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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Top powers split over Libya options

Western powers are weighing the military option against Libya's Muammar Gaddafi with US ships being moved to waters closer to Libya and more calls being made for a "no-fly zone" over the North African country.
Russia has however described the no-fly zone idea as "superfluous" and along with France cautioned against moving militarily against Gaddafi without UN authorisation.
“At the moment it seems that the international community is not speaking with one voice on this issue, so in the meantime we will have to wait to see how this plays out,” Al Jazeera’s John Terrett, reporting from Washington, said.
While Jay Carney, a White House spokesman, said on Tuesday that the ships are being moved in order to prepare for contingencies of a chiefly humanitarian nature, he was quick to add that "we aren't taking any options off the table."
Ships to enter Suez
Two US amphibious assault ships, the USS Kearsarge, which can carry 2,000 marines, and the USS Ponce, will pass through Egypt's Suez Canal on Wednesday morning, an Egyptian official said on Tuesday.
The official said the ships would enter the canal at 03:30 GMT.
David Cameron, the British prime minister, on his part said the international community cannot let Gaddafi "murder" his own people, as he justified considerations for a no-fly zone.
Click here for more of Al Jazeera's special coverage
"It's not acceptable that Colonel Gaddafi can be murdering his own people, using aeroplanes and helicopters gunships ... and we have to plan now to make sure that if it happens we can do something to stop that," he said.
"If he starts taking that sort of action we might need to have a no-fly zone in place very quickly."
His comments came as Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, meet Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary-general, in Brussels, the Belgian capital, over the situation in Libya.
Cameron said he had asked the ministry of defence to work with its allies over plans for a no-fly zone.
He added his government would consider arming opposition groups fighting in Libya.
However, a senior US military official has warned that establishing a no-fly zone in Libya would be a "challenging" military operation.
"My military opinion is that it would be challenging," General James Mattis, commander of US Central Command, told a Senate hearing. "You would have to remove air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here. It would be a military operations - it wouldn't be just telling people not to fly airplanes."
Russia against no-fly zone
Senior Russian officials have ruled out the idea of creating a no-fly zone over Libya.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, described the idea of imposing limits on Libyan air space as "superfluous" and said world powers must instead focus on fully using the sanctions approved by the UN Security Council over the weekend.
The United Nations general assembly on Monday unanimously suspended Libya's membership of the UN Human Rights Council, citing the government's use of violence against protesters.
A statement said that Libya had committed "gross and systematic violations of human rights".
Dmitry Rogozin,  Russia's NATO ambassador, cautioned against moving militarily against Gaddafi without UN authorisation.
"If someone in Washington is seeking a blitzkrieg in Libya, it is a serious mistake because any use of military force outside the NATO responsibility zone will be considered a violation of international law," Rogozin told Russia's Interfax news agency in Brussels.
"A ban on the national air force or civil aviation to fly over their own territory is still a serious interference into the domestic affairs of another country, and at any rate it requires a resolution of the UN Security Council," Rogozin said.
Mikhail Margelov, a leading Kremlin-allied parliamentarian, said US military action in Libya could "kill the shoots of democracy in the region".
France urges UN mandate
France has said military intervention in Libya could only go ahead with a clear United Nations mandate.
"At the moment I speak, no military intervention is planned," Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, said.
"Different options can be assessed, notably a no-fly zone. But let me put it clearly here - no intervention will happen without a clear UN Security Council mandate".
NATO says any intervention in Libya would have to be UN-authorised.
 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that even more action beyond UN sanctions might be needed, because in Libya "a regime that has lost legitimacy has declared war on its own people."
"It is up to us, the community of nations, to stand against this crime," Ban said in New York.
Barak Seener, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, told Al Jazeera that any UN resolution backing a no-fly zone "would have to demand that the no-fly zone is not open ended and subject to review at certain intervals".
He said as most of the atrocities are taking place on the ground, such a plan could lead to a no-drive zone, or a no-sail zone, and so clear parameters would be needed.
John Rees from the London-based Stop the War Coalition has said such military intervention would be a "prelude to a new war" and a "classic foreign policy blunder".
In an interview with the BBC he said Egypt and Tunisia had proved that people were capable of overthrowing their governments without the help of Western nations.
He added that Libyans were capable of toppling Gaddafi's regime alone, saying large sections of the military had already defected.
Talks over military intervention come after the United Nations Security Council backed a resolution condemning Gaddafi's actions, imposing travel bans and asset freezes on key government figures.
The European Union has also approved its own sanctions on Libya, including an arms embargo and travel bans, and a number of nations, including Britain, the US, Germany, Canada, Switzerland and Austria have announced their own asset freezes.
Al Jazeera and agencies

One eye on Sarawak, Pakatan resigned to by-election losses

PAS president Datuk Hadi Awang and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin shake hands after nominations were completed in Kerdau.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — With its heart and mind already focussed on crucial Sarawak polls — possibly a month away — a lethargic Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is counting the cost of campaigning in the ongoing twin by-elections.

The opposition pact seems loathe to pour resource into the March 6 vote in Kerdau and Merlimau, in the hope of making gains in the Borneo state to create momentum for a general election that is expected to be called within a year.

“Sarawak and the general election coming up and we need to save ourselves for the big elections,” PAS central committee member Dzulkefly Ahmad admitted to The Malaysian Insider.

PAS, which is contesting both state assembly seats which have no bearing on the respective state governments, is finding their finances stretched and election fatigue has set in for both leaders and the electorate.

Many of its top leaders have not yet made their presence felt since the campaign started proper on Saturday.

In Kerdau, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang attracted a crowd of about 400 for his ceramah on nomination day itself while the charismatic central committee member Mohamed Sabu achieved about a tenth of that subsequently.

Alarmingly for PR, both events had the appearance of “members-only” affairs with much of the crowd being made up of party’s own machinery.

Its coalition partners — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will give his first ceramah tonight in Merlimau — have also been sluggish in rallying behind the Islamic party.

Pahang DAP chief Leong Ngah Ngah has also been allowed to leave for Chiang Mai, Thailand instead of heading his party’s efforts in Kerdau, the clearest sign that PR are not pulling all the stops to make gains in the contest.

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said that PR are demoralised after a recent run of by-election defeats and would rather conserve resources than expend them on seats that BN won by handsome margins in the 2008 general election.

“They already have one eye on Sarawak, and it will have a bigger impact if they can make gains there than just one or two by-elections,” he said, adding that PR was obliged to contest in the two BN strongholds.

There has been talk among PAS leaders of “choosing the right battles” but Dzulkefly today said that “if we shy away, we will come away even worse off” despite the 16 by-elections since the 2008 election already thinning out resources.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has been practically camped out in the two constituencies as Barisan Nasional (BN) election director.

Felda settlers in Kerdau have paid little heed to any of the campaigning since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrived early in the campaign to promise that funds were readily available in return for their continued support.

“Whatever we need, we get from BN,” one Felda settler told The Malaysian Insider.

PAS has not seen better luck in Merlimau either, as reformed actor Bob Lokman who recently joined the party has failed to draw in young voters to their ceramah.

Aside from PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa, Anwar is the first top PR leader to make the rounds in Melaka with neither Abdul Hadi nor spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat scheduled to speak during the campaign.

It has led Melaka PAS deputy commissioner Adly Zahari to admit that it will need to realign its strategy to focus on door-to-door visits to garner support from the voters.

BN has won four of the last five by-elections and appear to be gathering support before coalition chairman and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak calls for early snap polls.

Apa yang dipinda dalam Interlok?

Orang ramai masih tertanya-tanya kenapa anggota Panel tidak mengeluarkan sebarang kenyataan media selepas bermesyuarat.Kesemua anggota panel itu memilih untuk tidak mengeluarkan sebarang kenyataan kepada media mengenai perkara-perkara yang dibincangkan dalam mesyuarat.
PETALING JAYA: Panel Bebas Mengkaji Pindaan Novel Interlok sudah memulakan tugas yang diamanahkan dengan mengadakan mesyuarat pertama pada 16 Februari lalu.
Bagaimanapun, orang ramai masih tertanya-tanya kenapa kesemua anggota panel itu memilih untuk tidak mengeluarkan sebarang kenyataan kepada media mengenai perkara-perkara yang dibincangkan dalam mesyuarat.
Presiden Kumpulan Sasterawan Kavyan (Kavyan), Uthaya Sankar SB yang juga salah seorang anggota panel bebas itu berkata, proses pindaan sedang dilakukan mengikut terma rujukan yang ditetapkan Kementerian Pelajaran.
“Saya tidak boleh mengulas lanjut kerana panel belum membuat sebarang keputusan,” katanya apabila dihubungi pagi tadi.
Uthaya dan Kavyan sebenarnya mempunyai banyak maklumat mengenai novel Interlok edisi 1996, 2003, 2005 dan 2010 berikutan kajian mendalam yang dilakukan sejak kontroversi Interlok edisi murid tercetus pada 15 Disember 2010.
Kavyan mengadakan taklimat khas di Shah Alam pada 16 Januari lalu untuk menjelaskan pelbagai perkara mengenai novel itu, manakala Uthaya menulis siri artikel di Free Malaysia Today dan di untuk menghuraikan banyak hal berkaitan kontroversi novel Interlok secara terperinci.
Sekiranya segala maklumat yang dibentangkan semasa taklimat Kavyan dan hal-hal yang disentuh dalam tulisan Uthaya diambil kira, tentu banyak perkara yang perlu dipinda dalam novel Interlok edisi murid.
Perkara-perkara yang perlu dimurnikan mengikut pendirian Kavyan bukan hanya perkataan “paria” dan “kasta” tetapi sekurang- kurangnya seratus perkara yang menyentuh sensitiviti kaum, menghina kaum India, kesilapan fakta dan kesalahan bahasa yang nyata.
Semasa Wacana Interlok di Universiti Malaya pada 26 Januari lalu, Uthaya menegaskan, “sekiranya masih ada bantahan terhadap cadangan supaya novel Interlok edisi murid dimurnikan (termasuk membetulkan segala kesalahan fakta berkaitan budaya kaum India dan agama Hindu), maka tidak ada pilihan lain selain meminta novel itu dikeluarkan terus daripada dijadikan teks Komsas”. Kenyataan itu turut dipaparkan di blognya pada 30 Januari lalu.
Adalah tidak keterlaluan untuk mengharapkan Uthaya terus berpegang pada pendirian itu selepas dilantik menjadi anggota panel bebas bersama-sama dua lagi wakil kaum India.
Dengan mengandaikan bahawa Uthaya, Profesor N S Rajendran dan G Krishnabahawan sependapat dalam proses memurnikan novel Interlok edisi murid, pasti banyak pindaan yang boleh diharapkan.
Kesalahan fakta
Berikut antara kesalahan fakta yang dinyatakan semasa taklimat Kavyan pada 16 Januari lalu di Perpustakaan Raja Tun Uda, Shah Alam:
Halaman 211 – Watak Maniam bukan “paria” seperti digambarkan kerana dia berangkat ke Pulau Pinang menerusi Sistem Kemasukan Buruh Bebas yang melibatkan kos tinggi. Keluarga Maniam juga memiliki beberapa ekor lembu (halaman 214), selain sebuah rumah dan sebidang tanah (halaman 215).
Halaman 211 – Penari Kathakali tidak memakai topeng seperti digambarkan.
Halaman 211 – Malabari tidak terletak di utara Tamil Nadu seperti digambarkan.
Halaman 216 – Majoriti kaum India di Pulau Pinang pada sekitar tahun 1910 adalah orang Tamil, bukan Malayali seperti digambarkan.
Halaman 219 – Brahma merujuk kepada dewa dalam agama Hindu, bukan sistem kasta seperti digambarkan.
Halaman 226 – Daun pokok kelapa digunakan untuk membuat perhiasan, bukan buah kelapa seperti digambarkan.
Halaman 227 – Upacara perkahwinan agama Hindu tidak melibatkan penyembahan kaman (dewa cinta) dan dewa Palikai seperti digambarkan.
Halaman 228 – Mangala sutra disebut taali dan bukan tali (string) kerana kedua-duanya adalah objek yang amat berbeza.
Halaman 234 – Cara menghidangkan rasam dan sambar adalah salah sama sekali.
Halaman 235 – Wanita India tidak memanggil suami menggunakan namanya seperti digambarkan.
Halaman 236 – Anak-anak kaum India tidak memanggil bapa mereka sebagai “papa” seperti digambarkan.
Halaman 240 – Entah mengapa Perumal, seorang lelaki, yang membawa mas kahwin sedangkan Maniam berkahwin dengan Malini!

Pekan: Royal town and PM's constituency, but...

HARAKAHDAILY EXCLUSIVE When even a royal town which doubles as the prime minister's own constituency is a picture of filth, why should one expect anything more for Malaysia's other towns and cities? Harakahdaily's ARSHAD KHAN recently stopped at Pekan, Pahang, and vowed never to return.
Whatever happened to Malaysia's health inspectors and enforcement? Do such departments and their personnel still exist or have they absorbed into other departments with different roles?
Somehow, these departments really do not exist anymore for the last decade or so, otherwise how could the food outlets be allowed to operate under unhygienic conditions?
Pekan, Pahang is just one of the hundreds of towns all over the country with dirty eateries and zero enforcement. But other than being honoured with the country's top member of parliament as its representative, there is little else the residents here could be proud of.
Pekan is a small coastal town near the mouth of the Pahang river. There are some important features and dwellings but do not attract much tourists except those needing a journey’s break bound for the north from the south or the other way around.
This was supposed to be motorway but converted for food stalls
There are no food for the adventurous palates and cottage products are negligible. Treeless and hot, it has nothing to offer to outsiders.
Even the fact that the Prime Minister hails from Pekan has not made the place popular other than some ‘planned’ industries for livelihood of the voters. The indigenous people have been driven out of their natural habitat in the nearby forests and placed in ramshackles with nothing much to do for a decent living; theirs is a pathetic situation even though they are the real people of the land we live in.
What happened to their former forests? Your guess is as good as mine! Did someone scream "Timber!"?
Never flowing water in drains
In Pekan’s town centre we find garbage strewn almost behind every building, in the drains and alley ways. All over, the drains do not flow but remain stagnant with dark - at times pus-like, water heavily loaded with all sorts of garbage. Does this remind you of anything?
Yes, riverside dwellings where all the human activities one could think of are done daily. They are like the buffalo tied to a pole, grazing, does its business, and then sits down after a while for a rest or snooze!
Yes, that is how people should be compared. People who can think have choices whereas buffaloes cannot think like man and when they are tied, have no choice at all. Humans are not tied at a point but never learn.
Old stalls left to rot, attracting cockroaches, rats and flies
So what sort of garbage are we talking about? Every kind, mainly plastic bags, paper wrappings, sand, litter swept from shops, cigarette butts and packets, discarded clothes, household items, etc.
How could this happen? Garbage bins are nowhere to be seen and collection of garbage is not systematic but erratic. Damaged drains trap or impede the flow of garbage-laden water. All these dirty sites are within sight and around food outlets.
How is it Malaysia is unable to enforce the no-smoking law at food outlets? Smokers are among the biggest culprits, not only with littering but air pollution and health hazard.
What happens during and after each annual flood that strikes Pekan? All the garbage from the drains, alleys and other locations float freely around. When the floods subside, this garbage rots, attracting all sorts of diseases, pests and hence the spread of these diseases, some fatal.
Do not forget the stench! Do the relevant authorities think in this way or are they capable of thinking ahead?
Leaking sewage tanks, disposed garbage
This location in Pekan was visited early February 2011. When I asked around why garbage collection is not carried out, "we do not know anything" was one answer.
Another, "what can we do? When we forget to pay rent or tax, then someone will come over or during election times".
Then why do you vote for the same people, I normally would ask. "What choice do we have? We would be chased out if someone were unhappy with us". Such answers are common.
So, who has been slacking? The politicians or the civil servants? Perhaps the civil servants wait till they get orders from their political masters or someone else? All work should have been programmed and funds allocated the previous year and then carried out accordingly in the current year.
At times I hear "no more funds or funds not available". How could this happen? Maybe the funds make ‘U’ turns, get leaked or misappropriated. What else is new.

Anwar Bawa Dokumen Bukti Hubungan Apco-Israel

Dari Keadilan Daily

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim membuat kejutan kepada pengundi Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Merlimau apabila mendedahkan salinan dokumen perjanjian antara Apco Worldwide dan kerajaan Israel yang ditandatangani pada 1991 – bukti pertalian erat kedua-dua pihak.

Ketua Umum KEADILAN itu turut membaca satu perenggan sebelum menyerahkan kepada jurugambar media tempatan yang berebut-rebut mahu merakam dokumen berkenaan.

“Tarikh dokumen ini bila? Tahun 1991. Apa berlaku pada 1999? Ehud Barrack (Perdana Menteri Israel) anjur kempen One Israel. Pada 2009 pula, (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) memperkenal Satu Malaysia.

“Pada 1999 juga, Ehud kemuka slogan ‘People First’, Najib pula ‘Rakyat Didahulukan’. Kemudian, Ehud buat klinik untuk rakyat Israel. Najib buat apa? Klinik Satu Malaysia.

“Ke-be-tu-lan,” sindir Anwar dengan disambut sorakan kira-kira 3,000 hadiri yang memenuhi lokasi ceramah di Merlimau Pasir di sini, malam tadi.

Anwar pada Disember tahun lalu digantung dari menghadiri sidang Parlimen selama enam bulan selepas mendedahkan persamaan slogan One Israel dan Satu Malaysia dengan mengaitkan peranan Apco, tanpa diberi peluang membela diri.

Turut digantung ialah Mohamed Azmin Ali (KEADILAN-Gombak), R Sivarasa (KEADILAN- Subang), dan Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor).

Kerajaan Malaysia sebelum ini, walaupun menafikan slogan Satu Malaysia hasil ilham Apco, mengaku membayar RM70 juta kepada firma perunding antarabangsa yang didalangi pemimpin Israel-Zionis itu.

Antara pegawai kanan Apco ialah bekas Duta Israel ke Jerman, Shimon Stein yang berkhidmat dalam kerajaan Israel dan berperanan penting dalam pentadbiran dua bekas Presiden Amerika, Bill Clinton dan Jimmy Carter, selain menjadi bekas ahli lembaga pengarah Yayasan Jerusalem.

Pegawai kanan lain ialah Itamar Rabinovich, bekas duta Israel ke AS dan Ketua Perunding Israel dengan kerajaan Syria ketika Yitzak Rabin masih menguasai kerajaan Israel.

Selain bukti itu, Anwar pada ceramah berkenaan turut membawa salinan dokumen laporan Global Financial Integrity (GFI) yang menunjukkan aliran keluar wang haram dari Malaysia sebanyak RM888 bilion (AS$291 bilion) dalam tempoh sembilan tahun sejak 2000.

Beliau berkata, jumlah itu menyamai wang yang dilarikan dua diktator iaitu bekas Presiden Tunisa, Zainal Abidien Ben Ali mahupun bekas Presiden Mesir, Hosni Mubarak selepas diguling rakyat negara masing-masing.

Anwar juga kesal kerana kerajaan Umno Barisan Nasional (BN) sehingga kini berdiam diri tanpa membuat sebarang siasatan, jauh sekali mengheret mereka yang terlibat ke muka pengadilan.

“Jika Pakatan Rakyat memerintah negara, kita akan menjalankan siasatan terperinci. Ini memalukan negara di mata dunia,” katanya.

Laporan itu menunjukkan Malaysia berada di tangga kelima dari senarai panjang negara yang terlibat dalam pengaliran keluar wang secara salah seperti wang rasuah mahupun wang lari cukai.

Pada ceramah itu, Anwar turut mengulangi janji Pakatan Rakyat untuk menurunkan harga petrol sehari selepas menawan Putrajaya.

Malah, gaya beliau membuat pengumuman penurunan harga petrol mencuit hati hadirin yang menggamatkan suasana dengan bersorak, dikuti laungan takbir.

Selain Anwar, beberapa pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat termasuk calon PAS bagi DUN Merlimau, Yuhaizad Abdullah; Pengarah Komunikasi KEADILAN, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad; Ahli Parlimen Hulu Langat, Abdullah Sani; Ketua Penerangan PAS Pusat, Idris Ahmad dan Ahli Parlimen Kota Raja, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud turut menyampaikan ceramah.

Gadhafi's regime cites key towns in effort to regain control

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi tried to retake a town near the capital that is under opposition control but were repelled, an opposition leader in the town told CNN Tuesday.

The source said pro-Gadhafi troops with tanks and anti-aircraft guns attacked Zawiya from both east and west as night fell Monday, but did not capture the town, which is a short drive from the capital, Tripoli.

A senior official in Gadhafi's regime denied that government forces attacked rebels in Zawiya.

Senior members of the government told CNN the towns of Zawiya and Misrata are particularly important in their effort to regain control of the country. The officials insisted they want a peaceful resolution.

But witnesses have described repeated violent efforts by the regime to take back control of areas Gadhafi has lost. More parts of the regime have broken off, joining calls for Gadhafi to halt the violence.

In London, the Libyan Embassy said it was siding with the opposition, condemning what it called "all acts of murder and terror" taking place in Libya.

Zawiya was calm Tuesday, but Gadhafi's troops remained nearby, the opposition leader and another source in the town said. CNN is not naming them to protect their safety.

A witness in Misrata on Tuesday said that city also was calm. But many Misrata residents make their living traveling to farmlands about 10 kilometers from the city, and they are being attacked by pro-Gadhafi forces when they try to access their lands, the witness said. On Monday, two people were killed, the witness said.

Tripoli remained quiet Tuesday as more people tried to resume normal life. Prices of basic goods have increased, greatly exacerbating the situation. A Tripoli resident said she cannot receive her salary this week due to unspecified problems in the bank. Some residents of the city have told CNN they want to protest but fear being killed.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the leader's 38-year-old son who has spoken on behalf of the regime during the protests, told CNN his talks with the opposition are in "chaos" because the opposition is divided with no clear leaders.

Many Libyans have rejected the younger Gadhafi's remarks during the uprising.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Libya's future is unclear. "In the years ahead, Libya could become a peaceful democracy, or it could face protracted civil war," she told the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. "The stakes are high. And this is an unfolding example of how we use the combined assets of diplomacy, development, and defense to protect our interests and advance our values."

"We have joined the Libyan people in demanding that Gadhafi must go -- now, without further violence or delay -- and we are working to translate the world's outrage into action and results," she said.

The United States has said all options are "on the table" with respect to Libya.

A top U.S. general said Tuesday that any effort to establish a no-fly zone over the country would be a military operation that would include eliminating Libya's air defenses. It would be "challenging," U.S. Central Command leader Gen. James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services committee.

Clinton said a no-fly zone is one idea under consideration.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley sent a tweet citing Gadhafi's remarks in an interview with ABC and the BBC.

"Qaddafi tells ABC News: All my people with me, they love me. They will die to protect me. The Libyan people tell Qaddafi: You go first!" Crowley wrote.

Gadhafi, in the interview Monday, denied using force against his people and even denied the existence of the protests.

"No demonstration at all in the streets," the 68-year-old ruler said, speaking at a restaurant in Tripoli.

Told by the BBC's Jeremy Bowen that he had seen demonstrators in the streets that morning, Gadhafi asked, "Are they supporting us?"

"They love me, all my people with me, they love me all. They will die to protect me, my people," said Gadhafi, who has controlled Libya for nearly 42 years.

As the world has stepped up pressure on Gadhafi, several countries have frozen assets belonging to him and his family. Austria's central bank said it was freezing all assets held by the family, while Germany said it was freezing 2 million euros ($2.76 million) belonging to one of Gadhafi's sons, without specifying which.

Pearson, the company that owns Penguin Books and the Financial Times, said it was freezing shares held by the Libyan Investment Authority.

Over the past two weeks in Libya, government forces have repeatedly clashed with demonstrators, fired on crowds and at times shot indiscriminately at people in the streets, numerous witnesses have told CNN.

It is unclear how many people have died. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said deaths have topped 1,000, while Libya's ambassador to the United States estimated Monday that the death toll was about 2,000.

The ambassador, Ali Suleiman Aujali, told CNN the figure is based on information from Tripoli and telephone calls. He described Gadhafi's regime as "very cruel."

"I think we realize that he's crazy," said Aujali, who has worked as a diplomat for Gadhafi for 40 years. "But we have no alternative. We have no ways to get rid of him until now," he said, referring to protests inspired by the successful ousters of leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

A Libyan woman said she believes protesters will eventually succeed in ousting Gadhafi because "too much blood has been shed."

Soon after Gadhafi's interview, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the Libyan strongman sounded "delusional."

"And when he can laugh in talking to American and international journalists while he is slaughtering his own people, it only underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected he is from reality," she said.

A witness in Misrata, who is not being identified for security reasons, said Gadhafi's claims are inconsistent and nonsensical.

"Gadhafi has been making all kinds of things ... at one moment, he's saying that all of the Libyan people are taking hallucinogens. Another moment he's saying that we're all members of al Qaeda and that we're extremist Muslims. He's all over the place," she said.

"Libyans are not members of al Qaeda -- that's absolutely ridiculous. And not everyone's on drugs here. We're fighting for our basic rights -- the right to freedom, the right to education, the right to health care, the right to clean water. The right to -- just basic human rights, and that we will continue to fight until this regime falls."

Aujali is among sever Libyan officials around the world have defected, joining calls for Gadhafi's ouster.

HRP vice-president,info chief nabbed

Solidarity Against UMNO's Racism

DBKL grants Batu Estate residents reprieve

Today in court: Anwar Ibrahim, trial within a trial

Utusan’s role is to back Umno, says editor

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Utusan Malaysia is duty-bound to support Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN), the daily’s group editor-in-chief told an internal inquiry today probing charges that a senior journalist had tarnished the newspaper’s public image.

The first day of Utusan’s domestic inquiry against National Union of Journalist (NUJ) president Hata Wahari saw group editor-in-chief, Datuk Aziz Ishak, defending the daily’s pro-government stance.

According to Hata, Aziz had told the inquiry that it was the duty of the Malay-language newspaper to defend the interests of the ruling BN coalition.

“He explained that the position of the newspaper is to support Umno and Barisan Nasional,” Hata told The Malaysian Insider, after the end of the first day of the inquiry.

“But when asked about the opposition, he said that we don’t have any policy on the opposition,” he added.

Aziz had also questioned his loyalty to Utusan and whether he had a right to issue statements in his capacity as NUJ president while serving as a journalist for the Umno-owned newspaper.

When contacted Aziz refused to comment on his testimony, saying that a statement would only be issued upon completion of the inquiry.

Earlier Hata claimed that today’s proceedings violated a directive from Minister of Human Resources, Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, who according to Hata had directed Utusan to postpone the inquiry and to negotiate with the NUJ leadership.

Hata has been accused of insulting Utusan’s management and tarnishing Utusan’s image through statements issued by him to various news portals between September 21 and October 14 last year.

He caused a stir when he urged the authorities to act against Utusan’s editors for stoking racial sentiment in its reports.

Hata also blamed the drop in the national daily’s sales on the editors for pushing what he called racial rhetoric.

He was suspended on January 11 and has been denied entry into Utusan offices for the duration of the inquiry.

The domestic inquiry was first scheduled for January 17 but was later postponed to January 19.

It was then rescheduled to January 25, and was postponed again because Hata was hospitalised for chest pains.

It was postponed yet again from February 9 because of his medical check-up.

On February 22, the inquiry was postponed to today after both parties failed to reach an agreement over Hata’s representation and his request for proceedings to be recorded.

The inquiry, however, allowed NUJ-Utusan chairman, Taufik Razak, and one of its executive councillors, Hayad Sueet, to sit in as observers.

NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) had previously asked Utusan to call off the inquiry.

Utusan was founded in Singapore in 1939 by Malay intellectuals, including the republic’s first president, Yusof Ishak, but the company’s ownership was taken over by Umno in 1961.

British, Canadian governments urged to freeze Taib’s assets

Anti-Taib Mahmud protests in London and Ottawa greeted commuters heading for work in his-family owned buildings yesterday.
KUALA LUMPUR: Armed with banners and placards slamming corrupt Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, several environmentalists and human rights activists took to the streets in London and Ottawa yesterday urging the British and Canadian governments respectively to freeze his assets.
Both protests were held in front of Taib-family owned businesses – Ridgeford Properties Ltd and Ridgeford Consulting Ltd and Sakto Corporation – in London and Canada respectively.
The London protest is believed to have been led by Radio Free Sarawak deejay Peter John Jaban, a native Sarawakian, and online portal Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown.
The Ottawa protest is said to have been helmed by Mutang Urud, an indigenous leader from Sarawak who has been living in exile in Canada since the early 1990s.
Mutang was arrested and placed in solitary confinement by the Taib government in February 1992 for running the Sarawak Indigenous Peoples’ Association (SIPA).
Swiss based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), who released the anti-Taib campaign photos today, said activists from Malaysia, Canada, United Kingdom and Switzerland were involved in the protest yesterday morning.
The protesters called both governments to freeze the assets of all eleven – nine in Canada and two in Britain – Taib-linked companies.
The nine companies, allegedly had an estimated worth of about “hundreds of millions of US dollars” and were part of a blacklist of 49 Taib-family linked companies in eight countries identified by BMF .
BMF has also incidentally called on all eight governments to freeze Taib’s assets in these countries.
13 companies in Malaysia
In its disclosure, BMF noted that 13 out of the 49 blacklisted companies were in Malaysia and Taib’s own Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS) led the pack.
CMS allegedly holds a monopoly on projects in Sarawak
Taib, who has been in power since 1981, is facing a barrage of allegations including land grabs, administrative and financial abuse as he heads into Sarawak’s most politically defining election.
Environmentalist have accused him of destructive logging in the state and have claimed that Taib’s immense personal wealth was derived from raping the state’s rich natural resources.
Opposition and NGOs in Sarawak are also flagging these issues and reports of his family ‘ill-gotten gains’ at the expense of the state’s poor natives.
Sarawak which is an oil and gas hub is reportedly the third poorest state in Malaysia.

Reports lodged against racist HM

The controversy over the novel Interlok may be rekindled after a headmaster used a derogatory word during school assembly.
NIBONG TEBAL: The controversy over national laureate Abdullah Hussain’s Interlok novel is not over yet.
A school headmaster here has sparked a fresh public row over the demeaning word “pariah”.
SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman headmaster Ng Tong Koang, 56, has allegedly used the word to tick off parents of the schoolchildren for making a prohibited “U-Turn” at a nearby traffic light.
Ng has allegedly used the word during a morning school general assembly yesterday.
Two reports have been lodged against Ng over the past two days at the Nibong Tebal police station.
One was lodged by state MIC Youth chief J Dhinagaran yesterday morning and the other by Hindraf Makkal Sakti’s Nibong Tebal deputy chief P Murugan.
Murugan claimed Ng had told the students at the assembly that their parents were recalcitrant for flouting traffic rules by making prohibited dangerous U-Turns at a traffic light junction just outside the school.
Ng allegedly told the students that making “illegal U-Turns” were dangerous, especially when schoolchildren are crossing the road.
“I have been telling your parents not to make the illegal U-Turns. Why are your parents not listening?
“Are your parents pariahs?” he allegedly asked to the stunned children at the assembly.
Ng’s alleged use of the word “pariah” word angered Indians in the neighbourhood as the news spread via whispering campaigns and mobile text messages.
State-sponsored racism
Accompanied by several local Hindraf activists, Murugan also submitted a copy of his police report to the Seberang Perai Selatan district education office in Jawi.
He wants the district education officer to take stern action against Ng.
He also called on the state education department to issue a circular to all schools in the state to avoid repeat of such incidents.
Murugan said that Ng’s utterance of the derogatory word was a direct result of the introduction of Interlok novel in schools.
Hence, he said that Hindraf’s anti-racism campaign was crucial to halt further polarisation of Malaysians along racial lines.
“The state-sponsored racism has definitely spread to the schools.
“As a headmaster, Ng should have realised that the word would stir racial sentiments,” said Murugan.
When contacted, Dhinagaran told FMT that Ng has admitted to uttering the word at the assembly and apologised to him and his party colleagues at the school office yesterday afternoon.
“We have expressed our aversion to him and he was apologetic. He said he did not mean to insult Indians or any other communities.
“He only wanted to use a strong word to scold the stubborn parents,” said Dhinagaran.
Ng was unavailable when contacted for comment.
Similarly, attempts to contact the district education officer were futile as the office line was always busy.

DBKL to stay out of Batu Estate dispute

City Hall puts off demolition of homes until developer gets a court order.
KUALA LUMPUR: Batu Estate residents facing eviction received a second reprieve today when Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) decided to stay out of their dispute with a property development company.
DBKL Director-General Mohd Salleh Yusuf said City Hall would not demolish their homes before Mayland Developers Sdn Bhd received a court order allowing it to evict them.
Demolition workers were ready to move in last Feb 16, but City Hall decided at the last minute to give the residents and the developer until March 3 to negotiate. Today’s announcement cancels the March 3 deadline.
“We will not interfere until the developer gets a court order for the residents to leave the land,” Mohd Salleh told the press after he met with the residents at his office today.
This morning, before Mohd Salleh’s announcement, several Batu Estate residents staged a hunger strike in an attempt to dissuade DBKL from using the Emergency Ordinance to evict them.
The ordinance allows DBKL to assist landowners in evicting squatters. Mohd Salleh assured the squatters that City Hall would not use that power although Mayland had tried to get its assistance.
Asked whether DBKL was supporting the developer, he said, “No way. We are here to resolve squatter problems. And we will offer homes.”
One of the residents involved in today’s negotiations, V Thilagenthiran, told reporters he and his neighbours were happy with DBKL’s assurance.
Batu MP Tian Chua, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng and Port Dickson state assemblyman M Ravi said they too were glad.
Thilagenthiran also revealed that Mayland representatives held negotiations with the residents yesterday.
He said the residents rejected the developer’s offer of RM30,000 for residents and RM10,000 for squatters.
The residents’ lawyer was not present at the meeting, but “there were police,” he added.

Toothbrush, mineral water bottle, towel retrieved from Anwar’s cell

Three items take centre stage while the identity of Male Y is yet to be revealed.
KUALA LUMPUR: A toothbrush, a bottle of mineral water and a towel with a “Good Morning” greeting stamped across it were the focus of attention during the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial at the High Court here today.
But those eager to know the identity of “Male Y” may have to wait a while longer as the prosecution tries to link Male Y with DNA samples obtained from the three items.
Last week government chemist Nor Aidora Saedon testified that DNA profiles have been obtained from the toothbrush, water bottle and towel.
Nor Aidora said the graph results showed the samples contained two main profiles – Male Y and that of an unknown DNA profile.
The three items were retrieved from Anwar’s lock-up cell.He was detained at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters from July 16 to 17, 2008 from 11.05pm to12.30pm.
Today, three witnesses – Lance Corporal Mohd Hazri Hassan, Supt Amidon Adnan, head of the Royal Malaysian Police CSI laboratory division in Cheras, and chief inspector Nor Ayuni Mohd Fuad – took to the stand.
Amidon told the court that when Anwar left the lock-up, he conducted a forensic examination.
He said that he found the towel, toothbrush, and water bottle along with a strand of hair in the cell, and tagged and marked these items under the orders of OCCI Khoo Chee Hwa.
Amidon and DSP Yahya Abdul Rahman from the Serious Crime Investigation Division (D9) of the Kuala Lumpur police, confirmed that Anwar was the only detainee in the lock-up during this period, and that the items belonged to him.
Karpal Singh raised an objection when DPP Nordin Hassan applied for these items to be admitted as evidence, arguing that the items were illegally obtained and should not be used as evidence.
“They were obtained by the police through improper methods. The court has the discretion to exclude these items… We need to prove the items are inadmissible as evidence, and the only way to do so is a trial within a trial where Anwar will take the stand and give evidence.”
Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah then ruled that the submission on the trial-within-the trial will be heard at 2.30pm tomorrow.
Earlier, the court was told that the police would only provide tooth brush, toothpaste, a small towel and soap for every detainee at their lockups.
Yahya said those were also the items provided to Anwar when he was detained at the Kuala Lumpur police lockup on July 16, according to a Bernama report.
However, he said, he used his discretion in allowing Anwar to bring two towels and a bottle of mineral water to the lockup on the seventh floor of the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.
Questioned whether there was other detainees with Anwar in the lock-up cell on that day, Yahya said Anwar was alone.
He said this during the examination-in-chief by Nordin.
Anwar, 63, is charged with sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 25, his former personal aide, at the Desa Damansara in Bukit Damansara between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.
Yahya said that when Anwar was brought out of the cell the next day (July 17), he had ordered two policemen to lock the cell and then when he went to inspect the cell, noticed there was a bottle of mineral water, towel and toothbrush there.
Cross-examined by lawyer Karpal on the condition of the cell, which he likened to a stable, while showing photographs of the place, Yahya said that was expected because the building was old.
Dirty cell
However, during re-examination by DPP Nordin, Yahya said the cell was cleaned and that it looked dirty because the colour of the wall paint had faded.
To another question by Karpal whether the closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) on the seventh floor of the building was functioning, Yahya said there was a CCTV there, but it was not functioning.
Karpal also repeatedly asked Yahya who issued the order to detain Anwar.
Karpal: Who ordered Anwar to be sent to the lockup?
Yahya : Not sure.
Karpal: Was it your superior or on your instruction?
Yahya: DSP Judy Blacious Pereira.
Karpal: When was the order made?
Yahya: During a discussion after Anwar’s arrest in the D9 meeting room.
Karpal: Anwar was not provided with a bed, pillow and blanket. Why?
Yahya: It is a standard practice for all detainees.
Karpal: Are all police lockups in the country not provided with bed, blanket and pillow?
Yahya: I cannot answer.
Earlier, Adnan told the court that he had examined two units at Damansara Condominium on July 17, 2008.
He said he found a strand of hair at unit 11-5-1 and also took a carpet and a duvet for DNA analysis.
Hamidon, who is the 15th prosecution witness, said he was also ordered to examine the lockup cell where Anwar was detained and found a strand of hair, toothbrush and a small towel on the floor.
He said that a bottle of mineral water was on the wall near the lockup toilet.
The hearing continues tomorrow.
- Bernama