News in Brief – Week Ending 23/03/08

Another odd assortment of news this week with a few surprises, well one of them is not really a surprise. Adam Air has finally been grounded after numerous incidents, the latest being Adam Air Plane with 175 people on board skidding off the runway in foul weather in Batam last week. Sources in the Transport Ministry quoted that they decided to revoke Adam Air’s operational specification, effective 12:00 am Wednesday and all of its planes must be automatically grounded. Someone that will never be grounded is alleged Jemaah Islamiah (JI) spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir. His legions of followers are growing, even though he was released from prison on terrorism charges little more than a year ago. His close associates said that the cleric travels across the country frequently to give ceramahs or lectures, on Islam at mosques and religious events.

At least someone is doing something that the government is sad lacking in and that is the establishment and updating of repairs to run-down schools. A group of activists has set up a makeshift school in one of Jakarta’s crowded slums, providing children and their parents with free lessons and practical training such as sewing and motorbike repairs. The schools run by the Nanda Dian Nusantara Foundation. Another slap in the face for the two-legged farmyard bird again with the bird flu situation in Indonesia being declared “critical”. Apparently the virus could mutate and cause a human pandemic according to the UN food agency warning. The prevalence of avian influenza in Indonesia remains serious despite containment efforts. There are high level of virus circulation in birds in the country could create conditions for the virus to mutate and to finally cause a human influenza pandemic. How can you contain something that you don’t have a cure for?

And now to the height of hypocrisy. A suggestion to Indonesian politicians to learn from Malaysia sounds a little strange to the Indonesian people who often deem their country as the most democratic in Southeast Asia and have enjoyed political and press freedom to express their views and aspirations. Is it correct for us to learn from Malaysia whose political system has yet to be on a par with Indonesia’s democracy?. Me thinks a bit of jealousy is going on here!. At least Indonesia is making efforts in International relations.

Hats off to the Aceh administration for being optimistic in the facer of diversity. Seventy Aceh tourism agents are being trained in Bali on how to interact with tourists. They consist of 25 tour guides of historical and cultural sites, 20 managers of home industries, and 25 training staff. The training is to anticipate tourism activity in Aceh after the tsunami.

To finish off today with a sobering thought, it appears there is concern over planes and the amount of fuel they carry. In response to safety concerns over aircrafts carrying less fuel (due to soaring oil prices), the Indonesian Transportation Ministry assured Tuesday) such practice was safe and in line with local and international standards. An aircraft flying with a fuel tank half full is not in breach of aviation regulations, as long as it carries the minimum amount to ensure safety, an official said. The relevant article stipulates aircrafts must have enough fuel for: a trip to the destination, to land at the most distant alternate airport, to fly for 45 minutes at holding speed at 1,500 feet above the alternate airport and to fly for 30 minutes plus 15 per cent of the total flight time at normal cruising speed to the destination’s airport.

I don’t know about you, but, I like to feel that the big bird I am flying in has enough juice to get me to my destination and not fall out of the sky.

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