investigators on Tuesday accused the spy agency of inflicting pain and suffering on al-Qaida prisoners far beyond its legal boundaries and then deceiving the nation with narratives of useful interrogations unsubstantiated by its own records.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released a mountain of evidence from CIA files suggesting the treatment of detainees in secret prisons a decade ago was worse than the government described to Congress or the public. It was the first official public accounting after years of debate about the CIA's brutal handling of prisoners.

Why the oil price is falling

THE oil price has fallen by more than 40% since June, when it was $115 a barrel. It is now below $70. This comes after nearly five years of stability. At a meeting in Vienna on November 27th the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which controls nearly 40% of the world market, failed to reach agreement on production curbs, sending the price tumbling. Also hard hit are oil-exporting countries such as Russia (where the rouble has hit record lows), Nigeria, Iran and Venezuela. Why is the price of oil falling?
The oil price is partly determined by actual supply and demand, and partly by expectation. Demand for energy is closely related to economic activity. It also spikes in the winter in the northern hemisphere, and during summers in countries which use air conditioning. Supply can be affected by weather (which prevents tankers loading) and by geopolitical upsets. If producers think the price is staying high, they invest, which after a lag boosts supply. Similarly, low prices lead to an investment drought. OPEC’s decisions shape expectations: if it curbs supply sharply, it can send prices spiking. Saudi Arabia produces nearly 10m barrels a day—a third of the OPEC total.
Embassy of Ukraine in Malaysia

On 3-5 December the Ambassador Ihor Humennyi paid working visit to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

Today, 12:30
On 3-5 December the Ambassador Ihor Humennyi paid working visit to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
During the visit the Ambassador had the meetings with the Minister of State and the President of the Council of Ministers of Timor-Leste Mr. Agio Pereira, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste Mr. Constancio da Conceição Pinto, Chief of Staff of the President of Timor-Leste Mr. Fidelis Manuel Leite Magalhães, Chief of Staff of MFA Mrs. Elisa M. da Silva, directors and managers of the State Petroleum company of Timor-Leste “Timor GAP”
During the meetings the issues related to strengthening political dialogue, establishment of the bilateral cooperation in education, as well as in energy machinery building have been discussed. The views have been also exchanged about the situation in Ukraine in the context of the aggression of the Russian Federation against our country and annexation of Crimea, the challenges for the world in this regard. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The dramatic murder of Roger East. Dec.7, 1975

Memories of December 7th, 1975

In the morning of December 7th, 1975, very earlier in the morning my father woke everybody up.
Wakeup! Wakeup! The Indonesian troops have landed in Dili and intense gunfire broke out in Dili.

I was 12 years old at that time and my siblings all were still very young. We were living in Remexio at the time about 30 minutes from Dili.

Everybody woke up.  My farther, then, ordered us to go outside. So we did.  Outside we saw big Hercules airplanes hoover over us. As we were staring at those planes, my father said." these are our allies from China. They come to help us”. Well it was not true. Perhaps my father was over confident with propaganda that China would help us should there was any foreign invasion. In fact, those warplanes were dropping Indonesian paratroopers in Dili. 

Around 9:00am the first refugees from Dili had arrived in Remexio desperately look for safe place to hide. We thought that the war would not advance further. So we remained in Remexio. But the Indonesian troops with all the modern military hardware, such as light guns, armored cars, tanks, airplanes, helicopters, and war ships, supply by the United States and other western countries made it impossible for FALINTIL, the armed win of FRETILIN, to contain them from advancing. 

On December 24th, on the eve of Christmas, around 2:00pm, Remexio fall into the hands of the Indonesian army. My family and I had no choice but to evacuate.  That was the beginning of a long journey. We left behind all our belongings carrying only the necessary. My father at that time was working at the Remexio Clinic so he thought that there would be no medicine in the jungle. He packed up all the necessary medicines and loaded onto our two horses and took off to Bereleurai.  The medicine was then used to treat the people in Remexio during the war.

Life became harder in the Bereleu Rai. Thanks to the people of Bereleu Rai whom provided us with shelter and food. But there was not enough food supply.  So, at 13 years old, I decided to join FALINTIL. I joined FALINTIL not only because of my patriotic pride but also because being a FALINTIL I could have access to food in areas controlled by the enemy.  

We stayed in Bereleu Rai until mid 1997. In Bereleu Rai, although we were constantly bombarded everyday by war ships and by airplanes, we grew food and raised livestock.

By mid 1977 Bereleu Rai was stormed and we were forced to evacuate further. It was the general encirclement of the entire Remexio District. The Indonesia soldiers advanced from every front so we were in a constant run. It was a dark year. Many people, civilians mostly, women and men, children, died either by constant bombardments or die from starvation. I still remember in a riverbank where I saw children being abandon alive by their parents, they were crying looking for their parents or crying for help; I saw men and women, husband and wife died together along the riverbank. It was a nightmare! 

We were in constant run. But in October 1977, earlier in the morning, the Indonesian army, battalion 410, stormed our hiding place and captured more than 50 people, including my family, who were hiding there. We were than brought to Remexio village. 

That was the end of our journey in the jungle and the beginning of a new phase of our struggle for independence.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

 Macao magazine ICM Pet Timor-Leste’s 2015 budget outlines expenses of US$1.57 billion

Timor-Leste’s 2015 budget outlines expenses of US$1.57 billion

The government of Timor-Leste (East Timor) this week requested that members of parliament approve the State Budget for 2015, which includes expenses of US$1.57 billion.
The costs included in the budget are broken down into salaries (US$184.1 million), services and human development activities (US$504.7 million), public transfers (US$340.3 million), lesser capital (US$36.7 million) and development capital (US$504.3 million).
The Prime Minister of Timor-Leste said the government expects inflation in 2015 of between 4 percent and 6 percent, which will reduce poverty and increase the competitiveness of Timorese businesses.
“Lower inflation means that the purchasing power of citizens will increase and decrease poverty. It will also lead to smaller increases in costs for businesses, which will increase the international competitiveness of Timorese companies,” said Xanana Gusmao.
Poverty in Timor-Leste, according to data for 2009, affects 41 percent of about 1.1 million East Timorese. (macauhub/TL)

2014 may be the hottest year on record

(CNN) -- This year is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, year on record, a U.N. agency reported Wednesday, citing preliminary estimates.The estimates were released by the World Meteorological Organization to coincide with annual climate change negotiations taking place in Lima, Peru.

The heat is already felt in Timor-Leste. I am sure it felt also in other tropical islands.
Peru will be the center stage for the world leaders to discuss the future of this world.
I hope that there will a concensus among the world leaders that  climate change is real and it should the a common national interrest.
The United States and China has made committment to  combating climante change. Other countries should join the United States and China.

Press Release

U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change

Beijing, China, 12 November 2014
1.     The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China have a critical role to play in combating global climate change, one of the greatest threats facing humanity. The seriousness of the challenge calls upon the two sides to work constructively together for the common good.
2.     To this end, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping reaffirmed the importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation on climate change and will work together, and with other countries, to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties at the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris in 2015. They are committed to reaching an ambitious 2015 agreement that reflects the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances.
3.     Today, the Presidents of the United States and China announced their respective post-2020 actions on climate change, recognizing that these actions are part of the longer range effort to transition to low-carbon economies, mindful of the global temperature goal of 2℃. The United States intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%. China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030. Both sides intend to continue to work to increase ambition over time.
4.     The United States and China hope that by announcing these targets now, they can inject momentum into the global climate negotiations and inspire other countries to join in coming forward with ambitious actions as soon as possible, preferably by the first quarter of 2015. The two Presidents resolved to work closely together over the next year to address major impediments to reaching a successful global climate agreement in Paris.
5.     The global scientific community has made clear that human activity is already changing the world’s climate system. Accelerating climate change has caused serious impacts. Higher temperatures and extreme weather events are damaging food production, rising sea levels and more damaging storms are putting our coastal cities increasingly at risk and the impacts of climate change are already harming economies around the world, including those of the United States and China. These developments urgently require enhanced actions to tackle the challenge.
6.     At the same time, economic evidence makes increasingly clear that smart action on climate change now can drive innovation, strengthen economic growth and bring broad benefits – from sustainable development to increased energy security, improved public health and a better quality of life. Tackling climate change will also strengthen national and international security.
7.     Technological innovation is essential for reducing the cost of current mitigation technologies, leading to the invention and dissemination of new zero and low-carbon technologies and enhancing the capacity of countries to reduce their emissions. The United States and China are two of the world’s largest investors in clean energy and already have a robust program of energy technology cooperation. The two sides have, among other things:
  • established the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group (CCWG), under which they have launched action initiatives on vehicles, smart grids, carbon capture, utilization and storage, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas data management, forests and industrial boilers;
  • agreed to work together towards the global phase down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), very potent greenhouse gases;
  • created the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, which facilitates collaborative work in carbon capture and storage technologies, energy efficiency in buildings, and clean vehicles; and
  • agreed on a joint peer review of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies under the G-20.
8.     The two sides intend to continue strengthening their policy dialogue and practical cooperation, including cooperation on advanced coal technologies, nuclear energy, shale gas and renewable energy, which will help optimize the energy mix and reduce emissions, including from coal, in both countries. To further support achieving their ambitious climate goals, today the two sides announced additional measures to strengthen and expand their cooperation, using the existing vehicles, in particular the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center and the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. These include:
  • Expanding Joint Clean Energy Research and Development: A renewed commitment to the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, including continued funding for three existing tracks on building efficiency, clean vehicles and advanced coal technology and launching a new track on the energy-water nexus;
  • Advancing Major Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Demonstrations: Establishment of a major new carbon storage project based in China through an international public-private consortium led by the United States and China to intensively study and monitor carbon storage using industrial CO2 and also work together on a new Enhanced Water Recovery (EWR) pilot project to produce fresh water from CO2 injection into deep saline aquifers;
  • Enhancing Cooperation on HFCs: Building on the historic Sunnylands agreement between President Obama and President Xi regarding HFCs, highly potent greenhouse gases, the two sides will enhance bilateral cooperation to begin phasing-down the use of high global warming potential HFCs and work together in a multilateral context as agreed by the two Presidents at their meeting in St. Petersburg on 6 September 2013;
  • Launching a Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Initiative: In response to growing urbanization and increasingly significant greenhouse gas emissions from cities and recognizing the potential for local leaders to undertake significant climate action, the United States and China will establish a new initiative on Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities under the CCWG. As a first step, the United States and China will convene a Climate-Smart/ Low-Carbon Cities Summit where leading cities from both countries will share best practices, set new goals and celebrate city-level leadership in reducing carbon emissions and building resilience;
  • Promoting Trade in Green Goods: Encouraging bilateral trade in sustainable environmental goods and clean energy technologies, including through a U.S. trade mission led by Secretaries Moniz and Pritzker in April 2015 that will focus on smart low-carbon cities and smart low-carbon growth technologies; and
  • Demonstrating Clean Energy on the Ground: Additional pilot programs, feasibility studies and other collaborative projects in the areas of building efficiency, boiler efficiency, solar energy and smart grids. 

Monday, December 1, 2014


National Staff  – Project Engineer  
Managing Risks through Economic Development

Mercy Corps is an international, non-governmental humanitarian relief and development agency that exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities. Mercy Corps works in 40 countries, and has been present in Timor – Leste 2007 . Mercy Corps’ current work in Timor-Leste  focuses on agriculture & food security, disaster risk reduction and climate change, and Energy Poverty.

MERCY CORPS IS LOOKING FOR CANDIDATES FOR THE FOLLOWING POSITIONS. Interested applicant can send CV and Cover Letter no later than 13 December 2014 to email /aneto@tl.mercycorpsorg or send it directly to Mercy Corps office at Rua Dr. Barros Gomes (next to NCBA/CCT Clinic), Bidau - Lecidere, Dili

Mercy Corps has received funding from the Margaret A. Cargill (MAC) Foundation to implement a 3-year integrated disaster risk reduction (DRR) and economic development program, called Managing Risks through Economic Development (M-RED).  This program is be implemented in 3 districts of Timor - Leste: Dili, Ermera, and Ainaro.  M-RED aims to reach approximately 2,000 households in 30 communities with mitigation measures that reduce vulnerability while also linking to local markets to increase incomes or contribute to broader community economic strengthening.  By economically incentivizing DRR mitigation measures, the program hopes to demonstrate a new approach to sustainable DRR that is market-driven. 
Mercy Corps takes a market development approach.  This is characterized by a focus on acknowledging that the poor are participants in market systems, understanding their role as producers, consumers and laborers in these complex systems, and facilitating systemic change by identifying and leveraging capacities and incentives of market players to address underlying causes of market system dysfunction.  The aim is to address income poverty by improving the core market relationships and transactions, supporting functions, and rules/ regulations of a market system to improve access and terms of access of the poor. 

Describe overview of job missioGENERAL POSITION SUMMARY:
The Project Engineer will be responsible for overall planning, designing, implementation and supervision of small scale mitigation work  and ensure quality implementation within in stipulated time and cost. S/he will be responsible for building capacity of implementing partner staff (technical supervisor) for the quality implementation and supervision of small scale mitigation. This position is under supervision of the National Program Manager of M-RED, working to achieve program objectives and targets. The Project Engineer will work closely with District Coordinators in each target district, providing technical advice and supervising engineering interventions in each project location, and across different target areas and markets.  The project engineer will also provide technical input for the integration of small scale mitigation work with market or economic development component.

Key responsibilities include identification of small scale mitigation techniques that can contribute to disaster risk reduction and also has economic incentive. This will require development of training package and tools as required to the context of project districts. The Project Engineer will lead the capacity building for local partner and communities including assisting them in implementation of construction works. S/he will search for different resources and explore different best practices on small scale mitigation works existing in the country and identify best intervention for MRED project.

  • Coordinate small scale mitigation activities together with District Coordinators, partner staff, ensuring high quality performance and program delivery focused on planned results.
  • Undertake problem assessment and conduct research/studies to identify small scale/low cost mitigation measure having economic incentives.
  • Develop training curriculum, strategy and tools for small scale mitigation activities.
    • Develop reports of studies carried out to identify high value bio-engineering species and low cost effective bio-engineering techniques
    • Develop guideline for bio-engineering works that can contribute for economic development of community.
    • Develop technical design and implementation guideline and train partner.
  • Organize training to partner organization and communities on different small scale mitigation techniques.
  • Develop detail process and procedures for the implementation of small scale mitigation work and training partner staff and communities.
  • Identify and work with related government/non government agencies and facilitate community linkage to access resources and technical support.
  • Work together with District Coordinators to develop and maintain relationships with district implementing partners.
  • Prepare monthly progress reports and submit to National Program Manager.

Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Prepare monthly work plans which adhere to the overall M-RED project objectives and activities and assist local partner staff in doing the same.
  • Coordinate with DM&E team to develop tools and facilitate its implementation to collect feedback, capturing and documenting learning.
  • Organize regular field visit to ensure implementation of mitigation work is being done with desired quality and within stipulated time and resources.
  • Review the progress reports received from the local partner staff and provide feedback/ suggestions either independently or in conjunction with the PM

Other Support
  • Ensure that MC operational policies and procedures are followed, while ensuring downward and upward project efficiency, transparency and accountability.
  • Manage good relationships with project stakeholders, including local NGO partners, GoN officials, community officials, and colleague agency officials
  • Ensure that innovative approaches, good practices, particular challenges, or good results are documented to support agency learning.
  • Participate and contribute to joint initiatives, training activities and media events organized collectively by the M-RED implementing partners country-wide or regionally, as required
  • Conduct him or herself in manner so as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and so as not to jeopardize its humanitarian mission


WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: District Coordinators, M&E Officer, Partner Project Team, Disaster Management Committees, National Programe Manager
ACCOUNTABLE TO: Country Director; Program Manager; Mercy Corps policies and procedures; MAC  grant agreement and policies; M-RED project team in the field; Position Description; DRR and market development best practices.

·         Minimum Bachelor degree in civil engineering
·         Experience of designing and implementing Bio-Engineering intervention.
·         Minimum three years’ experience with community-based program.
·         Experience working with local NGO, government officials and integrating them into program implementation.
·         Experience building capacity of diverse team.
·         Strong organization and communication skills.
·         Strong writing/spoken English. 
·         Strong skill on training design and facilitation.
·         Ability to search different resources to develop innovative approaches.
·         High level of computer skills required.
·         Good level of spoken English is required.
·         Willingness to travel frequently to remote areas.
Competence riding a motorbike preferred.

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