MH370 officially declared an accident

PETALING JAYA: The families of those onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 can move forward to seek compensation now that the aircraft’s disappearance has been officially declared as an accident with all 239 passengers and crew presumed dead.

Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, who announced this yesterday on behalf of the Government, acknowledged that such a declaration would be very difficult for the families to accept.

However, Azharuddin gave the commitment that the declaration did not signal an end to the search for the missing aircraft, which would remain a priority.

“Without in any way intending to diminish the feelings of the families, it is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process,” said Azharuddin in a statement which he read out and was broadcast live on RTM1.

Wife of flight MH370 cabin crew Mohd Hazrin Hassan, Intan Maizura and her son Muhammad, in Putrajaya for the DCA press conference, which was subsequently called off. – Azman Ghani/The Star

The Boeing 777-200 aircraft was on a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 last year when it disappeared from the radar 40 minutes after taking off.

Azharuddin said the declaration that the disappearance of MH370 was an accident and all passengers and crew were presumed to have lost their lives was made in accor­dance with provisions contained in Annex 12 and Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

An analysis of all available evidence and the supporting factual information obtained supported the conclusion that MH370 ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean where it exhausted its fuel, he said.

“After 327 days (as of Jan 28) and based on all available data as well as circumstances mentioned earlier, survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely.

“It is, therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 an accident in accordance with the Standards of Annexes 12 and 13 that all 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.”

Azharuddin assured the next of kin that Malaysia Airlines would undertake its responsibilities in relation to the legitimate rights and interests of the next of kin as provided under the relevant international instruments and relevant domestic laws, with due consideration to international practice.

“This includes the fulfilment of the compensation process, whether it is pursued through consultation or through litigation.”

Azharuddin said an initial “search and rescue” operation was carried out from March 8 to April 28 last year.

People watching the live broadcast of the announcement on MH370 made by Azharuddin.

The Australian government, which was subsequently tasked with coordinating the search efforts on April 28, announced that the search and rescue phase had transitioned to a search and recovery operation.

This current phase of the search included the use of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and a bathymetry survey or underwater search which has so far completed covering about 208,000km² of the sea floor.

“We have never wavered in our commitment to continue our efforts to find MH370 and bring closure for everyone, most of all for the families of the passengers and crew of MH370,” said Azharuddin.

The National Registration Department will discuss with the Attorney-General’s Chambers on the procedures to issue the death certificates for MH370 passengers and crew.

Its director-general Datuk Sulaiman Keling said the discussion would focus on the legal aspects to make the process easier.

Australian authorities leading the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean expect operations to wrap up by May.

The Australian Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said this would be the timeline, barring any significant delays in logistics or from bad weather.

JACC also expects weather conditions to be generally favourable until the end of February.

“To date, around 18,000km² of seafloor have been searched, which is around 30% of the priority search area,” said JACC in its update on Wednesday.

JACC said the underwater search aimed to also map the MH370 debris field in order to identify and prioritise the recovery of specific aircraft components, including flight data recorders, which will be crucial for investigations.

A fourth ship, Fugro Supporter, has just arrived and will join in the search with the Fugro Equator, Fugro Discovery and GO Phoenix.

source : The Star

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friday Alhamdulillah, it’s another Friday, have a blessed Friday everyone. Looking forward to a long weekendlove

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BlessingsMay Allah grant us with MORE. Happy and blessed Wednesday everyone :)

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Project shows what it means to be poor

 Poor man’s meal: A photo submitted by Atty Sulaiman showing what a person can buy with RM7 a day – (from left) fish, tempe and rice.
Poor man’s meal: A photo submitted by Atty Sulaiman showing what a person can buy with RM7 a day – (from left) fish, tempe and rice

BEIJING: How much food can we get with RM7?

Stefen Chow, a Beijing-based Malaysian photographer, is calling on the public to join in “The Poverty Line” project by submitting photographs of food items bought with RM7 on a sheet of newspaper.

“It is how much a person living on the poverty line can afford to spend on food each day,” said Chow, 35.

Among the entries he has received so far include a packet of nasi kandar submitted by Belinda Ho in Penang; and a selection of grocery items such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggs, shallots, ladies’ fingers and curry powder by Joseph Foo in Kuala Lumpur.

“The Poverty Line” (http://www.thepovertyline.net/) is a visual project created by Chow and his wife Lin Hui-Yi back in 2010 in Beijing, and since then, it has been expanded to more than 20 countries.

Viewers are able to discern the countries discussed based on the newspapers that serve as the background, while the newspaper’s content conveys social context at the time the photographs were taken.

Chow’s job as a freelance photographer allows him to travel around the world.

Lin, an economist, works out the amount of money a poor person allocates for food per day in each country, while Chow then purchases food items from local grocers and photographs them on local newspapers.

Essentially, the project attempts to answer the question “What it means to be poor?”

Beginning early this month, Chow and Lin decided to open up for submissions from people residing in Malaysia, Singapore (S$2.25 or RM6.03), India (47 rupees or RM2.76) and Hong Kong (HK$25.25 or RM11.73).

Enough for just one meal: A packet of nasi kandar submitted by Ho against a sheet of a local Chinese newspaper.

Enough for just one meal: A packet of nasi kandar submitted by Ho against a sheet of a local Chinese newspaper.

By responding to their call, the public becomes part of the larger discussion about poverty and food choices around the world.

“While artwork is, a lot of times, a one-way conversation with the artists communicating their intentions for interpretation, we are inviting the public to be part of the conversation in this case.

“We have already thought about it for years to engage the audience in a two-way conversation with the artwork,” Chow said when contacted.

Chow, whose photograph of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei won the second prize in the staged portraits category in the 56th World Press Photo contest in 2013, lives in Beijing with Lin and their daughter.

“The Poverty Line” was also awarded with the grand prize in Arles Open Photography Salon in 2011.

“We intend to open this project to 60 countries by the end of the year and hopefully it will morph into an international movement,” he said.

Chow said photos can be posted on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtags #thepovertyline and #Malaysia, together with a quick thought on the topic.

The Poverty Line’s Facebook page is www.facebook.com/thepovertyline.

source : The Star

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Dua for the opressedAamin Ya Rabbal Alamiin. My thought and prayers are with you people. :(

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Boycott Netanyahu’s Unauthorized Speech to Congress

To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives and The United States Senate

Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an affront to the President of the United States and a move by Israel to dictate America’s Foreign Policy disrupting peaceful means to achieve Iranian Nuclear Disarmament.
There are currently 760 signatures. NEW goal – We need 1,000 signatures!

Petition Background

Boehner’s treacherous invitation to Netanyahu verges on treason.

Netanyahu’s goal is to use Boehner to sabotage the Iranian Nuclear Disarmament talks. Netanyahu is facing an election in March. This speech is clearly a campaign stunt that will be used to justify his continuing persecution of the Palestinians.

It is the constitutional responsibility of the President to conduct foreign policy. There are well-established protocols by which an invitation would be extended through the State Department so that America presents a unified diplomatic position to the world.

Democratic Representatives must boycott this speech and remain united behind the President. Failure to do so will make the United States appear to be controlled by Israeli interests further disrupting efforts to achieve Peace in the Middle East.

Continue reading

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Bank Counterfeit Money In China Deceiving Customers RM116 Million

I just can’t stop laughing. So irony that China used to be associated with branded fakes , now even have  fake bank, Lol!

BEIJING: A fake bank counters equipped with sophisticated and with uniformed officers exist in China, making the country’s government became dizzy than dealing with the issue of counterfeit which involves the official currency yuan. According to a report on Saturday of a local media, The false bank located in Nanjing, Jiangsu province in eastern China.

What is strange, the bank had a year to operate without problems with their customers in excess of 200 people. According to police investigation, the bank ‘ghost’ is actually a rural cooperative that no bank operating license by the Chinese authorities. Even so, the bank managed to collect deposits from the public up to 200 million yuan (RM116 million).

According to the report, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, the ‘bank’ mini size is known as Nanjing Economic Cooperation Mou Village. The bank also attracted many small business sector customers from neighboring provinces, Zhejiang. Bank that resembles the image of the government-owned regional bank finally tebongkar bank activity was uncovered after a local entrepreneur known Wang from Hangzhou want to reclaim her accumulated savings of 12 million yuan (RM6. 9 million). The businessman is angry then lodged a police report after the bank refused to return all money deposit hers. In addition, the bank also denied ever promising rates of return of about two percent interest per week.

However, the mastermind of fake bank Liu and four of his aides, including a woman were arrested when police tried to escape to Macau with money in their customer deposits. Most of them who fooled by the fake bank is the local population. They deposit their money because the bank promises to be quite beneficial which is much higher rate than banks other official.

A fake bank counters equipped with sophisticated and with uniformed officers exist in China, making the country’s government became dizzy than dealing with the issue of counterfeit which involves the official currency yuan. According to a report on Saturday of a local media, The false bank located in Nanjing, Jiangsu province in eastern China. What is strange, the bank had a year to operate without problems with their customers in excess of 200 people. According to police investigation, the bank ‘ghost’ is actually a rural cooperative that no bank operating license by the Chinese authorities.

Even so, the bank managed to collect deposits from the public up to 200 million yuan (RM116 million). According to the report, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, the ‘bank’ mini size is known as Nanjing Economic Cooperation Mou Village. The bank also attracted many small business sector customers from neighboring provinces, Zhejiang. Bank that resembles the image of the government-owned regional bank finally tebongkar bank activity was uncovered after a local entrepreneur known Wang from Hangzhou want to reclaim her accumulated savings of 12 million yuan (RM6. 9 million).

The businessman is angry then lodged a police report after the bank refused to return all money deposit hers. In addition, the bank also denied ever promising rates of return of about two percent interest per week. However, the mastermind of fake bank Liu and four of his aides, including a woman were arrested when police tried to escape to Macau with money in their customer deposits. Most of them who fooled by the fake bank is the local population. They deposit their money because the bank promises to be quite beneficial which is much higher rate than banks other official.

Source :Siakapkeli.com.my/ Agencies

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DuaAamiin Ya Rabbal Alamiin

A beautiful doa for all of us and for our beloved Prophet Muhammad

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destinySalam Jumaat

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Blasphemy & Freedom Of Speech : When One Culture’s Satire Is Another’s Offense

Pic: Heathcliff OMalley/ The TelegraphPic: Heathcliff OMalley/ The Telegraph

“I would rather die standing than live on my knees.”

This is one of many poignant phrases by Charlie Hebdo’s editor Stéphane Charbonnier which has been widely circulated in the social media after the deadly attack at the French satirical weekly magazine’s office that killed 12 people including 10 journalists (and cartoonists).

The vicious attack two weeks ago has focused attention on not only how terror could never be justified in the face of dissenting views but more importantly the price of standing up for freedom of speech and expression.

“Nobody has the licence to kill by any reasons. We must respect the rights of the cartoonists and freedom of expression,” political cartoonist Zunar told Malaysian Digest in

In a Skype interview recently.Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar (née Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque)Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar (née Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque)

Zunar, whose real name is Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque had earlier condemned the killing of his fellow comrades at Charlie Hebdo office in Paris and proposed that January 7, the day of the black tragedy be remembered as “World Cartoonist Day” in honour of Stéphane and cartoonists Cabu, Wollinski and Tignous.

For Malaysia, while this hedious attack, dubbed as France’s “9/11” will always be a black page in history and should be fulminated, this incident has brought about a more important question: How do you draw the line between freedom of expression and blasphemy?

Or rather should there be a line at all, in other words, should blasphemy be tolerated?

After all, blasphemy is ‘the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God, to religious or holy persons or things, or toward something considered sacred or inviolable’, well… the definition speaks for itself.

In a multi-racial and multi-religious society such as Malaysia, surely this is not a good idea.

On the other hand, freedom of speech and expression are the hallmark of democracy, including through satire and humor – in various forms including cartoons. By saying “no, you cannot do this because it insults a particular religion” – you are also indirectly impinging the rights to speech and expression.

In the crossfire between these two, maybe the only thing we can agree on is that one, it is a “sticky” issue and that perhaps this is the perfect example of notable scholar Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilization” hypothesis (conflict based on cultural differences rather than ideological one).

Still, the incident which sparked protests around the world put the spotlight on the terrible risks faced by people like Charlie Hebdo cartoonists – and are still facing just through the tip of their pen.

“His Pen Is Loaded”

Charlie Hebdo, which uses satire especially in the forms of cartoons are not the only publications that are provocative and controversial.

“The tragedy of French cartoonists is a high-profile case but there are many smaller-scales Charlie Hebdo out there around the world such as renowned Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, Prageeth Eknaligoda and many more.

“As cartoonists, we must create an impact through our art depending on our target. For me, I want to take risks through my cartoons, and I am ready to face the challenges,” Zunar said.

Zunar, is no stranger to living his life under the microscope – with constant scrutiny by the government and threats by various legal means to silence him. He has been investigated twice under the Sedition Act for his controversial cartoons, investigated for “Classified Crime” under the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1084 (PPPA) and detained in lock-up. Seven of his cartoon books were banned and more than 1000 books were confiscated from his office. He was even detained for two days.

Commenting on the Charlie Hebdo case, Zunar, who had lost two long court battles with the Malaysian government on banning of his publications and for unlawful detention said that freedom of expression must be a priority.

“We cannot compromise on freedom of expression and speech. In fact, every person must be free. In the context of a cartoonist, we need to talk about the content. The cartoonist’s freedom must be respected.

“Yet, when we talked about the freedom of expression in the form of provocation, for example the cartoon about Muhammad, there are consequences,” he said.

The 52-year-old cartoonist also said that when one “launched” such provocation, they must also accept that blasphemous cartoons will receive reaction, adding: “its fine (if they want to publish such cartoons) but Muslims would not be happy with such cartoons and we can agree that they have the rights to that view,”

What is wrong with the reaction of the Charlie Hebdo incident that many made “them” a hero.

“Before the incident, nobody knew who they are. Now, after what happened, everybody is talking about them and some Muslims made them a hero,” he said adding this will add a chain effect; other cartoonists might want to replicate this, the question is: “Do they dare to take the risk up to that level?”

Still, while saying that the issue is the reaction by Muslims more than others, he stressed that terror (as in the Charlie Hebdo incident) is unacceptable.

“Instead of violence, Muslims authorities and cartoonists should ‘address’ the content (for example the insult on the prophet) with open debates and challenge these provocation and show the true image of Islam (as a religion of peace, tolerance and moderation) through cartoons,” he explained, adding that very few artwork ever done by Muslim artists to portray good image of Prophet Mohammad, the last one that he remembered was in 1979, which is a film by a Syrian American, Moustapha Al Akkad.

“I wish issues involving other cartoonists around the world should be addressed as well. It is good if people from the East and the West can unite and condemn the ‘attack’ on cartoonists in other countries, like they have on the French cartoonists’ issue. Failure to reprimand oppressive governments will provide more power for these governments to be more arrogant.

“Let the people judge the cartoonist point of view. This is very important. Even Prophet Muhammad himself, when faced with criticisms and challenges, try to explain his position. With ‘ignorance’ (kejahilan), the better approach is to explain,” he said.

Balancing Freedom and Responsibility

While defending the western world’s cherished ideal of liberty is laudable, in Malaysia, a country with various ethnic backgrounds and religions – and a Muslim-majority country, it is almost hard to imagine how this ideal would fit.

It is also evident that in Malaysia, freedom of speech and expression has always had restrains and in some cases suppressed completely. The reality is there are many prohibitions in these categories.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) 2014 report on human rights said that freedom of expression “took a heavy toll” this year with 44 people being investigated, charged or convicted under the Sedition Act 1948 including opposition politicians, activists, lawyers and academics.

Our press freedom also took a heavy beating last year, where the press freedom index (PFI) has dropped to a historic low at 147 out of 180 countries.

So, it is not surprising that Malaysian government has also suspended newspapers that published blasphemous cartoons, for example the Chinese-language newspaper Berita Petang Sarawak and Guan Ming Daily in 2006. In the same year, the government has even indefinitely shut down the regional newspaper Sarawak Tribune after it reprinted controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Part-time cartoonist and blogger Irwan Abdul Rahman, 41, who blogs under the pseudonym “Hassan Skodeng”, had expressed a different stand compared to his fellow cartoonist as his opinion is that total freedom is unwise.Irwan Abdul Rahman. Pic: Facebook

Irwan Abdul Rahman. Pic: Facebook

On Charlie Hebdo’s case, while saying no violence is justified, he cited the incident is one of the ways the public can “respond” and said: “I am all for creative expression but bear in mind, it is for public consumption and open to reaction from the public, as not everybody can take things with a grain of salt.

“We have to be mindful when we create content. The challenge here is to be more creative with limited freedom.”

Irwan said the sensibility of what’s blasphemous should be up to the content creator.

“In the end, it boils down to the basic sensibility of the creator and the sensitivity of the readers or listeners,” he explained.

The blogger, who was charged by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in relations of his posting relating to Tenaga Nasional Berhad on his blog on March 25, 2010 under Section 233 (1) (a) of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 but was discharged a year later.

Irwan’s blog, nose4news.wordpress.com a portal dedicated to humorous satirical news pieces in the vein of popular US website, The Onion.

He said that satire and humorous pieces in online mediums, for example blogs or online cartoons should also be held to the same benchmark as the print media.

“For me, your behaviour online should reflect your behaviour offline. You should be able to take real world consequences.

“Still, you can be more impactful by saying less. You dont have to be too provocative to get your point across. The key is to strike that balance,” he said.

Double Standard: The Mirror Works Both Ways

Another question we can ask is the double standard in the depiction of certain religions that is blasphemous in nature.

In the West, Islam is vilified and sometimes demonized while cartoons mocking the Jews are called anti-Semitic. In contrast, for the Muslim world, perhaps cartoons mocking Israelis, their country and Jews are tolerable but not the insults on Islam.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) senior lecturer and political analyst Associate Professor Sivamurugan PandianUniversiti Sains Malaysia (USM) senior lecturer and political analyst Associate Professor Sivamurugan Pandian

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) senior lecturer and political analyst Associate Professor Sivamurugan Pandian told Malaysian Digest: “Nowadays, it is clear that there is a double standard for Muslims. The western world tries to portray Muslims as a threat, with the IS issue.

“We cannot deny that this (double standard exist regardless of ethnicity and religion). However, in Malaysia, it is still under control,” he said, adding that we should learn from the France tragedy.

On the other hand, Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong does not believe there is a lesson to be learnt for Malaysia in relation to the Charlie Hebdo incident.

“I have never seen such insensitivities here in Malaysia. I don’t think it is an issue for us, .Dr Kua quipped”

Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong

Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong
What is clear here is that the mirror works both ways. The majority in a country reflects what is acceptable in a society and what is considered a blasphemy.

Zunar suggested that censoring what is blasphemous should be the responsibility of a publication and that diversity of opinion (and freedom of speech/ expression) should be defended.

“For example, Charlie Hebdo has a right to censor what goes on in their publication but other publications can publish it. At least there is a differing view in the same type of media.

“In Malaysia, however, nobody is allowed to say differently. Generally, political cartoonists in Malaysia are very nasty towards Obama and Israel but they kept quiet about our Prime Minister and his wife.

“Clearly, there is a double standard here. We are allowed to talk or sketch about Gaza but will the view of an Israeli who lives in Gaza be published?” he said.

Yet, he also agrees that double standard is everywhere, adding: “It’s also very subjective. If you don’t agree with one thing, you can take action but what kind of actions, should always be open to debate”.

Freedom of Speech vs Blasphemy: Are We Ready For Absolute Freedom?

Discounting France’s rich satirical culture, in most countries where freedom of speech and expression are under serious threat, humor and satire are usually a way to get around draconian laws, censorship and even self-censorship in the Press.

Malaysia is without a doubt where this applies. Zunar said: “Generally, Malaysians are very scared to confront the government but when it comes to humor, they make fun of the government. An example is the ‘kangkung’ issue. The joke is a protest but for me that is not enough.”

File picFile pic
Whilst Zunar stood behind “why pinch when you can punch” principle, Sivamurugan is under the impression that Malaysians have yet to reach a level of maturity to talk about the sort of freedom experienced in the West.

“Unless we have reached that level, Malaysia cannot have absolute freedom. It has to be a guided freedom that takes into account the sensitivity of all ethnic groups. We must have respect, understanding and tolerance.

We cannot let freedom of speech and expression be suppressed – and censorship is an ugly word – but at the end of the day any content creators – including cartoonists and media should also be responsible and accountable for what they put out there.

Ultimately, Charlie Hebdo reminded us that sometimes it is not always black and white – and the danger for insisting so could be very costly.

As aptly observed by Randa, Abdel-Fattah, an Australian Muslim writer of Palestinian and Egyptian parentage, she wrote that “[t]here is nothing “free” about free speech. All speech has a price and the currency is privilege”.

source : MalaysianDigest.com

 

 

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