Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Indonesians ‘Second-Most Confident’ in World

Indonesians are the second-most confident people in the world about their job prospects and near-term financial futures, according to a global survey released on Tuesday by media and consumer research company AC Nielsen.

Indonesia rose a point to 116 in the consumer confidence index, second only to India’s 127 and just above Norway’s 115.

About 70 percent of Indonesians polled described their job prospects as excellent or good, well above the 57 percent average for consumers in the Asia-Pacific region, and 77 percent of Indonesians said they were upbeat about their personal finances over the next 12 months.

In addition, 46 percent said they believed now was a good or excellent time to buy things they want and need, an increase from 41 percent six months ago.

“So optimism is growing and all things being equal, this should translate into spending,” said Catherine Eddy, Nielsen’s executive director of consumer research.

And the money will be spent on things other than washing machines and vacuum cleaners.

The survey found that Indonesians plan to indulge themselves by spending more on vacations and new clothes, while the percentage of those using disposable income to pay down debts has slipped to 28 percent from 30 percent in the third quarter of last year.

“It seems Indonesian consumers are gradually loosening their purse strings as we see increases in their intention to spend on what we might call indulgence categories,” Eddy said.

The Nielsen survey, conducted online in March, measured the views of 27,000 people in 55 countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Middle East. In Indonesia, a total of 505 online users participated in the survey.

Indonesia Now on Everyone’s Radar Screen: Consultant

Indonesia is starting to get the attention it deserves and can no longer be ignored by multinational companies seeking growth, according to James Castle, an American business consultant with 30 years experience in the country.

Castle, founder of the consultancy CastleAsia, told the International Herald Tribune that Indonesia’s visibility in the Group of 20 and its economic resilience during the global downturn over the past 18 months had started to attract attention from companies across the globe.

“After ’98 and the Asian financial crisis, Indonesia just got ignored. Now it’s in the discussion.” he told the IHT.

“Some companies may for very good reasons decide that now is not the right time for them to come here, but they will have made a conscious decision. Indonesia can no longer be ignored. If you’re a global company, and you’re not in Indonesia, you really have to ask yourself why, or why not.

“Most big companies are looking at Indonesia and trying to find opportunities here. And if they’re not, they should,” he added.

Castle said Indonesia had attained a stature similar to that of the so-called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and might even have an edge over China and Russia in social and political stability over the longer term.

“I think both China and Russia have tremendous political obstacles to overcome, though meanwhile they both can be very good places to do business,” he said. “Large companies will have the resources to go into all these countries if they want to. So it’s really just a question of, ‘Is that particular market ready for us right now?’”

Castle acknowledged much work remained to be done for Indonesia to become a true economic power, including infrastructure and regulatory reform.

Megan Gale has launched her new collection of women's swimwear.

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Megan Gale launches bikini range
Wednesday, June 30 2010, 04:49 BST
By Rebecca Davies
The Australian supermodel, whose boyfriend is comedian Andy Lee, revealed at the launch party of Isola bikinis last night that she road-tested the range on a recent holiday with Lee in Bali.

Gale told The Daily Telegraph: "It's the first time I've taken my own bikinis on holidays and it was weird... I was really nervous wearing them. This is my little nest egg so hopefully we've got it started right."

She also revealed that she was disappointed that some of the bikini models failed to turn up at the launch, saying: "I would never have done that - you commit to do it, you rock up."

Ringside view of Bali

Geetika Jain, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 29, 2010
First Published: 17:53 IST(29/6/2010)
Last Updated: 01:20 IST(30/6/2010)

It would be a crime to come away from Bali without appreciating the ritual ceremonies of the Balinese and getting to know some of the age-old customs adhered to by this vibrant pinprick of humanity.

Landing at Denpasar airport, visitors head for the beach resorts of Legian, Seminyak and Jimbaran Bay, which are full of powdery beaches, palm-fringed skies and a roaring nightlife.

There is lots to Bali which begs exploration. Head inland to see the extraordinary landscapes — the contoured rice paddies of Kliki, innumerable tinkling rivulets and the animated volcanoes.

Also, see what’s cooking in the local kitchens, to soak in the extraordinary customs and traditions of the locals. You’ll discover family-temples on every threshold, the Bakso-man with his cart of steaming hot dumplings, cocks in wicker baskets awaiting a spar, and stalls laden with exotic fruits.

Flower power
Walking though the streets of Ubud, a town overrun with art galleries and kitchen restaurants, I noticed small offerings of flowers and food in tiny leaf baskets everywhere. Tony Tack, a Dutch anthropologist, explained the morning ritual: “Each of those flowers has significance. The blue is for Krishna, red for Brahma, white for Shiva and so on… ”

In Bali, people spend a higher percentage of their salary on religious observances than anywhere else in the world. We watched a mother and her two children orient themselves towards Gunung Agung, the highest and most sacred mountain, to pray. “These are vestiges of Agama Hinduism; it has a rare stronghold on the Balinese and is deeply embedded in their psyche,” said Tony.

Colourful sight
The colour and pageantry of Balinese ceremonies is eye-catching. Each day, we saw decked-up women and men carrying offerings in decorated boxes, and sandalwood idols to seashores and riverbanks. We chanced upon locals celebrating ‘Tumpak’, a day earmarked for worshipping trees and plants.

Balinese performing arts too, are enmeshed with religious mythology. Ubud’s theatres are replete with shadow puppet shows, gamelan music and loose-limbed dances. We saw the stylised legong dance and chechak, a lively ‘monkey dance’. At Ubud palace, we watched an enactment of the Ramayan involving huge masks and gongs.

Exploring the east and north, and getting lost in the hill-villages was most enjoyable. Here, the locals lived without walls, sat without chairs and ate without cutlery. At Sideman village, we met artist Nyoman Mandra over coffee and banana fritters. The conversation turned to Bali’s connection with India. “It is my dream to visit India someday,” he said.

Where would you like to go?” I asked. “Ayodhya, Dwarka, Vrindavan” he said, his imagination firmly captured in the pages of the ancient texts.

VP Orders new Bali and Lombok Airports to be Operational soon

Indonesian Digest

• VP Orders new Bali and Lombok Airports to be Operational soon

Vice President Boediono has instructed Ministers involved in the construction of the new Airports in Bali and Lombok to accelerate construction to increase the number of tourist arrivals to Indonesia, repoted Bisnis Indonesia as quoted from Antara.

Present at the meeting held in mid June, were the Minister for Public Works, Djoko Krmanto, Communications Minister, Freddy Numberi and Chairman of the Presidential team for the Oversight and Monitoring of Development, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Governor of Bali, Made Mangku Pastika and West Nusatenggara Governor, Zainul Majdi.

According to Governor Majdi construction of the Lombok’s International airport is 90% completed, and is expected to become operational before the end of 2010.

The main drawback at the moment is clearing 19.9 kilometers of access road from the Airport to the town of Mataram. However, Governor Majdi assured that this has been settled and that therefore construction of the road, planned to be twice 7 meters wide from Mataram to Lombok International Airport and to Kuta in South Lombok can start immediately.

While Public Works Minister, Djoko Kirmanto promised that once the land has been cleared, then the access road can be completed before the end of 2010.

Whereas, regarding the new terminal for Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport this is urgent as the present terminal is no longer capable to properly receive th rapidly expanding numbers of arrivals.

The present international terminal of 65,000 sq, meters will become the domestic terminal. While the present domestic terminal of 13,300 sq. meters will be extended to 120,000 sq meters to become the international terminal. While funds for the expansion totaling Rp. 1.7 trillion will be borne by the Airport Authority of Bali.

Also discussed was the flyover near the airport to reduce congestion, especially on the bypass and at Simpang Siur.

To accelerate contruction, VP Boediono has instructed PT Angkasa Pura I to submit the airport’s masterplan to the Minister for State Enterprises within one week after the meeting.

These projects have been long delayed, said VP’s spokesman, and VP Boediono wants these to be completed as soon as possible, especially considering that Indonesia will host the APEC Conference in 2013.

Indonesia’s population expected to top 240 million in 2010 Census

Indonesian Digest

The National Family Planning Board foresees that in this year’s census, Indonesia’s total population will surpass 240 million people, exceeding by 5 million the earlier forecast made in 1970 when Indonesia’s population in 2010 was estimated to reach 235 million, said Chairman of the Board, Syarief Sugiri.

His calculation was based on the fact that Indonesia’s population increased by 1.49% annually, higher than the government’s growth target of 1.3% per year. Whilst for 2015 the government dares to target growth at 1.1% only.

This rapid increase in population is due to the stagnant growth of family planning between 2000-2005, in which a demographic health survey in 2007 found that the average of rate of birth during these five years remained unchanged at 2.6. This corresponded with a low increase of only 1% in new contraceptives acceptors.

Sugiri warned that with the rapid growth of Indonesia’s population that far exceeded the target by more than 5 million, which is more than the total population of Singapore, the government must be prepared to increase food resources. With the assumption that one person needs a minimum of 100 kg of food per year, this means that the government must make available an addition of 300 million tons of food annually.

For this reason, the government will reactivate family planning campaigns by strengthening family planning institutions in the regions, so that by 2015, population growth can be suppressed to 1.1% per year.

2010 Double Digit Growth expected in Domestic air passengers

From Indonesian Digest:

The Indonesian Air Carriers Association, INACA expects another double digit growth in domestic passengers this year, spurred by Indonesia’s 6.4% economic growth, said Chairman Emirsyah Satar, who is also CEO of Garuda Indonesia.

In the past six years domestic passengers has grown above expectation. In 2009, there were 43.8 million passengers, an increase of 16% above the previous year’s 37 million passengers.
Although officially the Ministry of Communications projects domestic passengers to increase by 10%, yet all indications are that this target may be exceeded to reach 15%, said Director for Air transportation, Tri S. Sunoko.

In the first three months of 2010 alone Indonesian airlines carried 11.643 million passengers, up 20.7% compared to the same period last year, which is phenomenal, considering that this occurred during a normally low season.

Data also show that the three largest shares of domestic passengers went to Indonesia’s three top airlines, namely Lion Air, Garuda Indonesia and Sriwijaya Air, according to Kompas. In the first two months of 2010, of the total 6.63 million domestic passengers carried, Lion Air took 41.9% share or 2.7 million passengers, followed by Garuda Indonesia with 19.1% share carrying 1.27 million passengers, and third was Sriwijaya Air with 15.9% share, carrying 1.06 million passengers.

Meanwhile from January through March, Indonesian airlines carried 1.4 million passengers overseas or a huge increase of 39.8% compared to the same time in 2009.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ramya is all set for her Bali trip
Glamourous Network
Kannada film stars join the league of Tweeters
Megha Shenoy

Sandalwood stars are now speaking their mind and widening their social network through Twitter

Ramya is all set for her Bali trip, Chiranjeevi Sarja is looking forward to hanging out with his friends in Java City and namma Kiccha Sudeep prays that his latest film Mr Theertha does well for his producers.

All these are the latest tid-bits that have come straight from the celebrities’ mouths as tweets. The Twitter bug has not only bitten Bollywood celebrities but is fast spreading in Sandalwood as well. Thanks to the beauty and simplicity of micro-blogging, many actors and actresses enjoy widening their social network through Twitter.

But each one has their own reason for getting hooked. Chiranjeevi Sarja looks at Twitter as an open diary, where he confesses everything.

“Well, not exactly everything,” he laughs and adds, “It’s like my diary which I update everytime I am free. Initially, I found it difficult to get used to it but gradually I started enjoying it. Now I enjoy connecting with my friends and fans who follow me on Twitter,” he adds.

Not only do their fans follow the stars on Twitter, these stars too enjoy following some of their favourite actors. Ramya follows other actors like Dhanush, Allu Sirish and Dino Morea while Sudeep follows Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Salman Khan, Vivek Oberoi and others.

Risheeka Singh, a debutante actress, says that sites like Twitter helps her build contacts.
“As a newcomer, Twitter has helped me get in touch with a lot of my friends and build contacts in the industry.”

“The best part of Twitter is that it does not invade too much into your privacy, which is a lot less irritating. I also get a lot of feedback from people on what kind of movies I should sign on and roles I should look forward to, which is very sweet,” says Risheeka, who personally enjoys reading Shah Rukh Khan’s tweets.

Twitter is not only about the actors and their fans. In fact, there are also directors who make full use of the site. Director Raghuram, whose debut film Cheluveye Ninne Nodalu, is set to release shortly, says that the reason to get into social networking sites was to promote the film.

“I want to target various age groups and these sites are a perfect way to get hold of the young. Not only is it interactive but it also helps in getting the crowd familiar with the name of the film,” says Raghuram, who is still getting a hang of Twitter.

No doubt, there are still some actors who are apprehensive on entering Twitter. For Sharmila Mandre, the sole reason to enter a social networking site is to interact with fans on a personal level.

Though she is on Facebook, she admits that the Twitter fever has not yet caught on. “Somehow, I am still getting used to the whole feel of Facebook. There have been many requests from friends asking me to join Twitter but I am trying to get a hold of Facebook and then, in time, maybe I will join Twitter,” she adds.

While actors like Sanjjanaa, Sri Murali, Sammir Dattani, Nidhi Subbaiah are also hooked on to Twitter, it looks like this is one trend that is here to stay.

“Generally, the only link for an actor to get to his or her fans is through journalists. Now such sites have helped us understand what exactly people think of our work,” adds Sharmila.

Julia Roberts Weight: How Much Does She Weigh?

Julia Roberts Weight: How Much Does She Weigh?
Written by CharlotteBrittan on Jun-29-10 6:25am
Julia Roberts In Indonesia

Actress Julia Roberts films her new movie "Eat, Pray, Love" at the Ubud market on October 20, 2009 in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. (Getty Images)more pics »It's only natural to want to know Julia Roberts weight. She's been one of the world's most popular movie stars for over two decades, so how much does Julia Roberts weight?

According to the informaiton we've found, Julia Roberts stands at 5'10" and weighs 125 lbs. That would put her Body Mass Index at 17.9, which is slightly underweight, according to the Mayo Clinic.

In an interview, Julia Roberts says she's never really been thin. "I look the same. I guess that’s my staying power. My fighting weight. That is a strange thing that happens. People get wildly famous and they get incredibly slim. It never happened to me, no matter how hard I tried!"

See more Julia Roberts pictures here:

Balinese girls wearing traditional costumes watch the Pandanus fights during an annual sacred Usaba Sambah festival

Usaba Sambah festival held in Tenganan Pegringsingan of Bali 2010-06-28 19:04:11 FeedbackPrintRSS

Balinese girls wearing traditional costumes watch the Pandanus fights during an annual sacred Usaba Sambah festival in Tenganan Pegringsingan of Bali, east province of Indonesia, June 27, 2010. Tenganan Pegringsingan is an ancient village home to Bali, a term generally used to refer to indigenous Balinese although it literally means the mountain people of Bali. (Xinhua/Anta Kesuma)


Monday, June 28, 2010

Bali Boasts Two of the Best Beaches on Forbes List

Asia's Best Beaches
Hana R. Alberts, 06.27.10, 11:00 PM EDT
There are still pristine and picturesque getaways all over the region.
In Pictures: Asia's Best Beaches

HONG KONG -- Crowds tend to flock to the most popular beach destinations: Patong in Phuket, Kuta in Bali, Bondi in Sydney and so on. And where sunburned tourists go, tacky bars and overpriced restaurants follow. So what options exist for a traveler in search of an under-developed, peaceful stretch of sand?

Not many, especially if you're planning a trip on your own and don't have a lot of time to spare on potentially disastrous detours taken in search of far-flung locales. So Forbes called upon the experts.
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To determine our list of Asia's best beaches, Forbes assembled a panel of those in the know: Graham Uden, a photographer based in Hong Kong; John Borthwick, a Sydney-based travel writer and photographer; Bart Kluskens, a marine biologist and conservation advisor working in Cambodia; Anchalika Kijkanakorn, who runs two hotels in Thailand; Robert Carmack, a food stylist, cookbook author and leader of Asian food tours; and Eliza Anderson of Intrepid Travel, an adventure tour operator for small groups. Their recommendations helped Forbes compile 22 top oceanfront destinations.

In Pictures: Asia's Best Beaches

Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia are home to the most sunblock-worthyhaunts, but out-of-the-ordinary beach vacations also await in China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.

Unsurprisingly, some of these paradises are remote. Sulug Island, for example, is the least accessible part of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, located off the cost of Malaysian Borneo. "This is the quintessential deserted beach. You can be forgiven for thinking you've found paradise," Anderson writes. "Get dropped off on this deserted beach and while away the hours under the shade of an aru tree and snorkel the crystal clear waters."
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In Cambodia, where the tourist industry is nascent but growing, an island called Koh Rong Samleon earns Klusken's praise. "It's more pristine; it's more undiscovered, because it's only over the last few years that more people go here," he says. "There are beautiful coral reefs. There is a forest on the island that you can walk through. It's untouched."

Graham Uden, who has captured scenes in countries from Oman to Laos, favors several quiet sites in Indonesia, including one in East Java called Balekambang Beach. "It has a lot of Hindu temples on a little island 20 to 30 minutes offshore that you can walk to by a bridge," he says. "It's peaceful and quiet; there are no hotels anywhere near."

Just a 30-kilometer drive from Hua Hin, the Thai king's vacation spot, is a beach called Pranburi, according to Kijkanakorn, who runs two hotels in Thailand and is managing director of Akaryn Hospitality Management Services.

"It's beautiful, it's wide, it's long and there's a beautiful fishing village nearby. You have little boats that you can go on and go squid fishing if you want, at 1 or 2 in the morning, and come back at 3 or 4. It's only for the adventurous souls," she says. "It's the best beach for windsurfing. Good wind direction, not a lot of people, no coral underneath, no rocks to hurt yourself. "

Saturday, June 26, 2010

KITEBOARDING returns to Sanur for the 5th HOTAIR! 2010

Sanur is one of the most popular places in Bali for Kite Boarding and boasts near perfect conditions for all water-sport enthusiasts. It is situated on the southeastern shore of the sunny Bali, with beaches stretching over 8 km’s. It has a solid reef break with the North Easterly bringing in the swell.

The ideal wind for this region is the easterly and the water temperature ranges between 15-19 degrees Celsius, which is perfect in the dry season.

The event will start on the 2nd July, with registration on the 1st and will run until the 4th July 2010.

Stiff Chilli ,Bali Sports Foundation,Porlasi & Blue Oasis Beach Club welcomes all spectators and support for this highly anticipated and exciting 5th HOTAIR 2010

For further information and registration riders :

Friday, June 25, 2010

BHP, Rio Win Battle Over Mine Tax That ‘Killed’ Rudd

From Businessweek
By Rebecca Keenan and Elisabeth Behrmann

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group financed a seven-week advertising campaign to end a mining tax in Australia. Instead, they got a new prime minister.

The ruling Labor party yesterday dumped Kevin Rudd, the architect of the tax, for Julia Gillard, who opened the door to talks on the proposed 40 percent tax that Morgan Stanley estimates would have taken A$85 billion ($74 billion) from the mining industry during the next decade.

“It’s amazing that one policy killed the prime minister,” Jason Teh, who helps manage $2.6 billion at Investors Mutual in Sydney. “The mining tax was a big thorn in the side for Rudd. I’m sure Gillard knows that and she will try to negotiate a better outcome to make herself look popular.”

Compromise may encourage producers to proceed with projects worth at least $21 billion that were stalled by Xstrata Plc and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. By dropping the tax the government will need to cut spending to meet its goal of getting into budget surplus by 2013.

Gillard immediately ended the government’s A$38.5 million television and newspaper campaign backing the levy. BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, and Rio responded by suspending the advertising campaign against the tax, saying they are encouraged by Gillard’s invitation to talks.

“This looks to me like a circuit-breaker,” Owen Hegarty, vice-chairman of G-Resources Ltd. and a director at Fortescue, Australia’s third-largest iron ore exporter, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Melbourne bureau. “The unpopularity of the previous prime minister was to do with introducing, slam- dunking, this penal resource super profit tax.”

Highest Rate

BHP dropped 2.1 percent to A$38.80 at the 4:10 p.m. Sydney time close on the Australian stock exchange. Rio fell 3 percent, Fortescue slid 4 percent and Macarthur Coal Ltd. dropped 2 percent. The new leadership is more likely to alter than scrap the tax, Credit Suisse Group AG said today in a report, citing the influence of pro-levy unions.

“My priority is to deal with the mining tax, it has caused uncertainty,” Gillard, who has undertaken to call an election in coming months, told reporters today in Canberra. “I want to genuinely negotiate.”

She also met with Treasurer Wayne Swan, who has become her deputy, and Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson today to discuss talks with mining companies. Gillard, 48, said yesterday the parties need to reach a consensus on the tax.

Mining Row

“There is some prospect that she’ll drop the tax, which would effectively extinguish the row with miners,” said Rob Henderson, markets chief economist at National Australia Bank Ltd., the nation’s biggest corporate lender. “Or she may defer the tax until after the election with much greater consultation.”

Rudd, 52, stood down after refusing to relent on the tax, estimated to raise A$12 billion in the first two years from 2012, in the face of sliding support in the polls and mounting opposition within his own party.

“Mining is our strongest industry and it’s just been kicked in the guts,” said David Flanagan, chief executive officer of Atlas Iron Ltd., which is developing the A$3 billion Ridley iron ore project. “We are not going to get our mojo back until the government is prepared to negotiate all aspects of the tax.”

Under the Rudd proposal, miners will pay a 40 percent tax on all profits above a 6 percent return on investment on their projects in Australia, the world’s biggest shipper of iron ore and coal. The tax would give the nation the world’s highest tax rate for mining companies, according to the Minerals Council of Australia.

‘Positive Outcome’

Miners want the government to exclude existing projects, reconsider the trigger level and vary the rate for different minerals. Possible changes needed to make the tax work include an increase in the rate of return hurdle to a minimum of 10 percent and preferably 15 percent, as well as a reduction in the headline rate to 20 percent from 40 percent, Morgan Stanley said June 16.

“Gillard’s appointment is a positive outcome because the tax was too high at 40 percent,” Khiem Do, Hong Kong-based head of multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management (Asia) Ltd., which oversees about $10 billion, said in an interview with Bloomberg television. “Gillard will water down the tax, maybe to even lower than 20 percent.”

Gillard, who draws support from the Labor Party’s left wing faction, signaled the government won’t scrap the tax, saying “Australians are entitled to a fairer share of our inheritance, the mineral wealth that lies in our grounds.”

Felling Rudd

Morgan Stanley strategist Gerard Minack said Gillard was still likely to introduce a tax on resources profits after a negotiation process with the industry, given her close connection to Rudd’s policy decisions. “We will still get a super profits tax on the mining sector,” said Minack. “You can’t assume that a change in prime minister means that the tax gets dropped.”

Support for Rudd began to slide after he shelved the government’s carbon-trading plans in April, a key campaign pledge when he won office in November 2007. His popularity dropped further after the mining tax was announced May 2, retreating to 41 percent from 60 percent two months earlier, a Nielsen survey published June 7 showed.

“It was without a doubt the mining tax that felled Rudd - that people didn’t want it,” said Clive Palmer, Australia’s third-richest mining magnate with a A$3.92 billion fortune, according to BRW magazine. “The real issue is whether or not you should have a tax. That’s what we need to discuss, not the terms and conditions and how it’s supposed to be implemented.”

--With reporting by Rishaad Salamat in Hong Kong, Jacob Greber in Sydney and Kan Nishizawa in Tokyo. Editors: Keith Gosman, John Viljoen

To contact the reporters on this story: Rebecca Keenan in Melbourne at Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bali regional revenue increases by 7 percent

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar | Fri, 06/25/2010 11:38 AM | Bali
A | A | A |

Increasing tax revenues from vehicle owners has greatly boosted Bali's regional revenue from Rp 1.081 trillion in 2008 to Rp 1.16 trillion in 2009, a 7 percent increase, an official said.

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika told reporters after presenting the fiscal year 2009 provincial state budget report that tax revenue from vehicles reached Rp 1.02 trillion.

"Easy access to bank loans and credit schemes have encouraged people to buy more cars and motorcycles," Pastika said.

Car and motorcycles producers have offered soft-loans and credit schemes allowing potential buyers to pay down only Rp 250,000 on a Rp 13 million motorcycle.

Car buyers also have the luxury of low-interest credit, and need only pay down Rp 20 million for a sedan or MPV.

The Bali Transportation Agency said the number of vehicles in Bali had reached 2 million, 80 percent of which were motorcycles. The number of vehicles on the island's is predicted to grow by between 10 percent and 11 percent per year.

Pastika added that the rapid growth in vehicle ownership might be a sign of the island's economic prosperity. "Our economy is growing steadily and in a healthy way."

The governor, however, also expressed concern over the increasing number of traffic accidents, particularly those involving teenagers.

Thousands of young people ride motorcycles without driving licenses.

Bali Police said 1,704 traffic accidents occurred in 2009, an increase of 22.62 percent from the previous year.

Bali Police chief Insp. Gen Sutisna said that many people drove recklessly and that teenagers and young adults often violated traffic regulations leading to serious road accidents.

New Rules Would Not Allow Foreigners To Own Property

Editors Note: As I predicted in my newsletter, seminars and radio show Indonesians will not allow foreign ownership of land.

The government is planning to make another attempt to liberalize the laws pertaining to foreign investment in the Indonesian property sector, after backpedaling on earlier proposals. (JG Photo/Safir Makki)
New Rules Would Not Allow Foreigners To Own Property

After sending mixed messages at times this year, the government said it is proceeding with plans to liberalize the domestic real estate market, but foreigners will not be allowed to own property outright, though it will be made easier for them to secure leaseholds of up to 70 years in duration.

However, any proposed changes may take a long time to be realized because they would require the approval of the House of Representatives.

Zulfi Syarif Koto, the deputy of formal housing at the Ministry of Public Housing, said the ministry was still in the process of working on changing the regulations.

“We are the only ministry responsible for this, so we must be careful that we can still protect our national interest,” he said.

Under the proposed regulations, foreigners would still not be able to own property outright, Zulfi said.

“We are still in discussions with various government departments,” he said.

Currently foreigners can have a right to use, or effectively lease, apartments, but not land or freestanding houses, for up to 70 years. Under the right to use foreigners sign a convertible lease agreement with property management companies or use the name of an Indonesian citizen whom they have a separate agreement with. Foreigners must also periodically renew their right to use. Initially they can hold the property for 25 years after which they need to extend for another 25 years and then a final 20-year term.

In May, the government shelved a plan to extend this to 90 years but said it would simplify the extension process.

This came after Housing Minister Suharso Monoarfa said in January that the law would be changed to allow expats to buy houses in special economic zones, such as in Batam and Kalimantan, where overseas companies receive incentives to run factories, and foreigners living in cities would be limited to owning apartments.

Industry players were disappointed this month after a major conference of real estate agents in Bali ended without the expected announcement from the government that the sector would be liberalized. Some blamed nationalist sentiment for blocking the changes.

Still, Suharso left many at the conference hopeful that changes would come.

“Limiting foreign ownership is no longer the right approach,” he was quoted as saying by the New York Times.

Now the government is considering giving foreigners to the right to an initial lease period of 70 years, rather than go through several extensions.

Anton Sitorus, the head of research at PT Jones Lang LaSalle Indonesia, said that to attract foreigners, the government should announce the revised regulation quickly with a clear definition of property ownership.

“We have tried to monitor this issue. Ownership rights are the most important thing for foreigners. The government should sort it out quickly,” Anton said.

However, he said he was not optimistic the regulation would be introduced soon because giving foreigners would require amendments to the current law.

“That means dealing with the House of Representatives, which will take a long time,” Anton said.

Gita Wirjawan, chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), said that opening up the property sector to foreigners would have a positive impact on the property market. Foreigners would inject a large amount of capital into the Indonesian market and make the local property market more robust, he said.

Teguh Satria, chairman of the Indonesian Real Estate Developers Association, said in May that there were around 83,000 foreigners living in Indonesia. If 10,000 of those foreigners bought a $250,000 apartment, for example, it would translate into $2.5 billion of foreign investment, Teguh said.

According to a Jones Lang LaSalle report, demand in Jakarta’s luxury residential market for both purchases and rentals was “weak” as of the end of last year, and expected to remain stagnant, though with mild improvement, this year.

Julia Roberts' new film inspires meditation tours to India

Posted: Jun 24, 2010 at 1546 hrs IST
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London Julia Roberts much-anticipated new movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ has inspired tour planners to offer a package that gives travellers a chance to dine in Italy, meditate in India and fall in love with Bali.

Roberts recreates author Elizabeth Gilbert's year-long cultural and spiritual trip to India, Italy and Bali in the movie. And the film has inspired a large number of merchandise, which includes tie-in items from furnishings to jewellery.

Producers have given various companies rights to link new products to the film, which will release in August, reports the Daily Express.

Bosses at STA Tours will soon be offering the ‘Eat, Pray, Love Experience’ – the chance to dine in Italy, meditate in India and fall in love with Bali.

US chain Cost Plus will offer exclusive furnishings, replicas of those featured in the film, Dogeared jewellers are offering ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ bracelets and necklaces inspired by the film.

ATBC Annual Meeting to Take Place in Bali -
Thursday, June 24, 2010

People who are keen to reduce their impact on the environment during their stay in accommodation in Kuta should head to next month's annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC).

The ATBC conference will take place on the paradise island of Bali between July 19th and 23rd, having been held in Germany last year and in Suriname the year before.

Anyone who is staying in accommodation in Kuta between these dates can expect to share their hotels with some of the world's leading biological scientists, with between 300 and 400 of them expected to turn up to the event.

Discussions will take place at the meeting related to the theme of "Tropical Diversity: Facing the Food and Energy Crisis and Climate Change", the organisers have revealed.

This means that the likes of biodiversity utilisation, maritime resources, climate change, carbon-based forestry and the Papuan ecosystem are all set to be among the topics given an airing at the five-day conference.

The team behind the talks would certainly have been hard-pushed to find a more attractive setting for the event - the island of Bali is home to some of the world's most picturesque beaches.

Of these, the sandy stretch at Kuta is one of the most popular and has become a real haven for surfers and sunseekers in recent times

Strategic Airlines requests unlimited capacity on Bali flights

Friday, 25 June 2010

Strategic Airlines has requested unlimited capacity for flights between Australia and Indonesia (Denpasar) from ports other than Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.
The International Air Services Commission IASC) confirmed that the request has been made by the carrier, which plans to operate additional Bali services from WA mining centres Port Hedland and Karratha, effective from August this year.

Strategic Airlines has said that the flights would be operated using an Airbus A320 aircraft. The IASC is seeking other applications for the capacity.

‘Joy Flight’ Plane Crashes at Bali Airport, Injuring Both Passengers

Badung, Bali. It was supposed to have been a joyous flight, but it ended disastrously.

An Indonesian Air Force KT-1B exercise plane participating in a “Terbang Gembira” (“Joy Flight”) activity crashed and burned on Thursday afternoon at the eastern tip of Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport.

The pilot, Lt. Col. Ramot Sinaga, and his passenger, Udayana Regional Military Commander Maj. Gen. Rachmad Budianto, both managed to eject from the cockpit safely.

Rachmad, who was named the regional armed forces chief three months ago, suffered light injuries to his legs.

“The commander is having his medical examination in at a military hospital,” said Udayana Military Command spokesman Lt. Col. Ida Bagus Gaga Ardana.

Ramot suffered a head injury and was taken to Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar.

The South Korean-produced KT-1B was one of four in the event, all of which were executing coordinated acrobatic maneuvers in a 15-minute show that took them from Ngurah Rai to iconic Bali landmarks such as Sanur, Tanah Lot and Uluwatu before returning to the airport.

Eyewitnesses, including journalists covering the event, saw the plane break formation as it was about to land and brush against two other planes.

“There was a spark followed by two loud bangs,” said Putu Wahyu, a vendor near the airport who was watching the show.

The small plane broke up into pieces upon impact with the ground, scattering debris across the runway and forcing the airport to close for about an hour as the wreckage was cleared.

As a result, three commercial airliners were forced to land at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya and the departures of four flights were postponed.

But the eyewitness account was denied by Ngurah Rai Airbase Commander Lt. Col. Aldrin Peter Mongan, who was on board one of the other KT-1B planes.

Bali's Bebek Betutu


Bali's main draw has long been its local culture, with its elaborate and sophisticated traditions in music, dance, architecture, textiles and the decorative arts.

View Full Image
Djuna Ivereigh for The Wall Street Journal

Bebek betutu at Bebek Bengil restaurant in Bali.

Unfortunately, the same can't be said about Balinese cuisine. For starters, the vast majority of dining options on the island run from trendy Western resort fare to basic Indonesian hot tables. Even the most impassioned of food devotees would agree: Native cooking here rarely rises a rank above decidedly homemade and not-too-terrible.

Only two Balinese creations, babi guling (suckling pig on a spit) and bebek betutu (slow roasted, leaf-wrapped duck) have become de rigueur for tourists to try—and, of these, the duck dish is the more intriguing, though also more difficult to find because the genuine article must be ordered at least one day in advance.


The origins of bebek betutu can be traced back as far as Prometheus gave man the gift of high heat. Certainly, the basic method of placing a hunk of meat inside a leaf and placing it in the ground with a heat source, in this case, mounds of smoldering rice husks, goes back to what several websites on Balinese food approximate as "time immemorial."

One thing is certain: Duck has played a central role in the agricultural cycle of the island. Raised amid the ditches and ponds of irrigated rice fields, the local waterfowl have long been allowed to "clean up" fields after harvest by feeding on leftover grains and seeds. Duck is also featured as an offering during many Balinese festivals, at weddings and government functions.

As chef Heinz von Holzen of Bumbu Bali restaurant explains, "While some Balinese would not eat beef or pork for religious reasons, all like duck—and favor it over chicken...they are the only animals, save turtles, to survive on land or water."


Down the atmospheric street Jalan Hanoman Gang, famed chef Pak Yan Tekek, 67, dressed in shorts and an undershirt, has been churning out a dozen ducks each morning and another dozen in the afternoon for more than 40 years. According to his son Made, 46, the bowl of spice mix (urap) that his father hand-packs into the cavity of each duck is made green by local herbs and tea leaves.

Says chef von Holzen: "Green chilies give the [duck] color."

Once properly prepared, the duck is delicately tied up inside betel-nut bark, kind of like a Mexican tamale although a tamale's corn husk wrapping is softer than bark. Then the duck is placed on a terra-cotta tray and shoved into one of a number of blackened pyramids—made of rice husks—that are remarkably reminiscent of Bali's famed volcanic peaks.

The term betutu refers to the use of rice-husks, not "smoked" as it is often mistranslated. Heated by kindling of coconut husks, these piles of rice husks retain their temperature for five hours—the proper time required to cook the bebek betutu.

There's no special ambience in which to partake of bebek betutu—its traditional setting is the backyard of a Balinese home. But the duck must be served at the table, whole and smoldering, often with beak and wings still attached. The most proper accompaniments would be side dishes of lawar, a sour treatment of green beans and other greens mixed usually with shredded pork, plus a tomato sambal (hot sauce).


The best way to judge a good bebek betutu may be to try a bad one first—such as those available at the cut-rate local chain, Ayam Betutu Khas Gilimanuk. This quickie version, cooked in a modern oven for just a few hours, arrives in a soupy yellow base, with little or no discernible kick or spice perfume, and nary a trace of any wood flavor. Worse still, there is hardly a shred of edible meat.

The better bebeks are just the opposite: plenty of duck breast, cooked to a melty softness, infused with smokiness and slathered inside and out with a pleasantly charred spice paste that gives off lingering hints of lemongrass, turmeric and pungent ginger.


Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck), a granddaddy of island duckeries, was founded in 1990. It is pleasantly spread over pavilions looking at rice fields, and mainly features its own fried duck—but the restaurant can rustle up the real thing on request (with 24-hour notice). Jalan Hanoman, Ubud; Tel: 62-361-975-489; about $23.50 for two people.

Lotus Pond is one of the few places where you can find the daily output of master duck maker Pak Yan Tekek. Danau Tamblingan, Sanur Main Road; Tel: 62-361-289-398; $12 for a serving of half a duck.

Kafe Batan Waru is a lovely full-service outdoor cafe on a pleasant side street with outstanding service, good Balinese coffee and, of course, bebek betutu (ordered a day in advance). Jalan Dewa Sita, Ubud; Tel: 62-361-977-528; about $28.50 for two people.

At Bumbu Bali ask for the 24-hour version at this restaurant and cooking school run by German chef Heinz von Holzen. A whole bebek betutu costs about $18 and must be ordered in advance. Jalan Pratam, Tanjong Benoa; Tel: 62-361-774-502.
—John Krich is a writer based in Bangkok.

DJ Bernanke In Behind Scenes Battle Over Policy -Report

U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke is waging a battle behind the scenes for control of U.S. monetary policy, struggling to overcome resistance from regional Fed hawks for further possible stimulus to prevent a deflationary spiral, according to The Daily Telegraph in London on Friday.
Fed watchers say Bernanke and his close allies at the Fed Board in Washington are worried by signs that the U.S. recovery is running out of steam, The Telegraph said. The ECRI leading indicator, published by the Economic Cycle Research Institute, has collapsed to a 45-week low of -5.7, in the most precipitous slide for half a century, The Telegraph said. Such a reading typically portends contraction within three months or so, The Telegraph said.
Key members of the five-man Board are quietly mulling a fresh burst of asset purchases, if necessary by pushing the Fed's balance sheet from $2.4 trillion to uncharted levels of $5 trillion, The Telegraph said. But they are certain to face intense scepticism from regional hardliners, the newspaper said. The dispute has echoes of the early 1930s when the Chicago Fed stymied rescue efforts, The Telegraph noted.
"We're heading towards a double-dip recession," said Chris Whalen, a former Fed official and now head of Institutional Risk Analystics, according to The Telegraph. "The party is over from fiscal support. These hard-money men are fighting the last war: they don't recognize that money velocity has slowed and we are going into deflation. The only default option left is to crank up the printing presses again."
Bernanke is so worried about the chemistry of the Fed's voting body--the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)--that he has persuaded vice-chairman Don Kohn to delay retirement until Janet Yellen has been confirmed by the Senate to take over his post, The Telegraph said. Kohn has been a key architect of the Fed's emergency policies, the newspaper said. He was due to step down this week after 40 years at the institution, depriving Bernanke of a formidable ally in policy circles, The Telegraph said.
Newspaper Web site:
-Dow Jones Newswires;

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back to nature in Bali 2010-06-24 09:35:24 FeedbackPrintRSS

Bali is famous for its tranquil landscape and laid-back people. (Photo source: Ting)

BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhuanet) -- In the Balinese language, as our Chinese-Indonesian guide Willio Zhang told us, there's no word for "heaven"; having spent a week on this beautiful, peaceful island, perhaps there's no need.

Bali is to the east of Java Island, and the south of the Indian Ocean. This small island has fertile land and abundant sunshine and is thus blessed with a great variety of wildlife, plants and other wonders of nature; a varied terrain includes mountain lakes, jungles and even volcanoes.

Yet our first impression wasn't good at all. After a seven-hour flight via Jakarta, my companion got stuck at customs, where the officer insisted he didn't have a printed return ticket, and therefore could not pass. It seemed pretty strange since I, who didn't have one either, had cleared the process simply and quickly (a visa is supplied on entry for around 250 yuan). Then suddenly it all became clear, "Do you have 50 dollars? I help you, you help me too," he suggested in heavily accented English. After about 10 minutes' negotiation, he knew we wouldn't offer him more than 50 yuan and so finally gave in.

But this minor unpleasantness was immediately forgotten as we got to Bali proper. After the overcast gloom of a stormy Beijing, the sight of palm trees and flamboyantly blooming flowers were as refreshing as a tall glass of cold coconut juice. Although the roads are narrow and crowded, even late at night as we arrived, the troops of local motorcyclists hurrying home were still an antidote to Beijing's honking phalanxes of gridlocked taxis.

The island has remained in an original state, with hardly any tall buildings. The Balinese value the balance between nature and people and consequently, no buildings over three stories tall are allowed. It also means that life here is slow-paced. The Bali people don't strive much to make a living, nor do they demand much from their lives. This is much influenced by their Hindu religion; Balinese people can often be observed by the roadside doing, well, nothing really.

We decided to do as the Romans, and headed for one of the numerous beaches, whose astonishing views provide inspiration and excitement as well as the best place to get relaxed. The beaches in Nusa Dua are primarily kept and managed by the luxury hotels, and so are neat, tidy and quiet, attracting a more wealthy and mature clientele. There's also a huge golf course nearby, handy to take a stroll after a suntan.

Kuta beach, near the airport, is more of a surfers' favorite and probably the busiest. You can have a meal at Jimbaran beach while appreciating the sunset but we found our seafood dinner disappointing, so perhaps look out for a proper recent recommendation when you're there. Fishing locally is not allowed, to increase sustainability, so if you want it, you have to import it and chilled seafood shipped from Java island is not that cheap.

Australia PM Rudd quits; Julia Gillard to lead

Editors Note: We are very happy to see Rudd ousted as he was very unpopular. Especially with his proposed super tax of up to 40% on Mining Companies.
I am a little concerned about the new PM’s, Julia Gillard’s age. At only 49 nine years old does she have the knowledge to run a country?
At any rate we wish her all the best. At least with a parlimentary system they can remove her quickly if she does not prove to be a good leader.
We wish her all the best for Australians sake.

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stepped down Thursday in the face of a party leadership challenge by his deputy Julia Gillard. Gillard was elected Labor Party leader unopposed and will become Australia's first woman prime minister.

Rudd's popularity had fallen sharply in recent weeks, in part over controversy surrounding plans for a new mining tax scheme. Treasurer Wayne Swan will succeed Gillard as deputy prime minister, a party spokesman said.

According to Wikipedia.
Julia Eileen Gillard (born 29 September 1961) is a Welsh-born Australian politician representing the Australian Labor Party who was elected its leader on 24 June 2010 after being the deputy leader since 4 December 2006, entitling her to become Prime Minister once she is sworn-in by Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

Since 3 December 2007 she has been the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, the first woman and the first foreign-born person to hold this position.

This makes her the highest-ranking woman in the history of Australia's federal parliament. After the resignation of Kevin Rudd on 24 June 2010, she has become the first woman to serve as the Prime Minister of Australia.

On 11 December 2007[2] she became the first woman in Australia's history to assume the prime ministerial role, when she acted as prime minister while Kevin Rudd attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.[3]

She is also the Minister for Education, the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and the Minister for Social Inclusion.[4]

Gillard was elected unopposed as Leader of the Australian Labor Party at a special caucus meeting on 24 June 2010, making her the first female leader of the Australian Labor Party.

Gillard has been an ALP member of the House of Representatives since the 1998 federal election.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More than 700 international athletes from over 20 countries participated in the 4th MRA Bali International Triathlon

MRA Bali International Triathlon Held in Jimbaran Bay, Indonesia
2010-06-22 09:2119

More than 700 international athletes from over 20 countries participated in the 4th MRA Bali International Triathlon in Indonesia on Sunday.

The event took place at the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran Bay.

The weekend featured an Olympic distance event and sprint distance event with team events and other shorter races for the less fit.

The winner of the Olympic distance of 1.5 kilometer swim, 40 kilometer cycle and 10 kilometer run was German Jen Wilken clocking in at 2:27:22.

Meanwhile, Australian athlete Michelle Gailey celebrated her honeymoon by winning the women's event, clocking 2:29:43, that's six minutes faster than her winning time last year.

Introduced for the first time was a shorter sprint distance event to welcome athletes unprepared to cover the more arduous Olympic distance course.

First there’s a 500 meter swim in Jimbaran Bay, followed by a 10 kilometer bike ride, and ending with a 5 kilometer run through Jimbaran Village.

Australians Evan and wife Nicole Gallagher won the men’s and women’s events, respectively.

NTD News, Jimbaran Bay, Indonesia.
Ketut Suyasa

Monday, June 21, 2010

Indonesian stocks and the rupiah gained on Monday on news that China would let its currency appreciate

The Jakarta Composite Index rose 12.31 points, gaining for a seventh-straight day, its longest winning streak since January. (Antara Photo)
Looser Yuan, Moody’s Outlook Upgrade Extend Winning Streak for JCI, Rupiah

Indonesian stocks and the rupiah gained on Monday on news that China would let its currency appreciate and Moody’s upgraded Indonesia’s rating outlook.

The Jakarta Composite Index rose 12.31 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 2,941.90, gaining for a seventh-straight day, its longest winning streak since January.

Trading volume was heavy, with 6.5 billion shares worth Rp 5.2 trillion ($577.2 million) changing hands. Gainers outnumbered decliners 116 to 78.

Suryadi Candra Kasih, of PT AM Capital Indonesia’s online trading division, said Beijing’s pledge to relax the yuan peg to the dollar fueled buying, especially in commodities, because a stronger yuan could mean increased demand for resources such as coal.

PT Bumi Resources, Asia’s largest exporter of power-station coal, gained 4.3 percent, while PT Adaro Energy, the country’s second-biggest producer, surged 4.8 percent. PT International Nickel Indonesia, the nation’s biggest producer of the metal, advanced 1.3 percent, while PT Aneka Tambang, the second largest, added 1.3 percent.

The People’s Bank of China pledged over the weekend to make the yuan more flexible, while ruling out a one-time revaluation. China buys about 10 percent of Indonesia’s exports and is its third-largest overseas market.

“If China allows its currency to strengthen it will benefit the rupiah and other Asian currencies,” said Tetsuo Yoshikoshi, a senior economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking in Singapore. “It was natural to see Asian currencies strengthening. Indonesia will benefit from exports to China.”

Meanwhile, the rupiah gained after Moody’s raised the country’s rating outlook to positive from stable, praising the government’s stability and the effectiveness of its fiscal and monetary policies. The rupiah advanced for a fourth-straight day, rising 0.9 percent to 9,019 per dollar by 4:15 p.m.

The currency is expected to rise further on the brighter outlook for the economy, but market players remain cautious over intervention by the central bank to curb its strength.

“The Indonesian economy fundamentally is in good shape,” a foreign bank dealer in Jakarta said.

“I want to check the reaction at 9,000, the last strong support, when Bank Indonesia keeps intervening to minimize volatile movements. If it breaks through that level, definitely the rupiah will go to 8,900.”

Indonesia, which has seen record inflows this year in its bond markets, along with South Korea and Malaysia, saw yields fall further after Moody’s upgraded its outlook.

By afternoon, 10-year bond yields were down 20 basis points, the biggest drop since late May, to a record low of 8.2 percent.

It has fallen 100 basis points so far this month.

One of the greatest players this century Justine Henin will play in Bali Pro Tournament

Justine Henin joins the Road to Bali by winning UNICEF Open

Monday, 21 June 2010 12:45

One of the greatest players of all time has joined the Road To Bali as Justine Henin swept to the UNICEF Open title in s'Hertogenbosch with a hard-fought 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Germany's Andrea Petkovic.

It was the fourth grass court title for the Belgian, who made no secret of the fact that the major motivating factor in coming out of retirement is to win the next grass court tournament on the calendar - Wimbledon.

That would allow her to join Venus Williams with five grass court titles, the most among active players. Of course, Venus' wins are significantly bigger ones, achieved on the pristine lawns of SW-19. By coincidence, her win in s'Hertogenbosch was her 43rd career title, equaling Venus for the most titles among active players.
It was a really tough match for Henin against the 2009 Bad Gastein champion, and Henin admitted that her mind had already wandered to the All England Club and how she would fare during the tournament there.
"When I was down a break in the second, I don't think many people would have thought

I could come back," said Henin. "It's the kind of match you really like to win. Today was harder than my other matches, because I really wanted to win, my mind was already in Wimbledon, and Andrea played a great match. She has a good game for grass - she hits the ball really flat and hard."

The International Series now takes a two week break and returns with two events immediately after Wimbledon, at Bastad in Sweden and Budapest in Hungary where players will continue to compete for a place in the prestigeous Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions.

Only the top eight-ranked players to have won a singles title on the International Series and who are not playing at the WTA Championships in Doha will be eligible to compete in the Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions, which takes place at the Bali International Convention Centre, The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua from 4th to 7th November.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

If you're nervous about Thailand, try Bali

ASK JOURNEYS: If you're nervous about Thailand, try Bali

By: Ron Pradinuk

A side tour takes cruise passengers on a sampan ride in the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam.

CNS Enlarge Image

A side tour takes cruise passengers on a sampan ride in the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam.

I remain convinced that the desire to explore the world beyond our borders will never wane. Even as the press clippings begin to fade relating to the protests in Bangkok and Athens, people have already put their planning into full gear for alternate destinations.

QUESTION: As much as I would like to go to Thailand once the government lifts all travel warnings, as I am sure they will, I don't feel I will be ready to book my holiday there for a while yet. What options would you recommend for an interesting and reasonably priced vacation?

ANSWER: Fear makes quick friends when morning-to-night news coverage invades a city or country in order to follow domestic upheaval, especially with the threat of violence.

I would try to go back to Thailand as soon as possible after a strong degree of stability has returned. There are undercurrents of unrest in Thailand that may make the tourist recovery a longer one. The protests may have stopped but the underlying discontent will take longer to address.

So where are people choosing to go instead?

Early reports from tour operators indicate three destinations in particular have been especially strong for new bookings seen as a direct result of travellers seeking alternatives to Thailand.

The first has been Vietnam. It has already seen a consistent growth pattern over the last several years, with returnees offering rave reviews.

Not that long ago, it was selected by other tourist boards and tour operators as the safest destination in the region.

There are a number of tour operators who offer the destination, and the tourist infrastructure has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade.

The second popular choice is Bali.

For a number of reasons, travellers see it as a meditative place where people can discover a kind of inner peace.

Spa treatments and the like can be had at a most favourable price in many places. It truly is a beautiful place and also has experience in treating tourists very well.

The third, while not so inexpensive, is Japan.

It is not the economic powerhouse it was a few years ago. It too has gone through tough times that started before the recent world downturn.

As a result, outside of Tokyo, reasonably priced accommodation can be found and the country continues to be absolutely fascinating.

QUESTION: Since the airlines always seem to fill seats easily only over the summers, and then do their best with ongoing deals for the rest of the year, how can they ever find their way back to profitability?

ANSWER: You should become an airline executive, because they are wondering the same thing.

For the longest time airlines had a golden goose that brought them consistent profits as the airline charged business class passenger higher and higher fares for the pampering they provided.

Airlines chased after this fountain of money with increasingly greater perks, more luxurious cabins, and services that made them feel as if they were operating from their own offices during their in-flight hours.

With each passing recession, the number of companies willing to pay extra for the comfort of their employees declined.

But because in the past the Premium Class market always returned after each downturn, most airlines concluded all would get back to normal sooner or later after the most recent recessions.

At a recent Aviation Conference in Ontario U.S.-based Forrester Research spokesman Henry Harteveldt spoke about the need for airlines to rethink their philosophy.

He pointed out some European airlines have already eliminated first class on many routes, and that demographics suggest the leisure traveller will hold the key to profits going forward.

There will always be a need for first class, and those who still use the service may demand even more, and be willing to pay for it.

But the numbers may never be the same.

QUESTION: I have become a huge fan of river cruising and was happy to accept the reality of smaller cabins, but now I understand that bigger cabins are now being offered. Is that right?

ANSWER: It soon will be. In its new river vessel, which they named the Panorama, Avalon Waterways will be introducing an all-suite concept.

The minimum suite size will be about one-third larger than the existing cabins, with larger options also available.

The launch of the Panorama is planned for next spring, and in its first year all its journeys will be the 14-night Amsterdam/Budapest itinerary they are marketing under the title "Magnificent Europe."

This introduction is really a testament to how far river cruising has come over the past few year. Over the next few years you can count on more and more innovations as market demand drives creativity and competition.

Forward your travel questions to Ron Pradinuk is President of Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre and can be heard Sundays at noon on CJOB. Previous columns and tips can be found on or read Ron's travel blog at

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2010 E2

Top 10 keyboard shortcuts you should know!

Are you spending too much time moving your cursor, pointing and clicking just to accomplish simple tasks on your PC? Did you know that you can use your keyboard to work more efficiently?

Below is a list of 10 keyboard shortcuts that will help you increase your productivity by eliminating the need to reach for the mouse.

CTRL + C will copy text after it has been highlighted.
CTRL + V will paste text that you have copied.
CRTL + Z will undo any change that you have done.
CTRL + ESC will bring up the Start Menu.
SHIFT + F3 will turn all capitalized text into lowercase.
SHIFT + DELETE will delete an item immediately without placing it in the Recycle Bin.
ALT + TAB will bring up a Window with a list of icons representing programs which are currently running on your computer. While holding the ALT key, press and depress the TAB button to cycle between each icon task.
ALT + ESC will switch to the next task running on your computer. Hold down the ALT before pressing and depressing the ESC key to cycle to the next task.
CTRL + ALT + DELETE will bring up Task Manager and allow you to end a process (terminate a program) if it has crashed or has stopped responding. Select the process which has stopped responding, and then press "END PROCESS''.
SHIFT + INSERT will paste any text that is in your clipboard. Your cursor must also be placed in an area that will accept keyboard input for this to work.

About this article: Dennis Faas is the CEO and Chief editor of a daily, digital publication dedicated to MS Windows, computing, technology trends and solutions to real life computing issues: all written in simple English. Subscription to Infopackets Windows Newsletter is free. Visit them today!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Michelle Gailey and Robyn Stanley Back to Bali to defend Triathlon titles


June 18th, 2010

TERRITORY Triathletes Michelle Gailey and Robyn Stanley will return to Indonesia to defend their Bali International Triathlon Titles on Sunday.

The pair join fellow triathletes Shaye Hatty, Daryl Stanley, Rob Brooks, Ron Griep, Phill Hatty, Mark FitzSimons and Moira Wigley in the fourth annual event.

FitzSimons will join local team Bali TrailBlazers, while Wigley will compete as a swimmer for a second TrailBlazer team.

Starting with a 1.5km swim in Jimbaran Bay, athletes then endure a 700m sand run followed by the 42km bike course and end with a 10km run.

Gailey is confident of retaining her overall and age group titles following a strong winning performance at the recent NT Olympic Distance Triathlon.

She will start as race favourite and is expected to improve on her 2 hrs 36 mins 39 sec time recorded last year.

Stanley will also prove tough to beat in the female 55-59 category as she kick-starts her training for the Ironman World Championships in October.

As Executive Officer of Triathlon NT, Stanley will also be taking the opportunity to promote next year's Arafura Games Triathlon to fellow competitors.

"The increase in competitor numbers from the Asian region at this event is exciting, and I'm hoping some of them may be on our start list next May," she said.

Meanwhile, Darwin's Luke Collopy was the fastest individual competitor in the Katherine Ultra Challenge last weekend.

The 14 individual competitors and 44 teams took part in the one-day multisport event encompassing six different legs and covering 100kms around the Katherine region.

Collopy finished the epic challenge in 6 hours 31 mins 54 secs, ahead of Simon Cruickshank in 6:53:30.

Rachel De Zoete, the only female competitor, crossed the line in 7:41:43.

The best of the 44 teams was the two man effort of Andrew Barcroft and Tim Ellison who combined to complete the course in 6:00:09.

Two Held For Spreading Sex Video on Web

As police arrested two people on Thursday believed to have uploaded celebrity sex videos to the Internet, the government announced plans to issue a regulation blocking such “negative content” from the Web within the year.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Edward Aritonang said two people had been arrested on suspicion they were the first to upload videos allegedly featuring three celebrities, which have since gone viral on the Internet.

He declined to provide further details but said a full news conference on the matter would be held today. A police source told the Jakarta Globe the two were arrested in Bandung.

Edward said police had traced the suspects “based on a scientific criminal investigation.” But when asked if police were certain the two arrested were indeed the perpetrators, Edward replied: “It could not be like that. What if they uploaded these videos from your cellphone after they stole it?”

He also said police would summon two of the celebrities purportedly in the videos — Peterpan frontman Nazril “Ariel” Irham and his girlfriend, actress Luna Maya — today for questioning.

“We hope they comply so we can shed come light on this case,” he said, adding police would also announce today whether the two, along with TV presenter Cut Tari, who allegedly also appears in one of the videos, would be named suspects in the case.

Edward warned the public against making similar videos.
“Our investigators can trace the evidence,” he said. “Don’t even think of trying to make a [sex] video. Just take a look in a mirror, if you must.”

Earlier in the day, Communications and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring said he expected to issue a ministerial regulation blocking “negative content” on the Web this year.

His statement comes a day after legislators asked him to resume work on a draft bill to regulate Internet content. The draft, initially issued for public consultation in February, drew protests over censorship concerns and had been put on the back burner.

Tifatul said comprehensive laws were needed to minimize the distribution of pornography in the country, which required “cooperation from the media and Internet service providers.”

He said the bill would uphold press freedom and its provisions would be “more democratic” than the 2008 Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) Law.

The draft initially proposed a monitoring team with the power to order ISPs to block sites with content it deemed illegal.

That was revised so the team would instead act on public complaints about offensive content, and would only order ISPs to block Web sites that it felt were displaying material already banned under Indonesian law, Tifatul said.

The team would include civil servants and private sector staff.

“We want to include public [participation] to minimize the distribution of pornographic content online,” Tifatul said, claiming public support for the bill soared following the sex video scandal.

Ahmad Ramli, chairman of the National Legal Development Agency (BPHN), said the 2008 Anti-Pornography Law mandated that the government issue regulations to curb obscene materials.

Tifatul also said that online pornography was restricted under the 1999 Telecommunications Law, and that ISPs must comply.
“There is no need to blacklist them,” he said. “We can just revoke their permits.”

He said the Indonesian Internet Cafe Association could help by encouraging “safe and healthy Internet use,” but it would be no use without the cooperation of ISPs.

“Pornography on the Internet is unrestricted, incredibly unrestricted,” the minister said. “Is this what we want?”

However, Tifatul also said he would prefer campaigning to raise awareness about wholesome use of the Internet rather than conducting a Web crackdown.

Jakarta Stocks to Reach Most Expensive Levels In Three Years: Fund

Indonesian equities are set to climb to their most expensive levels in three years as faster economic growth boosts corporate earnings, according to PT First State Investments Indonesia.

The Jakarta Composite Index may rise to 17 times estimated earnings by the end of 2010 from 14.7 currently, said Laurentia Amica Darmawan, an analyst at First State, a unit of Commonwealth Bank of Australia that manages Indonesia’s fourth- biggest equity fund.

That would be the gauge’s highest price-earnings ratio since December 2007, and the highest among current valuations in Asia after Japan, according to Bloomberg data.

“If people switch their mindset from Europe to Asia there’s a potential for a rerating” of Indonesian stocks, Laurentia said. “We’re overweight on the consumer sector.”

The JCI has risen 14 percent this year, the best performer among major markets in Asia as Bank Indonesia forecasts economic growth will accelerate to 5.6 percent from 4.5 percent last year.

Gains were pared by a 5.9 percent decline on the benchmark index in May on concern the European debt crisis would dent global growth, hurting demand for Indonesian exports.

The nation has a “good” outlook due to its resources and large population, putting the nation in a favorable position to attract investment, Templeton Asset Management chairman Mark Mobius wrote on his blog on June 3.

The country’s population is the world’s fourth largest, after China, India and the United States.

Foreign investors are also returning to Indonesia, buying a net $621.4 million of the nation’s stocks this year, a 17 percent increase from the year-earlier period, according to Bloomberg.

Stocks this year also got an assist as benign inflation helped the central bank keep its benchmark interest rate at a record-low of 6.5 percent to help spur investment and spending.

Domestic consumption accounts for about two-thirds of the economy, and inflation rose by a lower-than-expected 4.16 percent last month.

PT Astra International, the country’s biggest automotive retailer, jumped 33 percent this year after posting a record profit in 2009 and reporting in May that the nation’s total motorcycle sales may climb to a record of more than 6.5 million units this year.

First State’s Laurentia recommended PT Indofood Sukses Makmur, the country’s biggest instant noodle maker, saying its valuation is attractive compared to consumer peers such as cigarette producer PT Gudang Garam and PT Unilever Indonesia.

Among commodity stocks, she prefers PT Adaro Energy, the country’s second-largest coal producer, citing rising output.

Separately, UBS’s wealth management unit said it favored stocks in emerging markets, including Indonesia, because the global economy was not expected to slip into another recession as a result of Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis.

“We don’t see a double dip scenario,” Pu Yonghao, chief Asian investment strategist at UBS Wealth Management, told Bloomberg Television in an interview in Hong Kong.

“After such a correction, valuations look extremely attractive and earnings growth remains solid and on the macro, we don’t have any sovereign-debt issues in Asia,” he said.

Rising domestic consumption will help to sustain Asia’s economic growth, Pu said. The US economy and larger nations in Europe including Germany and France are also “holding up very well,” he said.

A Federal Reserve report on Wednesday showed industrial production in the US rose 1.2 percent in May, the most since August.

Reports released last week also showed surging exports, industrial production and retail sales in China, the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

“Relatively speaking, we still like equities, particularly emerging-market equities,” UBS’s Pu said.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Religious leaders urged to support Green Bali

| Wed, 06/16/2010 2:05 PM | National
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DENPASAR: Governor Made Mangku Pastika urged religious leaders to support the government's Clean and Green Bali program to improve the island's environment.

Speaking before dozens of Hindu low-priests on Monday, the governor said the program was a real implementation of the Hindu concept of harmony, Tri Hita Karana, adopted by the community for hundreds of years.

"If we really adopt the concept in our daily lives, I am sure that Bali will always clean, green and beautiful. Such a concept would certainly bring positive vibrations to the island and its population," he said.

Pastika said that the role of traditional villages, rural communities and local religious leaders had been key to the implementation of the program.

Community and religious leaders are expected to urge their followers to help create a clean and green Bali. - JP

RI to allow foreigners to own property

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 06/15/2010 4:51 PM | Business
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The government will issue a property regulation which will enable foreigners to possess property in Indonesia as a way to absorb an annual US$6 billion from international investors, an executive says.

Chief of the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Gita Wirjawan said Tuesday that the new regulation, scheduled to be issued in the second quarter of this year, would allow foreigners to purchase and possess residential and commercial properties.

“Possibly this month,” he added, as quoted by Antara.

Gita said that the government would also lose some restrictions in foreign investment policy, including ending a ban on foreign ownership property.

Manager of Editorial Oxford Business Group (OBG), Josh Frankan, said that foreign ownership would generate growth in property industry as well as in the country’s earnings.

"This will generate the development of the property industry, which is in line with the government’s plan to open its doors to foreign investors," he added.

Govt finally raises power tariff by an average of 10%

Alfian, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 06/16/2010 10:43 AM | Business
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The government and legislators finally agreed to broad increases in the electricity tariff but made an exemption for low-income customers.

The agreement was reached at a hearing on Tuesday by the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and the House of Representatives Commission VII that oversees energy and mining.

“Commission VII and the government have agreed to raise the power tariff by an average of 10 percent, but customers who have an [installed power capacity] between 450 and 900 volt-amperes [VA] are exempt from the increase,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Darwin Zahedy Saleh told reporters after the hearing.

The new power tariff will be officially stipulated in a presidential regulation expected to be issued by the government as soon as possible. “The new tariff will take effect on July 1,” Darwin said.

The increase, which will range from 6 to 20 percent, applies to customers outside 450-900 VA range.

The power tariff for houses that use 1,300 to 5,500 VA will increase by 18 percent, while the tariff for the commercial buildings with a similar power capacity will increase 16 percent.

The government will not increase the power tariff for houses that use more than 6,600 VA or higher.

Those customers currently pay subsidized prices only when their consumption is lower than 30 percent of the average national consumption in that category.

Data from state utility firm PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) shows that those customers
have paid commercial prices for power. The same policy applies for commercial buildings that use between 6,600 VA to 200 kilo volt-amperes (kVA).

The tariff for commercial buildings — such as private company offices, malls, and hotels — with an installed-power capacity greater than 200 kVA will increase 12 percent.

The power tariff increase will be 6 percent for manufacturing customers who use between 1,300 and 2,200 VA; 9 percent for customers who use between 2,200 VA to 200 kVA and 15 percent for customers who use more than 200 kVA. After the new tariff is implemented, existing manufacturing power-consumption penalties would be scrapped, Darwin said.

“We will simplify power tariffs for the industry,” he said.

The government and the House agreed to raise the tariff to offset an estimated 4.8-trillion electricity-subsidy budget deficit this year.

Opening the Door to Foreigners

PRSEA | Apr 13, 2010 | Comments 0

Indonesia is one of the few countries that successfully escaped the pitfalls caused by the recent global financial crisis. As such, the country is increasingly gaining spotlight in the international stage as one of the new rising stars in Asia.

The view from respected financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley and CLSA that Indonesia will soon join China and India as one of key regional growth centres is an indication that global investors´ sentiment towards the Indonesian economy has gradually strengthened. The country also gained higher recognition from the international community on the socio-political front as a new rising democracy as indicated by two successful and peaceful direct presidential elections in the past six years. Such optimism has long been expected in order to boost foreign investment and accelerate economic development in Indonesia.

Therefore, this momentum should be used by the local stakeholders – mainly the government together with the private sector – to prepare a roadmap that focuses on the economic development, which would further establish Indonesia as a top-notch country amidst today’s global competition.

Key aspects that are needed to be improved in this regard include current policies and regulations. Based on this framework, old policies and regulations that may hamper the economy and business growth potential should be adjusted to adapt to the ongoing and future development.

In the property sector, a good example of an inefficient existing policy is the regulation on foreign property ownership. The regulation is viewed to have many restrictions, and at the same time, generates confusion in its implementation. This makes investing in the Indonesian property market looks unattractive to many foreigners.

Foreign ownership regulations

According to the current agrarian law (UUPA No. 4 Tahun 1960), foreigners who reside in Indonesia can only acquire a (residential) property that is built on land with Hak Pakai (Right of Use) title. However, property developments that are built on Hak Pakai land are very rare; almost all existing and proposed developments in Indonesia are built on land with Hak Guna Bangunan (Right to Build) title. This automatically limits foreigners’ capability to acquire properties in Indonesia.

The other way for foreigners to buy a property is through an Indonesian-registered company. A foreigner can set-up a single-asset company in Indonesia that may own a property. With this scheme, a foreigner, as the owner of the company, can purchase a property built on a land with an HGB title just like local companies or institutions. In addition, we also understand that a lot of foreigners are buying properties in Indonesia through an Indonesian nominee, which is a common practice in certain areas like Bali and Batam. However, both schemes are perceived to be complicated and risky, and a lot of foreigners are not interested to go through the hassle of Indonesian bureaucracy in this regard.

What can be changed?

Basically, there are several points in the current foreign ownership regulation that have to be reviewed to make it easier for foreign ownership. The first is concerning the type of land title allowed for foreign ownership. As a foreigner can only purchase a property that is built on land Hak Pakai title, the limitation of projects developed Hak Pakai land has become the most fundamental issue. In addition, the 25-year period of ownership has made this an even less attractive option as other countries apply much longer periods of ownership. Furthermore, the indefinite content and purpose of the regulation itself were considered as counter-productive to market growth. Therefore, once the new or revised regulation is issued by the government, we hope it can effectively regulate market practice and activity to attract foreigners to invest more in Indonesia’s property sector.

Considering that the current sentiment of international investors is on the positive side, we can conclude that this is the right time for the government to launch a breakthrough policy in order to lure foreign investors entering the domestic property market. In this regard, the revision of foreign ownership law is expected to be the most anticipated agenda for this year.

Additionally, we may expect the multiplier effect of ease of foreign ownership. This begins with the income tax for the country, higher potential growth to the property industry and its downstream businesses which include the manufacturing and banking industry, and also wider employment for Indonesian citizens. Finally, economic development in the regions will also get the benefit. Indonesia – an attractive proposal

The property market in Indonesia is actually attractive to prospective foreign investors. One of the key attractions would be the price. Compared to other markets in the region, the price for most property types in Indonesia is considered the lowest – even as compared to less-developed markets like Vietnam – yet, the quality of property projects here is comparable to other developed markets. The other pull factor is the attractiveness of certain areas in Indonesia such as Bali, Lombok and Batam, which are quite famous amongst foreigners, including international travellers and holiday makers.
Even the capital city of Jakarta, where the property market is regarded to be still in the development phase, has plenty of upsides and potential in the future. Compared to its Asia Pacific counterparts, the Jakarta property market has performed relatively well throughout 2009—a sign that the market still has considerable potential demand to attract foreign investors to the country.

In the commercial office sector for instance, throughout the course of 2009, the CBD market absorbed a net take-up of almost 100,000 sq m of office space. In contrast, regional financial centres such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney witnessed negative absorption levels. The healthy take-up rate was due to the continuing expansion of big corporate occupiers in Jakarta’s commercial buildings. The same thing happened in the residential sector. Even though condominium sales plummeted compared to 2008, activity in both primary and secondary markets in 2009 is still enduring and positive as a whole.

The growth of the property sector in the previous years is an indication of Indonesia’s large domestic economic potential, which is supported by banking, telecommunications, fast-moving consumer goods and other mass consumer-based industries. Yet, this potential can be maximised if it is also leveraged by the involvement of global investors in the domestic market. For this purpose, a good and transparent system and regulation are needed to encourage overseas companies and individual investors to consider investing in Indonesia. Ultimately, the regulation on property ownership for foreigners in Indonesia should be reviewed and adapted according to the global standard, as Indonesia is the only large country that still prohibits direct foreign investment in the property sector.