Ahad, 19 Januari 2014

The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

30,000 displaced by floods in Jakarta

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

JAKARTA: More than 30,000 Indonesians have fled their homes in the capital due to flooding that has left five dead, an official said, with people using rubber dinghies and wading through waist-deep water to reach safer ground.

Many parts of Jakarta were under murky, brown water, while on the vast archipelago's northern Sulawesi island the death toll from flash floods and landslides rose to 24.

Buildings in some parts of sprawling capital, which has a population of 10 million and is regularly afflicted by floods during the six-month rainy season, were half submerged, with roads unpassable in many areas.

"So far, 30,000 people in Jakarta have been displaced by floods caused by heavy rains," disaster agency official Tri Budiarto said yesterday.

Five people have so far been killed in Jakarta in the past week while 19 others have died in Sulawesi, officials have said previously.

However, the floods were yet to reach the same level as last year when the central business district was left under water.

On Sulawesi, around 40,000 people were still displaced following flash floods and landslides earlier in the week, local disaster agency chief Christian Laotongan said.

Rescuers on Saturday recovered the body of a woman from a landslide in Tomohon city, Laotongan said, bringing the death toll in the area to 24. — AFP

Wen denies acquiring riches

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

HONG KONG: Former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao (pic) has pleaded innocence over claims that his family amassed huge wealth during his decade in power, a Hong Kong columnist said, as Beijing ramps up a much-publicised crackdown on official corruption.

"I have never been involved and would not get involved in one single deal of abusing my power for personal gain because no such gains whatsoever could shake my convictions," Wen said in a letter to Ng Hong-mun, a columnist with the Ming Pao newspaper, a Hong Kong-based Chinese-language daily.

"I want to walk the last journey in this world well. I came to this world with bare hands and I want to leave this world clean," Wen said, according to Ng's column published on Saturday.

Wen's letter dated Dec 27 follows a 2012 New York Times report that claimed his family controlled assets worth at least US$2.7bil (RM8.9bil) – a report China vigorously denounced as a smear.

Ng is a Hong Kong-based politician who frequently comments on relationships between Beijing and the semi-autonomous region, which was returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

He is known to have ties to Wen, and a photo taken of both men and their wives after an April 2011 dinner in Beijing was circulated widely in the Hong Kong press.

News of Wen's letter comes amid an escalating campaign by the current Chinese leadership, led by President Xi Jinping, to fight corruption among high-ranking officials, or "tigers", as well as low-level "flies".

Analysts say that while there is little chance that Wen himself would be ensnared in that crackdown, the former premier is under pressure to clear his name following the New York Times investigation.

Recent reports of an official probe into China's former chief of internal security, Zhou Yongkang, a one-time member of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, could have prompted Wen to act, said Willy Lam, a politics specialist at the Chi­nese University of Hong Kong.

"I think the point of Wen Jiabao's letter... is to pre-empt innuendo and speculation that he might be the next to go, after Zhou Yongkang," Lam said. — AFP

Death toll from Philippines storm hits 40

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

MANILA: The death toll from the first storm to batter the disaster-prone Philippines this year has climbed to 40, officials said, as forecasters warned more heavy rain was on its way.

"Lingling" – a tropical depression – has wreaked havoc across the southern island of Mindanao, affecting more than 580,000 people, 161,000 of whom have been displaced and moved to evacuation centres.

Manila's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council upped the number of dead by three from Friday's toll, as the state weather bureau said further "moderate to heavy" rains were expected over large areas of Mindanao.

Public storm warning signals have been hoisted in eight provinces on the island which are expected to be hit by 60km an hour winds over the next 36 hours.

"Tropical depression Agaton is expected to bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and thunderstorms over Bohol, Siquijor, Northern Mindanao and the rest of the Caraga region," the bureau said yesterday, referring to the storm's local name.

Office of Civil Defence regional director Liza Mazo said a landslide had blocked the national highway in Agusan, slowing the emergency response.

Roughly 20 storms batter the Philippines every year. — AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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