Tue, 26 Aug 2003

Dozens rally to support Beratha

DENPASAR, Bali: Dozens of people staged a peaceful protest here on Monday in support of the Bali legislative council's decision to reaffirm the reelection of Bali Governor Dewa Made Beratha despite allegations of bribery in the election.

Dressed in traditional Balinese costumes, the protesters from the Forum Rakyat Tresna Bali (FRTB) demanded that Beratha be sworn in as scheduled on Aug. 28.

He won the Aug. 6 gubernatorial election, but the House of Representatives called for his inauguration to be postponed pending an investigation into the bribery case.

Also, the Bali Administrative Court ordered a delay in Beratha's swearing-in after two councillors from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) complained of bribery in the election.

The court is scheduled to start hearing the case on Aug. 28.

The protesters asked the council to ignore the report, which they claimed contained legal flaws.

"We urge the council to instead file a civil suit against the Bali Administrative Court," protest coordinator Alit Antara said.

Beratha was supported by the PDI Perjuangan's leader, President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Council speaker I.B.P. Wesnawa said Beratha would be inaugurated as scheduled. "The legal process and the passage of time will eventually reveal the truth," he said.--JP

Smuggling of rare birds foiled in Lampung

BANDARLAMPUNG, Lampung: Security forces here foiled an attempt to smuggle at least 327 protected birds through Bakauheni port, Lampung province, on Monday.

Yulianto, 29, was arrested as a suspect in the smuggling case by forest police from the Natural Resources Conservation Agency and a team of officials from the Pro-Fauna Indonesia office in the province.

The arrest was made while the suspect was on board a ferry that was about to depart for Merak port in Banten province.

The officers were in Bakauheni on their way to Jakarta, bringing dozens of other protected animals they had seized in an operation in Lampung.

One of the officers later heard the cry of an eagle from a minibus aboard the ferry. They then found at least 327 protected birds in the vehicle. --JP

Earthquake forces people to flee

PADANG, West Sumatra: An earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale jolted Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra province, at 10:45 a.m. on Monday, an official said.

No casualties or injuries were reported. However, the quake caused panic among local residents.

The quake's epicenter was located in the Mentawai straits, some 100 kilometers west of Padang, an official of the provincial meteorological and geophysics agency, Erwin, said on Monday.

He said dozens of residents fled their homes and other buildings fearing they would collapse.--Antara

51 Palembang hotels are unlicensed

PALEMBANG, South Sumatra: Fifty-one hotels in Palembang, South Sumatra, are operating without tourism business licenses from the local Culture and Tourism office.

The illegal operations have caused hundreds of millions of rupiah in losses to the local administration, said Rachman Zeth, head of the local tourism office.

The 51 include 11 star-rated hotels and 40 others, located in strategic areas.

The star-rated hotels are Sanjaya, King, Lembang, Princes, Paradis, Arjuna, Puri Indah, Anida, Rian Cottage, Hotel Rian and Swarna Dwipa. --Antara