Asian Insider Sept 24: 'How dare you!' angry teen activist Greta Thunberg tells world leaders

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


In today's bulletin: World leaders feel the heat from a teenager, US and Singapore renew defence pact, Beijing on high alert ahead of Oct 1, and more.

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Teenage activist Greta Thunberg condemned world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit for failing to take strong measures to combat climate change.

"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. How dare you!" said the visibly emotional 16-year-old.

Later in the day, the Swedish teen watched with a look of fury in her eyes, as US President Donald Trump walked by, according to a video clip posted on Twitter.

Mr Trump, a climate change sceptic, had made a surprise brief appearance at the summit after saying he was going to skip it.

More from the summit:

At UN climate summit, a call for action yields few commitments

Threats from climate change rising at faster rate: Report

World leaders feel the heat at UN climate summit

Visit our climate change microsite


Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and US President Donald Trump have renewed a key defence pact which allows American forces to use Singapore's air and naval bases, extending it by another 15 years to 2035.

Both leaders lauded the close bilateral relationship as they signed an amendment to the 1990 MOU, a landmark agreement which underpinned America's security presence in the region for almost 30 years.

The renewal underscores the support for the US presence in the region, which remains vital for regional peace, stability and prosperity, said Singapore's Ministry of Defence in a statement.

PM Lee, who is on a working visit to New York, also accepted the World Statesman Award given by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, a New York-based interfaith group that promotes mutual acceptance and respect.

Earlier, PM Lee spoke at the UN climate summit where he pledged Singapore's commitment to tackle global warming.


China celebrates its National Day on Oct 1, which is also the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China this year.

There will be a massive parade to showcase the country's military might and the authorities are not taking any chances in making sure things go according to plan.

As ST's China Correspondent Danson Cheong reports, central Beijing was placed on lockdown over the past three weekends as rehearsals got under way.

Shops in the Wangfujing area were closed by 2.30pm and the glitzy shopping district was turned into a temporary security camp - police motorbikes parked on street corners with the occasional crackle of walkie-talkies.

Airlines have also been told that the airspace over Beijing will be restricted between 8.30am and 2pm on Oct 1.

More stories:

China warns of heavy smog during anniversary celebrations

China to showcase advanced weapons in biggest military parade

China bans historical, idol dramas ahead of 70th anniversary


Papua, on the western half of New Guinea island and home to the world's largest gold mine, has been gripped by weeks of violent protests fuelled by anger over racism, as well as fresh calls for self-rule in the impoverished area.

When ST's Indonesia Correspondent Linda Yulisman visited the region earlier this month, life on the main streets of Manokwari, the West Papua provincial capital, seemed to have returned to normal. But there was an uneasy calm hovering in the air, she reports,

Residents she spoke to offered mixed views: Some just wanted normality to return, while others were unhappy over how the Indonesian government controlled the province and its wealth.

"We are marginalised here," said a father of six, who does seasonal construction jobs. "How come in such a rich land, there are still poor, malnourished people?" Read her full report here.

Latest violence: Papua unrest death toll rises


Forest fires in Indonesia that have caused widespread haze in the region are putting nearly 10 million children at risk from air pollution, Unicef has warned.

Small children are especially vulnerable due to undeveloped immune systems while babies born to mothers exposed to pollution during pregnancy may have low birth weights and be delivered early, said the UN children's agency.

You would have seen the viral photos and videos of the red skies in the Indonesian province of Jambi, a phenomenon caused by haze rising to the upper levels of the atmosphere.

To nip the problem in the bud, Indonesia plans to conduct soil tests to identify plantation companies suspected to have cultivated oil palm, pulp wood or other crops on land after using slash-and-burn techniques to clear it.

In Singapore, public hospitals have been closing the windows in subsidised wards and ventilating them with portable air-conditioning units to protect patients from the haze.

Doctors have warned that patients with pre-existing medical conditions could experience increased discomfort if the haze worsens.

More haze stories:

Southern Thailand, including Phuket, also affected

'You can feel the heat radiating', says Singaporean who helped battle forest fires in Indonesia

Pre-schooler is a 'haze detector', says his mum

Why it matters:

Forest fires producing country-sized emissions

Burning forests should be burning issue at UN meet


Proton bounces back, two years after China's Geely buys into Malaysian carmaker

Hong Kong's Carrie Lam urges protesters to let town hall event go forward

Macau's casino hub sees boom in endangered wildlife trade: Report

Grab contributed $8b to South-east Asia economy in a year

That's it for today and thank you for reading. We'll be back tomorrow.

- Chang Hong

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