Denpasar Bali Profile


DENPASAR
Municipal city

Denpasar covers 125,42 square kilometers of land with an elevation ranging from 12 to 75 meters above sea level , and consisting of 3 kecamatan. The Kecamatan of East Denpasar, South Denpasar , and West Denpasar. The population of Denpasar is about 360,000 people. Even thought the town is relatively busy, especially its crisscrossing traffic, the atmosphere in this town remains pleasant because of the relaxed Bali influence. The average temperature in this town is 28 degrees Celcius, the humidity varies between 60 and 97%

Denpasar Places of interest

· SAKENAN TEMPLE
Is built in the 13 Th Century by a holy priest namely : ” Dang hyang Dwijedra ” on a small island very close to the Benoa Harbour and Nusa Dua Local outrigger sailing canoes can be hired from sanur for an hour’s scenic sail down the coast, or motorized canoes . Now, it can be reached through a roadway in approximately 15 minutes to the east of Kuta

· JAGAT NATHA TEMPLE
One of the most beautiful temples of Denpasar is the Central Pura Jagat Natha, at the Northeast corner of puputan Square. This temple comes alive at the full moon ceremony, when worsppiers from all over the city gather to bring offerings and devotions. On the main street of Denpasar, its restful sahede and gnarled frangipani trees offer a welcome contrast to the hubbub of city traffic. Also, you’ll find the market temple, Pura Melanting, where busy vendors pause to make their offerings for a prosperous day.

MUSEUM BALI
On the eastern side of the historic Puputan Square in Denpasar is the Museum of Bali, built by the Ducth in 1932. The Original collection was put together with the assistance of a German painter. Well apportioned exhibition halls display an excellent collection of Balinese artifacts from prehistoric to contemporary times, including weapons, dance costumes, Ming ceramic, cloth and paitings.

· BENOA
Just north of the Nusa Dua complex, takes one on to the narrow peninsula of land, which terminates in the small village of Benoa. From the concrete pier, you can see over the Serangan Island, lying low on the water. From this fishing village, people can depart daily by the Cruise ship . Out in the bay , is an anchorage for ocean – going yachts and The Bali International Yachts also has a base here.

· SANUR
On the Eastern coastline, sheltered by the coral reef, the waves here are much gentler than other areas of Bali. Sanur is a multitude of contrasts. As in the past , Fisherman still wander the beach and the colourful outrigger canoes can be hired for sailing trips along the coast and outlying island. In the last two decades the once sleepy village of Sanur has become an elite international resort with huge hotel complexes offering first class accommodations and every modern facility to visiting tourists.

· WERDI BUDAYA
Was built in 1973 to the design of the prominent Balinese architect. Ida Bagus Tugur, as a showplace for Bali’s performing and fine arts. Strategically situated on Jalan Nusa Indah, Abian Kapas, Denpasar, the Art Center has three art galleries, including one permanent pavilions, including the huge open stage and arena, Ardha Chandra. Local artist,dance and drama groups, and the music school, STSI , all utilize the seminar and exhibition halls on regular basis. Since 1979, the Festival pf the Arts has been instigated as an manual fixture at the Art Cente

Denpasar is the bustling commercial heart of Bali. JI. Gajah Mada is the main street, running east-west. It changes names to JI. Dr. Wahidin to the west and JI. Surapati to the east. The center of commercial activity is on JI. Diponegoro and JI. Teuku Umar. Prices in US dollars. AC = Air conditioning. Telephone code is 0361.

The airport taxi co-op counter is outside customs, near “left luggage”. The set fare is Rp35,000 to Denpasar. Buy a ticket at the counter for the sedan taxis. To take a bemo, walk out to the main road as far as the impressive white charioteer statue on the corner (about 1.5 km). From there, flag down a blue bemo van-it will take you down to “bemo corner” in Kuta for Rp1.500, where you can get another bemo to Denpasar. Metered taxis operate outside the airport-make sure they start the argometer before you take off.

DENPASAR

Traffic is heavy and streets are often jammed during peak season. The four-wheeled bemos serve the inner city, while the four-wheeled versions serve the suburban terminals. Fare for a terminal to terminal journey is Rp 1,000. Bemos can also be chartered for jaunts around town, but it’s easier and more economical to take the Praja (orange, phone 289090), Pan Wirthi (green, Phone 723366) or Bali Taxi (blue Phone 701111), Kowinu Taxi (Brown 773030) metered taxis. Fare at flag fall is Rp3,000; minimum fare for ordering by phone is Rp6,000. Taxi-motorcycles (ojek) are available. You can hire a dokar (horse cart) for about Rp.10,000 per km. However, the best way to get around Denpasar is on foot. The city is relatively small and you’ll want to look in the shops anyway. For tourist services see Travel Advisory.

Eating out in Denpasar

Denpasar is a great place for all styles of Indonesian and Chinese food. Prices are very reasonable. Many good restaurants are found on JI. Teuku Umar, JI. Sumatra and on JI. Veteran, near the Satria bird market. Also check out the night markets and food centers.

Ayam Baker Taliwang JI. Teuku Umar. Spicy hot Sasak (Lombok) style cuisine. Specialties: plecingkangkung(swamp spinach) and grilled chicken.
Bundo Kanduang JI. Diponegoro 112 A, near Kerta Wjaya Shopping Center. Best Padang food in town: open 24 hrs.
Rumah Makan Sumatra is another Padang option, JI. Teuku Umar 88X.
Hong-Kong Restaurant JI. Gajah Mada 99. The local favorite for Chinese food. Or, try Rasa Sayang on JI. Teuku Umar, a popular place for great Chinese fare, including seafood.
Kak Man JI. Teuku Umar. Authentic Balinese food in a Bali kitch setting.
Gula Lunak, JI. Teuku Umar 120, for Balinese food in a nice atmosphere and outdoor seating option.
Balinese chicken is a specialty at Warung Satria, Jl. Kedondong 11A, Phone 235993, and JI. Tunjung Sari 65. They open at 9am and 10am respectively.
Or, try the suckling pig at Warung Nasi Gemah Ripah, JI. Supratman 118.
Ikan Bakar Rica on JI. Teuku Umar is known for its seafood and Manadonese menu.
Mie Ayam Jakarta JI. Veteran. Famous for its Chinese mie (noodles) and bakwan (meatball) soups.
Prambanan Restaurant JI. Hayam Wuruk 30XX, next to the RRI radio station. Great Javanese food in a beautiful wooden building.
Soto Ayam Suroboyo JI. Veteran, near Satria bird market. Specializes in soto (chicken soup) and other East Javanese dishes, such as ayam kampung goreng and ayam kampung bakar (free range fried and grilled chicken). And go to Warung Sate Muslim on JI. Thamrin for the best sate in town.
There are three good restaurants on Jalan Sumatra (near the Corsica newsstand). Betty, at no. 56, serves Indonesian favorites such as mie goreng and frogs legs for a couple of dollars.
Mie 88, at no. 88, has delicious Chinese meat balls and the Depot Kikel at no. 40-42, has good Javanese soto soup.

Night Markets and Food Centers

For an authentic local experience check out one of Denpasar’s night markets (pasar malam), where you sit out under the stars and eat at small food stalls. Open from sunset to 10 pm. The biggest is at Kereneng terminal, another is outside the Kumbasari shopping center. The food is mostly Javanese and Balinese.
For the whole range of local food in a cleaner, if less exotic, environment try the food centers, located in the city’s supermarkets (see below).

Shopping in Denpasar : Denpasar is where Balinese villagers come for all their day-to-day necessities. Most shops close at 1 pm, re-open 6 pm-10 pm.

Markets and Supermarket
Pasar Badung is Bali’s biggest traditional market. Located on the eastern bank of the Badung river, it is in the heart of the city. The first floor has fresh produce, flower offerings and spice vendors. The third floor has textiles, dance costumes and traditional accessories. At Denpasar’s supermarkets and department stores prices are fixed and cheap, and quality is high. The main ones are: Tiara Dewata, Ramayana at Bali Mall, Matahari, Libi, Siwa, Kerta Wijaya, Atfa, Dharma, and New Dewata Ayu.
For a good one-stop-shop, visit the Indonesian Export Gallery on the 3rd floor of Bali Mall Ramayana on JI. Diponegoro for paintings, handicrafts, home furnishings, batik and souvenirs.

Textiles –
Check out our Bali products page
Modem textiles. Kampung Arab, JI. Sulawesi; or Toko Yadnya, JI. Gajah Mada. Tailored clothes at Alus, JI. Gajah Mada; or Adhie, JI. Sumatra.
Traditional textiles. Lestari on the ground floor of the Lokitasari shopping center, JI. Thamrin, sells traditional songket fabric directly from the loom. Danar Hadi, at the same shopping center, sells fashionable batiks from Java. Take a look at Surya Jaya, JI. Gajah Mada 128, for ikat. Kumbasari market, on the west bank of the river, also has a wide variety of songket and batik materials.

Handicrafts end Antiques
Check out our Bali products page
Pasar Kumbasari and Pasar Badung have all sorts of Balinese crafts for reasonable prices. Satria Art Market specializes in handicrafts. Also try the craft shops on JI. Sulawesi and JI. Gajah Mada. For genuine antiques, visit Arts of Asia, behind Lokitasari shopping center, JI. Thamrin 27-37 .

Gold and Silver
Check out our Bali products page
JI. Hasanuddin and JI. Sulawesi are full of gold shops. Prices are comparable to Singapore or Hong Kong; the gold is 22-24 carat. Check out the Balinese jewelry made of beaten gold on the second floor of the Kumbasari market. Mega Art shop, JI. Gajah Mada 36-38, has silver jewelry.

Coffee
Balinese coffee makes a great souvenir. Toko Bhinneka Jaya, JI. Gajah Mada 80, is the biggest producer and distributor of coffee in Bali. $3 per kilo for robusta; $4 per kilo for arabica.

Banks. These banks process advances against your credit card for 5% commission. Take your passport. Bank Central Asia (MasterCard), JI. Hasanuddin 58, Phone 431012; Bank International Indonesia is the Western Union agent, Jl. Dewi Sartika (Phone 234306).
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). These machines are abundant and found in front of nearly every bank. Shopping centers typically have several different banks’ machines. Most accept banking cards linked to international networks.

The Balinese swarm to Denpasar for cultural attractions, so be prepared to be caught in a big crowd of locals. On the eve of the Nyepi day (Balinese new year), usually in March, hundreds of ogoh-ogoh papier mach monsters are carried along the streets of the city. This extraordinary torchlit cavalcade is reminiscent of a small scale South American carnival.
Bali’s annual arts festival is held from mid June to mid-July at the Art Center off J1. Hayam Wuruk. A month of dance, discussions and exhibitions. The Art Center also holds daily kecak dances at 6:30 pm. Barong performances at Kesiman at 9:30 pm.

Museum : Beautiful collections of terracotta, carvings, painting and ceremonial costumes are found at the Bali Museum (Phone 222680), on the eastern side of Puputan Square. Open Mon-Thurs 7:30 am-2 pm, Fri till 11 am, Sat until 12:30 pm. Closed Sunday.

Hospitals – Medical. Sanglah General Hospital, JI. Kesehatan Selatan 1, Sanglah, Denpasar. Switchboard / Emergency, Phone 227911/5. Kasih Ibu, JI. Teuku Umar 120 Phone 223036. Surya Husada, JI. Pulau Serangan 13 Phone 233787. These smaller hospitals are a little less daunting than the enormous general hospital and tend to provide a quicker, more personal service.

Pharmacy. Apotik Kimia Farma, JI. Diponegoro 123-125, Phone 227811.

Opticians. International Optical, J1. Gajah Mada 133, Phone 426294; Lily Kasoem, JI. Teuku Umar 74XX, Phone 238405; Optik Seis, JI. Thamrin 52, Phone 437467; Tiara Optical, JI. Mayjen Sutoyo 55 at Tiara Dewata shopping center, Phone 235733.

Postal services. The central post office is on A. Raya Puputan, Renon. Open 8 am-8 pm. Other post offices: JI. Diponegoro, near Teuku Umar crossroads; Jl. Kamboja, near Kereneng terminal; JI. Supratman.

Telecommunications (Wartel). The main telecommunications (telkom) office is at JI. Teuku Umar 6. Open 8 am-8 pm. Other telkom offices: JI. Raya Puputan in Renon and JI. Kaliasem, near Puputan square. Smaller wartels are scattered throughout the city.

Massage. Masseurs in Denpasar are more professional than those at Kuta. Sari Ayu, JI. Nusa kambangan 35XX is a traditional salon.

Movies and Nightlife. Wisata Cineplex, JI. Thamrin (Phone 423024) has 5 screens. Galeria cinema 21 , phone 0361 767021 for the most up to date movies playing. Check out their web site with movie schedules, you will love the midnight movies -playing saturday nights.. I just love to watch Midnight in this cinema – click here
There’s also the Kumbasari, J1. Gajah Mada. Check the Bali Post for details. The Citra discotheque is on the top floor of the Kumbasari building. Filled with local youth.

Photo Processing. Tati Photo at JI. Sumatra and Fuji Image Plaza at J1. Thamrin are quite professional. Have your portrait taken wearing a Balinese outfit at Tati or Fuji Professional Photo, JI. Diponegoro 89 (Phone 226965), which is also the best slide processor on the island, with one-day service.

Newspapers. The Jakarta Post and Indonesian Observer are widely available English language dailies.

Language Courses. balinese language training. visit http://www.kecak.com for more info about course and online booking.
Courtesy: Bali for You

Iran hails Hamas victory

Iran hails Hamas victory

Thursday 26 January 2006, 17:06 Makka Time, 14:06 GMT

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal was in Iran last month

AFP/ALJAZEERA

Iran has congratulated the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas for its election victory and praised voters for choosing “to continue the struggle and resistance against occupation”.

Hamid Reza Asefi, the foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement on Thursday faxed to journalists:”The Islamic republic of Iran congratulates Hamas and all the Palestinian soldiers and the great Islamic people.”

Iran and Hamas are allies and declared in December that they represented a “united front” against Israel. “The Palestinians have voted for the resistance and have shown their loyalty,” Asefi said.

“The result of these elections will reinforce the unity of the Palestinian people in defending their rights. The massive participation of the Palestinians shows their will to continue the struggle and resistance against occupation.”

Although Iran is a vocal supporter of Hamas – as well as the Palestinian resitance group Islamic Jihad and the Lebanese Shia movement Hizb Allah – the clerical regime denies allegations it finances these groups.

Allies

But on 15 December, Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas political chief said during a visit to the Iranian capital that his group would step up attacks against Israel if the Jewish state took military action against Iran over its disputed nuclear programme.

“The Palestinians have voted for the resistance and have shown their loyalty”

Hamid Reza Asefi, Iranian Ministry spokesman

“Just as Islamic Iran defends the rights of the Palestinians, we defend the rights of Islamic Iran. We are part of a united front against the enemies of Islam,” Meshaal said during the visit.

“Each member of this front defends itself with its own means in its region. We carry the battle in Palestine. If Israel launches an attack against Iran, we will expand the battlefield in Palestine,” he said.

Anti-occupation

“We are part of a united front, and if one member of this front is attacked it is our duty to support them,” he added, also praising Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, for his “courageous” anti-Israeli stance.

Since sweeping to power in a shock election win last June, Ahmadinejad has embarked on an all-out verbal assault against Israel.

He has labelled the Jewish state as a “tumour” that should be “wiped off the map” or moved as far away as Alaska, and has branded the Holocaust a “myth”.

Google Earth in Mac

Google Earth in a Mac world (PC too)

by Chikai Ohazama, Google Earth Team

We feel like proud parents around here. Our eldest, Google Earth for the PC, is officially leaving beta status today, and we couldn’t be more pleased. For those of you who downloaded early, upgrade to the latest and discover Google Earth all over again.

And we have a brand new member of the family — Google Earth for Macintosh. We’re happy to finally have some good news for the, ahem, vocal Mac enthusiasts we’ve been hearing from. Let’s just say that we have gotten more than a few “requests” for a Mac version of Google Earth. They’ve gone something like this:

1) “When is it coming out? Your website says that you are working on it.”

2) “You know, Mac users are very heavy graphics/mapping/visualization/design/ architecture/education/real estate/geocaching/social-geo-video-networking fans who would certainly use Google Earth a lot.”

3) “So when is it coming out?”

We heard you loud and clear. The Mac version runs on OS X 10.4 and up. Happy travels throughout Google Earth, whether you’re on a Mac or a PC.

Kintamani Bali

KINTAMANI

Kintamani is great for day trips, trekking or simply for getting away from it all for a few days. At Penelokan you can view the panorama of Mount Batur set in a huge volcanic crater basin. Stop here on the way to Singaraja to climb to peaceful Pura Tegeh Kuripan. Try to arrive at Kintamani in the morning, as it’s often overcast in the afternoon, especially during the rainy season.
Prices in US dollars. Telephone code is 0366.

Kintamani

There are two possible options for staying near Lake Batur: up on the ridge or down inside the crater. The villages within the crater tend to have a rather unpleasant atmosphere with a lot of people hassling you. The views, however, are stunning. The main reason to spend the night in the crater is to climb Mt. Batur at dawn.

There are several attractions from Penelokan, starting with the view from the crater rim toward Lake Batur. Rim temples include Pura Ulun Danu Batur and Pura Tegeh Kuripan, both on the main road. A visit to the crater might include a boat trip to the traditional village of Trunyan, the lava fields, the hot spring at Toya Bungkah, or climbing Mt. Batur.

The best way to visit the crater is with your own transportation or chartered minibus. Walking is possible, but distances are long and the descent into the crater is very steep. You might want to finish your visit with a dip in the lake.

Penelokan and the crater villages are rather “un-Balinese” with vendors hassling you and people approaching you in the street to book accommodations.

There’s a local authority charge of Rp550 per person for any car with tourists crossing into the region, plus Rp250 for the car. A similar fee is charged in Toya Bungkah.

Kintamani is the end-point of several tour itineraries heading up from the lower rice plain in the south. Most buses come up the good, scenic road via Tampaksiring, with stops on the way at Goa Gajah, Gunung Kawi and Tirta Empul, then going back down through Bangli and Pura Kehen. But there are other interesting routes. One leads from Peliatan in the Ubud area through the wood-carvers’ villages of Tegallalang, Pujung and Sebatu. The views along the way are superb. Other roads from Ubud to

Kintamani run through Payangan or from Denpasar through the Sangeh monkey forest, Plaga and Lampu, arriving to the north of Kintamani.

Bemos to Kintamani are available from Ubud via Sakah (notable for its huge “Baby” statue). They also run via Tampaksiring and Bangli.

From Denpasar bemos leave for Kintamani from the Batubulan terminal until late afternoon. The normal fare from Batubulan is Rp2,000 and from Singaraja Rp4,000. Rent a motorbike or car if you want to explore the great back roads in the Kintamani area.

Shuttle buses which run between Ubud and Singaraja stop in Penelokan. From Ubud $4.50-$7, from Singaraja $9-$11.

Alternatively, you can also join a day tour and ride up in air conditioned comfort, lunch included. On such tours, however, you will only see the view of Penelokan and then return, missing the caldera and the lake down the Kedisan road.

Charter bemos from Penelokan to Kedisan cost Rp5,000; Kedisan to Toya Bungkah Rp. 1,000 by bemo or Rp.20,000-Rp.25,000 for charter bemo, depending on your bargaining skills.

To Trunyan from Kedisan

Down inside the caldera you can cross to the lake village of Trunyan either from Kedisan or from Toya Bungkah. Be warned that the people here can be quite aggressive and the government has long advised tour operators not to send tourists to Trunyan.

In Toya Bungkah, the normal “tourist” price is $16 (including insurance) for the round trip for a ful I boat of seven. Don’t expect to pay the local price. In Kedisan, the round trip costs about $20 per boat, with a price per person decreasing to $3 per person is the boat is full. If you are tired of bargaining hassles, simply hike around the crater to Trunyan.

Eating In Kintamani

The better places are attached to the hotels in Penelokan up on the calderas and down in Toya Bungkah by the hot springs. Penelokan has choices ranging from very simple and cheap places with good local food to big fancy restaurants, which cater to tour groups from the expensive hotels on the coast.

The local lake fish is a tasty variety called be mujahir, available fried or grilled. It’s best fried crisp-more of the fish is edible.

A good place for lunch (and one of the few on the rim open for evening meals) is the Lakeview. Prices here are moderate, but they are geared up for tour group buffet lunches.

The Batur Garden Restaurant has an interesting menu of Chinese and Indonesian dishes, as well as Western bar drinks. Friendly and reasonably priced. Lunch only.

Gunawan Restaurant is very popular with a great view on the edge of the crater. There are many other giant, palatial restaurants on the other side of the street, but most overlook South Bali. Buffet or menu. Great mujahir soup. Approx. Rp 7000 per entree; buffet $4.50, plus 21% tax.

Down in the crater at Toya Bungkah, most losmen have small restaurants (warung), and new eating places are springing up all the time. Our recommendation is Nyoman Mawa’s Under The Volcano. His lake fish with homemade sambal matah is worth the trip to the mountains alone.

Kintamani Activities
Check out our Activities & holiday Page

If you’ve always wanted to walk around inside the crater of an active volcano, here’s your chance. Mt. Batur is 1,717 m high, but the upper cone itself is only several hundred meters above the level of the lake and can be climbed and descended in a few hours. At the top, there’s a warm crust of ground over the cauldron. Be sure to hire a guide, as it can be dangerous.

Each home stay can recommend a guide. Under the Volcano has guides for $12 per person; other home stays charge $18-$19.

It’s best to start very early in the morning, around 4 am: it’s cool and you’re likely to see a wonderful sunrise. Your guide will probably find you before you find him. Choose someone friendly who is not charging a ridiculous amount of money: $4-5 is a fair price. Gede at Gede’s Trekking near Kintamani market is a helpful contact. Another professional trekking guide service is Panorama Tourist Services, located near the Toya Bungkah Hot Spring. They also organize other trekking trips in the area.

There are several well-marked approaches to Batur. From Pura Jati, near Kedisan (where a large sign announces “Klim Prom Here-Please Polow, Wite Plag”), and from Toya Bungkah where the climb up and back takes about three hours. The latter route is notably easier.

Wear high-top shoes: the slopes are covered with fine dust. Other necessary supplies are drinking water and a snack or two. On reaching the summit your guide will boil some eggs (in the sand) and make coffee. If you’re fortunate, a great view stretching all the way to Lombok will be revealed as the sun rises.

Going down is much easier than climbing up and it’s possible to take another route down, via the hot spring at Toya Bungkah. Ask your guide to have a car ready to bring you back to the original starting point once you get down. The spring, set in a concrete pool, is not overly spectacular. Entrance is $1
This trip is not recommended during the rainy season (November-April).

There’s a good new road that circles the volcano rim from Penulisan east to Pinggan and Blandingan, where it comes to a dead end. Another route is to drive past Toya Bungkah to Songan and follow the sign west to Air Mampeh. The road leads to Penelokan through the caldera behind Batur. It is sometimes difficult to pass because of volcanic sand and stones

HOT SPRINGS

The public bathing spot at the Toya Bungkah Hot Springs is free and frequented mostly by Indonesians. There is now a large swimming facility, Tirta Sanjiwani, set in a lovely garden just above the lake. Two hot spring pools plus a huge regular swimming pool. You can take a personal spa for $25, including a massage in your own little spa and bale. $10 adults, $7.50 children.

Bin Laden Audio Tape

Bin Laden offers truce but says US faces defeat
Email Print Normal font Large font January 21, 2006

AdvertisementTHE voice of Osama bin Laden has been heard for the first time in more than a year saying new attacks in the United States were being prepared but offering a “long-term” truce if US forces withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Addressing the American public on an audiotape delivered to the al-Jazeera television network, the al-Qaeda leader noted anti-war sentiment in the US and said a withdrawal would allow the two sides in the conflicts to “enjoy security and stability”.

The Bush Administration quickly rejected Bin Laden’s offer. “We do not negotiate with terrorists. We put them out of business,” said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. Vice-President Dick Cheney said: “It sounds to me like it’s some kind of ploy. This is not an organisation that’s ever going to sit down and sign a truce. I think you have to destroy them.”

On the tape, Bin Laden says the US defeat is inevitable. “Don’t let your strength and modern arms fool you. They win a few battles but lose the war. Patience and steadfastness are much better. We were patient in fighting the Soviet Union with simple weapons for 10 years,” he said, referring to the 1980s war in Afghanistan, “and we bled their economy and now they are nothing. In that there is a lesson for you.”

US intelligence analysts had judged the tape to be authentic, an intelligence official said. Bin Laden speaks in a low voice; the sound quality is generally poor. The tape ended speculation his long silence meant he was dead.

It is the first time since December 2004 that a recording of Bin Laden’s voice has surfaced. The intervening 13 months was the longest stretch of silence from Bin Laden since before the September 11, 2001 attacks.

During that period, Bin Laden’s prominence in Islamic radical circles had been eclipsed by two other figures: his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian fighter and insurgent leader in Iraq.

Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s leading theoretician and political strategist, has released at least eight recorded statements in the past year, including a tape last September in which he sought to quash rumours that bin Laden was dead or incapacitated.

Zarqawi, an occasional rival who has irked al-Qaeda’s original leadership with some of his tactics, regularly releases internet statements and claimed responsibility for orchestrating the hotel bombings in Amman, Jordan, last November.

Counter-terrorism analysts said bin Laden was under pressure to demonstrate he remained in control. “People like Zarqawi have been taking the spotlight from him,” said Mustafa Alani, director of terrorism and security studies at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai. “He’s saying the mother organisation is still alive and the leadership is still functioning.”

US, European and Pakistani intelligence officials have said they believe bin Laden is hiding along the rugged border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This week, US missiles struck a village on the Pakistani side in a failed effort to kill Zawahiri. Pakistani officials have said that among those killed — reports range from 13 to 18 — were four or five senior al-Qaeda figures.

While some analysts said Bin Laden’s reluctance to make himself more visible could be a sign of health problems — his last videotape was aired in October 2004 — others surmised he was worried more about his security.

“Every audio or video tape is potentially traceable by intelligence services,” said Paul Pillar, former deputy chief of the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Centre and now a visiting professor at Georgetown University.

WASHINGTON POST

Two Indonesians killed in hajj stampede


Dua jamaah haji meninggal di insiden Mina
Two Indonesians killed in hajj stampede

At least two Indonesians were among more than 300 hajj pilgrims crushed to death in a stampede on the final day of the Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the government said Friday. Some Islamic leaders said Saudi Arabia should work harder to prevent such tragedies in the future, while others said the government did all it could to prepare the pilgrims.

“Of course I’m surprised … this is not the first such incident,” said Achmad Bagja of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim group. The Saudi government should be “better prepared in the future,” he said. Thousands of pilgrims were rushing to complete the “stoning of the devil” ritual before sunset Thursday when a large pileup occurred, Saudi officials said.

Indonesian officials in Saudi Arabia have so far confirmed an Indonesian man and woman as among the dead, said Toto Sugiarto of Indonesia’s Religious Affairs ministry. Amidhan, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, said Saudi Arabia urged pilgrims to perform the stoning after midday prayers so they would avoid peak crowds.

But other countries failed to organize their pilgrims, the Detik.com news Web site quoted him as saying. More than 200,000 Muslims from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Islamic nation, are in Mecca and Medina to perform the hajj, which is required at least once in a lifetime for able-bodied Muslims who can afford it, reports the AP.
N.U.

Source

Baharuddin Lopa: Our Few Good Men

Remembering Lopa
(Aug. 27, 1935 – July 3, 2001)
By Lela E. Madjiah

JAKARTA (JP): It is one thing to be brave, and it is another thing to be brave in a country like Indonesia, where to raise your voice could mean the end of your career.

Indonesians can count themselves lucky to have had a few such people, including the late Attorney General Baharuddin Lopa. Lopa, too, could count himself lucky. The downfall of the Soeharto New Order government has given rise to continuous forts to stigmatize New Order elements and individuals and demands for the disbandment of the Golkar Party.

Lopa was among a very few New Order officials who escaped the anti-New Order cleansing, thanks to his reputation as a clean, honest and straightforward man. His appointment as attorney general brought new hopes for serious efforts to eradicate corruption in the country. And such short-lived hopes!

The corruption charges against former president Soeharto were to be Lopa’s test case. After all, bringing Soeharto to trial seemed to be one of Lopa’s obsessions.

“I only need two of the documents that the attorney general has and I would be able to drag Soeharto into court,” Lopa said as quoted by Asia Week magazine in 1999. He was fretting over then attorney general Andi Ghalib’s failure to bring Soeharto to court. Ghalib had summoned Soeharto and family members for questioning, but, eight months after Soeharto’s resignation, no charges had been filed.

Lopa moved swiftly on his promise to investigate all corruption cases the day he was installed as attorney general. On June 8, he put Soeharto on the top of his most wanted list. Lopa made the prosecution of Soeharto for alleged corruption his number one priority, said state prosecutor Umbu Lagalazore.

A blunt man, Lopa built a reputation as a serious, hard-working and honest man, traits that became more evident when he served as secretary-general of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

The years he spent at Komnas HAM reinforced Lopa’s reputation as a man of integrity. He lent credibility to the organization that was set up by former president Soeharto because of his uncompromising way. He saw things in black and white. To Lopa, there was no gray area when it came to human rights issues, even if that brought him into confrontation with his boss, then president Soeharto.

It was probably his religiosity that sustained him all those years, helping him survive the New Order current that was rife with human rights abuses and corruption. Indeed, when faced with the difficult task of upholding the law, Lopa always referred to the Holy Koran for guidance.

His blunt manner belied the fact that Lopa was also a man of great sensitivity as reflected in his poems. He wrote quite a number of poems, and many of them told of his obsession for truth and justice and his awe of God.

Lopa’s uncompromising way was both a strength and a blight. In 1970 he was transferred to Aceh following his relentless efforts to probe corruption cases in Southeast Sulawesi while serving there as head of the province’s prosecutor’s office.

The transfer did not discourage him and in Aceh he, too, continued his efforts to bring to justice corrupt officials. He was moved several times before he returned to South Sulawesi as chief prosecutor in 1982.

Several days after his appointment there Lopa made a public announcement, urging people not to bribe his officials. A month later he began a probe into a Rp 7 billion graft case. His next target was noted businessman Tonny Gozal alias Go Tiong Kien, who was notorious for his ability to evade the law, thanks to his close links to certain officials. Lopa brought him to court for involvement in a land scam worth Rp 2 billion. The case drew national attention because Tonny was acquitted of the charge while the two agrarian officials accused of assisting him were punished.

Lopa then ordered an investigation into the trial, but before the case was settled, he was moved to Jakarta and became an advisor to the justice minister. He spent three years at the post before he was finally appointed director general of correctional institutions in 1988.

Lopa made several breakthroughs in the prison system. One of his legacies is allowing married inmates to leave the prison for a brief period to spend time with their spouses, including to have sexual intercourse. Only model inmates have the right to the special visitations.

“And no one has escaped,” said Lopa.

Lopa made another great move during his brief stint as minister of justice and human rights when, in March 2001, he sent convicted timber tycoon Mohamad “Bob” Hasan from Cipinang Penitentiary in Central Jakarta to the notorious prison island of Nusakambangan in Central Java, in an effort to deter other corruptors.

“Hopefully, those who commit corruption will think twice, as they could also be sent to Nusakambangan — not just murderers,” Lopa said of the move made a month after he was appointed to the post to replace Yusril Ihza Mahendra.

The transfer was also aimed at preventing the case of Eddy Tansil from reoccurring, said Lopa.

Eddy was a prisoner who escaped after bribing wardens and walking out of Cipinang five years ago. He is still at large.

“Eddy Tansil was heavily guarded but still able to escape. Therefore, we decided to transfer Hasan to Nusakambangan, which is relatively more difficult to escape from,” he said.

With such a long list of brave moves, the nation was hoping that Lopa would keep his promise of bringing corruptors, the nation’s number one enemy, to justice, only to have those hopes crushed when he died on July 3, 2001.

Baharuddin Lopa

Born : Aug. 28, 1935, in Mandar, South Sulawesi
Wife : Indrawulan
Children: Seven

Education:

– School of Law, Hasanuddin University, 1962
– Regular Class, National Defense Institute (now the National Resilience Institute, Lemhannas), 1979
– School of Law, Diponegoro University (Master’s degree), 1982

Career:

– Prosecutor, Ujungpandang Prosecutor’s Office, 1958-1960
– Regent of Majene, 1960
– Head of the Ternate Prosecutor’s Office, 1964
– Head of the Southeast Sulawesi Prosecutor’s Office, 1966-1970
– Head of the Aceh Prosecutor’s Office, 1970-1974
– Head of the West Kalimantan Prosecutor’s Office, 1974-1976
– Head of the Research and Development of the Attorney General’s Office, 1976-1982
– Head of the South Sulawesi Prosecutor’s Office, 1982-1986
– Expert staff to the minister of justice, 1986-1988
– Director General of Correctional Institutions, 1988-1995
– Secretary General of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), 1994- Feb. 17, 1999
– Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Feb. 17, 1999 – June 27, 2001
– Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Feb. 8, 2001 – June 1, 2001
– Attorney General, June 1, 2001 – July 3, 2001

July 10, 2001

Courtesy: Jakarta Post