SOLYMONE BLOG

TWO ISRAELI COMPANIES BLACKLISTED BY NORWAY WEALTH FUND

Friday, January 31, 2014
OSLO -  Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, blacklisted two Israeli companies involved in construction of colonies in occupied East Jerusalem, the country’s finance ministry said on Thursday.

The ban on investing in the firms revived a three-year prohibition on them that the Government Pension Fund of Norway had dropped in August last year.

The companies are Africa Israel Investments, an Israeli real estate developer, and its construction subsidiary Danya Cerbus.

  • The ministry cited the company’s alleged “contribution to serious violations of individual rights in war or conflict through the construction of colonies in Occupied East Jerusalem,” a territory where Israel’s claims are not recognised by the international community.
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is fed by the country’s oil surplus. It is worth an estimated $818 billion (Dh3,005 billion) according to the SWF Institute, a body that tracks such funds.

As well as resuming the Israeli firm blacklisting, Norway suspended a restriction on the fund buying bonds issued in Myanmar, leaving only North Korea, Iran and Syria on the list of countries ineligible for investment.

Source: Agencies
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MALAYSIAN STUDENT STABBED 14 TIMES IN U.K.

Thursday, January 30, 2014
 
NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom - Ahmad Izat Ahmad Mazni, a 23-year-old Malaysian student who is pursuing a bachelor degree in industrial economics at the Nottingham University, was on his way to  his friend's house in Dunkirk,  not far from his hostel at the university's Jubilee Campus, when he was attacked by three  boys on Sunday.
  • Nottingham (United Kingdom) Umno Club president Nik Zakirah Farhanis Zakimi, who was told about the 6.50pm incident, said Izat sustained deep bruises and was stabbed 14 times with a pocket knife during the robbery.
  • Nik Zakirah said Izat was confronted by three assailants, believed to be between 10  and 14 years old, at a small lane between Wollaton Drive Hall and Hillside.
  • "They grabbed Izat's wallet and handphone  after stabbing  him with a pocket knife twice before they ran away,"  she aid.
  • Izat gave chase and managed to grab the youngest member of the group.
  • One of the boys stabbed him again with the knife while the other  punched  him.
    Izat managed to wrest back his wallet and handphone, but lost  his  watch  to the boys who  escaped by climbing over the fence of a nearby house.

A passer-by, who saw his trousers drenched in blood, sent him to  Queen's Medical Centre Hospital.
Nik Zakirah said doctors found 14 stab wounds on Izat's body. He  received more than 10 stitches on his chest,  abdomen and  thighs.
"The police  recorded his statement and kept his handphone to trace the fingerprints to find   the suspects," she said.

Source: Agencies
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SNOWSTORM PARALYSES US SOUTH

Thursday, January 30, 2014
 
A rare blast of snow and ice has hit the southern United States bringing misery to millions.
Three states have declared a state of emergency. At least five people have died, roads have been closed and airports shut down. 
The icy storm  slammed the region from Texas through Georgia and the Carolinas.
Children stranding overnight at their schools, gnarling traffic across many states and canceling flights at the world's busiest airport.

Source: Agency
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MALAYSIA NO LONGER A PEACE AND TOLERANCE SAYS PAKISTAN WEBSITE IS ABSURD AND NOT TRUE

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

As a writer myself, I agree with a writer, Masood Khan from Pakistan , when he said  Malaysia is an "island of peace and tolerance".  
However I disagree when he wrote that  an evil eye has cast its bad shadow on a moderate and progressive country. 
Reported in Pakistan Today and highlighted in Malaysian local news paper, 'The Malaysian Insider', Masood  is quoted as saying,  Malaysia's global image as a moderate and progressive Muslim country is being tarnished by increasing racial and religious intolerance. 
He referred to the recent, the attack on a church in the state of Penang.   
His comments came following the firebombing of a church in Penang early yesterday morning when two Molotov cocktails were thrown into the compound of the Church of the Assumption in Lebuh Farquhar.
He said,  tension heightened in Penang when banners bearing the words "Allah is Great, Jesus is the son of Allah" were found on Sunday outside five churches – the Victory Lutheran Church, St John Britto Catholic Church, The Church of the Immaculate Conception and the Church of the Assumption on the island and the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Butterworth.
Despite the millions of ringgit spent by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak(photo) to promote this moderate image through his anti-extremist Global Movement of Moderates, the Allah row and incidents stemming from it show that this may not be the case anymore, Masood said. 
"I really felt sad about Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak's statement in which he supported the court's judgment banning non-Muslims (read Malaysian Christians) from using the word Allah in the Bible text and in church services.” 
"What do you call this when the authorities' attempt to distract Malay Muslims, who constitute 60% of the population, from subsidy cuts and rising cost of living, or it’s a simple case of narrow-mindedness to put various religious groups against each other to perpetuate the grip over power," he added. 
  
Source: The Malaysian Insider
Masood khan (whoever he is) is from Pakistan and how long he was in Malaysia is questionable.  As such I wonder whether he know that Malaysia comprises of many countries – inclusive of two countries lay in the Island of Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak).
Actually,  there is 13 states in Malaysia. And they are perceived with more than 100 group of different ethnics and having numerous cultural heritages, and religious back ground.
What did happened in the state of Penang and may be in Selangor state are not necessary representing the scenario in the other Malaysian states.
No doubt , there is some unnecessary on going tension in those two states, however the rest of the other states,  the living is quite normal and harmonious. In other word, if reflected ‘ business like usual’.
It is rather unfortunate, Masood simply  come up with this conclusion. Where as, the true story may not be as bad as reported. Worse still,  he could have get his information from a twisted second-rated news paper with the intention of  smearing the image of Malaysia.
Before he wrote the article , he should explore the rest of Malaysia and only then he is fair  in regards with his perception on  how bad the tensions he mentioned earlier.


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NHS IN U.K. FACES £24 MIL BIL AFTER GLUE INJECTED INTO GIRL’S BRAIN

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
 
A simple mix-up in an operating theatre that left a "happy, active" 10-year-old girl with catastrophic brain damage has led to the National Helath Services(NHS) facing a £24m payout – the largest in a case of medical negligence.
Maisha Najeeb was keen on dancing and hoped to become a doctor when glue was accidentally injected into her brain during surgery at Great Ormond Street children's hospital in London in June 2010.
The accident occurred when a syringe containing glue was mistaken for one containing dye. Maisha, who is now 13, suffered what her lawyers describe as "catastrophic and permanent brain damage". She is in a wheelchair, can barely move, is blind in one eye, needs round the clock care and suffers from painful spasms in her legs.
In a settlement agreed at the high court in London, she will receive an initial £2.8m plus annual payments of £383,000 until she is 19. That will then rise to £423,000 a year until she dies.
If she lives until she is 64, as an expert hired by her family said they expected, then the NHS would have to eventually pay total damages of almost £24.2m. The trust, admitted liability for Maisha's injuries.

Source: The Guardian...More...
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PHILIPPINE MILITARY ATTACKS HARD LINE MUSLIM RENEGADES?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014
MANILA -  The Philippine military attacked a Muslim renegade faction on Monday, two days after the country’s main Muslim rebel group successfully ended negotiations to end a decades-long insurgency that has killed tens of thousands.
Soldiers, backed by artillery, attacked guerrillas of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in a remote village on the southern island of Mindanao, triggering fighting that sent hundreds of civilians fleeing, the military said.
Regional military spokesman Dickson Hermoso told AFP the attacks were launched in a bid to arrest about 25 leaders of the BIFF, a small group of between 250 and 400 militants that is opposed to the peace process.
The attacks began on Monday morning and were continuing throughout the day, according to Colonel Hermoso, who said there were no immediate casualties.
Hermoso said the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the 12,000-strong rebel organisation that wrapped up peace talks with the government on the weekend, was helping the military.
“The MILF are part of the law enforcement operations. They are just securing their communities so those [BIFF fighters] cannot enter. They are also angry at the BIFF,” he told AFP.
MILF military spokesman Von Al Haq confirmed that the military had coordinated with the MILF before the attack.

Source: Agencies
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32 PRESUMED DEAD IN QUEBEC SENIOR'S HOME IN CANADA

Monday, January 27, 2014
Thirty-two people are now presumed dead after a fatal fire ripped through a Quebec seniors' home earlier this week. Investigators at the scene of the deadly seniors' home fire in L'Isle-Verte say they still haven't formally determined the cause of the devastating blaze. 
With 22 people still unaccounted for, the official death toll now sits at 10. Authorities said three victims have been formally identified. The coroner's office announced Saturday afternoon that it had identified Juliette Saindon, 95, and Marie-Laureat Dube, 82, as two of the victims that perished in the fire. 
The third victim's name has not yet been released. Earlier Saturday, Quebec Provincial Police Lt. Guy Lapointe stressed that the investigation is ongoing, saying that reports that a cigarette was behind the fire is only one scenario that investigators are looking into. 
Lapointe said that rescue crews are dealing with a 60-centimetre-thick layer of ice at the scene, which had formed soon after the blaze was extinguished Thursday at the Residence du Havre seniors' home. 
He said the public can "assume the worst" about the residents that remain missing, but added officials won't confirm any deaths until bodies are recovered. 
The three-storey residence housed dozens of seniors, some of whom were fully autonomous, and many more who had limited mobility. Twenty people managed to escape during the fire. 
A number were taken to hospital, including 13 people who had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning or had fallen ill. 
The Red Cross said Saturday it has raised $200,000 to assist survivors of the blaze.

Source: Agencies
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THAI PROTEST LEADER KILLED AMID POLL TENSIONS

Monday, January 27, 2014

An anti-government protest leader has been killed and 11 people wounded amid a siege of polling stations in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, by demonstrators seeking to disrupt advance voting for next weekend's controversial general election. 
The death occurred on Sunday, when anti-government demonstrators surrounded dozens of polling stations in Bangkok and several southern provinces to stop advance voting for next week's vote, chaining gates shut, threatening voters and preventing hundreds of thousands of people from casting ballots.  
As the disrupted polls closed on Sunday afternoon, Suthin
Tharathin - a leader of the Dharma Army, a Buddhist organisation which has been prominent in the anti-government demonstrations - was shot as he stood on the back of a pick-up vehicle in the Bangkok suburb of Bang Na.
The February 2 election was called by Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister, to try to calm rising political tensions after weeks of mass anti-government protests.
Source: Al Jazeera...More..
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URBAN POVERTY ON RISE IN PAKISTAN

Monday, January 27, 2014
KARACHI, Pakistan - Population in urban centres is poorer than rural dwellers in Pakistan, and the inequality is on the rise for the last 10 years.
This was revealed in the recently issued Annual Report of the State Bank.
The strange phenomenon is a clear indication of poor economic growth, costly living and burden of continued influx of population in urban areas from the poorest areas of the country.
“The distribution of both income and consumption is highly skewed in urban areas, and this inequality is rising over time,” said the State Bank report.
The report said that the top 20 per cent of urban households receive 60pc of total income, and contribute about 57pc of the total spending.
“In contrast, bottom 20pc of households share only 5pc of the total income and expenditures,” said the report.
The report reversed the traditional perception of the urban and rural divide on the basis of economic prosperity.
Since 2008, the country has been facing disastrous impact of poor economic growth which was on average below 3pc leaving millions of youth unemployed while no new jobs were created.
The unemployment on mass scale forced low income urban population into poverty while their savings vanished.
“Following savings and investment rates, Pakistan’s real GDP growth has also been the lowest in the region since 2008 onward,” said the report.
“A further analysis shows that the decline in saving rates is concentrated in urban households, as rural savings have increased during the last 10 years,” said the report.
Cross country comparison suggests that Pakistan’s national savings are the lowest in the region. Even Bangladesh, having a lower per capita GDP than Pakistan, has a higher saving rate.
In FY-13 national savings declined to 13.8pc.
“We found wide difference in savings rates of different income groups. The rich income groups (top 20pc) in both urban and rural areas are the most frugal with a savings rate of around 20pc,” said the report.
More alarmingly, the lowest income group (which used to save more than the middle income group in FY-02), is now under severe 
financial stress.

Source: Agencies
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SECRET BEHIND THE WORLD'S MOST COLOURFUL RIVER

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Cano Cristales, located in Columbia, is known as the Liquid Rainbow.  The river is located near the town of La Macarena in Colombia , South America .  
The river, world famous for its colorful display, has been called:"the river that ran away to paradise," "the most beautiful river in the world" and "the river of five colors". 
Due to the unique chemical composition of its water caused by sedimentation, the river contains no fish.    
What it does contain are brightly coloured plants, which can withstand the conditions in the river and grow rich and lush, turning the river bright red, among other colours, depending on the season. 
The vivid beauty of the river have led some to call it the world's most beautiful river. The river, world famous for its colorful display, has been called;

  1. The river that ran away to paradise," 
  2. The most beautiful river in the world" 
  3. The river of five colors".

During Colombia 's wet season, the water flows fast and deep, obscuring the bottom of the river and denying the mosses and algae that call the river home the sun that they need.
During the dry season there is not enough water to support the dazzling array of life in the river. But during a brief span between the wet and dry seasons, when the water level is just right, the many varieties of algae and moss bloom in a dazzling display of colours.
Blotches of amarillo , blue, green, black and red - and a thousand shades in between - coat the river. 
The part of the river where the colourful blooms occur is quite isolated and is not accessible by road. Adventurous tourists can now fly into La Macarena and then make their way to to the river site on foot as part of guided tours.    
The site was effectively closed to tourists for several years because of guerrilla activity in the region along with concerns about the impact of unregulated tourist traffic.
However, the site was re-opened to visitors in 2009. So far, some 1,000 people have visited Caristales, including around 100 foreign tourists. 
The tours will follow four clearly marked and authorized paths and one is no longer permitted to stay overnight or cook, as this was ruining the area previously. 
It would be nice to visit this place some time, sounds like its being well preserved now, so hopefully it will one day be possible  to make it over there.








Source: Agencies


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18 MOST BEAUTIFUL CAVES IN THE WORLD

Sunday, January 26, 2014
 
The world is full with amazing places. Today we take you to a journey beneath the Earth surface. We bring you 17 of the most beautiful caves around the world.
 
1)Deer Cave , Borneo, Malaysia


2) Enchanted well , Brazil


3)Marble cave , Rio Tranquilo ,Brazil


4) Onondaga Cave, Missouri , USA


5) The Kverkfjoll ice cave , Iceland


6)Gouffre Berger cave , France


7)Harrison’s Cave, Barbados


8)Choranche cave, Vercors, France

9)Carlsbad caverns, Carlsbad, New Mexico


10)Reed Flute Cave Guilin , China



11)Fingal’s Cave , Scotland

12)Skocjan Caves , Slovenia


13)Cave of Crystals, Mexico



14)Jeita Grotto Cave, Lebanon



15)The Mlynki cave , Ukraine


16)Cave of Swallows, Aquismon, Mexico


17)Glowworm cave, Waitomo, New Zeland


18)Sarawak Chamber, Malaysia

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