Lawmakers give nod to seat increase in minibuses

Lawmakers have given the green light for the number of seats on minibuses to be increased from the current 16 to 19.

The Transport Secretary, Anthony Cheung, described the increase as a “breakthrough”, and said it would boost the overall efficiency of the city’s minibus services.

He added that the government will conduct a review next year to see if there’s a need to further increase their carrying capacity.

Earlier this year major minibus service operators agreed to freeze fares for at least one year if extra seats were added.

Teacher retirement age reform bill passes reading

The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed a second reading of draft legislation proposed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to push back the age at which public-school teachers can begin receiving pensions from 50 to 58.

The DPP caucus had initially proposed a draft seeking to defer the threshold to 60, but on Tuesday announced that it would adopt a motion to set the age at 58 based on an agreement reached with the National Federation of Teachers’ Unions.

Before a vote, DPP Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) touted the revised draft as a “middle ground” and moderate.

As the average retirement age of elementary and junior-high school teachers is 53.8, pushing back the threshold by about one year to 55 would be a half-hearted reform, she said.

Public-school teachers hired after Dec. 31, 2010, qualify for retirement when a combination of their age and years of service equals 75. For example, a teacher who began working at 25 could retire after turning 50.

However, if teachers want to convert their pensions into monthly payments — as opposed to a one-time lump sum — they must be at least 60 or have turned 55 after 30 years of work.

Teachers hired before 2011 can have their pensions converted into monthly payments without condition, as long as they have worked for at least 25 years and are at least 50 years old.

The DPP draft seeks to tighten teachers’ retirement rules by raising the combined minimum age and seniority from 75 to 85 over 10 years after the bill’s passage.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus, which proposed setting the age at 55, decried the agreement between the DPP and the federation, which KMT Legislator Yosi Takun (孔文吉) described as “opaque dealmaking.”

“Closed-door negotiations are the most widely criticized component of the legislative process. The DPP caucus should sit down with us and handle the issue according to public opinion,” KMT Legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) said.

She criticized the DPP caucus, saying it blatantly dealt with the draft through a negotiation and reached a decision to “perform half a good deed” while causing the education system to suffer.

“The DPP should explain the reasoning behind setting the age at 58, rather than 57 or 55,” Huang said.

KMT Legislator Ko Chih-en (柯志恩) cited a 2013 survey by the federation, in which most people aged 20 or older said that elementary and junior-high school teachers should retire before 55.

Having teachers retire after 55 would be counterproductive, driving up unemployment among certified teachers, as younger teachers would have to wait longer before positions would open at public schools, Ko said.

However, the DPP caucus, which has a legislative majority, pushed the draft through the second reading after a vote, despite the KMT’s strong objections.

KMT lawmakers also panned a DPP proposal to adjust the basis for calculating public-school teachers’ pensions from their salary upon retirement to their average salary over the final 15 years of their careers.

The conditional period is to be extended by one year each year from the second year to the 11th year, ultimately resulting in a 15-year average.

The 15-year period is too long and would put subscribers of the labor insurance system at a disadvantage, Ko said.

The Presidential Office’s Pension Reform Committee drafted a bill seeking to extend the calculation basis for workers’ pensions from the average labor insurance premium — a fixed proportion of their salaries — over the final five years of their careers to a 15-year average in a bid to attain consistency across the pension systems.

Toronto: Muslima who attacked people with golf club says “I meant to harm those people…I only believe in Sharia”

Authorities should consider Rehab Dughmosh’s words very carefully, and study how they coincide with core Islamic beliefs. But they will, of course, not do so.


“‘I meant to harm those people’: Toronto woman who pledged allegiance to ISIS appears in court,” by Catherine McDonald and Adam Miller, Global News, June 26, 2017 (thanks to Graham):

A 32-year-old woman charged with uttering death threats while allegedly armed with a knife at a Toronto store before pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group earlier this month told a courtroom Monday that she would attempt to do it “again and again” if released.

“I meant to harm those people,” Rehab Dughmosh told Justice Kimberley Crosbie through an Arabic interpreter during a court appearance.

“I reject all counsel here. I only believe in Islamic Sharia law. I would like to revoke my Canadian citizenship that I received. I don’t want to have any allegiance to you.”

Toronto police responded to a Canadian Tire store at Scarborough’s Cedarbrae Mall, in the Lawrence Avenue East and Markham Road area, on June 3 at 5:10 p.m.

Police said a woman walked to the paint section of the store with a golf club and began swinging it at employees and a customer while uttering threats.

A source confirmed to Global News the woman was reportedly wearing a niqab and a bandana adorned with what appeared to be a symbol for IS at the time of the alleged incident.

Police said employees and customers managed to subdue the woman and contact police, when she pulled a “large knife” out from under her clothing.

The woman was restrained and police said the knife was “pried out of her hand” with the help of another store employee. The employee sustained non-life threatening injuries and was treated at the scene….

“First of all I’m not guilty. But if you release me, I’m going to commit this type of action again and again because I’m pledging allegiance to [IS leader] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” she said, adding she refuses to adhere to Canadian law.

“In my perspective, I’m not guilty. In your perspective, I might be guilty.”…

“I would like to be guilty right now,” she said. “When Canadian-American coalition countries attack [IS] and we defend ourselves, that’s not considered an attack, that’s considered a defence.”…

“I renounce Canadian law. I renounce any man-made law. I only believe in any law made by Allah,” she told the court Monday.

“I would like the word of Allah to be the supreme word. And I will go on and I will keep on fighting. And I will fight anyone who will fight against Islamic beliefs.”

Opposition demands defense minister quit over SDF remark in stumping

Japan’s main opposition Democratic Party demanded Wednesday that Defense Minister Tomomi Inada resign over a remark it says amounts to making political use of the Self-Defense Forces to attract support for a candidate in the upcoming Tokyo metropolitan assembly election.

“Her comment, which conflicts with the SDF law, was out of line and she should resign immediately,” Democratic Party leader Renho told reporters in Tokyo. “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bears responsibility for having appointed her.”

Inada had asked voters to back a candidate of her Liberal Democratic Party in a stump speech on Tuesday, saying the request came from “the Defense Ministry, the SDF, the defense minister and the LDP.” Hours later, she told reporters she will “withdraw” the comment because it could be “misunderstood.”

The minister has said she does not intend to resign over the remark.

Under the law governing the country’s defense apparatus, the SDF is meant to remain politically neutral and its personnel are restricted in their ability to engage in political activities.

The LDP is hoping to remain the largest party in the metropolitan assembly when Tokyo voters go to the polls this Sunday, but faces an uphill battle against a new party formed by popular Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike. The ruling party is also under fire over recent favoritism allegations against Abe in connection with a university project involving a close friend.

Koike told reporters Tuesday the minister’s remark was “inconceivable,” adding Inada should not have been confused about the SDF’s position.

Abe has cautioned Inada over the remark but asked her to stay on, the government’s top spokesman said Wednesday.

“The prime minister gave her the same instruction that I did…(We) want her to fulfill her responsibility to explain herself as a minister, and continue to perform her role,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

Suga insisted Inada’s conduct will have no impact on the Tokyo assembly election or on the timing of Abe’s next Cabinet reshuffle. The prime minister is thought to be considering a change in the Cabinet lineup at some point later this year.

Renho, meanwhile, said Inada has no choice but to step down on her own or be sacked by Abe.

The Democratic Party and three smaller opposition parties are expected to agree later Wednesday to make a joint call for Inada’s resignation.

But a senior government official told reporters on Wednesday there is no need for Inada to quit, because she “took back her remark and apologized. That’s the end of it.”

A fellow Cabinet minister denied Inada needs to resign, but said she “should have noticed and corrected her comment immediately afterward.” Suga said he instructed her to swiftly retract the remark when she reported the matter to him over the phone Tuesday night.

A former defense minister slammed Inada as “not understanding the basics.”

“It’s a taboo among taboos to involve the SDF in elections or politics,” the former minister said.

A source close to the prime minister’s office, meanwhile, suggested that Inada is not likely to be swapped out prior to an envisioned Cabinet overhaul.

Abe made Inada defense minister in a reshuffle in August last year.

She is set to take part in ministerial security talks in Washington next month with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.


‘Have you killed any men today… if not, why not?’ Feminist author Clementine Ford’s sick note to a fan inside a copy of her latest book


  • Clementine Ford wrote a note to a fan asking if she had ‘killed any men today’?
  • The feminist penned the message inside a copy of her new book Fight Like a Girl
  • Ms Ford has regularly been the target of graphic abuse and trolling from men
  • The mum-of-one announced on Monday that she would be writing another novel
  • Petition calling publishers not to run her ‘man hating’ book has 300 signatures

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Philippines: Islamic State forces women to become sex slaves and orders hostages to convert to Islam

The Qur’an teaches that Infidel women can be lawfully taken for sexual use (cf. its allowance for a man to take “captives of the right hand,” 4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50, 70:30). The Qur’an says: “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59) The implication there is that if women do not cover themselves adequately with their outer garments, they may be abused, and that such abuse would be justified.

And as for the forced conversions, the  Qur’an says that “there is no compulsion in religion,” (2:256), but what constitutes “compulsion” is in the eye of the beholder. The institutionalized subjugation of the dhimma, with its regular humiliation and harassment, from which one can be freed for the simple price of converting to Islam, is not considered compulsion. Remember Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig, the journalists who were kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam — even though their conversions were obviously coerced, their captors made them say that they were converting freely, and the captors probably believed that themselves. After all, the journos could have chosen to be killed instead.


“ISIS forces women trapped in over-run Philippines city to become sex slaves and orders hostages to convert to Islam as it uses Christian human shields to fend off Duterte’s troops,” by Rory Tingle, Mailonline, June 27, 2017:

ISIS fighters in the Philippines are forcing women to become sex slaves and hiding behind 100 Christian human shields as the vicious battle to retake a city held by the militants enters its second month.

Terrorists from the Maute group seized Marawi City five weeks ago and have taken hostages who they are forcing to convert to Islam and carry wounded fighters.

Most of Marawi’s 200,000 citizens have fled since the attack on May 23, and those left behind have been subjected to horrific abuse, according to escapees.

‘They are being forced to be sex slaves, forced to destroy the dignity of these women,’ said army spokesman Jo-Ar Herrera.

‘This is what is happening inside, this is very evident..these are evil personalities.’

Hostages include leading churchman Father Teresito Soganub.

Abdullah Maute, one of two brothers who formed the group, said on Sunday he would free Soganub in return for his parents, who are being held by police.

But this request was refused by Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, with his spokesman saying any bargaining with terrorists was against government policy.

Heavy clashes broke out today as strongman leader Duterte ordered intense bombing raids by planes on the shrinking rebel zone.

The authorities believe Soganub and more than 100 other Christians are being held by the Islamic State-affiliated insurgents as human shields….