January 17, 2018

Australians briefly detained over Bali volcano climb

Two Australians were briefly detained by Indonesian police yesterday for climbing to the summit of a rumbling volcano on the holiday island of Bali, hours before authorities shrunk an exclusion zone around the belching crater. Ricky Tonacia, 34, and Jack Dennard, 26, were questioned by police after flouting a highly publicised danger zone up to 10 kilometres from the volcano.

Mount Agung has been periodically spewing molten clouds of ash and smoke for months, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people living nearby – and drawing some foreign thrill   seekers eager to climb its peak. Authorities were alerted to the men’s expedition after a nearby military post observed torch light on the volcano around 3am local time yesterday, authorities said.

The pair and two Balinese men who drove into the exclusion zone to pick them up were detained several hours later as they attempted to descend the mountain. “We took them to the Selat Police post for questioning,” Captain Wayan Mustika from the Karangasem military post told AFP.

“They said the hotel where they were staying told them the volcano is safe. “We released them at 11.25am because there was no criminal offence,” he added. Mustika added that a Russian man was briefly taken into custody after he was caught trying to climb Agung last week. The volcano’s alert level remains at maximum, but the 10-kilometre radius danger zone was reduced to six kilometres by Indonesia’s volcanology centre yesterday afternoon.

“Mount Agung is still in the eruptive phase and could impact settlements,” the centre said in a statement. Agung rumbled to life in September, forcing the evacuation of 140,000 people living nearby. [AFP January 5, 2018]


Bali declared a “garbage emergency” after tons of trash washed up on beaches

If you’ve been to Bali, you’ve noticed the garbage. Bali is, by nearly every sense of the word, paradise. Beautiful beaches, perfect weather, crystal clear water, friendly people, and of course, perfect waves. All of it, however, is marred by the inundation of plastic waste. It’s everywhere-the beaches are covered in it, the roadsides are packed with it, and despite the fact that it’s a very obvious, visible problem, there’s not all that much being done about it.

Early in December, things got so bad that the island declared a “garbage emergency.” It’s nothing new, either. With monsoon season comes a rising tide full of incredible amounts of litter. Plastic bottles, diapers, broken flip flops, drinking straws, all wash into the sea and onto the sand from Bali and Java.

According to The Telegraph, a stretch of beaches on the west coast of Bali was recently declared an emergency zone after authorities decided that the amount of garbage washing up was hampering tourism. Workers sent to beaches in Jimbaran, Kuta, and Seminyak reportedly spent a few days cleaning up the 4-mile stretch of sand and removed nearly 50 tons of trash a day. “It is awful. People just don’t care, it’s everywhere, it’s everywhere,” Gulang, a hotel worker who declined to give his second name, said to The Telegraph. “The government does something, but it is really just a token thing.”

It’s a complicated issue though-although much of the so-called solutions are indeed not much more than lip service, the problem doesn’t stem from Bali alone. Indonesia is the second biggest ocean polluter (after China), and much of the garbage that washes up on Bali comes from the Java Sea. The country doesn’t have an adequate refuse management system, and much of the trash that doesn’t end up in ditches or in the sea is simply burned on the side of the road.

Single-use plastics are increasing and there’s nowhere to put it all. The community is aware of the issue, but without major changes at a governmental level, all they can do is pick up the trash and hope for the best. [The Telegraph December 30, 2017]


AFL slammed over response to Melbourne player Bali sexual assault complaint

The AFL has been accused of failing to take a rape claim against a Melbourne player in Bali seriously. The league has refused to answer questions on whether its Integrity Unit had interviewed the player, or whether it had offered any support to the alleged victim. The case was reported to Victoria Police, which could not investigate because the alleged incident happened in Indonesia.

Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault spokeswoman Carolyn Worth said the league had dropped the ball. “Their protocol should cover overseas incidents,” she said. “There used to be a saying what happens on the road, stays on the road, but given their Respect and Responsibility program that shouldn’t be the case. “Also because they are marketing themselves as family friendly they should be looking at what players do overseas.”

Victoria Police received a report on October 2, but it only leaked two weeks ago. The victim was told to report it to Indonesian police, which would have to be done in person in Bali. Bali police said they would investigate if the woman made a formal complaint, but said they didn’t have a report as yet. Melbourne confirmed it had also received details of the complaint, but did not say if it was approached directly. It had passed the matter to the AFL’s Integrity Unit – standard practice under the league’s Respect and Responsibility policy towards women. The AFL has previously taken strong stances against racism and other social issues.

Ms Worth said the league should do the same in this case. “I don’t think it’s okay. If it were a racist rant they would have said more about it,” she said. “This is always the case with sexual assault, it’s never treated as seriously as drugs or racism. “It’s the third cab off the rank for the AFL.” Ms Worth said the league would have done more if the incident happened in Victoria. “They wouldn’t think its OK if it happened in Collingwood or St Kilda,” she said.

“They need to lift their game.” The Herald Sun sent a list of questions to the AFL about what it was doing, and what it had done in regards to the case. The AFL declined to respond. [Herald Sun January 2, 2018]


Police suspect heart attack in sudden death of Australian tourist in a Kuta bungalow

A 37-year-old Australian Tourist from Perth, Clinton James Dally, has been found dead in his room at the Matahari Bungalow in Kuta on Saturday, January 6, 2018. Dally had checked into the room with his 29-year-old Balinese companion, Ni Ketut Kartika, earlier that day.

During a visit to the Kuta Art Market, the Australian complained to Kartika that he felt unwell, suffering from a headache and stomach pain, and decided to return to his hotel to rest.

Members of the hotel staff found Dally unconscious and face down on his bead at 1:00 pm and immediately summoned a doctor to the room. A short time later, a doctor declared the man dead at the scene, presumably from a heart attack. When police examined the room they found a bedside table containing cigarettes, whiskey, and over-the-counter drugs.

While police continue to investigate the case, no foul play is suspected as police are proceeding on the theory that the man may have suffered a massive heart attack. [www.balidiscovery.com January 7, 2018]


Police investigate murder of Chinese tourist in her Bali villa

Police continue to investigate the apparent murder of a Chinese tourist who was found dead in her bedroom on the second floor of Villa Ombak in Desa Cemagi, Mengwi on Thursday morning, January 4, 2017 at 3:00 am. The dead woman, Wu Yali (52), was staying at the Villa in the company of her daughter, son-in-law, a granddaughter and a domestic servant. The woman’s daughter, Ge Qi (32) reportedly discovered her mother’s lifeless body in a pool of blood with numerous stab wounds.

Police from the Badung Precinct, backed up by officers from the Bali Provincial headquarters, responded to secure the scene of the crime, to interview those staying in the villa and villa staff, and commence a forensic crime scene investigation. The woman’s body was sent to Bali’s Sanglah General Hospital for an autopsy examination. NusaBali reports that the Chinese visitors had owned the villa.

The female domestic helper told police that she heard voices at approximately 2:40 am emanating from the dead woman’s room. Because the language used was Chinese, the maid could not tell police the content of the conversation. Moreover, she told police she could not definitely confirm if a second voice was involved. Frightened to leave her room on the lower floor of the villa, the maid said she heard a crashing sound at around 3:00 am of something falling – a sound that caused most staying in the villa to awake. Shortly thereafter, the woman’s daughter screamed when she found her mother’s lifeless body in her room.

Police say none of the woman’s valuables appeared to be missing from her room, minimizing robbery as a possible motive for the crime. Police have collected a great deal of forensic evidence, including fingerprints and foot prints from the crime scene that they continue to investigate. The family group had moved into the villa on December 1, 2017, after the villas was purchased in November 2017 from its former owner, an Italian named Jonathan.

Forensic doctors at Sanglah Hospital say the woman was stabbed 4 times in her chest with one fatal stab wound puncturing the woman’s heart. Signs were also found indicating the woman fought her attacker with wounds on her arm and hands. Police continue to investigate the homicide. [www.balidiscovery.com January 7, 2018]


Indonesia reduces exclusion zone around volcano Mount Agung

Indonesia’s government said on Thursday that it has reduced the size of the exclusion zone around the volcano Mount Agung on the island of Bali to 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), which will allow thousands of the 71,000 who had earlier been evacuated to return home. Agung is still in the eruptive phase with relatively high volcanic activity and fluctuations, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources spokesperson Agung Pribadi said in a statement.

Since the eruption alert level of Agung was raised to the maximum in September, volcanic activity has caused losses worth $820 million, according to data from the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management. Of the total loss, some $670 million is attributed to the tourism sector, while the rest is mostly due to the evacuation of residents from the surrounding areas.

Agung began a phase of volcanic activity on Nov. 21, 2017, which forced the closure of Ngurah Rai international airport, located 60 kilometers to the south of the volcano, between Nov. 27 and 29 due to a cloud of smoke, which affected more than 100,000 passengers. More than 5 million foreign tourists flew to Bali in 2017, according to the airport authorities. Located in the east of the island, in the district of Karangasem, Mount Agung is far from most tourist attractions.

Mount Agung is erupting for the first time since 1963, when the ejection of magma lasted almost a year and caused more than 1,100 deaths. The Indonesian archipelago sits within the so-called Ring of Fire in the Pacific, an area of great seismic and volcanic activity that is shaken by thousands of tremors every year, mostly small in magnitude. [Latin American Herald Tribune January 8, 2018]


Romantic boyfriend proposes in mid-air on Bali flight

Mark Wadson, 30, asked another passenger to film the moment he asked his now fiancé, Miranda Naprelac, 22, to marry him. A flight attendant can be seen calling Miranda to the front of the plane to wish her a happy birthday. But this was a decoy, Mark had planned it out perfectly and with hundreds of people looking at the pair, he got down on one knee and popped the question. Miranda can be seen in complete shock as she says ‘yes’ and kneels down to kiss her new fiancé. The pair who got engaged on January 2 haven’t stopped smiling since and are currently enjoying a holiday in Bali, Indonesia.

Mark, a store manager from Perth, Sydney, said: “Me and the flight attendants organised that I would go to the bathroom and they would call her to the front and sing her happy birthday. “They then asked her who she was travelling with and I would appear from the bathroom and proceed with asking Miranda to marry me. “She was so shocked but we’ve both been happier than ever since it all happened. “We always knew our connection was something more than anything we had felt before and we firmly believe that this was and is the true definition of soulmates. “We are so happy to have the opportunity to share our love and story.” [Trend Media January 8, 2018]