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PHILIPPINE AIRPORT OFFICER HELD FOR SMUGGLING RARE ANIMALS

Sunday, January 31, 2016

MANILA - Authorities at the Philippines’ main airport have taken possession of 47 rare animals or birds which an airport policeman was allegedly trying to smuggle to Japan, a senior wildlife official said Sunday.
The wildlife included 11 tarsiers, 11 snakes, 11 monitor lizards, eight sailfin lizards, eagle owls and scops owls.
They were found on Thursday, packed in styrofoam cases which were labelled as aquatic plants, said Theresa Mundita Lim, head of the country’s biodiversity bureau. 

Full Story: Semboyan Rakyat.Com... More...
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PILOTS DIES AFTER BEING SHOT DOWN BY ELEPHANT POACHERS

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A British pilot has died in Tanzania after his helicopter was downed by elephant poachers, the charity he worked for said Saturday.
Roger Gower died on Friday and is thought to have been flying in the Maswa Game Reserve, located along the boundary of the Serengeti National Park.
“Roger was killed while piloting a helicopter during a coordinated effort with the Tanzanian wildlife authorities to track down and arrest active elephant poachers,” said a statement from Dan Friedkin, chairman of the Friedkin Conservation Fund.

“In the course of this action, the poachers fired upon the helicopter and Roger was fatally wounded.”
The BBC quoted Pratik Patel of the fund as saying that Gower had been approaching the last of three elephants which had been killed by poachers when the incident happened.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Gower had given up his job as an accountant in London to retrain as a pilot.
“We can confirm the death of a British national in Tanzania and are providing assistance to the family  at  this  difficult time,”  
said a Foreign Office spokesman in 
London.

Source: -AFP
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CHINA ONLINE POPULATION NEARS 700 MILLION?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Beijing – China’s Internet users — already by far the world’s most numerous — rose to nearly 700 million last year, authorities said Friday, more than twice the population of the United States.
Beijing imposes strict controls on online content, while e-commerce is a vital part of its efforts to transform the economy into one driven more by consumer demand.
The Asian giant’s Internet population — defined as those who have gone online at least once in the past six months — stood at 688 million at the end of 2015, up 39.5 million year-on-year, according to the government’s China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).
The figure accounts for more than half the people in the world’s most populous country.
More than 90% had gone online through their mobile phones, CNNIC reported, while two-thirds had used desktop computers and nearly 40% laptops.
Several Chinese tech firms, led by Jack Ma’s Alibaba, have become multi-billion-dollar giants in recent years as the country’s online population has boomed.
At the same time Beijing blocks websites it deems politically sensitive in a system dubbed the “Great Firewall of China”, and social media companies censor user
generated content.

Source: – AFP
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ALMOST 19,000 IRAQI CIVILIANS KILLED SINCE 2014?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

UN documents more than 55,000 civilian casualties and 3.2 million people displaced by violence in 22-month period.

In figures it calls "staggering", the United Nations says that almost 19,000 civilians have been killed and more than 36,000 wounded in violence in Iraq since the start of 2014. 
In a new joint report published on Tuesday, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights listed a large number of atrocities committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. 
It also called on the government to do more to stop sectarian violence and help displaced families to return to their homes.
The joint report highlighted abuses committed by ISIL, saying that about 3,500 people were currently being held as slaves in Iraq by the armed group. 
"Those being held are predominantly women and children and come primarily from the Yazidi community, but a number are also from other ethnic and religious minority communities," the UN report said.
Source: Al Jazeera...More...

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TOUGHER TIMES AHEAD FOR MALAYSIANS?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ms Sherene Meetha Pillai works as a project manager on weekdays, a tuition teacher on weekends - and also sells jewellery online.
Even so, the 29-year-old Malaysian, who plans to get married soon, finds it hard to live comfortably.
"I already adjusted my spending last year - I must find ways to adjust further this year," she told The Straits Times.
She is not alone.
Stories of struggling Malaysians have become an online media staple in the past few months, with officials often quickly offering to help after the bleak accounts went viral.
  • The most recent reports were about "starving" university students, who claimed they were unable to afford basic meals. 
  • One public university student in Kuala Lumpur said her intestines ruptured from starvation.
  • In response, Higher Education Minister Idris Jusoh pledged to take responsibility to ensure that poor students get help.
  • Deputy Trade Minister Ahmad Maslan was widely panned after he said Malaysians should get a second job to tackle higher living costs.
  • The overwhelming public response: Dear minister, many of us already are doing two jobs.
Malaysia - South-east Asia's third-largest economy after Indonesia and Thailand - had a rocky year last year.
Just three weeks into the new year, economists are already lining up to say that the country's outlook is anything but rosy.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Chua Hak Bin expects a rough time ahead for Malaysians because "consumers will face tighter finances as the ringgit weakens, job prospects dim and property prices slide".

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UK OPPOSITION LEADER INVITES TRUMP TO VISIT LONDON MOSQUE

Monday, January 18, 2016

LONDON, U.K. - Britain’s opposition leader invited US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who sparked an outcry by calling for a ban on Muslims from entering the United States, to join him on a visit to a London mosque.
The comments from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist who represents a multi-ethnic district of north London, come a day before the British parliament debates a motion calling for a ban on half-Scottish Trump from visiting the country.
“I decided to invite Donald Trump on his visit to Britain to come with me to my constituency because he has problems with Mexicans and he has problems with Muslims,” Corbyn told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
“As you know my wife is Mexican and my constituency is very, very multi-cultural so what I was going to do was go down to the mosque with him and let him talk to people there,” he said.
The billionaire frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination called for a ban on Muslims entering the US following a shooting spree by two Muslims who the FBI said had been radicalized, and has made xenophobic comments about Latinos.
British lawmakers are due to debate on Monday a petition signed by more than half a million people calling for Trump to be barred from Britain, although the debate will not be followed by a vote.
Trump has threatened to cancel over 700 million pounds of investments in golf courses in Scotland if Britain slaps him with a travel ban.
Trump has also been involved in a spat with the Scottish government over plans they approved for an offshore wind farm project near one of his golf courses, calling former first minister Alec Salmond “an embarrassment to Scotland.”
 On Sunday, Salmond, who sits as a lawmaker in the British parliament, told the BBC he would likely support barring Trump from the country.
“He wants to ban all Muslims from the United States. I want to ban all Donald Trumps from Scotland,” he said.

Source: – Reuters
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STAY CLEAR OF MALAYSIA, US FUND MANAGER TELLS INVESTORS?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Malaysia’s faltering economy, hit by claims of “rife corruption” at the government level, is a sign that foreign investors should steer clear, a financial adviser says today.
In an article on the website of Nasdaq, the electronic US stock exchange, Peter Kohli said previous positive news regarding the Malaysian economy had been affected by allegations of corruption at the government level.
“Malaysia’s economy is not firing on all cylinders,” he said, noting news reports in November that industrial output had slipped.
“There have been many high hopes after the last few years with regard to Malaysia being a top investment destination, but in my opinion, it has never really lived up to expectations.
“I have written previously about Malaysia becoming a manufacturing hub for companies like Hyundai, but that positive news has been tempered with allegations of rife corruption in the government.”
Kohli, who is CEO of DMS Funds, said news of a RM2.6 billion political donation transferred into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal accounts in particular have not helped investors’ confidence.
Other factors making Malaysia unattractive were the ringgit’s position as the worst performing Asian currency against the US dollar in 2015, and the slump in world oil prices. 

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GERMAN NEO-NAZIS CHARGED WITH PLANS TO NAIL-BOMB REFUGEE SHELTERS, KILL CLERICS?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Four German members of a hardcore neo-Nazi terror cell have been charged with planning to bomb refugee shelters and assassinate Salafi clerics, media report. It comes alongside warnings by German politicians far-right violence against refugees is on the rise.
Federal prosecutor Peter Frank filed criminal charges against four suspects of a neo-Nazi terror cell called “Oldschool Society” on Wednesday, according to German media.
The four, including one woman, were referred to as Andreas H., 57, Markus W., 40, Denise Vanessa G., 23, and Olaf O., 47, in the media reports. 
Together, they allegedly formed the inner core of the neo-Nazi terror group. The four extremists began meeting in November 2014, well before the influx of refugees reached current record levels, and launched a Facebook group to propagate their ideas and recruit affiliates.
Their Facebook cover at the time was an infamous photo of an entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp reading “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will make you free”), Spiegel reports. They also posted a YouTube recruitment advertisement saying, “We need every man, every woman to fight together for our homeland.”
The "Oldschool Society" also used WhatsApp and Telegram messengers for communication, and set up a clandestine HQ dubbed “Privy council.”
By May 2015, the neo-Nazi group was reportedly ready to carry out “a couple of actions” against refugee shelters, including one in the German town of Borna. It ordered its members to wear “black, casual clothes,” according to wiretapped phone conversations cited by Der Spiegel.
At the same time, the Oldschool Society allegedly sent Markus W. and Denise Vanessa G. to the Czech Republic, where they were tasked with buying large amount of explosive materials, while another suspect, Andreas H., worked on how to increase the power of their nail bombs.
The terror group members were detained in May 2015 following an operation by dozens of GSG 9 elite counterterrorist operatives, who simultaneously raided the homes of 10 neo-Nazis, including those of Andreas H., Markus W., Denise Vanessa G. and Olaf O. Explosive devices labeled “Cobra” and “Viper” as well as baseball bats were found in the suspects’ locations.
“That was quite a dangerous group,” an unnamed investigator told journalists. “It could quickly grow up and turn into a terrorist community.”
As refugees from war-torn and underdeveloped countries continue to arrive in Germany, far-right violence against them is growing.

Source: Agency
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OIL PRICES REBOUND AFTER FALLING BELOW $30

Friday, January 15, 2016

SINGAPORE – Oil prices rebounded in Asia Wednesday, halting a plunge that saw fall below $30 a barrel for the first time in more than 12 years but analysts warned of further pressure on the commodity.
Investors have an eye on the release later in the day of US commercial crude stockpiles data, which is expected to show another increase, further exacerbating a global supply glut that has hammered the market for 18 months.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in February rose 26 cents, or 0.85 percent, to $30.70 per barrel at around 0330 GMT. European benchmark Brent rose 10 cents, or 0.32 percent, to $30.96.
On Tuesday, WTI fell at one point to $29.93, a level last seen in December 2003, although they were given a lift later by a private report pointing to a drop in inventories. However, experts warned that prices remained fragile.
“The supply and demand landscape for oil continues being bearish as prices continue to take discounts,” Daniel Ang, an analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore said in a market commentary.
“US oil supply continues to remain strong despite reports of US shale production being one of the higher end from a cost perspective.”
  • Bernard Aw, a market strategist with IG Markets Singapore said, that if the market continues to test the $30 price level, “it is possible that the mark might eventually break”.
  • He said the long-term trend is for prices to fall, with the supply glut not showing any let up.
  • Oil-reliant OPEC member Nigeria on Tuesday called for an emergency meeting of the cartel to address collapsing prices, which have rattled world stock markets and hammered energy firms.
  • The Nigerian petroleum resources minister, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, said he expects an extraordinary meeting of the group in “early March” to discuss the crisis.
  • “We did say that if it hits the $35 (per barrel level), we will begin to look (at)… an extraordinary meeting,” Kachikwu said at the Gulf Intelligence UAE Energy Forum.
  • Poorer members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have been clamouring for the cartel to cut high production levels in a bid to drive prices higher.
But OPEC’s influential members led by Saudi Arabia have rejected any such move, preferring to fight for market share against rival producers, particularly the United States.
Crude accounts for 90 percent of Nigeria’s export earnings and 70 percent of overall government revenue. 
Source: – AFP
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16 YEARS - OLD GIVES BIRTH IN MALAYSIAN SCHOOL

Thursday, January 14, 2016


A form four student gave birth to a baby girl at the sick bay of her school after complaining of stomach pains, reported Harian Metro.
The 16-year-old was assisted by her teacher and a nurse when she delivered the 3.1kg baby at 12.30pm last Wednesday.
The girl who was in her class, had asked for her teacher's permission to go to the sick bay, complaining of stomach ache. The nurse found out that she was actually in labour.
The school later contacted the girl's parents after she gave birth.
They took the girl to the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Kuantan.
A police report was lodged by the hospital on Friday as the student was underage and was not married.
  • Meanwhile, Kemaman OCPD Supt Mohd Said Ibrahim said an 18-year-old teenager, believed to be the girl's boyfriend, was detained to facilitate in investigations under Section 376 for rape.
  • Initial investigations revealed that the student and her boyfriend have had sex five times since she was 14.

Source: Asia One
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SUICIDE BLAST HITS ISTANBUL TOURISTS AREA, KILLING AT LEAST 10

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

ISTANBUL, Turkey— A suicide bomber believed linked to the Islamic State in Syria set off a powerful blast Tuesday in one of Istanbul’s most popular tourist districts, killing at least 10 people and injuring 15, officials said. Most of the victims were Germans.
The attack — in the shadow of the famous Blue Mosque — was a further sign of the country’s deepening instability in a region wracked by war and the expanding reach of groups such as the Islamic State, which uses Turkey as a critical lifeline for recruits, supplies and oil smuggling.
The blast also struck at the heart of Istanbul’s important tourism trade, reflecting similar tactics used by militants against internationally known sites in countries including Tunisia and Egypt.
Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, described the bomber as a member of the Islamic State. Another senior official, Deputy Prime Minister Numan KurtulmuĊŸ, said the attacker was a 28-year-old Syrian.
Source: The Washington Post
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MALAYSIAN PM SHOCKED OVER SUICIDE BOMBERS PLEADGES TO COMBAT TERRORISM HOME AND ABROAD

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today expressed his shock over reports that two Malaysians were involved in the recent suicide bombings in Iraq and Syria.
He said such an ideology neither belonged in Malaysia nor was derived from Islam.
The government, he said, was committed to countering terrorism from all aspects both domestically and internationally.
"Shocked and appalled to hear that two Malaysians were reported to have been involved in suicide bombings in Iraq and Syria, resulting in the loss of more than 30 innocent lives.
"Their actions and ideology have no place in Malaysia or Islam, and the government is absolutely committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms and guises, both at home and overseas," he said in his Facebook post yesterday.
He said the government would spare no effort in finding out how and why the two men were able to commit such atrocious acts, and would take all measures necessary to prevent others from doing so in the future.
In an exclusive report by the New Straits Times on Monday, sources said two Malaysian suicide bombers blew themselves up, killing more than 30 others during their assigned missions in Syria and Iraq last week.

Source: New Straits Times
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CSPOC DELEGATES DANCE SABAH’S SUMAZAU DANCE

Monday, January 11, 2016
 
KOTA KINABALU, Sabah, Malaysia - Some delegates of 23rd Conference of Speakers and Presiding officers of Commonwealth danced "Sumazau" during a welcoming reception here.
The Sumazau, a traditional Kadazandusun dance, was led by performers from the Sabah Cultural Board.
Guests were also invited to dance the "poco-poco", a popular line dance.
The dinner was hosted by Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali.
Besides dancing, guests were also entertained by a band. 
Also present were Dewan Negara speaker Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, Dewan Rakyat speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia and his deputy Datuk Ronald Kiandee as well as Sabah Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman.
Earlier in the morning, there was a Standing Committee meeting before delegates visited the Mari-Mari Cultural Village in Inanam.
Speakers and Presiding officers of the Commonwealth  countries are 
attending a two-day  conference at 
the state assembly today. 

Source: Agency
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MALAYSIAN SABAH NATIONAL FRONT CAN DECIDE ON RECALL, REISSUE ID CARD?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Sabah Barisan Nasional component party leader said the ruling coalition in the state should meet to decide on the proposal to recall and reissue all MyKads issued in the state, the Borneo Post reported.
Speaking to reporters in Penampang, Sabah yesterday, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) acting president Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said his party is standing firm on its recommendation that the government recall and reissue all MyKads issued in Sabah.
  • “As far as Upko is concerned, our proposal was very clear and it had been made known to the public. We will continue to say that this is the way to go (recalling and reissuing new MyKad) as it is the way to move forward for the issue.
  • "We are only waiting for the Barisan Nasional (BN) Sabah liaison committee to meet and discuss the proposal," he was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post.
  • "I am also very happy that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made the statement to say that it is up to Sabah. When he said it is up to Sabah, it is actually the state BN liaison committee to do it," he added.
  • Tangau, who is also the Science, Technology and Innovation minister in the federal Cabinet, said he is hopeful that Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman would call for a meeting soon. Musa is chairman of the state BN liaison committee.
  • Tangau has previously said that MyKads should be reissued to all Sabahans to weed out illegals after the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into illegal immigrants in Sabah had found that syndicates and corrupt officials were part of a scheme that gave out citizenship in the state in exchange for votes.

According to the daily, Tangau said the decision to set up the RCI was based on the decision and agreement of the BN liaison committee at the state level, which meant that all the component parties had agreed to it.

Source: The Malaysian Insider
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PHILIPPINES CONSTRACEPTION FUNDING CUT WILL FUEL HIV AND MATERIAL DEATH?

Saturday, January 09, 2016
 
The Philippines legislature's decision to eliminate funding for contraception will fuel HIV infections, maternal deaths and teen pregnancies, particularly among poor girls and women, reproductive rights advocates said on Friday.

MANILA: The Philippines legislature's decision to eliminate funding for contraception will fuel HIV infections, maternal deaths and teen pregnancies, particularly among poor girls and women, reproductive rights advocates said on Friday.
The decision to cut the US$21 million contraceptive budget surprised and infuriated legislators and advocacy groups who had struggled more than a decade to pass the Reproductive Health Law that guaranteed funds to provide contraceptives to the poor.
"We are so insulted by this. It is a violation of the very essence of a law that Congress itself enacted," said Rom Dongeto, executive director of the Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation (PLCPD) comprised of lawmakers and members of civil society.
"Women are dying from maternal complications, teens are getting pregnant and people are dying from HIV-related causes. Lives of Filipino citizens are at stake," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone.
The Philippines, a largely Catholic archipelago nation of about 100 million people, has struggled to manage its burgeoning population and seen skyrocketing 
HIV infection rates in recent years.

Source: Channel Asia...More...
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