Asian Insider Aug 26: Indonesia’s new capital, shots fired in Hong Kong, trade war

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

In today’s bulletin: Indonesia picks a location for its new capital, Police fire a live round for the first time in Hong Kong protests, US and China talk about talking again and more.

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Indonesia’s administrative capital will move from Jakarta on the island of Java to East Kalimantan on Borneo. After months of speculation, President Joko Widodo today announced that he had chosen the province where the new capital will be. He now needs to pass a law to provide the legal basis for this very expensive move. No timeline was given but the need to move the capital has become increasingly urgent.

Why Indonesia wants to move its capital: Indonesia's quest for a new capital gains fresh impetus


A weekend of clashes on the street marked several first in the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong. For the first time since protests against the extradition Bill began in March, a live round was fired. Police said one officer fired a warning shot as he felt his life was threatened. Another first, among the 86 people arrested was a 12-year-old.

Must-reads on Hong Kong today

Protesters in Hong Kong becoming bolder, using 'riot-like' tactics, say experts

Hong Kong stocks plunge over 3% at open after weekend's violent protests

China signals intervention as Hong Kong's protests intensify


After a weekend marked by a sharp escalation of hostilities in the trade war between US and China, Monday was marked by a sudden call for negotiations. Donald Trump said today that US officials received two productive calls from the Chinese and said that China asked to restart talks. This came hours after Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He said China is willing to solve its dispute with US through calm negotiations. This has been the nature of the talks this past year, periods of escalation punctuated by sudden calls for peace.

The latest on the trade war and G-7 meetings:

Trump says China called, requested to restart trade talks

China says it wants ‘calm’ resolution to US trade war

G-7 wrestles with Iran, Amazon fires and trade, but own unity shaky


Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently outlined the country’s ambitious plans to adapt to rising sea levels and flooding - including building polders and extending shorelines. Our correspondents in five cities facing similar problems - New York, Mumbai, Jakarta, Shanghai and Penang - look at the different approaches these cities are taking. Among the plans, extending Manhattan’s southern shoreline, building a giant wall off the shores of Jakarta and the building off buffer sponge cities near Shanghai. However, not all the measures are proving as popular with locals.

Read the special report:

Shanghai: Sponge cities, walls to manage water levels

New York: Extending Manhattan's shoreline into East River

Jakarta: Indonesian capital eyes giant wall to counter rising seas

Penang: Heavier rainfall worsens perennial flood problems

Mumbai: Indian city faces double whammy of heavy rain, high tides


Singapore Airlines joined a host of other airlines in banning a few models of the 15-inch MacBook Pro laptop from all of its flights following directives from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration unless the battery has been verified safe or replaced by the manufacturer. Unlike the previous ban on the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, this could prove considerably trickier for passengers and flight crew. It’s not a ban on a single device that is identifiable on sight. It may well end up with some arguments at the gates as crew and passenger disagree on whether a specific laptop with a specific battery is ok to fly.

The story: SIA bans some models of 15-inch MacBook Pro from flights


Forest fires I: It’s not just the Amazon. Malaysian firefighters have been battling for days to extinguish a massive forest fire in Johor's Iskandar Puteri district as Johor Regent decreed that a school located nearby to be closed.

Forest fires II: Brazilian warplanes are dumping water on the burning forest in the Amazon state of Rondonia, responding to a global outcry over the destruction of the world's largest tropical rain forest.

Trade bet: South Korea President Moon Jae-in will invest in a local equity fund that bets on companies the government is supporting amid its trade dispute with Japan. He will invest an unspecified amount in the NH-Amundi Victorious Korea Equity Fund, the presidential office said in a statement Monday (Aug 26).

Japan’s trade talks:  Japan’s top government spokesman denied on Monday (Aug 26) that Tokyo made too many concessions in trade talks with the United States, saying the fact the two countries were able to reach a broad agreement was “very valuable".

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow.