Minister in the Prime Minister’s office, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed admitted that the revenue of RM7 billion netted from the excise duty imposed on cars will be lost if Opposition parties abolish the excessive duties is a revelation that will irk the citizens even more having suffered for decades with ridiculously over-priced vehicles. On closer reflection, where is the BN government netting such a whopping sum of money from? From the pockets of its own citizens mate!
How much far better off would the Alis, Samys and Ah Kows be if they did not have to be burdened with the RM7 billion that they have to squeeze from their toiled merger incomes? Does the minister not sense this logic?
And mind you the argument he dishes out is a veiled threat that second-hand car dealers would go bust and many turned jobless. Now, the Minister who put them in such a vulnerable state in the first place?
He threatens of bankruptcy. Hello Joe, even without the abolishing of the rob-from-Peter-to-enrich-Paul taxes, we already have thousands of Malaysians axed with bankruptcy every year.
Further, if the robbed money from the citizens is used to pay for the rural development, then who is going to rob from where to pay for the urban folks who are seeing nightmares every day making ends meet? In fact, BN government leaders who have started giving ‘ang-pow’ handouts to citizens under the pretext of caring for the financially strapped is also an admission that even without the scarping of excise duties the citizens are already caving in under the pressures of national financial mismanagement.
And what kind of financial / economic management is it that BN is practicing by squeezing RM7 billion from its citizens to bring seeming development to rural sectors?
In the first place, do we all not buy cars simply because the public transport system is a total failure after five decades of BN rule?
Then of course there was another head in BN who argued that Proton will shut down and all the bumiputra workers will be begging on the street if the duties were done away with.
Again, that argument is also consistent with the line of thought with Nor Mohamed. It is also about robbing from the citizens to upkeep the un-productive, non-competitive Proton operations. Is it not? Enough. The victims of Malaysia’s greatest car robbery scam are decisive. No amount of billowing threats is going to change the truth. The greatest robbery must be ended and the price of the crime paid in full. That too will eventually take care of the second-hand car dealers.
Tens of thousands of people protested against nuclear power outside Japan's parliament, the same day a proponent of using renewable energy to replace nuclear following the Fukushima disaster was defeated in a local election. The protesters, including old-age pensioners, pressed up against a wall of steel thrown up around the parliament building shouting, "We don't need nuclear power" and other slogans.
On the main avenue leading to the assembly, the crowd broke through the barriers and spilled onto the streets, forcing the police to bring in reinforcements and deploy armoured buses to buttress the main parliament gate.
The protest came as results from rural Yamaguchi showed that Tetsunari Iida, an advocate of renewable energy to replace nuclear power, lost his bid to become governor to a rival backed by the opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which promoted nuclear power during its decades in power, Kyodo news agency reported, citing exit polls.
Iida, who wants Japan to exit nuclear power by 2020, had promised to revitalise Yamaguchi's economy with renewable energy projects and opposed a project by Chubu Electric Power Co to build a new nuclear plant in the town of Kaminoseki.
Energy policy has become a major headache for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who less than a year in office is battling to hold his Democratic Party together before a general election due next year but which could come sooner.
Weekly protests outside Noda's office have grown in size in recent months, with ordinary salary workers and mothers with children joining the crowds.
On Sunday, the protesters - holding candles as darkness fell on the hot summer day - took their demonstration to parliament. Chanting "oppose restarts", they pressed against steel barriers erected around the parliament building, where thousands of police were deployed to keep the peace. Many of the crowd had marched past the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co, the company at the heart of the worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
BRANDON, Manitoba,Canada - A soldier was shot during an altercation early Sunday with another member of the Canadian Forces at CFB Shilo in western Manitoba. The soldier was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, the Canadian Forces said in a news release. Another soldier was taken into custody but has not yet been charged. The matter is under investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.
The weapon used in the incident was not a military-issued weapon, officials said. It has been seized as the investigation continues.
Canadian Forces Base Shilo is located in southwestern Manitoba, near Brandon, and is home to the 2nd Batallion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery.
Nearly 10,000 residents of a town in Maguindanao had been displaced by the fighting between two warring groups of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the government reported Sunday. The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in an update, said about 9,388 residents of Sultan sa Barongis, a town in Maguindanao, southern Philippines, had been displaced by the fighting between the MILF’s 105th and 106th Base Commands.
The 2,344 families came from six villages in Sultan sa Barongis and the cause of the fighting was “rido” or clan war, according to the NDRRMC.
It remains unknown if there were any fatalities but among the casualties, reported earlier was a 14-year-old girl.
Those affected by the fighting were residents of the villages of Papakan, Gadungan, Kulambong, Tukanakuden, Bulod at Malusot.
The government earlier aired concerns that the fighting between the two groups of the MILF could endanger the current peace negotiations.
Based on reports, fighting flared up Tuesday around 2pm between two separate MILF units based in Maguindanao, the MILF 105th Base Command and the MILF 106th Base Commands. Fighting erupted between combined troops of Commanders Basco and Abdul Haq of the MILF’s 105th base command against the combined forces of Commanders Baksan and Jerry of the MILF’s 106th base command along the boundaries of Kulambog and Gadungan in Sultan Sa Barongis.
Sherlyn Chopra, a Bollywood film actress, will become the first woman from India to strip naked in Playboy. The 28-year-old knockout wrote to the magazine and suggested the idea herself, the BBC reported. They got back to her within a few days to accept. Fans will have to wait till the November issue circulates to get a glimpse of Chopra. A press conference earlier this week heralded the addition of a "Bollywood goddess" to the pantheon of beauties who've appeared on the pages of Hugh Hefner's magazine.
But her decision to pose caused a controversy in her native India where the granddaddy of all adult magazines is banned. A critic cited by the Daily Mail wrote "one wonders if Sherlyn Chopra’s pictures wound a woman’s integrity."
Chopra, who has had small roles in a handful of Bollywood flicks, is unfazed by the criticism.
"I have become the first Indian to pose naked for Playboy," she said to the BBC, "and nobody can take away that achievement from me,"
She uploaded snapshots from her tour of the famous Playboy mansions in Los Angeles to her Twitter account.
SCRANTON, Iowa, U.S.A. - Temperatures heading north of 100 degrees Fahrenheit and scarce rain portended another blistering weekend for much of the U.S. Midwest, where the most extensive drought since 1956 is devastating crops, evaporating rivers, and threatening to push world food prices higher. Violent storms brought rain to the extreme eastern portions of the U.S. corn belt in Ohio on Thursday night, but moisture was sparse further west.
The mercury soared in Missouri, where St. Louis was expected to reach 101 degrees F (38 Celsius) on Friday. Drought is afflicting nearly all of east-central Missouri, central and western Illinois and much of Iowa, all major corn and soybean producing states.
Farther west in Kansas City, temperatures were expected to move back over 100 degrees on Sunday as residents looked for ways to conserve water.
In Missouri, more than 600 farmers have applied for state funds to drill new wells, deepen existing wells or expand irrigation systems under a program for livestock and crop farmers severely hit by drought, Governor Jay Nixon said.
In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback objected to federal officials releasing water from three Kansas reservoirs to keep the Missouri River navigable and protect endangered birds. A spokesperson said Brownback preferred to keep the reservoirs as high as possible to conserve water for farmers and communities drawing from them.
Extreme conditions are killing fish by the thousands in lakes and rivers and could pose a problem for migrating ducks and other waterfowl if the drought stretches into the fall, officials said.
Nationwide, fishing losses could run from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars depending on how long the drought lasts and how widespread it is, said Dan Stephenson, an Illinois state fisheries biologist. Damage to corn, soybean and wheat crops is expected to push food prices higher in the United States and around the world. The United States is the world's largest exporter of corn, soybeans and wheat. At the Chicago Board of Trade on Friday, corn for September delivery was up 2.2 percent, August soybeans up 1.7 percent and September wheat up about 1.6 percent.
Over the next week, soaring temperatures and little rain were in store for crops in most of Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri, said Don Keeney, an MDA EarthSat Weather meteorologist.
According to Keeney, crops will continue to deteriorate. The corn crop is already gone. and in the north and east, beans will improve some but not in the southwest.
Showers and cooler temperatures were expected to bring some relief to eastern parts of the Midwest on Friday, and on Saturday and Sunday in the northwest part of the region, Keeney said.
Farmers planted corn and soybeans earlier than usual this year after a warmer than normal winter, but conditions have rapidly deteriorated.
Trade sources said on Friday that Informa Economics had cut its estimate for 2012 U.S. corn yields per acre and production and its projection for U.S. soybean yields per acre and overall production.
Corn yield prospects in central and northeast Iowa were highly variable, scouts on a U.S. Midwest crop tour said.
Some plants have withered and died in the worst drought in 56 years, some have thin stalks and small ears, and others are mostly green, but visibly stressed. All of Iowa was in severe drought or worse, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor for the week ending July 24 issued by climatologists, and almost 30 percent of the nine-state Midwest was suffering extreme drought. Source: Reuters
LONDON, U.K. - The Queen has declared the London Olympics officially open, before seven young athletes were given the honour of lighting the ceremonial flame. The show featured British celebrities and sportspeople, including David Beck ham and Bradley Wiggins, and screen characters Mr Bean and James Bond. In a speech watched around the world, Games chief Jacques Rogge said: "The Olympic Games are coming home tonight." Flag-bearer Sir Chris Hoy earlier led out Team GB to cheers and applause. The identity of who was to light the symbolic flame was shrouded in secrecy ahead of the ceremony.
The group of seven, chosen by British Olympic champions, each lit a single tiny flame on the ground, igniting 205 petals, one for each competing nation or territory.
Long stems then rose towards each other to form a cauldron, signifying unity.
The flame made a dramatic arrival via the Thames on a speedboat carrying Beck ham, who handed the torch to Sir Steve Redgrave. The show, billed as a quirky take on UK life, started with iconic images of London and Britain being beamed to the world, and all four countries of the UK being represented in song.
AUSTRALIA breached the rights of Indonesian children it jailed as adults after they came as crew on people-smuggling boats and should apologize, the nation's human rights chief said Friday. Australian Human Rights Commission president Catherine Branson said 180 Indonesians claimed to be under the age of 18 when they arrived in Australia between late 2008 and late 2011, but some were not believed and put in prison.
"The fact is that a significant number of Indonesian children have been incarcerated in adult correctional facilities, including maximum security facilities... in some cases for very long periods of time," she said.
Ms Branson, releasing a report on the treatment of the minors, said while obviously young Indonesians - including a boy who claimed to be eight - were sent home, authorities often relied on wrist X-rays to determine their age.
The accuracy of wrist X-rays, an age-profiling tool which compares an individual's bone growth against a standard "atlas" developed in the United States in the 1950s, was now "discredited", she said.
"We now know that a significant number of young Indonesians assessed to be adults on the basis of X-ray analysis were in fact children, or were very likely to have been children, at the time of their apprehension," she said.
Asked whether Canberra should apologize for the treatment of these minors, who were mostly poorly educated and came from impoverished fishing villages, Ms Branson said: "My feeling would be that they probably should. "There is a cohort of individuals whose human rights have not been respected in Australia," she added to reporters in Sydney.
"They were not given the benefit of the doubt that they might be under the age of 18. They have not been separated from adults.
"These are all breaches of the convention on the rights of the child."
Ms Branson said 48 Indonesians, many of whom were likely to have been children when detained, had charges against them dropped while 15 who had been convicted were released and returned home because there was doubt about their age.
The government has since changed its approach and only one person has had their wrist X-rayed since July 2011, while there are currently no Indonesians in Australian jails who have complained of being minors, Ms Branson said.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said there was now a fair system in place for assessing the age of people-smuggling crew who claim to be under 18, with all accused determined on an individual basis. "Minors do not belong in adult jails, which is why the government significantly changed age-determination policy last year," she said. "These changes now see minors returned to Indonesia as soon as possible."Ms Roxon said police and judicial officials give the benefit of the doubt in cases where age cannot be clearly established, often an issue with crew who sometimes are themselves unsure of their age. More than 6550 asylum-seekers have arrived by boat since the beginning of 2012, many beginning their sea journey in Indonesia.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - The Government had decided to fly Malaysian students in Syria back home in view of the country's internal political crisis. Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (right photo) had announced on Tuesday that the first chartered flight to carry the Malaysian evacuees would arrive at KL International Airport Tuesday while the second batch would arrive Wednesday. Anifah said the Malaysian Embassy in Damascus was making all efforts to ensure the students were evacuated as quickly as possible.
He earlier announced that the Government would commence an evacuation exercise to bring Malaysians home immediately as a precautionary measure following the civil war in Syria.
The Government has also urged all Malaysians in Syria to leave the country immediately, while those planning to travel there were advised to postpone their plans.
It said all 138 Malaysians, comprising 128 students and 10 expatriates registered with the embassy, were safe and accounted for.
The Malaysian ambassador and four other embassy officials will also be temporarily withdrawn from Syria once the evacuation was completed.
The first batch of students from Syria arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 4:11pm Wednesday after the flight was delayed by an hour.
The seven students who arrived on the EK 346 Emirates flight were welcomed by Deputy Foreign Minister Richard Riot Jaem. The students were Abdul Halim Mohammad Ghazali, 21; Mohd Luqman Saidin, 23; Muhammad Afifuddin Md Tahir, 23; Muhammad Hasan Hilmi Hassan Shukri, 21; Muhammad Othman Zawawi, 23; Muhammad Rusydi Ilhami Ahmad Fahmi, 22; and Syed Abdul Rahman Syed Ramli, 24. Source: Agency
DAMASCUS, Syria - Sources in Syria warned Thursday that it would launch chemical weapons at Israel should Jerusalem attempt to attack its non-conventional weapons depots, a Kuwaiti paper reported. According to the report in the Kuwait daily Al-Rai, Damascus would view any attack as a declaration of war and the regime would not hesitate to use chemical weapons on Israel.
The sources told Al-Rai that an attack on its weapons depots would cause great pollution to the environment and kill anyone in the area, a scenario that would provoke an all-out conflict.
Israel has said it would use force to prevent Syria’s chemical weapons from falling into terrorists’ hands as President Bashar Assad’s regime comes under increasing fire. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Israel would consider any transfer of chemical weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon as a cause for war.
The unnamed sources in al-Rai report dismissed Israeli officials’ comments as “overblown and immature.” They added that Israel doesn’t understand the effect such a decision would have.
In an interview earlier this week with Fox News, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel may have to act to keep Syrian chemical weapons out of the wrong hands.
Syria is thought to have one of the largest chemical weapons stockpiles in the world, with supplies of sarin and vx nerve agents, cyanide and mustard gas. The country has vowed to not use the weapons on its own people, but has said they would be used on invading foreigners. Damascus often describes opposition rebels waging a civil war for control of the country as foreign terrorists.
LONDON, U.K. - Britain's economy shrank far more than expected in the second quarter, battered by everything from an extra public holiday to government spending cuts and the neighboring euro zone crisis. Finance minister George Osborne said figures released today showed Britain had "deep-rooted economic problems," adding that the slump in the second quarter was disappointing even when taking into account one-off factors that hurt.
Britain's gross domestic product fell 0.7 percent compared with the first three months, the sharpest fall since the height of the global financial crisis in early 2009, the Office for National Statistics said, showing a bigger drop than any of the economists surveyed in a Reuters poll last week had expected.
Output in Britain's service sector - which makes up more than three quarters of GDP - contracted by 0.1 percent in the second quarter after growing 0.2 percent in Q1 2012. Industrial output was 1.3 percent lower, while construction - which accounts for less than 8 percent of GDP - shrank by 5.2 percent, its biggest drop since the first quarter of 2009. The figures confirmed that Britain remains mired in its second recession since the start of the financial crisis, with the economy shrinking for a third consecutive quarter.
HA NOI, Vietnam – Vo Thi Nhi, 46, sat anxiously nibbling a few pieces of bread for lunch as she waited patiently inside Noi Bai International Airport for the flight bringing her son back home. Luu Dinh Hung was one of 12 sailors working on a Taiwanese cargo ship that was attacked by Somali pirates two years ago. "The thought of pirates pointing the gun at my son made me shiver," she said. "Our family listened to the news every day, but we couldn't get any information at all about our son." Amid the desperation, the family, from Nghi Loc in Nghe An Province, received two phone calls from Hung. This gave them a glimpse of his situation. He was locked up on an island, fed only occasionally and often threatened with death.
On Saturday, Nhi received a call from her son and the news that the sailors were about to return home.
Hung and 11 other Vietnamese fishermen landed in Ha Noi yesterday and were greeted with an outpouring of happiness from family members. The media went into a frenzy over the details of their 19-month ordeal.
Nguyen Van Tam from Ky Anh, Ha Tinh, recalled that the 12 were provided with a total of three to four kilos of rice a day, but it had to be cooked in sparse supplies of extremely dirty water.
"We didn't have clean water and could only take a bath every two to three months. Now all of us have skin problems," Tam said.
His eyes still show the horror of the months in captivation. "All of us were beaten and some had guns pointed at their heads," he said.
According to the sailors, as part of the arranged rescue on July, 17 the pirates dropped them on the beach several kilometres from the hide-out of the pirates, who feared an attack.
As had been planned, a Chinese naval ship picked them up and took them to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.
According to Nguyen Xuan Tao, from the Department of Overseas Labour Management, all sailors are now in reasonable health. Tao said the department would request their employers to pay them 18 months' back pay. The 12 Vietnamese were working on the Taiwanese vessel Xu Fu No. 1 when it was attacked by Somali pirates on December 31, 2010.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - To calm the public outcry over the Bersih 3.0 nastiness, which caused his popularity rating to drop 4 percentage points to 65%, Prime Minister Najib Razak has done little. He still insists Bersih 3.0 was immoral, un-Islamic and an Opposition plot to topple his government. Hundreds of “unlawful arrests” were made in a bid to quell the spontaneous show of people power, resulting in Malaysia’s image being tarnished as an intolerant and banana-republic-type of dictatorship as the cousins’ shocking and ruthless crackdown made headlines around the world.
A special police panel set up to look into the beatings led by former police chief Hanif Omar blamed the police brutality on low-ranking cops, completely omitting and sparing the senior officers from any blame.
“Until and unless Prime Minister and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein apologize publicly, they won’t be forgiven by the Malaysian public so easily. It is a hole they have dug for themselves. If they want to save their personal legacy and reputations, what they should do is to ask for public forgiveness, clean up the electoral process and promise a smooth and peaceful transition of power should they people decide against the BN in GE-13,” PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.
On Tuesday, High Court Judge Rohana Yusuf ruled that the Bersih 2.0 coalition of civil societies, although not officially registered, was a legal society under the Societies Act. According to hornbillunleashed, the minister’s order is quashed because Bersih is a lawful society,” said Rohana, calling Hishammuddin ’s decision a “tainted” one.
CHINA - Fei Lin, 41, of the Niqiao village near Wenling City, in east China’s Zhejiang province, told police he was asleep when the thieves burst into his room and put a bag over his head, according to a photo caption sent to The Huffington Post by CEN/EUROPICS. "They put something over my head and pulled down my trousers and then they ran off," Lin said. "I was so shocked I didn't feel a thing, then I saw I was bleeding and my penis was gone." Police believe the attackers were jealous lovers of several local women whom Lin was having affairs with. Lin denied taking part in any infidelity. Emergency workers and police searched for Lin's anatomy but turned up nothing. The penis thieves are nowhere to be found, but police said they're looking for the jealous lovers.
CAIRO, Egypt - In a surprising move, Egypt's president tapped a young, relatively unknown water minister Tuesday to form a new government. Hesham Kandil, 49, becomes the youngest prime minister in Egypt's history. Educated in the United States, he earned both his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of North Carolina. Kandil joined Egypt's government after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. He was appointed minister of irrigation and water resources under Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, three weeks after Mubarak fell.
Before that, he was a water specialist with the African Development Bank and participated in the Nile Basin Initiative, according to his biography.
President Mohamed Morsy's appointment of Kandil is likely to disappoint business leaders who had hoped for someone with financial expertise to lead Egypt and its fragile economy. Other critics say he lacked the political experience to become prime minister.
Speculation is still swirling as to the allotment of Cabinet posts.
HONG KONG - A severe typhoon hit Hong Kong on Tuesday, disrupting business across the financial hub, with offices and the stock market to remain closed for at least part of the morning after the city raised its highest typhoon warning overnight. Fifteen flights were cancelled and more than 200 delayed late on Monday, aviation authorities said, although Hong Kong's main carrier Cathay Pacific said it planned to resume some flights. Affected airlines are expected to have to clear a sizeable backlog of stranded passengers.
The Hong Kong Observatory raised the No. 10 signal early on Tuesday as typhoon Vicente swept much closer to Hong Kong than initially thought, making this the first time the highest typhoon signal had been raised since 1999.
More than 30,000 Chinese fishing boats were alerted to return to harbour, with 10,560 fishermen taking shelter ashore in Guangdong, Chinese state media reported. Storm surges and sea wave warnings were heightened, with winds of up to 100 kph (60 mph) expected.
Authorities hoisted the No. 10 tropical cyclone signal for several hours overnight, making this one of the strongest typhoons to hit the city in the past decade. Financial markets, schools, businesses and non-essential government services close when a No. 8 signal or above is hoisted, posing a disruption to business in the capitalist hub and former British colony that returned to Chinese rule in 1997.