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Thursday, July 14, 2011

US condemns 'despicable' Mumbai attacks

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2011 (AFP) - The United States condemned Wednesday's multiple bomb attacks in Mumbai, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling them "despicable" and vowing to visit India next week as planned.

US President Barack Obama also issued a written statement condemning the deadliest attack on India's commercial capital since the traumatic 2008 assault by Islamist militants.

"I strongly condemn the outrageous attacks in Mumbai and my thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and those who have lost loved ones," Obama said.

Clinton said the attacks, which left at least 21 people dead and more than 140 injured, had been "designed to provoke fear and division" and said: "Those who perpetrated them must know they cannot succeed.

"I will be traveling to India next week as planned," she said. "I believe it is more important than ever that we stand with India, deepen our partnership, and reaffirm our commitment to the shared struggle against terrorism."

Three bombs exploded in busy districts of southern Mumbai at around 7:00 pm local time. It was the same area targeted two and half years ago by suspected Pakistani militants who caused mayhem and bloodshed during a 60-hour siege that left 166 people dead.

No group claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, though suspicions initially fell on two Islamist groups that have targeted India in the past: the home-grown Indian Mujahideen and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

"The Indian people have suffered from acts of terrorism before, and we have seen them respond with courage and resilience," Clinton said.

"Our hearts are with the victims and their families, and we have reached out to the Indian government to express our condolence and offer support."

At a joint Washington press conference with Clinton, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia also denounced the attacks, saying: "We condemn the people who organized this act and we extend our condolences to India."

Clinton will next week become the most senior US official to visit India since a state visit by Obama last November.

She will travel to New Delhi to attend the second India-US Strategic Dialogue on July 19 after presiding over the first such meeting between the world's two largest democracies last year in Washington.

Clinton will also visit the business hub of Chennai during her stay but was not due in Mumbai, according to the schedule provided to journalists.

Security concerns are likely to top her meetings, as India expresses growing concern over instability in its neighbor and arch-rival Pakistan, especially in the wake of the latest Mumbai attacks.

US and Indian investigators believe that the 2008 assault was carried out by Pakistan-based Islamic militants. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ruled out reprisals at the time despite public pressure.

Clinton last visited the South Asian region in late May when she flew into Pakistan and urged Islamabad to take decisive steps to defeat Al-Qaeda after relations between the wary allies went into freefall following the US commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2.

US lawmakers also condemned the Mumbai bombings. "Senseless attacks such as these shock civilized people everywhere," said Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi.

"There can be no justification for what took place, and the targeting of civilians on their commute home from work is deplorable," said Representatives Ed Royce and Joe Crowley, co-chairs of the congressional caucus on India.

Ahead of Malaysia-Vatican ties, an archbishop under siege

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — As Putrajaya gears up to establish formal ties with the Vatican, the archbishop of Kuala Lumpur has come under scrutiny from certain sections of his congregation who question his role in the government’s diplomatic mission.

Some of the harshest criticism against Archbishop Murphy Pakiam come, surprisingly, from within the local Roman Catholic Church, with a vocal few labelling the senior cleric a “sellout”, as one local priest recounted to The Malaysian Insider.

Rev Father Michael Chua acknowledged that Pakiam (picture) has come under attack since word got out that the archbishop will be accompanying Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the federal government’s official visit to meet Pope Benedict XVI next week.

“Many critics may view the establishment of these ties and the participation of the local hierarchy as a ‘selling out’ or radical change of position by the Church,” said the ecclesiastical assistant in the Archdiocesan Ministry of Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs (AMEIA) for the Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.

The priest attributed the Catholic community’s anger to the timing of the visit.
“Perhaps, what may render it as controversial to some people is that Putrajaya chooses to respond at this time,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that this event comes after the occurrence of several tense and critical events, including the use of the ‘Allah’ word in the Church's publication, the Alkitab and the Bersih rally,” he said, linking their outrage to a series of current events that have  chilled relations between Christians and the majority Muslim federal government.

Chua said if not for those issues “most Catholics would be celebrating that ties are finally being established between the Vatican and Malaysia after years of pursuing this”.

The other problem, he said, was that many Malaysian Catholics were not able to distinguish between a state that has diplomatic ties with the Vatican and a one that does not, which causes them to question why the archbishop is accompanying the Malaysian delegation.

“In the case of the former, a visit by a head of state would therefore not involve the local hierarchy as all communique will be via the respective state's ambassadors (the nuncio, in the case of the Vatican),” Chua explained.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the Catholic Church does not usually send a representative to accompany the government’s diplomatic missions.

The priest explained that many were under the impression that the local Church has abandoned its role in standing up for values to build a just, peaceful and equitable society.

Chua confessed that he has been approached by several concerned churchgoers over the seeming conflict of interests for a man of the cloth to act as the government’s wingman on an official trip.

“However, in the present case, since there are no diplomatic ties between the Vatican and Malaysia, Archbishop Pakiam, a local prelate of the Catholic Church who has been instrumental in laying the ground work for this state-to-state diplomatic relations, has been invited by the Vatican to be part of this process,” Chua said.

He further explained that the Vatican has always sought relations with all countries.

“Of special interest are predominantly Muslim countries, as this is in line with the Vatican's mission to promote Christian-Muslim dialogue,” he noted of Pope Benedict.

“It must be made clear that the Church continues to remain non-partisan as she seeks to dialogue and co-operate with all willing parties as part of its mission,” he said.

Malaysia is one of 17 nations that have yet to set up formal links with the head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The prime minister’s visit this time around is hoped to change all that.

Mahathir is responsible for Bersih

An Australian researcher believes that Mahathir's elimination of a level political playing field created a need for a movement like Bersih.

PETALING JAYA: An Australian political researcher has credited former premier, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, for the formation of the Bersih and Bersih 2.0 coalitions.

In an interview with ABC Radio Australia yesterday, Greg Lopez of the Australian National University (ANU) bluntly stated that Mahathir had “virtually destroyed any check and balance available” during his lengthy reign.

“He put the judiciary, police and royalty under Umno so that it was just impossible for the opposition to have any fair go at winning an election,” Lopez said. “And this (conclusion) is born of numerous studies conducted at the ANU and in many other countries. It is a fact.”

But Lopez hastened to add that the uneveness of the political playing field had merely peaked and not begun during Mahathir’s regime. Instead he traced the origin of this imbalance to the first prime minister’s tenure.

“When Malaysia gained independence the playing field was level,” he explained. “It remained even-handed until 1963 when Tunku Abdul Rahman put the electoral commissioner under the purview of Parliament.”
“At that time the ruling party had two-thirds majority and changed the consitution to suit it as well as gerry-mandered constituencies. So they built on their initial strength – which they gained legitimately – and put the institutions under them.”

Lopez concluded that this the reason why a weak opposition had always been a prominent feature of Malaysian politics. That is, until Bersih emerged onto the political landscape.

Describing the current political landscape as “fluid” and dangerous”, he pointed out that the opposition was at its strongest and the ruling party at its weakest for the first time in 54 years.

“The response to the opposition has changed dramatically,” Lopez said. “Previously the opposition was weak and civil society was also disinterested (in it). But today there exists a society that is so fed-up with the ruling party that even a weaker opposition is viewed as more feasible option.”

Young voters

PKR information chief, Tian Chua, who was also part of the interview, attributed this change of heart to a younger and more education population.

“Younger people constitute the demographics pushing for change and people are no longer tied to a feudalistic mindset,” he said.

“The ruling party’s racial approach to national affairs is also being increasingly rejected by the younger generation. Plus there is a global trend of aspiring democracies and freedom and that has also to some extent influenced the society.”

Lopez emphasised that the onus is now on the ruling party to address political stability in an even-handed manner rather than using its tried and tested method of violence which no longer works.

He also stated that Bersih appeared to be the only avenue for electoral reforms in a country that isn’t a functioning democracy in its true sense.

The ruling party, he said, was so entrenched in making decisions that fall within its own purview and context that it has failed in responding to popular pressure on various issues.

“Take for instance the eradication of corruption which is a very basic demand because the system of government is built on patronage,” Lopez continued. “So the only avenue for certain reforms is through electoral competition because this regime requires an election to legitimise itself.”

“That is the only way it has credibility both domestically and internationally. The first Bersih coalition was a window of opportunity, a space for civil society to demand for change. Bersih 2.0 build on that.”

“The only difference is that the latter is purely run by civil society and is not driven by political parties. Most importantly is that society itself understands that elections in Malaysia are not free and fair. And they believe that to have a representative government free and fair elections are needed.” - FMT

Najib: No undue force used on protesters

John Defterios, CNN anchor, caught up with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in London for an exclusive interview. Najib is in the UK to talk about cementing economic ties with Britain.

LONDON: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said the recent street protests in Kuala Lumpur were basically all about politics.

“Because there is democracy in Malaysia. And we are committed towards electoral reform,” he told CNN anchor John Defterios in a exclusive interview here.

The transcript of the interview was issued through CNN International Press Office in Hong Kong today.
On July 9, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur to support a civil movement Bersih 2.0 in its campaign for clean and fair elections.

Said Najib: “It will come up to see that we are all for fair and clean elections. And as you know, the last general election, you know, the ruling party lost five states. And we were deprived of two-thirds majority.”
On the arrests of more than 1,600 protesters, Najib said that it was quite mild. “They were released after eight hours and they were treated very well. There was no undue use of force.”

Najib also spoke about financial concerns regarding the euro zone and the US.

Defterios noted that Malaysia sent US$26 billion (RM78 billion) worth of goods to America last year alone. It is also a win-win scenario for trade with Europe, with the Eurozone importing about US$30 billion worth of Malaysian goods last year. Kuala Lumpur is also hoping to ink a free trade agreement with the EU next year.

Najib tells Defterios that the goal is achievable depending on market access and negotiations in that time frame. Below is the full transcript of the interview.

The whole situation in Europe is of global concern. What we like to see is a European solution. I think what is required is real leadership here. Leadership that can provide a very, very comprehensive convincing solution to the market, not a patch-up job; not, you know, something that you do just to rectify small problems.

Defterios: It is fascinating if you look at the same level of trade with the United States. Malaysia exports US$26 billion to the US in 2010, but a similar debt scenario, a US$14 trillion debt mountain. Have you ever seen such a gulf between Democrats and Republicans, which is hindering, not raising the debt ceiling, only, but a real solution to the long-term debt.

Najib: There is a deep divide between Republicans and Democrats and our sense is that they will reach the debt ceiling, come the deadline, but a solution will be, you know, a lot of prostrating, a lot of compromise will take place. And it is not really the kind of solution that gives you a sense of direction, clarity of direction and an effective long-term solution that is required.

Defterios: You had growth of better than 7% in 2010. Projections of 5% to 5.5%. Do the debt challenges in Europe and the US threaten that target for 2011?

Najib: Put it this way, if nothing unforeseen happens, we should be able to get between 5% and 6%. But there are concerns. There are uncertainties. You know, things could happen that you don’t expect. But barring something unforeseen, we should be able to get 5% to 6%.

Defterios: We have seen a bursting movement in Malaysia this last week, and some 20,000 protesters under the umbrella of electoral reforms. But what is really behind this? This is a generational gap? I mean, why such a high level of protest?

Well, John, it is basically politics. Because there is democracy in Malaysia. And we are committed towards electoral reform. And it will come up to see that we are all for fair and clean elections. And as you know, the last general election, you know, the ruling party lost five states. And we were deprived of two-thirds majority.

Defterios: So five of 13 states overall.

Najib: Five of 13 states and not a fair, clean election. We wouldn’t have lost five states. But we are committed to making better.

Defterios: Some would say you had (made) 1,600 arrests of some 20,000 protesters. Are you satisfied with the security response to that particular round of protests, yourself?

Najib: It was quite mild, you know, because although they were taken in, they were released after eight hours and they were treated very well. There was no undue use of force. And, you know, the demonstrators were dispersed using minimum force.

Defterios: How does the new economic model fit into this, Prime Minister? You have a per capita income of around US$9,000. You have aspirations by 2020 to get it to at least US$15,000. Does that play into this whole effort?

Najib: We must be focused in terms of what we need to do. I am very confident, because we have got very, very concrete plans, you know, to get there. This is not something which is quite macro, or quite abstract. It is something that is very, very specific. We have the numbers, we have the projects, we have the type of investment, and we have the number of jobs we want to create. And all of these things are for real.

It’s too late, Najib

But working with Bersih to improve the electoral system could make a difference to the prime minister’s battered image
There is a Malay saying to the effect that you can profit from your regret only if you heed it before doing something to cause it. The wisdom of this saying should be hitting Najib and Co as they attempt to repair their battered image in the wake of mindlessly violent suppression of citizens’ right to peacefully assemble and express their dissatisfaction.

Damage control at this point is just too late. Even as Barisan Nasional called former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi out of retirement to spew propaganda on its behalf, visual images and eyewitness reports of harsh police action are already all over cyberspace, and condemnations by international organisations and in the foreign press have continued.
Indeed, the Jakarta Post has printed an editorial that supports Bersih 2.0’s demands, as if spitting in the face of Foreign Minister Anifah Amin, who is on a damage control trip in Indonesia.

Even the United Nations has accused Malaysian authorities of undermining democracy.
Trying to justify suppression of human rights is hard enough for an administration that claims to be espousing democracy, but the police and members of Najib Tun Razak’s cabinet are making it worse by continuing to vilify Bersih 2.0.

Their argument that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is behind Bersih does not hold water for at least two reasons. One, the steering committee does not include politically affiliated individuals, unlike in Bersih 1.0. Two, Bersih chief S Ambiga publicly told Anwar off after he said he would tell her to call off the rally.

Had Najib given the nod for Bersih’s stadium request, he might have made it easier for himself or even boosted his ratings.

The best thing he and his administration can do now is to heal the wounds by working with Bersih and the Election Commission towards reform of the electoral system. He may lose support among segments of Umno, especially the old guard, but he can make great long-term gains. He might even stand out as an accomplished statesman.

Malaysia's Najib must abandon the Mubarak model

By Simon Tisdall, Guardian
As Najib comes touting for UK trade, Cameron has a chance to show him strong-arm tactics against protesters are unacceptable
It is not in the same league as Arab spring uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere. But Malaysia's fancifully named "hibiscus revolution" has potential, at least, to inflict a winter of discontent on the gormless government of prime minister Najib Razak. That's something David Cameron should bear in mind when Najib comes touting for business in Downing Street on Thursday. Bilateral trade and investment is important. Respect for basic human rights more so.

Najib reacted with characteristic heavy-handedness when tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur at the weekend demanding "reformasi" – democratic reform – and an end to a defective electoral system that guarantees Najib's party representing the Malay majority, Umno, stays in power indefinitely. About 1,700 people were arrested and many injured as police used baton charges, watercannon and teargas to break up peaceful protests.

In an echo of Britain's Ian Tomlinson affair, one protester, identified as Baharuddin Ahmad, 59, collapsed and later died near the Petronas Towers in central Kuala Lumpur while fleeing teargas. Amnesty International said police had beaten many demonstrators. It demanded an investigation into claims they failed to provide prompt assistance to Baharuddin and that there was a 90-minute delay before an ambulance arrived.

"Prime minister Najib's government rode roughshod over thousands of Malaysians exercising their right to peaceful protest," Amnesty said. "This violent repression … flies in the face of international human rights standards and cannot be allowed to continue. David Cameron should tell prime minister Najib that these human rights violations are unacceptable."

The protests, the product of rising tensions linked to mooted early elections, spending cuts and political upheavals in neighbouring Thailand and Singapore, echo events across the Muslim world. Many of the participants were reportedly younger-generation Malaysians kicking back against establishment cronyism, curbs on public assembly and debate, and state-imposed censorship considered draconian even by regional standards.

Within hours of the violence, a Facebook petition demanding Najib resign was attracting 300 "likes" per minute, the (Singapore-based) Straits Times reported. As of this morning, more than 172,000 people had expressed support. "I don't understand why the harshness, the beatings," posted Sofie Muhammad. "The crowd didn't even throw stones at the shops. Why is the government afraid? All we want is free elections." Videos were also recorded by protesters.

Marimuthu Manogaran of the Democratic Action party, representing the ethnic Chinese minority, said many of the protesters were "first timers". "Young people [are] coming out there to demand their rights … and I think that is a good sign for Malaysia," he told Luke Hunt of the Diplomat.

Another report, denied by police, said a hospital where protesters had taken refuge was attacked by security forces – an incident akin to events in Bahrain earlier this year. Appalled by the behaviour of police and federal reserve unit special forces, Bersih 2.0, the opposition "coalition for clean and fair elections", called for a royal commission of inquiry and vowed to continue its reformasi campaign, come what may.

Anwar Ibrahim, the veteran opposition leader endlessly persecuted by successive governments on trumped-up sodomy charges (he is due in court again next month), was among those injured. He said later the government had lost the people's confidence and more street protests were inevitable. "We will have to pursue free elections inside and outside of parliament," he warned.

Far from admitting fault, Najib has threatened more strong-arm tactics if the demos continue. "Don't doubt our strength. If we want to create chaos, we can. Umno has 3 million members. If we gather 1 million members, it is more than enough. We can conquer Kuala Lumpur," he said. Such threats seem ill-advised. When elected in 2009, Najib promised to bridge Malaysia's political, ethnic and religious divisions. Now he's in danger of exacerbating them, as his old boss, Malaysia's founding father Mahathir Mohammed, suggested in a recent interview.

Malaysia is not on the verge of revolution, hibiscus-coloured or otherwise. Relatively speaking, it is more stable, homogenous and prosperous than other Muslim or Arab countries currently experiencing popular turmoil. But it is not politically immune to the international zeitgeist, any more than its economy is immune to global trends. This latter consideration explains why Najib is in London. And it gives Cameron and other European leaders leverage should they choose to use it.

Malaysians need only look north to see how Thai voters defied the political-military establishment and voted in a leader of their choice. When Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi speaks of the twin imperatives of freedom and democracy, she speaks for an entire region. And if Malaysians look south to Singapore or east to Hong Kong, they see entrenched ruling elites under determined challenge by activists emboldened by the spirit of change.

Malaysia's leaders should wake up and smell the coffee. Led intelligently and openly, Malaysia could be a paradigm for south-east Asia. Led repressively, it could fall apart. Najib must get on the right side of history. The Mubarak model doesn't work.

Women's groups welcome landmark ruling

The Sun (Used by permission)
by Alyaa Alhadjri

PETALING JAYA (July 13, 2011):The obvious is now a law. Women have a right to work even when they are pregnant, said the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality in response to a landmark ruling by the Shah Alam High Court yesterday.

Judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof had yesterday decided in favour of Noorfadilla Ahmad Saikin when she upheld that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has the force of law and is binding on the Malaysian Government and Article 8(2) of the FC must be read to comply with it.

Noorfadilla had in 2009 accepted an offer to be a temporary teacher in a government school but the officer in charge later retracted the offer when it was discovered that she was three months pregnant.

Noorfadilla then filed an application in court for damages, interest and costs, on the basis that the revocation of offer due to pregnancy is a form of gender discrimination.

"What constitutes as discrimination against women and gender discrimination has not been decided in Malaysia prior to Noorfadilla's case," said JAG in its yesterday's statement.

"The definitions of direct and indirect discrimination will be invaluable when women file cases of discrimination and equality in court," said JAG, a coalition of women's NGOs.

JAG comprised of the All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Perak Women for Women, Sabah Women Action Resource Group, Sisters In Islam (SIS), Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and Women’s Centre For Change Penang.

Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez said the ruling will set a precedence towards upholding a person's basic rights to employment and for employers' to practise non-discrimination in the workplace.

"Particularly in Noorfadilla's case, her employer is the government of the day, so it should be made accountable for its decision to ratify CEDAW" Fernandez told theSun, today.

Meanwhile, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Loke Yim Peng said she was aware of Noorfadilla's case and noted that it was not the first time such complaints had been brought up.

"NUTP had previously highlighted cases of teachers who were unable to sign up for training courses or accept offers for a teaching position because they were pregnant," said Loke.

Loke who is also the Cuepacs secretary general went on to call upon all employers to respect the government's decision to allow for a maximum of 90 days maternity leave.

"Particularly in the case of teachers and nurses, Cuepacs had received complaints that there were head of departments who will only approve 60 days of maternity leave for mothers, instead of 90 days," she claimed.

Loke added that a shortage of manpower should not be used as an excuse to deny a woman her right to apply for 90 days of maternity leave.

Semua peserta demonstrasi dilayan baik ?

Najib (suami Rosmah), PM serta sepupunya, Hishamuddin, Menteri KDN dan PDRM berkali - kali menyatakan bahawa semua rakyat yang turun menuntut pilihanraya BERSIH dan adil pada 9 Julai 2011 yang lalu dilayan baik. Polis tidak kasar dan ganas.

Nah ini rakaman video bukti semua mereka menipu. Apa nak jadi negara ini dipimpin dengan orang yang selamba menipu. Mereka kata tak tembak hospital kita telah buktikan, ini pula ternyata polis pukul rakyat yang sudah diikat dengan kabel pengikat.

Malaysia semakin hancur dipimpin oleh dua sepupu yang penipu dibantu dengan ketua polis negara yang lemah dan diambil kesempatan oleh timbalan ketua polis negara yang sombong.

3 Mumbai bombings minutes apart kill 21, wound 141

MUMBAI, India (AP) — Three coordinated bombings tore through the heart of India's busy financial capital during rush hour Wednesday, killing 21 people and wounding 141 in the worst terror attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai siege.

Bloody bodies were strewn in the dirt of Mumbai's crowded neighborhoods and markets. Doors were ripped off storefronts, motorcycles were charred and a bus stop was shredded. After the blasts in three separate neighborhoods, police set up checkpoints and were put on high alert.

The bombings came just months after peace talks resumed between India and Pakistan, which New Delhi has blamed for past attacks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the blasts and appealed to the people of Mumbai "to remain calm and show a united face."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and Indian officials refused to speculate on who might be behind the blasts.

Indian officials have accused Pakistan's powerful spy agency of helping coordinate and fund earlier attacks, including the Mumbai siege, which killed 166 people over three days. Peace talks between the countries were suspended after the siege and resumed only recently.

Pakistan's government expressed distress about the loss of lives and injuries soon after Wednesday's blasts were reported.

U.S. President Barack Obama also condemned the "outrageous attacks."

"The American people will stand with the Indian people in times of trial, and we will offer support to India's efforts to bring the perpetrators of these terrible crimes to justice," he said in a statement. "I have no doubt that India will overcome these deplorable terrorist attacks."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she will go ahead with her plans to visit India next week despite the bombings. Standing with India "is more important than ever," she said.

The bombings began with an explosion that ripped through the famed Jhaveri Bazaar jewelry market at 6:54 p.m. A minute later, a blast hit the busy business district of Opera House, several miles (kilometers) away in southern Mumbai. At 7:05 p.m., the third bomb exploded in the crowded neighborhood of Dadar in central Mumbai, according to police.

Because of the close timing of the blasts, "we infer that this was a coordinated attack by terrorists," Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said.

A lifeless body lay on a cart. Survivors carried the wounded to taxis. One man was dragged out of the area on a red board used as a stretcher. Bleeding victims crowded into the back of a cargo truck to be taken to a hospital, where wards were filled with the wounded, slathered in white burn cream.

At Jhaveri Bazaar, a witness described two motorcycles exploding in flames and saw at least six bodies.
"People were shouting 'Help me, help me,'" the man told Headlines Today television.

People hugged and wept. Crowds gathered in the blast areas as police questioned witnesses, and investigators wearing gloves sifted through the debris for clues.

The government said the blasts killed 21 people and wounded 141 others.

"India is not going to cow down," Cabinet minister Farooq Abdullah said. "Let those perpetrators of this terror remember, we will find them and Inshallah (God willing) we will give them the justice that India believes in."

A U.S. official said there were no immediate claims of responsibility, or firm indication of which terrorist group might be behind the attack. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.

The blasts marked the first major attack on Mumbai since 10 militants laid siege to the city for 60 hours in November 2008. That attack targeted two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station.
C. Uday Bhaskar, a defense analyst, said the bombings showed that Mumbai remained vulnerable despite precautions taken after the 2008 attack.

"The local police still does not have either the capability or the capacity to pre-empt such attacks, and this is going to be a constant challenge," he said.

Some media incorrectly reported Wednesday's blasts happened on the birthday of Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Kasab, who was sentenced to death in Mumbai, was born on Sept. 13.

The city has been on edge since the 2008 attack. In December, authorities deployed extra police on city streets after receiving intelligence that a Pakistan-based militant group was planning an attack over New Year's weekend.

In March 2010, Mumbai police said they prevented a major terrorist strike after they arrested two Indian men, who, police said, were preparing to hit several targets in the city. In September, police issued a terror alert for the city during a popular Hindu festival.

Last month, India and Pakistan held their first formal talks on the disputed region of Kashmir since the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Both nuclear-armed nations claim Kashmir in its entirety, and have fought two of their three wars over the region since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.

Naqvi reported from New Delhi. Associated Press writers Ravi Nessman in New Delhi and Kimberly Dozier in Washington contributed to this report.

Persepsi: Kenapa Perlu Reformasi Pilihan Raya

Doctors say cops fired tear gas into Tung Shin compound

Police in the Chinese Maternity Hospital car park on Saturday. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — A group of doctors said today they were prepared to provide sworn affidavits to say that police had fired tear gas and chemical-laced water into the compounds of the Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospitals during the Bersih rally last Saturday.

In a statement tonight, 11 doctors, including some who were at the scene, said they were outraged at the actions of the police in firing tear gas and water cannons without scant regard for the safety of patients and doctors.

“We, the undersigned doctors, wish not to enter into the polemics of the Bersih 2.0 march on 9th July 2011 but would like to clarify the inconvenient truth.

“We are outraged at the incidents, and the subsequent responses from the authorities, to the events where tear gas and chemical-laced water were shot into the compounds of the Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospitals, two adjacent buildings along Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, with scant regard for the safety of patients, staff and the general public who were at the buildings that afternoon,” the doctors said.

Their statement contradicts that of Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai who had denied the police had shot into the hospital compounds, claiming instead that the wind had blown the gas in.

Liow also said that shots from the water cannons had only brushed the edges of the hospital walls.
The police have also denied shooting directly into the hospital compounds after protesters had sought refuge there.

Protestors seek refuge in the compound of Tung Shin hospital after the police fired water cannons and tear gas on Saturday. — file pic
The statement tonight by the senior doctors is likely to embarrass the authorities who have claimed minimal force was used.

“Hospitals are considered as safe sanctuaries for all, even during wartime, but these consecrated places of refuge and protection were violated by the defence forces that afternoon. Police even entered the buildings in search of some of these peaceful marchers.

“What was most frightening and witnessed by many was the unprovoked violent assault within the hospital compounds and the apprehension of several protesters who had merely run into the hospitals to seek shelter from the tear gas and the water cannons.

“It is repulsive that the authorities entrusted with policing the nation and protecting the weak and needy, have shamelessly denied publicly, the occurrence of these incidents in spite of countless photo/video and eyewitness accounts of what was evident to all independent observers,” they said.

Yesterday, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, a former health minister, said the police had to fire tear gas near Tung Shin Hospital to protect its patients from Bersih 2.0 protesters who had sought refuge there.

The MCA president said the situation should be viewed “in totality”, pointing out that the police would be accused of not doing their job had they decided against dispersing the crowd of protesters that had run into the hospital.

Dr Chua also said it was difficult to determine what exactly transpired at the hospital on Saturday as it was hard to tell the whole story from the photos and videos that have emerged online since then.

The doctors who signed the statement refuting claims by Dr Chua, Liow and the police are:
Dr Ng Kwee Boon — Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Datin Dr Low Paik See — Consultant Paediatrician
Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin — Consultant Paediatrician & Neonatologist
Dr Mazeni Alwi — Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist
Dr David Quek — Consultant Cardiologist
Dr Sheikh Johari Bux — Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Dr Steve Wong — Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa — Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon
Dr Ng Swee Choon — Consultant Cardiologist
Dr Mary Cardosa — Consultant Anaesthesiologist
Dr Jeffrey Abu Hassan — Consultant Chest Physician

Cop: Use of excessive force was wrong

There were special police teams who were already targeting those leaders behind the rally, such as Bersih chairman S Ambiga, says a policeman.
KUALA LUMPUR: The police force has been denying the use of violence during the Bersih 2.0 march on July 9. But among them is one lone voice who condemned the use of violence on the protesters.

A brave policeman said the use of excessive force when arresting Bersih 2.0 marchers was uncalled for and wrong.

The policeman who was in charge of making arrest spoke to FMT on condition of anonymity.

“Those policemen who hit the people are in the wrong. They can actually be charged… Even if you want to say you were forced to do it, that you were attacked first, it should not reach such a stage as what we’re seeing in the video footages.”

“Usually when we make arrests, the most we do if the person struggles and fights back is to make him lie down and use our knees to stop him. Not continue to beat or kick him, even after you handcuff him. That is wrong.”

He said on that day, he witnessed groups of policemen crowding around a suspect and hitting him, with some even using batons.

Asked if there were any instructions from the top to start using force on demonstrators, he said that the orders did not come from the top officer who briefed them a week before the rally.

“But there were other high-ranking officers who told us to just hit if we felt like (the situation warranted it ), using violence. However, we were also told to assess the situation and the location before using violence ,” said the policeman.

The policeman said that he himself did not agree with hitting people and he refrained from using too much force.

“Also, there are a lot of people taking photos including our own photographers. We have to think properly before we do something like that; we could be charged in court and I am not sure if my superiors would defend me if I did something like that,” he said.

Pressure and stress

Explaining why he thought many policemen were seen using excessive force, the policeman said the amount of pressure and stress could have been a factor.

“There were many who were frustrated, tired, and hungry that day. We had very little sleep and had to be on standby early in the morning and were without food until late in the afternoon. There is also a lot of pressure from our superiors… and when things start to unfold, you become different, angry,” he said.

The policeman said the previous Sunday and Monday, the team of more than 1,000 in the “arrest squads” were briefed by Bukit Aman criminal investigation department director Mohd Bakri Zinin.

“We were told ‘don’t be afraid, just arrest’.”

“We were ordered to arrest those wearing yellow T-shirts and those who refused to disperse when ordered, including those who fought back or insulted the police,” the policeman said, adding that policemen were roped in from all the states except Sabah and Sarawak.

He said that in the police crackdown, there were two types of arrests – arrests of quality and without quality.

“Those from the first category were those who wore Bersih T-shirts or those VIPs or leaders of the rally. They were brought to the Jinjang police station.”

“Those from the non-quality category were brought to the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) on Jalan Semarak. They were mostly protesters who refused to disperse and were brought there for documentation,” he said.

He said “arrest squads” consisted of teams of at least five people comprising one officer, three detectives and one photographer.

He added that the photographers, about 150 of them on that day, were there to capture photos of the protesters before and during the arrests, because previously many cases failed when brought to court due to a lack of photographic evidence.

“There were also some taking video. That is also why Home Minister (Hishammuddin Hussein) said that he has photographs and video evidence of almost all the action on that day, because we really have them,” he said.

Different instructions

There were special teams who were already targeting those leaders behind the rally, such as Bersih chairman S Ambiga.

On allegations that FRU personnel were shooting tear gas directly at the people, he said policemen are not supposed to do that. “That’s not right,” he said.

“We were also told if we feel like arresting, then just arrest. But the problem was there were a lot different superiors giving different instructions,” he said, adding that any policeman, regardless of rank, could make an arrest after telling the person to disperse.

He said that on Saturday, the strategy was to shoot tear gas and spray chemical-laced water from water cannons before the arrest squads moved in to make the arrests during the chaos.

“If we just went in like that, matilah kita, there were so many of protesters”.

However, he said at the end of the day “we are just doing our job, that’s all”.

“There is also too much pressure from third parties. The home ministry applies pressure on the police and police in turn pile the pressure on their men. The police should actually act under the King. It’s very hard like that,” he said.

He added that there are actually quite a number of policemen who support Bersih 2.0.

“I think I support the cause, too, but we’re just doing our jobs, right? There are actually many, even among officers, but we’re all under the home ministry. What can we do? Even when we receive those postal ballots, we already have our names on the letters, how can we vote for the opposition?”

On July 9, police fired tear gas and hosed down tens of thousands of Bersih supporters who took to the streets calling on the government to reform the election processes. A total of 1,667 people were arrested, said to be the largest haul of protesters in one single day in the history of the country.

Bersih estimated the turnout to be 50,000 and condemned police heavy-handedness which led to severe injuries, and a loss of life.

There have also been numerous photographs and videos surfacing online of instances of police beating protesters before arresting them. In one controversial case, the police are also alleged to have fired tear gas into the compound of a maternity hospital.

However, the police, who estimated the crowd at only 5,000 to 6,000, have consistently denied that excessive force has been used during the demonstration.

'I regret not being with them'

In an interview with FMT RAW, S Ambiga talks about her personal experience on the day of the rally and Bersih's plans for the future.

PETALING JAYA: Her plan to march to Stadium Merdeka failed to materialise when the police arrested her. But this did not stop tens of thousands from taking to the streets, battling tear gas and water cannons, to call for electoral reforms.

While the city was enveloped in chaos, S Ambiga was detained in isolation at a police station and by the time she was released, the clouds of tear gas had dissipated. The Bersih 2.0 chairperson had missed the action.

But when Ambiga watched the video recordings of what transpired on July 9, it moved her to tears.

“My regret was that I was not with the rakyat. When I watched what happened it brought tears to my eyes because I couldn’t believe what had unfolded,” recalled the former Bar Council president in an interview on FMT RAW this afternoon.

Sporting a yellow shawl, the official colour of Bersih 2.0, Ambiga said she was never afraid despite the possibility of arrest and even in the face of death threats, but felt a chill run down her spine when the police started firing tear gas into an enclosed area.

“We made our way down to the underpass at KL Sentral. Then we saw the FRU ahead of us; after a short period of time, they started firing tear gas at us. I remember turning around trying to get out at the other end. A friend was helping me; by that time they had fired 10 to 12 rounds in an enclosed space. It was highly irregular, if not criminal and illegal.

“I couldn’t breathe. It was quite worrying. Because I had help, I was pulled out. That was the only point of time I was afraid because I never experienced anything like that. We were treated like animals.

“What does it mean when you fire at people from both directions? That was a horrifying experience. The other times I felt elation, I have to say. Of course there is trepidation, you hope everything turns out well for everybody. You know there are so many people going out peacefully and you pray that they are safe,” she said.

PSM detainees – top priority

Expressing surprise over the large turnout for the Bersih 2.0 rally, Ambiga added: “That is wonderful, you can’t keep Malaysians away from Kuala Lumpur. I’m sorry, but KL belongs to the rakyat. Which they claimed that day.”

While the rally had been touted as a victory for Bersih 2.0, the coalition’s chairperson said there was still “a lot more work to do”. And topping the list were:
The immediate release of the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) detained under Emergency Ordinance; and

To submit a report of the various allegations of police brutality to Suhakam to launch an investigation.
“These are our first two priorities. It is wholly unacceptable for any Malaysian to be detained for just having a pamphlet, for goodness sake. We are very unhappy by the way they are being treated.

“What is this… in this day and age?” she said in referrence to the six, which included Sungai Siput MP Dr D Michael Jeyakumar.

“If they (the government) release them today, now, (right) now… then that’s a positive response. Malaysia is on the Human Rights Council. We should expect higher standards, they are endangering their seat on the council by what they are doing now.

“We think that the police brutality on July 9 must be investigated. That’s why we’re going to Suhakam with a report and asking Suhakam to look into it,” Ambiga added during the half-hour online broadcast.

Commenting on the death of protester Baharudin Ahmad due to heart failure when fleeing from the FRU, she said it was “unnecessary and needless”.

“We consider him a hero as he really died for the cause,” she added.
Ambiga also said that Bersih would be handing its memorandum to the King and push for a Royal Commission of Inquiry so that experts could look at the current electoral system and give recommendations.

“Otherwise, we are going to have the Election Commission (EC) saying one thing and Bersih saying another, and it’s going to go back-and-forth. The best is to get these experts to come up with something,” she added.

‘Not hijacked by Pakatan’

Ambiga also noted that public confidence in the EC had eroded because it sided with the government and when it asked if Bersih was aligned to Pakatan Rakyat.

“They are supposed to be above parties and politics. They should be talking to everybody because under the Federal Constitution, the King is supposed to appoint commissioners who enjoy public confidence. I can guarantee that with what they are doing now, it has suffered,” she said.

She said that education and voter registration were also critical and that Bersih was planning a series of awareness talks and seminars to explain to the people what its eight demands were.

Bersih would also continue to compile evidence of electoral fraud and put it up on its website. “I am not sure if we do that, the EC will respond. That’s why we prefer a televised debate with them,” said Ambiga.

She also refuted allegations that the opposition had hijacked Bersih 2.0, saying the people who turned up for the rally were ordinary Malaysians.

“It speaks for itself, it is ordinary Malaysians who want electoral reforms. Pakatan Rakyat perhaps is sometimes too enthusiastic but previously when (Opposition Leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) said he could call it (the rally) off, I told him politely no, it’s not Anwar’s call. We (Bersih) made the calls all the way,” she added.

Ambiga stressed that Bersih was a civil society movement and the so-called Pakatan link should not be blown out proportion.

‘More significant than March 8′

Asked how the rally could affect foreign investors, Ambiga said the people were now waiting for a positive reply from the government and a “mature response” was what investors would be looking for.
Asked if Bersih had given the government any deadline before it planned its next course of action, she said there was no specific date.

“But our final deadline will be the 13th general election,” she said, adding that while Bersih 2.0 had not planned any new rallies anytime soon, others might take the initiative to do so.

“Bersih has moved far beyond the steering committee. It’s no longer about me or anybody else. The movement is now identified by its multiracial, multiregional, multicultural, multi-everything Malaysia,” she said.

“Watch this space, because honestly, the rakyat has taken over this movement,” she said.

Meanwhile, Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Wong Chin Huat, who also attended the interview, said that the rally did not paint a negative picture of Malaysia.

“Bersih showed that Malaysians are peaceful, and there is no doubt that Malaysians love each other, and despite all the provocation, nothing happened on that day, that’s actually very assuring,” said the academic whose tears were still flowing over the personal accounts of those who participated in the rally.

Summing up what had happened on Saturday, Wong, decked in all black and a yellow Bersih tie, remarked: “It was more significant than March 8 (the last general election).”

Now: Rosmah’s ‘diamond bangles’

A day after the whopping RM73 million diamond ring allegation, comes a new glittering charge. This time its Zebra-print diamond bangles from Jacob & Co.
KUALA LUMPUR: Another glittering allegation has surfaced about the prime minister’s wife, this time over a set of diamond bangles which industry experts claim may be worth a fortune.

Yesterday, several pro-opposition bloggers claimed that Rosmah Mansor had acquired a ring from the New York-based fine jeweller Jacob & Co worth RM73 million.

The bloggers identified the item as a “Natural Fancy Blue Gray Cushion Cut Diamond Ring”. It had supposedly passed through the Kuala Lumpur International Airport customs in April this year.

Screenshots of the alleged customs computer displays also revealed that the ring did not have import duties imposed on it.

Today, another blogger called “Semut and Papan Kekunci” published photographs of Rosmah wearing bangles that were strikingly similar to Jacob & Co’s “Zebra Safari Collection”.

The fine jeweller’s website stated that the Zebra print pave diamond bangle from its Safari collection, “features white and black pave diamonds total carat weight 65.77 in 18k white gold.”

When FMT checked with a local diamond merchant, the latter said the price for top quality stones could be worth as much as RM100,000 a carat, but a gemologist, who declined to be named, opined that certain designer items could be worth much more.

“Furthermore, when the item comes from an esteemed organisation like Jacob & Co, the price could be much higher because of the brand name,” he said.

Meanwhile, the blogger also pointed out that Jacob & Co was owned by a Jewish businessman, Jacob Arabo.

In view of this, the blogger criticised Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for branding Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim as an Israeli agent, while “his wife spent millions in Jewish jewellery.”

In another development, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) today lodged an anti-graft report against Rosmah for allegedly possessing a US$24 million diamond ring.

SAMM president Badrul Hisham Shaharin led a group of members to lodge the report at the Penang Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) office.

Badrul called on the MACC to carry out an immediate investigation into his report.

Doctors blast police attack on hospitals, ready to issue affidavits

(Harakah Daily) - A group of senior medical doctors today issued a joint statement expressing outrage at the authorities' handling of the Bersih rally, specifically when police fired tear gas into the compounds of the Tung Shin and Chinese Maternity Hospitals along Jalan Pudu.
PICTURE PROOF ... The Tung Shin hospital building being fired upon, July 9

Saying hospitals should be "safe sanctuaries for all" and "consecrated places of refuge" even during war time, the eleven doctors and surgeons, some of whom serve at the said hospitals, also condemned the police for entering the hospital buildings in search of some protesters fleeing from the police attacks.

"What was most frightening and witnessed by many was the unprovoked violent assault within the hospital compounds and apprehension of several protesters who had merely ran into the hospitals to seek shelter from the tear gas and the water cannons!" they said in a statement emailed to Harakahdaily, the first public reaction by medical doctors following the police's denial that its men had shot tear gas into hospital compounds on July 9.
This was followed by a press conference held by Health minister Liow Tiong Lai, claiming that the police did not shoot tear gas and water cannon into the Tung Shin Hospital compound and that allegations on the contrary were not true.

A number of video recordings however showed that tear gas had indeed been fired into the Tung Shin vicinities, with a Bar Council report of its observation into the July 9 protests confirming the incident.
'Prepared for sworn affidavits'

The statement, signed by Dr Musa Nordin, Dr Sheikh Johari Bux, Dr Ng Kwee Boon, Dr Ng Swee Choon, Dr Ronald Macoy, Dr David Quek, Dr Mary Cardozo, Dr. Farouk Musa, Dr. Mazeni Alwi, Dr Pixie Low and  Dr Steve Wong, also blasted the authorities for "shamelessly" denying the occurrence of these incidents in spite of evidences and eye-witness accounts.

"It is repulsive that the authorities entrusted with policing the nation and protecting the weak and needy, have shamelessly denied publicly, the occurrence of these incidents in spite of countless photos, videos and eye-witness accounts of what was evident to all independent observers," it said.

Saying they did not wish to join the polemics in the aftermath of the massive rally called by the electoral reforms group Bersih, the doctors, some of whom were on duty at the affected hospitals during the incident, said they were ready to provide sworn affidavits "if required, as to the veracity of the incidents."

The statement also reminded public office holders to discharge their duties with "moral integrity, dignity and transparency".

"Their failure to do so raises the public’s doubt in their competence and credibility as much as it demeans those in the high offices," it stressed.

Ambiga Does Not Foresee More Rallies In Future

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 (Bernama) -- Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, chairman of the illegal Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), does not foresee more rallies taking place.

This is, despite PAS saying it would push Bersih to hold another demonstration, should the government ignore demands for electoral reforms.

In an interview published by Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on its website today, the former Bar Council president, asked if the group would hold more rallies, said:

"I do not see it happening in the near future."

On an assertion that Bersih was just a front for opposition parties as Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim played a prominent role in Saturday's rally, Sreenevasan said it was unfair (to state as such) because the group had invited all political parties, including Barisan Nasional (BN), to support the rally.

"We invited all political parties, including BN, to support us. How can you say the cause for free and fair elections is only for the opposition?

"It is for everybody. Pakatan Rakyat members are also citizens of this country. Are they not entitled to support a movement for free and fair elections?," she asked.

Despite being denied police permit, Bersih went ahead with an illegal rally last Saturday.

3rd candle light vigil, 12th day of PSM6 in detention

Masuk akal atau tidak cincin bernilai RM 24 j lebih ?

sumber laman : forbes

petikan menarik dari website tersebut..
Included in this jewelry display were three fancy colored diamond rings ranging in price from $10 million to $20 million. The folks at Jacob & Co. were kind enough to give me images of these statement rings so I can share them with you.
Maknanya belian 'spesis' ini sememangnya mahal dan mampu sampai harga puluhan juta ringgit. Ada pengeluar perhiasan yang menjualnya dengan harga yang lebih tinggi dan ada yang sedikit rendah berdasarkan kekuatan jenama syarikat tersebut, tetapi pastinya harganya berkisar pada angka puluh juta ringgit.

Imelda Rosmah dijemput nafikan, sebelum kami keluarkan banyak lagi.

Rakyat terus derita dan dia lansung tak peduli apa....

Imelda Rosmah memang penggemar Jacob & co

11.45pg ini che'GuBard di iringi oleh Setiausaha AMK P.Pinang, Syed Mikhael dan Ketua Penerangan DPP P.Pinang serta 30 aktivis SAMM telah ke SPRM Pulau Pinang untuk berkongsi dengan SPRM beberapa bukti yang telah disiarkan dan bukti - bukti susulan mengenai isu belian bernilai RM24.4 j yang dikaitkan dengan Imelda Rosmah.
Rombongan kami dibernarkan masuk seramai 5 orang dan telah di terima oleh Pegawai penyiasat bernama' Nizam'. Pegawai Penyiasat SPRm sendiri terkejut dengan pendedahan dan bukti yang diserahkan. Mereka mengatakan terkejut bagaimana SAMM boleh mendapat bukti-bukti sedemikian rupa.

Belum selesai dengan pendedahan belian bernilai RM 24.4 j yang dibawa masuk melalui KLIA kini aktivis SAMM pula telah tampil membuktikan bahawa kemungkinan Imelda Rosmah sememangnya merupakan 'peminat' barang kemas Jacob and co.

ini gambar yang diambil dari media tempatan
cuba fokus besarkan ke bahagian tangan dan besarkan imej gelang tangan.
carian dibuat gelang tangan tersebut ialah produk keluaran Jacob & co

SAMM merujuk kepada seorang pekerja di syarikat menjual emas dan belian tempatan menyatakan paling murah pun gelang tersebut berharga RM100,000. Jika dengan tempahan khas dan selalunya ia diperolehi satu set dengan cincin dan lain lain maka jumlahnya cukup tinggi menjangkau puluhan juta.

nama Jacob & co juga merupakan nama yang tertera sebagai pembekal belian bernilai RM 24.4 j yang dikaitkan dengan Imelda Rosmah.

Menurut satu sumber yang sedang disahkan, Jacob & co merupakan syarikat kaya dunia yang mendokong zionisma. (klik maklumat dari wikipedia)

Blog ini pernah menyiarkan pendedahan mengenai beg tangan Imelda Rosmah (klik untuk baca mengenai beg tangan bernilai ratus ribu)

Derma hampir setengah juta ringgit ke Yayasan Kaya Antarabangsa untuk menaik imej Imelda Rosmah (klik sini untuk baca lanjut)

Rakyat terus terseksa tetapi dia lansung tak peduli apa.