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SIMALUNGUN (Indonesia), June 22, 2018 (News Wires) - Among the grief-stricken Indonesians keeping a daily vigil at the shore of a volcanic lake which swallowed a ferry packed with people, some fear they have lost more than a dozen relatives, including children, in the disaster.

Jadianto Nainggolan has barely touched food or got a decent night’s sleep since he got word that the ferry was carrying 12 relatives - including a nephew who was just three years old - headed home after a party on Monday.

“As soon as I heard I was in shock - I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep,” he said.

The overloaded boat capsized on Sumatra’s Lake Toba in what could be one of the country’s deadliest maritime disasters.

Days later, Nainggolan, a power plant worker, cannot believe that four of his siblings and their children could be at the bottom of one of the world’s deepest lakes.

The 40-year-old Nainggolan made an arduous 24-hour journey from his home in Jambi province to the picturesque tourist destination after he got a panicked call from his sister.

Now, he is one of hundreds of heartbroken relatives who turn out at search posts or on the lakeshore every morning, praying for news about missing loved ones.

“As soon as we wake up we are thinking about our family,” he said.

Just three passengers have been confirmed dead, but official estimates listed 193 others - including children - as missing.

The vessel is believed to have been operating illegally with no manifest or passenger tickets and authorities have struggled to pinpoint the exact number onboard when it went down in bad weather.

JAKARTA, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Rescuers searching on Tuesday for dozens of people missing after a ferry sank on Indonesia's Lake Toba have found bags, jackets, an ID card and other items in the waters but no new survivors.

Police said in a statement that 18 people were rescued and one body was recovered, unchanged from figures released by disaster and police officials nearly a day earlier on Monday evening. It released the names of 94 people confirmed as missing but said the figure is expected to rise as information from relatives is compiled.

Cellphone video released by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency shows the crew of another ferry attempting to rescue people struggling in the waters shortly after the sinking but being hampered by bad weather and rough waters. Distraught relatives have gathered at major ferry docks on the lake, hoping for news of missing family members.

Budiawan, the head of the search and rescue agency in the nearby city of Medan, said the overcrowded boat was filled with an estimated 150 people and 55 motorbikes. Officials are relying on reports from the families of victims and survivors to estimate the number of victims. Budiawan, who uses one name, said the vessel did not have a passenger manifest.

Disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the boat sank at about 5:30 pm Monday as it sailed from the mainland to an island.

A survivor identified by Indonesian television as Juwita Sumbayak said the vessel was rocked by high waves and was hit a by a wooden boat before suddenly sinking.

"I was desperate. I was scared to death. I'm afraid my family is dead," she said, weeping.

BANDUNG, Indonesia, June 11, 2018 (News Wires) — Indonesia’s first Islamic fashion school is teaching students in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country the usual skills of design, styling and marketing — but with a religion-specific twist.

As demand grows for Islamic apparel, featuring variations on traditional headscarves and long, flowing dresses for women, while men are targeted with robes or shirts embroidered with religious motifs, about 140 students have signed up.

“We want our students to make unique designs and become leaders in modest fashion,” said Deden Siswanto, who founded the Islamic Fashion Institute nearly three years ago in Indonesia’s third largest city of Bandung.

“We also teach them about wearing clothes according to Islamic rules.”

Nearby sat a group of young women working at sketchboards and sewing stations in the school, which offers nine-month courses in fashion styling, marketing, and basic styling.

Both men and women, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, may join. But teachers must be Muslim, to ensure familiarity with Islamic business practices.

The trend towards garments that meet religious requirements is becoming more visible among the burgeoning middle class in Indonesia, where, for years, few Muslim women covered their heads, or opted for traditional batik or Western clothing.

The country hosted its first Muslim Fashion Week in 2015 and the industry ministry aims to make Indonesia a “Muslim fashion hub” by 2020.

One of the students at the school, Runi Soemadipradja, said she started wearing a headscarf in 2007 but found few options suitable for Muslims.

“I started designing my own clothes,” she said.

“We are overwhelmed by this (demand). So far I have released 10 collections.”

JAKARTA, May 30, 2018 (News Wires) - Indonesia and India pledged on Wednesday to step up defence and maritime cooperation, with plans to develop a strategic Indonesian naval port in the Indian Ocean, the leaders of the two countries said after meeting in Jakarta.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss, among other issues, developing infrastructure and an economic zone at Sabang, on the tip of Sumatra island and at the mouth of the Malacca Strait, one of the busiest shipping channels for global trade.

“India is a strategic defence partner...and we will continue to advance our cooperation in developing infrastructure, including at Sabang Island and the Andaman Islands,” Widodo told a news conference after the meeting at the presidential palace.

Analysts say the move comes amid concerns over China’s rising maritime influence in the region, and is part of Modi’s “Act East” policy of developing stronger ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“The India-ASEAN partnership can be a force to guarantee peace and progress in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond,” Modi said in a statement read in Hindi.

Modi this year invited the leaders of all ten ASEAN nations to attend New Delhi’s Republic Day parade, the biggest such gathering of foreign leaders at the annual event.

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia, May 21, 2018 (News Wires) — Indonesia's most volatile volcano spewed smoke and ash early on Monday in the latest of several eruptions in less than two weeks.

Mount Merapi on the main island of Java erupted twice, sending a column of volcanic material up to 1,200 meters  into the air and making ash fall in several villages, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the disaster mitigation agency spokesman.

He said the alert level of the volcano was not raised, which is at a normal level with no eruption expected in the foreseeable future.

An eruption of Merapi on May 11 sent nearby residents fleeing to safer areas. There have been no reports of casualties, and operations at Adi Sucipto airport in Yogyakarta was not disturbed by Monday's eruptions.

The 2,968-meter  mountain between Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces is the most active of 500 Indonesian volcanoes. Its last major eruption in 2010 killed 347 people and caused the evacuation of 20,000 villagers.

Indonesia, an archipelago of 240 million people, is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity because it sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a horseshoe-shaped series of fault lines.

CAIRO, May 14, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt condemned on Monday the terrorist attack on a police headquarters in Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia.

In a statement released on Monday, the Foreign Ministry wished a speedy recovery for the injured, asserting Egypt's backing for the Indonesian government and people in fighting terrorism that has hit the country over the past two days.

The statement also called for intensifying international efforts to stand against terrorism which has become a growing threat to global stability and security .

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