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Giordano Faggioli to Oversee 13 Restaurants and Bars at Bali Luxury Resort.
Ayana Resort and Spa Bali have announced the appointment of Giordano Faggioli as Executive Chef to oversee its 13 restaurants and bars, in-room dining and banqueting services. Giordano brings more than 20 years experience in luxury hotels and restaurants to his role, including Executive Chef positions at the St Regis Beijing the Four Seasons Resorts in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Commenting on his new Bali assignment, Faggioli said: "I had heard many good things about the property and was excited to work with Horst Schulze and his team at West Paces. Ayana's reputation is first-class as a luxury destination that provides a unique and memorable guest experience, and this is recognized by the many awards it has won. I feel privileged to be a part of this team." Hailing from the region of Emilia Romagna in northern Italy, an area renowned for its homemade fresh pasta, cured meats, asparagus, and seafood fresh from the Adriatic sea - Giordano's career has seen him travel widely in south-east Asia. Clearly excited at the prospects of his Bali sojourn, he added: "The Balinese are well-known for their hospitality and friendliness, and now I can understand why this is so often voted the World's Number One island. It truly is a beautiful place with beautiful people."
A Bridge over Ubud 's Waters
After 12 Months of Isolation, New Bridge Relinks Ubud's Northern Communities with the Rest of Bali.
After suffering partial isolation for nearly one year, villages and luxury hotel resorts in the Begawan and Tiba Kauh areas north of Ubud in Bali have been "reconnected" to the rest of Bali with the formal opening of a new bridge officiated over by the Regent of Gianyar, Cokorda Raka Sukawati (Cok Ace) on December 31, 2009. The original bridge which connected Ubud with local villages collapsed on January 11, 2009. Among the tourism companies affected by the bridge's failure were COMO Shambhala Estate, Ayung Resort, Rijasa Agung Resort, Sobek Rafting, Gangga Rafting and Gana Resort. For nearly a year some of the aforementioned tourism business were forced to detour through the Payangan Market and traverse a makeshift road passing through local rice fields, adding between 20 and 30 minutes to the travel time in either direction. A temporary wooden foot bridge where the former bridge stood permitted motorcycles and pedestrians to pass over the river, a tributary of the nearby Ayung River. Despite earlier cautions issued by Cok Ace immediately after the bridge's collapse that the replacement of the broken bridge was expensive and a low priority in the regency's budget, local lawmakers finally came to the rescue and allocated the Rp. 3.1 billion (US$310,000) that allowed construction of a new bridge to commence in August 2009. A marathon effort permitted the bridge to be completed in just 4 months. In his comments at the bridge's re-opening, Cok Ace thanked lawmakers for funding the project and pledged the government would repair the subak road used as an alternate route over the past year, possibly paving the side road with asphalt. Related Article [North Ubud Businesses Isolated by Bridge Collapse]
More Details in Death of Japanese Woman in Bali
Hiromi Shamada Killed by Two Men She Invited Back to her Kuta, Bali Residence.
With the arrest of two men in connection with the murder of a Japanese woman, Hiromi Shamada, 41, in late December 2009, more details on the circumstances surround the woman's death are beginning to emerge. Police have now confirmed that robber and rape were to motivating factors precipitating the murder. Forensic tests and police investigations have confirmed the victim was raped and that a number of valuable personal belongings were taken from Shamada, including a watch, credit cards, and three necklaces. Two construction workers from a Kuta project, Mawardi, 31, and Abrurahman, 20, have been arrested and reportedly admitted killing the woman. Mawardi was arrested in Kuta just days after the woman's death while police pursued Abdurahman to his home town of Jember in East Java. Police claim that Abdurahman attempted escape and was shot in the leg. Police have linked weapons and personal possessions of the victim to the two men now in police custody. Shimada reportedly met the two men while drinking at a local café before inviting the two men back to her rented home in Kuta. There, she offered the men more alcohol before retiring to her bedroom to take a bath. Acceding to the men, she left the door to her bedroom and bathroom open, which the men interpreted as an invitation to sex. When the bathing Shimada refused the men's advances a struggle ensued that culminated in the rape, murder and robbery. The men told police they threw away the victim's credit cards as they were ignorant on how to use the cards. According to a Bali police spokesman, both men now face a possible 20-year prison sentence for their acts. Related Articles [Police Arrest Two Men in the Murder of Japanese Woman] [Japanese Woman Murdered in Kuta]
Free Health Now Available to the People of Bali
A Bumpy Start on the Road to Governor Pastika's Program to Provide Free Health Service for all Balinese.
Radar Bali reports that despite reports of refusal to provide free medical treatment in Jembrana, Governor Pastika's Bali Mandara Free Health Care Scheme (JKBM) is up and running. Funded with billions of rupiahs and officially launched on January 1, 2010, patients in need of medical care or hospitalization only have to present a Balinese Identity Card (KTP) to be treated without charge. The head of the Public Relations and Protocol Division of the Provincial Government of Bali, I Ketut Teneng, said: "The JKBM has taken off and can now be used by the public as free health insurance for the people of Bali. As of January 1, 2010, the system can serve the public." The free public health program has received an initial funding allocation of Rp. 100 billion (US$10 million) to be paid from the 2010 provincial budget approved by the island's House of Representatives. Additional funding is expected from the regency governments of Bali who are scheduled to pay Rp. 81 billion (US$8.1 million) more comprised of contributions from Buleleng Rp. 17.9 billion; Tabanan Rp. 14.3 billion; Badung Rp. 10.3 billion; Denpasar Rp 12.6 billion; Gianyar Rp. 13.4 billion; Bangli Rp. 11.1 billion; Klungkung Rp. 8.4 billion; and Karangasem Rp. 11.6 billion. The Bali regency of Jembrana has refused to participate in funding the program although the government is, nonetheless, providing free-of-charge medical treatment to all Bali residents, including the people of Jembrana. Teneng explained that Balinese residents need only show their KTP to obtain free treatment. However, to receive free care from a local hospital the sick and injured must first report to a local community health center (PUSKESMAS) to obtain a referral to a public hospital. Emergency cases can go directly to any public hospital for treatment. The new program is intended to provide health coverage for those outside the protection offered by existing insurance programs. Civil servants, police, military and those covered for public transportation mishaps by Jamsostek and Jasa Raharja will have no need for the new provincial health coverage. Bali's governor called for patience as the new system of health coverage is introduced and while bureaucrats figure out how the system will actually operate on the ground. Governor is Disappointed The National News Agency Antara reports separately that Governor Pastika is surprised and disappointed with how JKBM has been initially introduced in Bali. Speaking to the press, Pastika said: "The structural officials, such as regency health agency chiefs and heads of local hospitals, claim to be ignorant (of the new system). But, in fact, they have been involved since the very inception of JKBM. This is quite surprising." Governor Pastika was also surprised when he learned that the Local Health Center (Puskesmas) in Sumerta in Denpasar was not providing health services when he paid a surprised visit. The reason? Officials were busy holding an odalan - an anniversary ceremony for the Puskesman building. Pastika asked: "How does this happen? In fact, the JKBM program stipulates that Puskesmas must be open on a 24 hour basis, while at the same time conserving operational costs. But, in fact, this is what happens. What’s more they close on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. How are we going to provide round-the-clock medical service to the poor?" The Governor said he will continue to conduct field check, hoping his desire to provide free health care to the poor can be realized in the near future. "We have a good intention with a high purpose, but there are impediments. I am surprised, when in fact the Head of the Provincial Health Service has said at every meeting that all elements of the health service are involved (in the new program)," added Pastika.
Bali’s Safe Transition to 2010
Following a False Alarm, Bali Enjoys a Peaceful New Year's Eve.
The National News Agency Antara reports that despite rumors of a bomb attack, Bali made a safe transition from 2009 to 2010. The spokesman for the Bali Police, Gde Sugianyar, said: "We were telephoned from everywhere saying that Bali will be rocked by a bomb, such as happened in 2002 and 2005. But thankfully, this was all rumor." A statement issued on New Year's eve by the Bali Tourism Board (BTB) warning of the "indication of an attack" prompted the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta to issue an alert to U.S. citizens in Indonesia and via the Embassy’s website. This, in turn, resulted in news of a possible attack in most international media. Sugianyar said that the thousand of security officials already in place to ensure the peace on New Year’s eve received additional support in key areas following the report. "Even though this was rumor, the police were obliged to conduct sweeps and surveillance. What's more, the rumor emanated from the American Embassy," he explained. Related Article [Editorial: Loose Lips Sink Trips]
Playing with Fire in Bali
Recap from Bali's Sanglah Hospital Shows the Cost of Playing with Fireworks on New Year's Eve.
Antara reports that at least six people were treated in the emergency rooms of various Bali hotels for injuries suffered while handling firecrackers and fireworks on New Year Eve. Dr. Ketut Gede Arta Bujangga, an official from the Emergency Unit of the Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar, confirmed that his hospital alone had treated six people for explosive burns to their hands on New Year's Eve. Monitoring medical care from 7:00 pm on New Year's Eve until 7:00 am the following morning, 126 people were treated at Sanglah Hospital's emergency room. The surgical unit handled 62 patients, 5 of whom were hospitalized. 10 people were treated as outpatients for dog bites. Meanwhile, the medical unit handled 59 patients, 22 of whom were warded. One medical patient treated during the 12 hour period died. Nature waits for no holiday, proven by reports from Sanglah that 5 maternity patients came to the hospital on New Years eve, with one birth reported during the New Year's period. In anticipation of every eventuality, the Sanglah Hospital had 130 medical staff on duty over the transition night, including 30 specialists.
Has Development Run Amok in Bali?
Article in 'The Australian' Sounds Dire Warning on Bali's Unbridled Development.
An article in Australia's The Australian chronicles the surge in development experienced by Bali over the past decade, suggesting that the island's carrying capacity for such development may have surpassed the breaking point and that "Bali's magic" may be under threat. The article says "cracks are appearing in the system as archaic utilities and infrastructure buckle under rampant development denuding the island's rain forests and coastline." Equally alarming, are the warnings sounded that "the Balinese are in danger of disorientation from their attractive culture of customs, dance, music and art." Citing heretofore unheard of traffic jams, pollution, power blackouts, water shortages and piles of trash across the island, Oswar Mungkasa of the National Development Planning Board (BAPPENAS) says, "if Bali continues in this way, it will collapse in 10 years. For me, Bali is not as attractive as it was. Local government doesn't realise, because investors keep coming, it is sitting on a time bomb." Charged with helping Bali devise systems for waste management, Mungkasa, fears nothing short of a cholera outbreak will wake the Balinese up to the environmental disaster lurking in the near future. The Bali Mindset According to Mungkasa: "The [Balinese] mindset is not educated or aware. They see sanitation as a cost, not an investment. They dump their rubbish in the drainage system. They cannot understand why they should change their habits." This lure of the investment dollar, has caused zoning rules to be ignored that stipulate setbacks from beach fronts, roads and rivers. Equally, rules that mandate a maximum building height of 15 meters and 40% open space for rain water re-absorption are flaunted by developers. Rampant and Random Urban Sprawl One Australian involved in Bali's property sector described the current situation as one of "rampant and random urban sprawl." Reflecting this there is little land left for sale in Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Areas once populated by local villages and fishing villages are now covered with hotels and villas; leaving future generations of Balinese disenfranchised from highly priced land that once housed family and ancestral temples. The article quotes sources saying that Canggu, Tabanan and Bali's southern peninsula will soon as evidenced by rampant development and soaring real estate prices. A study undertaken less than one decade ago projected that the ideal population level for Bali was 2.3 million, a figure made mockery of by a population now passing the 3.4 million mark. The head of the Bali Tourism Board, Ida Bagus Wijaya said: "We have to upgrade electricity, water, sewerage and telecommunications. But there is no proper planning. Kuta and surrounding areas has blown out in population and size. Infrastructure is not keeping up with development." As a result, permits are issued by often time venal officials with no regard to carrying capacity issues, such as electrical power shortages and a shrinking water supply. Swimming in Sewage? An Indonesian environmentalist, Yuyun Ismawati, said that recent water tests conducted in front of some of Bali's most luxurious hotels in Seminyak were shocking: "The lab told me it was sewage. It was actually sea water. I would not swim in the ocean in Bali." An Instant Boodle Mindset Blaming his fellow Balinese for having an "instant noodle" mindset, highly respected Balinese academic Adnyana Manuaba said, "no one seems conscious of the fact Bali is a small island with limitations." Citing the one million plus motorbikes and vehicles on an island virtually bereft of mass transport, Manuaba added, "the government is happy to receive a lot of taxes from motor cars." Stuart Smith, an expatriate living in Bali for the past 12 years warned, "coastal land is being desecrated. It's like a shock wave and it's grown out of control." retail outlets. Smith mentions a new development in Canggu - Sea Sentosa that he claims is built across from an estuary and just meters from the beach in flagrant disregard of existing zoning laws. To read this important article in The Australian: [Developers Drawn to Tourism Magnet]
Chris John to Fight in Bali in April?
Indonesian Featherweight Super Champion Chris John Scheduled to Defend his Crown in Bali in April 2010.
World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight super champion Chris John has announced that he will defend his title in Bali during the first week of April 2010. The championship fight will organized by Balinese fight promoter Zaenal Thayeb. Who will join Chris John in the ring has yet to be announced. The 30-year-old Indonesian boxer most recently defended his title on September 19, 2009, when he defeated Rocky Juarez in a 12-round unanimous decision. John’s career record for 45 flights stands at 43 wins, 22 knockouts, 2 draws and 0 losses.
Bali to Launch Mass Transit Bus-way in November 2010
New Bus-way System to Serve Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Tabanan Areas of Bali.
The provincial government of Bali has made an initial decision to develop a public transportation system for Denpasar, Badung, Gianyar and Tabanan (Sabargita), slated to begin operations in November 2010. As reported by beritabali.com, the mass transport system will emulate the bus-way system now in operation in Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta in an effort to reduce traffic jams by providing affordable transportation options to the people of Bali. Krisdiyanto of the Bali Transportation Department said that the Bali provincial government is undertaking studies to determine mass transit routes to accommodate an initial armada of 20 busses that will serve the routes. Initial plans call for a total of 17 mass transit corridors to be established.
Bali Economy to Remain Strong in 2010
SME's and Tourism Business Continue to Drive Bali's Economy with Experts Calling for More Emphasis on Agricultural Sector.
Based on projections produced by the Denpasar office of Bank Indonesia (BI), The Jakarta Post reports that Bali's economy is expected to remain robust through 2010. Jeffrey Karipuan, a Bali-based economist with Bank Indonesia said: "We are optimistic Bali's economy for 2010 will remain strong following solid performance during 2009. Since the third quarter last year, the growth reached 4.17 percent." He cited small-medium sized enterprises (SME) as having added that SMEs have provided positive multiplying effects on the island's economy. Adding, "the SMEs also dominate bank loans, with 80 percent of total loans disbursed to the sector. They have proven to be resilient in facing crises." Bank loans in Bali increased 20 percent over 2009, as compared to a 6% growth rate in loans nationally. The overall loan structure in Bali is dominated by consumption and capital expenditure. "Most of the loans are spent for consumption and capital expenditure. Only small parts are channeled for investment," Jeffrey said. The buoyancy of the SME sector was also demonstrated by the relative absence of non-performing-loans (NPL) within that sector of the economy. NPL's in Bali stood at 2 percent, a figure below the 3 percent rate for loans given to bigger businesses. According to Bank Indonesia, economic growth in Bali is fueled by hotels and restaurants, contributing 80% of all growth on the island. The agricultural sector continues to lag, failing to realize its hidden potential. 60-70% of the agricultural products consumed in Bali come from Java, West Nusa Tenggara and overseas. Economists are calling on Bali's government to lend greater support to the agricultural sector by providing incentives to farmers. Only 600,000 Balinese are estimated to still work the land in Bali with many shifting their source of employment to the hotel and tourism sectors.
Reborn – Sculptures by Bambang Adi Pramono
Bali-based Sculpture One-Man Show at Hanna Artspace January 23 - February 6, 2010
Hanna Artspace on Jalan Raya Pengosekan in Ubud, Bali presents sculptures by Bambang Adi Pramono. Born in Sidoarjo, Central Java in 1955, Bambang graduated from the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) in Yogyakarta in 1976 before moving to Bali. "Reborn" will showcase new works ranging in size from 50 centimeters to 350 centimeters. Working in wood and metal, these mediums achieve great artistry in the hands of Bambang Adi Pramono. Reborn - Sculptures by Bambang Adi Pramono
January 23 - February 2010 Hanna Artspace, Jalan Pengosekan Raya, Ubud, Bali
More Training Needed by Indonesia's Tourism Industry
Tourism Ministry Official Calls for Greater Involvement in Training by Indonesia's Tourism Associations.
The Head of the Manpower Development department at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Putu Laksaguna, thinks Indonesia's tourism associations are not doing everything that they can to enhance the competency of tourism workers, still depending on the government to provide training and education. Quoted by bisnis.com. Laksaguna said: "For the hotel and restaurant sectors, for example, 2% of the money collected from service charge should be used for training. But, in reality, the association entrusted to provide training from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is limited to doing programs such as 'training for the trainers' courses for 30 people at a time in a single tourism destination." He continued, saying that if the tourism associations do not become more proactive in enhancing the quality of training programs the workers in the provincial areas of Indonesia will suffer the consequences. Eventually, Putu contends, the facilities of the hotels will outstrip the quality of the workers. Because of this, training for hotel and restaurant front liners is critical. In 2008 the Ministry of Culture and Tourism commenced "Service Excellence Training" in order to increase understanding and performance and equip trainers with a strong work ethic. The most recent "training of the trainers" programs were undertaken at tourism schools (STPs) in Bandung, Bali and the Academy of Tourism in Medan, each course followed by 20 teachers. Those conducting this training are experts drawn from tourism practitioners, academics and officials from the National Education Department. The material covered in the training include opening service, basics of quality, managing perception, communication arts, service standards, service breakdown and recovery, high impact presentation skills, role playing and creating an action plan. Putu warned that the training provided by the government cannot instantly create perfect employees. Because of this, additional training commitment is needed from tourism associations and provincial governments, particularly in key tourism destinations. The national tourism official charged with manpower development said another factor impeding the development of labor resources are policies tied to the new-found regional autonomy. In many regions the appointment of the head of the local tourism service are individuals without any basic understanding of tourism. Throughout the course of 2010 the Department of Culture and Tourism will seek to prepare candidates for tourism positions abroad.
Heavy Rains Hit Bali's North
Rains Flood Bali's Northern Capital of Singaraja.
Heavy rains lasting 3 hours in North Bali on Thursday, January 7, 2010, placed much of the northern capital of Buleleng under water. Many of the city's main roads and a number of homes were partially submerged because of a torrential downpour. Beritabali.com quotes Ketut Mertada (33) a resident of Kaliuntu in Buleleng who said: "The water was as high as an adult's waist We were not prepared and were only able to save some things. I have sent my children to our in-laws" Water of a depth of one-meter covered wide areas of Buleleng including, Jalan A Yani Timur, Jalan Anggrek, Jalan Nangka, Jalan Lely, Jalan Tasbih, Jalan Melur, Jalan Seruni and Jalan Kartini. Meanwhile, in west Singaraja the same rains put most of Jalan A. Yani Barat under water. During the flooding, a number of trees along Jalan A. Yani in front the Grade Schools 1, 2 and 5 Banyuasri were uprooted.
Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones
Custom Officials and Bali's Airport Thwart Attempt to Smuggle Two Human Skeletons to Hawaii.
Bali Police and Custom's Officials from Ngurah Rai Airport are trying to identify the "owner" of two human skeletons seized at Bali's airport during an effort to smuggle them out of the country. "We are working with police to trace the addresses of two senders from different places in Bali, Kuta and Seminyak," said Bagus Endro Wibowo, an enforcement and investigative officer from the Ngurah Rai Custom's office. The skeletons were in a packet addressed to Hawaii and were detected during a routine x-ray screening. The smugglers had tried to camouflage the shipment through the application of plaster and cattle horns. Closer examination, however, revealed that the packages contained human remains. The listed name of the senders were John Wayne on Jalan Dhyanapura in Seminyak and the Gallery Primitive on Jalan Raya in Kuta. The addressee was Releigh Maureenat CSSI Wake Island, Malepono Street in Honolulu. Officials believe all addresses are fictional. Police are also working with officials from Indonesia's prehistoric service to determine if the bones are of ancient or a more contemporary origin.
Bali's Growing Water Crisis
Dams Being Built on Penet River to Meet Water Shortage Affecting Bali's Main Tourist Areas.
Kompas.com reports that the regency of Badung, home to Bali's most intensive tourism development, is in the midst of a severe water crisis. The head of the Rivers Department for Bali and Penida, Rai Yusha said: "In fact, the tourism facilities need water supplies in large quantities as do the surrounding local populations." Supplies of fresh water from the Badung Water Board (PDAM Badung) are limited to 296 liters per second with a another 650 liters per second from PT TB, a private sector provider contracted by PDAM. In combination, the resulting 946 liters per second is still insufficient to meet the demand for water in the Badung regency. In order to meet the current shortfalls, water officials are tapping ground water supplies via wells and water taken from the Ayung River. Water officials warn that while they are managing to address current water demand, the situation is critical and addition fresh water supplies are urgently needed. One source experienced with water supply issues points to the Penet River as a possible source of additional water supplies. The Penet river runs 45.3 kilometers and passes through the Tabanan and Badung regencies. Along the course of the river there are 24 dams for agricultural water supplies and 5 contributing water sources. The river irrigates an estimated 8,099 hectares of agricultural land. Tabanan Regency takes 50 liters per second from the river for water requirements in its area. To meet current and short term water requirements for Badung, an additional 500 liters per second of water needs to be drawn from the river. This will be done via a dams currently being built in the village of Cemagi in Badung regency and another in Beraban village in Tabanan. The continuing construction of these dams will require Rp. 40.5 billion (US$4 million) in 2010 to purchase pumps, piping and construct dam walls.
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