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Awash in a Sea of Plastic - Bali Might Take Note of What Ireland's Doing to Reduce the Scourge of Plastic Bags.
The 2002 introduction of a 33 cent per bag tax on plastic bags in Ireland may point the way for reducing the plastic bags that litter Bali's streets, clog its sewers, pollute its waters and have become permanent fixture at the Island's landfills.
Launched simultaneously with a massive advertising awareness campaign, the tax on plastic bags managed to transform Irish society. Just weeks after the tax's introduction plastic bag use in Ireland declined by 94%; re-useable cloth bags have become more indispensable than, say, an umbrella or a hat; and caused people seen carrying plastic bags receive an unenthusiastic public reception once reserved for rich ladies in fur coats, pets that soiled walkways or a cigar smoker in a crowded restaurant.
Studying the failed efforts to curb plastic bag usage in New York, London, San Francisco, Italy and Britain - Ireland does not allow shopping venues to absorb the cost of the plastic bag tax, insisting the consumer must "feel the pain" of making a decision that's bad for the environment. The program is so effective, in fact, that shoppers who have forgotten to bring a supply of plastic bags to the shopping center now prefer to brings a cart of loose groceries to their car and place their purchases one-by-one into the vehicles baggage compartment.
The Curse of Plastic Bags
An estimated 42 billion plastic bags were used world-wide in the month of January 2008. That's half a million bags every minute. Few bags get recycled and are, instead, sent to your local landfill where they constitute 2 percent of all wastes - a percentage certain to grow as plastic bags are not biodegradable - an unwelcome "gift forever."
Paper bags, although bio-degradable, are not a solution. Environmentalists estimate that more greenhouse gasses are generated in the production producing and transporting a paper bag than in the production of a plastic bag.
Paper or plastic; Both represent permanent blights on the environment.
The proceeds from Ireland's plastic bag tax are used to fund environmental enforcement and community clean up programs.
By all counts, the Irish tax on plastic bags appears to be a real success story and worthy of emulation by other countries around the world.
Bali, are you listening?
Become a Friend of the Festival
Become a Supporter of the Bali Writers & Readers Festival and Earn a Range of Special Benefits.
The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is offering enthusiastic supporters the chance to be on the ground level of Asia's most dynamic annual gathering focused on intellectual dialogue between readers and writes from around the world.
Started in 2004 and held on an annual basis, the Festival brings to Bali world-renowned writers, journalists, literary agents, artists and publishers from across the region in a dynamic meeting of minds. Promoting Bali as a cultural and artistic center, the Festival also aims to foster a love of literature among young Indonesians.
Tri Hita Karana is the theme adopted for the fifth Ubud Writers and Readers Festival to be held in Ubud, Bali October 14-19, 2008. This year's theme - as its name implies - focuses on the relationship between God, Humanity and Nature. Invited international guests for this year's event include Indian author Vikram Seth, award-winning Nigerian writer Diran Adebayo, UK author Caryl Philips, Mexican writer Alberto Ruy-Sanchez, Australian novelist Helen Garner and the 2007 short-listed Man Booker Prize writers Indra Sinha and Lloyd Jones.
Become a Friend of the Festival
By paying Rp. 1,000,000 (US$109) you will become a 2008 member of the Friends of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival and obtain:
. Advance editions of Festival brochures
. Exclusive "friends" preferential booking period
. Email Updates on festival events
. Special ticket prices to festival events (limit two per member)
. An invitation to the Festival opening at the Ubud Palace
. An invitation to writers dinners during the Festival.
Those who sign up before March 29, 2008 will be automatically be entered into a special drawing to will a collection of signed editions from this year's writers.
For more information contact:
Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Saraswati Foundation
Local Legislator Says New Apartment Complex Does Not Conform to Residential Zoning Rules. Local Official Begs to Differ.
Bali Post has drawn attention to the construction of a new apartment complex on Jalan Majapahit in Kuta.
Quoting a member of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD) from nearby Legian, IGN Sudiarsa, the Bali Post questioned the building of the large apartment complex in an area zoned for residential purposes. In the legislator's opinion, the operation of a commercial apartment complex including shopping and dining facilities is not in conformance with local codes limiting residential dwellings in the subject area.
Sudiarsa, who is the Chairman of Commission A at the House of Representatives, also told the Bali Post that another project - The Haven apartment complex in Legian is the source of complaints from local residents who say the apartment destroys the tranquility of the local neighborhood.
The Head of the Tourism Office for Badung, I Made Subawa, has defended the construction of apartment complexes in residential areas, saying the new project possesses all the necessary permits.
Subawa did pledge, however, to investigate accusations that the construction process is disturbing the surrounding neighborhood.
Subawa said that a final operating permit will be issued once the apartment project is completed. He also defended the "carrying capacity" for new apartment projects in Kuta, saying developers undertake detailed feasibility studies before commencing such projects.
The Jalan Majapahit project will be reportedly be four stories high and include a shopping mall and restaurants. Current building regulations limit buildings in Bali to the height of a local coconut palm, a length generally agreed to be 15 meters.
A Different Kind of Cell Phone
New Telephone Service at Bali's Main Prison Aims to Eliminate Illegal Hand Phone Use Among Prisoners.
Bali's main penitentiary at Kerobokan has officially opened a telecommunications kiosk equipped with two telephones to permit prisoners to call friends and relatives on the outside world.
The telephone service was recently inaugurated by the Bali Chief of the Department of Justice and Human Rights, Bambang Untung, who told the press that the new service operated in cooperation with PT Telkom would allow prisoners to communicate with the outside world under the close scrutiny of prison officials.
Call screeners able to monitor calls in both English and Indonesian have been assigned to work at the telephone office.
The cost of calls will be deducted from the "prison savings account" of inmates.
The first prisoner allowed to use the new service was Australian Schapelle Corby, now serving a 20 year sentence for drug smuggling. Corby's unsuccessful attempt to call her Mother, Rose Corby, in Brisbane was followed by a call that did connect her with her Sister , Mercedes Corby, who lives in East Bali.
Corby's call to her family was not without irony. The Australian woman was recently denied her annual partial remission of sentence after she was found in possession of a contraband hand phone.
Fellow prisoner and Australian Rene Lawrence serving time for attempting to smuggle heroin through Bali's airport spent Rp. 40,000 (US$4.35) for a two-minute call to her Mother in Sydney.
The Chief Warden of the prison, Ilham Jaya, heralded the introduction of the new telephone service as a necessary step to eliminate the use of illegal hand phones within the prison. Prison officials have also recently installed jamming equipment that will disrupt hand phone service at the facility.
Bali Bombers Granted Last-Minute Appeal of Their Death Sentences
Bali Courts Expected to Hear Appeal Before the End of February 2008.
An 11th hour decision by the Indonesian Supreme Court to allow an extraordinary appeal by three death-row Bali bombers has once again delayed their execution and paved the way for a possible revocation of their conviction for killing 202 people in Bali on October 2002.
The Supreme Court has ordered the Denpasar District Court to review the conviction of Amrozi (43), Iman Samudra (37) and Ali Gufron (47), now sitting on death row. The appeal claims that the three's conviction was invalid by virtue of the retrospective application of the national terrorist law which was introduced after the date of the commission of the crime with which they were charged.
This is the second appeal of their conviction following the denial of an initial appeal in late 2007, widely thought to be final legal recourse for the three.
If the Court accepts the arguments of the Bali Bomber's Defense attorneys, the men could be freed on a legal technicality, despite their ready admission they played the leading role in the terrorist bombing incident. Any decision to now free the men would also mean the original prosecutors in the case erred fundamentally in charging the three under the new-found terrorism act instead of with the more conventional charge of mass homicide.
Denpasar Court officials have indicated that the appeal for the three bombers will be heard by the Denpasar District Court before the end of February 2008.
The three bombers continue to be held on death row at Indonesia's notorious penal facility on Nusakambangan Island in Central Java, after being evacuated from Bali's Kerobokan prison in late 2005.
Garuda Crash Captain Charged with Manslaughter
Pilot of March 2007 Crash That Killed 21 People.
Indonesian police have finally filed criminal charges against Captain Marwoto Komar, the pilot in the left-hand seat of the ill-fated Garuda Boeing B-737-400 that crashed on landing at Yogyakarta's airport on March 7, 2007 claiming the lives of 21 and injuring many others.
Analysis of the flight voice and data recorders from the crashed airplane indicate the pilot ignored repeated warnings of impending danger as he landed the plane at nearly twice the safe landing speed before running off the runway and bursting into flames.
Arrest Protested by Pilots Association
Members if the Federation of Indonesian Pilots (FPI) have protested the arrest and indictment of Captain Komar, saying any mistakes made in the cockpit of an airplane should be decriminalized. The FPI, in a mass meeting with members of the house of representatives in Jakarta, have warned the government of demoralization among their ranks and an even greater rate of exodus by pilots to foreign carriers that may result from Captain Komar's arrest.
In response, Indonesia's National Chief of Police, General Sutanto, has reminded the members of the FPI that evidence collected by his officers justify the criminal charges of manslaughter now pending against Captain Komar and that, in Indonesia, airplane pilots and automobile drivers can be charged with crimes whenever their actions result in the death of others.
Dear Tourists: Please Sneak a Peek at our Peak!
Kintamani Restaurant & Hotel Owners Plead with ASITA to Keep Their Volcanic Panorama on Local Tour Itineraries.
Hotel operators in the Bangli region of Bali, which include the tourist destination of crater-lake area of Kintamani, met on Tuesday, February 5, 2008, with the executives of Bali's Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) to seek help to restore Kintamani's reputation as a favorite tourism destination.
The Chairman of Bangli's chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), I Ketut Putranata, called on ASITA to lend support to hotels and restaurants operating at Kintamani.
In response to PHRI's plea of support, the Chairman of ASITA for Bali, Al Purwa, highlighted the aggressive attitude of hawkers and the unregulated construction of businesses on the volcanoes rim which have fundamentally detracted from the attractiveness of the crater-lake's rim as a tourism destination. A recent incident reported in the local press also told of a physical assault on a licensed guide by local hawkers when a group he was leading refused to purchase their merchandise.
Illegally constructed restaurants and souvenir shops are obstructing the magnificent panoramic view of the lake and inner-volcano more than 600 hawkers aggressively selling trinkets and souvenirs have prompted many tourists visiting Bali to "give a miss" to visiting the Kintamani volcano.
Against a pledge by local business operators in the Bangli regency to substantially improve the conditions at Kintamani, ASITA has promised to do its best to urge its members to keep an open mind and once again include Kintamani in their tour itineraries.
Race for Bali's Governorship Heats Up
Gde Wirata - Head of Bali Chamber of Commerce and Strong Advocate for Legalized Gambling Declares His Candidacy for Governor.
As reported by Balidiscovery.com, [See: Made Pastika Named PDI-P's Man to Run for Bali Governor] the race for Bali's Governorships is taking shape with the formal candidacy by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) of Police General I Made Mangku Pastika and Anak Agung Puspayoga as their candidates for Bali's next Governor and Vice-Governor.
That race further intensified in the first week of February when Gde Wirata, the outspoken head of the Bali Chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (KADIN), announced his candidacy for the Golkar Party. Wirata, who owns a number of tourism enterprises in Bali, is the brother of Kadek Wiranatha - the owner of the now-defunct Air Paradise. Gde Wirata is an outspoken advocate for legalized casinos in Bali.
Wirata's filing to become Golkar's gubernatorial candidate brings to eight the number seeking to represent the party in the coming elections. Also filing to run under the Golkar party were: Made Oka Karyana, Chairman of Bali's Workers Party (Party Buruh Bali); Jro Gde Karang TS, a local businessman who owns a travel agency and a hotel; Cok Budi Suryawan, Chairman of Bali's Golkar party; Professor I Gusti Bagus Wijaya Kusuma, a local academic; I Gusti Djestawana, Chairman of Bali's Young Democratic Nationalist's Party (Angkatan Muda Nationalis Demokrat); Sang Nyoman Suwisma, the Chief Director of Indonesian Educational Television (TPI); and Anak Agung Gde Antara, the former Assistant Chief of Police for Bali.
A spokesman for Golkar's Bali election committee, Sugawa Kory, told Bisnis Indonesia that once all those desiring to run as Golkar's candidate for the governor of Bali have formally filed their candidacy, each will be asked to formally submit their political platform before the executive council of the party in Bali.
Bali Police Intensify Search for Local Bomber
No Injuries and Minor Property Damage Result from Pipe Bomb Lobbed into Tour Agency's Garage in East Denpasar.
The detonation of a low-grade explosive device in Bali Tuesday, February 5, 2008 in the parking area of a Bali travel company has merited the personal attention of Bali's Chief of Police, General Paulus Purwoko, who has directed that no effort be spared in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The bombing, using a mixture of potassium chlorate and charcoal, was detonated in a garage owned by local businessman Ida Bagus Dirga on Jalan Gatot Subroto, East Denpasar. The explosion caused minor property damage to two Mitsubishi L-300 vans used in transporting the guests of Surya Jaya Tours, a company owned by Dirga. No injuries resulted from the blast which occurred shortly after noon, local time.
Police forensic teams dispatched to the scene of the blast have gathered remnants of the bomb, identifying the materials and its means of manufacture.
Local press reports quote Chief Purwoko as insisting that the blast was not the result of a terrorist act, but bore the markings of the work of petty criminals motivated by revenge or the desire for financial gain. As a result, a part of the intensive investigation now underway is focusing on business and personal relations of Dirga in an effort to discover who was behind the attack.
Reports in detik.com suggest the blast may be connected to the recent termination of staff by the travel agency.
Given Bali's tragic bombing attacks in 2002 and 2005, Bali's world-renowned forensic team is determined to capture those behind the crude device exploded in East Bali.
Garuda to Order 10 Boeing 777-200ERs
After Booking a Profit for 2007, Garuda Continues Turn-around Plans by Renewing its Armada.
Bisnis Indonesia reports that Garuda Indonesia has followed up its recent move into profitability by announcing plans to purchase 10 Boeing 777-200ER aircraft worth an estimated US$2 billion to support route expansion plans to Europe, the Middle East and East Asia.
The Operational Director of PT Garuda Indonesia, Ari Sapari, told the press that the a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of the 10 wide-body aircraft will be signed at the Singapore Air Show February 18-22, 2008.
Sapari went on to explain that the purchase of the 10 extended-range aircraft will be transacted via a rental-purchase agreement which will see the first of the new planes come on line in 2010. Sapari was also quick to explain that the purchase plans for the new Boeing 737-200ER will have no impact on existing plans to acquire a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for their fleet in 2012 and was in no way connected with recent Indonesian government suggestions to avoid the purchase of Airbus products as a response to the continuing "blacklisting" of Indonesian aircraft over European airspace.
In 2008 Garuda will commence receiving 50 units of Boeing 737-800 aircraft under an already agreed leasing agreement. Of the current 48 aircraft operated by the Airline, 20 are owned by Garuda and the remaining 28 are operated under rental agreements.
Shown graphically on Balidiscovery.com is a summary of the business plans for Garuda Indonesia through 2013.
Bali's January 2008 Arrivals Burst Out of the Starting Gate.
Bali by the Numbers: Preliminary Arrival Figures Indicate a Very Strong Start for 2008.
The National News Agency Antara reports that 154,000 foreign tourists visited Bali in January 2008.
While these figures remain preliminary until confirmed by yet-to-be-received official figures from Bali's immigration office, the 154,000 tally suggests a record-breaking start to 2008, exceeding arrival totals for January 2009 (109,504) by a whopping +40.63%.
As reported on balidiscovery.com [See: Bali's Year for the Record Books] Bali ended 2007 as the "best year ever" for foreign tourist arrivals to Bali with a cumulative total of 1,664,854, a dramatic +32.1% increase over total arrivals for 2006 (1,260,317).
Bullish that Bali tourism will continue to grow apace, Bali tourism officials are targeting 1.9 million foreign arrivals for 2008 - an improvement of +14.12% over 2007.
The next installment of Bali by the Numbers will review the official arrival figures for January, expected shortly from officials at Bali's airport.
Search for Missing Hikers Resumes
Little Hope that Two West Javanese Students Missing on Bali's Mt. Agung Will be Found Alive.
The search for two remaining university students of a group of 3 last heard from on December 26, 2007, and gone missing while hiking on Bali's Mt. Agung has resumed following a break for the Galungan-Kuningan religious celebrations.
The body of one of the hikers, Muhammad Ikbal (21), was discovered by searchers on January 6th but the remaining 2 students remain missing. The dead hiker's companions are Eko Saputra Sudirman and Yunita Indah Savitri.
When discovered in a ravine by SAR members, Iqbal's body was in a sitting position with his hands covering his ears. A medical examination performed at Bali's Sanglah General Hospital confirmed the young man died from exposure to the elements. Temperatures in the mountain area where the body was found regularly dip to 10 degree Celsius.
SAR workers hold little hope of finding the remaining hikers alive, but have deployed several hundred searchers in an attempt to recover their remains.
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