China’s Economy Continues Its Rise Post Covid-19

As Covid-19 spreads its wings to other countries around the world, China’s economy is slowly gaining momentum while countries like the U.S and Europe struggle with containing the virus.

The world’s second largest economy grew to 4.9% between July and September when compared to the same timeframe last year. However, economist expected a figure lower than 5.2%

“I don’t think the headline number is bad,” said Iris Pang, chief China economist for ING in Hong Kong. “Job creation in China is quite stable which creates more consumption.”

Its trade numbers also show exports growing by 9.9% and imports by 13.2% when compared to September last year.

While the pandemic has hurt this year’s growth targets, China remains in a trade war with the US which has hurt the economy.

According to Robin Brant, a BBC China correspondent, lockdown measures in China and its measures to control the virus and some government stimulus have appeared to do its job.

While 4.9% is slightly lower than forecasted, industrial output have come in above expectations.

Cash Injections

For the second quarter of this year, economic growth in China reached 3.2% as it started its rebound.

“China’s economy remains on the recovery path, driven by a rebound in exports,” said Yoshikiyo Shimamine, chief economist at the Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo.

“But we cannot say it has completely shaken off the drag caused by the coronavirus.”

Tourism

The boost should also come from this month’s “Golden Week” – an annual holiday in October that sees millions of Chinese travel.

With majority of international borders shut off at the moment, millions of Chinese have been doing their travelling domestically instead. 

According to its Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 637 million trips in China over the eight-day holiday which generated revenue of 466.6bn RMB ($69.6bn, £53.8bn). The tropical island province of Hainan also saw a double in their duty-free sales , up to nearly 150% according to local customs data.

Nigerians Face Police Brutality and A “Rogue Police Force”

A nationwide protest over police brutality has recently rocked the nation and world, following claims of kidnapping, harassment and extortion by a controversial police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The protest took a turn for the worst when blood was spilt on Tuesday in Lagos, as rally goers continue on in the nation’s largest city despite a state-wide curfew. Eyewitnesses told CNN in an interview that soldiers had shot down multiple demonstrators.

According to Amnesty International, a global movement that campaigns to end abuses of human rights, at least 56 people have died during two weeks of widespread demonstrations against police violence, including 38 on Tuesday.

The Nigerian inspector general of police announced 10 days ago that the widely criticized SARS unit was being disbanded and its officers are being redeployed.

Protest continued throughout as some young Nigerians insist they will continue to take to the streets until the entire police force in enforced.

SARS and its controversy

SARS has led the country in its most serious crimes – armed robbery, kidnapping, assault and even murder. All these has worsened over time as the alleged abuses were exempted from punishment of an sorts.

Following a month’s long worth of social media campaigns by Nigerian activists protesting alleged human rights abuse by the infamous squad, the government has promised to overhaul the unit back in 2018; but critics says that the campaign has led to little change.

A report in June this year has also revealed 82 documented cases of brutality in Nigeria between 2017 and 2020.

“Detainees in SARS custody have been subjected to a variety of methods of torture including hanging, mock execution, beating, punching and kicking, burning with cigarettes, waterboarding, near-asphyxiation with plastic bags, forcing detainees to assume stressful bodily positions and sexual violence,” the report said.

“Findings from our research indicate that few cases are investigated and hardly any officers are brought to justice on account of torture and other ill-treatment.”

Protesting turned sour

Demonstrations have largely remain peaceful until the police were accused of using excessive force against protesters that allegedly led to a number of deaths and injuries.

Violence took over in the city of Lagos after state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu imposed a 24 hour curfew and deployed anit-riot police.

One witness at the protests, Akinbosola Ogunsanya, said lights were turned off and CCTV cameras were removed before “members of the Nigerian army pulled up on us and they started firing.”

“They were shooting, they were firing straight, directly at us, and a lot of people got hit. I just survived, barely,” Ogunsanya said.

Another witness, Temple Onanugbo, spoke to CNN from his home nearby and said he heard what he believed were bullets being fired. He said the sound lasted “for about 15 to 30 minutes.” Onanugbo said he saw “multiple bodies laying on the ground.”

Amnesty International said on Tuesday it had received “credible but disturbing evidence” of “excessive use of force occasioning deaths of protesters.”

“While we continue to investigate the killings, Amnesty International wishes to remind the authorities that under international law, security forces may only resort to the use of lethal force when strictly unavoidable to protect against imminent threat of death or serious injury,” the rights group also tweeted.

Covid-19 Surge Won’t Stop Sarawak Elections as “Other Countries Did It Too”

After the Sabah state elections leading to a rise in Covid-19 cases, you might think that Malaysian politicians have learnt their lesson; well, you thought wrong.

Although it went as far as PM Muhyiddin himself admitting that the elections were a mistake as it directly led to the surge in positive cases that we see today.

As much of trouble the nation seems to be in, certain ministers would rather look at other countries instead of focusing on our own. Deputy Chief Minister of Sarawak, Tan Sri James Masing has recently announced that the pandemic would not stop Sarawak from hoolding its 12th state elections as they would just have to follow the rules and SOPs that will be set in place.

“Covid-19 is one factor but there are other countries who have held elections during this pandemic. This includes Singapore, South Korea, and New Zealand,” he said in statement recorded by Sinar Harian.

When questioned about the people’s well-being and the possibility of Sarawak going through what Sabah is experiencing right now, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the elections will take place will strict adherence to regulations and SOPs. 

“They will hold the elections without facing any problems as long as the SOPs are followed.”

“We don’t have a choice. If we don’t hold the elections now, after five years, the State Legislative Assembly will be dissolved,” he said, adding that he didn’t know any options that would allow the elections to be postponed. 

“The decision to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly to give way to the elections rests with the chief minister,” he added

The Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had said previously that the Sarawak state election will still happen because of the capabilities and effectiveness of the Sarawak government in containing the Covid-19 spread effectively.

NASA and Nokia Are Bringing A 4G Network To the Moon

Former mobile phone giant and now equipment maker Nokia has recently announced its expansion into the new world by scoring themselves a deal to install the first cellular network on the moon.

The Finnish equipment manufacturer was selected by NASA to implement an “ultra-compact, low-power, space-hardened” wireless 4G network on the surface of the moon as part of plans to establish a long-term presence on the moon by 2030.

The contract that is worth US$14.1 million that is awarded to Nokia’s US subsidiary is part of NASA’s Artemis programme which aims to put the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024.

Further experiments and explorations will also be carried out that will hopefully help with developing the first human mission to Mars.

Nokia said that the network equipment will be installed using a lunar hopper built by Intuitive Machines in late 2022.

“The network will self-configure upon deployment,” the firm said in a statement, adding that the wireless technology will allow for “vital command and control functions, remote control of lunar rovers, real-time navigation and streaming of high definition video.”

The 4G equipment can also be updated to 5G in the future if needed, Nokia said.

NASA announced last week that it would distribute $370 million to 14 companies to supply “Tipping Point” technology for its mission, which includes robotics and new methods of harvesting essential resources such as oxygen and energy resources that are required for living on the moon.

According to NASA, a partial of the funding went to companies researching cryogenic propellants, freezing liquids used to fuel spacecraft.

Among them, Elon Musk’s SpaceX received US$53.2 million for their demonstration of transferring ten metrics tons of liquid oxygen between tanks on a starship vehicle.

Proper Temperature Checks Don’t Involve Your Hands

Ever since false claims of how thermal scanning on the forehead may somehow cause side-effects towards the brains of those scanned, the public has taken an abnormal approach to it by placing their arms and hands instead on thermal scanning machines.

The Ministry of Health has again and again advised the public to not do so as they should rely solely on their forehead to get their temperatures checked. 

According to Harian Metro, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the ministry discouraged people from recording their body temperatures by pointing the ‘temperature gun’ at the wrist, which he noted many have been doing lately.

He emphasized also on how the most accurate body temperature readings are obtained from the forehead and not anywhere else. 

“The temperature reading from body parts other than the forehead is doubtful, so in relation to that, the public is advised to stop using their hands or other body parts,” he explained.

The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations – (FOMCA) wrote that the Seattle Children’s Hospital, a person’s clinical body temperature is normally measured at the forehead, ears, mouth, armpit, or rectum.

Rectal thermometers are considered to be too invasive and is rarely utilised by health personnel unless absolutely necessary.

Rectal temperatures are the most accurate but are the most invasive by far, which is why health personnel have always adopted the forehead as a second best thermal screening area.

Arms are not considered in temperature checks as they are the peripheral parts of the body, and extremities would have temperatures at the arms vary depending on environmental conditions.

The normal human body temperature varies from 36.5°C to 37.5°C, any temperature higher would be considered a fever.

Dr Noor Hisham also assured to the public on how there have been no reported side effects of scanning the forehead with infrared light

“We do not deny that many people are worried about side effects if they use the thermometer on their foreheads, but as far as we know, there is no scientific data that states it will cause illness,” he said.

Food Stall With 19 Years of History in Kwai Chai Hong, Chinatown Burned Down

Facebook (DJ Yin 盈盈)

A long-time running Chee Cheong Fun stall at the historical Kwai Chai Hong in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown was found to be burned down on Monday.

Shared by a Facebook user, the news was shared to her in a messaging group and city-dwellers and netizens have started coming to the support of the stall owner ever since.

Facebook (DJ Yin 盈盈)

Upon visiting the stall, the user who shared the news on Facebook immediately asked about the now burned down stall. Disheartened, the uncle answered about how he doesn’t know and maybe he just made too many enemies along the way and years.

The stall was solely run by the uncle for more than 19 years and had previously took a four month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he just recently came back to running the stall. There were also worries among netizens about how the owner will still be worried even if the stall is rebuilt later on.

Facebook (DJ Yin 盈盈)

The user added on how the uncle was rummaging through the burnt up leftovers of his stall and seemed lost while pondering through the 19 years he has ran the stall.

Facebook (DJ Yin 盈盈)

Nearby construction workers have since helped to clean out the junk and also offered building materials and also some of the workers to help rebuild the stall.

CCTV footage shows an individual throwing a fire at the stall late in the night and leaving the scene immediately; however, the identity of the perpetrator remains unknown

“This pandemic has already been hard enough on all of us” said one netizen. “Now it’s just salt on the wound for this stall owner”.

“I’ve been here for almost 10 years” said another. “It’s just now because of work that I’ve rarely been there”.

Many students at the nearby Advance Tertiary College (ATC) are frequent go-ers of the stall; the college has since started a donation drive for the stall owner which has summed up to RM5,000 as of Monday morning. 

Donations will be accepted up until the 21st of October and be passed to the uncle on the 23rd of October. 

Thousands of Thais Rally on Despite Government Ban and Water Cannons

Since 2014, the military in Thailand seized power over the nation; however, that changed following the elections in Thailand last year, as many of the youth and first-time voters saw this as an opportunity for a change from military rule.

Prayuth Chan-ocha
Thanthorn Juangroongruangkit

Prayuth Chan-ocha had the all-important military backing and was re-installed as prime minister. The Future Forward Party (FFP) who was pro-democratic and lead by Thanthorn Juangroongruangkit was popular among young voters and garnered the third largest share of seats.

The party was fored to disband after a court ruled that FFP had received a loan that was deemed an illegal donation from Mr Thanarton, thousands of young Thais were unhappy with the decision and eventually took to the streets to show their disapproval.

Wanchalearm Satsaksit

Covid-19 had initially put the demonstrations to a halt but then resumed in June when Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a prominent pro-democracy activist, went missing. 

The activist who had been living in Cambodia since his exile in 2014, was allegedly grabbed off a street and force into a vehicle; protestors accused foul play and the Thai state for masterminding the kidnapping in which the police and government have denied.

Protestors have also called on the King’s decision to declare Crown wealth as his personal property, which would result in him being the wealthiest person in Thailand. There was also enquiries over the King’s decision to take personal command of all military units based in Bangkok.

Thousands of Thais have rallied on for days, despite a ban on gatherings and authorities’ use of water cannons on demonstrators.

“We had no armour, just umbrellas,” a 25-year-old public servant told the AFP news service amid claims that the water contained a chemical that stung the eyes.

Another protester, Min, was carrying a helmet and gas mask, 18, said: “I’m concerned for my safety but if I don’t come out, I have no future.”

Protesters who gave the three-fingered salute of resistance, inspired by the Hunger Games film, also carried signs saying “You can’t kill us, we’re everywhere” and “stop hurting people”. 

According to the Bangkok Post, at least 20,000 had turned out to protest at Lat Phrao, Wongwian Yai and Udomsuk.

Police spokesman Yingyos Thepjamnong says that they will “primarily negotiate” and “Enforcing the law will be step by step, using methods that follow international standards.”

As of now, dozens of activists have since been  arrested including a human rights lawyer Anon Nampa, student activist Parit Chiwarak – widely known by his nickname “Penguin” – and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul.

Chicken Rice Seller Fined RM3000 While Travelling For Work During CMCO

A chicken rice seller in USJ4 was given a hefty fine under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) as only two individuals are allowed to be in a vehicle at once.

Malaysians have since have mixed reviews regarding the CMCO SOPs, with many questioning the reasoning behind this incident and saying that it doesn’t make sense.

A viral post by the SJ Echo Facebook page claims that the SOPs are unfairly implemented and this may force the famous chicken rice seller in USJ4, Subang Jaya to close his stall after being slapped with a fine of RM3000 in total, merely for travelling from home to work and back.

SJ Echo said that the small business owner, Seow Boon Keong was travelling with his two sisters and one nephew in the car, all of whom work with him at the Chuan Kee chicken rice stall.

“We travel from Jenjarom daily to USJ 4 to operate our chicken rice stall. It’s 30km one way from Jenjarom. Because of the distance and also because the other three cannot drive, we travel in the same car,” he said.

“All we do as a routine is [to] head to work from Jenjarom in the morning and go home by around 3.30pm when we finish work. We don’t go anywhere else,” SJ Echo reported the man as saying.

They were heading home from work when stopped along the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP) by a policeman near the USJ toll plaza.

Despite having a letter to prove that he runs a chicken rice stall in USJ4, he was still issued a RM1,000 fine for each of the passengers in the vehicle.

“The two-passengers a vehicle SOP is not fair for people like us who run a business,” Seow said. 

He also added on how he may have to close down each time a guideline/SOP of such was imposed ,which would result in him losing his only source of income for the family.

“Because of the distance from Jenjarom to USJ 4, it would cost RM40 one way for two persons to travel that distance by Grab,” he said, adding that they do not go anywhere else except home to work and back.

The Subang Member of Parliament (MP), Wong Chen has since listed down the grounds for the chicken rice stall owner can file an appeal.

Now a bit of local community news. A favourite Subang Jaya chicken rice seller operating in USJ4 was recently fined by…

Posted by Wong Chen on Friday, October 16, 2020

“First is the fact that all three passengers are a family and living together, therefore being in the car together does not increase the risk of spreading the pandemic. Second, they were not on a joyride but on their way to work, which is not a prohibited activity under the CMCO,” he wrote on his official Facebook page.

“Based on these two mitigating points the police should consider dropping the total of RM3,000 of compounds and just issue a warning,” he said, adding, “it’s also wrong for the government to implement strict enforcement when it is also equally guilty of constantly updating and changing the CMCO SOPs”.

Chen has also said that the government should issue more warnings instead of compounds during this period as it is more or so an adjustment period for the public.

“This particular case also highlights the need to tweak the CMCO two passenger rule, to provide exemptions for family members travelling for work purposes. The economy is not doing well, therefore the CMCO SOPs should not add on further challenges to the overall sluggish economic activities,” he said.

Woman Dies After Falling into Coma During Unlicensed Liposuction Surgery

A bride-to-be who wanted to look perfect on her wedding day, has recently died as she put her trust in the hands of an unlicensed beauty parlor to perform a liposuction procedure on her.

The victim who was also a model passed out during the procedure and was rushed to the hospital immediately, she was unfortunately pronounced dead not soon after.

According to her friend, the victim was going to tie the knot with her boyfriend next year and wanted to look perfect.

Liposuction surgery is a technique in cosmetic surgery for removing excess fat from under the skin by suction, hence, she paid RM2,500 for a liposuction procedure to make her arms look slimmer.

A background check revealed that the beauty parlor located in Sunway Velocity Mall was registered under SSM to be only selling beauty products and not licensed to perform any plastic surgeries. The two beauty practitioners also don’t possess any legitimate certificates to perform plastic surgeries.

A friend who was present during the procedure said that the practitioner had looked anxious at one point and that’s where she realized that something wasn’t right. When things turned sour, an ambulance was called for; the paramedic tried to resuscitate her, but she was pronounced dead after reaching the hospital. 

The deceased 23-year-old, Coco Siew, started her modelling career aged 16 and won the Asia New Star Model Contest in 2014.

Siew’s family was informed about her death around noon on October 17th. Her brother soon lodged a police report.

The brother said that his sister lived a very healthy lifestyle and he was proud of her sister’s achievements.

” Hopefully my sister’s experience will serve as a warning to others, and tragedy like this won’t happen again,” he said.

The 23-year-old beauty practitioner who was the person in charge of the procedure, is currently investigate by the police; the beauty parlor has since deleted its Instagram account upon the incident and is yet to comment on the tragedy.

Influencer Uses Googled Picture of a Bloodied Piano to Prove Her “Hardship”

A Malaysian influencer was recently called out for using a Googled image of a bloodied piano to give the impression of the extreme outcome of her practicing on her piano.

The post was written by an anonymous netizen and published on a forum-like Facebook page, Utar Confession yesterday on October 15th.

“Is it just us who think that (the influencer) is very detestable?” netizens began exposing the said influencer.

“At first, I have to admit that my boyfriend and I really liked (the influencer). She knows how to play the piano; she is beautiful, tall, and fit.”

“But I don’t know when I start feeling that this person’s character is very strange.”

Some defended her by how she had posted a fake piano certificate to prove how hard she had worked to be a professional pianist, but it was later revealed that the certificate was fake as the name is just simply replaced.

The controversy continued when the girl shared a picture of a bloodstained piano on her Instagram story.

The caption reads, “In the past, a day before exams or competitions, every minute in an hour was meticulously used.”

“If I had 24 hours left, I practised 20 hours until my wrists, back, and hands were sore, and my nails broke and bled.”

Netizens who were shocked at first realized that it was a gimmick as a quick “blood on piano” search on Google shows the exact same picture, explaining where the image’s source came from.

Many were quick to leave their own thoughts and comments on the now deleted post as it attracted thousands of netizens. Some criticized the girl for her boastfulneess while other were mentioning psychological hardships that she might be facing.

Here’s a screenshot of the now deleted post: