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Welcome to the 10th issue of The Lombok Guide – Lombok's complete tourism paper and your guide to the best that the island has to offer! The Lombok Guide is published on Lombok every fortnight and contains valuable information for all visitors to our magical island. Use the Guide to explore Lombok and check out the best hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing options, to make your Lombok holiday special.

In 10 short issues The Lombok Guide has grown from just 24 pages in Issue 1, to a whopping 40 pages in this issue! We'd like to thank all our readers and advertisers for their support and help in making us the most well-read English language paper in Lombok.

To celebrate our first ten issues, we're announcing the launch of The Lombok Guide 2008 International Edition – our first full colour tourism magazine! Distributed to travel agents throughout Europe and Australia, with 64 colour pages of information about Lombok and fantastic photographs from around our beautiful island, our annual magazine is set to introduce Lombok to the rest of the world. See page 20 for details.

And there's plenty to tell the world about! At the time of going to press, the eyes of the world are watching Gili Trawangan where resident dive instructor, William Goodman, is making his Guinness World Record ™ attempt, spending an incredible 100 hours underwater in the ocean off Gili T. See our special report on page 10.

William set an unofficial world record in 2005 by spending 24 hours and 3 minutes submerged in the sea and this year intends to set the record straight 100 times over! Will has already spent his first night underwater and, as we send The Lombok Guide to the printers, is just one hour away from breaking his 24 hour record. Whatever length of time Will ends up achieving underwater, we have a new world record and a local hero on Gili T. Well done, Will!
Lombok truly is an island of awesome beauty, fantastic adventures and amazing people. Come and discover for yourself the magic of Lombok … like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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Emaar Properties, one of the world's largest real estate companies, have announced that they intend to follow through with their plans for a multi-million dollar development in south Lombok, with a commitment to officially break ground on the development by the middle of this year.

The global investment company from the United Arab Emirates is working in partnership with the Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC), and has committed to invest capital equal to US $600 million through their local company, PT Lombok Emaar, in developing their properties in the Mandalika area of south Lombok.

This latest announcement came at the end of a meeting between the Governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Pak Lalu Serinata, and the Managing Director of BTDC, I Made Mandra, on 9 April 2008. The official agreement between Emaar Properties and BTDC was conducted by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a visit to Dubai on 19 March this year.

Emaar's Lombok project will have a 7 km natural waterfront, which will support a marina, luxury residences and resorts by five-star hospitality chains. Emaar has already initiated the process of identifying five-star international resorts and hotel brands to be part of the development, which will also have a golf course and retail amenities. The homes will employ tropical designs and low-rise architecture in tune with the surroundings.

Emaar's global expansion to new and emerging markets is in line with its “Vision 2010” concept to become one of the most valuable companies in the world through geographic expansion and business segmentation. Emaar already has a strong foothold in Southeast Asia, where it opened its first Emaar - Raffles International School in Singapore, which also marked the company's diversification into education.

Emaar has an overseas development portfolio of over US $60 billion and has a significant presence in the emerging markets in Middle East and North Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, the USA and Europe. In Dubai, its home-base, Emaar is developing “Burj Dubai” – on course to becoming the world's tallest tower, as well as “The Dubai Mall”, one of the world's largest shopping and entertainment destinations.

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The local government's project to upgrade the west coast road continues to create traffic problems for those heading north from Senggigi.

The major renovation of the road that runs along the coast, from Senggigi to Pemenang in the north of the island, was commenced on 18 January 2008. The road is the main access to the north and to the Gili islands for those travelling from Senggigi. The only other road north is the road that runs from Gunung Sari through the Pusuk Pass to Pemenang.

The project provides for the road to be widened and for some of the steep inclines to be cut out, or in some cases totally re-designed, to enable cars and buses to travel the road more easily and safely. Of particular importance is ease of access for tour buses. The road has never been properly designed since it was first cut through the mountains and, with the increase of tourism in Lombok and traffic to the Gilis and Rinjani National Park in the north, a major overhaul is necessary.

With many hair-pin bends, switchbacks and steep hills, the work involves cutting through rock and hillsides to reduce gradients and smooth out sharp corners. In some sections, up to three metres of rock has been dug out and entire slopes have been remodelled.

The project is estimated to take 210 days to complete, but recent rains will probably mean more delays. In the meantime, it's a rough and treacherous journey up the coast; but in the future, we can hope for a wide, smooth scenic route along the beautiful west coast.

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The current Governor of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), Lalu Serinata, who is also the local head of DPD Partai Golkar (the Golkar Party), has announced his intention to stand for re-election for the position of governor for the next five-year term, spanning 2008 to 2013.

Governor Serinata announced his decision to stand for re-election with his running partner, M.Husni Djibril, Secretary of the DPD Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan (the Struggle for Indonesian Democracy Party) as Vice Governor, at a political rally on 6 April 2008.

The combination of the names of the duo has sparked a “serius” campaign slogan, currently appearing on billboards and banners all over Lombok. “Serius” is derived from the first four letters of Pak Serinata's name, and the middle two letters of Pak Husni's name. The two say they are serious about building the future of NTB together and continuing the progress made during Governor Serinata's first five years in government.

Local government elections will take place in Lombok on 7 July 2008. There are 12 candidates for the fiercely contested position – expect a bombardment of promotions, advertising, accusations of corruption and other political manoeuvrings in the coming months!

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The local Government has started a sterilisation programme to control the spread of stray dogs in West Lombok, especially in the tourism area of Senggigi.

During the programme, male dogs will be castrated and female dogs sterilised, in order to stop an overpopulation of strays, many of which roam the nearby kampungs and beaches.

It has been estimated that there are around 1 500 dogs without owners in the tourism centre and surrounding areas and, in West Lombok, an average of 250 stray dogs in each of the region's fifteen districts.

Stray dogs are a problem throughout Indonesia, where dogs are rarely owned as pets or cared for in the same way as in the west. Dogs are tolerated by locals, but usually not fed or controlled. A female dog is often constantly pregnant during her fertile years and can produce up to six pups in every litter, leading to an expanding population of dogs scavenging for existence.

The Department of Agriculture and Livestock, working in cooperation with the Department of Tourism, Arts and Culture, started the programme on Saturday, 5 April 2008, with the first 50 dogs being captured and sterilised.
The two government departments decided to address the local stray dog problem as part of the commitment by local government to keep tourism areas clean and safe for visitors.

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Thousands of miners at the Batu Hijau mine site in Jereweh, West Sumbawa, face unemployment because the Forestry Minister has not yet issued permits for the use of state land during phase two of the mine's project.
Permits have yet to be issued giving permission for PT Newmont NNT to use 38 hectares of land situated in protected forest at Tatar Sepang. The land is required for the heaping of unprocessed rock during the mining process.

Miners were served with a notice of the possibility of retrenchment of up to one thousand miners, as well as other mine contractors if phase two of the mine cannot go ahead.

The delay in issuing the land usage permit has a negative effect on the mining schedule, causing holdups that cost the mining company huge sums in potential revenue and lost or unproductive man hours. Especially during the monsoon, when rains often cause costly delays, additional delays to the schedule have a huge impact on mining revenue and profitability.

PT Newmont NT initially projected its mine would operate until 2021, but if the permits are not issued, there is a possibility it will be forced to cut short its projected time by six years, and cease operations in 2015.

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Indonesia's Department of Civil Aviation has formally withdrawn all route authorizations for Adam Air effective from 9 April, 2008. The Minister of Transportation, Safeii Djamal, explained that the airline has not flown for 21 days, which is sufficient reason for the revocation. He also called on the owners of Adam Air to meet any legal obligations to its employees.

Prior to the government's latest move, Adam Air held operating rights on 21 domestic air routes and 4 international routes.

Responding to the revocation of its air route permits, the President Director of Adam Air, Suherman, said the decision was understandable in light of the system-wide grounding of the airline.

Suherman is, however, fighting to retain the airline's air operating certificate (AOC) while waiting for the next meeting of Adam Air's Board of Directors. Suherman said the Company's present cash position was only sufficient to continue to pay their employees, refund tickets and make instalment payments on company debt. The funds needed to enhance safety standards and recommence flights, he insisted, can only be obtained through the injection of fresh funds from stockholders.

In a related development, the Kompas newspaper has reported that Adam Air has assured employees that Rp 10 billion (US $1.1 million) is standing by to pay the April salaries of its 3 000 employees.

Fueling the airline's employees fear that wages won't be paid is news of an internal rift in which Adam Air's Financial Director, Gustiono Kustianto, has resigned; leaving the company without anyone legally entitled to sign the payroll authorisation.

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The island of Gili Trawangan was buzzing with excitement and crowds of spectators keen to see resident technical diving instructor, William Goodman, make his Guinness World Record ™ attempt on Monday, 14 April 2008.

A huge crowd of well-wishers turned out to show their support, as well as many representatives from local government departments and the armed forces, who were happy to be part of the event that has drawn world-wide attention to the small island off Lombok's northwest coast.

The opening ceremony held at Blue Marlin Dive and on the beach in front of the dive centre, featured performances from Balinese dancers, local musicians and an American Indian dancer. There were also warming speeches from event organisers, who worked hard to bring the event to the world's attention. World record event t-shirts were sold and volunteers collected sponsorship money and donations from among the crowd, to go towards benefiting the Gili Trawangan community school on the island.

The world record attempt has attracted attention from both national and international news media, as well as from the dive community world-wide. There is also currently a film crew from Red Pepper Productions, a film production company from South Africa, on Gili T documenting the event.

If this attempt is successful, Guinness World Records™ will officially accept Will as the first person in the world to “spend the greatest amount of time submerged in open salt water (i.e. the sea) using scuba gear”.

Will, originally from London in the UK, has been living on Gili T for the past three years and works as a technical diving instructor for Blue Marlin Dive, as well as managing Ikan Biru, a live-aboard charter boat, for Trawangan Dive. Through sponsorship and fundraising from this event, Will hopes to generate funds to benefit the local school on Gili T. Local businesses on the island, tourists and residents are sponsoring Will during the dive.

Will already holds the unofficial title for the world's longest amount of time spent in open water, when he spent 24 hours and 3 minutes submerged in the sea off Gili T in July 2005. At that time his attempt was successful but, despite being witnessed by hundreds of people, the strict guidelines of Guinness World Records™ weren't fully met. This time Will and his support team are taking no chances, with the whole operation being carried out with professional precision, including official witnesses present during the 100 hours and strict recording processes to meet World Record requirements.

Ikan Biru, the distinctive live-aboard, is moored in the ocean in front of Blue Marlin Dive just above the dive site and forms the base from which support crew and witnesses monitor the dive. A team of six support crew is on board the boat at all times, together with official witnesses to verify that the Guinness World Record ™ rules are adhered to, and medical specialists are also on hand to monitor Will's physical condition. The support crew are responsible for maintaining equipment, such as changing air tanks, and for checking on Will's condition while he is submerged under the sea. They provide liaison between Will and other support crew on the surface, as well as keeping him company during the long days underwater.

However, the first day of the attempt was not without its hitches. The specialised equipment imported for Will's 100-hour world record attempt had been sent from overseas well in time for testing prior to the start of the event, but was seized by customs officials at Jakarta's Soekarno Hatta airport, who were demanding import duty on the goods.

With help from the local government in Lombok, the equipment was eventually freed and arrived in Lombok in time for Monday's event to go ahead. However, this meant that there was not enough time to check the operation of the equipment – particularly the special two way radio gear that enables Will to communicate with his support crew both underwater and on the surface.

Throughout the day, the dive was delayed while testing of the two way radio and the re-breather equipment went ahead; until it became apparent that the problems would not be solved quickly. Sensibly, Will and his crew decided to delay the start of his dive until the next day, when they were sure everything was working properly. “I don't want to be forced to abort the world record attempt after a few hours, just because of malfunctioning equipment,” Will said.
Despite the delays, the island was still alive with enthusiasm and partying went on through the night for some of the excited crowds. William and his crew spent more time testing the equipment Monday night, and then had time to rest and relax after the tension and excitement of the day.

After more time putting the gear through its paces on Tuesday morning, Will finally entered the water at 11.24am on Tuesday, 15 April. He plans to stay submerged at a depth of around 6 metres for the next 100 hours and, hopefully, will emerge triumphant on Saturday afternoon.

At the time The Lombok Guide went to print on Wednesday morning, Will had already been underwater for nearly 24 hours and looked confident of breaking his original record set in 2005. The Lombok Guide wishes Will and his support crew every success and looks forward to congratulating this local hero on his new world record!

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