Thursday, July 31, 2014

The decision of the Latin American countries to recall their ambassadors in Tel Aviv is a "deep disappointment", says Israel.
El Salvador on Wednesday became the fifth Latin American country to withdraw its ambassador from Israel in protest at Israel's military offensive in Gaza.
Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have already recalled their ambassadors.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said that the move encourages Hamas; "this decision encourages Hamas which has been recognized as a terrorist organization by several countries. 
The countries standing against terror must act responsibly and should not reward them. While Hamas has been responsible for hindering a ceasfire, El Salvador, Peru and Chile were expected to support international attitude for peace and demilitarization of Gaza", the statement said.

Earlier Israel criticized Brazil over its decision to recall its ambassador in protest at Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

Brazil was one of 29 countries in the UN Human Rights Council that voted last Wednesday to investigate Israel over its military offensive in Gaza.
Bolivia on Wednesday renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its offensive in Gaza, and declared it a terrorist state.
  • President Evo Morales announced the move during a talk with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba.
  • It "means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state," he said.

Source: AFP
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Thursday, July 31, 2014
The Philippines renewed calls for thousands of its nationals to leave Libya on Thursday after a Filipina nurse was abducted and gang-raped, following the beheading of a Filipino construction worker.
The foreign department said all 13,000 Filipinos there were to be repatriated as clashes between rival militias threaten to tear the country apart three years after Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled.
"We reiterate our call to our remaining nationals in Libya to immediately get in touch with the Philippine embassy in Tripoli and register for repatriation," said a fresh foreign department advisory issued Thursday.

The call came as the ministry confirmed reports that a Filipina nurse was abducted and gang-raped there on Wednesday.
The woman was seized outside her residence and taken to an unknown location, where she was sexually assaulted by up to six youths.
  • She was released about two hours later and a Filipino consular team took her to hospital for treatment, he added.
  • The Philippines ordered its nationals out of Libya on July 20, the same day the beheaded remains of a Filipino construction worker were found at a hospital in the port of Benghazi.
  • The man had been abducted by suspected militiamen on July 15, apparently singled out because he was not a Muslim, according to Jose.
The department said a consular team has stayed behind in Tripoli despite the precarious security situation to coordinate the evacuation of Filipinos by land to Tunisia and Egypt where they will eventually be flown home. It has also barred its nationals from traveling to Libya.

About 10 million Filipinos live and work abroad, many of them in the Middle East, in search of better-paying jobs.

Source: AFP
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Thursday, July 31, 2014
OTTAWA, Canada - Canadian researchers say they have found 140 victims of human trafficking in Ottawa in the last year, mostly from Canada or the local Ottawa area. 
They said they know of a few transgender victims. It's not common to find men being trafficked. More often than not, the women were also victims of some other societal pressure such as poverty, racism or homophobia.  
The victims they found, identified through interviews with support workers, were almost exclusively women and most were young, between the ages of 12 to 25, said lead author Elise Wohlbold. 
She says the result is many of the victims find themselves vulnerable to traffickers. 
"They're running away. They're looking for a better life. And the trafficker's giving them that opportunity. 
"The traffickers provide some kind of social inclusion: home, safety, love, affection. They groom them over many months and once they're in it, they're too scared to escape, or they're scared for their families to escape," she said. 
The findings go against the stereotype of the foreign-born woman who is physically restrained and forced into trafficking. It's psychological grooming,  said Wohlbold. 
Ottawa police Supt. Uday Jaswal said he's not surprised by the findings and that police have been busy since they began investigating human trafficking. 
It's an important step forward for our community to understand the scope of human trafficking in Ottawa.
It'll really help us plan for the future in terms of how we need to respond, not only as a police 
service, but as a community, Uday Jaswal said.

Source: CBC
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
More than 20 migrants have died and dozens are missing after their makeshift boat sank off the Libyan coast, the navy said late Tuesday.
“A navy patrol on Monday rescued 22 clandestine migrants who were clinging to debris from their boat,” spokesman Colonel Ayoub Kassem told AFP, adding that more than 20 bodies were plucked from the water.
  • Survivors said some 150 people had been aboard the vessel, which sank some 100km (60 miles) east of the Libyan capital Tripoli.
  • Search operations for possible other survivors continued into Wednesday.
  • The migrants from south of the Sahara desert had sought to reach the Italian coast or nearby Malta after crossing restive and lawless Libya.
Hundreds of would-be immigrants die in the process every year, while others are detained by Italian police once they reach the southern EU member’s territorial waters or the islands of Sicily or Lampedusa.
This year nearly 80,000 migrants have landed in Italy so far, many more than the 2011 record of a total of 63,000, according to authorities in Rome.

Source:  AFP
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
TOKYO, Japan Sweltering summer heat in Japan has left at least 15 people dead over the past week, while more than 8,000 others were rushed to hospital with heatstroke symptoms.
At least six people died on Saturday alone, when the state weather agency warned temperatures had topped 35 degrees Celsius, with dripping humidity in certain parts of the country.
Nearly 8,600 people were taken to the emergency room for heat-related symptoms in the week through Sunday, more than double the previous week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
The elderly were particularly vulnerable to the rising temperatures, with nearly half of those taken to hospital aged 65 or older, the agency data showed.
The Japan Meteorological Agency has warned that the mercury was expected to top 35 degrees Celsius again today.
Last year, Japan experienced its hottest summer on record, with the mercury hitting a record 41 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country.
Tens of thousands were taken to hospital suffering from heat-related symptoms.
The archipelago nation regularly experiences sweltering summer temperatures.

Sources: Agencies
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Catholicism is by far the dominant religion in Mexico, but the cult of Santa Muerte, or Saint Death, is quickly gaining followers.
Millions including drug traffickers are asking for her protection. The church calls it a Satanic cult.  
Actually, many beliefs in that area of the world are often a combination of voodoo and Christianity (among other tribal religions). The people were impressed with the Christian religion when the missionaries brought it to them and basically adopted it carrying along much of their own religious beliefs creating an interesting mix of customs and beliefs.

Source: Al Jazeera
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—Protesters are dispersed with water cannon as they attempt to force their way closer to the House of Representatives to coincide with the State of the Nation Address (Sona) by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III Monday, July 28, 2014, in Quezon City. 
People not known to join past protest actions against President Aquino, such as award-winning scriptwriter Ricky Lee and satirist Mae Paner (aka Juana Change), were at a huge rally against the President’s fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.
“The people now have a different view of this government. There’s a growing desperation and anger among the people,” Lee, who wrote the script of Nora Aunor’s highly acclaimed movie “Himala,” said of the crowd gathered a few kilometers from the House of Representatives where Aquino delivered his address.
“As long as there are people sleeping on the streets, as long as there’s hunger, the state of the nation is not OK. It’s that simple,” the scriptwriter said. Lee said he supported Aquino in the 2010 presidential election.
Paner joined the protest calling for Aquino’s impeachment, wearing a Filipiniana dress she once wore in an election campaign for him in 2010.
Anticrime crusader Dante Jimenez and about 30 members of the Volunteers against Crime and Corruption were also among the first-timers at the Sona rally.
“President Aquino has failed to realize that the worsening corruption results in increased criminality in our society. We cannot fight crimes if we cannot address corruption,” said Jimenez.
“I was ‘yellow’ before,” Paner told the crowd on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, referring to the President’s political campaign color.
“I’m sorry that I supported him. I thought the lives of ordinary people would improve under his administration,” said Paner, a petitioner in one of the three impeachment complaints against Mr. Aquino.
“It turned out that at the end of his straight path is a cliff,” she said.
Paner told the crowd to watch out for her costume change when she goes to the House to attend the President’s Sona. She was among the hundreds of people in the gallery of the House of Representatives as the President delivered his address.
Paner, the comedian known as “Juana Change” who campaigned for Aquino in 2010, stayed behind and attempted to heckle the President during the latter part of his speech.
A member of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) was quick to confiscate Paner’s placard before she could create a commotion. Paner was not kicked out of the event, as she stayed slumped over her seat while the PSG stood eagle-eyed across the aisle for the rest of the affair. 

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Monday, July 28, 2014
Demand for exotic meat has led to an increase in poaching in eastern Malaysian state of Pahang. Berita Harian reported that the problem arose following demand from consumers for exotic meat. Among the animals sought were deer and jungle fowl.
State Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director Khairah Mohd Shariff said they were aware that more poachers would be on the prowl during the Hari Raya period.
"We do not dismiss the possibility that there could be licensed hunters who are exceeding quotas set by Perhilitan, along with illegal hunters out to make easy money," she said.
She said Perhilitan personnel would be monitoring hot spots throughout the week to curb poaching.
Khairah said poachers faced fines of up to RM50,000 and a maximum of two years' imprisonment. She also warned licensed hunters against exceeding their quotas. However, she explained that Perhilitan faced an uphill battle curbing poaching due to the vast jungle areas and lack of personnel.

Source: Agency
DEMAND for exotic meat has led to an increase in poaching in Pahang.
Berita Harian reported that the problem arose following demand from consumers for exotic meat.
Among the animals sought were deer and jungle fowl.
State Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) director Khairah Mohd Shariff said they were aware that more poachers would be on the prowl during the Hari Raya period.
"We do not dismiss the possibility that there could be licensed hunters who are exceeding quotas set by Perhilitan, along with illegal hunters out to make easy money," she said.
She said Perhilitan personnel would be monitoring hot spots throughout the week to curb poaching.
Khairah said poachers faced fines of up to RM50,000 (S$19,552) and a maximum of two years' imprisonment.
She also warned licensed hunters against exceeding their quotas.
However, she explained that Perhilitan faced an uphill battle curbing poaching due to the vast jungle areas and lack of personnel.
- See more at:
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Sunday, July 27, 2014
An al-Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria has released video of the first American to carry out a suicide attack in the country's civil war, showing him smiling and saying he looked forward to going to heaven. 
Al-Nusra Front released the new video on Friday showing American citizen Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, 22, with other fighters before the May 25 attack that targeted several army positions in the government-held city of Idlib in northwestern Syria. 
It said two of the other three suicide attackers were from foreign countries, including one who was identified as being from the Maldives. 
Abu-Salha appears smiling in the video and speaks in broken Arabic. "I want to rest in the afterlife, in heaven. There is nothing here and the heart is not resting," Abu-Salha says. 
"Heaven is better. When people die they either go to heaven or hell. There is happiness beyond explanation.'' The video, released by al-Nusra Front's media arm, al-Manara al-Baydha, was posted on self-proclaimed jihadi websites.

Source: Agencies
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Sunday, July 27, 2014
Two US F16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Panama City-bound flight from Canada back to Toronto on Friday after a man on the plane apparently threatened to blow up the aircraft, authorities said.
Major Julie Roberge of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the jets flew up to join Sunwing Airlines flight 772 as a “precaution” less than an hour after it took off from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
Video shot by a passenger showed armed Canadian law enforcement officers shouting “heads down, hands up” as they stormed aboard the aircraft in helmets and tactical gear after it was escorted back to Toronto.
Local media said a 25-year-old Canadian man was arrested on suspicion of threatening the aircraft.   
Toronto’s City News quoted one passenger as saying the suspect became angry after learning that the duty-free items he wanted were not for sale.
Flight 772 had another diversion on Friday night after a passenger on board suffered a head injury after fainting.
The plane  made an emergency landing in Montego Bay, Jamaica, landing about 6: 45 p.m. local time. 
It departed for Panama at 8:05 p.m.

Source: Reuters
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Saturday, July 26, 2014
Malaysia former prime minister accused the state of Israel of behaving like untouchables in their annexation of Palestinian land, secure in their arrogance as the “chosen” people of God.
The Jews are acting worse than the Nazis who persecuted them during World War II, with their continued military oppression of the Palestinian people, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed said today.
“​When Jews were persecuted by the Nazis in Germany, they seek the sympathy and support of the world. But their sufferings have taught them nothing, have not made them understand the pain of suffering,” Dr Mahathir said in his latest post on his blog,
“Instead they are now behaving worse than Nazis, not caring at all for the sufferings and deaths they inflict upon others.”
Dr Mahathir said the ongoing Israeli military offensive, which has so far killed over 600 Palestinian civilians and razed numerous public buildings and private homes, is proof that the Israelis “don’t care” what the world thinks of the massacre.
The retired politician, who is a staunch supporter of the establishment of a Palestinian state and the ouster of Jews from Arab land, accused the West of supporting Israel’s conduct by branding those who criticise the Israelis as anti-Semitic.
“​The Jews are Semitic people. So are the Arabs. But today the Jews behave as if they are the only Semitic people. They accused everyone of being anti-Semitic if they criticised the Jews or accuses them of wrong doings. For whatever they do, however criminal it may be they would accuse their detractors as being anti-Semitic.
“​In this free world we can accuse anyone of anything and it is tolerated because it is part of freedom of speech. But the Jews may not be a criticised in any way without the critic being labelled ‘anti-Semitic’. And many European countries support this view to the extent of jailing anyone accused of being anti-Semitic.
  • “Clearly the Jews think of themselves as special beings who are privileged to the point of being above condemnation or even criticism,” he said.
  • Dr Mahathir said it is unconscionable that the Israelis are allowed to forcibly take over Palestinian land, dividing communities and depriving Palestinians of even the most basic of human rights over the past 60 years of their occupation.
  • The country’s longest serving prime minister — who has a history of having used the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) to allegedly stem political dissent — also accused the Israeli administration of detaining “hundreds” of Palestinians indefinitely, to be used as bargaining chips whenever an Israeli soldier is caught by the other side.
  • Dr Mahathir said despite their actions clearly going against international laws, morality and human rights, Israel’s Jews continue to act with impunity as if they are “above any laws, any moral code, any human values”.
“​The Europeans and the Americans created this monster and they care not for the atrocities committed by it. They will continue to support Israel even if the Israelis commit genocide, kill all the Arabs. This is their way to atone for all their treatment of the Jews in the past.
“The Jews should really be venting their spite on the Germans and other Europeans. But they are too smart. Killing Arabs is easier and more fun,” he said, referring to historical accounts of persecution of Jews by the Europeans.

Source: Malaysia Today
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Saturday, July 26, 2014
The year 2014 has shaped up to be a tragic one so far for the aviation industry, with at least 852 people confirmed dead.
These are the some of the deadly air accidents so far as of July this year:

Feb 11 – Algerian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules

On February 11, an Algerian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft crashed into Djebel Fertas, a mountain in the Oum El Bouaghi Province, Algeria. 
The C-130 was carrying 78 people on board, 74 passengers and four crew.
Rescue teams found one survivor and 77 bodies at the site, with preliminary reports indicating poor weather conditions caused the crash, as eyewitnesses reported seeing the plane clipping a mountain prior to the crash.

Feb 16 – Nepal Airlines Flight 183

In this incident a Nepal Airlines de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter crashed in the jungle near Dhikura VDC. This is approximately 74 kilometres south-west of Pokhara, Nepal, on 16 February 2014.
All 18 people on board – 15 passengers and three crew – died in the crash. The crew were attempting to divert to Bhairahawa Airport because of the weather conditions.

March 8 – Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370

MH370 was a Boeing 777 carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew. It left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later, while over the South China Sea. It was to have arrived in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.
A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors – the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then announced on March 24 – 17 days after the disappearance of the aircraft – that Flight MH370 “ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
The wreckage of the plane has yet to be recovered.

May 17 – Lao People’s Liberation Army Air Force An-74 crash

In this crash, an Antonov An-74 airplane of the Lao People’s Liberation Army Air Force crashed in northern Laos, killing 16 out of the 17 on board.
The flight was headed to Xiangkhouang Province, carrying members of Laos’s Cabinet to a ceremony celebrating the 55th anniversary of the second division of the Lao People’s Army.
Among the dead were Deputy Prime Minister Douangchay Phichit and four other senior members of the administration.

June 14 – Ukrainian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76

On June 14, forces of the Lugansk People’s Republic shot down a Ukrainian Air Force Ilyushin Il-76MD which was on approach to land at Luhansk International Airport, also in the Ukraine, killing all 49 on board.
The aircraft, which had 40 passengers and 9 crew was participating in Ukranian anti-insurgency operations against the Lugansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, in its eastern Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. 
It was carrying troops and equipment from an undisclosed location.
The Il-76 came under heavy fire as it approached Luhansk airport, with a machine gun firing on it, along with man-portable surface to air missiles – which ultimately brought it down.

July 17 – Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17

MH17, a Boeing 777-200ER airliner was shot down on July 17 while on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
The crash, which killed all 298 on board is believed to have been caused by a Buk surface to air missile.

MH17 went down about 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border, near Hrabove in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.
This is an area controlled by the pro-Russia Donbass People’s Militia, in a conflict zone between the militia and the Ukraine government.
Russia has denied involvement in the crash, with its envoy to Malaysia saying there was false evidence against Russia over the tragedy.
MAS has since announced that would retire flight number MH17 and change the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur route to flight number MH19 from July 25.

July 23 – TransAsia Airways Flight GE222

The flight from Kaohsiung International Airport to Magong Airport in the Penghu island chain crashed while trying to land after aborting the first attempt during thunder and heavy rain as Typhoon Matmo pounded Taiwan.
The ATR 72-500 propeller plane was carrying 54 passengers and four crew members when it plunged into eight houses in Magong on its way from Kaohsiung in southwestern Taiwan, injuring five people on the ground.
Forty-eight people were killed, while 10 survived the crash.

July 24 – Air Algerie Flight AH5017

An Air Algerie flight crashed in Mali on Thursday en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 116 on board. Swiftair, the private Spanish company that owns the plane, confirmed on the same day it had lost contact with the MD-83 operated by Air Algerie, which it said was carrying 110 passengers and six crew.
The passenger list included 50 French, 24 Burkinabe, eight Lebanese, four Algerians, two from Luxembourg, one Belgian, one Swiss, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian, one Ukrainian and one Romanian.
However, the final casualty toll has yet to be confirmed.
It had been reported that Burkino Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedrago said it asked to change route at 0138 GMT because of a storm in the area. Latest reports indicate that all 116 on board are believed to have perished.

 Source: The Star/Asia News Network.
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