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‘N. Korea is top security concern’

Posted: 22 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

SINGAPORE: North Korea remains Washington's "number one security concern" in Asia, the US Pacific Fleet commander said, despite simmering territorial disputes elsewhere in the region.

Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr also accused China of "coercion" in its maritime disputes with neighbours.

He said an increased deployment of US military assets in the region as part of an Asian "pivot" announced in 2012 would ensure that "we are where it matters and when it matters".

"Our number one security concern is North Korea," Adm Harris told reporters in Singapore on board the destroyer USS Spruance.

"I am concerned as a commander for the provocations that come from North Korea. I don't understand them, I don't understand their leadership and I don't understand their intent," he said.

Pyongyang last week warned of "calamities and disasters" if the United States and South Korea push ahead with a series of annual joint military drills from next month.

Last year's exercises were held in the wake of North Korea's third and largest nuclear test, and prompted months of escalated military tensions that saw Pyongyang issue similar apocalyptic threats of nuclear war against its southern neighbour and the United States.

Adm Harris also expressed concern at China's declaration of an "air defence identification zone" over the East China Sea, including over islands disputed with Japan.

"We think that the air defence identification zone (ADIZ) was an unfortunate imposition in the region," he said.

"It highlights an issue that I am concerned about, and that is coercion by China in this case and other countries as well," he added.

"It has not affected our military operations at all. We choose to do business as usual in the ADIZ."

The declaration, which caused a furore, requires foreign aircraft to declare their intentions and maintain communications with Chinese authorities or face unspecified "defensive emergency measures".

China is also embroiled in a bitter row with the Philippines, Vietnam and other nations about overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

Beijing claims sovereignty over essentially all that sea.

Adm Harris urged countries in­­volved in the disputes to resolve them "amicably, peacefully, and without resort to undue pressure".

He also welcomed the acceptance by China's People's Liberation Army of an invitation to take part in major US-hosted naval drills for the first time in June off Hawaii.

The biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise is billed as the world's largest international maritime war games and will feature armed forces from 23 nations. — AFP

Jailed for playing part in murder

Posted: 22 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

A man was jailed for four years for passing a folding knife to a friend who allegedly used it to murder a former prison mate in a coffeeshop brawl.

Jobless Kung Kwai Cheong, 55, had been part of a group that set upon Gunasekaran Rengasamy, punching and kicking him in a Geylang Road coffeeshop in the early hours of Feb 13, 2012.

The fight was sparked when Kung's pal Jamsari Yusof arrived at a table where Kung sat with Gunasekaran and three other men. Jamsari accused Gunasekaran of being "big-headed" while they were both serving time in prison.

Jamsari, Kung, Terrence Goh Chye Huat and Redzuan Pupon all laid into the unemployed 43-year-old when Kung passed the weapon to Jamsari, who allegedly used it to attack Gunasekaran. Two hours later, he died of stab wounds to his chest and lung.

Kung pleaded guilty to abetting an offence of voluntarily causing grievous hurt.

Goh, 44, was jailed for 17 months last year for punching and kicking Gunasekaran and having another person's identity card.

Redzuan 39, was convicted of causing hurt and jailed 15 months. Jamsari, 51, is facing a murder charge and his case has not been heard yet. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

British expat’s ‘poor people’ remark sparks outrage

Posted: 22 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

A Porsche-driving British wealth manager in Singapore who referred to public transport commuters as "poor people" has apologised after his Facebook posts sparked an online furore.

Anton Casey, a 39-year-old senior wealth manager in the financial sector, had also referred to washing "the stench of public transport off me" in one of his posts on the social network.

Furious online readers flooded websites on which his remarks were reposted with comments, many of which subjected him and his family to verbal abuse.

Singapore has one of the world's highest annual GDP per capita incomes with official data showing it stood at S$65,048 (RM169,300) in 2012. The city-state also boasts one of Asia's most modern public transport systems.

"I would like to extend a sincere apology to the people of Singapore," Casey said in a statement issued through a public relations firm on Tuesday.

"I have the highest respect and regard for Singapore and the good people of Singapore; this is my home," said the permanent resident, who is married to a former Singapore beauty queen with whom he has a five-year-old son.

One of Casey's posts showed a picture of a boy, apparently his son, sitting inside a metro train with a caption above the photo saying: "Daddy, where is your car & who are all these poor people?"

Another showed a waving boy sitting inside a silver convertible Porsche, with a caption saying: "Ahhhhhhhh reunited with my baby. Normal service can resume, once I have washed the stench of public transport off me."

Casey said there had been a "security breach" of his Facebook page and that his family had "suffered extreme emotional and verbal abuse online". Police were investigating death threats received by his family, he added.

"This guy is rich materially but poor spiritually," a reader named Tony Tan wrote on TheRealSingapore, one of the online publications that reposted Casey's Facebook comments. — AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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