The wRap Indonesia: Oct. 1, 2014
JAKARTA, Indonesia - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's attempt to undo the damage done by the legislature's scrapping of direct local elections and Indonesia's first ever arrests of manta ray traders under a recent ban top our stories from Indonesia the past day.
1. In damage control mode, Yudhoyono intervenes in election law controversy
In an attempt to appease the people, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Tuesday, September 30, announced his "Plan B" for dealing with the controversial new law that scraps the direct election of local leaders: he'll issue a presidential decree to reverse it. The catch is that the House of Representatives can also cancel the decree. The bigger problem is that new batch of lawmakers that will be sworn in on Wednesday, October 1, are majority controlled by those who passed the law. Read the full story on Rappler.
2. Indonesia makes first-ever arrests of manta ray traders under recent ban
Under Indonesian law, trafficking manta rays and their parts and products is punishable by a maximum fine of $25,000
Four traders of endangerd sharks and rays products were arrested over the past month in Indonesia's first-ever enforcement action of its recent national protection of manta rays, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement released Tuesday. A manta ray gill trader was arrested in Surabaya on August 22, then a sawfish ray trafficker in Bali on September 1. This was followed by a September 9 arrest in Sidoarjo, East Java, of a trader selling manta ray bones, sea turtle scales, manta gill plates and nautilus shells. Finally, a fisheries trader trying to sell an entire 60 kg manta ray was arrested in West Java on September 26. Read photojournalist Paul Hilton's account of the first arrest here.
3. 64 Indonesian pilgrims pass away before hajj
Many of them waited a lifetime for this, but 64 Indonesian pilgrims passed away just days before the annual hajj pilgrimage starting on Thursday, October 2. Officials said 65% died from a heart attack, while the rest of the fatalities were due to high blood pressure or respiratory problems, according to Vivanews. Almost 165,000 Indonesians are participating in this year's hajj, many of whom are elderly. Saudi health officials are reportedly concerned over the increasing number of ill pilgrims. As many Muslims believe that death during Hajj or in the holy cities will help them attain a place in paradise, officials say they tend to hide facts in their health history.
4. Lovers caned in Aceh
A young, unmarried Acehnese couple caught being intimate were caned 6 times each in the middle of a courtyard in Central Aceh on Tuesday, with hundreds of people watching. The woman, 25, fainted after the lashing and had to be carried off the stage. Her boyfriend is aged 21. They were sentenced to 9 lashes each, but this was reduced as they had already spent 3 months in prison after being arrested. The punishment was handed out under the old law that stipulates 3-9 lashes for immoral acts such as making out, hugging and kissing by unmarried couples. Under the strict new law passed on Saturday that will go into effect after a year, they would receive 30 lashes.
5. Ubud Writers festival kicks off
The highly anticipated annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival kicks off in the resort island of Bali on Wednesday, October 1, and will run until October 5. More than 150 writers from more than 25 countries are gathering in Ubud for 5 days of talks, workshops and discussions on global issues, big ideas and extraordinary stories. Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul was originally booked to attend, but he was dropped after the event refused to meet his "11th-hour request" for a A$20,000 ($17,500) fee to appear. – with a report from Nurdin Hasan/Rappler.com