"Our guide for most of our daytrips and longer temple trips was Budi. He is a particularly splendid person. Your company should be proud to have him among its employees. He represents you and your country beautifully."
Bali Reflects in its Unique Way to a Second Episode of Unspeakable Horror and Cruelty.
On Sunday morning October 2, 2005, following the tragic bomb blasts at three Bali dining venues the night before, numerous large floral bouquets bearing the message "Tat Twam Asi" suddenly began appearing at each of the bomb sites. Derived from the original sanskrit, the sentence merits varying religious interpretations. To the Balinese, however, it means that each soul, without exception, is part of a unified cosmos; each person is God-like and God is found in every man. I am you and your are me; Thou art that and That thou art.
Or, in the words of John Donne:
No Man is an island, no man stands alone
Each Man's joy is joy to me, Each man's grief is my own.
This Balinese sense of "oneness" with nature and the universe frames the island's response to adversity, man made or natural. Here, the local tendency is to react to adversity and catastrophe by questioning how we may have allowed our lives to become so badly out of balance as to permit such events to unfold? In this vein, Balinese are now flocking in great numbers to the scene of the restaurant bombings in Kuta Square and the beach at Jimbaran to perform, respectively, pecaruan eka sata and pemelaspas durmanggala ceremonies. Both ceremonies are part of a mandatory Bali-Hindu cleansing and re-balancing process that a deeply spiritual people bring to any part of their island defiled by blood and violence.
Assessing the Damage
On Sunday, one day after the attack, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Bali to inspect the crime scenes, personally console the injured in local hospitals and meet with the growing international press corps gathering on the Island. Speaking to the press and sounding every bit the retired-general and now popularly elected leader of the world's fourth most populous nation, the President outlined the immediate tasks ahead: first, to care for the injured and the bereaved; second, investigate the case to clearly identify those responsible for the evil act of cowardice; and three to bring those responsible to justice. In the words of President Yudhoyono, this is what Indonesia did successfully after the last bombing and this is what Indonesia will do again this time round.
Proof that Indonesia will keep this pledge and a fact certain to make the perpetrators of the latest attack rest uneasy is the presence of Bali's Chief of Police, Made Mangku Pastika, at the head of the current investigation. Named Time Magazine's "Asian Newsmaker of the Year" for his efficient and professional pursuit and capture of the 2002 bombers, Chief Pastika shared with the press important insights on his continuing investigation of the latest attack. Now certain that the attacks were the work of suicide bombers carrying TNT, he distributed pictures of the dismembered heads of three men thought to be the bombers. There is now little doubt that the identities of these men, their recent movements, and details of their personal associations will slowly be uncovered by Chief Pastika and his team of international investigators.
The Terrible Toll
Preliminary figures provided by the Bali Tourism Board's Communication Center show that an estimated 25 died in the blasts, including the three suspected suicide bombers. In all, 107 people suffered injuries, of which 94 remain hospitalized either in Bali or in hospitals in Singapore and Australia.
However, a fact not always evident to those following international media coverage of the Bali attacks, the nation that has suffered the most casualties in the latest installment on the world-wide war on terror is Indonesia. Of the total 132 casualties at least 61 were Indonesian nationals. Australians suffered 17 casualties, 3 of which numbered among the dead, with Japanese, Koreans, and Americans also listed among those killed or injured in the blasts.
Where You Gonna Run To?
Initial indications are that the world may react in a markedly different way than it did to the October 2002 Bali bombing. While there have been some visitors booking early departures from the island and a trickle of cancellations for future bookings, there is still no hint of a mass exodus, such as that which followed the terror attack of three years ago. Moreover, planes from Australia landing in Bali on Sunday remained largely full with Australian's who have decided to continue their pilgrimage to Oz's favorite overseas holiday destination, despite last weekend's bombing.
Why the reaction to this latest tragedy appears so much more mooted than just three years ago is the subject of much conjecture. The growing consensus is, however, that the world has changed greatly over the past three years. During the interim betwem the two attacks the world has been, to some degree, anesthetized by similar events in Madrid, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, London and elsewhere. With this has come the realization that the threat of terror is now truly world-wide, leaving those of us who still cherish travel as a life style singing the chorus of the old song "where you gonna run to."
The New Normal
Either by choice or necessity, the Balinese are becoming adept at handling change. How we conduct our businesses and how we endeavor to care for and protect our guests changed radically following the bombing of 2002. This latest episode of terror will, no doubt, also prompt a radical rethink on what must be done to continue to allow this island to be continue to be considered the world's most popular holiday destination and guarantee its visitors the simple pleasure of of an evening meal enjoyed in an atmosphere of peace and serenity.
Tat Twam Asi.
Kamal Kaul Ends 20 Years at The Oberoi Manager
Dean of Bali's Expatriate GM's Accepts New Challenge. Kamal Kaul Accepts New Role With Owning Company that Will Allow Him to Remain in Bali.
The "Dean" of Bali's expatriate General Managers Kamal Kaul of The Oberoi, Bali is ending a tenure of two decades at the helm of the legendary Bali resort to accept larger corporate responsibilities with the The Oberoi Group.
Remaining in his beloved Bali, Kamal will continue working with The Oberoi Group looking after new developments in Asia. He will also continue to serve as a Director on the Boards of PT Widja Putra Karya and PT Waka Oberoi Indonesia, the companies that own The Oberoi, Bali and The Oberoi, Lombok, respectively.
Commenting on both the past and future, and displaying the largesse that has made Kamal one of the island's most beloved hoteliers, said: "On the magical island of Bali, to manage a legendary resort like The Oberoi, Bali for over two decades, has been a dream come true for me. I consider myself truly blessed to have had this once in a life time opportunity to work, learn and grow with the wonderful Balinese people. Myself and my family are most grateful for all the affection and support we have received over all these years from the staff of The Oberoi, Bali, colleagues and friends in the tourism industry."
I am looking forward to contributing to the continued success of the island of Bali in my new responsibilities for The Oberoi Group," he added.
Replacing Kamal Kaul as the General Manager of The Oberoi Bali is Pierre Berclaz.
Dialogue: PATA Chapter Chairman Al Purwa
We Catch Up with Al Purwa Owner of KCB Tours and the very busy Chairman of the Bali and Nusa Tenggara Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chapter.
During his visit to the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Mart in Kuala Lumpur, September 27-30, 2005, balidiscovery.com had a chance to meet with well-known Bali travel professional Al Purwa, the owner of KCB Tours and current Chairman of the Bali and Nusa Tenggara Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chapter.
Please note: Al Purwa's comments predate the latest Bali bombing of October 1, 2005.
Al Purwa The Interview
balidiscovery.com:Pak Al, here we are in Kuala Lumpur attending PATA Mart. As the Chairman of the Bali and NTT PATA Chapter, what's your impression of the Mart generally and Bali's marketing presence at this event?
Purwa: I have been to many Travel Marts, but I always envy our friends from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Their Governments and private sectors seems to know what they want and what they're aiming for; they really work hard together in showing their identity and combined market strength.
I remember when the bird flu first hit China and Hong Kong, the Government of Hong Kong paid every cents of the costs of re-creating the brand identity of Hong Kong with the badly wounded and bleeding private sectors joining in that effort. As a result, only a few months later Hong Kong was back on their feet and enjoying high occupancies. Similarly, our competing Asian destination always showcase their destinations in a very consistent way - be it at ATF (ASEAN Travel Fair), or PATA Mart, WTM London (World Travel Mart) or ASTA conference (American Association of Travel Agents) - they really demonstrate their ability to work together.
Meanwhile. Bali's marketing can only be seen as a scattered effort by individual members of its private sector; with many Bali companies even hiding away in their International corporate booths. Nonetheless, this year's PATA Mart is very busy with more than 380 sellers and 400 buyers. Because of this, most of our Bali participants appear quite happy with their schedules of fully booked pre-appointments.
balidiscovery.com:Attending a travel fair can be quite expensive for many travel operators. How important is it for Bali to make a strong showing at the many travel fairs held in various locations around the world?
Purwa: There is a saying that goes: if you want to catch big fish you have to use large bait. We need people in our government who understand the travel business. We just don't need anyone who thinks that Bali is already famous and tourists will come anyway and that Bali has everything - we have to stop thinking that way! We have to work hard to compete with all our neighbors and we have to know our product and set our targets. Our neighbors spend huge amounts of money to create good infra-structure, good systems of road and transportations, sophisticated airports, and operate lots of plane that fly to these airports - all combining to make it easy for the tourists to spend their money in their countries.
Perhaps most importantly, our neighbors are prepared to spend their funds on promotional activities - making strong appearances and representations at major travel shows, like PATA Mart.
balidiscovery.com: From your perspective and with current record arrival numbers, has Bali's travel industry regained all the momentum lost since the 2002 Bali bombing?
Purwa: Everyone in Bali is smiling broadly, happy that August's arrivals for 2005 are better than last August. But, at the same time, we l hear that the government tax revenues are still lagging behind the revenue collected prior to the 2002 bombing. This would seem to prove that while current arrival numbers are strong, current visitors have less quality in terms of their length of stay and average level of spending.
Remember, Bali is small, and if we keep on only targeting on numbers' growth, one day we will not be able to sustain our quality of life derived from tourism. Perhaps, now is the time to say "sorry we are fully booked" to the travelers and agents who keep squeezing our rates and start welcoming those prepared to pay more.
balidiscovery.com: What, in your opinion, are the most urgent tasks that must be done by the Bali Tourism Board and the Government to promote tourism?
Purwa: Most urgently we need to make large, prominent and consistent promotions while at the same time working seriously to improve Bali's infra-structure. Current traffic jams are killing tourism and security must be improved. Cleanliness must become a high priority and the total madness of uncontrolled development without concept should be stopped right away. Steps must also be taken to stop business conducted by unlicensed /illegal persons or companies. We need to be more transparent in how we do things and demonstrate true law enforcement. Everyone should work hand-in-hand toward the same goals; goals that should be clearly and transparently established together.
balidiscovery.com: As a Balinese and a leader in local tourism, are there any issues that concern you and keep you awake at night?
Purwa: Safety and the over-crowdedness. It is so easy for the terrorist to attack many parts of Bali and, when that happens again, it will take longer time for Bali to recover.
As regards traffic, I can no longer make firm appointments, like I used to.
In the past, there was only one acceptable reason for being late: "upacara adat" (editor: traditional ceremonies). Now, it is very common to blame traffic jams.
Tourism is a very delicate business dealing with people who are constantly on the move and want to have new, positive experiences every day. The needs and wants of modern tourism keep constantly changing.
I also feel uneasy that we do not see any strong leaders in Bali able to say and do the right thing, people who can be followed by everyone. Everyone seems just to be talking with no one doing anything concrete.
balidiscovery.com:How can Bali best protect and preserve its cultural identity?
Purwa: The only way to preserve Bali's cultural identity is to make the Balinese respect their own culture. The young people must learn how to pray again, and the parents must have time to teach their children to pray. We have many people come from other parts of Indonesia coming to Bali, and many of them have become prominent business people. They have become successful because they never lost any time spent on so much social and cultural activities that consumer the time of the Balinese. This fact can sometimes create jealousy. The newcomers to Bali have to be asked to learn and respect Balinese Culture. If they also want to live in Bali and cannot dedicate the spent required for the social and cultural activities, then they must be prepared to spend a part of their income to preserve and protect Balinese cultural activities.
After all, Bali's tourism exists because of Bali's Culture!
Bali Hotel Operators Don't Anticipate Mass Exodus
Hotel Association Says Emergency Response System Work Well Following Most Recent Bombing Attack.
In an official statement issued by the Bali Hotel Association, the organization that represents 13,145 hotel rooms and 20,143 employees working at member properties expressed its "shock and sadness" at the latest terrorist attacks in Bali, extending their condolences and sympathy to those affected by this tragedy.
Minimum Cancellations Expected
According the statement issued by the BHA and consistent with press reports, no hotels were affected by the blasts with all member properties reporting normal business flows and only a minimal number of people leaving the island early. Member hotels are not, as yet, seeing any cancellations in connection to the blasts but do expect to receive some cancellations over the coming days. Local hotelier, however, remain optimistic that cancellation will be nothing like the magnitude experience during the previous tragedy in 2002.
Crisis Response Plan Worked Well
Immediately following receipt of the report of the bomb blasts, BHA emergency response plan was activated over a secure SMS system which notified all Hotel General Managers. Hotels responded by conducting an immediate guest count, immediately contacting the respective consulate of any missing persons. Members of the BHA are kept constantly abreast of new developments via a secure Intranet facility on the association's web page.
Senior executives of the BHA have expressed their gratitude for the immediate and professional response of all the emergency services and authorities who reacted quickly in handling this tragedy. Proactive security measures have been in place in all member hotels since the October 2002 bombings and the use of boom gates that restrict access to hotels in combination with screening procedures. BHA remains confident that security is being well handled among its member hotels.
Commenting on the latest attack, BHA Chairman, Robert Kelsall said: "We hope that the governments around the world will support Bali, as they did following the New York, Madrid and the London bombings, by not imposing travel advisories, since the people of Bali are so dependent on tourism. A ban on travel to Bali would be just playing into the terrorists' hands and once again have a devastating effect on the people of Bali."
All Bali hotels are enjoying extremely high occupancies at present. Guests have been advised by the BHA to stay close to their hotels over the coming days while authorities take steps to secure their personal safety.
Garuda Maintaining Full Schedule to Bali
Flights Schedules Between Australia, New Zealand and Bali Remain Unchanged at Least for Now.
Garuda Indonesia confirmed on Sunday, October 2, 2005 that it is maintaining full flight schedules between Australia, New Zealand and Bali following Saturday's October 1, 2005, bomb blasts on the resort island.
In addition to operating all flights according to existing schedules to assist the thousands of Australians and New Zealanders affected during the school holiday season, the airline has advised that it will keep under constant review passenger demand and aircraft availability over the coming days as the situation develops.
Garuda Indonesia also announced that passengers may defer or cancel without penalty on Australian and New Zealand flights that have been booked for departures up to and including October 16, 2005. For departures beyond that date, however, the situation will be reviewed over the coming weeks.
Passengers already in Bali may also, without penalty, are eligible to rebook early return flights with Garuda on a seat availability basis.
Passengers are advised to contact their travel agents for information about hotels, tours and other ground arrangements or to amend existing bookings.
Fast on Our Feet
Drink Waiting as an Olympic Sport? Over 300 Waiters and Waitresses Compete in 3 Kilometer 'Tray Race.'
On Sunday, September 25, 2005, more than 300 Bali waiters and waitresses competed for over Rp. 15 million (approximately US$1,430) in prizes in an unique race conducted under the auspices of the Food and Beverage Management Association (FBMA).
The object of the race along 3 kilometers of Kuta and Seminyak's seaside roads was to see which representative of Bali's table service corps could finishes the course with the fastest time without spilling a single drop of a drink and the accompanying bottle located on each contestant's tray.
Running ... well, actually walking briskly in three separate heats, the participants, all dressed in matching official white T-shirts, managed to bring traffic in Kuta to a complete standstill while providing great entertainment for the many island visitors stationed along the race route.
Cash prizes were presented to the top three finishers in both the waiters and waitress divisions.
Bali Tourism Leaders Respond to Bali Bombing II
Bali Community and Tourism Leaders Respond to Latest Bali Bombing.
Early on the morning of Sunday, October 2, 2005, community leaders and representatives of Bali's tourism industry convened an emergency meeting following the tragic bombing of two Bali dining venues the night before.
In a meeting called by the Chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Bagus Sudibya, members of the Balinese community and travel industry were immediately deployed to assist in the relief and humanitarian efforts already underway. To assist visitors to Bali, those injured in the latest attack, and the families of the bereaved, BTB is setting up coordination centers at the Bali International Airport and the Sanglah General Hospital (RSUP) in downtown Denpasar. To keep the world community informed of developments in the ongoing investigation and rescue efforts, BTB is establishing a press center in the Inna Kuta Hotel located along Kuta's famous beach.
"The world-wide threat of terrorism has sadly returned to Bali after an absence of three years and interim visits to London, Egypt, Spain, Thailand and other countries," said Sudibya in commenting on the latest bombings. "That we are all victims of a common enemy is underlined by the fact that, once again, Balinese and Indonesians together with foreign tourists lost their lives and sustained serious injuries in the latest attack."
Indonesian leaders have unanimously condemned the latest outrage with President Bambang Yudhoyono flying to Bali on Sunday (2/10) to personally survey the destruction, console the grieving, comfort the injured and coordinate the intensive manhunt for those responsible for the attack.
PATA CONDEMNS BALI BOMB BLASTS
Asia Pacific tourism leaders meeting in the Malaysian capital condemned the cowardly bombing of tourists and local people in Bali, Indonesia.
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Chairman, Mr Nobutaka Ishikure, speaking during the association's Board of Directors meeting in Kuala Lumpur said, "The travel industry and everyone who supports tourism as a force for peace and understanding wholeheartedly condemn this terrorist outrage."
He added: "At this sad hour, all of us stand behind the people of Indonesia who have recently done so much to improve security and bring back tourism to Bali. We offer our full support to the Indonesian people and thank their authorities for responding quickly to this tragedy."
Mr Thamrin Bachri, Director General of Marketing, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Indonesia, and member of the PATA Board of Directors, said in Kuala Lumpur, "Indonesia condemns in the strongest terms this senseless attack. Our government will do what it can to return the situation to normal as soon as possible."
PATA Vice President, Mr Peter Semone, flew to Bali on Sunday to assess the full impact of this tragic event and help coordinate the tourism industry response.
World Leaders Back Bali; Condemn Bombers
World Opinion Round Up. In Fast and Rapid Succession, World Leaders React Angrily to Most Recent Bali Bombing.
Within hours of the bombing of two popular Bali dining venues, world leaders have joined in a growing chorus of strong condemnation for those behind tragedy that has claimed at least 25 lives and injured scores of others.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan - The Secretary General of the UN issued a statement on Saturday saying he was dismayed that Bali had become "the scene of terrorist outrage: just 3 years after a 2002 bomb attack that claimed 202 lives."
The Secretary-General strongly condemned the bombings and extended his "deepest sympathy to the injured and the bereaved of the many nationalities as well as the Indonesian government," urging the Indonesians to waste no time in "bringing the perpetrators of this cowardly act to justice."
Singapore - Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also condemned the Bali bombings and extended his sympathies to its victims.
In a show of solidarity with his nearest neighbors to the South, Prime Minister Lee announced he would go ahead with a scheduled meeting on Monday with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Mr Lee said: "We have to carry on with the retreat. I have been in touch with Yudhoyono's people, staff and they agree we have to continue. To change our plans and not to meet is really to concede. We will go and continue with the retreat and take the necessary precautions and I am looking forward to meeting the President."
United States - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice officially condemned the Bali attacks, saying, "The United States stands with the people and government of Indonesia as they work to bring to justice those responsible for these acts of terrorism."
"We will continue to work together in our common fight against terror, she added"
Great Britain - British Prime Minister called the Bali attacks "appalling" and renewed his government's pledge to support Indonesia's war on terrorism.
Mr. Blair went on to say: "The UK was deeply grateful for and moved by the support and sympathy given by the Indonesian government and people after the attacks in July in London. We stand by Indonesia at this very difficult time. I applaud the Indonesian government's determination to defeat the terrorists and I offer our full support to the people of Bali as they recover from another atrocity so soon after the 2002 attack . . . The British Government stands ready to help in any way we can."
France - Saying, "France in the strongest possible way condemns these hateful acts," French President Jacques Chirac told President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that news of the Bali bombings "stunned and saddened" him.
Germany - The German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, told Indonesia it can "count on German solidarity in the battle against international terrorism" and denounced "in the strongest possible terms the despicable attacks in Bali."
Japan - Japan's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Yoshinori Katori termed the Bali attacks an "unpardonable act of terrorism." Adding, "The government of Japan reiterates its firm condemnation of atrocious terrorism that victimizes many innocent people."
Australia - Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, says he is horrified by the attacks in Bali, terming them an "indiscriminate attempt to undermine democratic Indonesia." Howard said the attacks demonstrated the need for the anti-terror war to continue.
New Zealand - Offering whatever assistance Indonesia requires in the aftermath of the most recent bombings, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has told President Yudhoyono that the New Zealand government is appalled at "such cowardly and indiscriminate acts of violence in Bali."
Malaysia - Reacting to the growing belief that al-Qaeda linked terror group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) was behind the latest attack and that Malaysians Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top may have played a role in the blasts, Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said, "these people may be Malaysian by citizenship but they are not with us . . .I hope they (Indonesians) are successful in investigating and catching these two men."
The Malaysian Foreign Minister added, "It is very sad. Bali is such a beautiful place."
Philippines - Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, also involved in a fight against Islamic rebels in her Country's South, said the attacks showed the resilience of the attackers to strike "when our guard is down." Adding, "we have limited the movements of terrorist cells and kept them on the run. But the price of freedom is perpetual vigilance."
Fuel Prices More than Double
Long-anticipated Major Hike in Fuel Costs Introduced on October 1, 2005.
Although widely viewed as both necessary and inevitable, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took the politically painful step of announcing dramatic increases in the cost of fuel Indonesian's pay at the gas pumps, effective from October 1, 2005.
Announced in the early hours of Saturday following a cabinet meeting at the National Palace in Jakarta, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy Aburizal Bakrie read presidential decision No. 55 for 2005 telling consumers that they would now pay 87.5% more for premium, 185.7% more for kerosene, and 105% more for diesel fuels.
Large demonstrations by the public and students protesting the fuel increase in front of the national palace and elsewhere in the Capital were contained by a supplemental police contingent estimated at more than 5,000 on stand by in anticipation of public discontent with the new policy.
Government Socializes its Decision
In an aggressive campaign to sell the need and urgency of higher fuel prices to the public, Indonesians received SMS messages from the Government on October 2 urging them to accept the increase as a means of diverting revenues from the rich to more needy members of society. Similarly, quarter-page advertisements carrying an open letter from the President appeared in most major dailies on Saturday. In that letter the President explained how the growing subsidy paid for fuel use was draining the Government of revenues needed to address education, health and national development and pledge direct financial subsidies to the nations poor and near-poor to help them meet the cost of higher fuel.
In the letter the President cautioned against those using the fuel increase as the basis for disproportionately increasing the price of basic commodities.
Requirement for all Foreign Workers to Speak Indonesian to Apply only to Junior Staff Levels.
Indonesia's Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Fahmi Idris has clarified stringent new language proficiency requirements to be applied on foreign workers starting from 2006.
The requirement for proficiency in Bahasa Indonesia announced as a pre-condition for obtaining a work permit in Indonesia will now, apparently, only apply to lower echelon workers. Those in senior management and director level work will be exempted from having to prove their linguistic skills.
Quoted in the English-language Jakarta Post, the Minister said the new language tests would be introduced sometime during the first quarter of 2006 and would apply to both new hires and those already working in Indonesia.
Details remain vague, but it is widely expected that the test will be administered by the National Commission for Standardization of Professions, at a cost charged to the employer.
The language requirement is seen as a protectionist step being introduced by the Indonesia government to help stem an anticipated flood of foreign workers in 2006 when workers from ASEAN member countries are legislated to be allowed to work in any of 10 member nation countries. More open access to foreign workers will be further augmented in 2008 when Indonesia is required to open its labor opportunities to all nationalities under the terms of treaties with the World Trade Organization. By introducing a language requirement the Government hopes to stymie any flood of new foreign workers made possible by the liberalized foreign worker rules.
An estimated 28,000 foreign workers now hold permits issued by the Department of Manpower and Transmigration.
Asia-Pacific ICT Awards to be Presented in Bali November 30 December 2, 2005.
The Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) are scheduled to be held in Bali's famed Sanur beach November 30 December 2, 2005.
Organized by the Multimedia Development Corporation of Malaysia as a means to increase ICT awareness in the community and help bridge the "digital divide," the meeting is expected to draw participation from its 15 member-economies include Australia, Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and China.
An international program, in which member economies take turns hosting the annual Awards Programs, the competition to stimulate creativity and innovation is open to pre-university student groups from Junior High through High Schools drawn from any of the 15 member countries.
Contest project areas that will be open for awards this year include:
E-Government & Services
Education & Training
Secondary Student Project
Tertiary Student Project
Research & Development
Applications and Infrastructure Tools
Media and Entertainment
Tourism and Hospitality
The conference and awards are seen as an important opportunity for Indonesia to grow its technology information sector currently valued at only US$1.7 billion. By comparision, India has an technology information market estimated at US$ 18 billion.
Older Aircraft Considered by Less Safe and Not Economically Efficient.
Indonesia's Minister of Transportation, M. Hatta Rajasa has confirmed that the Government will soon ban the use of Boeing 737-200 aircraft while, at the same time, revising its rules on the maximum age of aircraft permitted to be used for civil aviation.
Under the terms of the new rules some four B-737-200 aircraft and one Fokker 28 MK 400 must be withdrawn form service before December 7, 2005.
The new rules governing the use of Indonesia's domestic air armada of 198 planes specifically forbids the use of aircraft older than 35 years since manufacture or for planes that have done more than 70,000 landing and take-off cycles. The same regulations forbid the registration of used aircrafts purchased abroad for use in Indonesia that have done more than 50,000 operational cycles.
According to figures published in the Indonesian-language Bisnis Indonesia, there are currently 4 aircraft operating commercially in Indonesia that are between 30-35 years old, and another 44 planes that are aged between 25-29 years.
According to the press report, a Boeing executive recently recommended the phasing out of service of B-737-200 aircraft because the older planes were no longer economically efficient to operate.
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