News items in various newspapers around the world

SEPANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK [Singapore area]- The fried anchovies and roasted peanuts from a typical Malaysia Airlines (MAS) inflight nasi lemak meal had to be removed on flights departing on Jan 29 as they were stale and contaminated, said MAS.

Chef Wan, on an economy flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok that day, commented on Instagram that he received a nasi lemak telanjang (“naked” nasi lemak) from the airline.

“What happened was that we found small stones, while the peanuts tasted rancid. To avoid food safety issues, we suspended all anchovies and peanuts from being served on all flights that day,” said MAS Food and Beverage manager and executive chef Zahiddin Dris.

“We could not replace the condiments because our suppliers had closed their business to celebrate Chinese New Year,” he told reporters during a tour of MAS’ inflight caterer, Brahim’s Airline Catering, on Friday.

Wild leopard ends up in hospital for 12 hours and sparks panic in India

A leopard on the loose ... leaps across an under-construction structure near a furniture

A leopard on the loose … leaps across an under-construction structure near a furniture market in the Degumpur residential area as a bystander moves out of the way in Meerut. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

A LEOPARD sparked panic in India when it strayed inside a hospital, a cinema and an apartment block while evading its captors.

Authorities closed schools and colleges in Meerut, 60 kilometres northeast of thw Indian capital, after the leopard was discovered prowling the city’s streets, a senior city official said.

“Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to track the leopard down. We have launched a massive hunt for the beast,” said additional district magistrate S.K. Dubey.

The cat was found inside an empty ward of an army hospital before wildlife officers were called and managed to fire a tranquilliser dart into it, Dubey told AFP.

The wild cat was in the hospital for 12 hours.

“But despite that he managed to break (out through) the iron grilles and escaped. He then sneaked into the premises of a cinema hall before entering an apartment block. After that we lost track of the cat,” he said.

Authorities have urged the closure of markets in the city of 3.5 million until the animal, which has left six people injured, was captured, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.

Media sensationalism blamed for youngsters’ copycat suicides

Sri Lanka

testGampaha District UPFA Parliamentarian Dr. Sudarashani Fernandopulle yesterday blamed the media for sensationalising suicide and thereby contributing to an increase in the suicide rate among youngsters. She told The Island that irresponsible reporting…

Remind Singaporeans of need to stay vigilant


THE Government did the right thing by barring the Indonesian warship named after the two MacDonald House bombers from our ports and naval bases (“Indonesian warship in naming row barred from Singapore”; last Wednesday).

This sends a strong signal to Indonesia that it has not been sensitive to our feelings, and that its action reopened old wounds.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen was right to pose this question in Parliament: “Even without ill intent, how can the naming of the ship after two bombers build good ties, or enhance mutual respect and regard with both our countries?” (“Strong ties can be built only on mutual trust and respect”; last Thursday).

Singapore had been magnanimous in pardoning and releasing 45 Indonesian saboteurs linked to bombings during the Konfrontasi. But

Rest of article Singapore times

Trivial things and mighty contests

Anoop Kohli
24 February 2014, 09:52 AM IST

The Times of India

Elections invariably bring about the darker side of human nature. These are the finals of the perennial battle for power, prowess and the desire to rule. That it is fought under rules of democracy makes it less violent and enthuses some sense that losing is not the end of life. The planning, strategy, deceit, execution, funding, and power play are otherwise akin to any warfare.

The extreme involvement of media, professional marketing, heart thumping slogans, multi language messaging can kindle tremendous soap interests in those who would like to see the latest, in the best of the worst, of human minds. For those who are beginning to realize that the “permanent” thing about “change” is, that it is not. For those who have sipped often and realized that it is only the bottle that changes, now is the time to watch the many shuffles of issues being made into non-issues, non-issues into issues, and controversies hitherto non-existent taking centre stage, only to be replaced by those still more remote and bizarre. You can’t have worse time than what the world has gone through, so take heart.

The world’s largest opera of democracy shall manifest in many acts, scenes, steps, rhythms before the final anthem, even though according to many, the final tune of the anthem is more or less decided. That is the convenience of wishful thinking.

Take the “opinion polls”. The one in the papers today is showing majority for a particular group. Quite certainly, another section of the press shall show something diagonally different. This is one sub plot of the theme that shall continue to change at periodic intervals. If there are ten major channels, each one shall be having its own independent survey. If this activity was indeed that widespread, either you or someone in your circles would have reported about a phone call, or an SMS questionnaire. Statistics have a proverbial bad name, but there is yet to be a discovery of a more conscientious method of prediction.  So, perhaps one may have to go for a meta-analysis and see if there is a final uniform message.

In the US, which rather wisely retains a two party system, there are some questions every candidate for presidency has to answer. These are generally about affirmative action, gay rights, and abortions. The way each candidate addresses them, contributes significantly to his positive points. Health hitherto was not a crucial question, but is likely to become one with whatever else happens on the Universal Health Affordability Program of President Obama.

In india you are not asked questions about pressing national issues. All political parties have a decades’ old stigma of either being high-handed, communal, corrupt, regional, even anti-nationalistic. The core of every campaign is to start smearing the other party black. Negative publicity of the rival is considered all that is necessary to score winning numbers. It is therefore how well you retort to an allegation is what is considered real political acumen.

For this, you have much in the past that is freshly dug up for election issues. Please answer who was in power during such and such riot, and why was justice not fully dispensed. Give us an answer why there was so much of misappropriation during a particular regime. Naturally, something goes wrong during any government’s tenure. That blame, shall hang on a particular party for decades, and there is no way one can get rid of this.

The political tactics so far are so base that they polarize the minds of the electorate with twice the dose of hatred, disappointment, disillusionment, even helplessness, compared to normal times, that people, particularly the uninitiated or primed masses end up voting “against” a  party that has  been stamped as bad in governance, or whatever, rather than someone who has better credentials to rule. This has become a never ending circumstance at the time of each general election. Governments are welcome to replace a previous incompetent one, but no one probably votes for another one for any sensible and actionable agenda. Anti-incumbency is a perfectly legitimate excuse. The new choice is always a subjective view of what is understood to be a lesser evil.

A population of our size, most of which has been struggling, or more appropriately deprived of basic issues as their dwellings, country roads that take them home, electricity, water, hygiene, nutrition, primary health care, education, employment, protection under law as well as its quick dispensation, can hardly be expected to be ambitious of their right to choose a government tuned to their needs. That has never happened when they brought governments to power with thumping majority, so expectations from conglomerates of convenience are never too high. This has become a malaise that has made this democracy take one step forward, and two backwards.

The Indian psyche whether it be the populace, or the ones selected from them to rule or lead, is obsessed with the wrongdoings of others rather than their own performance, The phenomenon of the “argumentative Indian” is true, but what makes us regular underachievers is a herd instinct to be pre-occupied with what is wrong with the next guy, the other organization, or the rival political party. The inability to see good in the neighbor, colleague, or the boss, even a rival dampens a lot of creativity and ambition.

Governments that replace previous ones, have the first agenda to undo all that was done by the previous regime. This may apply to huge national development programs, many a time leading to discontinuity, even reversal of committed policies. The victors celebrate berating others, whereas the nation as a whole suffers, and the world without is less and less convinced about the wisdom of deeper ties, economic, diplomatic, trade or even tourism. The nation and its people, despite some elite  global talent, fail to impart the impression of homogeneity of thought, policy, performance that spells consistency and reliability to be a world player.

To your dismay, even amusement you may be kept preocccupied with what happened or did not happen in Amethi, who shall take on Mr Modi, what shall happen to the killers of an ex-Prime Minister, what outrageous largesse shall be doled out to a particular region, class, and community on the tax-payers money, mostly as false promises that logistically probably are too difficult to be fulfilled. Serious considerations may still be, what is a better gift than laptops, at least to put on the agenda list.

About Fr. Orthohippo

The blog of a retired Anglican priest (MSJ), his musings, journey, humor, wonderment, and comments on today's scene.
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