News in Brief – Week Ending 22/06/08

Let’s start the week off with a bit of Sharia justice. Residents in a North Aceh village almost cut off a thief’s hand in what was the first known attempt at sharia-style punishment of its kind in the province. Saidan, 50, was rushed to the hospital unconscious after locals in Meurah Mulia district accused him of stealing cattle and beat him up before attempting to sever his left hand. This is what happens when you slip your hand into places it shouldn’t be or whatever. Good time this week to talk about things that go bang. An Indonesian navy patrol seized about five tonnes of a material used to make explosives from a wooden boat off the coast of East Java and detained 12 crew members. Major Kariono, spokesman for the navy’s eastern fleet, said that the boat, which was heading from Surabaya to Bala-Balangan island in West Sulawesi province and found to be carrying 107 sacks of an oxidising substance that could be used to make home-made explosives. Kariono went on to say that the substance was often used to make explosives for killing fish. How dare they pick on the poor fish!. What did they ever do to them!. Continuing with the explosive theme, the family of two of the Bali bombers, awaiting a final legal appeal on whether they will be executed, are prepared for their deaths. Officials have also begun preparations for the executions. The three Islamic militants face death by firing squad for their role in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people including foreign tourists and Indonesians. You can surely guarantee that there will be a lot of big bangs after their execution and it won’t be pretty.

Anglo-Australian giant BHP Biliton and an Indonesian firm announced Thursday a massive nickel mining partnership that has environmentalists raising concerns about a protected island paradise. The 50-50 joint venture between BHP and state-owned Antam in eastern Indonesia has raised fears for marine life in the rich waters off Gag Island in West Papua province. Of course environmental groups have a right to jump up and down on the spot. The environment in Indonesia and ecosystems are slowly being murdered by big companies and their lust for money. On a lighter note, the cops in Jakarta are going high-tech. Skating police officers have hit the roads in a bid to ease serious traffic congestion in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, a report said. Ten police officers circulated through Jakarta’s endless traffic jams during the first-day trial. Good idea for chasing those crims down narrow back alleyways when things are quite at traffic intersections. You never know, sometime down the track we’ll see skate-off competitions!.

Convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been hospitalised suffering depression, according to Indonesian prison officials. The Kerobokan Prison official said Corby was taken to a Bali hospital yesterday afternoon suffering from depression. There are a lot of people in prisons in Indonesia suffering the same malady and they are not taken to hospital but instead get on with life. I for one would hate being confined in an Indonesian prison as that would be enough to make anyone depressed. Being depressed is not the same as living with a death sentence which what happens if you contract severe Avian Flu. The situation just seems to get worse in the archipelago as two women have died of bird flu in Indonesia, raising the country’s human toll in the deadly H5N1 infection to 110 – the world’s highest.

And, to finish off this week, Garuda Indonesia and Singapore Airlines (SIA) have signed an agreement under which the carriers will benefit from joint marketing and promotion, code sharing and special rate agreements. Initially, SIA will assume the role of operator by providing the flight, while Garuda will act as marketer and sell the seats. In the future, the companies will share the services. But, all this unity between airlines doesn’t bring the price of tickets down or the fees you are charged!.

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