Muslims around the world celebrate Eid under lockdown restrictions


Muslims around the world on Sunday began celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a normally festive holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, with millions under strict stay-at-home orders and many fearing renewed coronavirus outbreaks.

The three-day holiday is usually a time of travel, family get-togethers and lavish daytime feasts after weeks of dawn-to-dusk fasting. But this year many can only celebrate at home with immediate family, with virus fears dampening the holiday spirit.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has reported nearly 22,000 infections and 1,350 fatalities, the most in Southeast Asia. Lockdown orders intended to contain the pandemic mean there will be no congregational prayers at mosques or even open fields, no family reunions, no relatives bearing gifts for children.

‘This outbreak is not just dampening spirits of Eid, but also has made the tradition entirely different,’ said Andieka Rabbani, a university student in Jakarta. This year, like many Indonesians, he will only see family and friends through video calls.

A church in Berlin has also opened its doors for the muslim holy event, as worshippers have not been able to fit into mosques under social distancing rules. 

The festival is usually a time for feasts, travelling and getting together with family. This year, however, it has been changed due to social distancing rules. Pictured: Worshippers in The Grand Mosue of Durres, Tirana, Albania

Prayers have been carried out while observing social distancing in many countries. Pictured above are worshippers at the Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in Hebron, West Bank

Prayers have been carried out while observing social distancing in many countries. Pictured above are worshippers at the Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in Hebron, West Bank

Worshippers gather for the festival at the Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in Hebron, West Bank, and stand close together

Worshippers gather for the festival at the Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in Hebron, West Bank, and stand close together

Worshippers kneel for prayer while observing social distancing in Gaza city, Gaza. Social distancing appeared to be observed

Worshippers kneel for prayer while observing social distancing in Gaza city, Gaza. Social distancing appeared to be observed

A black cat decided it would be prudent to join the many worshippers in Tirana, Albania, this morning

A black cat decided it would be prudent to join the many worshippers in Tirana, Albania, this morning

In deeply conservative Aceh, Indonesia’s only province enforcing Islamic law, public Eid prayers can still be performed at mosques and fields, but without shaking hands and with shortened sermons. An annual parade of decorated vehicles with loudspeakers invoking God’s name was scrapped this year.

‘It’s too sad … the whole week used to be one long festival, but not this time,’ said Muchtar Yusuf, an Aceh resident.

The province has reported zero coronavirus cases in the past weeks and has had only one death and 19 confirmed infections. In the rest of Indonesia, authorities have extended virus restrictions to June 4, suspending communal gatherings and banning private cars from leaving the capital, Jakarta.

The virus causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms in most patients, who recover within two to three weeks. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness or death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health conditions.

Eid celebrations also were low-key in neighboring Muslim-majority Malaysia. Businesses have mostly reopened after weeks of lockdown, but mass gatherings are still banned and ethnic Malay Muslims are not allowed to travel back to their villages.

Police have turned away more than 5,000 cars trying to head back to their hometowns in the last few days and have warned of strict penalties for those who try to evade authorities.

Worshippers gather at a mosque in Gaza city, Gaza

A worshipper wears a face mask and gloves in Grozny, Russia

Worshippers gather at a mosque in Gaza city, left, and a man kneels wearing a face mask and gloves in Grozny, Russia

One worshipper is pictured wearing a face mask as muslims gather to celebrate the event in Khartoum, Sudan

One worshipper is pictured wearing a face mask as muslims gather to celebrate the event in Khartoum, Sudan

An Imam preaches a sermon before a crowd of worshippers in Khartoum, Sudan. Few face masks were worn for the event

An Imam preaches a sermon before a crowd of worshippers in Khartoum, Sudan. Few face masks were worn for the event

Worshippers sit apart for the holy festival in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They maintained social distancing while praying

Worshippers sit apart for the holy festival in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They maintained social distancing while praying

The pandemic has also led to the cancellation of the “open house” tradition, where Muslims invite family and friends to their homes for a feast. The prime minister and government officials usually host open house events that attract thousands of people.

This year, the government allowed family members living nearby to visit each other on Sunday only, but the gatherings must not exceed 20 people in the same house.

Mosques have reopened but are limited to small congregations of up to 30 people.

Rohaizam Zainuddin said he was blessed he could celebrate Eid with his elderly parents living nearby, but his sister in another state could not return home.

‘We feel sad and, being human, we are frustrated that celebration this year is not the same,’ he said. ‘But there is no point getting angry. We just have to accept it, life goes on.’

He and his family members are still wearing new clothes and preparing traditional dishes. Plates of cookies are set out for any visitors, alongside a thermometer and hand sanitiser, in keeping with regulations.

Malaysia has reported 7,185 infections and 115 deaths, but officials fear the Eid festivities could spark a new wave of infections if people ignore social distancing and health measures.

Pakistani muslim worshippers pray together during Eid al-Fitr in Muzaffarabad. They were not allowed to shake hands

Pakistani muslim worshippers pray together during Eid al-Fitr in Muzaffarabad. They were not allowed to shake hands

Muslim worshippers sit on matts outside the main mosque in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They were not allowed to shake hands

Muslim worshippers sit on matts outside the main mosque in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They were not allowed to shake hands

Muslim worshippers sit on matts outside the main mosque in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They were not allowed to shake hands

Muslim worshippers sit on matts outside the main mosque in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They were not allowed to shake hands

In Pakistan, Eid is being celebrated in the shadow of the coronavirus and in the wake of a passenger plane crash near Karachi on Friday that killed 97 people.

For the first time, Pakistan is celebrating Eid countrywide on the same day, ending an annual controversy between rival committees over the moon sighting that signals the start of the holiday.

Pakistan has taken measures to control the spread of the coronavirus since mid-March, but Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to close mosques during Ramadan, despite pleas from doctors and a rising number of infections. Pakistan has reported more than 52,000 cases and more than 1,100 deaths.

More than 1,000 worshippers gathered and prayed shoulder-to-shoulder in a open field in Karachi on Sunday, with only a few of them wearing face-masks.

Worshippers pray on a lawn in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They stood apart in order to observe social distancing rules

Worshippers pray on a lawn in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They stood apart in order to observe social distancing rules

Muslims lean forward in worship at the main mosque in Tirana, Albania, during the festival

Muslims lean forward in worship at the main mosque in Tirana, Albania, during the festival

In Jerusalem, Israeli police said they broke up an “illegal demonstration” and arrested two people outside the Al-Aqsa mosque, which Muslim authorities have closed for prayers since mid-March and will not reopen until after the holiday. An Associated Press reporter at the scene said worshippers had tried to enter the compound.

Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam and would ordinarily welcome tens of thousands of worshippers during the Eid. The hilltop compound is also the holiest site for Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount. The site has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Muslims around the world celebrate Eid under lockdown restrictions


Muslims around the world on Sunday began celebrating Eid al-Fitr, a normally festive holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, with millions under strict stay-at-home orders and many fearing renewed coronavirus outbreaks.

The three-day holiday is usually a time of travel, family get-togethers and lavish daytime feasts after weeks of dawn-to-dusk fasting. But this year many can only celebrate at home with immediate family, with virus fears dampening the holiday spirit.

Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, has reported nearly 22,000 infections and 1,350 fatalities, the most in Southeast Asia. Lockdown orders intended to contain the pandemic mean there will be no congregational prayers at mosques or even open fields, no family reunions, no relatives bearing gifts for children.

‘This outbreak is not just dampening spirits of Eid, but also has made the tradition entirely different,’ said Andieka Rabbani, a university student in Jakarta. This year, like many Indonesians, he will only see family and friends through video calls.

A church in Berlin has also opened its doors for the muslim holy event, as worshippers have not been able to fit into mosques under social distancing rules. 

The festival is usually a time for feasts, travelling and getting together with family. This year, however, it has been changed due to social distancing rules. Pictured: Worshippers in The Grand Mosue of Durres, Tirana, Albania

Prayers have been carried out while observing social distancing in many countries. Pictured above are worshippers at the Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in Hebron, West Bank

Prayers have been carried out while observing social distancing in many countries. Pictured above are worshippers at the Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in Hebron, West Bank

Worshippers gather for the festival at the Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in Hebron, West Bank, and stand close together

Worshippers gather for the festival at the Hussein Bin Ali Stadium in Hebron, West Bank, and stand close together

Worshippers kneel for prayer while observing social distancing in Gaza city, Gaza. Social distancing appeared to be observed

Worshippers kneel for prayer while observing social distancing in Gaza city, Gaza. Social distancing appeared to be observed

A black cat decided it would be prudent to join the many worshippers in Tirana, Albania, this morning

A black cat decided it would be prudent to join the many worshippers in Tirana, Albania, this morning

In deeply conservative Aceh, Indonesia’s only province enforcing Islamic law, public Eid prayers can still be performed at mosques and fields, but without shaking hands and with shortened sermons. An annual parade of decorated vehicles with loudspeakers invoking God’s name was scrapped this year.

‘It’s too sad … the whole week used to be one long festival, but not this time,’ said Muchtar Yusuf, an Aceh resident.

The province has reported zero coronavirus cases in the past weeks and has had only one death and 19 confirmed infections. In the rest of Indonesia, authorities have extended virus restrictions to June 4, suspending communal gatherings and banning private cars from leaving the capital, Jakarta.

The virus causes mild to moderate flu-like symptoms in most patients, who recover within two to three weeks. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness or death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health conditions.

Eid celebrations also were low-key in neighboring Muslim-majority Malaysia. Businesses have mostly reopened after weeks of lockdown, but mass gatherings are still banned and ethnic Malay Muslims are not allowed to travel back to their villages.

Police have turned away more than 5,000 cars trying to head back to their hometowns in the last few days and have warned of strict penalties for those who try to evade authorities.

Worshippers gather at a mosque in Gaza city, Gaza

A worshipper wears a face mask and gloves in Grozny, Russia

Worshippers gather at a mosque in Gaza city, left, and a man kneels wearing a face mask and gloves in Grozny, Russia

One worshipper is pictured wearing a face mask as muslims gather to celebrate the event in Khartoum, Sudan

One worshipper is pictured wearing a face mask as muslims gather to celebrate the event in Khartoum, Sudan

An Imam preaches a sermon before a crowd of worshippers in Khartoum, Sudan. Few face masks were worn for the event

An Imam preaches a sermon before a crowd of worshippers in Khartoum, Sudan. Few face masks were worn for the event

Worshippers sit apart for the holy festival in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They maintained social distancing while praying

Worshippers sit apart for the holy festival in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They maintained social distancing while praying

The pandemic has also led to the cancellation of the “open house” tradition, where Muslims invite family and friends to their homes for a feast. The prime minister and government officials usually host open house events that attract thousands of people.

This year, the government allowed family members living nearby to visit each other on Sunday only, but the gatherings must not exceed 20 people in the same house.

Mosques have reopened but are limited to small congregations of up to 30 people.

Rohaizam Zainuddin said he was blessed he could celebrate Eid with his elderly parents living nearby, but his sister in another state could not return home.

‘We feel sad and, being human, we are frustrated that celebration this year is not the same,’ he said. ‘But there is no point getting angry. We just have to accept it, life goes on.’

He and his family members are still wearing new clothes and preparing traditional dishes. Plates of cookies are set out for any visitors, alongside a thermometer and hand sanitiser, in keeping with regulations.

Malaysia has reported 7,185 infections and 115 deaths, but officials fear the Eid festivities could spark a new wave of infections if people ignore social distancing and health measures.

Pakistani muslim worshippers pray together during Eid al-Fitr in Muzaffarabad. They were not allowed to shake hands

Pakistani muslim worshippers pray together during Eid al-Fitr in Muzaffarabad. They were not allowed to shake hands

Muslim worshippers sit on matts outside the main mosque in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They were not allowed to shake hands

Muslim worshippers sit on matts outside the main mosque in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They were not allowed to shake hands

Muslim worshippers sit on matts outside the main mosque in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They were not allowed to shake hands

Muslim worshippers sit on matts outside the main mosque in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They were not allowed to shake hands

In Pakistan, Eid is being celebrated in the shadow of the coronavirus and in the wake of a passenger plane crash near Karachi on Friday that killed 97 people.

For the first time, Pakistan is celebrating Eid countrywide on the same day, ending an annual controversy between rival committees over the moon sighting that signals the start of the holiday.

Pakistan has taken measures to control the spread of the coronavirus since mid-March, but Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to close mosques during Ramadan, despite pleas from doctors and a rising number of infections. Pakistan has reported more than 52,000 cases and more than 1,100 deaths.

More than 1,000 worshippers gathered and prayed shoulder-to-shoulder in a open field in Karachi on Sunday, with only a few of them wearing face-masks.

Worshippers pray on a lawn in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They stood apart in order to observe social distancing rules

Worshippers pray on a lawn in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan. They stood apart in order to observe social distancing rules

Muslims lean forward in worship at the main mosque in Tirana, Albania, during the festival

Muslims lean forward in worship at the main mosque in Tirana, Albania, during the festival

In Jerusalem, Israeli police said they broke up an “illegal demonstration” and arrested two people outside the Al-Aqsa mosque, which Muslim authorities have closed for prayers since mid-March and will not reopen until after the holiday. An Associated Press reporter at the scene said worshippers had tried to enter the compound.

Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam and would ordinarily welcome tens of thousands of worshippers during the Eid. The hilltop compound is also the holiest site for Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount. The site has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Kaitlynn Carter flashes taut midriff in pic taken by hunky ex Brody Jenner


Kaitlynn Carter flashes taut midriff in pic taken by musclebound ex Brody Jenner NINE MONTHS after announcing shock split

Talk about amicable exes.

Kaitlynn Carter showed off her taut midriff as she modeled a crop top and lounged on an outdoor bench for Instagram this week.

The picture was taken by her musclebound 36-year-old ex Brody Jenner, whose reflection could be seen in the window behind her.

Brody and Kaitlynn had a summer wedding in Indonesia in 2018 but announced their shock split to the world last August.

Looking fab: Kaitlynn Carter showed off her taut midriff as she modeled a crop top and lounged on an outdoor bench for Instagram this week, in a picture taken by Brody Jenner

In the new photograph Brody showed off his sculpted arms in a clinging black tank top while he ‘reprised his role for the day’ as Kaitlynn’s photographer.

Brody, the son of Caitlyn Jenner, began dating Kaitlynn in 2013 and five years later had a lavish wedding ceremony with her in Indonesia.

It emerged at the beginning of last August that Brody and Kaitlynn had decided to call it quits on their romance.

The plot thickened when further details surfaced indicating that Brody had declined to ever legally marry Kaitlynn, TMZ reported.

History: Brody and Kaitlynn had a summer wedding in Indonesia in 2018 but announced their shock split to the world last August; pictured last June

History: Brody and Kaitlynn had a summer wedding in Indonesia in 2018 but announced their shock split to the world last August; pictured last June

In fact, the relationship fell apart specifically because of Brody’s refusal to make the marriage legal and have a baby with Kaitlynn, according to the site’s sources.

‘The legitimacy of that marriage has become a matter of public debate, but for he and I, it was very real,’ she wrote in Elle that autumn.

‘He was quite possibly the most beautiful man on the planet, with a heart of gold and a tireless sense of adventure. I was drawn to his spirit.’

After her breakup with Brody went public Kaitlynn embarked on a brief whirlwind summer romance with Miley Cyrus.

Side by side: Kaitlynn wrote in Elle: 'He was quite possibly the most beautiful man on the planet, with a heart of gold and a tireless sense of adventure'; they are pictured June 2015

Side by side: Kaitlynn wrote in Elle: ‘He was quite possibly the most beautiful man on the planet, with a heart of gold and a tireless sense of adventure’; they are pictured June 2015

One day after Kaitlynn and Miley were spotted kissing in Capri last August, Miley announced her separation from her own husband Liam Hemsworth.

Miley and Liam had themselves been married for less than a year, tying the knot in December 2018 in her native Tennessee.

After the Kaitlynn breakup Brody had a fling with 23-year-old Playboy Playmate Josie Canseco, the daughter of ex-baseball star and steroid icon Jose Canseco.

Sizzling sensations: After her breakup with Brody went public Kaitlynn embarked on a brief whirlwind summer romance with Miley Cyrus

Sizzling sensations: After her breakup with Brody went public Kaitlynn embarked on a brief whirlwind summer romance with Miley Cyrus

All that sweet affection: One day after Kaitlynn and Miley were spotted kissing in Capri last August, Miley announced her separation from her own husband Liam Hemsworth

All that sweet affection: One day after Kaitlynn and Miley were spotted kissing in Capri last August, Miley announced her separation from her own husband Liam Hemsworth

Rumors abounded that Brody and Kaitlynn had conducted an open relationship and she touched on the subject on the The Hills: New Beginnings finale last September.

She was asked in a confessional if Brody slept with other women and replied: ‘Not without me being involved.’

Kaitlynn insisted that ‘Everything with me and Brody is under my control’ but maintained that ‘the world isn’t necessarily ready to hear about all that.’

What a duo: After the Kaitlynn breakup Brody had a fling with 23-year-old Playboy Playmate Josie Canseco, the daughter of ex-baseball star and steroid icon Jose Canseco

What a duo: After the Kaitlynn breakup Brody had a fling with 23-year-old Playboy Playmate Josie Canseco, the daughter of ex-baseball star and steroid icon Jose Canseco

Markets selling bats, dogs and snakes continue to operate across South-East Asia despite coronavirus


Wet markets selling live animals including bats, dogs and snakes are continuing to operate across South-East Asia, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Shocking pictures and videos show the animals crammed into tiny cages at markets in countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and China, where the outbreak is believed to have first emerged. 

One horrific clip shows a rabbit in its death throes, while another shows live chickens, geese, monkeys and toads waiting to be slaughtered or sold. 

Wet markets selling live animals including bats, dogs and snakes are continuing to operate across South-East Asia, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured: A bat in a cage in Indonesia

Shocking footage shows the animals crammed into tiny cages at markets in countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and China, where the outbreak is believed to have first emerged. Pictured: A snake in a small container in Indonesia

Shocking footage shows the animals crammed into tiny cages at markets in countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and China, where the outbreak is believed to have first emerged. Pictured: A snake in a small container in Indonesia

The new footage comes despite experts’ belief that COVID-19, which has now claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people around the world, originated from a bat sold at a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The footage was filmed by investigators from animal rights organisation PETA. 

In the Philippines, workers wearing flip-flops were seen walking across blood-soaked floors and cutting up pig and bird carcasses with their bare hands. 

In Vietnam, the cooked heads and other body parts of dogs were piled on a counter near living animals. Blood, guts, and water covered the floors at every market. 

Animals including monkeys, birds and kittens were seen at this market in Indonesia

Animals including monkeys, birds and kittens were seen at this market in Indonesia

One horrific clip filmed in Indonesia shows a rabbit in its death throes inside a cage containing two other dishevelled rabbits

One horrific clip filmed in Indonesia shows a rabbit in its death throes inside a cage containing two other dishevelled rabbits

Living toads were also seen crammed inside a net bag at a market in China

Living toads were also seen crammed inside a net bag at a market in China 

Live civets, which have been linked to the SARS outbreak, were also seen. 

Bats, which are believed to have been the animal which passed COVID-19 on to humans, were seen hanging upside down in cages in Indonesia.  

PETA and its international affiliates are using the video footage to renew their call on the World Health Organization to urge the closure of live-animal markets worldwide. 

So far, the campaign has been supported by over a quarter of a million people, the organisation said.

‘The next deadly pandemic is inevitable as long as markets filled with sick and stressed animals are still open,’ PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said. 

In the Philippines, the skinned carcasses of birds lay in piles on counters

In the Philippines, the skinned carcasses of birds lay in piles on counters

In Thailand, various types of fish were seen swimming in small buckets

In Thailand, various types of fish were seen swimming in small buckets

Chickens were also crammed into wire cages with no space to move around at one market in Thailand

Chickens were also crammed into wire cages with no space to move around at one market in Thailand

Chickens were also on sale at a market in Vietnam

Chickens were also on sale at a market in Vietnam

‘PETA is calling on government officials to shut down these Petri dishes for pandemics.’ 

In response the global coronavirus pandemic, China temporarily banned the selling of all wildlife – but wet markets selling live fish and poultry have re-opened in the country.  

Scientists say wet markets are ‘time bombs’ for pandemics because holding a range of species in one place makes it easier for viruses to transfer from one to the other. 

SARS, HIV, Ebola, swine flu and MERS also all came from wild animals.  

Alongside living animals, bowls, plates and baskets were filled with various body parts of animals. Pictured: A wet market in Cambodia

Alongside living animals, bowls, plates and baskets were filled with various body parts of animals. Pictured: A wet market in Cambodia

The footage was filmed by investigators from animal rights organisation PETA

The footage was filmed by investigators from animal rights organisation PETA

PETA and its international affiliates are using the video footage to renew their call on the World Health Organization to urge the closure of live-animal markets worldwide

PETA and its international affiliates are using the video footage to renew their call on the World Health Organization to urge the closure of live-animal markets worldwide

'The next deadly pandemic is inevitable as long as markets filled with sick and stressed animals are still open,' PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said

‘The next deadly pandemic is inevitable as long as markets filled with sick and stressed animals are still open,’ PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said

In response the global coronavirus pandemic, China temporarily banned the selling of all wildlife - but wet markets selling live fish and poultry have re-opened in the country. Pictured: Toads on sale in Cambodia

In response the global coronavirus pandemic, China temporarily banned the selling of all wildlife – but wet markets selling live fish and poultry have re-opened in the country. Pictured: Toads on sale in Cambodia

Infectious diseases expert Sir Jeremy Farrar told MailOnline in January: ‘Many, many infections in humans that we know of today actually originated in animals.’ 

SARS, the deadly virus which started in southern China and killed more than 700 people in the early 2000s, also came out of a wet market.   

And avian flu, another zootonic disease which can infect humans, can be spread from live birds sold at markets or poultry farms. 

Wet markets often sell live animals, many of which are illegal or exotic. The vast number of species allows a virus to adapt.

In Vietnam, the cooked heads and other body parts of dogs were piled on a counter near living animals

In Vietnam, the cooked heads and other body parts of dogs were piled on a counter near living animals 

The footage comes despite experts' belief that COVID-19, which has now claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people around the world, originated from wildlife sold at a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Pictured: What appear to be the skinned carcasses of dogs in China

The footage comes despite experts’ belief that COVID-19, which has now claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people around the world, originated from wildlife sold at a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Pictured: What appear to be the skinned carcasses of dogs in China

This pig's head was seen sitting on a counter at a wet market in China

This pig’s head was seen sitting on a counter at a wet market in China

A bowl of brains we filmed at another market in Cambodia

A bowl of brains we filmed at another market in Cambodia

Scientists say wet markets are 'time bombs' for pandemics because holding a range of species in one place makes it easier for viruses to transfer from one to the other

Scientists say wet markets are ‘time bombs’ for pandemics because holding a range of species in one place makes it easier for viruses to transfer from one to the other

Workers were filmed cutting up the carcasses of birds in this market in Cambodia

Workers were filmed cutting up the carcasses of birds in this market in Cambodia

Mr Farrar said: ‘Animals mixing allows the virus to be in lots of different hosts, which allows it to adapt to those animals. 

‘The virus can them come across to humans [who buy and sell at the market].’   

The World Health Organisation supported the re-opening of China’s wet markets, as long as wildlife trading was banned, noting that millions of people depend on the markets for food and income.

‘WHO’s position is that when these markets are allowed to reopen it should only be on the condition that they conform to stringent food safety and hygiene standards,’ WHO director Tedros Adhanom said on April 17.

‘Governments must rigorously enforce bans on the sale and trade of wildlife for food.’  

A man was filmed taking a distressed chicken out of a cage in the Philippines

A man was filmed taking a distressed chicken out of a cage in the Philippines

These geese were seen in tiered cages in Thailand

These geese were seen in tiered cages in Thailand

Tunguska event was caused by an asteroid that bounced back to space


Russian scientists suggest the mysterious ‘Tunguska event’ explosion of 1908 was caused by an iron asteroid that entered the Earth’s atmosphere and then bounced back into space.

The flying asteroid is thought to have skimmed the planet at a low altitude above Siberia, causing an explosion that flattened around 80 million trees over an area of 830 square miles (2,150km2).

The event on the morning of June 30, 1908, which is described as the most explosive meteor impact on record, produced a shock wave that set the snowy Russian forest alight.

Air waves from the blast were detected as far away as the UK and Washington DC in the US, as well as Germany, Denmark, Croatia and Indonesia.

But despite its description as an impact event, no impact crater has been found and no significant space rock hit the ground.

The first Soviet expeditions to this remote region of Siberia were puzzled by a lack of debris or craters on the surface.

This new theory suggests the explosion – which was described by eyewitnesses as like ‘the sky was split in two’ – was a shock wave from the asteroid’s trajectory rather than an impact. 

The event saw an explosion burn around 800 square miles of Siberia but a mystery has long surrounded its cause due to a lack of physical evidence

The object is thought to have partially disintegrated at a mere six miles above the ground, rather than hitting the surface of the Earth, before rebounding back into space.

On its way back into space it shredded about half of its over three million tonnes weight. 

‘We argue that the Tunguska event was caused by an iron asteroid body, which passed through the Earth’s atmosphere and continued to the near-solar orbit,’ the researchers said in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

‘Within this version, we can explain optical effects associated with a strong dustiness of high layers of the atmosphere over Europe, which caused a bright glow of the night sky.’

The rock reached an altitude of 6.2 to 9.3 miles (10 to 15 kilometres) at a speed of 12.4 miles per second (20 kilometres per second), the team report.

The explosive shock wave could have been due to a rapid emission of high-temperature plasma from the space body as it approached Earth’s surface.

The epicentre of the explosion in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia. The resulting seismic shockwave registered with sensitive barometers as far away as England

The epicentre of the explosion in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia. The resulting seismic shockwave registered with sensitive barometers as far away as England

The area of Topi Tunguski, taken from the magazine Around the World, 1931. The original photo was taken between 1927 and 1930

The area of Topi Tunguski, taken from the magazine Around the World, 1931. The original photo was taken between 1927 and 1930

Fallen trees caused by the massive explosion in 1908 when during surveys of the site in the 1990s

Fallen trees caused by the massive explosion in 1908 when during surveys of the site in the 1990s

Calculations showed that the meteor flew over the epicentre for about one second – heating the forest to the extent that it lit up in a fiery blaze.

The research team used mathematical modelling to study the ‘through passage’ of the asteroid – its route as it rebounded back into space – at a variety of possible diameters – 200, 100, and 50 metres.

It also took into account three theories of the giant rock’s composition – either iron, stone or water ice.

‘At present, there are over 100 hypotheses about the nature of the Tunguska phenomenon’, co-author Sergei Karpov at the Siberian Federal University told the Siberian Times.

‘They include the fall of a small asteroid measuring several dozen metres consisting of typical asteroid materials, either metal or stone, as well as ice.’ 

More than 100 years ago, a massive explosion ripped through the sky over the Tunguska region of Siberia, flattening trees nearly 31 miles around. From UFO theories to speculation about the supernatural, the mysterious event has spurred explanations of all kinds

More than 100 years ago, a massive explosion ripped through the sky over the Tunguska region of Siberia, flattening trees nearly 31 miles around. From UFO theories to speculation about the supernatural, the mysterious event has spurred explanations of all kinds

Modelling shows that the famous asteroid could not have consisted of rock or ice because they would have fallen apart from ‘colossal’ aerodynamic pressure in the atmosphere.

An ice asteroid would have lost its mass before it had travelled the length of the estimated trajectory, based on observational data.

Meanwhile, the theory that the Tunguska space object consisted of iron would explain why there are no iron droplets at the epicentre – they wouldn’t have reached the planet’s surface because of its immense speed.

‘This version is supported by the fact that there are no remnants of this body and craters on the surface of the Earth,’ Karpov said.

The iron theory can explain optical effects associated with ‘a strong dustiness of high layers of the atmosphere over Europe’, which caused a bright glow of the night sky in Europe and even America.

The possibility of an asteroid explosion was first proposed in 1927 by Leonid Kulik, 20 years after the event. A 1938 image from Kulik's investigations is shown above

The possibility of an asteroid explosion was first proposed in 1927 by Leonid Kulik, 20 years after the event. A 1938 image from Kulik’s investigations is shown above

Despite no deposits being found, earlier this year researchers reported sediments relating to the immediate aftermath of the explosion in Lake Zapovednoye, some 25 miles from the epicentre of the explosion.

The content of the sediment layer – potassium, titanium, rubidium, yttrium, and zirconium – is tied to the consequences of the Tunguska explosion, they suggested.

‘We discovered a distinguishing light-coloured layer in sediments of Lake Zapovednoye,’ Dr Arthur Meidus, deputy director of a nearby nature reserve, told the Siberian Times.

‘This way we know which layer of sediments might contain particles of extra-terrestrial origin,’ Meidus said.

‘Cosmic matter’ in sediment samples from Lake Zapovednoye could prove an alternate theory – that a meteor did indeed make contact with the Earth.

The blast is thought to have been produced by a comet or asteroid hurtling through Earth's atmosphere at over 33,500 miles per hour, resulting in an explosion equal to 185 Hiroshima bombs as pressure and heat rapidly increased

The blast is thought to have been produced by a comet or asteroid hurtling through Earth’s atmosphere at over 33,500 miles per hour, resulting in an explosion equal to 185 Hiroshima bombs as pressure and heat rapidly increased

Other theories for the legendary explosion include a volcanic eruption, a comet made mainly of ice and a black hole colliding with Earth.

At the time, the native Evanki people believed it was a visitation by an angry god called Ogdy.

Years after the mysterious event, one eyewitness wrote: ‘The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire. 

‘At that moment I became so hot that I couldn’t bear it as if my shirt was on fire – from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. 

‘I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few metres.’ 

TUNGUSKA EVENT THEORIES: WHAT COULD HAVE ‘SPLIT THE SKY IN TWO’ IN 1908

More than 110 years ago, a massive explosion ripped through the sky over the Tunguska region of Siberia, flattening trees nearly 31 miles around.

The blast is thought to have been produced by a comet or asteroid hurtling through Earth’s atmosphere at over 33,500 miles per hour, resulting in an explosion equal to 185 Hiroshima bombs as pressure and heat rapidly increased.

But, with no definitive impact crater and little evidence of such an object ever found, scientists remain perplexed as to what truly caused the event in which ‘the sky was split in two’.

Numerous studies have attempted to make sense of what happened on June 30, 1908 at Tunguska.

The biggest-ever documented explosion was the size of 185 Hiroshima nuclear bombs - yet there was no evidence of human fatalities. Pictures show trees flattened by the blast

The biggest-ever documented explosion was the size of 185 Hiroshima nuclear bombs – yet there was no evidence of human fatalities. Pictures show trees flattened by the blast

From UFO theories to speculation about the supernatural, the mysterious event has spurred explanations of all kinds, many of them lacking scientific basis.

Some scientists even suggested a black hole had collided with Earth – but other experts quickly shot down the idea.

In a review published in 2016 in the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Natalia Artemieva of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona explains that the event followed a clear course.

Whatever caused the event likely entered the atmosphere at 9-19 miles per second, and would have been extremely fragile, destroying itself roughly six miles above Earth.

The possibility of an asteroid explosion was first proposed in 1927 by Leonid Kulik, 20 years after the event.

Others suggested the space-object may instead have been a comet, made up of ice rather than rock, meaning it would have evaporated as it entered Earth’s atmosphere.

But, some scientists warn that these findings do not definitively explain the bizarre explosion – with meteor showers being a frequent occurrence, these samples could be the remnants of a much smaller, unnoticed event.

To some degree, the Tunguska event still remains a mystery, which scientists are continually working to solve – but, whether it be from a comet or asteroid, most agree that the explosion was caused by a large cosmic body slamming into Earth’s atmosphere.

Shocking picture of bats for sale in Indonesia shows wet markets are still open


When will wet markets be banned across the globe? As this photo from Indonesia shows, it’s not just China. EVGENY LEBEDEV issues a call for action

Since I have begun to write on the urgent need to close live animal markets, I have been surprised by the support I have received from across the UK. 

Readers of The Mail on Sunday have written to say how strongly they agree about the threat of contagion they pose, and to offer ideas on how we can bring about an absolute crackdown on this vile trade. 

Others simply expressed disbelief. ‘For goodness sake,’ wrote one woman in an email, ‘what pandemic are they going to give the world next?’ 

The bats of Tomohon market are Indonesia’s worst-kept secret, but the photograph revealed on this page still has the power to shock. 

The local ‘it can’t happen here’ complacency with regard to a viral disease is dangerously misplaced. 

Bats are carriers of all sorts of viruses and pathogens. There are even reports that local authorities found another strain of coronavirus in the bats of Tomohon in 2018. 

Bats, dogs, rats and reptiles on sale in Tomohon market Indonesia March 28th 2020

As we all know, it is likely that Covid-19 emerged from a bat in the Wuhan ‘seafood’ market. How much more warning did we need? 

The coronavirus that has laid waste to the world economy and led to almost 200,000 recorded deaths was most probably the result of poor hygiene at an illegal wildlife market. Its aftershocks will be felt for years to come. 

That is what makes the photo here of a filthy market with animal carcasses stacked together all the more horrifying. 

Experts predict that humanity’s ever-growing encroachment and exploitation of the natural world has made zoonotic diseases four times as frequent in the past 50 years. 

Many have called the last few months an aberration, yet the truth is that we risk this becoming the new normal. The Independent, which I partly own, shares this concern and has launched a campaign to ban the illegal wildlife trade wherever it may be found. 

A food market shows off rows upon rows of dead animals, some of which have been beaten to death including bats

A food market shows off rows upon rows of dead animals, some of which have been beaten to death including bats

We are working with wildlife charities such as Space For Giants and other organisations to inform the public and pressure governments where necessary. 

It is quite simply astounding that even while the world grapples with the fallout of this deadly pandemic, these markets can remain open in Indonesia and across China and South East Asia, according to reports. 

Before, this was an animal rights problem and a matter for international wildlife experts. 

Now it is a global health crisis and a threat to us all. The world failed to act following the SARS outbreak in 2002, which also came from a wildlife market. We cannot make the same mistake again. 

The voices behind this campaign grow ever louder. I am calling for urgent international action on wildlife wet markets. The Australian government agrees, and on Thursday called for multilateral action, citing the markets as a ‘biosecurity and human health risk’. 

Given the evident support among the public, including readers of The Mail on Sunday, for such measures, the British Government should follow suit. 

It is only through international co-operation and the enforcement of existing bans that this threat can be defeated. After this pandemic, we have an opportunity to recast our relations with the animal world. Or, we can sit back and wait for the next outbreak. 

An Indonesian woman (R) wears a hand made protective masks while buying beef at a temporary meat market, ahead of Ramadan in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 23 April 202020

An Indonesian woman (R) wears a hand made protective masks while buying beef at a temporary meat market, ahead of Ramadan in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 23 April 202020

Shocking picture of bats for sale in Indonesia shows wet markets are still open


When will wet markets be banned across the globe? As this photo from Indonesia shows, it’s not just China. EVGENY LEBEDEV issues a call for action

Since I have begun to write on the urgent need to close live animal markets, I have been surprised by the support I have received from across the UK. 

Readers of The Mail on Sunday have written to say how strongly they agree about the threat of contagion they pose, and to offer ideas on how we can bring about an absolute crackdown on this vile trade. 

Others simply expressed disbelief. ‘For goodness sake,’ wrote one woman in an email, ‘what pandemic are they going to give the world next?’ 

The bats of Tomohon market are Indonesia’s worst-kept secret, but the photograph revealed on this page still has the power to shock. 

The local ‘it can’t happen here’ complacency with regard to a viral disease is dangerously misplaced. 

Bats are carriers of all sorts of viruses and pathogens. There are even reports that local authorities found another strain of coronavirus in the bats of Tomohon in 2018. 

Bats, dogs, rats and reptiles on sale in Tomohon market Indonesia March 28th 2020

As we all know, it is likely that Covid-19 emerged from a bat in the Wuhan ‘seafood’ market. How much more warning did we need? 

The coronavirus that has laid waste to the world economy and led to almost 200,000 recorded deaths was most probably the result of poor hygiene at an illegal wildlife market. Its aftershocks will be felt for years to come. 

That is what makes the photo here of a filthy market with animal carcasses stacked together all the more horrifying. 

Experts predict that humanity’s ever-growing encroachment and exploitation of the natural world has made zoonotic diseases four times as frequent in the past 50 years. 

Many have called the last few months an aberration, yet the truth is that we risk this becoming the new normal. The Independent, which I partly own, shares this concern and has launched a campaign to ban the illegal wildlife trade wherever it may be found. 

A food market shows off rows upon rows of dead animals, some of which have been beaten to death including bats

A food market shows off rows upon rows of dead animals, some of which have been beaten to death including bats

We are working with wildlife charities such as Space For Giants and other organisations to inform the public and pressure governments where necessary. 

It is quite simply astounding that even while the world grapples with the fallout of this deadly pandemic, these markets can remain open in Indonesia and across China and South East Asia, according to reports. 

Before, this was an animal rights problem and a matter for international wildlife experts. 

Now it is a global health crisis and a threat to us all. The world failed to act following the SARS outbreak in 2002, which also came from a wildlife market. We cannot make the same mistake again. 

The voices behind this campaign grow ever louder. I am calling for urgent international action on wildlife wet markets. The Australian government agrees, and on Thursday called for multilateral action, citing the markets as a ‘biosecurity and human health risk’. 

Given the evident support among the public, including readers of The Mail on Sunday, for such measures, the British Government should follow suit. 

It is only through international co-operation and the enforcement of existing bans that this threat can be defeated. After this pandemic, we have an opportunity to recast our relations with the animal world. Or, we can sit back and wait for the next outbreak. 

An Indonesian woman (R) wears a hand made protective masks while buying beef at a temporary meat market, ahead of Ramadan in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 23 April 202020

An Indonesian woman (R) wears a hand made protective masks while buying beef at a temporary meat market, ahead of Ramadan in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, 23 April 202020

Bali reopens for business: Holiday island plans to invite tourists to return in MAY


Bali reopens for business: Holiday island plans to invite tourists to return in MAY – with Chinese visitors welcomed in first

  • Indonesian officials are confident the pandemic will be over by next year 
  • Balinese tourist bosses said the resort island could reopen next month 
  • Tourism businesses in Bali were among the hardest hit by the travel restrictions
  • More than 46,000 employees on the holiday island were furloughed last week
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

The resort island of Bali could reopen for holidaymakers next month as Indonesia tries to forge a path out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Flights to Indonesia were suspended on April 2 as nations around the world closed their borders in an attempt to curb the rate of COVID-19 infections.

Tourism businesses in Bali were among the hardest hit by the travel restrictions with more than 46,000 employees being furloughed last week.

But the island’s tourism boss is optimistic that the resort could open its doors to tourists again in May if the Balinese people are ‘disciplined’ about social distancing. 

Foreign tourists wearing face masks flock to Bali Immigration Office amid the coronavirus outbreak on March 23

Foreigners wear protective masks as they queue up outside the immigration office to extend their visa in Bali on March 23, as borders around the world close

Foreigners wear protective masks as they queue up outside the immigration office to extend their visa in Bali on March 23, as borders around the world close

‘The key is no more local transmissions. When we achieve that, not even until June, even May we can start welcoming Chinese tourists,’ head of the Tourism Agency in Bali Putu Astawa told local publication Tribun on Thursday.

While the Indonesian government was adamant it would focus on eliminating the virus before opening the borders, tourists from countries recovering from the outbreak will be the targets of tourism campaigns.

Those countries include China, which recorded 12 new cases of the virus as of Tuesday morning, South Korea which had 13 cases, and Japan which had none.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo is confident the pandemic will be resolved by the end of the year and expects tourism to flourish in 2021.

‘Everyone is yearning to go out, people want to enjoy the beauty of tourism and so this is the optimism that we must continue to build on,’ he said last week, according to Balinese publication Coconuts.

But workers in Bali have been suffering financial losses in the face of the coronavirus economic downturn since last month – before flight restrictions were implemented. 

Eerie photos of Ngurah Rai International Airport emerged on March 12 of the once-bustling international airport almost devoid of people. 

The photos were posted on social media by a local tour guide accompanied by the caption: ‘Bali Airport today at 9.30am. Very Empty. Bali very sad and hard life.’ 

Eerie photos of Ngurah Rai International Airport emerged on March 12 of the once-bustling international airport almost devoid of people

Eerie photos of Ngurah Rai International Airport emerged on March 12 of the once-bustling international airport almost devoid of people 

Photos of Ngurah Rai International Airport show the severe damage the coronavirus is doing to Bali's tourism industry

Photos of Ngurah Rai International Airport show the severe damage the coronavirus is doing to Bali’s tourism industry 

The tour group employee told Daily Mail Australia that March is normally a busy time.

‘Every country has travel warnings now not to travel to Indonesia,’ he said.

‘I understand that corona is very bad for the tourism industry, but now everyone is scared come to Bali.’ 

He used the comments section on the airport’s Facebook page to plead with tourists to give his company some business.  

‘If you still come to Bali for your holiday, use our transport service,’ he wrote. 

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,644

New South Wales: 2,969

Victoria: 1,336

Queensland: 1,024

Western Australia: 546

South Australia: 437

Tasmania: 200

Australian Capital Territory: 104

Northern Territory: 28

TOTAL CASES:  6,644

RECOVERED: 4,685

DEAD: 72

The Indonesian government previously came under fire for trying to entice people to visit the tourist resort before Indonesia had confirmed cases of the virus.

Bali has since reported 135 cases in total. Three people have died and 38 have recovered.

Despite Balinese tourism officials claiming the island could be back open for business next month, travel bans for Australians are expected to extend to 2021. 

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC’s News Breakfast last week: ‘I wouldn’t put any guarantees that you could undertake that overseas trip in December.’

‘This is a time where, unfortunately, people can’t undertake holidays and they won’t be able to go overseas for quite some time to come.’ 

World’s newest species of primate will be appear on UK TV for the first time


World’s newest species of primate – the Tapanuli orangutan – will be appear on UK TV for the first time in new documentary filmed in Indonesia

  • Primates is narrated by Chris Packham, and begins on BBC One next Sunday
  • It follows Tapanuli orangutan in Batang Toru, northern Sumatra, Indonesia
  • They were identified as a new species in 2017 and will be shown for the first time 

The world’s newest species of primate, hidden for thousands of years, is set to be shown on British television for the first time. 

The Tapanuli orangutan has been described as the rarest great ape on Earth and fewer than 800 live in Indonesia.

The orangutan was identified as a new species in 2017 after it was spotted by scientists decades earlier. 

It is already considered endangered and conservationists fear that the population could be wiped out within a generation as humans invade their territory.

The Tapanuli orangutan has been described as the rarest great ape on Earth and fewer than 800 live in Indonesia.  A new BBC documentary will give a rare glimpse into their lives

Viewers in Britain will have their first chance to study them in a documentary – Primates narrated by Chris Packham – next weekend, filmed at their home in Batang Toru, northern Sumatra.

The rare footage shows a mother and her baby swinging together through the trees and learning to seek out food. 

The show is a three-part series from the BBC’s Natural History Unit (NHU).

Primates is narrated by the naturalist Chris Packham (pictured), and begins on BBC One at 8.15pm on Sunday, April 26

Primates is narrated by the naturalist Chris Packham (pictured), and begins on BBC One at 8.15pm on Sunday, April 26

Mike Gunton, creative director of the NHU and the show’s executive producer, said it was ‘very pleasing’ to introduce audiences to a new species, especially one so similar to humans. 

‘These are our closest relatives — and to find a new one is always amazing,’ he told The Times. 

He added that the footage was incredible but also sad, given the threat of extinction.

The animals are smaller than other orangutan species, with paler, thicker fur – which is an adaption due to living at altitude.     

Tapanuli are thought to have split from Bornean orangutans — one of only two other species — 674,000 years ago, and have been entirely isolated for about 20,000 years.

Primates is narrated by the naturalist Chris Packham, and begins on BBC One at 8.15pm on Sunday, April 26. 

Documentary Newtopia shows how a man quits the West to live with an Indonesian tribe for 3 years


‘I learned how to just be and follow the rhythm of nature,’ Audun Amundsen says, reflecting on his life off-grid in the jungle with the Mentawai tribe, where there was little on the daily agenda other than making arrows or canoes and hunting for food such as monkeys, bats or shrimp.

The Norwegian engineer and filmmaker first went to live with the tribe deep in the undergrowth of western Indonesia as a 24-year-old, for a month in 2004. He returned in 2009 – this time for a three-year stay, during which time he would learn their unwritten language.

He said that the biggest thing he missed living in isolation was ‘the convenience of modern society’ and ‘eating food for pleasure, and not simply for survival’. Having conversations with people he could relate to was another thing he yearned for at times. 

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Audun Amundsen, pictured, has spent over three years living with the Mentawai tribe in Indonesia  

Amundsen's filmed his life with the Mentawai tribe and the footage has been turned into a documentary - Newtopia

Amundsen’s filmed his life with the Mentawai tribe and the footage has been turned into a documentary – Newtopia

The Norwegian engineer and filmmaker first went to live with the tribe deep in the undergrowth of western Indonesia as a 24-year-old, for a month in 2004. He returned in 2009 - this time for a three-year stay

 The Norwegian engineer and filmmaker first went to live with the tribe deep in the undergrowth of western Indonesia as a 24-year-old, for a month in 2004. He returned in 2009 – this time for a three-year stay

Life in the wild was a life far removed from the one Amundsen had left behind.

In 2004 he quit his lucrative job working on an oil rig off the Scottish coast and left his modern, comfortable apartment in Trondheim, Norway, to satisfy his itch for travel.

He started his travels in India, before moving on to Nepal and then on to Indonesia to ‘warm up a little’ and recover from the altitude of the Himalayas.

Amundsen said when he got to Padang in West Sumatra he decided that he ‘wanted to go off the beaten track and go as far away from my own culture as possible’.

Recounting his tale, he continues: ‘I got to hear that these traditional people were living in the jungle on Siberut Island and I was like “wow that’s really interesting, I want to see that”. 

Asked what his hope is for people watching his film, Amundsen concludes: 'I would like people to cherish the diversity and differences of the world, culturally, ecologically, between sexes, traditions and so on. And, I want to evoke questions about what kind of progress we want for the future.' Above, a view of the jungle area where the Mentawai tribe live

Asked what his hope is for people watching his film, Amundsen concludes: ‘I would like people to cherish the diversity and differences of the world, culturally, ecologically, between sexes, traditions and so on. And, I want to evoke questions about what kind of progress we want for the future.’ Above, a view of the jungle area where the Mentawai tribe live

‘I went to this island – a 12-hour trip on a shabby wooden boat from Padang – and spent a week trying to convince someone to take me upriver to where I’d heard the tribe live. On this island there would be no possibility to communicate with the rest of the world. It was really far away – no access to Google Maps or Facebook.

‘When I got there, this guy comes walking towards me and it was a pretty exciting moment. Luckily he was smiling and we couldn’t really communicate that much but we became friends.’

The man Amundsen befriended was a Mentawai shaman called Aman Paksa.

The Norwegian, who described himself at the time as a ‘naive and young backpacker’, spent just over a month living with Paksa. 

He said: ‘Because he liked me we made a deal for me to stay for a few weeks. In return for their hospitality, I helped with daily chores and life around the bush house.’

They communicated, Amundsen said, mostly through body language.

A still from Amundsen's film showing a typical house in the jungle that he lived in

A still from Amundsen’s film showing a typical house in the jungle that he lived in 

He eventually left to continue on his travels and take the flight home he’d booked.

After returning to Norway with no money and setting up home in an abandoned factory, Amundsen said he couldn’t get the ‘magic of the jungle’ out of his head and he decided he wanted to return and make a documentary about Paksa.

For this, he managed to get funding from the Norwegian cultural department.

The adventurer said he didn’t have a formal education as a filmmaker so before setting off on his adventure he spent all his time ‘studying and trying to suck up all the knowledge I could in videography, directing and about the people and so on’.

Amundsen had a couple of health setbacks before leaving for Indonesia, including a stroke and heart surgery, but eventually he managed to get his strength back and he set off overseas in 2009.

After landing in Padang once more, Amundsen boarded the old wooden boat back to Siberut Island. From there, he went upriver again to look for his old friend Paksa – hoping that he’d be welcomed once again. After all, he couldn’t exactly message them to pre-book a room.

Amundsen says: ‘After a week I finally found Aman Paksa. He was still there and he was well. He had a new son, he also had a watch. Already I saw that things were starting to change in this short period I had been away.’

Tribe member Paksa demonstrates how to hunt using a traditional bow and arrow

Tribe member Paksa demonstrates how to hunt using a traditional bow and arrow 

The documentary maker had no plan regarding how long he would stay in the jungle this time. He joked to Paksar that he might stay for a year, with the tribesman merely replying in his native tongue, ‘sure, if you can’.

Amundsen had returned with a larger Indonesian vocabulary, solar panels and a camera –  so he could document what life was like there. 

He would later turn his footage into a documentary – Newtopia.

He also packed some Western medicine, which proved useful when he got a mystery eye infection that caused his eyes to turn red and his eyelids to almost fuse shut.

The adventurer describes his time in a ‘lost world’ as the equivalent of a ‘timeless and long meditation’ where he ‘simply lost track of linear time’. 

Describing his daily routine in the forest, he tells MailOnline Travel: ‘We would wake up by ourselves before sunrise when the fog still surrounded the trees. As the sun warmed the jungle we would sit on the porch, relax, chat and drink a hot drink.

Amundsen suffered a severe eye infection in the jungle - and was glad he packed some antibiotics

Amundsen suffered a severe eye infection in the jungle – and was glad he packed some antibiotics

‘Then we would feed the semi-wild pigs with sagu (extracted starch from sago palm). After that, we were free to plan whatever project we wanted. Projects could be to hunt monkeys, bats, or river shrimps. Making equipment, canoes, arrows, baskets and so on. 

‘Usually, we took a small rest midday, and then we would always have something social going on. Houses are open, and visitors often came by or we would go to visit someone for gossip and news.

‘When darkness came, we sat inside around an oil lamp. I read a lot of books when I was there. Sometimes we made handiwork like knitting baskets. Days were filled with a slow variety, but somehow time just moved on without notice.’  

Over time, Amundsen witnesses modernity creeping into jungle life, with Western clothing being adopted, plastic objects replacing plant-made goods and the hunger for money taking hold. Chickens and pigs were traditional methods of payment.

The adventurer explains in Newtopia that when he first met Paksa he was amazed at how he had ‘no money, electricity or machines’. 

Over time, Amundsen witnessed modernity creeping into jungle life, with Western clothing being adopted, plastic objects replacing plant-made goods and the hunger for money taking hold

Over time, Amundsen witnessed modernity creeping into jungle life, with Western clothing being adopted, plastic objects replacing plant-made goods and the hunger for money taking hold

Paksa, pictured, cuts his hair and adopts Western clothing to land a construction job in the city of Padang

Paksa, pictured, cuts his hair and adopts Western clothing to land a construction job in the city of Padang

Amundsen has returned to the jungle numerous times since shooting his documentary and his friendship with Paksa spans 16 years. Above, the friends seen on a trip to Jakarta

Amundsen has returned to the jungle numerous times since shooting his documentary and his friendship with Paksa spans 16 years. Above, the friends seen on a trip to Jakarta  

While the city seemed attractive from a distance, Paksa soon realised it's not all it's cracked up to be

While the city seemed attractive from a distance, Paksa soon realised it’s not all it’s cracked up to be

Amundsen's 90-minute film shows how he befriends one of the Mentawai tribe members, a shaman called Aman Paksa (pictured above with wife Bai) and is welcomed to live with the community

Amundsen’s 90-minute film shows how he befriends one of the Mentawai tribe members, a shaman called Aman Paksa (pictured above with wife Bai) and is welcomed to live with the community

He muses: ‘It was amazing it was like a tale from my childhood had come to life.’

But as time moves on, Amundsen’s fairytale loses its shine as members of the Mentawai tribe start to get curious about the outside world with ramshackle towns on the periphery of the forest turning into bustling trading hubs.

The filmmaker says it never occurred to him that Aman Paksa ‘would one day have a bank account and a cell phone’ but he slowly comes to realise that this is the reality.  

The tribe members come to adopt motors for their boats instead of paddles, they realise they can hunt with guns instead of arrows and that chainsaws are more efficient than handsaws. 

In a bid to make money to buy these modern tools, Paksa cuts his hair and adopts Western clothing to land a construction job in the city of Padang.

Amundsen says it was ‘difficult’ witnessing these changes but he accepted that he couldn’t prevent Paksa from tasting a different way of life.

While the city seemed attractive from a distance, Paksa soon realises it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. 

He tells Amundsen at one point: ‘If it’s all this noise, I don’t like it.’  

Missing the peace of the jungle Paksa decides to go back home, armed with a wig he purchases in a modern shopping mall to replace his cut hair

Missing the peace of the jungle Paksa decides to go back home, armed with a wig he purchases in a modern shopping mall to replace his cut hair

Paksa goes back to his traditional way of life after leaving the jungle to sample the city

Paksa goes back to his traditional way of life after leaving the jungle to sample the city

Missing the peace of the jungle Paksa decides to go back home, armed with a wig he purchases in a modern shopping mall to replace his cut hair. 

He sheds his Western clothes in favour of traditional garbs and goes back to hunting with bow and arrow. 

Amundsen has returned to the jungle numerous times since shooting his documentary and his unique friendship with Paksa now spans 16 years. 

Asked what his hope is for people watching his film, Amundsen concludes: ‘I would like people to cherish the diversity and differences of the world, culturally, ecologically, between sexes, traditions and so on. 

‘And, I want to evoke questions about what kind of progress we want for the future.

‘I do think we eventually will find a balance between nature and modernity, but unfortunately, I suspect that a lot of species and ecosystems will vanish before we do.

‘In many ways, living with the Mentawaians has made me think of the quote from the famous American historian Will Durant: A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.’ 

Amundsen’s documentary Newtopia is currently only available to download in Norway, with further distribution opportunities being sought. Proceeds from downloads will be donated to the Mentawai community. Newtopia will continue being shown at film festivals worldwide when travel resumes. For more information visit www.newtopiafilm.com.

Amundsen has also recently released another film documenting how a friend of his from Norway made a joke song about Indonesian food that went viral overnight, making him a celebrity in Indonesia. Nasi Padang – A Viral Adventure is set to air on Norwegian TV soon with a view for further distribution. For more information visit www.nasipadangthemovie.com/nasi-padang.