This Week's Headlines (15 - 21 Jan 2022)

21 Jan 2022

  Indonesia names new capital that will replace Jakarta 


  Indonesia has announced that its new capital will be called Nusantara, meaning
  "archipelago" in Javanese. 


  It came as parliament approved a bill to relocate the capital from Jakarta, which is
  rapidly sinking. 


  The idea of building a new capital 1,300km (800 miles) away on the island of Borneo was first
  proposed in 2019.  


  But critics have said the new name could be confusing and that the move itself fails to take
  environmental factors into consideration. 


  Jakarta has become crowded, polluted and is sinking at an alarming rate due to the over-extraction
  of groundwater. Home to more than 10 million people, it sits on swampy land on the large
  island of Java. 


  Air pollution and traffic jams in the city are notorious. Government ministers have to be escorted by
  police convoys to get to meetings on time. 


  In building a new capital in East Kalimantan, an Indonesian province on the island of Borneo,
  the government hopes it can take some of the pressure off Jakarta. 


  Known for its jungles and orangutan population, mineral-rich East Kalimantan is home to only
  3.7 million people, according to the most recent census. 


  Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa said "the new capital
  has a central function and is a symbol of the identity of the nation, as well as a new centre
  of economic gravity". 


  But critics have argued that the construction of the new city will lead to the expansion of
  palm-oil plantations and logging in an area rich in diverse wildlife and lush rainforests. 


  Groups representing the indigenous people of Borneo have also voiced their concerns
  previously, saying that their environment and culture could be endangered by the move. 


  The announcement of the new city's name has also sparked some debate on social media. 


  Some have said that the new name could prove confusing because Nusantara is an old
  Javanese term used in Indonesia to refer to the archipelago nation as a whole. 


  The planning minister said the capital's new name was chosen by the president because
  it reflected Indonesia's geography and was iconic internationally. 


  The move will cost an estimated 466 trillion rupiah ($32.4bn; £23.8bn) and will be one of the
  biggest infrastructure projects the Indonesian government has ever undertaken. 


  Indonesia is not the first country to change its capital - Brazil, Pakistan and Nigeria have all
  changed theirs to newly planned and constructed cities. 


  Source: BBC 




  Omicron cases rises by 208, 2 deaths 


  The number of cases involving the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to increase
  in Indonesia. As of 10am, January 23, 2022, as many as 1,369 cases have been detected,
  or 208 more compared to the previous total of 1,161. 


  Spokesperson on vaccination for the Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, said as many as
  840 cases were traced to travelers from overseas, while 311 were local transmissions. The
  remaining 218 cases were still being investigated by epidemiologists. “Out of that total, 558
  are active cases,” she said as quoted by Tempo. 


  Nadia said the Omicron COVID-19 patients are being treated in Sulianti Saroso Hospital and
  the emergency COVID-19 hospital in Wisma Atlet Kemayoran. All of the patients, she said,
  only experienced mild symptoms. “Usually mild symptoms, which disappears in 2
  to 4 days,” she added. 


  The outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has caused the COVID-19 infection rate
  curve in Indonesia to climb back up. As of January 22, 2022, the number of confirmed COVID-19
  cases reached 3,205 patients. Before Omicron was detected in Indonesia on December 2021, the
  average rate of infections in Indonesia had gone down to around 300 following the
  previous Delta variant outbreak. 


  Numerous studies have stated that the Omicron variant was more easily transmissible
  compared to past variants. However, the symptoms were relatively milder. The death and bed
  occupancy rate from this latest outbreak were also significantly lower. 


  Even so, the Omicron variant has led to the deaths of two patients, both of whom died
  on Saturday, January 22, 2022. One case was caused by a local transmission and was
  declared dead in Asih Hospital in Ciputat, South Jakarta. The other patient had arrived from
  overseas and was declared dead in Sulianti Saroso Hospital. They were the first reported
  deaths caused by the Omicron variant. 


  Source: Tempo 




  Indonesia December Trade Surplus at $1 billion,
 well below forecast


  Indonesia's trade surplus narrowed more than expected in December to $1.02 billion,
  the lowest in 20 months, as a surge in exports driven by commodities slowed and imports
  hit a record high, official data showed on Monday. 


  Southeast Asia's largest economy has been reporting a trade surplus every month since
  May, 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic suppressed local demand while exports rode a boom
  in prices of commodities like coal, palm oil, copper, tin, steel and rubber. 


  The December surplus was about a third of the $3.13 billion forecast by economists polled
  by Reuters and was also much smaller than the $3.51 billion recorded in November. 


  December imports hit a record high of $21.36 billion, up 47.93% on a yearly basis and beating
  the poll's forecast for 39.40% growth, as overseas purchases of everything from consumer goods
  to raw materials for the manufacturing industry jumped. 


  "This shows that economic activity is improving ... including consumption," Margo Yuwono,
  the head of Statistics Indonesia, told a news conference. 


  Meanwhile, export growth was 35.30% on a yearly basis compared with the poll's expectation
  of 40.40% growth, with shipments of coal to China slowing as Beijing ramped up domestic
  output of the fuel. 


  The resource-rich country's total shipments in December were worth $22.38 billion, the second
  highest on record for monthly data after November's $22.84 billion. 


  Economists have warned that a ban on coal exports, implemented since January 1 to avoid
  widespread domestic power outages, could shift Indonesia's trade balance to a deficit.
  Coal exports make up about 14% of Indonesia's overall exports. 


  The ban has been eased for big miners that have met domestic sales requirements, but is still
  affecting smaller miners whose output accounts for up to 40% of Indonesia's total. 


  For the whole of 2021, Indonesia's exports reached a record high of $231.54 billion, while
  imports totalled $196.2 billion. 


  The 2021 trade surplus of $35.34 billion was the biggest since 2007. 


  Source: Reuters