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That Was the Year That Was

At Least Four Deaths and Numerous Injuries Linked to New Year's Celebrations Across the Island.

(1/4/2009) Bali ushered in the New Year with the loss of at least 3 lives in Bali's South and another fatality linked in North Bali at Lovina as the result of street violence. These deaths occurred despite the deployment of 3,500-4,000 police personnel to guard entry ports, entertainment centers, shopping centers and the island's roads [See: Better Not Shout, Better Not Cry, Better Not Pout, I'm Telling You Why].

An island-wide overview of the state-of-the-island during the transition to a New Year reveals:

There were 81 vehicle accidents reported to police.

The trauma center at the Sanglah General Hospital treated 225 patients, 40% of which were linked to vehicular accidents.

103 people were admitted to the Sanglah General Hospital. 49 of those were attributed to vehicular accidents, 51 suffering from drunkenness.

Radar Bali listed the dead in South Bali as: Dewa Gde Pandu Aditya Wirawan (31) of Jati Negara village who died after being stuck by a container truck at 6:00 a.m. on New Year's day on Jalan Gatot Subroto Timur. A friend of the victim said that the man was drunk at the time of the accident. Hendra from Banyuwangi, East Java who lived in South Denpasar who died from massive head injuries after he struck an electrical pole just 30 minutes into the New Year on Jalan Sidarkarya. Dewa Bunga Paksi died at a club on Jalan Teuku Umar in downtown Denpasar from an apparent drug overdose.

Party makers were aided generally by weather conditions. Unlike 2007/2008 when heavy rains dampened festivities, Bali welcomed the year with only the occasion slight drizzle, insufficient to dampen the spirits of revelers.

Kuta and the surrounding environs remained the party venue of choice for both local and foreign visitors. Traffic remained deadlocked for most of the evening.

Traffic was also at a standstill in downtown Denpasar at the Puputan Field and the Monument of the People's struggle in Renon where food sellers and fireworks help to add to the festive atmosphere. Dance performances involving more than 80 village groups were presented on a stage at the Puputan field. Traditional sports and music from a number of bands continued throughout the night.

Local tourist attractions including Taman Ayun, Kebon Raya and Danau Beratan all reported parking lots filled to capacity with the motorcycles and cars of local residents on New Year's eve.

New Years in Bali was also marred by violent outbreaks among party goers at Lovina in North Bali. Fighting that erupted among local youths resulted in the death of Komang Ardi Wismaya (30) of Banjar. Three other local youths suffered serious injuries in the incident. Police continue to investigate if the man died from injuries inflicted by assailants or drowned in an attempt to escape pursuers.