News Week Ending 31/08/08

Being on a quake zone is no laughing matter as many residents in West java found out early in the week. The Indonesia government issued a tsunami warning on Tuesday after the earthquake struck off West Java on Tuesday, but it was later lifted and there were no reports of damage or casualties. According to the meteorological agency, the epicentre of the undersea quake was put at 6.6 on the Richter scale and occurred north- west of Ujung Kulon National Park. And, there was another one. A tectonic earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale shook Saumlaki, Maluku Province, on Thursday. Personally, I blame all of these and other disasters on global warming. But, there is good news this week and to begin with the Indonesian man dubbed the “tree man” because of gnarled growths on his body has returned from hospital after six kilograms (13 pounds) of warts were surgically removed from his body, on Tuesday. Dede, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, first noticed the warts on his body after cutting his knee as a teenager.

Want some more good news? Sumatra’s endangered elephants and tigers should get a boost from a move by Indonesia’s government to expand one of their last havens, the Tesso Nilo in Riau Province. The area of the park is to be more than doubled to 212,500 acres. It’s about time the government realised the tourism potential of its national treasures. Even better news. Forest authorities in Cilacap, Central Java have closed Mt. Selok national park as unchecked illegal logging activities have left the park barren. At least 126 hectares in the Adireja Wetan village area have been cleared, a massive loss for the park. I’m getting to like the wisdom of the Indonesian government!

Interesting call this week by Achmad Suryana, Head of the Food Security Board at the Agriculture Department, who said on Thursday that currently Indonesia is not experiencing a food crisis as energy and protein supplies are sufficient for national needs. I must ask the beggars on the street about that one.

The good news just keeps flowing in. Construction has just been completed on a new state-of-the-art vocational training centre in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the epicenter and region hardest hit by the 2004 tsunami, which will enable city residents to take a major step forward towards economic recovery. It is heart-warming to see so many large corporations being involved financially in this venture. Here is something that I found interesting. Internet users in Indonesia reached 13 million people. This makes Indonesia the big 13 internet users in the world. However, 70 percent of the users are in large cities. Must be a lot of interesting things to view on the internet!

In a twist of fate, the government has seized $134 million from a firm linked to Suharto’s youngest son, in the latest move to bring the ex-dictator’s family to account for alleged graft. The move comes amid a protracted legal battle over alleged graft involving the car company, which was granted exclusive rights during Suharto’s reign to import South Korean cars and re=badge them as Indonesia’s national car. Who’s next on the hitlist?

This is atrocious news and one thing that should not have occurred. It appears that at least four million children in Indonesia currently suffer from malnutrition and invisible hunger, an official of the World Food Program. This is disgusting. Add to this the prices of basic necessities having continually increased since May, it’s no wonder that it is more important for people to spend their money on food, medicines and school expenses than to restore their home.

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