Why Bali is becoming a haven for drug users seeking help

Mitch Bartrum was 13 when he tried illegal drugs for the first time.

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“I started at a young age smoking weed, then went to pills, then speed. I was one of those kids who could never just stop, you know?” he says.

As a young adult he developed a methamphetamine addiction that slowly consumed his life.

“I tried everything I could do to keep this habit going, everything,” he says.

“I was a compulsive liar. I used all the money for my business. What money I didn’t spend on drugs, I spent on the pokie machines… trying to win money to keep going.

“It just got to the point where there was no other choice for me besides to come here, or go to jail or die.”

It was his father who eventually convinced him to seek help at a rehabilitation facility.

The family chose Sivana Bali, an eight-bed rehabilitation clinic located on the Indonesian island better known to Australians as a party destination.

Drinking is prevalent on the main streets of Kuta while police patrol for drug deals in the murky laneways behind them.  

Coming to a country with a notoriously tough stance against drugs wasn’t a deterrent, Mitch says – in fact, it was encouraging.

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“I’ve always been too scared to touch drugs or anything like that, because of the laws here.”

“So I knew that coming here was probably the best idea that my dad had.”

Chanel, from Perth, is at Sivana for a month-long stay. 

The 31-year-old, also a former meth user, says she reached “rock bottom” before realising she needed help. 

“I’d gotten into legal trouble, I’d lost my job, I’d lost my license,” she says.

“I wasn’t living a normal life, and I realised I was pushing away a lot of people I cared about, that cared about me.”

For Chanel, rehab in Bali appealed because it was far away from home.

“I needed to get away, really,” she says.

Siva Bali co-owner Nev Doidge says some clients are drawn by lower costs and shorter waiting lists compared to back home.

“The waiting lists in Australia are huge. Methamphetamine [reduction], along with a lot of other substances, isn’t getting any better,” Nev said.

“The cost factors; what we can offer here in Bali as opposed to Australia is vastly different.

“We have villa complexes, all of our staff are fully qualified in what they do, and the environment [is calm].”

The company has treated around 140 people since it opened two years ago. Almost all have been Australian.

Indonesia amended its narcotics laws in 2009. Many of the changes, including forced rehabilitation for declared drug users, have been controversial.

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Despite tougher penalties being enforced for dealers, Nev says Indonesia is beginning to embrace drug rehabilitation.

“The change here in support for rehabilitation has been huge in Indonesia,” he says.

“There’s been a big shift in the last few years in that kind of thing.”

Sivana’s Program Director Nadine Winter says the next challenge for clients will be returning home.

“It’s a big part of what we do here, teaching people how they’re going to manage their lives once they go home,” she says.

Though she is still receiving treatment, Sivana client Chanel says she believes she’s made the right choice.

“I feel at peace. I feel calm. I feel happy. I wake up in the morning and I’m like, yay, you know?

“Whereas I didn’t even want to wake up for the days really, before I got here. I didn’t even want to face the day.”

Mitch will soon be heading home to Australia, and says he’s grateful to his family for the experience. 

“Every time I pushed them away, they were still here. I would have lost everything if it wasn’t for them.”

Schapelle Corby leaves Bali villa

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British Airways vows ‘never again’ after IT collapse

British Airways says it will take steps to ensure there is no repeat of a computer system failure that stranded 75,000 passengers over a holiday weekend and turned into a public relations disaster.

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BA had been forced to cancel all its flights from Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, and Gatwick on Saturday after a power supply problem disrupted its operations worldwide and also hit its call centres and website.

The airline was returning to normal on Monday, planning to run more than 95 per cent of flights from London Heathrow and Gatwick, with only a handful of short-haul flights cancelled.

BA Chief Executive Alex Cruz said the root of the problem, which also affected passengers trying to fly into Britain, had been a power surge on Saturday morning which hit BA’s flight, baggage and communication systems. It was so strong it also rendered the back-up systems ineffective, he said.

“Once the disruption is over, we will carry out an exhaustive investigation into what caused this incident, and take measures to ensure it never happens again,” Cruz said.

Over the weekend, some stranded passengers curled up under blankets on the floor or slumped on luggage trolleys, images that played prominently online and in newspapers.

“Apologises all well and good but not enough. BA has lost another loyal customer #disgraceful,” tweeted Tom Callway, who had been due to fly to Budapest.

The company was left counting the cost of the disruption, both in terms of a one-off impact to its profit and the longer term damage to its reputation.

Spanish-listed shares of parent company IAG, which also owns carriers Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, dropped 2.8 per cent on Monday after the outage. The London-listed shares did not trade because of a public holiday.

Flight compensation website Flightright长沙桑拿按摩论坛, said that with around 800 flights cancelled at Gatwick and Heathrow on Saturday and Sunday, BA was looking at having to pay around 61 million euros ($A91.5 million) in compensation under EU rules. That does not include the cost of reimbursing customers for hotel stays.

BA would fully honour its compensation obligations, Cruz said.

BA has been cutting costs to respond to competition on short-haul routes from Ryanair and easyJet.

Ireland’s Ryanair was quick to seize on the marketing opportunity, tweeting “Should have flown Ryanair” with a picture of the ‘Computer says no’ sketch from the TV series “Little Britain” to poke fun at BA.

The GMB union said that BA’s IT systems had shortcomings after they made a number of staff redundant and shifted their work to India in 2016.

“This could have all been avoided. BA in 2016 made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India,” Mick Rix, GMB National Officer for Aviation, said.

Cruz rejected the union criticism.

“They’ve all been local issues around a local data centre, which has been managed and fixed by local resources,” he told Sky News.

The airline said it was working to reunite passengers with their luggage after many items were left at Heathrow over the weekend.

MI5 launches internal probe as new photo of Abedi released

As the number of people detained in Britain rose to 14 following an arrest early in the morning, police released CCTV images of 22-year-old attacker Salman Abedi carrying a large suitcase and appealed for information about the luggage.

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Manchester City Council has called a vigil in the centre of the northwest England city for 2131 GMT — the exact moment that Abedi detonated his bomb outside a pop concert by teen idol Ariana Grande in one of Europe’s biggest indoor arenas.

The names of the victims, including six under the age of 18, were read out in front of the city’s town hall earlier on Monday before hundreds of people at an annual religious ceremony.

A nearby square was packed with floral tributes and heart-shaped balloons, as well as runners’ bibs left by participants in a half-marathon on Sunday.

“You tried to destroy us but you’ve brought us closer together,” read one message of defiance.

This is a handout photo taken from CCTV by Greater Manchester Police of Salman AbediGreater Manchester Police

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Investigators pushed ahead with their probe of the attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group.

Police officers could be seen conducting a search at a rubbish tip near Manchester and released images of Abedi carrying a blue suitcase hours before the attack, asking the public where and when they might have seen him with it in the preceding days.

“We have no reason to believe the case and its contents contain anything dangerous, but would ask people to be cautious,” the police said in a statement, stressing that the suitcase was different from the backpack Abedi used in the attack.

Abedi is believed to have returned from a trip to Libya a few days before the bombing.

Authorities also arrested a 23-year-old man in the southern coastal town of Shoreham-by-Sea, more than 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Manchester.

Fourteen men are now detained on UK soil in the investigation, while Abedi’s father and brother have been held in Libya, where officials said the two brothers were IS jihadists.

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MI5 probe is ‘right’

Amid mounting criticism of the security services, MI5 are looking at decisions taken in the case of Abedi, who used to be on a terror watchlist but was no longer on it at the time of the attack, and whether warnings about his behaviour were ignored.

“There is a lot of information coming out at the moment about what happened, how this occurred, what people might or might not have known,” Britain’s interior minister Amber Rudd told Sky News.

“It is right that MI5 take a look to find out what the facts are,” she said, adding: “We shouldn’t rush to make any conclusions at this stage”.

Two people who knew Abedi made separate calls to an anti-terrorism hotline to warn the police about his extremist views, British media have reported.

The Mail on Sunday also cited a source saying US federal agents had been investigating Abedi since the middle of 2016 and had flagged up concerns to MI5.

The BBC reported that Abedi had taken part in the armed uprising against Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s regime as a teenager during school holidays.

At the weekend British investigators released pictures of a black-clad Abedi taken from CCTV on the night of the massacre, and appealed to the public for help in tracing his movements in the days before.

The police statement said one of the last places he went to before the attack at the Manchester Arena venue was a city centre flat, where they believe he may have finished assembling the device.

None of the men arrested have so far been charged with a crime and police have up to 14 days in which to do so under special anti-terrorism laws.

Station reopening

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday lowered the terror threat level, which had been hiked in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s attack.

Operation Temperer, which involved the highly unusual deployment of armed troops on Britain’s streets, will also be wound down on Monday night.

In another sign of a lowering of security tensions, Victoria Station in Manchester, a major transport hub which was next to the blast site and has been shut since the tragedy, is due to reopen on Tuesday.

“Victoria Station’s reopening is an important statement about our city’s recovery from this devastating attack,” Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said.

Investigators said they have a 1,000-strong team working on the probe and have significant details on Abedi’s associates and movements, his finances, and how the bomb was built.

But cuts in police force numbers made while May was interior minister have become a focus for the campaign ahead of a general election on June 8 and polls have shown her strong lead against the Labour Party’s Jeremy Corbyn shrinking in recent days.

From 2009 to 2016, the number of police officers fell by almost 20,000, or around 14 percent.

May argues that the government has increased funding for security and intelligence agencies.

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Rising everyday costs bring call for more retirement savings

A key organisation representing Australia’s superannuation industry says a rise in everyday expenses is driving an increase in how much money is needed for retirement.

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The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia has been monitoring everyday expenses like power, food and health care since 2006.

Chief policy officer, Glen McCrea told SBS World News price hikes were driving up how much money is needed for a comfortable retirement and recommended Australians contribute more to their super funds

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“What we encourage people to do is to look at their super balances, think about how far away they are from retirement and, where they can, put in a little bit extra, because, with the benefit of compound [interest], it can make a big difference in your balances in retirement,” Mr McCrea said.

In 2006, the association estimated a single person who owned a home needed $35,000 a year for a comfortable retirement.

But in 2014, that figure had risen 23 per cent to $42,000.

A comfortable budget for a couple in 2006 was $47,000, but by 2014 that had risen similarly to $58,000.

Sydney University of Technology Adjunct Professor Eva Cox has looked at the development of superannuation in Australia.

Adjunct Professor Cox said it wasn’t realistic for people on average wages to put away that little bit extra.

“Most people who earn under $80,000 a year will be very lucky if they save enough money in their superfunds to do anything more than supplement an aged pension, have some additional money to cover themselves when they need lump sums,” she said.

“But the idea that everybody will be able to retire independently of government pensions is a lot of rubbish.”

While employers must contribute 9.5 per cent of a person’s salary into a superannuation fund, the association is encouraging people to contribute more.

Another industry body has also released a report revealing bank-owned superfunds collected almost $9 million in super fees in 2016.

Industry Super Australia’s David Whiteley said this was a concern.

“We know the banks have roughly around about 20 per cent of total market share of super,” he said.

“They’re of course used to having 80 per cent market share in credit cards and home loans and other banking products.

“What our concern is here is that the fees generated by the banks out of super are disproportionate when compared to their market share, and it could well be reducing their fund members’ nest eggs.”

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Siege continues with Qld police killer

A siege is continuing with a man who shot and killed Queensland police officer Brett Forte during a traffic stop west of Brisbane.

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Senior Constable Forte was killed after a “wanted man” evaded police in a traffic stop at Seventeen Mile in the Lockyer Valley just before 2pm on Monday.

Police have been negotiating with the suspected gunman – named in the media as Rick Maddison – holed up in a farm house near Gatton.

It’s believed Maddison is armed with a machine gun.

“This guy they are after, he has got serious history,” Queensland Police Union CEO Ian Leavers told Nine on Tuesday, without going into details.

Commissioner Ian Stewart told a press conference late on Monday night that police wanted to resolve the stand-off “as peacefully as humanly possible”.

Police have cordoned off a large section of the area, forcing some locals to sleep in their cars.

Sne Const Forte’s death came after a police pursuit involving Maddison on Tuesday afternoon.

A police source said Maddison got out of his car during the chase and shot Sen Const Forte before driving down a dirt road at Seventeen Mile.

He also fired at a police helicopter while entering the farm house.

Nine said neighbours had heard gunfire coming from Maddison’s property over the last couple of months.

“On average you would hear gunshots over there at least one, two nights a week,” one said.

A neighbour, Kyal, told Seven events unfolded rapidly and they were ordered out of their homes at 5.30pm.

“Everybody just can’t leave how quick it unravelled and how close it is to home,” he said.

“For it to be so close to everybody and just to think that he can happen in your backyard just like that. It’s kind of really scary.”