BLAST CONDEMNED (Aug 8): Malaysia joins the rest of the world in condemning the bomb blast in Jakarta, but the incident is not likely to affect tourist arrivals or the country's economic growth, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad. This was because the country had already proven its mettle in dealing with potential terrorist threats. However, Malaysia would continue to be vigilant and increase its surveillance to prevent similar attacks in the country.
PUTIN VISIT (Aug 5): Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived here for a two-day visit, the first ever by a Russian leader to the country. Malaysia sealed a deal to buy fighter jets from Russia, which in return, will purchase Malaysia's palm oil, provide transfer of space technology and train a Malaysian astronaut.
KUDUS CHARGED (Aug 9): Former Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) enforcement director Kapt (Rtd) Abdul Kudus Ahmad was charged in the Sessions Court here yesterday with 24 counts of accepting bribes amounting to RM59,000. Abdul Kudus, 40, is accused of accepting bribes ranging between RM1,000 and RM12,000 on several occasions from restaurant owner Steven @ S. Sathiasilan at various locations here and in Selangor between May 2001 and May this year. He pleaded not guilty.
WATER TAKEOVER (Aug 3): The takeover of water facilities and operations from peninsular states by the Federal Government is “straight forward” and should be completed by the end of the year.
SCHEME ABUSES (Aug 4): The RM300mil micro-credit scheme has been abused with unscrupulous people selling application forms and charging high consultation fees. The loan facilities was introduced in late May under the economic stimulus package to help small businesses and individuals interested in venturing into petty trade.
CHANNEL RECORD (Aug 5): National marathon swimmer Abdul Malik Mydin has presented his feat in conquering the English Channel as a gift to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The 28-year-old conquered the channel after swimming 58kms in 17 hours and 42 minutes.
TAX CRIME (Aug 6): Amendments to the Income Tax Act 1967 are expected to be passed after September which will allow the Inland Revenue Board to charge “serious” tax defaulters under criminal law. Tax evaders now face compounds and penalties ranging from fines of between RM200 and RM2,000 and up to six months' jail.
OLD TEMPO (Aug 7): The 46-year-old national anthem, Negaraku, which was given an upbeat marching rhythm 11 years ago, will go back to its stately original tempo, albeit “marginally faster.”
HOTEL BOMBED (Aug 6): A car bomb ripped through the American-run JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta, killing at least 13 people and leaving over 100 injured. The lunchtime explosion tore apart a restaurant and part of the lobby of the five-star hotel in the southern business district of the Indonesian capital, damaging nearby buildings housing several foreign embassies. The blast came just two days before a court was due to hand down the first verdict in the trials of alleged Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) militants accused of last year's Bali attack.
SUSPECT NAMED (Aug 9): Two suspected Jemaah Islamiah (JI) members who were arrested recently have recognised the severed head found at the scene of the hotel blast as that of their friend. They told investigators that the reconstructed face of the suspected suicide bomber of the JW Marriott hotel on Tuesday was Asmar Latin Sani. Police believe the same group responsible for the Bali bombings carried out the attack.
DEATH SENTENCE (Aug 9): Indonesian militant, dubbed the laughing bomber, will appeal against his death sentence for the Bali bombings. A court in Bali condemned Amrozi to death for his role in the Oct 12 terror bombings which killed 202 people.
TAYLOR RESIGNS (Aug 8): West African peacekeepers rolled into Liberia's rebel-besieged capital to deafening welcome by thousands yesterday as President Charles Taylor officially submitted his resignation to Congress. Taylor, a Libyan-trained ex-guerrilla fighter has been blamed for much of Liberia's 14 years of bloody strife. The latest fighting has killed well over 1,000 civilians outright and left hunger and epidemics raging among the 1.3 million residents and refugees
JORDANIAN EMBASSY BOMBED (Aug 8): A truck bomb exploded outside the Jordanian Embassy compound in Baghdad, killing at least 11 people. The blast came a week after Jordan announced it had granted asylum to Saddam Hussein's elder daughters Raghd and Rana and their children. Many Iraqis who supported Saddam are also angry at Amman, regarding Jordan as an ally of Washington. The death toll has since risen to 19.
GAY BISHOP (Aug 6): US Episcopalian bishops voted on Tuesday to install the church's first openly gay bishop, triggering a protest by conservative opponents who have threatened to split the global Anglican denomination. Anglicans in many parts of the world reacted angrily to Rev. V. Gene Robinson’s. Church leaders in Asia and Africa condemned the Americans' decision and threatened to leave the communion.
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