RESCUERS today pulled several bodies from the scene of a landslide which killed over 160 jade miners in northern Myanmar, many of them migrant workers seeking their fortune in treacherous open-cast mines near the China border.
The disaster – the worst in memory to strike Myanmar’s notoriously dangerous jade mines – occurred yesterday when a hillside collapsed in heavy monsoon rains.
SUNGAI SIPUT, July 3 — Phase two of the Jalan Anak Kurau road project in Batu Kurau, Larut to Kamunting, Taiping spanning 6.4 kilometres which was postponed since 2018 is expected to resume early next year.
State Infrastructure, Energy, Water and Public Transportation Committee chairman, Datuk Mohd Zolkafly Harun said the second phase costing RM91 million was approved in 2016 but delayed due to several factors including realignment.
He said in June 2018, the Finance Ministry issued a directive to cancel the tender but allowed the project to resume in December, the same year.
“However, during the land acquisition process in April 2019, there was a housing scheme approved by the local authority in part of the designed alignment, which called for a realignment of the road,” he told reporters when met here, today.
Zolkafly, who is also Lintang assemblyman, said if the new alignment does not require building a bridge, the project could be completed within 24 months, at least.
In this regard, he hoped that Batu Kurau residents could be patient and not easily fall for the attempt of some parties to gain political mileage by playing up the issue.
Yesterday, Kampung Anak Kurau Bersatu chairman Mohd Radzi Ramli, who was representing some 60,000 residents in Batu Kurau, urged the federal government to expedite the project as it could reduce travel time from Anak Kurau to Kamunting from 45 minutes to 15 minutes. — Bernama
KUCHING, July 3 — The Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) has called on the government to review what the previous government had announced earlier, with regard to the empowerment agenda and welfare of civil servants in the country.
Its president Adnan Mat said Cuepacs had received a lot of feedback from civil servants that the agenda could not be implemented due to the change of government as well as the country’s political landscape.
“Among the matters announced but have yet to be implemented is the annual salary increment (KGT) for all civil servants and to shorten the second time-based promotion period from 13 years to 10 years.
“Awarding the cash award in lieu of leave (GCR) for 75 days for those who have served for at least 15 years as well as streamlining the cost of living allowance (COLA) in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after a programme with frontliners at the state Cuepacs office here, Adnan said if implemented, the matters did not involve major financial implications to the government as it has previously stated that the country’s financial position is still strong despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said even though there was change in government, civil servants remain and they would still have to carry out their duties for the sake of the people and the country, in line with their motto “Serving the Nation”.
“…all plans including those that were announced by the previous government should be implemented in the best interest of everyone,” he said. — Bernama
THE investigation papers on the Penang undersea tunnel project is in the final stages of completion, said Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki.
The investigation papers on the project are expected to be completed within two to three weeks and will be submitted to the deputy public prosecutor for further action, he told Bernama when contacted today.
KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today reminded the attorney general that Malaysia’s constitution guarantees freedom of expression amid an ongoing court case that could test the extent of anyone’s right to free speech.
The PKR president said he had been following the contempt proceedings initiated by Tan Sri Idrus Harun against news website Malaysiakini over its readers’ comments that were allegedly contemptuous of the judiciary.
“We should acknowledge and consider freedom of speech which is guaranteed in the Constitution.
“It is wrong and extreme to victimise the media and I urge the Attorney General to relook the action as it will affect Malaysia’s global image and reputation,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Anwar said the Federal Court’s decision today to allow the contempt proceedings to go ahead would have an impact not only on media freedom in the country, but also freedom of expression on the internet.
He said the media played an important role in a democratic system in disseminating information and warned against the pitfalls in shooting the messenger.
He said any form of punishment on the media would be contrary to the spirit of democracy and a lawful country.
He noted that there had been several other recent cases involving other journalists being questioned over their reporting, naming health portal CodeBlue and a correspondent of Hong Kong daily South China Morning Post.
“We should not follow the previous regime which imposed restrictions on media personnel carrying out their duties,’ the Port Dickson MP added, without elaborating.
PUTRAJAYA, July 2 — Malaysia shared its 5R approach and the growing gig economy during the movement control order (MCO), at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Summit on Covid-19 pandemic and the World of Work regional event which was held virtually today.
Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan who participated in the event as a panelist shared Malaysia’s thorough efforts in addressing the negative impact of Covid-19, as well as the 5R approach namely redeployment, repatriation, reemployment, reconciliation dan reskilling during the MCO.
In a statement issued in conjunction with the event, the Human Resource Ministry said Saravanan had also emphasised on green jobs as one of the measures to promote a resilient economy and ensuring a sustainable and continuous recovery from the pandemic.
“The minister also highlighted Malaysia’s desire to continue this effort at the Asean level through a regional green job programme in September,” it said.
The ILO regional event serves as a platform for representatives from the government, employers and workers to hold high-level discussions on the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also discussed the response of ILO member countries in supporting the industries and providing protection to workers in the Asia Pacific region as well as the challenges faced by them, which would be summarised and presented at the ILO Global Summit scheduled to be held from July 7 to 9. — Bernama
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump at a press briefing on Thursday celebrated a government report showing the country gained 4.8 million jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% last month, when states began allowing businesses to reopen from strict shutdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back,” Trump said, rattling off different sectors that saw job gains according to the monthly report. “These are historic numbers.”
Trump took the victory lap as the coronavirus resurges in states with large economies such as California, Texas and Florida, prompting local governments to once again shutter bars and other businesses where the deadly respiratory disease is thought to spread easily.
A separate report on Thursday said that 1.43 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits during the final week of June.
Despite the swelling loads of new cases, Trump said he expected to see good employment numbers in the coming months and that the third-quarter gross domestic product report, due days before the November presidential election, would also be strong.
Thursday’s report, Trump said, “suggests that workers are confident about finding a new job”.
He added, though, that the White House and Congress continue to negotiate on another round of stimulus, frequently called “Phase 4”, to help the economy withstand a pandemic now in its fourth month.
THE Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) will review the terms of recruitment for female firefighters, in efforts to achieve the 30% of women’s representation in the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia.
Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said in reviewing this, the ministry will also look into less stringent standards of physical attributes or put less physical demands on them, by placing them in the administration section.
NEW YORK: Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in New Hampshire on Thursday on US charges of helping to lure underage girls who were then sexually abused by Epstein.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Maxwell about 8.30am in Bradford, New Hampshire, an agency spokeswoman said on Thursday.
She was expected to appear in federal court in New Hampshire on Thursday to discuss her bail or continued detention, according to a law enforcement official.
Epstein was awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors when he was found hanged in an apparent suicide while in a New York City jail in August.
The indictment charged Maxwell, 58, with conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts and conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
She was also charged with two counts of perjury, according to the indictment by the acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Audrey Strauss.
A lawyer who represented Maxwell in civil litigation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The indictment accuses Maxwell of luring the girls by asking them about their lives, schools and families and taking them shopping or to the movies.
After winning the girls’ trust, the indictment alleges she would try to “normalise sexual abuse” by discussing sexual topics or by undressing in front of the victims or being present when a victim was undressed.
The indictment alleges that Maxwell was well aware of Epstein’s preference for minor girls and that he intended to sexually abuse them.
Epstein’s alleged abuse included touching their genitals, placing sex toys on their genitals and having the girls touch Epstein while he masturbated.
Maxwell also encouraged the young girls to massage Epstein, and in some cases, the victims were partially or fully nude during the massages.
Maxwell, the daughter of late British media magnate Robert Maxwell, has kept a low profile since the death of Epstein, a financier who was accused of raping and trafficking underage girls over nearly two decades.
Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have said Maxwell lured them into his circle, where they were sexually abused by him and powerful friends.
Maxwell was an ex-girlfriend of Epstein who became a long-time member of his inner circle.
In a 2003 Vanity Fair article, Epstein was quoted as saying Maxwell was his “best friend”.