Isnin, 17 Mac 2014

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The Star Online: Nation

Park plans sun bear release

Posted: 16 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: Five endangered Malayan sun bears that were seized and handed over to the Sabah Wildlife Department now have a chance to return to the wild.

The five were recently transferred to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sandakan from the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, near here, where they were initially sheltered.

They were either seized by wild life rangers between June last year and March 1 or handed over to the department by the public.

Officer-in-charge of the park and veterinarian Dr Rosa Sipangkui said that the four male and one female bears were tranquillised on March 10 and given a full medical examination to make sure they were healthy before they were put in cages for an eight-hour journey to their new jungle home at the conservation centre.

"One day they may be rehabilitated and released into a protected forest reserve," she said.

The conservation centre's chief executive officer, Wong Siew Te, said his team took three hours to unload the bears when they arrived there and to settle the animals into a bear house.

"We are monitoring their progress and will keep the public updated on how they are doing.

"The bears are not among those that were for public viewing at the wildlife park," he said, adding that two more bears were expected to arrive at the conservation centre.

"With that, the bear population at the centre will increase to 34," he added.

Wong reminded the public that it was an offence to keep protected species and should they have any such animal in captivity they should surrender it to the department.

"Sun bears are protected by law, and cannot be kept as pets," he said, adding that they were forest dependent and played important roles in the forest ecosystem as seed dispersers, forest engineers, forest doctors and forest farmers.

"They keep our forests healthy, for the benefit of humans and all life-forms."

Missing MH370: MAS will continue to host families in Beijing

Posted: 16 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

BEIJING: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will continue to host the families of those on board MH370 here for the being and has not set up a time frame for their stay.

"They are most welcome to continue staying here should they wish to. We will inform them on the next arrangement," Firefly CEO Ignatius Ong, who heads the command centre at Lido Hotel, said.

MAS and Department of Civil Aviation have been keeping the families updated on the latest news of the search and rescue mission in three briefings a day – at 9am, 2pm and 6pm.

But MAS has informed the families on Saturday afternoon, after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's press conference, that they would not be able to furnish much details as the investigation had pointed to possible criminal elements involved.

"Our briefing from now on will only touch on care-giving and other related arrangement," Ong said.

MAS will also assist anyone wishing to return home by arranging transportation. The option to fly to Kuala Lumpur is also still open.

"They have to inform us early if they want to do so because we need to look at room availability," Ong said.

"However, we have explained to them that there is not much point in going to Kuala Lumpur as the information that they will receive there will still be the same.

"In fact, some of the next-of-kin there (in Kuala Lumpur) are wanting to come home," he said.

The Go Team members, made up of MAS employees and Tzu Chi volunteers, arrived on Saturday and immediately started helping the families.

"They are there for the families," Ong said.

Some of the non-Chinese caregivers are also able to speak Mandarin while others communicate with the families via translators.

Wearing blue vests, the Go Team members were seen rushing in and out of the hotel ballroom to take care of the families' needs.

"I am proud of them. Sometimes they have to bear the brunt of the angry families," added Ong.

Ipoh's smoke-free gurdwara gets WHO recognition

Posted: 16 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

IPOH: Gurdwara Sahib Greentown has been awarded the Blue Ribbon of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in recognition of it being a smoke-free religious premises.

It is the first gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) in the country to be accorded the honour.

"Almost all religions believe smoking and smoke emitting from cigarettes are hazardous," Malay­sian Health Promotion Board (MySihat) chief executive Datuk Dr Yahya Baba said during the presentation of the emblem yesterday.

Present were Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya and state health director Datuk Dr Nordiyanah Hassan.

"Religious premises play an essential role in conveying this message to their devotees and to encourage smokers to kick this dangerous habit," said Dr Yahya.

"At least, smokers could be considerate of non-smokers and choose not to light up in their presence," he added.

The gurdwara joins three other places of worship in the programme – the Sultan Idris Shah II State Mosque, the Taiping Catholic Church, run by the National Society of St Vincent de Paul and the Sri Vellai Vinayagar temple in Teluk Intan.

"We are working to get Buddhist temples to be involved in this programme, too," said Dr Yahya, adding that they would start in Teluk Intan.

The Blue Ribbon emblem is a recognition by the WHO for indivi­duals and organisations advocating smoke-free environments.

The programme here is jointly organised by MySihat and the state health department to protect the public, especially non-smokers, from cancerous cigarette smoke.


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