SOLYMONE BLOG

MYANMAR FLOODS LEFT AT LEAST 27 PEOPLE DEAD

Monday, August 03, 2015

The death toll from floods in Myanmar is expected to rise over the coming days, the United Nations has warned.
Four western regions have been declared disaster zones after heavy floods, caused by monsoon rains, left at least 27 people dead.
But rescue teams have not yet reached many areas and are still awaiting reports on the worst-hit regions.
In the neighbouring eastern Indian state of Manipur, a landslide buried a village, killing at least 21 people.
Heavy rains are normal in monsoon season, but many people in Myanmar – also known as Burma – told the BBC that the rains were particularly strong in recent weeks. Wind and rain from Cyclone Komen added to damage.
On Sunday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said some 156,000 people were affected by the floods in 12 districts but the total could be “significantly higher”.


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TOPLESS RALLY IN SUPPORT OF WOMEN RIGHT TAKES PLACE IN CANADIAN WATERLOO

Monday, August 03, 2015

WATERLOO, Ont, Canada — Close to 300 people came out to a topless rally in uptown Waterloo on Saturday to celebrate the right to bare breasts in public.
Topless men and women have taken part in a protest in Canada following an incident where three sisters were allegedly stopped by police for cycling shirtless.
The ‘Bare With Us’ rally, which took place yesterday in Waterloo's Town Square in Ontario, aimed to educate people about women’s right to go topless in public, a practice which has been legal since 1996.
The rally was organised by Alysha Brilla, a musician, and her two sisters. It is claimed that on 24 July in Kitchener, the trio were stopped by a male police officer who told them to cover up because it was the law, AP reported.
Brilla told the officer he was wrong and started filming the interaction on her phone. The officer said he had only stopped the women for safety reasons. 
  • A similar incident in June garnered headlines after eight-year-old Marlee McLean was told by city staff in Guelph, Ont., to cover up while she was in a wading pool wearing only a swim bottom.
  • Messages from protesters at the rally included: “Bare With Us! They’re just boobs!”
  • Brilla told CBC news: “I had no idea how [polarising] the issue would be. I thought people wouldn’t be so disturbed by the female breast.”
  • “We just want to advocate and let people know that they do have the right,” she said.
In a tweet, Waterloo Regional Police said the event had been a “respectful, peaceful, safe demonstration”.
In 1996,  the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of a student who went topless on a university campus in 1991.

Source: The Independent

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RACIAL UNITY POSSIBLE IF RACE-BASED EDUCATION ABOLISH IN MALAYSIA?

Sunday, August 02, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia can achieve racial harmony if the country adopts a single-stream “national” education system and puts an end to vernacular schools, newly-appointed deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told an interview with Berita Harian.
In the interview published today, the Umno leader admitted, however, that implementing such a system would take a long time, perhaps even “an entire generation” and not just “one or two decades”.
Zahid said Malaysia’s current education system, which comprises both national-type public schools and vernacular schools, should be replaced with a universal system that goes beyond race and religion.
“What is happening now, we must look at the country’s education system that exists in various mediums until there is no meeting point.
“How can a country have three different systems based on race and religion with no meeting point. We must have national education that crosses the barriers of race, religion and ethnicity,” Zahid was quoted by the Malay-language daily.
He added that while racial unity was already implicitly and explicitly taught in public schools, it was still important to have an education system that reflects that same unity.
“The unity agenda in the education system is implicit and not just written on paper.
“It should be all-encompassing. It should be close to the people’s conscience.”
  • The deputy prime minister’s remarks comes following the July 12 riots at Low Yat Plaza that left five people injured.
  • The melee at the popular tech mall reportedly started after a simple phone theft triggered rumours on social media that a Chinese trader had sold a Malay youth a counterfeit unit.
  • The rumour subsequently led to calls to boycott the “cheating” Chinese traders and the complex itself, as well as the subsequent violence where five were injured.
The incident both prompted comparisons to the May 13, 1969 race riots as well as renewed attention to the controversial National Civics Bureau (BTN), an agency under the Prime Minister’s Department tasked with promoting patriotism but is often accused of spreading racism.
Despite denials by the government and the agency, sporadic leaks of closed-door events conducted by the BTN.
Or featuring its staff have continued to entrench suspicions that the bureau was a hotbed of racism and “brainwashing”.
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FUEL PRICES DOWN IN MALAYSIA

Saturday, August 01, 2015

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia -  Retail prices of RON95, RON97 and diesel will be reduced by 10 sen a liter from midnight.
Petroleum Dealers Association of Malaysia deputy president Datuk Zulkifli Mokti confirmed the drop in fuel prices.
"Yes that is what is happening," he told The Star Online on Friday when asked about the 10 sen drop across the board.
The new prices will see RON95 retailed at RM2.05, RON97 at RM2.45 and diesel at RM1.95 per liter.
In June, prices saw a 10 sen hike across the board with RON95 selling at RM2.05, RON97 at RM2.35 and diesel at RM2.05.
This was followed by another hike in July - 10 sen for RON 95 and 20 sen for RON97 with diesel remaining unchanged.

Source: The Star
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ORTHODOX JEWISH ASSAILANT STABBED 6 PEOPLE AT JERUSALEM GAY PARADE?

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Six people have been injured, two of them seriously after an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man went on a stabbing spree at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem, police have said.
Witnesses described the terrifying scene as the knife-wielding man attacked multiple people at the march, which was attended by about 5000 revellers in the Israeli capital yesterday.
Shai Aviyor told Israel’s Channel 2: “We heard people screaming, everyone ran for cover, and there were bloodied people on the ground.”
Israeli police pounced and arrested the man within minutes. 
He was later revealed to be Yishai Shlissel an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man who was previously jailed for 10 years over a similar attack at the annual march in 2005.
He was released from prison just three weeks ago, according to reports.
The march has long been a focus of tension between Israel’s predominantly secular majority and the ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority, who object to public displays of homosexuality.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the attacks today as “a despicable hate crime”.
He said Israel would prosecute those responsible, adding: “Freedom of individual choice is a basic value in Israel.”
Oded Fried, the head of a leading gay rights group, said the attack would not deter the movement.
Jerusalem’s annual parade is smaller and more restrained than the annual gay pride march in Tel Aviv, which was attended by some 100,000 revellers last month. 

Source: – Evening Standard

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BRITISH PM PRESSES MALAYSIAN PM ON CORRUPTION CLAIMS?

Friday, July 31, 2015

David Cameron has pressed the Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak over claims he has imprisoned his political opponents and taken government money for personal gain, at a private meeting between the two men in Kuala Lumpur.
In a meeting at Najib’s residence, Cameron also urged his Malaysian counterpart to accept the importance of a free press, the need for ethics in business, and the fight against corruption. He stressed the importance of an open economy and open society.
Cameron has made the fight against corruption a key theme of his four-day trade mission to south-east Asia, and the British prime minister had arrived in Malaysia in the week in which corruption claims prompted Najib to sack both the attorney general, who had been investigating him, and his own deputy, who had been a prominent critic.
Najib has faced allegations that he received about $700m (£448m) in government money.
Leaked confidential documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal allegedly show how the money, from state investment fund 1MDB, went into his personal accounts.

  • Najib, who has claimed the attacks against him are politically motivated, has not disputed the existence of the accounts or the receipt of the funds but has insisted he never used government funds for personal gain.

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FIRST CHILD DOUBLE HAND TRANSPLANT ANNOUNCED IN USA

Thursday, July 30, 2015

NEW YORK -   An eight-year-old American has become the world’s youngest recipient of a transplant of both hands, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia announced Tuesday.
It took a team of 40 doctors, nurses and other staff from plastic and reconstructive surgery, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology and radiology, to pull off the pioneering surgery.
Surgeons first painstakingly attached bone, then veins. Once the blood was circulating, surgeons connected tendons, muscles and nerves.

  • “Zion’s kidney transplant following his infection made him a candidate for transplant because he was already taking anti-rejection medication,” said Benjamin Chang, co-director of CHOP’s Hand Transplantation Program.
  • Surgeons operated for 10 hours to carry out the incredibly complicated surgery on Baltimore native Zion Harvey.
  • He previously had both his hands and feet amputated and had a kidney transplant following a major infection.

Harvey is receiving daily anti-rejection medications. Doctors said he should be able to return home to Baltimore in a few weeks.
The smiling, precocious youngster had learned to eat, write and even play video games without hands.
Now he says he is looking forward to being able to throw a football with his own hands.

Source: AFP
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NEPAL TEMPLE BANS MASS ANIMAL SLAUGHTER

Thursday, July 30, 2015

KATHMANDU, Nepal – Some 2.5 million worshippers sacrificed an estimated 200,000 animals during the most recent instalment of the Gadhimai festival held last November in the village of Bariyapur near the Indian border.
The festival, held once every five years, sees hordes of devotees from Nepal and India flock to a temple in the Himalayan nation’s southern plains to sacrifice thousands of animals in the hope of appeasing the Hindu goddess of power, Gadhimai.
The practice of ritual sacrifice has a long history in Nepal, with devotees offering goats and buffaloes to gods during major festivals in the hope of finding health and happiness.
However in a victory for activists, Nepalese temple authorities said Tuesday they would end a centuries-old Hindu tradition of mass animal slaughter that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers.
Animal rights activists applauded the decision, which came after years spent lobbying temple authorities and the Nepal government in a campaign that attracted support from celebrities including British actress Joanna Lumley and French movie legend Brigitte Bardot.
“We have decided to completely stop the practice of animal sacrifice,” said Motilal Prasad, secretary of the Gadhimai Temple Trust, which organises the celebrations.
“I realised that animals are so much like us they have the same organs as us and feel the same pain we do,” Prasad told AFP.
“It won’t be easy to end a 400-year-old custom but we have 4 years to convince people that they don’t need to sacrifice animals to please the goddess,” he 
said.

Source: AFP
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MALAYSIA PM REPLACES DEPUTY, SACKS ATTORNEY GENERAL AMID SCANDAL

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: Embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday sacked his deputy premier and attorney general as part of a major cabinet reshuffle widely seen as an attempt to tighten his hold on office amid corruption allegations.
Najib has come under mounting pressure in recent months over claims that huge sums of money had been siphoned off from state-owned development company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which he launched in 2009.
Calls for Najib to step down mounted earlier this month after a Wall Street Journal report that Malaysian government investigators had discovered nearly $700 million had been routed to Najib’s personal bank accounts.
The prime minister and 1MDB have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
In a televised address, Najib announced he had dumped Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who has been critical of Najib’s handling of the affair and has called for more transparency.
Muhyiddin was replaced by Home Minister Zahid Hamidi.
Clearly referring to Muhyiddin and other lower-ranking ministers who had questioned the allegations surrounding 1MDB, Najib said cabinet members “should not air their differences in an open forum that can affect public opinion against the government and Malaysia”.
In total, nine ministers were replaced in the cabinet reshuffle that Najib said was aimed at creating a more “unified team” ahead of the next elections due by 2018.
Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail, who was part of a task force investigating 1MDB, also was “terminated… for health reasons,” a government statement said.
But the moves touched off speculation that Najib was attempting to curb further calls for transparency and possibly avoid criminal charges.
“The removal of the AG and the DPM will be seen as acts of desperation by Najib,” said Terence  Gomez, a  political  analyst  with  the 
 University of Malaya.

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