Subject: AFP: E Timorese president takes vacation with family in Bali

Also: Ubud Writers and Readers Festival opens with a message of peace

East Timorese president takes vacation with family in Bali

DILI (AFP): East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao and his family on Thursday began a vacation in the Indonesian island of Bali despite last weekend's bombings there, the presidential office said.

"Besides vacationing, Xanana will also accompany his wife to attend a festival of writers and readers in Ubud, Bali," said spokesman Lusitania Lopez.

Gusmao will be in Bali until October 13 and then he and his family will visit the East Java city of Surabaya, Lopez said, without giving details of the president's agenda in Surabaya.

Two southern Bali tourist areas -- Jimbaran and Kuta -- were Saturday hit by blasts which killed 19 people and three suicide bombers.

Gusmao, who traveled with his wife Australian-born Kirsty Sword Gusmao and their three sons, has said that in times like now, Bali needs all the support it can get. (**)

Received from Joyo Indonesian News

The Jakarta Post Saturday, October 8, 2005

Ubud Writers and Readers Festival opens with a message of peace

Rita A. Widiadana, The Jakarta Post, Ubud, Bali

Around 100 Indonesian and foreign writers, actors, dancers and scholars enthusiastically attended the solemn opening of the second Ubud Writers and Readers' Festival 2005 at the grand Puri Ubud royal palace on Friday night.

Among the guests and participants were Timor Leste President Xanana Gusmao and First Lady Kirsty Gusmao; writer and Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje, award-winning Indian author Amitav Gosh and senior journalist Aristides Katoppo. Others joining the four-day event included theater actors, playwrights and publishers.

Despite the Oct. 1 bombings, only a few people registered for the event canceled and organizers said the turnout indicated the strong commitment of participants to make the festival a success.

"We come here to Bali to show our solidarity, our friendship and trust of the people of Bali," Kirsty Gusmao said in her opening speech. The chain-smoking Xanana looked relaxed and was busy taking photographs, while his wife was elegantly clad in a purple-colored gown.

The festival's executive director, writer Janet De Neefe said, "I feel so grateful to have such tremendous support. The festival is sending a strong message to the world that we are here to deliver the message of peace."

Preceded by a welcoming dance performed by a dozen women in glittering Balinese costumes (photo above) the atmosphere at Puri Ubud was upbeat and welcoming.

The nobles of Ubud palace have been renowned as an avid patrons of the arts and culture since the early l9th century. The opening ceremony was also highlighted by the energetic Barong Dance performed "to unite the village, to protect it from any negative forces."

The opening ceremony continued with the Tribute to Aceh performance.

[This message was distributed via the east-timor news list. Write]

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