April 25, 2018

Bali drug smuggler Isaac Roberts Sentenced to 15 months’ rehabilitation

 A former Brisbane accountant has been sentenced to 15 months’ rehabilitation in Bali for drug smuggling. Isaac Emmanuel Roberts pleaded guilty to the illegal use of narcotics for personal consumption and possession of psychotropic drugs after his arrest at Bali’s Ngurah Rail airport on December 4. The 35-year-old accountant and former political candidate was found with 14.3 grams of crystal methamphetamine and 14 ecstasy tablets in his luggage. Isaac Roberts, 35, has been sentenced to 15 months’ rehabilitation in Bali for drug smuggling.

In sentencing today, a judge said Roberts had contradicted the Indonesian government’s program to eradicate narcotics and illegal drugs. However he said he the 35-year-old is a drug addict who suffers depression and requires medical and social rehabilitation. Surrounded by cameras outside court, Roberts told reporters he was thankful for being given the chance to undergo rehabilitation. “I need rehabilitation. I am very sick,” he said, with his head down. According to the judge, the mitigating factors in Roberts’ case were his honest admittance during the trial and his promise to not repeat his acts. During previous court appearances, he had told the court he had used one to two grams of crystal methamphetamine, three times a day. When questioned by the judge as to why he continued to use drugs, he said it was to “reduce his headache pain…and forget his problems”.

The 35-year-old was the Liberal Democratic Party’s candidate for the federal seat of Higgins in Melbourne in 2009 after former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello resigned from parliament. He also won the National Advanced Tax Dux Award in 2012 but was reprimanded and fined $3100 by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand in 2015 after failing to reply to correspondence. Roberts said he will not be appealing his sentence. (9NEWS April 16, 2018)


Bali police hunt bus driver after fatal collision at GWK

 A chain collision involving nine vehicles that left one person dead in front of Jimbaran’s Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) cultural park on Friday (13/4) is under investigation by police in Bali.  Denpasar Traffic Police are still-hunting for the driver of the bus that caused the collision, who apparently fled the scene after the accident. The bus company Jasa Raharja Bali, has compensated the family of victim Ida Bagus Putu Adnyana, 46, from Singaraja, North Bali with IDR50 million (US$3,630).

Another man, Jalil, was injured in the accident and was taken to the hospital where he is receiving medical treatment. The accident took place around 2pm on Friday when the bus, reportedly carrying Indian tourists, was driving downhill from south to north on the steep Jl. Uluwatu and allegedly experienced brake failure, causing a domino effect crash. The bus plowed into a Toyota Avanza, which crashed into a Toyota Innova, which crashed into another Avanza and then a motorcycle in front, which was driven by Jalil. On its way down the narrow road, the bus additionally slammed into two pickups parked on the side of the road.

After hitting the cars, the bus swerved to the right to hit an oncoming Isuzu car, steered left again to hit a motorbike driven by Putu Budi Artana, and finally launched into a power pole where it finally stopped. “We are still looking for the bus driver. We urge the bus driver to turn himself in,” Denpasar Traffic Police Chief Rahmawaty Ismail told Bali Post on Sunday. Adnyana, who had been the driver of one of the pickups parked in front of the Circle K across from GWK, was killed outright as he stepped out of his vehicle to buy a drink from the convenience shop. He died instantly.

Last week’s pile-up wasn’t the first to fatal collision to happen at that spot, which is quite prone to dangerous accidents says local vendor Sudiana. About five years ago, a truck similarly experienced brake failure in the same spot. As a result, the truck slid into the vehicles in front of it and also took out some stalls along the side of the road. “If I’m not mistaken, at that time, about five people were killed by the accident,” Sudiana told Tribun Bali on Saturday. (Coconuts Bali April 16, 2018)


Indonesia to lose Facebook?

 Rumors are rife that Indonesia may take the official step of closing Facebook in Indonesia. As reported in several national media, Indonesia’s Minister of Communications and Information (Kominfo), Rudiantara, has sent two separate official warning letters to Facebook Indonesia in connection with the theft of data by Cambridge Analytica from at least 1 million Facebook Indonesia users under a cooperation agreement with the giant American social media and social networking company.

Facebook has since terminated its relationship with Cambridge Analytica. Indonesia has an estimated 80 million people registered as social network users with 3 out of 4 Indonesian Internet users believed to be messaging on Facebook. Moreover, Indonesia is counted as the 3rd largest country worldwide in terms of Facebook users. With the dispatch of a second warning letter from the Ministry to Facebook Indonesia, there is growing concern that Indonesia may be preparing to shut down Facebook nationwide. Legal tradition in Indonesia dictates that three warning letters sent before any business is shut down or its operating license suspended.

If Indonesia follows through with current threats to shut down Facebook, it would make the Republic the fourth country to block the social networking application – after the People’s Republic of China, Iran and North Korea. With Indonesia’s presidential elections set to take place in 2019, some Indonesian officials view a shutdown of Facebook as a prudent step to prevent the insidious manipulation of the electorate through hoax news and phantom Facebook accounts. Tribunenews.com quotes Rudiantara as saying that he would have little hesitation in closing down Facebook Indonesia if such a step proved necessary. Admitting that certain procedures and rules would have to be applied to affect an official shutdown, Rudiantara added: “If the Government decides to block (Facebook), then it will be blocked.”

The first warning letter was sent to Facebook on April 5, 2108, followed a few days later by a second formal warning. Both letters demanded an immediate and urgent explanation and the detailed written results of a formal audit by Facebook on the data breach committed by Cambridge Analytica. Rudiantara complained on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, that the requested audit report has yet to be satisfactorily submitted to his Ministry. The Minister’s and the Government’s concerns regarding Facebook have been heightened further by subsequent reports of data-gathering via “personality quizzes” conducted on Facebook by “CubeYou” and “AgregateIQ.”

The Indonesian Ministry has urged Facebook to close all personality quiz applications operating on its system. Moreover, the Indonesian Government is demanding that Facebook comply with a 2016 Indonesian law on the protection of private data stored on electronic systems. With an estimated 87 million Facebook users worldwide affected by the Cambridge Analytica data breach that facilitated Russian interference in elections in the USA and Europe, Indonesia may have had more of its impressionable social network users affected by the breach than any other nation in the world. (Discoverynews April 15, 2018)


Navicula bass player Indra Made & Afiriana die in tragic car accident

 Indra Made, the bass player of grunge band Navicula passed away, as announced by the band’s official Instagram account @naviculamusic on Monday, March 26. “Friends, Made Indra has left us all this afternoon at 18:25 Central Indonesia Time. Thank you for the support and prayer for Made. After struggling in his critical condition, Made finally decided what’s best for him. Our love is always with you, Amor ring Acintya,” the caption under Indra’s portrait said. On Saturday morning, March 24, I Made Indra Dwiputra had an accident in Gianyar, Bali.

“His condition is critical, there were lung and head injuries,” Navicula management representative Intan Paramitha told Tempo on Sunday, March 25. Made had an accident with his girlfriend, Afiriana Dewi, on their way back to Denpasar after performing in Ubud. Afiriana, an artist, died at the scene of the accident. On Navicula’s Facebook account, Navicula’s former manager Rudolf Dethu reported that Made was still unconscious at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Sanglah hospital, Denpasar.

The author and activist said that Made had never awakened since the accident happened. After the accident, his condition went critical with severe bleeding in his chest. His ribs were broken, and there were severe head injuries causing him to be unconscious. (Tempo March 28, 2018)


Equanimity superyacht not connected to 1MDB, must be returned to owner: Jakarta court

A luxury yacht owned by Equanimity Cayman Limited, which was seized by Indonesian police near Bali on Feb 28, has no link with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a South Jakarta district court has ruled. The vessel, named Equanimity, can thus be returned to its owner, said Indonesia Special Economic Crimes Unit director Dr Rudy Heriyanto Adi.

In a statement yesterday, Rudy said that police will obey the decision by the court, which ruled that the yacht’s seizure was illegal and not conducted in accordance with the law.“Based on the ruling made by the South Jakarta State Court, which is final, the police will obey the order to return the yacht to its owner, Equanimity Cayman Limited.

“Based on the facts of the proceedings, it was found that the rightful owner of the superyacht Equanimity is Equanimity Cayman Limited (and) that there is no link between the superyacht and 1MDB,” he added.

The yacht was seized as part of the United States’ Department of Justice’s investigation into 1MDB. It has been alleged that the vessel’s ultimate owner is Malaysian businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low. [New Straits Times April 18, 2018]


Grab sets up passenger pick-up point at Bali airport

Chasing out Uber and Grab drivers trying to pick up incoming passengers had been something of a time-honored tradition for conventional taxi drivers at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International, ever since the industry-disrupting apps made their debut in Bali several years ago.

But the times sure have changed now that Grab has swallowed up Uber in Southeast Asia and the app announced on Tuesday that it established a pick-up point for riders at the island’s airport. “This is to facilitate the meeting of our drivers with customers using the Grabcar service when they arrive in Bali,” Grab Indonesia Executive Director Rizki Kramadibrata said from the airport on Tuesday.

The meeting point, a green and white booth, has been set up in the arrivals section of the domestic terminal, in partnership with the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Management Union (Kophrindo).

Officers at the booth will assist passengers with making   bookings and will also offer information about booking tour packages provided by Kophrindo. However, passengers can still specify other pick-up points at the airport, not necessarily at the booth.

“The presence of this booth is expected to help support the transportation infrastructure at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, while providing more transportation options for tourists,” Weri Sulasmiaty of Kophrindo said, as quoted by Antara. (Coconuts Bali April 11, 2018)


Australian Government assisting Bali in conquering mounting trash problem

To help Bali address the mounting problem of trash disposal in Bali, the Australian Consulate-General in Bali will host a seminar featuring experts in the field of waste disposal. As reported by Beritabali.com, Dr. Helena Studdert, the Consul-General of Australia for Bali outlined the plan for a coming seminar to Made Mangku Pastika during a visit to the Governor’s office on Friday, April 13, 2018.

Dr. Studdert said that the millions of tourists, including  Australian tourists, who visit Bali every year, add to the growing amount of trash left on the Island. For this reason, Australia feels a responsibility to help Bali solve the problem of trash management. As a first step, the Australian  Government is sponsoring a discussion forum to explore solutions to the problem.

The seminar will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2018 to be attended by leaders and experts in the area of trash control and management. Hotels in Bali that have adopted a zero waste management program will also be invited to attend.

Governor Pastika expressed his gratitude to the Consul-General and the plans outlined to hold the waste management seminar in Bali. He acknowledged that trash has become a major problem in Bali together with transportation issues. He said he hoped the Australian Consulate would also invite officials from the Environmental Agency, Public Works Department and the Department for Oceans and Fisheries to attend.

“The oceans are also part of our concern because there is a great deal of trash thrown into the sea,” said Pastika. He said the seminar was especially timely given the fact that Bali will serve as the host of the International Monetary Fund – World Bank meeting and plans for issues of the environment to be discussed at the Summit.

The Governor and Dr. Studdert also had the opportunity to discuss briefly the ongoing cooperation between Bali’s new Mandara Hospital and Australia. (Discoverynews April 15. 2018)