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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

North Korea could reach US with nuclear weapons as early as next year: report

WASHINGTON — Intelligence officials believe North Korea will have a reliable, intercontinental missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon as early as next year, according to a report published Tuesday amid a warning from a top Republican lawmaker who says he has grown increasingly alarmed about Pyongyang’s weapons program.

The Washington Post reported that a new confidential assessment by the Defense Intelligence Agency trims two years off the timeline for when North Korea could strike North American cities with atomic weapons. The assessment was triggered by recent North Korean missile tests that indicated the nation’s program was further along than expected.

Malaysians feeling the heat of inflation, reduced incomes and retrenchment

Even though the country's economy has been expanding in recent years, we cannot deny that the rate of growth has been slowing down. Under such circumstances, Malaysians are beginning the feel the pressure.

According to the 2017 economic hardship survey report, 33.8% of respondents reported reduced incomes of between 1% and 5%.

Other than inflation, Malaysians are also suffering from thinned incomes or zero payrises, while their biggest threat comes from prospects of unemployment.

Britain to ban sales of petrol, diesel-fuelled cars from 2040?

LONDON - Britain’s government will announce on Wednesday that it will ban the sale of petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars from 2040 when all vehicles must be fully electric as part of a plan to clean up air pollution, newspapers reported on Tuesday.

The reported move follows a similar announcement earlier this month by the French government.

No one was immediately available for comment at Britain’s environment ministry, which was due to make the announcement, according to the newspaper reports.

M'sians exempted from tourism tax, foreigners pay flat rate of RM10

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysians will be fully exempted from paying the Tourism Tax which is expected to be implemented on Aug 1, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

This follows earlier plans to exempt locals from paying the tax at only three-star and lower hotels.

Nazri said that foreign tourists will, however, be charged a flat rate of RM10 per night and per room for all types of hotels and accommodation.

Businessmen give aid to families of slain Marawi troopers, cops

The Philippines’ top businessmen have banded together to come to the aid of the families of soldiers and policemen who died fighting Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Marawi City.

The families of the 101 soldiers and policemen have received a P250,000 check each from the businessmen through the Go Negosyo Kapatid for Marawi network.

The checks were handed out to the families in Malacañang on Tuesday, where they also met with President Duterte who condoled with them for their loss.

Former DPM’s son warns Malay Rulers of crisis arising from Shariah Bill

KUALA LUMPUR  - The son of the late Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman has written to the Conference of Malay Rulers to highlight the Speaker of Parliament’s alleged disregard of their authority over religious matters.

In a letter to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to convey the contents of his earlier writings to the royals, Mohamed Tawfik Ismail reiterated his insistence that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s so-called Shariah Bill must be approved by the Malay Rulers before it may be tabled in Parliament.

Saudi, allies blacklist more terrorists linked to Qatar

Muslim Brotherhood
The four countries and their international partners will ensure that Qatar has ceased its support and funding of terrorism.
Saudi Arabia and its allies unveiled a  blacklist on Tuesday of 18 organisations and individuals suspected of links with extremism that they said had ties with Qatar.

Tuesday's list blacklisted nine charity and media organisations and nine individuals "directly or indirectly linked to Qatari authorities" as "terrorist", read a joint statement released by the four states.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pastor Koh’s wife in the dark over latest abduction update

Susanna Liew Sow Yoke hopes that the police will contact her soon to give her a proper update on her husband’s case.

PETALING JAYA - The wife of Pastor Raymond Koh, who was abducted by an unknown group of people on Feb 13, wants the police to update her directly on investigations into the case, following Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar’s revelation today of possible Thai links to the incident.

Former RTD deputy charged with emergency lane offence

Yusoff left
PUTRAJAYA - Former Road Transport Department (RTD) deputy director-general of planning and operations, Datuk Yusoff Ayob, who was fined RM600 last week for driving on an emergency lane, was charged again at the Magistrate’s Court here today for the same offence.

Yusoff, 58, who has been transferred to the Public Service Department (PSD) last Friday, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He was charged with driving a car, with registration number "BLY 68" on an emergency lane, which is an offence under Rule 53(1) of the Road Traffic Rules 1959, at Lingkaran Putrajaya here at 6.27pm on Oct 7 last year.

Human traffickers involved in Pastor Koh's abduction?

KUALA LUMPUR - A human trafficking syndicate, busted in operations in Kedah and Perak last month, may have been involved in the abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh, said Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

The Inspector-General of Police said that police investigations following the detention of three syndicate members indicated that Koh might have been their victim.

"We believe this syndicate has links with groups in southern Thailand.

Chinese jets intercept U.S. surveillance plane - US officials

WASHINGTON - Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea at the weekend, with one jet coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said initial reports showed one of the Chinese J-10 aircraft came close enough to the U.S. EP-3 plane on Sunday to cause the American aircraft to change direction.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Taliban suicide car bomber kills dozens in Afghan capital

KABUL (Reuters) - A Taliban suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in the western part of Kabul on Monday, killing up to 35 people and wounding more than 40, government officials said, in one of the worst attacks in the Afghan capital in recent weeks.

Police cordoned off the area, located near the house of the deputy government Chief Executive Mohammad Mohaqiq in a part of the city where many of the mainly Shi'ite Hazara community live.

Monday's suicide bombing, which targeted government personnel, continued the unrelenting violence that has killed more than 1,700 civilians in Afghanistan so far this year.

Nine suspected migrants dead after crammed in Texas truck, 30 ill

SAN ANTONIO - Nine suspected migrants were found dead Sunday after being packed inside an overheated truck that was discovered in a Walmart parking lot in Texas, and 30 others were hospitalized in what police said appeared to be a "horrific" human trafficking crime.

Seventeen of those taken to hospitals after the discovery in the early morning hours in San Antonio – about a two hour drive from the Mexican border – were in critical condition, suffering from heat stroke and dehydration, authorities said.

Group launches campaign to mitigate vaccine refusals

KUALA LUMPUR - Vaccine rejections due to “religious” reasons are allowing previously eradicated diseases to take root again in Malaysia, said the G25 when launching a campaign to allay such unfounded fears.

Among these is diphtheria, a vaccinable bacterial disease that can lead to paralysis and even death in unprotected child victims.

According to G25’s Datuk Dr Narimah Awin, the Health Ministry found that parents were increasingly citing religious objections to decline the vaccinations, adding that this was particularly so within the Muslim community.

China warns India not to harbour illusions in border stand-off

BEIJING - China's defence ministry today warned India not to harbour any illusions about the Chinese military's ability to defend its territory, amid a festering border dispute.

The stand-off on a plateau next to the mountainous Indian state of Sikkim, which borders China, has ratcheted up tension between the neighbours, who share a 3,500-km (2,175-mile) frontier, large parts of which are disputed.

“Shaking a mountain is easy but shaking the People's Liberation Army is hard,” ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a briefing, adding that its ability to defend China's territory and sovereignty had “constantly strengthened.”

Eco World Foundation helps 6,000 students

KOTA KINABALU - Around 6,000 students have benefited from the student assistance programme under Eco World Foundation since its inception three years ago.

The assistance programme is carried out in Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Pahang and Sabah.

Eco World Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the foundation forked out between RM4 million to RM5 million every year to assist around 3,000 students under the programme in eight states.

Siti Kasim lodges report against threats to behead her

Lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim, who is better known as Siti Kasim, has lodged a police report against threats to behead her.

The New Straits Times (NST) reported that the Bar Council member lodged the report at the Sentul police station, yesterday morning, against a man who had allegedly called upon others to issue such threats against Siti.

She told the daily that the man had, on July 3, posted an online portal article that she said had misquoted her stand on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) issue.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ex-Dap leader who jumped to MCA queries letter from Dap HQ

Hiew showing the documents he received from DAP Hq recently

KOTA KINABALU - The Registrar of Society has ordered DAP to hold again the Annual General Meeting for year 2008 to 2012 to elect its Central Executive Committee due to discrepancies and many complaints received from its members.

Hiew King Cheu, the MCA Luyang assemblyman who had left DAP since the end of 2013, was informed by the party’s Chief of Staff on July 17, 2017 informing him through e-mail to attend an emergency meeting of the 2008 – 2012 CEC members to discuss matters pertaining the instruction by ROS.

Jalan Semeba in Kuching declared new rabies area

KUCHING - Two more areas have been declared as rabies-affected, said the Sarawak state disaster management committee.

They are Kampung Entubuh, Tebedu in Serian, and Mile 5, Jalan Semeba, in the outskirts of Kuching.

“This brings the total to 20 rabies-affected areas, where dogs have been found to be rabies-positive in Sarawak," the committee said in a statement here Sunday.

Printing from a smartphone

Printing photos and documents directly from a smartphone is just as easy as on a personal computer, as long as the printer is connected to a wireless network.

Smartphone apps developed by printer manufacturers including HP, Epson, Brother, and Canon have all the functions of printing software designed for PCs, reports the non-profit German consumer organisation Stiftung Warentest. However, most apps only work with printers produced by the same manufacturer.

Some apps can can cross the manufacturer divided, such as the Mopria Print Service application for Android (4.4 or later) and the in-built AirPrint app on Apple iOS, but have limited functionality.

Two Sabah state government agencies to come under MACC probe

Sabah Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) director Sazali Salbi said they would take action as soon as there was sufficient evidence.

“Our investigations involve two major state government agencies and high-ranking officers. That is all I can say for now,” he said at the Sabah MACC Raya open house here yesterday.

Sazali said MACC had been monitoring and probing the agencies and their personnel.

Critics slam segregation of men, women in Kota Bahru run

Politicians and social activists say Kelantan PAS has a lot to answer for since their rulings directed at Muslims are now affecting non-Muslims as well

PETALING JAYA - Politicians and social activists are up in arms over a directive by the Kota Bharu Municipal Council that male and female participants be segregated during a fun run held last week as this proved that non-Muslims were being affected by the supposedly Muslim-only rulings of Kelantan PAS .

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Whatever happened to Pastor Raymond Koh?

I usually look forward to attending any events related to Malaysia. Being an expatriate in London, these events are an important way to keep in touch with my country of origin.

Last Sunday, however, as much I looked forward to meeting my friends, I was dreading the day’s event as it was about Pastor Raymond Koh’s disappearance.

His disappearance signalled to me a new ominous phase in Malaysia’s political history.

6 cops, civilian killed in Guihulngan City ambush

BACOLOD - Six policemen and a civilian were killed in an ambush staged by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental Friday morning.

The Police Regional Office (PRO)-Negros Island identified the fatalities as Guihulngan City police chief Superintendent Arnel Arpon, Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Mecasio Tabilon, SPO2 Chavic Agosto, SPO1 Jesael Ancheta, PO2 Alvin Paul Bulandres, and PO2 Alfredo Dunque.

IS terrorists guarding P1.4b (RM118.2 million) loot in Marawi

Islamic State (IS)-inspired terrorists holed up in Marawi are guarding around P1.4 billion in cash and jewelry looted from the city, a government official said on Friday.

The official, who asked not to be identified because he was not allowed to speak on the matter, said government security forces learned that the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists in the city were guarding 70 bags of loot, each worth around P20 million.

“They’re not leaving because they have 70 bags from looting [and the loot] is about P20 million per bag,” the official said.

MACC probing Sabah tour guides protest

KOTA KINABALU - The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will investigate last week's incident at the airport here where local tour guides protested against a tour company for allegedly using illegal foreign guides.

Sabah director Datuk Sazali Salbi said they were gathering information to determine if there was any wrongdoing by tourism-related government agencies as well as those in the private sector.

Health Ministry denies 'no rabies vaccine' report

PETALING JAYA - The Health Ministry has rubbished several media reports claiming that it does not have anti-rabies vaccine in Sarawak following an outbreak in Serian recently.

Citing a couple of reports as examples, its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry always ensured that all states have sufficient vaccines at all time as a precautionary measure, including the Sarawak General Hospital.

"Cumulatively, we have identified 624 animal bite cases from April 1 until today. Of that, 108 are undergoing tests and checkup, while 115 do not meet the vaccination indication criteria.

Gang "Last warning for PDRM" fiery message

SUNGAI PETANI - Two suspected gang members on a motorcycle threw a Molotov cocktail at the entrance of the Kuala Muda district police headquarters here early Saturday.

According to a police source, the incident occurred near the gate of the main entrance at about 3.30am.

The source said a policeman on sentry duty saw two men on a yellow motorcycle trying to hang a banner on the gate.

Owners of govt housing schemes can be blacklisted for renting homes

KUALA LUMPUR - The government will not hesitate to seize and blacklist any house owners under the Federal Territories Housing Scheme (Rumawip) and the civil servants housing project (PPA1M) found renting their homes to other tenants.

In giving out the warning, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the initiative was meant to assist first time house buyers in getting their own affordable homes.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Saudi’s Prince Saud arrested over leaked abuse videos


RIYADH - A Saudi prince was arrested yesterday on King Salman’s order, a state-run broadcaster reported, as outrage grew on social media over videos appearing to show him abusing members of the public.

13 die from rabies in Kalimantan Barat

KUCHING - The rabies virus, which has taken four lives following an outbreak in Serian district here this month, has also taken 13 lives since July 11 in several areas in neighbouring Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.

Serian and Kalimantan Barat share a common border.

According to Harian Rakyat Kalbar, the rabies virus in Kalimantan Barat has spread rapidly, resulting in the record number of 1,006 cases of human infection.

Another Tongkat Ali coffee product recalled in the US

Bestherbs Coffee is voluntarily recalling its product due to undeclared ingredients including desmethyl carbodenafil, which is structurally similar to the active ingredient in Viagra

PETALING JAYA - A company in Texas is recalling its “New of Kopi Jantan Tradisional Natural Herbs Coffee” after the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voiced concern over the presence of Tongkat Ali in the ingredients.

More than 100 Warisan members join PHRS

Heads and committee members of Warisan’s branches in Beaufort join Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah after losing confidence in the party

BEAUFORT - More than 100 members of Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) in the Beaufort district have joined Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah (PHRS), claiming they have lost confidence in the party’s leadership and struggle.

Saidi @ Masden Kasneh, former chief of Warisan’s Kamarabau branch, said he and other former members will continue their political struggle with PHRS instead.

Postpone tourism tax to next year, says Sarawak CM

Abang Johari Openg says this is because many local tour agents and hotels have made and paid forward bookings for their packages for early next year

PETALING JAYA - Sarawak wants the federal government to postpone the implementation of the tourism tax until next year.

In a Borneo Post report, Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said this was because many local tour agents and hotels had made and paid forward bookings for their packages for early next year.

Malaysian militant leader killed in Raqa air strikes

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian Islamic State (IS) leader, Muhammad Fudhail Omar, has been killed in an air strike in Raqa, Syria.

It is learnt that the 25-year-old militant was killed during the Syrian security forces’ offensive against the terror group in June.

Shortlisted as a possible replacement for slain notorious militant Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, the former NGO member went to Syria on May 2, 2014.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Free rabies vaccination campaign for dogs in Sarawak

KUCHING - The Sarawak Veterinary Services Department is carrying out a free rabies vaccination campaign for dogs at Mile 10, Padawan, to curb a potential outbreak of the disease.

About 25 officers, led by Kuching Veterinary senior officer Dr Nicholas Jenek, took part in the programme held at the Mile 10 community hall near here.

“We focused on dogs because they carry the rabies virus. We have five teams on duty and we welcome the public to bring their dogs for vaccination,” Dr Nicholas told reporters at the campaign on Thursday.

Cambodia widow sees dead husband in five-month-old calf

KRATIE - Cambodia’s latest social media sensation is a five-month-old calf believed by a villager to be the reincarnation of her dead husband.

Khim Hang, 74, said up to 100 people a day visit her home in northeast Kratie province to see the calf she said behaves very similar to her husband, Tol Khut, who died more than a year ago.

“I believe that the calf is my husband because whatever he does...is in exactly the same way as my husband did when he was alive,” she told Reuters Television.

Two policemen arrested for bringing prohibited items into police lock-up

IPOH - Two policemen have been detained for allegedly bringing prohibited items into the police lock-up here.

Perak Criminal Investigation Department head chief Datuk Gan Tian Kee said the policemen, a corporal and a lance corporal, were arrested at the Sentral police station of the Ipoh district police headquarters about 10pm last Tuesday.

"Following a check, two plastic bags containing battery, cigarettes, bottled drinks, chocolate, toothpaste, card and playing cards were found in a car," he said in a statement today. — Bernama

10,000 Malaysians are in Australia illegally

Nearly 10,000 Malaysians are in Australia illegally after overstaying their work and tourist visas. Malaysians form the largest group of unlawful non-citizens in Australia.

There are more than 64,000 people staying in Australia illegally. The Australian government estimated as many as 12,000 have been there for more than 20 years.

New figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection showed that temporary visitor visas were the mostly likely to be abused in Australia, The Canberra Times reported yesterday.

Seafood prices go up

KOTA KINABALU - The wholesale price of seafood in the state capital and surrounding areas has increased by about 60 per cent compared to last year.

One of the reasons is the dwindling catch of fishermen who have seen a reduction of about 50 per cent in the last four months as compared to the same period last year.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blame Malaysia’s woes on Najib and Mahathir, says author

Saying both squandered the opportunity to do away with ‘apartheid economics,’ William Pesek warns that unless the ‘unaccountable political system’ changes, Malaysia risks experiencing a lost economic decade.

Malaysia’s unenviable state today is due both to Prime Minister Najib Razak and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, says writer Willian Pesek.

Singapore offers SAF assistance to counter terrorism in Philippines

SINGAPORE - Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has offered the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) assistance to counter the threat of terrorism in Philippines together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said on Wednesday (Jul 19).

In a media release, MINDEF said the SAF's assistance will include a Republic of Singapore Air Force C-130 transport aircraft, use of the SAF's urban training villages for AFP troops, and a detachment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to enhance the AFP's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, MINDEF said.

Indonesia revokes legal status of Hizb ut-Tahrir, officially dissolves group

JAKARTA - Indonesia on Wednesday (19 July) revoked the legal status of hardline Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), officially dissolving the organisation.

Directorate General for the Administration of General Law at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights Freddy Harris said at a press conference on Wednesday the government is revoking the status of the organisation’s legal entity to “maintain the existence of Pancasila” as the country’s founding ideology and to maintain "the unity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI)".

Duterte bodyguards wounded in ambush

MANILA - Four of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's bodyguards were shot and wounded on Wednesday by suspected communist rebels a day after the insurgents warned of attacks, authorities said.

Duterte was not in the convoy when gunmen opened fire on two Presidential Security Group vehicles along a highway on the main southern island of Mindanao, they added.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dr M: I am top dog in Pakatan Harapan

PUTRAJAYA - Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today proclaimed himself the “top dog” in Pakatan Harapan.

The retired prime minister-turned-government critic was last week announced as the chairman of the four-party Pakatan Harapan, though jailed PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was named the federal Opposition pact’s de facto leader and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail its president.

“In the hierarchy, I am the top dog there,” Dr Mahathir told a press conference here.

Japanese engineers develop headset-less VR system


TOKYO - A virtual reality “space ride” in which viewers feel as if they are flying through the air inside a giant glass ball has been developed in Japan.

Young girls become unwitting ‘porn actresses’

GIRLS as young as nine years old have unknowingly become “porn actresses” after sharing their photos and videos with online friends, reported Harian Metro.

A study conducted by Onemyr Awareness Management showed that young girls’ obsession with indiscriminately befriending people online has caused them to fall into a “virtual trap”.

IT consultant Mohd Ridzman Azzahari said 10 pornographic photos and videos are uploaded on the Internet every day.

Sabah MACC says 'Kautim' is a dirty word

KOTA KINABALU - The colloquial term "kautim" (meaning settle in Cantonese) is a dirty word usually used to reflect graft and this must stop, says the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).

Sabah MACC director Datuk Shaharom Nizam Abd Manap said the word "settle" had a similar negative connotation as it implied to solving matters through corrupt means.

It was because of this that the MACC embarked on its 3J campaign – Jangan Hulur (Don't give), Jangan Kautim and Jangan Settle, he said.

Penang DAP man charged with outraging modesty of waitress

GEORGE TOWN - A former Penang Island municipal councillor was charged with outraging the modesty of a part-time nightclub waitress here at a car park two weeks ago.

L Prem Anand, 50, pleaded not guilty to the charge of outraging the modesty of the waitress, under Section 354 of the Penal Code for assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty.

Monday, July 17, 2017

PM courts flak for endorsing monster racist BTN

It would be hypocritical for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to champion moderation while at the same time endorsing the National Civics Bureau (BTN) which is perceived to be promoting racism, said Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto.

"While he advocates the idea of 1Malaysia, particularly during the 2013 general election, being the founding father of the Global Moderate Movement, a self-praising defender of the concept of 'wasatiyah' or moderation, the prime minister continues to fan the flames of separatism and discrimination by feeding the monster of racism under his very own nose, disguised as the BTN in the Prime Minister's Office," she said in a statement today.