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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Video of brutal Taliban execution of Pakistani policemen emerges


Warning: The video below is extremely graphic in nature. If you choose to watch this video, you will see the Taliban brutally execute more than a dozen bound Pakistani policemen. The Taliban then proceed to pump rounds into those who survived the initial firing.
The Taliban videotaped the brutal execution of more than a dozen Pakistani policemen who were captured during last month's raid in a remote area of northwestern Pakistan.

The graphic video, which shows 16 Pakistani policemen who are lined up and then gunned down by Taliban fighters wielding AK-47s, was taken in early June in the Shaltalu area of the district of Dir in northwestern Pakistan, a Pakistani official and US intelligence officials who track the region told The Long War Journal. The executions were filmed after the policemen were captured during several days of heavy fighting.

The policemen were captured after the Taliban crossed the border from Kunar province in Afghanistan and attacked police outposts and villages in the Shaltalu area on June 1. The raid sparked a pitched battle that lasted for several days. Dozens of Pakistani policemen were taken hostage during the ensuing fighting, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. Pakistani officials claimed that 27 policemen and 45 Taliban fighters were killed during the raid, but Pajhwok put the number of policemen killed at more than 40. Raids by the Taliban on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border have increased this year as the terror groups have expanded their footholds in the region [see LWJ report, Taliban step up cross-border attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan].

The graphic video, which was published on the LiveLeak website, begins by showing the policemen, whose hands are bound behind their backs, in a line along a hillside. A Taliban commander tells the policemen they are responsible for the execution of six Pakistani "children" in the neighboring Pakistani district of Swat. Just prior to executing the Pakistani men, the Taliban leader gives a quick speech.

"These are the enemies of Islam who originated from Pakistan," says the Taliban commander, who is masked and has not been identified, according to a translation of the statement received by The Long War Journal. He describes the men as "murtards," or those who have abandoned Islam.

"They are the Pakistani police, soldiers, and their supporters who recently lined up six kids in Swat and shot them execution style," the commander continues. "These Pakistanis are now our captive and we will avenge the death of the children by doing the same to them."

The Taliban commander orders the policemen to remain still, then he and his fighters immediately open fire on the bound men. Most of the policemen are killed during the initial volley of Taliban fire. Several of the men are heard moaning as the Taliban stop shooting. The Taliban quickly move in to finish off the survivors at close range. The Taliban then travel up and down the line of bodies, pumping rounds into those still alive.

A Taliban fighter with a video camera tapes the entire execution and its aftermath. Later in the video, his shadow is cast over the dead bodies as he films them.

The video has not been attributed to a specific Taliban faction, however two major Taliban groups operate in the region, one commanded by Qari Zai Rahman, and another by Mullah Fazlullah.

Qari Zai Rahman is the dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda leader who operates in Pakistan's tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand, as well as in Afghanistan's provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. ISAF and Afghan forces have been hunting Rahman for more than a year.

Mullah Fazlullah commands the Taliban forces in the district of Swat, which borders Dir to the east. Fazlullah's forces openly ruled Swat and neighboring districts from 2007 until April 2009, when the Pakistani military launched an operation to eject the Taliban. Fazlullah and most of his top leaders evaded the operation, however, and have since sheltered along the Afghan-Pakistani border, particularly in Dir.

The Pakistani Taliban routinely videotape executions of their captives. The most recent high-profile execution was carried out by Hakeemullah Mehsud and his followers. Earlier this year, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan released a videotape of the execution of a former Pakistani military intelligence official known as Colonel Imam. Although Imam, a senior officer in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, was a favorite of the Afghan Taliban for his support of Mullah Omar, the Pakistani Taliban accused him spying against the terror group [see LWJ report, Video: Pakistani Taliban execute Colonel Imam].

Indonesian volcano rumbles again, spitting massive ash clouds

The Mount Lokon volcano spews thick smoke and 
ash into the air as seen from the town of Tomohon on Sunday.

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) -- An Indonesian volcano erupted twice Monday, spewing thick ash clouds a day after the number of evacuees rose to 5,200.

The two eruptions occurred within 10 minutes of one another, spitting ash clouds as high as 600 meters (1,970 feet) into the air.

Mt. Lokon in the northern Sulawesi province first erupted Thursday night. Since then it has erupted several more times.

Authorities worry that the latest eruption sent smoke so high into the sky that it could affect flights at nearby airports.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Indonesia is located on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of fault lines circling the Pacific Basin that is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Gov't feels threatened, says Marina

(Malaysiakini) The Malaysian government feels threatened, is in a total state of panic and cannot think clearly, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's eldest daughter Marina Mahathir says.

“They do feel threatened because they underestimated Bersih in 2007 and then in the 2008 general election, they lost a lot of seats in Parliament and the state assemblies.
"And since then, they have been in a state of total panic and they can't think clearly at all. Now they are obsessed about how to win them back.

NONE“You can win back people just by being nice. You can't win back people by being nasty. You can't say that those people who marched are hooligans. Maybe there was a handful, not all of them.
"The majority of them were professionals. The group was so diverse and it was really one Malaysia - young, rich, poor of every race, creed and every religion,” she told Malaysiakini in an exclusive interview.

On July 9, Marina (right) took part in the Bersih 2.0 protest, with her daughter and friends.

They started from near Jalan Pudu (Berjaya Times Square) and walked along Jalan Hang Jebat (formerly Davidson Road) in front of Stadium Negara towards the Olympics Council of Malaysia building, where she encountered other friends.

She added that the people who marched were proud of the Bersih 2.0 movement. “I may not agree with your cause but you did a really good thing. We all became One Malaysia.

“Now, they are labelling us all sorts of names and let me tell you that they have lost all these votes. They may think they have lost them anyway, but let me tell you that there were a lot of people sitting on the fence and they have definitely gone to the other side. I see this clearly in the social media, especially email, on Twitter and in the blogs.”

bersih rally 090711 police shooting into tung shin hospitalMarina explained that the July 9 march had dented the image of the government and would obviously affect the ruling party “from the all the stupid statements that they are making and have been made by the government officials”.

She added: “Imagine saying that the police fired into the Tung Shin Hospital to protect the patients. It does not make sense. Again, they cannot think clearly and it is having an effect on the government.

“The prime minister came to give a briefing to 6,000 people the following day after July 9. If you are constantly surrounded by people who are telling you that you are wonderful and you are right, you are not going to get a true picture of what happened. You have to go and talk to people with different, not mutual views.

“If they refuse to listen to the people, the government leaders are going to be cocooned in complacency. And they are going to react in absolutely the wrong way.”

Putrajaya needs to respond to Bersih’s demands, says Ambiga

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 — The federal government needs to actively engage with Bersih and respond to its electoral demands instead of warning people against taking part in street demonstrations, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has said.

The Bersih 2.0 chairman today demanded to know the Najib administration’s response to the group’s concerns, saying that Bersih had not ruled out more demonstrations in the future.

Ambiga did not rule out more demonstrations in the future. — File pic
“There are reports that I said there will be no more rallies. This is not accurate and I see ministers repeating it. What I said was that there will be no more rallies in the near future. We do not take organising such rallies lightly.
 
“We will continue to take such steps to keep the pressure on in relation to reforming the electoral system but what we are hoping for is active engagement with the authorities on the subject,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

Ambiga charged that the government was “missing the point” by issuing threats and more blanket bans against future rallies when what it should be doing was to address the valid concerns raised on July 9.

“What is the government’s response to our call for reform? To our call for a royal commission of inquiry? The government will do well to address the rakyat’s concerns rather than to just continue to threaten them.

“Simply put, is the government going to look at electoral reform or not?” she asked.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday issued a warning that the government will brook no further street demonstrations.

The July 9 Bersih rally has put the Najib administration on the back foot, and criticism of the way it suppressed the mass gathering has taken on a global nature.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrived in the UK for a four-day visit last week and was greeted by a scathing editorial in The Guardian that compared his administration to ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

On Tuesday, US national daily The Wall Street Journal said the government’s response to the Bersih 2.0 rally has created an environment of fear and repression in Malaysia.

Despite the efforts to prevent the rally from taking place, tens of thousands converged on the capital city in a march for free and fair elections.

The protest, which the government earlier declared illegal, turned chaotic close to midday when the police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protestors.

Between right and might

Whatever rationalisations Najib starts cooking up to defend the actions of the police during the Bersih 2.0 rally, little is going to help him gain the people’s trust.
COMMENT
July 9, 2011 is reluctantly tattooed in the memory of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. And for obvious reasons.

But more disturbingly, the date will haunt him as it signifies that the tide is turning against the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as shown by the 50,000 supporters of the “Walk for Democracy”.

For the rakyat of this country, after witnessing the happenings of last Saturday, they unanimously reached a conclusion – that their leader is is one who has no guts to walk the talk.

July 9 was the day when an election watchdog, Bersih 2.0, decided to “Walk for Democracy” as its way of pressing for reforms to the electoral system. It wants the polls to be conducted in a free and fair manner.
The walk or rally was meant to end with a memorandum detailing the eight demands being delivered to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin. But on July 9 the memorandum never made it to the King’s hands.

And who made sure that never happened? It was none other than Najib who went on parroting his meaningless catch-phrase “people first, performance now” post-2009.

July 9 bears proof that the “people first” claim was never a truth and likewise the “performance now” too turned out to be a fallacy.

Instead, July 9 turned into a showdown between the right which stands for Bersih 2.0 and might which represented Najib and his men.

Whatever rationalisations Najib starts cooking up to defend the actions of the police during the Bersih 2.0 rally, little is going to help him gain the people’s trust.

The heavy-handed persecution carried out against the faces behind the Bersih 2.0 coalition has left the rakyat feeling nauseous. They are utterly disgusted at a leader who has failed in handling a simple request from an award-winning lawyer to engage in a “Walk for Democracy” with the rakyat before handing over the memorandum to the King.

Instead, the Bersih 2.0 rally riled Najib up, inflating his paranoia of losing that plush seat in Putrajaya, the nation’s administrative capital.

Sore loser, Najib

The massive support given by the people to the “Walk for Democracy” made Najib very angry. His blood is up as seen from the remarks he made post-July 9 of wanting to teach Bersih 2.0 a lesson.

If there is a worry, it is this that henceforth all actions taken by the Najib camp against Bersih 2.0 leaders will border on revenge. Truly unfortunate that with power and authority at his disposal, Najib is forgetting that he is no gift to the rakyat of Malaysia. He has feet of clay and all that power that Putrajaya accords him is “temporary”.

Like their boss, the police too declined to be held accountable for the violence that broke out during the July 9 rally.

But then what does the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar have to say to a remark made by national laureate and a supporter of the “Walk for Democracy”, A Samad Said, who witnessed the random firing of tear gas by the police?

“I saw them (the police) randomly firing tear gas at the crowd,” Samad had said.

The 76-year-old poet-activist was determined to lend all the support he could to the Bersih 2.0 rally that even after losing his shoes during a tussle at Kuala Lumpur Sentral, this senior citizen, whose eyes were bloodshot due to the tear gas and chemical-laced water, continued walking, barefoot. Dare they refute what he revealed?

What about the rally supporter who collapsed at the KLCC while running away from the tear gas fired by the police at the Bersih 2.0 supporters there. Baharuddin Ahmad, 59, was rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The police as always washed their hands of this casualty.

Intead, they quickly blamed Baharuddin’s excess weight and three blocked arteries for his demise.
A husband and father is dead and the police took the easy way out by blaming Baharuddin’s lifestyle as the cause of his death. Hello, who is Ismail trying to con here? The rakyat knows better.

Najib, BN learn from July 9

The Bersih 2.0 rally is certainly a lesson in progress for Najib and party. The events of July 9 have blunted the edge of the BN administration, which stubbornly defies all claims of corruption and manipulation practised during the polls.

What remains now is to wait and watch what Najib and his Umnoputeras would do from the bashing that came from the people’s support of Bersih 2.0.

As the Malay saying goes, “Sepandai-pandai tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah juga” (No matter how smart the squirrel is to jump, he will still fall to the ground).

The brutality shown by the police on July 9 confirmed the people’s worst fears – that the cops are only too glad to be trigger-happy and have no issues embracing violence to get the people to “do as I say”.

As of now, Umno bigwigs are afraid of their periuk nasi or rice bowl and amusingly are all singing the same tune of verbally bashing Bersih 2.0 and its chairperson S Ambiga.

What Najib and Umno dare not accept is that the July 9 “Walk for Democracy” was not devised by the opposition, more precisely Anwar Ibrahim. It simply was a walk to uphold democracy, which the BN government found detrimental to its survival.
When Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim declared that the Bersih 2.0 rally was a ploy to overthrow the government, he was simply shooting empty darts by talking gibberish.
Again, BN and Umno are affecting ignorance by claiming the rally was politically motivated. It was not.

Awakening of the rakyat

The rally was a “walk” by the rakyat to exercise their fundamental and democratic rights, which for a long time have been repressed by the BN government under the guise of various draconian laws.

Najib outlawed Bersih 2.0 and all else related to this coalition, including the colour yellow, which was a symbolic feature in the Bersih 2.0 rally vis-à-vis the T-shirts.

Supporters of the rally were barred from wearing the Bersih 2.0 T-shirt, a yellow-colour outfit that lists down the eight demands of the coalition.

Yet, Umno, synonymous with malpractices and double standard, could not care less when Umno Youth under its “Patriot” guise was giving out free “Patriot” T-shirts during the rally. What was really going on here?

Also, all claims of the rally shooing away tourists from the city and the country had no basis, not until the police turned hysterical and started raiding hotels to look for “subversive elements”, which of course were no where to be found, for none exist.

What the Bersih 2.0 rally brought to light is the fear of the BN government and Umno, of the awakening of the rakyat who will without fear or favour go on to demand what is rightfully theirs.

Malaysia is home to all its 28 million children. The question, however, is, of that number, how many of them will go to any extent to protect their motherland from being devoured by the greedy hands?

IS BN BEHAVING LIKE OCCUPATION ARMY??? PICTORIAL COMPARISON!!!

In the run up to the now historical BERSIH 2.0 rally calling for free and fair elections, the BN government did many things to scare Malaysian into staying away from the rally. The government’s threat to its own citizens reached the apex of incredulity during a joint exercise between Federal Reserve Unit and Royal Malay Regiment on July 6th, three days before the BERSIH rally were to take place. Malaysiakini headlined its report “Army’s simulation exercise: Disperse, or we’ll shoot” on July 6th here: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/169088

The authorities issued threats against those intending to participate in BERSIH 2.0 rally by showcasing the kind punishment meted out to those violating the ban on ‘illegal’ rallies. Among the banners held up during the exercise the most conspicuous one reads:’BERSURAILAH KAMU KALAU TIDAK KAMI TEMBAK’ (‘Disperse. If not, we’ll shoot’)
Translations of the stern message in Tamil and Chinese were repeated along with a transliteration in the ‘Jawi’ script is repeated in the banner as shown in the picture below:

The notion of security forces of a democratic government threatening to shoot the general public for participating in a peaceful rally is beyond comprehension, unless of course if it’s a threat from an occupational army as the image below shows. (Click on the image below)

Picture source: End of Empire by Brian Lapping, ISBN 0-246-11969-1, Refer to page 333
Take a long good look at the image above; the subtitle in the top right corner reads: ‘Disperse or we shoot’, in English, Greek and Turkish on a British army lorry. It shows the British occupational army in Cyprus warning the public who are rallying for their freedom. The majority of Cypriots are of Greek and Turkish descent, hence the warning on the banner is repeated on both Greek and Turkish. Only an army of occupation will rule a country through fear and intimidation like the British did in many countries it colonized. The situation is repeated in Malaysia now!!!! Is Malaysia is still being governed ruthlessly like a colony of BN? You know the answer…

Every fight for freedom will eventually prevail. The British Empire ended when people rose up for their freedom. And if the BN-UMNO regime refuses to heed the call to reinstate their basic rights and freedom of its people… their citadel will crumble to dust sooner than they can ever imagine.
KEEP UP THE FIGHT MALAYSIANS…. PROUD TO HAVE WALKED WITH YOU…

Helah Media Merekayasa Berita Akhirnya Terbungkam

Akhbar gagah News of the World yg mencecah 2.6 juta jualan harian akhirnya dibungkam! Ini berikutan pendedahan betapa media milik korporat media ulung dunia Rupert Murdoch terkait dengan skandal pemalsuan maklumat dalam satu kes pembunuhan ngeri di Britain.

Namun yang lebih memprihatinkan ialah helah dan pendekatan media milik Murdoch yang berhasil melonjakkan penjualan akbar dan khalayak tv melalui kaedah yang melanggar etika kewartanan, merekayasa berita malah sanggup terjerobos ketahap kewartawanan paling hina!

Dalam beberapa tweet saya tadi, saya merujuk rencana Carl Bernstein (masyhur dalam pembongkaran skandal Watergate Presiden R Nixon) dalam Newsweek “Murdoch’s Watergate”. Beliau menyanggah budaya berita Empayar Murdoch yang tampak angkuh dan mengganas. Pemerintah Inggeris, dunia kewartawanan tercegat dengan skandal terbaru ini. Ada kemungkinan siasatan akan dilanjutkan ke Amerika Syarikat.

Bayangkan seandainya wujud penyiasatan rapi, pemantaun etika, dan badan kehakiman bebas di Malaysia. Mampukah media Umno-Bn utamanya Utusan Malaysia dan TV3 terselamat?

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Death in custody – R Gunasegaran (Sentul District Police Headquarters, 16 Jul 2009)

Two years ago on 16 Jul 2009, R Gunasegaran died on the way to Kuala Lumpur Hospital after having been detained at the Sentul District Police Headquarters on the same day. 

The police claimed that the then-31-year old toddy shop assistant collapsed due to drug abuse while the police was taking his thumbprint at the Sentul District Police Headquarters.  However, R Gunasegaran’s sister, R Ganga Gowri, claimed her brother had been assaulted by the police. 

An inquest into R Gunasegaran’s death began on 11 Nov 2009 and concluded on 25 Oct 2010, with Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin giving an open verdict stating that the cause of R Gunasegaran’s death while in police custody could not be proven conclusively.

After the first autopsy, the doctor verified that R Gunasegaran’s death had been due to drug abuse.  However, another suspect who had been arrested with R Gunasegaran claimed that he had seen a policeman assault R Gunasegaran until the latter was unconscious.  The second autopsy also reportedly revealed a scar measuring 28 cm (length) by 8 cm (width) by 5 cm (depth) on R Gunasegaran’s chest.

After the open verdict was delivered, R Gunasegaran’s family announced they would file for a judicial review of the decision in the High Court.  

Every death in custody must be thoroughly and impartially investigated.  R Gunasegaran’s death must not be relegated to a mere statistic.
 
Based on the Royal Malaysia Police’s statistics, 85 persons died in police custody between 2003 and 2007 alone.

We express our heartfelt condolences to R Gunasegaran’s family and friends on the anniversary of his death.

Sex change op not enough for gender change, says judge

The Star

KUALA TERENGGANU: A medical assistant failed in his bid to be declared a woman when the High Court here rejected his application for a gender change.

Mohd Ashraf Hafiz Abd Aziz, 26, who was not present in court, had also wanted his name changed on his birth certificate and MyKad to Aleesha Farhana Abd Aziz.

He wanted this reflected in his driving licence, two bank accounts and medical assistant diploma from a medical college.

Ashraf Hafiz, from Seberang Takir here, had a sex change operation in Thailand in May 2009 after seeking advice and hormonal treatment from Pantai Medical Centre.

In his application, Ashraf Hafiz said he had exhibited female mannerisms and was more inclined to socialise with girls since he was in school.

His mother, in her affidavit, said his private parts was too small and was not functioning normally.

Justice Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa, in rejecting Ashraf Hafiz’s application, said there was no legal statute to grant his application based solely on the sex change operation.

“He also did not meet three other criteria for being declared a woman – chromosome count, and exterior and interior organs.

“The medical reports were not complete or conclusive and no doctors were called to give their statements regarding biological factors throughout the court proceedings,” he said.

He said a person’s gender was determined during birth and could not be changed through surgery.

“In making my judgment, I have to take into account the legal impact as well as whether a decision would confuse the public.

“Surgical intervention is not sufficient, given that the surgery was conducted to ensure a person would be comfortable with his body,” he said.

In his previous arguments, lawyer Horley Isaacs, who represented the plaintiff, said his client was facing difficulty leading a normal life, especially in wanting to further his studies in a local university.

Ashraf Hafiz created a stir when he attended the proceedings on May 25 clad in a red and white kebaya and pink tudung.

When approached by reporters then, he refused to comment. Instead, he covered his face and dashed away from the media.

Scottish uni to set up campus in Putrajaya?

A leading Scottish university in the field of science and technology is inching closer to setting up a campus in Putrajaya by 2014.
 
The tertiary institution, also known for its business and engineering programmes, has been chosen as the “preferred university” to set up the campus. Final contractual negotiations and approvals could be concluded by the end of this year.

If all goes well, it will be the university’s first campus in East Asia.

Unofficial Translation of Pastor Youcef Nadakhani’s Verdict

pastor youcef in iranTEHRAN, IRAN (Worthy News)– An unofficial translation of the Iranian Supreme Court’s decision to execute Pastor Youcef Nadakhani was obtained by Worthy News on Monday, July 18.

The unofficial translation was provided by Present Truth Ministries (PTM).
In the name of Allah
To the lawyers of the accused (defendant)
To the local court
To the state court of Gilan Section 11
December 5, 2010
Issued by section 27 Supreme Court Judge Morteza Fazel and Azizoallah Razaghi
Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32 years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad, at the age of 19.
He has often participated in Christian worship and organized home church services, evangelizing and has been baptized and baptized others, converting Muslims to Christianity. He has been accused of breaking Islamic Law that from puberty (15 years according to Islamic law) until the age of 19 the year 1996, he was raised a Muslim in a Muslim home. During court trials, he denied the prophecy of Mohammad and the authority of Islam. He has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim.

During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir -olvasileh (one of Khomeni’s books about Sharia Law and Khamenie’s and Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi’s fatwa) His sentence was appealed by his attorney and sent to the supreme court.
The Supreme Courts Response
In the name of Allah

June 12, 2011
This sopena states;
We know that Mr. Nadarkhani has confessed that in his heart and in his actions he has denied being Muslim and converted to Christianity and has advertised and encouraged other Muslims to convert to Christianity. And because of advertising and pastoring a church repeatedly professed his Christian faith and denied the prophet Mohammad and the 12th Imam and denied the entire Koran and truth of the Koran.

His case was forwarded to the supreme court (Judge Fazel) and according to Part 2 of article 265 of the Islamic Republic Criminal Law, this case received by and must be returned the state court of Gilan Section 11, and further investigated to prove that from puberty (15 years) to 19 he was not Muslim by his acquaintances, relatives, local elders, and Muslims he frequented. He must repent his Christian faith if this is the case. No research has been done to prove this, if it can be proved that he was a practicing Muslim as an adult and has not repented, the execution will be carried out.

Signed by Morteza Fazeli and Azizollah Razaghi
According to PTM, Youcef was not a practicing Muslim, but simply born into a Muslim family and did not practice any religion before coming to Jesus Christ. This fall an Iranian lower court will re-evaluate the case and determine if Youcef was a practicing Muslim to determine whether or not he is found guilty of apostasy which carries a sentence of death in Iran.

The U.S. State Department has also expressed concerns about the pastor’s fate. The last known Christian to be officially hanged for his faith in Iran was Assemblies of God Pastor Hossein Soodmand, in 1990.

PSM top guns secure meeting with Hisham

No more street rallies, warns Muhyiddin

Muhyiddin said Malaysia’s election system was time tested and ought to be acceptable to all. — file pic
 
DENPASAR, July 18 — With Putrajaya still reeling from the July 9 Bersih rally, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today warned Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that the government will brook no further street demonstrations.


“Do not take any threatening action (towards the administration). We will not bow to threats but since they (PR) have a political motive, they are trying to make it look as though the government is insensitive, our electoral system is outdated and that our general elections had been conducted improperly,” Bernama Online quoted the deputy prime minister as saying today.

Muhyiddin today maintained the establishment line on the list of electoral reforms demanded by Bersih, but added that Barisan Nasional was also interested in improving the present system.

“Our electoral system has been tested for more than five decades and this system should be accepted by all,” he said.

Bersih is persisting with its eight reform demands for free and fair elections, but chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has said that no further rallies are being planned.

The July 9 Bersih rally has sent the Najib administration on the back foot, and criticism of the way it suppressed the mass gathering has taken on a global nature.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrived in the UK for a four-day visit last week and was greeted by a scathing editorial in The Guardian that compared his administration to ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

On Tuesday, US national daily The Wall Street Journal said the government’s response to the Bersih 2.0 rally has created an environment of fear and repression in Malaysia.

Despite the efforts to prevent the rally from taking place, tens of thousands converged on the capital city in a march for free and fair elections.

The protest, which the government earlier declared illegal, turned chaotic close to midday when the police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protestors.

Vatican, Malaysia establish diplomatic ties

Move raises political concerns that the government will come under fire from opposition party PAS.

VATICAN CITY: The Vatican and Malaysia have established official diplomatic ties, the Holy See announced today after talks between Pope Benedict XVI and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, according to an AFP report today.

“In the cordial conversations, the positive developments in bilateral relations were discussed, and an agreement was reached to establish diplomatic relations between Malaysia and the Holy See,” the Vatican said in a statement.

Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country of around 28 million people, is the 179th country to have diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

Some nine percent of Malaysians are Christian, including 850,000 Catholics.

Last month, Najib met with Malaysian church leaders in a bid to ease religious tensions stirred by a report that alleged Christians wanted to replace Islam as the official religion.

The row is one of a string of religious disputes in recent years that have raised fears among minorities that the country is being “Islamised” and that their rights are being eroded.

Religion and language are sensitive issues in multi-racial Malaysia.

A Malaysian government official told AFP on condition of anonymity that there are political concerns that the move to establish ties with the Vatican would be criticised by the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).

Earlier, Najib today met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Pope’s summer residence at the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo, outside Rome, reports Bernama.

Najib’s audience with Pope Benedict took place soon after his arrival at the palace overlooking a beautiful lake on a hot Italian summer day.

Universal government

Following the private meeting, Najib introduced members of his entourage, including his wife Rosmah Mansor, to the Pope.

Najib later presented the Pope with gifts in the form of a book titled “Najib” and a framed songket embroidery.

Both of them were later joined by Rosmah and members of the Malaysian delegation for a group photograph.

Najib was then ushered into a separate room for a delegation meeting with Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Najib brought along with him a multi-faith entourage including Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department Koh Tsu Koon and Jamil Khir Baharom, and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Bernard Dompok.

They were joined by National Fatwa Council chairman Prof Abdul Shukor Husin and Archbishop Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam.

It was the second meeting between a Malaysian prime minister and the Pope after the one involving former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Pope John Paul in June 2002.

The Pope is the ruler of both Vatican City State and Holy See.

The Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church and operates from Vatican City State, a sovereign, independent territory of 0.44 sq km.

Polis minta orang ramai serah rakaman video Bersih

Kerjasama itu perlu bagi membolehkan polis mendapat gambaran sebenar kejadian yang berlaku, kata Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara.

GENTING HIGHLANDS: Orang ramai diminta bekerjasama dengan polis bagi menyerahkan rakaman video berkaitan perhimpunan haram 9 Julai lepas untuk dijadikan bukti sama ada terdapat dakwaan polis bertindak ganas semasa menyuraikan perhimpunan itu.

Timbalan Ketua Polis Negara Datuk Seri Khalid Abu Bakar berkata kerjasama itu perlu bagi membolehkan polis mendapat gambaran sebenar kejadian yang berlaku setelah banyak pihak mendakwa kekasaran polis semasa menangani perhimpunan itu.

“Kita akan siasat secara telus, terperinci dan polis tidak akan sembunyikan apa-apa fakta yang benar,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas menghadiri Bengkel Banteras Kecurian Kenderaaan di Malaysia di  sini, hari ini.

Sehubungan itu, beliau berkata polis menubuhkan enam jawatankuasa yang diketuai seorang pegawai kanan bagi menyiasat enam dakwaan kezaliman polis ketika bertugas menangani perhimpunan tersebut.

“Siasatan akan diselesaikan secepat mungkin dan polis telah panggil beberapa saksi untuk siasat enam tohmahan itu.

“Polis ingin tahu tohmahan itu benar ataupun tidak. Bagaimanapun tohmahan yang disiasat itu tidak termasuk kejadian di Hospital Tung Shin,” katanya.

Khalid berkata sekiranya perlu polis bersedia menayangkan video mengenai kejadian sebenar yang berlaku pada perhimpunan itu.

“Sekiranya perlu kita akan siarkan video itu selepas jawatankuasa yang ditubuhkan selesai menyiapkan laporan berhubung perhimpunan itu,” katanya.

Mengulas mengenai tangkapan yang dilakukan ketika perhimpunan itu, Khalid berkata tangkapan yang dilakukan adalah mengikut undang-undang, jika mereka yang ditahan tidak berpuas hati dengan tugas polis, perkara itu boleh dibawa ke mahkamah.

“Tangkapan yang dilakukan kebanyakannya kerana memakai baju Bersih (Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil)…sebahagian besar tangkapan telah dibebaskan tanpa syarat dan sebahagian lagi kita siasat sebab ajak orang berhimpun.

Sementara itu, Khalid turut meminta mana-mana pihak yang mempunyai bukti dakwaan kematian pemandu teksi Baharudin Ahmad, 59, akibat gas pemedih mata ketika menyertai perhimpunan itu supaya menyerahkan bukti itu kepada polis.

“Kalau ada bukti tunjukkanlah…jangan sebarkan dakwaan itu tanpa ada kesahihan,” katanya.

Sebelum ini, polis mengesahkan kematian Baharudin itu yang menyertai perhimpunan haram di kawasan KLCC pada 9 Julai adalah akibat komplikasi jantung dan bukan berpunca daripada gas pemedih mata seperti didakwa pihak tertentu.

- Bernama

No kidding, it is actually called the 'Ibrahim Ali Award'!


Five thousand ringgit: That is the amount Ibrahim Ali is offering. Any takers?

(Harakah Daily) -  Heaven and earth may be closer than Ibrahim Ali and ivory tower, but that did not stop UiTM to name one of its awards after the Perkasa leader.
While Ibrahim Ali's antics may evoke anger among a section of people, most Malaysians have come to terms with the staunchly pro-UMNO independent member of parliament's rhetoric, welcoming him as comic relief in a political environment that has been otherwise littered with vile and personal allegations.

And his most recent antic notwithstanding - his weeks-long threat to hold a counter gathering to stop Bersih's rally on July 9, only to disappear during the peak of Bersih's massive rally which saw more than 1,600 arrests.

For Pahang PAS commissioner who is also the Islamic party's information chief, the announcement of the award came as embarrasing though retaining all the humour that accompanies any news about the Pasir Mas MP.
Understandably so, since Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (left) was once attached to the same university as a lecturer.

"Those leaders who strove hard to make UiTM well-known and respected would have been more deserving of awards being named after them. Tan Sri Arsyad Ayub, Tan Sri Ani Arope, Dato Ishak Mohamad, Dr Awang Had Salleh, and Tan Sri Ibrahim Abu Shah (former UiTM vice chancelor) will also be smiling to find out that there is an award named after Ibrahim Ali!" said Tuan Ibrahim in response to a report today.

Earlier today, online news site Malaysiakini reported that UiTM's Institut Pemikiran dan Kepimpinan Melayu was offering the 'Ibrahim Ali Award' in the form of a cash prize sponsored by the Perkasa chief.

Among the criteria sought by the award is that students must have "clear and consistent" principles in upholding their race. In addition, they must also help UiTM encourage students to join activities related to "upgrading the honour and reputation of the race".

Tuan Ibrahim however predicted that the award would die a natural death.

"It is unfortunate when an institute of higher learning does something without any background check on someone. Ibrahim Ali is not a person who is held in esteem by the people.

"An award recipient should feel proud of the award. If an award only invites scorn that will later become a stigma on the recipient, I am sure such an award will fail," he added.

Najib’s Vatican trip: A letter to the Pope

A group of 365 Catholics and other Christians in Malaysia, including a string of priests and religious, have signed a joint letter to Pope Benedict XVI expressing their concern over Prime Minister Najib Razak’s official visit to the Vatican on 18 July 2011 in view of recent developments in the country.
The letter highlighted concerns about the lack of democratic rights and religious freedom in Malaysia to enable the Pope to “understand more critically and comprehensively the political and social realities” lest the pontiff be “presented with a one-sided view of developments” in the country.
It should be remembered that six political activists, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, are being unjustly detained without trial.
See the full letter and list of signatories on the Aliran website.