Sarawak flood situation worsens, eight primary schools closed

MIRI, Feb 27 ― The number of flood victims in Limbang, Sarawak as at 8am today is 415 comprising 136 families.

Yesterday, 243 people from 79 families were evacuated to Dewan Masyarakat Mendamit in Nanga Mendamit.

Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee secretariat, Civil Defence Force Major Ismail Mahedin in a statement today said the flood victims were from Rumah Panjang Asan, Kampung Semena and Kampung Hujung Jalan.

He said eight primary schools in Limbang and Miri had to be closed, affecting 710 pupils. ― Bernama

Meet Malaysia’s first family of skiing

A skier is seen in action during the 2017 Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan. ― Reuters picSAPPORO, Feb 27 ― A fanciful idea that started out as a joke among young members of one of Malaysia's most prominent families has snowballed into a fully fledged ski team and dreams of Olympic success.

Despite being a tropical, snowless country, Malaysia has created its own alpine ski team ― albeit with only two members ― which is currently competing at the 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.

Unlike the antics of Venezuela's Adrian Solano, who wobbled amateurishly around the slopes at last week's Nordic World Ski Championships in Finland, both Malaysians are accomplished skiers, driven by the ambition of promoting winter sports in a country where football and badminton dominate.

Partly inspired by the Jamaican bobsledders who defied conventional wisdom by competing at the 1988 Winter Olympics, more and more warm-weather countries have been entering teams in snow and ice events in recent years.

Othman Mirzan, the grandson of former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, thought his country should do the same after flippantly suggesting his family had already begun their own team.

“It started as a joke. My siblings and I all skied together and the running joke was always that we were the Malaysian ski team because we're the only Malaysians people see skiing,” he said.

“From that, the idea kind of grew. It started out as 'Let's see if this is viable' and then when we figured out it was viable we had to see what it takes.

“There's a lot of rings you have you have to jump through. I was 17 at the time and no one takes a 17-year-old seriously when they are trying to start a national association, but the Malaysian Olympic Committee were very enthusiastic.”

Mahathir 'doesn't like the cold'

Mirzan, 22, said his famous grandfather, Malaysia's prime minister from 1981-2003 and still highly influential in the country, was an enthusiastic supporter of the team, although he hasn't seen them race live.

“He doesn't like the cold so he doesn't come to the races but I know that he's very proud of what we've done,” Mirzan told AFP.

“At the end of the day his mantra for his years in office was 'Malaysia can' ― so being able to represent Malaysia in a field that has never been represented before, for me, that is pushing the envelope and what he was and is all about.”

After setting up a national ski federation, Mirzan moved to the United States, enrolling at the University of Colorado, but remained the sole member of the Malaysian team.

Unbeknown to him, a former coach of top US skier Lindsay Vonn had implanted a similar idea in the head of another young Malaysian, Jeffrey Webb, who was born in Kuala Lumpur but moved to the US when he was five years old.

A competitive ski racer, Webb caught the eye of the coach at a training academy in Washington state, who suggested he look at the possibility of skiing for his native country on the international stage.

Webb, just 18 and still in high school, never took the idea too seriously until his father read in a ski magazine that Mirzan had started a Malaysian ski federation.

Olympic dreams

“We go back to Malaysia for three months every year and when we were there we contacted the Malaysian minister of sport,” Webb's father Steve explained.

“We were thinking it might take about two years to get through to someone as important as a minister, but he was very interesting in developing new sports and to our surprise he actually contacted us straight away and said come in and talk.

“It was really perfect timing, and the rest is history.”

Mirzan and Webb soon met up in Minnesota and started hatching their plans to put Malaysia on the alpine skiing map, but not as a novelty act ― they both wanted to be competitive.

Mirzan broke the ice when he entered this year's world championships in St Moritz, Switzerland. Then both were selected for the Asian Winter Games, with Webb finishing 15th and Mirzan 24th in the men's giant slalom.

Now they have their sights set on the Winter Olympics, and again the timing seems perfect with Pyeongchang, South Korea hosting the games in 2018 then Beijing in 2022.

“It's pretty neat that a small country like Malaysia can compete against these bigger countries and this has been a great experience,” Webb said.

“I would love to go to the Olympics one day but I just wouldn't want to go just for the sake of going. I would love to go and compete up there with everyone else and pull off a big result for Malaysia.” ― AFP

Meet Malaysia’s first family of skiing

A skier is seen in action during the 2017 Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan. ― Reuters picSAPPORO, Feb 27 ― A fanciful idea that started out as a joke among young members of one of Malaysia's most prominent families has snowballed into a fully fledged ski team and dreams of Olympic success.

Despite being a tropical, snowless country, Malaysia has created its own alpine ski team ― albeit with only two members ― which is currently competing at the 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.

Unlike the antics of Venezuela's Adrian Solano, who wobbled amateurishly around the slopes at last week's Nordic World Ski Championships in Finland, both Malaysians are accomplished skiers, driven by the ambition of promoting winter sports in a country where football and badminton dominate.

Partly inspired by the Jamaican bobsledders who defied conventional wisdom by competing at the 1988 Winter Olympics, more and more warm-weather countries have been entering teams in snow and ice events in recent years.

Othman Mirzan, the grandson of former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, thought his country should do the same after flippantly suggesting his family had already begun their own team.

“It started as a joke. My siblings and I all skied together and the running joke was always that we were the Malaysian ski team because we're the only Malaysians people see skiing,” he said.

“From that, the idea kind of grew. It started out as 'Let's see if this is viable' and then when we figured out it was viable we had to see what it takes.

“There's a lot of rings you have you have to jump through. I was 17 at the time and no one takes a 17-year-old seriously when they are trying to start a national association, but the Malaysian Olympic Committee were very enthusiastic.”

Mahathir 'doesn't like the cold'

Mirzan, 22, said his famous grandfather, Malaysia's prime minister from 1981-2003 and still highly influential in the country, was an enthusiastic supporter of the team, although he hasn't seen them race live.

“He doesn't like the cold so he doesn't come to the races but I know that he's very proud of what we've done,” Mirzan told AFP.

“At the end of the day his mantra for his years in office was 'Malaysia can' ― so being able to represent Malaysia in a field that has never been represented before, for me, that is pushing the envelope and what he was and is all about.”

After setting up a national ski federation, Mirzan moved to the United States, enrolling at the University of Colorado, but remained the sole member of the Malaysian team.

Unbeknown to him, a former coach of top US skier Lindsay Vonn had implanted a similar idea in the head of another young Malaysian, Jeffrey Webb, who was born in Kuala Lumpur but moved to the US when he was five years old.

A competitive ski racer, Webb caught the eye of the coach at a training academy in Washington state, who suggested he look at the possibility of skiing for his native country on the international stage.

Webb, just 18 and still in high school, never took the idea too seriously until his father read in a ski magazine that Mirzan had started a Malaysian ski federation.

Olympic dreams

“We go back to Malaysia for three months every year and when we were there we contacted the Malaysian minister of sport,” Webb's father Steve explained.

“We were thinking it might take about two years to get through to someone as important as a minister, but he was very interesting in developing new sports and to our surprise he actually contacted us straight away and said come in and talk.

“It was really perfect timing, and the rest is history.”

Mirzan and Webb soon met up in Minnesota and started hatching their plans to put Malaysia on the alpine skiing map, but not as a novelty act ― they both wanted to be competitive.

Mirzan broke the ice when he entered this year's world championships in St Moritz, Switzerland. Then both were selected for the Asian Winter Games, with Webb finishing 15th and Mirzan 24th in the men's giant slalom.

Now they have their sights set on the Winter Olympics, and again the timing seems perfect with Pyeongchang, South Korea hosting the games in 2018 then Beijing in 2022.

“It's pretty neat that a small country like Malaysia can compete against these bigger countries and this has been a great experience,” Webb said.

“I would love to go to the Olympics one day but I just wouldn't want to go just for the sake of going. I would love to go and compete up there with everyone else and pull off a big result for Malaysia.” ― AFP

Foto tersebar di internet, pelajar dituduh belasah junior

Foto yang tersebar di media media sosial menunjukkan (empat di atas) mangsa yang cedera di kepala telah mendapat rawatan dan (dua di bawah) Fatin bersama ibunya.PETALING JAYA, 27 Feb — Seorang remaja perempuan, yang dituduh membelasah pelajar junior hingga terkoyak kulit kepala, bimbang keselamatan dirinya.

“Saya buat laporan polis ini bagi melindungi diri dan juga ibu,” kata pelajar tingakatan 3 itu dalam aduan polis selepas foto dua beranak itu menular seperti dilapor Harian Metro.

Menafikan terbabit, remaja itu yang hanya dikenali Fatin, 15, berkata rakannya sudah membuat pengakuan kepada guru terlibat memijak kepala pelajar tingkatan 1.

Khamis lalu, gara-gara berselisih faham, pelajar 13 tahun itu terkoyak kulit kepalanya akibat dipijak dan dibelasah dua pelajar tingkatan 3.

Pelajar di sebuah sekolah di Bandar Sri Damansara itu ditemui berlumuran darah akibat cedera di kepala serta bahu dan menerima empat jahitan.
 
Susulan kejadian itu foto Fatin dan foto beliau bersama ibunya disebar meluas di media sosial, termasuk Facebook, sehingga mengundang kemarahan ramai. 

Foto tersebar di internet, pelajar dituduh belasah junior

Foto yang tersebar di media media sosial menunjukkan (empat di atas) mangsa yang cedera di kepala telah mendapat rawatan dan (dua di bawah) Fatin bersama ibunya.PETALING JAYA, 27 Feb — Seorang remaja perempuan, yang dituduh membelasah pelajar junior hingga terkoyak kulit kepala, bimbang keselamatan dirinya.

“Saya buat laporan polis ini bagi melindungi diri dan juga ibu,” kata pelajar tingakatan 3 itu dalam aduan polis selepas foto dua beranak itu menular seperti dilapor Harian Metro.

Menafikan terbabit, remaja itu yang hanya dikenali Fatin, 15, berkata rakannya sudah membuat pengakuan kepada guru terlibat memijak kepala pelajar tingkatan 1.

Khamis lalu, gara-gara berselisih faham, pelajar 13 tahun itu terkoyak kulit kepalanya akibat dipijak dan dibelasah dua pelajar tingkatan 3.

Pelajar di sebuah sekolah di Bandar Sri Damansara itu ditemui berlumuran darah akibat cedera di kepala serta bahu dan menerima empat jahitan.
 
Susulan kejadian itu foto Fatin dan foto beliau bersama ibunya disebar meluas di media sosial, termasuk Facebook, sehingga mengundang kemarahan ramai. 

Banjir makin buruk, lapan sekolah ditutup di Sarawak

Bangku dan kerusi di sebuah klinik di Baram, Sarawak ditenggelami air banjir setakat 9 pagi tadi. — Foto ihsan Facebook/Kamek Miak Sarawak MIRI, 27 Feb — Mangsa banjir di Limbang, Sarawak meningkat kepada 415 orang daripada 136 keluarga setakat pukul 8 pagi ini.

Semalam, seramai 243 orang daripada 79 keluarga dipindahkan ke pusat pemindahan akibat banjir di kawasan pedalaman Limbang.

Sekretariat Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Bencana Negeri Sarawak (JPBNS) dari Angkatan Pertahanan Awam (APM) Mejar Ismail Mahedin berkata kesemua mangsa adalah dari Rumah Panjang Asan, Kampung Semena dan Kampung Hujung Jalan.

“Mangsa ditempatkan di pusat pemindahan di Dewan Masyarakat Mendamit di Nanga Mendamit,” katanya dalam kenyataan di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata, 710 murid sekolah rendah dari lapan buah sekolah di Limbang dan Miri tidak meneruskan sesi persekolahan hari ini. — Bernama

Banjir makin buruk, lapan sekolah ditutup di Sarawak

Bangku dan kerusi di sebuah klinik di Baram, Sarawak ditenggelami air banjir setakat 9 pagi tadi. — Foto ihsan Facebook/Kamek Miak Sarawak MIRI, 27 Feb — Mangsa banjir di Limbang, Sarawak meningkat kepada 415 orang daripada 136 keluarga setakat pukul 8 pagi ini.

Semalam, seramai 243 orang daripada 79 keluarga dipindahkan ke pusat pemindahan akibat banjir di kawasan pedalaman Limbang.

Sekretariat Jawatankuasa Pengurusan Bencana Negeri Sarawak (JPBNS) dari Angkatan Pertahanan Awam (APM) Mejar Ismail Mahedin berkata kesemua mangsa adalah dari Rumah Panjang Asan, Kampung Semena dan Kampung Hujung Jalan.

“Mangsa ditempatkan di pusat pemindahan di Dewan Masyarakat Mendamit di Nanga Mendamit,” katanya dalam kenyataan di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata, 710 murid sekolah rendah dari lapan buah sekolah di Limbang dan Miri tidak meneruskan sesi persekolahan hari ini. — Bernama

Bloody accident and rain mar joyful Rio carnival

A photographer is assisted after an accident during the carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 26, 2017. — Reuters pic RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 27 — A huge float carried by a truck at the Rio de Janeiro samba parade struck several people, causing serious injuries to at least one woman today.

The accident, which coincided with heavy drizzle, marred the start of the all-night samba dance-off at the Sambodromo stadium.

The truck appeared to drive too close to a fence at the start of the competition piste, footage on Brazilian television showed, and several people were hit. 

One woman, a photographer, had a leg badly crushed.

Despite the rain, however, the packed Sambodromo erupted in cheers as the annual contest opened in a deafening barrage of fireworks.

Brazilians living through two years of steep recession and 12 per cent unemployment have grasped this year’s carnival as a chance to let off steam.

In Rio especially, the thrill of hosting the Olympics six months ago has given way to the grim reality of rising crime and near bankruptcy of the state government.

So when the drummers of Paraiso do Tuiuti — the first of six samba schools competing through last night to this morning — began beating rhythm, the crowd roared.

Samba queens dressed in sequined micro-costumes and vast feathered headdresses danced at dizzying speed.

Behind them came an army of drummers and costumed dancers, interspersed by wildly over-the-top floats.

Each school picks a theme for its parade and is judged according to strict criteria. Another six schools were to parade on Monday night, with the champion being announced on Wednesday, the start of Lent in mostly Roman Catholic Brazil.

Save the Amazon

The most daring parade was from the samba school known as Imperatriz Leopoldinense, which chose the destruction of Brazil’s majestic Amazon rainforest as its theme.

Schools typically pick politically safe themes, often paying homage to Brazilian musicians.

Paraiso do Tuiuti, for example, honored the 50th anniversary of the “Tropicalia” musical movement.

But Imperatriz Leopoldinense waded into the debate over indigenous rights, agribusiness expansion into once pristine lands, and the future of the ever more under pressure Amazon.

Floats included portrayals of the jungle, indigenous musicians, piles of skulls and a giant head of a crying indigenous man, crushed by a log the size of a bus.

Members of real native tribes were joining the parade to raise awareness over their plight.

“This parade is incredibly important,” said Leticia Campos, 35, who was participating in a tight green costume with bright red wings, representing the forest on fire.

“People here never pay attention to the Indians when in fact they are the masters of the rainforest and it was stolen from them.”

The parade has infuriated members of the powerful agribusiness sector, which is frequently accused of being a major contributor to global warming through logging and cattle ranching.

The Brazilian Association of Cattle Breeders called the parade “unacceptable”.

The rice industry lobby warned of “damage to the country”.

Rio is Brazil’s carnival capital.

Tourism officials told Globo newspaper yesterday that as many as 1.5 million tourists have descended on the city, the best result in eight years, injecting some 3 billion reais (RM4.2 billion) into the local economy. — AFP