Indonesia on alert for forest fires
JAKARTA • Five provinces in Indonesia have raised forest fire emergency alerts as the dry season reaches its peak next month, jakartaglobe.com news site said yesterday.
These were Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan provinces. The national disaster management agency has deployed eight water-bombing helicopters, two water-bombing aircraft and two cloud-seeding aircraft in these provinces, said its spokesman.
South Philippines talks restarted
KUALA LUMPUR • The Philippines yesterday restarted peace talks with the country's largest Muslim rebel group, the first under President Rodrigo Duterte aimed at ending decades of violence that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. The talks were held in Malaysia. The 12,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front has waged a bloody insurgency in the mainly Muslim southern Philippines since the 1970s but an accord signed in 2014 had raised hopes of a lasting peace.
Minimum wage to rise in Venezuela
CARACAS • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced a 50 per cent minimum wage hike that takes effect on Sept 1, amid triple-digit inflation that has severely weakened spending power in the crisis-stricken Opec nation.
Monthly minimum wage will rise to 22,577 bolivars, he said on Friday. This is around US$35 (S$47). Including meal tickets, it will rise to 65,056 bolivars. Inflation reached 181 per cent in 2015.
US murder conviction overturned
CHICAGO • A federal judge has overturned the murder conviction of one of two Wisconsin men serving life sentences for the 2005 slaying of a freelance photographer in a case spotlighted in the popular Netflix television documentary, Making A Murderer.
Magistrate Judge William Duffin ruled on Friday that the guilty verdict returned by a trial jury in 2007 against Brendan Dassey was based on a coerced confession he gave as a 16-year-old youth with a learning disability.
Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery, were convicted in separate trials of killing freelance photographer Teresa Halbach at Avery's home in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.