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. …

Friday, December 28, 2018

Indonesia hikes danger level for deadly tsunami volcano

Yahoo – AFP, Kiki Siregar, Dessy SAGITA, 27 December 2018

Indonesian authorities raised Anak Krakatoa's status to high alert, the
second-highest danger warning

Indonesia on Thursday raised the danger alert level for an erupting volcano that sparked a killer tsunami at the weekend, after earlier warning that fresh activity at the crater threatened to trigger another deadly wave.

Authorities also widened a no-go zone around rumbling Anak Krakatoa to five kilometres (three miles) -- up from a previous two kilometres -- and warned shell-shocked residents to stay away from the coast, after more than 400 were killed by Saturday night's wave.

Plumes of ash burst into the sky as pyroclastic flows -- hot gas and other volcanic material -- flowed down the crater, threatening anyone too close to the volcano and raising the risk of rough seas for boats in the vicinity.

"There is a danger of more eruptions," said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

"People (near the volcano) could be hit by hot rocks, pyroclastic flows and thick ash."

Authorities raised the crater's status to high alert, the second-highest warning on the country's four-point danger scale, while aviation officials ordered flights to be redirected away from the area.

Indonesia is one of the most disaster-hit nations on Earth due to its position 
straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire

'Just pray for us'

The new flows posed no immediate danger to nearby towns as the volcano sits in the middle of the Sunda Strait between Java and Sumatra islands.

But the status change sparked new fears with many residents already scared and refusing to return to their communities over fears of another tsunami.

"This worries me," said Ugi Sugiarti, a cook at the Augusta Hotel in hard-hit Carita. "I've already left."

Sukma, a security guard at the shattered Mutiara Carita Cottages, added: "Just please pray for us and that everything will be okay."

A section of the crater -- which emerged at the site of the Krakatoa volcano, whose massive 1883 eruption killed at least 36,000 people -- collapsed after an eruption and slid into the ocean, triggering Saturday night's killer wave.

Before and after satellite images taken by Japan's space agency showed that a two square kilometre chunk of the volcanic island had collapsed into the water.

At least 430 people were killed in the disaster, with 1,495 people injured and another 159 were missing.

Children take part in a trauma healing programme in Labuhan in Banten Province 
after the devastating tsunami

Nearly 22,000 people have been evacuated and are living in shelters.

On Wednesday evening, the disaster agency said that wind was blowing "ash and sand" from the volcano to the nearby towns of Cilegon and Serang on Java, and advised residents to wear masks and glasses if they had to venture outdoors.

Early warning system

Torrential rains have sparked flooding in some areas, hampering the relief effort and heaping more misery on the stricken region, as thousands cram emergency shelters.

Medical workers have warned that clean water and medicine supplies were running low -- stoking fears of a public health crisis.

Indonesia, a vast Southeast Asian archipelago, is one of the most disaster-hit nations on Earth due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide.

The change in the volcano's danger status sparked new fears with many local 
residents already scared and refusing to return to their communities over 
fears of another tsunami

The tsunami was Indonesia's third major natural disaster in six months, following a series of powerful earthquakes on the island of Lombok in July and August and a quake-tsunami in September that killed around 2,200 people in Palu on Sulawesi island, with thousands more missing and presumed dead.

The disaster agency has said it installed new sensors to better monitor tremors at the volatile volcano.

The agency initially said there was no tsunami threat at all, even as the killer wave crashed ashore.

It was later forced to issue a correction and an apology as it pointed to a lack of early warning systems for the high death toll.

One of the hardest-hit areas -- Tanjung Lesung -- is on a list of 10 destinations that Jakarta wants to turn into another Bali, the holiday island hotspot which draws millions of tourists annually.

"We need to have (tsunami) early warning systems, especially in tourist destinations," Indonesia's tourism minister Arief Yahya said Thursday.

"We're going to make that happen."

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Tiny Indonesian church prays for tsunami victims on Christmas day

Yahoo – AFP, December 25, 2018

Carita was one of the worst-hit areas (AFP Photo/ADEK BERRY)

A few dozen congregants gathered at a little church just outside Indonesia's tsunami disaster zone on Christmas day to pray for the victims of the deadly disaster.

Anita Sitorus led a sombre service at the Rahmat Carita Pentecostal church near one of the worst-hit areas on the western edge of Java island.

"After this incident, God let us continue to serve the people, and especially this is a chance to serve you God better," church head Sitorus said, a large cross on the wall behind her.

"To serve our brothers and sisters better, to do something for this area for the people who were victims of the tsunami.

"This is the time to say that you God are present in Carita," she added. "You are in Carita, your church is in Pandeglang (regency), in this tiny town."

Indonesia is a Muslim majority nation but it has a Christian minority, with services held Tuesday nationwide to celebrate Christmas -- and pray for those affected by the deadly tsunami.

"This Christmas is different because we're celebrating it during a disaster," Rahmat Carita congregant Eliza told AFP.

"For me, it's a chance to contemplate. God's love is real, we must not forget that."

The powerful tsunami struck Saturday night and without warning, sweeping over popular beaches on southern Sumatra and the western edge of Java and inundating tourist hotels and coastal settlements.

More than 400 people have been killed and thousands more have been displaced, with many left homeless after houses were flattened by the deadly wave.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Indonesia's angry 'Child of Krakatoa' rumbles on

Yahoo – AFP, December 23, 2018

Anak Krakatoa, the 'child' of the Krakatoa volcano, caused the tsunami,
officials said (AFP Photo/FERDI AWED)

Jakarta (AFP) - The volcano that triggered a deadly tsunami in Indonesia late Saturday emerged from the sea around the legendary Krakatoa 90 years ago and has been on a high-level eruption watchlist for the past decade.

Anak Krakatoa (the "Child of Krakatoa") has been particularly active since June, occasionally sending massive plumes of ash high into the sky and in October a tour boat was nearly hit by lava bombs from the erupting volcano.

Experts say Anak Krakatoa emerged around 1928 in the caldera of Krakatoa, a volcanic island that violently erupted in 1883.

With subsequent lava flows it grew from a submarine setting to become a small volcanic island, with the cone now standing at an altitude of around 300 metres (1,000 feet) above sea level.

Since its birth, Anak Krakatoa has been in a "state of semi-continuous eruptive activity", growing bigger as it experiences eruptions every two to three years, volcanology professor Ray Cas from Monash University in Australia told AFP.

Anak Krakatoa (shown during an eruption in July 2018) has remained active 
since it emerged from the sea nearly 90 years ago (AFP Photo/FERDI AWED)

"Most of the eruptions are relatively small on the scale of explosive eruptions ... and there's also eruptions that produce lava flows," he added.

Cas said the latest event appeared to be "a relatively small explosive eruption" but could then have triggered or coincided with a submarine event like a landslide or earthquake, causing the deadly tsunami.

No one lives on the island, but the peak is popular with tourists and is a major study area for volcanologists.

The island is part of the Ujung Kulon National Park, "demonstrating on-going evolution of geological processes", since the Krakatoa eruption, UNESCO says on its World Heritage site listing for the area.

When Krakatoa erupted on August 27, 1883 it shot a column of ash more than 20 kilometres (12 miles) into the air in a series of powerful explosions that were heard in Australia and up to 4,500 kilometres away near Mauritius.

The Pacific Ring of Fire (AFP Photo/Sabrina BLANCHARD)

The massive cloud of ash plunged the area into darkness for two days. The dust gave rise to spectacular sunsets and sunrises around the world the following year and disrupted weather patterns for years.

The tsunami triggered by the eruption killed more than 36,000 people in one of the world's worst natural disasters.

Indonesia's proximity to the junction of three continental plates, which jostle under immense pressure, makes it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes and eruptions.

The archipelago nation has nearly 130 active volcanoes, forming part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire" -- an arc of intense seismic activity that stretches from quake-prone Japan through Southeast Asia and across the Pacific basin.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Indonesian third-grader's 'school crawl' becomes sensation

Yahoo – AFP, December 20, 2018

Mukhlis Abdul Holik's heartwarming story has become a sensation across

Sukabumi (Indonesia) (AFP) - Indonesian third-grader Mukhlis Abdul Holik begins the long haul to school with a knapsack strapped to his back and hands stuffed into a pair of sandals -- to guard against road burn.

It is no ordinary trip for the eight-year-old. He has severely deformed feet and legs so tiny that he only reaches up to his classmates' waists when standing.

With his mom in tow, the gap-toothed pupil crawls from his West Java village across rocky paths and an old wooden bridge that he navigates on his hands alone, as his sneakers dangle in the air.

Holik crawls from his West Java village across rocky paths and an old wooden 
bridge that he navigates on his hands alone, as his sneakers dangle in the air 

Holik's heartwarming story has become a sensation across the country of 260 million, and earned him a meeting with Indonesian president Joko Widodo, after media covered his trip to school and back -- a distance of nearly six kilometres.

"The road is steep but he crawls every day," said Holik's mother Pipin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

"If we've got money, then he can take a motorcycle taxi but if things are tight, he's got to crawl. He never complains.... rain or shine, he always goes to school."

Holik declared himself "very happy" after meeting Indonesian President 

Holik met the country's leader on December 3 -- the UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

"I asked Abdul when we met if he wanted anything from me," Widodo said in a statement.

"I thought he'd want me to give him a present. But he didn't want anything. He just said he wanted to go to university."

The pupil declared himself "very happy" for meeting his idol Widodo, who got a full report on Holik's ambitious future plans.

"I want to be a firefighter, a doctor and an astronaut," he told AFP.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

US returns war trophy bells to Philippines

Yahoo – AFP, Ayee Macaraig, December 11, 2018

The bells will be sent back later this week to the church in the central town of
Balangiga where they were looted by US soldiers avenging a surprise attack that
killed 48 of their comrades on September 28, 1901 (AFP Photo/TED ALJIBE)

Manila (AFP) - Church bells seized from the Philippines by US troops as war trophies over a century ago were returned on Tuesday, in a bid to turn the page on a difficult chapter between the historical allies.

Giving back the three so-called Balangiga bells meets a decades-old demand from the former US colony at a time when the two nations' ties have been rattled by President Rodrigo Duterte's pivot to China.

"Returning these bells is the right thing to do," US Ambassador Sung Kim said at a sober handover ceremony on a Manila airfield, where a cheer went up when the bells were pulled from wooden crates.

"It is my great honour to be here at the closing of a painful chapter in our history," he told the crowd that included people who had lobbied for years to bring the bells home.

Residents from Balangiga town pose for photos next to one of the three 
Balangiga church bells shortly after it arrived (AFP Photo/TED ALJIBE)

The bells will be sent back later this week to the church in the central town of Balangiga where they were looted by US soldiers avenging a surprise attack that killed 48 of their comrades on September 28, 1901.

In reprisal, the US commander Jacob Smith ordered the surrounding island of Samar be turned into a "howling wilderness", resulting in the slaughter of thousands of Filipinos and Balangiga's razing.

The return of the bronze bells has been divisive with some US veterans and lawmakers, who see them as a tribute to fallen American troops, while the Philippines hails them as a symbol of its struggle for independence.

Two of the bells had been on display in the US state of Wyoming and the other in South Korea until being restored and flown to a Manila air base Tuesday aboard an American military cargo plane.

The bells were flown to a Manila Tuesday aboard an American military cargo
plane (AFP Photo/TED ALJIBE)

'Ring again after 117 years'

"It is time for healing. It is time for closure. It is a time to look ahead as two nations should with shared history and as allies," Philippine secretary of defence Delfin Lorenzana said.

"After 117 years the sound of the bells will once again ring," he added.

Manila's push for the bells' repatriation began in the 1990s and has had backing from Philippine presidents as well as from the Catholic Church and historians, but also supporters in the US.

Duterte, 73, bluntly called on Washington in a 2017 speech -- where Kim was in the audience -- "Give us back those Balangiga bells. They are not yours."

Within months of winning the presidency in mid-2016 he signalled his intention to split with the Philippines' former colonial master and end a standoff with Beijing over the disputed South China Sea.

Philippine's Ambassador to the US Jose Romualdez visited the bells at a 
Wyoming air base with US Defense Secretary James Mattis earlier this year, 
after the US announced they would be returned (AFP Photo/Braydon Williams)

The president did not attend Tuesday's handover, but is due to speak at a ceremony Saturday in Balangiga when the bells -– which weigh a combined 408 kilograms (900 pounds) -– will be given back to the church.

Salvador Panelo, the president's spokesman, claimed a lot of the credit for Duterte, pointing to his "strong political will". However, experts said the process had been complicated.

"No single president can claim credit to it," Francis Gealogo, history professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, told AFP. "The credit should be given to the Filipino people who campaigned vigorously and actively."

A key factor was also major American veterans' associations, including the largest group Veterans of Foreign Wars, dropping their opposition to the bells being given back.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Paradise regained? Sharks return to Thai bay popularised by 'The Beach'

Yahoo – AFP, November 30, 2018

Authorities shut the area to the public to let Maya Bay recover (AFP Photo/Handout)

Bangkok (AFP) - Thai conservationists have welcomed footage of reef sharks gliding through the azure waters of Maya Bay as a "positive sign" of recovery six months after the closure of a tourist hot-spot made famous by the movie "The Beach".

The bay, circled by dramatic limestone cliffs on Ko Phi Phi Ley island, was made famous by the 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

But the movie prompted hordes of tourists to sweep in on a daily of flotilla of motor boats, damaging the coral ecosystem and eroding the once pristine white sand beach.

Authorities shut the park temporarily to the public in June but later extended the closure indefinitely to let the bay recover.

On Friday park officials shared video of dozens of blacktip reef sharks serenely swimming close to the beach -- images unimaginable just weeks ago as tourists jostled for selfies on the white sand.

"Come and count sharks!" the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department said in a Facebook post.

"It's a good sign that Maya Bay has changed and that change is positive," the post added.

A Thai marine biologist prominent in the campaign to close Maya Bay hailed the shark video as "beyond imagination, unbelievable".

The 2000 movie 'The Beach' prompted hordes of tourists to visit, damaging the 
coral ecosystem and eroding the once pristine white sand beach (AFP Photo/

"How do I feel? Tearful," Thon Thamrongnawasawat said in a Faceboook post.

"At the beginning I never thought (the rehabilitation) would be as good as this in only six months."

Authorities have not said if, or when, the bay will open.

"The reef will take a longer time to recover," an official from the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department said requesting anonymity.

Thailand's idyllic beaches are under increasing strain from huge numbers of tourists and accompanying development in remote and fragile ecosystems.

The country drew around 35 million visitors last year.

Many flock to the town of Krabi where boat trips carried visitors to nearby islands replete with opportunities for snorkelling and selfies -- among them Maya Bay.

Monday, November 19, 2018

'Moral panic' targets Indonesia's LGBT community

Yahoo – AFP, Kiki Siregar, November 18, 2018

Thousands of anti-LGBT demonstrators took to the streets earlier this month calling for
action to prevent a lifestyle they see as immoral (AFP Photo/Sandika Fadilah Rusdani)

Indonesian Budi Ahmad used to live openly as a gay man without fear of becoming a target for violence in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation. Not any more.

The country of 260 million is in the grip of a moral panic, with critics saying the vulnerable LGBT minority is being used as a political punching bag in the run-up to 2019 elections.

Hardline rhetoric and a string of arrests have raised fears among the community.

"There could be more persecution and we're scared that the public might become vigilantes," said Ahmad, who agreed to speak to AFP using a pseudonym.

The 29-year-old, from a small town in the province of West Sumatra, said family and friends in the tight-knit area have long been aware of his sexual orientation.

But he said the public mood was turning increasingly ugly and he was now confronted with deepening hostility.

"People look at me wherever I go these days. Some avoid me," said Ahmad of his non-traditional masculine image.

"Now when I go to withdraw money from the ATM, for example, there are people staring at me. It never used to be this bad."

Indonesia's LGBT community has always been vilified as immoral.

But the recent police crackdown -- including authorities hosing down a group of transgender women in what they called a "mandatory bath" -- comes against the backdrop of a recent lurch toward religious conservatism.

The shift, led by increasingly powerful hardliners, has dented Indonesia's reputation for moderate Islam.

Last week, thousands of anti-LGBT demonstrators marched outside the capital Jakarta, as some local politicians called for carte blanche to detain and "rehabilitate" members of the minority.

Several mosques in West Java were recently urged by the local government to conduct sermons on the dangers of homosexuality.

And Indonesia's biggest Muslim organisation -- the 80-million-member Nahdlatul Ulama -- has called for a clampdown on same-sex relations.

'Cynical political gain'

Concerns have been aggravated by president Joko Widodo selecting a conservative cleric, known for his disparaging views of the gay community and other minorities, as his running mate for next year's elections.

A poll this year showed nearly 90 percent of Indonesians felt "threatened" by the LGBT community, while a 2013 Pew survey said 72 percent of Indonesian Muslims supported replacing the secular code with Islamic law, which bans gay sex.

"(The elections) could mean an uptick in politicians scapegoating... people for cynical political gain," said Human Rights Watch researcher Kyle Knight.

"The verbal threats politicians issue can quickly metastasise into physical attacks."

Police arrested at least 300 suspected LGBT people last year -- a record -- mostly under an anti-pornography law as homosexuality and gay sex are legal in Indonesia.

This month, 10 people described as "suspected lesbians" were arrested in West Sumatra, following the detention of another eight lesbians and transgender people in October.

"This situation is alarming as the hateful abuses by law enforcement bodies... are seen as a normal practice by many people," said Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia's Executive Director.

'Eradicate LGBT'

Officials are unfazed by the criticism.

"We're being consistent in our efforts to eradicate LGBT (behaviour) because it's very destructive," said West Sumatra deputy governor Nasrul Abit, adding that thousands of people were having "deviant sex" in the region.

Parliament is considering a move to criminalise sex outside marriage -- including gay couples -- while the health ministry previously announced plans to release a medical guide classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The UN human rights chief and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have criticised the proposed legal overhaul.

Authorities have also taken aim at social media, arresting two men for links to a LGBT community Facebook page.

Google in January pulled one of the world's largest gay dating apps from the Indonesian version of its online store in response to government demands.

'This is wrong'

The latest crackdown can be traced back to 2016 when Indonesia's higher education minister Mohamad Nasir called for LGBT student groups to be banned from universities, and the defence minister criticised gay and trans rights activism, Human Rights Watch said.

Since then, police have raided nightclubs, saunas, hair salons, hotels and even private homes in pursuit of LGBT people.

Gay people have been publicly flogged in Aceh under the province's Islamic legal code.

Local police there made global headlines when they arrested a dozen transgender people and publicly humiliated them by chopping off their long hair and forcing them to wear men's clothes.

But there are few hopes that Widodo or other senior officials vying for re-election will protect a widely hated minority, said HRW researcher Andreas Harsono.

"We need leaders who have the courage to say this is wrong."

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Lost in translation: Papua New Guinea wins the language Olympics

Yahoo – AFP, Andrew BEATTY, 15 November 2018

Papua New Guinea is a linguist's paradise with one in 10 of the world's
languages found here

If you are travelling to Papua New Guinea, you don't need to pack a phrasebook, you need to bring an entire library. With 841 living tongues and a colourful creole lingua franca, this Pacific nation is the undisputed world champion of linguistic diversity.

From Pii in the mist-cloaked highlands to Toaripi on the shores of the gleaming Coral Sea, Papua New Guinea is a linguist's paradise with one in 10 of the world's languages found here.

The number of speakers of individual languages can range from a handful of people in the jungle -- not much more than an extended family -- to millions spread across provinces and terrains.

Experts point to the country's relatively weak central government, deep valleys, almost impenetrable vegetation and roughly 600 islands to explain why a country of eight million people and smaller than Spain has such a bounty of languages, when 46 million Spaniards -- for all practical purposes -- make do with a dozen or so.

Many of these diverse tongues have developed undisturbed over tens of thousands of years, making Papua New Guinea something of a linguistic Galapagos.

To get by day-to-day, Papua New Guineans typically speak three to five languages, and understand many more dialects.

But ironically they can sometimes struggle to render a simple sentence in one language into their mother tongue -- particularly when discussing numbers over 10 or when rural-based languages are deployed to describe life in the big city.

When asked to say "there are more than 800 languages in Papua New Guinea" in Vula'a -- which has a couple of thousand speakers in the central province -- Port Moresby office worker Sonia Pegi has to call her dad just to make sure she has it right.

Graphic charting social indicators for Papua New Guinea, venue
 for the APEC summit

'Pidgin English'

The country's most widely spoken language is pidgin English or Tok Pisin, although this being Papua New Guinea, Tok Pisin only claimed its lingua franca status after beating out a pretender in the form of semi-creole Austronesian language Hiri Motu.

Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu and English are the country's three official languages.

"Tok Pisin is derived 80-85 percent from English," said Jenny Homerang who is starting a pidgin language course at the Australian National University in Canberra. "But you also have bits of German and bits of Portuguese."

In fact, Tok Pisin is something of a linguistic sponge, soaking up words from languages as distant as Taiwanese and Zulu, which dominates the southeastern corner of Africa.

Suspected sorcerers -- who in Papua New Guinea can often be the victims of extreme violence -- are referred to as "sangoma", a word familiar to anyone living in Johannesburg or Durban.

Tok Pisin is also a deeply expressive language: you can 'bagarap' your car in an accident, or relieve yourself in the 'sithaus'.

But sometimes things get lost in translation. 'Ol' means 'they', not 'all', which can confuse a first-time visitor.

Similarly, 'lukim yu bihan' is not an instruction to turn around, but a way of saying 'goodbye'.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

All 189 on board crashed Indonesian jet feared dead

Yahoo – AFP, Harry PEARL, October 29, 2018

Debris apparently from the crashed jet was pulled out of the water (AFP Photo/Handout)

All 189 passengers and crew aboard a crashed Indonesian Lion Air jet were likely killed in the accident, rescue officials said Monday, as they announced they had found human remains and would continue the grim search through the night.

The Boeing-737 MAX, which went into service just months ago, vanished from radar 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta, plunging into the Java Sea moments after it had asked to return to the Indonesian capital.

Flight JT 610 sped up as it suddenly lost altitude in the minutes before it disappeared, according to flight data tracking websites, with authorities saying witnesses saw the jet plunge into the water.

"The victims that we found, their bodies were no longer intact and it's been hours so it is likely 189 people have died," search and rescue agency operational director Bambang Suryo Aji told reporters.

Some 40 divers are part of about 150 personnel at the scene, authorities said, with wreckage from the jet some 30 to 40 metres deep in the water.

Earlier, video footage apparently filmed at the scene of the crash showed a slick of fuel on the surface of the water and pictures showed what appeared to be an emergency slide and bits of wreckage bearing Lion Air's logo.

Distraught family of passengers gathered at Pangkal Pinang airport, where the
plane had been headed (AFP Photo/HADI SUTRISNO)

The carrier acknowledged that the jet had previously been grounded for unspecified repairs.

"It's really a mystery what could have happened," said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor of industry publication Flightglobal.

The plane had been en route to Pangkal Pinang city, a jumping off point for beach-and-sun seeking tourists on nearby Belitung island, when it dropped out of contact around 6:30 am (2330 GMT).

Former professional cyclist Andrea Manfredi was a passenger on the flight, the Italian foreign ministry said.

"The memory of a serious guy and in love with his sport, will remain indelible in the minds of all those who, in these years, have had the good fortune to know him," Bardiani-CSF, Manfredi's former team, said in a statement.

'He called this morning'

Footage from Pangkal Pinang's main airport showed families of passengers crying and hugging each other, with some calling out to god.

A fuel slick was spotted at the site where the Lion Air plane is believed to have 
crashed into the sea (AFP Photo/Handout)

"This morning he called asking about our youngest son," said a sobbing Ermayati, referring to her 45-year-old husband Muhammed Syafii, who was on board.

There were 178 adult passengers, one child, two infants, two pilots and six cabin crew aboard the flight, according to Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC).

About 20 finance ministry employees were on the plane including half a dozen colleagues of Sony Setiawan, who missed check in for a flight he took weekly due to bad traffic.

"I know my friends were on that flight," he told AFP.

Setiawan said he was only informed about his lucky escape after he arrived in Pangkal Pinang on another flight.

"My family was in shock and my mother cried, but I told them I was safe, so I just have to be grateful."

Lion Air said the plane had only gone into service in August.

The pilot and co-pilot had more than 11,000 hours of flying time between them and had recent medical checkups and drug testing, it added.

Lion Air chief Edward Sirait said the plane had an unspecified technical issue fixed in Bali before it was flown back to Jakarta.

A search and rescue operation swung into action just after the plane 
disappeared from radar (AFP Photo/Resmi MALAU)

"Engineers in Jakarta received notes and did another repair before it took off" on Monday, Sirait told AFP, calling it "normal procedure".

Poor safety record

US-based Boeing said it was "deeply saddened" by news of the crash.

Boeing reportedly suspended release of the 737 MAX just days out from its first commercial delivery last year due to an engine issue, according to airline safety and product review site

It said the engines were a product of a joint venture between US-based General Electric and France's Safran Aircraft Engines.

Earlier this year, Lion Air announced it was buying 50 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets for $6.24 billion.

Indonesia's air travel industry is booming, with the number of domestic passengers growing significantly over the past decade, but it has acquired a reputation for poor regulation and its airlines had previously been banned from US and European airspace.

In August 2015, a commercial passenger aircraft operated by Indonesian carrier Trigana crashed in Papua due to bad weather, killing all 54 people on board.

A year earlier poor maintenance and inadequate pilot response was blamed for an AirAsia plane crash which cost 162 lives.

Lion, a low-cost airline which has engaged in a huge expansion in recent years, has been involved in a number of incidents including a fatal 2004 crash and a collision between two Lion Air planes at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport.