North Korea’s ambassador to Malaysia takes parting shot as he’s sent packing

Posted August 20th, 2019 by admin and filed in 苏州美甲美睫培训
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Expelled from Malaysia after the nerve agent assassination of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur airport, North Korea’s ambassador packed a television set into his luggage and flew home on Monday.

Stern-faced Kang Chol took a parting shot at his host nation as he was about to board a flight, expressing “grave concern over the extreme measures taken by the Malaysian government” which he said were “doing great harm” to relations that go back 40 years.

North Korea immediately retaliated, declaring Malaysia’s ambassador in Pyongyang “persona non grata” and ordering him to leave the country within 48 hours, effective from Sunday.

The declaration prompted some diplomatic head-scratching because Malaysia’s Mohamad Nizan Mohamad had already been recalled, arriving in Kuala Lumpur on February 22.

Declaring an ambassador persona non grata is one of the harshest rebukes a country can take against another, short of breaking off diplomatic relations.

Malaysian media reported that Mr Kang looked sombre as he sat down in an economy class seat on a flight to Beijing with his wife and five-year-old child.

A passenger at the departure gate yelled “get out” as police escorted him on to the plane.

Malaysia was one of a dwindling number of countries to maintain close relations with North Korea until what Malaysian police say was a plot involving at least eight North Koreans to kill 46-year-old Mr Kim, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

Mr Kang led stinging criticism of Malaysia over its handing of the case, including claiming Kuala Lumpur was colluding with South Korea to damage the north.

He attempted to claim the victim was not Kim Jong-nam, but still demanded that Malaysian authorities hand over the body to embassy officials before any autopsy or forensic tests were carried out.

Malaysia responded by ending visa-free status for North Koreans entering Malaysia and named a diplomat at North Korea’s embassy as one of the suspects in the case.

The Football Association of Malaysia said on Monday that the government had ordered the national soccer squad not to fly to Pyongyang for an Asian Cup qualifier on March 28, citing safety reasons.

Police say two women smeared deadly VX nerve agent on Kim Jong-nam’s face in the busy department of Kuala Lumpur’s low cost terminal on February 13.

He became unwell and died in an ambulance.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah,25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong,28, claim they were duped into believing they were taking part in a television prank show, Just for Laughs.

They have been charged with murder and face execution if found guilty.

Malaysian police say four North Korean suspects flew out of Kuala Lumpur immediately after the attack.

They have identified three other North Korean suspects, two of whom are believed to be holed up in North Korea’s embassy.

Another North Korean man was deported last Friday.

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Q&A recap: How to forgive a rapist and other stories

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The ABC’s venerable Q&A has been under attack from all sides this year. It’s stale, its critics assert. It’s aggressive. It’s boring. It’s filled with obvious left wing bias. It’s obviously pandering to the conservatives.

About the only thing that its attackers have been able to agree upon is that whatever it’s doing, it’s doing it too much and also too little, and definitely the wrong way.

Fortunately the annual episode based around the Sydney Opera House’s massively successful All About Women festival, timed to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, showed what Q&A does better than any other show on Australian television: digging deep into the knowledge and experience of smart, interesting people. And they did it without feeling any pressure to have some bloviating anti-feminist jackass on for the sake of some nebulous idea of “balance”.

Instead there was a hell of a panel: Icelandic anti-violence campaigner Thordis Elva, Malaysian-Chinese-American journalist Mei Fong, US author and performer Lindy West, actor/journalist Faustina ‘Fuzzy’ Agolley and Josephine Cashman, lawyer and former prime ministerial chief advisor on indigenous family violence.

Agolley and Cashman were at a disadvantage with the experienced and composed international guests, with Cashman in particular straying to her area of expertise in indigenous public policy regardless of the topic under discussion.

But the main person who seemed to struggle was Tony Jones, whose habit of interrupting guests mid-sentence seemed even more pronounced here.

Now, before we go on: get your gadget of choice and either download or cue up the ABC iView app because if you missed this episode you’re going to need to watch it, and if you watched it you’re likely to want to watch it again. And gents, this especially applies to us.

That’s because if the only thing that was discussed was Elva’s book South of Forgiveness and subsequent live events in which she collaborates with Australian Thomas Stranger – who raped her two decades ago when she was 16 and when he was an exchange student in Iceland – then this episode would have been must-watch television.

Elva’s summary of what took place and of what happened when she wrote him a letter nine years later letting him know just how much damage he had done is impossible to summarise and still do it justice.

But in a society so eager to see sexual violence as a silly mistake which young upstanding men can easily and understandably make (as happened in last year’s shocking US case of Stanford rapist Brock Turner, as Fong astutely pointed out), it’s incredible to hear a woman calmly and straightforwardly talk about the legacy of her rape, and to painstakingly explain precisely what she means when she says that she’s “forgiven” him.

“Forgiveness is not dependent on the perpetrators’ remorse,” she makes clear. “Forgiveness was never for him. In my view it’s the polar opposite: it was for me, so I could let go of the shame and self blame that was corroding me.”

This might have been the most viscerally affecting moment of the program, but it wasn’t the only highlight.

There was the discussion of the mooted ‘Day Without Women’ protest in which women worldwide would down tools and walk off the job to illustrate the degree to which the workforce relies on them. Elva cited the 1975 women’s strike in Iceland which changed the nation’s laws; Fong countered that there was a female-led protest against sexual harassment in China a few years ago, and “these feminists were put in prison. Having the power to protest is so powerful.”

Need more? How about West’s spirited takedown of the faux-concern that amounts to body shaming of fat people, insisting that fat acceptance was necessary even if you believe that people need to be fit and healthy, since “you can’t take good care of something that you hate.”

Or Fong’s blunt assessment of China’s now-repealed one child policy, which has “created a set of problems that won’t go away for another 20 or 30 years.”

And then there was the excellent discussion of revenge porn and the need for cultural change, which Cashman pointed out requires legislation, comparing it with the way that drink driving became unacceptable in Australia. “You knew that if you had high blood alcohol levels, you’re going to jail. Why can’t we do that with laws to protect women?”

This was Q&A at its best, leaving the combative back and forth aside to give the guests room to breathe and the nuances of the topics under discussion be properly explored. Any amount of political tantrums is worth it if we occasionally get episodes as compelling as this.

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The new levy to be added to your council rates

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NSW home owners will learn from May 1 exactly how much they will pay each year to fund fire and emergency services under a new system that will see an average $185 added to council rates notices.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will on Tuesday introduce legislation to usher in the Fire and Emergency Services Levy from July 1.

Currently three-quarters of the annual $950 million cost of funding Fire and Rescue NSW, the Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service is funded via a tax on insurance companies, passed onto customers via higher premiums.

The balance is funded by the state and a tax on councils.

The new system instead charges all landowners in NSW an annual levy.

For residential landowners and owners of “public benefit land” such as churches and scout halls, there will be an annual fixed charge is $100 plus an additional amount calculated on the unimproved land value determined by the NSW Valuer-General.

For farms, industrial and commercial landholders the fixed charge will be $200 plus the additional amount.

The precise amount charged to each landowner will be determined by the size of each year’s emergency services budget but the government is estimating an average levy of about $185.

Land owners will be able to visit the fire services and emergency services levy website to calculate their annual payment from May 1 – the date at which the 2017-18 emergency service budget will be known.

The shift to a levy on land was recommended by a 2013 parliamentary inquiry which found that 36 per cent – or 810,000 landowners – who do not have home contents insurance would pay the levy for the first time.

But the government says for fully-insured homeowners the fire services levy contribution should drop from an annual average $233 to $185, for a saving of $47 a year.

Professor Allan Fels has been appointed as NSW Emergency Services Levy Insurance Monitor to ensure insurers pass on savings to customers.

The government estimates the proportion of the emergency services budget raised from residential land will be 58.1 per cent. For commercial land it will be 26.7 per cent, industrial land 10.4 per cent, farmland 4.6 per cent and public benefit land 0.3 per cent.

The proportion contributed by a levy on residential land and farm land will be the same as under the old system, while the proportion from public benefit land will fall from 0.8 per cent.

The proportion from industrial and commercial land – 37.1 per cent – increases slightly from the existing 36.6 per cent.

Other changes to the green slip system to be announced on Tuesday include limiting compensation awarded to people with whiplash and minor injuries to six months and capping lost earnings claims by those with serious injuries to two years.

The scheme will also be extended to cover motorists who are at fault in an accident, but their benefits will only be covered for six months.

Seriously injured motorists who are not at fault in accidents will continue to be able to claim lump sum compensation in addition to income and medical benefits.

NSW motorists have the highest premium costs in the country but only 45 cents in every dollar paid for each green slip returns to people injured on the road with the balance going to legal fees, administration costs and insurer profits.

A bill will be introduced to parliament this week and, if approved, the new scheme is expected to take effect by December.

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Alexandra was without radio reception as bushfire bore down on her property

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Alex DeValentin is a Carwoola resident who says she felt unsafe during the Carwoola fire because she could not obtain radio reception to listen to ABC 666 when she had evacuated to her friend’s home in Hoskinstown.Alex with two of her horses, Harry and Buster.Photo: Jamila Toderas Photo: Jamila ToderasSome residents went without access to emergency information for up to an hour during the recent Carwoola fire due to poor radio and mobile reception.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro called the lack of coverage a public safety issue and said he would work with the federal government towards a solution after years of failed local lobbying.

Carwoola mum Alexandra DeValentin said she was not calling for luxury but an essential service, as she shared her experience of February 17.

The fire front was chasing her as she fled her Captains Flat Road home to her friend’s property in nearby Hoskinstown, where the fire continued to circle her.

“The radio hadn’t worked in my car, so when we got to my friend’s we tried the old shed radio, the modern radio and the boom boxes,” she said.

“My phone died, so luckily we eventually found my friend’s laptop to get onto the internet, although soon we lost power.”

Ms DeValentin spent about 45 minutes not knowing the direction of the fire and struggling to access ABC Radio Canberra.

While Ms DeValentin’s frustrations were shared by several residents, others said they never received emergency text messages their neighbours got.

Mobile phones in or travelling through the threatened area should have received a text warning it was too late to leave, Ben Shepherd from the NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed.

Carwoola resident Anthea Kerrison said the text message was never delivered to her phone, despite watching the fire race down the mountain towards her property.

A Facebook post by former councillor Peter Marshall citing the poor reception garnered comments from residents saying they could not reach the emergency broadcaster either via radio or mobile.

The Palerang community had lobbied for adequate telecommunications infrastructure for years.

While the federal government said it would fix the mobile coverage in the Eden-Monaro electorate through its $100 million blackspot program, Mr Barilaro said the issue of radio reception had slipped through the cracks.

He said the NSW government was willing to pay for a radio transmitter in the Palerang area to extend the coverage of ABC Canberra, but the cross-border arrangement went against federal regulation.

“It is ridiculous that a community a stone throw away from the Australian capital is having these problems,” he said.

“But the telecommunications act does not allow us to build a transmitter because ABC is in Canberra and not NSW, and that’s the blockage we are trying to work through,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Given the recent problems, this is something I’m prepared to take on as the state member and speak to the cross-border commissioner to ensure it’s back on their agenda. We need a bipartisan way to get a result once and for all.”

But federal communications minister Mitch Fifield said the problem fell on the responsibility of the ABC.

“Broadcasters are responsible for the provision of transmission equipment to serve regions within their coverage areas,” Mr Fifield said.

An ABC spokesman said there were a number of reasons small communities sit outside the ABC’s coverage, but it did not receive any complaints about radio reception during the Carwoola fire.

The spokesman said emergency information was broadcast through a range of platforms.

Palerang Council considered paying the national broadcaster for a repeater station in 2013, but these plans were still being worked through, a council spokesman said.

“After the Sandhills fire in 2013, Council made representations to the ABC in regards to the emergency broadcasting and the impact that the poor AM radio reception had during the fire,” the spokesman said.”Council understands there may be some legislative requirements to work through, however further investigation is required.”

Mr Sheppard said the NSW Rural Fire Service would welcome a new transmitter to improve the coverage but federal regulation would not allow it.

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Ancient text that explains Trumpism

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Donald Trump has provoked an unlikely boom in a few market niches: for the makers of red baseball caps, among late-night comedians, and for those who own the royalties to dystopian novels. George Orwell’s 1984 has been selling extremely well since the US election, with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale recording tidy returns as well.

Those seeking literary parallels or parables, lessons or clues, to help them cope with the new US President are simply looking in the wrong place and the wrong time. Instead of 1949 (when Orwell published), 1931 (Huxley) or 1985 (Atwood), they should trawl back 2400 years, to Thucydides’ history of the Peloponnesian war.

The currently popular dystopian visions are all a bit mannered and soft for our times. In 1984, Winston Smith is merely threatened with torture (in the form of a cage of rats), not actually water-boarded, exiled to Siberia, forced to dig his own grave, or shot. Orwell’s novel remains distinctive for his inspired neologisms. The ideas behind newspeak, thoughtcrimes, doublethink and Big Brother have pervaded much of the world, far beyond the borders of 1984’s Airstrip One. Nonetheless, the pungent, poignant satire of Animal Farm and its Napoleon pig are much more credible and pertinent to us than is 1984. The Public Sector Informant: latest issue

As for Brave New World, that, too, is a bit too soft and sloppy for our times. The Directorate of Hatcheries and Conditioning and the College of Emotional Engineering seem affected and twee today. The image of an anti-hero whipping himself at a lighthouse is plain silly.

Turning to Atwood’s Republic of Gilead, certainly the female characters are kept in subjugation and servitude, obliged to carry babies, not permitted to read. Sadly, any female survivor from the Balkan wars or the Rwandan genocide might find ironic such a relatively ordered, genteel dystopia.

Turning to the Peloponnesian war (431-404BC), Thucydides wrote political wisdom red in tooth and claw. For strategists, Thucydides describes an asymmetrical conflict between two superpowers, Athens and Sparta (one strong at sea, the other on land), commencing “when both were at the very height of their power and preparedness”. “Nothing in their designs was on a small or mean scale.” He pins the outbreak of war to “the growth of Athenian power and the fear this caused in Sparta”; the fear of being overtaken, surprised, gazumped and annihilated, which dominated the Cold War.

If we worry about pre-emptive strikes, disproportionate responses, overblown martial rhetoric and ruthlessly vicious fighting, this is the book to read. Thucydides leaves no room for facile romance, sentimentality or fake heroism. War starts with hand-to-hand killing “in the darkness and the mud, on a moonless night at the end of the month”. In another early engagement, “confusion reigned, and there was shouting on all sides”.

Even the first years of battles (if you read up to Book Three, as far as the fourth year of the war) contain a litany of war crimes. Soldiers are massacred or stoned in pits, cannibalism is rumoured, crops are burned and besieged cities starved, captives are murdered or sold as slaves, and classical, democratic, glittering Athens debates whether to put the entire population of a state to death (Mytilene, after a revolt there). Whimsical period detail may sometimes seem to domesticate Attica. Some troops advance wearing shoes only on their left feet, to avoid slipping on mud. Sailors planning a surprise attack carry only their oars, cushions and rowlock thongs. One shoe on, or cushion in hand, those warriors were bent on wholesale destruction. The ancient Greeks may be short of modern kit, but they could take on special forces in a fair fight.

For those concerned that we might not appreciate “the chances and changes of war”, Thucydides offers realpolitik worthy of Sun Tzu or Henry Kissinger. He does so in an enviably unvarnished, unfussed manner, relying on “the plainest evidence” to reach “conclusions which are generally reasonable”. Private Eye’s inauguration issue imagined Donald Trump pledging to “tell the post-truth, the alternative truth and nothing like the truth”. For his part, Thucydides simply tells the truth.

Thucydides’ maxims on statecraft remain disconcertingly current. The strong do what they want, while the weak suffer what they must. “It is generally the best policy to make the fewest errors of judgment.” “There is often no more logic in the course of events than there is in the plans of men.” Words of counsel are delivered with brutal frankness, as well as a bracing insistence that people both face facts and face up to catastrophe. As the Athenian general, Pericles, reminds his people about their imperial ambitions, “your empire is now like a tyranny: it may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go”.

Pericles’ most cutting rebuke to his countrymen was simply that “you are losing your grip on the common safety”. The “common safety” may serve as a marker for the common good, or for that happy time Thucydides recalls, “when the state was wisely led and firmly guarded”. Betrayal of allies, courting of enemies (even the arch-villain, the king of Persia), defeats and plagues, none of that seems to undermine – to borrow an American phrase – the notion of Athens as a shining city on a hill.

For those wearied by war, Thucydides offers Pericles’ funeral oration, a speech more principled and more majestic than any inaugural address in Washington. There, to remind us of governing principles, we are admonished by being told that “happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous”. We learn once more that “our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance; our love of things of the mind does not make us soft” (Pericles had not seen Trump Tower). Those leery of sacrifice might ponder that “all the world is the graveyard of famous men”.

The New York Times asks an author each week which book they would recommend to their president. They would do well to pick Thucydides, substituting his blood-stained, bare-knuckle wisdom for more contemporary works, let alone earnestly stuffed briefing books, talk-show prattle or sententious op-eds. If Clinton voters were seeking particular advice, I would defer to the Spartan king Archidamus: “people grow angry when they suffer things that they are quite unused to suffer”.

Mark Thomas is a Canberra-based writer.

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