18 January 2019


Trump assures his party about sticking to his Syria, Afghanistan policy

KONFRONTASI - US President Donald Trump has reassured the GOP that he would stick to his plans for troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan.

Trump made the comment among a group of Republican senators at the White House Wednesday evening.

Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria and reduce forces in Afghanistan has been met with some opposition.

Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian conservative, is among those supporting the president.

Trump makes shutdown a 2020 issue in tweet

KONFRONTASI -  US President Donald Trump is signaling that the government shutdown in the wake of the standoff over his border wall funding is an issue of the 2020 presidential election.

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday to address the issue, using a 2020 hash tag.

“It is becoming more and more obvious that the Radical Democrats are a Party of open borders and crime,” he claimed. “They want nothing to do with the major Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border. #2020!”

Kenya hotel attack ends after 2 days, death toll hits 15

KONFRONTASI - Fresh gunfire and an explosion were still being heard at a hotel compound in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, a full day after Somali-based al-Shabab militants launched an attack on the building, killing at least 15 people, but the standoff was later declared over.

Al-Shabab militants started the attack on Tuesday afternoon with an explosion in the parking lot and then a bomb blast in the foyer of the dusitD2 Hotel, according to police.

Canada asks China for clemency for drug-smuggling citizen

KONFRONTASI - Canada has asked China to grant clemency to a Canadian citizen given capital punishment for drug trafficking in China, after Beijing urged Ottawa to respect its judicial sovereignty.

Modi's party wants expansionary economic policy ahead of India election

KONFRONTASI-Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party is in favor of an expansionary economic policy and does not consider the government’s plan to keep the fiscal deficit to 3.3 percent of GDP as “sacrosanct”, a party spokesman told Reuters.

Rouhani: US attempts to undermine Iran’s regional role will fail

KONFRONTASI - President Hassan Rouhani says the United States has been seeking to push Iran aside and take the matters of this region in its own hands, but that its attempts to undermine the Islamic Republic’s regional role will certainly fail.

Speaking at a meeting of the administrative council of Golestan Province on Tuesday, Rouhani said the US has been trying to prevent the Islamic Republic from acting as a “frontrunner” and an influential player in the region.

New Zealand hospitals crippled as thousands of doctors strike

KONFRONTASI-Nearly 80 percent of junior doctors across New Zealand walked off work at public hospitals on Tuesday, after a breakdown in union talks with the government over working conditions and wages.

The strike spotlights the difficulties Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s government faces in delivering on its promise to pour money into social services and rein in economic inequality when it took office in 2017.

Venezuela's Maduro hikes minimum wage as economy struggles

KONFRONTASI-Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Monday pledged the creation of a "new monetary system" in defiance of what he called "the criminal dollar", and also announced a 300 percent increase in the minimum wage.   

The new monetary system will be based on Venezuela's cryptocurrency, the petro, and will focus on strengthening and protecting the bolivar currency, Maduro told the Constituent Assembly after it confirmed him as president following a controversial swearing-in ceremony last week.

The minimum wage went from 4,500 bolivares to 18,000 bolivares [around $6.52], the first hike this year.

In 2018, the minimum wage was raised five times. 

Maduro also pledged to "stabilise" the economy of the oil-producing country, which has halved during five years of recession. Annual inflation is nearly two million percent, and widespread shortages of food and medicine have spurred three million Venezuelans to emigrate since 2015.

Analyst, however, have low expectations and don't believe these new measures will make a difference.

"This is not the first time President Maduro announced a raise or changes," Ramon Pinango, a Venezuelan analyst, told Al Jazeera.

"[Unfortunately] these changes normally lead to a higher inflation, we already know that after these announcements are made, prices go higher the next day, we are facing hyperinflation and shortages," he added. 

In August, Maduro's government introduced several economic measures to try to tackle the crisis, devaluing the bolivar currency and lifting the minimum wage and taxes. But economists say the measures were too limited to have a significant impact.

Sworn in for a six-year term on January 10, Maduro has faced growing international sanctions since winning re-election last May in a vote widely considered fraudulent by the opposition and international community.

This has cut Venezuela off from foreign financing and left his government with few friends abroad.

Critics in the US and Latin America, as well as political opponents at home, have called Maduro a dictator whose failed state-led policies have caused Venezuela's worst ever economic crisis.

Maduro counters that he is victim of a US-led "economic war" aimed at ousting him from power.

As Maduro's second term got under way, the leader of the country's opposition-led Congress, Juan Guaido, said last week he was willing to replace Maduro with the support of the military.

Indonesia’s President Suddenly Looks Vulnerable

A slowdown in economic growth leads to a competitive 2019 election.

The Wall Street Journal-  Indonesian President Joko Widodo speaks in Bali, Oct. 12. Photo: sonny tumbelaka/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought, New Research Finds

KONFRONTASI -  Scientists say the world’s oceans are warming far more quickly than previously thought, a finding with dire implications for climate change because almost all the excess heat absorbed by the planet ends up stored in their waters.A new analysis,