The people of Christchurch must be amongst the most stoic in the world. After a decade of natural disasters have frustrated their attempts to rebuild their city, today it is once more under threat as large fires burn over a wide area. A helicopter has crashed while attempting to control a fire, killing its pilot. As another evacuation is under way, one has to suppose that, sooner or later, the decision as to whether to continue to inhabit Christchurch will be made by insurers who will either refuse cover or price it at such levels that residents will find it cheaper to leave.
A Malaysian Minister in the Home Ministry, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, has today confirmed that the man who died in an apparent poisoning attack at the Low Cost terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA2) was, in widely reported, KIM Jong-Nam. KIM is the half-brother of North Korea's leader KIM Jong-Un. They share KIM Jong-Il as father. Jong-Nam fell out with the family long ago and has for many years spend most of his time in Macau. Before his father died, he had said that he felt that it would be a mistake for NoKO to have a third generation of a single family in control. Although his identity was widely accepted, confirmation was needed because Jong-Nam was carrying two passports, which Malaysia authorities say are "authentic" one of which bore the name KIM Choi.
Malaysian authorities have been extraordinarily efficient: within three days, they have identified from CCTV footage two women who, it is alleged, three a cloth soaked in an as yet unidentified substance into KIM's face. One, it has been established was born in Indonesia and holds an Indonesian passport. The other holds a Vietnamese passport but identification awaits verification. KIM was waiting to board an AirAsia flight to Macau when the incident happened. Several minutes later, he complained that his face was painful and was taken to the airport clinic. There medics immediately ordered his transfer to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival, allegedly from some form of poison. The speed of identifying the women was in part due to the airport's unobtrusive but very effective security, including high definition CCTV. There has been speculation that the attack may have been ordered by NoKo but has not been confirmed. If it was, it would be an astonishing error of judgement on Kim Jong-Un's part: Malaysia is one of only a handful of countries that could be counted as reasonably friendly towards NoKo. However, the incident happened on Monday but the Minister said that, so far as he is aware, NoKo officials have made no contact with Malaysian authorities, even in relation to claiming the body.
But if the police are efficient, so is at least one oneline retailer, according to this media outlet
You'd think that the biggest story on the front of today's Jakarta Post would be the the election for governor of Jakarta. But no, it appears only in a rotation of headlines on a range of subjects and then it focuses on allegations of election fraud. The election has been marred by racist attacks by a cleric who, literally, spits out vile insults against the Chinese in Indonesia. He has bussed in thousands to protest in the streets claiming that the sitting governor, a Chinese known as "Ahok" has insulted Islam and he has even gone so far as to force a prosecution for the alleged offence. Indonesian newspapers have backed off from reporting this aspect of the election. Despite the problems, Ahok completed the first round of elections with a small but clear lead. His running mate is Muslim and Ahok has been a force for unity and lack of favour during his term. However, the second and third candidates are both Muslim and the beneficiaries of the cleric's hatred and outrageous comments that in many other countries would have landed him in jail. The third placed candidate has today conceded his defeat
We did find a story and there are links to other relevant stories, at least today. That story says that Ahok's supporters were blocked from voting after administrators claimed they were not registered even though they had documents proving their right. It was also alleged that others, who were not eligible to vote were allowed to do so.
But in truth, that is a side issue: what is truly at stake is the very soul (in a non-religious, non-denominational, sense) of a country which has worked hard for decades to heal racial and religious divides, to adopt acceptance not merely tolerance. It would be a tragedy if one hate filled man was able to destroy that.
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