A thick, hazy smog caused by the burning of rainforests in Indonesia is spreading across Southeast Asia this week, reminiscent of the 1997 smog that caused rampant health problems and that cost Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia some $4 billion. Satellite pictures show that most of the fires have been started by owners of Indonesian plantations, who slash and burn the rainforest to clear land for crops, in blatant violation of fire-control laws. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the regional political group, recently announced a plan to prevent such fires, but critics say it has no teeth and will likely do no good.

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