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News Week Ending 07/09/08

Let’s start the week with a bit of election news. Love them or hate, celebrities often get involved in campaign rallies and so it’s no surprise that some of them might fancy themselves as a politician. The rise of celebrities in the political arena has created a mixed message. While many are against it, mainly because of their lack of political experience, others are willing to give these actors an opportunity to prove themselves. Perhaps they will curry favour on the island of Bali but will have to be careful because the latest report from there has a bad STD crisis. A specialist on sexually transmitted diseases (STD) recently warned that the number of STD cases among the island’s male population had reached an alarming level. I like reading good news and this is it. In a move to help preserve the region’s coral reefs, the six member countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative have agreed on a draft protocol on protecting coral reefs from the effects of climate change. The six countries, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.

But, there is not so good news. Orangutans in the wild remain under serious threat of extinction, despite claims by palm oil firms of applying eco-friendly work practices. The Center for Orangutan Protection (COP) said palm oil companies’ refusal to approve a moratorium on forest and peatland conversion could speed up the extinction of the protected apes, particularly those living outside conservation areas. Another aspect of bad news is the communities in and around Surabaya remain subject to chronic sanitation problems due to lack of public awareness and a comprehensive sanitation system, according to a conservationist. And, there is bad news. In Bangka Belitung, a new province in Sumatra, sea turtle hunting has been increasing over the past few years. Dozens of Leatherback sea turtles are hunted and killed each month to be used as ingredients for production of traditional medicines and as raw materials for leather good accessories, As a result of rampant hunting, the population of leatherback turtles, in the province has fallen to only about 1,000. What’s wrong with these people. Sick bastards who have no respect for nature murdering innocent creatures, that’s all they are.

Here we go again. The House of Representatives is set to push through the pornography bill in October, despite ongoing controversy over the draft law’s vague definition of pornography. Some lawmakers and activists have criticized the controversial bill for criminalizing victims of pornography and threatening the country’s pluralism. It has been such a hot debate for quite a while now and it seems the porn merchants might finally get their way. Here’s another disgusting situation. City residents returning to their hometowns during the upcoming holiday exodus should secure their homes in their absence, according to the Jakarta Police in a warning. Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Ketut Untung Yoga Ana said, the public needs to be aware of the potential for burglary during the Muslim Lebaran holiday.

Not surprisingly, security at cafes along Kedonganan Beach, Badung, has been intensified ahead of the commemoration next month of the deadly 2002 and 2005 bombing attacks, which killed many foreign tourists. We can only hope peace will continue to rein not only on the island of Bali, but throughout the archipelago.

It happened at the beginning of Ramadhan in Indonesia. This is prime time for Muslims to give charitable donations, so it’s not surprising the Islamic holy month is the most lucrative season for beggars. These beggars, including many old people and women with young children, have been flocking to Jakarta for the beginning of Ramadan in early September. And who said private enterprise was dead!

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