White House trip marks Suu Kyi’s journey from icon to politico

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama rolled out the red carpet for Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday, a visit that signalled her transition from democratic idol to politician.

The 71-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate is barred by military constitution from heading Myanmar’s government, but she still got a leader’s welcome in Washington.

On her first visit to the United States since being elected last year, Suu Kyi will meet over three days with assorted cabinet secretaries, followed by talks with Obama and a coveted Oval Office grip-and-grin photo shoot.

The White House is keen to reinforce Suu Kyi’s primacy as the de facto head of the government of Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Suu Kyi on Tuesday met with British Prime Minister Theresa May during her first visit to London since becoming Myanmar’s de facto leader, with the thorny issue of human rights on the agenda.

The two women discussed the challenges faced by Myanmar as it transitions from military rule to democracy during Suu Kyi’s first visit outside of Asia since her party’s election victory last year.

“They agreed that to create a society that truly works for all, it would be important to see Burma (Myanmar) make further progress in the creation of jobs, in improving access to quality healthcare, and on reforming the education system,” said May’s Downing Street office.

London stands “ready to provide further assistance as Burma continues to develop,” including through £118 million (RM642 million) in support this year, it added.

In Washington, private talks between Obama and Suu Kyi are likely to focus on the nuts and bolts of governing.

After spending much of the last few decades under arrest, since her election last November she has taken the role of foreign minister and created a new position for herself as state counsellor.

As the de facto leader, she now presides over a skeletal government, an economy hollowed out by decades of kleptocratic dictatorship and a country riven with ethnic and religious violence.

The veteran campaigner must tackle all those problems while keeping an eye on still-powerful generals, lest they have second thoughts about democratic reform.

Since her election, Suu Kyi has shocked some of her more ardent Western supporters by following the junta’s lead, most notably by refusing to recognise the Rohingya — a persecuted Muslim minority group in the overwhelmingly Buddhist country.

Tens of thousands of stateless Rohingya have spent the past four years trapped in bleak displacement camps with limited access to health care and other basic services.

Privately, US officials acknowledge Suu Kyi is working with some very tough political constraints and dare not push the military, or the public, too far or too fast.

“She has to tackle problems one by one” said Ben Rhodes, a key Obama aide who has spearheaded the administration’s Myanmar policy. — AFP

US pushing Koreas to explosion, says North

SEOUL — North Korea yesterday accused the United States of pushing the Korean peninsula to “the point of explosion” after it dispatched two huge bombers in a show of force against Pyongyang.

The supersonic B-1B Lancers flew over South Korea on Tuesday as Washington vowed its “unshakeable commitment” to defend its allies in the region following North Korea’s fifth and largest-ever nuclear test conducted last week.

Washington called the demonstration “just one example of the full range of military capabilities”. It took similar military actions following previous atomic tests.

North Korea labelled the flyover by the “infamous” nuclear bombers as Washington’s attempt to seek “an opportunity of mounting a preemptive nuclear attack,” referring to US plans to deploy further strategic assets to the peninsula.

“These extremely reckless provocations of the US imperialist warmongers are pushing the situation on the Korean peninsula to the point of explosion hour by hour,” the state-run KCNA news agency said.

It warned that the North Korean army was fully armed with “all means for military counteraction” to strike back at any enemy attack in “a single blow”.

Washington is planning to send the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS Ronald Reagan and the Japan-based Carrier Strike Group Five to South Korean waters next month for a joint naval exercise, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

A spokesman for United States Forces Korea declined to confirm the report to AFP, citing operational matters.

South Korea hosts 28,000 US troops as the two Koreas technically remain at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

The bombers’ flight came after the North on Friday carried out what it described as a “nuclear warhead test” and vowed to take further measures to increase its nuclear strike force “in quality and in quantity”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in New York on Sunday to discuss responses to North Korea’s latest nuclear test, South Korea’s foreign ministry said.

The three countries are pushing for tough new UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea. — Agencies

Sheena Liam

Hey Jude!

HL: Going for gold

Stop the presses! There’s a brand new couple in Hollywood. E! News has learnt that Adriana Lima and Ryan Seacrest are dating and the two have been spotted going on a romantic dinner date in New York City.

The two connected during their time in Rio for the Olympics, and the rest, as they say, is history. Lima and Seacrest also previously spotted grabbing a bite in the Big Apple over the weekend. And while the 35-year-old Brazilian model and 41-year-old television host and producer have yet to publicly discuss their new relationship, the famous duo seems to be having fun since their return to the US weeks ago.

When the two were in Brazil for the games, Lima posted several pictures of her and Seacrest as well as close pal Alessandra Ambrosio. In fact, she snapped a shot of the trio enjoying lunch after one of their shoots and called Seacrest “charismatic” and “handsome.” Well, who would’ve thought!

HL: #ThrowbackThursday

Hey Jude! has a strong feeling that this news is going to be music to your ears. For anyone who grew up in the ‘90s and early 2000s, chances are you have fond memories of the bond shared between Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.

So it wasn’t a surprise that when the princess of pop recently said that she would like to collaborate with Timberlake, the Internet and pop culture fans alike freaked out.

If you are curious to know what Timberlake thought of the comment, wonder no more. He’s totally interested. “She did? Sure! Absolutely, absolutely,” he said. “I have a 17-month-old so I don’t get the headline news.”

He added, “I apologise for not being in the know … I’m accessible, give us a call!” Just last month, Spears participated in a fan Q&A where she was asked to reveal her dream collaborators.

“Gwen Stefani, I think she’s great.” And then she added the most important name (drumroll, please), “Justin Timberlake is very good.” Can we get ready our matching denim outfits now?

HL: Just gotta shake it off

You can’t keep a girl down. After the demise of Hiddleswift, we seem to be seeing more of Taylor Swift just walking around looking fab and hanging with her cool friends.

Such was the case earlier this week, when the Shake It Off singer was seen wearing her support for gal pal Gigi Hadid and her British beau, Zayn Malik. According to an eyewitness, the Grammy award winner headed over to the supermodel’s house around 8pm. After about two hours, the trio went to Swift’s pad.

“They hung out there for over an hour and Gigi and Zayn left around 11.30pm.” Makes you wonder what does an eyewitness do for so long? While their hangout was just at home, Swift didn’t waste the opportunity to get dressed up in honour of her bestie.

Swift sported the navy printed silk maxi dress right from Hadid’s capsule collection in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. Hadid and Malik looked equally stylish, Hadid rocking high-waisted leather pants while her man opted for a sleek, all-black ensemble. Though the other bestie, Kendall Jenner was missing. Or could it be that TayTay still has bad blood with Jenner’s sister Kim?

HL: Insta-Stars of the week

Ever feel bad when you do something that makes you feel oh so good. yup, we’re talking abut guilty pleasures and everybody has them, including celebrities.

In a recent interview with Elle magazine, local celebrities Amber Chia, Patricia K and Sheena Liam dished on what makes them guilty. True to her supermodel ways, Chia loves shopping!

“There was once when I was shopping in Milan and I exceeded my card limit, and I had to call the bank to settle this. I should feel guilty about that but I don’t!”

Patricia loves her some me-time. With her couch that is. “I tend to binge-watch TV series during my spare time. Then I find myself thinking I should feel guilty about being so lazy and if I am making myself brain dead watching these silly dramas.”

Sheena loves to bake – in the sun. “Spending time in the sun. It’s so frowned upon in Asia, but I don’t mind that healthy glow. Check out for yourselves on the gram @amberchia, @sheenaliam and @patriciaknudsen.

What do you do when it is almost the end of the week and you are bored? Read Hey Jude! of course! Everything you need to know ‘bout that celeb life is right her at your fingertips . Let us know what do you like at


New York opens probe of Trump Foundation

WASHINGTON — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Tuesday he had opened an inquiry into the Donald J. Trump Foundation to ensure the Republican presidential nominee’s charity was complying with state laws governing nonprofits.

Schneiderman, a supporter of Trump’s Democratic rival in the presidential race, Hillary Clinton, sued the real estate mogul and his now defunct Trump University for fraud in 2013, seeking US$40 million (RM165 million) in restitution plus penalties and other costs.

In a CNN interview on Tuesday, Schneiderman said his office had now brought Trump’s charitable foundation under scrutiny.

“My interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of non-profits in New York state. And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view,” the elected Democratic official said.

He added: “We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it’s complying with the laws that govern charities in New York.” He did not elaborate on what wrongdoing Trump’s nonprofit might have committed.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung dismissed Schneiderman’s assertions as entirely motivated by presidential politics, calling the attorney general a “partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton Foundation for years.”

Trump has accused Clinton of being corrupted by donors to the Clinton Foundation global charity founded by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, while she was US secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Clinton has dismissed Trump’s allegation as a political smear.

Clinton, who is recuperating from pneumonia, plans to resume campaigning today, her spokesman Nick Merrill said.

Clinton “has spent the day catching up on reading briefings, making calls” and watching on television President Barrack Obama’s speech at a campaign appearance for the former secretary of state in Philadelphia.

The investigation of Clinton’s email system continues to become a troublesome issue for her presidential campaign after two computer technicians declined to answer questions from US lawmakers on Tuesday about the unauthorised private email system that she used during her tenure as US secretary of state.

Paul Combetta and Bill Thornton repeatedly invoked their constitutional right not to incriminate themselves during about 10 minutes of questioning while under oath before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. A third technician, Bryan Pagliano, declined even to appear, despite a subpoena ordering his testimony. — Reuters

Briton pleads guilty to weapons charge

LAS VEGAS — A British tourist who caused a security scare at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Las Vegas in June by trying to grab a gun from a police officer pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of illegal weapon possession and disorderly conduct, court papers showed.

Michael Steven Sandford, 20, admitted as part of his plea deal with prosecutors that he had approached a policeman at the event, saying he wanted an autograph from the presidential candidate, then tried to pull the officer’s gun from his holster with both hands, the papers said.

Sandford, who had by then overstayed his tourist visa by about 10 months, was immediately arrested and removed from the rally.

He also acknowledged having visited a Las Vegas gun range the day before the June 18 incident at the Treasure Island casino-hotel, to take shooting lessons with a rented Glock handgun, firing 20 rounds at a paper target, court papers showed.

No mention was made in the plea agreement about whether Sandford intended to harm Trump, then the presumptive Republican nominee in the US presidential race.

In the initial June 20 criminal complaint stemming from the incident, prosecutors said Sandford had told a US Secret Service agent he had driven to Las Vegas from California with the aim of shooting Trump.

On June 29, Sandford was charged with felony counts of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and disrupting government business, but he was not accused of plotting to kill Trump.

At Tuesday’s hearing in federal court in Las Vegas, Sandford pleaded guilty to those two charges, each of which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a US$250,000 (RM1.03 million) fine, the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec 13. — Reuters


Tired of adventure, Forsyth gives up on fiction

LONDON — After a dozen novels and 70 million book sales under his belt, British writer Frederick Forsyth told AFP he is giving up on thrillers because his wife told him he can no longer travel to adventurous places.

“I’m tired of it and I can’t just sit at home and do a nice little romance from my study,” said the 78-year-old, who revealed in a memoir last year that he had worked extensively for the MI6 spy service.

“I ran out of things to say,” said the soft-spoken Forsyth, who trained as a Royal Air Force pilot before joining Reuters news agency in 1961 and beginning his career as a novelist in the 1970s.

After his last trip to Somalia as research for The Kill List, Forsyth said his wife told him: “You’re far too old, these places are bloody dangerous and you don’t run as avidly, as nimbly as you used to.”

Forsyth, who has only ever written on a typewriter, said he had tried an online search for Somalia but had been “very dissatisfied” with the results.

“There was some statistical information on Somalia but not what I wanted, which was atmosphere,” he said.

He said his memoir The Outsider was his “swan song”.

“How many bakers go on baking after 78?” he quipped.

His first novel in 1971, The Day of the Jackal, was about a fictional assassination attempt on French president Charles de Gaulle by right-wing extremists angry at his granting independence to Algeria.

It was turned into a classic film starring Edward Fox.

Other bestsellers quickly followed including The Odessa File (1972) and The Dogs of War (1974).

After the end of the Cold War, he wrote thrillers about al-Qaeda, drone warfare and rendition.

Forsyth also has a weekly column in the Daily Express in which he often writes about counter-terrorism issues, military affairs and foreign policy.

venus williams 0915

Venus feels violated

LOS ANGELES — Venus Williams voiced dismay on Tuesday after Russian hackers who broke into the World Anti-Doping Agency database released details of her confidential medical records.

The veteran tennis superstar was one of four US athletes targeted by Russian hacking group Fancy Bears in a cyber-attack that has been widely criticised.

Sister Serena Williams, US Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and women’s basketball player Elena Delle Donne also saw their records published by the group.

“I was disappointed to learn today that my private, medical data has been compromised by hackers and published without my permission,” Williams said in a statement.

The released records detailed examples of where Williams had applied for therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs) which allowed her to use certain medications banned by Wada.

The use of exemptions is standard practice in the sports world and is not regarded as a doping offence.

“The applications for TUEs under the Tennis Anti-Doping programme require a strict process for approval which I have adhered to when serious medical conditions have occurred,” Williams said.

“I am one of the strongest supporters of maintaining the highest level of integrity in competitive sport and I have been highly disciplined in following the guidelines set by Wada, Usada (US Anti-Doping Agency), the ITF (International Tennis Federation) and collectively the Tennis Anti-Doping Program.” — AFP


West Indies sack Simmons

KINGSTON — West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has been fired, the West Indies Cricket Board confirmed yesterday, drawing a line under a stormy tenure marked by tensions with his paymasters. A brief statement from the WICB said a decision to dispense with Simmons was taken after a meeting of the body’s board of directors on Saturday. The 53-year-old former Test opener was informed of the decision as the West Indies prepared to travel to the United Arab Emirates, where they are to face Pakistan in a T20 series. They said the decision had been taken because of “differences in culture and strategic approach” between the board and Simmons. Simmons departure leaves Joel Garner as manager of the upcoming series against Pakistan, with Henderson Springer and Roddy Estwick coaches.

Umaga eyes top job

WELLINGTON — New Zealand great Tana Umaga aims to further burnish his coaching credentials by serving as an assistant on the Maori All Blacks’ tour in November, New Zealand Rugby said yesterday. Umaga took over the Auckland Blues this year, transforming them from Super Rugby whipping boys into a competitive unit. He has spoken publicly about his dream of one day coaching the All Blacks but acknowledged he must first serve a long apprenticeship, which has included stints in charge of Toulon and Counties Manukau. Umaga will have his first taste of coaching at representative level when the Maori All Blacks tour the United States, Ireland and Britain in November. He will work with head coach Colin Cooper and fellow assistant Carl Hoeft. — AFP

Nadal wary of Wawrinka

NEW DELHI — Rafael Nadal described Stan Wawrinka as “super dangerous” after he clinched the US Open championship to claim his third Grand Slam title. Fifth-ranked Nadal said the 31-year-old from Switzerland was capable of matching any of the top players after taking the title on Sunday in New York. “Stan is a player that over the last couple of years has been playing great tennis. When he is playing well he is able to play very well against all opponents,” Nadal said. Nadal suffered a shock fourth-round exit from the US Open, after being forced out of Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year because of a wrist injury. The 30-year-old said his injury layoff was a “ negative part of the year for me” and he was “ happy to be on tour again”. — AFP

Sapura sweep 
TNB clean

KUALA LUMPUR — Dangerouslee Matthews turned out to be as lethal as his name, emerging the hero for Sapura as they took out Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) 2-1 in the final of the Tan Sri P Alagendra Cup on Sunday at Tun Razak Stadium.

The Sarawakian struck a thunderous shot into the TNB goal in the 53rd minute and they held on till the end.

“It was an incredible feeling to get that goal for us, I felt proud,” said Lee.

“We thought TNB would be deflated after they missed their penalty stroke, but they kept on pressing us.

“When the horn blew at the end of the game we were all relieved. It was all the sweeter as it is our first trophy of the year,” said a jubilant Matthews.

Sapura had a strong team which included Australian Oscar William Wookey, Gurbaj Singh of India and grizzled veteran, Phillip Ross Burrows, of New Zealand.

Coach Yahya Atan was full of praise for Burrows. The 36-year-old has been a revelation since arriving at Sapura.

It was he who passed the ball unselfishly in the semi-circle to an unguarded Matthews to dispatch it into goal.

“Phillip is a blessing. For someone who has four World Cups and three Olympic campaigns under his belt, he is very humble,” remarked Yahya.

“Since joining he has guided our youngsters and been a leader and organiser on the pitch. Qualities like these are crucial if you want to have a successful campaign.”

Sapura started the league slowly, but eventually found the right chemistry within the team and are now poised to win another trophy which is the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL).

Matthews attributes their rise to familiarity among the players and their ability to grasp Yahya’s tactics and philosophy.

“We have learnt from our mistakes,” said Matthews.

“In the early days we had no confidence. We couldn’t grasp our tactics and made silly mistakes that ended up in draws or losses.

“But as time went by, with guys like captain Muhammad Marhan Jalil and Phillip, we were able to work out the errors real quick. Soon after we could see that our play was getting better and we grew in confidence.”

Sapura have 18 points in the league, one point ahead of Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and two ahead of third placed Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) with two matches to go.


Brighter future for Mariappan

SHAH ALAM — Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has instructed National Sports Council (NSC) to pay a monthly pension of RM2,000 starting next month to former national Paralympian P. Mariappan.

Khairy said although Mariappan no longer represented the country, the ministry had not forgotten his contributions in winning bronze medals in powerlifting at the 1988 and 1992 Paralympic Games in South Korea and Spain.

Khairy said NSC were also willing to offer Mariappan a coaching job at the Paralympics Excellence Centre.

“All previous Paralympics medal winners will also receive a monthly pension,” he told Bernama.

Under NSC’s incentives scheme, national Paralympians who win gold medals at the Olympics or Paralympics would receive a monthly pension of RM5,000, while the silver and bronze winners would get a pension of RM3,000 and RM2,000 respectively.

Mailsport had highlighted Mariappan’s plight two days ago, about how he has to sell ice cream to make ends meet, despite serving the country for more than 20 years.

Even though he did not receive a pension or benefits for his gallant efforts, he praised the government’s move to reward para-athletes the same monetary rewards as able-bodied athletes, which he said would help them build a comfortable retirement.

Mariappan could not contain his excitement upon hearing the good news.

“I was listening to the news and heard of what Khairy offered. I’m extremely happy and can’t wait to get into motion again. My family is also ecstatic,” he said.

“To see that people care is an honour.”

Separately, Khairy said the Cabinet had agreed to accord the Rio Paralympians a heroes’ welcome at the Bunga Raya Complex, KL International Airport.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak would join the well-wishers.

The country’s hopes of seeing an end to their gold medal drought in the Paralympic Games became a reality when the national athletes won not one, but three gold medals in Rio.

Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi “broke the ice” in the men’s 100m T36 (cerebral palsy) category to deliver Malaysia’s first gold on Saturday.

Hours later Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli won Malaysia’s second gold medal in the men’s F20 (intellectual disability) shot put event and on Sunday, Abdul Latif Romly bagged the third in the men’s T20 (intellectual disability) long jump event.

The victories were all the more sweeter as all three set records.

Ridzuan set a Games record while Ziyad and Latif set world records.

“They (national Paralympics contingent) will then be brought to the Paralympics Excellence Centre in Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur, to celebrate their outstanding showing,” Khairy said after witnessing a ceremony to hand over cars to Rio Olympics medal winners at the Proton Excellence Centre.

E-Paper Article View