By REUTERS/Pic by AFP
CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday she would announce new gun laws within days, after a lone gunman killed 50 people in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges.
“Within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer,” Ardern said at news conference after her cabinet reached in principle decisions on gun reform laws in the wake of New Zealand’s worst ever mass shooting.
In addition to the 50 killed, dozens were wounded at two mosques in the South Island city during Friday prayers.
Gun City owner David Tipple said the alleged gunman bought four weapons and ammunition online from the store between December 2017 and March 2018, but it did not sell him the high-powered weapon used in the massacre.
“The MSSA, military-style automatic, reportedly used by the alleged gunman was not purchased from Gun City. Gun City did not sell him an MSSA, only A-category firearms,” Tipple told a news conference in Christchurch.
Under New Zealand gun laws, A-category weapons can be semi-automatic but limited to seven shots. Live-streamed video of a gunman in one mosque showed a semi-automatic weapon with a large magazine round.
Tipple said the online purchases followed a police-verified online mail-order process and the store detected nothing extraordinary about the license holder.
Tipple said he supported Ardern’s move to reform gun laws as the Christchurch shootings had raised legitimate concerns.
Ardern did not detail the new gun laws, but has said she supports a ban on automatic weapons following the Christchurch shootings.
Australia introduced some of the world’s toughest gun laws after its worst mass killing, the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in which a lone gunman killed 35 people using a semi-automatic AR-15 – the same weapon used in the Christchurch massacre.
Australia banned semi-automatic weapons, launched a national gun amnesty in which tens of thousands of guns were handed in, and made it much tougher to own firearms.
GUNOWNERS SURRENDER WEAPONS
“Until today I was one of the New Zealanders who owned a semi-automatic rifle. On the farm they are a useful tool in some circumstances, but my convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse,” John Hart, a farmer and Green Party candidate from Masterton said on Twitter on Monday.
“We don’t need these in our country. We have make sure it’s #NeverAgain.”
New Zealand’s top online marketplace Trade Me Group said it was halting the sale of semi-automatic weapons in the wake of Friday’s attack.
New Zealand, a country of only 5 million people, has an estimated 1.5 million firearms.
A Radio New Zealand report, based on police data secured through an Official Information Act request, said more than 99 percent of people who applied for a firearms license in 2017 were successful.
A New Zealand standard A-category firearm license is issued after a police and background check. No license is required to buy a large round magazine, which can be illegally modified for use in such a weapon.
Only firearm owners are licensed, not weapons, so there is no monitoring of how many weapons a person may possess.
Violent crime is rare in New Zealand and police do not usually carry guns. Before Friday, New Zealand’s worst mass shooting was in 1990 when a man killed 13 men, women and children in a 24-hour rampage in the tiny seaside village of Aramoana. He was killed by police.
Ardern said an inquiry will be held into what intelligence, police, customs and immigration knew or should have known about Tarrant and the events leading up to the massacre, to see whether the attack could have been prevented.
Ardern said Tarrant had emailed a “manifesto” to more than 30 recipients including her office, nine minutes before the attack but it gave no location or specific details.
In the document, which was also posted online, Tarrant described himself as “Just a ordinary White man, 28 years old”.
Ardern was the first signatory of a national condolence book for the country’s worst mass killing that she opened in the capital Wellington on Monday.
“On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us,” she wrote in the book.
Frustration was building among the families of victims as under Islam it is custom to conduct burials within 24 hours, but bodies will not be released until post mortems are carried out.
Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said the first body was approved for release on Sunday night, but the family was yet to take the body because another relative was also killed and they wanted to collect them together. He said there would be no burials on Monday.
The burial process, which usually involves washing with three kinds of water, salving wounds and scrubbing skin, would be complicated, volunteers in Christchurch said.
Mo, a volunteer who had flown in from Brisbane to wash the bodies, said the people who died in the mosques were classified as martyrs. That meant there were different views as to whether they would be washed or not because he said Islamic jurisprudence said martyrs are not to be washed as their blood was witness to their martyrdom.
“But some people have said because it was not a battlefield it is okay to wash the body. But it is at the discretion of the family,” said Mo. He asked to be identified by just one name.
Rehanna Ali, from the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, said: “These people died in prayer, on their way to prayer, on our holy day, a Friday, in the precincts of our holy places. And faith was what they died for. And so faith is now part of the healing [...]
RIYADH: The influence of Saudi Arabia's Bin Laden family on its eponymous construction business has been curtailed in a restructuring that follows an anti-corruption crackdown by Riyadh, a document seen by Reuters shows. [...]
Mohd Amar said discussions between Umno and PAS so far only revolved around cooperation in the by-elections and strengthening the Opposition in Parliament and in Malaysia in general. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KOTA BHARU, March 18 ― PAS vice-president Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said Umno might be a government-friendly Opposition in the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly after the two parties established ties recently.Mohd Amar, who is also Panchor assemblyman, said this was due to the absence of any agreement on forming a coalition government although both parties appeared to be on good terms.“Umno is still the opposition (in Kelantan) and we (PAS) are the government. Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) which is represented by its Ayer Lanas assemblyman, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, is also the opposition. We don’t have a coalition government here.“Only maybe Umno will be a state government-friendly Opposition. It can happen...we hope so but it is up to them (Umno),” he told reporters after the opening of the Second Session of the 14th Kelantan State Legislative Assembly by Sultan Muhammad V, here, today. Mohd Amar, who is also Kelantan deputy mentri besar, said discussions between both parties (Umno and PAS) so far only revolved around cooperation in the by-elections and strengthening the Opposition in Parliament and in Malaysia in general.“(The discussions) have not reached the stage of wanting to form a coalition government. But we don’t know what is to come in future and it’s still a long way to the next general election,” he said.Asked on the assurance of oil royalty payment to Kelantan by the federal government, Mohd Amar said the withdrawal of the suit filed by the state government a few years ago was expected to be resolved by this coming April 17.“God willing, we will receive the royalty payment this April. We have not discussed the amount but we had asked for five per cent (as in the original agreement,” he added. ― Bernama [...]
Najib took a swipe at Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, Datuk Salahuddin Ayub for failing to control egg prices. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 ― Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today questioned the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration on the outcome of its investigation into the price hikes at two popular fast food chains in the country.Debating the King’s address in Parliament today, the Pekan MP also raised doubts about the ability of the government to control the prices of other necessities.“So I want to conclude now. It’s just that when price control was promised, the minister responsible promised to investigate the reason as to why the price of KFC and McDonald’s increased. However until now, we have not even heard about the outcome of the investigation.“I also want to say this. If you want to control the price of things, of necessities, please control the price of eggs. This is because when the minister announced that the price of eggs had reduced by two cents in a huge press conference, today the price of the AAA grade egg is almost RM0.50.“So if you can’t even control the price of eggs, don’t hope to control the prices of other things,” Najib said, taking a veiled swipe at the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, Datuk Salahuddin Ayub.In December last year, Bernama reported that Salahuddin had given assurance that egg prices would stabilise and that supply will be sufficient during the festive season.He reportedly said that egg distributors have agreed to reduce prices by two sen at farm level, for the various grades of eggs.The same month, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry said it would investigate McDonald’s and KFC following public complaints about price increases by both fast food chains.According to the Astro Awani portal, the ministry’s deputy director of enforcement, Datuk Iskandar Halim Sulaiman, said an investigation was launched against KFC on December 27.When asked about McDonald’s, he confirmed that his enforcers will also visit the chain to monitor their prices.KFC adjusted its prices across the board in December, but invited controversy with statement that implied that the wholesale increase was related to the Sales and Services Tax (SST).On December 27, it clarified that this was not the case, but only after Najib had then used it to attack the government and the decision to abandon the Goods and Services Tax (GST).Social media users began sharing posts that highlighted what appeared to be significant price increases in KFC’s menu items and meals.Previously, consumers had also noted gradual increases in McDonald’s menu items.The government zero-rated the GST in June and repealed it shortly after in favour of the SST that was brought back in September. [...]
Millions of posts on Google+ are set to disappear, although some could potentially be archived. — Picture courtesy of Google
SAN FRANCISCO, March 19 — With the Google+ social network set to close for good April 2, 2019, several online archiving services are working on preserving public posts from the platform before they are lost forever.The lack of user interest and various security flaws finally got the better of Google+. April 2, the social network will be shut down definitively, taking all of its posts with it. It is already no longer possible to create new profiles or communities on the platform.In order to preserve as much Google+ content as possible, Internet Archive and Archive Team have announced, — notably via a Reddit post — that they are working on archiving as many posts as possible on their servers. Using scripts, the two organisations hope to collect and back up the data to keep it accessible in some way or another. Only public posts still currently online are likely to be preserved.In a few days’ time, Google+ will join Buzz, Picasa, Talk and Allo in the “cemetery” of services abandoned over time by the Mountain View firm. — AFP-Relaxnews [...]
A Google survey showed that teachers here are more worried than parents about cyber bullying, while parents are most concerned about their children’s privacy and security online. — Picture by Tim Gouw/Unsplash via TODAY
SINGAPORE — Eight years old — that’s the average age children here get their first Internet-connected device.This makes them among the youngest in the world to go online, two years earlier than the global average of 10 years old, a survey by Google revealed.The survey findings also showed that while teachers here are more worried than parents about cyber bullying, parents are most concerned about their children’s privacy and security online, said the Internet giant in a press release yesterday.Google surveyed parents and teachers in 14 countries such as Britain, India, Japan, the United States and Vietnam to get their thoughts on digital literacy and habits among young children.In Singapore, 400 parents with at least one child under 18 years old living at home took part in the survey last December, as well as 200 teachers who have taught students between the ages of 6 and 18 in the past year.Google said that the survey reveals the “need for collaboration in schools and homes” when it comes to educating children about online safety.This was also reflected in the differences between what teachers and parents listed as their key areas of concern.
Parents’ concerns:Privacy and security Oversharing of information Inappropriate content Cyber bullying Teachers’ concerns:Preventing cyber bullying Privacy and security Inappropriate content Information sharing Parents and teachers here agreed on one thing, though — more can be done both at home and in schools to teach children how to be safer online.However, only half of the parents interviewed were satisfied with schools’ education on online safety, while about three-quarters of the teachers said that parents are not doing enough to keep their children safe on the Internet.More worryingly, even though a majority of teachers said that online safety is now part of their school’s curriculum, almost all said that they were not well-equipped to effectively teach their students about online safety.They added that they need more resources to do so, and most indicated that they wanted to attend online safety training or workshops, too. Eight out of 10 teachers also said that children should learn about online safety both at home and in school.About three-quarters of the parents said that they wanted to learn the right skills through workshops or training to help keep their children safe online.So far, Google, which has been a partner of the Media Literacy Council since 2012, has conducted nine Digital Parenting workshops reaching more than 1,000 families.Lucian Teo, Google’s user education and outreach manager for trust and safety, said: “With support from parents and teachers, we hope to work with the community to educate children on the risks and enable them to become confident navigators in the online world.” — TODAY [...]
More than 15 barrels, believed to contain chemical waste, were found and removed by workers Sungai Masai adjacent to the Pasir Gudang-Johor Baru Highway today. ― Picture via social media
JOHOR BARU, March 18 ― Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian has ordered the area surrounding two alleged illegal dump sites for suspected chemical waste in Pasir Gudang closed to the public.He said in a statement that he viewed complaints about the dump sites at Sungai Sembilan and Sungai Masai seriously and has ordered the police to cordon off the areas.Pointing out that he had instructed the Department of Environment to launch an investigation, Sapian said if it was true that certain quarters have been illegally dumping chemical waste in the two areas, strict action will be taken.“I will not allow this chemical disaster to recur because it puts lives and security of the people at risk,” said Osman, urging the public to stay away from the affected areas.Today, the authorities removed blue barrels containing substance which have yet to be identified from the banks of the two rivers.More than 3,000 people have been hospitalised in Pasir Gudang after inhaling toxic fumes emitted from chemical waste dumped into Sungai Kim Kim on March 7. No fatalities have been reported.The pollution had also forced the closure of 111 schools in the district until further notice.The police have arrested nine individuals over the illegal dumping of chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim.Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said this morning that two were arrested in Johor and seven more were picked up outside of Johor following an aggressive hunt involving Bukit Aman and state police.All nine have been remanded for six days starting today. [...]
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Dior unveils a fresh 15-piece capsule collection in its first Dubai show March 18, 2019. — AFP pic
DUBAI, March 19 — In a tent in Dubai surrounded by fire-breathers and circus performers, Dior unveiled a 15-piece capsule collection that dug into the house's archive to honour the woman of today.Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first woman to lead the legendary French label, and her hallmark feminism were present in force, with a limited collection that drew on motifs popularised by Christian Dior himself, redefined to accomodate the contemporary womanPleated skirts in muted, metallic rainbow colours and redingotes laced with hand-embroidered gold frogging were paired with pedestrian-friendly, fantastically glittery flats and chunky-heeled boots — with neither stiletto nor peep-toe in sight.“In this specific show we made a little capsule, that is like a small, new collection, of 15 pieces,” Chiuri told AFP ahead of the show.“Every time we move to another country, in some ways it's the location that gives us inspiration.“When you think about Dubai, you think of a place that in a sense is very Mediterranean, where there is the sun. So we use more colour, different techniques, different shapes.”Chiuri's closing look was a three-piece, multi-coloured polkadot ensemble featuring a structured leotard, billowing full-length skirt and ruffled cape.Pulling from her last show at Paris Fashion Week, the Dubai catwalk also featured Chiuri's circus-inspired organza and tulle dresses, ringmaster blazers and lion-tamer jackets — a nod, she says, to the sisterhood that binds women.“In the circus, in specific — because it's the circus that we used — all the women worked together. And each woman trusted the other woman, because it's impossible to make this kind of exercise if you don't trust each other,” Chiuri said.Celebrated milliner Stephen Jones' eye-catching glitter skullcaps topped every look, part Pierrot-joins-Instagram, part glam Amelia Earhart.“There is this element in the circus that fascinates me a lot. That is the clown. Behind the mask of the clown, you dont' know if there's a man or a woman. You know that it's a person,” Chiuri explained.“So I covered the hair, because I would like for people to focus on the clothes.”One black-and-gold pattern on both boots and skullcaps in particular stood out — a star, polka dot and paisley combination, a tribute to the star Christian Dior found on the sidewalk outside of what would become his flagship store, and a nod to the arabesque of the Arab world.“The more I go around the world the more I think that the women are the same around the world,” said Chiuri, an advocate of the idea of a global sisterhood.“There is perhaps differences in taste, but this is also about personality, for women and for men.” — AFP-Relaxnews [...]
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Violence against women is a major public health problem globally. It is a violation of women’s human rights.
It has a negative effect on women’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. It may also increase women’s risk of acquiring sexually-transmitted infections like HIV.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Malaysia has national action plans for interpersonal violence, youth violence, sexual violence, child maltreatment, intimate partner violence (IPV) and elder abuse.
However, there are no national prevalence surveys on child maltreatment, youth violence, IPV, sexual violence and elder abuse.
The United Nations University fact sheet in 2018 provides some information on the scale of the problem:
• “The estimated IPV rate from 8% in a national household survey to 87% in women’s shelters;
• “Child sexual abuse: 22,134 children, mainly girls, were sexually abused between 2010 to May 2017 according to the Ministry of Women, Family & Community Development.
“Over half (59.7%) were rape cases; 27.0% molestation; 8.1% incest cases;
• “Child trafficking: Children may be trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, organ sales and forced begging.
“Baby selling is another form of child trafficking that occurs in Malaysia.
“Prevalence estimates for child trafficking are unavailable;
• “Trafficking of women: Malaysia is a destination country for trafficking of women for domestic servitude, commercial sex or labour exploitation.
“Prevalence estimates for trafficking of women are unavailable;
• “Child marriage: 11,400 children (6,800 of whom were girls) below the age of 15 were married according to the population census in 2000.
“Child brides face high risks of IPV, especially when the groom is much older;
• “Female circumcision: 95% of women were circumcised in a 2009 study of 630 females in five villages in north Malaysia.
“Type I is most commonly practised, as well as Type IV. (Editor’s note: Type I is partial or total removal of the clitoris, and in rare cases, only the prepuce, which is the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris, while Type IV is all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, which are not covered in Types I to III, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area.)
“Practised for religious reasons, circumcision is believed to curb female sex drive;
• “Elder abuse: 13.6% of rural older Malaysians (1,927 in the study) had experienced elder abuse or neglect in a recent population-based cohort study.”
A national primary prevalence study of 3,440 respondents in all the states of Peninsular Malaysia, published in the journal Social and Behavioural Sciences in 2013, reported an 8% prevalence of domestic violence.
Violence against pregnant women (VAPW) was reported by a Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia study of 1,200 postnatal women from Mac 1 to Aug 31, 2015 in the hospital, in the journal Women & Health in 2016.
The “prevalence of any form of VAPW was 35.9%, consisting of: any psychological (29.8%); any physical (12.9%); and any sexual (9.8%) violence.
“VAPW was significantly associated with: (1) women’s use of drugs, having had exposure to violence during childhood, having a violence-supporting attitude, and having two or more children; and (2) having partners who were smokers, alcohol drinkers or had controlling behaviour.
“VAPW was significantly associated with anaemia, urinary tract infection, premature rupture of membranes, antepartum haemorrhage, poor weight gain during pregnancy, low birth weight and prematurity.”
Members from the NGO Womens Centre for Change and nurses discussing how to best work together at Penang Hospitals OSCC in 2011.
One stop crisis centres
The One Stop Crisis Centres (OSCC) were introduced by the Health Ministry in 1996. They are located in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments of major public hospitals.
The objectives of the OSCC were to offer a wide range of integrated services to address IPV and child abuse, including health, legal, welfare and counselling services in one location.
Have the OSCCs achieved their objectives, and if so, to what extent?
Although the OSCCs have been around for more than two decades, there is surprisingly a dearth of data from the Health Ministry.
A policy analysis of the Malaysian response to IPV was published in the journal Health Research Policy and Systems in 2011.
It included analysis of legal, policy and regulatory issues, and interviews with key informants in two states.
The analysis found that “women’s NGOs (non-governmental agencies) and health professionals were instrumental in the formulation and scaling-up of the OSCC policy.
“However, the subsequent breakdown of the NGO-health coalition negatively impacted on the long-term implementation of the policy, which lacked financial resources and clear policy guidance from the Health Ministry.”
It concluded: “The findings confirm that a clearly-defined partnership between NGOs and health staff can be very powerful for influencing the legal and policy environment in which healthcare services for intimate partner violence are developed.
“It is critical to gain high level support from the Health Ministry in order to institutionalise the violence-response across the entire healthcare system.
“Without clear operational details and resources, policy implementation cannot be fully ensured and taken to scale.”
Another study, published in the journal BMC Public Health in 2012, involved in-depth interviews with healthcare providers, policymakers and key informants in seven hospitals, together with document analysis of hospital records and protocols.
It found that: “The implementation of the OSCC model differed between hospital settings, with practice being influenced by organisational systems and constraints.
“Health providers generally tried to offer care to abused women, but they [...]
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