SOLYMONE BLOG

PROTEST OVER CROSS AFFIXED TO HOUSE OF WORSHIP IN PJ MALAYSIA, BE REMOVED?

Monday, April 20, 2015
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - About 50 residents gathered outside a new church in Taman Medan, Petaling Jaya today to demand that the cross affixed to the house of worship be removed as it was "challenging Islam", The Star Online reported today.
According to the news portal, the locals demonstrated peacefully during the church service at 10am for the cross to be taken down.
The protesters said the presence of a cross in a Muslim-majority area posed a challenge to the religion and could sway the faith of the youth, The Star Online reported.
However according to Petaling Jaya Selatan MP said Umno was behind the protest The locals who protested outside a church in Taman Medan yesterday were all Umno members from the Petaling Jaya division, PKR lawmaker Hee Loy Sian said yesterday.
The group  demanded that the church's cross be taken down on account of it being a challenge to Islam, news portal Malaysiakini reported.
"The people who protested claimed themselves to be residents but all of them were Umno members," Hee reportedly told a ceramah in Taman Medan last night.
"Who was present? The secretary, the former Petaling Jaya Selatan Umno wanita chief who was also a candidate for the Taman Medan state seat and also other Umno division leaders."
Hee reportedly accused Umno of "inciting" and "intimidating" the church's congregation during yesterday’s protest, which coincided with the church's Sunday service.
The protesters, led by Datuk Abdullah Abu Bakar, reportedly said the presence of a cross in a Muslim-majority area posed a challenge to the religion and could sway the faith of youths. 

Source: The Star, The Malaysia Insider

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THOUSANDS RALLY IN GERMANY AGAINST US-EU TRADE DEAL?

Sunday, April 19, 2015
Thousands of people across Germany demonstrated Saturday against a planned free-trade deal between Europe and the United States.
The protests, billed as a "Global Day of Action," came ahead of a new round of talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, beginning Monday in New York.
Opposition to the agreement centers on concerns it will lower food and other safety standards.
In Germany, it also reflects rising anti-Americanism. The sentiments have been fueled in part by revelations of U.S. spying, including the wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone.
President Barack Obama has said the deal will help grow the U.S. and European Union economies, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs, increasing exports, and decreasing trade and investment barriers.
On Friday, he called for the negotiations to move forward.
"Now that Congress is considering important bipartisan legislation for trade promotion authority, TTIP negotiations need to make major progress this year," he said at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Top U.S. lawmakers reached a deal Thursday on legislation giving Obama "trade promotion 
authority" to seal the TTIP.
Source: Agency
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VISITING MALAYSIA’S LOST WORLD

Sunday, April 19, 2015


 


Malaysian Borneo is one of those rare places where you can sense the adventure in the air, along with the green smells from thousands of miles of rainforest just waiting to be explored. Borneo is the third-largest island in the world, and a virtual paradise on earth for anyone who shares a love for plants, wildlife, and adventure.

The island of Borneo is divided between Malaysia, Indonesia, and the small, independent nation of Brunei. 
The Indonesian part of Borneo -- known as Kalimantan -- covers around 73% of the island, while Malaysian Borneo occupies the rest along the northern edge.

Malaysian Borneo has two states, Sarawak and SABAH, which are separated by the independent country of Brunei. Sarawak's capital of Kuching and Sabah's capital of Kota Kinabalu are the usual entry points, and act as hubs for exploring Borneo's wild attractions.

A tropical paradise of soft sand and crystal-clear waters together with world-class resorts and facilities.
This is Sabah Malaysian Borneo, create perfect enriching experience that’s more than just business.



 

1)Maliau Basin


Nature explorers will simply love the Maliau Basin as it is an excellent site for jungle trekking and bird watching. It contains an unusual assemblage of 12 forest types, comprising mainly of lower montane forest dominated by majestic Agathis trees, rare montane heath forest and lowland, and hill diperocarp forest. The highlight of the adventure is to trek the majestic 7 tiers Maliau Falls.

Keen visitors must, however, obtain a permission to enter the Maliau Basin in advance from Yayasan Sabah. Also bear in mind that Maliau Basin is a remote, atavistic and isolated area with limited access, communications and safety facilities.



Activities

Nature explorers will simply love the Maliau Basin as it is an excellent site for jungle trekking and bird watching. 
At night, visitors may also take a night drive for wildlife spotting. Water babies can also take a dip in the beautiful waterfall.

Getting There

Maliau Basin Conservation Area is reachable by road either via Tawau or Keningau. The journey is on four wheel drive and depends so much on the weather as most of the journey is on logging roads to reach the Maliau Basin Security Gate.

Journey from both Tawau and Keningau to the Security Gate of Maliau Basin Conservation takes 5 hours; the distance from Tawau to Maliau Basin Conservation Security Gate is 190 kilometers. Flying is another fabulous option should you have extra allocations for this luxury. 
There are several helipads available which can be used for emergency evacuations or by visitors who prefer to fly rather than walk.



2) Danum Valley Conservation Area



Being remote from human habitation and almost alien to modern civilization makes the Danum Valley Conservation Area is a naturalists’ paradise. 
Recognized as one of the world’s most complex ecosystem, this forest serves as a natural home for endangered wildlife species such as banteng, Asian elephant, clouded leopard, orang utan, proboscis monkey, as well as a vast range of Sabah’s lowland fauna.

Here, visitors also get the chance to visit an ancient Kadazandusun burial site, complete with belian coffins and ceramic spirit jars. 
Three burial sites have been discovered in Danum Valley—two near the field centre and one below the cliff, overlooking Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

Getting There

Lahad Datu has direct daily flights from Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. Another way of transportation would be air-conditioned coaches from Kota Kinabalu which will take about 7 hours drive to reach Lahad Datu.

Sources: Malaysia Tourism, Agencies

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MALAYSIA PM AND WIFE SUE OPPOSITION POLITICAN, NEWS PORTAL OWNER FOR DEFAMATION

Saturday, April 18, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR -  Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor are suing Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president Mohd Rafizi Ramli(above photo) and an online news portal owner for allegedly defaming them over a speech made in relation to the removal of oil subsidies.
They said that Mohd Rafizi had delivered a slanderous speech against them at a forum in Bandar Tun Razak on Nov 22 last year on issues relating to oil subsidies.
Najib,  said that the PKR secretary-general had uttered offending words in respect of his office, while Rosmah said his words implied she had committed a criminal act.
They said that the recording of the speech was uploaded by Chan Chee Kong onto Media Rakyat's website, YouTube channel, and Facebook page.
Chan is the sole proprietor of MR Multimedia, the owner of online news portal Mediarakyat.
When contacted, the couple's lead counsel Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun said his clients filed the civil suit to vindicate them from the vilification and vicious attacks of late by certain Opposition leaders.
"Whilst my clients accept constructive criticism in politics and issues, defamatory remarks are not acceptable. Let the court decide," said Mohd Hafarizam. 
In the statement of claim, they are seeking general damages, aggravated and exemplary, for slander and libel.


In the statement of claim, they are seeking general damages, aggravated and exemplary, for slander and libel. - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/asia/south-east-asia/story/malaysian-pm-najib-and-wife-sues-opposition-politician-news-portal-o#sthash.HeoFpHUn.dpuf


Source: Agency
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CANADA GOOSE TERRORIZES UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO

Saturday, April 18, 2015
Canada geese are known to be aggressive when defending their nests, but one goose in particular is striking fear into the hearts of women and men at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. 
The goose, which lurks outside the Hagey Hall building, was dubbed the Spawn of Satan Goose by Reddit user Quock, who claims to have been attacked twice.
Quock posted a warning to other students on the University of Waterloo subreddit, prompting others to share their terrifying tales of goose aggression.
"We were driving around listening to a fire mixtape when this goose blocked the road near HH [Hagey Hall]. My friend got out to shoo him away and he nearly died," said hononhonFRFR, who posted the video above. 
"I was going for a run last Saturday and right by HH, I saw this goose taking on another mated couple of geese in the middle of the road," said another Reddit user.
"I haven't been attacked by a goose in my five years at the school. I left my last exam from the PAC on Friday and was hissed at by this goose. So close," said LeafsFan13. 
The troublesome goose also has two listings  on  the university's Goose Watch website.
Source: CBC
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THOUSANDS OF DEAD FISH FOUL RIO ROWING VENUE

Friday, April 17, 2015
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Thousands of dead fish have washed up over the past week in a lagoon in Rio de Janeiro that will host rowing and canoeing events at next year’s Olympic Games.
The latest headache for organizers comes amid concerns for the health of participants in the Olympic sailing events, who will take to the waters of a bay where masses of dead fish have similarly washed ashore in recent months.
It was not known whether the cause in that case was an environmental problem or if fishermen had thrown the fish aside because they had no commercial value, but garbage and sewage regularly clog Rio’s waterways.
Residents reported a foul stench in recent days at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon because of the tons of dead silvery shad fish — the same type of fish found in Rio’s Guanabara Bay.
Rower and local hopeful Felipe Xavier said: “I have to come train but these dead fish bother us because the smell is very strong and the huge amount of fish slows the boat.”
Environmental officials said the shad fish, which are sensitive to temperature change, had died of “thermal shock.”
Alexandre Fernandez, rowing coach of Botafogo club, told AFP that he had no worries about the phenomenon.
Source: AFP
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BANGLADESH HOUSE COLLAPSED KILLING 9

Thursday, April 16, 2015
DHAKA – At least nine people were killed in central Dhaka today when a two-storey home built on swampy ground collapsed, Bangladeshi police and fire service officials said.
“The bottom floor of the structure made of corrugated tin sheet collapsed in the swampy soil,” said Arifur Rahman, an official from the Bangladesh Fire Service who was involved in the rescue operation.
Police and local residents said there were around 10 rooms on each floor and more than 100 people lived in the building.
Police and fire service workers feared that dozens of people were inside the building when it caved in and were trapped.
The residents were believed to be mostly low-income labourers, hundreds of thousands of whom live in the capital Dhaka, often in poorly constructed accommodation.

Source: – Reuters
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GOOD AND SERVICES TAX HITS LOW INCOME GROUP HARDEST?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

In Malaysia, the goods and services tax (GST) implementation seems to have hit a snag in the service sector. Service providers are now required to display their collective agreement in order to be able to exact service charges.  
The service charge has been there for umpteen years but the customs department did not bother about it. But when it hinders the implementation of the GST, service charge becomes an issue.
The following is what S.Ramakrishnan, a writer has to say on the impact of GST to the Malaysian;
  • Now, restaurants and hotels have to display their collective agreement publicly to qualify for charging 10% service charges.
  • Many workers in the hotel and restaurant sector are not union members. This sector is dominated by foreign workers, so Malaysian workers in this industry have very little say. Therefore, as a responsible body, the customs department must ensure that all service charges collected on behalf of the workers go to the workers. Even when there are no formal collective agreements, service charges collected must be distributed among the workers.
  • GST should not impede the extra income earned by low-income workers. This group is already hard-hit by the rising cost of living. Minimum wages remain at RM900. Unless this group tightens its belt further, it risks defaulting on its instalment payments.
  • The government's BR1M RM950 per year is far less when compared to the increase in prices due to GST. Every business, whether or not it is a collection centre, has increased its prices, citing GST payments.
  • It is common knowledge that wages have not kept up with productivity of labour since 1996. Besides wages make up only 28% of national income compared with Singapore 42%.
  • The fact that only 6.44% of workers i.e. 798941 out of 12.4 million workers are members of trade unions, speaks volumes about the decline in collective bargaining of workers. 
  • About 48% of Malaysian workers earn less than RM1000 per month. Therefore, 10% service charges to be distributed among workers must be retained and customs should threaten to abolish. 
  • According to the World Bank, informal economy constitutes 31% of the Malaysian economy, almost double the percentage in other Asian countries such as Vietnam (15.6%) and Singapore (13%). This sector is too small to register as a collection centre and, therefore, has to absorb the 6% GST itself.
  • The informal sector also faces a high cost in sales, thus reducing its profit margin. If the registered GST collection centres cannot compete with the unregistered informal sector, more resources will be channelled into the informal sector, leading to reduced collection from the GST.
  • While the working class and informal sectors are facing the brunt of an increase in the cost of living and a higher cost when doing business, the Minister for Domestic Trade Datuk Seri Hassan Malek, says that GST collections will be used to construct roads, mosques, temples, schools, in the areas of human capital development and education, and for infrastructural repairs.
  • Talk sounds good, but Malaysians are flabbergasted and disappointed that the GST will also be used to repay debts, incurred due to the high cost of government procurement and the guaranteeing of reckless loans taken by government-owned companies like 1MDB and PFI.
  • Essential utility services like the supply of water, electricity and toll highways are privatised and awarded to Umno cronies who reap risk-free profits. Veteran Umno politician Tan Seri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah says that these days, Umno divisional leaders as well as parliamentary members earn up to RM50, 000 a month, some even hundreds of thousands, and get lucrative contracts too.
  • The Prime Minister wants people to be frugal and spend less, but the government overspends. The government has a budget deficit of over 16 years, yet still requests for a supplementary budget at every parliamentary sitting. The government must walk the talk before preaching to others. 

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400 MIGRANTS KILLED IN BOAT CAPSIZE OFF LIBYA COAST

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
 
ROME, Italy - Up to 400 illegal migrants died after their vessel capsized off the Libyan coast last Sunday, said survivors who were brought to Italy, where tension is mounting over a surge in boat arrivals from North Africa.
The Italian coastguard on Monday said they had managed to rescue 144 of the people on the sunken vessel, while nine bodies were also recovered.
The International Organization for Migration and the charity Save the Children said between 144 and 150 survivors arrived at Reggio Calabria, on Italy's southern tip, on Tuesday morning.
"There were 400 victims in this shipwreck, which occurred 24 hours after (their vessel) left the Libyan coast," Save the Children said in a statement, citing survivors. 
“There were several young males, probably minors, among the victims” and also children among those rescued, the international NGO said. 
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