World Bulletin / News Desk
Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Thursday corruption is on the rise, even in parliament, in his most explicit comments yet on a scourge that he warned threatened economic growth in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
Corruption is widely seen as holding back the economy and Yudhoyono has been criticized for letting the fight against it slow as he comes towards the end of his second five-year term.
A series of corruption scandals have rocked the president's Democrat Party, weakening it in advance of elections in 2014 when Yudhoyono will step down.
"The drum of war on corruption should not dissipate. Corruption should be completely eradicated," Yudhoyono said in a speech to parliament ahead of the country's Independence Day anniversary.
"I have to admit there are still many perpetrators of corruption even in the government, parliament, regional representatives and among law enforcers," Yudhoyono said.
There are few estimates of how much corruption costs Indonesia but watchdog groups say it is prevalent in the civil service, police and judicial system and that it adds to business costs in part by weakening confidence in the rule of law.
Despite rampant graft, resource-rich Indonesia has become a favorite of emerging market investors because of its large domestic market as the world's fourth most populous country, rising middle class, relatively stable fiscal framework and low levels of public debt.
Economic growth picked up to a stronger-than-expected 6.4 percent last quarter, defying a global downturn because of domestic consumption and investment.
Yudhoyono's wide-ranging speech ahead of Independence Day was the latest in a series to touch on corruption.
He said cooperation between the anti-graft body the KPK, the Supreme Court, police and the Attorney General's office was paramount in fighting corruption.
Yudhoyono said the government must provide a safe legal environment for investors if it is to promote economic growth, as well as removing hurdles to investment and promoting infrastructure growth.
One analyst said he was skeptical that the speech signaled any real stiffening of government resolve on corruption.
"This speech is normative because if you say such things you have to show concrete examples. The president mentions extraordinary action to face corruption but there is no realization on the ground," said Donal Fariz of Indonesia Corruption Watch, a graft watchdog.
Europe's economic crisis also provided a threat to growth in Indonesia, and that the government needed to cautiously give a fiscal stimulus, though he did not give any details, Yudhoyono said.
Economists say the government needs to spend more to overhaul infrastructure to drive long-term growth, though central government spending usually falls below target because of corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency.
Soros said an independent currency would be "very inefficient and potentially dangerous".
Doctors, teachers and school guards joined the 24-hour strike and planned marches to parliament, the focal point of anti-austerity protests
10.14 billion yuan ($1.65 billion) in "dirty money" and property was recovered and 762 corruption suspects were captured at home or abroad last year, the China Daily said
Federal investigators are reviewing information about how GM handled reports of problems with ignition switches that first came to light 10 years ago
Allegations of possible manipulation of the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market have so far centered on major banks.
The decision will remove duties on agricultural products, processed foods, textiles and industrial goods, saving Ukrainian businesses 487 million euros a year.
Chrystalla Georghadji takes up her post on April 11, after outgoing governor Panicos Demetriades works out his notice.
The wording on energy dependency was not in an earlier version of the document circulated before Russian forces seized Crimea
India, with the increases already made in the January-March loading plans from Iran, has to cut its purchases of the crude
Eurozone finance ministers give green light to release 150 million euros for the Greek Cypriot administration.
"Sugar consumption that dated back to the BC epoch found its way into Ethiopian households only lately; people had to be convinced," Zemedkun Tekle, communications director at the state-run Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, said.
The agreement is the first Canada has concluded with a nation from Asia, a fast-growing part of the world that Ottawa is deliberately targeting.
While Europe lacks immediate alternatives to replace Russian supplies, long-term efforts are in place to reduce Moscow's dominance in the sector. Russia pushes on with gas pipeline despite EU delay
Pakistan will give India Most Favored Nation status by the end of March.
"Germany's dependence on Russian gas may effectively decrease Europe's sovereignty. I have no doubts about that," Polish PM Tusk said