The wRap Indonesia: Rains ease haze crisis, Australia sends boatpeople to Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia – From rains easing the haze crisis, to a damning report by Amnesty international on Australia's alleged ploy to turn back boat people to Indonesia, here is today's top news to start your day.
1. Rains ease haze
Persistent rains have cleared the air across vast stretches of Southeast Asia that have choked for weeks on hazardous smoke from Indonesian fires, with officials expressing hope Thursday the crisis could soon end.
Parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore enjoyed the cleanest air in two months, while affected areas of the Philippines and Thailand also gained a respite from pollution that has sickened hundreds of thousands, disrupted air travel and fueled anger at Jakarta. Read more.
2. Sending away boatpeople
Amnesty International on Thursday, October 29 slammed Australia's secretive operation to deter boatpeople as a "lawless venture" in a damning report authorities called a "slur" on defense and border force personnel.
The rights group claimed to have evidence Australian officials were involved in "transnational crime" and had abused asylum-seekers in its report "By Hook or By Crook". It cited witness testimonies from asylum-seekers, boat crew and Indonesian police that claimed Australian officials in May paid US$32,000 to 6 crew members who were taking 65 asylum-seekers to New Zealand, to get them to return to Indonesia instead. Read more.
3. Google Loon in Indonesia
Google will next year step up testing of its Internet-beaming helium balloons in the stratosphere after striking deals with 3 Indonesian mobile network operators, it said.
The ambitious "Project Loon" is aimed at delivering Internet connections to remote or impoverished areas worldwide using a floating network of thousands of the high-tech balloons. Read more.
4. Gold mine collapse
The bodies of 3 men have been recovered from a disused gold mine in Indonesia after the shaft collapsed on them, with at least 9 others still trapped and presumed dead, police said Thursday, October 29.
At least 12 people tunneled into the mine in a mountainous region of West Java on Tuesdayin the hope of finding gold and were buried when the shaft collapsed. Local police spokesman Ita Puspitalena said the dead weren't miners but "looters" who did not have the expertise to dig in the mine, which stretches up to 200m underground. Read more.
5. DJ cancels show
Two leading French electronic music producers, DJ Snake and Tchami, canceled upcoming tour dates Wednesday, October 28 after they were involved in a car accident.
The two DJs' manager was driving the pair when they crashed on Tuesday, the artists said in identical statements. "Due to injuries sustained as well as their doctor's orders, they will not be able to travel until further notice in order to recover properly," the statement said. Read more. – Rappler.com