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Bali News by Bali Update
BALI UPDATE #946 - 20 October 2014

IN THIS UPDATE


Prayers Offered in Silence
Regent of Badung Provides Guidelines on Nyepi Celebrations Including Recommendations for Moslems Praying at Mosques on Day of Silence

Muslims living in the Badung regency of south Bali wishing to participate in Friday prayers during Nyepi - Bali’s absolute day of silence on March 23, 2012, are being advised to do so at their nearest mosque and travel on foot.

The first day of the Bali-Hindu New Year, Nyepi,, sees Bali come to a complete standstill for 24-hours, in which the public are generally prohibited from venturing forth onto any public street [See: Silent Days and Silent Nights].

The advice to prayerful Moslems was offered by the regent of Badung, Anak Agung Gede Agung, after a coordinating meeting between local officials, Hindu religious leaders and a forum involved in maintaining religious harmony in Bali.

In suggesting Moslems pray at their nearest mosque, Agung has asked that those attending Friday prayers do not use their cars or motorcycles when traveling between their residences and local mosque.

The Regent also asked that mosques not to use the loudspeakers normally employed to call people to Friday prayers on Nyepi.

The Regent said, “The celebration of Nyepi and on the same sacred day set aside for prayer for Moslems must serve as a momentum to enhance the feelings of fellowship and tolerance between the different faiths.”

At the same time, Agung called on Hindus to refrain from using noisemakers, firecrackers and fireworks in the period leading up to, during and after the celebration of Nyepi.

Addressing the traditional parading of ogoh-ogoh, the papier-mâché floats are carried through Bali’s streets, the Regent reminded Hindu participants to obey the guidelines set out by the Hindu High Council (Parisada Hindu Darma - PHDI) stipulating the themes used in creating the floats should not be political, pornographic or offend religious sensitivities.

Agung added: “The traditional villages, banjars and pecalang (neighborhood civilian enforcement corps) must take a larger role in ensuring the peace during the celebration of Nyepi. I also urge all Hindus to undertake ‘catur berata penyepian’ (for four dogmas of Nyepi) in an atmosphere that is safe, orderly and filled with an atmosphere of peace.”

He also called on law enforcement officials to carry out raids on illegal sellers of alcohol and fireworks prior to the coming Nyepi period.

At the same meeting, Denpasar police officials announced that 1,902 officers from Denpasar and 268 from Badung would be on stand-by over the Nyepi period to ensure public order.


A Shameless Shell Game
ProFauna Questions Baliís Commitment to Protecting Endangered Turtle Species, Focusing Criticism on Pulau Penyu at Tanjung Benoa

The government has been called upon to take strong actions against souvenir sellers in Tanjung Benoa in south Bali selling souvenirs made from turtle shells. The government has also been asked to control and moderate the increasingly popular release program for baby turtles from the beaches in front of various hotel in Bali, claiming such programs are more closely linked to commercial considerations than any genuine concern for the environment.

Quoted by Beritabali.com, Wita Wahyudi, a representative of ProFauna in Bali, labeled these practices as hurting the reputation of Bali as the nation’s leading tourism destination.

According to ProFauna, the sale of souvenirs made form turtle shell is still openly carried out in the Tanjung Benoa tourist area of Bali. A survey conducted in January of 2012 revealed widespread sale of bracelets, decorative boxes and cigarette holders on Pulau Penyu, Tanjung Benoa. Their report also stated that bracelets made form turtle shell are sold for Rp. 250,000 (US$28), decorative jewelry boxes for Rp. 1 million (US$111) and cigarette holders for Rp. 300,000 (US$33).

Pulau Penyu at Tanjung Benoa is known a center for “turtle tourism” where hundred of turtles are on display for visiting tourists. Tourists can be photographed holding turtles. The endangered species on display on Pulau Penyu include green turtles (Chelonia mydas), olive ridley turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) and hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata).

Wita reminded: “All varieties of turtle are protected under law in Indonesia. This means that the commercial sales of turtles, alive or dead, including items made from the reptile’s body parts is strictly forbidden. According to the Natural Resource Conservation and Ecosystem Law Number 5 of 1990, those trading in protected species can be punished with 5 years in prison and fined Rp. 100 million.”

Wita concluded: “It is an irony that there are hundred of turtles and souvenir sellers promoting items made from turtle shells in Tanjung Benoa. The Law protecting endangered species are only words written on paper. What’s more, the sale of souvenirs (made from turtle shell) is carried out opening in such a well-known Bali tourist destination such as Pulau Penyu.”


How Much is that Doggie on the Mountain?
Baliís Kintamani Breed Officially Acknowledged by Asian Kennel Union

Radar Bali reports that the Kintamani breeed of dog has won acknowledgement as a distinct breed from the Asian Kennel Union (AKU), paving the way for similar recognition from the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

The breed is traced to the village of Sukawana, Paketan near the Kintamani volcano in Bali.

Dr. (Veterinarian) Pudji Raharjo, chairman of an association researching the Kintamani dog breed (HTAKB), welcomed the AKU announcement, saying: “What remains is the only the sounding of the gavel from the FCI officially recognizing the Indonesian Kintamani breed. The FCI is the world authority on canine breeds.”

The formal recognition of the “Kintamani” bred took place at a meeting of the AKU in the Philippines on February 23, 2012.

“It’s been admitted by the AKU, that has made us proud,” explained Pudji from her home in the Biaung Candra Asri suburb of Denpasar.

The announcement makes the Kintamani breed the first endemic Indonesian breed to every be registered by the AKU. Efforts are now underway that will see the breed also registered by FCI, a step made possible by the AKU certification.

There are currently some 400 breeds of dog registered by the FCI.

The Kintamani breed is believed to have evolved from a breed of feral dog, with local folklore linking the dogs to Chinese Chow Chows introduced to Bali 600-800 years ago. It is equally plausible the breed traveled to Bali with Majapahit conquerors, who came to Bali in the 14th century

Scientific studies of DNA link the Kintamani closely with the breed of Bali Street Dog and the Australian Dingo. Long hair, broad face, flat forehead and flat cheeks distinguish the Kintamani. An expert climber not afraid of heights, the Kintamani reveals its feral roots by digging dirt holes to birth its pups. Intelligent, they make excellent watchdogs due to their close attachment to their owners and ferocious territoriality. Aggressive in guarding the property of their owners, the Kintamani is at the same time a gentle and affectionate companion to its owning family.

While the official certification of the Kintamani is likely to create added world interest in the breed, current laws absolutely banning the export of any dogs from Bali will mean those desiring to obtain a Kintamani will have to source them from one of the few breeding populations located outside of Bali.

Related Article

[Bali – Island of Dogs]

[Bali's Kintamani Dogs are King of the Hill]

[How Much is that Doggy on the Volcano?]

[Love my Bali Dog, Love my Kintamani]
 


Whatís the Buzz
Dengue Fever Cases On the Increase in Bali as Season Changes, But Still Lower than 2011

The seasonal change in weather is being cited as the cause for the seasonal increase in the number of dengue fever cases being handled at the Denpasar Sanglah General Hospital. The good news, however, is that when compared to the same month one year before, the number of dengue fever cases is on the decline.

The month-to-month increase from January to February in the number of patients suffering from dengue – a form of malaria – is evidenced by growing lines of patients complaining of dengue-like symptoms.

According to Radar Bali, as many as 25 patients were admitted each day in February suffering from the disease, a 50% increase from the number reported during the month of January.

Another Denpasar hospital, RS Wangaya reported 38 dengue admissions in January and 12 in February. Meanwhile the Kapal Hospital in Badung warded 15 dengue patients in January and treated 22 as outpatients.

The secretary of the dengue fever team at the Sanglah General Hospital, Dr. Ken Wirasandhi, blamed the change in local weather as the cause for any increase in the disease. “A change in the weather from rain to heat has made the vectors for dengue fever – the mosquitoes – grow in number,” explained Wirasandhi.

Because of the growing mosquito population, the public is urged to increase precautions to combat the potentially fatal disease by safeguarding their personal health and practicing good hygiene in the management of their personal living environments.

Dr. Wirasandhi said the good news is that when compared to the same month one year before, the number of dengue cases is on the decline. While February 2011 saw an average of 80 new dengue cases reported each day, that number has decreased to 25 in February 2012.


Who Told the Birds and the Bees?
Insexts (Do They Do it Also?) An Intimate Exhibition of Insect Photography by David Lowenthal March 17-31, 2012 at Gaya Art Space in Ubud, Bali.

David Lowenthal, a British-born naturalist and environmentalist began diving at the age of 11. Forty years later, he is still diving and remains passionate about the marine environment. A keen underwater photographer dating from the pre-digital era, Lowenthal has held several exhibitions successful exhibition in that genre in London.
he formed the 'Fragile World' company dedicated to coral reef conservation and education. He has worked on projects with the Marine Conservation Society, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Friends of the National Parks (FNPF) and a number of other environmentally committed NGOs.

While he has always had a fascination with insects, it was only in 2002, after moving to Ubud, Bali that he took a deeper interest in the class 'Insecta.'

In the intervening years he has captured the behavior of some of Bali’s smallest and sometimes most rare creatures. His photos portray insects in a completely different light. While many of us see insects only as pests to be eradicated, David takes us inside a secret, passionate and often very caring insect’s world. He shows a male species of fritillary butterfly that seduces females by showering them with 'love dust', a species of stick insect (phasmatodea) that mates non-stop for twelve weeks.

The ‘Insexts’ exhibition is a celebration of the incredible biodiversity found in Bali. With a dramatic increase in the population of the Balinese, mass tourism, habitat destruction, a construction boom, car and motorbike pollution, rampant toxic fogging practices, and a thriving wildlife trade the future of wildlife in Bali is very much in question.

Lowenthal has always had an interest in design and, to him, the natural world offers an almost infinite numbers of shapes, color combinations and pattern to dazzle and inspire.

The ‘Insexts’ exhibition is full of inspiration, harmony and humor.

INSEXTS (Do they do it also?)
Photography by David Lowenthal

Gaya Art Space
Jalan Raya Sayan
Sayan, Ubud, Bali

March 17- 31, 2012
Open Daily From 07:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m (Excluding March 22 & 23, 2012)


Baliís Clogged Arteries
Bali Environmental Agency Declares Baliís Tukad River as ĎVery Pollutedí

Beritabali.com reports that bio-indicator tests measuring life forms found in the Badung river that flows though Bali’s capital of Denpasar have resulted in a biotic reading of 2.7. A clean river would have a reading of 7, meaning that the Badung River in Bali can be officially considered as “very polluted.”

The water-quality tests were conducted by the Bali Center for Environmental Education (PPLH).

The coordinator of educational programs for the PPLH in Bali, Herni Frilia Hastuti, declared the Badung River has very polluted water quality after taking samples at five different locations.

At the subject five locations only bottom-feeding fish and mollusks were encountered. Such a finding indicates that the waters of the Badung River are unfit for human use – including even for secondary uses such as bathing, washing or toilet use.

According to Herni Frilia Hastuti, every bottom sample from the River uncovered large quantities of mollusks and bottom-feeding fish. Of some further concern is that fact that local populations are eating the fish living off the waste that collects on the bottom of the highly polluted river way.

She also confirmed that the pollution of the river starts from its source and extends to where it empties into the ocean. Heavily populated areas at the river's source are causing household pollution to be deposited into the river in substantial quantities.


Go Directly to Jail
Imminent Implementation of Baliís 2009 Zoning Law Poses Threat to Leading Hotels and Villas and Possible Jail Time to Regents Who Granted Easements for Now Illegal Structures

Radar Bali has begun to appraise the potentially far-reaching implications of the implementation of the 2009 Zoning Law for the Province of Bali (RTRWP) that, now freed of further bureaucratic delay, threatens to drag several Bali regents and a mayor into legal difficulties.

This possibility was foreshadowed by the chairman of the legislative council of the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), I Made Sudana, who warned, “many regents will be imprisoned in the course of enacting the RTRW Bali.”

Sudana’s dire warning is not without legal basis. One of the boldest parts of Provincial Law No. 16 of 2009 on zoning for Bali demands prison terms for officials who give permission to build projects outside the limits imposed by the new zoning law. Regents who have granted llegal permits after the law’s introduction in 2009, posibly on the mistaken assumption that they would be able to subsequently negotiate the law’s final implementation and interpretation, may now be dragged before the courts on criminal charges. 

After a long and very public debate, all efforts to amend the RTRWP by Bali's regents have been roundly rejected, a resistance buoyed by traditional elements of Bali society who see the new zoning laws stipulations on mandatory set backs from shorelines and no-build area around sacred sites as fundamental to protecting Bali’s culture. The laws provides for both fines and prison terms for regency and municipal officials who grant building permissions that violate the new zoning rules.

According to Radar Bali, since 2009 there are a number of projects that were given permits outside the strict stipulations of the RTRWP that now expose both those who received the permits and the regents who granted them to possible imprisonment.

Hotels and villas built since 2009 that are in violation of the law are also subject to demolishment under the new zoning law.

Radar Bali reports a number of hotels in the Uluwatu area are now under threat of demolishment. The Secretary of Commission I of the DPRD-Bali, Dewa Nyoman Rai Adi, in commenting on Uluwatu hotels affected by the 2009 Zoning Law prohibiting structures in close proximity to major temples said; “this includes the luxurious Bulgari Hotel in Pecatu which may be removed. In fact, the Bulgari is very prestigious. In the entire world there is only a Bulgari located in Italy and Bali. America and English invited the brand to their countries, but Bulgari was not interested.”

Sudana predicts that there will be a fierce polemic resulting if the 2009 zoning law is fully implemented. Sudana said there would be people losing their employment and conflicts arising between the affected building owners and those ordered to demolish the structures. He said that because of this the Governor has been reluctant to implement the new law over the past three years.

Sudana continued that there has been no implementation of the 2009 RTRWP due to the potential this would breed for open conflict between the governor, the public, regents and municipal mayor.

Further emphasizing the problematic nature of implementing the zoning law, Wayan Lanang Sudira, another DPRD member, told the press that a private villas on Cucukan beach in Gianyar, owned by former President Megawati Soekarnoputri, also violates set back rules from the seashore and would therefore have to be demolished under strict enforcement of the new zoning law.

“The rule is 100 meters from the high water mark. The villa of Ibu Megawati in Cucukan is located too close to the ocean, even if we measure from the low water mark. It’s right on the beaches’ edge,” explained Sudira.

In other words, Sudira explained that that a strict application of the RTRWP would mean that the villa of the former president was illegally erected and should therefore be demolished under any retroactive enforcement of the zoning law.

This fact sits in interesting juxtaposition with a recent speech by Megawati in Bali in which she implored the members of her Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) not to try to change or modify the new zoning law that now threatens the future of her Balinese home.


Baliís Economy Poised to Slow
Coming Fuel and Electricity Hikes for Bali Predicted to Reduce Economic Growth Rates

Plans by the government to soon increase the price of fuel and the basic cost of electricity are predicted to threaten projected growth rates for Bali’s economy. The impact of the predicted increasse in the cost of fuel and electricity will result in a correction in the island’s economy.

The chief of the Denpasar branch of Bank Indonesia, Jeffrey Kairupan, was quoted in Bisnis Bali, saying: “Yes, the new policies (electricity and fuel costs) will precipitate a significant increase in prices if the decision to introduce these price hikes is delayed, This fact will have a significant effect generally on the Bali economy.”

According to Kairupan, Bank Indonesia has yet to calculate the exact amount they expect economic growth rates to be slowed by higher fuel and energy costs. He said the current condition is complicated further by tensions in the Straits of Hormus in the Middle East, a major pathway for the distribution of the world’s fuel supply. The Bank Indonesia official warned that if the situation in the Middle East remains unresolved, world fuel prices might increase even further.

Saying the challenges of the world economy are becoming increasingly complex, Kairupan added, “all this will have a significant effect of the development of Bali’s economy in the future.”

This year, Kariupan explained, Bali’s economy is targeted to grow between 6.2-6.6% with tourism remaining the prime driver of growth. He said tourism would remain the island’s economic backbone. “Hopefully, the European economy will not have a significant effect on the number of tourists visiting Bali.

Let’s hope the people under stress in Europe will seek Bali to refresh themselves,” said the Bank Indonesia chief.
 


A Deceptively Strong Start to 2012
Bali by the Numbers: Baliís Strong Start to 2012 May be Unduly Influenced by Chinese Holidaymakers

Arrivals statistics for foreign visitors for Bali for January 2012 show a very strong start to the year, but should be viewed with some caution as results may be skewed by the very strong arrival totals reported from the People’s Republic of China.

foreign tourist arrivals totaled 248,289 - an increase of 22.52% over the 202,660 tourist arrivals reported in the same month one year before.

Bolstering these strong results were result reported for Mainland China that jumped an astounding 222.64% equaling 55,178 visitors. Worthy of closer scrutiny, this total, if correct, may be a function of a sudden surge Chinese New Year holidaymakers.

Examining other markets that traditionally produce Chinese travelers over the extended Lunar New Year period also demonstrates strong improvement. Taiwanese visitors in January increased 20.2% at 11,680. Singapore visitors improved 10.27% at 7.601 and Malaysian tourist visitors improved 20.2%, achieving 11,680 in January 2012.

That the bold start to 2012 may be non-indicative of the year ahead is the general perception informally gathered in discussions with local hoteliers who report an unsettlingly quiet February.

In other markets, Australian arrivals improved 8.89% in January totaling 64,418. While a reasonable rate of growth by any standard, at 8.89% the Australian market growth appears to be leveling off after an extended period of steady double-digit growth.

Japan continues to be in the doldrums, declining a further 23.20% from the already depressed results ex-Japan for January 2011. January 2012 arrivals from Japan totaled 12,682.

Bright spots in the January tourist arrivals were the U.S.A. improving month-on-month by 23.08% (7,129); United Kingdom up 4.48% (6,433) and Germany up 10.74% (4,197).

February results, when published, will provide a clearer picture of how Bali’s inbound markets are likely to react over what may prove to be a precarious year ahead.


We Interrupt this Broadcast
Bali Broadcast Commission Asks Broadcast and Cable Television Operators to Suspend All Signals for 24 Hours on Nyepi March 23, 2012

The Bali office of the National Broadcast Commission (KPI) has reminded cable television operators in Bali to suspend all transmissions for a 24-hour period from 6:00 a.m. Friday, March 23, 2012 until 6:00 a.m. the following morning in deference to Bali’s absolute day of silence Nyepi.

[See: Silent Days and Silent Nights] 

The KPI has complained that in the past TV Cable operators have largely ignored their requests to suspend all broadcasts to Bali in keeping with proscription of activities and noise during the 24-hour period of mandatory silence.

The chairman of KPI Bali, Komang Suarsana, said that in addition to the refusal of cable operators to follow instructions issued by the KPI, broadcasters have generally been steadfast in refusing to obtain broadcast permits from the KPI, making any efforts at enforcement extremely problematic.

“It’s hard for us to monitor cable TV because of the variety of methods used. There are those that rebroadcast existing programs and others who use cables to broadcast VCDs to neighboring homes. We have no data on these transmission but know such operations do exists based on complaints received from various sources,” explained Suarsana.

The KPI-Bali has written to all formal broadcast and cable operators in Bali ordering the cessation of broadcasts for the entire 24-hour period.

The four guiding principles set down for celebrating the Bali-Hindu New Year – Catur Berata Penyepian stipulate:
  • Amati Geni: Prohibiting the lighting of fires, the use of lighting or the satisfaction of pleasurable human appetites.
  • Amati Karya: Prohibiting all forms of physical work other than those dedicated to spiritual cleansing and renewal.
  • Amati Lelungan: Prohibiting movement or travel; requiring people to stay within their residences.
  • Amati Lelangunan: Prohibiting all forms of entertainment, recreations or general merrymaking.


It All Comes Out in the End
Australian Edward Norman Myatt May Face Death Penalty for Smuggling Commercial Quantity of Narcotics in Bali

Customs officials at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport  arrested on Monday, February 27, 2012,  a 54-year-old Australian man, Edward Norman Myatt, after flushing 1.103 kilograms of hashish and  1.11 kilograms of methamphetamine from his gastrointestinal system.

Myatt, who holds dual U.K.-Australian citizenship, landed on a Thai Airway flight. Actiing on intelligence, customs officer identified the man’s behavior as suspicious, prompting a closer examination, including an eventual x-ray of the man’s stomach organs.

According the I Made Wijaya of the Airport Customs office, narcotics officers had received a tip on Myatt’s possible connection with the illegal drug trade and details of his flight to Bali from New Delhi, India.

While Myatt was being escorted under guard to the BIMC Hospital in Kuta for x-ray examination, he tried to evade arrest by leaping from Custom’s office vehicle while stopped in a traffic jam. His escorts managed to recapture the man and eventually complete the trip to the clinic.

Following x-ray examination, the prisoner was given a steady diet of juices and milk that naturally yielded a large number of capsules containing methamphetamine and hashish during the course of the ensuing four days. In total, 72 capsules were evacuated by Myatt. The capsules contained 1.103 kilograms of hashish with and estimated street value of Rp. 661.8 million (US$73,530) and 1.11 kilograms of methamphetamine worth Rp. 679.3 million (US$75,480).

Police continue to investigate Myatt’s connections to the international drug trade while preparing a dossier for prosecutors who can, under Indonesia’s tough narcotics law, demand the death penalty for the man.


Bali Prison Tries to Clean up its Act
Efforts Underway to End Rampant Illegal Fees and Levies at Baliís Kerobokan Prison



Angry Kuta Residents Take Charge
Hundreds of Kuta Residents Forcibly Close Night Spots Open After 2:00 a.m.

As reported in late January 2012 by Balidiscovery.com [See: Taking Back Bali’s Streets]  local residents of Kuta and surrounding areas, unhappy with the rising levels of crime and noise in Bali’s nightlife Mecca have begun neighborhood patrols to keep the peace.

Local residents are also insisting that nightspots  close their doors at 2:00 a.m. to reduce crime and noise pollution that disturbs residents in the area.

Bali Post reports that definitive steps by Kuta residents to take back control of their neighborhoods was much in evidence on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, when hundreds of local citizens forcibly closed entertainment establishments continuing to operate past 2:00 a.m..

The direct action by local Kuta residents took place after the refusal by a number of businesses to conform to the 2:00 a.m. closing time demanded by the Kuta community, a rule endorsed by Badung regency administrators.

Neighborhood watch patrols are now in operation in Kuta comprised of rotating participants from the 13 banjars or village assemblies.

Among the nightspots visited and forcibly closed by the large group of local residents on February 29th included the notorious Sky Garden, the scene of numerous violent incident in the past.

According to the chairman of the Kuta People’s Association (Lembaga Pemberdayaan Masyarakat-Kuta), I Nyoman Graha Wicaksana, the current mass action by Kuta residents reflects anger against Badung regency officials seen as reluctant or unable to take action against nightspots that violate licensing rules and regulations. He cited how many nightspots in Kuta remain open until 5:00 a.m., well past the stipulated 2:00 a.m. closiing time.

Complained Wicaksana: “The Badung administration cannot enforce their own rules. Meanwhile, the people are fed up with all the noise.”

A community figure, I Gusti Anom Gumanti, told the press that he did not take part in the enforcement action carried out by hundreds Kuta residents. He did, however, admit that he had been informed of the action beforehand. Saying local residents were angry with the classic problem of all night operations and noise pollution in Kuta.

In the wake of the street action by Kuta residents, Gumanti said he hopes the Badung administration would now publish a circular notice limiting operating hours and then be forceful in enforcing that rule. “So far the Badung administration has been too weak in enforcement as proven by nightspots that open beyond the stipulated closing time of 2:00 a.m.”


A Big Fish that Always Gets Away
Calls to Protect Enormous Mola-Mola Fish That Makes Waters Surrounding Bali its Seasonal Home

A non-governmental organization dedicated to preserving the ocean’s ecosystem, the Coral Triangle Center (CTC), is urging the government to list the enormous Mola-mola fish as a protected species.

The Mola-mola is a rare Oceanic Sunfish – the world’s heaviest bony fish that can grow up to 3 meters in diameter and weigh more than 350 kilograms.

The CTC is asking that this huge fish, a seasonal visitor to the waters of Nusa Penida Islands, a short distance off Bali southeastern coast, be registered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to prevent people from selling and buying the aquatic behemoth.

As reported by Beritabali.com, Marthen Welly, the manager of CTC, declared that it is now time for the Mola-mola to be protected because of its very limited remaining population and the limited area in the Nusa Penida Islands where the fish is still found.

Welly also praised the fish's value to tourism due to the Mola-mola's ability to draw drivers from around the world to Bali and Nusa Penida, hoping to dive these waters and see the large but relatively reclusive fish.

According to Welly, there are five diving locations know in Nusa Penida where the Mola-mola can be seen between the months of July and September.

Related Links

[Something of a Fish Story]

[Bali Discovery Diving: Day Trips to Nusa Lembongan & Nusa Penida]
 


The Shark You Bite May Kill You
What Not to Eat on a Bali Holiday: Shark Fins Soup Linked to Fatal Degenerative Brain Diseases

Endangered by overfishing and a wasteful slaughter that seeks to harvest only their fins, new research conducted by the University of Miami (U.S.A.) may have struck a major blow for the survival of shark species.

The study by University of Miami (UM) researchers and published in the scientific journal Marine Drugs has demonstrated high concentrations of beta-n-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) – a neurotoxin liked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig Disease (ALS) in shark's fin and shark's cartilage.

The study suggests that people who consume shark fin’s soup and take pills made of shark cartilage may be at significant risk of developing degenerative brain disease.

The co-author of the scientific study, Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, research assistant professor of Marine Affairs & Policy and director of the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Programs (RJD) at UM said: “Shark fins are primarily derived through finning, a practice where by shark fins are removed at sea and the rest of the mutilated animal is thrown back in the water to die. Estimates suggest that fins from as many as 70 million sharks end up in soup. As a result, many shark species are on the road to extinction. Because sharks play important roles in maintaining balance in the oceans, not only is shark fin soup injurious to the marine environment, but our study suggests that it is likely harmful to the people who are consuming them.”

Seven different species of shark were tested in the study.

The presence of BMAA in shark’s fin and shark’s cartilage should cause Chinese restaurants to review their menu content and prompt a reevaluation by those who take health supplements derived form shark bones. 

Related research shows that people dying of Alzheimer’s disease and ALS have unusually high levels of BMAA in their brains, while healthy individuals have no measurable BMAA present.

Separate studies have also found a link in to degenerative disease by people who consume fruit bats as part of their diet regime. The bats exhibit high levels of BMAA from their diet of BMAA-rich cycad seeds.

Bali rapidly rise in Chinese visitors has put added pressure on Indonesia’s shark population as visitors dine on the shark’s fin and often purchase processed shark’s fin during a Bali holiday to bring back to their country of origin.

Related Article

[Jaws: The Revenge



Get Fit and Fit In in Jimbaran
Gending Kedis Resort Limited Membership Offers for GK Club Ė an Oasis of Privilege and Relaxation in the Heart of Jimbaran

For a limited number of enrollees on a first-come-first served basis, the Gending Kedis Villas, located in Jimbaran, is offering 5-star memberships to people working or living in Jimbaran in their GK Club.
le membership programs of 3, 6 and 12 month duration will extend a range of exclusive membership privileges including:
  • Full use of their fully equipped fitness center featuring state-of-the-art Prima Fit equipment. Private fitness training and counseling available.
  • Those signing up for 12-month memberships get 1 free night in a pool villa at either the Gending Kedis or Kanishka Villas in Seminyak.
  • Full use of the Resort's swimming pool.
  • Special member’s discounts at the Resort’s Alcedo Restaurant.
  • Generous discounts at the Malkoha Spa and the Rudy Hadisuwarno Hair Salon.
  • Invitations to regular member’s gatherings, wine tastings and cocktail parties. 
  • Golf benefits at the New Kuta Golf Course.
The total number of memberships on offer is limited to preserve access and usage for in-house guests at the following rates:
  • 12 months single membership Rp. 3.6 million or Rp. 5.4 million for couples.
  • 3 and 6 month membership rates available on application.
Places are limited. For more information on the GK Club at the Gending Kedis Villas in Jimbaran [Email

[Book a Stay at Geding Kedis]


Fait Accompli or Faux Pas
60-Room Alaia Echo Beach Hotel in Canggu Nears Completion without a Formal Building Permits Amidst a Plethora of Complaints from Neighbors.

According to Radar Bali, a five-storey, 60-room resort property is at an advanced stage of construction on Echo Beach, Canggu, North Kuta, but still lacks a legal building permits (IMB) and is alleged to be in violation of several zoning regulations relating to open-land coefficients and minimum set backs from adjoining property lines.

Meanwhile, a report regarding the same property published in NusaBali quotes the Badung Tourism Authority as insisting that while all permits for the hotel may not be in hand, the needed licenses are “on the way” and the hotel meets zoning requirements.

Confused?


According to the Radar Bali reports, the 60-room property is crowded into a modest 15-are plot (1,500 square meter) filled almost entirely by building structures and, as such, ignoring zoning rules requiring an open-land coefficient of 60%.

As reported by Radar Bali, neighboring properties surrounding the project are vociferously complaining that the hotel violates zoning restrictions; lacks principal permits, UPL/UKL (environmental permit recommendations), has bypassed the need for a mandatory environmental impact study (Amdal) and the required letters of “no objection” (persetujuan penyanding) from adjoining property owners – all items required to erect a commercial structure in Bali.

While building permits (IMB) should be obtained before construction is commenced, it is not uncommon in Bali for projects to commence construction while still processing the IMB. However, the technical drawings must correspond exactly with the actual building project and conform to an entire range of zoning criteria stipulating maximum height, set backdistances from roads and waterways, set backs from adjacent structures, and open-area coefficients.

These regulations require 60% open-land be preserved for tourism accommodation projects. Those rules also mandate a 2-meter setback from property lines on the right, left and back of such a project – a rule Radar Bali contends is being ignored by those building the hotel project in Canggu.

David Chandra, one of the neighbors, who owns a house immediately to the south of the hotel project, has protested to Radar Bali regarding the construction, claiming the project developers have failed to seek his written acggreement required for the project to go ahead.

Another Version

An article in NusaBali, reports that  Badung Tourism Authorities have come to the defense of the Canggu hotel project, insisting it is permissable to issue the project's principle permit (izin prinsip) in the absence of the formal letters of agreement from owners of neighboring parcels of land.

Head of the Badung Tourism Service, Tjokorda Raka Darmawan, said: “Indeed, the rules required agreement from the neighbors. However, if the neighbors are hard to locate, the applicant must then make a statement affirming that they have been unable to locate the neighbors.” This declaration statting that the neighbors are difficult to locate must also be counter-signed by the local village head.

It is unclear if thee requirements were met by the Echo Beach Hotel Project developers. That the neighbors are now publicly protesting the project in the press would, however, suggest they are neither in agreement with the project nor difficult to locate.

Raka Darmawan said compliance with local zoning laws is not a matter for his office and is under the authority of the Badung Zoning Office. “We only check that the project complies with permitted use categories for that location. If there are complaints from neighbors, we hope this can be settled in an amicable way without involving government authorities,” he explained.

NusaBali reports that while the project still lacks a building permit (IMB), the hotel does hold a principle permit (izin prinsip), and a recommendation in hand for environmental permits.

A recommendation letter issued by the Badung Environmental Agency (BLH) lists the project as a “melati” class hotel with 76 rooms spread over four floors plus an additional 5th floor listed as a “semi-basement.” The same recommendation indicates the project as an open-space coefficient of 68.13% - a figure well above the 60% minimum required by current zoning laws.

Technical drawings have reportedly been submitted in support of an IMB and, according to Nusa Bali, the Badung Zoning Office has approved the building permit for which the have paid an official fee of Rp. 330.9 million (US$35,760).

Legislators Promise to Investigate

Members of Commission A of the Badung House of Representatives (DPRD-Badung) have announced their intention to visit the site of the hotel to conduct a field survey. Made Dharma, who is a member of Commission A, told the press that the new hotel project must conform to all existing rules and regulations, including coefficient rules and set-backs from neighboring property lines.

More on Alaia Echo Beach

The owner of record for the hotel project is PT. The Alaia Echo Beach.

A separate report in Travel Trade Gazette Asia (TTG) states that the publicly listed Panorama Group’s hospitality division, PHM Hospitality, owns the hotel project.

The Alaia Echo Beach is reportedly being pitched as a three-star premium hotel scheduled for opening by the end of 2012.

PHM Hospitality currently manages The Haven Seminyak and The 101 Legian – both located in Bali, They have another six properties under construction in Jakarta, Bogor, Jogjakarta and Bali.


Indonesia Grows its Meeting & Conference Sector
ICMITM: Indonesian Corporate Meeting and Incentive Travel Mart May 8-12, 2012 in Medan, North Sumatra

The Ministry of Tourism and the Creative Economy in cooperation with American Express/Bank Danamon are hosting the Indonesian Corporate Meeting and Incentive Travel Mart (ICMITM) in Medan, North Sumatra May 8-12, 2012.
tion comprised of Berman Lubis, Director of MICE at the Ministry of Tourism and the Creative Economy; Darwin, Sr. Vice President from Amex/Danamon; SilvyWidyaningrum, Corporate Card Head at Amex/Danamon; and Indra Sakti Madewa of PT Citramedia Karyasakti who are managing the mart traveled to Bali on Monday, February 27, 2012 to brief the Bali travel industry on the Medan event.

During the Bali meeting, Berman Lubis spoke of the government’s plans to increase to 10% the total share of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) from the total travel market. For comparison purposes, Singapore estimates 30% of all travel to the Republic is MICE-related, while Indonesia put the current market share for MICE at only 3.7%.

ICMITM will host 100 top corporate travel decision makers to a four-day of one-on-meetings with Indonesian MICE operators and a busy program of hosted tours and dinners in Medan and the surrounding areas of North Sumatra.

During an intense set of tabletop meetings; each hosted buyer is expected to meet with a corresponding 100 sellers during the course of 10,000 guaranteed B2B business meetings.

The organizers of the even are spreading the invitations for selected sellers across Indonesia’s leading MICE destinations and MICE operators in order to present Indonesia’s many diverse opportunities for corporate meetings, conferences and incentives across the archipelago.

ICMITM will be headquartered at the Santika Premiere Dyandra Hotel and Convention Center in Medan.

Early bird seller registration offers of US$600 per company are available with the normal fee reverting later to US$800.

For more information or to register [Email]  or telephone ++62-(0)21-7821323


Missing the Boat; Missing the Point
Tanah Ampo International Cruise Terminal Fails to Win Friends During Recent Visit of MV Aurora to East Bali

Inexpert and poor planning, and an amateurish approach to serving the cruise industry once again sadly reared its head at the Tanah Ampo International Cruise Terminal in Karangasem, East Bali on Monday, February 27, 2012 during the visit of the MV Aurora that carried 1,950 passengers and 850 crew to Bali.

The passengers who disembarked the ship in the morning for tours of Bali discovered that they were unable to re-board the ship when a rope securing the gangway connecting the passenger landing pontoon to the main dock broke.

As a result, hundreds of passengers were stranded on the main pier and adjacent terminal while hurried efforts were made to re-secure the pontoon, making it once again safe for passenger use. According to Nusa Bali, at one point hundreds of passengers waiting on the pier had to run for shelter when a rainstorm swept across the area.

Tourists protested the situation with one English tourist, Mary Watson, complaining bitterly that she was compelled to stand for four hours on the pier due to the broken connecting line. Said Watson while using her right hand to give a ‘thumb’s down’ gesture: “In such an emergency situation there is no food, drinks or umbrellas. No one cares that we were left standing here; this is the first and the last time I will come to Bali.”

After a delay of some 6.5 hours, temporary repairs allowed passengers to once again board the pontoon and make their way back to the ship after some passengers had been waiting since late morning to re-board the ship for lunch.

Local transportation officials blamed the failure on heavy waves and high winds, but, in fact, the pontoon system at the dock was poorly designed, with an earlier, first pontoon falling apart just weeks after its installation.

The pontoon's failure also cause a number of officials from Karangasem regency and a group of dancer who had boarded the ship in the morning little choice but to wait until early evening to return to shore.

The Gods Must be Angry

According to Nusa Bali, people from the surrounding village are not blaming inexpert planning and poor execution for the several service failures at Tanah Ampo, but insist that that official’s failure to undertake matur piuning ceremonies at the site as the main cause for the less than auspicious reception afforded to cruise passengers landing at Tanah Ampo.

New Management at Tanah Ampo

The Bali Post has confirmed that PT Karangasem Sejahtera has just been given permission by the Indonesian Minister of Transportation to manage the Tanah Ampo International Cruise Terminal.

Under the appointment PT Pelindo III will continue to handle inbound cruise ships at Tanah Ampo but receptive services and the handling of passengers in the port will be the responsibility of PT Karangasem Sejahtera.

It is hoped that the appointment of PT Karangasem Sejahtera will improve the sub-standard service provided to date by the Tanah Ampo Cruise Terminal. The Company has promised to devise standard operating procedure (SOP) for the facility and soon make those policies known and available to the larger community.

Tourism operators hope that PT Karangasem Sejahtera has, or will acquire, managers experienced in international cruise ship operations, seen as a necessary prerequisite to salvaging the tarnished reputation of the new cruise port.

Related Articles

[Who’s in Charge?]

[Blaming Mother Nature]

[Tanah Ampo: Not Ready for Royalty]

[What’s Up, Dock?]

[Bali's Cruise Ports Found Lacking]

[A Pier without Peer?]

[Anchors Aweigh at Bali's Tanah Ampo Port]

[Just Sitting on the Dock in the Bay, Wasting Time]

[Arrested Development]
 


The Morning After and Forever After
25% of Baliís Commercial Sex Workers HIV Positive

The estimated number of HIV/AIDS cases in Bali through the end of January 2012 hit 5,902 cases, with the majority of infections occurring as the result of heterosexual sexual contact. Authorities cite infection via contact with commercial sex workers as a major vector for acquiring the disease, with secondary infections affecting wives and children of men who have sex with prostitutes.

The secretary of the Bali chapter of the Commission for the Prevention of AIDS (KPA), Made Suprapta, declared on Monday, February 27, 2012, that the island has entered dangerous territory as regards the rate of HIV/AIDS infections. This can be seen from estimates that among 9,000 commercial sex workers in Bali approximately 22-25% are thought to be HIV positive. “So from 100 commercial sex workers surveyed, 22 will be positive for HIV. This condition is of great concern and should be a red light for the clients of sex workers,” explained Suprapta.

Nationally based research shows that, on the average, a commercial sex worker will serve 3 – 4 clients each day. Additional research suggests that commercial sex workers in Bali, Papua and East Java can serve as many as from 1 to 12 customers in a single working day.

Suprapta continued, telling The Bali Post, that the actual number of commercial sex workers in Bali remains highly fluctuant. Because prostitution in Bali is not localized to specific locations, making estimating the actual size of the sex industry sector problematic.

He went on to say that one method proven effective in reducing the rate of new HIV/AIDS infections is the use of condoms. Despite this fact, authorities estimate that condoms are only utilized in 30% of commercial sex contacts, while a usage rate of 80-90% is thought to be necessary to reduce the rate of new infections.

The KPA works with local community organizations to promote the use of condoms and encourage commercial sex workers infected with HIV/AIDS to undergo treatment and counseling.

According to Suprapta, many prostitutes refuse to be tested for HIV/AIDS for fear of subsequent arrested by police authorities.

KPA also works with area schools, creating student groups joining the battle to prevent HIV/AIDS infections in the community. Efforts are also underway to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in villages by forming village-based action groups to educate their neighbors as a means of reducing the rate of new infections.


In the Still of the Night
Kuta Tourism Officials Promise to Start Enforcing Closing Hours for Nightspots

In a late response to growing community anger over rising rates of crime and nightlong noise pollution from Kuta’s nightspots, the Head of the Badung Tourism Office, Tjokorda Raka Darmawan, has promised to improve enforcement.

According to Bisnis.Bali, following unilateral action taken by hundreds of local residents to close down errant nightspots, Raka Darmawan has admitted the shortcomings of his office, saying on Thursday, March 1, 2012: “We admit there has been weak enforcement in the past. This is due to our limitations in the field. Because of this, in the future we will tighten enforcement by involving the relevant components.”

He told the press that his office is in the process of preparing a circular notice limiting the hours of operations for nightspots. Raka Darmawan said the announcement would be made upon his return from a tourism promotional trip to ITB-Berlin after March 11, 2012.

While local citizens are demanding a 2:00 a.m. closing time, it appears the regulation to be enforced by Badung officials will stipulate a 3:00 a.m. closing time.

Raka Darmawan is promising to strictly enforce the new rules by involving elements of the police and local citizenry. He has also promised a system of warnings culminating in eventual closure by nightspots that choose to ignore the rules.

Related Article

[Angry Kuta Residents Take Charge]



 
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Bali Update #618
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Bali Update #617
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Bali Update #616
June 30, 2008

Bali Update #615
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Bali Update #614
June 16, 2008

Bali Update #613
June 09, 2008

Bali Update #612
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Bali Update #611
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Bali Update #610
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Bali Update #609
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Bali Update #608
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Bali Update #607
April 28, 2008

Bali Update #606
April 21, 2008

Bali Update #605
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Bali Update #604
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Bali Update #603
March 31, 2008

Bali Update #602
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Bali Update #601
March 10, 2008

Bali Update #600
March 10, 2008

Bali Update #599
March 03, 2008

Bali Update #598
February 25, 2008

Bali Update #597
February 18, 2008

Bali Update #596
February 11, 2008

Bali Update #595
February 04, 2008

Bali Update #594
January 28, 2008

Bali Update #593
January 21, 2008

Bali Update #592
January 14, 2008

Bali Update #591
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Bali Update #590
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Bali Update #589
December 24, 2007

Bali Update #588
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Bali Update #587
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Bali Update #586
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Bali Update #585
November 26, 2007

Bali Update #584
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Bali Update #583
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Bali Update #582
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Bali Update #581
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Bali Update #580
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Bali Update #579
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Bali Update #578
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Bali Update #577
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Bali Update #576
September 24, 2007

Bali Update #575
September 17, 2007

Bali Update #574
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Bali Update #573
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Bali Update #572
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Bali Update #571
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Bali Update #570
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Bali Update #569
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Bali Update #568
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Bali Update #567
July 23, 2007

Bali Update #566
July 16, 2007

Bali Update #565
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Bali Update #564
July 02, 2007

Bali Update #563
June 25, 2007

Bali Update #562
June 18, 2007

Bali Update #561
June 11, 2007

Bali Update #560
June 04, 2007

Bali Update #559
May 28, 2007

Bali Update #558
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Bali Update #557
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Bali Update #556
May 07, 2007

Bali Update #555
April 30, 2007

Bali Update #554
April 23, 2007

Bali Update #553
April 16, 2007

Bali Update #552
April 09, 2007

Bali Update #551
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Bali Update #550
March 26, 2007

Bali Update #549
March 19, 2007

Bali Update #548
March 12, 2007

Bali Update #547
March 05, 2007

Bali Update #546
February 26, 2007

Bali Update #545
February 19, 2007

Bali Update #544
February 12, 2007

Bali Update #543
February 05, 2007

Bali Update #542
January 29, 2007

Bali Update #541
January 22, 2007

Bali Update #540
January 15, 2007

Bali Update #539
January 08, 2007

Bali Update #538
January 01, 2007

Bali Update #537
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Bali Update #536
December 18, 2006

Bali Update #535
December 11, 2006

Bali Update #534
December 04, 2006

Bali Update #533
November 27, 2006

Bali Update #532
November 20, 2006

Bali Update #531
November 13, 2006

Bali Update #530
November 06, 2006

Bali Update #529
October 30, 2006

Bali Update #528
October 23, 2006

Bali Update #527
October 16, 2006

Bali Update #526
October 9, 2006

Bali Update #525
October 2, 2006

Bali Update #524
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #523
September 04, 2006

Bali Update #522
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Bali Update #521
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Bali Update #520
August 28, 2006

Bali Update #519
August 21, 2006

Bali Update #518
August 14, 2006

Bali Update #517
August 07, 2006

Bali Update #516
July 31, 2006

Bali Update #515
July 24, 2006

Bali Update #514
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Bali Update #513
July 10, 2006

Bali Update #512
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Bali Update #511
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Bali Update #510
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Bali Update #509
June 12, 2006

Bali Update #508
June 05, 2006

Bali Update #507
May 29, 2006

Bali Update #506
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Bali Update #505
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Bali Update #504
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Bali Update #503
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Bali Update #502
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Bali Update #501
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