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DESPITE HUGE RALLYS TURNOUT, VOTES NOT GUARANTEED?

Monday, April 29, 2013
PETALING JAYA, Malaysia — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim admitted today that the huge turnouts at Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) rallies may not necessarily translate to votes.
The PKR de facto leader, however, said the large numbers could reflect some “measure of enthusiasm” that can be taken as a positive sign for the federal opposition pact ahead of the May 5 polls.
“Not necessarily, you are right there,” replied Anwar when asked if he felt the crowd size at PR’s nightly ceramahs could indicate growing support for the bloc.
“But the size of the crowd, it is clearly resounding. It will reflect some measures of enthusiasm because we don’t provide buses, we don’t provide free food, we don’t provide RM20 allowance and some others do,” he added.

Source: The Malaysian Insider
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US SUSPECTS SYRIA USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS

Friday, April 26, 2013
The US has said that Syria has likely used chemical weapons against rebel forces on a "small scale," but emphasised intelligence services were still not 100 percent sure. 
US spy agencies have investigated reports from Syrian opposition groups that President Bashar al-Assad's forces have used sarin gas on at least two occasions during the two-year-old conflict. 
"Our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria," Caitlin Hayden, a US National Security Council spokesperson, said on Thursday. 
The assessment, which she said was based in part on "physiological samples", points to the possible use of sarin, a man-made nerve agent used in two attacks in Japan in the 1990s. 
It can cause convulsions, respiratory failure and death. Hayden however warned the chain of custody of the weapons was "not clear, so we cannot confirm how the exposure occurred and under what conditions".
Source: Al Jazeera
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FAME MAY LEAD TO A SHORTER LIFE?

Monday, April 22, 2013
A glittering career in the public eye may come at the cost of a shorter life, according to an analysis of newspaper obituaries.
The study found that performers and sports stars tend to die a few years younger than people successful in other careers, BBC reported.
Though the researchers said the study does not provide any conclusive answers, but it asked interesting questions about the cost of fame.
According to the study published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, experts in Australia looked at 1,000 obituaries in the New York Times between 2009 and 2011.
They showed that actors, singers and musicians, as well those who made a career in sport died the youngest — at an average age of 77.
Writers, composers and artists died at 79 while academics, including historians and economists, survived until 82. Those in business or politics lived upto 83.
  • The researchers, at the University of Queensland and the University of New South Wales, said cancer, particularly tumours in the lungs, was more common in performers.
  • Professor Richard Epstein said that, whatever the reason, the findings should be considered as a “health warning to young people aspiring to become stars”.
  • Honey Langcaster-James, a psychologist who specialises in celebrity behaviour, said so few people achieved star status that it made it difficult to scientifically study the effect on people’s lives.
  • “The results are interesting of themselves as they suggest an inherent hazard of a public career and that all that glitters is not necessarily gold. They may be paying a high price for their career,” she said.
  • However, she said it was not easy to come up with a scientific explanation.
  • On the one hand she said such a career “has unique stressors” such as “the pressure to live up to a public image, which can lead to risky behaviours”.
  • Yet she suspected that “particular personal characteristics predispose people to wanting a career in the public arena”, which may also lead to lifestyle choices affecting health.

Source: IANS
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DESPERATE SEARCH FOR CHINA QUAKE SURVIVORS

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thousands of rescuers are fighting to thwart a rising death toll as they search earthquake-shattered villages in southwest China for survivors. 
Rescue teams battled landslides and collapsed roads to reach isolated parts of Sichuan province on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, in images aired on state broadcaster CCTV. 
At least 180 people have so far been confirmed dead, with 6,000 injured in Saturday's 6.6 magnitude quake. Soldiers searched through the night and day for survivors in villages where houses had been destroyed and treated some of the injured.
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PAKISTAN COURT ORDERS FORMER PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF’S ARREST

Thursday, April 18, 2013
 
NEW DELHI, Pakistan -  Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's legal team was unable to file an appeal in the supreme court against an order for his arrest as lawyers were unable to complete certain formalities before the court closed for the day. 
Musharraf's lawyers Ibrahim Satti and Kamar Afzal went to the apex court to file the appeal but could not complete some formalities before the court closed for the day. 
A court in Islamabad cancels former military ruler's bail application in connection with detention of judges in 2007.
Source: Al Jazeera
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PHILIPPINE CHURCH SHOULD NOT ENDORSE POLITICAL CANDIDATES

Monday, April 15, 2013
MANILA, Philippines -  An archbishop said neither the Church nor lay groups should endorse candidates in the May 13 elections, but said those who supported the law on Reproductive Health should be rejected by voters.
“The Church must guide and not dictate. The Church must unite and not contribute to the division. The Church must pray and not add to the confusion. The Church must heal and not inflict hurts. 
The Church must be in the world but not belong to it,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan in Central Luzon said in a pastoral letter.
Villegas pointed out that when the Church endorses candidates in elections, its spiritual mission will be compromised and religion will be “reduced” to a mere political contest.
“We will be lonesome widows after the elections for marrying partisan politics during the campaign,” the prelate said.
He explained that if the Church endorses a candidate, the latter may win the elections but it is the Church which “always ends up loser” because its mission will be tarnished with the “stain of the mundane.”

“The Church should not be perceived as winning or losing an election. The Church must be beyond such,” Villegas said. “Religions that waltz with politics will die by politics.”
Instead of endorsing certain candidates, Villegas said he prefers that Church and lay Catholic leaders observe certain parameters that they can endorse to parishioner when choosing a candidate.

Source: Gulfnews...More..
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LION AIR PLANE CRASHES INTO SEA OFF INDONESIAN COAST

Sunday, April 14, 2013
INVESTIGATORS are trying to work out how an Indonesian passenger plane overshot the runway at Bali airport before crashing into the sea. 
All 101 passengers and seven crew on the Lion Air flight survived, although dozens were said to be injured and at least seven were taken to hospital with head wounds and broken bones. 
The new Boeing 737-800 had been trying to land at Denpasar's Ngurah Rai International Airport about 3.30pm local time (1730 AEST) on Saturday when it crashed. No Australians were on the plane, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra said.
Source: News .Com
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DUBAI-BRED FILIPINO BEAUTY QUEEN’S DILEMMA

Saturday, April 13, 2013
DUBAI, UAE - Parul Shah is one step away from realizing a childhood dream, and she dearly wants her beloved parents to be there when she faces the ultimate challenge. Dubai-born Shah, 24, is one of the 50 candidates in the finals of this year’s 50th edition of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant, the country’s biggest beauty pageant. 
Being the golden anniversary of the prestigious brain and beauty competition, this year’s Binibining Pilipinas is one of the grandest events in the pageantry’s history.
However, Shah, the daughter of Dubai-based expatriates, is unlikely to get the opportunity to enjoy the morale-boosting presence of her parents on Sunday. 
  • Her parents, an Indian family driver and a Filipina domestic helper-turned-housewife, can hardly make both ends meet and could not afford the cost of the return tickets from Dubai to Manila to see their daughter go for gold the Binibining Pilipinas 2013 on April 14 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. The winner of the contest goes on to the Miss Universe competition.

Shah is second of four siblings of Luzie Shah and Pramod Kumar Ramniklal Shah. In an emotional interview with tabloid! Luzie said her biggest wish is to be able to watch and support her daughter on pageant night. “I wish we will be there to support Parul. 
She’s been away since she went to the Philippines to attend college. When she graduated nursing school, we were also not there to enjoy the moment with her. 
  • We could barely make both ends meet and do not have the luxury to buy the airline tickets,” says Luzie, who along with Pramod has been residing in Dubai for more than 30 years. 
  • “We don’t have credit cards and my husband’s income does not make him eligible for a loan. We just go with the money we earn – we prioritize the needs of our children, especially for school and food.”
Shah, on the other hand, says it would be her dream to see her parents during coronation day. “I wish to see them during the pageant night but I do understand why they can’t make it. I’ve been doing this for them. 
I love my parents so much – who I am today is because of them. I’m so proud of them. I want them to see me now – a grown up lady. Even if they will not be around during pageant day, I know that their support, love and prayers are always there,” the beauty queen said.
Source: Gulfnews
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PROTESTER SHOT DEAD IN BANGLADESH CLASHES

Thursday, April 11, 2013
DHAKA, Bangladesh - A protester from Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami party has been shot dead and 15 others injured during fresh clashes between police and opposition activists. 
The protester was shot in the chest on Thursday in the southern town of Dumuria on the fourth day of a nationwide strike. Police said they fired live rounds at 500 supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami during protests to demand the release of the head of its student wing. 
The violence is the latest to hit Bangladesh stemming from a continuing war crimes tribunal, at which almost the entire Jamaat leadership is on trial for crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan. The latest killing brought the overall death toll from clashes triggered by the trials to 98 since January 21 when the court handed down its first verdicts. 
Source: Al Jazeera
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MALAYSIAN WILL GO TO POLLS ON MAY 5

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia ― Malaysians will go to polls on May 5, the Election Commission (EC) announced today, starting the official countdown to when voters decide whether to keep the Barisan Nasional (BN) in government or usher in a new administration under Pakatan Rakyat (PR). The election regulator, which met today, also set April 20 as the nomination date, which will signal the start of formal electoral campaigns that will last 15 days.
“On this day, the EC that comprises seven panel members... has held a special meeting and is announcing the important dates for GE13,” Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, the EC chairman, said in a live broadcast on national television, using the acronym for the 13th general election.
“The date for nomination is on April 20, which is a Saturday, early voting is on April 30 and polling is on May 5, which is on a Sunday.”
  • Yesterday, the commission chief had hinted it may depart with tradition and fix polling for Election 2013 to take place on a weekday.
  • The commission decided today, however, to stick with custom and allow Malaysians to cast their ballots on Sunday.
  • The commission has also been given RM400 million to carry out the elections, Abdul Aziz said, adding that it was the biggest budget to date.
  • The EC has appointed 379 officers to enforce the election rules and another 222 officers and 1,088 assistants to monitor the polls during the formal campaign period.
  • A total 8,789 voting centres will be set up, the EC chairman said.
  • The commission will also be using the electoral roll last updated in the fourth quarter of 2012, which will be gazetted tomorrow, he said.
  •  A total 13,268,002 Malaysians registered on the roll and are eligible to vote in the 13th general elections, touted to be a tight race between a stronger three-party opposition pact and the BN coalition for federal power.
 
Source: The Malaysian Insider
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1,000 MORE GUNMEN FOR SULU REBELS IN MALAYSIAN SABAH?

Tuesday, April 09, 2013
KOTA KINABALU, Sabah, Malaysia - According  to The Philippine STAR, An extra 1,000 gunmen from the southern Philippines have broken through the sea blockade into Sabah to add muscle to Sulu rebel leader Agbimuddin Kiram’s fight against Malaysian security forces.
A representative from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Emmanuel Fontanilla, told the daily the fighters had been readying for battle since the onset of the conflict and managed to slip past the Philippine and Malaysian navies by moving in small groups.
“As per information, the armed men arrived in small batches,” he was quoted as saying.
The paper said it was unknown if the latest group had joined in fresh clashes in Lahad Datu last week, when an earlier band of 100 Filipinos landed on Sabah’s east coast to reinforce the so-called Sulu sultanate in its renewed bid to reclaim the state.

The elusive Agbimuddin, who believes himself to be the heir of a defunct sultanate, has been waging a guerilla battle against Malaysian security forces since arriving in Sabah on February 9 to stake his clan’s 17th-century ownership of the north Borneo state.

More than 60 Sulus have been reported killed in the violent conflict enveloping Sabah’s east coast that have also snuffed out the lives of eight Malaysian policemen and two soldiers.
Malaysian security forces have also captured more than 100 Sulus believed linked to the gunmen, and slapped several with terror charges.
 
Some 5,000 Filipinos have returned to their homeland since the Sabah crisis began in February, with tales of human rights abuses that have enraged fellow Philippine citizens and lawmakers.
The Philippine Senate has demanded its government hold Malaysia accountable for the possible human rights violations on the 800,000-strong Filipino migrant community in Sabah at the hands of local authorities searching for a ragtag band of Sulu militants claiming ownership of the north Borneo state.
The volatile situation in Sabah appears to be election fodder with both the Philippines and Malaysia readying for national polls this year.
 
Source: Agency
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RAISING OF MISSING CHILDREN IN METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Monday, April 08, 2013

MANILA, Philippines - When the body of four-year-old Mark Escarmosa was found in Metro Manila’s eastern suburban Rizal on April 4, his head was half cut off from his neck, his knee-cap and internal organs were missing, a radio report said.
Shocked, his parents, Elena and Marlon Escarmosa, told dzBB the police claimed that autopsy could no longer be conducted on the decomposing body of their son; that it would look into the possibility that he just met an accident.
Earlier, they asked the local government of Pililia, Rizal, for an autopsy and an investigation into the death of their son who went missing on March 19.
A total of 38 cases of child abduction have already been reported to the police, the government-run Philippine New Agency (PNA) said.
Majority of the cases involved children in depressed areas. The children reportedly went missing after being followed by a man with garbage cans, or by garbage collectors, PNA said.
But PNA did not clarify if the suspected abductors were believed as informal garbage collectors who privately retrieve recycled materials from garbage bags left out by homeowners for collection by government-run garbage collectors.
Last week, the Philippine National Police (PNP) officially said there is yet no evidence to show that a criminal syndicate is behind the growing number of missing children from Metro Manila’s depressed areas.

Source: Agency
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DEATH TOLL RISES TO 72 IN MUMBAI BUILDING COLLAPSE

Saturday, April 06, 2013

 
At least 72 reported dead as expectations for survivors diminishes, two days after building fell in India's capital.
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MALAYSIAN PARLIAMENT IS OFFICIALY DISSOLVED

Wednesday, April 03, 2013



 
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -  Parliament is officially dissolved!
After a long wait, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today announced the dissolution of the 12th Parliament of Malaysia over a live telecast on national television.
The announcement was made at about 11.35am, paving the way for the 13th General Election.
It came after Datuk Seri Najib earlier this morning met the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong at the National Palace to ask for his consent in dissolving the parliament. The Agong signed his consent and Najib then made his way to the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya to chair the last cabinet meeting before dissolution.

Upon announcing that the parliament is now dissolved, Najib urged all Chief Ministers in the country to meet their respective Heads of State to request for the dissolution of the State Assembly so that every state's election can run concurrently.

  • However the Negri Sembilan state assembly was dissolved automatically last week on March 27 while Sarawak had its state election last year in April.
  • Today also marks Datuk Seri Najib's fourth year in office as Malaysia's Prime Minister.

Source: Malaysian Digest
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MALAYSIA REQUIRES PASSPORTS FOR FILIPINO BARTER TRADERS IN SABAH

Tuesday, April 02, 2013




MANILA, Philippines  - The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said Monday (April 1) that Malaysia has imposed new guidelines for barter traders in Sabah and Labuan, notably requiring Filipinos and other foreigners to have passports or seaman’s books in order to enter these areas. 
The new rules come amid the continuing tension between the Philippines and its ASEAN neighbor Malaysia, over the case of hundreds of followers of the Sulu Sultanate whom Malaysian security forces are pursuing for their attempt to “reclaim our homeland,” Sabah.
The Sultanate claims it never relinquished ownership of the resource-rich territory, which the British government gave to Malaysia when the latter was federated. The Sulu sultanate had rented out Sabah to British merchants, and continues to receive annual rental payments from Kuala Lumpur.
In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine embassy in KL conveyed the Malaysian Foreign Ministry’s note verbale to all diplomatic missions in that country: “With effect from 15 April 2013, all crews of barter trade ships or vessels will be required to produce valid travel documents, i.e international passport or seaman book at all entry ports in Sabah.  Seaman identification card (SIC) will no longer be issued to crews of barter trade ships or vessels without valid travel documentation.”
The note verbale added: “Effective from 2 April 2013, permanent Custom and Immigration Quarantine (CIQ) complexes will be operating at Ports of Kudat and Lahad Datu as well as an Immigration Control office at Karakit, Pulau Banggi where all immigration and customs procedures will be enforced at the said entry points.”

Source: InterAksyon...More...
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HOW FAR CAN NORTH KOREA’S MISSILES REACH?

Monday, April 01, 2013
Despite North Korea's highly-publicised missile tests, relatively little is known about the actual size and capabilities of its arsenal.
The regime is understood to have substantial numbers of short- and intermediate-range missiles such as the Nodong, a variant on the Scud missile.
With a range of around 1,000km, the Nodong could in theory strike in South Korea and Japan. 
  • However, its poor accuracy makes it an ineffective battlefield weapon and it is unlikely North Korea would be able to pinpoint US military bases in the region, although it could cause serious civilian casualties.
  • The middle-range Musudan missile is of major concern to Japan as its 4,000km capability would allow the North Korean regime to strike anywhere in Japanese territory. Estimates of the size of North Korea's Musudan arsenal vary widely, with figures ranging from only a dozen to more than 200.
  • The Taepodong 1 was North Korea's first multi-stage missile, a significant technological development where the weapon depends on different thrusters at different times. However it has proved a poor performer, with limited range and unreliable accuracy. 
 
However, its older brother, the Taepodong 2, is treated far more seriously by US defence authorities. The 40m missile is believed to have a range of 6,000km, meaning it could in theory hit Alaska. In December 2012, a variant of the Taepodong 2 successfully launched a satellite into space.
Barry Pavel, a former senior director for defence policy at the White House's National Security Council, described the launch as "a milestone".
"It's the same general technology as is required for intercontinental nuclear missile, so it's a concern," he said.

Source: The Telegraph
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