SOLYMONE BLOG

US CONDEMNS CHINA’S LAND RECLAMATION IN SOUTH CHINA SEA

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The US has condemned China's land reclamation in the South China Sea, saying it is out of step with international rules. 
Defence secretary Ash Carter called for an "immediate and lasting halt" of the works during the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, an international security conference, in Singapore on Saturday.

"First, we want a peaceful resolution of all disputes. To that end, there should be an immediate and lasting halt to land reclamation by all claimants," Carter said at the conference.

Source: Al Jazeera
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NEW CHRISTIAN ORGANISATION IN MALAYSIA TO BE LAUNCHED BY PM

Saturday, May 30, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -  A new Christian organization, called Christians for Peace and Harmony Malaysia, will be launched on Tuesday, and the presence of Prime Minister Najib Razak(photo) as guest-of-honor has led to accusations that it is being used as a government tool.
However, its chairman, Rev Wong Kim Kong(photo) told Malaysian Insider: “This is not true, Najib is not using us. We approached him to launch our group and they (the government) have not funded us. And even if they were to offer funding, we would not accept it.”

  • Rev Wong, a former secretary-general of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, said leaders and representatives of 230 churches in the Klang Valley were expected for the launch ceremonies, together with heads of the various religious groups.
  • Among those who will attend is Ibrahim Ali, head of the Malay rights group Perkasa. However Wong reported to be disappointed with opposition politicians who all declined because of Najib’s presence. “We sent invitations to two top leaders of each party. But some have replied to say that they cannot participate in an event where Najib is the guest of honour. They have shown that they do not understand the objective of this, that we must come together. They also forget that he (Najib) is still the PM of the land,” the report quoted him as saying.

Wong said the idea of a new grouping arose from concerns over the increasing tension over religion because of the ban on the use of the word Allah in Bahasa Malaysia in a Catholic weekly, and the seizure of Bibles, among other issues.
“Christians have been perceived to be against the government and against Muslims. So these grassroots leaders came to me and said that it was time to do something to pacify the situation,” said Wong, according to the report.
He said Najib’s endorsement of the new grouping was recognition “for us to work with not only Christians but with everyone” and would help to overcome misgivings when reaching out to those from other religions to work for peace and harmony.
Wong said problems could not be solved through confrontation or consultation. 
“Although I can understand why some are confrontational, in the Malaysian context, the religious sensitivities do not permit us to solve problems that way,” he was quoted as saying. Consultation, too, does not work because we are suspicious of one another. The Muslims are suspicious of the Christians and vice versa.”
He said the new group “would do things differently” through love, and act as catalysts for citizens to promote peace and harmony. “We won’t only work with Christians but with everyone”, he said according to the report.

Source: Agency
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US NEBRASKA ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY IN LANDMARK OVERRIDE VOTE

Saturday, May 30, 2015

LINCOLN, Nebraska: Nebraska abolished the death penalty on Wednesday over the governor’s objections in a move pushed through the Legislature with unusual backing from conservatives who oppose capital punishment for religious, financial and practical reasons.
Senators in the one-house Legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty. The vote makes Nebraska the first traditionally conservative state to eliminate the punishment since North Dakota in 1973.
The override vote — passed by the narrowest possible margin — drew a burst of applause from death penalty opponents in the gallery above the legislative chamber.
Nebraska joins 18 other states and the District of Columbia in banning the ultimate punishment. Shortly after the vote, Ricketts issued a statement condemning the Legislature.
“My words cannot express how appalled I am that we have lost a critical tool to protect law enforcement and Nebraska families,” Ricketts said in a statement. 
“While the Legislature has lost touch with the citizens of Nebraska, I will continue to stand with Nebraskans and law enforcement on this important issue.”
Nebraska’s action to repeal the death penalty is unusual because of its traditionally conservative leanings. 
  • Maryland was the last state to end capital punishment, in 2013. 
  • Three other moderate-to-liberal states have done so in recent years: New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011 and Connecticut in 2012.

Nebraska lost its ability to execute inmates in December 2013, when one of the three lethal injection drugs required by state law expired. 
Many senators were swayed by the fact that state officials have repeatedly failed to administer the punishment, calling the death penalty a poorly managed and inefficient government program.

Source: Agency

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BULGARIAN ROADS GET SUGAR COATING TO WARD OFF CRASHES?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

SOFIA, Bulgaria -  A Bulgarian mayor this week ordered the sprinkling of sugar on roads to ward off “evil omens” and fight a recent increase in crashes.
“Due to the rising number of deadly road accidents in the municipality, mayor Nikolay Grozev(picture) ordered the major roads to be sprinkled with 50 kilogrammes (110 pounds) of sugar,” said a statement from his office in Nova Zagora, in southeastern Bulgaria.
“The initiative is based on an ancient legend according to which dusting roads with sugar will chase away evil omens,” it added.
Public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television showed Grozev, armed with a packet of sugar, powdering a road.
Four people, including two children, died and another six were injured in road accidents in the area in recent weeks.
Source: Agency
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ANOTHER BANGLADESH BLOGGER FACE DEATH THREATS

Friday, May 29, 2015

DHAKA, Bangladesh - Another Bangladeshi blogger has received a death threat as targeted killings of secular bloggers and personalities have left at least three dead in the past three months.
Ananya Azad told Al Jazeera on Thursday that unidentified suspects in a Facebook message had threatened to kill him and dump 
his body at a national monument.
  • Azad, whose father Humayun was attacked by members of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen organisation in 2004, said he would be killed in a "similar manner" in order to silence others like him.
  • "Since you are the son of the atheist chief, we are tense about you...we will kill you in a similar way, we will cut you to pieces," the threat read.
Three liberal bloggers have been killed this year in Bangladesh, the latest as recent as May 12.
Atheist blogger, Ananta Bijoy Das, was hacked to death by unknown assailants in the Subid Bazar area of Sylhet city, 240km from the capital Dhaka, as he walked to work.
Avijit Roy, a US-Bangladeshi who was visiting the country to publicise his book criticising religion, was killed in February. 
Some of the suspects involved in Roy's death had confessed that he was targeted for his online posts that they said were against Islam. Both Das and Roy were mentioned in a hit-list published by hardline groups in 2013. 

Source: Al Jazeera
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12 MALAYSIAN POLICEMEN ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

Friday, May 29, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said 12 police officers had been arrested since early last year over their alleged involvement in human trafficking in the country.
Wan Junaidi told Parliament that police arrested four suspects, while the remaining eight were made by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission through several operations carried out since January last year.
He also gave an assurance that the authorities would ensure a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the discovery of camps of mass graves and human trafficking activities in the country, widening the scope of their investigations to include even the forest rangers.
Wan Junaidi added the police, after receiving intelligence on the attempts to smuggle migrants into the country, had organised several special operations, including Ops Pintas, that saw over 290 illegal immigrants and 43 syndicate members arrested.
He also said that the authorities had trouble locating the camps earlier as there was “absolutely no indication” of them even existing in the country as these camps were located in remote areas, atop a hill that was too steep to access on the country’s side but easier to do so through Thailand.
It is not easy to access the hill on Malaysia’s side and it takes three hours to reach on foot, Junaidi said.
The Home Ministry had initially denied the existence of human trafficking camps as its secretary-general Datuk Alwi Ibrahim said that police investigations showed no sign of them.
However,last week, 139 graves believed to contain bodies of human trafficking victims from Myanmar and Bangladesh were found in 
Perlis, along the border with Thailand. 

Source: The Straits Times

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NUMBER OF HUNGRY PEOPLE WORLDWIDE DROP, SOUTH ASIA FACE BURDEN OF HUNGER

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The number of people in the world still going to bed hungry 15 years after the U.N. placed eradicating hunger and extreme poverty at the top of its Millennium Development Goals has dropped to 800 million, according to a report released on Wednesday.
South Asia faces the highest burden of hunger, where as many as 281 million people lack sufficient food, U.N. agencies said.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of hunger, with more than 23 percent of the population not getting enough to eat, the report said.
This report made by three U.N. agencies claims that number is a reduction of 167 million people over the last 10 years.
Only 72 of the world's 129 developing countries, 56 percent, met the MDG of reducing the proportion of hungry people by half in the last 15 years, said the report, "State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015".
Poor governance, violent conflicts and protracted crises are holding back many African nations. In 1990, 12 countries across the continent were facing food crises. 
  • Twenty years later the number has risen to 24, including 19 that have been in crisis for more than eight of the previous 10 years.
  • The regions that made the most progress include:
  1. South America, where less than 5 percent of the population faces hunger today, a reduction of more than 50 percent since 1990.
  2. Central Asia, South East Asia and parts of North Africa also showed significant progress, said the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and other Rome-based U.N. agencies.
  • Economic growth alone often isn't enough to end hunger, instead governments should focus on "inclusive growth", the report recommends.
  • Support for the poor through social investments, such as cash transfer programmes, employment projects, food distribution schemes, healthcare and education helped successful countries reduce the number of hungry residents, U.N. agencies said.
  • Strong harvests in much of the world, coupled with reduced oil prices, mean that global food costs are nearing a five-year low.
These trends, along with economic growth and other factors, helped reduce the number of hungry people worldwide by 10 million in the past year, according to the FAO.
In the developed countries, some 15 million people also suffer from hunger. The next 10 years will be fundamental for eradicating hunge, the report said.

Source: Agencies
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MALAYSIAN AIRLINES TO SEND OUT TERMINATION LETTERS FOR 20,000 STAFF?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

PETALING JAYA:  Malaysia Airlines will send out its termination letters for 20,000 staff beginning this Wednesday.
The letters will be signed by Datuk Mohammad Faiz Azmi, who was appointed as the new airline Administrator by Khazanah Nasional today.
Bernama reports that the appointment of the administrator will facilitate the transfer of selected assets and liabilities from MAS to the new company, Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), effectively by Sept 1.
According to a statement by Khazanah, MAS would continue to operate throughout the period up to and including Aug 31, after which MAB will operate the business of the airline from Sept 1 onwards.
The appointment is a voluntary undertaking by Khazanah and is made pursuant to the Malaysian Airline System Bhd (Administration) Act 2015 (MAS Act), which was passed by Parliament last year.
The MAS Act provides for an effective, efficient and seamless means for the transition of the business, property, rights, liabilities and affairs of MAS to MAB.
The transition from MAS to MAB is a key component of the 12-point MAS Recovery Plan (MRP), which was announced on Aug 29, 2014, to restructure the national carrier and set it on a path towards sustainable profitability.
According to sources within the airline, MAS was already saddled with debts for several years, while the MH370 and MH17 incidents made things worse.
This exercise will probably go down in the history books as the most number of people to lose their jobs in a single day.
According to the source, some staff may get an offer to join the new company – MAB Bhd, while others may be offered to be part of the Corporate Development Centre.
The CDC was set up with the aim of retraining MAS staff who have been terminated.

Source: Bernama
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WHY TOURISTS KEEP GOING NUDE AT HISTORIC MONUMENTS?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Seemingly Tourists stripping down to their skivvies at ancient landmarks.
Tourists around the world have been doing stripping down in sacred spots like Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu and capturing their bare butts, breasts, and beyond to share on Instagram.
But authorities aren’t taking the “naked tourism” business lightly, folks caught in the act are getting fined, deported, and even banned from visiting the countries.
In response to a rash of cheeky antics at Angkor Wat, the ancient holy archaeological complex in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province, officials will translate the Visitor Code of Conduct into multiple languages and post it at the entrance to the temples starting in July.
They are hoping to curb incidents like the one that occurred earlier this month, when three tourists were arrested for taking photos of their bare bottoms in front of the temples.
In February, two American sisters were found guilty of breaking the code at the site’s Preah Khan temple. Lindsey and Leslie Adams, of Prescott, Ariz., “lowered their pants to their knees and took pictures of their buttocks,” a local police official stated.
The women each received a six-month suspended sentence and a fine of 1 million riel (about $245); they were also deported and banned from entering Cambodia for four years.
That followed an incident in January 2015, when three Frenchmen bared all in front of one of the Buddhist temples. They, too, received suspended sentences, fines, deportation and a four-year ban and their camera equipment was confiscated.
An Italian and an Argentinian men were literally “caught with their pants down,” as a third person, a Dutch woman, snapped photos.
  • Sentences for the trio have yet to be handed down, but it’s likely they’ll receive the same treatment as others who have been convicted of violating the code, which states: “Any act of looting, breaking or damaging Angkor, or exposing sex organs and nudity in public area is a crime punishable by law.”
  • Signs at Machu Picchu also warn tourists to respect the UNESCO World Heritage Site; explaining that removing clothes is a “crime against culture.”
  • The warnings were posted following a string of nude escapades. Most notable was a video of a couple streaking through the sacred Incan site.
Police in Peru detained the New Zealander and Australian in 2013, but it inspired a wave of similar behavior.
In 2014, several groups of tourists; Americans, Australians, and Canadians used iPhones and a camcorder to document themselves in the buff at the site.
Amichay Rab, an Israeli accountant, posed nude on one of the ancient rocks and posted the shot (along with others he took throughout Central and South America) on his blog, My Naked Trip.
Paul Marshall, whose Facebook page and Twitter account Naked at Monuments documents his and others’quests to strip down and take photographs at historic sites.


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AUSTRALIAN MOTHER ABANDONS CHILDREN TO JOIN ISLAMIC STATE

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

SYDNEY , Australia - A mother has abandoned her two children and fled to Syria for a new life under the Islamic State group, media reported Tuesday, becoming one of more than 100 Australians who have joined the jihadists.
The Australian government said it was deeply disturbed by the report and that it was monitoring the situation closely.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph said Jasmina Milovanov, a 26-year-old Muslim convert, left her children, aged five and seven, with a babysitter earlier this month and never returned.
It cited her ex-husband as saying she sent a text message telling him she was in Syria.
Milovanov is Facebook friends with former Melbourne woman Zehra Duman, who is known in Australia as the “jihadi bride recruiter” and uses social media to entice women to join the militant group.

Duman’s husband Mahmoud Abdullatif was reportedly killed fighting with the Islamic State group earlier this year.
Friends of Milovanov, cited by the Telegraph, said she had often talked about marrying a jihadi fighter.
New South Wales state police confirmed its counter-terrorism unit was investigating.

Source: AFP
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