Fri, 01 Dec 2023

JAKARTA -- The Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway (HSR), the first of its kind in Indonesia, has been officially in operation as a train started off amid cheers and applause at Halim Station in the Indonesian capital on Monday morning.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced the HSR's name "Whoosh," which means being fast, efficient and reliable, saying it marked the modernization of Indonesia's transportation mode.

The 142.3-km long high-speed railway, connecting Indonesia's capital city Jakarta and the fourth largest city Bandung, is a flagship project that synergizes the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Indonesia's Global Maritime Fulcrum strategy. (Indonesia-Jakarta-Bandung-HSR)

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MANILA -- The approval and trust ratings of Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte dropped in September, according to the latest national survey released Monday.

"Most Filipino adults remain appreciative of the quarterly performance" of Marcos and Sara Duterte, whose approval ratings scored 65 percent and 73 percent, respectively, said Pulse Asia Inc., a pollster which conducted the survey in mid-September with 1,200 people aged 18 and above.

Although Marcos and Sara Duterte continue to enjoy majority approval scores "at the national level and across geographic areas and socio-economic classes," the pollster said, "both experience significant erosions in their respective approval ratings during the period June 2023 to September 2023." (Philippines-Marcos-Ratings)

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KUALA LUMPUR -- The World Bank on Monday cut Malaysia's 2023 economic growth to 3.9 percent from its previous projection of 4.3 percent.

The World Bank said in a statement that the growth is expected to slow in 2023 from 8.7 percent in 2022, due to substantial deceleration in external demand.

Nevertheless, it said domestic demand will continue to support economic resilience. According to the bank, the main driver of growth is expected to be domestic private sector spending. (Malaysia-World Bank-Economy)

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KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia is seeing a spike in new malaria cases this year after having no cases reported from 2018 to 2021.

Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. The number of cases reported in the Southeast Asian country so far this year has already exceeded the 404 reported in 2022.

Public health experts have held deforestation, climate change and animal-to-human transmission as partly responsible for the spike and warned that resistance of malaria parasites to anti-malaria treatment drugs has also heightened the threat of the disease, according to local daily The Star. (Malaysia-Malaria)

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SYDNEY -- The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) confirmed on Monday that this September has become Australia's driest month on record since observations began in 1900.

With a national average rainfall of 4.83 mm, September saw a persistent positive anomaly of mean sea level pressure, which brought cloud-free conditions to most of the country.

According to BOM's newly released national climate summary, for Australia as a whole, rainfall was 70.8 percent below the 1961-1990 average for September. (Australia-Rainfall-Record)

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BANGKOK -- Thailand's manufacturing sector shrank at a faster rate in September due to a sharp decline in new orders, while soft demand continued to weigh on employment, a survey showed on Monday.

The country's manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) was recorded at 47.8 last month, down from 48.9 in August, signaling a further slip in operating conditions and at the fastest pace since May 2021, according to S&P Global.

According to the survey, the contraction was mainly attributed to a third-straight-month decline in new orders. Meanwhile, incoming new business decreased at the fastest pace on record, with the exception of the severe pandemic-related reductions in the second quarter of 2020. (Thailand-Manufacturing)

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