Thursday, December 31, 2015
There are currently 88 Malaysian women serving jail time abroad for drug smuggling offences, generally labelled as "drug mules". Of the number, 10 are Sabahans.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry, in response to a Daily Express query, said that going by place where such offences were committed, statistics show that that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) has the highest number with 17.
"This is followed by Taipei which has officially registered 12 Malaysian women detainees and Guangzhou (in China) with nine women," the statement said.
Further breakdown is as follows: Jakarta (8), Bangkok (7), Shanghai (6), Tokyo (5), Accra (capital of Ghana) (4), Brasilia (capital of Brazil) (3), Pontianak (3), Ho Chi Minh (2), Kunming (city in China), Songkhla (city in southern Thailand) (2), Wellington (2), Caracas (capital of Venezuela) (1), Kathmandu (capital of Nepal) (1), Lima (capital of Peru) (1), Medan (1), Madrid (1) and Vienna (1).
  • In August this year, wife of Foreign Minister, Datin Sri Siti Rubiah Datuk Abdul Samad, met with three Malaysian women who were detained in Caracas since 2007/2008 and had completed their prison sentences.
  • The trio were released on parole since 2010 and even allowed to work within the country (Venezuela). One of them returned to Malaysia the following month (September).
  • During the meeting with Siti Rubiah, the women hoped their predicament and incarceration would serve as a deterrent and lesson to other Malaysian women not to be easily influenced or too trusting with strangers.
  • Of the 88 detained "drug mules", Daily Express understands 10 are from Sabah, an increase by four since 2007, based on media reports.
  • They are believed to be still languishing in foreign jails.
  • Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim (then 24), a Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) graduate in Biological Science, was detained at China's Shantou International Airport in January 2007 after immigration officers found 2.98kg of heroin on her.
  • She was given the death sentence in May that year, and was not allowed to appeal for two years.
  • According to her, she was taken in by an Internet advertisement which offered a lucrative job for sending goods.
  • In May 2010, Sandakan girl Christina Luke Niju (then 22), then studying at a Kuching Polytechnic College, went missing.
  • She told her parents that she was going on a school trip to China but instead went there with a Nigerian man she befriended online, and ended up as a drug mule. Daily Express interviewed her parents in Sandakan.
  • Two cases emerged in 2011, one of which was reported in an Indonesian newspaper. A young woman, then in her twenties and from a district on the West Coast of Sabah, was caught smuggling heroin into Indonesia.
  • She was subsequently sentenced to 17 years in jail. Her devastated family declined to be interviewed and told Daily Express that highlighting her case may aggravate the health condition of her father who had a heart problem.
  • In the second case, Daily Express reported in September 2012 that the victim (then 31) from Kg Kulambai Dundau, close to Kota Belud, was nabbed by a Customs Officer at the Guangzhou International Airport in March 2011 upon her arrival from Kuala Lumpur. 
According to the woman's family, she was charged in the Guangzhou City Court for smuggling substances believed to contain 49.5 pc heroin in August 2011. In September that year, the family received a call from an official, believed to be from the Malaysian Embassy in Guangzhou, China, saying their daughter had been jailed three years for smuggling drugs into China.
And in October 2013, a 35-year-old man from Tawau and a 28-year-old woman from Penampang were arrested at the Kaohsiung International Airport on arrival from Kuala Lumpur. Six kilograms of heroin were reportedly hidden in secret compartments inside their suitcase.
She is the 10th known case of Sabahan women ending up in foreign jails for becoming drug mules.

Source: Sabah Daily Express
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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah today dismissed a deputy minister's suggestion that people take up two jobs to deal with the rising cost of living, adding that finding even one job in this day and age was difficult.
The veteran Umno leader said even he did not have a single job, when asked to comment on Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan's suggestion that a second job would help people cope with price hikes.
"The problem is, are there job opportunities? We say if you have a job and you're not earning enough income from that one job, find another job to increase your income.
"But in reality the problem we face now is there are no jobs available. Like me. I don't even have one job," said Tengku Razaleigh in a press conference today.
Ahmad Maslan reportedly said holding down two jobs was not uncommon as it was done by many around the world.
His suggestion sparked criticism, and he later defended himself by saying he held three jobs as a deputy minister, Pontian MP and Umno information chief.
However, that too backfired. Local comedian Harith Iskander(photo) took a dig at him, posting on Facebook and Twitter that although he was known as an emcee, writer and actor among others, it did not mean he held that many jobs.
Weighing in on the matter, meanwhile, Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin(photo) said on his Facebook that a minister should be lucid, smart and quick to solve the problems of the nation.
DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang urged ministers to stop acting like "comedians" and revise Budget 2016 as well as table an Economic Blueprint to resolve cost of living problems. – December 29, 2015.

Source: The Malaysian Insider
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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The United States and Russia may be hitting ISIS harder than anyone, with constant attacks from the air, but Israel is the only country the Islamic State group truly fears, according to a German reporter who spent 10 days with the organization in Iraq and Syria.
“The only country ISIS fears is Israel," Jürgen Todenhöfer, 75, who visited the territory under the control of ISIS accompanied by his son, told British online news site Jewish News. "They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.”
Todenhöfer, a former member of the German Parliament from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, made his trip in 2014, writing a book that was published this year: "My 10 Days in the Islamic State." 
He was the first Western journalist allowed extensive access to ISIS territory - and to return safely from the trip.
“They think they can defeat U.S. and U.K. ground troops, who they say they have no experience in city guerrilla or terrorist strategies. But they know the Israelis are very tough as far as fighting  against  guerrillas  and 
terrorists,” Todenhöfer said.
  • "They are not scared of the British and the Americans, they are scared of the Israelis and told me the Israeli army is the real danger. We can’t defeat them with our current strategy. These people [the IDF] can fight a guerrilla war," he said in the report.
  • Todenhöfer described the stages of ISIS' plan for world domination: First to conquer all the Middle E The terrorist group, says Todenhöfer, would love to tie down American and British ground forces in a protracted urban war. "In Mosul there are 10,000 fighters living among 1.5 million people in 2,000 apartments, not in one place - so it would be difficult to fight them. ISIS fighters are ready to die in a war against western soldiers," he said.
On Saturday, ISIS released a voice recording  of what it says is its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi threatening that Islamic State militants would attack Israel. 
"With the help of Allah, We are getting closer to you every day," al-Baghdadi told his Israeli listeners. 
"The Israelis will soon see us in Palestine. This is no longer a war of the crusaders against us. The entire world is fighting us right now."
Source: Haaretz

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Monday, December 28, 2015

An investigation has been launched after a Malaysian Airlines plane appeared to fly in the wrong direction after taking off from New Zealand on Christmas Day.
Flight MH132 usually takes a direct route heading north-west over Australia on its way from Auckland to Kuala Lumpur but radar data showed the aircraft heading south for almost an hour.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the pilot questioned the Airbus A330’s path just eight minutes into the flight, which took off at 2.23am local time.
Passengers were not alerted during discussions with air traffic controllers at the Auckland Oceanic control centre, as the plane Tasman Sea before turning north.
Airways, which manages air traffic control for New Zealand, said there were no safety concerns but that it would investigate why the normal flight path had been changed.
“We have an internal safety team who will investigate it,” a spokesperson told the Herald.

Source: Independent

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Monday, December 28, 2015

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia -  More than half of the rape cases reported in the country in the last three years involved minors, reported The Star today.
According to the report, only about 10 per cent of the cases involving victims aged between 13 and 15 were “forced”, while the rest were consensual.
According to ACP Jenny Ong, who is Bukit Aman’s Sexual, Women and Child Investigation Division assistant principal director, some of the girls involved were “trophies” for Mat Rempits who won illegal motorcycle races.
  • “One such case involved a 16-year-old who admitted having [had sex with] several youths, saying she liked the thrill of the Mat Rempit lifestyle.
  • “These kids make poor choices. More often than not, they get no proper care or attention from their family so they opt for love from their peers. If the peers are wild, then they will most likely turn out the same way too,” she was quoted.
  • According to the report, statutory rapes accounted for 1 424 cases out of 2 767 rapes reported in 2013, while 1 243 cases out of 2 349 reported last year involved minors. As of October this year, a total of 1 794 rapes were reported, with 920 of them constituting statutory rapes.
  • Ong said some of the cases involved victims who were forced upon or tricked – often by men they had met on social media or group chats.
She also said that Bukit Aman has initiated a child awareness campaign, wherein the cops educate children on identifying what constitutes a “safe touch” and how to be alert against strangers. Teenagers are also taught about sex and pregnancies.
The daily also reported that Selangor and Johor recorded the highest number of rape cases in the country in the past two years.

Source: Free Malaysia Today
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Monday, December 28, 2015

TOKYO, Japan - Japan must do more to stop child abuse, and especially the exploitation of young girls working in entertainment cafes across the country, according to a UN official.
This message comes as Japan records an increase in the number of exploitation cases reported from 2014.
In October, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the UN's special rapporteur on child prostitution and pornography, angered Japan's government by saying that up to 13 percent of schoolgirls had taken part in Enjo Kosai, or compensated dating.
  • She said later that the figure was not official, and would not be in her final report. But campaigners argue the lack of official figures is itself a sign of complacency by Japanese authorities.
  • In the capital Tokyo, infantilised sexual culture has become accepted, and Japanese rights groups are campaigning to end the practice.
  • Mai, a student, is working part-time promoting a so-called joshi kosei, or high-school girl cafe, in Tokyo's Akihabara district, where adult men pay to sit and chat with teenage girls.
  • "Some of the men are my grandpa's age, and I do sometimes get short of things to talk about," Mai, dressed in her school uniform, told Al Jazeera.
  • She said working in such a cafe beats her old restaurant job, and she insisted that her customers treated her well.
At the cafe where Mai works, her boss picks the staff of 15 to 18-year-old girls.
"Basically, they need to be pretty. That is an absolute requirement. 
They should look slim and stylish. Also, they need to be smart," Koichiro Fukuyama, the cafe owner, told Al Jazeera.
  • But Fukuyama said there is no prostitution involved.
  • Shihoko Fujiwara, spokesman of the women's right's group Lighthouse, said the culture of glamorising the practice is disturbing.
  • "This concept of Enjo Kosai - compensated dating - has been around for how long now, 20 years? And we don't have any official figures for that? For me that was very shocking," she said.
  • In Japan, it took until 2014 for possession of child abuse images to be made illegal - but not cartoon depictions of such abuse.
Campaigners said these images can be used in a much more specific way, by child abusers to convince their victims that their criminal actions are in fact perfectly normal.
Employing teenagers in adult entertainment is illegal - but, in Japan, it seems, good for business.

Source: Al Jazeera
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Sunday, December 27, 2015
Millions of residents in the southern United States struggled on Saturday (Dec 26) to recover from the deadly storms,Tornadoes and floods that struck the region over the past days.

Feeding on unseasonably warm air, storms left a trail of destruction in rural communities from Alabama to Illinois. More than a dozen tornadoes were reported on Friday in six southern states.
At least 17 people have been killed in the states of Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas since Thursday, officials said.
With more severe weather expected across the central United States, forecasters are warning of airport delays and flooded roads as travelers return home after the Christmas holiday.
Feeding on unseasonably warm air, storms left a trail of destruction in rural communities from Alabama to Illinois.
  • More than a dozen tornadoes were reported Friday in six southern states. 
  • In Alabama, where Governor Robert Bentley had declared a state of emergency to deal with the heavy flooding, tornadoes uprooted trees and tore off rooftops, with one touching down in Birmingham, the state’s most populous city.
  • Families across the US South have spent Christmas Eve taking stock of their losses after an unusual outbreak of December tornadoes and other violent weather killed at least 14 people and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes.

Source: AFP, Agency
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

JAKARTA: The death toll from a ferry disaster in central Indonesia has risen to 63 with a handful of people still missing as the search and rescue operation winds down, an official said on Friday.
Search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said as of Friday morning 103 passengers aboard the ill-fated boat had been recovered, with just 40 found alive.
"If the information is correct, we are still searching for 15 other missing people," Soelistyo told AFP, adding that all the bodies found so far were within the search area.
The ferry operator said the boat was carrying 116 people when it ran into trouble, but Soelistyo said there were two canteen staff who were not mentioned on the manifest.
The ferry sank on rough seas last Saturday with survivors describing massive waves smashing into the vessel before the engine died and the order was made to abandon ship.

source: Agency , AFP
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

WASHINGTON,U.S.A. — US President Barack Obama’s administration is planning an operation to round up and expel migrant families fleeing drought and violence in Central America, reports said today.
The flow of families and unaccompanied children crossing into the United States from Mexico slowed in 2015, but the numbers surged upwards again in October and November.
Several Latin American countries are in the grip of violent lawlessness and the El Nino weather pattern has plunged several countries in the region into drought.
The Department of Homeland Security did not dispute anonymously-sourced reports in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal that a crackdown is imminent.
According to the reports, hundreds of families living in the United States whose asylum requests have been denied will be rounded up and sent home.
DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen told AFP that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson “has consistently said our border is not open to illegal immigration.
“If individuals come here illegally, do not qualify for asylum or other relief, and have final orders of removal, they will be sent back consistent with our laws and our values.”
Any such operation would be controversial.
Refugee rights activists argue the families are fleeing corruption, gang violence and drought in their homelands and should be treated as refugees.

Source: Malay Mail Online...More...
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Crammed into a one-room flat at a people’s housing project in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, Abdol Wahab Musa’s family of 16 offer a glimpse of how the urban poor in the capital city make ends meet.
The 53-year-old father of 15 has been living at Projek Perumahan Rakyat in Sentul for the past four years, making a living from selling drinks, snacks and fruits – illegally – near Dataran Merdeka.
Space is so scarce that the family sleeps in shifts, taking turns to get some rest when other family members are out working.
Wahab’s extended family total 36, including sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren. For a short period after he secured the flat four years ago, all used the tiny apartment as a base.

  • Most of them moved out three years ago, and the hawker now has 15 people living with him, including his wife Ruslelawati Mohd Ali, 43.
  • Wahab used the RM700 he receives monthly in aid from Baitulmal, the state Islamic treasury.
  • Each night, they push three to five trolleys full of goods to the Sentul LRT station where they board a train to Masjid Jamek, and set up shop at Dataran Merdeka nearby.
  • “My children will start work selling every night from 10pm until six in the morning. After that, some of us – my sons will sleep for a while before going back to work in the daytime,” he told The Malaysian Insider during a recent visit to his home.

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    Thursday, December 24, 2015

    It was an embarrassing moment when the beauty pageant ended Sunday night with the contestant from Colombia having the crown removed from her head and placed on the contestant from the Philippines after Harvey mistakenly read that she had won when really she was the first runner-up.
    Miss Universe host Steve Harvey says no one feels worse than he does about his mistake awarding Colombia the crown before Miss Universe.
    Harvey spoke to reporters assembled at the Planet Hollywood hotel-casino where the pageant concluded with him awarding the crown to the wrong person.
    The newly crowned Miss Universe from the Philippines is apologizing on behalf of the Miss Universe organization for the mistake that led a contestant from Colombia to first believe that she had won the crown.
    Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach told reporters after the Miss Universe pageant that she had conflicting emotions when the mistake happened.
    • Joy when she was told she was indeed the winner and not first runner-up, concern for Colombia contestant Ariadna Gutierrez Aravelo, who had previously been mistakenly crowned, and confusion at the whole situation.

    Source: Agency
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    Thursday, December 24, 2015

    MOGADISHU: Somalia's government has banned celebrations of Christmas and New Year in the Muslim majority country, saying the festivities might attract militant attacks.

    "All events related to Christmas and New Year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage the faith of the Muslim community," the director general of the religious affairs ministry told reporters on Tuesday (Dec 22).

    Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow said security forces had been ordered to break up any such celebrations. "There should be no activity at all," he said.

    • Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan, of the Supreme Religious Council of Somalia, said that non-Muslim festivities might provoke the ire of the Shebab, East Africa's Al-Qaeda branch, which is headquartered in Somalia.
    • "We are warning against the celebration of such events which are not relevant to the principles of our religion," Gurhan added, saying it could provoke the Shebab "to carry out attacks".
    • Last year Shebab militants launched a Christmas attack on Mogadishu airport that killed at least 12 people.
    • Somalia is at least the second Muslim majority country to ban Christmas this year, after Brunei announced a similar prohibition. Somalia also issued a previous ban in 2013. Somalia also follows the Islamic calendar that does not recognise Jan 1 as the beginning of the year.

    There are almost no Christians left living in Somalia, although a bombed-out Italian-built Catholic cathedral remains a city landmark in the capital Mogadishu. 
    Foreign diplomats, aid workers and soldiers living in the fortified airport compound are permitted to hold private parties.

    Source: Channel News Asia
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