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Indonesia seizes 210 tonnes of Australian trash, plans to send it back

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2019

A Customs officer showing trash from Australia in containers | Courtesy: Image grabbed from a Reuters video

REUTERS – Indonesia said on Tuesday (July 9) that it was planning to send back 210 tonnes of trash to Australia, in its latest attempt to push back waste imported from Western countries.

The eight containers seized at Tanjung Perak port in Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya, contain plastic bottles, used baby diapers and electronic products, East Java province Customs said in a press release.

Chief of the port’s customs told Reuters three companies were involved in the shipment and were responsible to re-export after an investigation.

This is the second time in less than a month that Indonesia re-exported contaminated waste. Last month, Indonesia sent a consignment of Canadian paper waste back from the same port.

Indonesia and its neighbouring Southeast Asian countries Malaysia and Philippines have been sending back trash amid a spike in imports from Western countries after China banned imports, disrupting the global flow of millions of tonnes of waste each year.

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Indonesia nabs Russian trying to smuggle baby otters, scorpions

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 24th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Indonesian authorities said on Friday (May 24) they have arrested a Russian on the holiday island of Bali after he was found trying to smuggle baby otters and scorpions out of the country.

The unidentified Russian was found carrying four critically endangered Eurasian otters and 10 scorpions in a box stocked with food and milk on Thursday, conservationists said.

“The security in Ngurah Rai International airport found living objects inside the trunk of a Russian passenger during the X-ray scan,” Bali’s Natural Resources Conservative Agency (BKSDA) chief Budhy Kurniwan told reporters.

If found guilty, the suspect could face up to five years in prison and a 100 million Indonesian rupiah ($7000) fine.

Populations of the Eurasian otter, a fish-eating mammal, are declining in Asia and it is a protected species in Indonesia. Illegal wildlife trade is rampant in Indonesia, despite efforts by authorities to crack down on smugglers.

In March, authorities arrested a Russian at the same airport with a drugged a baby orang-utan in his suitcase. He was attempting to smuggle it to Russia. (REUTERS)

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Albayalde: Cocaine bricks hauled off PH waters may have been bound for Australia

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Cocaine bricks intercepted by police along the shores of Camarines Norte, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Quezon from February 10 to 18, 2019

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Wednesday that the cocaine bricks recovered off the waters of Mindanao and Luzon in the past two weeks may have been part of a drug shipment bound for Australia.

Albayalde said they are now coordinating with their Australian counterparts to determine the signature of the cocaine slabs in order to confirm if these were among those being used by drug dependents in Australia.

“I talked with my Australian counterpart earlier. Parang nanggaling ito sa Pacific Ocean, pero hindi ito delivery sa Pilipinas (It looks like it came somewhere from the Pacific Ocean and these are not for delivery in the Philippines),” Albayalde told media after his meeting with Australian Federal Police officials.

Both the Philippine and Australian authorities believe that the contraband which floated to the eastern seaboard are connected to the cocaine bricks that were recovered in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea in September last year because of its similar markings.

“Sometime in 2018, ‘yung Australian Federal Police assisted a police [operation in] Solomon Islands, meron silang nakuha na the same nature, the same package na cocaine,” Albayalde said.

The PNP Chief said Australian authorities had reported about the operations they conducted in three drug trafficking incidents in the Pacific Ocean in 2018.

First was in June where two suspects were arrested in Melbourne for conspiring to import and ship 300 kilograms of cocaine from Peru through the Pacific.

The second incident occurred in September in Siassi Island in Papua New Guinea, which yielded the arrest of six Hong Kong nationals and one Montenegro national following a high speed chase. The group allegedly dumped some of the cocaine slabs they were carrying in their boat during the chase but authorities were unable to find it after the operation.

Authorities also seized in September around 500 kilograms of cocaine from a yacht from Solomon Islands bound for Australia.

“Ito ‘yung nakuhang ship noon. Maliit lang kaya there’s a possibility na ito ay mga nag-capsized. Itong nakuha kasi ay yate, saka ang mga ganitong klase, way back in September, may nakuha sa Solomon island na around 500kg of cocaine,” Albayalde said.

“Meron din silang narecover with the help of Australian Police na the same package,” he added.

Since February 10, more than 100 kilograms of cocaine have been recovered on the shorelines or waters off Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Dinagat Island, Quezon, Aurora, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte.

The PNP is awaiting results of the laboratory examinations of the seized cocaine samples they sent to Australian authorities. – Robie de Guzman (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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Indonesian authorities vow to improve warning system in wake of deadly tsunami

by admin   |   Posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2018

 

 

Aerial shot of flooded residential areas in wake of tsunami in Labuan, Indonesia | Reuters

The Indonesian authorities are working to upgrade the warning system after a deadly tsunami caught the locals unprepared on Saturday.

The tsunami came without warning. Nobody had a clue that a 20-meter-high wave was heading toward the town of Banten in West Java.

The main cause was the eruption of Anak Krakatau, a volcano that emerged just less than 100 years ago. Locals say that as rumblings and eruptions are common occurrences,the recent eruption did not strike them as suspicious.

The last eruption of Krakatau was at exactly the same spot in 1883 — 135 years ago. It generated big waves, which killed hundreds of thousands of people.

This time, the tsunami hit at 21:27 Jakarta time on Saturday, after the eruption of the Anak Krakatau volcano triggered underwater landslides, leading to a sudden rise of the sea level.

“We are still trying to figure out what caused this new phenomenon. The activity of Krakatau itself didn’t cause the landslide. We believe it is due to many factors. At the time the landslide took place, there were also heavy rain and volcanic tremors. All of those combined resulted in this powerful underwater landslide that caused the tsunami,” said Ratdomo Purbo, a geology expert from the Indonesian Energy Ministry.

This new phenomenon is entirely different to the Indian Ocean tsunami that washed over Banda Aceh and many other Asian countries in 2004. Those waves were triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake.

Now, experts are trying to understand what happened beneath the sea surface as that volcano was erupting on Saturday. This might take time. The government would have to send teams into the area frequently to do a proper survey. But right now, it is still too dangerous because another eruption could trigger a fresh tsunami.

Authorities have released yet another warning telling residents around the area to be cautious of waves that could reach up to 4 meters high.

“Our equipment at the earthquake and tsunami center needs to be updated and more advanced. We hope that in the future we can give out warnings much faster, not just for tsunamis caused by tectonic movements but volcanic tremors too,” said Joko Siswanto, regional head of the Indonesian meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency (BMKG) Banten.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is now prioritizing warning centers to have high-quality equipment that can help to detect activities underwater to prepare themselves in case a tragedy of this scale happens again in the future.

The tsunami has killed at least 430 people as of Wednesday, leaving 1,495 injured and 159 others missing.

It has also displaced 21,991 residents and damaged nearly 1,000 houses in the affected areas. — Reuters

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