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MEET US PRESIDENT OBAMA'S MALAYSIAN DOUBLE

Friday, April 25, 2014
SUBANG JAYA - Mr Iman Ishak, 25, is a lawyer who turns heads. His presence is distinct and noticeable.
Around him people linger and whisper, until one day a man stood before him and bellowed "BARACK OBAMA!". Mr Iman is a dead ringer for the US president. 
A DJ-cum-lawyer, Mr Iman has voiced a slight frustration over the stares he received, but found some of the overwhelming attention quirky and fun - especially from friends. 
"I realised I looked like Obama during his 2008 election. An English lecturer who was reading an article on him turned to me and said I looked like Obama, and from then on it was obvious," said Mr Iman. 
While he does not see the likeness, his friends have noted the uncanny resemblance in his smile, ears and general cool collected demeanour which are all comparable to the US leader. 
Mr Iman recalled a time when his family visited London's Madame Tussauds that featured a wax figure of Obama. Many visitors froze when he stood beside it, stunned by the eerie similarity.

  • "I always hear people whispering or giving me slight looks when I go around. I don't pay too much attention to it but after a while you just play along with it. Sometimes, when I notice someone has been staring, I'll just walk to them and say hey," he said. 
  • In one instance, popular hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan visited Malaysia and Mr Iman was tasked with bringing them around Malaysia. After a few glances at a picture of Mr Iman, member Raekwon yelled "Who is this Obama-looking dude?". 
Mr Iman was made aware of the impending visit to Malaysia of his "identical twin" through friends and family members who suggested the possibility of meeting each other.
Mr Iman, however, said he would not know what to say to Mr Obama if they were to meet.

Source: AsiaOne
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OBAMA BACKS JAPAN IN ISLAND ROW WITH CHINA

Friday, April 25, 2014
The US president has reiterated that islands at the centre of a Sino-Japanese dispute are covered by a US-Japan defence pact, in a public show of support for allies in Tokyo. 
In comments made on Thursday in Japan, Barack Obama said that the islands - known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China - were historically administered by Tokyo and came under the terms of joint-defence alliance. 
He said US commitment to the treaty was "absolute". "This is not a new position. This is a consistent one," he said. 
"Article five covers all territories under Japan's administration including Senkaku islands." 
However, he said: "We stand together in calling for disputes in the region, including maritime issues, to be resolved peacefully through dialogue." 

  • He said the US commitment to defend Japan was a matter of historical fact rather than a rebuke to China: "The treaty preceded my birth, so obviously this isn't the red line that I'm drawing." 
  • China later on Thursday said that the islands were its property. 
Source: Al Jazeera
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MORE HOMELESS AS MANILA SHANTIES DEMOLISED FOR A MODERNIZED PORT

Thursday, April 24, 2014
 
About 500 shanties and illegal structures in Tondo, Manila, are being demolished as the government started clearing the area to widen the road and make way for the construction of a modernized port.
Authorities had offered them alternative housing, but many refused as they said the homes on offer were in a landslide prone area.
 


Source: Agencies
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MALAYSIAN ANWAR CONVINCED HE WILL GO TO JAIL FOR SODOMY?

Thursday, April 24, 2014
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is convinced he will go to jail for his sodomy conviction, probably for even longer than the five years he was given, as he said the judicial process is staked heavily against him.
The de facto PKR leader, who disclosed that foreign leaders like former US Vice-President Al Gore and Irish President Mary Robinson had advised him during his recent trip to London not to return to Malaysia and be jailed, said the refusal of the Federal Court registry yesterday to allow him an extension of time to file his petition of appeal against the conviction was just the latest legal hurdle he had to overcome.
The deadline for filing the petition is today (Thursday).
Decrying the refusal as an abuse of the judicial process, Anwar said it was another “clear testimony” that the courts were being used by Umno leaders to harass him.
“It is definitely harassment and an abuse of process,” he said.
“I'm just waiting. I don't know how much time I have.
“A month, two months before they send me to jail,” said Anwar, who was in Kuching to speak at the Reformasi 2.0 rally last night.
Anwar also spoke on the harassment he said he had to deal with when his appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal.
He said the courts advanced the hearing of his appeal by a month to “fit in” the dates of the Kajang by-election.
Anwar was to have been Pakatan Rakyat's candidate in the March 23 by-election in Selangor that was called after the incumbent, Lee Chin Cheh, unexpectedly resigned on January 27.
  • However, the Court of Appeal's “swift” decision in overturning a High Court ruling and finding him guilty meant he was not eligible to contest.
  • His wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail replaced him as the PR candidate.
  • PKR legal bureau head Latheefa Koya yesterday said even with the deadline today, the Federal Court registry asked Anwar to file a formal application, which included a notice of motion, to ask for more time to file the grounds of appeal.
  • Karpal Singh, who was Anwar’s lead counsel in the case, was to have filed the appeal. Karpal was killed in a tragic road accident along with his personal aide last Thursday.
  • Latheefa described the court’s refusal as highly inconsiderate and showing a lack of sympathy and understanding over the tragic death of Karpal.
  • Anwar, meanwhile, said the refusal meant his new lead counsel Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah did not have enough time “to go through the files and files of notes”.
  • "It appears the Federal Court is bent on rushing the appeal and this can be seen in their failure to grant an extension of time," Latheefa added.

Anwar's latest brush with the court prompted him to warn that other key opposition leaders could suffer the same fate as he did.
He said with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak “manipulating the Attorney-General and judicial system”, opposition leaders like Batu MP Tian Chua, Pandan MP and PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli, Seremban MP Anthony Loke and PAS deputy secretary-general Dr Syed Azman Ahmad Nawawi were “all on the list of people to be charged and jailed.

Source: TMI
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SEARCH FOR MH370 REVEALS CHINA MILITARY VULNERABILITY AT SEA

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
When Chinese naval supply vessel Qiandaohu entered Australia's Albany Port this month to replenish Chinese warships helping search for a missing Malaysian airliner, it highlighted a strategic headache for Beijing; its lack of offshore bases and friendly ports to call on.
China's deployment for the search – 18 warships, smaller coastguard vessels, a civilian cargo ship and an Antarctic icebreaker has stretched the supply lines and logistics of its rapidly expanding navy, Chinese analysts and regional military attaches say.
China's naval planners know they will have to fill this strategic gap to meet Beijing's desire for a fully operational blue-water navy by 2050; especially if access around Southeast Asia or beyond is needed in times of tension.
China is determined to eventually challenge Washington's traditional naval dominance across the Asia Pacific and is keen to be able to protect its own strategic interests across the Indian Ocean and Middle East.
As China's military presence and projection increases, it will want to have these kind of (port) arrangements in place, just as the US does, said Ian Storey, a regional security expert at Singapore's Institute of South East Asian Studies.
The United States, by contrast, has built up an extensive network of full bases – Japan, Guam and Diego Garcia – buttressed by formal security alliances and access and repair agreements with friendly countries, including strategic ports in Singapore and Malaysia.
While China is building up its fortified holdings on islands and reefs in the disputed South China Sea, its most significant southernmost base remains on Hainan Island, still some 3,000 nautical miles away from where Chinese warships have been searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Military attaches say foreign port access is relatively easy to arrange during peace-time humanitarian efforts – such as the search for MH370 or during anti-piracy patrols off the Horn of Africa – but moments of tension or conflict are another matter.
If there was real tension and the risk of conflict between China and a US ally in East Asia, then it is hard to imagine Chinese warships being allowed to enter Australian ports for re-supply, said one Beijing-based analyst who watches China's naval build-up.

Source: Reuters
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GRIEF OVER KARPAL REFLECTS MALAYSIANS' AFFECTION FOR PRINCIPLED PEOPLE

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The late DAP leader Karpal Singh's funeral in Penang yesterday has been the biggest outpouring of grief in Malaysia since Tunku Abdul Rahman's funeral in December 1990.
The crowd lining the George Town roads yesterday roared the prominent lawyer and politician's name. Thousands others followed the cortege with Karpal's body to the Batu Gantung crematorium for his final journey.
Penang wept for its favourite son, Malaysia cried for the loss of an influential lawmaker, lawyer and leader.
  • And those who tried to smear the late Karpal Singh's character or make snide remarks found themselves in public odium and contempt – the Langkawi MP Datuk Nawawi Ahmad being one of them.
  • In short, the main conclusion that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his government can surmise from this outpouring of grief is simply this – Malaysians love their leaders and politicians who stand for something, to be men and women of principles.
  • It is not by accident that a multiracial crowd turned out, this was a politician who believed that everyone has a place under the Malaysian sun. Young, old – they were the people who have heard of Karpal Singh almost all their lives.
  • Everyone had a favourite tale to tell of the lawyer with the easy smile, the strong conviction and the sharp voice in court or Parliament – be they the hawkers in Green Hall or even his political foes in the Dewan Rakyat.

Perhaps some found themselves at the wrong end of the stick in Karpal's 45 years in law and politics but the turnout yesterday showed the affection that many had for the lawyer.
Will there be such a turnout for the likes of Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah or other leaders from both sides of the divide that only speak on behalf of their race?
Malaysia is in need of heroes – of principled people. The Tiger of Jelutong was one of them.
And the crowds' lament for his loss reflects the need for more of such principled people to ensure equality and justice in Malaysia.

Source: The malaysian Insider

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NORTH KOREA CRITICISES OBAMA ASIA TOUR

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

North Korea warned Monday that an upcoming Asian tour by US President Barack Obama could escalate military tensions, as South Korean media cited intelligence reports of increased activity at the North's main nuclear test site. 
Obama's April 23-29 tour includes visits to Japan and South Korea, the two main US military allies in Asia and key partners in the effort to curb Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.
A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said the "reactionary and dangerous" trip would only serve to "escalate confrontation and bring dark clouds of a nuclear arms race" over the Korean peninsula.

In a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency, the spokesman said recent Asia visits by the US Secretaries of State and Defence had sought to demonise the North's nuclear and missile programmes and justify a growing US military presence in the region.
The last two months have been a period of elevated tensions on the Korean peninsula, as South Korea and the United States conducted annual, large-scale military exercises.
North Korea protested by test-firing dozens of short-range missiles and conducting its first mid-range missile tests for nearly four years.
On Monday, the South's Yonhap news agency, citing unidentified military sources, said increased activity had been observed at the North's underground Punggye-ri site where its three nuclear tests were carried out in 2006, 2009 and 2013.
"South Korean and US forces have been closely monitoring the latest development to detect signs of another test," one source told Yonhap.
At the end of last month, North Korea said it would not rule out a "new form" of nuclear test after the UN Security Council condemned its latest medium-range missile launches.
Experts saw this as a possible reference to testing a uranium-based device or a miniaturised warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile.

Source: Reuters
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TEENAGE STOWAWAY SURVIVES 5 HOURS FLIGHT HIDING IN PLANE'S WHEEL

Monday, April 21, 2014
A teenage runaway survived a 2,300mile flight to Hawaii hidden in the landing gear of a passenger jet.
The 16-year-old was found by airport workers in Maui after he tumbled out of the wheel well of an Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Jose, California, which landed on Sunday morning.
FBI investigators say the boy was fleeing his home in Santa Clara when he jumped an airport fence and decided to stow away on the Boeing 767. 

He apparently had no idea where the plane was headed.
  • During the five-and-a-hour flight, temperatures outside the plane would have reached around 80 degrees below zero and there would have been very little oxygen.
  • Tom Simon, an FBI spokesman, said the boy was apparently unconscious for most of the flight and was disoriented when he was discovered on the Maui airport tarmac.
  • The boy is now in the custody of child protection agencies in Hawaii but is not believed to be suffering any serious medical problems.
  • Hawaiin Airlines said in a statement: "Our primary concern now is for the wellbeing of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived."
  • Aviation expert Peter Forman told Hawaii News Now it was "extremely unlikely" someone would survive for hours at 38,000feet.

Source: Agencies
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AMERICAN FUGITIVE HID IN PHILIPPINES FOR 12 YEARS

Monday, April 21, 2014
An American fugitive who fled to the Philippines after being accused of raping a child more than a decade ago is now back in his home state to face charges.
Phillip Vaughn Cox, 53, of Blaine County in Oklahoma was charged in 2002 with two counts of rape of a child under 14.
Authorities said an arrest warrant was issued, but they failed to arrest Cox before he fled to the Philippines.
They said he lived in Philippines undetected for 12 years.
Investigators said in 2013, Cox allegedly taunted Geary, Okla. police when he posted a comment on the department’s Facebook page telling them he lived in Angeles City in the Philippines.
Cox’s Facebook profile picture showed him with a Filipino girl sitting on his lap.
They say Cox believed the statute of limitations would expire for his rape charges while hiding out abroad.
Investigators arrested Cox in February at his home, north of Manila, with the help of the Philippines' National Bureau of Investigation.
US marshals took Cox into custody when he arrived in Los Angeles in March.
On Monday, he was finally returned to Blaine County in Oklahoma to face the 2002 rape charges.

Source: CBS-ABN News
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