Friday, May 31, 2013
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia — Blasting it as undemocratic, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said today she will challenge the Barisan Nasional (BN) state government’s ban on her entry into Sabah in court.
The second-term Lembah Pantai MP argued that although the state constitution allows the chief minister to bar anyone from entering the state, it must do so with a valid justification – of which failing to do so meant the provision had been clearly abused.
“As a member of the Malaysian Parliament, the move to bar my entry is irrational and without reasonable justification. It is clearly an extreme abuse of power and very anti-democratic,” she told a press conference in PKR’s headquarters here.
“If I am a threat to the people of Sabah, then give me the rationale and explanation to this accusation.”
Nurul Izzah also claimed that more opposition leaders, including his father, PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and other activists have also been listed in the banning order which she claimed came from the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman’s office.
  • The 32 year-old PKR leader said the state authorities, however, had rejected her demand to see the list and gave no explanation as to why she had been denied entry.
  • “I am currently discussing with YB Darrell Leiking, the MP for Penampang, and other friends in Sabah’s legal fraternity to consider taking legal action against the chief minister that will be filed in Kota Kinabalu soon.”
  • Yesterday, Nurul Izzah was denied entry into Sabah upon arriving in Kota Kinabalu. She had intended to attend a party event as well as celebrating Pesta Kaamatan, or the Harvest Festival, on a personal capacity.
Government backbencher and a Member of Parlimen for Kinabatangan in Sabah, Bung Moktar Radin(right photo) said Nurul Izzah’s ejection from state ‘big mistake’.
“I don’t understand why Nurul was not allowed to enter Sabah. If it’s true, then this is a mistake and a disaster,” added the Umno supreme council member.
Meanwhile, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman (second right photo) refused to comment today on PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar’s deportation from the east Malaysian state yesterday.
Musa rushed to his car instead when approached by reporters at Umno’s headquarters in the Putra World Trade Centre here today.

Source: The Malaysian Insider...More...

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Thursday, May 30, 2013
Smoke bomb aimed at historic wedding of Vincent Aubin and Bruno Boileau, but ceremony goes ahead relatively peacefully. 
Two men have married each other in the southern French city of Montpellier in the first same-sex wedding in a country that has been rocked by protests against, and for, the reform. 
Security was on high alert for the union of Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau, who exchanged vows in the city hall on Wednesday before the mayor, relatives and friends, as dozens of riot police stood guard outside to ensure the ceremony was not interrupted by protestors.

Source: Al Jazeera
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013
A woman who was mauled by a tiger was in a staff area of the enclosure that animals should not have had access, it has emerged. 
Sarah McClay, 24, died when she was mauled by a Sumatran tiger at South Lakes Wild Animal Park, in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on Friday afternoon. 
Detective Chief Inspector Bob Qazi, of Cumbria Police, said: 'It is vitally important that we discover what exactly happened in the big cat enclosure building that led to Sarah coming into contact with the tiger. 
'I want to emphasise there is no suggestion of any foul play or any issue of suicide or self-harm from the enquiries we have made and evidence we have. 
 'What has become apparent from our enquiries is that Sarah was going about her routine duties and was in the staff section of the enclosure building, which animals are not allowed access to, when a tiger has entered it from an adjacent pen and confronted her. 
'The tiger has then attacked Sarah, taking her from the building into the open-air external enclosure area where Sarah was left and later attended by staff and paramedics.
A spokesman for the force added: "The wildlife park has closed early and all visitors have left the park.
"Police and Barrow Borough Council are currently investigating the circumstances that led to this incident."

Source: Mail Online...More..
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Sunday, May 26, 2013
ANKARA, Turkey - Some 100 people kissed for several minutes at Ankara station in protest of moral warnings by subway authorities. Dozens of couples have locked lips at a subway stop in Turkey's capital, Ankara, to protest subway authorities' admonishment of a couple that kissed in public.
They kissed for several minutes in protest on Saturday. 
Demonstrators carried signs reading "Free Kisses'' and chanted slogans. 
Turkish media reported that, earlier in the week, Ankara subway officials made an announcement asking passengers "to act in accordance with moral rules" after security cameras spotted the couple kissing. 
The issue prompted an opposition lawmaker to question the ruling party, which many secularists fear wants to expand the role of Islam in Turkey, about whether subway officials were authorised to make such demands. 
A conservative group of some 20 people staged a counter-protest. Police set up barricades between the groups.
Source: Al Jazeera
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Saturday, May 25, 2013
Five paramilitary soldiers have been killed and one other has been wounded by a roadside bomb in southern Thailand, local police say.
Police said on Friday that the soldiers were travelling in a pick-up vehicle to meet Muslim community leaders in the Saiburi district of Pattani, one of Thailand's southernmost provinces hit by a near-decade long rebellion which has claimed more than 5,500 lives.
"Five rangers are dead, including the commander who was intially severely wounded," Sergeant Montri Prommee of Saiburi police told AFP news agency, adding the explosive device was buried in the road.
"They [the insurgents] want to create situations [unrest] on important days," he added, referring to the timing of the attack on one of the most important Buddhist holidays of the Thai calendar.
The Muslim-majority deep south has yet to curb violence against Thai security forces, or civilians, despite ongoing peace talks in neighbouring Malaysia. 

Source: Al Jazeera...More...
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Friday, May 24, 2013
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia -   The police today launched a crackdown against opposition leaders and activists who had questioned the conduct of the general election and the legitimacy of the Barisan Nasional government.
As of 5pm, the police had reportedly arrested five people. Initial reports claimed that PKR leader and Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) founder Badrul Hisham Shaharin (right photo) was among those detained.
However, a text message to FMT via Badrul’s mobile phone read: “A few men who in a Proton Waja who are believed to be policemen came looking for him at his mother’s house. But he wasn’t there. He is in KL until May 25… up to this point, he is fine.”
The arrests came after student activist Adam Ali was charged this morning under the Sedition Act for calling for the toppling of the BN government during a forum on May 13.
First to be arrested today was Anything But Umno (ABU) leader Haris Ibrahim(right photo) who was nabbed while having his lunch, followed by PKR vice-president Tian Chua at the LCCT and PAS member Thamrin Ghaffar, arrested at a popular kopitiam restaurant in Bangsar.
And then at about 5pm, news filtered in to say that Badrul Hisham has also been arrested. However at 6pm, apart from an SMS from his handphone, a statement by SAMM said that Badrul Hisham was “still free”. 
It could not be confirmed with the police if Badrul Hisham has been arrested.
All those arrested have been detained under the Sedition Act.

Source: Free Malaysia Today...More...
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Thursday, May 23, 2013
LONDON, U.K - British counter-terrorism police were Thursday investigating the murder of a man thought to be a soldier, who was butchered and beheaded on a busy London street by two men shouting Islamist slogans.
The attackers, wielding knives including a meat cleaver, carried out the attack a few hundred metres (yards) from the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, then delivered an Islamist tirade to passers-by.
Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the "appalling crime", adding: "There are strong indications that it is a terrorist incident."
He cut short a visit to Paris to fly back for a meeting of the government's emergency response committee, COBRA, which had already met in the hours following the attack.
  • Media reports citing witnesses said the men first ran over their victim in a car before finishing him off with the knives.
  • Eyewitnesses described how after the two men carried out their attack, they stayed at the scene, asking passers-by to photograph and film them.
  • Armed police shot and wounded the two attackers after they ran at officers, said witnesses. Both were being treated in hospital, said police.
  • Amateur footage of one of the men carrying a blood-stained knife and meat cleaver shows him saying: "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you."
  • The man, a black man dressed in a hooded jacket and black woolly hat, speaks in a London accent.
  • "We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," he says.

Source: Reuters
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Monday, May 20, 2013
BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 68 people have been killed and 195 injured in a series of car bombs across Iraqi cities, police and medics say.
pushing the death toll over the past week to more than 200 and extending one of the most sustained bouts of sectarian violence the country has seen in years.
The bloodshed is still far shy of the pace, scale and brutality of the dark days of 2006-2007, when armed groups carried out retaliatory attacks against each other in a cycle of violence that left the country awash in blood. 
Still, Monday's attacks, some of which hit markets and crowded bus stops during the morning rush hour, have heightened fears that the country could be turning back down the path toward civil war.
Sectarian tensions have been worsening since Iraq's minority Sunnis began protesting what they say is mistreatment at the hands of the Shia-led government. 
  • The mass demonstrations, which began in December, have largely been peaceful, but the number of attacks rose sharply after a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq on April 23.
  • Iraq's Shia majority, which was oppressed under the late dictator Saddam Hussein, now holds the levers of power in the country. Wishing to rebuild the nation rather than revert to open warfare, they have largely restrained their armed groups over the past five years or so as Sunni extremist groups such as al-Qaeda have targeted them with occasional large-scale attacks.
  • But the renewed violence in both Shia and Sunni areas since late last month has fuelled concerns of a return to sectarian warfare.
The worst of Monday's violence took place in Baghdad, where ten car bombs ripped through open-air markets and other areas of Shia neighbourhoods, killing at least 47 people and wounding more than 150, police officials said.
In the bloodiest attack, a parked car bomb blew up in a busy market in the northern Shia neighbourhood of Shaab, killing 14 and wounding 24, police and health officials said.
The surge in bloodshed has exasperated Iraqis, who have lived for years with the fear and uncertainty bred of random violence.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

KABUL, Afghanistan - Conservative religious lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked legislation on Saturday aimed at strengthening provisions for women's freedoms, arguing that parts of it violate Islamic principles and encourage disobedience.
The fierce opposition highlights how tenuous women's rights remain a dozen years after the ouster of the hard-line Taliban regime, whose strict interpretation of Islam once kept Afghan women virtual prisoners in their homes.
Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, a conservative lawmaker for Herat province, said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in parliament because of an uproar by religious parties who said parts of the law are un-Islamic.
"Whatever is against Islamic law, we don't even need to speak about it," Shaheedzada said.
The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women has been in effect since 2009, but only by presidential decree. 
It is being brought before parliament now because lawmaker Fawzia Kofi, a women's rights activist, wants to cement it with a parliamentary vote to prevent its potential reversal by any future president who might be tempted to repeal it to satisfy hard-line religious parties.
The law criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans "baad," the traditional practice of exchanging girls and women to settle disputes. 
It makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

The website of British newspaper the Financial Times was hacked today, apparently by the "Syrian Electronic Army", a group of hackers and on-line activists who say they support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Stories on the FT's website have had their headlines replaced by "Hacked By Syrian Electronic Army" and messages on its Twitter feed read: "Do you want to know the reality of the Syrian 'Rebels?'" followed by a link to a video.
The group has previously targeted the Twitter account belonging to the BBC's weather service, and the accounts of rights group Human Rights Watch and of French news service France 24.
FT publisher Pearson and Twitter were not immediately available for comment.

Source: Herald
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Saturday, May 18, 2013
MANILA, Philippines -  A Catholic church-backed poll watchdog, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), decried what it described as “rampant” vote-buying during the recent mid-term polls.
Henrietta de Villa, chair of the volunteer group, said the May 13 elections hold the dubious distinction as a political exercise “with the most rampant incidence of vote buying.”
  • She blamed politicians for engaging in the wrong practice which results in corrupting the electorate.Vote-buying had been a standard fixture of Philippine elections but, De Villa says, “vote buying this time was bolder and on a bigger scale,” adding that politicians “did everything just to entice people to vote for them.”
  • De Villa said other than handing out cash to voters, politicians gave food packages, mobile phones and even scholarships.
  • PPCRV is the only officially accredited vote count body aside from the state Commission on Elections (Comelec).
  • De Villa blamed the worsening culture of money politics to the growing disparity between the rich and the poor in the country.
  • “Because of poverty, they are forced to buy the bullet,” she said.
  • Despite common knowledge on vote buying, especially in depressed areas of the country only a few people get arrested for engaging in this illegal activity.
  • According to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, they were able to arrest 94 people for vote buying during the mid-term polls.
  • “These incidents were witnessed by our policemen themselves,” he said adding that police need to review guidelines on what constitute “vote buying.”
According to Purisima, policemen were able to confiscate some P1.64 million from the arrested individuals.
Vote buying is widespread but, according to the PNP, the most number of arrested vote buyers were in Central Luzon as well as Ilocos and Western Mindanao regions.
Five days before the May 13 elections, the Comelec imposed restrictions on cash withdrawals as part of measures to prevent candidates from engaging in vote buying.

Source: Agency
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Both Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak (Taib Mahmud and Musa Aman) in Malaysia, have been making a torrent of ridiculous claims about their excellent Eco-credentials and insisting there has been little deforestation in East Malaysia.
However, One of Britain’s most popular TV personalities, the bird expert Bill Oddie who is a genuine and respected environment expert on the other hand had this to say to the Independent Newspaper who also featured his video:
“Last autumn, I visited the Sabah area of Borneo …..Having experienced unspoilt forest and encountered Pygmy elephants, Proboscis monkeys, Orang-utans and several canoes full of appreciative tourists, I suddenly found myself face-to-face with a green wall of spikey fronged oil palms. Of course, I had heard of how destructive oil palm plantations are before – haven’t we all – but few things really register till you see them up close…..Despite what the palm oil lobbyists will tell you, oil palm plantations virtually wipe out the biodiversity found in rainforests. Just 20 species of birds are found in oil palm plantations, whilst other rainforests support over 200.”

Oddie, who is a well-known bird lover, also speaks about the desecration of Sarawak by Taib Mahmud’s system of ‘money politics’.  He points out:
“Deforestation is not only threatening not only the lives of those in Malaysia but also the very survival of every man, beast or banker on the planet.  
In fact, he may not know it yet, but the banker is in fact the most self-destructive creature that has ever lived and he may well sow the seeds of his own extinction”
Oddie is referring, of course, to the disastrous environmental consequences for the whole planet of destroying the three remaining great jungles, of which Borneo is one.
  • Taib maintains one answer to such vitally important protests, which is that a thousand years ago many northern forests were already destroyed, so why shouldn’t he destroy Sarawak’s jungle now?
  • It is like saying Hitler killed several million, so why shouldn’t I kill everyone else? Oddie’s film is funny, so watch the following video.
  • Sadly, however the message is very far from funny in the wake of another rigged election in Sarawak that has allowed Taib Mahmud to continue his demented destruction.
  • Next week’s International Hydropower Conference is also set to go ahead in Kuching, in the face of widespread and informed protests.
  • After this film none of its delegates will be able to pretend that they are unaware of what their host is up to or the consequences of the SCORE project to wreck Sarawak’s remaining forests and rivers with more dams.

Source: Agency
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