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News in Brief – Week Ending 16/03/08

It’s been a strange week around the archipelago with the usual earthquakes and of course a few cases of corruption, none better than a public prosecutor. Airlines are first up on the bill today with Citilink, a business unit of flag carrier Garuda Indonesia saying it will resume flight services in June after being suspended since January and will resume flights with new a format and service. Sounds good news for travellers, but, poor old Adam Air is copping it in the ear again. It seems some aircraft leasing companies have forced Indonesia’s Adam Air to ground a significant portion of its fleet. Director of airworthiness and the certification office of Indonesia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Yurlis Hasibuan, was quoted as saying some aircraft leasing companies have forced Adam Air to ground seven of its aircraft. I suppose that’s better than them falling out of the sky or skidding along runways!.

It’s got me beat why any company in Indonesia would team up with a US company [unless the big bucks are there], however, this is for the good of science as the Indonesian Energy and Mineral Source Ministry and the United States Geological Survey have agreed to establish cooperation in natural disaster monitoring, analysis, early warning and mitigation of volcanoes in North Sulawesi. Now for the bad news. The Indonesian government is planning to build four nuclear power plants (PLTNs) by 2025 to meet domestic demand for electricity. A number of locations where the nuclear power plants could be set up had already been surveyed, including places in the northern parts of Java Island and in the southern parts of Kalimantan Island. Smart move – right on the fault line!.

Now this is one thing I find disrespectful. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, warned that a film made by a Dutch lawmaker that is expected to be critical of the Koran could derail interfaith dialogue and threaten peace. How dare he criticise one of the most beautiful religions in the world. Go stick a finger in your dyke. As always, there are those times in news when you come across the sheer senselessness and craziness. I’m talking about Indonesia and their intention to relax rules to allow more mining companies to operate in forest areas. This is seen as a move that will alarm green groups worried about rapid deforestation. Dozens of mining companies could benefit from a decision to allow firms that previously held exploration permits in forest areas to develop mines.

Again the chooks are in the news with the Makassar Mayor Ilham Arief Sirajuddin has ordering the culling of poultry living within a radius of one kilometer from a bird flu outbreak at the city`s IDI complex in Antang. This was a follow up on the discovery of bird flu infection in the area during the week. The culling was needed to curb the bird flu outbreak following the sudden deaths of tens of chickens in the Antang area. Wise move, health wise, but what about people’s livelihoods?. A little more insanity follows with Indonesian lawmakers who are set to reject a Southeast Asian pact designed to fight cross-border smoke caused by forests fires. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations approved the Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution in 2002 and Indonesia, where most of the fires occur, is the only country that has not ratified it, drawing criticism from its neighbours affected by the annual haze.

And to finish off with some excellent news [makes a change], a small greenish bird that has been playing hide-and-seek with ornithologists on a remote Indonesian island since 1996 was declared a newly discovered species on Friday and promptly recommended for endangered lists. The new species is called the Togian white-eye, or Zosterops somadikartai.

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