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More than 7,000 HIV/AIDS Sufferers Living in Bali.
The Jakarta Post reports that the National Commission on HIV/AIDS (KPAN) and the Indonesian Ministry of Health count 7.317 confirmed HIV/AIDS sufferers living in Bali.
Most of those afflicted with the disease are classified as sex workers with 41.2% (3,017) of the total thought to have contracted HIV/AIDS from intimate contact with sex workers. The customers of Bali's sex trade are estimated to have, in turn, infected 668 partners and children.
HIV/AIDS activist Putu Utami said: "The number of partners infected with HIV is increasing drastically. This should be seriously anticipated."
Those infected through sharing dirty needles in the consumption of intravenous narcotics are put at 1,371 people.
The latest survey noted increasing rates of infection among intravenous drug users, sex workers, customers of sex workers and their partners, transvestites and prisoners.
A local HIV/AIDS researcher in Bali, Dewa Nyoman Wirawan, estimates that 22% of all sex workers in Bali are contagious.
The latest tally of HIV/AIDS is almost twice the number of sufferers reported in January 2007, the last time a survey count was conducted.
Bali's efforts to prevent the further spread of HIV/AIDS is now focused on preventing infection through sexual transmission and medical steps to prevent infected mothers from passing the disease on to their new born infants.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a 5% chance of mother-to-child transmission of the disease during pregnancy, a 15% chance of infection during the delivery process and a 10% chance of infection when infected mothers breast-feed their children.
This Land is Posted
Indonesia Signals Modest Changes in Property Ownership Rules for Foreigners.
Expectations that the promised changes in property ownership rules in Indonesia would open wide the doors to expatriate property purchases appear to have been overly optimistic for those predicting a 1,000% increase in property sales to foreigners.
The Jakarta Post reports that the new regulations will only slightly loosen Indonesia's current absolute prohibition against foreign land ownership by limiting purchases of landed houses to foreign retirees. Indonesia's Minister of Public Housing, Suharso Monoarfa, confirmed that the new regulations now being prepared would allow retirees to finance up to 50% of a property purchase for a maximum repayment period of 3 years.
The Minister said that those purchasing an apartment for investment purposes would not be allowed to use bank credits to conclude a purchase, required instead to pay cash. Foreshadowing more confusion ahead for foreigners desirous of purchasing land in Indonesia, a property consultant from Cushman and Wakefield, Arief Rahardjo, warned that it will prove difficult to distinguish between those purchasing land for investment purposes and those seeking a personal residence.
Teguh Satria, Chairman of Real Estate Indonesia (REI), is apparently unhappy with the lack of opportunities the new rules will provide to foreign property purchasers. Saying the new rules are "unclear," Satria complained, "the criteria of elderly or retiree and the considerations behind the plan are not clear yet." He felt the low cost of property in Indonesia made cash purchases by foreigners easy, but questioned if those wishing to purchase an apartment for personal occupancy would be allowed three years credit.
The new regulations were rumored to allow for 70 years ownership for those foreigners allowed under the new regulations to purchase property in Indonesia. This now appears in question, with Satria saying the lease period tenure will not be for 70 years, as was originally hoped.
Bali Eyeing a Progressive Tax to Penalize People Owning Multiple Motor Vehicles.
Bali's administrators are considering introducing a progressive tax that will affect people owning more than one motor vehicle.
Bisnis Bali, quoting Gusti Made Supartha, the chief of income resources for the provincial government of Bali, said: "I estimate 20-30% of vehicle owners will be impacted by the progressive tax." Supartha said the introduction of a progressive vehicle tax was provided under law No. 28 of 2009, regarding tax and provincial retributions.
However, another provision of the 2009 law prevents the introduction of such a new tax before 2011.
Supartha said the provincial authorities only serve as the executor of policies made in the nation's capital. Moreover, he warned that the taxes applied for motor vehicles in Bali cannot be out of step with motor vehicle taxes charged in other provinces of Indonesia. To do so would only perpetuate the number of non-Bali license plates traveling Bali's roads and highways.
Supartha estimates that the number of vehicles in Bali totals 1.6 million units. If 20-30% of the vehicles fall under the proposed new progressive tax, 400,000 vehicle would be affected.
Bali's motor vehicle tax collections during the first three months of 2010 increased 25% over the same period in 2009, amounting to 27.9% of the taxes targeted for collection from Bali's motorists for the entire fiscal year of 2010.
A Hard Sentence to Swallow
Bali Prosecutors Seeking 18 Years Prison for 8 Iranians Who Tried to Smuggle Narcotics Concealed in their Digestive Tracts.
Bali's prosecutors have asked that 8 Iranian men standing trial in Denpasar for smuggling methamphetamine (sabu-sabu) be sentenced to 18 years in prison.
The eight men are: Daryoush Omid Ali, Alireza Safarkhanloo, Bahman Mirzaei, Mehdi Alinejad Golestan, Mohsen Mohammad Argasi, Saeid Soltani Nabizadeh, Masoud Soltani Nabizadeh and Shahbazi Saeid.
7 of the defendants were arrested as a group trying to smuggle 4.7 kilograms of the narcotic carried in 602 capsules. The eighth man, Shahbazi Saeid, was arrested separately at Bali's airport carrying 22 capsules.
All the men were arrested in December 2009 at Bali's airport with the methamphetamine concealed in condoms carried in their guts.
According to Beritabali.com, the 8 men are being tried separately in simultaneous hearings at Bali's district court.
If the panel of judges accept the punishment sought by prosecutors, the men would be imprisoned for 18 years and each fined Rp. 2 billion (US$217,000). Prosecutors told the judges that the men's criminal act was in direct opposition to the Indonesian government's program to prevent the use of narcotics and had damaged the reputation of Bali and the nation.
M. Husein, the attorney defending the men, declared the sentence sought by prosecutors as unduly harsh, claiming that his clients thought they were smuggling jewels, not narcotics.
The trials resume on June 1, 2010.
Hospitality in its Highest Form
Kids from Bali International School Join Habitat for Humanity Projects to Build Homes for Island's Poorest Families.
Children participating in the Bali International School's (BIS) baccalaureate program are encouraged to broaden their perspectives, consider global issues, and contribute to the community.
Apropos of these guidelines, students from BIS are active participants in the internationally known Habitat for Humanity movement.
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit international organization that strives to provide simple, decent and affordable housing to the poor. The organization is supported by thousands of people, including former U.S. president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, who physically participate in the actual building of new houses.
The students at the Bali International School recently took part in two building projects near Gitgit Waterfall, northern Bali. In order to work as volunteer laborers, the students first had to raise funds through numerous bake sales, an informative dinner, a series of competitions, and even a butler auction to raise the necessary funds to pay for building materials. Thirty BIS students managed to raise Rp. 11 million rupiah (US $1,200), while a smaller group of sixteen students volunteered to build houses during their weekend.
The 16 senior students and their three teacher supervisors discovered that the houses they were building presented special challenges. At one home being built for a local farmer, I Komang Amila and his family, the students had to move bricks, mix cement, and build a wall. At another building site belonging to another local farmer, I Gede Suparpma, the BIS team built the home's foundation.
Following two days of intense work, the students felt the satisfaction of knowing they had helped two families secured a safe residence that they can call home.
For more information on this initiative or on other aspects of the school's Global Citizenship Program phone +62-(0)36- 288770.
Bali Police and Public Cooperate to Shut Down Illegal Turtle Seller Now Facing Possible 5 Years in Prison for Selling 71 Endangered Green Turtles.
71 green turtles ( chelonia mydas ) – some weighing more than 200 kilograms and thought to be more than 70-years-old, were saved from the chopping block by Bali police in a raid conducted on Wednesday, May 19, 2010.
The cache of endangered turtles were recovered from a warehouse in Denpasar owned by Jero Mangku Buda. Buda told police he had purchased the reptiles from fishermen in north and east Bali in order to butcher them for use in the preparation of a traditional Balinese dish - lawar.
According to press reports, they took action after receiving numerous leads from members of the local community concerned over the illegal trade in a protected species carried out by Buda. Police had kept the warehouse under surveillance and launched a raid after an undercover officer, posing as customer seeking turtle meat, completed a transaction with Buda.
Buda had reportedly purchased the illegal turtles for Rp. 35 million (US$3,800) from a fisherman in Ahmed, Karangasem, who had captured the turtles in the waters surrounding Karangasem. Buda intended, in turn, to sell the turtles for an average Rp. 700,000 (US$76 ) each or for Rp. 45,000 (US$4.90) per butchered portion of turtle meat.
Buda faces possible imprisonment for 5 years and fines of up to Rp. 100 million (US$10.900).
One day after the turtle's confiscation, authorities released the giant turtles back into the sea on Kuta beach. Witnessed by the many tourists enjoying a day on the beach, the larger turtles were lifted by visitors and conservation workers from trucks and gently placed in the waiting surf. Police and conservation authorities were cheered by the applause of onlookers, pleased to see the turtles swim off into the ocean.
Bali Economic Update
Bali by the Numbers: Strong Growth in Bali's Economy and Rising Per Capita Incomes Achieved in 2009.
Antara, the national news agency, reports that Bali's economy is recovering nicely form the world wide economic crisis and benefiting from the buoyant local tourism industry.
The chief of the Bali Central Statistic Bureau, Ida Komang Wisnu, said that the island's economy grew 1.19% in Q1 2010. Tourism was the main contributor to Bali's growth while the service sector outside of tourism shrank 1.07 % during the same period. This sluggish sub-sector of service sector is linked to a downturn in government spending.
Meanwhile, the section chief of Publications and Documentation in the Public Relations section of the Bali provincial government, I Ketut Teneng, said that Bali's economy grew by 5.33% in 2009, a figure officials hope will be surpassed for the entire year 2010.
The service sector accounts for 65.58% of Bali's total economy, followed by the primary sector (e.g. mining agriculture and fishing) at 18.86%, and the secondary sector (manufacturing) at 15.56%.
Bali gross domestic product totaled Rp. 57,579 trillion (US$6.3 billion) for 2009, increasing from Rp. 49,922 billion (US$5.4 billion) in 2008. This translated into a increase in the per capita gross domestic product for the Balinese to the level of Rp. 16.2 million (US$1,7,60), and increase of 14.08% over 2008.
Governor Pastika has announced his intention to increase the per capita income of the Balinese to Rp. 22.5 million (US$2,445) by 2013.
Waiting for Obama
Bali Officials Want Both the People of Bali and the Island's Monkeys on Best Behavior during U.S. Presidential Visit in Late June 2010.
While the exact date for U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Bali in late June remains a mystery, the regency of Badung in Bali is busily preparing for the brief stopover of America's Chief Executive. The Ulawatu area on the island's southern peninsula is getting a spruce up in anticipation of Obama's arrival. No doubt included on the list of preparatory steps are ways to keep the U.S. First Family, Secret Service and presidential entourage safe from the notoriously naughty monkeys that populate the sacred temple at Uluwatu. Adept at trading food for just snatched cameras, pens, glasses and any other loose articles snatched from visitors, the Uluwatu monkeys collect enough booty in an average day to stock a large pawn shop.
Imagine the pandemonium and world headlines that would result if one of the Uluwatu monkeys grabbed the weapon of a secret service officer or, heaven forbid, the legendary briefcase containing the codes to launch Armageddon that always follow just a few steps behind the U.S. President?
On a more mundane and less speculative level, the Regent of Badung, Anak Agung Gde Agung, told the Bali Post of his appreciation to members of the public working to ensure a cordial welcome is extended to Barack Obama. Insisting that Bali must present a united cultural front to welcome Obama, he urged the airport, hotels and every element that comes in contact with the U.S. President to use the opportunity to showcase Balinese culture. In specific terms, Agung hopes the President and his large entourage will see Balinese costumes, enjoy Bali's rich cuisine and encounter the Balinese sign of welcome (respect shown the placement of the hand across the chest) as part of their welcome to Bali.
Badung's regent said the welcome of the U.S. President will include special welcoming billboards featuring the U.S. and Indonesian Presidents in the exit lanes of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport, and large flag displays for both Indonesia and the U.S.A..
In addition to any efforts to tame the monkeys, the Uluwatu temple area is being repaved and the local population is being asked to support the planned visit to their corner of the island.
"I hope Obama will not only come to Uluwatu as a tourist, but also encounter the special ambient of the sacred temple by witnessing the daily religious rituals of the Balinese carried out there," explained Agung. In conjunction with the planned visit, special offerings and rituals are now in motion to seek continued harmony between Indonesian and the U.S.A.
Agung has even devised a strategy for dealing with the recalcitrant primates that exercise hegemony over the Uluwatu temple. The regencies leader has suggested the monkey's be "paid off" through the presentation of large amounts of food to the troupes of monkeys in the three days prior to Obama's visit. If Agung's plan to distract the monkeys fails, extra guards will be placed at the site to help keep the "snatch and run" monkeys a respectable distance from the group of official visitors.
2nd Media Alert to International Media Covering Obama Visit to Bali.
In anticipation of the coming later June visit of U.S. President Barack Obama to Bali assistance, Bali Discovery Tours is offering its assistance and support to the international media covering the Bali visit, including:
• Liaison support with the relevant Indonesian government agencies for press passes, credentials and clearances.
• Transportation support.
• Custom and Immigration Assistance for inbound clearance or onward shipping of broadcast equipment.
• Translators, location managers and fixers.
• Rental of cameras, sound and lighting equipment.
• Coordination of communication up links via local telecommunication providers.
• Security staff.
• Research staff for local contacts, backgrounders and coordinating local 'color' interviews.
• Arrangement of independent power sources, staging and on site studios.
• Catering support
• Charter flight booking and scheduled airline bookings.
Bali Discovery Tours is one of Bali's leading Destination Management Companies with a history of excellent support to international film production team.
Contact us by email or via 24 hour contact number +62-8123819724 or email info[at]balidiscovery.com
Whiffenpoofs Inbound to Bali
Rare Evening of Cappella Music Awaits When Yale University Whiffenpoofs Perform in Bali on Monday, June 21, 2010.
The U.S.A.'s oldest collegiate a Capella male choir – The Whiffenpoofs will make a special one-night-only appearance in Nusa Dua, Bali on Monday, June 21, 2010, as part of the 14-man choir's 2010 world tour. Founded at Yale University in 1909, the group's membership is comprised of 14 college senior men who compete in the Spring of their junior year for a coveted place on the choir.
Much admired for their regular Monday night concerts at Mory's Temple Bar in New Haven, Connecticut, adjacent to the Yale Campus, the group has also performed at Lincoln Center, the White House, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Oakland Coliseum, Carnegie Hall and the Rose Bowl.
Numbered among the long and distinguished list of alumnus is Cole Porter, who sang in his senior year at Yale in 1913.
One Night Only in Bali
The Bali performance, sponsored by the St. Regis Resort, Bali is in support of two North Bali orphanages supported by the Resort - Guna Tuna Rungu and Udyana Wiguna. A very limited number of invitations will be available for Rp. 950,000 each which will include pre-performance cocktails starting at 6:30 pm, the concert and an afternoon dinner buffet.
To reserve tickets contact info[at]balidiscovery.com.
579 Badung Hotels and Restaurants Tax Delinquent
Many Bali Hotels and Restaurant Failing to Remit 11% Development Tax.
Radar Bali says that 579 hotels and restaurants in the Badung regency of Bali are suspected of having misappropriated the 11% development tax applied to all hotel and restaurant bills. As a result, officials estimate some Rp. 87 billion (US$8.53 million) is at risk.
The Secretary of the Badung Tax Service, Anak Agung Gede Arimayun, told the press that of the 1,615 hotels and restaurants registered in the regency as potential tax object, 896 are listed as hotels and 719 as restaurants.
From the 896 hotel on the tax roll 524 (58%) have outstanding tax bills with 55 (6%) more are listed as bankrupt. 465 (64%) of the 719 restaurants are also in tax arrears. Meanwhile, 221 restaurants are now listed as bankrupt.
The failure of the hotels and restaurants to pay the 11% hotel and restaurant tax represents a mis-allocation of money collected from the public which should, according to law, be set aside and paid in the shortest possible period to tax authorities.
Several Hotels Criticized for Polluting Bali's Ayung River
Rafting Operators Claim Some Hotels are Deliberately Pumping their Sewage into the Ayung River.
According to a report in NusaBali, rafting operators on Bali's Ayung river are complaining that a number of hotels along the waterway are threatening both the environment and the image of Bali as a world tourism destination.
Ida Bagus Putra, a rafting operator, told the press that he and other rafting operators have repeatedly been disappointed by the continuing pollution by hotels that populate the river's banks. Putra, who is the operational manager of Puri Rafting Bongkasa, claims that the pollution of the river is carried out in a sub rosa fashion, with certain hotels dumping sewage into the river during rainy periods when the river flows strongest and quickly flushes the evidence of such misdeeds downstream. Putra also alleges that a number of hotels have installed dedicated piping systems to disgorge sewage into the river.
"The rafting operators have often complained about this problem. But there are still hotels who are undeterred in polluting the river," explained Putra.
Putra said that in order to protect the sustainability of the Ayung river as a tourism project, all the hotels along the Ayung river must immediately end polluting practices and protect their surrounding natural environment.
In the midst of the pollution problem, business is said to be on the increase for rafting operator who businesses dominated by customers from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
In efforts to improve service and enhance safety on the river rafting operators have established five "Rescue Posts" near parts of the river with the strongest rapids and most prone to mishaps. These posts are manned by trained staff who monitor the passing rafts, prepared to lend assistance if boats and their occupants get into distress.
Rafting operators are also now required to send one empty rescue boat for every group of five rafts sailing down the river. The "extra boat" is manned by guides trained to lend assistance whenever such assistance is required.
Letting the Cat Out of the Bag
Cat Bites and Rabies Now Officially Ruled Out in Death of North Bali Child.
Radar Bali reports that post-mortem tests performed on the body on 13-year-old Kadek Vina Kurniadewi now indicate the child did not die of rabies, but due to an infection of the brain.
The spokesman for the provincial government of Bali, Ketut Teneng, told the press that rabies had been eliminated as the cause of the young girl's death. At the same time, he warned the pulic to continue to exercise caution in bites and scratches resulting from contact with any animal during the current rabies epidemic which no affects all parts of the island.
During the past week, another victim fell prey to rabies with the death of a man for Buleleng, North Bali. The latest victim, Semedi, died as a result of a dog bite suffered three months ago and his failure to seek anti-rabies serum subsequent to that injury.
You Take the High Road and I'll Take the Low Road
Bali Officials Looking at Changes in Parking and One-Way Streets to Reduce Traffic Congestion.
The government of Bali's capital of Denpasar has tasked its transportation department to review traffic flows and patterns to see if traffic congestion in South Bali can be lessened by introducing additional one-way streets and parking rule changes in some areas.
Any proposed changes remain under review and are subject to a consultative process with related government agencies.
Among the changes under consideration:
• Prohibiting parking on both sides of the street on crowded, narrow roads. One possible road listed for new parking restrictions is Jalan Sidakarya.
• Altering the traffic flow direction to one-way streets. Jalan Gunung Agung, a road which has long been under consideration for one-way status, but delayed due to a lack of alternative roadways, is once again being scrutinized for one-way status.
• Changes in public transportation routes to make service more responsive to changing housing and work-place patterns in Bali.
One-Way Streets Problematic in Bali
One of the contributing factors to the difficulty of resolving traffic congestion in Bali is thge refusal blatant refusal of locals to obey one-way street postings. Local motorcyclists traveling the wrong directions on one-way roads is a common occurrence on the island.
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