Malaysia seizes over 5,000 smuggled terrapins at airport

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2019   •   1307

RED-EARED SLIDER TERRAPINS @SEPANG, SELANGOR STATE, MALAYSIA. Courtesy : REUTERS

Malaysian authorities said on Wednesday (June 26) they had seized more than 5,000 smuggled terrapins at Kuala Lumpur airport last week.

Two Indian nationals were travelling with 5,255 red-eared sliders, a semi-aquatic species of turtle, in baskets within their luggage, the Customs Deputy Assistant Director Zulkurnain Mohamed Yusuf told media.

The total value of the haul was over $12,700, he added.

The two men, who were arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) from China’s northwestern city of Guangzhou last Thursday (June 20), had been detained and are expected to be charged, authorities said.

Red-eared sliders are the most popular turtle in the pet trade and are considered an invasive species in a number of habitats, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Malaysia is a major transit point for wildlife trade to other Asian countries. (REUTERS)

Importer who squeezed in 63 reptiles inside luggage convicted for high-profile wildlife smuggling

Marje Pelayo   •   July 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Wednesday (July 23) announced the conviction of an importer who tried to illegally sneak in 63 reptiles into the country.

According to the BOC, Judge Allan Ariola of Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 48, sentenced the importer a penalty of three to six months imprisonment for violation of Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act of 2001.

The imported exotic wildlife include 54 Iguanas; two Basilisk; four Veiled Chameleon and three Bearded Dragon.

The importer, who flew in from Bangkok, Thailand, was intercepted in February 2019 by BOC personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 through an after-flight screening upon arrival.

The animals, which were concealed inside his luggage, had no import permits from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

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Coronavirus outbreak inspires bursts of mask fashion creativity in Indonesia, Malaysia

UNTV News   •   June 26, 2020

Designers in Indonesia and Malaysia are adding their artistic touches to reusable face masks, providing essential supplies and style and uniqueness amid the pandemic.

In the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, Nicholas Septian Sugandi’s print shop had been losing business throughout his country’s mass-scale restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, but thanks to a new product introduced in May, lost business has been “recovered”.

Sugandi’s shop has been printing customers’ faces onto reusable face masks so that they can “look like themselves” when wearing it.

Each of the reusable masks takes around 30 minutes to produce, and cost 50,000 Indonesian rupiah ($3) each. The print shop has received hundreds of orders.

Wearing a face mask remains a mandatory practice across Indonesia.

In neighbouring Malaysia, textile designer Hafiz Drahman has utilised traditional designs from around the region to create colourful cloth masks with interchangeable filters.

In particular, Hafiz uses Batik, which is a traditional Javanese art that uses wax and ink to decorate cloth, and is derived from the Javanese word “titik,” meaning “dot”.

“So, as a designer, I saw that as an opportunity to use the cloth that I had, that is Batik textiles, and turn it into face masks,” Hafiz said from his workshop in Shah Alam, on the outskirts of capital Kuala Lumpur.

Although face masks are not compulsory in Malaysia, people are encouraged to wear them to protect themselves in public areas.

Hafiz currently sells his masks at 20 ringgits ($4.68) each.

Indonesia currently has 50,187 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,620 deaths, the highest total in Southeast Asia, while Malaysia has recorded 8,600 cases and 121 deaths as of Friday morning (June 26). (Reuters)

(Production: Yuddy Budiman, Embrahim Harris, Angie Teo)

Trump urges U.S. to halt most social activity in virus fight, warns of recession

UNTV News   •   March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday (March 16) to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.

As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.

The task force implored young people to follow the new guidelines even though they were at lesser risk of suffering if they contract the virus. Older people, especially those with underlying health problems, are at the greatest risk if they develop the respiratory disease.

Reporters staggered their seating, sitting in every other seat in the White House briefing room, to follow social distancing measures.

Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July, August or later. He called it an invisible enemy.

The president has taken criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the early days of its U.S. spread. On Monday, when asked, he gave himself a good grade for his response.

“I’d rate it a 10. I think we’ve done a great job,” he said.

Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.

Normally a cheerleader for the U.S. economy, he acknowledged the possibility of a recession while brushing off another dramatic decline on stock markets as investors worried about the virus.

“We’re not thinking in terms of recession, we’re thinking in terms of the virus. Once we stop, I think there’s a tremendous pent up demand, both in terms of the stock market and in terms of the economy,” Trump said. The president has long considered soaring stock markets to be a sign of his administration’s success.

Trump said the administration had talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hoped not to have to put such measures in place.

He said he thought it would still be possible for G7 leaders to meet at the Camp David retreat in Maryland in June. Trump upset European countries, which make up a large part of the G7, by instituting travel restrictions from European countries without consulting with them first. (Reuters)

(Production: Katharine Jackson)

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