Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bali Gets Facelift as Cosmetic Surgery Offered to Tourists

The hotel lobby-like entrance to the BIMC Hospital in Nusa Dua.

Article Revised


A 50-bed tourism hospital has been unveiled on a one-hectare site in Bali’s swish Nusa Dua area, making it the first tourism hospital in Indonesia.

The BIMC Hospital is being run in conjunction with the Marriot hotel group “to provide the country’s first-ever medical tourism packages and services to inbound travellers visiting Bali,” Deddy Suhartawan of BIMC told The Bali Times.

The Bali International Medical Centre (BIMC) has an established clinic in Kuta.

The new facility features a hotel-like lobby and also provides dialysis and dental treatments.

A room at the new hospital.

It is equipped with three operating theatres that are being managed by medical teams from Australia, Indonesia, the United States, Britain, Germany, Sweden and New Zealand.

As well as medical treatment, the hospital also provides cosmetic procedures and surgery.

“Our CosMedic Centre offers a full range of aesthetic treatments, including skin rejuvenation, injectables, fillers and more complex plastic surgery with treatment performed in a discreet, spa-like atmosphere,” said Suhartawan.

Filed under: Headlines, Health

Suharto-Era Billionaire Tycoon Salim Dies Aged 97

Liem Sioe Liong.


Liem Sioe Liong, who used his ties to former dictator Suharto to build a small peanut oil business into leading Indonesian conglomerate Salim Group, has died aged 97.

The Chinese-born tycoon, whose Indonesian name was Soedono Salim and whose group is now one of Asia’s biggest businesses, passed away in Singapore on Sunday, a statement from Indofood, one of his companies, said on Tuesday.

“The Soedono Salim that we know personally is a visionary, simple, humble, tenacious, hardworking, disciplined and loyal,” said the statement.

Salim Group businesses range from Indofood, the world’s largest maker of noodles, to telecoms, property and palm oil plantations.

The group includes Hong Kong-based First Pacific which operates businesses in telecommunications and food, and is present in more than 40 countries.

His son Anthoni Salim, who now heads the business empire, was listed in Forbes in 2010 as Indonesia’s fifth-richest man, worth US$3 billion.

Tourism Minister Mari Elka Pangestu paid tribute to Liem: “Indonesia has lost a pioneer in the field of entrepreneurship that has contributed to the country’s development.”

Liem arrived in Indonesia from Fujian province in southeast China in 1936 to join his brother and brother-in-law in Medan, North Sumatra.

He began selling medical supplies and other items during the Indonesian war of independence against the Dutch.

It was during this period he got to know Suharto, then an army officer, and the pair formed a lifelong friendship.

Over the next 50 years, Liem built one of the most successful business groups in the country.

Following anti-government riots in 1998, which led to Suharto’s overthrow following some three decades in power, Liem fled to Singapore after his house was raided and ransacked by mobs, leaving the day-to-day running of the business to Anthoni Salim.

Pangestu said that his businesses had “contributed to development at every stage. In the early period of development, when we needed cement, he started a cement business and then foods.”

“When we entered a period of industrialisation, we needed cars and his business expanded into the automotive field, and then banking and finance,” she added.

Liem is survived by his wife Lie Las Nio, and four children — Albert Halim, Andree Halim, Anthoni Salim and Mira Salim.

Filed under: Headlines

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Watchdog to Seek Elusive Seal to Access Iran’s Nuclear Sites


The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog will push Iran in fresh talks Friday to strike a deal on access to sites where Tehran is suspected of working on an atomic bomb, particularly the Parchin military base.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s representatives will be going into the meeting looking for progress, after its director general Yukiya Amano signalled on Monday that differences between the two parties had “narrowed.”

However, the United States’ envoy to the IAEA, Robert Woods, dampened expectations that a deal can be struck at Friday’s discussions in Vienna, saying that he is “not optimistic.”

“I certainly hope an agreement will be reached,” he said on the sidelines of a meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors. But he added: “I’m not certain Iran is ready.”

Western powers and Israel suspect Iran is trying to develop a bomb behind the veil of its civilian nuclear programme, a charge Tehran denies.

The IAEA is particularly interested in the Parchin military base near Tehran, where it believes suspicious explosives testing has been carried out. Its repeated requests to visit Parchin in months have been rebuffed by Tehran.

IAEA chief inspector Herman Nackaerts and deputy director general Rafael Grossi will meet Iran's ambassador to the agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, in Friday's meeting.

Soltanieh has so far kept an upbeat tone.

"We'll try to continue to work on the text of a structural approach. Hopefully we will be able to conclude it," he said.

"I'm always optimistic," he added. "I hope that both sides will be able to find a common denominator."

Amano made a whirlwind trip to Iran last month after a promising round of talks in Vienna, and said after his return that the two sides were close to a deal.

But Western diplomats have since said Iran seems to be dragging its feet.

On Wednesday, the European Union called on Iran to "conclude the agreement without further delay."

Israel has repeatedly threatened military action to stop Iran from developing a nuclear warhead.

The so-called P5+1 - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany - revived talks with Iran in Istanbul in April and met again in May in Baghdad, though little was achieved.

Iran and the six world powers are due to meet again in Moscow on June 18 and 19. Barring progress, an EU oil embargo against Iran will come into force on July 1.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday that Israel and the US are also discussing new sanctions against Iran if the Moscow talks fail.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for his part said Wednesday that more sanctions against Iran would be "counterproductive."

In November, the IAEA said in a report that it had "credible" intelligence suggesting Iran had worked toward building nuclear warheads.

The watchdog is seeking a deal that would enable it to answer lingering questions raised in the report - which drew on its own information, foreign intelligence and limited input from Iran itself - by giving its inspectors access to all sites, documents and people involved in the nuclear programme.

Parchin base is of particular interest. The IAEA has said new satellite imagery indicates "extensive activities" at the base, which experts see as signs of a clean-up.

Filed under: Our World

100 Killed in New Syria ‘Massacre’


Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “massacred” about 100 people, including women and children, the opposition said, as the US demanded a full transfer of power in the country.

The call by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton set the stage for a renewed diplomatic stand-off over Syria, after Russia and China said they were strongly against intervention and regime change.

If reports of the killings in the central province of Hama prove accurate they will rank among the worst atrocities in Syria’s 15-month uprising against Assad’s embattled regime.

“We have 100 deaths in the village of Al-Kubeir, among them 20 women and 20 children,” Mohammed Sermini, spokesman for the exiled opposition Syrian National Council, said.

He accused the regime of being behind the “massacre.”

Other sources also reported a mass killing had taken place in the same area, including the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tentatively put the number of dead at 87.

On Thursday, the Syrian government denied responsibility, saying in a televised statement: “What a few media have reported on what happened in Al-Kubeir, in the Hama region, is completely false.”

“A terrorist group committed a heinous crime in the Hama region which claimed nine victims. The reports by the media are contributing to spilling the blood of Syrians,” the statement said.

But the Britain-based Observatory said in a statement that pro-regime shabiha militia armed with guns and knives carried out the “new massacre” at a farm after shelling by regular troops.

"What is certain is that dozens of people died, including women and children," the watchdog's Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Both Sermini and the Observatory urged UN observers to immediately head to the region to investigate.

The reports come after at least 108 people were killed in a two-day massacre that began on May 25 near the central town of Houla, most of them women and children who were summarily executed, according to the United Nations.

News of the new incident came after Russia and China said they were "decisively against" intervention or regime change in Syria, as Arab and Western calls mounted for strong international action in the conflict.

The United States endorsed an Arab proposal to invoke the UN Charter's tough Chapter VII, while refraining from supporting its powers to initiate military intervention.

Meanwhile Clinton, who has voiced mounting frustration with the Chinese and Russian positions, sought to mobilise support in Turkey, calling on the international community to "close off the regime's economic life lines."

"We can't break faith with the Syrian people who want real change," said a State Department official who briefed reporters on Clinton's meeting in Istanbul with officials from 16 regional and European powers.

Clinton set forth "essential elements and principles that we believe should guide that post Assad transition strategy, including Assad's full transfer of power," the official said.

Other elements include "the establishment of a fully representative and inclusive interim government which leads to free and fair elections, a ceasefire to be observed by all and equality for all Syrians under the law," the official said.

But Clinton's Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov warned regime change in Syria would lead the Middle East to "catastrophe."

Beijing and Moscow said after two days of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leaders that they strongly opposed intervention and regime change.

"Russia and China are decisively against attempts to regulate the Syrian crisis with outside military intervention, as well as imposing... a policy of regime change," a joint statement said.

Speaking in the Chinese capital, Lavrov urged the international community to resist calls from the exiled opposition to help oust Assad's regime.

Opposition groups "outside Syria appeal to the world community more and more to bomb the Assad regime, to change this regime. This is very risky. I would even say it is a way that will bring the region to catastrophe," he said.

Lavrov hit out at the rebel Free Syrian Army's announcement it was no longer bound by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan, and proposed a high-level conference with the participation of Iran among other powers.

His proposal was given a cool reception by Clinton, as well as by the French and British foreign ministers.

Russia and China have vetoed two Security Council resolutions against Assad's regime, but backed Annan's blueprint to end the conflict in which more than 13,500 people have died since March 2011, according to the Observatory.

The Annan plan was supposed to begin with a ceasefire from April 12 but doubts have emerged about its effectiveness as violence has raged on despite the deployment of nearly 300 UN observers.

In other violence, rebels went on the offensive in and around Damascus and 46 people were killed across the country, the Observatory said.

Rebels clashed with troops in Harasta and near Douma, Irbin amd Zamalka, all in the Damascus region, among other parts of the capital, according to the watchdog which says at least 168 soldiers have been killed in the past week.

Assad appointed loyalist Riad Hijab as prime minister in a move France dismissed as a "masquerade."

Analysts said Syria risks descending into a long and bloody civil war with the Annan plan at a stalemate, the opposition badly fragmented and fierce resistance to any real changes by the Assad regime.

Filed under: Our World

Minister to Explain Energy Policy


Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik has said he will explain the energy resilience policy at the 18th Asia Coaltrans Conference in Nusa Dua this week.

“We are going to explain the energy resilience policy, especially regarding coal, because many countries need coal energy,” Wacik remarked.

The minister noted that Indonesia has vast coal resources, which should be used optimally for the interests of the local people.

“We know that all countries need coal energy, which is available in Indonesia. Therefore, it must be used optimally to meet the domestic need,” he stressed.

He added that apart from domestic use, coal was also exported to boost the state’s foreign exchange reserves.

“We export 30 million tons of coal per year, earning a foreign exchange of US$20 billion,” the minister said.

Around 2,200 people are expected to participate in the Asia Coaltrans Conference.

Filed under: Headlines

Forecasts for week beginning June 9, 2012.

By Jonathan Cainer

Hot on the heels of last week’s Venus transit, we now see Jupiter arriving in Gemini for the first time since 2001. It stays in this sign for just over a year, heralding a brighter, more optimistic outlook on life for many people, no matter when they were born. Mercury, meanwhile, has moved into Cancer. While this development lasts only 18 days or so, it also has an influence that spreads far and wide. And later this month, the ongoing ‘dance of tension’ between Uranus and Pluto will culminate, giving many people at least a brief break from recent worries.

ARIES (March 21 – April 20)
Every day, we have to eat. Every night, we have to sleep. Our physical lives are full of processes that we must repeat and experiences that we must keep on having. In our emotional lives too, we require repetition and renewal. We can’t live on the memory of a feeling, no matter how profound. So, here you are, back in a situation that you have been in before. Are you just doing something you have already done? Not quite. What’s happening this week is similar but different. If you want something to change a little, it can.

TAURUS (April 21 – May 21)
The recent transit of Venus, has helped the ship of your life to set sail in a new direction. You are starting to envisage a different destination You know you want to get there, you can feel, in your bones, that this is the right thing to be doing. Yet how can it happen? Major changes must surely occur if success is ever to be possible. Here, this week, comes yet another important astrological development. Jupiter leaves your sign and enters your second solar house. That will soon help you to feel much more secure.

GEMINI (May 22 – June 22)
Jupiter hasn’t been in Gemini since 2001. This week, it returns to your sign and will remain a powerful, positive influence until mid-2013. It is as if the recent transit of Venus picked you up and took you to the top of a high hill from which you could look down on your problems and see them in perspective and identify hidden opportunities. Have you had to come back down to earth since then? Perhaps. But now the universe is giving you a vehicle of your own in which you can gradually reach that height once more.

CANCER (June 23 - July 23)
Mercury has just moved into your sign. That's really good news. It suggests that you will soon be in an excellent position to negotiate a deal or strike a bargain. Even if you have no commercial interests to protect or trading activities to increase, you will find you can use this astrological advantage in your personal and emotional life. Old arrangements can be adjusted. Misunderstandings can be cleared up. Wherever the balance of power has come to rest within an unsatisfactory place, you can now put this right.

LEO (July 24 - August 23)
The brighter the light, the darker the shadow. The higher the hope, the deeper the fear. The stronger the enthusiasm, the greater the risk of disappointment. Your life is now full of profound contrasts. All is fine as long as you are looking in the right direction. But when you turn around, you begin to wonder if you have been looking in the right direction after all. Perhaps all those negative factors deserve more attention than you are giving them. Actually, they don't and it is very important that this week, you focus on the positive.

VIRGO (August 24 - September 23)
Mercury, your ruler, now moves into the sector of the sky that traditionally governs your alliances and allegiances. Where you already have good strong bonds and social connections, you can deepen these and make them more rewarding. You can help others; they can help you. And where life might be so much sweeter, if only you knew the right people to talk to or to turn to? Well, soon you will meet them and they will prove surprisingly eager to assist. You no longer need to face a problem on your own. Now you have a team.

LIBRA (September 24 - October 23)
'When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you.' So goes the old song. But what about when you are grouching? Or grumbling? Or finding fault with others? Well, as you may have noticed, the world is equally happy to join in with these activities. In theory, the solution to this problem is simple; just keep smiling! And in practice? Well, you are not entirely convinced that you have that much to smile about right now. But events this week should prove very reassuring and once you feel better, everyone else will too.

SCORPIO (October 24 - November 22)
All you want this week is a simple answer to a simple question. Why then, is it proving so hard to get? Is someone being deliberately deceptive? Are they obfuscating a point to suit their own purposes? Just before you explore that possibility, check whether your query is as straightforward as it seems. Perhaps your question is too simple. Or perhaps it does not properly allow for a rather complicated set of secret circumstances. You will yet get to the bottom of a baffling mystery if you patiently persevere.

SAGITTARIUS (November 23 - December 21)
Well, here we are at last. The moment you have been waiting for. The week you have been anticipating for months, even years. Perhaps you didn't know that you were biding time and holding out till Jupiter arrived in your opposite sign. Maybe you just had a vague sense of the possibility of imminent improvement. But once things begin to change for the better, as they will start to do this very week, you will see that you have at last reached a turning point in your fortunes. It may also bring a pleasing change in your love life!

CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 20)
Do you have something to apologise for? Are you secretly guilty of some heinous crime? Of course not! I'm not saying you are perfect (well, I'm not saying you are not perfect, either, but you know what I mean). I'm just keen to tell you that this week, you have every reason to hold your head high and to act with confidence. If something isn't working out, this is not your fault. Trust that. Hold steady and you will yet turn your fortunes around. And if someone else thinks you are wrong? The likelihood is, they are wrong!

AQUARIUS (January 21 - February 19)
Really, this week, you ought to have your own bugle player and drummer. If the physical world understood its obligation to the cosmic climate, it would also supply you with a team of carpet-fitters who would walk in front of you wherever you go, laying out a continuous red rug. Flag waving fans would cheer upon your approach. Your every move and decision would be reported on the nightly news. Are you really that important? Do you deserve this much respect and attention? In a strange way, yes! It is time to be bold.

PISCES (February 20 - March 20)
As Jupiter arrives in a new sector of the sky this week, your domestic life begins to feel a whole lot less claustrophobic. Somewhere on the home and family front, things have been difficult for a while. You have had to make a lot of compromises. Your own choices and preferences have had to give way under pressure from others. Not everything is now about to go your way, but at least one source of stress is no longer so strong. Prepare to feel more loved, more secure and more comfortable about your future.

To purchase a full personal chart reading based on your exact date, place and time of birth, or to hear Jonathan's weekly spoken forecast for your sign, visit

Filed under: Week Ahead

Building a Better Home with Energy Fields and Good Flooring

By S.BS. Surendran

The ancient Indian art of vaastu and the oriental art of feng shui are effective tools to reflect the love and affection between the occupants of a building and their abode.

There are many types of imbalances in a place of dwelling as we are subjected to many kinds of energy fields, such as solar-energy fields, geo-magnetic fields and thermal imbalances.

Research has shown that most often one side of a house is subjected to intense solar radiation while the other side remains in a shadow region. This gives rise to the formation of what is known as “thermocouple” in the space around the house and leads to an energy imbalance in the premises.

The higher the imbalance, the more severe its effect on the occupants. This kind of imbalance gives rise to the formation of “nodes” and these are nothing but distorted energy fields. They trap the subatomic particles travelling along these fields and start resonating to give rise to micro-level hazardous radiation which affects the existence of life forms – in other words, the occupants of the home.

When left unchecked, these thermal imbalances impede the smooth flow of energy in and around the place of dwelling. The art of restoring the imbalance or equalising the thermal difference and providing a harmonious place of dwelling is the key to good design. Some of the general guidelines to counter thermal imbalance in a place of dwelling are:

• More open spaces in the north and east.
• Thicker walls and no openings on the southern side.
• Planting more greenery or trees in the south to have a humid environment.
• Most importantly: choosing good flooring.

Flooring in a building not only breathes life in terms of décor and aesthetics but also defines how the energy (known as chi in feng shui) flows there. Careful selection of materials means you can fine-tune the atmosphere of your house or apartment. Big surface areas such as flooring will have the greatest influence, and it is worth taking great care over the materials you use.

Flooring plays a significant role in beautifying the look of a house. Flooring can be natural wood, stone, carpet or earth. Among the natural-segment flooring we have marble, granite and slate. Marble has never been out of fashion and is available in a variety of colours. Bricks are available in different shades of red and orange and can also be used as ethnic flooring. In some parts of the world, bamboo flooring is used and it gives a feel of being connected to nature.

Natural materials tend to carry chi energy more easily than synthetic materials - an example of this is wood, where the chi continues to flow along the grain.

Some synthetic materials impede the passage of chi and create stagnating energy fields within your home and build up static electricity (if the material is nylon); this interferes with the feng shui and your personal energy field or your aura. However, if it is rough, textured surfaces (such as a carpet), it slows down the chi, making it more yin; and hard or shiny surfaces (such as ceramic tiles) speed up the flow of chi, creating a more yang atmosphere. One can comprehend from this that the type and colour of flooring contributes towards better energy flow and in turn good vaastu or feng shui.

Each type of material encourages a certain flow of chi. Hence, applying the transparency of the eight directions, you can establish which materials naturally suit each part of your home. Using the specific materials will lead to a more harmonious exchange of chi and will develop distinct atmospheres in each part of your home. For example you could think of:

• White marble, which enhances positive energy and reflects and polarises sunlight, in the northeast.
• Shades of yellow towards the southwest are good.
• Shades of blue, or tint of blue on a white base or marble, at northwest is preferred.
• Red stone or shades of pink are considered appropriate for the south and southeast.

By knowing the compass directions, you can adapt a blend of design and aesthetics by choosing appropriate flooring. And you can introduce the colours required for the different areas in the form of floor décor in case you prefer to have a uniform floor colour throughout the house.

By doing so, your home will not only be vibrant with good energy and prosperity but the occupants will be motivated to think better and live better.

S.BS. Surendran is an accredited master feng shui consultant, traditional vaastu practitioner and bio-energetician based in Bangalore, India. He can be contacted via

Filed under: Harmony