Asian Insider Aug 16: Reviving economies, Pyongyang's projectile and cash from trash

Asian Insider brings you insights into a fast-changing region from our network of correspondents.

In today’s bulletin:  Asia's push to keep growth rates up, Washington and Beijing on trade war, Spiderman in Hong Kong, Pyongyang's projectile and more.  

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THAILAND, INDONESIA, CHINA PREPARE TO REV UP ECONOMIES

The writing's on the wall given continuing uncertainty, but countries are stepping up efforts to stimulate their economies. Thailand plans to spend US$10.2 billion (S$14.17 billion) to counter the economic slowdown. There will be help for farmers and low income families and initiatives to bolster consumer spending and investment. Indonesia's newly re-elected President Joko Widodo, meanwhile, pledged to lift spending to a record level this year, to aim for an economic growth of 5.3 per cent next year, which would be highest since 2013. And China shared a plan to boost disposable income this year and in 2020, to spur consumption as the economy slows.

Will it all work? Read our reports here: 

Thailand plans $14b stimulus package 

Jokowi says progress of Indonesia most important

China preps plan to boost disposable income by 2020

US-CHINA TRADE WAR: DIFFERENT STROKES

A resolution of the US-China trade dispute would improve growth prospects. But it doesn't look like that will be possible, anytime soon. US President Donald Trump said yesterday (Aug 15) that he expects the trade war to be fairly short. But China has threatened retaliation over recent US tariff moves. Talks between the two are scheduled in September. Will it happen?  

Trump says trade war with China will be fairly short 

China signals US tariff halt not enough to stop its retaliation

PYONGYANG FIRES PROJECTILES

North Korea continues to be upset over South Korea's joint military drills with the United States and fired two projectiles into the sea. This was the sixth round of launches since last month and Pyongyang has said its talks with Seoul were over. How will President Moon Jae-in's government react? 

North Korea fires projectiles 

North Korea rejects South Korea Moon's dialogue pledge

INDONESIA VILLAGE BANKS ON WASTE RECYCLING

Villagers in the Indonesian village of Bangun have been earning cash from trash and are upset about Jakarta's move to send trash back to origin countries. So, how useful is the garbage for them and what is on the anvil? Read here: 

Indonesia village banks on waste recycling 

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: SYDNEY'S WATER SHORTFALL & MORE STORIES

SYDNEY'S DROUGHT: Australia's biggest city, Sydney, is running down its water supply at the fastest rate on record, with dams expected to fall below half maximum capacity due to the worst drought on record.  

EAST ASIA TALKS: Foreign ministers Kang Kyung-wha of South Korea, Taro Kono of Japan and Wang Yi of China will meet from Tuesday to Thursday, in Beijing, amid a flare-up in tension over trade and history. 

KASHMIR AT UN: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to scrap autonomy for Kashmir after imposing an unprecedented lockdown across the region will be tested later today at the United Nations Security Council, after India's top court deferred a case calling on the government to lift restrictions that have been in place for the past 12 days.

ROHINGYA RETURN: Myanmar and Bangladesh are making a second attempt to start repatriating Rohingya Muslims after more than 700,000 of them fled a security crackdown in Myanmar almost two years ago, the UN refugee agency has said. 

That's it for today.  Have a good weekend and thanks for reading The Straits Times. 

Shefali