VATICAN CITY, Dec 8 — Pope Francis named Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle today to a major global Vatican post in a move likely to increase the Filipino’s chances of one day being elected pope himself.
The Vatican said the 62-year-old archbishop of Manila will move to Rome to become head of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, which oversees the Roman Catholic Church’s work in many developing countries.
Tagle, who is popular at home and around the Catholic world, has been mentioned in the past as a potential candidate for the papacy, including in the conclave that elected Francis in 2013.
By moving him to the Vatican, Francis gives Tagle the chance to gain experience at the heart of the Church’s central administration, which would round out his qualifications as a future candidate for the papacy.
Tagle, a progressive who sees eye-to-eye with Francis on social issues from poverty to immigration, has already had decades of pastoral experience as a priest, as bishop of the Philippine city of Imus and later as archbishop of Manila.
About 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholic, the highest proportion in Asia. — Reuters
WASHINGTON, Dec 8 — Jerrold Nadler, the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said today that articles of impeachment were being drafted and it was possible his panel could vote this week on charges against President Donald Trump.
Nadler told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the panel had “a lot to consider” in determining which charges to file against the Republican president.
“There are possible drafts that various people are writing,” he said. “But the fact is we’re not going to make any decision as to how broad the articles should be, as to what they contain what the wording is - until after the hearing tomorrow.”
The committee will hold a public hearing on Monday to consider evidence gathered in the inquiry that focuses on Trump’s request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face the president in the 2020 U.S. election.
Democratic lawmakers worked through the weekend digesting information they received from the House Intelligence Committee and constitutional law scholars who testified before Congress on Wednesday. — Reuters
KOTA KINABALU, Dec 8 — Assistance will be given to the family members of the New Zealand road crash victims, said Petagas assemblyman Datuk Uda Sulai.
Uda, who is also Sabah Law and Native Affairs Assistant Minister, said the aid would include funeral arrangement for the victims, expected to be buried in Christchurch tomorrow.
He said the Chief Minister would be kept informed on the matter if there were special allocation needed to help the family members.
“I am working on getting as much as I can from the assemblyman’s allocation, particularly from the eKasih, which we can hand out,” he told reporters when met at family’s house in Kampung Ulu Putatan here today.
In the road crash on State Highway 1, Kaikōura, New Zealand on Friday, Dr Rumihati Abd Hamid, 49, her husband, Adanan Jemain, 49, and her second daughter Maisarah Arifah, 13, were killed while another two daughters were seriously injured.
However, one of the injured, Nur Irfan, 15, who was the eldest, died at 6.30pm local time (1.30pm in Malaysia) today. — Bernama
SEPANG, Dec 8 — National rhythmic gymnast Izzah Amzan knows it is a long shot to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but that will not prevent her from giving her best at the Asian Championship in May next year.
The 19-year-old athlete said she is not setting any target for the Asian Championship in Tokyo, which is a qualifying meet for the Olympics.
“No target for the Asian meet because we do not know the rules yet. Furthermore it’s almost impossible to get a slot for the Olympic Games because only the champion will get the chance.
“I just want to improve my ranking and score. The difficult task ahead will not dampen my spirits and instead it will motivate me.
“Gymnasts need only to give their best,” she told Bernama at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport here today on her return from the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines.
At the regional games, Izzah won two golds, in the ribbon and ball events, and the silver in hoops.
She said apart from the Asian Championship, the national squad would also participate in the World Cup series, which opens in April next year.
Asked on the success of national artistic gymnastic queen Farah Ann Abd Hadi, the first Malaysian gymnast to qualify for the Olympics, Izzah said Farah Ann has been the idol of the team.
“All of us look up to Farah Ann although we are in different sports. Farah Ann has been an inspiration to us to work harder because nothing is impossible. Farah Ann has proven it,” she added. — Bernama
MANILA, Dec 8 — Taekwondo exponent, Joshua Amirul Abdullah’s quest for his maiden SEA Games gold medal came to a painful end after suffering a right leg toe injury at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium today.
The 20-year-old suffered the injury when defeating Myanmar’s Kyaw Min Naing 32-14 in the men’s under 80kg kyorugi (sparing) event semifinals, earlier.
Fighting through the painful injury, Joshua couldn’t match the agility and prowess showed by two-time Asian Games bronze medallist, Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison of the Philippines.
Samuel kicked his way to an easy 30-8 win to bag the SEA Games gold for the third consecutive time, while Joshua had to be satisfied with the silver.
“I was a bit sluggish in semifinals and injured my toe. In the final, I was more warmed up and I felt better, except for the injury. For now, I am not sure how serious is the injury, but it is painful,” he said. — Bernama
ALOR SETAR, Dec 8 — The Kedah government is planning to give incentives to ketum growers in the state to switch to other crops.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said the plan was discussed in the Drugs Eradication Action Council meeting today, following a meet up with 52 ketum growers from Kedah and Perlis last month.
Among others, he said, the incentives will include seed subsidy, loan grant, household living aid and marketing platform for these farmers to market their new crops.
“AADK (National Anti-Drugs Agency) has also suggested capacity building in form of training and courses for farmers, to develop alternative crops.
“The alternative crop programme can be a success if farmers can increase their knowledge in agriculture and latest technology, and with a more competitive alternative crop,” said Mukhriz in his speech while chairing the meeting here today.
Present was AADK director-general Datuk Seri Zulkifli Abdullah.
Among others, the meeting also discussed the effectiveness of the National Anti-Drugs Agency (NADA) pilot projects carried out in Kota Setar, Lubuk Merbau, Padang Terap and Kuah in Langkawi for three months since July, which have resulted in lower crime rates in the said areas. — Bernama
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Police will be calling Muhammad Yusoff Rawther tomorrow following his allegations that he was sexually assaulted by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Bukit Aman CID Prosecution and Law Division principal assistant director SAC Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said Muhammad Yusoff would be called to give his statement following his report as well as statutory declaration (SD) yesterday which alleged he was assaulted by his former employer.
“Bukit Aman Classified Criminal Investigation Unit will be taking Muhammad Yusoff’s statement at noon tomorrow...his lawyer has been informed of the matter,” he said when contacted by Bernama.
Yesterday, the media reported Muhammad Yusoff, who was a former research assistant to Anwar, was present to lodge a report at the Sentul police headquarters so that police could investigate his claims and enable legal actions to be taken against Anwar.
The report also mentioned Muhammad Yusoff feared for his safety from certain parties.
Last Wednesday, Muhammad Yusoff made the sworn statement alleging being sexually assaulted by the PKR president on October 2 last year, however the matter was denied by Anwar who claimed he was campaigning in the Port Dickson by-election on that day. — Bernama
LANGKAWI, Dec 8 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he was not aware of any discussions on a third-party acquisition of FGV Holdings Bhd (FGV) stakes as alleged by a Pakatan Harapan leader today.
He said if at all discussions took place, it would have involved Felda and the alleged party, namely businessman Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary and does not involve the government.
“If there was a discussion, probably it was between Felda and Syed Mokhtar. It is Felda’s job not mine,” he told reporters after officiating the opening of Jakel’s new branch here, today.
He was asked to comment on the allegation by Amanah central committee member Datuk Mazlan Aliman who raised the issue while delivering a winding-up speech at the 2019 Amanah National Convention in Shah Alam, today.
Asked further on the allegation, Dr Mahathir said he was also unsure if Felda really intended to sell part of its stakes in FGV (formerly Felda Global Ventures Holdings), but would not object should it benefit Felda and the government.
“If just giving, I’ll oppose, but if selling a lot of money will be made for the government. The government wants money. What we can sell, we sell. As long as we don’t sell Malaysia.
“I don’t know if Felda wants to sell or not. But when it comes to selling government property, we have always been doing it. The thing is, we have a lot of land which we are unable to develop, so if people want to buy, want to develop, I guess it is ok,” he said.
Commenting further, the prime minister said it was common practice in the world of business for any company to be sold to another party in the event of a loss.
“FGV has incurred exceptionally high losses, usually if a company incurs losses its closes down or sells to another company,” he said.
When it was established the FGV shares were priced at more than RM4 but now it is only at more than RM1, thereby causing huge losses to Felda settlers who had taken bank loans to buy the shares, said the Prime Minister, adding that the government should help them. — Bernama
GISENYI (Rwanda), Dec 8 — An Ebola survivor has fallen ill with the disease for a second time in eastern Congo, the Congolese health authorities said today, saying it was not yet clear if it was a case of relapse or reinfection.
The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has infected over 3,300 people and killed more than 2,200 since the middle of last year, making it the second worst year on record.
Experts say there has been a working assumption that Ebola survivors generally have immunity from the disease. There have been no documented cases of reinfection but some researchers consider it to be at least a theoretical possibility, while the recurrence of a previous infection is considered extremely rare.
In a daily report on the epidemic, the Congolese health authorities reported that a survivor in Mabalako, North Kivu province, had fallen ill with the virus again, but did not give further details.
Representatives of the World Health Organization and Congo’s National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) said tests were being carried out to determine what had happened.
“Clinically, we will check whether it is a reinfection to know if it is the same virus and if the person has been infected by another source,” Ahuka Steve Mundeke, a virologist at INRB, told Reuters.
“We have had cases where the virus persists in immune reservoirs,” said Margaret Harris, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organisation (WHO). “In rare cases the virus can cause symptoms again. We are investigating now to see whether this was what happened.”
A survivor working in an Ebola treatment centre fell sick again with the virus and died in July, but it has not been determined if she relapsed, was reinfected or had a false positive the first time she was ill.
Progress in containing the disease has been hampered in the last month by a surge in violence that forced aid groups to suspend operations and withdraw staff from the epidemic’s last hotspots.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said they pulled their staff out of Biakoto region in Ituri province on Dec. 4 following two fresh attacks on their health centres by groups of people armed with sticks and machetes.
“MSF cannot work if the security of our staff and patients is not ensured,” the aid group said in a statement.
Mai Mai militia fighters and local residents have attacked health facilities on several occasions since the outbreak began, sometimes because they believe Ebola does not exist, in other cases because of resentment that they have not benefited from the influx of donor funding. — Reuters