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A fire rages in Riau province, Indonesia. Photo: Jefta Images/Barcroft Media via Getty

Slash-and-burn farming is to blame for many of the nearly 2,000 wildfires that have spread smoke over swathes of Indonesia and caused respiratory problems for at least 920,000 people, the New York Times reports.

Context: The government tends to ignore violations from palm oil and wood pulp producers who intentionally start the fires, but pressure is mounting on President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to take action.

  • Jokowi was re-elected in April, but his popularity has been sliding since he approved a law to defang an anti-corruption commission.
  • Student protestors filled the streets of Jakarta this week, "blocking traffic, pulling down fencing and torching a police post," the Times reports. Police responded with tear gas.
  • The students are urging Jokowi to rescind the law and reject a proposed overhaul of the criminal code backed by arch-conservative Islamists.

The big picture: Jokowi's image as a modernizing reformer is now undergoing a reevaluation.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

The latest: Kyaw Moe Tun told Reuters later on Saturday, "I decided to fight back as long as I can."

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