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OVER WATER PROBLEM IN SEPANGGAR SABAH
KOTA KINABALU, SABAH (FEBRUARY 06, 2023) :Sepanggar Member of Parliament Mustapha Sakmud urged his constituents to be patient as he tries to resolve the long-standing water shortage problem in the area.
Commenting on the peaceful demonstration staged by residents of Bukit Setia because of the water supply problem, Mustapha said he had discussed the matter with state Works Minister Datuk Shahelmey Yahya.
" I have discussed with Shahelmey about the issue and the need to have short-term as well as long-term solutions to the problem. I proposed that a coordination meeting be held among representatives of the areas involved namely Sepanggar, Penampang, Putatan and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
" The water supply problem affects Sepanggar but it will affect other areas too if no action is taken, said the Deputy Human Resource Minister when met by reporters after a meeting with state Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Ariffin Arif at the latter's office here on Monday.
According to Mustapha, Shahelmey will take action at the state level adding," AND ON MY PART I WILL BRING THE MATTER UP TO THE RELEVANT MINISTRY AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL TO GET ALLOCATION."
" This is a critical issue and Sabah will not be able to get investors if this problem is not resolved as soon as possible. Yes, resolving the water supply problem is my manifesto but the problem is bigger than it looks.
" Resolving it needs a huge allocation and I urge Sepanggar folks to be patient," Mustapha said.
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NEWBORN PULLED ALIVE FROM QUAKE RUBBLE - SYRIAN
JINDAYRIS, SYRIA (FEBRUARY 08, 2023) :Extended family members pulled a newborn baby alive from the rubble of a home in northern Syria, after finding her still tied by her umbilical cord to her mother, who died in Monday's massive quake, a relative said.
The infant is the sole survivor of her immediate family, the rest of whom were all killed when the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck Syria and neighbouring Turkey flattened the family home in the rebel-held town of Jindayris, Khalil al-Suwadi said.
" We heard a voice while we were digging," Suwadi told AFP on Tuesday.
" We cleared the dust and found the baby with the umbilical cord (intact) so we cut it and my cousin took her to hospital."
Video of the rescue went viral on social media.
The footage shows a man sprinting from the rubble of a collapsed four-storey building clutching a tiny baby covered in dust.
A second man runs towards the first carrying a blanket to try to warm the newborn in the sub zero temperatures while a third screams for a car to take her to hospital.
The baby was taken treatment in the nearby town of Afrin, while family members spent the next several hours recovering the bodies of her father Abdullah, mother Afraa, four siblings and an aunt.
Their bodies were laid out on the floor of an adjacent relative's home ahead of a joint funeral that was held on Tuesday.
In the dimly lit room, Suwadi stared at the lifeless corpses and listed their names.
" We are displaced from (the government-held eastern city of) Deir Ezzor. Abdullah is my cousin and I am married to his sister," he said.
'Time is running out'.
The family home was one of around 50 in Jindayris that were flattened by the quake, an AFP correspondent reported.
Across Syria, more than 1,600 people were killed, in addition to the more than 3,400 killed in Turkey, authorities said.
Rebel-held towns and cities accounted for some 800 of the dead.
Inside an incubator in the hospital in Afrin, the newborn was hooked to an intravenous drip, her body scarred, and a bandage wrapped around her left fist.
Her forehead and fingers were still blue from the biting cold as paediatrician Hani Maarouf monitored her vitals.
" She is now stable," Maarouf said but noted that she had arrived in bad condition.
" She had several bruises and lacerations over all her body," he told AFP.
" She also arrived with hypothermia because of the harsh cold. We had to warm her up and administer calcium."
Jindayris was seized by Turkey and its Syrian rebel proxies in a 2018 offensive that drove Kurdish forces from the Afrin region.
Cut off from government-held territory, the region depends heavily on aid from Turkey and lacks the expertise or manpower to mount an effective emergency response on its own.
With Turkish NGSs preoccupied with the rescue effort across the border, the search for survivors in Syrian towns like Jindayris has been delayed.
According to the White Helmets rescue group, which operates in rebel-held areas of Syria, more than 210 buildings have been flattened in those areas.
Another 520 were partially destroyed, while thousands more were damages, it said.
" We appeal to all humanitarian organisations and international bodies to provide material support and assistance," the White Helmets said on Twitter.
" Time is running out. Hundreds still trapped under the rubble. Every second could mean saving a life."
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EARTHQUAKE KILLS MORE THAN 3,800 PEOPLE IN TURKEY & SYRIA
SANLIURFA, TURKEY (FEBRUARY 07, 2023) : A major earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Tuesday, February 07, 2023, killing more than 3,800 people and flattening thousands of buildings as rescuers dug with bare hands for survivors.
Dozens of nations pledged aid after the 7.8-magnitude quake, which hit as people were still sleeping and amid freezing weather that has hampered emergency efforts.
Multi-storey apartment buildings full of residents were among the 5,606 structures reduced to rubble in Turkey, while Syria announced dozens of collapses, as well as damage to archaelogocial sites in Aleppo.
" That was the first time we have ever experienced anything like that," said Melisa Salman, a 23-year-old reporter in the southeastern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras.
" We thought it was the apocalypse."
The head of Syria's National Earthquake Centre, Raed Ahmed, called it "THE BIGGEST EARTHQUAKE RECORDED IN THE HISTORY OF THE CENTRE".
The initial quake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude tremor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue work on February 07, 2023.
" We managed to save three people, but two were dead," said Halis AKtemur, 35, in Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakir after the quake that was felt as far away as Greenland.
In the southeastern Turkish city of Sanliurfa, rescuers were working into the night to try and pull survivors from the wreckage of a seven-storey building that had collapsed.
" There is a family I know under the rubble," said 20-year-old Syrian student Omer El Cuneyd.
" Until 11.00am or noon, my friend was still answering the phone. But she no longer answer. She is down there."
Despite temperatures falling below zero, frightened residents in the city were preparing to spend the night on the streets, huddling around fires for warmth.
Nearby, Mustafa Koyuncu was sitting packed inside his stationary car with his wife and their five children, scared to move.
" We are waiting here because we can't go home,"the 55-year-old told AFP. "EVERYONE IS AFRAID".
' APOCALYPSE '
At least 1,444 people died on February 07, 2023 across Syria, the government and rescuers said.
The new toll brings the total deaths in both countries to at least 3,823 after Turkey revised its toll earlier to 2,379.
Nearly 14,500 people were injured and 4,900 buildings flattened, Ankara announced late on that day.
Turkey declared seven days (7-days) of mourning for the dead.
The rescue was being hampered by a winter blizzard that covered major roads in ice and snow. Officials said the quake made three major airports in the area inoperable, further complicating delivers of vital aid.
On that day, first earthquake struck at 4.17am (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 18 kilometres (11 miles) near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which is home to around two million people, the United States Geological Survey said.
Denmark's geological institute said tremors reached the east coast of Greenland about eight minutes after the main quake struck Turkey.
More than 12,000 people are injured in Turkey, the disaster management agency said, while Syria said at least 3,411 people were injured.
' PEOPLE UNDER DEBRIS '
Osama Abdel Hamid, a quake survivor in Syria, said his family was sleeping when the shaking began.
" The walls collapsed over us, but my son was able to get out," he said.
" He started screaming and people gathered around, knowing there were survivors, and they pulled us out from under the rubble."
The United States, the European Union and Russia all immediately sent condolences and offers of help.
Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered to provide " the necessary assistance" to Turkey, whose combat drones are helping Kyiv fight the Russian invasion.
Images on Turkish television showed rescuers digging through rubble across neighbourhoods of almost all the big cities running along the border with Syria.
Some of the heaviest devastation occurred near the quake's epicentre between Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, where entire city blocks lay in ruins under gathering snow.
A famous mosque dating back to the 13th century partially collapsed in the province of Maltaya, along with a 14-story building with 28 apartments that housed 92 people.
The United Nation cultural agency Unesco expressed fears over heavy damage in two cities on its heritage list - Aleppo in Syria and Diyarbakir in Turkey.
Aleppo was Syria's pre-war commercial hub and considered one of the world's longest continuously inhabited cities, boasting markets, mosques, caravanserais, and public baths, but a brutal siege imposed on rebels left it disfigured.
The Syrian health ministry reported damage across the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus, where Russia is leasing a naval facility.
AFP correspondents in northern Syria said terrified residents ran out of their homes after the ground shook.
Even before the tragedy, buildings in Aleppo - Syria's pre-war commercial hub - often collapsed due to the dilapidated infrastructure, which has suffered from lack of war-time oversight.
Officials cut off natural gas and power supplies across the region as a precaution, also closing schools for two weeks.
Turkey is in one of the world's active earthquake zones.
The country's last 7.8-magnitude tremor was in 1939, when 33,000 died in the eastern Erzincan province.
The Turkish region of Duzce suffered a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in 1999, when more than 17,000 people died.
Experts have long warned a large quake could devastate Istanbul, a megalopolis of 16 million people filled with rickety homes.
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TRANSGENDER MEN WIN APPEAL OVER STATUS CHANGE IN HONG KONG
Hong Kong, February 07, 2023: Hong Kong's top court ruled Monday that full sex reassignment surgery should not be a prerequisite for transgender people to have their gender changed on their official identity cards, in a move that is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the transgender community.
A transgender activist, Henry Edward Tse, and a person identified only as Q appealed to the court last month over the government's refusal to change the genders on their ID cards because of their decision not to have full sex reassignment surgeries.
Tse and Q are both transgender men who have had their breasts removed, received hormonal treatments and lived their lives as males with professional support and guidance as well as psychiatric treatment.
The judgement by the Court of Final Appeal is expected to have a wide impact on the LGBTQ community because many of its transgender members consider having the operation unnecessary and risky.
The two went to court because existing government policy only allows transgender men to change their official gender if they have removed their uteruses and ovaries and constructed male genitalia. Only those who cannot undergo the surgical procedures due to medical reasons can be exempted.
Both the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal dismissed judicial review proceedings brought by Tse and Q. The two were allowed to go to the Court of Final Appeal.
In a judgement made public Monday, the court said the government's policy was unconstitutional and imposed an "unacceptably harsh burden." They also said that the policy was "DISPROPORTIONATE" in its encroachment upon the rights of the two to gender identity and physical integrity.
The judges also said any administrative issues that usually arise tend to pertain to a transgender person's outward appearance and not the appearance of their genital area, and that leaving the gender on their identity card unamended "PRODUCED GREATER CONFUSION OR EMBARRASSMENT."
Tse welcomed the rulling, saying many transgender people have been longing for a "FINAL VICTORY" for years.
" Now I have a male ID card, it will be a lot easier for me to access gender-segregated spaces," he said. " I wouldn't be questioned and humiliated by being outed by my ID that's incongruent to who who I am."
Liam Mak, co-founder and chairperson of local transgender youth organization Quarks, described the win as an "IMPORTANT MILESTONE" for the transgender community in Hong Kong.
" We believe that the gender identity of oneself should not be tied to medical intervention, we should ensure minimal to no medical intervention in the policy," said Mak.
" Given that every individual has different preferences or decisions in their own gender transition journey, I hope that the government will be referencing the advice from the court to protect the right of all transgender people."
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TAKING ACTION TO REDUCE IMPACT OF WATER RATIONING - UMS
KOTA KINABALU, SABAH (FEBRUARY 06, 2023): University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) is always concerned about the water supply issue being faced by its campus residents, especially students.
According to UMS Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Kasim Mansor, the treated water supply by Sabah State Water Department (JANS) at the campus is from the Telibong Water Treatment Plant in Tuaran, Sabah.
He said the water supply at the plant is shared among the areas of Tuaran, Tamparuli, Sepanggar, Karambunai, Royal Malaysian Navy Base (TLDM), Likas, Indah Permai, Kingfisher, 1Borneo, Alamesra, Sabah State Administration Center (PPNS), Putrajaya Kota Kinabalu as well as the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP) industrial area.
In a series of meetings with JANS, University Malaysia Sabah was informed that the total water supply requirement to cover the entire area mentioned earlier is 190 Million Liters Per Day (MLD).
However, the Telibong plant is only able to produce around 164 MLD of treated water supply.
At the same time, they are also dealing with cases of theft/loss of water supply which is up to eight MLD.
In addition, pipeline relocation and upgrading works along the Pan Borneo road are also underway.
" In short, the supply of treated water from the Telibong LRA is insufficient. However, JANS has informed that the issue of disruption to the supply of treated water is expected to be fully resolved in 2024," Kasim said in a statement on Monday.
He said for a while JANS had to ration the water supply which caused all the areas that receive treated water supply from the Telibong plant to be affected.
The University Malaysia Sabah campus located in Sepanggar is also directly affected.
" For information, the University Malaysia Sabah main campus needs around three to five MLD per day to meet the needs of treated water in the campus," he said further.
Understanding this situation and taking into account the urgent needs of campus residents, especially among students, he said several initiatives have been implemented to reduce the impact of rationing from JANS.
" University Malaysia Sabah is always in contact with JAN in conveying the level of disturbance in the main campus of University Malaysia Sabah and also the daily monitoring of the treated water supply level in the R12 JANS tank.
" University Malaysia Sabah has provided additional tanks outside the residential colleges complete with pump and piping systems.
" University Malaysia Sabah currently also uses tanker services to supply JANS treated water. This supply is obtained from LRA Moyog Penampang, and up to 20 water tanker deliveries per day or an estimated capacity of up to 300,000 liters per day are supplied for the use of student residential colleges and also surrounding buildings within the UMS campus, " he said.
Kasim said they also providing alternative water sources on campus by utilising hill water.
He said they have made one pipe from the hill water source, which is able to supply water as much as 80,000 liters per day.
The university has also identified other sources of hill water and will make new piping for the distribution of the hill water for the use of students.
He said they also have a long-term plan through Water Tube Well, which gets water supply from this method complete with the treatment system once.
These actions, he said, are not a comprehensive solution, but UMS is committed to taking the necessary actions to reduce the impact of this rationing for the comfort of students are residents of the University Malaysia Sabah main campus.
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FORMER PAKISTAN'S MILITARY RULER PERVEZ MUSHARRAF DIES
ISLAMABAD, PAKISATAN (FEBRUARY 06. 2023): Pakistan's exiled former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who became a key United States ally during the " WAR ON TERROR", died in a Dubai hospital on Sunday aged 79 after a long illness.
Musharraf seized power in a 1999 bloodless coup and was acting simultaneously as Pakisatan's army chief, chief executive, and president when the 9/11 attacks on the United States took place.
The general twice suspended the constitution and was accused of rigging a referendum shoring up his power, as well as rampant rights abuses including rounding up opponents during his nearly nine-year rule.
Nonetheless, he became Washington's chief regional ally during their invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan.
The decision - made after the United States issued a "FOR US OR AGAINST UNITED STATES" ultimatum - put him in the crosshairs of Islamist militant, who made several attempts on his life.
But it also earned Pakistan a huge influx of foreign aid which bolstered the economy.
In Pakistan, where the military remains supremely powerful and enjoys significant support, Musharraf is a divisive figure.
" There was good in him," 69-year-old Naemm UI Haq Satti told AFP in an Islamabad marketplace.
" But his one act, which will be remembered throughout history, was he violated the constitution," the retired civil servant added. " The most important thing a country has is its constitution."
Musharraf had been suffering from a rare disease known as Amyloidosis and last summer his family said he had no prospect of recovery.
Senior military chiefs " express heartfelt condolences on sad demise of General Pervez Musharraf", a brief statement released by the military's media wing said Saturday.
The four-star general died in hospital in Dubai on Sunday morning, according to media reports and a senior security official.
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NOW WORKING TO ' VERIFY ' REPORTS IT FLEW SPY BALLON OVER UNITED STATES - SAYS CHINA
BEIJING, CHINA FRIDAY (FEBRUARY 03, 2023): China said on that day it was working to verify the facts around United States claims that Beijing flew a spy balloon over its territory, warning against "HYPE" over the issue.
The Pentagon said Thursday it was tracking a Chinese spy balloon flying high over the northwest United States, reviving tensions between the two (2) countries just days ahead of a rare visit to Beijing by top United States diplomat Antony Blinken.
"Verification is under way" over the reports, foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular briefing, adding that "until the facts are clear, making conjectures and hyping up the issue will not help to properly resolve it".
" China is a responsible country and always abides strictly by international law. We have no intention of violation the territory or airspace of any sovereign country," she said.
" (We) hope that both sides will handle (the situation) with mutual calm and prudence," she added.
A senior United States defence official told reporters on Thursday that shooting the balloon down had been considered, but that it had been decided doing so would endanger too many people on the ground.
" Clearly, the intent of this balloon is for surveillance, " added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The official said that the balloon had flown over areas that contained sensitive airbases and nuclear missiles in underground silos, but that the Pentagon did not believe it constituted a particularly dangerous intelligence threat.
The discovery comes just days before an expected visit to China by United States Secretary of State Blinken, with managing heightened tensions between the two powers at the top of the agenda.
At the briefing, Mao said she had no information to share on Blinken's visit.
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United Kingdom Man Admits Trying To 'INJURE' Queen Elizabeth II With Crossbow In
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM:
JAPAN'S SECOND-OLDEST MUSEUM FORCED TO CROWDFUND TO PAY BILLS - TOKYO JAPAN @Jackie San Tokyo Japan's second-oldest museum has rais...