Lebanon's Aoun says country heading 'to hell' if gov't not formed

KONFRONTASI-Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday that his country was going "to hell" if a government is not formed as French efforts to encourage the formation of a new cabinet falter.

Asked where Lebanon was headed if there was no agreement among its fractious leaders, Aoun responded: "Of course - to hell."

"As the positions have grown harder, there appears no solution on the horizon soon," he said in a televised address almost a week after the passing of the deadline agreed with France to name a cabinet.

Indonesia has a 'surprising' way to fund a larger government deficit — but its currency suffers

KONFRONTASI -   The Indonesian rupiah is the worst-performing Asian currency so far this year — and that weakness stems from the government’s decision to have the central bank partly fund its expanding budget deficit.

The “debt burden sharing” arrangement between the government and the central bank, Bank Indonesia, involves the latter buying 397.6 trillion Indonesian rupiah ($26.97 billion) worth of bonds. That debt, issued by the government, will help to finance a larger budget deficit resulting from increased spending to fight the coronavirus.

Indonesia's central bank independence comes under fresh attack

KONFRONTASI -   Indonesia crossed the Rubicon earlier this year when its central bank became one of the first in the world to break the unwritten taboo of buying bonds directly from the government.

Now, Bank Indonesia has again been thrust into the spotlight, as lawmakers discuss proposals to amend the law governing the central bank that would potentially rid it of its independence -- a cornerstone of modern-day monetary policy.

China slams US 'bullying', warns of action over TikTok, WeChat

KONFRONTASI-China has accused the United States of "bullying" and threatened to take "necessary" countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app, TikTok, and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app, WeChat.

Separately, Beijing also launched on Saturday a mechanism enabling it to restrict foreign entities that it deems a threat to its sovereignty and security, in a development seen as retaliation to US penalties against other Chinese companies such as telecom giant Huawei.

Asian, European markets sink after US Fed warning of 'uncertain' outlook

KONFRONTASI -  Asian and European markets dropped on Thursday following a warning by the US Federal Reserve of "uncertain" outlook for the American economy badly affected by the coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Fed boss Jerome Powell said that the recovery from the current was looking better, but added it remained unclear when things would go back to normal.

 "Overall activity remains well below its level before the pandemic and the path ahead remains highly uncertain," he said.

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn inaugurated the International Miladunnabi (SAW) Conference

KONFRONTASI -    The biggest Quranic event of Thailand in the history ‘International MiladunNabi (SAW)’ was held on 3rd April at Bangkok. The conference was inaugurated by the King of Thailand, King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (King Rama X).

Clashes and arrests as 'yellow vest' protests return in France

KONFRONTASI-The French police fired tear gas and arrested more than 250 people in Paris as "yellow vest" protesters returned to the capital's streets in force for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.

The "yellow vest" movement, named after motorists' high-visibility jackets, began in late 2018 in protest against fuel taxes and economic reform, posing a big challenge to President Emmanuel Macron as demonstrations spread across France.

On Saturday, hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the starting points of two authorised marches.

Shinzo Abe to step down as Japan’s prime minister

KONFRONTASI-Shinzo Abe will stand down as prime minister of Japan because of a relapse in his ulcerative colitis, ending an eight-year term that made him the longest-serving leader in his nation’s history.

His departure will set off a race for the leadership of Mr Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic party even as Japan struggles to deal with the impact of Covid-19, a deep economic downturn and disputes with its neighbours in China and South Korea.