With less than two weeks to go before the end of 2014, I thought I would take a look back at some of the top Bali related stories that caught my attention. There is no doubt Bali is rapidly changing. Tourist numbers continue to grow rapidly, with Bali hosting over 3.5 million foreign tourists – a 14.74 per cent increase in foreign tourist arrivals over 2013. Problems with traffic, rubbish and water shortages continue to plague the island.

I am sure I must have missed at least one big story. I would be interested to hear you thoughts in the comments.

Two Australians die from food poisoning

On January 4th, Noelene Bischoff and her daughter Yvana died from food poisoning while holidaying in Bali. Forensic pathologists later concluded the pair died from scombroid poisoning, a rare bacteria found in the fish they ate. The doctor said the poisoning had nothing to do with Bali and was as “rare as being struck by lightening.”

Schapelle Corby released from prison

Possibly one of the biggest news stories for the Australian media was the release on parole of Schapelle Corby on February 10, from Kerobokan jail after serving nine years of her original 20 year sentence.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

While not specifically a Bali story, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines 370 was one of the biggest regional stories. Despite conducting the largest and most expensive searches in aviation history, we are still not any closer to finding what actually happened to the missing plane.

Japanese diving accident

Seven Japanese divers went missing off Nusa Lemongan. Two died in the accident and the other five were later found 20km away from where they started diving. The captain of the boat was later sentenced to three years jail for negligence.

What Really Happens in Bali TV Series

In August, the series “What Really Happens in Bali” aired on Australian television. From the few episodes I watched on Youtube, I thought a more appropriate title should be “Australians acting like idiots overseas.” Star of the program Todd Gisondi is now playing rugby in Hong Kong according to his Instagram profile.

Suitcase murder

In perhaps one of most gruesome news items of the year, American tourist Sheila von Wiese-Mack was murdered and her body was found stuffed into a suitcase. Her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend were arrested for the murder and are currently awaiting trial.

Bali based Australian wedding planners go bankrupt

While this story is probably seen as of low significance on an international scale, it has likely had a big impact on Bali’s burgeoning wedding industry. Two unrelated individuals from Australia were operating travel and wedding businesses in Bali that went belly up, leaving many customers out of pocket to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many local suppliers also lost money.

Indonesia elects new president

In July Joko Widodo was elected president of Indonesia, defeating former army general Prabowo Subianto. Widodo is the first Indonesian president not from the military or political elite. He was quoted as saying, “now, it’s quite similar to America, yes? There is the American dream, and here we have the Indonesian dream.”

Fuel subsidy cut

In November, the fuel subsidy was further cut raising the price of one litre of gasoline from 6,500 to 8,500 rupiah. While the country is sure to experience an inflationary impact in the short term, it has got to be a positive step for the economy in the medium to long term, as long as money is invested in infrastructure, health and education as the government has promised.

Wife accused of ordering murder of husband

In perhaps the second most gruesome story of the year, an Indonesian woman has been accused of plotting the murder of her UK husband. The wife, Noor Ellis, is still being detained by police as they investigate the murder.