KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Eight former presidents of the Cambridge Union have criticised Cambridge University’s debating society for not challenging Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s allegedly anti-semitic remarks.
The ex-Cambridge Union presidents noted in a letter published on Jewish News yesterday that those present at the event hosting Dr Mahathir last Sunday had laughed at the Malaysian prime minister’s remarks: “I have some Jewish friends, very good friends. They are not like other Jews, that’s why they are my friends.”
“This level of febrile Jew hatred must be confronted — and that is what the Cambridge Union has traditionally done. Encouraging robust debate while not allowing minority groups to be subjected to hatred is one of the reasons why the Union has long enjoyed its prestigious reputation.
“We are disappointed that The Union representative running the event did not challenge the shameful views he allowed Dr Mohamad to share by asking him the question in the first place,” said the eight ex-Cambridge Union presidents.
They also expressed disappointment that the students present casually laughed at “racist remarks” and warned that such views legitimised hatred.
The eight who wrote the letter are Adam Cannon, Lauren Davidson, Lance Foreman, Jeremy Brier, Nick Chatrath, Gareth Weetman, George Bevis, and Joel Fenster.
The Cambridge Union said in a statement yesterday that the laughter depicted in a video being circulated on social media came from Dr Mahathir’s delegation, not from its members.
“Although we deeply appreciate the concerns that have been raised, we urge all commentators to wait until watching the complete video on our YouTube,” said the Cambridge Union.
The Cambridge Union also said its event moderator repeatedly challenged Dr Mahathir’s anti-semitic comments, such as scrutinising the prime minister’s decision to ban Israeli swimmers from entering Malaysia for the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships that were later moved to London because of the ban.
“Additionally, given the open Q and A at the end of the speech, audience members were able to challenge the Prime Minister’s use of generalisations concerning Jews, asking why he so condemned Western generalisations of Malaysians if he himself made anti-semitic generalisations about the Jewish community.”
June 17, 2019
MADRID, June 19 — Spain coach Luis Enrique resigned from the team today, three months after temporarily stepping aside for personal reasons, with his number two Robert Moreno taking on the role permanently.
“Owing to the fact that the circumstances which have prevented me from carrying out my role as coach since March continue today I have decided to leave the role,” Luis Enrique said in a brief statement on the Spain team’s website.
“I would like to show my gratitude to everyone at the Spanish football federation (RFEF) for the faith they have shown me and for understanding the situation.
“I also want to especially thank all the members of staff and players for their professionalism, and the media for showing discretion and respect for the situation.”
Federation president Luis Rubiales said the decision came entirely from Luis Enrique, who returned home hours before Spain’s second Euro 2020 qualifier at Malta for what the federation described as “family matters of an urgent nature”.
“It was a decision Luis Enrique took himself which we are grateful for. We will have a perfect memory of him,” Rubiales told a news conference.
“It’s a personal matter which doesn’t depend on us. We think it’s the best thing to do. We have stayed united behind Luis Enrique and the doors of the federation will always be open to him.”
Luis Enrique, 49, became Spain coach last July after their exit from the 2018 World Cup to hosts Russia under interim coach Fernando Hierro after Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the tournament for negotiating a move to Real Madrid.
A former coach with AS Roma, Celta Vigo and Barcelona, Luis Enrique took charge of Spain’s Uefa Nations League campaign, where they failed to reach the semi-finals, finishing second in their group behind England.
He began their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 2-1 home win over Norway while Spain have won every game since Moreno took temporary charge, beating Malta 2-0 in March and winning 4-1 at the Faroe Islands and defeating Sweden 3-0 at home this month.
“It’s a bittersweet day for me. I dreamed about being a coach but not in this way,” said the 41-year-old Moreno, who has no experience as a first team manager apart from in the last three months as the national team’s caretaker coach.
“We’re going to work honestly and try to take the work Luis Enrique did to the highest level by qualifying for and winning Euro 2020.”
Rubiales said that he did not consider any other candidates to take the vacant role.
“Robert Moreno was the only solution we considered,” he said.
“We started a new sporting project here a year ago which is going stupendously well and we wanted that project to continue. If we’d have hired a different coach the project would have changed.” — Reuters
MUNICH, June 19 — BMW has revealed that the 8 Series lineup is gaining another member and one that’s bigger than any other model in the segment: the 2020 8 Series Gran Coupe.
A new model was added today to the BMW 8 Series family and it’s one that tops the segment. The four-door 2020 8 Series Gran Coupe is not only longer, taller, and provides more interior space than its Coupe counterpart, but it’s also available in three variations.
Owners will be able to choose between 840i, 840o xDrive, or M850i xDrive trims; while the latter two models are equipped with turbocharged I6 engines which generate 335 HP and 368 ft.-lbs of torque, the last option is a turbocharged V8 that puts out 523 hp and 553 ft-lbs of torque.June 18, 2019
The standard Coupe is powered by the same M850i xDrive engine which allows the model to make the sprint from 0 - 60mph in 3.6 seconds. Depending on the trim selection, the Gran Coupe can make the same run in 3.7 to 4.9 seconds.
From the outside, the Gran Coupe looks nearly identical to the Coupe except that it’s a bit wider and has an extra set of doors.
The interior is more spacious, offering the driver and passengers more headroom, legroom, and trunk space and, like the Coupe, comes with a slew of technology from driver assistance systems to entertainment systems. Features that come standard on the new model include Frontal Collision Warning, a Heads-Up display, and a 16-speaker Harman-Kardon surround sound audio system.
The 2020 8 Series Gran Coupe will be available from this September starting at US$84,900 (RM354,230), some US$28,000 less expensive than the 8 Series Coupe. —AFP-Relaxnews
JOHANNESBURG, June 19 — Cameroon coach Clarence Seedorf has a message for Group F opponents at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt this month: “no one is going to have an easy time against us.”
He says the surprise winners of the last edition are “in good shape and positive” ahead of matches with Guinea-Bissau, four-time champions Ghana and Benin.
“I believe we have regained international respect thanks to some great performances after missing out on the World Cup in Russia last year.”
Here, AFP Sport highlights the teams in a section Cameroon and Ghana seem set to dominate against Benin and Guinea-Bissau sides seeking first wins in the competition.
After eight losses and a draw in three previous appearances, the west African nation are craving a maiden victory at the African football showpiece.
“Above all else, we want to win a match at the Cup of Nations,” says Steve Mounie, who played for the Huddersfield Town team relegated from the English Premier League last season.
The best chance the Squirrels have of achieving that ambition should come in Ismailia on June 29 when they face Guinea-Bissau, 30 places lower in the world rankings.
For the opening match against Ghana, Benin will lack suspended captain and star Stephane Sessegnon, who needs one goal to become the leading all-time scorer for the national team.
Verdict: best they can hope for is a last-16 place
The Indomitable Lions hope to match the teams of 2000 and 2002 and win back-to-back African titles. Hard-to-please former superstar Roger Milla is supporting Seedorf.
“He has played in many top competitions and knows what it takes to win big tournaments,” Milla said of the four-time Champions League winner with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan.
Seedorf has been less successful as a manager with short reigns at AC Milan, Shenzhen in China and Deportivo la Coruna after only 17 victories in 52 matches with the three clubs.
Vincent Aboubakar, the 2017 final matchwinner against Egypt, misses out through injury but Karl Toko Ekambi has been netting regularly for Spanish La Liga outfit Villarreal.
Verdict: can go far but unlikely to retain title
Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey says “unity holds the key to success for Ghana”, a country without a Cup of Nations title since winning their fourth in 1982.
State President Nana Akufo-Addo had to intervene recently and persuade veteran Asamoah Gyan to return to the squad after the forward quit when stripped of the captaincy.
Turkey-based midfielder Andre Ayew, one of two sons of Ghana legend Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew in the squad, will lead the Black Stars in Egypt.
Ghana have finished second, fourth twice, second and fourth in the last five Cups of Nations and coach Kwesi Appiah can call on many experienced international campaigners.
Verdict: it will be difficult to achieve sixth straight top-four finish
The transformation of the national team representing the tiny west African state from perennial strugglers into two-time Cup of Nations qualifiers has been remarkable.
They were competitive in Gabon two years ago before bowing out after the first round and will eye the match against Benin as an opportunity to record their first victory.
However, the Djurtus (wild dogs) cannot realistically expect to beat Cameroon or Ghana, leaving hopes of a last-16 place hinging on being among the four best third-place finishers.
The captain and star is Slovakia-based midfielder Jose Luis Mendes Lopes — known as Zezinho — and the defenders include Marcelo Djalo from relegated Premier League club Fulham.
Verdict: squeezing into second round will be the goal
KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Umno lawmaker Khairy Jamaluddin announced today that he will be launching a think tank next month called “The Centre” to promote centrist policies.
The Rembau MP, who is now perceived to be one of his party’s “centrist” members amid Umno’s shift to the far right, said he and Umno Youth deputy chief Shahril Hamdan wanted evidence-based, rational and innovative public policies.
“In a highly polarised world, @shahrilh and I believe that we need to expand the room for discourse in the centre to counter views from the loud ends of the political spectrum,” Khairy posted on Instagram.
“We believe there is a role for both the state and the markets. With apologies to Yeats, when things fall apart, the centre must hold,” he added, quoting Irish poet WB Yeats’ poem titled The Second Coming that has a line — “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”.
WASHINGTON, June 19 — Hope Hicks, once a close aide to US President Donald Trump, drew fire from Democrats today for not answering questions during a closed House Judiciary Committee session about whether her former boss broke the law.
White House lawyers asserted immunity for Hicks on matters involving her 14 months in the Trump administration. Lawmakers wanted to ask Hicks about six instances in which Democrats believe Trump may have broken the law during the 2016 presidential campaign and while in the White House.
Hicks was directed not to respond to questions as basic as the location of her White House office or material she already told Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction by Trump, Democratic lawmakers told reporters.
“They make the objection, we say it’s nonsense. But Hope Hicks is listening to what they’re saying in terms of objections, so she doesn’t answer,” US Representative Ted Lieu said.
Lieu said Hicks answered questions about the campaign but did not elaborate.
Democratic lawmakers said White House lawyers did not claim executive privelege but said Hicks was immune from having to testify, an assertion committee chairman Jerrold Nadler rejected in a letter to White House lawyers on Tuesday.
Democrats said they may have to go to court to force Hicks to respond as the White House continues its strategy of not cooperating with investigations in the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
“This is the beginning of what will be, I presume, litigation,” said Representative David Cicilline.
“It’s not at all helpful. It’s more obstruction by the White House,” said US Representative Veronica Escobar, a Judiciary Democrat who called for impeachment proceedings against Trump to begin.
House Judiciary Republican Matt Gaetz said not much new emerged from the questioning. “It appears to be Democrats trying to relitigate the Mueller report,” he said.
Hicks was Trump’s campaign press secretary and his White House communications director until she left in March 2018 and later became chief communications officer and executive president for Fox Corporation, parent company of Fox News.
Hush money and potential obstruction
Democrats on the committee wanted to hear from Hicks about alleged hush money payments made during the campaign to two women, including porn star Stormy Daniels, who say they had affairs with Trump. He has denied the affairs.
They also wanted Hicks to talk about five examples of potential obstruction of justice by Trump that are laid out in Mueller’s report, as well as the president’s efforts to impede the Mueller investigation.
Hicks was mentioned 183 times in Mueller’s report.
Assertions during questioning of executive privilege - a legal principle sometimes cited by presidents to keep White House information under wraps - would block a key line of inquiry by the committee and could lead to a subsequent legal challenge.
Despite the closed setting, Democrats viewed Hicks’ appearance as a breakthrough for their congressional investigation, which could trigger impeachment proceedings against the president if it unearths evidence of serious misconduct.
Democrats say her appearance could help undermine Trump’s strategy of stonewalling congressional investigators by encouraging others to cooperate with them and by giving investigators the chance to challenge any executive privilege assertions, possibly in federal court.
Democrats want Hicks to testify about an effort by the president to mislead the public about a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower in New York, where the Mueller report said campaign officials, including the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., met with Russians offering “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. A key question is whether Trump himself was aware of the meeting at the time.
Aides said Hicks also would be asked about alleged obstruction by Trump involving former White House Counsel Don McGahn, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
A transcript of her testimony, which will be released after the interview, will be featured at a Thursday hearing where the committee will examine an ABC News interview, in which Trump said he saw nothing wrong with accepting damaging information about a US political opponent from a foreign government, aides said.
The White House last month asserted executive privilege to block the release of Mueller’s unredacted report and related evidence, such as investigative interviews. The committee and the Justice Department have since reached an agreement giving panel members access to more of the Mueller report and some underlying material from the investigation.
McGahn, a star witness in the Mueller report, could face legal action for defying a subpoena for his testimony and documents after the White House directed him not to cooperate with the Judiciary panel.
Mueller’s 448-page report found insufficient evidence to establish that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow, despite numerous contacts between the campaign and Russia. It also described numerous attempts by Trump to impede Mueller’s investigation but stopped short of declaring that he committed a crime. — Reuters
KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — A Myanmar national died while three others were admitted to Hospital Port Dickson in an unconscious state as a result of consuming bootleg alcohol.
Port Dickson district police chief Supt Aidi Sham Mohammed said a 27-year-old man Amereca Parsa, died at Hospital Tuanku Jaafar in Seremban two hours after admission on Monday night this week, while the following afternoon, three individuals aged 26 to 50 and comprising a local man and woman, as well as a male Indian national, were admitted in an unconscious state to the emergency ward at Hospital Port Dickson.
Following the incidents, police investigations found that the cases were linked to the consumption of the bootleg liquor brand Miludeer, said Aidi Sham, adding that police had checked a number of premises selling alcohol in the Port Dickson district, and had seized the Miludeer brand alcohol — packaged in cans — from one outlet.
He said district health authorities had undertaken their own checks at similar premises and had also seized the same brand of alcohol.
Investigations are continuing. — Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Eight men have been arrested to help in investigation into the kidnapping of 10 Bajau Laut fishermen (sea gypsies) in Felda waters in Lahad Datu, Sabah yesterday, said CID director Datuk Huzir Mohamed.
He said six of those arrested are foreigners, aged between 17 and 60, who were spared by the armed kidnappers yesterday.
“The two locals arrested are the boat owner and the boat operator,” he told Bernama when contacted today.
Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador said the boats should not have been in the country’s territorial waters at night time.
“They (fishermen) should know that the area is under curfew and is out of bounds.
“No entry unless they inform the authorities on the details of their activities,” he told Bernama when met at the armed forces Aidilfitri celebration at Wisma Perwira ATM here today.
In the 2am incident yesterday, the 10 fishermen were reportedly kidnapped by an Abu Sayyaf-linked armed group from two boats in Lahad Datu waters while on their way to Semporna.
They are believed to have been taken to Pulau Sitangkai in southern Philippines, about 15 minutes’ journey from Tambisan waters in Lahad Datu.
The victims, aged between 17 and 60, did not have personal identification documents and only possessed the lepa-lepa document issued to nomadic fishermen.
Meanwhile, in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah told Bernama that the owner and handlers of the two boats were also under investigation for harbouring the fishermen as they were foreigners without valid identity documents. — Bernama