Malaysian leaders vowed to wage political war against former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, calling him a "traitor" at the annual ruling party congress yesterday and saying there would be no room for him to mount a comeback. \nThe attacks underscored the determination of the United Malays National Organization (UNMO) to quickly stop any support for Anwar, who was unexpectedly freed from prison this month six years after being fired by then-leader Mahathir Mohamad and then jailed. \nHishamuddin Hussein, leader of the UMNO Youth wing, said that the tens of thousands of demonstrators Anwar had led against Mahathir had menaced this Southeast Asian country's stability and that the party should never take him back. \n"UMNO Youth will never allow traitors to return to the party's fold," Hishamuddin said in a speech. \n"Let us not forget that this traitor once destroyed our unity, smeared the country's image and destroyed the economy with violent street protests." \nDelegates applauded in the chamber and thousands of ordinary members chanted "Yes! Yes!" as they watched on large-screen monitors set up in the convention center corridors. \n"He begged for foreign intervention to fulfill his narrow political ambitions," Hishamuddin declared. "We will not allow this traitor to be given any room to destroy the party for a second time." \nAsked later by reporters if UMNO Youth was declaring war on Anwar, Hishamuddin responded: "Nothing has changed. He declared war on us when he left and formed Keadilan," an opposition party headed by Anwar's wife. \nDespite Anwar, the congress is expected to be a triumph for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who led the governing coalition to triumph in March elections, capturing 90 percent of the seats in Parliament. Abdullah speaks to the full congress today. \nKhairy Jamaluddin, the up-and-coming UMNO Youth deputy chief and Abdullah's son-in-law, said that "lines had been drawn" in the weeks since visited Anwar just after his release, raising speculation of a secret deal between Abdullah and Anwar. Both men deny it. \n"Opinions have hardened on both sides," Khairy told reporters. \n"As far as we are concerned, for those who have gone against the party, there is no place for them in UMNO, and we will fight them politically," Khairy said. \nAnwar, 57, was freed from prison Sept. 2 after Malaysia's highest court overturned his conviction for sodomy, sparing him at least five more years in custody. \nThe court later upheld a separate corruption conviction, which Anwar had already served, leaving him with a criminal record that bars him from running for office until April 2008.
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,