Sunday, July 08, 2012

"Car Free Day" in Jakarta

People took over the roads on bikes and on foot to enjoy Jakarta's Car Free Day. The often extremely congested city has introduced car free days every Sunday, to help reduce harmful emissions.

A father holds his child while riding a bicycle during Car Free Day at the main street in Jakarta July 8, 2012. Since May, Jakarta has increased the frequency of car-free days from twice a month to every Sunday in a bid to bring down the level of carbon emissions in the heavily polluted metropolis, Governor Fauzi Bowo said last month, local media reported. On Sunday, all motorized vehicles will be barred from entering two of the capital's busiest streets - Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin - from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. on car-free days.

Angry Birds balloons are seen as people run during Car Free Day at the main street in Jakarta.

People ride bicycles during Car Free Day at the main street in Jakarta.

[Photos by Beawiharta/Reuters. Link]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vietnam law bans smoking in public

Vietnam has passed a law banning smoking in public places and all tobacco advertising, an official said Tuesday.

The law, passed by 440 out of 468 national assembly deputies on Monday, also makes it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under 18 years old, said the parliamentary official, who did not want to be named.

It will take effect from next May, state media said.

Smoking in public places -- including schools, hospitals, office buildings and on public transport -- was banned once already in 2010 by a government decree, which also raised tax on tobacco and restricted the sale of cigarettes.

But that order was widely ignored, with smoking in public places widespread and cigarettes available at small kiosks on nearly every street in the capital Hanoi.

The anti-smoking campaign group Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) welcomed the new law -- the full text of which has not yet been released -- saying it was a "historic and important milestone" for the country.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

NEW SPECIE: The Philippine Purple Crab

Just when we thought we humans knew and conquered anything and everything, still our region reveals new species almost yearly! In 2010-2011, 200 new species was discovered in Southeast Asia.

Four new species of colorful crustaceans have been discovered in the Philippines. The crab's brilliant hues may simply help the species recognize its brethren, said study author Hendrik Freitag, of the Senckenberg Museum of Zoology in Dresden, Germany.

A purple crab stares down the camera in the Philippine island of Palawan in an undated picture. The colorful crustacean, dubbed Insulamon palawanense, is one of four new species in the Insulamon genus described in a recent study.

Including the previously known I. unicorn, all five Insulamon species are exclusively freshwater creatures, spending their days burrowing in muddy holes and emerging at night to feed.

That's an unusual life cycle for a crab—most of the world's known crabs migrate to the sea at some point to spawn, Freitag said.

A view of the underside of an I. magnum female reveals the eggs she's carrying.

After finding the new Philippine species, Freitag and students from Ateneo de Manila University plan to survey the Philippines' Mindoro Island, where many habitats are already pressured by mining.

"Many new species can be expected," he said.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nyepi Day -Balinese New Year

Nyepi is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isaawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar (in 2012, it falls on March 23rd). It is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New year. Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning.

Balinese children carry an Ogoh-ogoh effigy, symbolizing the evil spirit, during a ritual ahead of Nyepi day in Ubud Gianyar, Bali March 21, 2012.  {Reuters}

Balinese women carrying offerings walk during the Melasti ceremony ahead of Nyepi day in Gianyar district, Bali.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Intersection

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Worldwide Accent Project | Hanoi, Vietnam

Worldwide Accent Project | Kuching, Malaysia

Worldwide Accent Project | Manila, Philippines

Worldwide Accents Project | Singapore

Worldwide Accent Project | Jakarta, Indonesia

Worldwide Accent Project | Bangkok, Thailand

Sumatran elephants could be extinct in 30 years

The Sumatran elephant could be extinct in the wild within three decades unless immediate steps are taken to slow the breakneck pace of deforestation, environmentalists warned Tuesday.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature recently listed the animals as "critically endangered" after their numbers dropped to between 2,400 and 2,800 from an estimated 5,000 in 1985.

The decline is largely because of destruction of their habitat, with forests all across the Indonesian island of Sumatra being clear-cut for timber, palm oil and pulp and paper plantations.

Sumatra has some of the most significant populations of Asian elephants outside of India and Sri Lanka and is also home to tigers, orangutans and rhinos.

"The Sumatran elephant joins a growing list of Indonesian species that are critically endangered," Carlos Drews of the conservation group WWF said in a statement Tuesday. "Unless urgent and effective conservation action is taken these magnificent animals are likely to go extinct within our lifetime."

Indonesia's endangered elephants sometimes venture into populated areas searching for food and destroy crops or attack humans, making them unpopular with villagers.

Some are shot or poisoned with cyanide-laced fruit, while others are killed by poachers for their ivory.


Malaysia saves endangered pygmy elephant on Borneo

Malaysian wildlife authorities said they had rescued a pygmy elephant calf on Borneo island and expressed hope a planned sanctuary would provide protection for the endangered animals.

The male calf, which is less than a month old, was pulled out of a deep moat surrounding a palm oil plantation in remote Sabah state on Friday, said Sen Nathan, a senior official with the Sabah Wildlife Department.

It is the fifth calf rescued by wildlife officials since 2009. Three of those previously saved have died but a female has recovered and is now at a wildlife park.

There are fewer than 2,000 Borneo pygmy elephants left in the wild, according to authorities. A sub-species of the Asian elephant, the creatures have a rounded appearance and are smaller than mainland elephants.

Wildlife activists warn that pygmy elephants are fast losing their natural habitat to deforestation and human encroachment on Borneo, a vast island shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How to deter train surfers Indonesian-style!

Indonesia has gone to imaginative extremes to try to stop commuters from illegally riding the roofs of trains. The images below are common sights in our region... train surfing!

...and the creative solution?

OMG! You kidding meeh?

Now the authorities have an intimidating and possibly even deadly new tactic: Suspending rows of grapefruit-sized concrete balls to rake over the top of trains as they pull out of stations, or when they go through rail crossings.


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