Archive | July, 2013

Tags: ,

3 Perfect Puerto Rico Itineraries

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

There’s a reason why Puerto Rico is known as the “island of enchantment”—all types of travelers can easily fall in love with the Caribbean destination. Cosmopolitan types find the capital city of San Juan to be a treasure trove of history, culture, and style; yachters looking for some solitude can’t beat the boating scene on east coast, which is the gateway to the sister islands of Vieques and Culebra; and the surf is always up for thrill seekers and beach bums on the west coast. Follow these three perfect itineraries to enjoy Puerto Rico’s sunniest sides.

The City

el-morro.jpg

Founded in 1521, the historic center of Old San Juan is the oldest city in the US. Ancient and arty at the same time, the old city is only 7 blocks square and an entire day can be spent exploring the nooks and crannies of the cobblestoned streets. Start bright and early with a café con leche at Caficultura, in a classic Spanish-style house perched right on Plaza Colon. Down the block, Cafeteria La Mallorca is a great spot for a grab-and-go breakfast—the Mallorca sandwich—puffy, buttery rolls filled with eggs, cheese, and ham and topped with powdered sugar.

mercado-agricola3.jpg

Once fueled, sightsee via foot (or via a free trolley—look for the numbered stops), being sure not to miss landmarks such as La Fortaleza, the Governor’s mansion, and historic forts San Cristobal and El Morro. Enjoy El Morro’s vast lawn, especially on Sundays, when kite enthusiasts come to catch the ocean breezes. Hungry? If it’s Saturday, pop into the Mercado Agricola Natural, tucked in the courtyard of the Museo San Juan, for a vegetarian sancocho and other healthy prepared foods. Or join San Juan Food Tours for a roving feast. Walk off lunch along the stunning Paseo de la Princesa to take in breathtaking harbor views.

At Pier 2 at the foot of the walled city, hop on a quick ferry to Cataño across the harbor to the Bacardi Rum Distillery. Taxis await on the other side to whisk visitors over for a tour and a tasting to learn about the island’s favorite spirit. After the tour, return to the walled city via ferry, and take a break. Put your weary feet up, and have them massaged while enjoying a cocktail at Anam Spa and Cocktail Lounge on Calle Cristo. For dinner, sample chef Peter Schintler’s exquisite cuisine at Marmalade, with signature dishes such as tiny white bean soup with scallions, black truffle, and pancetta dust. Cap off the night at one of the old city’s storied dive bars, such as El Batey or El Farolito (Calle Sol 207). Or salsa the night away at Nuyorican Cafe.

Where to Stay: El Convento is an elegant, converted convent right in the heart of the Old City.

The Beach

the-english-rose-pr.jpg

Some of the island’s most beautiful beaches are on Puerto Rico’s west coast in Rincon. A 2½ – 3 hour drive from San Juan (or a 30-minute jaunt from Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla), it’s worth the trip for the sand, surf, and slower pace. The perfect day begins with breakfast in the hills at The English Rose a charming inn with sprawling mountain and ocean views. Dishes like eggs Benedict and “The Full Monty,” a classic British assembling of bacon, sausage, two eggs any style, tomatoes, mushrooms, “bubble and squeak” have won such fierce fans that waits can stretch up to two hours without reservations. Then, hit the ocean with Taino Divers to catch a glimpse of beautiful coral reefs and sea life like lion fish, dolphins, and lobster. The coast is also rife with whales; Taino Divers offers excursions for spotting the frolicking mammals, too.

And then, there are the beaches. Maria’s Beach is the sweet spot for surfers. Need a lesson? The dudes at Rincon Surf School are your go-to guys. Steps Beach is the stop for snorkelers; while sunbathers enjoy the placid waters of Sandy Beach or Antonio’s Beach. Sun and swimming work up the appetite, so grab some of the area’s best empanadillas, fried turnovers stuffed with seafood, fish, or meat, at El Patio Familiar (Route 115 at km 12, 787-431-8482). Their conch and rabbit-stuffed varieties are among the area’s most delicious. Sunsets are best at Tamboo Bar at Beside the Pointe Inn at Sandy Beach or Calypso Cafe at Maria’s Beach. Shake off the sand and dress for dinner at the dignified Restaurant Aaron at the Horned Dorset Primavera, where the local lobster tail may be accompanied with French foie gras.

Where to Stay: Horned Dorset Primavera is a seaside estate with exemplary service and the area’s most sophisticated dining.

The Boat

la-estacion4.jpg

The pirates of the Caribbean may be long gone, but there are plenty of sailors looking to castaway on Puerto Rico’s east coast. The port town of Fajardo has marinas full of boats in every size. Breakfast at La Vista Café (83 Calle 2 (787) 655-7053), is a great spot for rooftop harbor views and well-made classics such as French toast and pancakes. Then set sail with East Island Excursions on a catamaran, complete with glass bottom and water slide. Spend the day snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters around Icacos Island or discover the hidden coves of Culebra while enjoying lunch, soft drinks, and rum drinks on board.

Upon return in the afternoon, dry off, and have cocktails and an early dinner at the atmospheric La Estacion. Chef Kevin Roth’s traditional whole roasted pig recently won the Cattleman’s BBQ Caribbean BBQ competition for best lechon. His whole pig feast on Sundays includes an all-you-can-eat platter piled with belly, loin, ribs, shoulder, crispy skin, and sides of traditional rice with pigeon peas and escabeche of local tubers. Once darkness has fully settled in, explore the glow-in-the-dark waters of Fajardo’s own bioluminescent bay via kayak with Eco Adventures. Or catch the evening boat to Vieques for a catamaran trip, and dinner, through radiant Mosquito Bay.

Where to Stay: El Conquistador Resort offers a casino, private island, and beach, and is conveniently located for all Fajardo excursions.

Photo credits: Courtesy of Hernan F. Rodriguez

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/fodors/travel-news/~3/viQMEwvzLyQ/3-perfect-puerto-rico-itineraries-6994.html

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

4 US Road Trips to Take Before You Die

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

There’s no better way to discover America than by criss-crossing the country via its most iconic highways. Whether you have fast wheels or an RV, these classic routes ensure breathtaking scenery and terrific attractions along the way. Summer is the best time to cruise, so grab your family, friends, or significant other and embark on a journey on wheels through our majestic country with four top itineraries we assembled below.

Pacific Coast Highway: Los Angeles to San Francisco

pacific-coast-highway-drive.jpg

Distance: 400 miles

A favorite for West Coast road-trippers, day-trippers, and even honeymooners, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) runs along the Pacific Ocean from Southern California to Washington, though the Los Angeles to San Francisco stretch is the highlight with charming beach towns and state parks along the way. The cliff-hugging road stretches approximately 400 miles with ocean views dominating most of the drive.

Stop in Malibu for gorgeous beaches and watch surfers take to the waves. A celebrity sighting or two here isn’t unlikely. Santa Barbara is a must-stop spot for whale watching and visiting one (or several, depending on your schedule) of the terrific wineries, San Luis Obispo, which critics refer to as the “most California town,” is big on small-town charm. Many visitors complain they can’t capture the wildly scenic views of Big Sur‘s natural landscape (chockfull of redwood trees) in their point-and-shoot. For some more natural attractions, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Monterey Bay is where many artists visit to get inspired.

Road to Hana: Maui, Hawaii

road-to-hana-hawaii.jpg

Distance: 68 miles

Visitors don’t truly experience Maui without driving its iconic Hana Highway, which snakes along the Northeast coast on wild and thrilling curves, bends, and twists. The tropical seascapes are exotic but it’s the number of waterfall pools along the highway that makes the journey truly “Hawaiian.” Start in Paia, a former plantation village that’s happily overrun by surfer types and highbrow families alike.

Start with a hearty breakfast at Charley’s, then stop for a quick plunge at Twin Falls, a waterfall pool that’s easily accessible from the road. If you need to stretch your legs, stop at Waikamoi Ridge Trail, a relatively flat nature trail that’s no more than a mile loop. Just as rewarding as the drive is the final stop, Hana, a bohemian and “retro” town where locals still walk barefoot and fire up barbecues on the regular. Stay at Travaasa Hana right on the bay for a luxurious, “Old Hawaii” experience.

Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia to North Carolina

blue-ridge-pkwy-nc.jpg

Distance: 470 miles

Road trippers can expect lush forestry and some majestic mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 470-mile drive connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. While it averages roughly 10 hours to drive, plenty of highlights along the way ensure you’ll want to take several days to explore the route. Locals call the Blue Ridge Parkway a “window” to the region as several cultural and unique towns are right off the highway.

Visitors stop for a photo opp at the Humpback Rocks in Blue Ridge, VA, a natural rock outcrop that has a storied history. Nearby is the Natural Bridge of Virginia in Rockbridge Country, one of the oldest tourist destinations in the country and constantly voted as one of America’s best natural wonders. Stop in Roanoke, the largest metropolitan city along the route, to visit charming farmer’s markets.

Several attractions await in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, but a road tripper’s favorite is the actual Blowing Rock itself, a cliff looming 4,000 feet above sea level, harboring magnificent views of Hawksbill Mountain and Table Rock. For the mother of all views, stop at Waterrock Knob, which, at 7,000-feet high, showcases breathtaking mountain views.

Route 66: Arizona

route-66-arizona.jpg

Distance: 370 miles

The classic Route 66 connected Chicago to Los Angeles via Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. While it was officially removed from the US highway system in 1985, die-hard road trippers still follow the historic road, and Arizona holds many of its highlights. From Toprock on the western border, Route 66 rolls north to Seligman. Road trippers get a good feel of Old West here with ubiquitous tumbleweeds and saguaros.

After an amusing stop in Oatman (which still stages gunfights), pass through oddball and sleepy towns like Hackberry, Valentine, and Truxton, then pull the brakes at Grand Canyon Caverns for trippy cavern touring. Holbrook keeps it kitsch with the Wigwam Motel and its teepee rooms.

Jimmy Im is a freelance travel writer based in LA. He’s hosted programs on the Travel Channel and LOGO, and makes regular appearances on morning news shows as a “travel expert.” Follow him on Twitter: @dieselmad.

Photo credits: Pacific Coast via Shutterstock; Road to Hana courtesy of Jon Jackson Blue Ridge Parkway/Great Smoky Mountains via Shutterstock; Route 66 via Dreamstime.com

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/fodors/travel-news/~3/_Ewgig68MJc/4-us-road-trips-to-take-before-you-die-6995.html

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Lasting legacy

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

For more than 40 years now, most residents of Phra Phutthabat Huai Tom, a village in Lamphun’s Li district, have followed a strictly vegetarian diet. Giving up meat was a lifelong commitment these people made to one of the most highly respected Buddhist monks in northern Thailand, the late Khruba Chaiyawongsa Phattana (aka Khruba Wong), when they relocated en masse to this spot in 1971. At the time Luang Pu (as he is usually referred to by people who knew him) was abbot of the local temple, Wat Phra Phutthabat Huai Tom, the largest and most famous in the whole district.

Built in 1995, the gloriously gilded Phra Mahathat Chedi Sri Wiangchai emulates the style of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.

The new arrivals were ethnic Pakakayor, one of the hilltribes in the Karen nation, and they migrated here from Chiang Mai, Tak and Mae Hong Son provinces because of the faith they had in Khruba Wong and their strong desire to radically change the way they lived by a close adherence to the teachings of the Lord Buddha.

“Luang Pu told our ancestors when they moved to the village that they could live here on one condition only: that they must not take the life of any animal or sell any kind of meat,” explained Wimol Sukdaeng, president of the village’s tourism club.

The original settlers comprised a mere 13 families; today the village accommodates more than 1,200 households. They still follow the strictures of Khruba Wong, although their revered spiritual leader passed away in 2000, and most of them still abstain from eating meat.

When you wander around this village you won’t see cows, pigs, ducks or free-range chickens like you would in other rural communities. But then why raise livestock if one neither eats nor trades in them? Food stalls on the main street offer vegetarian fare. Several vendors specialise in appetising vegetarian noodles and we even came across a meatless version of khao man gai; what looked and tasted very like chunks of chicken was actually a cleverly seasoned byproduct of soya beans. Prices were amazingly low, too, from as little as 15 baht up to 25 baht per dish _ depending on the ingredients and the size of the portion requested.

Most of the villagers make a living by farming rice, corn or cassava, Wimol told me, adding that the womenfolk also weave their own cloth when they have free time. Everyday attire for most of the locals is still traditional Pakakayor garb.

Weaving is a traditional skill acquired by most Karen girls as they grow to maturity.

“Wan phra [the Buddhist day of worship] is our weekly day off. We normally go to the temple for group prayers in the morning and again in the evening,” he said.

Given the important place that Buddhism occupies in the villagers’ lives, it is fitting that the foremost attraction for outsiders in these parts should be religious in nature. Phra Mahathat Chedi Sri Wiangchai is a glorious gilded pagoda built in 1995 to emulate the style of Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred and most visited site in Myanmar. While the original in Yangon is 99m high, the dimension of this imitation are not as massive, but still impressive: 65m tall and 40m wide, the principal pagoda here is topped with tiered parasols made from 25kg of gold. This monument is ringed by 49 smaller pagodas, each of which also houses a Buddha image. There are a staggering ȴ,000 Buddha images surrounding the main chedi, Wimol revealed.

It was Khruba Wong’s idea to erect a pagoda here, Wimol continued, because he believed that this was a sacred place related to a past life of the Lord Buddha and he did not anyone to build houses or other structures on the site.

On the beautifully kept avenue which leads to the pagoda complex there is a sign warning tourists not to bring any meat into the compound. You are asked to take off your shoes even before you reach the base of the main chedi, although you may notice that the locals have already removed their footwear, doing so immediately after they walk through the entrance gates.

Nearby is the village temple, also a well-known tourist draw in its own right. Built in 1901, Wat Phra Phutthabat Huai Tom was renovated by Khruba Wong in 1946. Today, it covers an area of 53 rai and houses structures in a variety of architectural styles _ Myanmar, Chinese and Lanna for the most part. The highlight for most visitors is a glimpse of the incorrupt body of Khruba Wong. The amazingly intact corpse of the late abbot is kept in a glass coffin atop a dazzling platform decorated with real jewels, precious and semi-precious gems donated by his followers nationwide as a mark of respect. The coffin is displayed in a mirrored room which leads off a hall called Viharn Phra Muang Kaeo in which the the main focus of attention is a large standing Buddha image.

Every year the locals organise a solemn ceremony to change Khruba Wong’s saffron robes. The ritual occurs during a religious festival which runs from May 15 to 17 and is the biggest event of the year in these parts.

While in the village you may like to drop into the weaving centre, which doubles as a souvenir shop and a learning centre for tourists. A small area outside is where demonstrations of local weaving methods are held. On the day of my visit, two housewives dressed in their Pakakayor finery were sitting on a mat which had been laid out on the ground, their legs stretched out in front of them. As I watched, they skilfully manipulated their looms to create beautiful patterns on the lengths of cloth they were working on.

One of the local women who runs the centre told me it takes around a week to complete a 2m length of patterned fabric. The cotton yarn is dyed using natural pigments and the cloth they weave from it is typically embellished with a range of traditional Karen motifs.

“We still weave cloth and bags in our own homes,” she said. “Some of the villagers are also skilled silversmiths and they make bracelets, ear-rings and necklaces when they’re not busy with work on their farms.”

Apart from bolts of fabric and striking Pakakayor wardrobe items for both men and women, the shop also stocks lovely silver ornaments, tablecloths, scarves and some interesting hand-made souvenirs.

The structure on the left is the hor trai (scripture library) of Wat Phrabat Huai Tom where a copy of the Tripitaka is kept. It is adorned with golden and gilded lacquer patterns. The building on the right is the ubosot (ordination hall). The second photo gives an idea of the mix of architectural styles (Chinese, Thai and Myanmar) that happily co-exist at this temple. All the structures were built by the Pakakayor villagers. The full name of the main stupa is Phra Chedi Paed Muen Si Phan Phra Thammakhan. Regarded as an especially sacred spot by the locals, it took about 22 years to erect and houses a stone which was anointed by His Majesty the King.

This mirrored room is where the apparently incorrupt body of the late Khruba Chaiyawongsa Phattana is kept on permanent display. Locals have applied gold leaf to the glass coffin. In a solemn ceremony held once a year, they replace the late abbot�€™s saffron robe and brown knitted cap (which he was fond of wearing in later life). Visitors to the temple are not allowed to light sticks of incense indoors so those who want to make an offering can purchase a tray of ornamental lotus flowers (they come in either gold or silver).

Pakakayor women demonstrating how they make traditional woven cloth, decorating the fabric with ancient tribal motifs. The patterns and designs are memorised so that they can be passed on from mother to daughter.

Inside the village weaving centre is a shop selling hand-made products such as Pakakayor-style women’s dresses and silver ornaments. There is also a corner showing how the Pakakayor prepare cotton yarn for weaving cloth plus examples of the traditional outfits favoured by adult males, adult females and children from this ethnic group. If you wander around their village you’ll notice that most people dress like this in their everyday lives.

A plate of meatless khao man gai and a bowl of vegetarian noodles prepared for diners at Maled Boon, an open-air restaurant in the village, not far from Phra Mahathat Chedi Sri Wiangchai, which is big enough to handle tour groups. The vegetarian noodle stall located directly opposite is a tasty alternative.


Share this article

<!–

gigya.socialize.showShareBarUI(showShareBarUI_params);
–>

facebook

0

twitter

0

About the author

Karnjana Karnjanatawe Writer: Karnjana Karnjanatawe
Position: Reporter

Bangkok Post online classifieds

Try buying selling goods and properties 24/7 in our classifieds which has high purchasing power local expatriate audience from within Thailand and around the world.

Article source: http://feeds.bangkokpost.com/c/33101/f/535956/s/2f66ab4e/sc/8/l/0L0Sbangkokpost0N0Ctravel0Ctravel0Efeature0C3624ᗾClasting0Elegacy/story01.htm

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

S. Korea, U.S. seek tighter imposition of sanctions on North Korea, Iran

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

» Other News

 PHNOM PENH: Cambodia back to normal but tensions remain high

 KATHMANDU: Nepali villagers fear wild animals wandering outside national park

 TAIPEI: Taiwan’s economic growth to depend on ‘three engines’, says Ma

 BANGKOK: GULF OF THAILAND OIL SPILL: Recovery will be tough, experts say

 BEIJING: China cool to idea of summit with Japan

 VIENTIANE: Unexploded ordnance clearance reaches almost 40,000 hectares

 DAVAO, Philippines: Philippine legislators call for pork barrel probe

 SHANGHAI : Online personal data thefts on the rise in Shanghai

 TOKYO: Tepco’s nuke plant delays cause for worry

 SINGAPORE: Dengue case numbers continue to fall in S’pore

 THIMPHU: Subsidy on cooking gas to be restored in Bhutan

 PUTRAJAYA: M’sian govt to replace ‘detention without trial’ law soon

� BANGKOK: Gulf of Thailand oil-spill recovery will be tough, experts say

 TAIPEI: Taiwan among planet’s top five shark catching nations, EU-tied probe says

 ISLAMABAD: Mamnoon Hussain elected 12th president of Pakistan

�

 

» Most Viewed

 SHANGHAI: China expected to rise in luxury travel market

 BEIJING: 2,290 Chinese officials disciplined for excessive extravagance

 JAKARTA: Indonesia’s trade deficit may reach US$5b on bleak outlook

 SINGAPORE: Dengue case numbers continue to fall in S’pore

 PHNOM PENH: Cambodia back to normal but tensions remain high

 BANGKOK: Gulf of Thailand oil-spill recovery will be tough, experts say

 YANGON : Myanmar expects more Japanese investments in manufacturing, IT

 SEOUL: The Korean version of ‘A Man and a Woman’

 PETALING JAYA: US$924m upgrade a much-needed boost for M’sian theme park group

 TAIPEI: Taiwan businesses feel pinch of Filipino employment freeze

 KATHMANDU: Nepali villagers fear wild animals wandering outside national park

â—� PETALING JAYA: The fight against fat – and fat bias

 BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Brunei eateries feel the pinch over Ramadan directive

 BANGKOK: GULF OF THAILAND OIL SPILL: Samet to take a hit

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/2f5c8084/sc/39/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0CS0EKorea0EU0ES0Eseek0Etighter0Eimposition0Eof0Esanctions0Eo0E49680A0Bhtml/story01.htm

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Gulf of Thailand oil-spill recovery will be tough, experts say

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

» Other News

 PHNOM PENH: Cambodia back to normal but tensions remain high

 KATHMANDU: Nepali villagers fear wild animals wandering outside national park

 TAIPEI: Taiwan’s economic growth to depend on ‘three engines’, says Ma

 BANGKOK: GULF OF THAILAND OIL SPILL: Recovery will be tough, experts say

 BEIJING: China cool to idea of summit with Japan

 VIENTIANE: Unexploded ordnance clearance reaches almost 40,000 hectares

 DAVAO, Philippines: Philippine legislators call for pork barrel probe

 SHANGHAI : Online personal data thefts on the rise in Shanghai

 TOKYO: Tepco’s nuke plant delays cause for worry

 SINGAPORE: Dengue case numbers continue to fall in S’pore

 THIMPHU: Subsidy on cooking gas to be restored in Bhutan

 PUTRAJAYA: M’sian govt to replace ‘detention without trial’ law soon

� TAIPEI: Taiwan among planet’s top five shark catching nations, EU-tied probe says

 ISLAMABAD: Mamnoon Hussain electedಌth president of Pakistan

 

» Most Viewed

● SEOUL: S. Korea, US seek tighter imposition of sanctions on North Korea, Iran

 SHANGHAI: China expected to rise in luxury travel market

 BEIJING: 2,Ꮲ Chinese officials disciplined for excessive extravagance

 JAKARTA: Indonesia’s trade deficit may reach US$5b on bleak outlook

 SINGAPORE: Dengue case numbers continue to fall in S’pore

 PHNOM PENH: Cambodia back to normal but tensions remain high

 YANGON : Myanmar expects more Japanese investments in manufacturing, IT

 SEOUL: The Korean version of ‘A Man and a Woman’

 PETALING JAYA: US$924m upgrade a much-needed boost for M’sian theme park group

 TAIPEI: Taiwan businesses feel pinch of Filipino employment freeze

 KATHMANDU: Nepali villagers fear wild animals wandering outside national park

 PETALING JAYA: The fight against fat – and fat bias

 BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Brunei eateries feel the pinch over Ramadan directive

● BANGKOK: GULF OF THAILAND OIL SPILL: Samet to take a hit

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/2f5d1f7e/sc/39/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0CGulf0Eof0EThailand0Eoil0Espill0ErecoverҺEwill0Ebe0Etough0E0E496870Bhtml/story01.htm

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Mamnoon Hussain elected 12th president of Pakistan

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

Publication Date : 31-07-2013

 

Ruling party candidate Mamnoon Hussain was elected as the 12th President of Pakistan on Tuesday, replacing Asif Ali Zardari whose five-year term expires in September.

Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim said Hussain received a total of 432 votes from the two houses of Parliament and the four provincial assemblies.

Hussain, a 73-year-old textile businessman from Karachi, will be sworn in on September 9 at the presidency due to be vacated by incumbent Asif Ali Zardari.

Hussain, who will be president for five years, resigned from his membership with the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) soon after the election results were announced, in what is seen as a symbolic move to establish himself as a non-partisan president.

Hussain has been an active member of the PML-N since the 1960s. He was governor of Sindh from June to October 1999, when Sharif’s government was overthrown by the then army chief General Pervez Musharraf.

The new president was elected by an electoral college made up of members of the Senate, National Assembly and the assemblies of the four provinces. Voting was held with secret ballots at two polling booths from 10am to 3pm.

According to the official results announced by Ebrahim, 432 votes were cast in favour of Hussain. Mamnoon required 263 votes to win, a target comfortably achieved with the 277 votes cast in the National Assembly and Senate.

A total of 77 votes were polled in favour of Justice Retd Wajihuddin Ahmed, the competing candidate backed by the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), while nine votes were declared invalid, said the chief election commissioner.

27 electoral votes were cast in the Sindh provincial Assembly, out of which 25 were polled to Mamnoon Hussain while two went to Wajihuddin.

Hussain secured 55 votes out of 56 votes cast in the Balochistan Assembly, while Wajihuddin could get only one vote.

57 electoral votes were cast at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial Assembly, where Wajihuddin took the lead by bagging 36 votes against Mamnoon Hussain, who got 21.

Out of total 58 electoral votes validly cast at the Punjab provincial Assembly, Mamnoon Hussain received 54 and Wajihuddin 4.

Earlier, Ebrahim visited the National Assembly while polling was underway. The voters had been requested to leave their cellphones, cameras and other electronic gadgets outside the polling booths for the duration of the election.

Strict security arrangements were in place at the National Assembly, the four provincial assemblies and the Senate for the occasion.

Hussain also arrived at the National Assembly premises while lawmakers were casting their votes.

The main opposition party in the National Assembly, the Pakistan Peoples Party, had withdrawn its candidate and announced a boycott of the election over reservations on the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to reschedule the polls.

The Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q), Balochistan National Party – Awami (BNP-A) and the Awami Muslim League (AML) also boycotted the election.

 

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c�/f/566602/s/2f5d1f7f/sc/39/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0CMamnoon0EHussain0Eelected0E12th0Epresident0Eof0EPakistan0E496860Bhtml/story01.htm

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Indonesian justice appointment ‘a setback to democracy’

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

Publication Date : 31-ǧ-2013

 

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has selected former law and justice minister Patrialis Akbar as a Constitutional Court justice, a move many have said could be a setback to democracy given the lack of transparency and accountability in its vetting process.

The Constitutional Court, which is expected to settle a lot of electoral disputes ahead of the 2014 general elections, could become political with the appointment of Patrialis, who is currently a member of the National Mandate Party (PAN).

Patrialis is expected to replace justice Achmad Sodiki, who will end his tenure on August 16.

Patrialis is a former lawmaker of PAN, chaired by Hatta Rajasa, an in-law of the President.

Activists from the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam), the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) and the Indonesial Legal Roundtable (ILR) blasted the president for making the politically-charged pick.

“Why choose someone with such a political background. We have Hamdan and now Patrialis. The Constitutional Court is supposed to be neutral ground to judge laws produced through a political process in the House,” Wahyudin Djafar of Elsam said on Tuesday.

Wahyudin was referring to justice Hamdan Zoelva, who was a former Crescent Star Party (PBB) lawmaker and was also Yudhoyono’s pick in 2010.

“Such a discrete selection process has raised suspicion and will set a bad precedent, a setback to our democracy,” Wahyudin said.

Wahyudin added that Yudhoyono had also violated articles 19 and 20, paragraph 2 of the 2011 Constitutional Court Law, which stipulate the nomination of justice candidates should conducted transparently and with participation from the public.

Patrialis is also known for his lacklustre performance as minister.

Under Patrialis’ leadership, the ministry was frequently criticised as being too “generous” in granting sentence reduction to graft convicts, especially when it granted remission to former Bank Indonesia deputy governor Aulia Pohan, another in law of Yudhoyono.

Patrialis was sworn in as law and human rights minister in October 2009.

During his tenure, the ministry was deemed an underperforming ministry.

He was removed from Yudhoyono’s Cabinet in 썛.

In 2009, Patrialis, who was a lawmaker, joined the justice selection but failed during the fit and proper test.

In late February, Patrialis dropped out of the race to replace then chief justice Mahfud MD, whose term expired in April.

“Why choose someone who has failed in the race once and has a bad record? We urge the president to drop Patrialis’ appointment or we will file a suit against the decree to the PTUN [Jakarta State Administrative Court],” ICW’s Emerson Yuntho said.

The NGOs also expected to meet the Presidential Advisory Council on Wednesday to state their objections, as well as to urge the council to form a committee to conduct another search for a new justice.

Chief Justice Akil Mochtar confirmed his office had been notified of Patrialis’ appointment.

Akil said regardless of their political background, all justices must be impartial.

“In this institution, what matters most is independence and this is essential to guard our Constitution,” Akil said.

Patrialis shrugged off the objection, saying he deserved the position.

“Please convey my message to the NGOs. I have enough knowledge of the Constitutional Court as I once was a member of People’s Consultative Assembly [MPR] committee and worked to amend the Constitution,” he said.

 

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/2f5d1fȰ/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0CIndonesian0Ejustice0Eappointment0Ea0Esetback0Eto0Edemocr0E496850Bhtml/story01.htm

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

S. Korea, US seek tighter imposition of sanctions on North Korea, Iran

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

» Other News

 PHNOM PENH: Cambodia back to normal but tensions remain high

 KATHMANDU: Nepali villagers fear wild animals wandering outside national park

 TAIPEI: Taiwan’s economic growth to depend on ‘three engines’, says Ma

 BANGKOK: GULF OF THAILAND OIL SPILL: Recovery will be tough, experts say

 BEIJING: China cool to idea of summit with Japan

 VIENTIANE: Unexploded ordnance clearance reaches almost 40,000 hectares

 DAVAO, Philippines: Philippine legislators call for pork barrel probe

 SHANGHAI : Online personal data thefts on the rise in Shanghai

 TOKYO: Tepco’s nuke plant delays cause for worry

 SINGAPORE: Dengue case numbers continue to fall in S’pore

 THIMPHU: Subsidy on cooking gas to be restored in Bhutan

 PUTRAJAYA: M’sian govt to replace ‘detention without trial’ law soon

� BANGKOK: Gulf of Thailand oil-spill recovery will be tough, experts say

 TAIPEI: Taiwan among planet’s top five shark catching nations, EU-tied probe says

 ISLAMABAD: Mamnoon Hussain elected 12th president of Pakistan

�

 

» Most Viewed

 SHANGHAI: China expected to rise in luxury travel market

 BEIJING: 2,290 Chinese officials disciplined for excessive extravagance

 JAKARTA: Indonesia’s trade deficit may reach US$5b on bleak outlook

 SINGAPORE: Dengue case numbers continue to fall in S’pore

 PHNOM PENH: Cambodia back to normal but tensions remain high

 BANGKOK: Gulf of Thailand oil-spill recovery will be tough, experts say

 YANGON : Myanmar expects more Japanese investments in manufacturing, IT

 SEOUL: The Korean version of ‘A Man and a Woman’

 PETALING JAYA: US$924m upgrade a much-needed boost for M’sian theme park group

 TAIPEI: Taiwan businesses feel pinch of Filipino employment freeze

 KATHMANDU: Nepali villagers fear wild animals wandering outside national park

â—� PETALING JAYA: The fight against fat – and fat bias

 BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Brunei eateries feel the pinch over Ramadan directive

 BANGKOK: GULF OF THAILAND OIL SPILL: Samet to take a hit

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/2f5d1f81/sc/39/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0CS0EKorea0EUS0Eseek0Etighter0Eimposition0Eof0Esanctions0Eon0E49680A0Bhtml/story01.htm

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Indonesian police accused of making wrongful terror arrests

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

Publication Date : 31-07-2013

 

The Indonesian Police Watch (IPW) has lambasted the National Police’s Densus 88 counterterrorism unit for wrongfully arresting two men suspected of having links to the most-wanted terror fugitive Santoso.

“The case displays the weakness of the Densus 88 operation and the whole police intelligence. We cannot tolerate this. The House of Representatives and the National Commission on Human Rights [Komnas HAM] must summon the chiefs of the National Police and Densus 88,” IPW chairman Neta S. Pane said on Tuesday.

Members of Densus 88 arrested Sapari and Mugi Hartanto when they were escorting two visiting preachers, Rizal and Dayah, to a bus station in Tulungagung, East Java, on July 22.

According to police, Dayah brandished a revolver and shot at Densus 88 officers, prompting a gunfight between them. Dayah and Rizal were killed in the shoot-out, and Sapari and Mugi surrendered. Densus 88 confiscated explosives from the scene.

The police suspected that the four were involved in a series of terror-linked crimes in Poso, Central Sulawesi; Surakarta, Central Java; Medan, North Sumatra and Bali.

Following the shoot-out, the country’s second-largest Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah, immediately launched an investigation after learning that Sapari and Mugi were both active members of their East Java chapter. The organisation believed that the two were not involved in terrorism.

The Densus 88 squad released Sapari and Mugi on Sunday due to lack of evidence.

Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin deplored the wrongful arrests and called on the police to clear the names of the two individuals.

“Mugi and Sapari are not terrorists. They are respected figures in Penjor village, Pagerwojo, Tulungagung. Like any Muhammadiyah members would, they welcomed the two [Dayah and Rizal] when they preached and held Koran recitals in the village for three months,” Din said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

Din also accused the National Police of issuing false statements on Densus 88’s arrest chronology.

“Some locals have confirmed that there was no gunfight during the arrest. Densus 88 members just gunned down the two men and fired bullets at our members’ legs,” he said.

National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Agus Rianto argued that Densus 88 detained Sapari and Mugi because they were on the scene during the raid.

“We had two names in our data, but there were four men at the scene. Thus, we brought in four of them. After seven days of detention, we had to release [Sapari and Mugi] because we had not gained strong evidence [of their involvement],” he said on Tuesday in Jakarta.

Agus, however, declined to confirm that the Densus 88 squad had made false arrests.

Police have been on high alert in the past weeks, following the appearance of Santoso in a YouTube video, in which he calls on his followers to keep fighting Densus 88, saying that the squad has slain, assaulted and gaoled dozens of jihadists.

Santoso�s video threatens the safety of around 400,000 Indonesian police officers, particularly Densus 88 personnel.

In the past few years, terrorist cells in Indonesia have shifted their target from foreign interests to police officers, who they refer to as the “more immediate enemy”.

 

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/2f5d1fȲ/sc/39/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0CIndonesian0Epolice0Eaccused0Eof0Emaking0Ewrongful0Eterro0E496840Bhtml/story01.htm

Comments (0)

Tags: ,

Taiwan among planet’s top five shark catching nations, EU-tied probe says

Posted on 31 July 2013 by admin

Publication Date : 31-07-2ው

 

Taiwan on Tuesday was named among the top five of the world’s biggest catchers of sharks in an EU-backed probe covering the implementation of a new pact to protect seven threatened species of sharks and rays.

Indonesia and India were named the world’s biggest catchers, accounting for more than a fifth of global shark catches, according to the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

They head the list of 20 countries that together account for nearly 80 per cent of total shark catch reported between 2002 and 2011.

The others, in descending order, are Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico, the United States, Malaysia, Pakistan, Brazil, Japan, France, New Zealand, Thailand, Portugal, Nigeria, Iran, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Yemen.

The report was requested by the EU’s executive European Commission following the listing of seven species of sharks and rays by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok last March.

The regulations will take effect in September 2014 to give countries time to determine what is a sustainable level of trade in these sharks and how their industries can adapt to it.

Shark numbers have been decimated by overfishing, caused in great part by a demand for shark fins in China.

The absence of this apex predator has a big knock-on effect on the main biodiversity chain. Some scientists believe that one of the consequences has been an explosion in jellyfish numbers.

TRAFFIC — an alliance between green group WWF and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) — said it had identified other countries that were major hubs for the trade in shark meat or shark parts.

They include Bangladesh, Maldives, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates as exporters of shark fins, and Namibia, South Africa, Panama and Uruguay as exporters of shark meat.

The report also gave a red-flag warning about the need to unravel a trade as complex as it is lucrative.

Some of the species are specifically targeted by fishing operations, but others end up as accidental, but valuable, catch when trawlers are looking for tuna.

“Key to implementing the CITES regulations will be the establishment of chain-of-custody measures, to facilitate enforcement and verification that harvest is legal,” said Victoria Mundy-Taylor, who co-wrote the report.

The CITES controls will cover the ocean whitetip shark, porbeagle shark, three species of hammerhead shark and two species of manta rays, which are all classified as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List.

These species are all slow-growing, late to mature and produce few young, which make them highly vulnerable to overfishing. The decision in Bangkok moved them to Appendix II of CITES, which covers species that are threatened by trade or may become so without strict controls. – With agencies

 

Article source: http://asianewsnetwork.feedsportal.com/c/33359/f/566602/s/2f5ccdf9/sc/10/l/0L0Sasianewsnet0Bnet0CTaiwan0Eamong0Eplanets0Etop0Efive0Eshark0Ecatching0Enatio0E496890Bhtml/story01.htm

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here

(load_cmc); else load_cmc();