(17/4/2010) The Jakarta Globe carries the news that visitors to Bali can now expect yet another delay in the notoriously long lines at customs and immigration at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport with the introduction of a mandatory fingerprinting for tourist visitors.
The head of immigration’s sub directorate for Information-systems, Rohadi Iman Santoso, has announced the new requirement to be introduced at Bali’s airport, with subsequent implementation planned at all international gateways in Indonesia.
The fingerprinting, carried out with ink-less electronic fingerprint readers, will only be required for those using short-stay visas. Foreigners who have permanent or temporary stay permits and who have already been fingerprinted in the process of obtaining their residency in Indonesia are exempted from the new requirement. Children under the age of 14 and those traveling on diplomatic passports are also exempted from the requirement.
Rohadi also announced that tourist visitors would also be photographed using a system that completes the process in 2 minutes.
Rohadi acknowledged that the new requirement would add to the delay for those processing through Bali’s immigration and customs process. Only 10 of the 23 immigration counters at the airport will be initially equipped with the fingerprint scanner.
The system will be introduced nation-wide by July 2010 with scanners then in place at 21 airports, five seaports and at the border crossing between Malaysia and Indonesia at Entikong. The trial introduction now underway is fingerprinting visitors arriving in Bali, Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Solo.
The immigration department has apparently seen little need to socialize the new fingerprinting system with Surya Dharma, a spokesman for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Ngurah Wijaya, the head of the Bali Tourism Board, claiming no knowledge of the new system.
Biometric screening procedures are already in effect in a number of countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and the United States.
This story is reproduced with the permission of Bali Discovery Tours http://www.balidiscovery.com
Security is expected to be extremely tight when Julia Roberts comes to Bali for the filming of the Movie “Eat Pray Love”.
During the filming in India, India eNews reported that she had 350 security personnel, including police and private security guards.
Almost 350 security men, bulletproof cars and a chopper too – that’s what it takes to secure Hollywood star Julia Roberts, who is here with her three children to shoot for the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’.
The pothole in the Ubud Main Road that first appeared in early July is being repaired. 10 days after it appeared an excavator was brought in to find the problem. After digging a hole 8 metres deep, 8 metres wide and 20 metes long, the cause is quite clear. There is a river running under the road. 3 weeks after the excavation, work has started to repair the damage.
Watch this video and see this monster pothole for yourself.
Friday terrorists detonated bombs at the Ritz-Carlton and Marriott Hotels in Jakarta. 55 people were injured and 8 killed in the blasts.
Since then, Bali has taken a number of steps to improve security on the island, including:
• Bali’s Governor Made Mangku Pastika, the former Police officer credited with resolving the 2002 and 2003 Bali bombings, immediately convened an emergency coordinating meeting with the Udayana IX Military Command, Bali’s provincial police, local prosecutors and Bali-based intelligence agencies.
• The island’s security status was raise to the highest level of “siaga satu” by the island’s Chief of Police, Inspector General T. Ashikin Husein, putting some 12,000 security personal on duty and at the highest state of readiness.
• Bali’s sea ports and single airport were tightened up with careful checks introduced for both materials and people traveling to the island.
• Within minutes of the blasts in Jakarta, the Bali Hotel Association (BHA) told its members to raise their security levels to “red” – bringing pre-existing security screens and surveillance procedures to their highest level.
• Within hours of the Jakarta attack, members of the BHA met with the Chief of Police to enhance coordination with the security forces. During that meeting, the Chief of Police indicated that no credible threat to Bali’s security had been detected at this time, but, in response to the Jakarta attacks, the island was now on “high alert.”
• Hotel, restaurant and travel agency staff have been briefed by their respective stakeholder organizations to remain calm and focus on the comfort and safety of island visitors, avoiding speculation and rumors in connection with the Jakarta attacks.
• A check of several hotels and the Bali airport do not provide proof of any mass exodus of visitors following the Jakarta bombings.
• The Governor’s office has issued written instructions to mayors and regency heads, ordering heightened security measures and complete cooperation with the police in introducing security checks in every district of the province.
• The regional administration is moving “full ahead” with plans to enhance security measures by a self-imposed August deadlines that will see 33 emergency service units distributed across the island, the installation of 1,000 closed circuit TV and the operation of a crisis center charged with crisis management for Bali.
Reproduced with permission from Bali Discovery Tours. http://www.balidiscovery.com.
A few days ago we posted a video on the rather large pothole in Jalan Raya Ubud right outside the Ubud Market.
Work started today to repair the damage and the heavy machinary was brought in to do the excavating. It turns out that the water running under the road was about 5 metres below the surface.
The work was the centre of attention for locals and tourists, and provided some very interesting moments. Especially when the water pipe was broken.
Watch out for the next video on this monster hole.
The Indonesian central bank, Bank Indonesia, officially launched the new 2,000 Rupiah banknote last week. The banknote, which has a value of approximately US 20 cents, will eventually replace the 1,000 Rupiah note as the smallest note in Indonesia.
With the introduction of the new banknotes, the government plans to reduce production of the Rp. 1,000 notes. They will replace them over time with Rp. 1,000 coins.
The mainly gray-colored note features an image of Prince Antasari on the front. He is a national hero from Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan. On the back is a drawing of a traditional Dayak dance.
It is expected that 1.2 million notes will be on the streets by the end of the year.
In response to reports that beggars and prostitutes were disturbing visitors in the vicinity of Ground Zero and the Bali Bombing Memorial, sweeping raids were conducted in the area on 1 July.
The evening raids netted a total 37 beggars, 11 commercial sex workers, 19 transvestites, 3 people with no identity cards and 2 improperly parked taxis. Most of the arrests were made in the vicinity of the Bali Bombing Monument.
Most of those arrested had their personal details taken for processing on public nuisance complaints. However, the beggars, many of whom were children, were rounded up for eventual return to their home villages.
The raids were made after receiving numerous complaints from local residents of the nuisance caused by the transient street workers.
Article produced with permission of Bali Discovery Tours. http://www.balidiscovery.com/
Ubud area police are continuing their crackdown on muggers and purse snatchers who have been targeting tourist visitors. On Wednesday, June 24, two young men were apprehended in the process of snatching a purse near Ubud. One of the men, 20-year-old Lukman Hakim of Jembrana, Java, was shot by police in the thigh after he reportedly tried to evade capture.
Police authorities told NusaBali that Lukman heads a group of teen-age thieves who operated from his rented accommodation in Sembuang in Gianyar targeting tourists in Ubud, Sukawati and Tegallalang.
Police continue to seek at least one more youth, believed to be part of Lukman’s den of thieves.
Reproduced with permission from – Bali Discovery Tours – http://www.balidiscovery.com
An article published by BaliDiscovery.com was titled “Head Hunting Season Now Open”. It went on to say…….
China National Tourism Authority (CNTA) has called on Indonesia to stop the practice of “selling heads” among Chinese tourists visiting the country.
“Selling Heads” is the practice in which the right to guide visiting Chinese tourists is purchased by travel agents and guides who then recoup their investment through oftentimes exorbitant commissions received from restaurants and shops.
Eddy Sunyoto, an Indonesian official of the Travel Agents Association, admitted that a number of registered travel agents are actively engaged in “selling heads” when serving Chinese travellers.
Reproduced with permission of Bali Discovery Tours – http://www.balidiscovery.com