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SHAH ALAM – Even though football in Malaysia is generally dominated by men from players to club owners, a woman who has been given the mandate to lead a football team is making waves in the local scene.

Despite being not a familar figure in the sport, compared to her counterpart Tunku Tun Aminah of Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), Siti Zubaidah Abdul Jabar, 56, president of PKNS FC is fast gaining recognition with the rise of PKNS FC under her charge.

The PKNS chief corporate officer said she was initially stunned when she was appointed as the football club’s president in 2014, as she was not exactly a big fan of the sport.

The Social Science graduate from Universiti Malaya, however, went for a crash course in football and often goes down to ground to be with the team.

The open minds of PKNS players and manager in accepting her as part of the team probably eased her role in leading the club, she said in an exclusive interview with Bernama at her office here recently.

Siti Zubaidah made several revolutionary changes to raise the squad as among the best in the local football scene.

Her masterly strategies proved to be highly effective when second division PKNS FC emerged as runners-up in the 2016 FA Cup competition and the Premier League and earned promotion to the Super League this season.

With these encouraging successes, Siti Zubaidah hopes to make PKNS FC as the home of quality players in the country’s most popular sport. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Two of the five Malaysians who were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines in July last year are expected to return at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang tonight.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, when contacted by Bernama today, confirmed the matter but declined to reveal the time of their arrival.

The two of them, identified as Tayudin Anjut, 46, and Abdul Rahim Summas, 63, were reported to be with the authorities in Manila yesterday.

On Thursday, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) confirmed they were rescued by Filipino security forces in an operation in the south of the republic.

Meanwhile, Federal Police (Bukit Aman) Special Branch director Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said upon their arrival, they would be given treatment to regain their health.

“It is learnt they were not well and police want them to be treated before handing them over to their families.

“Nonetheless, we will discuss and refer to the other authorities before taking further action,” he said.

Tayudin and Abdul Rahim, crew members of a barge, Serudong Tiga, were abducted in the waters off Dent Haven in Lahad Datu on July 18 last year.

To date, three other Malaysians are still being held by Abu Sayyaf terrorists, namely Fandy Bakran, 27, Mohd Jumadil Rahim, 24, and Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 33, who were also Serudong Tiga crew. – BERNAMA

MELAKA – Youth participation plays an important role in shaping the country’s future in line with the National Transformation (TN50) policy, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said he was very positive that with the right attitude and preparation, the transformation which seemed impossible at first could become a reality.

“Only through dedication and cooperation, we can overcome and conquer our own future.

“Input from youth is certainly crucial as they are the eventual owners and beneficiaries of the plan come 2050,” he said when opening the Asia Urban Youth Assembly (AUYA) in conjunction with 17th International Melaka Twin Cities Convention 2017.

Also present were Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron, Deputy Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique and Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Ali Rustam.

AUYA is an international conference that provides a platform for Asia’s youth with the opportunity to deliberate and discuss issues that are significant for young people to make relevant contributions to the new urban agenda of the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDG).

Ahmad Zahid said three global trends would influence and challenge the future that youth should be better prepared with the right skills and mindset.

“The first is the rich are ageing while the poor are not, shifting and climate change environment and health issues that demand attention and I must add, a lot of attention.

“These trends will converge at an unprecedented pace that will make governing and cooperation harder and change in the nature of power fundamentally altering the global landscape.”

He said the second was the shifting global economy where weak economic growth would persist in the near term. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – When it comes to saving wildlife, not many youngsters are interested enough to spend money, time and energy to be part of it.

Eleven-year-old Ahmad Iszuddin Ahmad Idzham is unlike most children his age.

He is committed to saving sea leatherback turtles after his science teacher showed him and his classmates a video of the endangered species.

He was told that they could be extinct worldwide in a number of years if little is done to protect them.

“I cried twice watching the video and all I want to do now is help save them,” he said.

Iszuddin, who learned cooking from his mother, bakes bread and cookies for sale to people at selected functions. Some buyers call him direct.

So far, the Year Five pupil has earned more than RM200 from the sale of his bread and cookies.

He plans to donate the money to the Turtle Conservation Society in Terengganu and help save the sea creatures.

The youngest of five siblings has the support of his mother, Nor Azlina Ishak, who visited the World Wildlife Fund to find more about the sea leatherback turtles.

“I was told that the leatherback turtles do not land in Peninsular Malaysia anymore. Once in a blue moon, they might land in Sabah,” said Nor Azlina.

Rantau Abang used to have the largest turtle nesting population in the world, numbering 10,000 a year. The sharp decline in population was due to egg consumption by humans and environmental degradation.

According to WWF, the leatherback turtle last landed in Terengganu in 1993.

It said the leatherback turtle has been around for more than a hundred million years, but is now facing extinction.

In 1980, some 110,000 leatherback turtles were recorded. But in the last 30 years, the number dwindled to less than 2,000 adult female leatherbacks, making them the world’s most endangered turtle species.

Nor Azlina, who is a certified motivational speaker, said that her businessman husband also supported their son in his passion.

“We will support our son whatever his interest as we do not want to miss any part of his life,” she said.

Iszuddin promotes his cookies and bread as well as shares his message to save the turtles via his Instagram iszuddin_.

“To everyone out there, let’s work together and save these endangered species,” he said. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – A mild earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale occurred in Ranau, Sabah at 1.10am today.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department in a statement said the epicentre of the quake was 320 kilometres northwest of Tarakan, Indonesia and 11 kilometres west of Ranau.

Tremors were felt in western Sabah, it added. – BERNAMA

Unknown assailants in the Gaza Strip have shot dead a senior Hamas member, officials in Gaza said, blaming Israel for the killing.

Iyad al-Bozum, an interior ministry spokesman in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, said that gunmen opened fire on Mazen Faqha in the Tell al-Hama neighbourhood, adding that an investigation into the incident has been launched.

“Hamas and its military wing hold Israel and its collaborators responsible for this despicable crime… Israel knows that the blood of fighters is not spilled in vain and Hamas will know how to act,” the group said in a statement.

Another senior Hamas official, Izzat El-Reshiq, said the killers used silencers on their weapons during the attack.

Police spokesman Ayman al-Batniji said Faqha had “four bullets in his head” and said Israel and its “collaborators” were responsible for the killing. “We know how to respond to this crime,” he added.

Faqha, 38, was a senior Hamas official in the Israeli-occupied West Bank when he was jailed by Israel in 2003 for planning attacks against Israelis.

He was sentenced to nine life terms but was released into the Gaza Strip as one of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners that Israel let go in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was held in the coastal enclave after being seized in a cross-border raid in 2006.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the assissination in the Hamas-run Palestinian coastal enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2006. – Al Jazeera

Rebel fighters have killed at least 40 policemen in the central Democratic Republic of Congo, in one of the deadliest attacks on security forces since a violent uprising began late last year.

The Kamwina Nsapu militia reportedly killed the police officers on Saturday and only spared those who spoke their local language.

“They ambushed the policemen as they traveled from Tshikapa to Kananga,” Ambrose Muwasa, a senior security officer, told the Anadolu Agency.

“After capturing them, they started killing them and only spared six who spoke Tshiluba language.”

Corneil Mbombo, the president of the Civil Society of Kasai, a province-wide activist group, told the Reuters news agency that the 40 officers had been decapitated.

The militia then reportedly fled with vehicles and guns belonging to the police.

The rebel fighters has been fighting DRC forces since August 2016, when security forces killed their leader – Kamwina Nsapu. The violence has since spread to five provinces, posing the biggest threat yet to the rule of President Joseph Kabila.

According to the United Nations, more than 400 people have been killed and rights groups have warned the military against excessive use of force.

Several mass graves, suspected to contain bodies of militia fighters, have been discovered by local and international human rights groups.

And last month, the rebel fighters attacked police only to have the army respond with fierce force, killing more than 100 of them in an act condemned by human rights groups. – Al Jazeera

The US and British ban on laptops and tablets in carry-on luggage on some flights from the Middle East and North Africa has come into force, immediately drawing complaints from passengers at several airports.

The ban requires that personal devices larger than a mobile phone – such as tablets, laptops and cameras – be placed in checked baggage for US and Britain-bound flights.

The US restrictions apply to flights originating from 10 airports in countries including Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The British restrictions do not include the UAE or Qatar, but do affect Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

The affected airports had until Saturday to implement the new rules.

The bans have already led to discontent and complaints from passengers at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, which is one of those listed.

“This airport is so secured. The security level is so high compared to other airports in the rest of this part of the world. So, why doing that from here?” Haggai Mazursky, a traveller, told Reuters news agency.

Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said the airlines were trying to limit passengers’ frustrations while holding talks with the United States to lift the ban.

“They [Turkish airlines] believe that if the comfort of passenger is affected, it will impact the industry as a whole and the company as well,” she said.

“In efforts to make it easier for the passengers, they [Turkish Airlines] are offering free wifi during flights and will also launch a special mobile application in April.”

US and British officials said the decision to implement the security measures was a result of intelligence showing an increased risk for “terrorist activity” involving commercial aviation.

However, many observers in the Middle East and North Africa said the ban amounted to discrimination, while others questioned the basis for the electronics ban, saying they were a ploy to undermine the aviation industry of the countries affected.

“If you say it like this, you are saying everybody can be a terrorist. It’s not respectful. I think it’s not good,” said one passenger at Ataturk International Airport.

Geoffrey Thomas, the editor-in-chief of Airlineratings.com, said the UK joining the ban gave it some credibility that there might be an evolving threat, “but, at the same time, the UK has not banned UAE and Qatar, which raises a lot of concern as to what this is all about”.

“Some suggest that the ban on UAE and Qatar has more to do with the Trump administration’s desire to curb the power of Middle East carriers, because one of the crazy parts about this ban is that Emirates from Dubai to Athens, and on to the US, is not included in the measures.

“And then, you have cities that actually have security challenges, such as Lagos and Islamabad, which are also not included in the ban. So, there are questions about this that leave a lot of experts perplexed,” Thomas said.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that talks were under way to try to persuade the US and Britain to exclude Turkish Airlines and Istanbul airport from the bans. – Al Jazeera

PUTRAJAYA – The Veterinary Services Department (DVS) confirmed that there have been no new cases of H5N1 avian flu in Kelantan.

In a statement today, the department said there have been no new infections in the last seven days.

As of yesterday, 28 locations tested positive for H5N1 virus in six areas namely Kota Bharu (14 locations), Pasir Mas (6), Tumpat (3), Tanah Merah (1), Bachok (1) and Pasir Puteh (3) involving 43 premises.

“We are continuously monitoring the situation at six locations where H5N1 was positively detected.

“So far, 37,862 birds have been culled and 15,450 eggs have been destroyed by the department.

Disposal operations have been completed in 18 locations and are still ongoing at other places.

The department has inspected 1,657 vehicles and confiscated 89 fowls during roadblocks.

“Our disposal team has been sent to capture and get rid of all poultry within a 1km radius of the infected areas.

The department said an active surveillance team has been directed to head to the affected areas for clinical observations on all fowls and to conduct cloacal swab samples from carcasses, if any.

The disease is now being contained within a 30km radius from Kampung Pulau Tebu, which covers six areas, namely Kota Bharu, Pasir Mas, Pasir Puteh, Tumpat, Tanah Merah and Bachok.

DVS assured the public that all broiler chicken and eggs were safe for consumption and asked the public to report deaths of any fowls.

The department said the outbreak is under control, adding that the spread of the avian flu is only within the areas classified as positive and involving free-range chicken reared by small-scale breeders.

“Other states, besides Kelantan still remain free from the outbreak. Active surveillance and continuous monitoring are ongoing in other states,” the department said. – NST

KUALA LUMPUR – Two of five victims kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group who were rescued by the Philippines’s security forces on Thursday, are expected to arrive here tomorrow.

Without revealing the place and time of their arrival, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said their statements would be recorded on the case.

“They are in Manila currently with the authorities there and will arrive in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow,” said Khalid, who declined to elaborate further.

Khalid said this after attending the 210th Police Day Commemoration Parade at the Police Training Centre here, today.

Yesterday, the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) confirmed that they were rescued by the security forces of the Philippines in an operation in the southern part of the republic.

They duo are Tayudin Anjut, 46, and Abdul Rahim Summas, 63, crew members of the tugboat Serudong Tiga who were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the waters of Dent Haven in Lahad Datu on July 18.

Prior to this, the foreign media reported that the two victims, in a weak state and sickly, were rescued by a Philippine Marine boat in the waters of Pulau Pata in the southern Philippines.

To date, three more Malaysians are still being held captive by Abu Sayyaf, namely, Fandy Bakran, 27, Mohd Jumadil Rahim, 24, and Mohd Ridzuan Ismail, 33, who were also crew members of the Serudong Tiga.

In another development, when asked to comment on developments on the killing of Kim Jong-nam, Khalid said investigations were still ongoing.

“To date, no fresh developments, we are still hunting for three more suspects who are believed to be holed up in the North Korean Embassy here.

“We urge them (Jong-nam murder suspects) to give themselves up and cooperate with the police in the investigation,” said Khalid.

The three individuals who are believed to be still holed up at the North Korean Embassy are Hyon Kwang-song, 44, and staff of Air Koryo, Kim Uk-il, 37, and Ri Ji-u, 30, who was also known as James.

Jong-nam was murdered at the KL International Airport 2 while waiting for a flight to Macau on Feb 13. – BERNAMA