Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hotels in Seminyak

by Barrie | April 21st, 2011  

Seminyak is renowned as the place for expats to reside in Bali. It is also regarded as the centre along the tourist strip for hip and inventive fashion boutiques, other designer stores and art studios. Seminyak is more upmarket with mostly luxury accommodation and fashionable high-end restaurants and bars. The atmosphere is much more sophisticated and laid-back than Kuta. There is virtually no backpacker accommodation in Seminyak. Budget travellers will generally do better to stay in nearby Kuta or Legian.

Seminyak is also the high end spa and boutique shopping capital of Bali. Nowhere is the upscaling of Bali in recent years more obvious than here. It has developed a world-class dining scene. If you want to splurge on one very special dinner while you are in Bali, look no further than the higher end options in Seminyak. Prices are high by Bali standards but on an international scale still good value for the highest quality of food and eating environment.

The main choices for accommodation in Seminyak are villas and higher end hotels. There are some good bargains to be had in the mid-range though in low season, so shop around. Here is a selection of what’s on offer in Seminyak:

Anantara Hotel & Resort
Pelangi Bali
The Elysian
Villa Seminyak
The Villas Bali Hotel & Spa
Sofitel Seminyak
Grand Balisana Suites
The Breezes Bali Resort &Spa
The Haven Bali
The Samaya Bali
The Oberoi Hotel
Bali Dyana Villas
The Dusun Seminyak
Puri Saron Hotel
The Legian Resort Seminyak

Drug Rehab Centre for Bangli


A purpose-built drug-rehabilitation centre will be built in Bali to treat addicts and offer an alternative to prison sentences for those convicted of drugs offences.

The centre, to be built in Bangli, will be the second such facility in Indonesia.

The decision by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) to build the centre comes after sustained calls for such a facility in Bali, where drug use and addiction has increased significantly in recent years.

At present the only purpose-built drug rehabilitation centre in Indonesia is at Sukabumi in West Java.

Chairman of BNN’s Bali branch Ketut Budiarta told the media that the centre would be built alongside the existing psychiatric hospital in Bangli, where a small rehabilitation programme is currently in operation.

The new facility will have 144 rooms, and building work will start next year, Budiarta said, adding that BNN would fund the project.

Indonesian law allows organised rehabilitation as an alternative to a custodial sentence for convicted drug users, but the lack of facilities means that most addicts end up in overcrowded jails.

“The establishment of a planned drug rehabilitation centre in Bali is urgently needed to ensure that drug users get free treatment and rehabilitation as stated in the law,” Budiarta said.

Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika backed the rehabilitation centre plan, saying it would help tackle rising addiction on the island.

“We don’t have adequate facilities to rehabilitate or treat drug users. It is inhumane to send them to Kerobokan Jail,” Pastika said.

Around 100 addicts are receiving treatment at Bagli’s psychiatric hospital.

“Presently we are treating five drug addicts who were sent by the court to be rehabilitated at our premises. There are a lot of inquiries but we cannot accept them due to a lack of facilities and staff,” hospital director Made Sugiharta said.

Filed under: Headlines

Bumper Harvest Sees Rice Price Fall


Bumper rice harvests in Klungkung have led to a dramatic drop in price of the grain in local markets, with the asking rate falling below the government-sanctioned floor rate.

Rice is currently fetching Rp2,600 (30 US cents) a kilogramme on the open market, despite the official minimum price per kilo being Rp2,800.

The high volume of grain recorded since the harvest began at the start of the month has been attributed by farmers to a lack of pest attacks, better weather and improved fertilisers.

Head of the Klungkung Agriculture and Forestry Department Wayan Muliarta said that price fluctuations were inevitable during the harvest as large amounts of grain often came onto the market at the same time.

He urged farmers to avoid selling directly to the public, or to unofficial middlemen. They should sell only through local rural economic enterprise organisations.

“These organisations certainly wouldn’t dare to buy rice at below the floor price,” he said, adding that recent good weather in Klungkung had aided the harvest.

“There’s been a recent dry spell,” he said, adding that last year’s April harvest had been hampered by heavy rain.

Filed under: Headlines

Schoolgirl Claims Rape by Stepfather


A 13-year-old girl from Gerokgak in Buleleng was allegedly raped by her stepfather two months ago, leaving her pregnant.

The rape and pregnancy were discovered when the girl, identified only by her initials, EL, suffered a miscarriage on Sunday. She was taken to a doctor by her mother, suffering from abdominal pains, and miscarried while at the clinic.

After being questioned by her mother and the doctor she reported having been attacked by her stepfather in February.

When news of the case became public villagers from the girl’s home hamlet, Tegallantang in Pengulon village, formed a mob and set out to search for the stepfather, who was subsequently arrested by police.

Gerokgak Police chief I Komang Reka Sanjaya confirmed a man had been detained in connection with the alleged rape, and said that as it was a serious case it would be transferred to central Buleleng Police Headquarters for investigation.

“For the moment the suspect is being held at Gerokgak Police station, but we’re going to transfer the case to headquarters,” he said.

Filed under: Headlines

Parents Send Teen Thief to Police for Guidance


The parents and neighbours of a serial teenage thief from Tukad Sumaga in Buleleng handed him over to Gerokgak Police on Sunday, saying that they were unable to control him.

The 16-year-old, identified by his initials, GA, was handed over to police for “guidance.”

Gerokgak Police chief Komang Reka Adnyana said on Sunday that GA’s parents and neighbours had acted out of frustration after a string of petty thefts and incidents of vandalism.

“The most recent incident took place on Saturday night at around 10pm at the house of a man called Sarwa,” Adnyana said, adding that GA had stolen cigarettes and an umbrella from the house.

Adnyana said the case was unusual and difficult to handle as GA’s parents had not reported him for any crime, but had merely asked the police to “guide” him. He said the police would attempt to change his attitude for the better.

He said that GA had reportedly stolen from five different stalls in his home village, and had broken several doors and windows. He said that GA had only ever had a basic education, having been removed from elementary school when his parents were unable to pay the fees.

“Since fourth grade in elementary school he’s been smoking and taking drugs, and he started stealing after he didn’t get given any money by his parents,” Adnyana said.

Filed under: Headlines

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jilted Wife Files Complaint Against Police


A Denpasar woman who was arrested after attempting to catch her husband with another woman is filing an official complaint against the police for her treatment.

Kadek Murniasih is lodging the complaint with the Bali Police and the national human rights commission, she told reporters at a press conference with her lawyer, Ketut Alit Priana, on Sunday.

According to Murniasih, in December 2010 she began to suspect that her husband, Pande Bara Angsana, was having an affair with a woman identified by her initial, JN. She said she had been told by many friends and neighbours that Angsana was often visiting JN at her home.

“My husband’s behaviour was certainly clear, and he had been seen by many witnesses. He often went to that woman’s home. They had also stayed together at the Hotel Grand City (Denpasar) and the staff there said he often stayed there with her under his own name,” Murniasih said.

On December 21, 2010, she had gone to JN’s home, believing that her husband was there. JN refused to let her in, saying she had no permission from the police.

Murniasih said she then went to the local police station and returned with a letter from officers requesting JN to give her access to search for her husband, but he was no longer in the house.

“I am 100 percent certain that my husband had been there,” she said.

Subsequently JN lodged a formal complaint about Murniasih’s behaviour with Denpasar police.

“I was accused of insulting JN with my late-night visit to her property, and on February 22 I was named as a suspect,” Murniasih said.

“On March 7, shortly after being checked by Denpasar Police I was arrested. I was shocked; I hadn’t even appeared as a witness and suddenly I became a suspect,” she said. Murniasih was held for 10 days before being released without charge.

“This is all strange, I never insulted JN, and I never quarrelled with her. I am being slandered. At that time (of the visit to JN’s property) I had gone and got a letter of request from East Denpasar Police. When did I fight with JN? There were many witnesses; this really isn’t fair,” she said.

Murniasih’s lawyer, Ketut Alit Priana, said they had made the official complaints because they felt that the case had been handled incorrectly.

“We had to bring this case forward because there are many irregularities in the way our client was treated,” he said.

Filed under: Headlines

Separate Fact from Fiction, Reporters Told


A journalist has criticised the Indonesian press for its imprecise use of language and for reporters’ tendency to editorialise in news stories during a student journalism training forum in Denpasar.

Speaking at the Hindu Students Journalism Training gathering in the Bali capital, PK Yanes, the former chairman of the Bali branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, said that the quality of writing in local print media was often poor. Foreign loanwords and technical terms were often used incorrectly, he said.

“But it’s not only foreign vocabulary; they often use vocabulary which is not suitable for the context in which they are writing, and worse yet, they often use jargon,” Yanes said.

Yanes said that there were guidelines on the correct usage of the Indonesian language, and journalists ought to heed them.

Yanes also criticised a frequent tendency to overt editorialising in news stories.

“Put simply, there are journalists who can’t separate the facts from their personal opinions,” he said, calling on the young would-be journalists attending the training session to learn how report news without bias.

About 70 junior and senior high school students from across Bali attended the two-day gathering, which featured talks from media figures, and training exercises.

Other speakers at the event also bemoaned the lack of professionalism in the local Indonesian-language media.

Head of communication at Bali’s Communications Department I Wayan Sukada said that the rise of mass media had meant that demand outstripped the available numbers of properly trained and professional journalists, with many smaller media organisations hiring people with little or no experience. He said that training, such as that provided during Saturday’s session, was vital to create a new generation of journalists.

“The young generations are the ones who will continue leadership in the future, including in the field of journalism,” he said.

The Hindu Students Journalism Training event is now in its sixth year.

“The aim of the training is to nurture young Hindu journalists who will eventually be able to compete on a national and even international level,” said Putu Sriawan, chairman of the organising committee, adding that talented Hindu journalists would be able to strengthen Hindu culture through their work.

“Many journalists currently working in Bali come from outside the island. With this kind of training session we hope that local students will view the journalistic profession with more respect,” Sriawan said.

Filed under: Headlines

Preparations Underway for ASEAN Summit


Preparations will soon start for the ASEAN Summit, due to be held in Bali in November, Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has said.

The meeting of leaders from all member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will run from November 17 to 19 and will be preceded by an ASEAN Fair. Bali will also host the East Asia Summit on November 19.

“The ASEAN Fair will be held from three weeks before the summit until one week after the summit. So the island will be very busy for a full month. This international event needs serious preparations and we will make sure that all these events go smoothly and securely,” Pastika said.

Pastika said that the provincial authorities were liaising with the central government in Jakarta about preparations for the high-profile gathering, adding that the activity around the event would help to boost the local economy.

It would also provide a showcase for Bali’s hosting potential, Pastika said, and could lead to other prestigious forums and summits choosing the island as a venue.

“The theme of the ASEAN Fair is cultural and creative productivity. This theme suits Bali the best and we will use it as a chance to introduce the idea of organizing the World Cultural Forum in Bali,” he said.

Filed under: Headlines

Kuta Muggers Snared


A pair of thieves were arrested by police in Kuta in the early hours of Saturday morning after mugging a British tourist.

Doharman and Herry, both 26 years old and residents of Kuta, were detained by Kuta Police after a complaint from a British woman, Leana Clancy.

Clancy was robbed outside her hotel, the Bounty, on Poppies Lane II at 1.30am.

Kuta Police chief Gede Ganefo said that the men took Clancy’s bag by force.

“At first one of the perpetrators pretended to offer the victim transport, but this was just a tactic to block her way. Then the other perpetrator grabbed her bag,” Ganefo said.

Clancy’s wallet contained Rp235,000 (US$27), 40 pounds sterling, a driving license and several credit cards.

After their arrest Doharman and Herry admitted to frequently mugging tourists in Kuta.

“Both suspects said they’ve often committed these crimes, up to 20 times,” said Ganefo, adding that the pair faced up to five years in jail under Article 362 of the Criminal Code.

Filed under: Headlines

Hunter Dies After Ravine Plunge


A day after disappearing while hunting birds in the mountainous jungle region of Buleleng, a 31-year-old man from Busungbiu was found dead at the bottom of a steep ravine.

Nyoman Widana from Sepang village in Busungbiu, had gone into the jungle around Unggahan with five friends to hunt wild birds last Thursday.

During the hunt he became separated from his friends, who were unable to locate him and who returned to Sepang at nightfall without him.

Widana’s body was found on Friday by locals who had organised a search party.

Police spokesman Putu Aryana said Widana had been found in a ravine.
“The victim is thought to have fallen from a height of between 20 and 30 metres while hunting for birds in the Pangkung Gadung area of Unggahan. This is purely a case of misadventure on the part of the victim. He was dead when he was found,” Aryana said.

Aryana said Widana’s family had asked police not to conduct an autopsy.

“According to the wishes of the family we didn’t do an autopsy, and the family has issued a statement saying that the victim died as a result of falling from a cliff,” Aryana said, adding that after interviewing local witnesses police did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances in the case.

Filed under: Headlines

Indulging in Traditional Foods in Bali

by Barrie | April 25th, 2011  

It is said that to get to know a country one must immerse themselves in all aspects of the culture and that includes food. Unlike in the rest of Muslim Indonesia, the Balinese food is somewhat different to other Indonesian foods in that it often includes pork dishes such as lawar, babi guling amongst others, and tends to more spicy. Another factor is that the food is less sweet than its counterparts in the other islands.

As a tourist visiting Bali you will come across an array of dishes and oddly enough, the food most tourists see as Indonesian food actually originates from Java. However, there are several fine restaurants and warungs in Bali that serve traditional Balinese food. It is also recommended that you imbibe in some Javanese food as well and this way you get to taste the foods originating from another island.

Some of the foods you will come across on your epicurean journey will be Bakmi goreng (fried noodle, meat and vegetables), Ayam goreng (fried chicken, often served with rice and lalapan), Gado gado (steamed cabbage, bean sprouts, potato and other vegetables served with peanut sauce), Cap cay (mixed fried vegetables) and Bakso (spicy meatball soup). These are just a few as the list goes on and on. One of my favourites is Urap-urap (a Balinese dish consisting of vegetables in shaved coconut and chilli) is one superb find in any warung or restaurant.

Of course everybody’s favourites you will find on every menu are Nasi Goreng and Sate. Both of which are excellent introductions into traditional cuisine for those new travelling to Indonesia. There are numerous ways to indulge in traditional foods of Indonesia. When you are travelling in the country stop at roadside stalls or when in the tourists areas seek out the night markets. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Bali Belly – The Destroyer of Holidays

by Barrie | April 22nd, 2011  

If there is one thing that will surely ruin your holiday to Bali then it has to be the dreaded stomach infection colloquially known as ‘Bali Belly’. Basically, you got the shits big time and you, well, feel like shit! The climate in Bali is one that is a natural breeding ground for germs. Add to that some of the local methods of washing and cooking and its no wonder people gets sick occasionally.

Anyone who continually travels to Indonesia on a regular basis will, at one time or another, contract this annoying gut infection. .A simple way to deal with it is to restrict yourself to extremely simple food for 3 days, which means bread, plain rice, potatoes, plain meat with no sauce and NO green vegetables. You’d be amazed at how a vicious case of diarrhea can disappear under that regime.

Even worse is the fact that diarrhoea will deplete your body of fluid, which when combined with hot humid weather will compound your misery. Drink electrolyte drinks such as Pocari Sweat (blue can with white strip) available any where in Bali. Alternatively bring some rehydration medicine with you. Gastrolyte is an excellent one to use.

It’s important to note that when travelling anywhere in the tropics – whether it be only Bali or the other islands in the archipelago of Indonesia – be securely vaccinated. This is only common sense.

If you are heading over to Bali then I strongly urge you to at least have the Hepatitis A and B vaccinations. Although not a blocker of the infection Bali Belly, it will give your body a bit of added resistance. These most prominent vaccinations are truly imperative and especially if travelling with children.

Reducing the risk of contracting any infections in Bali is simple. Before travelling to Bali consult your doctor. Find out what vaccinations are required and if any existing health concerns might prevent you from travelling. Make sure you carry a copy of your health record and prescription, if there are ongoing health issues that may require treatment while in Bali. Vaccinations recommended for travel to Bali include Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus, Cholera and Typhoid. If you are worried about Japanese Encephalitis and Meningitis then by all means be covered but the former in reality is not needed for Bali and is a very painful vaccine procedure.

So, it is vital to be of reasonable heath before travelling to Bali. People with low immune systems are more prevalent to contracting a disease. And most importantly: Carry Travel Insurance.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Few Excellent Restaurants in Ubud

by Barrie | April 26th, 2011  

Ubud is a place where you could spend your entire holiday in Bali and it is also a great place to base yourself for exploring the rest of the island. Being a relatively tranquil place, it is a haven for tourists, lovers of art and a delightful area to spend a whole day. There is so much of interest on offer in Ubud and the surrounding areas.

The centre of town is Jalan Raya Ubud and it is along this stretch of road where you can find some fabulous restaurants and warungs, and, great places to shop. Ubud certainly has a wide choice of places to eat; from cheap places serving traditional foods right up to the very trendy restaurants where the price tag fits. Of course in Ubud you will also find the crappy western fast food joints such as KFC and pizza places. But to experience dining on traditional foods is an experience not to be missed.

Here are a few places that I would recommend for those travellers desiring to relish in some mouth-watering traditional foods:

Bali Buddha: Located on Jl. Jembawan (opposite the post office) just off of busy Jl. Raya Ubud. They serve organic food, great sandwiches, teas, coffees and salads. Good for lunch or afternoon drink / snack.

Ph: 361 976324

Ibu Oka Warung: This place is an Ubud institution. Located on Jalan Tegal, this place is famous for its roast suckling pig, The restaurant opens at around 10.30am. The pork is sliced up, they are served in big chunks in a rattan bowl with rice, spicy vegetables and a very spicy yet delicious sauce.

Ph: 361 976435

Cafe Lotus: Another Ubud instituition located on Jalan Raya Ubud and is a popular place for locals and tourists alike. The cafe looks out over an immense lotus pond bordered by tall flowering trees. All the food is traditional Balinese

Ph: 361 975660

Naughty Nuri’s Warung: Located on Jalan Raya this place is my all-time favourite and a great hangout for expats. Patronised by tourists and locals alike they serve up some of the best barbecued spare ribs, lamb and pork chops, and fresh tuna. The whole place is one delight to dine in or partake in a lot of fun.

Ph: 361 977547

Ary’s Warung: Located on Jalan Raya Ubud it is a fabulous place to relax and enjoy some Asian cuisine. They do serve some delicious Balinese duck served in a spicy sauce that is tasty. Good place to go for a dinner.

Café Wayan: Located on Jalan Monkey Forest this place has been around for a while and does have a great bakery. They also serve a good range of Asian foods including Thai and traditional Balinese.

Bebek Bengil: Located on Jalan Hanoman this place is definite not-to-miss if you want some really mouth-watering traditional duck. You can have it smoked, fried, stuffed and baked, if you like, but it is all yummy. A paradise for lovers of good traditional Balinese cooking.

Ph: 361 975489

These are just a few and there are many more. Take a walk around the streets of Ubud and you are sure to come across other warungs serving great food. Ubud is a gastronomical paradise for foodies.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Two Killed in Papua Mine Collapse


Two miners were killed when the roof of a US-owned mine in restive Papua province collapsed on them, police said on Tuesday.

The men were working in an underground mine belonging to US mining giant Freeport McMoRan late on Monday when the roof collapsed, pinning them beneath earth and rocks, Mimika deputy police chief Mada Aksanta said.

“Our speculation is that mine blasting had caused the ceiling to collapse. We’re still investigating,” he added.

Rescuers have pulled out one body and are still searching for the other, Aksanta said, adding that police are also checking whether there were others working in the mine.

Freeport, which mines gold and copper, is the largest single taxpayer to the government.

Filed under: News Alerts

Bali Invaded by Caterpillars

by Barrie | April 16th, 2011  

The situation with this entomological enigma came to rise when Candika, my wife, rang me last week and told me of the massive infestation of these caterpillars in Java. Having already swept through Sumatra and Java, the swarms of caterpillars are now in Bali and posing a threat to farmers’ crops and vegetation in general.

Although the tourist areas of Bali have yet to be invaded by these hungry beasties, it will happen and especially in hotels where lush flora is prominent. I guess that means a majority of 5 star hotels and other smaller places. The main concern for tourists is the skin rash that occurs if you touch these pretty and harmless-looking creatures. So keep an eye on your kids as they are the most curious of all.

The Agricultural department in Bali has the situation of these beasties in hand, so to speak, and continuous spraying of insecticide is keeping them at-bay. The dark, wriggly insects were first sighted in a village on Friday.

Caterpillar Frying-Pan Plan Tossed


Officials have come up with a novel way to tackle Bali’s ongoing infestation of caterpillars, which has been devastating orchards and plantations — frying and eating them.

Touring Serongga in Gianyar to monitor the infestation, head of the Bali Agriculture Department Made Putra Suryawan encouraged villagers to eat the crunchy caterpillars, which can cause skin rashes if touched while alive.

“These caterpillars usually move around at night. They’re really delicious and tasty,” Suryawan said.

“The edible species is most commonly found in Karangasem regency, and local people there have always eaten them,” he said, adding that after some convincing Gianyar locals had tried the fried insects and agreed they made a tasty snack.

Filed under: Headlines

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Travolta Relishes ‘Untold’ Mob Story

John Travolta says his upcoming performance as an infamous New York mafia boss will offer audiences a movie they can’t refuse.

The star, set to play late Gambino crime family boss John Gotti joined director Nick Cassavetes and the mobster’s son John “Junior” Gotti to reveal details about the film Gotti: Three Generations.

“This is probably the most interesting untold story in this country. What a character to approach!” Travolta told a press conference in New York, where the film, also starring Joe Pesci and possibly Lindsay Lohan, will be shot later this year.

Travolta, wearing a green tie and his hair close-cropped, called Gotti, who died in prison in 2002, an old school mafioso who lived by “a moral code.”

In his long and bloody career as head of one of the historic five New York Italian mafia families, Gotti won public sympathy for his stylish appearance and wit. He was known as the “Dapper Don” and also the “Teflon Don” for his long-time ability to beat federal prosecutors in court.

“I like the glamour he had,” Travolta said. “He charmed the press; he charmed his family.”

The dark side, said Travolta, who famously played a laconic gunman in Pulp Fiction, included “the paranoia, the fear, the putting the family at risk.”

To research the part, Travolta plans to study as much original video footage as possible and to “understand how a syndicate like this works.”

Pointing into the hotel room where journalists crammed in with dozens of Gotti family members and associates, Travolta said: “There’s a plethora of knowledge here that I tap.”

John “Junior,” who himself has beaten four federal prosecutions on racketeering, murder and mob charges, said he wanted his father to be portrayed fairly.

“My father was an icon. He was a man larger than life,” he said.

When a reporter asked how families of people killed, injured, robbed or otherwise victimized during Gotti senior’s reign would feel about the Hollywood treatment, the younger Gotti snapped: “In this script, everybody’s a victim.”

Film reps would not reveal who is being cast to play Gotti’s son. Although not as flamboyant as his father, he also sports the dapper look and turned up to the press conference in a grey suit and open-necked shirt.

The film, due for release in 2012, will co-star Pesci as Gotti’s deputy Angelo Ruggiero, and possibly also Lohan, who attended the press conference alongside a row of bejewelled Gotti family members.

At a subsequent photo shoot in which baying paparazzi pushed and shoved for a better angle, blonde-haired Lohan posed next to Gotti’s daughter Victoria, fueling speculation that the in-and-out-of-trouble starlet may see playing the mob heiress as a way to resurrect her career.

Producer Marc Fiore praised Lohan’s acting skills and confirmed she was in the mix.

“I’m in talks to have Lindsay in the movie. Nothing has been finalised, but we are in talks,” he said.

Filed under: Arts & Entertainment

French Director Brings Swashbuckler to US

Award-winning French director Bertrand Tavernier says he became a filmmaker because of his love of American Westerns – as he visited the home of the classic genre to launch his latest movie.

The 69-year-old, whose romantic swashbuckler The Princess of Montpensier is released in the US on April 15, says the golden age of Hollywood cowboy movies filled him with the “physical pleasure” of filmmaking.

“I became a director because of my admiration for westerns like She wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949 by John Ford), 3:10 for Yuma (1957 by Delmer Daves), Bend of the River (1952, by Anthony Mann) or Pursued (1947 by Raoul Walsh).

“Suddenly I felt again what these directors must have felt, when they filmed cavalcades, landscapes,” he said in Beverly Hills. “It was like going back to my roots, to what I felt when I was 15.

“I saw myself again, a young cinema lover, discovering the fantastic sword fights in Scaramouche by George Sidney (1952),” he added.

Indeed, after his In the Electric Mist in 2009, made in the United States with Tommy Lee Jones and John Goodman, the Gallic cinema veteran has returned to his early passions: duels and horses.

The Princess of Montpensier, starring Lambert Wilson and Melanie Thierry, tells a story of passion and rivalry set against the savage Catholic/Protestant wars that ripped France apart in the 16th century.

“There is one thing I have tried to show very strongly in my latest films,” said Tavernier, who has won a number of French Cesar film awards, as well as a BAFTA in Britain for his 1989 movie Life and Nothing But.

“That is, how happy I am on the set; how much I love filming; and how much I want to make the public know how much pleasure I have in making these films.”

But while full of admiration for Hollywood’s golden age, he is dismissive of many Gallic attempts at the sword-fighting genre, notably any including French actor Jean Marais.

“The sets were useless. Nobody took any care over the choice of exterior locations. Horse scenes were filmed against sad plains, with no sky. The colours were ugly, horrible to watch,” he said.

“The French took a long time to use colour. You had to wait for the 1960s and 70s and the new generation … to finally get films which were magnificently photographed. Before that it was botched, everything was over-lit.”

La Princesse de Montpensier was presented at last year’s Cannes film festival, and the English version was well received when screened at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles in March.

“They said the film was modern and audacious,” said Tavernier. “That was different from some reactions in Cannes, where they told me the film was too classic. I couldn’t understand that reaction.

“But Claude Chabrol told me, a few years ago,” he said, referring to the French New Wave pioneer filmmaker who died last year. “He told me: ‘If you make a film with candles and oil lamps, people will say it’s classic and academic.

“‘If you make the same scene with a flash light, it will be modern,’” he added.

Filed under: Arts & Entertainment

Teen Swept Away by Flooding River


A 16-year-old boy from Denpasar was swept away while bathing in a river when heavy rain caused an unexpected flood surge.

Hendra Saputra, a resident of Jl Kartini in the Bali capital, was swimming in a river close to his home in the city with four friends on Sunday afternoon when the incident happened.

Head of West Denpasar Police I Dewa Made Adnyana said that an earlier downpour had caused a sudden rise in water levels. The five youths quickly got into difficulties, although four of them were able to reach the banks safely.

Saputra, however, was swept away downstream despite his friends’ attempts to rescue him.

The alarm was raised and emergency services started a search, but were unable to find Saputra.

“The current was very strong, so the rescue teams had serious difficulties,” Adnyana said, adding that it was possible that Saputra’s body had been washed out to sea.

Filed under: Headlines

Another Arrest in Illegal Logging Clamp


Police in Jembrana have made a new arrest as part of ongoing efforts to tackle illegal logging in the protected forests of west Bali.

The arrest, on Saturday last week, came after police stopped a truck that was carrying freshly cut timber from the forest in Klakatan in the Melaya district.

Officers had first spotted the vehicle heading east into the forest area without a load, and then returning loaded with timber at around 7pm on Friday. They attempted to pursue the vehicle, and then called officers at Melaya Police and asked them to stop the truck as it passed.

The truck was stopped at Tuwed on the main Denpasar-Gilimanuk highway at 4am on Saturday.  The driver was unable to produce papers showing the timber to have been legally obtained and was arrested.

According to police spokesman the driver, 26-year-old I Putu Wardhana, had been wanted for some time in connection with illegal logging.

Speaking to reporters after his arrest Wardhana said he was paid Rp100,000 (US$11.5) for each load of timber he delivered, and claimed he had been working for a man named Pungki Sumawan who lived in the Klakatan area.

“I was only asked to go to a certain location (in the forest).  There were already two men waiting there to load the timber into the truck,” he said.

Meanwhile, officers secured 11 illegally cut lengths of teak in Klakatan on Sunday, but failed to arrest the loggers.

The head of the forestry management unit, Agus Sugianto, said on Monday that officers had been investigating illegal logging in the Klatakan area for some time, and had obtained video footage of men cutting down trees within the protected area, but added that it had been hard to trace the suspects.

“For several months they’ve been giving us the slip.  We need to do more,” he said.

Those arrested for illegal logging face prosecution under the 1999 forestry act.

Filed under: Headlines

Corby Is Not Mentally Ill Says Prison Chief


Australian drug-smuggler Schapelle Corby does not appear to be mentally ill, the head of her Bali prison said on Monday, as speculation grows over whether she will be released.

The 33-year-old has based a clemency application to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on psychological disturbances she clams to be suffering, in the hope she will be freed from her 20-year sentence for bringing 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into Bali in 2004.

Over the weekend, Corby lawyer Iskandar Nawing said he had received word from a source at the Supreme Court that reviewing judges had recommended a 10-year cut in his client’s term, information that was already public knowledge last year. The recommendation is meant as a guide for President Yudhoyono in reaching his decision.

If the head of state grants clemency Corby could be immediately freed due to over six years already served because she would be eligible for parole.

On Monday, Kerobokan Prison chief Siswanto told the Australian Associated Press news agency that he had not observed any signs of mental distress in Corby.

He said there had been occasions when she had “seemed to make herself ill or look like (she was) ill” in an apparent attempt to draw sympathy for her plight and bolster her case for release.

Last year Siswanto submitted a report on Corby to the president in which he also said she appeared to be healthy. Speaking about his report last October, he said: “She’s not mentally ill based on my observations of her on a day-to-day basis. She appears fine. She can look after herself, eat and even put on make-up.

“As an ordinary person, I see that she has no symptoms of insanity. If she’s said to be depressed and stressed, that’s reasonable as all prisoners face the same conditions.”

Corby is relying on reports on her condition by medical experts that her legal team says confirms her psychological condition.

Siswanto said she had learned of the possible 10-year cut in her sentence and that she was “behaving normal so far.”

Filed under: Headlines

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sanur Prostitutes Choose Fine Over Jail


Seventeen sex workers rounded up by Denpasar Police in Sanur were offered a choice of five days in jail or a Rp150,000 (US$17.3) fine under anti-prostitution laws.

The women, who came from Indramayu in West Java and Situbondo in East Java, were arrested during the evening of April 7 on Jl Blanjong and Jl Bet Ngandang in Sanur. According to police they were soliciting for sex along the side of the road and charging clients Rp500,000 for their services.

The women were detained under Article 1 of a 1994 law that forbids soliciting of payment for sex as a commercial activity.

At a hearing at Denpasar District Court last Friday the women –aged between 21 and 33 – were sentenced to five days in jail. However, they were permitted to pay a cash fine as an alternative punishment.

“The punishment can be dropped by the payment of a fine of Rp150,000,” said presiding judge Dewa Made Wenten. All 17 women chose to pay the fine and were released after the hearing.

Filed under: Headlines

With Purported Amorous Quality, a Bountiful New Idea Is Flowering in Bali

A simple flower is improving the lives of Bali’s poorest, writes Karin Vogt

Just three years ago, it was one man’s vision to bring the extremely dry, desert-like mountain slopes of Muntigunung in northeast Bali to life by growing wild hibiscus. The idea was to provide the very poor local farmers in the area with an additional opportunity to generate income for their families by growing, harvesting and processing these beautiful flowers into tea for the Bali market.

Little did the founder of the Swiss-based organisation Future for Children at that time know about the tremendous potential of the amazing Rosella, a highly popular and trendy product the wellness island of Bali had been waiting for.

Future for Children was founded in 2004 with the purpose of financing projects to support sustainable development in the destitute region of Muntigunung, Karangasem, home to many begging women and children who regularly come to the streets of Bali’s south for money.

In cooperation with Yayasan Dian Desa in Yogyakarta, the most well-reputed development organisation in Indonesia, the two partner organisations mainly focus on securing water supply for over 5,500 people in 35 villages in this poorest part of the island.

While water is the true foundation for societal development, the locals need employment opportunities and economic prospects in order to improve their living and health conditions and to secure a better future for their children. The organisations’ second strategic priority therefore is livelihood development. Once a village has sustainable water supply, villagers are trained in either handicrafts or in planting, growing and harvesting products that exist in the area or are easy to grow. Yayasan Dian Desa established the Muntigunung Community Social Enterprise under which products harvested and processed by former beggars are being marketed and sold throughout Bali.

Thanks to the tremendous support of the Bali Hotels Association and many of its key members, the awareness of Muntigunung Community Social Enterprise and its products is growing fast, securing jobs. Sales surpluses flow back into the villages and are reinvested to increase production and provide income for even more people.

Hibiscus sabdariffa L., also known as Rosella, Rozelle, Red Rorrel, Oseille Rouge, Karkade and Kazeru, is one of nature’s most bountiful gifts, teeming with nutrition, flavour and beauty. Originally from Africa, this bush-type plant loves extremely dry and hot conditions. Muntigunung is therefore an ideal growing location. There, the flowers contain a high concentration of vitamins and nutrients.

Rosella has been recognised for its numerous health benefits. As a folk remedy it is used for diuretic purposes, for cleansing and purifying the body and skin and for heart ailments. It is believed by some to have an aphrodisiac effect.

Rosella is rich in substances that promote good health, including vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and D. The vitamin C content is 260 – 280 milligrams per 100 grams, which is three times that of a blackberry, and nine times that of a citrus orange.

The Journal of Ethnopharmacology, an academic publication dealing with medicinal-plant use, reported that consumption of Rosella tempers blood pressure. The flavonoids present in the Rosella flower reduce viscosity of blood, improve circulation and increase oxygen content in the blood, researchers say, essentially reducing the heart’s workload. These benefits have been confirmed by research conducted by the Del Sur Biomedical Research Centre in Mexico.

The reasons for Rosella consumption range from traditional to medicinal to cosmetic in countries around the world. Bali, on a broader scale, is discovering the secrets of the tasty Rosella just now. Already 28 of the leading hotels in Bali offer Rosella-based welcome drinks. Some hotels sell Rosella tea and Rosella sweets, nicely packed in locally woven lontar palm-leaf gift baskets, in their boutiques. Others offer mini-bar size portions of the dried and naturally sweetened Rosella flowers in rooms.

In 2010, 60 tons of flowers were harvested in Muntigunung. Almost 100 people were employed fulltime during the two and a half months’ harvesting and processing season. Within the next few weeks, another crop will be ready.

How to Brew, Serve and Enjoy:

Rosella tea is easy and quick to brew (approx 15 flowers for 1 litre of hot water). Drink it chilled and add some mango juice to enjoy a deliciously healthy refreshment. Rosella flowers from Muntigunung undergo a long drying process using solar dryers and therefore maintain the impressive original, coral-like red colour. Rosella tea and other rosella-based products – Rosella sweets and Rosella flowers in syrup – are available at Bali Buddha and selected member hotels of the Bali Hotels Association. Selamat minum.

Karin Vogt is a board member of the Future for Children.

Filed under: LIFE

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Warnings Were Sounded Over Razed Research Centre


Employees at a research centre in Jembrana that was razed to the ground in an electrical fire had made repeated complaints to state energy provider PLN about fluctuating voltages, The Bali Times has learned.

The Office of Maritime Research and Observation, which works under the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry and the Southeast Asia Centre for Ocean Research and Monitoring, went up in flames at around 3am on Monday last week after a suspected electrical short circuit, with fire sweeping rapidly through the building, which was inaugurated in 2004.

Two night watchmen, Ketut Mudiasa and Komang Darmawan, who were on duty at the time, reported that there had been a short power cut before the fire.

They told police that after the power returned they heard the sound of small explosions from the front of the building and found a satellite data receiver on fire.

This was followed by a second explosion from an ocean remote sensing computer, after which the whole building rapidly went up in flames.

A fire engine arrived at the scene at 3.45am, but the building had mostly been destroyed by that stage.

No one was injured.

It is thought that a short circuit was the most likely cause of the fire.

According to the Head of Technical Services at the research centre, Bambang Sukresno, staff had made repeated complaints to PLN about fluctuating voltage in the week before the fire.

He estimated the damage to have caused losses of in excess of Rp10 billion (US$1.15 million).

Around 40 computers, as well as satellite receivers, servers and research documents were destroyed. The centre employs around 50 people.

Jembrana Police and a team from the Bali forensics laboratory are investigating the fire.

Filed under: Headlines

‘VIPs’ to Pay More at Sanglah Hospital


The cost of accommodation for inpatients at Bali’s main Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar has risen, with hospital officials claiming the hikes were needed to cover increased overheads.

From April 1 the nightly cost of a top “VIP” room at the hospital has jumped from Rp800,000 (US$92) a night to Rp1 million (US$116), with increases of in the cost of other accommodation increasing by between Rp50,000 and Rp200,000 a night.

Sanglah finance director Dr A.A. Saraswati said increased running costs had prompted the hikes.

“For the VIP and international wings the rates have been in place since 2007 and haven’t been raised until now. In that period the cost of fuel has gone up several times, and so has the cost of electricity,” Saraswati said.

Saraswati explained that although Sanglah is a government hospital, the cost of VIP accommodation could be decided independently by the directors. Increases in the cost of other accommodation had to be approved by the Health Ministry, however.

While there are plans to raise prices for all accommodation at the hospital, these were still awaiting government approval, Saraswati said.

In addition to the rise in accommodation costs, the fee for a basic consultation in the hospital’s polyclinic has been raised from Rp65,000 to Rp100,000).

Filed under: Headlines

Friday, April 15, 2011

Global Social Change Film Festival – Ubud

by Barrie | April 12th, 2011  

I have always been a film buff much preferring indie and noir films to the regular crap churned out of the USA. I do have a few friends who are amateur filmmakers and no doubt the Global Social Change Film Festival will be right up their alley. Indeed, for those tourists in Bali who have a penchant for film and workshops related to the process will find this festival interesting.

The film showings and workshops will be at the ARMA Resort and Starbucks Ubud starting April 12 – 17, 2011. According to the website: The mission of the Global Social Change Film Festival and Institute is to support filmmakers to be effective social activists and support social activists to be engaging storytellers. This year’s inaugural focus is Global Women and Film. We feature international woman filmmakers as our honorees and keynote speakers in 2011.

For more information: http//

Prosecutors Seek 16 Years for Aussie Drug Suspect


Prosecutors at the Denpasar District Court requested a 16-year prison term on Tuesday for an Australian man arrested in possession of drugs in Bali.

Michael Sacatides, 43, had been facing a possible death sentence for allegedly bringing 1.7 kilos of methamphetamine into Bali on October 1 last year.

But prosecutor Ida Bagus Atmaja told the court that Sacatides — who had arrived for a holiday in Bali from the Thai capital Bangkok, where he was working as a kick-boxing instructor — had no prior convictions and therefore sought a lower sentence.

Demand: Michael Sacatides (right) in court on Tuesday with his translator. Photograph by Juliyusman Sine/The Bali Times

Sacatides’ lawyer, Erwin Siregar, said the prosecution had failed to prove the drugs belonged to his client. “Based on the facts in this trial, it has not been proven who is the owner of these drugs,” Siregar told the court.

The defendant claims he borrowed a suitcase the drugs were found in from an Indian man in Bangkok. Efforts to track down the Indian by Interpol, the international police organisation, have not been successful.

The trial resumes on April 19, with a verdict expected within a fortnight.

Three Australians are on death row in Bali for their roles in a 2005 drug-smuggling operation.

Filed under: Headlines

Suspected Suicide Attack at Java Mosque: Reports


Several people were wounded in a suspected suicide bomb attack during Friday prayers at an mosque in West Java province, reports said quoting police.

“We suspect it was a suicide bombing,” West Java police chief Suparni Parto told Elshinta radio after the blast at the mosque in Cirebon.

One man, the suspected bomber, was killed in the explosion.

Filed under: News Alerts

UPDATE: Islamic Lawmaker Quits Over Porn


A lawmaker from a conservative Islamic party resigned on Monday after he was photographed looking at pornography on his tablet computer in parliament.

Despite an outcry against him on Twitter, Arifinto insisted that nobody had pressured him to resign and that he was stepping down from the House of Representatives “for the sake of my and my party’s honour.”

“I will also improve myself by… reciting the Koran, seeking advice from clergy, giving alms to the poor and doing other good things to earn glory in this life and thereafter,” he said at a televised news conference.

Arifinto, who represents the conservative Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), was caught on camera on Friday looking at a pornographic image on the tablet, which he was holding just under his table in the legislative chamber.

The photograph, first posted on a local news website, sparked uproar on the Twitter microblogging site over the weekend and the House ethics committee launched an inquiry.

Arifinto had said he had unintentionally opened an email link that led to the image. But the photographer who took the shot said the lawmaker was watching a porn video.

Filed under: Headlines

Plague of Caterpillars Descends on Bali


A plague of poisonous caterpillars that have destroyed orchards and invaded homes in East Java in recent weeks has now reached Bali, officials say.

The caterpillars, which are believed to belong to the moth family, were first recorded in Buleleng regency, and have since been spotted in Tabanan and Denpasar.

Putu Mertha Jiwa of the Buleleng Agriculture Department said the caterpillars had been discovered in mango plantations in the north Bali regency.

Jiwa said that officials from the department would take measures to combat the infestations with pesticides. He warned residents to avoid touching the caterpillars.

“The caterpillars’ hair will cause intense itching of the skin,” he said.

The insects have been found in mango orchards in the Sawan and Gerokgak districts of Buleleng.  Nyoman Madra, a farmer from Tukadmungga village in Buleleng, said that he had first spotted the caterpillars last week.

“Because of their numbers, the mango leaves have started to fall off,” he said.

Filed under: Headlines

Indonesian Among Recipients of Environmental Award


An Indonesian clean-water activist was among six environmentalists from around the world to be given the prestigious Goldman Prize, the San Francisco foundation that administers the award announced on Tuesday.

The honour is given out each year to leading grassroots environmental activists from each of the world’s six geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.

The prize includes a US$150,000 cash award for each recipient.

Among the recipients this year was Prigi Arisandi, a biologist in Indonesia’s second city Surabaya who initiated a movement to stop industrial pollution from flowing into a local river that provides drinking water to three million people.

Local Pride: Prigi Arisandi.

In 2009 Bali-based environmentalist Yuyun Ismawati was awarded the prize for her recycling work.

Other recipients of the 2011 award were:

- Raoul du Toit in Zimbabwe, who spearheaded efforts to preserve his country’s dwindling black rhino population.

- Dmitry Lisitsyn of Russia, who fought to protect Sakhalin Island’s endangered ecosystems from the petrochemical industry.

- Ursula Sladek of Germany, who helped create the country’s first cooperatively-owned renewable power company to reduce its reliance on nuclear energy.

- Hilton Kelley of the United States, who is leading efforts for environmental justice for those hurt by last year’s BP oil spill along the Texas Gulf Coast.

- Francisco Pineda of El Salvador, who led a grassroots movement that stopped a gold mine from destroying the country’s already limited water resources.

The coveted prize was created in 1990 by civic leaders and philanthropists Richard Goldman, an insurance industry entrepreneur and his wife, Rhoda.

Winners are selected by an international jury after a confidential nomination process, from among candidates submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.

Filed under: Headlines

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Australian Drug Convict Weds in Prison


A member of the so-called Bali Nine gang of Australian drug smugglers married his Indonesian girlfriend in Kerobokan Prison on Monday.

Martin Stephens, 34, is serving a life sentence for his role in a 2005 attempt to smuggle 8.3 kilos of heroin from Bali to Australia.

His marriage to divorcée Christine Puspayanti, 33, whom met Stephens while visiting prisoners as part of religious work, was held at a church on the prison grounds, prison chief Siswanto said.

Three members of the Bali Nine are on death row and are awaiting the outcome to final appeals.

Filed under: Headlines

April 8-14, 2011

By Dr Robert Goldman

Longevity News and Review provides readers with the latest information in breakthroughs pertaining to the extension of the healthy human lifespan. These news summaries are compiled by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M;, a non-profit medical society composed of 24,000 physician and scientist members from 110 nations, united in a mission to advance biomedical technologies to detect, prevent and treat aging related disease and to promote research into methods to retard and optimise the human aging process. Dr Robert Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., D.O., FAASP, A4M Chairman, and Dr Ronald Klatz, M.D., D.O., A4M President, physician co-founders of the anti-aging medical movement, distil these headlines and provide their commentary.

Anti-Aging Lifestyle May Profoundly Extend Lifespan
In that previous studies have correlated a number of factors as contributors to disease, researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have completed a large-scale, long-term study suggesting that such disease factors also are predicative of longevity. Lars Wilhelmsen and colleagues analysed data from The 1913 Men epidemiological study, which began in 1963, when one-third of all the 50-year-old men residing in Gothenburg had a cardiovascular check-up. Every 10 years since, a new group of 50-year-olds has been called in, and those who were already taking part in the study have been given another check-up. The men born in 1913 were examined when they were 50, 54, 60, 67, 75 and 80 years of age. Of the 855 men who took part in the study from the start, 111 (13 percent) were still alive at the age of 90. The researchers found the following factors enabled the greatest chances of living to age 90:
• Do not smoke
• Consume moderate amounts of coffee
• At a good socioeconomic status at the age of 50 (measured in terms of housing costs)
• Engaged in good physical working capacity at the age of 54
• Low cholesterol at age 50
As well, the team reports that: “Variables of greatest importance at higher ages were low blood pressure and measures related to good cardiorespiratory function,” leading them to conclude that: “Low levels of cardiovascular risk factors, high socioeconomic status and good functional capacity, irrespective of parents’ survival, characterise men destined to reach the age of 90.”

Dr Klatz observes: Finding that disease factors also are predicative of longevity, this Swedish team reinforces the notion that following the tenets of the anti-aging lifestyle may be a predominant factor in prolonging how long, and well, you live.

Physical Activities Promote Wellbeing
Revitalising one’s mental and emotional health may be just a few footsteps away. Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (United Kingdom) researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 11 clinical studies involving 833 adult subjects, each of which assessed the effects of outdoor exercise initiatives against indoor activities and reported at least one physical or mental wellbeing outcome. The team found that most of studies involving outdoor-located  activities correlated to improvements in mental wellbeing: compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date. The team observes that: “[These findings add] significant weight to the case for spending more time in the natural environment as members of the public and their clinicians fight to counteract the negative outcomes of modern living, such as obesity and depression.”

Remarks Dr Goldman: People who engage in physical activities in the outdoor setting reduced feelings of tension, confusion, anger and depression. It is a simple and no-cost way to revitalize physical and mental health.

Tomato Compound Boosts Heart Health
Responsible for giving tomatoes their characteristic red colour, lycopene is a compound that has been shown by previous studies to exert beneficial effects on the heart, blood pressure, prostate and skin. Jong Ho Lee, from Yonsei University in South Korea, and colleagues enrolled 126 healthy men, average age 34 years and average body mass index of 24 kg/m2, in an eight-week study during which each subject received either a daily 6 milligram or 15 milligram supplement of lycopene, or placebo. At the end of the study period, among the participants  who received the lycopene supplement, researchers observed a significant increase in super oxide dismutase activity – a potent antioxidant enzyme, as well as reductions in measures of DNA damage in white blood cells. In addition, those subjects who received the daily lycopene also experienced reductions in systolic blood pressure and decreased levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP); CRP is a marker of inflammation and is suspected to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular-related events. The team concludes that: “An increase in serum lycopene after supplementation can reduce oxidative stress which may play a role in endothelial function.”

Comments Dr Klatz: Reporting that lycopene boosts the body’s natural antioxidant defences and protects against DNA damage, this team of Korean researchers reveals an important functional health role for this widely available fruit.

Anti-aging medicine is the fastest-growing medical specialty throughout the world and is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases.  It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans.  As such, anti-aging medicine is based on solid scientific principles of responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties.  The goal of anti-aging medicine is not to merely prolong the total years of an individual’s life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive and vital fashion.
Visit the A4M’s World Health Network website, at, to learn more about the A4M and its educational endeavors and to sign-up for your free subscription to Longevity Magazine™ e-Journal.

Filed under: Longevity News & Review

Hotels Near Legian Beach

by Barrie | April 8th, 2011  

When you discuss hotels to stay at on the tourist strip of Bali more often than not a lot of tourists prefer the hectic nightlife area of Kuta. However, just north of Kuta is Legian; less manic than Kuta and popular with families staying in Bali. It is Bali’s second most popular area for tourists. Another attraction is the white sandy beach.

Legian has an abundance of attractions and is an affordable area for families to stay as there are numerous restaurants and facilities to be found virtually everywhere. Legian is not short on nightlife but is less subdued than Kuta. It is a small area fronting the beach which stretches from Jalan Melasti where Kuta ends, north to Jalan Arjuna where Seminyak begins.

Here is an overview of some of the accommodation options situated on or close to Legian Beach:

Legian Beach Hotel
Bali Mandira
Padma Resort
Melasti Hotel
Samsara Hotel
Champlung Mas Hotel
Ramada Resort
Kumala Hotel
Three Brothers Inn
Bali Niksoma Resort
All Seasons Resort
Puri Raja Hotel
The Losari Hotel
Robins Place Bali

Islamic Lawmaker ‘Caught Watching Porn in Parliament’


A lawmaker from the conservative Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), faces an ethics investigation after he was photographed apparently watching porn on his tablet computer in parliament, an official said.

Arifinto was caught on camera on Friday looking at a pornographic image on the tablet, which he held slightly under his table, during a plenary session.

The photograph, first posted on a local news website, was picked up by other media and sparked a public outcry on the Twitter microblogging site over the weekend.

“Shameful. Just flog and stone (him). Improper!” user @benimonzieur tweeted.

The case is under investigation, House Ethics Council deputy chairman Nudirman Munir said on Sunday.

“We’re carrying out intensive verification to see he had indeed violated the code of ethics,” he said.

“If proven true, this is a serious violation as he would have ruined the image and dignity of parliament. It’s best that he resign, or face dismissal,” Munir added.

Arifinto however claimed he had unintentionally opened an email link that led to “pornographic images,” the Jakarta Globe reported.

“I stopped watching it and then erased it from my inbox,” he said.

The country has been scandalised in recent months by the online release of homemade sex videos involving three popular celebrities, fuelling proposals to filter the internet.

Canadian company Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry smartphones, started filtering porn in Indonesia in January at the demand of Communications and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring.

Sembiring is also a leader of the PKS, which is a member of the ruling coalition.

Filed under: Headlines

Hotels near Kuta Beach

by Barrie | April 8th, 2011  

Talk about Bali to anyone and instantly the word ‘Kuta’ is mentioned. This long stretch of beach has some excellent hotels located right on the beachfront. There is a huge range of accommodation available in Kuta; mostly in the budget and mid-range markets. Private villas are few and far between as Kuta just lacks the space for expansive private properties.

Kuta remains one of Indonesia’s major tourist destinations. It is known internationally for its long sandy beach, varied accommodation, many restaurants and bars. Prices are often negotiable especially outside of the peak seasons of July/August, Christmas, New Year and other obvious holidays. It is always best during peak seasons to book ahead.

Here is an overview of some of the accommodation options in Kuta situated on or close to the beach:

Kuta Beach Club
Santika Hotel
Inna Kuta Beach
Kuta Seaview Hotel
Bali Garden Hotel
Matahari Bungalows
Kartika Plaza Hotel
Hard Rock Hotel
Mecure Kuta hotel
Ramada Bintang Hotel
Bali Dynasty Hotel
Kuta Paradiso Hotel
Patra Bali Hotel
Ramayana Resort
The Vira Bali
Grand Istana Rama Hotel

Monday, April 11, 2011

In Bali, There’s Profit from Soul-Searching

Being a Hindu yogi once meant renouncing worldly pleasures for a life of solitary meditation and wandering the jungle in search of union with god, but today’s new-age yogis wander the globe from one retreat to another, stay in luxury hotels and preach to the converted masses through a headset microphone, writes Angela Dewan

At the BaliSpirit Festival last month, yogis sold their take on life – along with complementary DVDs – as visitors from as far afield as the United States, Australia and Europe lapped up expensive yoga apparel, mats and mala beads. Just stepping through the festival gates cost US$100 a day.

“I bought a gold pass for $500 and I find it hard to get $100 worth of yoga a day. At the same time, all the classes have been amazing, so in the end I’m happy to have paid that,” said Australian Jean Cameron, 39.

A 2008 study published by the Yoga Journal valued the yoga industry in the United States alone at almost $6 billion a year, with some more recent estimates for the global industry rising to $18 billion.

Bali is an obvious hub for yoga fanatics. The Balinese are Hindu, the island is rich with natural beauty and the government supports spiritual tourism including temple tours and visits to traditional healers.

Demand for such experiences spiked recently with the publication of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love – a romantic journey of self-discovery featuring a mystical encounter with a Balinese soothsayer.

Uma Inder, a Hatha yoga teacher, has witnessed the radical transformation of yoga in Bali. She moved from England to the island 22 years ago, spending her first seven years practising yoga alone in the jungle.

“In those days you didn’t talk about yoga and no one really knew about it. Nowadays, it’s a social buzz. It’s now talked about; it’s paraded; and it’s very much about entertainment,” Inder said.

Festival organiser Meghan Pappenheim makes no apologies for the commerciality of the event, and sees it as a positive way to draw more people to yoga.

“I’m the first to admit I’m an entrepreneur; I’m a capitalist. This event has a target market, and those are the people with the money who can go home and make a difference,” the New Yorker said.

“My philosophy is that you make money and then you give it away. You make enough to buy a phone and a nice car, and you give the rest away.”

Only four years old, the festival itself has yet to turn a profit. But Pappenheim and her Balinese husband, Kadek Gunarta, say they have used the yoga boom to raise $36,000 for charity through various events.

The festival has a sponsor, Fiesta condoms, which donated $25,000 for an HIV/AIDS outreach programme for Balinese high school students.

So far, Pappenheim and her husband have funded the festival from money they make from a collection of businesses, which include a yoga centre an art gallery, an eco-friendly furniture studio and a cafe.

Pappenheim is optimistic that the festival too will become profitable as attendance numbers double annually. This year, she estimates 4,000 people participated.

Filed under: LIFE

Doctors Debate Merit of Bypass in Heart Patients

Doctors debated the merits of bypass surgery to solve heart problems during a major cardiology conference this week, as studies suggested angioplasty and medication could be safe alternatives.

One study by South Korean researchers found similar survival rates among people who had balloon angioplasty, a less invasive technique for opening the arteries, and among patients who underwent open heart surgery for serious coronary disease.

A second US study presented at the American College of Cardiology conference raised questions about whether bypass surgery or medication is best, but found that early risks of surgery complications may even out over time.

In bypass surgery, vessels are taken from a patient’s arm or leg and sewn onto the heart to replace clogged ones. It is the most common method of treating people with left main coronary artery disease.

Doctors have long sparred over which method is best for treating the narrowing of the arteries that is the major cause of heart attacks, with heart failure afflicting more than six million people in the United States alone.

Angioplasty, a procedure to open blocked arteries, is less invasive than bypass surgery but can require more repeat procedures if the artery restricts again over time.

Huge improvements in medications to reduce cholesterol and improve heart function have also raised new questions about when surgery is the optimal choice.

The South Korean study involved a randomized clinical trial of 600 patients who received either angioplasty or bypass surgery, and showed similar survival rates and about the same number of major adverse events like heart attack and stroke after one year.

The PRECOMBAT trial’s findings were also published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study used a primary outcome measure combining four factors to measure safety and efficacy: death from any cause, heart attack, stroke, and and the need for further treatment to reopen arteries using TVR (target vessel revascularisation).

Death, heart attack and stroke rates were similar among the two groups.

Nine percent of patients in the angioplasty group experienced ischemia-driven TVR after two years, compared to 4.2 percent in the bypass group.

“The incidences of death, heart attack and stroke – which are indicators of safety and have a significant impact on mortality – were comparable,” said Seung-Jung Park, lead study author.

“Although angioplasty did have a higher risk of TVR, this efficacy endpoint does not have a direct association with mortality and thus has a less significant implication than the safety outcomes,” he added.

“Therefore we can conclude that angioplasty can be a feasible alternative to CABG (coronary artery bypass).”

However, he cautioned that the study was statistical in nature and “cannot be considered clinically directive.”

The second study, known as the STICH trial, also sparked debate among experts with its findings that overall survival was about the same among patients treated with medication alone for clogged arteries versus bypass patients.

The international study was conducted at 99 medical centers in 22 countries, with about 600 patients randomly assigned to the ideal medical therapy alone for their ailment and another 600 assigned to bypass surgery plus medication.

Overall survival rates were similar among the two groups, and while bypass survival was initially lower, the rate covered after the two-year post-operation mark.

Filed under: Health

Bali Railway on Track for 2014


A proposed railway line circuiting the Bali coast and intended to help relieve the island’s chronic traffic congestion may be operational by 2014, a government minister has claimed.

Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik said he hoped around half of the planned 560-kilometre line would be completed by the end of the current government’s term in 2014.

“If possible, at least half of the round-Bali railway ought to be finished by 2014. By the end of the current government half the line will be laid; the circle will be halfway complete,” Wacik told reporters.

The project for the line, which will run around the island and cost an estimated Rp7 trillion (US$810 million), is still at consultation stage, Wacik said.

“At the moment surveys and feasibility studies are being done by consultants from the Indonesian Railway Company (PT Kereta Api Indonesia).  But within the next three months they will release the plan, complete with the grand design and the budget projections,” he said, adding that both local and foreign investors were being sought to fund the project.

“For the full line around Bali, including the stations, the estimated cost is around Rp7 trillion. There are lots of private and foreign investors who are keen to get involved in this 560-kilometre rail project,” Wacik said.

Wacik said that the railway line was essential for Bali’s continued prosperity and future development.

“The political will is there because the south of Bali is full of hotels, residents and tourists. Also, the airport is too small, while the number of tourist arrivals is increasing. This railway will bring equality to the regions of Bali. It will bring a new tourist economy to the north of the island so that north and south Bali can both live,” he said, adding that special tourism packages would be developed around the railway.

“It will make it easier to deal with the foreign tourists who come to Indonesia, most of whom arrive in Bali,” he said.

Filed under: Headlines

‘Cow Valve’ Heart Implant Hailed as Breakthrough

A new type of heart valve made with cow tissue and inserted by catheter has been hailed as a major breakthrough that could eliminate the need for open heart surgery in some patients.

The method is aimed at high-risk patients who suffer from severe aortic stenosis, a clogged valve that impedes the pathway of oxygen-rich blood by making the heart work harder to pump blood through a narrowing opening.

The condition affects nine percent of Americans over 65. Without treatment, up to half of patients die within two years.

The technique of inserting the bioprosthetic valve through a tube in the artery is less invasive than conventional surgery and showed similar survival rates to conventional surgery, but also raised the risk of stroke and other major heart complications.

The research was part of the multi-year PARTNER study, the world’s first randomized trial comparing the two methods, and was showcased at the American College of Cardiology conference in New Orleans.

“The progress has been quite dramatic over several years,” said Craig Smith, chair of the Columbia University College of Physicians and co-principal investigator on the study.

The method lowered costs involved with rehospitalization in frail, elderly patients and was found to increase life expectancy by as much as 1.9 years, said the research.

The process is already being done in Europe but has yet to gain Food and Drug Administration approval in the United States, where the valve is considered an investigational device.

“You are all witnessing history in the making,” said David Moliterno, professor of medicine at the University of Kentucky.

“This probably will be seen as one of the biggest steps in cardiovascular medicine, as far as intervention is concerned, potentially in our lifetime,” said Moliterno, who was not involved in the study.

After balloon angioplasty and the invention of stents, “this will be seen as the next major turning point,” he said.

The study compared results among 699 patients with a median age of 84, who were randomly assigned to either transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve (AVR).

The TAVR process involves taking a wire mesh stent that holds three stitched-in valve flaps made of cow tissue, and inserting that into the heart via a catheter in a leg artery or under the rib cage.

The bioprosthetic, called the Edwards SAPIEN heart valve, is made by Edwards Lifesciences in California.

The valve is treated with an anti-calcium building agent that helps cut back on the causes of stenosis. It is not yet available on the US market.

Early results from the study at the 30-day marked favored the catheter insertion of the bioprosthetic, showing a death rate of 3.4 percent compared to 6.4 percent for the open heart surgery method.

Death rates evened out over time and were similar at one year.

Those in the catheter-group also saw lower risk of major bleeding (9.3 percent compared to 19.3 percent in surgery patients) and irregular heart rhythm (8.6 percent compared to 16 percent in the other group).

“These results clearly show that TAVR is an excellent alternative to surgical AVR in high-risk patients,” said Smith.

However, the new method carried significantly higher risk of “major vascular complications,” at a rate of 11 percent after TAVR compared to 3.2 percent in patients who underwent conventional surgery.

Major stroke risk was also higher in TAVR patients – 3.8 percent versus 2.1 percent at the 30-day mark and 5.1 percent versus 2.4 percent after one year.

Smith declined to elaborate about the suspected causes of stroke in patients who underwent TAVR, but said the subject was being studied and would be addressed at a future conference on thoracic surgery.

Both the valves typically used in open heart surgery and the type used in the TAVR method are made with cow tissue, or bovine flaps, but the open heart surgery valves are bulkier, Smith said.

The catheter-inserted valves are smaller in size but have a slightly larger opening than the heart surgery valves.

A next-generation device is being formulated that includes some improvements to the design and can be inserted through a smaller catheter, researchers said.

Filed under: Health

Power of Conviction May Trump Recipes for Success

My husband wants a new baby boy, she whispered, and when we saw her four months later she was precisely four months pregnant.

Dad-to-be Nyoman was pleased with himself. As the only son of his parents, the task of caring for the family’s many Hindu temples falls exclusively to him. And while he never complains, his own father’s comments about how busy the temples keep him got him thinking that this important role would eventually fall to his only son.

He decided his son needed a brother, a companion to share the responsibility and make the duty less lonesome. “I got the recipe to make a boy,” he announced. Well, we joked, you had better patent it and we can all get rich. “No, truly; I believe it. I knew my first child was a boy and I feel this one is, too.”

What’s the recipe, Nyoman? Either modesty or a sense of protecting age-old secrets prevented him from revealing the details, but we learned that he had consulted ancient Hindu scriptures to uncover the technique for creating a male baby. We imagined his wife in all manner of weird positions, using special lotions and potions and making dedicated prayers and offerings. We were intrigued, but Nyoman wasn’t talking.

We hope the recipe works. A good omen is that his young daughter is convinced she will get a baby brother and has already named him Daniel Nyoman April. “We can’t name him April because he will arrive in August,” Dad explained. But the little girl was firm. She and her older brother, both born in April, had the Balinese word for April in their names and their new brother would have it, too.

The endearing logic and determination of children, and faith in their own decisions, is a global characteristic that knows no boundaries of race or culture, just as the inexplicable and illogical superstition of adults everywhere leaves you flabbergasted.

“Do you believe in black magic?” the housekeeper had asked two years ago. “My baby has already been ‘hit’ two times by black magic.” Did it work? “I don’t know.”

Just this week the same child, now aged four, was running a fever. Her mother had been unwell for a week. The little girl was taken to a doctor of western medicine and prescribed a syrup. We explained, again, the importance of fluid intake for sufferers of fever. “She doesn’t want to drink.” We explained again the risk of dehydration. “She doesn’t want to drink.” The prospect of making a Balinese child do something it mightn’t want to, even to protect its health, seems alien to the island’s young parents.

Less than 18 hours after the medicine was prescribed, when the fever had not instantly retreated and when the child was still refusing to take liquids, the mother announced the child would be taken to a balian – a practitioner of traditional magic.

The balian’s solution was to sprinkle the child’s head with holy water and instruct mum to make a special offering at temple. Did it work? The mother perceived that it worked for a short while, and then the fever raged again. Take her back to the doctor, we urged. “Yes, I will go the doctor this afternoon and to the balian in the morning.” An each-way bet, we thought, was an acceptable outcome.

What did the doctor say? we asked the next day. “My neighbour told me not to go again to the doctor, only to the balian.” But your neighbour is the balian, we protested to this normally sensible young woman. She shrugged and turned away.

As it transpired, the balian was far too busy to afford the mother and child any worthwhile time. He managed just a few seconds to advise that his initial treatment had not worked because, since he’d administered it, someone had practised magic around their home and they should come back tomorrow. Nice work, if you can get it.

Come on, we prompted, you were both sick before someone made magic at your home. Blank look. What was even harder to take was the mother’s fear and anxiety as she told the story. Clearly, the balian’s prognosis was enough to make her so sick with worry that she, too, would need a series of costly consultations while her child continued to dehydrate.

In fairness, I have to recall my grandmother’s horror if we opened an umbrella inside a home, wore the colour green, hung a new annual calendar on a wall before the start of a new year or put shoes on a surface other than a floor. Each action was mysteriously believed to bring bad luck. I smiled to myself about the shoes when our housekeeper resolutely advised that the extraneous bath mat that had been delivered with our laundry must not be used to dry my hair – because feet had already trodden on it.

Perhaps there are commonalities to the genesis of superstitions around the world. It’s a thought-provoking prospect and it’s far more fathomable than a family’s readiness to risk the health of a child for a neighbour’s gain. A preference for traditional medicine is acceptable; blatantly commercialised voodoo that preys on fear is not.

LCFiled under: ILAND

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Damning Time Article Demonstrates Govt Failure: Pastika


Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has responded to an unflattering article about Bali in Time magazine by admitting that the provincial government had failed to maintain Bali’s image, while Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik blamed the weather for the island’s problems.

The article, Holidays in Hell: Bali’s Ongoing Woes, lists a litany of woes caused by poorly regulated tourism development in Bali, from crumbling infrastructure and dirty beaches to an upsurge in violent crime targeting foreigners.

It said Bali was suffering from “uncollected trash, overflowing sewage-treatment plants and traffic so bad that parts of the island resemble Indonesia’s gridlocked capital Jakarta.”

Responding to the article, Pastika said it would be wrong for politicians and tourism leaders in Bali to take a defensive approach.

“What are we supposed to do if the facts are undeniably like that?” he said.

“We’re judged by other people, not by ourselves, and clearly there has been a failure on the part of the Bali provincial government in maintaining the image of tourism and providing comfortable facilities.”

The article mentioned Pastika’s recent moratorium on new hotel developments in southern Bali, but expressed scepticism over the effectiveness of such a move.

Pastika said that claims that the article was a deliberate attempt to discredit Bali were unfounded.

“There’s no need to say prejudicial things like that. Time magazine is a credible media, read by people all over the world,” he said, adding that a more positive response would be to take swift action to address the problems listed in the article.

Pastika said that in many places Bali was indeed dirty and congested, and he did not contest the article’s description of “dunes of surf-tossed garbage” on Kuta Beach.

“We also need to change the mind-set of society when it comes to just throwing litter all over the place,” he said.

Pastika admitted that such high-profile negative coverage would have an impact on Bali, but said that he had coordinated with the Bali Tourism Board to seek long- and short-term solutions to the problems. He called on all parties to work hard to restore Bali’s image.

“If we want Bali to be known as a paradise island, it needs to be like paradise. That’s a goal we all need to work on together,” he said.

In Jakarta, meanwhile, Minister Wacik said high winds rather than poor governance were responsible for Bali’s dirty beaches, claiming that litter was blown onshore from elsewhere. He dismissed the Time article as an exaggeration.

“In the end the tourists will come back,” he said.

Bali Tourism Agency chief Ida Bagus Subhiksu up to 300 garbage trucks a day were needed to collect rubbish in the Kuta area.

“We are not closing our eyes. It’s true that we have a waste problem. In Kuta, there will be more garbage trucks designated for the area as extra funding for waste management there has been approved,” he said.

He added that much of the litter on the beaches came from islands outside Bali.

Visitor numbers to Bali are growing – 2.3 million foreign tourists came last year and 2.5 million are expected this year.

Filed under: Headlines

Friday, April 8, 2011

Indian ‘Living God’ Sai Baba in Critical Condition


One of India’s best-known spiritual leaders, famous for his apparent miracles and long list of influential followers, is on life support in a southern hospital.

Intensive Care: Satya Sai Baba.

Satya Sai Baba, 85, who has devotees in more than 100 countries, was admitted to a hospital funded by his organisation in the town of Puttaparthi with lung and chest congestion on March 28.

His condition has since deteriorated and he is now on a ventilator and is receiving kidney dialysis, the most recent health bulletin from the hospital said on Tuesday.

He remains “critical,” although his “level of consciousness has considerably improved” and his vital systems are “stable,” said the update from the Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences.

Thousands of followers have begun arriving in Puttaparthi, home to Sai Baba’s ashram in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, with many agitated by conflicting information given out by local authorities.

Government officials have sought to play down the seriousness of his condition, while police are preventing groups from gathering in the town, according to local reports.

The wild-haired leader has a following of millions in India and abroad, many of whom believe him to be a living god, and the reincarnation of the great spiritual guru, Sai Baba of Shirdi, who died in 1918.

The guru, who claims to have performed several miracles including bringing men back to life, counts former Indian prime ministers, top businessmen and even the country’s cricketers among his devotees.

His organisation funds health and education projects in India, including a string of hospitals that claim to be able to cure ailments beyond the capabilities of mainstream medicine.

He and Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, the so-called “hugging saint” of Kerala, are the best known of thousands of Hindu ascetics.

The swami’s birth in Andhra Pradesh is shrouded in mystery.

One hagiographical account by a biographer claimed the mysterious sounding of drums signalled his impending birth.

In his teens he is said to have begun singing verses in Sanskrit, a language of which he had no prior knowledge, and then became able to materialise flowers and sweets to the astonishment of observers.

His devotees also credit him with an ability to remember his past lives, a frequent claim of Indian holy men, and he is believed to produce sacred ash every day.

His work in education and health have won him widespread acclaim and respectability, but his reputation has also been damaged by allegations of sexual abuse and paedophilia.

A BBC programme in 2004 called The Secret Swami featured interviews with former followers who claimed Sai Baba took advantage of them. The allegations were denied by the spiritual leader’s organisation.

Filed under: Headlines