Archive for News

Earthquake hits Padang, West Sumatra

Just after today’s 8.0 earthquake in Samoa, a 7.6 earthquake has hit West Sumatra near Padang.

Initially there were tsunami warnings, but they have since been scaled down. While there might be some damage to buildings, it doesn’t look like there has been any serious injuries yet or loss of life.

It is still early to tell though. The earthquake could be felt in Malaysia and Singapore according to CNN.

Update: CNN has reported that 13 people have died in the quake.

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Buddha bar changes its name

After continued protests the Buddha Bar in Jakarta is changing its name to Bataviasche Kunstkring after the Dutch-era building that houses it.

The interior however will remain the same.

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11 die in Papau plane crash

Indonesia’s disastrous aviation continues with 11 people dying in a light plane crash in Papau.

“We confirm that all passengers and crew members are dead. The bodies are still in the plane and we hope to transfer them into body bags today and fly them to Ilaga Monday for identification,” said Timika Air Base commander Easter Haryanto who is coordinating the search.

Indonesia’s aviation record is so bad the EU has banned all Indonesian registered planes from flying over its airspace.

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Military plane crash kills 24

Yet another aviation disaster in Indonesia as a military plane crashed into a hangar at an air base in West Java.

“All the bodies found on the crashed plane have been brought here, there are 24,” said Drajat, a doctor at Salamun hospital in West Java.

“Some 18 bodies have been identified but others are cut into pieces, so it’s difficult to recognise them. A police forensic team is trying to identify them.”

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Death toll rises in Jakarta dam collapse

jakarta-dam-collapse-floodingThe death toll continues to rise in the tragic dam collapse in Jakarta, Indonesia. Seventy-seven people have died with people still missing from the accident.

Heavy rains combined with poorly maintained infrastructure are being blamed the collapsed Situ Gintung dam.

indonesia travel

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NERD cancels Indonesian concert

I have to admit I have never heard of the band NERD or No one Ever Really Dies, before. According to the Jakarta Post the band had a problem with immigration in Malaysia, who somehow had a problem with their style of dress.

The concert organizers in Malaysia failed to get the appropriate permits for the band to perform. The band still performed the concert, but later their passports were taken by immigration and they were detained.

The band must have felt the experience distressing enough to cancel their scheduled show in Indonesia.

I had a look around on Google and the band’s blog but everything seems pretty harmless. I have been to Malaysia plenty of times now and I thought the government was pretty tolerant.


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Islamic books sell like hot cakes: Jakarta Post

The Jakarta Post reports that Islam books were the “surprise” best sellers for many bookstores at the 8th Islamic Book Fair.

Somehow that doesn’t seem to much of a surprise to me. I like one of the comments on the article: “Hmmmmm…. Islam books were the hot sellers at an Islamic Book Fair…..Imagine that…. I’d imagine that at a cake sale, cakes would be a hot seller as well.”

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The week that was

I haven’t felt well this week after coming back from Bukit Lawang, so I didn’t do as much as I would have liked on the blog.

It is getting closer to the elections here and every channel on television has non-stop reporting and debating – pity I can’t understand anything.

Here are some stories that I wanted to write about but didn’t get the chance.

Christianity Today who obviously have their own agenda, but I thought they had a good article on the spread of Shari’ah law in Indonesia, something which worries me about the country.

Legislation in Padang requires both Muslim and non-Muslim women to wear headscarves, while a law in Tangerang allows women found “loitering” on the street after 10 p.m. to be arrested for prostitution.

Five Indonesians made it onto the Forbes rich list. Brothers Michael Hartono and Budi Hartono are owners of the country’s second-largest cigarette company – Djarum. Just as most developed countries are banning cigarette smoking from all public places, it is still fine in Indonesia to chain smoke clove cigarettes on public buses.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono fell ill with a stomach upset. And presumably after he got better, he had a call from President Obama where they discussed education, health care, climate change, counterterrorism -and bird flu.

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Buddha bar forced to close in Jakarta

buddha-bar-restaurantBuddhist college students have forced the newly established “Buddha Bar” to close, demanding the bar change its name. The Jakarta Post reports:

“We’ve sealed the Buddha-Bar and it will remain closed until the matter is resolved. The management team has also agreed not to open the bar,” Indonesian Buddhist Students Association (AMB) representative Widodo said, as quoted by

“The bar itself is also filled with Buddhist symbols and artifacts. Its presence is offensive to the Buddhist community in Indonesia.”

The bar is part of a chain of restaurants with businesses in “London, New York, Dubai, Sao Paulo, Kiev, Cairo and Beirut.”

I can understand the problem the students might have with the bar, but the question is, why is it only in Indonesia that the bar has caused controversy.

“Buddha Bar” is also the name of a music CD compilation and there is a Buddha bar also in Australia that is not part of the aforementioned chain.

I really wonder if it would raise an eyebrow if they opened a branch in Thailand which is 94.7 per cent Buddhist.

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Papau 5 could return to Australia soon

INDONESIA-AUSTRALIA-IMMIGRATION-COURTFive Australians who were detained for illegally entering Indonesia could return back to Australia soon, AFP reports.

“The judges accepted our arguments that the pilot decided to land as the tower official gave verbal permission despite the pilot’s explanation that they hadn’t obtained landing permit documents,” he said.

“The conversation between the pilot and the tower official in Merauke’s airport had been recorded and we gave a copy to the court.”

The Australians involved were pilot William Scott-Bloxam and his wife, Vera, plus Hubert Hufer, Karen Burke and Keith Ronald Mortimer.

We can only speculate what they were doing flying over or into Papau, which is a “sensitive” area in Indonesia.

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