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News Week Ending 05/10/08

It has dominated the news this week. An Islamic militant on death row over the 2002 nightclub bombings on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali pledged ” retribution” Wednesday if his execution goes ahead. Only time will tell but, if this retribution goes ahead then it would b the downfall of foreign tourism into Indonesia. I did find this article interesting though. Idul Fitri and Christmas bear a substantial similarity to each other: their human side. It is true — from a theological perspective — that both celebrations have to do with a man’s business with his God. However, the texts used are totally different. I was a tad worried about another article as I am a fervent devourer of Mars Bars. Mars Inc has said it has “significant reason to question” results by Indonesian Government scientists that claimed to show some of the US company’s best known chocolate brands were contaminated with melamine. Perhaps I had better stick with chocolate biscuits!

Great to read that the world environmental watchdogs will be visiting Indonesia. A Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, will arrive in Indonesia on October 6 to promote forest and climate conservation as part of the environmentalist organization`s `Forest for Climate` campaign. The Esperanza would arrive in Jayapura, Papua, on October 6 and remain until Nov 15 to spotlight the need to defend the last remaining natural forests in Indonesia. Truly, the forests in Indonesia need all the help they can get.

If you want to get something in and out of a country then do it right and not like this dude. Customs officers at Jakarta`s Soekarno-Hatta international airport have detained a Chinese national for trying to smuggle in an assortment of jewels estimated to be worth Rp4 billion. As is the custom in Indonesia, the government has granted sentence cuts to 53,322 Muslim prisoners across the country this Idul Fitri, but the Bali bombers have been conspicuously left out. I wonder why!

Disturbing as it is, it is a reality. Coastal erosion is progressing at an alarming rate in Batam and Jambi as a result of widespread illegal logging of mangrove forests according to the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry. An estimated 800 to 900 hectares of mangrove forests that function as buffers against strong waves are illegally logged each year. But there is some good news on the environmental front. Bali’s turtle conservation program made a positive step when Rotaract’s Bali chapter successfully introduced its innovative turtle adoption scheme at a fund-raising event at Serangan beach. Serangan island is home to a community-based conservation initiative called the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre. In the same vein, Indonesia’s orang-utan population has halved in the past 20 years, driven down to between 40,000 and 50,000 by illegal logging, poaching, forest fires and oil palm plantations. Although WAHLI are doing their best to help these primates, I should receive even stronger support and funding from the Indonesian government.

And to finish on a sad note, Indonesia recorded 295 deaths from a total of 695 traffic accidents during the fast-breaking festival exodus this year.

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