The wRap Indonesia: Churches demolished, wildfire kills hikers
JAKARTA, Indonesia – From the demolition of churches in Aceh province to hikers getting killed by wildfires, here are the top news stories from Indonesia and around the world to start your day.
1. Churches destroyed
Indonesian security forces Monday, October 19 tore down 3 Christian churches in Aceh, bowing to demands from Muslim hardliners after deadly religious violence rocked the staunchly Islamic province last week.
Local government security officers used sledgehammers to raze two small Protestant churches and a Catholic church – modest buildings of wood, concrete and tin – in the southern district of Aceh Singkil, as Christians looked on and wept. Read more.
2. Hikers dead
Seven hikers were killed and two others suffered severe burns when a wildfire broke out on a mountain on Indonesia's main island of Java, an official said Monday, October 19.
The group was climbing on Mount Lawu when the accident took place on Sunday, local disaster agency official Agung Lewis told AFP. "7 of them were killed and two others are in critical condition as they sustained around 50% burns," he said, adding all the dead and injured had been brought down from the mountain. Read more.
3. Dollar weakens
The dollar weakened against emerging currencies Monday, October 19, as growth in China's economy in the 3rd quarter slowed to the weakest pace since the global financial crisis but still beat analysts' expectations.
Indonesia's rupiah swung in an out of positive territory throughout the morning and was flat in early afternoon. Read more.
4. Raging fires
International efforts to douse raging Indonesia fires will fail and Southeast Asia could face several more weeks of choking smoke until the rainy season starts, Malaysia's environment minister warned on Monday, October 19.
"Unless there is rain, there is no way human intervention can put out the fires," he told AFP on the sidelines of Malaysia's parliament session, warning that the blazes were spread across "huge areas" of Indonesia. Read more.
5. Schools closed again
Malaysia closed schools in several states and the capital Kuala Lumpur on Monday, October 19 yet again due to choking smoke from Indonesian slash-and-burn farming that has smothered much of Southeast Asia in smog for weeks.
Malaysia has repeatedly ordered students to stay home as a health precaution as the current smog problem – an annual dry-season occurrence – has become one of the worst in years, exacerbated by tinder-dry conditions from the El Nino weather phenomenon. Read more. – Rappler.com
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