Monday, October 31, 2022

Russia rains missiles on Kyiv, other cities

Russia rains missiles on Kyiv, other cities

Russia’s missiles hit critical infrastructure in Kyiv and other cities, causing electricity and water outages. (AP pic)

KYIV: Blasts were heard in Kyiv today and Ukrainian authorities reported Russian missile strikes around the country, after Moscow blamed Kyiv for an attack on its Black Sea fleet and pulled out of a deal to allow Ukrainian grain shipments.

Russia and Ukraine are both among the world’s biggest food exporters, and a Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain shipments caused a global food crisis earlier this year. Following Russia’s announcement that it would halt cooperation with grain exports, Chicago wheat futures jumped more than 5% today.

“Another batch of Russian missiles hits Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Instead of fighting on the battlefield, Russia fights civilians,” Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

“Don’t justify these attacks by calling them a ‘response’. Russia does this because it still has the missiles and the will to kill Ukrainians.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said missiles had hit energy infrastructure in Kyiv and other cities, causing electricity and water outages.

“Russia is not interested in peace talks, nor in global food security. Putin’s only goal is death and destruction.”

There was no immediate response from Moscow, which has accused Kyiv of attacking its Black Sea Fleet in a Crimean port with 16 drones on Saturday. Earlier this month, Russia launched the biggest air strikes since the start of the war on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, in what it said was a response to an attack on its bridge to Crimea.

Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied it was behind the attack on the Russian fleet, its typical policy for incidents in Crimea.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “blackmailing the world with hunger” by pulling out of the food export deal negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey.

Among vessels held up was one carrying tens of thousands of tonnes of wheat, chartered by the UN World Food Programme for an emergency response in the Horn of Africa, Zelensky said in an overnight address.

Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said a total of 218 vessels were “effectively blocked”.

The grain deal required Russia and Ukraine to coordinate inspections and transit of ships through the Black Sea with the United Nations and Turkey acting as mediators.

No ships moved on Sunday. The United Nations said it had agreed with Turkey and Ukraine on a transit plan today for 16 ships to move Black Sea grain – 12 outbound and four inbound. There was no immediate response from Russia.

The United Nations said Russian officials had been told about the plan, along with the intention to inspect 40 outbound vessels today, and noted that “all participants coordinate with their respective military and other relevant authorities to ensure the safe passage of commercial vessels” under the deal.

US president Joe Biden on Saturday called Russia’s move “purely outrageous” and said it would increase starvation. US secretary of state Antony Blinken accused Moscow of weaponising food.

On Sunday, Russia’s ambassador to Washington, snapped back, saying the US response was “outrageous” and made false assertions about Moscow’s move.

Umno beset by rumours of old guard getting the boot as Zahid consolidates hold

Umno beset by rumours of old guard getting the boot as Zahid consolidates hold

While Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had faced insubordination and challenges to his leadership as part of the factional politics in Umno, he holds the trump card at the moment as the party president responsible for endorsing the candidate list for GE15.

Monday, 31 Oct 2022 4:58 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — Umno has been engulfed by speculation that several senior leaders including incumbent Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim could be dropped for the 15th general election that some within the party had initially resisted.

Aside from Shahidan, sources told Malay Mail at least one more minister, Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, was also likely to miss the cut, but more could join the heap before the clear-out was over.

Others also that could also end up on the sidelines during nomination day on November 5 include incumbent Padang Besar MP Datuk Seri Zahidi Zainul Abidin

When asked if Umno expected the dropped incumbents to go rogue and launch independent defences of their seats, the sources said it was more likely they would defect to former ally PAS.

“They won’t (contest as independents), but they may contest under PAS’ banner,” one source told Malay Mail.

Such rumours have intensified since Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s warning on Saturday for “big headed” leaders in the party to finally realise that all they were and have were because of Umno.

While Ahmad Zahid had faced insubordination and challenges to his leadership as part of the factional politics in Umno, he holds the trump card at the moment as the party president responsible for endorsing the candidate list for GE15.

Even before the rumours, Ahmad Zahid had flexed his powers by expelling incumbent Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman from the Umno supreme council and later suspending his membership for six years.

After some initial agitation, Tajuddin appears to have been brought to heel.

Apart from those four leaders, the sources added other likely casualties include one state chief whose exclusion would likely surprise Umno and Barisan Nasional.

However, the sources said the decisions were not cast in stone and may be changed up until nomination on November 5, and some of those facing the axe may still be able to plead their cases until then.

Earlier today, it was reported that BN will unveil its 222 candidates for the upcoming November polls as early as tomorrow.

Ummo Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who is rumoured to be contesting in the Gerik parliamentary seat, told English daily New Straits Times that the identities of the candidates were secondary to the party they represented.

Polling for GE15 will be held on November 19.

Optimism bias in GE15

Optimism bias in GE15

Over the last couple of weeks there has been an increase in optimism about a Pakatan Harapan victory in the coming general election. This can be sensed through much of social media, where positive stories and expectations about the coming results are reiterated by users.

Many pundits now say that there is a strong possibility that PH could achieve victory. This of course resonates very well with those chat groups which are predominantly made up of members who support PH.

However, in a country where there is very limited polling, and where any polls that polling political parties undertake is kept confidential, the only real evidence there is to base any predictions on is past performance, and the potential influence of current events.

Learning to gauge the past

The results of past by-elections, state elections and historical evidence points to a thorough trouncing of PH by Umno. This is especially so with the results of the Johor state elections.

The jailing of Najib Razak and conviction of his wife Rosmah Mansor heightened rage over corruption once again. This is so, particularly in the non-Umno chat groups, where moral outrage is seen as a game changer in the coming election.

This will certainly be the case in the densely populated urban electorates, which are already held by PH parties.

However, this is unlikely to have any effect within the Malay heartlands, which are made up of around 90 seats. Position bias is at play here.

There is a danger of optimism bias setting in during this early stage, before any election campaign has officially started.

This optimism is made up of a number of cognitive biases, heuristics, and fallacies.

This is well known in cognitive science, where cognitive traps allow for the processing of incoming information and its interpretation. These heuristics affect the way we see, feel, and think about things.

This could become an issue that plays a role in the coming general election.

Cognitive traps

This current optimism bias that is prevailing through urban communities is made up of a number of cognitive traps.

The first is ‘cherry picking’, a fallacy based upon selective events that confirm a particular slant on events, i.e., the hope that PH will win. This is part of a greater heuristic, ‘input bias’, where only selective data due to availability is cognitively processed to support the belief that Pakatan will do very well.

This is ‘selective perception’, where expectations influence perceptions.

This is all reinforced by ‘recency effect’, a cognitive bias that puts weight to recent events, rather than past election results.

This creates the fallacy that the perceptions appeal to emotions, prejudice and desirable expectations in the beholders’ minds.

Through chat groups, ‘affect infusion’ is occurring, where information coming to a group over-proportionally influences judgements, cascading in a ‘bandwagon effect’, where others start to believe in a Pakatan win, simply because others do.

Thus, the belief that PH will be able to win the coming election is based upon cognitive premises, rather than hard facts or data. This is reinforced by a ‘selective bias’, where those who believe in a Pakatan victory are only cognitively selecting information that confirms their expectations. This is ‘confirmation bias’.

Perception v reality

This occurred during the 2013 general election where PH held massive ceramahs in places they were to win, preaching to the converted. This gave an overall expectation PH could win the election, which was not the case.

As we are all aware, perception and reality are not the same thing, and the actual election result may or may not equate to these perceptions, held by urbanites, who over-proportionally comprise the set of users in chat groups.

However, these perceptions could be very damaging. The opposition has fallen for the fallacy that corruption will win votes in the Malay heartlands. Campaign on this issue and it will not win votes where they are needed.

For Pakatan, the great danger of optimistic bias is that the Umno forces will use these perceptions against PH. They will demonise the DAP as the enemy.

Thus, ‘optimism bias’ becomes Umno’s greatest weapon on the hustings.

Optimism brings complacency

This optimistic bias could also lure potential Pakatan voters into complacency from the misconception their vote won’t count, as there is overwhelming support out there voting for them.

Counterintuitively, Umno voters may be encouraged to come out to vote, in fear of the opposition winning.

This all falls right into the hands of the Barisan Nasional.

It’s best to look at the stark realities on the ground now. PH is the underdog. Based upon previous elections, Umno swept to victory, where it counted. Muda and Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s GTA performed poorly in Johor. Bersatu could be potentially wiped out. What realities have changed to influence the vote towards PH?

Out in the media and social media there is currently a lot of misinformation and disinformation. Some of it is just misconceived, while some is very deliberate, aimed at playing to peoples’ cognitive biases for the reasons explained above. That’s cyber warfare as we’ve seen in the US elections, and here in Malaysia as well.

PH must do its best not to fall into this trap. Leaders must keep reminding their followers they are the underdogs. Being the underdog is the best position to be.

Don’t let optimistic bias turn into arrogance and complacency. That will turn it into a loss for the opposition forces.

“Unprofessional and disrepectful”: KPJ Klang, cops probing viral kolam destroyer

“Unprofessional and disrepectful”: KPJ Klang, cops probing viral kolam destroyer

THE Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM) and a private hospital are investigating a viral video that allegedly shows one of the hospital’s staff destroying a kolam that was made for Deepavali.

In a viral 37-second TikTok video that made rounds over the weekend, a man clad in a blue Baju Melayu, sampin and songkok deliberately walks over a kolam – a traditional rice flour floor drawing commonly associated with Indians – in his shoes and messes up the design.

As he walks around the kolam, a person, presumably the one who recorded the video, remarks, “vandalism”, while holding back her laughter.

A large Deepavali banner in the background of the video depicts the KPJ logo.

In a statement last night, KPJ Klang Specialist Hospital said they have been made aware of the video, which they said showed “unprofessional behaviour”.

“KPJ Klang does not condone any act of disrespect among its staff within the compound of its hospital,” it said.

“We have launched an internal investigation into the video and stern actions will be taken should our staff (be) involved,” they added.

ate hospital said further that they are committed to the “highest level of professionalism” and “do not compromise on ethical values”.

Police investigations underway

Separately, North Klang police district headquarters chief ACP S. Vijaya Rao said they received a police report on the matter from the Bandar Baru Klang police station chief and opened an investigation.

The case is being probed under Section 298A of the Penal Code, which criminalises attempts to cause disharmony and disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will on grounds of religion.

If found guilty, the law provides for imprisonment for a term of not less than two years and not more than five years.

“The suspect in this case will be called to explain (himself) at the Klang Utara district police headquarters,” Vijaya said in a statement.

“The police advise the public to be careful with any behaviours or actions that can affect national harmony,” he added.

Many on social media have slammed the kolam destroyer over his actions, branding him as “racist” and “insensitive” to Indians who last Monday (Oct 24) celebrated the Festival of Lights.

The TikTok user who posted the video, @whothefuckisxlif, has since made his account private.

As the user’s profile picture is a screengrab of the kolam destroyer stepping on the kolam, one can assume that it is in fact his own account – and he apparently remains unapologetic over his actions. – Oct 31, 2022

Bro Anthony Rogers: 35 years after MAHATHIR'S Ops Lalang

Bro Anthony Rogers: 35 years after Ops Lalang

From Benedict Lopez

Oct 27 marked the 35th anniversary of Operation Lalang when 106 Malaysians comprising politicians, activists, educationists and a La Salle brother, Anthony Rogers, were detained under the Internal Security Act.

Besides the detentions, the publishing licences of three newspapers were revoked.

Many Malaysians still remember this black day in the history of our country. I have not met Bro Rogers but he called me one day after reading my article in Aliran on V David, whom he had known from his days in Kamunting.

A teacher friend of mine, the late James Gonzales, once described Rogers to me: “If you slap him on one cheek, he will offer you the other”.

Such was the persona of this Lasallian brother.

Many who knew Rogers were shocked, to say the least, over why he was detained under Operation Lalang as he was not a prominent politician, social activist or a champion of vernacular education. He did not say anything controversial and sensitive to be in the negative limelight of the powers that be.

At the time of his detention, he was nevertheless informed that the government wanted to know more about the involvement of the Catholic Church in human development and social justice work. Surely, if they had wanted to know more about his work, they could have called him up and he would definitely have given them an in-depth explanation.

If he was contravening the country’s laws, he should have been issued a warning instead of being arrested.

The 73-year-old former Brother director of Penang’s St Xavier’s Institution recalls: “I was seen as a threat to national security because the Church brought together people of all faiths who had a passion for God to have compassion for their brothers and sisters. We were working towards helping Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, not trying to convert them.”

Before being detained in Petaling Jaya, Rogers was allowed to collect his personal items of clothing and toiletries. He was surprised that he was granted permission to take a copy of his Bible into his cell.

When I spoke to him, he told me he made friends with many politicians when he was detained. One politician even asked him how he could be so cheerful under detention, to which he replied with humour: “I am here for a vacation but to you, it’s a punishment.”

Some of the notable politicians detained with him, in addition to David, were Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng, Mat Sabu, Mahfuz Omar and Khalid Samad.

Any painful experiences? “The greatest pain was to see what all families went through when they came to visit. It was especially sad to see children coming to see their parents in Kamunting.”

Rogers did not encounter any bad experiences while under detention. In fact, he became friends with people of different faiths and that was a gratifying experience for him.

Currently residing at St Xavier’s, Rogers continues to raise awareness on social and economic justice.

He is one of the three co-authors of “The Xaverian Journey”, a chronicle of the founding, growth and progress of the Lasallian institution in Penang from 1787 till 2019.

Benedict Lopez is an FMT reader.

I know nothing about standing in Sungai Buloh, says KJ

I know nothing about standing in Sungai Buloh, says KJ

Khairy Jamaluddin says he is prepared to go wherever his party tells him. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Amid talks that Khairy Jamaluddin is set to contest the Sungai Buloh parliamentary seat in the upcoming general election (GE15), the former Rembau MP reiterates that he still has no idea where he will stand.

The health minister told a press conference here today he had not been given any update from Umno on what constituency he will be allotted.

“I don’t know anything about it,” he said when asked about rumours that he will be fielded as the Barisan Nasional candidate for Sungai Buloh.

Khairy said it was up to Umno’s leaders to decide and that he was ready to accept any constituency they gave him.

Last week, an Umno source in Sungai Buloh told FMT that Khairy was close to being confirmed as Umno’s nominee for the seat.

The source said Sungai Buloh may be a tough seat, but believed that Khairy will pull through because of his popularity, especially since he became the health minister in August last year and managed the Covid-19 pandemic well.

However, an MIC source said the party’s machinery would not support an Umno candidate in Sungai Buloh, as it was regarded as its traditional seat.

Khairy was a three-term MP for Rembau but said last month he had been told to make way for Umno’s deputy president, Mohamad Hasan, who is the Rembau division chief and a former menteri besar of Negeri Sembilan.

He was previously reported to have said that he was “almost certain” of being given a seat won by the opposition in the last general election.

In GE14, the Sungai Buloh seat was won by Pakatan Harapan’s R Sivarasa with a majority of 26,634 votes in a three-cornered fight with BN’s Prakash Rao Applanaidoo and a candidate from PAS.

Sivarasa has since been dropped by PKR for GE15. The opposition coalition will now field Ramanan Ramakrishnan, who is a former MIC treasurer-general.

Death toll from bridge collapse in India’s Gujarat rises to 132

al Jazeera:

Death toll from bridge collapse in India’s Gujarat rises to 132

Some 177 people rescued and 19 people are receiving medical care as search operations continue overnight, officials say.

Search and rescue work goes on after a cable suspension bridge collapsed in Morbi in India's Gujarat [Ajit Solanki/ AP]

Published On 31 Oct 202231 Oct 2022

The death toll from the collapse of a colonial-era suspension bridge in India’s western Gujarat state has risen to 132, according to officials, as rescue workers worked through the night, combing the Machhu river for survivors.

Harsh Sanghavi, Gujarat’s home minister, told reporters that the death toll rose from 68 on Sunday to 132 early on Monday as search operations continued.


Photos: Indians celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights

Gujarat’s Information Department said about 177 people had now been rescued, while 19 were receiving medical care.

The bridge in Morbi, a town some 200km (120 miles) west of Gujarat’s main city, Ahmedabad, was built during British rule in the 19th century and had been closed for renovations for nearly six months before it was reopened to the public last week.

Hundreds of sightseers celebrating Diwali, or festival of lights, and the Chhath Puja holidays, were on the 230-metre bridge when it collapsed on Sunday, according to local media.

Television footage showed dozens of people clinging onto the cables and twisted remains of the bridge as emergency teams struggled to rescue them.

Indian rescue personnel conduct search operations after a bridge collapsed in Morbi [Sam Panthaky/ AFP]

Some clambered up the broken structure to try to make their way to the river banks, while others swam to safety. Several children were among the victims.

Prateek Vasava, who swam to the river bank after falling from the bridge, told 24 Hours Gujarati-language news channel that he saw several children fall into the river.

“I wanted to pull some of them along with me but they had drowned or got swept away,” he said.

The bridge collapsed in just a few seconds, he said.

Another witness, who gave his name as Sukram, told the Reuters news agency that the bridge had collapsed because it could not handle the weight of so many people.

“Many children were enjoying holidays for Diwali and they came here as tourists. All of them fell one on top of another. The bridge collapsed due to overloading,” he said.

Gujarat’s government said an investigation was underway into the cause of the disaster.

It said more than 200 rescue workers had been mobilised for the search and rescue operation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in his home state Gujarat for a three-day visit, announced a payment of 200,000 Indian rupees ($2,428) to families of the dead.

The injured will receive 50,000 Indian Rupees ($607), he said in a tweet.

Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Armenia and others sent their condolences over the tragedy.

Italy’s Foreign Ministry expressed its “deep sorrow” and “our condolences for the victims and our utmost sympathy to their families and all the [Indian] people at this tragic time”.

The UAE said it stood in “solidarity with India”, while Sri Lanka said it was “shocked and distressed by the tragic accident in Morbi”.


Rejecting PAS signals Umno’s return to moderation, says Zaid

Rejecting PAS signals Umno’s return to moderation, says Zaid

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim says a strong mandate for Umno/BN will help the next government eliminate overzealous religiosity and moral policing.

PETALING JAYA: Zaid Ibrahim has called on Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) to champion the religious moderation that underpinned the country’s unity in the post-independence years.

“It is important that the world see Malaysia for what it has always stood for – a country where all people of every race and creed stand together.

“That was what our founding fathers called ‘muhibbah’, and that is the true spirit that we must re-create,” the former law minister said.

Zaid said the country’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, used to remind Malaysians repeatedly that this country could only thrive and prosper if the people respected each other’s race, religion and customs.

The rakyat must embrace the fact that they are different and see diversity as their strength, he said in an interview with FMT.

“Umno was always about moderation, until it began to be distracted by the focus placed by PAS on Islam,” he said.

He explained that beginning in the 1990s, Umno began to increase its focus on religion to counter the increasing influence of the Islamic party.

“These days, in a bid to secure the Malay vote, even ex-Umno stalwarts like Muhyiddin Yassin have embraced PAS as political allies,” he said.

Zaid said this approach has resulted in the country swinging “too far to the right”, resulting in “too much moral policing and excessive religious rules which overreach into public and private life”.

“Right now, we are seeing an uprising of the people of Iran, fighting back against excessive religious encroachment by their government.

“On the other hand, we are seeing Saudi Arabia moving towards moderation to attract investment and establish better ties with the rest of the world,” he said.

In the same way, he said, Malaysia also needs to recover its moderate status.

“For that reason, the rakyat must view Umno’s decision not to tie up with PAS for the general election positively,” he said.

“A strong mandate for Umno/BN from the public will help the next government eliminate overzealous religiosity and moral policing.

“Only a strong Umno/BN representation supported by the moderate forces that exist in Sabah and Sarawak can overcome religious extremism.”

Zaid hoped incidents such as the recent raid by the Federal Territories religious department (Jawi) on a Halloween party at the weekend can be minimised.

“The government would do better to teach the principles of Islam, rather than enforce them through the use of criminal laws,” he said.

PBM crisis a cautionary tale of political betrayal

PBM crisis a cautionary tale of political betrayal

From Sajahan Kamaruddin

Just days before nominations for the 15th general election, Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) has been rocked by a crisis with its president, Larry Sng, suspending key leaders, including former Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, who had joined PBM as its “president-designate”.

That PBM should implode at this critical time should come as no surprise. This is because the party is founded by opportunists with their own agenda.

Most of the senior leaders there were in one way or another “political frogs”, led by Zuraida, a former PKR vice-president and among the key protagonists of the Sheraton Move. Zuraida had quit PKR with Azmin Ali to join Bersatu and was duly rewarded by being retained as housing and local government minister.

While in Bersatu, she covertly supported the setting up of PBM, with the hope of becoming the country’s first female party president. And for that, she was sacked from Bersatu, but her allegiance to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob paid off as she was retained as the plantation industries and commodities minister.

Sng himself was a serial party-hopper in Sarawak, his political base. Although he contested and won the Julau seat as an independent during the 2018 general election, he subsequently joined PKR and was even made the state chapter’s chairman, before quitting the party in the aftermath of the Sheraton Move.

The other MPs who stood under the Pakatan Harapan ticket and joined PBM were Dr Xavier Jayakumar (Kuala Langat), Steven Choong (Tebrau), Edmund Santhara Kumar (Segamat), and Mohamaddin Ketapi (Lahad Datu).

There are also several assemblymen from PH who hopped over to PBM, including A Sivasubramaniam (Buntong), Paul Yong (Tronoh), Leong Cheok Keng (Malim Nawar), Haniza Talha (Lembah Jaya) and Daroyah Alwi (Sementa).

If these leaders were willing to betray the mandate of voters who put them in office by switching political allegiance, it would be naive to think that they would not do the same to their fellow lawmakers to satisfy their desire for power.

And now, the likes of Zuraida are being beaten at their own game. If Sng’s claim of still being the PBM president holds, there’s a likelihood that he would not sign the letter to “anoint” Zuraida and her ilk as the party’s candidates for GE15.

This leaves people like Zuraida possibly unable to stand as candidates in the very party whose genesis was linked to her. And she may have to stand as an independent. But whichever way it goes, her fate in the polls is sealed – voters will teach her and her supporters a painful lesson they will never forget.

Salang expected to knock out Larry Sng in Julau comeback

Salang expected to knock out Larry Sng in Julau comeback

Joseph Salang Gandum was MP for Julau for four terms but lost to Larry Sng in 2018.

PETALING JAYA: Larry Sng’s constant switching of political parties may cost him the Julau parliamentary seat in Sarawak at the coming general election, say two political analysts.

Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s Dick Lembang Dugun both said Sng’s habitual changing of parties meant political sentiment on the ground in Julau has now shifted to Parti Rakyat Sarawak president Joseph Salang Gandum.

Salang was a four-term Julau MP from 1999, while Sng, president of Parti Bangsa Malaysia, won in 2018 after beating Salang with a majority of 1,931 votes.

“Sng’s chances are lower (now),” said Jeniri. “Salang has clout and strong influence in Jalau, and he has been moving aggressively on the ground since 2018.”

Salang’s party is a member of the ruling GPS coalition, which Jeniri said has strong leadership and effective grassroots machinery. “Judging by the last state elections (in December), I think the political sentiment on the ground has shifted towards Salang,” said Jeniri.

The Borneo Post reported last week that Salang was ready to reclaim the Julau seat if given the chance to do so. However, Salang was quoted as saying that the decision depended on Gabungan Parti Sarawak chairman Abang Johari Openg.

Other members of GPS are Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party and Progressive Democratic Party.

Dugun said Salang’s chances had improved as GPS made a strong showing in the state polls, grabbing 75 out of the 82 seats contested.

“As for Sng, he is known as a frog. I think it’s not right for him to contest in any seat because he always changes parties. Where are his principles and integrity?” he added.

“Maybe Sng can say PBM supports GPS. In Sarawak, there is a possibility this can happen.”

PBM applied to join Barisan Nasional in July. Earlier this week, Sng said PBM would be contesting the general election with its own logo as BN did not accept the party.

Sng started his political career with the Sarawak Native People’s Party (PBDS) in 2001. He joined PRS in 2004 after PBDS was deregistered. In 2013 he founded the Sarawak Workers Party but quit three years later, and contested the 2018 general election as an independent.

He joined PKR after Pakatan Harapan won power but he left the party in February 2021 to support Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional government, and in August threw his support behind Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the prime minister. In November Sng and Tebrau MP Steven Choong announced the formation of PBM, a rebranding of SWP.

In Tambun, Anwar seen on easy path to beating Bersatu’s Ahmad Faizal

In Tambun, Anwar seen on easy path to beating Bersatu’s Ahmad Faizal

While acknowledging Bersatu deputy president Datuk Ahmad Faizal Azumu’s contributions to the constituency in his first term as MP, residents said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim represented a bigger vision. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Monday, 31 Oct 2022 7:00 AM MYT

IPOH, October 31 — Voters and political analysts have predicted that Pakatan Harapan (PH) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is likely to win handily despite being “parachuted” in against incumbent Tambun MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu for the 15th general election.

While acknowledging Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) deputy president Ahmad Faizal’s contributions to the constituency in his first term as MP, residents who spoke to Malay Mail said Anwar, who is PH’s candidate to be prime minister, represented a bigger vision.

The voters also said PKR president Anwar would have an advantage due to his experience, prominence, greater multiracial appeal, and benefit from the locals’ unhappiness with the repeated political crises in the state.

Aside from Anwar and Ahmad Faizal, Barisan Nasional (BN) is likely to field Tambun Umno chief Datuk Aminuddin Md Hanafiah as its candidate; Aminuddin is the former Hulu Kinta assemblyman who lost to PKR’s Muhamad Arafat Varisai Mahamad in the previous general election.

Fruit seller Law Voon Hing, 53, said that the PH chairman has a high profile that would make him easily recognisable to voters in the seat.

“Well, everyone knows Anwar. He is a strong leader in PH,” he told Malay Mail, adding that the local community would believe Anwar capable of bringing change to the community if the coalition were to win the election.

Restaurateur Zainuddin Yusof, 49, also noted Anwar’s prominence and said this extended beyond Malaysia, unlike his rivals in the seat.

Anwar is also a very experienced and well-respected politician who has been active since Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first stint as the prime minister in the 1980s, he said.

However, Zainuddin said that the voters would also consider Ahmad Faizal’s service here since winning in 2018, with some harbouring doubts about Anwar’s eventual dedication in serving the community.

“Peja has contributed to constituency. We know he has given some funds for the mosques here and he is also a local,” Zainuddin said when referring to Ahmad Faizal by his nickname.

According to Mohd Hesam Samsudin, 37, who sells soy milk beverages in Manjoi here, Anwar has the clear advantage on paper, especially with the PKR support growing in the constituency.

“However, the voters in Tambun would want to meet him in person before actually voting for him. He should come to Tambun often,” he said.

However, Zulkefli Hassan, 58, who owns the Lan Kuey Teow stall in Tambun, said Anwar would have to work hard to overcome the constituency’s familiarity with Ahmad Faizal, who will represent Perikatan Nasional.

“If Anwar wins it must be with a very small majority, it maybe because of his popularity and his speech. But he is a stranger, unlike Ahmad Faizal who is a local.

“It’s difficult to say Anwar will surely win as Ahmad Faizal has done a lot for the people here. Bersatu has given a lot aid to the people during the Covid pandemic. Most of the businesses managed to survive because of their help,” he said.

Under the Tambun parliament constituency are two state seats: Manjoi and Hulu Kinta.

The constituency comprises 67 per cent Malay voters, 20 per cent Chinese, and 11 per cent Indian, with other communities making up the balance.

A voter who only wanted to named Kak Uk said Anwar would have an advantage with the Malay vote split between PH, PN, and BN.

“Anwar is likely to win more non-Malay votes, so, maybe Anwar can get the win. Who knows, he might be the next prime minister. The country needs a change and if he didn’t perform, we can vote him out in the following election,” said the 60-year-old.

Another voter, self-employed Muhamad Adzhar Tajuddin, 35, reached a similar conclusion.

“There is certainly a risk for Anwar to win, but the advantage that the PKR president has is the support of the Chinese and Indian communities who have a population of around 40,000 people in Tambun.

“Anwar only needs around 10 to 15 per cent of Malay votes to win in Tambun. This is what makes it difficult for PN or BN to win because these two parties have to find more support not only from Malay voters but also Chinese and Indian voters,” he said.

Muhamad Adzhar also pointed out that Ahmad Faizal won the previous election by representing PH, and was unlikely to get the coalition’s supporters this time around.

“While Umno doesn’t have much other choice than fielding Aminuddin as their candidate. For me, he can only get votes from Umno supporters,” he said.

Meanwhile, voters Rostani Zainal, 65; Abdul Karim Samad, 68; and another voter who only wanted to be named as Lek said the contest might be too close to predict until November 19.

Property manager Paranan Rajamanickam, 33, said that Anwar has a good chance to win despite contesting in Tambun for the first time, as voters would want to punish Bersatu for its role in bringing down the PH state government they voted in during the 14th general election.

He said Ahmad Faizal was part of Bersatu’s betrayal of PH, which brought down the federal government at the time as well as several state administrations including in Perak.

“People want a stable government and capable leader. For me, I think Anwar is the right person,” he said.

Another voter, Mizalan Ismail, 64, who sells banana fritters, said that people have lost confidence in Ahmad Faizal due to his performance as the Perak mentri besar.

Ahmad Faizal was forced to resign from the position after he lost a vote of confidence in the state assembly.

“People will think twice before voting for him. Why would they want to vote for a failed mentri besar?

“This is why PH has the advantage and they have fielded their best candidate for the seat. Chances are high for them to win,” he said.

In 2018, Ahmad Faizal contested under PH’s ticket and won the seat with majority of 5,320 votes, defeating former second finance minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and PAS’s Muhamad Zulkifli Mohamad Zakaria.

However, he defected along with Bersatu during the Sheraton Move in 2020, which later formed the PN coalition.

According to Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research (NASR) senior fellow Professor Azmi Hassan, Anwar was only taking a minor risk by trading Port Dickson for Tambun.

Azmi also said that Ahmad Faizal’s failure as the mentri besar will also play a part in voter’s decision.

“Tambun might be not be a safe seat as Permatang Pauh, but it is a safe seat.

“Anwar is likely to get a huge majority. He is a selling point to the voters. Ahmad Faizal and Aminuddin are the ones who at risk here,” he said, adding that the seat could effectively be won by any PH candidate.

University of Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) sociopolitical analyst Associate Professor Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Ahmad Faizal would struggle to retain Tambun.

“Despite being Bersatu deputy president, Ahmad Faizal’s popularity is still low even at the party level as Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and Datuk Seri (Mohamed) Azmin Ali are more prominent.

“Anwar will definitely have his own strategies to win the seat because if he loses, it will be an end to his political career. His possible PM post can be a selling point to attract voters,” he said.

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword – Traitor Zuraida In Trouble After Failing To Steal Fellow Larry Sng’s PBM Party

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword – Traitor Zuraida In Trouble After Failing To Steal Fellow Larry Sng’s PBM Party

Karma – that’s the short answer to describe the internal crisis plaguing Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM or Malaysian Nation Party). The long answer – you live by the sword, you die by the sword. There’s no honour among thieves, let alone traitors who are trying to butcher each other trying to take over the pirate ship as the 15th General Election approaches.

The party now has two captains – Larry Sng Wei Shien and Zuraida Kamaruddin – both trying to claim ownership. The party currently has six elected Members of Parliament (MP), all are traitors who had jumped ship. Except Mohamaddin Ketapi (Warisan), others – Larry, Zuraida, Xavier Jayakumar, Edmund Santhara, Steven Choong Shiau Yoon – were formerly from PKR (People’s Justice Party).

The party was originally founded in 2012 as the Sarawak Workers Party (SWP or Parti Pekerja Sarawak) before being rebranded and renamed as PBM in November 2021. The SWP itself was a splinter party of Sarawak Peoples’ Party (PRS), which was formed by some former PRS members headed by dissident leader Sng Chee Hua – Larry’s father.

But the SWP itself was rebranded from the Sabah People’s Front (SPF), a Barisan Nasional-friendly party. Larry Sng was actually born in Taiwan. His father – Sng Chee Hua – was Sarawakian tycoon-turn-politician who married Taiwanese-born wife Susan Sng and was formerly one-term Julau MP (1995 – 1999) and two-term Pelagus assemblyman (1991 – 2001).

First joined the Sarawak Native People’s Party (PBDS) in 2001 at the age of 21, Larry effectively replaced his father as the Pelagus representative from 2001 to 2011. He was the Sarawak’s youngest assistant minister under the corrupt Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud administration in 2004. After PBDS was de-registered, he joined the new Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) in 2004.

PRS was founded by his father and James Jemut Masing. Larry retained his Pelagus seat as a PRS candidate in the 2006 state election, but was sacked for insubordination in 2007 during the party leadership crisis. He was dropped as a Barisan candidate in the 2011 state election. When his father retired in 2013, Larry took over the presidency of the SWP. He lost as an SWP candidate in Lubok Antu in the 2013 General Election.

After his application to join Sarawak Barisan Nasional coalition was rejected, Larry Sng gave up and resigned from the SWP in April 2016. His family was very influential. Larry’s grandfather – Sng Chin Joo – was a Council Negri (now Sarawak State Legislative Assembly) member in 1963 and the Kapitan Cina in Kapit in the mid-80s, commanding huge respect among Iban communities in Sarawak.

That explains how Larry could win even as an “Independent” candidate in the Julau constituency in the 2018 General Election – grabbing 10,105 of the 18,279 votes cast. After the stunning defeat of Barisan Nasional for the first time in history in 2018, he subsequently joined PKR, the biggest component party of the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) ruling coalition.

Following the collapse of PH in Feb 2020 after Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali betrayed their allies, the position of PKR Sarawak chief was left vacant after incumbent Baru Bian left to become independent. Larry Sng took over the leadership. However, in February 2021, together with Steven Choong, both switched sides and pledged support for PM Muhyiddin.

Larry Sng, who married May Ting, the eldest daughter of Sarawak business magnate who was awarded the Bakun Dam project during Mahathir administration – Ting Pek Khiing – subsequently went back to Sarawak Workers Party (SWP). He announced the new Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) on Nov 19, 2021 after approval of the restructuring by the RoS (Registrar of Societies).

In January 2022, the junior Sng became the first president of PBM. The party, which had already declared its support for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) during the 2021 Sarawak state election, did not discount the possibility of joining Barisan Nasional in anticipation of a landslide victory in the upcoming 15th General Election. But little did Larry realize that a power struggle was about to explode.

In May 2022, Zuraida, one of 11 PKR MPs who had defected and betrayed her own party to join Muhyiddin’s Bersatu, leading to the collapse of democratically-elected Pakatan Harapan government, quit Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia or Malaysian United Indigenous Party) to join PBM. In June, Sng announced Zuraida as PBM president-designate.

On October 8, 2022, PBM announced the appointment of Zuraida as the new party president after a supreme council meeting held on October 7. The party claimed that the appointment was made after the Supreme Council’s motion of Zuraida taking over the president’s post was passed at the party’s 2022 AGM (annual general meeting) on October 1.

Interestingly, Larry Sng had initially insisted on Oct 2 that he was still the president. He argued that the president’s post would only be vacant if the president resigned, removed or left the party. But he had neither resigned nor quit the party. Later (Oct 8), he said that he accepted the party’s decision to appoint Zuraida Kamaruddin as his successor.

However, on October 26, Sng announced that he is still the legitimate party president based on the Registrar of Societies (RoS) records, and he will sign all the letters of candidacy (“surat watikah”) for all PBM candidates to contest in the national polls. The next day (Oct 27), Larry suspended party secretary-general Nor Hizwan and information chief Zakaria – effective immediately.

To prove that he is still the chief, Larry Sng shared a photo of a certified true copy of a Registrar of Societies (RoS) document dated Oct 27 which named him as the president of PBM. The defiant Nor Hizwan, however, dismissed the suspension, claiming that only Zuraida, the dubious party president, can suspend him and Zakaria (a close ally of Zuraida).

The internal power struggle got worse on Oct 28 when Sng moved to suspend Zuraida’s membership along with 12 other Supreme Council members. The hilarious mass suspension was invoked based on PBM’s Constitution Clause 60 (iii), which was taken in relation to the individuals’ ongoing involvement in undermining the interest of the party and its leadership.

Flexing his muscle, Larry said – “I strongly despise and condemn such political manoeuvring, which has undermined the trust in my leadership, and caused much confusion to party members and the general public at large. As such, their positions will be suspended until a disciplinary committee is set up to look into the matter after the election”.

Reiterating again that he is still PBM president, Sng said on Oct 29 that a Supreme Council meeting will be held in Sarikei, Sarawak on Oct 30, but all suspended members will not be allowed to attend. On Sunday (Oct 30), RoS director-general Nawardi Saad confirmed that Larry Sng was still PBM president. Zuraida – incredibly panicked – still insisted that she is the rightful party president.

Exactly how did the leadership crisis happen? Apparently, everything started because power-hungry Zuraida, in her haste to grab power, has backstabbed and betrayed Sng. Along with the 12 Supreme Council members, she had tried to go behind Sng’s back when plans were hatched to seize power during the party’s 2022 AGM (annual general meeting) on October 1.

Not ready to give up his power, Sng said he has only indicated that Zuraida would only succeed him at a “suitable time” in the near future. The bad blood actually started in August this year when Zuraida, in her desperation to join Barisan Nasional, unilaterally announced that PBM will not contest in Sarawak in the 15th General Election. It was a slap in the face of Larry Sng.

Zuraida has disrespected – even insulted – Sng because it would mean that the MP for Julau, which is in Sarikei, will not be able to contest in Sarawak, his power base. The shameless Zuraida wanted to contest 14 seats in the national election (7 parliamentary seats and 7 state assembly seats). The PKR traitor thought PBM’s application to join Barisan Nasional would be approved.

To get rid of Larry, her minions issued a notice of the Supreme Council meeting (October 5) without the president’s approval. Worse, not only the Supreme Council meeting did not meet the required quorum, it was chaired by deputy president Haniza Mohamed Talha and attended by party members who are not recognized as council members by the Registrar of Societies.

The biggest problem is that Larry Sng was not properly removed before the appointment of Zuraida Kamarudin as the new president, leading to two presidents in the party. There is no provision in the party constitution that allows for the removal of the president (Larry) or any elected supreme council members unless it was done so at the AGM, which did not take place.

The best part is that the secretary-general has been illegally appointed to represent the party in signing the watikah (appointment letters) for candidates to contest in the general election. So, not only it usurps the power of the president, the signature of secretary-general Nor Hizwan would be both invalid and illegal. This also means the legitimacy of the candidates can be challenged.

At best, not only the appointment of Zuraida as PBM president is invalid, candidates who contest and win in the election could see their parliamentary seats declared null and void due to the illegitimacy of the watikah (appointment letters). At worst, the Registrar of Societies could declare the party an unlawful society and therefore illegal and must be disbanded.

If the crisis is not solved before November 5, which is on nomination day, Zuraida and her gang of traitors would be in deep shit. How can they still contest under PBM after being suspended, or illegally contest without a legitimate “watikah”? To add salt to injury, Barisan Nasional has refused to accept PBM. Not only PBM cannot add value, all its leaders were former traitors whom voters are waiting anxiously to slaughter.

It’s absolutely disgrace that Zuraida shamelessly tries to steal her comrade’s party, who inherited it from his father. Why can’t she just set up her own party like Mahathir Mohamad, who founded Bersatu (PPBM) and thereafter Pejuang (after Bersatu was stolen by Muhyiddin)? After jumping from PKR to Bersatu, and from Bersatu to PBM, it appears Zuraida is now homeless.

GE15: Tapah to be contested by PKR, not Muda, says Anwar

GE15: Tapah to be contested by PKR, not Muda, says Anwar

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks at a tea session with the local community in Kampung Ulu Chemor, Perak, October 30, 2022. — Bernama pic

Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 10:22 PM MYT

IPOH, Oct 30 — The Tapah parliamentary seat will be contested by PKR in the 15th general election (GE15) and not by the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda), PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

He said Pakatan Harapan’s final round of negotiations yesterday decided that the seat will continue to be contested by a PKR candidate.

“We also decided that PKR will continue to contest in Sungai Siput and Tapah (Perak) as well as Sembrong (Johor).

“Although there was an announcement (of Muda contesting in Tapah), it is inaccurate as (Muda president) Syed Saddiq (Syed Abdul Rahman) informed me (that Perak Muda chairman Mutalib Uthman’s statement) does not represent Muda. Tapah is a PKR seat,” the PH chairman said after a tea session with the local community in Kampung Ulu Chemor here today.

Prior to this, Mutalib in a statement, said that he was contesting in Tapah following negotiations between PH and Muda.

Meanwhile, Anwar said the PH presidential council had agreed that the Changkat Jong state seat would remain contested by DAP after taking into account the views of both parties, namely DAP and Amanah, after which a consensus was reached.

“Although Amanah had strong arguments (to contest Changkat Jong), after considering the views of various parties, the PH leadership (agreed) that Changkat Jong will be DAP’s,” he said.

DAP and Amanah were both reportedly eyeing the seat and had submitted names of proposed candidates for consideration. — Bernama

"Loser in 2018 - then backdoor Senator" Liew CT standing in Iskandar Puteri, Dr Boo ignored AGAIN

DAP’s Chin Tong to contest in Iskandar Puteri, Fatin Zulaikha in Mersing

Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong who is also Perling assemblyman, will defend the seat won by Lim Kit Siang in the previous general election. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 11:15 PM MYT

JOHOR BARU, Oct 30 — Johor DAP chairman Liew Chin Tong will stand in Iskandar Puteri while DAP’s Fatin Zulaikha Zaidi will be contesting the Mersing parliamentary seat in the upcoming 15th general election (GE15).

Both candidates were announced by DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke at an event in Skudai here tonight. He also confirmed that the party will contest seven parliamentary seats in Johor, and field four men and three women candidates.

A Johor Baru native, Fatin Zulaikha, 29, has served as special officer to Johor Raya assemblyman Liow Cai Tong since 2018, and is the third Malay female candidate for DAP in this election, after the announcement of Young Syefura Othman (Bentong) and Syerleena Abdul Rashid (Bukit Bendera).

Meanwhile, Liew, who is also Perling assemblyman, will defend the seat won by Lim Kit Siang in the previous general election, while the two other incumbents, former deputy education minister, Teo Nie Ching, and Wong Shu Qi will defend their Kulai and Kluang seats respectively.

DAP had previously announced that Paloh assemblyman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali would stand in Ayer Hitam, former Skudai assemblyman Tan Hong Pin would contest Bakri, while incumbent Pang Hok Liong would defend Labis. — Bernama

Pearly-Thinaah create history after taking French Open title

Pearly-Thinaah create history after taking French Open title

Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah defeated two-time world champions from Japan Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara 21-19, 18-21 21-15 in a pulsating final, making them the first Malaysian women’s pair to win the French Open. — Screengrab from Facebook/BWF — Badminton World Federation

Sunday, 30 Oct 2022 11:47 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — National No. 1 women’s doubles pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah created history by winning the French Open at the Stade Pierre de Coubertine in Paris tonight.

They defeated two-time world champions from Japan Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara 21-19, 18-21 21-15 in a pulsating final, making them the first Malaysian women’s pair to win the French Open.

It was their second championship title and the biggest success of the world number 11 pair in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour series after winning the Swiss Open in March last year.

The match that lasted for 72 minutes was the first between the two pairs.

In the first set, Pearly-Thinaah started slowly but soon got on their way to hold a 18-10 lead. However, they faced anxious moments when the Japanese pair caught up to 20-19 before they got the winning point.

Pearly-Thinaah, however, failed to capitalise on the first set win, and despite their best to keep pace, failed to check a resurgent Matsumoto-Nagahara who took the second set 21-18 in 20 minutes.

The Malaysian pair once again got off to a slow start in the rubber tie after trailing 2-6, but then found their rhythm and competitive spirit to take a 8-7 lead before going on to clinch the title with a 21-15 win.

The closest a Malaysian women’s doubles pair got to the French Open title was in 2008 when Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui emerged as runners-up.

Meanwhile, World No. 1, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark won the men’s singles title after defeating compatriot Rasmus Gemke 21-14, 21-15. — Bernama

Sunday, October 30, 2022

How Wankees callously handle citizens of other nations it suspects of terrorism & e;f;f; whatever law

al Jazeera:

Guantanamo’s oldest inmate Saifullah Paracha freed after 19 years

Businessman Saifullah Paracha, who was arrested in 2003 and accused of financing al-Qaeda, was never charged like most prisoners.

Nearly 40 inmates still remain in the world's most infamous prison, which has become a symbol of human rights abuses [File: Mandel Ngan/Pool/Reuters]

Published On 29 Oct 202229 Oct 2022

The oldest inmate at the United States-run Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba Saifullah Paracha has been released to his home country Pakistan after nearly 20 years of detention without trial, the South Asian country’s foreign ministry said.

“The Foreign Ministry completed an extensive inter-agency process to facilitate the repatriation of Mr Paracha,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.


“We are glad that a Pakistani citizen detained abroad is finally reunited with his family.”

Businessman Paracha was arrested in 2003 in Thailand and accused of financing the armed group, but he has maintained his innocence and claimed a love for the US.

In May, the US approved Paracha’s release concluding only that he was “not a continuing threat” to the US.

Like most prisoners at Guantanamo, Paracha – aged 74 or 75 – was never formally charged and had little legal power to challenge his detention.

The secretive US military prison was established in the wake of 9/11 to hold suspected al-Qaeda members captured during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

But of the 780 inmates held during the US’s so-called “war on terror”, 732 were released without charge. Many of them were imprisoned for more than a decade without legal means to challenge their detention.

Nearly 40 prisoners remain in the world’s most infamous detention facility, which has become a symbol of human rights abuses.

(Al Jazeera)

Paracha’s return home on Saturday comes after US President Joe Biden last year approved his release, along with that of another Pakistani national Abdul Rabbani, 55, and Yemen native Uthman Abdul al-Rahim Uthman, 41.

Biden is under pressure to clear out uncharged prisoners at Guantanamo and move ahead with the trials of those accused of having direct ties to al-Qaeda.

Among the roughly 40 inmates left are several men who allegedly had direct roles in 9/11 and other al-Qaeda attacks.

Paracha, who studied in the US, had an import-export business supplying major US retailers.

US authorities accused him of having contact with al-Qaeda figures, including Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

In 2008, Paracha’s lawyer said the businessman had met bin Laden in 1999, and again a year later, in connection with the production of a television programme.

Reprieve, a UK-based human rights charity, described Paracha as a “forever prisoner”.

Since it first opened, Guantanamo has become notorious for human rights abuses and the fact that the US administration did not consider its prisoners to be entitled to any protection according to international laws.


EU urges Russia to revoke Ukraine Black Sea grain deal suspension


EU urges Russia to revoke Ukraine Black Sea grain deal suspension

A view of the Comorian-flagged general cargo ship "Kubrosli Y." in the sea port in Odesa after restarting grain export, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine August 19, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo


  • Russia says move a response to Ukraine attack on ships
  • July agreement allowed grain exports from Ukraine
  • Biden says 'outrageous' move will increase starvation
  • Moscow scolds U.S. reaction
  • Kyiv accuses Russia of planning the move well ahead

KYIV, Oct 30 (Reuters) - The European Union on Sunday called on Russia to reverse its decision to pull out of a U.N.-brokered grain deal, a move that undermined efforts to ease a global food crisis, and that Ukraine said Moscow had planned well in advance.

Moscow suspended its participation in the Black Sea deal on Saturday, effectively cutting shipments from Ukraine, one of the world's top grain exporters, in response to what it called a major Ukrainian drone attack earlier in the day on its fleet near the port of Sevastopol in Russian-annexed Crimea.

"Russia's decision to suspend participation in the Black Sea deal puts at risk the main export route of much needed grain and fertilisers to address the global food crisis caused by its war against Ukraine," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Twitter.

"The EU urges Russia to (reverse) its decision."

On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden called the move "purely outrageous", saying it would increase starvation, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Moscow of weaponising food. On Sunday, Russia's ambassador to Washington, snapped back, saying the U.S. response was "outrageous" and made false assertions about Moscow's move.

Russia's defence ministry said Ukraine attacked the Black Sea Fleet near Sevastopol with 16 drones early on Saturday, and that British navy "specialists" had helped coordinate what it called a terrorist attack.

Russia said it had repelled the attack but that the ships targeted were involved in ensuring the grain corridor out of Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Moscow used the explosions 220 kilometres (137 miles) away from the grain corridor as a "false pretext" for a long-intended move.

"Russia has planned this well in advance," Kuleba said on Twitter. "Russia took the decision to resume its hunger games long ago and now tries to justify it," he said, without offering any evidence.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's chief of staff accused Russia on Saturday of inventing attacks on its own facilities.

Kyiv often accuses Russia of using the Black Sea Fleet to fire cruise missiles at Ukrainian civilian targets, a charge supported by some military analysts, who say that makes the fleet a legitimate military target.

Moscow also accused British navy personnel of blowing up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month, a claim that London said was false and designed to distract from Russian military failures in Ukraine.

Russia's departure from the grain deal marks a new development in an eight-month war that began with Russia's invasion in February and that has recently been dominated by a Ukrainian counteroffensive and Russian drone and missile attacks that have destroyed more than 30% of Ukraine's generating capacity and hit populated areas.

Each side has accused the other of being prepared to detonate radioactive bombs.

Zelenskiy called for a strong response from the United Nations and Group of 20 (G20) major economies to what he called Russia's nonsensical move on the grain deal.

"This is a completely transparent attempt by Russia to return to the threat of large-scale famine for Africa, for Asia," Zelenskiy said in a video address on Saturday, adding that Russia should be kicked out of the G20.


The grain deal had restarted shipments from Ukraine, allowing sales on world markets, targeting the pre-war level of 5 million metric tonnes exported from Ukraine each month.

More than 9 million tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soy have been exported under the July 22 deal.

But ahead of its Nov. 19 expiry, Russia had repeatedly said that there were serious problems with it. Ukraine complained Moscow had blocked almost 200 ships from picking up grain cargoes.

When the agreement was signed, the U.N. World Food Programme said some 47 million people were suffering "acute hunger" as the war halted Ukrainian shipments, causing global food shortages and sending prices soaring.

The deal ensured safe passage in and out of Odesa and two other Ukrainian ports in what an official called a "de facto ceasefire" for the ships and facilities covered.

Russia told U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Saturday in a letter, seen by Reuters, that it was suspending the deal for an "indefinite term" because it could not "guarantee safety of civilian ships" travelling under the pact.

Moscow asked the U.N. Security Council to meet on Monday to discuss the Sevastopol attack, Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy wrote on Twitter.

More than 10 outbound and inbound vessels waited to enter the humanitarian corridor on Saturday and there was no agreement for the movement of vessels on Sunday, Amir Abdulla, the U.N. coordinator for the deal, said on Saturday.