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January 30, 2009

Scenes from Indonesia

Ecologically blessed, economically challenged, vast and diverse, Indonesia is a country of contrasts. made up of 17,500 islands (only about 6,000 of those inhabited). Indonesia is populated by over 230 million people, speaking over 740 different languages and dialects within 300 distinct native ethnic groups - it is the fourth most populous country, after the United States. Impoverished conditions amongst people living in an area so rich with natural resources has also put extreme pressure on the environment, as increased mining and deforestation make more of an impact. Collected here are only a handful of photographs from Indonesia over the past several months - again, it's impossible to sum up such a diverse subject in a single collection. (32 photos total)

An elephant keeper collects food for the elephants at the Elephant Conservation Centre in Way Kambas National Park on Indonesia's Sumatra Island January 25, 2009. Since 1998, 22 elephants were born at Way Kambas Elephant Conservation Centre. Sumatran elephants, the smallest of all Asian elephants, are facing serious pressures arising from illegal logging and associated habitat loss and fragmentation in Indonesia, said Conservation Centre authorities. (REUTERS/Beawiharta)

Ramzar, a three-month-old Sumatran elephant, walks beside his parents at the Elephant Conservation Centre on January 25, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

Indonesian students wait for their turn to view an annular solar eclipse in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia Lampung province January 26, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

Indonesian Muslim people from Majelis Rasulullah conduct a prayer for Palestinians in Jakarta on January 17, 2009. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images) #

An employee pours gold into a mold during processing at the PT Antam Tbk. precious metal refinery in Jakarta January 15, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

Singaporean Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) extremist, Mohammad Hasan bin Saynudin (center with beard), and nine other terror suspects sit behind the bars of the South Jakarta court detention house before their trial on January 13, 2009. The ten suspects were rounded up in and around Palembang in late June and early July, 2008 and were accused of forming a dangerous cell linked to some of the region's most wanted extremists. (BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images) #

A worker carries containers of crude oil to be processed into fuel at a well on December 22, 2008 in Bojonegoro, Indonesia. Crude oil mining is undertaken in what is known as the "eternal oil fields" using traditional methods and simple equipment. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

Crude oil sprays from a well bucket as a result of mining processes on December 22, 2008 in Bojonegoro, Indonesia. The "eternal oil field" reserves were rediscovered here, just over 100km from Surabaya in 2005, although the 210 wells date back to Dutch colonial times. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

A worker attempts to extinguish a flame at the source of an oil well on December 22, 2008 in Bojonegoro, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

A worker inspects crude oil resulting from mining processes at a well December 23, 2008 in Bojonegoro, Indonesia. The 2005 rediscovery of these fields was the biggest in Indonesia in three decades, and remains one of the biggest oil reserves in Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

A mine worker takes part in the extraction of crude oil from a well on December 23, 2008 in Bojonegoro, Indonesia. (Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

Distilled diesel oil pours in to a tank as it waits for the sale to a distributor December 22, 2008 in Bojonegoro, Indonesia. These fields are mined jointly by the state oil company Pertamina and a subsidiary of ExxonMobil. Fields such as those at Banyu Urip alone produce up to 170,000 barrels per day, accounting for 20 percent of Indonesia's crude oil production.(Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images) #

A child sits on a railway track near an open-air vegetable stall in Jakarta January 30, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

A member of Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) carries a Palestinian flag during a rally in Jakarta, against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip January 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Supri) #

This handout photo taken on January 17, 2009 and received by Michele Paolino, captain of the Wellard Rural Exports livestock ship MV Becrux, on January 22, 2009 shows three Indonesian fishermen adrift on debris in the Java Sea after their ship sank. The Australian livestock company said on January 22 it had rescued the three Indonesian fishermen who claimed to have drifted for seven days on the makeshift raft after their fishing boat sank off Indonesia on January 10. (photo by Kenny Chabba, provided to AFP/Getty Images by Michele Paolino) #

Firefighters battle a massive fire at one of Jakarta's largest fuel terminals early Monday Jan. 19, 2009 in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was unclear what started the fire, but "explosions were heard from the tank," said Afendi, a worker at the Pertamina national oil company which operates the fuel depot.(AP Photo/Ed Wray) #

This photo shows land readied for palm oil plantation use on Borneo island on November 20, 2008. #

An orangutan is seen with an tranquilizer dart in his side - to make him sleep before rangers relocate him to another place on Borneo island, away from this palm oil plantation. In the middle of Borneo island, a struggle against deforestation is lead by Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) who tries to convince indigenous people not to sell their lands to palm oil companies, which are vital to the orangutan. Photo taken on November 19, 2008. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images) #

A ranger is seen carrying an unconscious orangutan, as he works to relocate him on Borneo island, Indonesia on November 19, 2008. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images) #

A man smokes a cigarette near a traditional schooner at Sunda Kelapa port in Jakarta January 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

A worker carries a sack of cement inside the hull of a traditional schooner headed for Sumatra island at Sunda Kelapa port in Jakarta January 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta #

A traditional gold miner walks past by a large mining pit in Hampalit, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, Thursday, April 24, 2008. With the price of gold tripling since 2001, tens of thousands of remote mining sites have sprung up mostly in Asia, Latin America and Africa. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara) #

Traditional miners pan for gold at a mine in Hampalit, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, Thursday, April 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara) #

Rohingya refugees sit in their encampment at a military base Friday, Jan. 30, 2009 on Sabang, off the Coast of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The Indonesian government is decding what to do with the 193 would-be immigrants - the Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic group from Myanmar - who were rescued from a decrepit boat found drifting with inadequate supplies by Acehnese fishermen. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) #

Acehnese fishermen wait for customers at the Lampulo fishing port in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) #

Residents use a rubber boat to help others collecting belongings from their flooded houses in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009. Heavy overnight rain triggered flooding in many parts of the city, as it does every year around the rainy season. (AP Photo/Irwin Fedriansyah) #

Indonesian children stand inside their home above a lake contaminated with garbage in the slums of northern Jakarta January 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Supri) #

A Muslim woman attends a yoga lesson in Bandung, west of Java January 30, 2009. Indonesian yoga teachers disputed recently that the practice was damaging for Muslims after the country's top Islamic body issued a fatwa banning followers from yoga that includes chanting, mantras or meditation. (REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni) #

Men from the Mony tribe carry arrows during a traditional ceremony for a handover of land from the tribe to the government in Waghete Paniyai village in Indonesia's Papua province January 29, 2009. (REUTERS/Muhammad Yamin) #

A farmer collects latex at a rubber plantation in Kemiri village on the outskirts of Jember, Indonesia's East Java province December 30, 2008. The world's top three rubber-producing nations last week stepped up efforts to revive ailing prices, agreeing to cut next year's exports by a sixth and banning more sales until prices rebound by nearly 25 per cent. Indonesia is the second largest natural rubber producer after Thailand. (REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas) #

Workers collect rust near a ship demolition site in Jakarta January 12, 2009. It takes a dozen workers up to two months to break up a ship for its valuable scrap metal. The women earn around $2 if they can collect about 100 kg of rust. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

An elephant keeper feeds milk to Peppy, a Sumatran elephant who was trapped in a well a year ago at the Elephant Conservation Centre in Way Kambas National Park on Indonesia's Sumatra Island January 25, 2009. (REUTERS/Beawiharta) #

 
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