• Malaysia again shuts schools as Indonesian smoke thickens

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    KUALA LUMPUR: Thick white smoke from Indonesian slash-and-burn farming enveloped Malaysia’s capital and other areas on Sunday, triggering school closures for the following day as weeks of choking haze showed no sign of abating. Pollution readings in Kuala Lumpur soared into the “very unhealthy” territory in the Malaysian government’s hourly air-quality index. The Ministry of Education ordered schools shut on Monday in the capital and three states due to health concerns, the second time this month it has had to issue such an order. Malaysia, Singapore and large expanses of Indonesia have suffered for weeks from acrid smoke billowing from fires on plantations and peatlands that are being illegally cleared by burning. The fires are located on Indonesia’s huge islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The crisis grips the region nearly every year during the dry season, but the current outbreak is one of the worst and longest-lasting in years.

    AFP

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