Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)



.

.
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Spain expected to replace US as 2nd tourism destination

Yahoo – AFP, 15 January 2018

Catalonia has remained a tourism magnet despite a terror attack in August
and a political crisis over independence

Spain is expected to replace the United States as the world's second tourism destination while France has retained the top spot, the UN World Tourism Organization said Monday.

"It is expected" that Spain will take the second position with some 82 million visitors last year, UNWTO chief Zurab Pololikashvili told reporters, adding however that definitive figures would be published in the spring.

He did not give any details about the United States, nor did he explain why Spain took the second spot despite a terror attack in August and a highly mediatised independence crisis in tourism magnet Catalonia.

John Kester, head of tourism trends at the UN agency, added that "everything indicates" that France would retain its top spot in 2017 -- a good year for the industry as the number of global tourists leapt seven percent on 2016, the biggest increase in seven years.

Europe was the star of the show as it attracted a large number of visitors, up eight percent from the previous year, lured in particular by the Mediterranean's sea and sun.

This contrasts sharply with 2016 figures that saw security fears hit visitor arrivals in Europe.

"We do see that demand for European destinations has been very strong," said Kester.

"We also see important recovery in France," he added, without giving further details about a country that was hard hit by extremist attacks.

Spain also suffered a deadly jihadist attack in August in Catalonia, the same region whose leaders tried unsuccessfully to break away from Spain, triggering a major crisis that shook Europe.

And while the political crisis sparked a drop in visitor numbers to the northeastern region, it does not appear to have dented overall tourist figures for Spain in 2017.

In 2016, Spain welcomed 75.3 million visitors, just behind the United States with 75.6 million, while France -- despite its own terror woes -- easily remained the world leader with 82.6 million visitors, according to the UNWTO.


Indonesia, Netherlands to Boost Cooperation on Rule of Law, Security

Jakarta Globe, Sheany, January 15, 2018

Indonesia and the Netherlands will discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral
cooperation on the rule of law and security during a meeting in Jakarta this week
 involving key representatives of the two countries, the Dutch Embassy said on
Monday (15/01). (Antara Photo/Rosa Panggabean) 

Jakarta. Indonesia and the Netherlands will discuss ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation on the rule of law and security during a meeting in Jakarta this week involving key representatives of the two countries, the Dutch Embassy said on Monday (15/01).

Indonesia and the Netherlands have over several years forged cooperation in these fields in various ways, including capacity building for new judges, joint research, technical training and exchanges, according to a statement issued by the embassy.

The meeting, titled 2018 Indonesia-Netherlands Rule of Law and Security Update, will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.

It seeks to highlight what the two countries have achieved together, but also identify ways "to further strengthen and develop mutual collaboration for the years to come."

National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, Supreme Court Chief Justice Hatta Ali and Maarten Feteris, president of the Dutch Supreme Court, will participate in the meeting, which will also be attended by representatives from government, academia, civil society and independent state institutions in both countries.

According to Hatta, collaboration between Indonesia and the Netherlands is both important and strategic, especially since their legal systems share common roots. In addition, an equal partnership will also be necessary to improve the quality and effectiveness of Indonesia's judicial system.

Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch for more than 300 years and the country therefore has the same legal system, with some laws dating back to the colonial era.

Monday, January 8, 2018

New-born baby found dead on plane in Indonesia

Yahoo – AFP, January 7, 2018

The body of a new-born baby has been found in an airplane toilet at Jakarta's
Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (AFP Photo/BAY ISMOYO)

Indonesian police Sunday detained the suspected mother of a new-born baby who was found dead in a aircraft toilet at Jakarta's international Airport.

Hani, a 37-year-old migrant worker from Cianjur in West Java, was held soon after arriving from Bangkok at Soekarno-Hatta airport around 1:00 am, said airport police chief Ahmad Yusef.

"She didn't look healthy and won't be questioned until she is fit. The woman is now at the airport's health centre," Yusef told AFP.

Police suspect that Hani, who had worked as a domestic helper in Abu Dhabi for four years, secretly gave birth during an Etihad flight from there to Jakarta on Saturday.

Around four hours after take-off she began bleeding, forcing the captain to divert to Bangkok.

"The woman was in economy class but then laid on a business-class seat with an oxygen mask. The captain then announced we should divert to Bangkok," passenger Francesco Calore told AFP.

A medical team boarded the plane to evacuate Hani after the Airbus A330 landed at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, he added.

The flight left for Jakarta around an hour later without the sick woman, who flew home on a later flight.

Ground cleaners in Jakarta found the full-term dead baby wrapped in a plastic bag in a drawer in one of the plane's toilets, Yusef said, adding the cause of death had yet to be determined.

An estimated five million Indonesians work abroad, of whom around 70 percent are female domestic helpers.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Bali declares 'garbage emergency' amid sea of waste

Yahoo – AFP, Bagus SARAGIH, December 28, 2017

The Indonesian holiday island has become an embarrassing poster child for the
country's trash problem (AFP Photo/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

Kuta (Indonesia) (AFP) - Bali's palm-fringed Kuta beach has long been a favourite with tourists seeking sun and surf, but nowadays its golden shoreline is disappearing under a mountain of garbage.

Plastic straws and food packaging are strewn between sunbathers, while surfers bobbing behind the waves dodge waste flushed out from rivers or brought in by swirling currents.

"When I want to swim, it is not really nice. I see a lot of garbage here every day, every time," Austrian traveler Vanessa Moonshine explains.

"It's always coming from the ocean. It's really horrible," she adds.

Often dubbed a paradise on earth, the Indonesian holiday island has become an embarrassing poster child for the country's trash problem.

The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is the world's second biggest contributor to marine debris after China, and a colossal 1.29 million metric tons is estimated to be produced annually by Indonesia.

The waves of plastic flooding into rivers and oceans have been causing problems for years -- clogging waterways in cities, increasing the risk of floods, and injuring or killing marine animals who ingest or become trapped by plastic packaging.

Officials in Bali have declared a "garbage emergency" across a stretch of coast that 
includes Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak beaches (AFP Photo/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

The problem has grown so bad that officials in Bali last month declared a "garbage emergency" across a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) stretch of coast that included popular beaches Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak.

Officials deployed 700 cleaners and 35 trucks to remove roughly 100 tons of debris each day to a nearby landfill.

"People with green uniform were collecting the garbage to move it away but the next day I saw the same situation," said German Claus Dignas, who claimed he saw more garbage with each visit to the island.

"No one wants to sit on nice beach chairs and facing all this rubbish," he added.

Bali's rubbish problem is at its worst during the annual monsoon season, when strong winds push marine flotsam onto the beach and swollen rivers wash rubbish from riverbanks to the coast, according to Putu Eka Merthawan from the local environment agency.

"This garbage does not come from people living in Kuta and nearby areas," he told AFP.

"It would be suicidal if Kuta people were doing it."

War on waste

Some 72 kilometres from Kuta, Mount Agung has been threatening to erupt for two months, prompting tourists to cancel visits and displacing tens of thousands of villagers living within a 10 kilometre-radius of the volcano's crater.

Indonesia is the world's second biggest contributor to marine debris after 
China (AFP Photo/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

But the island's waste problem is no less of a threat, said I Gede Hendrawan, an environmental oceanography researcher from Bali's Udayana University.

"Garbage is aesthetically disturbing to tourists, but plastic waste issue is way more serious," he told AFP.

"Microplastics can contaminate fish which, if eaten by humans, could cause health problems including cancer."

Indonesia is one of nearly 40 countries that are part of UN Environment's Clean Seas campaign, which aims to halt the tide of plastic trash polluting the oceans.

As part of its commitment, the government has pledged to reduce marine plastic waste by 70 percent by 2025.

It plans to boost recycling services, curb the use of plastic bags, launch cleanup campaigns and raise public awareness.

Still, the scale of the problem facing Indonesia is huge, due to its population of more than 250 million and poor waste processing infrastructure.

Hendrawan, who says both locals and tourists are responsible for the island's rubbish problem, urged authorities to invest more resources to tackle the problem.

"The Bali government should spare more budget to raise people's awareness to take care of local rivers, not to dump waste," he said.

"The central government should boost the campaign to reduce use of plastic packaging and ban free plastic bags at convenient stores."


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Australian gran escapes death in Malaysia drugs case

Yahoo – AFP, Patrick Lee, 27 December 2017

Exposto is escorted upon arrival in court before her acquittal

An Australian grandmother who said she was tricked into carrying drugs into Malaysia after falling for an online romance scam was Wednesday cleared of trafficking, a crime punishable by death.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto wept and hugged her son after being found not guilty of smuggling crystal methamphetamine, a rare outcome in a country where hundreds of people have been sentenced to death for drugs offences in recent years.

"I'm happy now that I'm free," said the 54-year-old, as she was ushered out of the courtroom after the verdict.

But prosecutors have indicated they want to appeal the acquittal, her lawyer said, meaning Exposto won't be able to go back home yet and there is still a chance she could be sentenced to death.

She was arrested in December 2014 while in transit at Kuala Lumpur airport with 1.1 kilos (2.4 pounds) of the drug stitched into the compartment of a backpack she was carrying.

The mother of four argued she did not know about the hidden stash of "ice". She said she had been fooled into carrying the bag after travelling to China to see someone she met online called "Captain Daniel Smith", who had claimed to be a US serviceman.

Anyone caught with at least 50 grams (1.75 ounces) of crystal meth is considered a trafficker in Muslim-majority Malaysia, and death by hanging is mandatory in the case of a conviction.

However handing down his verdict at the High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Judge Ghazali Cha accepted the defence's argument that Exposto did not know the bag contained drugs and acquitted her.

"I agree with the defence lawyer that the accused did not have knowledge about the drugs," he said.

"I believe that at that time her (Exposto) feelings of love towards 'Captain Daniel Smith' overcame everything, including her own husband, her family and her future."

Hundreds on death row

Exposto's lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah welcomed the verdict but said he was surprised at prosecutors' intention to appeal as the judge had sided firmly with the defence. Prosecutors have 14 days to lodge the challenge.

After engaging in a long online romance, Exposto had travelled to Shanghai to see "Smith".

But she did not succeed in meeting her supposed love interest while there and ended up being given a bag by a stranger, who asked her to take it to Melbourne.

When she arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to change flights, she mistakenly went through immigration as she was unfamiliar with the airport.

She voluntarily offered her bags for customs inspection and the drugs were discovered.

There are at least 900 people on death row in Malaysia, officials have said, but executions have been rare in recent years.

Malaysian lawmakers voted last year to amend legislation so that capital punishment is no longer mandatory in drug-trafficking cases.

But the changes have not yet come into force as they must be passed by the upper house, meaning that in the case of a conviction in Exposto's case, the judge would have had to impose the death penalty.

Two Australians were hanged in Malaysia in 1986 for heroin trafficking -- the first Westerners to be executed in the country -- in a case that strained relations.

In 2013 Dominic Bird, a former truck driver from Perth, was acquitted of drug trafficking charges after he was allegedly caught with 167 grams of crystal methamphetamine.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Soekarno-Hatta Airport Launches Sky Train

Jakarta Globe, December 26, 2017

The sky train at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport operates 20 hours
a day, from 4 a.m. to midnight. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Iqbal)
 

Jakarta. State-owned airport operator Angkasa Pura II launched the inter-terminal sky train, known as Kalayang, at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Tuesday (26/12).

The sky train will be operating 20 hours a day, from 4 a.m. to midnight, in line with the airport's operational hours.

Angkasa Pura II president director Muhammad Awaluddin said the sky train reflects the company's efforts in providing comfort to passengers and innovating the airport's services.

"We hope that with this new facility Soekarno-Hatta International Airport will become one of the best airports in the world and will be among the best airports on [airline ranking site] Skytrax," he said.

The train is now available at Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3.

"We plan to connect the sky train to Terminal 4 in the future, and to the sky hub commercial area," Awaluddin said.

A rail link to the airport from Sudirman Baru Station in Central Jakarta will also open on Tuesday. Tickets will be sold at a discounted price of Rp. 30,000 ($ 2.21). On Jan. 2 the fare will increase to Rp. 70,000.

The airport train will stop at the Duri and Batu Ceper stations before reaching the airport. Soon the link will be extended to Manggarai Station in South Jakarta.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Thai street food cook feels heat of Michelin fame

Yahoo – AFP, Joe Freeman, 21 December 2017

Jay Fai's eponymous streetside eatery shot to global fame overnight after it
was awarded a Michelin star this month at the launch of Bangkok's first guide

Wearing her trademark ski goggles for protection from flying sparks, Thai cook Jay Fai hunches over two sizzling woks as tourists from around the world line up in three-hour-long queues at her modest streetside eatery.

The 72-year-old's crab-stuffed omelettes have always been popular among local gourmands, but her eponymous restaurant shot to global fame overnight after it was awarded a Michelin star this month at the launch of Bangkok's first guide.

While she is proud of the achievement, former dressmaker Jay Fai is still adjusting to the media frenzy that has seized her open-air kitchen in Bangkok's old quarter.

"There are advantages and disadvantages," she told AFP as she flung ingredients into a wok, explaining she did not have time for a formal interview.

"The downside is being exhausted ... Also, the government wants me to promote Thailand. I feel like I don't have a choice," she added.

She has been asked to appear at the seaside town of Hua Hin for an international tennis tournament this weekend, where she will teach top-ranked players to make her signature crab omelette and the Thai soup dish Tom Yum Kung.

"I will not be selling for two days," she said ruefully, adding that she would even consider handing back the coveted star if it meant returning to her normal routine.

Any distraction from work means a loss of business for Jay Fai, whose spirited cooking style -- a flurry of activity from grabbing handfuls of raw seafood to dishing out plates of the finished product -- is one of the main attractions.

Her supersized portions of crab and jumbo prawns are also part of the draw, though the dishes are far pricier than the city's average street vendor at upwards of $20 a pop.

The unflashy eatery, which has partial indoor seating, was the only streetside venue among the 17 Bangkok restaurants awarded stars on December 6, when Michelin unveiled its first guide for the Thai capital.

Michelin only awards stars to establishments with fixed addresses, leaving many of Bangkok's famous roadside stalls out of the running at a time when the city is attempting to move them off the pavements and into organised markets.

Jay Fai had heard of the brand name Michelin but was not aware that the French tyre company had anything to do with cooking.

She is not the first chef to feel the heat over the flood of attention that comes with a Michelin star.

In September a chef in southern France with three stars said he wanted to be stripped of the award because of the "huge pressure" to meet its standards on a daily basis.

But Jay Fai's colleagues are not worried about her.

"She's quite strong. She never gets ill," said Kung, an assistant who has worked there for 10 years.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Constitutional Court Rejects Bid to Criminalize Extramarital Sex

Jakarta Globe, Sheany, December 15, 2017

The Constitutional Court on Thursday (14/12) rejected a petition by a conservative
 group to make extramarital and same-sex relationships illegal. (Antara Photo/
Rosa Panggabean)

Jakarta. The Constitutional Court on Thursday (14/12) rejected a petition by a conservative group to make extramarital and same-sex relationships illegal.

The court said the petition was legally baseless.

In May, a group of academics, some of them members of conservative group Family Love Alliance (AILA), filed a petition requesting the court to impose criminal penalties of up to five years in prison for all sex outside marriage.

Five of nine judges voted to dismiss the petition, arguing that new offenses should be introduced to the criminal code by lawmakers, not the Constitutional Court.

"Just because a law is considered incomplete or no longer in line with social norms does not mean it contradicts the Constitution," Judge Saldi Isra said.

Beside Saldi, the judges who rejected the petition are Maria Farida Indrawati, Manahan Sitompul, I Gede Palguna and Suhartoyo.

According to the Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat), the petition was an attempt to deteriorate Indonesia's human rights protection agenda. In a tweet it expressed hope that the court will not bow to group pressure.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

US man on the run after escaping notorious Bali prison

Yahoo – AFP, December 11, 2017

The pair made a break from the Indonesian resort island's main prison by cutting a
hole in the roof with a hacksaw, authorities said. It was not clear how they obtained
the tool (AFP Photo/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

Denpasar (Indonesia) (AFP) - A US man convicted on drugs charges escaped Bali's notorious Kerobokan jail in an early Monday morning jailbreak with another American prisoner who was caught almost immediately, an official said.

The pair made a break from the Indonesian resort island's main prison by cutting a hole in the roof with a hacksaw, authorities said. It was not clear how they obtained the tool.

Police are now scouring the palm-fringed island and handing out pictures of escapee Chrishan Beasley, a 32-year-old arrested in August for carrying five grams of hashish.

Foreigners are regularly arrested for drugs offences on Bali.

Beasley was awaiting a sentencing in his case. It was not immediately clear how much jail time he was facing, but Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drugs laws, with the death penalty available in some trafficking cases.

Beasley's accomplice in the escape, convicted thief Paul Anthony Hoffman, 57, was apprehended before he could make good on the escape.

"Paul was immediately recaptured by the locals who saw him trying to escape while Chrishan, who climbed up before him, managed to run away," Kerobokan chief warden Tonny Nainggolan told AFP.

Hoffman is serving a 20-month sentence for robbing a number of convenience stores at knifepoint.

Kerobokan houses some of the country's most notorious and high-profile inmates, including members of the so-called Bali Nine which plotted to bring heroin into Australia via Bali. Two members of the group have been executed.

Jailbreaks are common in Indonesia, where inmates are often held in unsanitary conditions at overcrowded and poorly guarded prisons.

In May, more than 200 inmates staged a mass breakout from an overcrowded prison on Sumatra island, while last year a convicted child murderer escaped from jail by putting on a woman's Muslim veil, make-up and sunglasses and walking out past unsuspecting guards.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bali paradise turns to tourist nightmare as volcano rumbles

Yahoo – AFP, Bagus SARAGIH, November 28, 2017

The structure of a typical volcano and the phases of an eruption (AFP
 Photo/Patrice Deré)

Denpasar (Indonesia) (AFP) - Cancelled flights, missed connections and expiring visas have turned Bali into a nightmare for thousands of tourists scrambling to leave, as a volcano on the Indonesian vacation paradise threatens a major eruption.

Hundreds of flights have been grounded as the main international airport was shuttered for a second day on Tuesday, leaving 120,000 stranded visitors in need of shelter -- or an exit plan.

Hundreds joined the mad rush to board buses headed to an international airport in Indonesia's second-biggest city Surabaya -- 13 hours' drive and a ferry ride away -- as torrential rains dampened spirits even more in one the world's top tourist draws.

The imminent eruption of Mount Agung may mean more five-star hotel living for some well-heeled visitors who are happy to sit out the minor inconvenience, but Mukesh Kumar Gupta and two-dozen members of his family aren't going to be staying at the Four Seasons.

"We are practically helpless -- how can we get back to India?" said the Chennai-based member of the heaving 26-member clan.

Gupta's family -- 23 adults and three kids -- arrived in Bali 10 days ago from different Indian cities.

They were all supposed to fly back Tuesday but now they say they are stuck, and nearly broke, as chaos ensued at the airport with frustrated travellers and overwhelmed staff.

"The refund money (from the airline) won't be enough to buy us new tickets," another family member, Navin Saraf from Kolkata, told AFP at Bali's main airport.

"We booked everything online beforehand, so we don't have much cash right now," he added.

Towering columns of thick grey smoke have been rising from Agung since last week, and in the last few days the volcano has begun shooting smoke and ash into the sky, forcing all flights to be grounded until at least Wednesday morning.

Ash is dangerous for planes as it makes runways slippery and can be sucked into their engines.

A flight information board shows the list of delayed flights due to the volcano at the
Ngurah Rai International airport in Denpasar, Bali on November 28, 2017 (AFP Photo/
JUNI KRISWANTO)

'Nobody's fault'

Agung is 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the beach-and-sandal tourist hub of Kuta, but that wasn't making German student Alex Thamm feel much better.

"We are supposed to go back to Germany via Singapore on (Friday) but the situation seems not good," he said nervously.

"Is it dangerous here? Do you think [the volcano] will explode?"

The delays weren't putting a smile on Juan Gajun's face either, after he missed a connecting flight Monday.

"We have to leave the island and we can't. We were planning to go to Singapore but we have to stay here for I don't know, maybe two or three days more," said the 30-year-old Argentine.

Colin Cavy, a French dive master who has been in Indonesia for a couple of months, had other problems.

"I've just come to Bali two days ago to leave the country," he told AFP.

"My visa has expired...I need to go to the immigration office."

Meanwhile, cash-strapped Gupta and his bulging brood were weighing their options, which he lamented would not include help from India's consulate in Bali.

"No one can beat nature, but at least people can help," said Gupta's relative Abhisek Garg, who lives in Delhi.

They might want to call inn operator I Wayan Yastina Joni, who is among the few hoteliers willing to take up an appeal by Bali's governor and tourism agency to supply free rooms to out-of-luck visitors.

"I don't mind giving free accommodation for tourists I already know," said the owner of the Pondok Denayu Homestay.

"This is nobody's fault. It's a natural disaster that no one expected."


Monday, November 27, 2017

Tourists have been left stranded on the Indonesian island of Bali after a volcanic eruption

Sunday, November 26, 2017

West Java Celebrates Angklung Day

Jakarta Globe, November 19, 2017

West Java held Angklung’s Day at the Sate Building in Bandung, on Sunday (19/11),
to celebrate the traditional bamboo musical instrument's entry into Unesco’s Intangible
Heritage list seven years ago. (Photo courtesy of Tourism Ministry)

Jakarta. West Java held Angklung Day at the Sate Building in Bandung, West Java, on Sunday (19/11), to celebrate the traditional bamboo musical instrument's entry into Unesco’s Intangible Heritage list seven years ago.

"Through the event, participants will always remember the ancestral culture and preserve it," Wawan Gunawan, the ministry's head of cultural promotion, said in a statement.

Art communities Saung Angklung Udjo and Keluarga Besar Bumi Siliwangi of the Indonesia Education University (UPI) participated in arranging the event, which was joined by 6,000 people.

The participants came from regions across West Java, including students of kindergarten, elementary, junior and high schools.

Kenny Kaniasari, head of the Bandung Tourism Agency, hoped that by inviting students as participants, they can appreciate local culture more.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the event is a real manifestation of West Java community in an effort to preserve and improve the art of Angklung.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Local people battle to free nine beached sperm whales stranded in #AcehBesar, Indonesia


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Indonesian museum removes Nazi-themed exhibit after outrage

Yahoo – AFP, November 11, 2017

An Indonesian woman take a selfie with a life-size wax sculpture of Adolf Hitler
at a museum in Yogyakarta (AFP Photo/Henryanto)

An Indonesian museum that allowed visitors to take selfies with a life-size wax sculpture of Hitler against a backdrop of Auschwitz concentration camp has removed the exhibit following international outrage, the manager said Saturday.

De ARCA Statue Art Museum in the Javanese city of Jogjakarta drew swift condemnation from rights groups after details of the controversial display were published in foreign media.

The exhibit features a sure-footed Hitler standing in front of a huge photo of the gates of Auschwitz -- the largest Nazi concentration camp where more than 1.1 million people were killed.

The museum’s operations manager, Jamie Misbah, said the the wax sculpture had been removed after the building was alerted to criticism from prominent Jewish human rights organisation the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

"We don’t want to attract outrage," Misbah told AFP.

"Our purpose to display the Hitler figure in the museum is to educate."

The Hitler sculpture is one of about 80 figures, including world leaders and celebrities, at the wax and visual effects centre.

The Nazi-themed exhibit was a popular attraction for visitors to take selfies, and photos circulating on social media show customers -- including children -- posing with Hitler and in some cases using the Nazi salute.

Misbah said he thought it was "normal' for visitors to take photos in front of displays, but said the museum respected the exhibit had upset people from around the world.

Historians have blamed poor schooling for the lack of awareness and sensitivity about the Holocaust in Indonesia, which is home to the world's biggest Muslim population and a small number of Jews.

In January, a controversial Nazi-themed cafe in the western Javanese city of Bandung closed.

The venue, which featured swastika-bearing walls and photos of Hitler, sparked global uproar when reports about the unusual venue surfaced several years ago.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Riyadh's palatial Ritz-Carlton has reportedly morphed into a makeshift prison after the kingdom's unprecedented crackdown on its coddled elite

Friday, November 10, 2017

Advocacy Groups, Celebrities Call for End to Barbaric Dog Meat Trade in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe, Dhania Sarahtika, November 09, 2017

An animal rights collective, known as Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition,
together with world-renowned celebrities launched a global campaign to stop
the trade in dog meat on Thursday (02/11) at Hotel Gran Mahakam in South
Jakarta, in light of recent disturbing findings of animal cruelty in the Southeast
Asian country. (Photo courtesy of Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition)

Jakarta. An animal rights collective, known as Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition, together with world-renowned celebrities launched a global campaign to stop the trade in dog meat on Thursday (02/11) at Hotel Gran Mahakam in South Jakarta, in light of recent disturbing findings of animal cruelty in the Southeast Asian country.

The coalition consists of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN), Animal Friends Jogja (AFJ), Change for Animals Foundation and Humane Society International. Celebrities taking part in the initiative include British actors Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Peter Egan, as well as Indonesian singer Gamaliel Tapiheru and actresses Sophia Latjuba and Chelsea Islan.

The campaign video, titled "I Didn’t Know," shows terrified-looking dogs in sacks and trucks being transported to slaughterhouses. The celebrities have invited viewers to join the campaign and sign an online petition.

"I didn’t know the magnitude. Literally millions of dogs are slaughtered for food in Indonesia every year. It has to be condemned and we have to stop it," Gervais said in the video.

"We have the ability to be their voice and defend them. Though they don’t talk, it doesn’t mean that they want to be killed, especially in a cruel way," Sophia said during the press conference.

Other celebrities, who did not take part in the official video campaign yet are animal activists, also spoke up.

"Dogs are like my children. If something happens to them, I will chase the criminal to court or to hell if I need to," singer Melani Subono said.

Cruelty Beyond Belief

Halting animal cruelty is the main impetus behind the initiative. According to JAAN co-founder Karin Franken, a series of investigations that have been carried out since late 2014 revealed that about a million dogs in Indonesia are brutally killed every year.

The investigations started after an increase in the number of reports of missing dogs and passersby seeing dogs roughly snatched from the streets and private properties.

Several key areas in the meat trade chain include Manado (North Sulawesi), Java, Bali, Sumatra, and Flores (East Nusa Tenggara).

Dogs are usually crammed onto the back of trucks for a long drive with their legs and mouths bound with string.

"I tracked the suppliers up to the slaughterhouses. The dogs were all in terrible fear and some even died en route," AFJ co-founder Angelina Pane, who conducted investigations in Solo (Central Java) and Yogyakarta, said.

She witnessed dogs being beaten to death by their handlers.

National Health Threat

Less than 7 percent of Indonesians eat dog meat, but are still at risk due to the transmission of rabies and other zoonotic diseases due to a lack of reporting on the animals' health before being slaughtered and miserable and unsanitary slaughterhouse conditions.

"One of our investigations shows that dogs from Cianjur [West Java] were butchered and the leftovers were thrown into the gutter," Franken said.

Provinces that have achieved rabies-free statuses, like Jakarta and Yogyakarta, are still vulnerable to the disease since they import dog meat from places like Bali and Cianjur, where there are many reported cases of rabies. The country has set a target of achieving zero rabies cases by 2020.

Progress in Law Enforcement

So far there are no laws banning people from eating and trading dog meat in the country. Because eating dog is already part of some cultures, particularly among non-Muslim Manadonese and Bataknese communities, deeming it illegal is not an easy process.

Existing animal welfare laws are not a reliable measure to stop the barbaric slaughtering because they do not pose severe enough punishments against people who commit animal cruelty. According to Law No. 41/2014, which is the revised version of Law No. 18/2009 on Husbandry and Animal Health, a person who abuses an animal faces only one to six months in prison or a maximum fine of Rp 5,000,000 ($370).

However, AFJ has held meetings with the Solo Legislative Council (DPRD) on the matter.

Focus group discussions have also been held in tandem with the Yogyakarta Provincial Administration to draft a new regulation on the meat trade. The regulation will state that sold meat must comply with a series of principles, abbreviated to "ASUH," which translates to safe, healthy, undamaged and halal.

Since dog meat is commonly considered non-halal by Muslims, the provisional regulation is expected to be a baby step towards ending the trade, though Angelina claimed that religion actually has nothing to do with the dog trade because most of the butchers she met were Muslims.

In Jakarta, JAAN has collaborated with the Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Security Agency (Dinas KPKP) to educate the public by hosting workshops on spaying and neutering pets, vaccination and responsible pet ownership to avoid an increased population of stray or ill dogs.

They are also in talks of introducing pet microchips to help owners track their stolen pets.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Indonesia to open first contemporary art gallery

Yahoo – AFP, Harry PEARL, November 3, 2017

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation of more than 250 million people, is home
to a vibrant art scene but lacks high-quality museums (AFP Photo/BAY ISMOYO)

Jakarta (AFP) - Indonesia's first international gallery of contemporary art opens Saturday, bringing together works by Ai Weiwei, Mark Rothko and Indonesian masters in a freeflowing modern space overlooking the Jakarta skyline.

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN) holds nearly 800 paintings and sculptures, and aims to provide a world-class gallery to a country starved of quality museum infrastructure.

The collection, mostly acquired by businessman Haryanto Adikoesoemo over the past 25 years, is showcased in an airy 4,000 square metre space on the fifth floor of a city tower.

Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation of more than 250 million people, is home to a vibrant art scene but lacks high-quality museums.

"What we are offering is something very different to what already exists in Indonesia. We are one of kind in a sense of our international and national focus," museum director Aaron Seeto told AFP.

The opening underlines growing interest in Southeast Asian art and comes amid a number of high-profile gallery launches this year outside of Europe and North America.

Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCAA opened in September and the Louvre Abu Dhabi is set to open this month.

Seeto said Museum MACAN is uniquely positioned to boost the profile of Southeast Asian art.

"We really want to encourage cultural exchange, but also working relationships with other museums around the world."

Around half the museum's collection is Indonesian, and the remainder takes in international works including paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Willem de Kooning, and sculptures by Yayoi Kusama and Damien Hirst.

Designed by London’s MET Studio, the museum will also feature conservation and education spaces, which Seeto hopes will help boost the appreciation of art within Indonesia.

The museum occupies an airy 4,000 square metre space on the fifth floor of 
a city tower (AFP Photo/BAY ISMOYO)

Civic role

The gallery's inaugural exhibition "Art Turns. World Turns" features 90 pieces from Indonesian and international artists.

Works by Raden Saleh, the founder of modern Indonesian painting, hang alongside pop artist Andy Warhol and Chinese realist Luo Zhongli.

Several pieces tackle issues pertinent to current political debate in Indonesia.

FX Harsono weighs in on the treatment of ethnic-Chinese minorities in his painting "Wipe Out #1", while Balinese artist Dewa Ngakan Made Ardana addresses Indonesia’s 1960s anti-communist massacres in "A Father is Trying to Collect the Memories of His Family".

Arahmaiani Feisal’s painting "Lingga-Yoni", meanwhile, is being displayed for the first time since she was forced to flee Indonesia in the 1990s.

The painting, which overlays Hindu iconography of male and female genitalia on Arabic script, infuriated Islamic hardliners who threatened to kill her.

Seeto said the piece was an important acquisition for the museum and highlights the future role it can play in fostering discussion.

"Even though we are a private museum we very much consider that what we do occurs within the public sphere," he said.

"The museum has a civic responsibility".