MH370 kept hidden at top-secret US military base – media reports

EEV: Basic conspiracy hypothesis, it is where this article is posted which is of interest. ( Voice of Russia, International Business Times )

MH370 kept hidden at top-secret US military base - media reports

The Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared three weeks ago, remains missing despite the efforts of an international search team. In the absence of new information on the location and fate of the plane, there is no shortage of conspiracy theories. According to one of the latest, unlike what Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak backed by his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott is claiming, the plane did not crash into the southern Indian Ocean but was captured.

Continue reading “MH370 kept hidden at top-secret US military base – media reports”

China does not yet find Malaysian reports credible, contiues searching all possible areas for MH370

China sends special envoy to Malaysia, vows to continue search for MH370


Kuala Lumpur

(Xinhua)    07:22, March 26, 2014

THE HAGUE/KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — China said Tuesday it would send a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur to deal with the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and vowed to continue the search in targeted waters.

Continue reading “China does not yet find Malaysian reports credible, contiues searching all possible areas for MH370”

Report: Investigators suspect missing Malaysian plane flew for hours after last sighting

–   national security officials believe the plane flew for a total of five hours based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing Co 777’s engines as part of a standard monitoring program,

03/13/2014 09:16

US inspectors exploring possibility that someone deliberately disabled transponder, diverted plane to another location, sources say.


Malaysian and Chinese journalists look for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, March 13, 2014.  Photo: REUTERS
US investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing two people familiar with the details.

Malaysian Airline passengers’ phones still ringing?

MH 777
MH 777 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The ‘unprecedented mystery’ behind the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 deepened on Monday when relatives claimed they were able to call the cellphones of their missing loved ones.

According to the Washington Post, family of some of the 239 people on board the vanished Boeing 777 said that they were getting ring tones and could see them as online through a Chinese social networking service called QQ.

One man said that the QQ account of his brother-in-law showed him as active, but frustratingly for those waiting desperately for any news, messages sent have gone unanswered and the calls have not been picked up.

Indeed, the phantom phone calls and online presence set off a whole new level of hysteria for relatives who have spent the past three-days cooped-up in a Beijing hotel waiting for some concrete information on the missing plane. Continue reading “Malaysian Airline passengers’ phones still ringing?”

Men with stolen IDs on missing Malaysian jet used stolen Austrian and Italian passports

Men with stolen IDs on missing Malaysian jet not of Asian appearance

Photo: EPA

The two unidentified men who used stolen passports to board the Malaysian airliner that went missing on Saturday were not of Asian appearance, the chief Malaysian investigator said today. Flight MH370 disappeared early on Saturday about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.

Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers had used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had also used false identity documents.

Debris not from missing Malaysian plane – Vietnam

A floating object previously reported to resemble an overturned liferaft was not part of the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing over the South China Sea, Vietnamese authorities said Monday. Continue reading “Men with stolen IDs on missing Malaysian jet used stolen Austrian and Italian passports”

No automated messages from missing Boeing jet -sources

Source: Reuters – Mon, 10 Mar 2014 06:28 PM

Author: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 (Reuters) – The Malaysian passenger jet that disappeared on Saturday did not make automatic contact with a flight data-monitoring system after vanishing from radar screens, two people familiar with the matter said.

The Boeing 777-200ER is equipped with a maintenance computer capable of talking to the ground automatically through short messages known as ACARS.

These help technicians prepare any necessary repairs and shorten turnaround times at the destination.

Automated ACARS error messages from an Airbus A330 that vanished in the Atlantic in 2009 focused attention initially on inconsistent speed readings as a possible cause of that crash. Continue reading “No automated messages from missing Boeing jet -sources”

Stolen passports were used to buy two tickets for Malaysia Airlines missing flight

Passenger list at centre of missing Malaysia Airlines probe as radar shows flight ‘may have turned back’

UPDATED : Sunday, 09 March, 2014, 2:34pm

Keith Zhai, Patrick Boehler, Danny Lee and agencies


Malaysian authorities announced on Sunday that the identities of a further two passengers supposedly on board missing flight MH370 flight were being probed, after a pair of tickets were earlier found to have been booked using stolen passports.

The entire passenger list was today under scrutiny as Malaysian officials worked with counter terrorism units and the FBI to verify the identities of all 239 people on board the flight.

Investigations into exactly who was on board continued as Malaysian military officials said radar records indicated that the flight had turned back towards Kuala Lumpur before it vanished.

Rodzali Daud, the Royal Malaysian Air Force chief, said: “What we have done is actually look into the recording on the radar that we have and we realised there is a possibility the aircraft did make a turnback.” Continue reading “Stolen passports were used to buy two tickets for Malaysia Airlines missing flight”

Malaysian court rules use of “Allah” exclusive to Muslims

Source: Reuters – Mon, 14 Oct 2013 02:43 AM

Author: Reuters


By Siva Sithraputhran

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Oct 14 (Reuters) – A Malaysian court ruled on Monday that a Christian newspaper may not use the word “Allah” to refer to God, a landmark decision on an issue that has fanned religious tensions and raised questions over minority rights in the mainly Muslim country.

The unanimous decision by three Muslim judges in Malaysia’s appeals court overturned a 2009 ruling by a lower court that allowed the Malay language version of the newspaper, The Herald, to use the word Allah – as many Christians in Malaysia say has been the case for centuries.

“The usage of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith in Christianity,” chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali said in the ruling. “The usage of the word will cause confusion in the community.”

The decision coincides with heightened ethnic and religious tensions in Malaysia after a polarising May election, in which the long-ruling coalition was deserted by urban voters that included a large section of minority ethnic Chinese.

In recent months, Prime Minister Najib Razak has sought to consolidate his support among majority ethnic Malays, who are Muslim by law, and secure the backing of traditionalists ahead of a crucial ruling party assembly this month.

His new government – dominated by his Malay-based United Malays National Organisation – has toughened security laws and introduced steps to boost a decades-old affirmative action policy for ethnic Malays, reversing liberal reforms aimed at appealing to a broader section of multi-ethnic Malaysia.

In its case, the government argued that the word Allah is specific to Muslims and that the then-home minister’s decision in 2008 to deny the newspaper permission to print it was justified on the basis of public order.

Lawyers for the Catholic paper had argued that the word Allah predates Islam and had been used extensively by Malay-speaking Christians in Malaysia’s part of Borneo island for centuries. They say they will appeal against Monday’s decision to Malaysia’s highest court.

Christians in Indonesia and much of the Arab world continue to use the word without opposition from Islamic authorities. Churches in the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak have said they will continue to use the word regardless of the ruling.

The paper won a judicial review of the home minister’s decision in 2009, triggering an appeal from the federal government.

Ethnic Malays make up 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people, with Chinese accounting for more than a quarter and ethnic Indians also forming a substantial minority. Christians account for around 9 percent.   (Editing by Stuart Grudgings and Paul Tait)

Malaysian woman, 38, arrested after Muslim outrage over video showing her performing religious rites on her dogs

  • Clip  features Maznah Mohd Yusof, 38,  celebrating the Eid al-Fitr  festival
  • Video shows woman washing her dog’s legs and  feeding them biscuits
  • Investigated on suspicion of causing  disharmony on religious grounds
  • Arrested last Wednesday and taken into  custody before being released

By  Mark Duell

PUBLISHED: 10:16 EST, 4  August 2013 |  UPDATED: 10:16 EST, 4 August 2013

A video showing a woman performing a washing  ritual on her pets has been branded  ‘anti-Islamic’.

The controversial two-minute YouTube clip  features dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof, 38, celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival  – known as Hari Raya in Malaysia, where it was filmed – washing her dogs’  legs.

It also shows Maznah walking near a mosque  and feeding biscuits to her pets and appeared on the Facebook pages of several  Islamic non-governmental organisations, prompting police to take  action.

Scroll down  for video

Controversial: The two-minute clip features dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof, 38, celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival - known as Hari Raya in Malaysia, where it was filmed - washing her dogs' legsControversial: The two-minute clip features dog trainer  Maznah Mohd Yusof, 38, celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival – known as Hari Raya  in Malaysia, where it was filmed – washing her dogs’ legs

Wiped down: Maznah was investigated on suspicion of causing disharmony on grounds of religion and arrested on Wednesday before being taken into custody in Kuala Lumpur and released on bail on FridayWiped down: Maznah was investigated on suspicion of  causing disharmony on grounds of religion and arrested on Wednesday before being  taken into custody in Kuala Lumpur and released on bail on Friday

Maznah was investigated on suspicion of  causing disharmony on grounds of religion and arrested last Wednesday and taken  into custody in Kuala Lumpur, before  being released on bail last  Friday.

It has been suggested that she could face up  to five years in prison if charged and found guilty. But Maznah has claimed the  video was filmed in 2010 and has nothing to do with insulting Islam.

She said that she was simply reminding people  to celebrate Eid al-Fitr – a holiday which marks the end of Ramadan and  literally means ‘the festival of breaking the fast’ – with animals and  humans.

The video has also sparked a debate over the  status of dogs in Islam, with many Muslims brought up in devout households  taught that dogs are scary and dirty – and that their saliva is  unclean.

Biscuits: It has been suggested that she could face up to five years in prison if charged and found guilty. But Maznah has claimed the video was filmed in 2010 and has nothing to do with insulting IslamBiscuits: It has been suggested that she could face up  to five years in prison if charged and found guilty. But Maznah has claimed the  video was filmed in 2010 and has nothing to do with insulting Islam

Reasoning: She said that she was simply reminding people to celebrate Eid al-Fitr - a holiday which marks the end of Ramadan and literally means 'the festival of breaking the fast' - with animals and humansReasoning: She said that she was simply reminding people  to celebrate Eid al-Fitr – a holiday which marks the end of Ramadan and  literally means ‘the festival of breaking the fast’ – with animals and  humans

But many Muslims around the world own dogs –  and while some argue that the animals should only be allowed for security and  hunting, others claim it is right to be kind to creatures on Earth.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya told Malaysia’s  Star newspaper that Maznah has admitted to  police that she is behind the video. Another of her lawyers said she will only  have to attend court in future if required.

‘If she fails to be present in court, she  will have to pay a fine of RM10,000 (£2,000),’ the lawyer, G. Visvanathan Nair,  told the Star.

The video, uploaded by a ‘Acaiseven Fiska’ to  YouTube last Monday, is entitled ‘menghina Islam . 1 hari di hari raya’ and has  been viewed more than 200,000 times.

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First Vatican envoy to Malaysia sparks Muslim anger over ‘Allah’ / state government would not allow the word Allah to be used by non-Muslims in their holy books



First Vatican envoy to Malaysia sparks Muslim anger over 'Allah'

The Vatican’s first envoy to Malaysia has opened a storm of controversy by apparently supporting the use of the word “Allah” by Christians, prompting a rebuke from the government and condemnation from nationalist Malay groups in the majority-Muslim country.

The row underlines growing intolerance in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious country following an election in May that deepened the divide between majority Muslim Malays and minority ethnic Chinese, many of whom are Christian.

Archbishop Joseph Marino was summoned to the foreign ministry on Tuesday after his comments last week on the issue.

“Archbishop Marino was advised to be mindful of the religious sensitivities of the host country and that the issue he commented on is still under the Court of Appeal,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Marino, who arrived in the country in April, apologized for any “misunderstandings and inconveniences” his comments may have caused, but some Muslim organizations have demanded a full retraction or the envoy’s expulsion.

“The ambassador’s comment has touched on the sensitivities of Muslims and should not have happened, more so in the (fasting) month of Ramadan,” Hassan Ali, the head of JATI, an Islamic group, was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama.

In his first media interview since starting his new role, Marino said last week he supported the arguments made by the Christian Federation of Malaysia on why Christians should be allowed to use Allah.

“In terms of how they presented the arguments in favor, it seems to be quite logical and acceptable,” he said.

A Catholic newspaper, the Herald, successfully challenged the government’s ban on the use of the word Allah by Christians in 2009. The government, which argued that the use of the Arabic word might offend the sensitivities of Muslims, is planning to appeal the High Court decision.

Scholars say Christians in Malaysia’s two states on Borneo island have been using Allah to mean God for over 100 years, mainly as they use Indonesian translations of the Bible.

Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million population, see using the word Allah in Christian publications, including Bibles, as attempts to proselytize.

On Tuesday, the chief minister of Kedah state, Mukhriz Mahathir, said the state government would not allow the word Allah to be used by non-Muslims in their holy books.

“We cannot accept their excuses because hidden behind those excuses is the aim of turning Muslims into disbelievers of the religion,” Bernama reported Mukhriz, a son of long-serving former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, as saying.

Christians, including about 800,000 Catholics, make up about 9.1 percent of Malaysia’s population. Malays are by definition Muslims and are not allowed to convert.

Malaysian couple told to surrender for uploading on their Facebook page a picture depicting them eating bak kut teh, or pork rib soup during Ramadhan

Malaysian sex blog couple told to surrender

The Star/Asia News Network Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013

PETALING JAYA – Malaysia’s Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has asked a pair of controversial sex bloggers to surrender themselves to the Kuala Lumpur police.

Mr Khalid said the police wanted to investigate Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee for causing disharmony, disunity and hatred on grounds of religion, which means they can be arrested, the Malaysian Insider reported.

Last Thursday, Mr Tan and Ms Lee uploaded on their Facebook page a picture depicting them eating bak kut teh, or pork rib soup, and describing it as fragrant, delicious and appetising, with a Selamat Berbuka Puasa (Happy Breaking Fast) greeting.

They could be prosecuted for displaying offensive pictures and words under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

The offence is punishable with a fine of up to RM50,000 (S$19,714) or a one-year prison term, or both.

China woman seeks suitable Malaysian man as life partner

EEV: Always enjoy some of the stories that make headline news.
Wed, Jul 10, 2013

The Star/Asia News Network

A 37-year-old China woman put up an advertisement in a local daily looking for a suitable Malaysian man as her husband,China Press and Sin Chew Daily reported.

China Press quoted Sun Lu (pic) as saying that she has lost confidence in men in China after her first marriage failed six years ago. She has a seven-year-old boy from that marriage.

In the advertisement, Sun Lu claimed to be a beautiful woman from Shenyang and that she was looking for a successful man below 50 years old.

The man, she added, must be financially stable.

Sun Lu, who is currently in Kuala Lumpur, said she decided to put up the advertisement after her aunt, who is also from China, and her aunt’s Malaysian husband encouraged her to do so.

“I have dated some Malaysian men introduced by my aunt and her husband during my first visit to Malaysia last year. But none were suitable,” she said.

Sun Lu, who claimed to be doing business for several years, came to Malaysia again on June 3, and put up the advertisement for three days in the local daily.

Sun Lu said the appearance of the man was not important but he must be willing to accept her son.

Sun Lu’s uncle, known only as Peng, told China Press that Sun Lu received numerous calls after the advertisement was published.

“She has met 10 of them and there was one who never returned after going to the toilet,” Peng said.

Sun Lu’s aunt Wang Feng Jun, 49, said some of the men were insincere and just left after seeing Sun Lu.

Sin Chew Daily reported that Sun Lu had no time to talk to the daily’s reporter as she was busy taking calls from interested suitors.

Sun Lu has yet to find Mr Right.


Woman sleeps with boyfriend with her family in the house

EEV: Enjoy what makes headlines in the rest of the world




The Star/Asia News Network Friday, Jun 21, 2013

A twenty-year-old woman was caught sleeping in a room with her boyfriend although her family, including her grandmother, was in the same house at the time, reported Harian Metro.

The Malacca Islamic Religious Department (Jaim) enforcement officers caught the woman with her 26-year-old boyfriend in a room in her family home in Masjid Tanah.

In the house during the 1.30am raid on Tuesday were the woman’s father aged 49, mother, 46, grandmother, 78, and younger sister, 19.

The religious authorities raided the house upon receiving a tip-off.

Jaim enforcement chief Rahimin Bani was quoted as saying that the couple were detained under Section 53 of the Malacca Syariah Offences Enactment.

If found guilty, the offender is liable to a RM3,000 fine, a two-year jail term or both.

New Chinese President Xi aims to paint Africa red

Nile Bowie is a political analyst and photographer currently residing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Published time: March 12, 2013 10:51                                                                            
China's Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping (Reuters/Jason Lee)

China’s Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping (Reuters/Jason Lee)

The fact that China’s incoming president, Xi Jinping, is set to visit Africa on his first foreign trip is a strong indication of where Sino-African relations are headed. But as Beijing focuses on building African industry, Washington has other plans.

At a recently held meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, China’s leaders unveiled a dramatic long-term plan to integrate some 400 million countryside dwellers into urban environments, by concentrating growth-promoting development in small- and medium-sized cities. In stark contrast to the neglected emphasis on infrastructure development in the United States and Europe, China spends around $500 billion annually on infrastructural projects, with $6.4 trillion set aside for its 10-year mass urbanization scheme, making it the largest rural-to-urban migration project in human history.

China’s leaders have mega-development in focus, and realizing such epic undertakings not only requires the utilization of time-efficient high-volume production methods, but also resources – lots and lots of resources. It should come as no surprise that incoming Chinese president Xi Jinping’s first trip as head of state will take him to Africa, to deepen the mutually beneficial trade and energy relationships maintained throughout the continent that have long irked policy makers in Washington.

The new guy in charge – who some analysts have suggested could be a populist reformer that empathizes with the poor – will visit several African nations with whom China has expressed a desire to expand ties with, the most prominent being South Africa. Since establishing relations in 1998, bilateral trade between the two jumped from $1.5 billion to $16 billion as of 2012. Following a relationship that has consisted predominately of economic exchanges, China and South Africa have now announced plans to enhance military ties in a show of increasing political and security cooperation.

During 2012’s Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, incumbent President Hu Jintao served up $20 billion in loans to African countries, which were designated for the construction of vital infrastructure such as new roads, railways and ports to enable higher volumes of trade and export. In his address to the forum, South African President Jacob Zuma spoke of the long-term unsustainability of the current model of Sino-African trade, in which raw materials are sent out and manufactured commodities are sent in.

This picture taken on June 12, 2012 shows the managing editor of China Central Television (CCTV) Africa Pang Xinhua (L) talking to local journalist as he shows them how the organization has expanded in different parts of Africa, in the premises of the television in Nairobi. (AFP Photo/Simon Maina)

This picture taken on June 12, 2012 shows the managing editor of China Central Television (CCTV) Africa Pang Xinhua (L) talking to local journalist as he shows them how the organization has expanded in different parts of Africa, in the premises of the television in Nairobi. (AFP Photo/Simon Maina)

“Africa’s past economic experience with Europe dictates a need to be cautious when entering into partnerships with other economies,” Zuma said. “We certainly are convinced that China’s intention is different to that of Europe, which to date continues to attempt to influence African countries for their sole benefit.”

Xi’s visit highlights the importance China attaches to Sino-African ties, and during his stay, he will attend the fifth meeting of the BRICS, the first summit held on the African continent to accommodate leaders of the world’s most prominent emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The BRICS group, which accounts for around 43% of the world’s population and 17% of global trade, is set to increase investments in Africa’s industrial sector threefold, from $150 billion in 2010 to $530 billion in 2015, under the theme ‘BRICS and Africa: Partnership for development, integration, and industrialization.’

With focus shifting toward building up the continent’s industrial sector, South Africa is no doubt seen as a springboard into Africa and a key development partner on the continent for other BRICS members. Analysts have likened the BRICS group to represent yet another significant step away from a unipolar global economic order, and it comes as no surprise. As eurozone countries languish amidst austerity, record unemployment and major demand contraction, the European Union has declined as a share of South Africa’s total trade from 36% in 2005 to 26.5% in 2011, while the BRICS countries’ total trade increased from 10% in 2005 to 18.6% in 2011.

The value and significance of the BRICS platform is its ability to proliferate South-South political and economic ties, and one should expect the reduction of trade barriers and the gradual adoption of economic exchanges using local currencies. China’s ICBC paid $5.5 billion for a 20% stake in Standard Bank of South Africa in 2007, and the move has played out well for Beijing – Standard has over 500 branches across 17 African countries, which has drastically increased availability of the Chinese currency, offering yuan accounts to expatriate traders.

It looks like the love story that has become of China and Africa will gradually begin shifting its emphasis toward building up a viable large-scale industrial base. Surveys out of Beijing cite 1,600 companies tapping into the use of Africa as an industrial base, with manufacturing’s share of total Chinese investment (22%) fast gaining on the mining sector’s (29%).

Gavin du Venage, writing for the Asia Times Online, highlights how Beijing’s policy toward Africa aims to be mutually beneficial and growth-promoting: “Chinese energy firm Sinopec teamed up with South African counterpart PetroSA to explore building a US$11 billion oil refinery on the country’s west coast. Refineries are notoriously unprofitable, with razor-thin margins. Since South Africa has no significant oil or proven gas reserves itself, the proposed plant would depend on imports, and would have to serve the local market to be viable. The plant will therefore serve the South African market and not be used to process exports to China. This is only the latest of such investments that demonstrate a willingness by Chinese investors to put down roots and infrastructure in Africa. It also shows that China’s dragon safari is about more than just sourcing commodities for export.”

Indeed, and Beijing’s dragon safari is loaded with a packed itinerary, with Mao-bucks flying everywhere from Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to Nigeria and Angola. Xi Jinping will also grace the Angolan capital of Luanda, where China has provided the oil-rich nation with some $4.5 billion in loans since 2002. Following Angola’s 27-year civil war that began in 1975, Beijing played a major role in the country’s reconstruction process, with 50 large-scale and state-owned companies and over 400 private companies operating in the country; it has since become China’s largest trading partner in Africa with a bilateral trade volume at some $20 billion dollars annually. Chinese Ambassador Zhang Bolun was quoted as saying how he saw great potential in further developing Sino-Angolan relations and assisting the nation in reducing its dependence on oil revenues while giving priority to the development of farming, service industries, renewable energies, transport and other basic infrastructure.

Chinese commercial activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have significantly increased not only in the mining sector, but also considerably in the telecommunications field. In 2000, the Chinese ZTE Corporation finalized a $12.6-million deal with the Congolese government to establish the first Sino-Congolese telecommunications company, while Kinshasa exported $1.4-billion worth of cobalt to Beijing between 2007 and 2008.

The majority of Congolese raw materials like cobalt, copper ore and a variety of hard woods are exported to China for further processing, and 90% of the processing plants in resource-rich southeastern Katanga province are owned by Chinese nationals. In 2008, a consortium of Chinese companies were granted the rights to mining operations in Katanga in exchange for $6 billion in infrastructure investments, including the construction of two hospitals, four universities and a hydroelectric power project; the International Monetary Fund intervened and blocked the deal, arguing that the agreement violated the foreign debt relief program for so-called HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) nations.

China has made significant investments in manufacturing zones in non-resource-rich economies such as Zambia and Tanzani, and as Africa’s largest trading partner China imports 1.5 million barrels of oil from Africa per day, accounting for approximately 30 percent of its total imports. In Ghana, China has invested in Ghanaian national airlines that primarily serve domestic routes, in addition to partnering with the Ghanaian government on a major infrastructural project to build the Bui Hydroelectric Dam. China-Africa trade rose from $10.6 billion in 2000 to $106.8 billion in 2008, at an annual growth rate of over 30 percent.

By the end of 2009, China had canceled out more than 300 zero-interest loans owed by 35 heavily indebted needy countries and the least developed countries in Africa. China is by far the largest financier on the entire continent, and Beijing’s economic influence in Africa is nowhere more apparent than the $200 million African Union headquarters situated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – which was funded solely by China.

Barack Obama and Xi Jinping speak during meetings in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 14, 2012. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

Barack Obama and Xi Jinping speak during meetings in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 14, 2012. (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

China’s deepening economic engagement in Africa and its crucial role in developing the mineral sector, telecommunications industry and much-needed infrastructural projects is creating “deep nervousness” in the West, according to David Shinn, the former US ambassador to Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. During a diplomatic tour of Africa in 2011, former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton insinuated China’s guilt in perpetuating a creeping “new colonialism.” When it comes to Africa, the significant differences in these two powers’ key economic, foreign policy strategies and worldviews are nowhere more apparent. Washington has evidently launched efforts to counter China’s influence throughout the African continent, and where Beijing focuses on economic development, the United States has sought to legitimize its presence through counterterrorism operations and the expansion of the United States Africa Command, better known as AFRICOM – an outpost of the US Military designated solely for operations on the African continent.

During a visit to AFRICOM in 2008, Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller cited AFRICOM’s stated mission of protecting “the free flow of natural resources from Africa to the global market,” before emphasizing how the increasing presence of China is a major challenge to US interests in the region. Washington recently announced that US Army teams will be deployed to as many as 35 African countries in early 2013 for training programs and other operations, as part of an increased Pentagon role in Africa – primarily in countries with groups allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda.

Given President Obama’s proclivity toward the proliferation of UAV drone technology, one could imagine these moves as laying the groundwork for future US military interventions using such technology in Africa on a wider scale than that already seen in Somalia and Mali. Here lies the deep hypocrisy in accusations of Beijing’s purported ‘new colonialism’ – China is focused on building industries, increasing development and improving administrative and well as physical infrastructure . The propagation of force, which one would historically associate with a colonizer, is entirely absent from China’s approach.

Obviously, the same cannot be said of the United States, whose firepower-heavy tactics have in recent times enabled militancy and lawlessness, as seen in the fallout of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 2011 bombing campaign in Libya, with notable civilian causalities. As Xi Jingping positions himself in power over a nation undertaking some of the grandest development projects the world has ever known, Beijing’s relationship with the African continent will be a crucial one. While everything looks good on paper, Xi’s administration must earn the trust of their African constituents by keeping a closer eye on operations happening on the ground.

The incoming administration must do more to scrutinize the conduct of Chinese conglomerates and business practices with a genuine focus on adhering to local environmental regulations, safety standards and sound construction methods. The current trajectory China has set itself upon will do much to enable mutually beneficial economic development, in addition to bolstering an independent Global South – a little less red then how Mao wanted it, but close enough.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

McDonald’s to give away 200,000 free burgers: “initiative was to reinforce the importance of starting the day with a wholesome breakfast”

The Star/Asia News Network Saturday, Nov 17, 2012

PETALING JAYA – They say eat breakfast like a king and McDonald’s Malaysia has decided to celebrate the most important meal of the day by giving away over 200,000 free Egg McMuffin burgers on Monday.

Called the McDonald’s Breakfast Day, all of its restaurants nationwide will be giving away freshly-made Egg McMuffin burgers to the first 1,000 customers.

McDonald’s Malaysia managing director Sarah Casanova said the initiative was to reinforce the importance of starting the day with a wholesome breakfast.

“By offering Malaysians breakfast on us, we want to start a movement and rally people to make a good breakfast an essential part of a great morning,” said Casanova, who is also McDonald’s Malaysia and Singapore regional manager, in a statement here yesterday.

According to McDonald’s Malaysia, the Egg McMuffin is made from farm fresh egg and high-quality golden cheese with a slice of chicken roll on freshly toasted English muffin.

The first 1,000 customers at all 215 breakfast restaurants nationwide, including Genting and airport stores, will receive the free burger between 7am and 10am while the offer lasts.

It is limited to one Egg McMuffin per customer per visit and is only valid for in-store, take-away and drive-through purchases.

For more information on McDonald’s Breakfast Day and a list of its breakfast restaurants, visit