Asia Briefs: Forest fires cost Indonesia US$16b

Forest fires cost Indonesia US$16b

JAKARTA • Forest fires in Indonesia last year cost the country at least US$16 billion (S$23 billion) in economic losses, equivalent to 1.9 per cent of its gross domestic product, according to the World Bank.

Indonesia made some mistakes in responding to challenges such as the fires and resulting haze, World Bank Country Director Rodrigo Chaves said.

The cost, twice the amount it took to rebuild after the 2004 tsunami, takes into account the impact on agriculture, tourism, forestry, trade and transport over five months, the lender estimated.

BLOOMBERG


Thai soldiers beat up student activist

BANGKOK • A student activist was snatched from a Bangkok street, bundled into a car and assaulted by soldiers, his lawyer said yesterday.

The act was apparently caught on CCTV. The activist, Mr Sirawitch Sereethiwat, 24, has been a thorn in the military's side since it seized power in 2014 and clamped down on freedom of expression and public dissent.

Three other activists from the student-led New Democracy Movement were arrested yesterday at a police station where they were protesting against Mr Sirawitch's abduction. But a military court later released them, saying there was no reason to detain them because the punishment for defying a junta ban on protests was negligible.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline 'Asia Briefs: Forest fires cost Indonesia US$16b '. Print Edition | Subscribe