The wRap Indonesia: Jokowi accepts help to combat haze, Obama apologizes
JAKARTA, Indonesia – From a change of heart by President Joko Widodo regarding the haze, to an apology by the United States President Barack Obama, here's the top news to start your day.
1. Indonesia accepts help
Indonesia has agreed to accept international help to combat forest and agricultural fires that are cloaking Southeast Asia in haze after weeks of failed attempts to douse the blazes, officials said Thursday, October 8.
Fires illegally started to clear land for plantations in Indonesia have shrouded Singapore and Malaysia in acrid smog, worsening air quality, closing schools and forcing the cancellation of outdoor events. Read more.
2. Bodies found, black box with investigators
All 10 bodies of the passengers of Aviastar plane that went missing Friday, October 2 has been found. There were no survivors.
The crash victims included 3 crew members and 7 passengers, including 3 children. Of the bodies, 7 were burnt, while 3 were intact. The two black boxes were also recovered in good condition, and have been handed over to authorities for investigation. The cause of the crash has yet to be identified. Read more.
3. Maritime aid
The United States Thursday, October 8 announced it had quadrupled support to Indonesia and 3 other Southeast Asian countries namely Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, to boost their law enforcement capabilities at sea.
But it also stressed that the move was not connected to a bitter regional maritime dispute with Beijing. "This initiative at this time constitutes more than $100 million dollars of US assistance for maritime law enforcement to these four nations," US Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield said in a telephone press conference from Washington. Read more.
4. Bullet train deal criticism
A week since Indonesia defended its railway project after an ambiguous bidding angered Japan, politicians and analysts weighed in on the $5-billion project that spurred months of mixed messages from the Indonesian government.
Paul Rowland, Technical Advisor at Reformasi, which focuses on analyzing Indonesian politics, said the way Indonesia went about the railway project highlighted the lack of coordination in the administration of President Joko Widodo. Member of Parliament Aryo Djojohadikusumo, of the opposition party Gerindra, also said the process was far from transparent. Read more.
5. Obama apology
US President Barack Obama apologized to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for a deadly US air strike on an Afghan hospital, as the medical charity demanded an international investigation.
Three separate probes – by the US military, NATO and Afghan officials – are under way into Saturday's catastrophic strike in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz which left 22 people dead. The US military has offered a series of shifting explanations for the bombing raid, from initially talking about "collateral damage" to now admitting, as Obama did in his call to MSF chief Joanne Liu, that the strike was a mistake. Read more. – Rappler.com