Saturday, December 15, 2007


From Friday's Globe and Mail
December 14, 2007 at 4:23 AM EST

NUSA DUA, INDONESIA — Indigenous people, including Canadian Inuit and Indian leaders, are emerging as some of the top stars of the Bali climate-change conference. From the Arctic to the South Pacific islands, indigenous people said they are among the first to suffer the worst effects of global warming. They drew connections between the planet's north and south, describing how the melting glaciers in the Arctic are jeopardizing the existence of small island states in the Pacific, and how severe ocean storms are imperilling people in both regions.

When the indigenous leaders spoke at a side event at the Bali conference this week, the room was packed with a standing-room-only audience of environmentalists and others. The leaders also spoke at other conference events, giving accounts of how global warming is threatening their traditional ways of life.

Arctic aboriginal villages are facing erosion, fragile ice is endangering their hunters, caribou herds are at risk from shifting weather and severe storms are becoming more frequent in the north and the south, they said. "Some Inuit have already made changes to the traditional times of the year which they travel on the land," said Violet Ford, a Canadian Inuit leader from northern Labrador and a vice-president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. "Some find themselves collecting their winter wood and other supplies in the spring when they only used to do so in the fall. Why? Because the fall freeze-up is later and more dangerous."

The shifting climate is interfering with ancient hunting patterns, Ms. Ford said in an interview. "We can't predict the weather any more, so it's very difficult to plan our hunting. It puts a lot of stress and fear into our communities." Similar threats are faced by the aboriginal people of the Western Arctic, who depend on caribou as their main source of food. "Over the last few years, the caribou have been very unpredictable," said Cindy Dickson, a member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in a remote corner of the Yukon."Their migration routes are all over the map," she said. "It has led our people to go up river, down river, sometimes hundreds of miles, to look for the increasingly elusive herd."

Aboriginal leaders were not consulted when the Kyoto treaty was negotiated in 1997, but they are insisting that they must be consulted in future negotiations on how to cope with global warming. "We bring a unique knowledge to these discussions," said Patricia Cochran, an Alaskan Inuit who is chairwoman of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. "We have to make sure that our voice is heard." Because of global warming, Inuit people no longer feel safe travelling on ice where they travelled for centuries, and some Inuit communities are sliding into the sea, forcing their relocation to new sites, Ms. Cochran said. "It's a very frightening thing for all of us. It's the loss of our culture and livelihood. How can we remain intact as aboriginal people?"

Dave Porter, a Kaska Dene leader from northern British Columbia, came to Bali to tell delegates that his people are under massive pressure from a climate-induced infestation of the mountain pine beetle. "We are faced with our greatest threat ever," he said in a speech to a conference side event. "The area of dead trees in British Columbia is the size of Portugal or South Korea. It rivals the destruction of the Amazon and Indonesian rain forests. More than 100 First Nations communities are directly impacted. If the epidemic eats its way across Canada, the impacted communities could be in the thousands." Because winters are not cold enough to kill the beetle infestation, millions of hectares of pine trees have died, Mr. Porter said.

"It dwarfs any other insect epidemic ever seen before in Canada. The interior of British Columbia is now filled with immense regions of dead and dying forests, creating a massive tinderbox just waiting for a spark to literally set it ablaze. Left unchecked, this devastation could spread through Canada's boreal forests from coast to coast, a distance of nearly 9,000 kilometres." For centuries, aboriginal people were able to adapt to the environment, he said. But they have never faced anything like the current threat. "Now in a very short period of time, the industrial society has put us at risk."



Associated Press .

BALI, Indonesia - World leaders overcame bitter divisions Saturday and agreed to reach a new deal on fighting global warming by 2009, turning a corner in mankind's race to stave off environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures.

The contentious, two-week U.N. climate conference on the resort island of Bali ended with the United States, facing angry criticism from other delegations, relenting in its opposition to a request from developing nations for more technological help fighting climate change.

The new deal does not commit countries to specific actions against global warming. It simply sets an agenda and schedule for negotiators to find ways to reduce pollution and help poor countries adapt to environmental changes by speeding up the transfer of technology and financial assistance.

Despite an aggressive EU-led campaign to include specific emissions reduction targets for industrial nations — by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 — the final road map has none. The guidelines were eliminated after the U.S., joined by Japan and others, argued that targets should come at the end of the two-year negotiations, not the beginning.

The agreement, by consensus among some 190 nations, was nonetheless hailed as a crucial development in the world's struggle to come to grips with global warming, which scientists say will lead to widespread drought, floods, higher sea levels and worsening storms.

"This is a real breakthrough, a real opportunity for the international community to successfully fight climate change," said U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer. "Parties have recognized the urgency of action on climate change." Environmentalists welcomed the final agreement, though some complained the document lacked specific emissions targets and did not include strong commitments for rich countries to provide poorer ones with green technology.

"The people of the world wanted more. They wanted binding targets," said Marcelo Furtado of Greenpeace Brazil. Climate policy analyst Eliot Diringer, of Washington's Pew center, looked on the positive side. "It puts no one on the hook right now for emissions reductions," he said. "What's important, though, is that it lets no one off the hook either."

Now the U.N. will embark on at least two years of talks to fashion a more effective and widely accepted successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The process could determine for years to come how well the world will cut emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.The roadmap is intended to lead to a more inclusive, effective successor to Kyoto, which commits 37 industrialized nations to cut greenhouse gases by an average of 5 percent between 2008 and 2012.

President Bush has argued that the cuts required by Kyoto would hurt the U.S. economy and unfairly exempts China and other emerging economies.The marathon negotiations to reach the Bali accord appeared on the brink of collapse several times.Just when it appeared agreement was within reach Saturday morning, developing nations argued that their need for technological help from rich nations and other issues needed greater recognition in the document. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the group, urging them to overcome their differences.

In an apparent resolution, India and others suggested minor adjustments to the text, backed by the EU, that encouraged monitoring of technological transfer to make sure rich countries were meeting that need.But the United States objected, calling for further talks and drawing loud boos and sharp floor rebukes. "If you are not willing to lead, then get out of the way!" shouted one delegate. Others pleaded with the head of the U.S. delegation, Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky, to reverse herself. "We would like to beg them," appealed Uganda's environment minister, Jesca Eriyo. Dobriansky's subsequent acceptance of the changes triggered applause — one of the few times that a U.S. action had won public praise at a conference studded with accusations that Washington was blocking progress. She told reporters after the adoption the appeals convinced the U.S. delegation that developing nations did not intend to dilute their commitment to take steps to stop global warming.

"After hearing the comments ... we were assured by their words to act," Dobriansky said. "So with that, we felt it was important that we go forward."
At one point, China also angrily accused the U.N. of pressuring nations to sign off on the text, even as sideline negotiations continued — triggering an emotional spat that ended when a tearful and exhausted de Boer was temporarily escorted out of the hall. For developing countries, the final document instructs negotiators to consider incentives and other means to encourage poorer nations to curb — voluntarily — growth in their emissions.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Five Hindraf leaders detained under ISA

The Star

From left: R Kengadharan, P Uthayakumar, K Vasantha Kumar, V Ganabatirau dan M Manoharan.

PETALING JAYA: Five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders have been arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The five are P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar. They were picked up at various locations in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Seremban.

It is learnt they were detained under Section 8 (1) of the ISA after Internal Security Minister Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi signed their detention order. Their detention is for two years. Uthayakumar and two others namely Ganabatirau and P. Waythamoorthy were charged under the Sedition Act on Nov 23 in Klang 23 for allegedly making speeches to incite hatred at a gathering in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor, on Nov 16. Waythamoorthy is currently overseas.

Under Section 73 (1) of the ISA, the police can detain any individual for up to 60 days without a warrant, trial and without access to legal counsel if he was suspected to have “acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."

After 60 days, the Minister of Home Affairs can extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.

The five detained

1) P. Uthayakumar - The 46-year-old lawyer was called to the Malaysian Bar on Jan 23, 1993. He is the legal advisor to the Police Watch and Human Rights Committee and advisor to the Malaysian People's Reform Party (Parti Reformasi Insan Malaysia or PRIM). He had been a secretary of the MIC Club in London and has appeared in a number of cases related to police abuse, deaths in police custody, police shootings and police inaction. He had also taken part in the reformasi campaigns in support of sacked Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

2) M. Manoharan - The 46-year-old Manoharan has been a lawyer for 15 years and was a legal assistant to Karpal Singh for 10 years before branching out on his own. He has been in the DAP and had contested in a parliamentary seat in Federal Territory and was also the Selangor DAP chairman for a short term.

3) V. Ganabatirau - Advisor to the DAP's Sri Muda branch in Shah Alam.

4) R. Kenghadharan - He is a lawyer and was one of the counsels for Uthayakumar when the latter was charged in court for publishing a seditious letter in a website.

5) T. Vasanthakumar - The former bank officer resigned about a month ago after his employers asked about his involvement with Hindraf. He is in his 30s and single. He is now a full-time Hindraf activist and its organising secretary.


Daily Express.

Kota Kinabalu: Tanjung Kapor Assemblyman Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat filed an appeal in the High Court here, Wednesday, against the Kudat Town Board's (KTB) withdrawal of an earlier approval to construct a multi-million ringgit statue of the Goddess of the Sea (Mazu) in Kudat. Chong, in his capacity as Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation (Foundation) Chairman, named the Kudat Town Board (KTB) and the Central Town and Country Planning Board in the Local Government and Housing Ministry as the first and second respondents, respectively.
The originating motion was filed at High Court Registry at 11.10am by the former Chief Minister through his lawyer Haji Ansari Abdullah. In his motion, Chong is appealing for an order from the court: - That the letter of withdrawal of approval dated Nov. 15, 2007 by the first respondent be revoked, set aside and declared null and void; - That the letter of approval dated Feb. 8, 2006 be confirmed as valid and binding on all parties concerned; - The respondents pay compensation for loss suffered by the Foundation; - Costs for the two counsel be awarded against the respondents; - Such consequential further/or other orders and/or directions be made as the court deems fit and just.
His affidavit-in-support of the originating motion affirmed that the protem committee of the Foundation was established in early 2005 to take charge of the construction of the statue on 2.3 acres of private land in Kudat. TPM Konsultant Sdn Bhd as the technical and project management consultant of the project, who on instructions of the Foundation, submitted to the KTB the site layout plan and building plans of the project, together with a letter of consent from the registered owner of the land. Chong further affirmed that in December 2005, he came to learn that the plans had been approved by KTB and on Dec. 12, 2005, the Foundation held a ground breaking ceremony that was attended by, among others, Kudat Member of Parliament Datuk Rahim Bakri and Parliament Deputy Speaker Datuk Lim Chee Cheng. He certified that when the letter of approval was issued by KTB on Feb. 8, 2006 which was valid for two years, works on the project was commenced, including piling and construction of a 20 feet platform which was completed five months later at a cost of RM1 million.
Chong also affirmed that the Foundation made preparations for executing the project which include placing an order for the granite carvings of the statue through craftsmen from China. The granite carvings had been shipped from China and are now stored in a containers in Kota Kinabalu. The Immigration Department had also issued letter of approval of the application by Key Summit Sdn Bhd for visas to be issued to 11 craftsmen from China to assemble the granite carvings of the statue. Chong claimed that on May 25, 2006, he received a letter from KTB's Executive Secretary which stated that the Local Government and Housing Minister had directed that work project be temporary suspended pending further directive from the Chief Minister.
On June 6, 2006, the Local Government and Housing Ministry's Permanent Secretary Datuk Ujang Sulai, who is also chairman of the second respondent, issued a written directive to KTB to order suspension of works on the project pending approval from the Chief Minister. Chong affirmed that the directive (the heading of which wrongly described the site as being near to the Asy-Syarikin Mosque in Kudat) stated that the Ministry had received objections from various parties to the construction of the statue, as well as appeals for the statue to be sited elsewhere. He stated that on June 23, 2006, the State Secretary issued a letter to the KTB commissioner/executive secretary stating that the the government had, after considering all the circumstances, decided that works on the project should stop immediately.
Chong further affirmed that on July 7, 2006, the Mufti of Sabah purportedly issued a Fatwa (religious decree) advising that the construction of the statue would offend Islam and ordered that the construction be stopped in order to protect the sensitivities of the followers of Islam. On April 13, 2007, Chong affirmed that he tendered his resignation as a member of the Sabah State Cabinet. Chong further affirmed that by a letter dated Nov. 15, 2007, KTB withdrew the approval granted by their letter of Feb. 8, 2006, giving reason that the site layout plan and building plans had not been approved by the second respondent by reason of non-compliance with Section 15 of the Town and Country Planning Ordinance.
Chong affirmed that the Foundation, being dissatisfied with and aggrieved by the KTB's withdrawal of the approval appeals to the court that: @ The decision to withdraw the approval was made in breach of the rule of natural justice in that KTB in accepting the various directions of the Chief Minister, the second respondent and the Sabah Mufti, failed to give the Foundation an opportunity to be heard; @ The advice of the Mufti is bad in law because it was based on the wrong premise that the site upon which the statue was to be constructed was adjacent to Masjid As-Syarikin. It is unconstitutional and contravenes the provisions of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution; @ The respondents' conduct in withdrawing the approval in circumstances is mala fide, unconscionable and inequitable and that the second respondent has no legal authority to direct KTB to withdraw the approval. Meanwhile, speaking to reporters after filing the appeal, Ansari said that Chong would be taking further actions besides the appeal.
"He (Chong) will be taking action, he will inform, he will know when it come and what further actions to be taken but he will taking further action beside the appeal," Ansari said.
Koleksi ALHS

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hindraf Heads With Ties To Terrorists To Be Watched

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah at the meet-the-people session in Segamat yesterday.
From NST.

BATU PAHAT: The prime minister has instructed the police to monitor Hindu Rights Action Force leaders and followers who may have links to terrorist groups.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said should their action threaten national security, the Internal Security Act could be used.He said he was aware of Hindraf canvassing for support and help from terrorist groups and local gangsters."I was informed. My instructions to the police is that the group should be monitored. ISA is an option. I will decide when the time is right. If they are deemed (as a threat to national security) we will know what to do."Earlier in Segamat at a meet-the-people session attended by 3,000 people, Abdullah said he was puzzled by the actions of certain groups who are bent on berating their own country.

"They tell lies and accuse the government of cruelty and ethnic cleansing."He said the absurd and extreme actions of Hindraf had caused outsiders who knew nothing about Malaysia to believe those claims."Those who are not in the know may be taken in," he said, adding that the government practised power sharing to ensure there was peace and harmony in the country."This government has the support of the people. It has policies and implements plans for the benefit of the people. It allocates funds and has the machinery to implement those programmes."These are important elements that a government must have to develop the nation and its people."He called on the people to safeguard the political stability and peace they had been enjoying all this time.He said the government would always listen to the people when implementing development programmes, including consulting village development and security committees, farmers' organisations, fishermen's association and non-governmental organisations.He also called on the people to be thrifty, spend wisely and to make provisions for their children's education.
Collection by ALHSA

The Indian Government Refused to Met Waytha Moorthy of HINDRAF.

Pranab Mukherjee, The Foreign Minister of India.

India washes hands of Malay protest

8 Dec 2007, 0154 hrs IST , TNN

NEW DELHI: "A terrorist is a terrorist. He has no religion and his origin does not matter," said foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee. Reacting to a question on a reported comment by the Malaysian government that the protesting Indian community in the country were sympathisers of the LTTE, Mukherjee said this issue was not discussed with the Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama who met him on Friday for bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the Saarc intersession meeting.

The Malaysian government's comments have introduced a twist to the raging debate on the issue of Indian minority in Malaysia who have rioted against discriminatory policies of the Malaysian government. Mukherjee said there were international conventions that governed how the issue of terrorism was tackled, and every government was committed to supporting it. The Indian government refused to meet the leader of the protesting Indian group Hindraf — Waytha Moorthy — on Thursday. Waytha Moorthy, in India for a day before heading to Geneva and Washington for support could only meet the leader of the Opposition, L K Advani. Speaking to TOI Waytha Moorthy said "the bureaucracy" made it difficult to meet the leadership. He said they were looking for Indian support and India to pressure Malaysia to give them a better deal. He said their ultimate aim was to have a better life in Malaysia. India is not going to give the protesting Malaysians more traction. This is clear from the recent actions of the government that they consider the protests to be part of an internal matter of Malaysia, because these were all Malaysian citizens. To the extent that they are persons of Indian origin, they would receive notional support from India. But, India will not place its relations with Malaysia on the line for them. This is a clear message. So even though there will be expressions of support for the protesters the government will not be seen to be backing any group that might have sympathies with the LTTE. This will complicate its relations not merely with Malaysia and Sri Lanka but could prove to be a legal hot potato — because LTTE is banned in India.

collection by ALHSA

Saturday, December 8, 2007


MB Selangor, YAB Tan Sri Mohd. Khir Toyo
Gambar Hiasan: Bantu golongan ini dengan langkah-langkah positive. BUKAN dengan memperdaya mereka sepertinya untuk berdemonstrasi.

Rape, abduction increasing in Gujarat: Sonia - 8 Dec 2007, 2303 hrs IST , PTI KAPADVANJ(Gujarat):

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday targeted the Modi-government in Gujarat for the rising incidents of rape, kidnapping and corruption in the state. Addressing a huge gathering, mostly consisting of women, in Kapadvanj assembly constituency of Kheda district of Central Gujarat, Sonia came down heavily on the state government's failure at various fronts. "Nobody is safe in Gujarat under the present regime," Sonia remarked. "There has been an increase in cases of rape and kidnapping of children," the Congress president said, referring to the recent incidents of kidnapping in Surat district.

Large number of farmers have committed suicide and the interest of dalits and backward communities has not been protected, she said. Sonia also criticised Modi regime for the large-scale corruption which took place in the 'Sujalam Sufalam' irrigation project of the state government. Without naming the Chief Minister, Sonia Gandhi appealed to the people to throw out the Modi government from power for its failure to deliver on its promises. "The government talked about big projects but on the ground, implementation is negligible," she added. "If our party comes to power (in Gujarat), it will announce special incentives for reopening of closed industries and special packages for farmers," she told the gathering.

NST Online » Local News
Move forward, Dr Khir tells Kampung Rimba folk
SHAH ALAM: Let’s put the Hindraf episode behind us and move forward to find a better life for all

This was the message Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo had for the people, especially those in Kampung Rimba Jaya here, yesterday.Meeting the people here for the first time since the controversial demolition of a temple in the squatter settlement last month, the Selangor menteri besar said the people should not be taken in by the claims of the movement.He said the people of Rimba Jaya were now staying in council homes provided by the state in Shah Alam and they could continue to do so until their low-cost homes were built.The council homes are flats owned by the state in Section 26 and the tenants could stay there rent-free, he added.
“Do not worry. I will not let anyone sleep under the bridge. It’ll be a shame for me if that happens. The government will never neglect the Indians.”On the demolished temple, Dr Khir said the developer had given RM40,000 to the temple committee to build a new one at the site given by the developer.He said the people should not fret about having to move into low-cost homes, saying it was a first step towards better things.For those who were not eligible for bank loans, he said there were other avenues such as the Housing and Local Government Ministry, state Islamic Religious Council and other state agencies.

Speaking on the impact of the recent illegal rallies in the city, Dr Khir said two Taiwanese investors had put on hold their plans to come to Selangor.Later last night, during a 60 minute live interview over RTM1, Dr Khir clarified that the Kampung Rimba Jaya Hindu temple was demolished after the Deepavali festival.“There is a misunderstanding. A lot of people thought the temple was demolished before Deepavali. But, it was demolished on Nov 15,” he said adding that the temple was built on private land.He said the temple committee had agreed with the relocation and added that: “The temple issue had been settled.”“The problem is Hindraf followers instigated others to take the law into their own hands and did not allow the priest to go into the temple.” He said the squatters in the area would also be moving to their new homes by end of this year or beginning of next year.They will move to low-cost units with proper kindergartens, Hindu temple, surau, community hall and other facilities, he added.“So there is no issue of the temple or not helping the community. The state government helps all races,” he said. He also said the politics of hate should be rejected by all.

Collection: ALHS