Navalny: Poisoned Opposition Leader Arrested Upon Returning to Moscow

A Russian opposition figure and anti-corruption activist, poisoned with a nerve agent earlier in 2020, has recently returned to Moscow five months after the incident and has been detained by authorities upon his return.

According to his spokeperson, Alexei Navalny was taken away alone and without explanation when flown in from Berlin.

Live footage also showed him talking with dark-uniformed and masked officers at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport before kissing his wife and walking away with them.

Russian denies involvement in Navalny’s poisoning and Putin himself said that if Russian security services had wanted to kill Navalny, they “would have finished” the job.


The pair landed in Moscow just after 8pm and had stayed in Germany for five months prior in order to allow Navalny to recover from the Novichok poisoning.

“This is the best day in the past five months,” Navalny said to journalists upon arriving and before being arrested.

“Everyone is asking me if I’m scared. I am not afraid,” he said. “I feel completely fine walking towards the border control. I know that I will leave and go home because I’m right and all the criminal cases against me are fabricated.”

Before his return, Navalny was in the federal wanted list last month for violating terms of probation related to a year’s old fraud case, where he had dismissed as politically motivated. The Russian Federal Penitentiary Service confirmed on Sunday with a statement that Navalny had been detained and would remain in custody until a court hearing later this month.

He now remains held in custody at a police station in Khimki, north of central Moscow, and has now been allowed to his lawyer. He is likely to remain until a court hearing later this month.

Flight diversion

A large crowd of supporters and journalists were to welcome Navalny back at Vnukovo airport initially, but the flight was diverted in the last minute to Sheremetyevo in Moscow. A number of those supporters and journalists were arrested soon after.

Before the flight, he had thank the other passengers. “Thanks to you all, I hope we will get there fine,” he said.

“And I’m sure everything will be absolutely great.”

He also gave his gratitude to the German people for hosting him in an Instagram post on Saturday, citing them as “nice, sympathetic, friendly people”.

Next steps for Navalny

Navalny was found in guilty in 2014 of fraud after he and his brother Oleg were accused of embezzling 30 million rubles (1.6 billion ringgit) from a Russian subsidiary of French cosmetics company Yves Rocher; he was given a suspended sentence while his brother jailed. 

The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) is requesting that his suspended sentence is replaced with a real prison term.

Navalny is now facing new accusations of violating his probation by failing to show up for scheduled inspections in Germany. Navalny’s hearing has been set for January 29th where if FSIN’s request is granted, he would be facing 3.5 years in jail.

If now convicted in January, Navalny will still face a newer fraud case of alleged misuse of donations form supporters.Last month, Navalny called the new criminal cases brought up against him in Russia “demonstratively fabricated” and an attempt to prevent him from coming back to Russia

MCO 2.0: Surprised? Not Really

Choo Choy May/Malay Mail

As Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the second round of Movement Control Order (MCO), the public have responded with mixed reactions as some of them already saw it coming from far away.

According to an interview by The Star with retail marketing executive from Kuala Lumpur, Effendi Elias, he had expected MCO to be reinstated and says that it’s inevitable that it happens in the fight against Covid-19.

He had also mentioned that he had to scrap plans of wanting to ‘balik kamoug and also “I’ve been going back to see them almost every other weekend since the recovery MCO, ” he says. “Both of them are elderly so I’d like to spend as much time with them as possible, and of course see my nephew and niece (sister’s children) too, ” says Effendi.

“But understandably, with so many cases –more than 2,000 daily – we need to curb the spread of the infection so it’s necessary to implement the MCO again and I feel that the Prime Minister made the right decision, although it may be an unpopular one and some people may object, ” he says.

Effendi is just one of many that will be affected by the second round of MCO, but Malaysians had earlier already stated that they wouldn’t be surprised if MCO was reimplemented, as netizens who had took to Twitter earlier to express this.

Shannon Teoh, the Malaysia Bureau Chief for The Straits Time said that the increasing number of daily cases was a clear sign that this was going to happen and it wasn’t a matter of “if” but instead a matter of “when”.

“I think many Malaysians saw this coming, the numbers from a few hundred to a thousand to two thousand. Last week, we went past three thousand.” Teoh said in an interview with The Straits Times.

“A lot of people started talking about if further restrictions was going to be imposed. There were also word leaking out from of official sources that the health ministry had recommended returning to MCO. 

“It didn’t really come as a surprise, in fact, many people were waiting for the announcement”. 

Although the news doesn’t come as a shock, netizens were quick to point out that instead of surprising the public with the news on a fine Monday evening, the government should’ve planned for the announcement earlier as most people and especially the vulnerable would have just a day to start preparing for the lockdown-like situation.

One in particular mentioned on how MCO was announced as if it’s a birthday party.

Wong Shu Qi, the MP for Kluang, Johor also led in voicing out the timely decision made by the government’s announcement.

Some on the other hand already expect MCO to be longer than the said two weeks and are questioning the proposed two-week period instead of a longer one.

World Introvert Day: 5 Ways to Live With An Introvert

Yes, the spotlight now is clearly on New Years Day and how it’s going to be the start of new beginnings, but a little known day comes just after the first of January which is in fact World Introvert Day.

A day to celebrate our friends and family who are the quiet ones and rarely the life of the party; World Introvert Day started when psychologist and author Felicitas Heyne published a blog post calling for a day for us quiet ones that are comfortable being out of the spotlight.

In a noisy world, those who are quiet are often overlooked, hence, a day to celebrate their uniqueness seems only fitting. In a bid to understand those who are less vocal and outgoing, here are five ways to live with introverts.

1) Accept

Even when you don’t understand their whys and whats, understand that people are different from you and that you can’t expect everyone to be out and about as you are. Nonetheless, introverts still want to feel welcome and you should do so in a way that isn’t too overwhelming.

2) Observe

Introverts pay extra attention to verbal and non-verbal cues around them, you should too. When coming on an introvert in a conversation, observe if they are too overwhelmed by you or if they are in anyway uncomfortable with the attention by noticing the various verbal and non-verbal cues they are sending out.

3) Space

Introverts love their space and have personal boundaries to wherever they go. Respect this by not pursuing or pushing them into a conversation or event that they don’t want to be at.

4) Spend time together wisely

Introverts aren’t the ones for pointless get togethers where the music is so loud that talking is almost impossible. When gathering with an introvert, keep things small and simple while avoiding places that could be too overwhelming for their sense; instead, opt for settings that allows conversation and space for introverts to simply be themselves.

5) Solitude time is essential

Every now and then, introverts would have to crawl up into their cave to recharge for the next big function. When your initiatives to gather together happen to get rejected more than usual, don’t insist and just give it time as you’d see them once more, whenever they’re easy to step out into the world again.

Syed Saddiq to Go Bald for #1Keluarga1Laptop, Literally

Youth & Sports Minister,YB Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman

To think that 2020 isn’t going to be more surprising is an understatement even with current circumstances, as now, Muar MP, Syed Saddiq just might be ending the year bald!

In a bid to raise RM200,000 for the “one family one laptop initiative”, this was aimed to be able to raise enough funds in order to buy laptops for 100 students in his parliament area of Muar, Johor. Before this he had been successful in similar projects, being able to provide 100 laptops for students as well.

The former minister of youth and sports added the hashtag #1keluarga1laptop in his Instagram post a few days ago to kick start the movement. 

“This initiative was made because I know the importance and need for a laptop when you are a student.” he said.

“I also promise to go bald, as a token of appreciation, once this campaign has reached its goal. It’s all for Muar”

Up until last night at 8pm, the campaign had receive funds of up to 61,410 ringgit.

Saddiq also didn’t wait for it to end in order to make his gratitude known as the donations came from people of all races and religions.

“This only strengthens my commitment towards making sure the 200,000 ringgit goal is met. Praying that this campaign is a success” he said.

“Want to see me bald? Hope this all goes well!”

The campaign has four days left before it ends and donations could be made at CIMB 8603323060 Pejabat Khidmat Rakyat Parlimen Muar.

Large Crowds at Roadside UNIQLO Store Opening Spark Covid-19 Concerns

Welcome to UNIQLO, or in this case, welcome to crowd-gathering a one-of-a-kind roadside UNIQLO store in Bandar Sri Damansara.

The long awaited first ever roadside UNIQLO in Malaysia finally opened its doors to the public three days ago on December 18th and it resembled cult like crowds that saw people queuing up as early as 8:30am.

Standing at 15,100 square feet, several images of the crowd were circulating social media where many could be seen social distancing.

According to one of the many that were present at the store, only 140 people were allowed at a time to abide by Covid-19 protocols.

Police officials were also at the scene on standby for crowd control protocols.

Despite all this in place, social media was sceptic about the store’s opening and mentioned that many vehicles had flocked to illegal roadside parking due to the limited parking spots.

Twitter user @Kessmaess raised concerns over the large crowds as Covid-19 cases in the country show no signs of stopping.

“There you have it, please don’t let this lead to a Uniqlo cluster,” the tweet read.

Covid-19: Pfizer’s Challenge of Transporting the Vaccine

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine gets administered for uses throughout the U.S. and U.K., the world is starting to realize the challenge of distributing vaccines for millions and millions of people.

Pfizer has previously said that it plans to manufacture up to 50 million doses globally in 2020 from its production sites in the U.S., Germany and Belgium; they would also expect 20 planes to be taking flights daily around the globe to deliver doses of the vaccine to relevant countries.

“Developing the vaccines and getting them licensed is like building base camp at the bottom of Everest,” Dr. Kate O’Brien, Director of WHO’s Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals said at a recent WHO Q&A session. “And actually getting to the peak – (that) is the delivery part.”

“There is going to be a struggle, frankly, in every country, about how to do this quickly.”

Freezer containers

The vaccine supplies can be stored at “freezer farms” at -70 degrees, which allows it to be usable for up to six months; all this however becomes that much complicated if they are to be on the go. Up until now, there has never been a drug that requires such a low storage temperature, and this prompted Pfizer to develop a specially built deep-freeze “suitcase” that are tightly sealed and can be transported even in trucks that don’t have refrigeration.

These boxes can keep up to 5,000 doses of the vaccine for 10 days and is packed with dry ice and installed with GPS trackers which would allow remote tracking of its location and temperature readings.

Pfizer also added that this thermal shipping system can be recharged with dry ice if needed and can only be opened twice a day for less than three minutes at a time.

Distribution and administering

With the use of deep-freeze suitcases, authorities will have 10 days to transport the doses from distribution centres to dedicated vaccination centres and medical centres throughout the relevant countries.

Upon delivery, they will then be stored in traditional fridges at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius for up to five days. Authorities would have to move quickly to ensure it will be available among the priority groups.

“As a logistical operation, this really is unprecedented in terms of its scale, in terms of its magnitude and in terms of its urgency,” says Hani Mahmassani, director of Northwestern University’s Transportation Center.

“This is not just a one shot operation, this is something that is going to be ongoing over several months in order to get that vaccine to those who need to get it.”

The Street Artist That Covers Hate Signs with Wieners, Pasta and Fruits

In a world where many would try to spread love, there’ll always be a few that will be spoiling the moment with spreading hate here and there.

Art for instance, can be a beautiful thing, yet a tool for the hateful; the swastika, the infamous logo of the Nazis is just among the many hate symbols that are visible throughout Europe used by Neo-Nazis, Neo-fascism and such. One man, however, has taken it upon himself to erase this vile form of “art” throughout parts of Verona, Italy and beyond.

For more than a decade now, Italian street artist, – Pierre Paolo Spinazzè has been covering up racist street art and offensive writings with images of what Italians have a strong love for, food.

Considered almost sacred by the Italians, Spinazzè has quite literally took inspiration from every other Italian dinner table and stick it upon the walls. Working under the pseudonym of “Cibo” which means food in Italian, the artist paints all sorts of food such as pasta dishes, fruits, desserts and cheese wedges over any hateful art he could find.      

According to Spinazzè, “Verona has always been ‘black’,” — namely, a city that supports the right-wing ideology — “and for a person who works in the field of freedom, fascism is an obstacle.”

He also says that inspiration for his work also conspired from personal experiences he had with neo-fascists back in university.

“I have seen the marks of neo-fascist violence on my friends, as eleven years ago a group of neo-fascists killed a fellow university student. After that day I have decided that that was enough; and although it wasn’t much, I would have, should have done something about it.” Spinazzè said.

Shortly after, he came across the first piece of fascist art that he would soon cover up for the first time ever, with a painting of a wiener mural. A few days letter, he then noticed that someone had covered up his “wiener-piece” and it was then where he decided, game on.

“My weapons are art, culture and irony — three things that are completely unknown to these people,” said the artist. “Therefore, for each time they would come back to ruin my work, I would add murals of sauces onto the sausage. This way their hatred became part of my cuisine,” he added.

With over 319,000 followers on Instagram and more than 62,700 likes on Facebook, hundreds of hateful art covered up, and a local community who supports his idea, Spinazzè has not only succeeded with bringing the fight to neo-fascists without actually having to fight, but has also done it by using the most neutral way possible – food.

As “Cibo” puts it, “There’s no arguing at the table. “Many people can’t take to the streets, but with little money they can take part in the colorful battle.”

8 Movies to Watch While Staying In for Christmas

What is undoubtedly a very different kind of Christmas this year, one may not be able to find festive from all the Christmas parties that aren’t happening anymore, but what large gatherings couldn’t do, can be replaced with simply staying in for a Christmas movie marathon.

Home Alone (1990)

Macaulay Culkin’s breakout movie is a highly successful and beloved comedy for those of all ages. Other than being set during Christmas time, it reminds us of the importance of family during the holidays and also the big question – How did Mr. McAsllister afford a mansion-like home for 15, 11 economy and four first class round-trip tickets to Paris?

Klaus (2019)

A hand-drawn masterpiece, this humorous and heartwarming narrative are one of the many reasons Klaus is up there as a candidate for a holiday classic.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

A stunningly Tim Burton original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation, The Nightmare Before Christmas follows Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown who kidnaps Santa Claus and takes over his role; however, it doesn’t take long for Jack to realize even the best-thought out plans can go wrong. 

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Starring Jim Carrey, get ready for a ride of weird quirky faces courtesy from the man himself and weird hairdo as we follow the ever-iconic Grinch who plans to ruin Christmas for all of the citizens of the town.

Little Women (2019)

A star-stellar cast lead by Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanlen, 2019’s remake of Little Women retells the story of the classic piece that just proves that some things can truly be timeless, just like a festive season.

Holiday Inn (1942)

A change in gear, the 40s classic that stars Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale. On top of songs by Crosby and dancing by Astaire, it is known for introducing “White Christmas” to the world.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

The Christmas classic of all Christmas classics, It’s a Wonderful Life is a bittersweet and all round wholesome that provides the warmth of comfort on a Christmas night that would find you pondering on the years that have gone by.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a Peanuts fan favorite, would it? And need we mention the funky yet festive “O Tannenbaum” piano piece that is played in the movie?

Man Arrested for Slapping Pregnant Cashier Who Packed Groceries in A Rush

A lorry driver who had slapped a cashier at a convenience store was arrested two days ago after videos of him doing so started trending around the internet and caused wide outrage among netizens.

The video shows the man slapping the cashier, who was a pregnant woman, across the face; it was later revealed that is was over the slightest of misunderstandings as the man was angry that she didn’t arranged his wife’s groceries properly.

It was also reported that the cashier was in a rush to arrange the goods as it was near closing time. The man’s wife who was the first to get angry over the cashier’s actions proceeded to complain to her husband who was standing outside. Soon after, her husband entered the shop, started arguing with the cashier and proceeding to slap her across the face.

According to North Klang District Police Chief, Assistant Commissioner, Nurulhuda Mohd Salleh, the 38-year-old man was arrested by a team of police officers at 8.30pm on December 1st. The suspect was later given police guarantee on the same day and the investigation papers will be referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for further action.

Milo Releases Limited Edition Cans From The 50s, 70s And 90s

Reminiscing back to our secondary school days, the sight of a Milo truck driving up to the school compound was always a sight to behold on as it’s pretty much the best part of the day for most who are already drench in sweat due to the weather.

With these iconic trucks comes every kid’s, or even adult’s, favourite chocolate malt drink; for some reason, many would also agree with the fact that drinks from the trucks always tasted better as well or some reason.

On its 70th anniversary, Milo is set for a blast to the past as these vintage cans have been available in Malaysia two months ago until now. The collection of vintage one-of-a-kind cans compromises of designs from the 50s, 70s and 90s

Other than that, a convoy of Milo trucks also travelled around the country in September. These trucks weren’t any normal truck though, as it bears designs of Milo trucks from the 1950s to the current design and were giving out Milo drinks for free.

The company’s chief executive officer Juan Aranols said that Milo has been a part of Malaysians and not only that as it has also played a significant role in our culture.

“We are proud of this legacy, which is proof of not only its goodness, but also the values of determination, resilience, courage and the never-give-up spirit that it champions through sports.”

“This year has been especially challenging for all of us, but these values have kept us going further,” said Aranols.

Milo business executive officer Ng Su Yen added that Milo shares a special bond with Malaysia that is deeply-rooted in the goodness it brings in the past 70 years.