In today’s bulletin: Former Indonesian president B.J. Habibie, who led Indonesia during a transformative time, dies at age 83; global uncertainty starts to hurt Singapore’s job market; the world is having an especially ferocious wildfire season; Hong Kong protesters sing a new song and more.
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INDONESIA BIDS FAREWELL TO A TRANSFORMATIVE PRESIDENT
Former Indonesian president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, often known simply as B.J. Habibie or Rudi, died last night. He was 83. Dr Habibie’s presidency lasted just 16 months, the shortest in Indonesia’s history, but he will be remembered for introducing a raft of reforms - even if he was never really popular at the time. Dr Habibie, who took over after General Suharto’s regime fell in 1998, ordered the release of political prisoners, dismantled restrictions on the press and allowed for free elections. He also announced a plan to hold a referendum that would ultimately lead to what was then East Timor splitting from Indonesia. In Singapore, he is best known for describing the country as a “little red dot”. Dr Habibie was buried in a state funeral today.
Tributes to B.J. Habibie:
SINGAPORE’S JOB MARKET HIT AS TRADE WAR CONTINUES
The slowing global economy is now taking its toll on the Singapore labour market. The latest numbers from the Manpower Ministry pointed to a tougher market for job-seekers even as the number of retrenchments stayed largely stable. The number of job vacancies declined for a second consecutive quarter and the seasonally adjusted employment climbed for a third consecutive quarter to 3.3 per cent. If there is good news here, the declines have been quite gradual, signalling more uncertainty than panic.
Other takeaways from the job numbers: Tougher job market as employers post fewer vacancies in Q2, unemployment for locals creeps up: MOM report
FEROCIOUS WILDFIRE SEASON SPARKS CLIMATE CHANGE CONCERNS
It’s been an especially ferocious start to wildfire season around the world with the Amazon continuing to burn, eastern Austrlian getting scorched by bushfires and the number of blazes in Indonesia’s rainforests jumping sharply. Climate activists are saying the record blazes aren’t just adding to greenhouse gas emissions but serve as a signal of the magnitude of the climate crisis the world currently faces. According to satellite photos, there were 1,619 hotspots across Sumatra and Indonesian part of Borneo on Wednesday, double the 816 a day earlier.
What you need to know about the wildfires:
South America: The Amazon is on fire: how bad is it?
ASIAN INSIDER VIDEO: NARENDRA MODI 2.0?
In the latest episode of the Asian Insider video series, we take a look at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term in office. It has been an incredibly eventful start, with the first 100 days of the PM’s new term, especially the headline-grabbing status quo change in Kashmir. US Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh speaks to Deputy Foreign Editor Bhagyashree Garekar and Associate Editor Vikram Khanna on whether Modi has fulfilled his promise of “development, trust and big changes”.
PROTESTERS ADOPT UNOFFICIAL ANTHEM FOR HONG KONG
Protesters in Hong Kong have found yet a different avenue for their rallying cries: the national anthem. This week, protesters at a football match, the World Cup qualifier against Iran, booed when the Chinese national anthem was played, later singing the song “Glory to Hong Kong” instead. Protesters have since taken the song - written recently after an online call for a theme song to unite protesters - to shopping malls across the city in a series of singing protests. There’s also a slick music video that has already racked up 1.3 million views on YouTube.
Watch protesters singing the unofficial anthem in malls: 'Glory To Hong Kong': Unofficial anthem adopted by pro-democracy protesters
Water, but not a second earth: In the dim, red light of an alien sun, scientists have found the first evidence of water in the atmosphere of a rocky planet - offering a tantalising new target in the search for life in the universe. The intriguing world, which goes by the impersonal designation K2-18b, lies 110 light years away in the constellation Leo.
Operation Yellowhammer: The British government's plans for a no-deal Brexit warn of severe disruption to cross-Channel routes, affecting the supply of medicines and certain types of fresh foods, and say that protests and counter-protests will take place across the country, accompanied by a possible rise in public disorder.The "Operation Yellowhammer" worst-case assumptions published on Wednesday (Sept 11) were prepared on Aug 2, the government said, nine days after Boris Johnson became prime minister, and form the basis of its no-deal planning.
Koizumi’s first day: Japan's newly installed environment minister, Mr Shinjiro Koizumi, wants the country to close down nuclear reactors to avoid a repeat of the Fukushima catastrophe in 2011. The comments by the son of former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi, himself an anti-nuclear advocate, are likely to prove controversial in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which supports a return to nuclear power under new safety rules imposed after Fukushima.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow.