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News in Brief – Week Ending 20/04/08

Heart-rendering story starts this week’s news with doctors having removed almost 2kg of warts from an Indonesian man dubbed “Tree Man” because of the bark-like growths on his hands and feet. Dede Koswara could now hold a pen and could see the outline of his toes for the first time in more than a decade after surgeons began removing the huge warts from his limbs. Sure hope now his life will be improved vastly in everyway. And, from the land to the sea with the big seafood company Grimsby’s bid to establish a seafood trade corridor following a visit to South East Asia by a number of South Humber fishing related companies. I hate to write it, but, sounds fishy to me. So, from the sea to the mountain top with the Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center in Bandung raising the status of Mt Papandayan from normally active (level I) to alert (level II) following an increase in the mountains volcanic activity.

It’s interesting that a government team has recommended that Indonesia outlaw a Muslim sect that has come under attack from hard-liners as heretical, angering human rights activists who accuse authorities of cowing to pressure from extremists. The Ahmadi movement has faced bans and persecution in Muslim countries around the world for its belief in another prophet after Muhammad. The group insists it should be considered part of Islam.

This is one news article you would have to ask the university students about – those students who survived the Soeharto era and, of course those students nowadays. Amnesty International released a series of reports Wednesday, saying it had received abuse complaints in Indonesia on a regular basis, indicating state agents had been torturing and committing other human rights offences during arrests, interrogation and detention, sometimes leading to death. The Amnesty said the widespread use of torture and other abuses was aggravated and supported by a pattern of impunity throughout the country. And of course, Indonesia has criticized reports from Amnesty International and other international organizations about rampant human rights abuses in the country for being unfair and based on double standards.

And to finish today we have the government planning to borrow US$1.2 billion from the World Bank to help cover the state budget deficit that is expected to reach 2.1 percent of GDP or $10.3 billion. The government said the World Bank loan would make up part of the $2.9 billion loans expected from foreign creditors. And here’s me thinking that President Wahid borrowed enough from the world governments on his mammoth global journey when he held the big position.

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