Fri, 01 Dec 2023

TOKYO -- The Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided on Friday to maintain its ultralow interest rate policy as it concluded its two-day policy-setting meeting, holding the view that achievement of its 2 percent inflation target is not yet in sight.

The central bank will keep its short-term benchmark interest rates at minus 0.1 percent, while continuing to guide 10-year Japanese government bond yields to around zero percent within the range of plus and minus 0.5 percentage points from the target level.

Earlier in July, the BOJ decided to allow 10-year yields to rise toward 1.0 percent at its previous meeting. (Japan-Central Bank-Monetary Policy)

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JAKARTA -- Semeru volcano located in the Indonesian province of East Java erupted on Friday, and local authorities have warned people to stay away from the area.

According to the Semeru Volcano Monitoring Post, the volcano exploded at 9:23 a.m. local time, launching hot ashes as far as 700 meters from the crater to the southeast.

"The volcano's eruption spewed a column of thick, grey ash towards southeast and south," Yadi Yuliandi, an officer of the monitoring post, said in a statement on Friday. (Indonesia-Volcano-Eruption)

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NEW DELHI -- The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on Friday said there has been no response from the country's Moon Mission-3, or Chandrayaan-3, which is in sleep mode despite efforts made to revive them.

The lander and the rover had gone into sleep mode three weeks ago when the Sun began to set on the South Pole of the lunar surface. The portion of the lunar surface was exposed to the Sun on Friday, thus raising ISRO's hopes of establishing contact with the duo.

"Efforts have been made to establish communication with the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover to ascertain their wake-up condition. As of now, no signals have been received from them. Efforts to establish contact will continue," posted the ISRO on X (erstwhile Twitter) on Friday. (India-Moon Mission)

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NEW DELHI -- J.P. Morgan said it will include Indian government bonds in its widely tracked emerging market debt index from next year.

India will be included in the GBI-EM (Government Bond Index-Emerging Markets) Global Index suite starting June 28, 2024, according to a statement issued by J.P. Morgan.

"India is expected to reach the maximum weight of 10 percent in the GBI-EM Global Diversified Index (GBI-EM GD). Currently, 23 Indian Government Bonds (IGBs) with a combined notional value of 330 billion U.S. dollars are index eligible," the statement said. (India-JP Morgan-Debt Index)

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WELLINGTON -- New Zealand's scenic town Queenstown declared a state of emergency on Friday for an initial period of seven days, as part of the response to the current heavy rain and risks of slips and flooding.

The declaration was necessary given the considerable rainfall experienced by Queenstown, said Queenstown Mayor Glyn Lewers, adding that it enables emergency services and response agencies to draw on resources and enact additional powers to assist those affected.

"The current weather event is an active and evolving situation," Lewers said, adding that the district council has been working with emergency management throughout the night to assess the full extent of the situation in the current conditions. (NZ-Rain-Emergency)

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KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia's inflation remained at 2 percent in August, official data showed Friday.

The increase of inflation was driven by the slower increase in restaurants and hotels (4.7 percent), as well as food and non-alcoholic beverages (4.1 percent), the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said in a statement.

This was followed by miscellaneous goods and services and health groups which increased by 2.4 percent respectively. (Malaysia-Inflation)

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