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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Duterte willing to talk: Chickening out on Abu Sayyaf terrorists?

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte wants to know if the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) is open to holding a dialogue with the government or just continue its atrocities.

In his speech at the thanksgiving party in Cebu on Saturday night, Duterte said he does not consider the Abu Sayyaf to be an enemy despite its tag as a militant group and involvement in kidnapping foreign nationals for ransom.

The tough-talking politician, however, said the group must be clear on whether it wants to be seen as an enemy.

Mufti's 'kafir harbi' is too much, even for Perkasa

MALAYA OH MALAYA! Pahang Mufti Abdul Rahman Osman's labelling of DAP as kafir harbi - enemies of Islam that can be slain - has even surprised right wing Malay rights group Perkasa, which regards DAP as its sworn enemy.

Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali said he disagreed with the label and even asked the mufti to correct his statement.

"Perkasa is of the opinion that the Pahang mufti's statement about DAP being kafir harbi is quite overboard," he told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

Malaysia, Indonesia want Philippines to do more to tackle Abu Sayya

KOTA KINABALU - Malaysia and Indonesia are pushing for more concrete steps to improve security in the Sulu Sea and for the Philippines to take on more effective measures in tackling the kidnap-for-ransom Abu Sayyaf militant group. 

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said he and Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi want to meet the incoming Philippines Foreign Secretary after the official takes oath of office. 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Police arrest security guard in ATM heist probe

KOTA KINABALU - A security guard was arrested as police continue their probe into an incident where five masked men blew up two automated teller machines (ATMs) at a bank near here.

Penampang police chief Deputy Supt Rosley Hobden said the man was detained to assist them in their investigations into the 4.20am heist on Friday at the bank at Putatan Plaza.

He said the bank had disclosed that the total amount stolen from both ATM machines was just over RM254,000.

Villagers reclaim customary land

KOTA KINABALU - Villagers at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu are reclaiming a tract of their customary land used as the site of a lodge where the 10 western tourists had stayed before stripping on the mountain last year.

After a series of meetings with the Ranau District Office and other authorities, Sabah Electricty Sdn Bhd (SESB) cut power supply to the lodge yesterday.

The move came after villagers of Kampung Bundu Tuhan complained that the lodge operator was using six containers for his business just outside the Kinabalu Park, illegally occupying their customary land.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Largest piece of missing flight MH370 ever found on Pemba Island

If Malaysia wants the world to forget missing jet MH370 and move on, discoveries like this possible section of its wing are exceedingly inconvenient

A large piece of what may have been the wing of missing flight MH370 has been found on Pemba Island, Tanzania.

The discovery is reported on the Jamii Forums site.

Few details are given, but the images posted make it an object of strong interest.

The discovery comes as Malaysia’s authorities are reported to have become indifferent to the rising numbers of potential fragments of the lost Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER being brought to the attention of the media and authorities in Madagascar and elsewhere.

Those objects include personal items possibly belonging to the 239 people who were on board MH370 when it vanished soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Umno sacks Muhyiddin, Mukhriz

KUALA LUMPUR - Umno today sacked its former deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former Kedah mentri besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir for breaching party regulations due to their involvement with the opposition.

Former vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, on the other hand, has been suspended.

The announcement was made by Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the party’s headquarters here.

Pahang Mufti’s hate remarks can lead to violence

PETALING JAYA - A state mufti’s remarks that working with DAP, the “kafir harbi” and other non-Muslim infidels is a “huge sin” is highly irresponsible and may lead to violence, MCA’s Ti Lian Ker said today.

The MCA Religious Harmony Bureau chief said it was highly “unbecoming” of the revered mufti of a state (Pahang Mufti Abdul Rahman Osman) to increase confusion about Islam and its fine teachings.

Brexit excites parents funding UK education

KOTA KINABALU - The ongoing Brexit referendum, on whether or not the United Kingdom (UK) continues to be part of or leaves the European Union, is believed to be of little concern to most people here.

Abu Sayyaf kidnaps 7 Indonesian seamen

Seven Indonesian sailors have been taken hostage in the Sulu Sea in the southern Philippines, Indonesia’s foreign minister said today – the latest in a string of abductions in the waters between the two Southeast Asian neighbours.

Indonesian authorities have voiced concerns that piracy in the Sulu Sea area, a major sea traffic lane for the world’s top thermal coal exporter, could reach levels previously seen in Somalia.

Filipina hostage freed by Abu Sayyaf

ZAMBOANGA CITY - Filipina Marites Flor has been freed by the Abu Sayyaf more than a week after her boyfriend Canadian Robert Hall was beheaded by the terrorist group.

Marites Flor, the Filipino kidnap victim from Samal Island, has been freed, incoming Presidential peace adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza confirmed Friday.

Flor, a native of Bukidnon and the girlfriend of fellow beheaded kidnap victim Robert Hall, was freed on Thursday evening but she was only turned over to Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan II early morning Friday.

ISIS terrorist from Negeri Sembilan in gruesome beheading video warks Bukit Aman on attacks

In this Ramadan, the so-called Islamic State is still busy declaring their war through propaganda videos, the latest being one from its Southeast Asia counterpart, Khatibah Nusantara division, on Tuesday.

Another beheading video showing three captives deemed as “spies of the crusader alliance” has emerged as a group of three Southeast Asian ISIS fighters from Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, called for jihad against non-believers, taking turns to urge ISIS supporters in their home countries to stage attacks.

Britain votes and It is Brexit

LONDON - Britain has voted to leave the European Union, results from yesterday’s landmark referendum showed, a stunning repudiation of the nation’s elites that deals the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.

World financial markets plunged as nearly complete results showed a 51.8/48.2 per cent split for leaving. The vote instantly creates the biggest global financial shock since the 2008 economic crisis, this time with interest rates around the world already at or near zero, stripping policymakers of the means to fight it.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

UK votes in historic referendum on EU membership

LONDON (CNN) - After months of toxic and divisive campaigns, British voters headed to the polls Thursday in a historic referendum on whether the United Kingdom should leave the 28-member European Union

Citizens braved the morning drizzle as they lined up at the polls in London -- umbrellas in hand.

Weather across the rest of the region was mixed, with sunshine forecast in parts of Scotland and heavy showers set to move across Northern Ireland.

By elections spell doom for opposition's hope

The curtain fell on the by-elections in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar with the BN scoring landslide victories in both. How the opposition camp will put themselves together in the run-up to the next general elections will become the next big thing to draw widespread public attention.

Due to the failure of Pakatan Harapan (Amanah) to strike an accord with PAS prior to the by-elections to fight BN one-on-one, the ruling coalition has been able to enjoy the windfall from their disagreement.

BN has not only consolidated its grip of the fundamental Malay support base, but has also managed to win back the hearts of some Chinese voters, while the other two opposition parties suffered tremendous losses pitching against each other for the same voter source.

Latest IS video is evil propaganda, says Philippines military

MANILA - The Philippine military has dismissed as mere “propaganda” a video purportedly released by militants to recruit radicals from South-east Asia into the Islamic State (IS).

“People should not be bothered by this because it’s part of the propaganda they are propagating,” Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla, the military’s spokesman, told reporters.

Anti-Crime NGO chief arrested

KUALA LUMPUR - Datuk R. Sri Sanjeevan, chairman of controversial anti-crime non-governmental organisation MyWatch, and his driver have been remanded until Friday to facilitate investigations into an alleged extortion bid from an illegal gambling operator.

His lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said he expects his client to be freed once the remand order expires.

While the remand period is relatively short, it is understood that the police may request for an even longer remand period when the initial period ends on Friday.

Samarinda Port authority confirms kidnapping of crewmen

Dian Megawati Ahmad, the wife of kidnapped
crewman Ismail, with a photo of her husband
SAMARINDA, Indonesia  - The port authority here has confirmed that seven Indonesian crewmen of the TB Charles boat have been kidnapped by an unidentified group in Philippine waters.

"We can confirm the kidnapping. We are coordinating with the police and military to follow up on the report," said the Samarinda Port Authority chief Col Yus Kusmany on Thursday.

"We were informed of the kidnapping by one of the crewmen, Syaril, who was on board the boat. We were in contact with him last at 10:20 am Thursday morning. The boat was in the area around Mangkaliat cape," Kusmany said.

Taxi driver arrested over assault on Uber driver

Police act on report by Iranian tourist and urge the Uber driver to lodge a report to assist in the probe.

PETALING JAYA - Police have detained a taxi driver to assist in the investigations into the assault on a Uber driver on Monday.

China Press quoted Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Amar Singh Ishar Singh as saying the suspect, 44, was detained in Batu Caves at 11.15pm yesterday.

Police deny report that 50 cabbies attacked Uber car, tourist injured

Police has refuted reports that a tourist was injured when more than 50 taxi drivers attacked an Uber car at KL Sentral on Monday.

News Straits Times quoted Brickfields police chief assistant commissioner Sharul Othman Mansor as saying the commotion only took place between one taxi driver and an Uber driver.

"The incident took place at 12.30pm on Monday. The Uber vehicle, which was ferrying an Iranian passenger to her destination, was obstructed by two or three taxi drivers.

Why missing MH370 plane can't be found?

In March 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared from radar during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

A multinational search effort was swiftly launched but two years on, after a million square miles of ocean have been scoured and more than £47m spent, the crash site remains elusive.

So why can't the missing plane be found?

Suspected Abu Sayyaf members kidnap ship crew

Armed men believed to be members of the notorious group seize 7 of 13 crew members from a cargo ship manned by Indonesian and Malaysian sailors, a source tells Rappler

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) reportedly abducted 7 crew members of a cargo ship headed to Indonesia on Tuesday, June 22.

Lightning kills at least 93 as monsoon sweeps India

NEW DELHI (AFP) - At least 93 people have been struck by lightning and killed in India over the past two days, disaster management officials said Wednesday, as annual monsoon rains swept the country.

Lightning strikes are relatively common in India during the June-October monsoon, which hit the southern coast earlier this month, but this week's toll is particularly high.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Malaysians fund Abu Sayyaf

Yes, that’s what they have done in effect by paying 12 million Malaysian ringgit (P138 million) to the terrorist group for the release on June 8 of four of its citizens kidnapped off Sabah on April 1, and hidden in Sulu.

Sarawak to vet Islamic preachers

It is to stop preachers, including from Peninsular Malaysia, from disrupting the peaceful coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims in Sarawak.

PETALING JAYA - Sarawak is set to implement a new procedure, requiring surau and mosque managements to apply for permission to hold religious talks at their premises, at least two weeks in advance.

Special unit to tackle cyber crime?

Criminologist Akhbar Satar also suggests the Government come up with a National Plan to Fight Cybercrime.

KUALA LUMPUR - The Government has been urged to establish a dedicated cybercrime unit to tackle the Dark Web.

Akhbar Satar of the Institute of Crime and Criminology at Help University said this was necessary in view of the dangers posed by people using the World Wide Web for nefarious purposes.

‘Face’ appearing atop Mt Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU: A “face” appearing on the surface of St John’s Peak on Mount Kinabalu has startled climbers and social media users.

Images of the unique formation have gone viral.

Kinabalu Park manager Yassin Miki said the “face” was obvious in certain lighting conditions on the mountain.

“It has to be just after sunrise. The face would then become noticeable,” he said yesterday.

3 Abu Sayyaf bandits killed, 16 gov’t troops hurt in Sulu clash

Three suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits were killed while 16 government troopers were wounded during a clash in Patikul town, Sulu Tuesday afternoon.

In the same encounter, another 10 bandits were reported wounded.

Western Mindanao Command (WESMINCOM) spokesperson Major Filemon Tan said the encounter with the estimated 200-strong ASG took place around 2:20 p.m. at Sitio Bud Duwa Bayho in Patikul.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

RM12 million given to cops, insists hostages' kin

The families of four former Abu Sayyaf hostages insist that they gave the RM12 million meant for ransom to the police.

This comes after inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar denied that police had received the money.

“I still maintain what I have earlier said, which is that RM12 million was sent to Sandakan through the bank.

"If the public has any doubts, they can enquire from Hong Leong Bank,” the families’ spokesperson Lau Cheng Kiong was quoted as saying in The Borneo Post.

PKR Miri branch secretary Bill Kayong shot dead in drive-by

MIRI - PKR Miri branch secretary and Bekenu-PKR candidate Bill Kayong, 43, has been shot and killed at a traffic light intersection in broad daylight at the Kuala Baram bypass this morning (June 21).

His pickup truck, which bears the party’s logo, was shot through the driver’s side window while he was waiting for the traffic light near E-Mart supermarket to turn green.

He was reportedly shot once in the neck and was found slumped in his seat at about 9.20am.

Isis beheads 4-year-old girl then forces mother to soak hands in her blood after 'swearing to Allah'

Sick jihadists from the Islamic State (Isis) beheaded a four-year-old girl then forced her horrified mother to soak her hands in her dead daughter's blood. The latest shocking incident is said to have happened in the Daesh (Isis) de-facto capital of Raqqa, in Syria.

The extremists are renowned for their shocking punishments meted out by their feared al-Hisbah police who enforce their strict version of Sharia Law on the towns and cities they conquer. Often the punishments are handed out for seemingly minor infringements and their latest example shows just how brutal they can be.

Monday, June 20, 2016

MH370: Photos of personal items found on Madagascar Beach released

An Angry Bird bag found
Photos of several personal items that washed up on a Madagascar beach have been released, suspecting links to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The items, which included purses, backpacks and part of a laptop case, were found by independent searcher Blaine Gibson, BBC reported.

The photos were reportedly released by campaigners for families of those on board the missing Boeing 777-200. The items were discovered earlier in June on Riake beach, on the island of Nosy Boraha in northeast Madagascar. Gibson, who found two pieces of debris that may be from the aircraft during the same time, said that it could be possible that the items may be irrelevant in the search for Flight MH370.

Bodies pile up as Filipino police show new boss they're tough on drugs

MANILA - Philippine police killed 11 suspected drug dealers during operations at the weekend, police said on Monday, adding to a surge of drugs-related killings since Rodrigo Duterte swept an election last month on promises to wipe out crime.

Duterte's single-issue campaign of tackling illegal drugs and other crime within six months, and his staunch advocacy of extrajudicial killings, struck a chord with Filipino voters. However, rights groups have rebuked him over concerns that, as president, he would live up to his nickname of "the punisher".

Global migrant tide swells to record 65 million

Geneva (AFP) - The number of refugees and others fleeing their homes worldwide has hit a new record, spiking to 65.3 million people by the end of 2015, the United Nations said Monday.

Europe's high-profile migrant crisis, its worst since World War II, is just one part of a growing tide of human misery led by Palestinians, Syrians and Afghans.

Globally, approaching one percent of humanity has been forced to flee.

Bumburing elected new president of PCS

KOTA KINABALU - Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), a multiracial opposition party, will be establishing up to 26 divisions based on the state constituencies, said its newly-elected president, Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Bumburing.

Mayor claims military in cahoots with Abu Sayyaf

But AFP denies claim, insists no traitors in its ranks

DAVAO CITY - Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin accused the military of colluding with the notorious ISIS-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and said some officers partook of the ransoms paid for the freedom of some of the group’s hostages.

Amin claimed that military officials had been using some Abu Sayyaf members as their “assets,” a slang to refer to spy or informant.

He asked the government to investigate these officers who are in cahoots with the terrorists and for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct a loyalty check among its ranks.

Abu Sayyaf said they received only P100M (RM8.8 million) instead of P130M ransom

Families and friends of four Malaysian sailors abducted in April this year by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) have paid a ransom of P130 million (RM12 million), but only P100 million has reached the bandit group, highly placed sources said.

The missing amount raised suspicions the rebels may be in cahoots with government officials from Malaysia and the Philippines who may have shared the money among themselves.

According to two highly placed senior Philippine government officials, the payment of ransom was confirmed by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Husband murdered in rare male Pakistan ‘honour killing’

MULTAN, Pakistan - A man’s throat was slit by relatives of his wife who disapproved of their marriage in the latest “honour killing” to hit Pakistan, police said Saturday.

Hundreds of women are murdered by relatives in conservative Muslim Pakistan each year on the pretext of defending what is seen as family honour, but it is rare for victim to be a man.

The murder happened at a marketplace in the Punjab city of Burewala on Friday, when Muhammad Irshad, 43, was attacked by his father-in-law and two brothers in-law, police said.

Ransom or not, there will be no answer

Having been incarcerated by the Abu Sayyaf militants in southern Philippines for 69 days, the four hostages from Sibu have finally been freed from captivity to return home safely. Not only are their families overjoyed at their safe return, the entire country also rejoices with them.

In a media conference, the hostages knelt down on the floor to thank the government, police, members of the public and the media for their assistance so that they could come back alive. By right, this should have been a happy ending to the entire issue. However, following their safe return, the question of ransom continues to raise queries as the police and hostages' families tell their own sides of the story.

Philippine Armed Forces deny links with Abu Sayyaf bandits

MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) strongly denied on Saturday allegations that some of its officers are in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits.

"Our armed forces and police have been at the forefront of the fight against all KFRGs (kidnapping-for-ransom groups) and the ASG for a long time. We have lost so many servicemen in the process. We do not doubt the dedication and commitment of our troops," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.

With split opposition, BN wins with big majority

PETALING JAYA - Barisan Nasional has retained the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary seats by thumping majorities of 9,191 and 6,969 votes respectively.

Barisan candidate Budiman Mohd Zohdi of Umno polled 16,800 votes in Sungai Besar compared to Amanah’s Azhar Abdul Shukur’s 7,609 with Dr Abdul Rani Osman of PAS emerging third with 6,902 votes.

In Kuala Kangsar, Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid of Barisan polled 12,653 votes.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Search for MH370 may be in wrong area, Australian Aviation expert claims

An Australian aviation expert has raised doubts over the current search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, saying that the jet went down into the sea west of the Malaysian mainland. The comments come as several debris pieces have been found in Mauritius, the South African nation of Mozambique and in Madagascar over the last few months.

What is 'the Terrorist Watch List' and how it works

For years, the government’s closely held terrorist watch lists have been shrouded in secrecy. But thanks to leaked 2013 government documents first obtained by The Intercept, details of the watch list program have emerged.

Counterterrorism experts interviewed by ABC News believe the documents are authentic.

What Are Terrorist Watch Lists?

What is commonly referred to as "the watch list" is actually a collection of lists, beginning with the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) run by the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center.

'Runaway ostrich' craze heats up with unique ads

KUALA LUMPUR - Chikaboo, the ostrich that dashed her way into every Malaysian’s heart via the Federal Highway yesterday, has now become nation’s hottest celebrity.

Although the bird has been rescued and is now safely with her owner and friend, her fame is apparently still going strong.

The ostrich has become a phenomenon among Malaysian, so much so that the day after her surprise appearance on the Federal Highway, several organisations have latched onto her ‘feathers’.

Smartphone maker Huawei was arguably the first, to capitalise on the ostrich trend.

On their Facebook page yesterday, they posted an image of their phone being used to capture the image of an ostrich, boasting of their in-phone camera’s focus with the tagline, “Focus faster than a feathered fugitive.”

Domino’s meanwhile promoted their two pizza deal for Ramadan, featuring an image of an ostrich carrying pizzas.

Foreign labourers are becoming bosses, says economist

PETALING JAYA - Times are a-changing. Blue collar foreign workers in Malaysia are climbing the ladder faster than expected by opening businesses traditionally run by locals, making it harder for youths to earn a living, said an economist.

The foreign workers start off working as cashiers in clothing stores, jewellery shops, restaurants, mechanic workshops, construction businesses and selling mobile phones.

M’sian, Indonesian, Philippine security forces to fight Abu Sayyaf together

The Malaysian Armed Forces will work with the security forces of the Philippines and Indonesia to foil attempts by Abu Sayyaf militants hunted by Philippine troops from escaping from Sulu, said Chief of Defence Forces Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.

This was a follow-up to the Philippine deployment of 5,000 troops in Sulu to hunt down the Abu Sayyaf militants who had beheaded two Canadian hostages in the past two months after failing to get their demanded ransom, he said.

Incoming Philippine president steps in to save hostages

MANILA, Philippines - Less than 13 days before they assume office, members of the incoming Cabinet security cluster of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte are making last-ditch efforts to prevent another beheading by the Abu Sayyaf.

Incoming justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said they are trying to help save the remaining hostages from being executed by the Abu Sayyaf, citing in particular Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Now IGP denies police involved with paying ransom money

PUTRAJAYA - Any payment to secure the release of the four Sarawakian sailors were made by their families without the involvement of the police, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar. 

He said police were not involved in paying for the hostages to be freed.

Khalid also denied claims that the Special Branch had received the RM12mil raised by the families. 

Abu Sayyaf releases grisly video of Robert Hall’s beheading

The Abu Sayyaf has released a gruesome video showing the beheading of Canadian hostage Robert Hall. 

The video starts off with two militants standing over Hall, who is made to kneel down before them, with the Islamic State flag in the background. 

The 90-second video seemed to have been shot in a jungle. 

In his last moments, Hall is seen wearing an orange t-shirt and black sweatpants while his hands seemed to be tied behind his back. 

One of the militants in the video held Hall’s head while the other hand is seen holding a rambo knife. 

Throughout the video, another militant, wearing a ski mask, stands behind Hall and recites a prayer in Arabic, which lasted about 45 seconds.  

CEO: Many MAS employees doing nothing, sleeping

Outgoing Malaysian Airlines Bhd (MAS) CEO Christoph Muller said he had to cut 6,000 jobs because many of the 20,000 employees were “doing nothing”.

He said when he first took over MAS, he was not impressed with the state that the Malaysian flag carrier was in.

"Despite all the announcements by the government, a turnaround wasn't initiated by the time I became CEO.