Opinion & Community

Filipino with fake Malaysian ID charged with recruiting IS terrorists

KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia – A Filipino man was charged at the magistrate’s court here with recruiting Islamic State (IS) terrorists and possessing a fake Malaysian MyKad (identity card).
No plea was recorded from Nurhan Sahi Hakim, 32, who hails from Zamboanga in the Philippines, for the charge of knowingly recruiting another person into an IS terrorists group at the arrival hall of the Kota Kinabalu International airport (KKIA) on Jan 13, this year.
The offence, under Section 130E of the Penal Code, is punishable by imprisonment of up to 30 years and a fine upon conviction.

Magistrate Jessica Ombou Kakayun fixed March 8, for the case to be mention pending forensic report. No bail was offered.
However, Nurhan was sentenced to 30 months jail and fined RM1,000 in default three months jail for possessing a fake Malaysian MyKad.
Magistrate Kakayun also ordered him to be referred to the Immigration Department after serving his sentence.


Filipino designer creates gown for ‘Fifty Shades’ lead actress

MANILA, Philippines — Internationally-recognized Filipino fashion designer, Monique Lhuiller, once again made it to Hollywood her designed gown was worn by one of the lead characters of “Fifty Shades Darker.”

In one of the notable scenes in the second chapter of the film based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” trilogy novel, Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele, dons a custom-made gown and capelet by Lhuillier.

The liquid satin sheath gown with a draped neckline and a crisscross back in a silver hue exuded femininity and sophistication, while the handmade ostrich feather capelet added exquisite glamour for Anastasia’s grand entrance in the film’s exclusive masquerade ball.

Lhuillier, known for her bridal couture, ready-to-wear line, and accessories, was even mentioned by Mia Grey, portrayed by Rita Ora, in the film.

In keeping with the essence of her brand, Lhuillier's design evoked an enchanting, yet sophisticated, vision by weaving together sensuous and modern elements for the character of Anastasia.

“I am so delighted to partner with Universal Pictures’ 'Fifty Shades Darker' to design for the character of Anastasia Steele,” Lhuillier said.

“Like the Monique Lhuillier woman, Ana radiates confidence and femininity, and so the gown I imagined for this iconic scene encapsulates that modern sophistication,” she added.

The film’s costume designer, Shay Cunliff, said she always imagined Johnson in Lhuillier’s stunning gown as a “beautiful siren of simplicity.”

“We sent Monique ideas and images that evoke old Hollywood, and she and her team took the inspiration from there—crafting this stunning confection. Ana’s cape itself was a challenge—each feather was sewn by hand—but I felt it would magnify Ana’s show-stopping entrance at the ball, harking back to the 1930's screen sirens. Monique also beautifully resolved our need to create a gown which can effortlessly slip to the ground…another feat of engineering,” Cunliff said.

For “Fifty Shades Darker,” Jamie Dornan and Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

The sequel, distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures, opened in Philippine cinemas on Wednesday. On its first day, it already surpassed the original "Fifty Shades of Grey’s" P15 million first-day gross with an P18-million first-day take.

The Movie & Television Rating and Classification Board gave the flick an R-18 rating, which means the movie is strictly for 18 years of age and above. It was also approved in its original US version – without cuts, blurs, and blacked-out parts.

"Fifty Shades" fans may anticipate the last part of the trilogy, “Fifty Shades Freed,” on Valentine’s Day of 2018. —Rosette Adel

Supervisor Canepa appoints Filam as chief of staff

REDWOOD CITY, California--- Newly-elected San Mateo County Supervisor David J. Canepa (Dist. 5-D) recently announced the appointment of Filipino-American Antonio ‘Tony’ Bayudan, as Chief of Staff.

Canepa sits as one of the five-man Board of Supervisors in San Mateo County. Daly City,-- the largest city under District 5 with an estimated 106,502 population based on 2015 Census-- is home to some 33.2 percent Filam families that forms part of the dominating Asian race of about 55.6 percent population.

Bayudan, meanwhile, who hailed from Ilocos, (a province North of Manila, Philippines), and a long-time resident of Daly City, has worked for various local businesses and volunteered to help Canepa advance his political career through constituency.

Preferred to be called by his nickname, “Tony’, Canepa said he had witness how Bayudan had dedicated his time during the election campaign through the spirit of volunteerism in reaching out to the local Filam community. During a courtesy call by Philippine News Publisher, Francis E. Espiritu on Jan. 23, he sited that some seniors in the community who have applied for Section 8 housing “ are getting frustrated “ waiting in line and that, “ more education and reaching out in regards to these applications are most likely needed.


Russia: Wreckage of crashed jet found in Black Sea

Doyle Rice , USA TODAY 8:12 p.m. EST December 26, 2016

A search team from the Russian Emergency Ministry continued the recovery operation for debris of a plane which crashed into the Black Sea near Sochi on Sunday. (Dec. 26) AP

(Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky, EPA)
Wreckage from the Russian jet that crashed Sunday in the Black Sea killing 92 people has been found, the Russian officials said Monday.

Pilot error or a technical fault — but not terrorism — were likely to have caused the crash, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said in a statement.

Divers located several fragments of the plane Monday afternoon about one mile from the shore and 82 feet under the sea, the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement. Some of the debris was recovered, and divers were going back into the water to search for more.

Finding the jet’s flight recorders may be difficult because the devices lack underwater locator beacons that are common in more modern planes.

Everyone aboard the Russian military’s Tu-154 plane are thought to have died when the jet crashed two minutes after takeoff Sunday from the southern city of Sochi en route to Syria, the Associated Press said.

The nation held a day of mourning Monday for the victims. Flags flew at half-staff, and TV stations removed entertainment shows from their schedules, Reuters reported.

"This is a terrible tragedy and irreplaceable grief for the families of the victims," Sokolov said. "I express my deep condolences to the families and friends of the victims."

In all, some 45 ships and more than 3,500 rescue workers are involved in the search for remains and plane debris, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Searchers used helicopters, drones and submersibles to look for bodies and debris.

Rescue teams had recovered 11 bodies as well as fragments of bodies, Russian officials said. Those were flown to Moscow, where the remains will be identified.

Church services were held Monday in the Russian city of Sochi for those who died in the Russian military plane crash on Sunday. (Dec. 26) AP

The passengers included dozens of singers in Russia’s world-famous military choir, nine Russian journalists and a Russian doctor known for her charity work in war zones, the AP reported.

Latest on George Michael's death: Boyfriends speak out

USA TODAY staff 10:59 p.m. EST December 26, 2016
(Photo: Tim Ireland, AP)
One day after news broke of George Michael's death over the Christmas holiday, fans and friends are still reeling. USA TODAY rounds up the latest developments related to the singer.

Frank Sinatra's letter surfaces. Crooner Frank Sinatra wasn't one to mince words, and when Michael talked to the Los Angeles Times in 1990 about the strain of celebrity status, the Chairman had to respond. Michael said, "Stardom can make you miserable. After all, everybody wants to be a star. I certainly did, and I worked hard to get it. But I was miserable, and I don't want to feel that way again." That interview prompted Sinatra to write a response. In it, he addressed Michael directly: "Come on George, Loosen up. Swing, man, Dust off those gossamer wings and fly yourself to the moon of your choice and be grateful to carry the baggage we've all had to carry since those lean nights of sleeping on buses and helping the driver unload the instruments."

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Catherine Rampell ✔ @crampell
Frank Sinatra's letter to George Michael
7:39 AM - 26 Dec 2016
1,555 1,555 Retweets 2,593 2,593 likes
Reports: Boyfriend found Michael. Hairstylist and photographer Fadi Fawaz, who has been romantically linked to Michael in recent years, says he found the singer's body, according to reports by People and ET. Fawaz, whose Twitter profile includes a photo of him kissing Michael, tweeted about "finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning." (Fawaz's account is followed by Michael's verified personal account.)

Fadi Fawaz @fadifawaz
ITs a xmas i will never forget finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning.. I will never stop missing you xx
9:38 AM - 26 Dec 2016
1,130 1,130 Retweets 3,536 3,536 likes
Former boyfriend shares grief. Before Fawaz, Michael was linked to Kenny Goss for 13 years. Goss issued a statement to People on Monday. In it, he said: “I’m heartbroken. … He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much.”


Obama, Abe to visit Pearl Harbor together; first official Japanese visit

David Jackson , USA TODAY 8:40 p.m. EST December 26, 2016

Japan's desire to become a world player could mean less dependence on the U.S. military. Video provided by Newsy Newslook

AFP 552324098 I POL JPN MI
(Photo: Stephane De Sakutin, AFP/Getty Images)
More than 75 years later, remembrance and reconciliation are the themes as the Japanese prime minister visits Pearl Harbor on Tuesday, the first formal trip by a Japanese leader to the site where the world changed forever.

Both Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Obama will speak at the commemoration of the 1941 Japanese air attack that drew the United States into the Second World War. Abe landed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the historic visit on Monday.

Obama and Abe will also meet privately on the state of the U.S.-Japan alliance, one that could undergo stark changes after Donald Trump becomes president next month.

"The two leaders' visit will showcase the power of reconciliation that has turned former adversaries into the closest of allies," the White House said in announcing the visit earlier this month.

Obama and Abe plan to make remarks at the memorial built atop the bombed-out hull of the USS Arizona, which sank to the bottom of the harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The attack, on what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "a date which will live in infamy," killed more than 2,400 Americans.

2016 investigations: Tracking Trump, toxins and teachers

USA TODAY 11 a.m. EST December 20, 2016
GTY 599936016 A ELN USA PA
(Photo: Mark Makela, Getty Images)
From coast to coast this year, USA NETWORK journalists tracked President-elect Donald Trump's thousands of lawsuits, teachers who lost their licenses in one state and moved on to teach in another, and water utilities delivering drinking water to customers contaminated with lead.

Here's a look back at just some of USA TODAY's investigative journalism in 2016.

Trump and the Law: A deep dive into President-elect Donald Trump's 4,000-plus lawsuits

Donald Trump ran for president touting his success in business. So what's his track record? A lot of the back story is shielded from public view because Trump's ventures are private companies.

But, more than 4,000 times over about four decades, Trump and his companies ended up in court. The USA TODAY Network tracked the thousands of cases in courthouses coast to coast and these are the stories we found about the ways that Trump and his companies operate.

Dive into Donald Trump's thousands of lawsuits

Reports of mall disturbances light up social media

Susan Miller , USA TODAY 10:16 p.m. EST December 26, 2016
People wait in line for NJ Transit buses after the Jersey Gardens Mall was evacuated on one of the busiest days of the year after a fight broke out Dec. 26, 2016.
(Photo: Kevin R. Wexler, NorthJersey.com, via USA TODAY Network)
A flurry of reports of mall melees and disturbances rippled across social media Monday on a day Americans swarmed shopping hubs for post-holiday bargains.

Disturbances that led to some malls being evacuated included reports from Elizabeth, N.J.; Fayetteville, N.C.; East Garden City, N.Y.; Aurora, Colo.; Tempe, Ariz.; Beachwood Place, a suburb of Cleveland; and Memphis.

About 10 people were injured during a melee at the Jersey Gardens mall in Elizabeth on Sunday evening, Mayor Chris Bollwage said in a tweet.

The injuries were non-life-threatening, Bollwage said. A fight in the food court led to false reports of a shooting after a chair was thrown and hit the ground loudly, officials said.

Posts on social media showed police with machine guns responding to the food court. Police evacuated the building as a precaution, and hours later there were still long lines waiting for NJ Transit buses as it began to rain.

Sergio Cleto, a tourist from Brazil, was waiting for a bus back to Manhattan. "We saw the kids fighting ... then everyone began to run and everything is a mess after that," Cleto said.

In Tennessee, police in Memphis shut down Oak Court Mall on Monday evening aft

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