January 1-7, 2010

Call to Delay Polls Until 2011

LEGIAN ~ A senior national legislator has called on the central government to delay 244 local elections due to take place across the country this year until 2011.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Commission II Ganjar Pranowa, speaking in Jakarta, said this would ensure they were conducted democratically.

He said holding the simultaneous elections this year would compromise the democratic process and lead to demoralisation, citing budgetary difficulties and inadequate population data as obstacles.

In Bali, where polls are due in five districts, several regencies have said they would have difficulty finding the funds this year.

The central government can vary polling dates by regulation.

Taxi Backdown

DENPASAR ~ The provincial government is likely to reconsider its policy on additional taxi licences following protests by hundreds of taxi drivers last month.

Governor I Made Mangku Pastika said the government has been issuing licenses for additional taxis based on requests from taxi operators, the need to replace aging vehicles in the current fleet and a study which showed Bali needs 3,500 taxis by 2012.

Bali currently has 1,900 taxis and 2,000 taxi licences.

Oh Knickers

UBUD ~ A Dutch woman, 48, who stole underwear and a shirt from a shop in Ubud just before Christmas told police she was compelled to steal because she had no money.

Marie Ingeborg Pieder Nella, of Banjar Laplapan at Petulu, Ubud, was arrested after a sales assistant at Blue Glue, an art store on Jl Raya Ubud, reported to police she had acted in a suspicious manner after browsing stock on display at the shop and leaving without buying anything.

Police detained Nella, who they said had worked as a hairdresser in Ubud for several years, while they retrieved a bra, a pair of knickers and a shirt valued at Rp600,000 (US$60) from her home.

Crossed Wires

SEMARAPURA ~ A Nusa Penida man who climbed a neighbour’s mango tree to repair his own electrical cable ended up needing medical treatment after his neighbour mistook him for a mango thief and slashed him with a scythe.

Wayan Sumatran, 45, known as Pan Lasti, was arrested and detained for investigation after Wayan Cemeng, also 45, complained he had been slashed on his back and a hand. Mangoes are in season on Nusa Penida.

Phone Ban

SEMARAPURA ~ Klungkung high schools and educators may ban students from taking mobile phones to school and bringing motorbikes to school if they do not have a licence.

The move follows cases of students storing pornographic and violent images in their phones, one case of students widely circulating inappropriate images of a fellow student and fears that unlicensed motorbike drivers are endangering themselves and others.

Tree Saves Life

GIANYAR ~ Residents rushed to the rescue when a Karangasem man jumped off a bridge over the Petanu River at Blahbatu this week in an apparent suicide attempt but instead became caught in a large tree.

Wayan Suartama, 34, who lives in Denpasar, was taken to hospital with minor injuries after the incident on Tuesday evening. He said: “It happened suddenly. I don’t understand why I suddenly wanted to kill myself.”

Homes Dismantled

SINGARAJA ~ Residents of Sekar Village in the Banjar district of Buleleng demolished four houses after their banjar (traditional community system) ruled that they violated a street demarcation line.

Village leader Dewa Putu Oka said the occupants had failed to take note of warning letters giving them two months to demolish their own homes.

Some residents said the action against indigenous villagers was unfair because settlers in the area had also violated demarcation lines and had not been disciplined.

6 Youths on Unlawful Sex Charges

NEGARA ~ Six youths aged between 14 and 17 were arrested for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old junior high school student they took to one of their homes after she became drunk from alcohol they gave her at Berembeng, Negara.

Ketut Suparta of Jembrana Police said the youths would be charged under Law 23/2002 on the protection of children.

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