Police in Bali continue to seek the source of a written bomb threat sent to a district office (kantor camat) in Buleleng on Monday. January 18, 2016.
While investigations and a massive manhunt continue, police in North Bali have placed the entire region under a full alert, focusing on public roads, government offices, shopping complexes and places frequented by tourist visitors.
Metrobali.com quotes the head of police operations in Buleleng, Ketut Gelgel, who on Friday, January 22, 2016, said that a man delivered a written bomb threat while identifying himself as a member of the same group that exploded suicide bombs outside the Sarinah Department Store in Jakarta on Thursday, January 14, 2016.
Harry Haryadi of the Buleleng Police said, “We must be thankful, after the terror of a bombing threat, the level of activity and creativity of the people of Buleleng have not been affected.”
Haryadi said that the situation in Buleleng remains relatively safe as police perform surveys and do snap inspections of newcomers to the region and motor vehicles traveling roads in the Island's north. He reminded the press that efforts to secure the area can not be limited to actions only undertaken by the police and the armed forces, but also requires the active participation of the public who can report suspicious circumstances to their nearest police precinct.
Meanwhile, police continue to look for the man who delivered the bomb threat letter identified as driving a SupraX 125 motorcycle. The letter claimed a link to the Jakarta attacks and threatened further attacks in Denpasar and Singaraja.
Uber and Uber
Bali Bans Uber Taxi Operations
Tempo.co reports that the Provincial Government of Bali’s Transport Service has issued orders officially banning Uber Taxi’s from operating on the Island.
The order, issued with immediate effect from Thursday, January 21, 2016, was announced following talks with local drivers associations, Uber and Grab Car representatives.
Transportation authorities said Uber’s application-based system uses privately owned vehicles that lack official transportation permits and licenses issued by the Province.
Officials threaten to take firm action against Uber vehicles and their drivers if they continue to operate following the ban.
The Bali-based representation of Uber Taxi, Dimas Dwinovanto Putra, reserved comment on the ban, saying Uber would issue a formal statement in due course.
Where Thereís a Weld, Thereís a Way
East Bali Welder Creates a Robotic Arm to Overcome Paralysis Caused by a Stroke
The local press in Bali, including Metrobali.com, is awash with coverage of 31-year-old I Wayan Sumardana (“Tawan”) from the village of Nyuhtebel, Karengasem, East Bali.
The husband and father of two operates a welding shop in order to provide for the daily needs of his young family
In mid-2015, Tawan suffered a stroke that his left arm largely paralyzed. Concerned that his disability would prevent him from earning a living as a welder, Tawan answered this challenge by constructing an elaborate mechanical arm for spare parts, the sophistication of which has drawn attention to the young welder’s skills not only as a welder, but also as a technical engineer.
The object of steadily increasing media coverage, Wayan Sumardana is now known far and wide as “Tawan the Man with a Robot Arm” via frequent mentions in social media, including film clips on YouTube.
The crude mechanical arm fashioned from used motorcycle and computer parts, includes a headband containing computer chips that allows Tawan some telepathic-like mechanical control of his arm movements.
Intrigue by Tawan’s ingenuity, a business incubator is in serious discussion with the man to help him perfect his invention and explore wider applications, while officials from the Ministry of Research and Technology are also seeking ways to encourage and support his incipient mechanical genius.
Technical writers have expressed some reticence regarding the accuracy and smooth fluidity of movement achieved by Tawan from his crudely constructed robot arm that is apparently controlled by an EEG head band fashioned from a used CDROM main board, a discarded MP3 player and a computer mouse.
Tawan says he managed to build his robot arm over 6 months, using the Internet as an information resource.
Critics on social media have questioned Tawan's mechanical arm, suggesting the natural movement of his robotic arm is, in fact, not robotic in nature and surmising his disability may be less severe than widely belived.
In any case, the spirit of enterprise, innate brilliance and determination to overcome a disability demonstrated by I Wayan Sumardana have been praised at the highest level of government in both Bali and Jakarta.
The Governor of Bali, Made Mangku Pastika, has ordered the Provincial Health Department to arrange a professional medical assessment of Tawan’s arm in order that rehabilitative treatment can be given to him.
The Governor has also ordered Bali’s Social Services Department to help upgrade the workshop area and housing currently used by his family. Praising Tawan, Governor Pastika said: “The fighting spirit and determination to win from Tawan amidst a number of limitations can serve as a role model to the younger generation. In pain and in humble circumstances, this man does not surrender.”
The Governor is also seeking help for Tawan to officially patent his invention.
Tawan told the Governor that if he were able to regain full use of his arm, he would like to dedicate his life to making robots for use by the disabled.
To Serve and Protect
Kuta-Legian-Seminyak Areas of Bali on High Security Alert Status
Many tourist areas of Bali are experiencing a level of security precautions unprecedented in the Island’s history. Beritabali.com reports that the Kuta and Legian areas are seeing a large presence of uniformed police and military personnel on guard and armed on almost every street corner – spaced at intervals of about 20 to 30 meters.
Hundreds of officers form the Bali Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob), the Denpasar police precinct and Armed Forces (TNI) members are in plain view along the entire Kuta – Legian – Seminyak corridor. All are armed with pistols and rifles, with many also shielded by bulletproof vests. Meanwhile, police and military vehicles continuously shuttte up and down the roadways on patrol.
The head of the Kuta Police precinct, Wayan Sumara, told the press that he has 81 officers deployed on the streets, complemented by members of the Kuta Community Watch (pacalang). He also confirmed that plain-clothes officers are patrolling all public areas.
“We are closely observing every movement of people and goods. Several hotels, discotheques and even Starbucks are getting serious attention from our officers,” said Sumara on Friday, January 22, 2016. He said the heavy police presence was justified on the basis that terrorists are known to target foreign nationals.
Beritabali.com reports that members of the Police Mobile Brigade in full uniform are to be found in all areas of Kuta and Legian. Jalan Kartika Plaza, malls, hotels and restaurant are being guarded by heavily armed police. Police wearing bulletproof vests with assault rifles “at the ready” can be found at the entrances of many hotels.
Despite this heavy police presence, tourist activities continue, with many expressing gratitude for the added sense of security provided by the police and military show of force.
One tourist, Lindsey from Australia commented: “Terrorists are everywhere. But if we are on alert and disciplined there is no need to be frightened. This is the example of Bali. Many police are on guard because Bali is also a target.”
From Jero to Zero?
Bali-born Former Minister Jero Wacik Hears Prosecutors Demand 9 Years in Prison and Damages of Rp. 18.97 billion in State Corruption Trial.
NusaBali reports that Jero Wacik (67), the Balinese-born former Minister of Tourism and Culture (2004-2011) and Minister for Energy and Minerals (2011-2014), has heard State Prosecutors call for a prison sentence of 9 years and and order to repay the State losses put at Rp. 18.79 billion.
As reported by NusaBali, prosecutors made their sentence demand before the special corruption tribunal on Thursday, January 21, 2016. Wacik complained that the sentencing demand completely ignored the testimony given on his behalf by Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla.
The sentencing demand read by Anti-corruption prosecutor Dody Sukmono called for 9 years in prison, a fine of Rp. 350 million and the repayment of damages to the State amounting to Rp. 18.97 billion. Sukmono told the presiding judges that it had been conclusively proven that Wacik abused his Ministerial post to corrupt operational funds, to compel his subordinates to extort funds from businesses and had willingly taken illegal gratifications.
If the court accepts prosecutor’s demands and in the absence of a legal appeal by Wacik, the former Minister would have one month to repay the Rp. 18.79 billion in State losses or face the seizure and liquidation of his personal assets. If Wacik’s assets are insufficient to pay the damages, an additional 4 years would be added to his prison sentence.
Wacik, meanwhile, rejects prosecutors’ sentencing demands, protesting he is innocent of all charges.
On Thursday, January 14, 2016, in closing sessions of the corruption trial, Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla explained to the court that Ministers have wide discretion in how operational funds are disbursed, explaining that the monthly salary of Rp. 19 million paid to Ministers is insufficient to cover the regular expenses incurred in serving in a ministerial role.
Jero Wacik's trial continues with a verdict expected in the coming weeks.
Peaks that Sleep
Mount Barujari Volcano in Lombok Declared Back to Normal
The Chief of the Unit for the Observation and Investigation of Volcanoes at the Center for Volcanic Activity and Natural Disaster Mitigation, Gede Suantika, has issued a statement removing the alert status for the Mount Barujari Volcano at Mount Rinjani in Lombok.
As reported by the State News Agency Antara, effective January 19, 2016, the seismic status at Mount Barujari is re-classified as “normal” – a downgrade from its previous “alert” status.
Because of the difficulty in predicting volcanic activity, both Barujari and Rinjani remain under round-the-clock surveillance.
Explosions of Mount Barujari in late 2015 caused numerous fight delays and cancellations due to volcanic ash interfering with flight operations in Lombok and Bali.
As a precautionary measure, officials have not lifted the ban on visitors and local residents from climbing or camping at Mount Barujari.
Suantika called on the public not to be frightened or swayed by rumors and inaccurate news about volcanic activity at Mount Barujari. He assured the public that his department was being vigilant in monitoring conditions on the mountain and in coordinating information with local protection and enforcement agencies.
Quality Over Quantity
Governor Calls for a Shift from Mass Tourism to Quality Tourism
Bali Governor Made Mangku has welcomed the news that Bali was recently named the world’s second best island in a survey by Travel+Leisure Magazine, but said he hope this recognition will motivate Bali to become a quality tourism destination as opposed to its current inclination towards mass tourism.
As reported by Beritabali.com, the Governor said at a press conference held on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, “Bali must become a quality tourism destination, not a place for cheap and low quality tourism.” Pastika wants Bali to focus more on high quality visitors than simply trying to acquire a high number of tourist visitors.
As Bali and the rest of Indonesia enters into participating a fully operating ASEAN Economic Zone, the Governor warned that the Island must be able to effectively compete with other ASEAN destinations. To do this, he said, Bali must have a clear understanding of its assets in order to promote and develop those aspects, while at the same time appreciating its shortcomings that must be upgrades and repaired.
“Bali has many opportunities, we can’t ignore the situation and remain quiet, we must address our shortcoming and increase the quality of the assets that we posses,” said the Governor.
Among the assets and advantages possessed by Bali, Pastika listed the Island’s it well known branding, a work force that is both clever and innovative and its friendly weather patterns. At the same time, he listed a number of weaknesses that must be addressed, including trash processing, traffic congestion and unlicensed guides that all prevent Bali from becoming a truly quality-oriented destination.
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival Sets Dates and Theme for 2016
Despite last-minute official censorship affecting its published program, the Ubud Writers and Reader Festival 2015 recorded a record year by attracting 165 leading writers, artists and intellectuals participating in 241 events at 50 different venues attended by over 30,000 members of the public.
The 13th edition of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is scheduled to take place October 26-30, 2016.
Selected as the theme for the 2016 event is “Tat Tvam Asi” – an ancient Hindu tenet that expresses “I am you, you are me” – outlining the relationship between the individual and the supreme reality.
With equality and mutual concern at its very core – “Tat Tvam Asi” also serves as the underlying theme of the collective identity of Indonesia that strives to create a nation with people of diverse religious, ethnic, cultural and historical background seeking to live as a united people.
In the words of the organizers of the Festival – the 2016 Writers and Readers Festival chose “Tat Twam Asia” as it theme because the Ubud festival presents a gathering of “uncommon stories and meaningful connections, this theme is perhaps its truest representation. With the stories we tell each other, we conjure empathy that mirrors real life experience. That which we can imagine, we can understand. By reading a book, we reach across illusory divides and ‘You’ becomes ‘Me’.”
Stay tuned over the coming months for unfolding details on the 2016 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.
Tourists Complain of Being Forced to Pay Three Times to View the Sekumpul Waterfall in North Bali
Visitors to the waterfall located at Sekumpul, Sawan in North Bali are complaining about being required to purchase three separate tickets when visiting the area.
As reported by NusaBali, the exotic and naturally beautiful locale features two separate waterfalls one of 90 meters in height and another of 60 meters.
The location is seldom visited by visitors to Bali, due to a lack of promotion and the wider recognition of the Git-Git waterfall located on the road between Bedugul and Singaraja.
Those who do manage to find the Sekumpul waterfalls are greeted by a place of great natural beauty and, sadly, insistent demands from locals to pay for admission to the location three times. The first ticket is sold at the entrance gate near the main road, located before the parking area, where Rp. 15,000 is demanded from foreign tourists and Rp. 5-10,000 from domestic visitors. As visitors approach the waterfalls by foot a second ticket must be purchased at roughly the same cost as the first ticket. Two paths diverge leading to the two waterfalls, with a ticket purchase demanded to those taking the path to the right and again if they choose to see the second waterfall by walking down the path to the left.
A local guide explained that the only official entrance ticket is the one purchased at the main road entrance, with the tickets near the waterfalls representing a local initiative lacking any official authorization.
When tourists complain about the additional ticket requirement local citizens insist they have every right to seek payment from those who pass over and through their private lands to view the waterfalls.
An official from the village of Sekumpul confirmed that the ticket sales taking place near the waterfall are illegal, frustrated by the failure of past efforts to stop the practice. The only official admission fee is that collected at the entrance to the parking area, part of which is given to the local village of Lumukih.
Safe and Sound in Bali
Bali Tourism Chief: Bali is Safe for Tourist Visitors
The head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Service, A.A. Gede Yuniartha Putra, has issued a statement on Tuesday, January 19, 2016, saying, “We promise the Bali tourism is safe for tourist visitors and their repeated trips to the Island.”
Quoted by Metrobali.com, Yuniartha praised the rapid steps taken by police and security forces to ensure Bali’s safety in the wake of recent terrorist incidents in Jakarta and overseas.
“We have sent a statement to all the consulates and foreign legations represented in Bali regarding the security situation ion Bali in order that they are not dissuaded by misleading rumors,” Yuniartha said.
At the same time, the head of Tourism for Bali is recommending that hotels increase and enhance security measures, adding, “I hope that tourist visitors will not be offended if they are inspected by security guards.”
Yuniartha complained that certain parties have used self-serving rumors to destroy Bali’s image, without clarifying what rumor he has in mind.
The head of Bali’s Tourism Service said that no specific “travel advisory” discouraging travel to Bali has been issued by any foreign country in the wake of terror attacks in Paris and Jakarta.
Yuniartha expressed his disappointment with the Indonesian Minister of Defense, Moeldoko, who issued a public statement highlighting Bali as a target of possible future terrorist attacks. “Such statements should not be made before the public as it will clearly influence tourists coming to Bali,” he said.
Bali Agung Show at Bali Safari & Marine Raises Curtain on 1,500 the performance
Bali Safari & Marine Park presents the Bali Agung Show, an inspiring cultural performance dedicated to the entertainment of both local and international audiences 6 days of every week. This spectacular show celebrated its 1,500 curtain call on Jan 19, 2016.
In honor of this milestone, all dancers and crew members made a journey to the temples of Ulundanu, Puncak Penulisan, and Balingkang to pray together and express their gratitude for the show’s ongoing success.
With regular scheduled performances over the past five years, the colossal and spectacular Bali Agung Show is arguably the longest-running theatrical production in Indonesia’s theatrical history. A musical spectacular featuring breathtaking stagecraft, lavish musical and dance numbers employing more than 180 Balinese dancers and musicians, a backing musical track from one of the world’s finest orchestras, hundreds of lavish costume changes, a huge cast of talented animals ranging from hornbills to cheetahs and a herd of elephants, and state-of-the-art lighting and sound technology - all converge on a single stage to present a legendary tale of Bali that magically suspends belief and transports mesmerized audiences into a magical time and place.
Presented in a theatre complex covering 460 square meters with seating for 1,200, the Bali Agung Theatre is arguably the largest performance stage in all Indonesia.
Regularly visited by celebrities and heads of State, the Bali Agung Show has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Bali Tourism Award 2015/2016 for “Bali’s Leading Tourism Show” and the Indonesian Travel and Tourism Awards (ITTA 2015/2016) for “Indonesia’s Leading Tourism Show."
A Slap on the Wrist?
Disgraced Former Police Chief of Kuta Precinct Avoids Firing and Prison Time for Role in Alleged Extortion of Group of Australian Tourists
A punishment has finally been handed down to the former chief of the Kuta Police Station, Ida Bagus Dedy Januartha (shown), after being proven to be involved in the physical abuse and extortion of a group of Australian travelers.
The incident that took place on February 26, 2015, involved 16 men attending a Buck’s Night at a Seminyak restaurant where a strip-tease show had been organized on their behalf. Raided by police from the Kuta Police precinct under Januartha’s command, the men were reportedly manhandled – including being Tasered and pistol-whipped, and threatened with 10 years imprisonment unless they forked over a sum reported at AU$25,000 to the police.
The punishment, now confirmed, removes Januartha from any command for one year and requires him to apologize to the Bali Provincial Chief of Police for the damage caused to the image of the Indonesian Police.
Viewed as an open and shut case of criminal extortion and sadly emblematic pf police impunity at the Kuta Police precinct, many had hoped than Januartha would be dishonorably discharged from the police and sent to prison for his deeds.
The former Kuta police chief has reportedly confessed to his role in the incident together with five other policemen who only have receive transfers and administrative sanctions.
35-Year-Old Woman Heroically Prevails on Nusa Penida Island Despite Living a Life without Arms and Legs.
A life without arms and legs cannot deter a 35-year-old woman from her efforts to live a fulfilling life on Bali’s offshore island of Nusa Penida.
In order to fill her days and supplement her income, Ni Ketut Raka opened a small shop at her home that was visited by the Regent of Klungkung, I Nyoman Suwitra, and his wife on Friday, January 15, 2016.
As reported by NusaBali, Raka was born without arms and legs, the fourth child in a family of brothers and sisters who exhibit no physical anomalies. She now lives with her aged parents who gave her the capital to buy an initial stock of drinks and snacks that she sells to passerbies and neighbors.
Her kiosk is very simple, measuring only 3 meters x 2.5 meters. In operation since Raka was a teenager, Raka invites her guests to help themselves and place the appropriate payment on the shop’s tabletop. The woman merely supervised the transaction. Because there are few competing shops, she averages at least 10 customers each day.
The modest income generated by the enterprise contributes to covering the household expenses, adding to the uncertain income earned by her farming father. “Even though I have physical limitations, I have had no problems opening my small shop,” explained Raka.
During the visit of Klungkung’s Regent, the Regent’s wife, and the heads of public relations and social services for the Regency – the distinguished group shopped at Ketut’s small shop while she shared her compelling story.
Before leaving, Suwitra promised to extend assistance to the woman and her family, including providing support for the rehabilitation of the family home.
All Roads in Bali Lead to Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot Temple Complex Welcomes 3.17 million Visitors in 2015
The Tanah Lot Temple Complex on Bali’s West Coast collected more than Rp. 62.88 billion in entrance fees in 2015, resulting in a gross profit after expenses of Rp. 41.42 billion.
This represents an increase in revenues of Rp, 838.4 million and a corresponding increase of Rp. 2.66 billion in profits.
Beritabali.com reports that 3,179,617 people visited Tanah Lot in 2015, a total far in excess of a targeted 2,368,713 visitors.
The Tanah Lot Complex managers have plans to develop the area as a culinary and cultural performance area. To achieve this, however, officials admit there are infrastructure and traffic congestion obstacles that must first be addressed.
Dismantling the Barricades
Immigration Simplifying Process for Student and Temporary Stay Permits
The Jakarta Post reports that immigration authorities are easing visa requirements to encourage more international students to enroll in Indonesian education programs.
Currently there are only 5,700 foreign student registered in Indonesia, while an estimated 28,800 Indonesians are seeking an education abroad.
The Director-General of Immigration, Ronny F. Sompie, has announced that foreign students will be able to apply online for the needed stay permit and student visa needed to attend an Indonesian educational institution.
Plans are also now being implemented that will allow foreigners to apply online for temporary stay permits (ITAS). This program that will greatly streamline what is now a time-consuming and bureaucratic process that will be introduced in February 2016.
The new procedures are intended to eliminate the need for foreigners to visit immigration offices when seeking a ITAS, with the paperwork all handled on line via the Immigration website.
To apply for an ITAS online, foreigners must first hold a temporary stay permit visa (VITAS) that can also be obtained online by applying 30-days before the intended date of arrival in Indonesia.
Loose Lips Sink Careers
Bali Policeman Cahyo Widyanto Detained in Makassar for Creating a Bomb Hoax Affecting a Lion Air Flight
DenPost reports an officer of the first rank from the Bali Police, First Lt. (Iptu) Cahyo Widyanto (27) (shown, on left) has been taken into custody by security personnel at Makassar’s Sultan Hasanuddin Airport after whispering to a companion standing in line for a security check that he had a bomb concealed in his carry-on bag.
Police in Makassar said on Sunday, January 10, 2016, Widyanto was in civilian dress at the time of the incident and in the boarding process for Lion Air JT 745 scheduled to leave Makassar for Bali. When security personnel overheard Widyanto’s whisper that he was carrying a bomb, he was immediately and forcibly subdued. A check of his belongings, including his wallet, later revealed that he was a police officer assigned to the Forensic Laboratory of the Bali Police.
As the result of Widyanto’s joke, 101 pieces of luggage had to be unloaded from JT 745 and re-inspected by security staff. 7 pieces of luggage owned by the Bali policemen were also downloaded, isolated and subject to very close scrutiny.
Widyanto did not leave on the intended flight due to an extended interview and his detentionby the Makassar police.
Police in Makassar have expressed their profound disappointment with the actions of Cahyo Widyanto who they say has brought shame on the police by joking about carrying a bomb while boarding a flight.
Makassar Police say the young police officer’s antics could also result in a criminal conviction under Indonesia’s aviation security laws that provide for one year in prison for making statements affecting the safety and efficient operation of flights.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Bali Police Force has withheld comment on Widyanto’s actions, declining to say whether or not Widyanto will be subject to disciplinary measures upon his return to Bali.
The Picture in Your Pocket
Indonesian Driving License Application Process Has Changed. New Rules for Motorcyclists Coming on May 1, 2016.
Police Introducing Changes in Rules Governing Driver License Issuance with New Categories for Motorcycle Permits.
The Indonesian Police plan changes in the rules governing the issuance of driving licenses, including specific changes in how motorcycle permits are issued.
A decree issued by the National Traffic Police (Kakaolantas Polri) on December 18, 2015, stipulates:
Commencing January 1, 2016, the extension of vehicle licenses can be commenced anytime 14 days before the expiration date of the current license.
Driver’s licenses must be extended within three months of their current expiration date. Failure to renew an expired licenses within this period will require a new application process.
New rules on motorcycle licenses will come into effect on May 1, 2016, requiring a C1 license for motorcycles less than 250 cc; C2 license for motorcycles of 250 – 500 cc; and a C3 license for motorcycles greater than 500 cc.
Weak Border Control
Complaints that Foreign Visitors Exempted from Scrutiny at the Bali Ferry Port of Gilimanuk, While Indonesian Nationals Subjected to Detailed Inspections.
Both the Bali Post and DenPost report that many foreign nationals passing through the East Bali ferry terminal are not subjected to any inspection process by security officials, while Indonesians experience delays to permit detailed paperwork and luggage inspections.
Officials at the Port told the press on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, that they encounter jurisdictional difficulties in dealing with foreigners traveling between Bali and Java. “If they use a vehicle we only look at the vehicle registration. Checking identity card (KTP) for new arrivals is the job of the Regency. For immigration matters - there is no immigration post here so there is no inspection of immigration documents.”
A motorcycle jockey (ojek) working at Gilimanuk complained that many foreigners pass through the port every day. Foreign visitors not traveling in a car merely walk off the ferry, through the terminal and board local transport with no inspection process while Indonesian passengers must undergo luggage and identity reviews. “They (the foreigners) are never inspected. Is there some sort of guarantee that all of these foreigners have good intentions when the travel to Bali? What if they are smugglers? Won’t this boomerang in the end?” the ojek driver asked.
The Ojek driver complained to Bali Post that member of his profession are always made the scapegoat if a domestic traveler sneaks through controls at the Gilimanuk port. He inisted that Gilimanuk needs to be brought under better control with an even, non-selective application of the security rules.
Bali Medical Advances
Baliís Sanglah General Hospital Performs First Kidney Transplant
The health of Septian Ari Wibowo (29), Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital’s first kidney transplant recipient, is said to be steadily improving following a transplant operation that was performed by a team of doctors from Bali and Jakarta on Monday, January 18, 2016.
Septian, who was in a state of kidney failure prior to the operation, received a donated kidney from his mother, Tuti Hamidah (51).
As a precautionary measure, Wibowo is being confined in sterile isolation within the intensive care section of the Hospital to prevent any possible infection that would trigger a rejection of the new kidney.
Wibowo saw his father die of kidney disease in 2006. His mother, Tuti Hamidah, a traditional cake maker from Rembang, Central Java, traveled to Bali to donate her kidney to her son.
The first sign of Wibowo’s kidney disease was a sudden loss of weight and a changes in his normal skin color. Lab tests confirmed high rates of creatinine and failing kidneys.
The operating team that performed the transplant procedure lasting 6.5 hours at Bali’s main hospital was comprised of 7 doctors, while the complete medical team supporting the operation numbered 23.
Bali now plans to join the select list of only a few hospitals in Indonesia offering kidney transplants, including Dr. Cipto Mangkujusumo and Cikini in Jakarta, Dr. Sarjito in Yogyakarta, Jambi General Hospital and Padang General Hospital.
The cost of a kidney transplant, pegged at Rp. 250 million, is covered under the State Health Insurance Program (BJPS).
12 Million Tourists to Visit Bali in 2016?
Bali Looks to Welcome 4.2 million Foreign and 7.8 Million Domestic Tourists in 2016
The head of the Bali Tourism Service (Kadisparda), A.A. Gede Yuniartha Putra told Bisnis Bali that an improving economic situation allows his office to project there will be 4.2 million foreign visitors to Bali in 2016.
While final figures on 2015 foreign tourist arrivals to Bali have not been finalized, it is expected that the final tally will be just short of 4 million.
Yuniartha said a number of problems thwarted Bali tourist arrivals in 2015, including the intermittent closing of Bali’s airport due to two separate volcanoes exploding to the east and west of the Island.
The current target of 4.2 million foreign tourists to Bali in 2016 is provisional. The Government will announce a final target once arrivals through the end of December are reported and are reviewed by a survey team from Bali’s Udayana University.
Bali is also provisionally projecting that in 2016 a total of 7.8 million domestic tourists will visit the Island, meaning that 65% of all visitors to Bali are now coming from domestic sources.
Bali to Mumbai in 2016
Garuda Announce Plans to Connect Mumbai and Denpasar in 2016
Radar Bali reports that Garuda Indonesia intends to exploit the potential of the Indian market to Bali by opening a new route connecting Bali and Mumbai in 2016.
In order to tap into the large honeymoon market from India, Garuda may operate charter flights in advance of plans for scheduled departures.
The Commercial Director of Garuda Indonesia, Handayani, said: “The Indian market has great potential. There are two strong potential markets in India, those undertaking a honeymoon and those on a religious pilgrimage. The middle to upper classes of India are those that generally go on a religious journey to Bali.”
Handayani differentiated the Indian and Mainland Chinese markets, saying the Indian tend to travel as family groupings while the Chinese travel in affinity groups.
Fill Me-Up, Batur-Cup
Baliís Lake Batur Under Severe Environmental Threat
Majestic volcanic Lake Batur, located at the foot of Mt. Batur, is listed by the Government as among 15 lakes in Indonesia requiring urgent conservation steps.
As reported by the Bali Post, among the most severe problems plaguing Lake Batur is its increasing shallowness caused by the accumulation of run-off mud on the lake’s bottom.
The head of the Environmental Agency for the Regency of Bangli, I Made Alit Parwata, said on Monday, January 18, 2016, that Lake Batur plays a vital role in Bali’s entire ecosystem and as a source of water for the Island’s south. Parwata listed a litany of environmental woes affecting the Lake, including shallowness, pollution and the degradation of its shoreline.
Efforts to save the lake are being supported by the surrounding populations who have managed to remove 85% of the existing growth of the herbaceously rapacious common water hyacinth (enceng gondok - Eichhornia crassipes). These plants are being torn from the lake and shredded into composting material to be used by local farmers.
Government-supported efforts are also underway to plant trees around the lake’s perimeter as a means to prevent run off and landslides that silt the lake’s bottom.
People living around the lake are being encouraged to build septic holding tank facilities and end the practice of pumping raw sewage into the lake.
But the most pressing problem confronting Lake Batur is its rapid rate of sedimentation that has reduced the deepest dept of the lake from 120 meters to only 80 meters. Dredging the lake and to regain the 40 meters of lost depth would be a Herculean effort requiring a huge expenditure of public funds.
Road Connection Bali to Java Disrupted
Bridge Collapse Disrupts Traffic Traveling Between Denpasar and Gilimanuk
NusaBali and Beritabali.com report that one-half of a bridge connecting Bali’s eastern port of Gilimanuk and the capital of Denpasar has collapsed over the Tukad Aya River in the Negara District of the Jembrana Regency on Saturday night, January 21, 2016.
A large section of the bridge fell into the Tukad Aya River at approximately 8:45 pm.
Major traffic disruptions are resulting from the bridge’s collapse causing vehicles to now be diverted over a circuitous route through Singaraja and Bedugul.
The southbound side of the bridge has dropped away, leaving the northbound lane still intact. Officials say heavy rains and the strong current of rushing water against the bridge’s foundations were partly to blame for the collapse.
Fortunately, at the time of the collapse no vehicles were traveling over the part of the roadway that dropped away into the riverbed. Police arrived on the scene within minutes and installed police lines to prevent vehicles from traveling onto the now precarious bridge.
The head of the Jembrana Police precinct, Djono Widodo, said traffic between Gilimanuk and Denpasar was being detoured to alternate routes. Adding, “Small vehicle can still pass through small village roads, although large truck and busses now need to travel via Singaraja and Bedugul.”
The collapsed part of the bridge consumed 7 meters of the entire bridge that measures 25 meters in length and 11 meters in width. The part of the bridge that was destroyed was constructed in the 1980s while the northbound lanes that remained unscathed constructed more recently in 2012.
Delivery of foods between Bali and Java will be disrupted by the bridge’s failure.
Meanwhile, Provincial and National officials are urgently discussing means of fixing the bridge in the shortest possible time.
Bali Meeting Experts Jakarta Bound
8th Edition of Bali MICE Guide to be Launched at Jakarta Tabletop Show and Networking Cocktail on Thursday, January 28, 2016
On Thursday, January 28, 2016, leading members of the Bali Travel Industry will be represented in Jakarta at a two-hour tabletop travel show from 3-5 pm followed by networking cocktail from 5:15 – 7:30 pm.
Both events, strictly by invitation, will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Jakarta.
The Jakarta tapletop exhibiton and cocktail are in celebration of the publication launch of the eighth edition of the "Bali MICE Guide - Meet Bali" – the only comprehensive guide for meetings and conferences planners made possible through the support of the nearly 50 companies who advertise in the guide, many of which will be on hand in Jakarta for the tabletop travel show and cocktail.
During the after-work launch cocktail attractive and valuable lucky draw prizes from Bali's leading hotel and tourism operators will distributed to the representatives of some 150 leading businesses in Jakarta.
If you’re a decision maker from a Jakarta company eager to learn more about meetings in Bali, send an [Email] so one of the few remaining invitations can be set aside in your name or to request your free copy of the Bali MICE Guide - Meet Bali.
Tripian Portapia Appointed to Head Bali Discovery Events
Tripian Portapia has joined Bali Discovery Tours and Bali Discovery Events as the Director of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition (MICE), effective, January 1, 2016.
A native of Denpasar, Bal i- Tripian is a graduate in tourism studies from the Bali State Polytechnic and brings a decade of experience in the meeting and conference industry obtained in senior positions at the Sanur Paradise Plaza Hotels and Suites and at a leading event organizer.
Over the course of his working career Tripian has acquired a wide range of experience in every aspect of event management handling some of the most prestigious major events and conferences held in Bali.
Welcoming Tripian’s appointment, Arie Sukirno, Managing Director of Bali Discovery said: “We are delighted to have someone of Tripian’s caliber and experience joining our team. His experience, wide grasp of the Bali MICE industry and proven ability to meet the expectation of even the most demanding clients will bring Bali Discovery to new heights in its aim to retain its reputation as a leading meeting and conference organizer in Bali."