SOCIAL POLICY LAUNCHED (Aug 20): Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi launched the National Social Policy, which is aimed at creating a balanced society. Its main objective is to forge noble values at all levels and it would be used as a mechanism to plan, implement and monitor all related programmes comprehensively at federal and state levels.
CF WARNING (Aug 23): All local authorities have been given just one month to complete their dealings with housing developers and not to impose their own conditions and procedures that can impede efforts to speed up the issuance of certificate of fitness for occupation (CFs). Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said the various departments of local authorities must complete their checks and administrative work on CFs within one month from the time they handle a completed project.
E-MOTOR COVER (Aug 21): Motorists will only be issued virtual insurance cover notes from Jan 1 under a new directive by the Road Transport Department (JPJ). The new directive issued recently means that insurance companies will no longer give out a physical cover note prior to the issuance of the actual insurance policy. At the same time, JPJ will only release motor vehicle licences and permits, such as road tax, based on the insurance record sent by insurance companies.
BROUGHT BACK (Aug 17): Hambali’s Malaysian wife, Noralwizah Lee Abdullah, has been handed over to the federal police in Kuala Lumpur by their Thai counterparts. Noralwizah @ Lee Yin Len, who was arrested together with Hambali in the central Thai city of Ayutthaya on Monday, was flown into the country escorted by both Thai and Malaysian police. She has been detained under the Internal Security Act, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
NABBED (Aug 19): A Malaysian al-Qaeda member, who was arrested in Bangkok on Aug 11, was responsible for leading a joint Thai-CIA team to terror mastermind Hambali’s hideout in Ayutthaya on the same day. The man, identified by regional intelligence officials by his nickname Li-Li, was a member of al-Qaeda and not a member of Jemaah Islamiah as widely thought. Li-Li and another Malaysian, identified by his alias Zubair, captured in Bangkok in June, are believed to have been handed over to the CIA and taken away with Hambali for interrogation.
GAZETTE OF OPEN SPACE (Aug 19): Open spaces within housing schemes will be gazetted and placed under the jurisdiction of state secretariats instead of local authorities to stop future development on the areas. With this, only recreational activities would be permitted in these areas, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said. At present, he added, many sites allocated as open spaces in the developers’ original plans had been converted for development or other purposes.
ANTHEM RETAINED (Aug 22): Plans to rename the national anthem to Malaysiaku have been scrapped as Cabinet ministers have opted to retain the original Negaraku. There would also not be much change to the anthem.
ForeignUN HQ BOMBED (Aug 20): A massive truck bomb devastated the UN headquarters in Baghdad, killing the UN special envoy to Iraq and at least 14 others in what may have been a suicide attack, officials said. Scores were wounded and rescue workers battled into the night to save those trapped in the rubble as US President George W. Bush vowed not to be intimated by “terrorists” and diehard supporters of fugitive dictator Saddam Hussein.
HAMAS LEADER KILLED (Aug 22): Israel killed Hamas political leader Ismail Abu Shanab in a missile strike, two days after a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, and militant groups called off a seven-week-old ceasefire. The collapse of the truce, agreed by militant factions under international pressure, could sink a US-backed “road map” peace plan aimed at defusing a 34-month-old uprising and creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza by 2005.
LIBYA TAKES BLAME (Aug 17): Libya has taken the blame for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and vowed to fight terrorism in a drive to convince the international community that the deadly midair blast was part of its past. In a letter delivered on Friday to the UN Security Council, Libya said it “accepts responsibility for the actions of its officials” in the bombing of the jumbo jet over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 people. It was an admission Libya had long resisted despite UN economic sanctions and an image as a pariah in much of the world.
10,000 DEAD (Aug 19): In a rare public address to the nation, President Jacques Chirac conceded on Thursday that weaknesses in France's health system had contributed to thousands of heat-related deaths in recent weeks. The day after his return from a three-week holiday, Chirac broke his long and much-criticised silence to express sympathy with the families of the many people who had “died alone in their homes” during the “exceptional” heat wave. The minister for the elderly admitted that 10,000 people had “most probably” died in what, after days of denials, is being seen in France as a humanitarian catastrophe.
IDI AMIN DIES (Aug 17): Former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, blamed for the murder of tens of thousands of his people in the 1970s, died in a Saudi hospital where he had been critically ill for weeks.