Suspect sought in body in luggage murder

KLANGPolice are looking for an individual whom they believe can shed some light into the death of a woman whose decomposed naked body was found bound and stuffed in a luggage in the Klang river off Jalan Harper on Friday.

Police have classified the case as murder and are awaiting a post-mortem report to establish the cause of death.

Selangor deputy Criminal Investigations Department chief Assistant Commissioner Yahya Abdul Rahman said investigators were looking at several leads into the woman’s death.
He said a manhunt was underway for the individual whom police declined
to identify.

“The victim could have been physically abused,” he said.

Police have not ruled out the possibility the victim was alive when her body was stuffed into the bag before it was disposed.

Meanwhile, Klang Utara police chief ACP Mohd Yusoff Mamat said several people had come forward to assist police in identifying the victim.

“But due to the state of decomposition, it was difficult to identify the body,” he said.

Police will await DNA results to ascertain the victim’s identity.

About 1pm on Friday, an Indonesian river maintenance worker spotted the black luggage lodged at the garbage trap gate in the river.

The worker tried to remove the bag but failed to do so.

When he detected a strong stench coming from the bag, he alerted police.

Police who removed the bag discovered the body in an advanced state of decomposition. Bedsheets were used to wrap the body which was found with the hands and legs bound.

A skirt and a singlet were also found inside the bag.

The victim is believed to be a local woman in her 30s, with long brown hair and oral braces. She had been dead for more than five days.

The victim’s right leg was in a plaster cast and there were stitches on her abdomen, indicating she could have recently undergone a caesarean section.

Police believe the victim was murdered elsewhere and dumped into the river.

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Man missing feared drowned after boat struck by waves

GEORGE TOWN — The first day at work was a horrifying experience for five Indonesians and two Malaysians when their boat capsized after being struck by strong waves off North Beach off Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah on Friday night.

One of the locals, in his 60s, remains missing and is feared drowned. The other, a 72-year-old man from Ipoh who survived, is believed to be the boss.

During the 7pm incident, the seven men were on their way from Pantai Jerejak to North Beach where the Gurney Wharf reclamation project is in progress.

They were on a surveying mission for rocks to be used as wave barriers some 500 metres off the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) building.

Quarry worker Hamdan Osman, 35, said he and two others held onto a red sea marker while three others held onto an oil drum.

“It was actually our first day at work. We were trying to keep afloat and holding on to the elderly man but could not help him as he had taken in a lot of water. Eventually, we lost our grip on him and he kept sinking into the water,” said Hamdan.

“Luckily we managed to wave at a passing vessel which alerted maritime authorities for help.”

One of them managed to swim towards the beach.

He said they were hit by a strong first wave and another which caused the boat to flip over and they had to hang onto the underbelly of the boat for a while.

“We are grateful that the men from the fire department arrived and helped us out. We were getting tired and did not know how long we could hang on anymore,” said Hamdan who is from Aceh, Indonesia.

Rescue personnel from Beach Street and Jalan Perak Fire and Rescue Department were seen along with Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency officials at the scene.

Jalan Perak Fire and Rescue Department operations commander Nazari Mustapha said one of the survivors had swum and was about 80 metres from the shore.

“We received the emergency call at around 9pm and arrived at the scene at 9.05pm. The seven men had gone to Pulau Jerejak to survey for stones.

“They informed us that they were on their way back to Gurney Drive when the incident took place,”
said Nazari.

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Police to review photographs and recordings at rally

KUALA LUMPUR — Police will be reviewing photographs and video recordings to establish if any laws were broken by participants of the Tangkap Malaysian Official 1 (TMO1) rally, which took place in the city yesterday afternoon.

Dang Wangi police chief Assistant Commissioner Zainol Samah said the review of photographs and videos, which were uploaded on the Internet would be to identify those who broke the law.

“We will see if participants had breached regulations under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) and other laws,” he said.

Zainol said evidence found from scrutinising the photographs and video recordings would then be tendered as evidence should the indivuals be charged in court.

He added there were no untoward incidents during the rally, which went on at Dataran Merdeka despite no permit being issued to the organisers.

The TMO1 rally, championed by undergraduate spokesman Anis Syafiqah Md Yusof, was attended by about 1,000 people.

Crowds began gathering at the Sogo shopping mall along Jalan Tuanku Abdul and the National Mosque along Jalan Perdana from noon despite heavy police presence.

There were speeches and songs during the rally which dispersed at about 4.45pm.

Third school food poisoning in Perak

PETALING JAYA — Some 70 students of a Chinese secondary school in Ipoh suffered food poisoning yesterday after eating canteen food, the third such case in the state in two weeks.

The Kinta Health District Department was notified on Friday afternoon by a mother of a student of SM Poi Lam, and began investigations at 3pm the same day.

It discovered that 49 boys and 21 girls were exposed to the Salmonella spp bacteria, suspected to have originated from contaminated egg curry.

All 70 students received treatment at five private clinics, with one student being admitted to a private hospital. The students displayed various symptoms including stomach ache, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, and dizziness.

The results of the department’s tests conducted on the clinical stool samples, food handler swabs, food samples, and environmental swabs are still pending. However, the canteen operator was found guilty of four offences.

The department determined that four of the six food handlers were not vaccinated, as well as had not undergone food handling courses. The chiller was found to be at 13°C, which did not meet the required standard temperature of 4°C.

It was also found that cleaning detergents were kept alongside fresh food products in the storage rack.

The canteen premises was shut down under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 effective 7pm that same day, and a RM1,000 compound notice was issued under Sub-section (11) Food Cleanliness 2009, of the Food Act 1983.

The outbreak comes in the wake of the two other food poisoning cases, involving 52 male students at the Gopeng Matriculation College on Aug 20, and 56 students at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar on Aug 17.

Meanwhile the Health Ministry announced the first case of diphtheria in Perak. The victim is a four-year old girl who was admitted to Taiping Hospital on Aug 17.

She experienced high fever, cough and a sore throat since Aug 12. As the child was immunised, she only experienced mild symptoms with no complications.

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Slope remedial works begin in Simpang Pulai

IPOH — Cameron Highlands residents can breathe a sigh of relief as remedial work at the slope area along Section 44 of the Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highland route has begun.

Perak State Public Utilities, Infrastructure, Energy and Water Committee chairman Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharudin said the Public Works Department (PWD) started planting plow type leguminous plants to cover the slope surface.

“We chose to grow this types of plant as they have the capability of growing and covering the surface of the slope which could reduce the chances of erosion,” he said.

“Previously, we had tried to plant a variety of trees and grass but since the soil has no nutrients it affected the growth.

“This leguminous plant is similar to the one found in oil palm estates in Sabah and Sarawak. We believe it can survive under the intricate conditions of the slope,” he told Malay Mail.

Zainol, however, said the planting was done

on a 600sq metre area as a trial.

“We will monitor the growth of the grass and will observe it’s durability for two weeks. If the grass survives and grows, then we will continue planting on a larger scale,” he said.

The stretch drew the attention of many after pictures of the dangerous looking slope went viral on social media.

Despite inspections conducted there were no signs of maintenance work being carried out.

The slope, unattended for more than a month, raised the anxiety of road users, especially highlands residents, who feared it was on the verge of giving way.

Malay Mail’s two previous reports highlighted the fear of motorists using the stretch.

Zainal explained PWD tried scientific methods using various plants to cover the slope, but nothing seemed to work.

“PWD have tried various methods such as bio-engineering, guided by a Universiti Malaya biologist, and hydro-seeding grass method, but they proved unsuccessful.

“We have also tried the vegetation mattress method of planting local tree branches as practised in Nepal and Italy. But that too did not work.

“Later, the department sought the help of a botanist from Bosnia to plant potato and leguminous trees. This project was a failure too,” he said.

Zainol said the recent planting method was conducted from Aug 4-16 and will be under observation for three months.

He said the planting project cost around RM20,000 adding five workers, including a supervisor from PWD, carried out the work.

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10 things about: Christine Das, the artist who champions elephants

GEORGE TOWN — She is an advocate for elephant conservation and also an artist who uses her art to support these conservation efforts.

Penang-born Christine Das was previously a graphic designer before she quit her job to become a fulltime artist almost 10 years ago.

Today, the 50-year-old has participated in numerous group exhibitions and also held her fourth solo exhibition — Conversations@50 — at the Penang Performing Arts Centre (PenangPAC) in conjunction with George Town Festival 2016.

Christine works mostly with acrylic on canvas and her paintings are often bright and bold depictions of flora and fauna and in her latest collection, Mother Nature or Gaia.

Here, Christine talks about her art, her love for elephants and her most recent body of work.

In her own words:

Conversations@50 is about me turning 50 this year, the theme is based on my life values. In every painting, there are a total of 18 pieces, every single one of them is of value I hold important to me right now. I don’t know how many more good years I am left with. This makes you think seriously about what you want to do, what you want to be, what’s important, what’s not important anymore… these kind of life questions.

Last time, I focused a lot on trees, the only animal that took centrestage was the elephant, then my trees, I had little birds. Starting from last year, I focused more on Mother Earth, I had more of her. Every animal, I’ve linked them to a certain value. So it’s the first time I’ve painted tigers, eagles, sea horses, peacocks, something I’ve not done before.

If we are talking about this collection, my favourite piece is Faith. Because of what I am going through in my personal life at this moment, faith is what means the most to me. Learning how to let go and just let life and the divine take over and just guide me. This to me is most meaningful in the collection. Another one is Envisage. It’s about having a clear vision of where I’m headed for.

I do not have a day or a minute of regret. I think this (going into fine art) is my best career move ever. The reason being I have total freedom in my self expression. Freedom is very important to me. I have that and no one tells me what to do, what not to do and the fact I have attached my art to the conservation of Nature cause. That, to me, is what adds value and complete satisfaction. Because it’s just not about me. So I have no regrets.

Of course, the financial security part is not the same as when you are employed but I just thank God I can still sustain myself on a daily basis through my art. So my art does help me out. Somehow there’s a balance. I only became dependent on my art for my finances about four years ago. Prior to that, when I was starting out, at the infancy stage, I taught art to sustain myself while I was finding myself, finding my voice, finding my style.

Ever since I learned to hold a pencil, I was already doodling and drawing. Then when I came out, I did graphic design. It was much later, like they say life begins at 40, when I had to question my life purpose, that’s when I questioned everything. I didn’t like this kind of life, in front of the computer all day long, all month long. I knew there was something bigger out there in the world that I wanted to be part of. I used to have so much panic attacks while I was deciding to resign. My God, the anxiety and the panic… finally, one day, I just did it.

I joined an advocacy project with WWF. The Ulu Muda project. I owe them an exhibition which is going to happen after this exhibition. It is going to be my next little project. So, the deal is we went on an artist excursion. They took us to Ulu Muda and what we were supposed to do, as an artist, I’m supposed to paint something that inspired me by Ulu Muda or something I want to say about Ulu Muda. That’s going to be my gift back which I haven’t started yet because of my solo exhibition. So maybe in January, we will have the show. The art will be sold to raise funds for WWF. They have a team of people working on Ulu Muda conservation.

When I am in my concrete home in Subang Jaya, in my thoughts and in my dreams I am in somewhere green and forestry, so I do a lot of daydreaming and fantasising while finding inspiration. I watch a lot of National Geographic, Animal Planet, and whatever documentaries. I look at a lot of wildlife and Nature photography. Sometimes you can’t be there so you have to look at visuals. I am open to group shows like women’s collective and we work on a theme that may take me away from Nature, I am open to it.

This year, I have Ulu Muda and my painting is also the face of KL Eco Film Fest that is happening in October. Elephants are an ongoing thing. I am selling my postcards, RM10 goes to elephant conservations. I am selling the WWF elephants T-shirt on behalf of WWF. I have nothing else on my plate now, I have to focus on Ulu Muda first.

As long as I am holding a brush, I will be painting. Even if I gain my financial freedom, I will still be painting. It’s my passion but I am also realistic, we still need money. I need to live and pay my bills. With an income, I can do more and further merchandise my art and continue to raise funds. My dream is to have my own line of Christine Das wearables. It has always been my dream. I think I will start small. I want to see how the T-shirts move. I would love to come up with handbags, bed linens but limited edition ones. I see that in my head but let’s just see.

Bags are something I’ve always loved, maybe scarves too. Proceeds will go towards conservation works because I know, now that I have mixed with conservationists and do the work, I know they need a lot. — Malay Mail Online

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Changing mood in Europe 
a year after migrant disaster

THE gruesome discovery of 71 dead migrants in a truck in Austria last August shocked Europe and led countries to open their borders to a massive influx of people fleeing war and poverty, mainly from the Middle East.

But a year on, the mood in Europe has changed.

Razor-wire fences have gone up, borders are firmly shut again, and the European Union has struck a controversial deal with Turkey to keep migrants from reaching Greece — the main entry point into the bloc, along with Italy.

While the measures have led to a sharp drop in arrivals, experts warn the crisis is far from over.

“In absolute terms, the number of people hoping to find asylum in Europe via one route or another is even higher than a year ago as a result of growing conflicts,” Gerald Tatzgern, head of Austria’s anti-human trafficking force, said.

“We can’t exclude that such a catastrophe won’t happen again,” he said, in reference to the grisly discovery made on Aug 27 last year, near the town of Parndorf.

When Austrian police opened the back of a poultry refrigerator lorry left on the side of a motorway close to Hungary, they saw an atrocious sight.

The stench of human decay emanated from the cargo container where bodies of migrants lay piled on top of each other, crammed into a small rectangular space.

Among them was a baby girl, not even a year old.

Investigations would later reveal the victims — all from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan — had been dead for two days.

The men, women and children had suffocated shortly after smugglers had picked them up in Hungary, a key transit country on the so-called Balkan migrant trail.

The case sparked international revulsion, highlighting the plight of desperate people putting their lives in the hands of traffickers.

On the day of the discovery, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Austria for a migrant crisis summit with Balkan leaders.

Upon hearing the news, she said the deaths were a clear call to action to tackle the issue “quickly and in… a spirit of solidarity”.

Days later, Germany — the favoured destination of many migrants — announced it would welcome all Syrian refugees.

The move triggered a wave of arrivals. By the end of last year, more than a million people from the Middle East, as well as Asia and Africa landed on European shores, creating the continent’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

Countries on the migrant trail organised trains and buses to transport people to Austria and Germany, where they were greeted with applause and cheers.

Since then, the enthusiasm has waned. The crisis has fuelled anti-migrant sentiment and boosted the popularity of far-right parties across Europe.

The Balkan migrant route was shut earlier this year after countries clamped down on their borders.

In the face of growing public hostility, the EU signed a deal with Turkey in March to stem the influx.

But fears are growing the pact could collapse amid a deepening rift with Ankara over its crackdown following a failed July 15 coup.

Migrant arrivals have been slightly on the rise again in recent weeks, particularly in Italy which rescued some 94,000 people in the Mediterranean so far this year.

Another 54,000 migrants remain stuck in Greece.

However, EU member states have become reluctant to accept more migrants and some have begun imposing restrictions.

Austria, which last year received the bloc’s second-highest number of asylum requests on a per-capita basis, capped applications for this year at 37,500.

Vienna is also considering the introduction of an emergency decree next month allowing it to reject migrants directly at the border.

Some 100 to 150 migrants currently arrive in Austria per day, according to interior ministry figures.

The numbers are similar to those in August last year before the truck tragedy happened.

The main difference is that criminals now smuggle fewer people because of tighter border controls, said Tatzgern.

Instead of vans or trucks, “traffickers now prefer private cars,” he said.

Four Bulgarians and an Afghan remain in custody in Hungary pending trial over their involvement in the case of the 71 dead migrants.

“We hope the investigation will be finished this autumn,” said court spokesman Gabor Schmidt this week.

As for the victims, all except one have been identified. Most were repatriated to their home countries, while a dozen have been buried at a Muslim cemetery in Vienna.

In their memory, the mayor of Parndorf has commissioned a play about the tragedy, due to premiere in January. — AFP

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Japan’s parents face nursery lottery

WHEN Yuki Kai dropped her baby son off at nursery on her way to work he was his usual bright, exuberant self. Just hours later, the 14-month-old was dead.

Kai remains tortured by the questions surrounding her toddler Kento’s final hours and her decision to leave him at an unofficial facility.

“Kento was found dead when a staff member went into the room to wake him from a nap. He was in a room separate from where the other infants were sleeping because he had cried,” she said.

The case caused national outrage and fears Japan’s working parents face a childcare lottery: Legal expert Toko Teramachi warned accidents are “30 times more frequent” for children at non-official centres.

But the entire system is under-funded and government approved nurseries are over-subscribed, leaving many parents to rely on other options, where rules dictating class size, staff training and space are less strict.

Last year, 14 children died in childcare facilities nationwide — 65 per cent of these incidents happened in unofficial nurseries.

Experts warn Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s bid to tackle the nation’s day care shortage by loosening requirements, such as those limiting class sizes, for even official nurseries, will simply make more
facilities dangerous.

Child welfare specialist Hiroko Inokuma said deregulation plans were “a reckless move…which could lead to more accidents” with too many children crammed into nurseries.

“You can’t put your child’s life in someone’s hands if quality is not guaranteed,” warned Renho, a leading member of the opposition Democratic Party, who goes by one name.

‘I had no choice’

Abe has come under fire for his call for the nation’s women to both bear more children to stem a falling population, and to keep working to boost the struggling economy, without providing proper childcare facilities to support this dual demand.

The Labour Ministry estimated at least 23,000 children were unable to find an official daycare place last year.

“I couldn’t get a slot in a certified facility … I had no choice at all,” Kai said from her home in Ichikawa, her living room decorated with Kento’s photos, toys and a Buddhist memorial altar.

Her baby was left unattended for 50 minutes when he was found face down in the bed. Government regulations dictate children need to be placed to sleep on their backs, to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome), and checked every 10 minutes.

An autopsy proved inconclusive but she is considering legal action. The local government has launched an inquiry into the case and conducted on-site inspections. Lawyers for the school did not respond to AFP requests for comment made through the facility.

Kai is furious that instead of increasing spending in childcare provision, Abe is opting for a cheap fix.

“It’s unbelievable that deregulation is taking place despite the frequency of fatal accidents,” she said.

Last month, the supreme court upheld an earlier ruling that a one-year-old girl died from suffocation after sleeping face down at an unapproved nursery in Fukushima. It said staff were insufficiently trained and ordered it to pay 57 million yen (RM2.2 million) in compensation to her parents.

“Maintaining quality daycare should be guaranteed for children to protect their lives,” insisted Inokuma, a professor at Tokyo City University.

‘Japan die!’

Poor provision of childcare is an issue that has festered for decades. But Abe’s government, overwhelmed with public debt and a demographic time bomb, is facing renewed scrutiny because of their dual push to raise fertility rates and to propel more women into the workforce.

Japan’s population of 127 million is set to decline to 87 million by 2060.

With the option of large-scale immigration off the table in culturally conservative Japan, Abe hopes to raise the fertility rate — the number of children a woman bears over a lifetime — from about 1.4 currently to 1.8, which would slow the decline but not reverse it.

Since coming to power in 2012, he has also touted female-focused “womenomics” policies as part of his broader “Abenomics” economic revitalisation plan, but with little success.

Officials have slashed their goal of increasing women in government leadership positions by 2021 from 30 per cent to seven per cent.

Some are finding it hard to hide their frustration at the two-pronged demands in the face of little state back-up.

Earlier this year, an anonymous mother vented her anger online.

“I couldn’t get day care, Japan die!!! I give birth and raise a child while working to pay taxes,” she wrote. “So Japan, what’s your problem?”

The post became a social media phenomenon and helped power a petition demanding increased spending on childcare. It garnered 28,000 signatures and prompted government promises of better pay for nursery staff.

But many parents feel they are in an impossible position. One mother, who works in public relations and asked not to be named, said she was struggling to find a day care solution.

She added: “I feel I am up against the wall on all sides… I simply cannot understand why Japan has not been investing more in younger generations that will eventually support all of society.”
— AFP

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Central Asia readies for Nomad Games

IN a melee of hooves and hands, a scrum of horseriders on the plains of Central Asia wrestle to get control of the ball — or in this case the carcass of a freshly-slaughtered goat.

After several minutes of shrieks and equine snorts, a rider from ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan’s national team emerges clutching the carcass, triggering a frantic pursuit.

The game, called Kok-Boru (Gray Wolf) in Kyrgyzstan and Buzkashi (Goat Grabbing) in Afghanistan, is a warm-up for the second edition of the World Nomad Games to be held next month.

Organisers say the games — first staged by impoverished Kyrgyzstan in 2014 — are aimed at boosting nomadic traditions threatened by globalisation and should draw competitors from some 40 countries this year.

Events include age-old versions of wrestling, hunting and horse racing — and of course the eye-catching Kok-Boru.

“Some might say this is a cruel type of sport, but for us, it is something national, something that is ours,” Kyrgyz player Temir Moldokulov, 31, said of the sport, likened by some to an ultra-violent version of polo.

“At the games we will be representing not just our country, but our ancestors.”

Preserving nomadic culture

For a poor country like Kyrgyzstan that has faced two revolutions and oscillated between democracy and authoritarianism in its 25 years of independence, the Nomad Games have become a point of national pride.

This time round the number of nations sending competitors for the two-week event beginning

Sept 3 on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul has nearly doubled since the first games two years ago.

The state has already released special edition coins and stamps to commemorate the games, whose logo is being worn on custom-made broaches by state television presenters.

Organisers cite a mission to “revive and preserve the culture, identity and ways of life of nomadic peoples in the era of globalisation” but many have aired concerns about cost overruns.

Recently the cash-strapped government admitted that the cost of rebuilding the stadium where many events will take place had ballooned from roughly US$7 million (RM28 million) at the start of the year to over US$16 million (RM64 million), for instance.

Nurdin Sultambayev, who heads the World Nomad Games 2016 secretariat says the event is part of a “long journey” and that the government will claw back its investment in future tourism revenue.

“This is a brand that can take our country forward,” Sultambayev said, noting some expenses would be met by sponsors including Russian energy firm Gazprom, while declining to state the games’ total cost.

A compelling spectacle?

The games will not stay in Kyrgyzstan forever — Turkey is to host the 2018 version — but traditionalists are optimistic that the buzz they create can help tweak sporting tastes in the country.

Overlooking a mixed male-and-female training session for Kyrgyzstan’s national team of mas-wrestling — a one-on-one stick-pulling competition whose origins can be traced to Russia’s Turkic-speaking Yakutia province — coach Talaibek Janybayev says sports such as his can be “unifying”.

“This is not boxing or wrestling, no-one is beating anyone up,” said Janybayev.

“There is just a 50cm stick and simple competition — who is stronger? What’s more, it is a very economical form of sport to develop.”

Watched up close in a sweaty gym in the capital Bishkek, a mas-wrestling duel — full of grunts and often lasting less than a minute — is a compelling spectacle.

But when the games begin it will likely be overshadowed by sports like Er Enish — wrestling on horse-back — and Kok-Boru polo, cheered on by locals as well as curious foreign tourists, among them Hollywood action man Steven Seagal.

“The competition last time was weaker,” admits Moldokulov, who took part in the 2014 Kok-Boru tournament that saw Kyrgyzstan’s national side defeat its own reserve team in the final.

“Tajikistan, China … these were fairly competitive teams,” he said.

“But this year, Kazakhstan will send a Kok-Boru team for the first time. That will be real competition for us,” he said. — AFP

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Erdogan opens third bridge over Istanbul’s Bosphorus

ISTANBUL — President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday inaugurated the third bridge over the Bosphorus Strait between Europe and Asia in Istanbul, a spectacular project at the heart of his drive to create a lasting historical legacy.

The work — one of the longest suspension bridges in the world — will allow Erdogan to show that his dream of creating a glitzy “new Turkey” with ultra-modern infrastructure is on track despite the July 15 failed coup and a string of militant attacks.

Erdogan cut the ribbon to open the bridge and was then driven across in a presidential bus flanked by a security convoy of dozens of cars and motorcycle outriders.

“To attain the level of a civilised nation is not possible with words but with actions,” said Erdogan, who has dominated Turkey from 2003-2014 as premier and from 2014 as president.

“We are connecting continents with the bridge,” he added. “People die but their work
remain immortal.”

The openings of bridges across the Bosphorus — the first in 1973 and the second in 1988 — have been landmark dates in the modern history of Istanbul.

The new bridge — technically a hybrid between a suspension and cable-stayed bridge — is the widest suspension bridge in the world with a width of 58.5m. Its span of 1,408m is the longest in the world between the supporting pylons.

It will also carry railway lines as well as vehicle traffic, making it the world’s longest suspension bridge with a railway.

The bridge has been built by a South Korean joint venture of the Hyundai and SK Group companies with the total cost of the project put at US$800-900 million (RM3.2-RM3.6 billion).

The edifice “is not only a bridge but a work of art,” said Prime Minister Binali Yildirim who supervised construction during his long stint as transport minister.

The bridge was open to the public yesterday and would be toll free until Wednesday. — AFP

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