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Indonesian leader reaffirms plan to move capital from sinking Jakarta

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The Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, on Thursday reaffirmed that the country’s capital would be moved to Borneo island from sinking and traffic-clogged Jakarta.

“Our country’s capital will move to Kalimantan Island. The location can be in Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan or South Kalimantan.

“All aspects are being studied thoroughly so that the decision will be in line with our national vision for the next 10, 50, 100 years,“Joko said.

The city of Palangkaraya and an area near oil-rich Balikpapan had been considered among the likely sites for the new capital.

Experts, however, said that unlike other parts of Indonesia, most of Borneo was not prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

The government wants to start moving to a new capital by 2024, at the end of Joko’s second five-year term in office.

According to National Development Planning Minister, Bambang Brodjonegoro, such a move could cost up to 33 billion dollars.

“Funding will involve allowing developers to manage government-owned property in Jakarta in return to assist in building the future new city.

“The government has cited traffic congestion, frequent flooding and faster land subsidence as the main considerations for the move.

“About 40 per cent of Jakarta, a metropolis of 10 million people, is now below sea level and keeps sinking,“ Brodjonegoro said.

Meanwhile, the greater Jakarta area including satellite cities is home to 30 million people.

The government said economic losses caused by the city’s traffic jams were estimated at 100 trillion rupiah (7 billion dollars) a year.

Jakarta is considered to be one of the fastest-sinking cities in the world. If this goes unchecked, parts of the megacity could be entirely submerged by 2050, say researchers. Is it too late?

It sits on swampy land, the Java Sea lapping against it, and 13 rivers running through it. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that flooding is frequent in Jakarta and, according to experts, it is getting worse. But it’s not just about freak floods, this massive city is literally disappearing into the ground.

“The potential for Jakarta to be submerged isn’t a laughing matter.

“If we look at our models, by 2050 about 95% of North Jakarta will be submerged,” says Heri Andreas, who has studied Jakarta’s land subsidence for the past 20 years at the Bandung Institute of Technology.

It’s already happening – North Jakarta has sunk 2.5m in 10 years and is continuing to sink by as much as 25cm a year in some parts, which is more than double the global average for coastal megacities.

Jakarta is sinking by an average of 1-15cm a year and almost half the city now sits below sea level.

The impact is immediately apparent in North Jakarta. (dpa/NAN)

YI/YEE

Foreign

Sheffield United beat Palace for first win of Premier League return

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Sheffield United beat Palace for first win of Premier League return

League

Lundstram fired home the rebound of Luke Freeman’s saved shot in the 48th minute as United gave the Bramall Lane fans plenty to cheer about.

The Blades, who last played in the top division in 2007, have taken four points from the first two games of their return.

Palace, meanwhile, has yet to score after playing out a goalless draw with Everton last weekend.

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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White House says ‘no recession in sight’ despite market turmoil

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White House says ‘no recession in sight’ despite market turmoil

Recession

Washington, Aug. 18, 2019 White House officials pushed back on Sunday against concerns that economic growth may be faltering, saying they saw little risk of recession despite a volatile week on global bond markets, and insisting their trade war with China was doing no damage to the United States.

“There is no recession in sight,’’ White House Economic Adviser, Larry Kudlow, said on Fox News Sunday.

“Consumers are working. Their wages are rising.

“They are spending and they are saving…I think we are in pretty good shape.’’

U.S. stock markets tanked last week on recession fears with all three major U.S. indexes closing down about three per cent on Wednesday only to pair their losses by Friday due to expectations the European Central Bank might cut rates.

For a brief time last week, bond investors also demanded a higher interest rate on two-year Treasury bonds than for 10-year Treasury bonds, often construed as a sign of lost faith in near-term economic growth.

However, Trade Adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday likewise dismissed last week’s warning signs, saying “good” economic dynamics were encouraging investors to move money to the U.S.

“We have the strongest economy in the world and money is coming here for our stock market.

“It’s also coming here to chase yield in our bond markets,’’ Navarro told ABC’s This Week.

That sort “flight to safety” is typically driven by concerns of global economic trouble – in this case, the possibility that the Trump administration’s tariff battle with China may dampen business investment and growth worldwide.

The tariffs on Chinese goods, Navarro said, “are not hurting anybody here’’.

The U.S. economy does continue to grow and add jobs each month.

Retail sales in July jumped a stronger-than-expected 0.7 per cent, the government reported last week, and Kudlow said that number showed that the main prop of the U.S. economy is intact.

But manufacturing growth has slowed and lagging business investment has also become a drag.

Globally, flagging global trade appears to have pushed the German economy toward recession and dampened growth in China.

A slowdown would be bad news for President Donald Trump, who is building his 2020 bid for a second term around the economy’s performance.

He told voters at a rally last week they had “no choice” but to vote for him in order to preserve their jobs and investments.

Despite talking up the economy, the president and his advisers have repeatedly accused the U.S. Federal Reserve of undermining the administration’s economic policies.

On Sunday, Kudlow again pointed the finger at the central bank, describing rate hikes through 2017 and 2018 as “very severe monetary restraint”.

The Fed hiked rates seven times over those two years as part of a plan to restore normal monetary policy, following the emergency steps taken to battle the 2007-2009 global financial crisis and recession.

Even with those steps, the Fed’s target interest rate has remained well below historic norms and policymakers have started cutting rates in response to growing global risks.

Democratic presidential candidates on Sunday joined the many economic analysts, who have said the administration’s sometimes erratic policies are to blame for increased uncertainty, disappointing business investment and market volatility.

“I’m afraid that this president is driving the global economy and our economy into recession,’’ Democratic candidate, Beto O’Rourke, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Iran says U.S. move on north Syria safe zone is “provocative”

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Provocation

Dubai, Aug. 18, 2019 A U.S. agreement to set up a safe zone in northern Syria, a close ally of Iran, is “provocative and worrisome”, the Iranian Foreign Ministry was reported to have said by the semi-official Fars news agency.

The U.S. and Turkey last week agreed to set up a joint operations centre for a proposed zone along Syria’s northeast border.

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Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Israeli military kills 3 Palestinians at Gaza border – reports

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Killing

The Israeli military said an attack helicopter and a tank fired at the “armed suspects adjacent to the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip’’.

Palestinian officials confirmed the casualties, according to the reports.

The incident came amid a recent escalation of tension between Israel and the Palestinians, despite Egypt-brokered effort to reach a cease-fire agreement between Israel and the Islamic Hamas Movement.

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Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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Romanian elite climber killed in Fagaras Mountains

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Mountains

The evacuation of the deceased climber in the area of Negoiu Peak was carried out by land and the body was transported to the Legal Medicine Service in Sibiu, as Adrian David, head of the Sibiu Mountain Rescue, was quoted as saying by official Agerpres news agency.

David believed that Zsolt died after a rock broke up with him, considering that the area in which he was, near the Negoiu Peak, is very unstable and rarely visited by climbers. He was alone on the mountain, in an area with no signal.

Zsolt’s disappearance had been reported on Saturday morning. Mountain rescue and gendarme teams, as well as a helicopter of the Interior Ministry, searched for him for several hours.

Zsolt, 45, was a highly seasoned climber, who led in 2013 the Romanian expedition to Pakistan’s 8,126m-high Nanga Parbat and summited in 2016 five Himalayan peaks.

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