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NEWS

ISSUE 18

NOW IS THE TIME FOR LOMBOK!

SEMBALUN… COOL MOUNTAIN RETREAT

LOMBOK'S STYLISH NEW RESORT IS NOW OPEN

ART STATION IS GRAND AND CENTRAL

DOGGONE NUTS!

14 MOUNTAINS IN 14 DAYS

NTB CAVES ARE AWESOME

LOCAL SCENE

THE LOMBOK INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLON IS BACK!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY SHARES IN GARUDA?

2008 SAIL INDONESIA RALLY SHIPS OFF!

BROADBAND COMES TO SENGGIGI

FIRING SQUAD READIED FOR BALI BOMBERS

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NOW IS THE TIME FOR LOMBOK!

Welcome to 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 two weeks 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.

High season refers to the months of July and August, traditionally the summer holidays in Europe and the northern hemisphere. It's the busiest time of the year for both Bali and Lombok, but 2008 has already surpassed previous years' visitor numbers and we haven't even reached the busiest month of August yet!
It's fantastic to see so many visitors are discovering our island for the first time and previous visitors are returning to their favourite tropical island getaway!

Mountain climbing is big on the agenda for a lot of travellers and now is the best time of the year to climb Lombok's world-famous volcano, Mt Rinjani. With clear skies and warm temperatures, it's the safest time for trekking and the best time to take advantage of the stunning views from the top. If mountain climbing is too exhausting, try a cool mountain retreat at Sembalun Valley, nestled at the base of the volcano. See our special feature on page 10 for more information.

If sun and sea is what you crave, head for the Gilis and join the crowds on the beach. It's easy to spend the days swimming, snorkelling, diving and island hopping; and at night enjoy great parties, beach barbecues and fine dining in the many restaurants on the islands. Or head to Kuta on Lombok's stunning south coast and discover some of the most beautiful beaches in Indonesia, along with some of the best waves for surf addicts.

Pick up a copy of The Guide from the locations listed on page 30 or visit us on the web soon at www.thelombokguide.com and discover the magic of Lombok for yourself … like thousands of others, you'll be enchanted!

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SEMBALUN… COOL MOUNTAIN RETREAT

It may seem strange when writing about an island situated on the equator to use the words “balmy tropical climate” and “cool mountain retreat” to describe the same location but, in the case of Lombok, it is possible… as we discovered when we took a recent trip to the highlands of Sembalun, in the far north of the island.

Travelling through the Pusuk Pass, a road cut through the forest that connects the cities with the north coast of Lombok, one gets an immediate sense of the ancient nature of this island. The road winds and twists up, down and around the mountains; alternately plunging into cool gorges, then emerging on the slopes to throw open vistas across valleys and neighbouring mountains.

Further north, the Pusuk Pass meets the coastal road that connects the north of the island to the east, journeying through countryside layered with rice fields, corn, cashew nut and fruit plantations, and small rural villages. Behind all is the backdrop of the Rinjani mountain range – series of stacked mountains that peak at Lombok's famous volcano, Mt Rinjani.

Turning off the main road at the signpost for Sembalun Lawang, the road climbs up through the foothills and small villages where time seems to have stopped, circa 1900. Now the going gets tough as we climb into serious mountain country. For the most part the road is in good condition, easily accessible by car or motorbike, but the steep gradients strain engines and the switchbacks make acceleration impossible. We slow to a crawl, travelling through ancient forests darkened by huge trees arching overhead. Up and up we travel, until the road winds around the mountainsides and suddenly, stretched out before us, are valleys filled with sunlight and small villages dotted on the surrounding slopes.

Tall green mountains, their sides carved into folds and ridges by ancient volcanic flows, march across the landscape; one layered after the other, as far as the eye can see. Cupped within the mountains lay picturesque valleys, filled with rich volcanic soil, forming basins to catch the rains; abundant with crops of every variety. In this cool climate it's possible to grow plants that normally wouldn't grow in Lombok – cabbages, lettuces, garlic, shallots, even potatoes and strawberries flourish in this soil. If East Lombok is the rice bowl of the island, then surely the Sembalun Valley is Lombok's vegetable bowl.

We turn right off the main road and within moments arrive at our destination, Lembah Rinjani Homestay, located on a stunning plain right at the base of the volcano. There are no hotels in the area and that is fine – he rustic accommodation adds to the charm of this timeless place. The home-stay is lovely, with ten comfortable rooms set in gardens and a small pretty restaurant serving up surprisingly delicious meals at all hours of the day and night. Lembah Rinjani is one of the main centres for trekkers wishing to climb the volcano and is well set up with guides and porters experienced in all aspects of the trek. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming; like staying in a good friend's home. The rooms are basic, but spotlessly clean and comfortable, with private terraces and western bathrooms in each room.

The atmosphere up in the highlands is clear and clean, and surprisingly cold. Living in the year-round warmth of Lombok, it's hard to imagine any part of the island being this cold; but the brisk air is refreshing and a welcome change from the norm.

Many of the guests here are only staying one night; arriving in the afternoon and going to bed early in preparation for starting their climb at sunrise the next morning. Although Senaru, towards the west, is the most popular centre for trekkers, it is actually easier to reach the true peak of the volcano from the east. Experienced guides and trekkers start their trip at Sembalun, climbing up the eastern shoulder of the volcano to the treacherous volcanic peak, before continuing their trek down to the Crater Lake and then traversing the northern side of the mountain to Senaru. This is a more practical route, conquering the demanding peak towards the beginning of the trek, and allowing trekkers to take in the full beauty of the Rinjani National Park and the mountain.

Sunset comes quite early as the sun drops behind the mountains on the western horizon but, before the dusk sets in, we are treated to a rare visual delight when the clouds suddenly evaporate from the top half of the volcano and the huge behemoth is revealed in all her majestic glory. Soaring 3 726 metres above sea level, Mt Rinjani is the second highest mountain in Indonesia and is a semi-active volcano. The sides of the mountain are covered with vegetation; thick jungle on the lower slopes, becoming thinner at higher elevations. At the very top, the jagged wind-razed peak is barren, covered in shale and loose volcanic rock that makes climbing it a frustrating dance of two steps forward and one slide back. Climbers say the panoramic view at the top is worth every minute of the cursing and swearing, with 360 degrees of awesome scenery stretching from Bali to Sumbawa and beyond.

We rise early the next morning to catch the sunrise, determined not to waste one moment of our short time in this magnificent place. Our efforts are rewarded with glorious views as the sun rises over the soaring peaks in the east, lighting up the soft white mists that float over the trees and valleys below and throwing golden colour onto the majestic mountain at our backs. Rinjani stands in all her glory, soaring proudly against a sky that is so clear and bright blue it almost hurts the eyes.

If you long to escape the heat, and want to experience something very special, spend a few days in the timeless majesty of this unique area and the awesome presence of what the locals call “the seat in the Heavens”.

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LOMBOK'S STYLISH NEW RESORT IS NOW OPEN

They said it couldn't be done, but the new Qunci Pool Villas is now complete and open in record time! And it couldn't be soon enough, for the many guests who have kept the resort full since the start of high season.
Qunci Pool Villas, located on the beachfront in Mangsit alongside the original Qunci Villas, is phase two of the Qunci empire, which we predict will continue to expand in coming years.

The ultra-chic resort makes a stunning impact right from the reception area, which is surrounded by water features and showcases specially-commissioned ceramic artwork and glorious wooden furniture by Galeri Nao, Lombok's premier furniture and décor supplier.

Landscaped gardens lead through the complex to the beachfront, with private Pool Villas tucked between discreet plantings of tropical gardens and palms. The resort boasts five one-bedroom villas, each with their own personal pool, and one two-bedroom villa with adjoining pool for families or couples sharing.

There are another eighteen Ocean View Villas, located close to the large infinity pool and sundeck on the beachfront.

Upmarket? Yes! But nowhere near as expensive as you would expect. One bedroom villas with personal pools go for US $135 per night, while the Ocean View Villas are a very reasonable US $95.

All villas feature the stylish design and high-quality furnishings that have become the Qunci trademark over the years.

There is ample use of natural timbers, with exquisite slabs of gleaming teak and other richly-textured woods used to create tables, benches and unique bed ends, which also double as writing desks in the main rooms. Huge boulders of volcanic rock have been hollowed out and remodelled as bathtubs and hand-basins, while slabs of cool rock form more tables and benches.

Mix all this with minimalist design, clean crisp lines and dramatic splashes of handcrafted ceramics and unique artwork, and you have the stylish blend that is the Qunci.

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ART STATION IS GRAND AND CENTRAL

Tucked away in the shops at the side of the Senggigi Plaza, along the road leading to the beach and the Senggigi Beach Hotel, is a fantastic little art gallery packed with eye-catching works of art by a talented local artist named Bambang.

Mentez Art Station has been open in the Plaza for almost a year but it's only recently caught our attention, mainly because the art is so well done and the artist is a fascinating character, as well as having oodles of talent.

Bambang Prasetya was born in Rembang, Central Java in 1971. He started drawing at around the age of 7 and it was immediately evident that he had a natural gift for art. Over the next several years he won a number of certificates and awards in local art competitions.

He moved to Lombok in 1991 at the age of 20 and found work in local hotels, creating paintings in his spare time. In 2000 he quit his hotel job and decided to explore life as a full time artist. Since then he has exhibited his works in a number of places and has established himself as a popular artist, selling his artwork to individuals and hotels both locally and internationally.

In his own words, Bambang describes his art:

"What he sees, hears and feels are his best teachers, The world and whatever is living inside are inspirations; a source that will never end.

Although we can see it or not, we can feel it.

Body and soul adventures frequently and it influences his creative process.

He just follow his heart and move his hand in process, no matter what it will be”

Last year Bambang opened Mentez Art Station, as his first permanent gallery, in Senggigi. He also has a permanent exhibit in the meeting room at the Novotel Resort in Kuta, south Lombok. “Painting is an outpouring process of absorption from the environment,” he says, “Every space could be a gallery.”

Mentez Art Station is a two level gallery filled with colourful works that reflect this philosophy. Open every day from 12 noon to 10pm, this gallery is well worth a visit.

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DOGGONE NUTS!

A group of special vets from Bali have just spent the past week in Lombok sterilising and castrating street dogs, as part of a community service programme.

The team, consisting of three vets and two dog catchers, spent their first two days in Kerandangan where they operated on 36 dogs. They then moved to BTN Green Valley where, over the next three days, they sterilised around another 80 dogs. The vets also administered worming medicine and skin treatments to affected animals in the area.

Most of the dogs they operated on were roaming the streets in the housing areas. Some were caught by the team's dog catchers, while other dogs were brought in for treatment by concerned residents and, occasionally, local dog owners. One female dog operated on had been pregnant for some time and was brought into the temporary vet centre by a concerned resident. The vets found dead puppies inside her and were able to remove them safely, before sterilising the animal to prevent future pregnancies.

The vets and volunteers all come from a Bali organisation called BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) and the Lombok programme was sponsored by the Australian organisation, Bali Street Dog Foundation.

The five-person team showed a huge amount of commitment while in Lombok, starting work at 8am and often working past 5pm, with only a short break for lunch, in order to treat as many dogs as possible during their five days in Lombok. They set up a makeshift operating room in a temporary tent erected on a plot of vacant land and spent each day treating the animals with dedication and professionalism.

Dr Putu Suarnaya, Programme Coordinator for BAWA, said that they had a full time service operating in Bali with programmes for educating the community about the care and treatment of animals. Funded by the Bali Street Dog Foundation, donations and payment for specific services, they are able to operate a street van which travels to villages sterilising dogs to decrease local wild dog populations. In Bali, the Association has an emergency van available for emergency vet services, a clinic and a community education programme, mainly targeted at youngsters, to teach people about care of pets, common illnesses, population control and animal welfare. They also rescue Bali street dogs, give them treatment and care, house them at purpose-built kennels and then offer them for adoption to caring owners.

Dr Putu said he would like to see the Lombok community sponsor a similar programme, which he said was vital if dog populations were to be kept under control. “It doesn't cost too much, if the whole community gets involved,” he said. “Simple but effective education can start in the schools and be taught by the local teachers. Children respond easily to animal welfare education and it makes a lot of difference”.

This is the first time the team has visited Lombok and they hope to be able to come back every six months to carry out further operations, but their visits depend on sponsorship and funding to cover the travelling costs, plus the costs of medicines and equipment. If you would like to help support this worthy cause, please contact the Association through their website at www.bawabali.com

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14 MOUNTAINS IN 14 DAYS

Seven students have just completed what they hope will be an Indonesian, if not a World Record, by climbing 14 mountains in 14 days.

The students from the University of Bandung, in Java, are all members of a nature lover's athletic group called “PAMOR” (Pecinta Alam Mahasiswa Olahraga) in the athletic faculty of their university. They have climbed a massive total of 45 935 metres in 334 hours! It is the first time such a feat has been attempted in Indonesia, although there are similar events such as the “Three Peaks Challenge” in the UK and the “Seven Summits” international mountain climbing event. However, this is the first event that has encompassed tropical mountains and the group hope that it will attract international interest in the future.

“We had seen similar events in the world and we thought 'why not do this in Indonesia?' We have so many mountains in Indonesia!” the team said at a press conference in Senggigi at the end of the event on 22 July 2008.
The marathon of climbs started on 8 July at Gunung Pangrango in West Java, with the seven climbers travelling across West, East and Central Java, climbing 12 mountains in Java, before crossing to Bali to climb Mt Agung, and finally to Lombok to tackle the biggest of them all: Mt Rinjani.

Each of the mountains the group climbed was around 3000 metres high or taller and, in some cases, they climbed two volcanoes in one day; descending one mountain and immediately starting their ascent of the next. They managed to climb from Sembalun to the peak of Rinjani in just 18 hours… quite a feat for anyone!

Ari Ardiansyah, Wawan Mustika, Lufti Azis, Dicky Oktora, Dadan Sarmada, Ganjar Ramdani and Nunu Nugraha are all university students aged between 21 and 23 years old. The group trained for about 5 months, running on the beach, climbing nearby mountains and taking part in outbound activities, before attempting the marathon they have named “14 Peaks Marathon Expedition 2008”. Travelling with the team was a support crew of another 7 students who took care of logistics, transport and health.

Relaxing on the beach at the Senggigi Beach Hotel, the team said they were exhausted but happy that they had completed the gruelling climbs in less than their 14 day target; official time for their event is 13 days and 22 hours. Hopefully they will be able to use their documentation to gain a place in the MURI (Indonesian) Record books. They also plan to make a guide book for climbers, based on their experiences.

Out of all the mountains they had climbed in the past two weeks, the group all agreed the best volcano was Lombok's Mt Rinjani. “Rinjani is the highest mountain we climbed, but it is the most beautiful,” one said; while another said, “Rinjani is different from the others. Some of the mountains we've climbed have no views of where you are going, but here everything was different – even the vegetation was different. From the beginning we could see the peak and, once we got up higher, we could see the lake. It is by far the most beautiful climb!”

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NTB CAVES ARE AWESOME

A geological survey team have just finished mapping fifteen caves in the NTB (Lombok and Sumbawa) region and say that our cave systems are awesome, having massive potential for tourism.

The team of experts have surveyed caves in Sumbawa, including on Moyo Island, Nipon Cave in Lunyuk and others, mainly in West Sumbawa. One cave, Mumber Cave, near Taliwang in West Sumbawa, is enormous, with a height of around 30 metres and capable of accommodating up to 1000 people inside. “A lot of people don't know about this cave,” said the team, “there is even a waterfall and a river inside”.

Another cave, Kalela, has many holes and tunnels, with birds' nests inside which opens the site up for export possibilities, with birds' nest in demand as a delicacy in China and other countries. There are two entrances to the cave; one through a pond and the other through a small cavity. Many of the caves the team visited have stunning examples of stalagmites and stalactites, as well as unique formations caused by volcanic flows.

A cave in Jereweh, Sumbawa, has a mouth over 2 metres wide and is around 50 metres deep, with stalactites and stalagmites forming exotic decorations within, as well as featuring stone flows with fossils embedded in the rock.
Geologist, Heryadi Rahmat, has already participated in two geology seminars in Sumbawa and says that the area has huge potential for tourism, as well as being a unique example of geological structures within Indonesia. “The whole region, from Bali to Lombok, Sumbawa and Komodo is fascinating for its unique characteristics and has incredible potential for tourism,” he said.

The team also believes that some of the caves in the region would qualify for “World Heritage” status.

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LOCAL SCENE

SATURDAY NIGHT @ HAPPY CAFE

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THE LOMBOK INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLON IS BACK!

Following the success of the inaugural event in October 2007, Senggigi will once again host the Lombok International Triathlon, the toughest and most scenic triathlon course in Asia, on Sunday, 9 November 2008.
Over 200 athletes from all over Asia (Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia) are expected to take part in this challenging event that consists of a 1.8km swim, 55km cycle and 12km run. The course, dubbed 'the toughest in Asia' will attract some of the best age group athletes from the region. The 2007 champion, Assad Attamimi from Australia, Sebastien Calle from France, Rob Palmer from New Zealand and Dirk Sandrock from Germany are just a few of the top names expected to battle it out for the honour of becoming the Lombok Triathlon 2008 Champion.

Indonesian citizens will have the chance to compete for a total prize purse of Rp12.5 million, with the winner pocketing Rp 5 000 000. The 2007 Indonesian champion was Kadri from Mataram, with Kardiman from Gresik and Hefnar from Surabaya in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

The race kicks with a 1.8km swim from the beach of the Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort. Participants will then set off on the demanding 55km bike course that includes lots of sharp, rapid climbs through the lush green Monkey Forest and a 5km ascent of Gunung Pusuk that features spectacular views over the Indian Ocean. Then it's on to the scenic, 12km 2-lap run course with the cheers of the crowd to spur the participants on. Those who manage to cross the finish line will arrive to a hero's welcome and a fun, festive race atmosphere.
Sebastien Calle, who was second overall in the inaugural event, loved the challenging course. “This race is truly great, very well organised and in a fantastic location.”

The Island Team Cup – Sunday 9 November
New in 2008 is 'The Island Team Cup'; an opportunity for people to team up and share the excitement and sense of achievement gained from completing an endurance challenge together. Each team consists of three people with each person completing one discipline of the race consisting of a 1.8km swim, 55km bike and 12 km Run. The winning team will take home the Island Team Cup trophy and all participants will receive a special race souvenir.

6km Senggigi Run – Saturday 8 November
A 6km Senggigi Run will be held as part of the festive Lombok Triathlon weekend, giving everyone the chance to be part of the action.

On Saturday 8 November at 4.30pm, some 300 competitive and recreational runners are expected at the start in Senggigi. The run course takes the athletes through a lush palm tree grove along the coast, over hill tops with beautiful sea views and finishes with a loop through vibrant Senggigi town. The crowds will be out in force to cheer on all the participants.

Attractive prizes will be awarded to the first male and female finishers and all runners will receive a certificate of completion and refreshments at the finish line. The entry fee is Rp 15 000. Registration will open soon.

The Lombok International Triathlon is organised by Tribob, the leading triathlon organisation in Asia. Tribob has gained a reputation for delivering world-class triathlon events – of seamless organisation, a distinctively vibrant atmosphere and un-matched quality.

The organiser is putting in a big effort to ensure the race runs smoothly. Large stretches of road surface have been upgraded on the bike course, and arrangements will be made for road closures, full police back-up, medical support and teams of volunteers during the race. Drink stations will be plentiful and strategically-placed to ensure participants are fully hydrated throughout the race, an important safety aspect of a demanding race such as this.

The Lombok Government and authorities are fully supportive of the event and hope that it will attract more and more participants from abroad each year, as part of their long-term vision to promote tourism on Lombok Island. Event Manager Matthe Vijverberg says, “We treasure the support we have received from the local authorities, the Lombok Hotel Association, host venue Sheraton Senggigi, Gili Eco Trust and Hash House Harriers. It's great to see the whole community getting involved”.

Triathlon is fast becoming one of the most popular mass-participation sports in Asia. More than just a sport, it embodies a lifestyle that combines athleticism, camaraderie and fun. The Lombok Triathlon has been designed to become an internationally-recognised, high-profile triathlon, set in the pristine natural environment of Lombok Island.

For more information on the Lombok Triathlon, or to register in the event, visit www.lomboktriathlon.com. Indonesians residing in Indonesia may contact lomboktriathlon@tribob.com for discounted race entry rates.

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WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY SHARES IN GARUDA?

PT Garuda Indonesia plans to make an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares early in 2009 as part of the Company's overall restructuring program.

Speaking to the press, the CEO of Garuda, Emirsyah Satar, said: "The privatisation option via an IPO will take place next year, although the actual process is in the hands of the Minister for State-Owned Enterprises, as the Chief shareholder of Garuda."

The details of the IPO are currently being discussed by the airline's management and its director. Among the items on that agenda include the actual number of shares to be offered to the public. "The management view is that no more than 51% of the Company's shares should be put on offer," added Emrisyah.

Emrisyah used his meeting with the press to highlight how Garuda's financial performance is demonstrating real improvement, recording Rp 258 billion (US $27.9 million) profit in 2007. This is a dramatic turn-around from the three consecutive years of substantial losses booked in 2004 (Rp 811.3 billion), 2005 (Rp 688.4 billion) and 2006 (Rp 197 billion).

Adding further merriment to the atmosphere of Garuda's boardroom are estimates that the airline is projecting a Rp 516 billion (US $55.8 million) profit for the entire year of 2008. Garuda is citing increased seating capacity, improved efficiency and a widening market as the main forces behind its improving fortunes.
Garuda has also signed agreements for the lease of 50 Boeing 737-800 slated for delivery in 2009, and 10 Boeing 777-30ER slated for delivery in 2010.Prior to the 2009 IPO, Garuda is hoping to have successfully renegotiated its debt of more than US $800 still owed to European creditors.

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2008 SAIL INDONESIA RALLY SHIPS OFF!

The 2008 Sail Indonesia Rally commenced from Darwin, northern Australia on Saturday July 26 for the first leg of the race from Darwin to Kupang in East Timor.

The Rally began in ideal conditions under a clear blue sky in a following 8-10 knot south east breeze.110 yachts are participating in this year's rally.

Sail Indonesia is a major annual yachting event, with boats sailing in the Darwin to Kupang Rally, and then spending three months sailing through the Indonesian archipelago before heading onto Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Participants are often undertaking a circumnavigation sailing around the world. A wide range of yachts of all sizes and all types including monohulls, catamarans, and trimarans flying flags from many countries take part.
The official Sail Indonesia Rally programme includes events at six different destinations, including Flores and Bali, which means that participants can choose to pass through Lombok and the Gili's en route. 2007 saw an unprecedented number of yachts visiting Lombok and the Gilis during the cruise period.

Following their arrival at Kupang, yachts are invited to a number of events there and at locations on the islands of Alor, Lembata, Flores, Sulawesi, Borneo, Bali, Karimunjawa, Java, and Batam before they leave Indonesian waters.

The local government administration of many of these islands plan a number of events at each stopover many of which include a ceremonial welcome and dinner as well as cultural and arts displays, traditional sports, tours and dance performances.

The start of Sail Indonesia 2008 coincided with the 2008 DBCYA Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race which left Darwin Harbour on the same date.

There were at least 16 yachts participating in this year's race, an increase on the six that participated last year. All yachts and crew were safely accounted for in Ambon by 2 August 2008.

The Australian Ambassador in Jakarta flew to Ambon to take part in the official race presentations with Helsal II taking line honours and crossing the finish line first. Cruise Missile crossed the line in second place and Kishka crossed the line just under two hours later to take third place.

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BROADBAND COMES TO SENGGIGI

Citramedia, the broadband specialists in Mataram, are bringing broadband internet connection to Senggigi at last!

The company erected an antenna on the top of the shops in the Senggigi Plaza last week and have plans to extend their coverage to surrounding areas. The Lombok Guide caught up with Erwin from Citramedia this week for an exclusive interview about all things internet!

The Lombok Guide: Erwin, most of us in Senggigi struggle with slow old dial-up internet connections. I know broadband is much faster, but what's the difference between WiFi and broadband?
Citramedia: WiFi is just another way of saying that you don't need to use cables or plug into anything to access the internet.

Broadband is a way of connecting to the internet, either using fibre optics or via satellite. We used to use satellite connections, but we found it too slow; satellite is still too influenced by weather and atmospheric conditions.

TLG: So now that you've erected the tower in Senggigi, how can people access broadband here?

CM: If clients want to connect using broadband, they need an antenna and a hardware package.
They can either buy their own packages at a computer store, or we can supply the whole lot for them.
If they choose to go with our service, we can supply everything for a one-off fee of Rp 2 million, which includes Rp 500 000 for installation.

Alternatively, they can purchase the package themselves and we will install and set it up for Rp 500 000.
The benefit of choosing our system is that, while the warranty on a purchased package is usually only one year, we guarantee our service for as long as the client's contract. If equipment stops working, we replace or repair it.

TLG: Do you need a laptop or can anyone connect?

CM: No, the connection works with laptops or desktop computers. Or, if a household has more than one computer, we can supply a router that enables multiple connections; for example, the client might want to connect a laptop and a desktop to the same connection.

TLG: Apart from the antenna and hardware, what are the other costs?

CM: If the connection is only for personal use, it costs Rp 350 000 per month for up to 128 kbps speed – that's a fast connection! If the client pays for 12 months in advance, we give them an extra month free. We also supply connections for businesses and offer larger connections with a number of options if people want bigger connections… the supply is unlimited!

TLG: Who else is using Citramedia's services at the moment?

CM: We supply the Lombok Raya Hotel and Sahid Grand Legi Hotels in Mataram, as well as Delicio at the Mall and the International Hospital in Gerung.

We've even supplied bandwidth for conferencing at local hotels, such as the Jayakarta, when they have big meetings and conferences.

TLG: With the new tower in Senggigi, how far can the signal reach?

CM: Senggigi is a particular problem with so many hills around the area, which is why it's taken so long for broadband to come to Senggigi. Even with the new tower, we have to limit connections between the two hills at the north end of town, near the Sheraton, and south, just before Café Alberto. However, we plan to extend our coverage in the area by building more towers on the other sides of the hills. For example, if there are more than 10 people in BTN Green Valley area who want connections, we will erect another tower for them.

TLG: What other services can you provide in Senggigi now?

CM: Many of the restaurants and hotels in the central Senggigi strip can now become “internet hotspots” and offer broadband connection to their guests by connecting to us. Restaurant Taman in the centre of town has already signed up to become a hotspot and others will want to provide the same service to their customers to be competitive.

TLG: Thanks for talking to us, Erwin, and thanks for bringing broadband to Senggigi!

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FIRING SQUAD READIED FOR BALI BOMBERS

Indonesian police have readied three crack paramilitary firing squads to execute the Bali bombers, a spokesman said Friday, 1 August, 2008.

Each of the 12-man squads will be tasked with executing one of the three bombers on death row after the 2002 attack on the holiday island of Bali that killed 202, national police spokesman, Abubakar Nataprawira, told AFP.
Most of the elite Brimob unit soldiers will be equipped with blank rounds in a measure to prevent psychological distress, Nataprawira said.

“From the squads of 12 shooters, only three will be using real bullets," he said.

The soldiers will remain based in Central Java and will only be sent to the execution site near the bombers' prison on Nusakambangan Island closer to the final date, he said, which has not been announced.
Nataprawira said he was unable to comment on whether the preparations indicated the execution of the three members of the Islamist Jemaah Islamiyah network – Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron – would happen soon.

The preparations come after lawyers for the bombers this week said they would launch a constitutional challenge against the use of the firing squad, branding an execution of the bombers before them "murder".

Justice officials have said the bombers will be executed before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts on 1 September, after their last appeal was thrown out by the Supreme Court earlier in July.

The bombers have shown no regret for the attacks and say they are looking forward to dying as "martyrs".

Executions in Indonesia are by firing squad, usually carried out at night in isolated and undisclosed locations. The prisoner is notified at least 72 hours in advance.

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