News in Brief – Week Ending 01/06/08

Let’s start the news this week with the US State Department lifting its travel warning for Indonesia. Well, this was according to the US ambassador in Jakarta who unassumingly stated improved security will pave the way for closer ties between the two countries. I somehow don’t think many American travellers listened to the travel warning in the first place. Last time I was over on the island of Bali there were a lot of them. It is the same across the archipelago. Being warned or ignoring travel bans is a matter for the traveller to decide and not any government. Now, all you single guys out there will take what I write in the next line ‘interesting’ but it’s not what you think. Apparently Indonesian ex-president Megawati Sukarnoputri said she is looking for a “cool boyfriend”. See, I knew you’d get all excited!. Calm down. Megawati wants the ‘cool dude’ as her running mate in her comeback bid for the presidency next year according to a report. Jokingly, Megawati said “I’m a woman so I want a cool boyfriend. So I’ll wait first and look for the appropriate person. If the guy is ugly I don’t want him” . Be still my beating heart. Now, here’s a first. A female that doesn’t like having her photo taken!. The world’s rarest rhino does not like the limelight as it was captured on video attacking a camera set up in an Indonesian jungle to study the animal’s habits. Experts say the female rhino may have sensed the lens was a threat to her calf. I’d be a tad annoyed too if some jerk stuck a camera in my face!.

Good news for Garuda Indonesia as an internationally recognized safety certificate has placed Garuda Indonesia airline back on par with other international carriers and reopened working opportunities. Apparently the flag carrier on May 14 passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which certifies its compliance with international safety standards. However, hot on the heels of this announcement is the worrying prospect of Garuda being banned from Australian skies after two almost fatal occurrences at Perth International airport. If this happens then it would be goodbye to a fair proportion of Bali’s tourism income.

Seems like a good idea. Apparently, the provincial government of West Java is searching for a location for a miniature park of Asian and African countries. Excellent idea and one that would promote healthy ties within the respective countries. The drafting of the concept and the listing of listing possible sites is continuing but it seems that a location has yet to be agreed upon. I say just put it near Yogyakarta and have all the cultures in one place. Students like to demonstrate on a daily basis rather than attend classes in Indonesia and, it appears that the community is complaining about student demonstrations which reject the fuel price increases, as they tend to end with riots and physical clashes between the students and the police force. I can’t see any problem in that. Students will have differing opinions.

Big water is a comin’ to Jakarta in the form if tidal waves. In an effort to prevent tidal floods in the capital next month, the city administration and other stakeholders are raising the height of seven embankments up to 2.5 meters above Tanjung Priok ground level. While this practice is good in theory, one should remember what happened to New Orleans. Unless you can get a couple of hundred people to put their fingers in the embankments to plug the holes, then nothing will stop the forces of Mother Nature.

Just to finish off for the week I recommend you read this article about Indonesia’s killing fields. Here’s a small extract to tempt your perusal. “But with the tenth anniversary of Suharto’s 1998 fall this month, activists are finally pushing for investigations into one of the last century’s biggest killings, which changed the course of the Cold War and formed the backdrop to the strongman’s rise”

And Folks, that’s the news that is the news from around the archipelago this week, or at least, that what is worth mentioning!.