Selasa, 10 Disember 2013

The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Pop star Bieber brings cheer in typhoon-hit Philippines


MANILA: Pop megastar Justin Bieber sang to and played basketball with young survivors of the Philippines' deadliest typhoon Tuesday after he flew into the disaster zone to boost an international relief effort.

Bieber flew unannounced to the central city of Tacloban just over a month after it was devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan and sang Christmas carols to children at a heavily damaged local school amid tight security, witnesses said.

"He sang 'Holy Night' for the children," said Kate Donovan, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), one of three aid agencies expected to benefit from Bieber's charity work.

An AFP reporter said Bieber also played basketball with some of the young boys, and posed for photos.

"UNICEF is very pleased that Justin Bieber wanted to visit Tacloban, and stopped by City Central Elementary School which has suffered a great deal of structural damage," UNICEF emergency coordinator Angela Kearney said.

"Justin brought a lot of joy, hope and cheer to the hundreds of children who were there," she added.

The money that would be raised would give child survivors access to education, vaccinations, clean water and sanitation, she said.

Prior to visiting the Philippines, Bieber had posted a message on fund raising website urging his millions of fans to donate to the victims of the typhoon, the strongest to ever hit land.

Haiyan cut across the central Philippines on November 8, destroying scores of communities along its path.

Tsunami-like storm surges it triggered also swallowed up many coastal areas, and were blamed for majority of the nearly 6,000 deaths.

More than 1,700 others remain missing and about four million have been displaced.

In his message on Prizeo, Bieber said those donating to his cause could win a chance to personally see him record music next year.

"In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, its victims in the Philippines need our help - and they need it now," he said in his appeal.

Many other international celebrities have also lent their voices to the massive rehabilitation effort, including Grammy-award winning singer Alicia Keys who visited victims airlifted to Manila two weeks ago. -AFP

Thousands take to Cambodia's streets on Human Rights Day


PHNOM PENH: Thousands of Cambodian opposition supporters and activists, including Buddhist monks, took to the streets Tuesday to mark Human Rights Day and call for improvements in the kingdom's rights record.

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy led a crowd of some 6,000 supporters - many waving Cambodian flags and holding banners that read "Long Live Democracy" - through Phnom Penh.

Chanting the party's slogan of "Change! Change!" and "Step Down!" - a reference to opposition demands that Prime Minister Hun Sen resign - the crowd gathered at a park in the city centre.

"Now, the state of human rights in our country is going down. We must struggle for the full and proper respect of human rights," Rainsy told the crowd.

Cambodians have lost their rights due to "corruption and dictatorship", the opposition leader said, repeating his claim that Hun Sen won July's national election due to widespread voting fraud.

He raised the recent death of South Africa's anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, saying: "We will walk the same path as Nelson Mandela and we will be successful like him."

Several hundred land rights activists and some Buddhist monks marched to parliament.

Thousands of garment workers and government officials also attended separate rallies to mark the United Nations-backed Human Rights Day.

Hundreds of riot police were deployed outside Hun Sen's house and at other key locations.

Activists say land conflicts are Cambodia's most pressing human rights issue.

There have also been a series of recent protests by garment workers over poor conditions and low pay in factories, some of which have ended in violent crackdowns by security forces.

Last month a woman was shot dead and several injured after riot police used live ammunition and tear gas to break up a garment worker demonstration.

The government has faced mounting criticism from rights groups for alleged crackdowns on dissidents and protesters, in cases that are often linked to high-profile land disputes.

US President Barack Obama told Hun Sen last year that his government's human rights violations were "an impediment" to better relations.

The largely peaceful conduct of July's polls showed there had been "improvement in respect for civil liberties" in Cambodia, US ambassador William Todd said in a Tuesday statement.

"Cambodia still faces challenges, however, in such areas as land disputes and evictions, corruption, and trafficking in persons," he said.

The Cambodian opposition party, which is boycotting parliament, is set to hold another mass protest Sunday to contest Hun Sen's election victory. -AFP


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