The wRap Indonesia: Rail deal signed, biggest operation vs forest fires
JAKARTA, Indonesia –
1. Rail deal signed
Chinese and Indonesian state-owned companies Friday, October 16 signed a $5.5 billion deal to build the first high-speed railway in Southeast Asia's top economy, after Beijing beat Tokyo to win the construction project.
The line will connect the Indonesian capital Jakarta with the mountain-fringed city of Bandung, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) away, and is a key part of President Joko Widodo's plans to overhaul the archipelago's infrastructure and attract investors. Read more.
2. Forest fires operation
Indonesia launched Friday, October 16, its biggest operation ever to combat fires blanketing Southeast Asia in haze, an official said, with dozens of planes and thousands of troops battling the widespread blazes.
32 planes and helicopters – including 6 aircraft from Singapore, Malaysia and Australia – were dispatched to back up the more than 22,000 personnel on the ground who have been fighting the fires for weeks. Read more.
3. Rupiah dips slightly
An increasing expectation the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at record lows fed further gains in Asia's stock markets on Friday, October 16 but the dollar edged up against most emerging currencies following recent losses.
Indonesia's rupiah fell 1.31%, although it is up about 8% this month. The Malaysian ringgit also lost 1.55% and has gained more than 5%. Read more.
4. Typhoon slams the Philippines
Typhoon Koppu made landfall before dawn on the remote fishing town of Casiguran, in Aurora province, whipping the coast with gusts of up to 210 kilometers (130 miles) an hour for nearly 7 hours before moving inland.
The government said more than 23,000 people had already been evacuated from the path of Lando, which also disrupted ferry services and aviation. One is dead as of Sunday evening, while 8 others are reported missing. Read more.
5. Analysis: Investors to pull out?
The Indonesian government is feeling the heat after Japanese investors reportedly have threatened to relocate factories and reconsider investment plans after a 150-km fast-train project from Jakarta to Bandung was given to Chinese investors. The Japanese side thought they had won the deal.
Strangely, neither China nor Indonesia first announced the US$5 billion project. It was first announced by a Japanese official who told local media his country had lost out. On Friday, October 16, the two countries officially signed the deal. Read more. – Rappler.com
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