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Indonesia Tests Tsunami Warning System

Indonesia's resort island of Bali held a tsunami warning drill on one of its most famous beaches Thursday, three weeks after earthquake-spawned waves killed more than 600 people on neighboring Java.

"We live in the front line if a tsunami comes, so this drill is very useful," said Ketut Joka, owner of a seafood restaurant at Jimbaran beach.

Indonesia was the worst hit by the 2004 Asian tsunami and has vowed to install a nationwide alert system by 2009. Last month's disaster on Java underscored the need for a reliable warning network.

Wednesday's drill involved officials with loudspeakers warning of an impending tsunami to people on the beach, included a large party of school children dropped there by bus to take part in the exercise. Those present then walked inland in an orderly fashion. A few tourists witnessed the drill.

The 2004 Asian tsunami killed 213,000 people in countries bordering the Indian Ocean, the bulk of them on Sumatra island.

The government, which has been criticized for failing to pass along tsunami warnings in last month's disaster, is developing a tsunami warning system with monitoring buoys and sirens on beaches, but the project has been hampered by technical difficulties.