The Freedom Institute will be closed on the 23rd and 24th…let it not be said that Indonesia is not eager to maximize days off when holidays fall inconveniently on the weekend. So here’s an early "Happy Holidays" from both of us. For me (TP) this will be a very unique Christmas, not having any snow and all. For JM, even though it doesn’t normally snow in California, it’s not usually quite this hot, and it’s never sticky.
The big news from Indonesia today can be found on the front page of the good old NY Times involving Newport Mining Corporation. Mercury + Environment = Bad. It’s a real depressing bit of news to see how this company has allegedly screwed over Indonesians, especially given that the company seems to have known exactly what it was doing and what the consequences were going to be. Shame on you, Newport. If there was ever a need for prudential environmental regulation to overcome market failures, this would be it.
In other pollution-related news, we learned yesterday that the Indonesian city of Surabaya in East Java has the worst pollution of any city here. So Jakarta’s not even the worst. Four hundred thousand of the 3.7 million people in Surabaya have reported respiratory-related illnesses, according to the Jakarta Post. They are implementing an emissions test for vehicles–something like a smog check. The cost of the test will be $2.25 or so. However, if you don’t comply and are caught, you can face six months in jail and a $5500 fine. Ouch. That’s like fining someone in America $50,000 for polluting. Now let’s just see if they enforce it.