News Summary: Indonesia steps toward fuel hike

News Summary: Indonesian Parliament paves way for government to hike fuel prices amid protests

Associated Press

SUBSIDIES CUT: Indonesia's Parliament voted to approve a budget package on Monday that lays the groundwork for the slashing of government fuel subsidies. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to act swiftly to implement the plan.

CASH HANDOUTS: The package will increase fuel prices an average of 33 percent. It also includes a provision for about $900 million in cash handouts to help cushion the impact on 15.5 million impoverished families.

ANGRY PROTESTS: The budget was approved while police fired tear gas and water cannons outside to disperse hundreds of angry protesters. A fuel price hike in 1998 triggered rioting that helped topple former dictator Suharto.

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