Archive for November 22nd, 2014

Tunisians Are Shaken as Young Women Turn to Extremism

by Carlotta Gall
New York Times
Nov. 20, 2014

TUNIS — Leila Mustapha Saidi returned home on a recent day to find her daughter Henda missing, along with her computer. Mrs. Saidi, who had watched her daughter grow religious and “obsessed” with the conflict in Syria, said she feared she had run off to join Islamist fighters there.

Instead, the police called four days later. Her daughter Henda Saidi was holed up in a house outside Tunis with a group of suspected insurgents. A day later, security forces stormed the house. Of six people killed in the raid, five were young women.

“They classified her as a terrorist,” Mrs. Saidi said bitterly.

After more than two years of mounting attacks and assassinations, Tunisians are no longer surprised by shootouts between gunmen and anti-terrorist units, even in the capital. But the standoff in which Ms. Saidi was killed nonetheless shocked many here for the sheer number of women involved. Read the rest of this entry »

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China Reacts to Massive Corruption Tally of a Fallen General

by Alexa Olesen
Foreign Policy
November 22, 2014

It took at least 10 trucks to haul off Xu Caihou’s accumulated booty.

When China’s Ministry of Defense announced on Oct. 28 that the investigation into former General Xu Caihou for alleged corruption had concluded and his case had been transferred to prosecutors, the ministry declared the bribes received by Xu and his family members as tebie juda, or “extremely huge.”

The description served to pique public interest about the scale of graft perpetrated by the former vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission, but was frustratingly vague, and no actual figures were mentioned.

This week, Hong Kong’s Phoenix Weekly and the Financial Times helped fill in the picture. Both had reports that cited people close to the investigation as saying investigators discovered Xu had one ton of cash (U.S. dollars, Euros, and Renminbi) in the basement of his 215,000 square foot Beijing mansion as well as jade, emeralds, calligraphy and paintings.

The FT said the cash was neatly stacked in boxes and that each was conveniently inscribed with the name of the solider who had offered the cash in exchange for a promotion.

Phoenix Weekly, published by Hong Kong broadcaster Phoenix Television, said in its Nov. 20 report that it took 10 military trucks to haul the loot away; the FT said it was a dozen trucks. Either way, it was indeed extremely huge. Read the rest of this entry »


Global corruption a bigger scourge than terrorism

CBC news
by Brian Stewart
Nov 19, 2014

Anti-corruption protests growing all over the world, as are legislative crackdowns

While the G20 summit in Australia made headlines over global warming, economic growth and terrorism, much less attention was paid to the giant spectre of global corruption.

That is too bad as this is a problem that is arguably more dangerous to humanity than even terrorism because it siphons off an estimated $1 trillion from developing countries annually through bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, extortion and other financial crimes.

Recent World Bank estimates suggest that much of the world’s direct aid to the poorest countries ends up stolen, perhaps as much as $40 billion in recent years.

And it has been estimated that up to 3.6 million of the world’s poorest die annually from inadequate health care and living conditions directly because corruption has leached away development aid of all kinds.

At its most extreme, corruption causes people to lose faith in government, states to fail and violence to erupt in the form of organized crime and terrorist movements.

Only slightly less malign, it’s the dirty grease that keeps many repressive and violent dictators in lavish power.

No country is untouched by corruption, but it is “public enemy No. 1” in the developing world, according to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who has to fight to keep his bank’s $30 billion a year in development aid getting to its proper destination. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should not set bad example to other Ministers by using threat of legal suit against Tony Pua to evade accountability and should make Ministerial statement to answer teeming questions on 11 aspects of the multi-billion ringgit 1MDB scandal in Parliament on Monday

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should not set the bad example to other Ministers by using the threat of legal suit against the DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua to evade accountability and he should make a Ministerial statement in Parliament on Monday to answer teeming questions on 11 aspects of the multi-billion ringgit 1MDB scandal, viz:

1. Why did the Government issue a “letter of support” for 1MDB’s US$3.0 billion (RM9.6bn) bonds issued in Mar 2013 which not only explicitly binds the Government to repay the debt in the event 1MDB fails to do so, but surrendered legal jurisdiction to the Courts of London? Despite the denial that the letter represents an explicit “guarantee”, why isn’t this amount recorded as a Federal Government contingent liability since Malaysia is legally bound to repay the debt in the event of 1MDB default?

2. Why did 1MDB pay an average of more than 10% in “certain commissions, fees and expenses” to raise its loans – US$3.0 billion (Mar 2013) and US$1.75 bilion (May 2012), when other developing nations such as Uruguay pay as little as 0.1% to raise US$2.0 billion? Even Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd which raised US$1 billion recently paid only 0.5% in such fees. Read the rest of this entry »


Will UMNO General Assembly next week send out a clear and unmistakable message that UMNO will be the vanguard and not be the major obstacle to a movement of moderates against extremism in Malaysia?

I applaud the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s call to the majority of Malaysians to be united and speak up against extremism as the country cannot afford to have extremists given its diversity in terms of race, culture and religion.

Speaking at a Barisan Nasional youth retreat dinner in Kuching last night, Adenan said the country could become a worse place not because the minority did not do enough, but the majority did nothing.

The Sarawak Chief Minister warned that the danger of extremism is looming in the country and it is for the moderates to speak up for moderation, pointing out that the majority cannot be silenced for the fanatics and extremists do not speak for the country.

Adenan’s speech is like a breath of fresh air after the surfeit of suffocating statements, speeches and demands in recent weeks and months giving the world the impression that extremism has taken over the country and that Malaysia’s multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious diversity, tolerance, harmony and goodwill have suddenly become a liability instead of an asset – which seemed to be further reinforced by Malaysia’s shocking jump in the Global Terrorism Index 2014 to the Top 50 countries in the world to be watched for terrorism problems. Read the rest of this entry »