Yellow-shirt protest – in Malaysia
THE yellow-shirts and red-shirts are at it again only across the border in Malaysia not here in Thailand where today thousands of protesters clad in yellow demonstrated in Kuala Lumpur demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak, BBC said.
This protest, which started at 2 p.m., ended peacefully at about 4.40 p.m., The Star Online said.
The demonstrators want Mr Najib to face charges over allegations that billions were looted from his brainchild investment fund, 1MDB.
Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing and says he will not be cowed by protests.
In a statement on his blog, Mr Najib called Bersih – the electoral reformist group which organized the protest – “deceitful”. He said the group had become a tool for opposition parties to unseat a democratically elected government.
This is the second rally organized by Bersih, which means “clean” in the Malay language, to demand Mr Najib’s resignation in 15 months, and comes after weeks of rising tension between the “yellow shirts” and pro-government “red shirts”.
The leaders of both sides, as well as a number of other Bersih activists, were arrested in the hours leading up to the rally – a move which was immediately condemned by human rights group Amnesty, BBC said
It demanded their immediate release, describing the activists as prisoners of conscience.
The arrests did not deter the protesters, however, some of whom chanted “save democracy” and “Bersih, Bersih”.
Above: The rally was organised by electoral reform group Bersih – AP
Asia watches Trump-Abe meeting
ALL of Asia and perhaps the whole world were waiting to hear what Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe would say about his meeting with US President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday and there were sighs of relief when the former said that he felt the two countries would be able to maintain a “relationship of trust” with the new US leader.
According to CNN, the pair met in New York in an “unofficial” capacity as Trump has not yet assumed the presidency. It was also Trump’s first in-person meeting with a foreign head of state since winning the election last week.
It also came after Trump’s repeated suggestions during the campaign that Japan should shoulder a bigger financial burden regarding US military forces stationed in the region.
While vague, this statement would be reassuring to the Japanese public, Jeffery Kingston, director of Asian studies at Japan’s Temple University, told CNN.
“Abe has invested a lot of critical capital in strengthening alliance with the US, and would have been worried to see his entire agenda go up in the air,” he said.
“By meeting Trump, Abe wants to show the rest of the world that the US and Japan still stand side by side.”
Inset: Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe says “relationship of trust” with US will continue. Photo: Day Donaldson (CC-BY-2.0)
Using electronic waste to boost local economies
PUTTING waste to work has got to be the best deal on earth and this is exactly the idea that has emerged from UK which is to convert old smartphones, tablets and computers into valuable materials.
According to BBC, electronic waste contains metals such as gold, iron, silver, copper, platinum and palladium, as well as rare earth elements such as yttrium, lanthanum, terbium, neodymium, gadolinium and praseodymium; not to mention glass and plastic. And while the amounts in each phone are small – 0.034g of gold, for example – they quickly add up when you consider that around 42 million tonnes of e-waste were generated in 2014 alone, and the UN Environmental Program estimates that figure is increasing by 3-5% each year.
Veena Sahajwalla, Director of the Center for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology at the University of New South Wales, would like every community and city to covert electronic devices into valuable material through microfactories and a recycling and reclamation system so small and efficient that it can be set up in every community across the globe..
In Sahajwalla’s vision of the microfactory, pre-programmed automated drones are used to pick out items such as circuit boards from a pile of smashed e-waste. These boards are then put into a tiny furnace which uses selective temperatures to extract the valuable resources, such as copper alloys. The glass and plastic can also be combined in this high-temperature smelter to produce silicon carbide nanoparticles, which have a range of industrial applications.
Currently, most of this waste is shipped around the world for processing in places such as Guiyu in south-eastern China – not coincidentally one of the most polluted places on Earth – because the industrial world has yet to come up with a way to efficiently and economically tease apart the tangled and tiny amounts of resources in each piece of e-waste.
Inset: A display of discarded mobile phones at Federation Square, Melbourne. Photo: Derek Midgley (CC-BY-2.0)
American-born pandas are very American
NOT just humans but also animals suffer from culture shock when they move to another country and this is exactly what happened with two giant pandas who where born at Zoo Atlanta and are now having a problem with adjusting to life in China.
According to CNBC, The twin female pandas, Mei Lun and Mei Huan were born in US in 2013 and handed back to China this month under the rules of “panda diplomacy” program whereby China loans the endangered animals to other countries as a gesture of friendship.
However upon their return the twins are demanding cookies and are only responding to English commands.
“Returned giant panda twins prefer western lifestyle,” proclaimed state news agency Xinhua in a headline.
“The naughty twins refused to eat traditional Chinese food like steamed bread of corn, and preferred American biscuits instead,” Xinhua elaborated.
Mei Lun and Mei Huan also do not understand the local Chinese dialect and only respond to basic commands in English, the Communist Party-run People’s Daily reported.
Researchers were trying to wean them off cookies, the newspaper added.
Below: Giant panda twins Mei Lun (L) and Mei Huan at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding on November 16, 2016 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province of China Photo: Wang Qin | Chengdu Economic Daily | Getty Images via CNBC
By Thai Residents reporters