Saturday, December 20, 2014
CAIRNS, Australia  — An Australian woman was arrested for murder in the killings of eight children, seven of whom are believed to be her own, police said Saturday. The children were found dead inside the woman's home.
The 37-year-old woman, who is recovering in a hospital from stab wounds, was under guard and speaking with police, Queensland Police Detective Inspector Bruno Asnicar said.
She has not yet been charged.
Police haven't said how the children died. But Asnicar said they're examining several knives in the home that may have been the weapon used to kill them.
The children ranged in age from 18 months to 14 years, Asnicar said. The woman is thought to be the mother of seven of the children. The eighth is believed to be her niece.
  • Queensland police were called to the home in the Cairns suburb of Manoora on Friday morning after receiving a report of a woman with serious injuries. When they got to the house, they found the bodies of the children.
  • The woman, whose name has not been released, was also found in the home with the children, suffering from stab wounds to the chest. Asnicar said she is in stable condition, lucid and talking to police.
  • "We're not looking for anybody else — we're comfortable that the community at large is safe," Asnicar said.
  • A coroner was conducting autopsies to determine the causes of death, and police were continuing to comb through the house for evidence.
  • "They're looking to establish 100 percent what happened in that house when these offenses were committed," Asnicar said.
  • He dismissed rumors that the house had been the subject of calls from the Department of Social Services.
  • "It's not a problem house as has been speculated," he said. "This is an ordinary neighborhood — a lot of good people, a lot of kids in the area. This is something that has caught everybody by surprise. It's just an absolutely tragic thing."
  • Lisa Thaiday, who said she was the injured woman's cousin, said earlier that one of the woman's other sons, a 20-year-old, came home and found his brothers and sisters dead inside the house.

The tragedy comes as Australia is still reeling from the shock of a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe. On Monday, a gunman burst into the cafe in the heart of the city and took 18 hostages. 
Two hostages were dead along with the gunman after police stormed in 16 hours later in a bid to end the siege.
Police had earlier said there were 17 hostages in the cafe, but revised the number after a new count.
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Saturday, December 20, 2014
HANOI, Vietnam — Rice is an essential part of the Vietnamese economy. The communist country is the world’s second largest exporter of the staple grain.
“We used to have to accept the loss of large chunks of our paddies, the rats destroyed it. It made us wonder why we bothered working so hard,” explains 46-year-old farmer Hoang Thi Tuyet...Rodents can be a determined enemy.
“It’s hard to trap them, they’re clever, they move fast and in Vietnam there are 43 different species of rat to contend with,” Thieu says.
But in 1998, Thieu had a breakthrough — he invented a new kind of rat trap, more effective than anything farmers had previously tried, that worked without bait and relied on extremely strong springs. 
Thieu estimates his traps — and his unique rat hunting methods — have since killed millions of rats.At least 500,000 hectares of rice paddy is lost to rats each year, out of some 7.5 million hectares planted across Vietnam, said Nguyen Manh Hung of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences. 
  • Over the last few years, the rat population has exploded in Vietnam due to a decline in the population of their natural predators — snakes and cats. 
  • Both serpents and felines are popular delicacies in Vietnam, a country of some 90 million people and their widespread consumption, thanks in part to an increasingly affluent middle class, has allowed the rat population to grow unchecked.
Some of the rats captured by Thieu in his traps are sent to restaurants. Others are given to the farmers whose fields they were caught in, who either eat them or use them to feed their pigs or fish.
“For a long time we’ve eaten rat in Vietnam. Especially since the war, that was when people — mostly farmers — started eating them for want of other meat,” Thieu said.
Paddy rats — a healthier grain fed animal than their city cousins — are prepared in a variety of ways nationwide depending on the province, often grilled or steamed with lemongrass.
“Rat meat is very oily, like suckling pig, and very rich in protein,” said Do Van Phong, sitting in a Hanoi restaurant with two large paddy rats on a plate in front of him.

Source: Agency

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Saturday, December 20, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A protest demanding the government reduce the price of fuel will be held at 9 pm on Dec 31 at Dataran Merdeka. 
Jointly organised by various NGOs, the aim is to have the people stand together and send a firm message to the government: reduce the price of fuel. 
Despite the greatly-reduced international price of oil, the Malaysian government has only reduced the domestic price of RON95 petrol by a niggardly 4 sen.
Meanwhile, the price of diesel has increased by 3 sen.
Many people feel that this speaks volumes about the state of our national coffers.
The general feeling is that the situation is a reflection of the administration's competence, or lack of it thereof, in handling finances.
Additionally, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli(photo) has said that the inflated oil price has enabled the government to collect RM274 million in ‘hidden taxes’ straight from the pockets of the rakyat.
The demand to be made at the protest is for the price of RON95 to be lowered to RM1.90 per litre, which, in addition to helping the rakyat, would also match current market prices.

Source: rakyattimes
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Friday, December 19, 2014
Church of England leaders have voted to allow women to become bishops, the church announced Monday.
The measure required a two-thirds majority in all three voting bodies of the church: the House of Bishops, the House of Clergy and the House of Laity.
The legislation was passed at the church's General Synod, the three-times-a-year meeting that sets policies for the church, which is being held in the city of York.
The first female bishop could be appointed by the end of the year, the church said.
The head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, said he was "delighted" with the result.
"Today marks the start of a great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases disagreeing," he said in a statement. 
"The challenge for us will be for the church to model good disagreement and to continue to demonstrate love for those who disagree on theological grounds."
  • The measure is subject to approval by Britain's Parliament. This is seen as a legal formality.
  • The Church of England first began ordaining women as priests in 1994 and has been debating whether they should become bishops since 2005.

Source: CNN...More...
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Friday, December 19, 2014
Six paintings by famous Chinese artist Chen Ji Shie, also known as Chen Da Wai  and worth RM1.5 million had been stolen in the luggage carousel upon arrival at KLIA from Beijing on November 20.
Chen had brought his six paintings to participate in the "Sasaran International Art Festival" exhibition in Kuala Selangor from November 21 to December 8.
Sepang police chief Superintendent Yusoff Awang  said, "Closed-circuit television video footage taken from the KLIA showed the man who took the bag containing the paintings from the baggage claim area."
Yusoff Awang told The Malaysian Insider that 8 suspects were being held as part of investigations.
They include three men and four women, aged between 19 and 59, including a Datuk who has a stake in an art gallery in Damansara Heights.
The others are lecturers at private and public institutions of higher learning and artists working at the art gallery.
Yusoff said the eight suspects who had earlier attended an art exhibition in Beijing, had returned to Kuala Lumpur on the same flight as Chen who had brought his six paintings.
A 44-year-old artist is charge in court  as a prime suspect of stealing six paintings worth RM1.5 million from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Chow is charged under Section 379 of the Penal Code.
However, he was released after posting bail of RM8,000 on December 16, and a trial date has been set by the Sepang Magistrate Court .
Chen, was the first artist in the world to paint on site at the Mount Everest. He has received recognition for the "World's Highest Mountain Painting" by British World Record Association as well as the Guinness World Book of Records for being  the first to paint at 
7,000 feet above sea-level.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

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Thursday, December 18, 2014
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - If it wasn’t bad enough that Malaysia was identified as a meeting place for the terrorists in the run up to the September 11 tragedy way back in 2001, it has now come to light that dead Sydney gunman Man Haron Monis was in Malaysia in 1996 in his bid to escape authorities.
A notorious criminal with a string of violent and fraud-related offences to his name, Man Haron was even wanted by the Iranian police who requested he be extradited 14 years ago, a request Australian authorities refused to grant, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Speaking to the Mehr News Agency, Iran’s General Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam said Man Haron posed as a cleric at the time to gain political asylum, something he succeeded in doing when Australia granted him refugee status in 2001.
A manager of a travel agency in Iran before escaping the clutches of the law, Man Haron continued to commit a string of crimes even in Australia and was free on bail at the time he chose to take customers at a cafe hostage.
His crimes in Australia included more than 40 sexual assault charges involving seven alleged victims. Last year Man Haron was also charged as an accessory to the stabbing murder of his former wife, who was set alight in a Sydney apartment block.
According to a Reuters report, he was also found guilty in 2012 of sending threatening letters to the families of eight Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. 
He was sentenced to two years in prison, although he served only a portion of that sentence.
Man Haron, 50, was shot dead when police stormed into the Lindt Cafe early Tuesday, more than 16 hours after he entered the cafe armed with a gun and held 17 customers and staff hostage. 
Two of the hostages lost their lives during the siege.

Source: FMT
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Thursday, December 18, 2014
According to an annual report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), fully 220 members of the press are currently imprisoned around the world.
The second-largest figure since CPJ began recording in 1990 -- up 9 journalists from 2013 -- falls shy of the record high, which hit 232 in 2012.
In 2014, China put more journalists behind bars than any other nation -- 44 to be exact -- following a major crackdown on press freedom after the election of President Xi Jinping.
Iran locked up 30 members of the press, and Syria, Egypt, Burma, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Vietnam also made the list of top jailers of press around the world, according to CPJ's report.
"We may live in the information age, but those who bring us the news are being jailed in record numbers," CPJ executive director Joel Simon said. "From China to Iran and from Egypt to Burma, hopes for reform have been dashed as authoritarian governments suppress critical speech at a terrible cost to journalists."
Earlier this year, the CPJ called the last two years "absolutely atrocious" for media freedom. 
On Monday, Reporters Without Borders calculated that 66 journalists were killed worldwide in 2014. 
While that number is down 7 percent from 2013, the very nature of those killings, horrific beheading captured on video, deaths being shared across social media may mark the worst in recent memory.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Whenever young men (and old men too) in this country talk about crossing our Northern border, three things usually crosses people’s minds.
  • First, these men go there for some cheap shopping deals.
  • Secondly, they go there to get married (usually to their second or third wives).
  • Finally, the third and higher possibility of seeking sex workers.
A question to ask: What is all the fuss about going to Thailand for sex?
We’re not in any way promoting the action, but did you know that Malaysia has 
more sex workers per population than our neighbouring country?
To top it all, here is the top 10 list of countries with the highest sex workers per 10,000 people, as reported by Live & Invest Overseas News.

1. Venezuela (119 per 10,000)
Poor economic conditions are the cause here, but then again only 20% of the sex workers here were actually born in the country.
2. South Korea (110 per 10,000)
It looks like Korea’s economy and music aren’t the only things on the rise. Despite the law’s successes in red-light zones, the country’s sex trade continues to flourish underground.
3. Peru (102 per 10,000)
If they are over 18 years old and register themselves with municipal authorities plus carry a health certificate, women are legally cleared for prostitution.
4. Philippines (85 per 10,000)
Prostitutes in the country wear “bargirl” ID tags in noticeable places, and are supposed to be regularly tested for STDs.
5. Nigeria (63 per 10,000)
The latest trend in the country: sex tourism market for divorced older western women. And in Lagos, patrons normally buy ‘quickie’ without a bench, mattress or any form of luxury, but only by standing.
6. China (60 per 10,000)
It is estimated that prostitution contributes to as much as 5% to the country’s annual GDP despite it being illegal.
7. Brazil (53 per 10,000)
Here’s a paradox: The act of prostitution itself (exchanging sex for money) is legal here, however it is illegal to run a brothel or to employ prostitutes in any other way.
8. Malaysia (52 per 10,000)
Malaysia has been put by the U.S on the blacklist of countries with the worst cases of human trafficking and human rights abuse, including child prostitution.
9. Germany (49 per 10,000)
Organised prostitution here dates back as far as 1200’s AD. Unlike other European Union countries, it is wide spread, organised, and legal here in Germany.
10. Thailand (45 sex workers per 10,000 people)
Here’s the surprise- prostitution is actually illegal in Thailand! However in practice, it is tolerated and partly regulated.

Source: Malaysian digest
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014
At least 142 people, including 132 children, have been killed in a horrific attack by Pakistani Taliban fighters (TTP) on a military-run school in Peshawar in Pakistan's northwest. 
Several explosions and gunfire rung out as six armed men attacked the Army Public School on Tuesday morning, in one the bloodiest attacks in Pakistan's history. 
Ten staff members of the school were also killed and more than 120 students were wounded. Officials told Al Jazeera that all seven attackers were killed in the operation.
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