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   The name Indonesia was derived from "indos nesos", meaning islands near India, The country is in fact the largest archipelago in the world with a thousand islands, 17,508 to be precise, spread in an area between the Asian continent and Australia, and between the Pacific and the Indian oceans. The islands are inhabited by many tribes with diverse culture and languages, although there is a national language spoken throughout the country, namely Bahasa Indonesia. It is thus appropriate, that the country's motto is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, which means: Unity in Diversity. Our state philosophy is Pancasila, or the Five Principles. This year is the country's fiftieth anniversary of independence.

Climate and Weather
   The climate and weather of Indonesia is characterized by two tropical seasons, which vary with the equatorial air circulation and the meridian air circulation. The dry season (June to September) is influences by the Australian continental air masses; while the rainy season (December to March) is the result of the Asian and Pacific Ocean air masses.

   The country is predominantly mountainous with some 400 volcanoes of which 100 are active. Mountains higher than 9,000 feet are found on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa. The highest mountain is the perpetually snow-capped Mandala Top (15,300 feet) in the Jaya Wijaya mountain range of Irian Jaya.

Rivers and Lakes
   Many rivers flow throughout the country. They serve as useful transportation routes on certain islands, for example the Musi, Batanghari, Indagiri and Kamper rivers in Sumatra; the Kapuas, Barito, Mahakam and Rejang rivers in Kalimantan; and the Memberano and Digul rivers in Irian Jaya. On Java rivers are important for irrigation purposes, i.e. the Bengawan Solo, Citarum and Brantas rivers. A number of islands are dotted with scenic lakes, like the Toba, Maninjau and Singkawang lakes on Sumatra; the Tempe, Tawuti, Sidenreng, Poso, Limboto, Tondano, and Matana lakes on Sulawesi; the Paniai and Sentani lakes on Irian Jaya.

Standard Time
   Indonesia's three time zones have been changed :

- Western Indonesia Standard Time equals GMT plus 7 hours (meridian 105 East), covering all provinces in Sumatra and Java, and the provinces of West and Central Kalimantan.

- Central Indonesia Standard Time equals GMT plus 8 hours (meridian 120 East), covering the provinces of East and South Kalimantan, all provinces in Sulawesi, and the provinces of Bali, West and East Nusa Tenggara and East Timor.

- Eastern Indonesia Standard Time equals GMT plus 9 hours (meridian 135 East), covering the provinces of Maluku and Irian Jaya.





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