LAWAS, S’wak, East Malaysia - Authorities have seized illegal logs worth
more than one million ringgit in Lawas in the latest raid under a statewide
anti-logging and anti-graft operation. In the 10.30am raid yesterday at Sungai Lumut, General
Operations Force intelligence personnel and three Malaysian Anti-Corruption
Commission (MACC) officers seized 1,065 illegally felled logs of various
species and sizes, state GOF deputy commander ACP Zahari Ahmad said.
The logs were found stacked up in eight piles.
"No arrests were made as the loggers were believed to
have run away," he said.
"We believe that their modus operandi is to fell the
logs in the forest and stack them up by the roadside, after which they will be
transported out by lorry at night," he added.
ACP Zahari said the Forest Department estimated the seized
logs to be worth RM1.3mil (S$500,000).
The seizure, which followed a public tip off, was made under
the Sarawak Forest Ordinance and further investigations would be done by Lawas
forestry officers, he said.
Last week, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency(MACC) disclosed that 10 people, including a
district CID chief, had been arrested in connection with illegal logging in the
state. The suspects, aged between 28 and 72, also included general
managers, owners, camp managers and shareholders of 10 logging companies. They were arrested in Limbang, Sibu, Kuching, Miri and
KOSLANDA, Sri Lanka - Around 100
people were buried alive in a tea-growing region of Sri Lanka Wednesday
as mudslides triggered by monsoon rains washed away their homes on a
plantation, disaster officials said. One witness
spoke of hearing a noise like thunder as part of a mountainside
collapsed onto the estate, burying some of the workers' homes in 30 feet
(nine metres) of mud and debris.
"What I gathered
is that about 100 people have been buried alive," Disaster Management
Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told AFP after visiting the site in the
eastern Koslanda region.
"There is no chance they could have survived," said the minister, as other officials said 16 people were confirmed dead.
of soldiers, who initially used their hands to dig for survivors, had
switched to operating excavators by evening but hopes had faded of
finding anyone else still alive.
Analysts say the government will do better by removing the
fuel subsidies altogether and returning handouts to the most needy of society,
rather than the multi-tiered fuel pricing proposed.
In recent years, Malaysia has shielded its citizens from the
full brunt of surging crude oil prices with fuel subsidies of around RM24
billion annually. That has exacerbated the government's budget deficit, one of
the region's biggest as a proportion of gross domestic product.
To shore up its finances, Malaysia cut the subsidies in
September 2013 and then again this month. That raised the price of petrol and
diesel, stirring public debate on inflation and living costs.
The subject is growing ever more tender as Malaysia heads
towards implementing a 6% goods and services tax in April next year.
Economists say a window has opened up for Southeast Asia to
consider dismantling subsidies as global crude prices sink to multi-year lows.
But instead of biting the bullet and pledging more market-oriented fuel prices,
Malaysia earlier this week proposed tweaking its subsidy system.
Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah
said on Monday that the government is considering implementing a three-tier
fuel subsidy mechanism next year under which some of the population will be
fully subsidised and some not at all, depending on how much people earn a
Critics of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's economic
stewardship say it is a tactic to ensure that the majority of society continues
to be subsidised, especially poor but politically important states, such as
"The whole idea of subsidies is you target the lower
income, and the sad thing is subsidies are also a reward programme," said
James Chin, a professor of political science at the Malaysian campus of
Australia's Monash University.
Under the proposed tiered mechanism, individuals earning
less than RM5,000 a month will be eligible for a full subsidy. Those earning
between RM5,000 and RM10,000 would get a partial subsidy and those earning more
than that would get nothing.
But the median monthly salary for Malaysia's 9.3 million
workers stood at RM1,500 last year, according to a government report published
in August. That suggests at least half of the population will continue to get
An unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the
International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff Tuesday evening,
with debris falling in flames over the launch site in Virginia.
were reported following the first catastrophic launch in NASA's commercial
The accident at Orbital Sciences Corp.'s launch complex at
Wallops Island was sure to draw criticism over the space agency's growing
reliance on private U.S. companies in this post-shuttle effort. NASA is paying billions of dollars to Orbital Sciences and the SpaceX
company to make station deliveries, and it's counting on SpaceX and
Boeing to start flying U.S. astronauts to the orbiting lab as early as
2017. NASA spokesman Rob Navias said there was nothing on the lost
flight that was urgently needed by the six people living on the space
The company behind Wednesday's dramatic launch explosion of
a space station supply mission promises to find the cause of the failure and is
warning residents to avoid any potentially hazardous wreckage.
Residents of a Hawaiian village threatened by lava have
begun evacuating as the flow reaches 75yds (68m) from the first house in its
path. Two roads to Pahoa have been closed and a cemetery has
already been overtaken by the flow from the Kilauea volcano. Kilauea on the Big Island has been erupting since 1983, but
lava has recently burst forth from a new vent. The town's residents will be allowed to watch the
destruction of their homes, Hawaiian officials say. The accommodation will "provide for a means of
closure" Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira told the
Associated Press news agency.
"You can only imagine the frustration as well as... despair they're going through." Residents will also be allowed back to take photos and video for insurance purposes.
Many residents of the town of 800 have already left or made plans to do so, Mr Oliveira said.
The couple living in the house closest to the flow have evacuated but have been returning to gather belongings, he said.
SINGAPORE: A 29-year-old Malaysian condemned to hang in 2009
for drug trafficking had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment as he was
intellectually challenged and suffering from depression at the time. Wilkinson Primus, who looked relaxed in court, was spared
the gallows under amended laws that give judges the discretion to impose life
terms on drug traffickers who suffer from an "abnormality of mind"
that substantially reduce their mental responsibility for their acts. He was riding a motorcycle into Singapore on Nov 3, 2008
when he was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint. A bundle in the basket of the
motorcycle was later analysed to contain 35.66g of heroin. Wilkinson was given the then-mandatory death penalty in 2009
after he was convicted of drug trafficking.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – South Africa national soccer captain
Senzo Meyiwa was gunned down at a house in Vosloorus, a township about 30
kilometres (20 miles) south of Johannesburg at around 8.00 pm (1800 GMT) Sunday. “It is alleged that two suspects entered the house and
confronted the occupants, while a third suspect was outside,” said Phiyega. After an altercation “a shot was fired, the goalkeeper was
hit in the upper body and was taken to hospital, where he was declared dead on
arrival”. One cell phone was taken and the three suspects fled on
foot. Police have launched a manhunt for the suspects, described
as being in their late 20s and early 30s.
South Africa’s president yesterday led a shocked nation in
voicing outrage at the murder of national football captain Senzo Meyiwa after
the talismanic goalkeeper was shot dead during a home robbery. Police said the 27-year-old was killed late yesterday after
burglars broke in to the house of pop-star girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, making off
with a cell phone. More than 17,000 people were killed in South Africa last
year, but the slaying of a popular sporting hero has stunned even this
crime-weary nation. Team-mates at his local club Orlando Pirates team-mates were
sobbing and crying uncontrollably during today’s team meeting, according to
club officials. Tributes to Meyiwa flooded in from across the football
world. FIFA president Sepp Blatter described Meyiwa’s killing as a “senseless,
SHAH ALAM, Malaysia - For the past two years, his wife has been having an affair
with her boss, who happens be a woman too. Ironically, the cuckolded husband known only as Karim, 42,
is working in the same office which is located in Shah Alam because he wanted
to monitor her movements, Metro Ahad reported. Karim said he was still trying to save their 18-year
marriage, which was blessed with two children aged 14 and 17.
"Apart from seeking advice from religious experts, I
have also brought my wife for counseling sessions in the hope that our marriage
will survive," he said.
"I will continue with my efforts to steer her to the
Karim and his 42-year-old wife began working at the company
five years ago. Their female boss, who was still single, would often call
Karim's wife into her office for "discussions" that lasted for hours. "Initially, my wife would complain of exhaustion from
all the frequent meetings but later on, she became excited with every meeting.
"I did not suspect anything until I read an
inappropriate text message from the boss on my wife's phone," said Karim,
who later confronted his wife who admitted to the affair.
NEW DELHI, India - Thick smoke hung over New Delhi this week as
millions of Indians lit firecrackers to mark the Diwali festival, but calls for
a boycott highlighted growing concerns over air quality in one of the world’s
most polluted cities.
Pollution in the Indian capital reached “severe” levels on
Friday, the day after Diwali, according to a new air quality index launched
earlier this month as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Clean India”
That means the concentration of airborne particles known as
PM2.5, which are considered the most harmful, was more than 250 — 10 times the
upper limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Indian authorities regularly appeal to the public to
restrict their use of firecrackers, which every year cause injuries as well as
letting off the acrid smoke that chokes the capital.
Despite this week's spike, Gufran Beig, chief scientist at
India's state-run System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research
(Safar), said Delhi's air was generally better than Beijing's(photo).
"A majority of the time, Delhi air is quite bad, however it
is still better than Beijing," Beig told AFP, while conceding that the
post-Diwali air likely rivaled the Chinese capital's infamous smog.
"It's going to be that way for 24 hours before it gets
better," he added.
this week's spike, Gufran Beig, chief scientist at India's state-run
System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (Safar), said
Delhi's air was generally better than Beijing's.
"A majority of the time, Delhi air is quite bad, but it is still better
than Beijing," Beig told AFP, while conceding that the post-Diwali air
likely rivalled the Chinese capital's infamous smog.
"It's going to be that way for 24 hours before it gets better," he added.
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Iran has executed a 26-year-old woman convicted for killing a man who she said tried to sexually abuse her.
Reyhaneh Jabbari(photo) was arrested in 2007 for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence.
She was hanged at dawn on Saturday, the official IRNA news agency quoted the Tehran prosecutor's office as saying.
A message posted on the homepage of a Facebook campaign that was set up to try to save her, but which now states "Rest in Peace," appeared to confirm the report.
Efforts for clemency had intensified in recent weeks.
Jabbari's mother was allowed to visit her for one hour on Friday.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - After facing the full wrath of the law for
criticising the Johor monarchy, student activist Ali Abdul Jalil has fled the
country to seek political asylum in Sweden. Ali was detained in Malaysia on September 8, released on
September 23 and promptly rearrested and charged at the Shah Alam Sessions
Court under the Sedition Act 1948. He was charged for allegedly mocking the Johor Sultanate and
calling for the state’s monarchy to be abolished. Ali spent more than 20 days in police custody last month after being
arrested and taken to three states where reports were lodged against him
for allegedly posting seditious material on the social media. According to a report on Rakyat Times, Amnesty International
Sweden took him under their wing and are advising Ali on the legal process to
obtain political asylum.
He will also be provided with legal representation.
Earlier while speaking to the Malay Mail Online, Ali’s
sister Asiah refused to reveal his whereabouts except to confirm her brother
had fled Malaysia to escape sedition charges and that he had informed the
family of his safety upon touching down Tuesday.
"He is facing a lot of threats and pressures here. There were death threats. We have lodged a police report but we fear that no action will be taken on it," she added.
Asiah also said Ali was likely to be granted political
asylum after having been interviewed by a human rights group there. He already has a temporary visa and a work permit that
allows him to start work immediately. Amnesty International Malaysia has made an urgent plea to
the Malaysian government to drop all charges against Ali while GHAH (Gerakan
Hapus Akta Hasutan) have also denounced the torture that allegedly took place
while Ali was under detention.
The authorities however have remained unmoved from their
earlier decision to charge him and have refused to comment on the alleged
A Briton died during a corrective procedure Thursday evening
at a cosmetic surgery clinic in the northern Lat Phrao district of the capital
where she previously underwent liposuction, police lieutenant Chaleang Inthip
told AFP. The 24-year-old patient stopped breathing after receiving an anaesthetic
during the operation on Thursday night, according to Boonruang
Triruangworawat, director-general of the health service support
department. “She visited the
clinic for liposuction on October 14 and came back yesterday after contracting
an infection… She died at the clinic at around 9:30 pm,” he said. The surgeon who operated on her has been detained in a
Bangkok prison for causing death through negligence, a charge which carries a
maximum of 10 years in jail, Chaleang said. The British Embassy in Bangkok said Friday it was “aware of
reports of the death of a British national in Bangkok on 23 October”.
KOTA KINABALU, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo ― Malaysia may soon be able to harness the power
of the sea for electricity with new technology that is being jointly
developed by a Sabah private company with a US partner.
Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus
Johnity Ongkili(photo) said studies are being conducted to test the
possibilities of having the ocean-based plant either in the Straits of
Malacca or in the waters between Labuan and Kuala Penyu off the coast of
Sabah, where the tidal movement is most suitable.
“I also think that Kudat and Pulau Banggi has got good flow but this
needs to be confirmed by the experts. It would be great to have it in
Sabah where we really need the power,” Sabah-born Ongkili told reporters
after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for
the project here recently.
The MoU, between Tawau-based Green Power Solutions and US underwater
power developer Current2Current International, kicks off a partnership
to develop an ocean-based renewable energy source.
“This new prototype technology has the potential to be used worldwide,
in any location that has an ocean current, is self contained and
therefore, is portable.
We are extremely proud that an internationally
company such as C2C has chosen Malaysia and Sabah in particular to
launch their first venture in Asean,” said Green Power Solutions
director Reuben Lim.
He said the 10-megawatt plant may be operational within a few years after thorough study is conducted.
Putrajaya had previously announced a target of 5.5 per cent of its
total electricity is to come from renewable energy (RE) sources by 2015.
With a new adopted definition of RE that includes all forms of
renewable energy including hydro and off-grid renewable energy,
Malaysia’s RE has jumped from under 2 per cent to 14 per cent.
“Malaysia has huge renewable energy potential and we should tap into
these resources to ensure greater energy security and autonomy in the
country. Sabah is exemplary with rich bioenergy resources from the palm
oil industry, and can make sure of its high solar irradiance, and
harness energy from rivers, wind and geothermal,” Ongkili said in his
He said the talk on ocean renewable energy technologies is consistent
with the Government’s policy to explore all forms of sustainable energy.
JOHOR BARU, Malaysia - Authorities are on the hunt for Muhdalena
Ahmad, who has abandoned her newborn, to escape from police custody since being
sentenced to a mental institution for running amok at the Prime Minister’s Department
two years ago. It is learnt that she escaped from the Sultanah Aminah
Hospital two days after giving birth to a baby boy. Muhdalena, who was pregnant with her third child, was sent
to the hospital on Sunday from Hospital Permai, where she has been seeking
treatment for her mental condition since June 19 this year. Sources said she left behind her newborn, who was being
taken care of at another hospital block.
It is learnt that Muhdalena took the opportunity to escape
from police personnel guarding her at around 8.50am yesterday by giving the
excuse that she had to go to toilet.
During the incident, she was neither handcuffed nor
accompanied by the personnel to the toilet.
Sources said she was last seen wearing a pink hospital garb
and that the police had launched a manhunt to track her down at bus stops and
taxi stands near the hospital.