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Bali airport expansion project to start soon
October 8th, 2009

After being delayed for months, the expansion of Ngurah Rai International Airport will finally start early January 2010, an official has confirmed.

Following a recent meeting with Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika, president director of PT Angkasa Pura I airport management company, Bambang Darwoto, said the Rp 1.5 trillion-expansion project (US$15million) was expected to finish within 30 months.

The project will cover the extension of both international and domestic passenger terminals, parking lots and other supporting facilities. The planned project was delayed because the governor initially rejected the previous plan. PT Angkasa Pura I had first planned to expand the commercial zone to cover around 40 percent of the passenger terminals.

The previous domestic terminal was going to be expanded into 120 hectare-international passenger terminal. At present, the international terminal is 63,246 square meters and has the capacity to receive 7.4 million visitors a year, while the domestic terminal covers only 11,255 square meters and can receive 1.5 million passengers.

The airport expansion project will affect hundreds of residences and public facilities in nearby areas.

The airport, located in the crowded tourist and residential area of Tuban, Kuta, currently spreads over 289 hectares.

Pastika refused to accept the design saying the commercial zone would create an uncomfortable situation in the passenger terminal. More than that, the spacious business site would cause security problems at the airport.

In the revised design, the size of business site has been reduced to only 30 percent of the total area, while the remaining 10 percent will be used for public areas.

In the preliminary design, the airport extension would have been given a modern and futuristic style, with a more traditional Balinese design inside the airport.

The airport’s exterior design is currently Balinese, which the company said was difficult to maintain.

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Indonesia’s most-wanted Islamist militant, Noordin Mohamed Top, has been killed during a raid in central Java, say police.
September 18th, 2009


The man wanted for a series of deadly attacks across the archipelago was among four killed in a raid near Solo city, said the national police chief.

It is not the first time Indonesian officials have claimed Noordin is dead.

Indonesia’s president said the raid was a significant victory, but warned the militant threat was not yet over.

“We must continue to be vigilant and prepare for steps to tackle, optimally prevent and continue to hunt down terrorist leaders,” said Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

‘Thank God’

The BBC’s Karishma Vaswani in Jakarta says police are sure this time Noordin is dead because of fingerprint tests.

“Thank God on this holy month of Ramadan – it’s Noordin M Top,” police chief Bambang Hendarso Danuri told a nationally televised news conference to cheers, reports AFP news agency.

He added that alleged bomb-maker Bagus Budi Pranato, alias Urwah, was also among those killed.

A member of the national parliament’s security committee said he and other lawmakers had been allowed to inspect the bodies of the four militants.

“Today, God willing, the radical movement has been disabled. One of the biggest terrorist masterminds, Noordin M Top, has been shot,” said the MP, Sidarto, reports AFP.

“There were signs that pointed to it being Noordin M Top, such as a big mole on the left side of his nose,” he added.

Noordin, 41, is accused of leading a more hardline splinter faction of the regional terror group Jemaah Islamiyah.

Police are reported to have closed in on the rented house late on Wednesday after arresting two suspects nearby.

Witnesses said they heard gunfire through the night and then an explosion early on Thursday.

‘Explosives’

A pregnant woman was among those arrested during the operation, said police.

Explosives and grenades were found in the house, Maj Gen Sukarna said.

The operation reportedly left behind a charred house with no roof and collapsed walls.

Malaysian-born Noordin was also reported to have been killed during a raid in central Java last month, but it later emerged he had slipped through the net again.

Noordin is not thought to have been behind the 2002 bombings on Bali, but was allegedly involved in the blasts on the holiday island in 2005.

He was also blamed for a 2003 attack on the Marriott hotel in Jakarta that killed 12 people, and the 2004 Australian embassy bombing in the Indonesian capital.

A lull ended in July with twin suicide bomb attacks on the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta that killed nine people and injured scores of others.

On raids in Cilacap, central Java, in July, police said they found bomb-making material at an Islamic boarding school, and explosives buried in the garden of a house of Noordin’s father-in-law.

Noordin was said to have been a key financier for Jemaah Islamiah, but was thought to have set up his own more hard-line splinter group.

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Aussies dominate tourist flow to Bali
September 9th, 2009

Australians dominated the flow of foreign tourists to Bali during the seven-month period of January-July 2009, a tourism official said.

“Their number in the period was 225,170, an increase of 36.98 percent compared to the same period last year when only 165,112 came to Bali” Antara news agency quoted Ida Komang Wisnu, the chief of Bali’s Central Statistics Agency (BPS), as saying here Monday.

He said the number of Australian tourists accounted for 17.34 percent of the overall number of foreign tourists who visited Bali in that period, namely 1,304,359 or 12.26 percent up from 1,161,915 the same period last year.

Wisnu said Australia was on top of the list of ten countries from which most foreign tourists visiting Bali had come in 2009.


Australia and Japan were two of the countries with great potential for Balinese tourism and both were often in the top position on the list of countries contributing to Bali’s tourism earnings.In the period, Japan was in second position with 186,265 tourists (14.28 percent), China 116.824 tourists (8.9 percent), and Malaysia 83,909 tourists.

 

Apart from those countries, other countries like South Korea, Taiwan, France, Britain, Germany and USA also visited Bali. Of the top ten countries, six recorded a significant increase in tourist arrivals in Bali but four countries registered a decrease, namely Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and USA, he said. 

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Indonesian Media Accuse Malaysia Of Stealing pendet Dance
August 26th, 2009

JAKARTA, Aug 25 (Bernama) — Malaysia has denied it has anything to do with the production of a 30-second video clip which briefly shows footages of the “Pendet” dance from Bali.

Deputy Head of Mission at the Malaysian Embassy here Amran Mohamed Zain said the claims by Indonesian media that Malaysia had stolen the Pendet dance was baseless.

Amran told Bernama here today that he had met Indonesia’s culture and tourism minister Jero Wacik to inform him of Malaysia’s willingness to clear the air over the issue, which has become controversy in Indonesia.

The issue is featured on the front page of several Indonesian newspapers, which not only claimed that Malaysia had stolen the dance but also tied the matter to various other issues.

A television station meanwhile showed a group of protesters in Bali, performing a theatrical dance depicting Malaysia as a devil out to capture Pendet.

Bernama learns that a company headquartered in Singapore, which produced the 30-second clip, had written to Indonesia’s culture and tourism minister to clarify the matter.

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International Conference and Festival on North Bali Culture
August 3rd, 2009

BULELENG: The International Conference and Festival on North Bali Culture was opened Thursday at Lovina by the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s director for overseas marketing, I Gde Pitana.

The four-day gathering of local and international scholars will discuss the cultural heritage of the region, featuring diverse sessions, from ancient literature to contemporary trends in IT.

Pitana said that since ancient time, the region and its residents had always possessed a fascinating level of cultural openness.

“The people of Buleleng have an ability to absorb foreign influences into their own culture. This cultural openness has given birth to a rich and varied cultural heritage,” he said. – JP




Indo tourism to recover in six months – Minister
July 24th, 2009


Indonesia’s vast experience dealing with crises will help the country’s tourism sector recover from the impact of last Friday’s hotel bombings in Jakarta, according to the country’s Culture and Tourism Minister, Jero Wacik. “We’ve been hit by bombs, tsunami, bird fl u and financial crises, but we’ve survived.

We always survive,” Antara reported Wacik telling a press conference in Jakarta.

 

“We needed just one year to recover from the second Bali bombing. I have a gut feeling this time we’ll need only six months.” He added that the Indonesia’s House of Representatives had approved additional funds of IDR94 billion (US$9.3 million) to help the tourism sector recover.

 

Meanwhile Xu Jing, the UNWTO’s Regional Representative for Asia Pacific, agreed that Indonesia’s resilience in the face of tragedy was proven, based on the figures achieved in the tourism sector within the first five months of 2009.

 

“There is an 8% decrease in tourist arrivals in the rest of the world. Indonesia is probably the only exception in the midst of all these financial and economic difficulties,” Xu was reported saying.

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Minister discloses visa-on-arrival irregularities
July 8th, 2009

The Justice and Human Rights Ministry has found irregularities to the tune of Rp 3 billion (US$292,000)  from Visa on Arrival (VOA) fees at the Ngurah Rai Internatonal Airport in Bali between October 2008 and May 2009.

“We received a report from the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) auditor several days ago that there is a disparity between the issuance of VOA fees with its financial report,” Justice and Human Rights Minister Andi Mattalatta told a media conference Monday.

He said there were two types of visa-on-arrivals, for periods less than and longer than a week, which cost US$10 and $25 respectively.

“The report showed most of the visas issued were for more than seven days, but the payments are listed as being only for a week, so there is a discrepancy here,” Andi said.

The visa-on-arrival process is now available for people from 63 countries at immigration checkpoints in 14 airports and 17 seaports nationwide.

The Ngurah Rai International Airport in Badung regency, just outside the provincial capital of Denpasar, is one of Indonesia’s busiest points of entrance.

About 1.9 million tourists visited Bali in 2008, spending an average of $1,000 per visit.

He acknowledged suspicion of the possible irregularities in the VOA fees was initially voiced
by head of the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office, Jusuf Hadi, who directly asked for the VOA to be
audited.

He also said the ministry’s e-office system, which was implemented in October 2008, was one of the factors that allowed the irregularities to be detected soon.

Director General for Immigration Basyir Ahmad Barmawi acknowledged the e-office system allowed all immigration data to be integrated.

“We have invested Rp 53 billion for the system that currently integrates 104 immigration offices throughout the nation.

“Currently we are working to integrate 27 major immigration check points. We have to take it in stages,” he said.

However, the system is so far only able to provide a database on the number of people arriving in Indonesia, who they are and what flight they arrived on.

“The system has yet to accommodate the issuance of VOA or visa fees for short visit (BVKS), but we will continue developing it”, he said.

Basyir said the e-office system allowed his office to access real-time data on 60 to 70 percent of people visiting Indonesia outside the BVKS and VOA schemes.

Andi said he already had the names of immigration officers who were allegedly “playing” with the VOA fees, but refused to reveal their identities.

“It is better if we wait for the BPK official report,” he said.

“We are now investigating what the worst practice is, how many officials are involved and how many times they did what they did,” he said.

He added deciding whether to discipline them internally or proceed with legal action would depend on how bad the role of the officials was and how much loss it had caused the state.

He added the ministry now planned to audit other major entrance points into Indonesia including the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which services Jakarta.

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