News Week Ending 21/09/08

Sad beginning this week with at least 23 Indonesians were crushed to death Monday while trying to collect $4.25 in cash handouts from a rich family at a charity event marking the Islamic holy month. Eight others were critically injured in the stampede. Yes, it is sad because poverty in Indonesia is rife and these poor people were only trying to get some money for the upcoming Idul Fitri celebration. There will be no celebrations in Bali if the new porn bill goes through. Bali is up in arms over a new pornography bill which some say threatens Hindu traditions and the bikini-clad tourism industry. Westerners bask in skimpy swimmers and put that together with its famous easy-going lifestyle and sensual charms, it is no wonder the Balinese are worried.

Here’s is one for the adventurer. Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik launched a maiden activity of the Indonesian Supervolcano Mountaineering Challenge (ISVMC) of 2008 in Jakarta on Thursday. It is to be held in the mountainous areas of Tambora and Rinjani volcanoes in West Nusatenggara province on October 14-28, 2008. The ISVMC event poses an alternative of mountaineering activity-based eco-tourism for foreign and domestic mount climbers in a bid to make the Visit Indonesia Year program to a success.

Comforting though. Indonesia will not join an Asian arms race after Australia announced it planned to build up its military in response to a regional weapons buying spree. Indonesia will avoid any major boost to military spending in the next five to 10 years as it focuses on the economy and social spending. What a good idea. This is not a good idea and I mean using illegal drugs in Indonesia. An Australian man arrested in Bali is likely to be charged with drug use and possession after allegedly being caught with two bags of heroin and marijuana while out clubbing. Shane Christos Demos, 37, was arrested in the Double Six nightclub district in Seminyak on Tuesday. If you are going to do drugs in Indonesia and you are a foreigner then you are committing suicide.

You most certainly have to be careful what you eat these days. The Jakarta administration announced plans to have charges filed against retailers selling expired or substandard food after the West Jakarta agency responsible for meat product quality control found rotten meat in a supermarket. This is what you get for exploiting such a religious time as Ramadhan. How could these traders do this. But it is even worse in ENT. A severe water shortage in East Nusa Tenggara threatens the livelihood of thousands with many forced to drink from unhygienic sources as potable water dries up. In the provincial capital Kupang, well water has turned brackish due to dwindling supplies due to the prolonged drought. Of course you could go to the other end of the scale regarding water when a Japanese man identified as Ono Masaki was been found dead after he had gone diving with his girlfriend in waters off Nusa Penida resort. The man’s body was brought to the morgue at Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar on Friday by his girlfriend, who refused to be identified.

To finish off this week and although it’s no longer a part of Indonesia, national police in East Timor, one of the poorest countries in Asia, are being criticized for a crackdown on snack vendors working a lucrative part of the capital, Dili. No laws ban the sales across from the Palacio do Governo, or Government Palace, and the police are targeting poor people just trying to make ends meet, politicians and vendors complained. Live and let live I say.

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