News Weekending 20/07/08

Let’s start the week with some positive news on the environmental front. The tree adoption program organized by the Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park and Jakarta’s Green Radio is proving very popular, with listeners and corporations already sponsoring 2,000 trees. Even my favourite pollie Megawati Soekarnoputri is among the many individuals, communities and corporations to have adopted trees through the program. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if this program was adopted all around the archipelago. And, even more great news, UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has named Indonesia`s “kris”, a wavy-bladed ceremonial dagger, as a world heritage, Neka Ubud Museum director Pande Wayan Suteja Neka said. This is one of the many heritage treasures within Indonesia that is well worth honouring.

But, there is bad news. Tiger skins and rare caged primates openly sold at markets in the heart of Indonesia’s capital are the most brazen and visible aspect of a thriving illegal wildlife trade. This is disgusting. Apparently, Indonesia is struggling to take on a multi-million-dollar industry that is stripping the archipelago nation’s vast forests of endangered species for enormous profit by selling them to buyers around the world. With corruption rife and authorities overwhelmed, conservationists say police and forestry officials have barely made a dent. Where is the government action when it’s needed the most. Staying on the environmental theme, it appears the ebony tree population in Indonesia is on the brink of extinction. It seems that nowadays this precious wood is very hard to find. Apparently, the ebony population was growing much slower than the rate at which it was being exploited in its habitat in Central Sulawesi.

Popular Indonesian singer Inul Daratista, known for gyrating her hips at fast speed while on stage, has been banned from giving a concert in southern Malaysia because her performing is considered too risque by authorities. So much so that the show was cancelled much to the annoyance of Inul. If ay of you have seen her dance on stage then you will know how suggestive her movements are. But you have to love ‘dem moves!

Totally disastrous news now after attempts to refloat a Taiwanese “ghost ship” that ran aground on Bali’s best surf break have foundered, prompting fears of an environmental disaster. Police have described the vessel as a crime scene, confirming its captain may have been murdered. Taiwanese investigators have arrived in Bali to carry out their own inquiry. In this case the police were right on target. Two suspected marijuana couriers who worked for an alleged dealer in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam were arrested in two separate places in Central Jakarta on Wednesday. They found 56 kilograms of marijuana wrapped in one-kilogram packages in his dresser. And, he never had a chance to smoke any of it!.

One island I will be going to soon is Flores. However, officials in East Nusa Tenggara have urged people living near Mount Egon and Mount Lewotobi, both on Flores Island, to remain alert in response to an increase in activity at the two volcanoes. This is getting more adventurous!. I might be able to get a few good fotos. It might cost me more money if fuel keeps going up in price. Apparently, the government is likely to further raise its budget allocation for fuel subsidies this year as annual fuel consumption is estimated to surpass initial expectations. According toEnergy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, his office was already engaged in talks with the Finance Ministry on the possibility of raising fuel subsidies.

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