Lion Air tragedy latest in long list of Indonesia air safety incidents 

Shortly after a Lion Air passenger jet crashed into the sea off Jakarta yesterday, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade issued a warning to its staff. Australian Government officials and contractors were ordered not to fly on Lion Air or their subsidiary airlines. “The decision will be reviewed when the findings of the crash investigation are clear,” the warning states on the SmartTraveller.gov.au website.

Lion Air Group is made up of Lion Air and its subsidiaries Batik Air and Wings Air. Batik Air has operated two flights a day between Perth and Denpasar in Bali since opening the route in June 2017. The Australian public has not been given a similar warning by DFAT and may not be aware that Batik Air is a subsidiary of Lion Air. Batik Air planes are serviced at the same Lion Air facility on Batam Island and flown by pilots employed by the Lion Air Group – Batik Air is Lion Air, just with different branding.

While it is unclear yet what caused the three-month-old Boeing 737 MAX 8 to crash, the deaths of 189 people has once again shone a spotlight on the airline’s safety. The same jet had experienced technical problems during a flight from Bali to Jakarta the night before the fatal crash. Lion Air will need to explain why it was not grounded. Between 2002 to 2013 there have been at least 19 incidents involving the Lion Air Group in Indonesia. In one 2013 incident a pilot overran the runway in Bali and ended up in the ocean – fortunately everyone survived. [ABC October 30, 2018]


Honeymoon couple turned away in Bali due to dog chewed passport

A husband and wife lost the chance to enjoy their $7,000 honeymoon in Bali after they were turned away by government officials due to the groom’s passport being damaged by the couple’s dog. According to The Mirror, Daniel and Tia Farthing said the passport was chewed on by their dog Milo several years ago, but it wasn’t a problem until they flew from the United Kingdom to Bali on October 16.

While U.K. Border Force agents said the damaged passport wouldn’t be an issue during their vacation to Indonesia, officials there disagreed. Bali security personnel informed Farthing and his wife they would have to take the next flight out of the country. Unfortunately, the next flight out of Bali included a stopover in Singapore, where Farthing was detained for seven hours. The couple did eventually make it back to London’s Heathrow Airport, where an employee remarked about how the damage to the passport was not a big deal.

Farthing’s sister-in-law started a GoFundMe campaign to assist the couple after losing all of their honeymoon investments and having to pay their way back to England. As for Milo, he is currently working on reconciliation with his owners. “He knows he’s done wrong because he’s been constantly coming to us for cuddles,” Farthing’s wife said. [Travel Pulse October 29, 2018]


23 Indonesian coffees recognized in French gourmet product competition

Indonesian coffee varieties have received recognition through a gourmet product award in Paris in a competition held by the Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products (AVPA). In a statement released by the Indonesian Embassy in France, 23 varieties of coffee from Indonesia received recognition on Oct. 23 in a ceremony on the sidelines of food expo SIAL Paris in the French capital. AVPA President Philippe Juglar handed over the AVPA Gourmet Product Paris 2018 award recognizing the coffees to the embassy’s deputy head Agung Kurniadi.

More than 170 world   coffee producers from around the world participated in the competition, such as Brazil, Colombia, the United States, Kenya and Peru. Among the participants, 11 producers representing 23 Indonesian coffees were recognized. The award is divided into four categories: Gold Gourmet, Silver Gourmet, Bronze Gourmet and Simple Gourmet.

Winning coffee beans came from various regions across Indonesia, including Toraja, Bali, West Java, Yogyakarta, Manggarai, Aceh and Lampung. Three coffees won the Gold Gourmet title, namely Kopiku Tanah Air Kita, Le Plein d’Sens Kopi Luwak France and Mengani Bali. Indonesia is the second country to receive the most awards, following Colombia which won 25 awards for 14 coffee producers.

The AVPA is a French organization that aims at helping producers of agricultural products from around the world promote their products in the European market. Every year, the AVPA holds “Coffee roasted in their country of origin” competitions to promote coffees in Europe. [The Jakarta Post October 27, 2018]


Leading Aboriginal souvenir wholesaler facing huge fines 

A leading Aboriginal souvenir wholesaler is facing the prospect of massive fines after selling ‘genuine’ Indigenous artefacts across Australia which were actually made in Bali. The Federal Court recently found Birubi Art Pty  Ltd – who sold more than 18,000 boomerangs, didgeridoos and message stories to a plethora of shops across the nation – deliberately made false or  misleading representations that their products were Australian made. Despite being mass produced in Indonesian factories out of Bali, the court found some of the items, which featured Indigenous words like ‘Aboriginal Art’, ‘genuine’ and ‘Australia’, offered the impression they were genuine Australian products.

‘Aboriginal artefacts represent this country on a world stage – their design, form, colour and style hold unique connections to one of the oldest cultures on the globe,’ 60 Minutes investigative reporter Liam Bartlett said. ‘As soon as we were tipped onto this unscrupulous trade by concerned Indigenous artists, we immediately set out to identify the source of the supply chain – and the companies exploiting 40,000 years of Australian culture for a quick buck. ‘Shockingly, our investigation ultimately revealed these cheap copies were being mass produced for both the Australian tourism market – as well as many foreign clients in European countries.’ The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) recently launched legal action against Birubi Art Pty Ltd. [Daily Mail October 26, 2018]


Tourist scavenging through Bali trash turns out to be globetrotting Bulgarian backpacker

A tourist seen rummaging through rubbish bins around   Bali’s Sanur Beach has been identified as a globetrotting Bulgarian backpacker. Three videos of the man eating discarded food that he dug out of trash cans went viral after they were posted to Facebook by Dwikayanthi Pudja on Saturday. The videos sparked a ton of comments, some sympathetic. But also commentary on the hypocrisy of how challenging it is for Indonesians to travel abroad (to the west, in particular) with requirements for minimum balances in their bank accounts, while westerners can come to Indonesia so cheaply.

It turns out that the Bali trash-picker is a 42-year-old Bulgarian tourist who goes by the name of Toto. Tracked down by Indonesian outlet Detik, Toto claimed that he was eating garbage to save money. He said he’s a backpacker and hopes to travel the world fully. “I have been to Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Singapore and just now Bali,” Toto told Detik. “I like traveling. So to buy a ticket, you must save money on food and accommodation,” he said, when asked why eat from the rubbish bins.

The backpacker says other countries have not always received his scavenging style so well, but Bali has been friendly. “In othercountries, people look at me scavenging through trash with disgust, telling me to leave. But the people here are kind, friendly, and often give me food,” he said. The Bulgarian’s story comes at a time when Bali’s governor is complaining of cheap tourists who come to vacation on the island but spend little money during their trips. Well, at least he’s not beg-packing. [Coconuts Bali October 24, 2018]


Oceana denounces corporate recycling commitments as answer to global plastics crisis

As world leaders gather in Bali, Indonesia for the fifth-annual Our Ocean conference, the growing threat of plastic pollution to our oceans takes the global stage. Today, a group of more than 250 companies announced recycling and circular economy commitments as the solution to plastic waste, but Oceana says, “recycling and vague promises are not enough to solve the plastics crisis.” Oceana’s chief policy officer Jacqueline Savitz released this statement following today’s announcement:

“I hesitate to even call today’s corporate announcements a step in the right direction. Plastic pollution has grown into a major global crisis for our oceans, and it threatens our health. To have an impact, these companies must reduce the amount of single-use plastic at the source – in the  factory – before it gets to consumers. We need to move on from plastic bottles, bags, lids and yes, straws. Recent beach cleanups have found plastic waste from Danone, Indofood, Unilever and others on Indonesia’s beaches. Yet none of these companies have committed to stop using plastic, to stop putting plastic into consumer products, or to even offer consumers alternatives. So, Indonesia’s beaches, like so many others around the world, will continue to be dumping grounds for companies that produce consumer goods, and who have refused to think outside the plastic bottle and bag. It’s not rocket science. Our grandparents lived without plastic and these companies must discontinue their unnecessary use of plastic. Every company that signed the declaration should commit to a meaningful, time-bound and specific percent-reduction of the amount of plastic it is putting into the market, and to find alternative ways to package and deliver its products. A circular economy is a nice utopian idea, but this crisis is unfolding today, and we need to see meaningful commitments to end the plastics crisis these companies have created.”

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop  overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.oceana.org to learn more. [Benzinga October 29, 2018]


Indonesian government gives away laptops and printers used at IMF-World Bank conference to schools in Bali, East Java and Lombok

The Provincial Government of Bali has received the gift of 200 laptops worth Rp. 3.2 billion and 125 printers worth Rp. 280 million that were transferred to the Province after being used for a brief period during the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank held in Bali held on October 12-14, 2018. The valuable gifts of computer hardware was handed over by Indonesia’s Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, to the Governor of Bali, Wayan Koster, at the Finance Ministry’s Office in Denpasar on Thursday, October 25, 2018. As reported by Balipost.com, the Province of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) and the Regency of Banyuwangi (East Java) also received a similar number of computers and printers as that given to Bali. “The grant of the laptop and printers is proof that we want to provide the greatest benefit to the public,” said Sri Mulyani.

Speaking to the press, Sri Mulyani said the computer hardware given to the Banyuwangi, NTB, and Bali was of the highest quality available. When the government saw the difference in price between purchasing the computers and printers needed for the Bali IMF-World Bank Conference and renting them, a decision was made by her Ministry to purchase the equipment and donating them to the public at the end of conference. The Government spent Rp. 8 billion on the purchase of 500 laptops and   Rp. 672 million for 300 printers.

“I have the dream that from the grant of so many laptops will be born an Indonesian Jack Ma or some other creative individual,” Sri Mulyani. Meanwhile, the head of Bali’s Provincial Education Service, Tia Kusuma Wardhani, said the laptops given to Bali would be distributed to 40 schools in four regencies, with the emphasis on schools in the poorest areas of Bali, such as Bangli, Karangasem, Jembrana and Buleleng. In Bangli 7 schools will be given 45 laptops and 21 printers, in Karangasem 10 schools will be given 65 laptops and 50 printers, in Jembrana 1 schools will receive 25 laptops and 9 printers, and in Bulelelng 10 schools be given 65 laptops and 45 printers. Among the 30 schools receiving laptops, 18 are high schools and 12 are junior high schools. [Bali Discovery October 30, 2018]