Saturday, 28 November 2015

Vaping ban must go with prohibition on sale: Kedah Mufti

ALOR SETAR: A ban on vaping and shisha smoking must be accompanied by a prohibition of their sale, said Kedah Mufti Datuk Syeikh Muhamad Baderudin Ahmad today. He said that in line with a decision to ban e-cigarettes, the government must also consider all factors which contributed to the activity. 

“In Islam, alcohol is ‘haram’ (forbidden) not just in terms of consumption but also sale, licensing, preparation; it is haram for us to contribute to it,” he said. The Kedah ‘Fatwa’ Committee, at a meeting on Nov 23, decided to ban vaping and shisha smoking for Muslims, saying these could lead to health issues and wastage. 

According to Syeikh Muhamad, the decision was made after careful consideration and a study of the facts, especially from the medical point of view and based on the Quran. “It would only lead to detrimental effects, especially for future generations, not just Muslims but everyone,” he said. 

Vaping became a hot issue after it was presumed to be harmful as it had nicotine-containing liquids, propylene glycol and glycerin which, when heated, produced nitrosamine, a chemical compound likely to cause cancer. Meanwhile, director of the Kedah National Anti-Drugs Agency Mohammad Nazer Mustafa, who fully supported the decision for a ban, said the use of vape or shisha sticks were new tactics that promoted drug consumption. 

He said where previously drugs were consumed intravenously, users could now consume dangerous substances like cannabis, syabu and nicotine by vaping. This habit would be difficult to control and in the future could become a worrying phenomenon when schoolchildren start to vape or smoke shisha, he said. 

President of the Consumers Association of Kedah (CAKE) Datuk Yusof Ismail also urged the government to be firm in banning the sale and distribution of vape throughout the country so as not to cause confusion among traders and consumers.

Palestinian shot dead after ramming Israeli soldiers

JURUSALEM: A Palestinian rammed his car into Israeli soldiers at a bus station in the occupied West Bank Friday before being shot dead, police said. 

“A Palestinian car hit two Israelis standing by a bus station (near Kfar Adumim). The terrorist was neutralised,” police said. 

They later confirmed the suspect had died and the army said the two Israelis were soldiers. Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical service said the two soldiers were taken to hospital in Jerusalem conscious and with light to moderate wounds. 

A senior police officer said the Palestinian exited his car and started to run after hitting the soldiers, before he was shot dead by a civilian. Kfar Adumim is an Israeli settlement northeast of Jerusalem. 

Police identified the Palestinian as Fadi Hassib, from Ramallah, whose brother was shot dead on Sunday after ramming his car into Israelis before charging at them with a knife. 

Friday’s incident raises the number of Palestinians killed since October 1 to 98, including an Israeli Arab. 

Over half of them have been alleged perpetrators of stabbing, shooting and car ramming attacks aimed at Israeli civilians and security forces. Others have died in clashes with security forces. 

The violence has also left 17 Israelis, an American and an Eritrean dead. Attempts to ease the tensions, including a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, have so far proved unsuccessful. 

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has called a day of rage for Friday.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Facebook tries to ease heartache of breakups with new tool

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook is trying to ease the heartache of breaking up.
A feature announced Thursday will allow people who have split up with a spouse or partner to turn on an option that spares them the emotional pain of constantly seeing their ex-lover’s posts and pictures in their news feed on the world’s largest social network. 

Facebook will begin testing the breakup protection on mobile devices in the US before deciding whether to offer it to all of its 1.5 billion account holders worldwide. 

The option is designed for people who don’t want to risk offending a former husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend by taking the more extreme step of rejecting or blocking them from their Facebook network. 

After changing their relationship status on Facebook, people will also be allowed to remove their names from past posts linking them to a former partner. 

“This work is part of our ongoing effort to develop resources for people who may be going through difficult moments in their lives,” Facebook product manager Kelly Winters wrote in a blog post. 

The breakup protection serves as another reminder of how deeply ingrained Facebook has become in society. More than 1 billion people now hang out on Facebook at least once a day and those who have the network’s addictive mobile application installed on their smartphones tend to visit even more frequently. 

The Menlo Park, California, company has incentive to try to keep its users as happy as possible. People who become upset with what appears in their Facebook feeds are more likely to avoid coming to the network, depriving the company of the opportunity to collect more information about their preferences and show them ads aimed at those interests. 

The formula has turned Facebook into a huge success story since Mark Zuckerberg founded the service in a Harvard University dorm room more than a decade ago. Facebook’s market value now stands at US$300 billion.--AP

Gold futures slightly lower in early trade

KUALA LUMPUR: Gold futures contract on Bursa Malaysia Derivatives was slightly lower with two contract months traded. 

At 9.15 am, December 2015 fell 20 ticks to RM148.00 a gramme and April 2016 lost 24 ticks to RM149.00 a gramme. 

Meanwhile, November 2015, January 2016 and February 2016 remained pegged at RM148.40, RM149.00, and RM149.50 a gramme, respectively.

Volume amounted to two lots while open interest totalled 885 contracts. At 9.30 am, the physical gold was 98 sen lower at RM142.45 a gramme. --Bernama


Friday, 6 November 2015

Selangor business owners to pay more for license fees

SHAH ALAM: The rate of business licence fees in several local authorities in Selangor have been raised from between six per cent to 120 per cent since last year, the state legislative assembly was told today. 

Local Government, New Village Development and Legalising of Factories Committee chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah said the raise was made because the state government had never conduct any review of the rate over the past 28 years. 

“The increase in the business license fee was made since 2014 in accordance with the Trade, Business and Industrial Licensing Bylaw (MPK) 2007. 

“In areas under the Shah Alam City Council, the fee is raised between 16 per cent to 72 per cent; Petaling Jaya City Council (30 per cent to 120 per cent); Klang Municipal Council and Ampang Jaya Municipal Council at six per cent each. 

“The hike also involved the Kajang Municipal Council at 60 per cent and Sepang Municipal Council 

Ean Yong (DAP-Seri Kembangan) was replying to a question from Shahrum Mohd Sharif (BN-Dengkil) who wanted to know the business licence fee hike since 2008 until present. 

He said the state government hoped to standardise the fee rates in all 12 local authorities in Selangor in accordance to the type of businesses and categories. 

“There are 33 business licence categories, which we will probably decrease following the current economic slowdown,” he added.--BERNAMA

Malaysia is world's most advanced Islamic economy

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is the world’s most advanced Islamic economy, far ahead of countries in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), according to global intelligent business provider Thomson Reuters. 

"We measure a country's level advancement through six indicators, which are its level of governance, transparency, education, finance, corporate social responsibility and overall awareness," said Thomson Reuters acting head of Islamic finance, Mustafa Adil. 

"Malaysia scores very highly on all these indicators and thus, Malaysia is currently the world's leading Islamic economy," he said during Thomson Reuters’ presentation of the global outlook of the Islamic economy at the 11th World Islamic Economic Forum (11th WIEF) today. 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain is second and third after Malaysia, said Mustafa. 

"Going forward, we expect substantial growth of global Islamic finance to be driven by Malaysia and emerging Islamic economies namely Indonesia, Singapore, China and Egypt.

" The three-day forum saw a record attendance of 3,069 delegates comprising global leaders, ministers, speakers, exhibitors and artists from 98 countries across five continents. 

The biggest delegation is from Malaysia, followed by Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Singapore.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Racist motive behind Swedish school attack

COPENHAGEN, Denmark: The attacker who stabbed two people to death at a school in Sweden before being shot and killed by police had a racist motive, police said Friday. 

Police labeled the stabbing in the industrial town of Trollhattan a so-called hate crime based on discoveries they made when searching the perpetrator’s home, the way he dressed, his behavior at the scene and the way he selected his victims. 

“All together, this gives a picture that the perpetrator had a racist motive when he committed the crimes at Kronan school,” police said in a statement. 

A 21-year-old masked man, who has not been identified by police, entered the school in southern Sweden Thursday and stabbed four people, two of whom died, before he was shot by police. He later died of his wounds. 

According to Swedish media, the assailant posed for photos with students before beginning his deadly rampage in the halls of the Kronan school in the town that has a large immigrant community. A majority of the students at Kronan are foreign-born. 

Many students thought the attacker was playing a Halloween prank. News outlets posted a photo of a black-clad man they identified as the attacker wearing a military-style helmet and a black mask with a sword in his hand. 

Panicked students fled the school, as police and ambulances rushed in. They found a dead male teacher and three people seriously wounded — two boys, aged 11 and 15, and another male teacher. One of the students later died of his wounds. None of the victims have been identified. 

Officers fired two shots, hitting the attacker with a bullet in the lower chest, and he later died at a hospital. --AP