Entries in Obama (2)


Mount Merapi erupts; many Jakarta flights cancelled

Eruption of the Javanese volcano Merapi in the southeastern Asian island country of Indonesia snarled air traffic at the country's largest airport today.  Three dozen flights involving Soekarno-Hatta International Airport west of the Indonesian capital Jakarta (IATA: CGK; ICAO: WIII) have been cancelled by their operating airlines because of the eruption.  The red dot on the computer-generated image below shows the location of Merapi on the island of Java.

The Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times said ash from the volcano, located about 268 miles to the southeast of Jakarta on the island of Java, has not in fact reached the Indonesian capital.  A spokesman for Soekarno-Hatta Airport said the flights, from 11 different carriers based in both Europe and Asia, were cancelled as a precaution.  This series of cancellations comes just a few days prior to a scheduled state visit to Indonesia by an official delegation from the United States of America.

This delegation, of unknown size, accompanies President Barack Obama, who spent four years in the country as a child, following the enactment by second Indonesian President Suharto, of a policy recalling all Indonesian students studying abroad, which included Obama's step-father.

In any case, the name Merapi means "mountain of fire" in the Javanese languageMerapi has erupted regularly since 1548, and an eruption of the volcano a millennium ago is said to have completely covered central Java in ash, and even had political consequences.  Java is home to sixty percent of the Indonesian population, and is by far the most populous island in the world.

Soekarno-Hatta International opened in 1985 as a replacement for Kemayoran Airport (the latter now the site of the annual Jakarta Fair).  The facility is named for Indonesia's first President, known internationally simply as Soekarno, and his Vice President Mohammad Hatta.  It is a hub for the Indonesian flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, the international airline Batavia Air, and several domestic carriers and cargo airlines.  Soekarno-Hatta served a little more than 37 million passengers last year, about as many as San Francisco International (IATA: SFO; ICAO: KSFO) in the United States, and slightly fewer than Schiphol Airport (IATA: AMS; ICAO: EHAM) in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

original stories

Merapi ash disrupts int'l flights after Saturday eruption (Jakarta Post)

Airlines stop Jakarta flights after volcano blast (Jakarta Post)

Mount Merapi sparks travel chaos (Jakarta Post)

All Jakarta flights cancelled (The Straits Times)

Jakarta flights cancelled due to volcano (Reuters India)



Dept. of State continues to urge caution when traveling to Georgia

The State Department yesterday made an update to an already-existing warning to Americans traveling to or through the sovereign nation of Georgia.  This update was made because of continued unpredictability of violence in the South Ossetia (north central) and Abkhazia (northwest) regions of the small country on the eastern side of the Black Sea, whose unity is still threatened by various separatist movements.

The State Department urged Americans to stay away from demonstrations.  It reported that the American embassy in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi is open, and that its website is functional.  It also urged all Americans traveling in Georgia to register their location or other contact information with the embassy.

Separatist fighting within Georgia, and international conflict with Russia, began in 2008.  Russia initially recognized the independence of the two Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but has since taken that back.  George W. Bush was the first American President ever to visit the country.  Barack Obama has yet to visit as President.  The United States has never recognized the sovereign statehood of any region within Georgia.

original story (United States Department of State)