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Confirmed – Eurocopter deal off for now

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 – The Eurocopter deal has been deferred until the economy improves, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi said today, confirming a Malaysian Insider report.

At a press conference at the Ministry of Defence, he said that this was to reallocate funds to projects which could benefit the people directly in the current financial crisis.

“At the moment we have decided not to purchase the helicopters so as to allocate funds for other projects. The savings are important due to the economy and financial crisis.

“Due to the financial crisis, we need money. We cannot just be borrowing every time we need money. The best thing to do now is reallocate our budget,” Abdullah said.

He also revealed that the decision was made in an Economic Council exco meeting on Oct 13, which recommended that certain projects be shelved in favour of those that had a high “trickle-down multiplier effect” on the economy.

Clarifying that the deal is worth RM1.67 billion and not RM2.3 billion as reported, he said the Public Accounts Committee would continue its scrutiny of the deal.

Abdullah, however, said he believed there were no irregularities in the procurement procedure and that the scrutiny would be good.

“It will let us know what the procedures are and explain why the price is so high and comments with regards to the tender,” he said, adding that the price was high due to the specifications involved.

By stating that the helicopters were capable of combat, search and rescue as well as troop lifting, Abdullah explained that the 12 Cougar EC725s cost more than those being acquired by Brazil because “they have been upgraded to that level. If it is only for transport, it will cost much less.”

It had been revealed that Brazil were purchasing 50 Cougars at RM84 million each whereas Malaysia would be buying its units for RM139 million each.

Eventually, the Royal Malaysian Air Force would need to purchase new helicopters to replace its ageing fleet of 28 Nuris, Abdullah added.

“It does not mean we don’t want to buy. The Nuri is old and has been involved in many fatal accidents.

“We have to buy new helicopters no later than 2011. If we can, we want to buy earlier,” he said, explaining also that “it is not like buying a car” and would take a three-year period for the aircrafts to be delivered.

He, however, did not rule out a new tender process in the future.

“This is a matter for our officials to decide. Whether we want to do it is our decision,” he said.

Abdullah added that various ministries have been instructed to reduce expenditure and this may cause some other projects to be shelved.

Sourced from TMI.

[bold emphasis is mine]

—00000—

Sooo.. the heli deal is off, postponed, deferred, shelved or whatever. That’s according to AAB, the outgoing.. hmmm.. ‘not about to leave yet till March 09 or December 08, whichever doesn’t work out for him’ prime minister of Malaysia.

This statement was in response to an earlier ‘decision’ announced by NTR, the incoming.. hmmm.. ‘Gawd! I’m this close to being annointed PM by the village idiot and people are bugging me about petty little things’ prime-minister-still-in-waiting for the nation.

Btw did you folks notice that the Eurocopter price tag has changed from RM 2.3 billion, down to RM 1.1 billion as announced by Mindef, and now its up again, at RM 1.67 billion. Gotta be some contract variations according to ‘upgraded’ specifications i.e. the clowns can’t decide whether the EC725s were meant for military troop transport, search and rescue or combat-support applications, or perhaps, semua bolih pakai.

Let’s not kid ourselves, least of all, by allowing these inept government servants to pull wool over our eyes. Mindef’s disclosure were baseline bids i.e. 12 units of helicopters from the various suppliers without the bells and whistles, and definitely without other considerations.. wink2. Brazil’s ability to procure the EC725 at RM 84 million each would reflect this reality.

Thus far, not a single response from the BN government was proffered to dispute Mentari’s expose that RM 2.3 billion was inaccurate. Hence, the ‘new’ price tag of RM 1.67 billion mentioned by AAB because the PAC will probably be ‘guided’ by this figure when they scrutinise the paper trail. Yer get the picture now, folks.

And will somebody please tell that old foggy, LKS, he has no business ‘wanking himself silly‘ in trying to get the PAC chairman to recuse himself from the inquiry.

Meanwhile, AAB’s high ‘trickle-down multiplier effect’ economic remedy runs counter to what his administration is doing i.e. injecting RM 5 billion into ValueCap when the same would have had an immediate effect if it is used to subsidise petrol at the retail level or prop up any existing agriculture project with a long term view of reducing the nation’s imported food bill.

Bailing out cronies is better than easing the burden of the rakyat, I guess.

With borrowed money which belong to us, the people.

Update: 1930HR 29/10/08.

PAC’s 1st day preliminary findings after meeting Mindef officials – Procedure seems above board.. no hanky panky evident.. semua ship-shape and tender was apparently transparent. Full TMI report here.

The financial aspect will be dealt with tomorrow by the PAC committee. And trust me, they will find nothing wrong here as well because the BN government will fall back to the allocation made in December ’06 of US$600 miilion (about RM 2.1 billion at today’s exchangerate) as justification. NST’s chronology of events here. And AAB might even jest that they would have saved RM 400 million if the deal was inked.

Do yer get the feeling someone’s covered their tracks and the paper trail too?

So what’s missing and where’s the over-pricing?

For that, the PAC needs to speak with independent experts including the other bidders and particularly the chairman of Mentari Services. Anything less will be ‘rotoring the dirt’ away from the culprits.

Analysts Feel BN Harping On Trivia Than Tackling Important Issues

By Noor Hayati Muda

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 (Bernama) — Political observers feel that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) is harping on trivial issues instead of more important matters such as tackling money politics, picking the right leaders and working hard to win back the support the coalition lost in the March 8 general election.

The analysts regard as inconsequent, for the moment, the proposal to turn the coalition into a single multiracial party or even restructuring it.

Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussein of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) said restructuring the top posts in the BN supreme council would not bring any significant impact in the coalition or to the rakyat (people) in general.

“To me this is trivia. I understand they want to get the support from their own people but I don’t think this will benefit the masses in general.

“After all, the top posts in the BN are merely in name only as all decisions are made based on consensus regardless of their posts in the supreme council,” said lecturer of the university’s Public Administration and Law Faculty.

He said the BN was established based on understanding without a legally binding constitution.

“It doesn’t matter who sits where as those in the supreme council are actually on equal footing. Umno was given the chair and deputy chair seats based on the understanding that it is the largest party, and it remains so today,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Atory said BN leaders should instead be focusing on the more vital issue of winning back the people’s confidence.

“They really need to go back and study the whole situation and find the root cause of the problem, then come up with brilliant ideas to really help the coalition woo back voters in the next general election.

“You can get your own party members’ support but, at the end of day, what matters is the masses,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Atory’s remarks are made in reference to the BN’s failure to recapture Kelantan and loss of Penang, Kedah, Perak and Selangor to the opposition in the March 8 general election.

Assoc Prof Dr Ahmad Nizamuddin Sulaiman of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) referred to the MCA’s request for the creation of a second post of BN deputy chairman for the party to hold, and said entertaining the request would be opening the door for other component parties to make similar demands.

“Besides, I am of the opinion that there are other pressing matters that need to be addressed by the BN leaders, more vital reforms like dealing with money politics, for example,” he said.

He also said that BN leaders were digressing from the real problems.

“Each of the component parties, be it Umno, MCA, MIC or even Gerakan, have leadership problems. I think they must resolve this first before talking about reforming the coalition structure,” said the lecturer of the Social Science and Humanities Faculty.

Dr Ahmad Nizamuddin’s views were shared by Prof Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid of the Tun Abdul Razak University who said the priority for BN component parties was to elect the “right leaders”.

“I am of the opinion that what matters most now is for all component parties to choose the right leaders. Then, later, they can discuss ideas for reform,” said the former dean of the university’s Social Science and Humanities Faculty.

He said it was critical to elect leaders with vast knowledge in various fields as well as broad networking either in the country or overseas.

“We have outstanding leaders in the corporate world, in the public service and in the education sector, just to name a few. Therefore, in my view, political leaders also must be among the best,” he said.

Given the current situation, politically or economically, Dr Ibrahim had a point in asserting the importance of choosing the right leaders as these leaders must find ways not only to strengthen their own parties but also the BN as a whole as well as steer the country towards taking on the current global financial onslaught.

At the same time, they have to win back the voters’ confidence if the BN wants to remain in power after the next general election.

Therefore, said Dr Ibrahim, it was vital for BN leaders to identify the root cause of the problems which had landed the coalition in the “hot soup” in the first place.

He said every proposed change must be considered carefully based on the principles of each component party and, most importantly, they should focus on the people’s interests while ensuring continuous stability in the country.

“Reforms should be based on several factors, both external and internal. Some would like to have radical changes but for me they should be an ongoing matter,” he said.

Sourced from BERNAMA.

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Aiyoyo.. these academics and political analysts are sometimes full of themselves and when they unload their intellect onto the masses, somehow there’s a disconnect.

Ok lah you blokes, lissen up, will yer.

UMNO, the numero uno head honcho leading the BN circus wagon has been around for about six decades and along the way, they picked up the other clowns coz UMNO are the main event players like.. err.. lion tamers, trapeze artists, high-wire walkers, etc.

But all these main events are serious stuff which can be considered life-threatening hence the need for side-shows with clowns to lighten up the audience prior to having the next ‘white knuckled’ UMNO show.

Therefore, the crowd gets into this roller-coaster ride vaccilating between shock & awe and abject ‘no-brainers’ and trust me, UMNO does this juggling act quite well.

Of course, in the meanwhile, with a paying audience (read: income tax), UMNO went and tweaked the system by installing ‘trojans’ and ‘botnets’ on the mainframe i.e. BN lah.

These two-legged viruses are aptly named ‘gatekeepers’ and ‘warlords’ whose sole purpose is to handle the gate receipts and other accruals. Heck, sometimes the accrued stuff far outweigh the account receivables coz there are three books, one for show and two under their butts, to balance, yer see.

[Where the heck am I going with this! Sips coffee and puffs on cheap ciggies….. Hmmm.. Now where was I? Oh yeah, MMAARRNNNEEYYYY!!!]

How do you pick the right leaders who basically have:

  • the rakyats’ interest at heart from the outset,
  • the brains, motivation and tenacity to churn out briilliant social reforms and economic strategies,
  • and aren’t tempted with just getting rich or wealthy or both (could never figure out the difference) in dubious ways?

Simple – Get out of your airconditioned offices/homes and go park yourself at every UMNO branch and division with vidcam in hand, and root out the numbskulls with their bags of goodies during the next few months until the next UMNO GA.

Ask RY and TRH for directions so you’ll be heading towards the right circus tent.

Go, run along now, quickly, before the culprits ‘berambus’ with their hugh, gleaming Brabuses.

————————————————————————————-

Off topic stuff and its a crassy joke, folks.

“How do you talk down to umnoputras who drives porches, mercs or ferraris?

Speak through a loud megaphone from atop of yer latest model Lamborghini, that’s how”

*Thank you to Admiral Tojo for this bit of blarney*

DEWAN DISPATCHES: Malaysiakini grovels like a teenager in trouble

by: Azmi Anshar
DEWAN RAKYAT Oct 22, 2008

It will be difficult but Malaysiakini’s sloppy gaffe in publishing a report expounding a putrid manifesto by a “support group” purportedly attributed to the Deputy Prime Minister in preparation for his ascension to the Prime Ministership must be regarded as simply that: a gaffe that the highly political web portal editors were unable to detect or prevent, given the high confidence it confers to its copy editors to take the initiative.


It must have been galling then for the Malaysiakini senior editors that a seemingly trusted copy editor published the report while ignoring its highly explosive nature and without having to check its source and veracity, or, if she had an iota of scepticism, referred it to her more senior and experienced editors for careful deliberation.

She didn’t and when she pressed the OK button on the publishing software, it was not so much a case of publish and be damned as it was a routine that was all in a day’s work. That copy editor practically lit a literary bomb that blew embarrassingly in her face and her outfit. It could easily have been circumvented had she abided by certain basic journalistic tenets.

While it’s all nice and well now that the said copy editor took it upon herself to assume blame for her journalistic sins and immediately put in her walking papers, the affair affirms a measure of zealotry that Malaysiakini has assumed as its journalistic credo – to err towards gung-ho recklessness that only a young media outfit, like teenagers without a care in the world, can only flaunt.

However, Malaysiakini was, metaphorically, still a teenager lacking in the social graces and still short in maturity, while trying to live in an adult world where responsibility, sobriety and caution are bored principles. The entry to a night spot and drinking age is 21 and cigarettes cannot be sold to teenagers below 18. Balderdash! Malaysiakini would dismiss these rules as superfluous to their growing process, until their shit hit the fan.

Whether they deserve it or not, Malaysiakini has built a brutal reputation as a web news portal whose raison d’être is to gleefully criticise, lambast and condemn the Barisan Nasional Government, its machinery and its machinations, its systems, its policies, its weaknesses, its credibility to the point that it can’t report in any other way or it will lose the legion of supplicants it calls its base audience. Its all politics all the time and mostly from the view of the firing seat.

To be sure, Malaysiakini can do just that because it does not have to temper an annual Government licence like its print rivals and being on the web, weighed in on the Government’s pledge of non-cyber censorship, cheaper overheads and non-existent logistical woes.

Just as the mainstream newspapers been perceived as being pro-Government, Malaysiakini is trenchantly looked as pro-Opposition, whether it likes it or not, but its behaviour, mannerism and attitude strongly suggest that it lives and dies by that anti-Establishment moniker.

That is why the so-called Najib manifesto was published all too casually, on the account that the copy editor was living up to the Malaysiakini’s doctrine. It’s too soon to tell if they will have to pay the price in terms of punitive action or something worse but given that its presence is much needed in the pursuit of a free Press, Malaysiakini must learn to get away from its belligerent adolescence.

Nevertheless, Najib could have sued the socks off Malaysiakini for false reporting, which among others quoted the DPM as “eager to defend till the last drop of his blood the supremacy of the Malay race”, or at the very least demand a police probe into the portal’s ill-advised transgression. But he didn’t, perhaps out of magnanimity or perhaps out of the fact that he cannot afford the distraction, seeing that he will soon inherit the management of a country roiling in the perfect political storm and need to muster all his energy and effort.

In a media conference outside the House, Najib accepted Malaysiakini’s apology. “The reporter showed a high level of professionalism and took responsibility for the untrue story,” he told the media at the Parliament lobby today. However, Najib rightly pointed out that the culprits who released the fake manifesto was still in hiding.

Najib is leaving it to the relevant authorities to unmask the perpetrators of the fake manifesto, agreeing that he may have to face all this until March, when Umno holds its general assembly and its delayed but high-octane party elections.

Cub reporters were taught from small to respect facts and triple check them when they conclude their reports, just before they submit their masterpieces to their copy editor for editing or tasting. It’s a time-honoured concept practiced by most media outfits, whether they are of left or right leaning persuasions or whether they newspapers, magazines or the electronic media. Some old school journalism editors would also insist that their underlings their parents say they love you, check their claims too.

No conscientious editor or reporter would knowingly publish or write reports that are factually dodgy or just plain wrong but if the unimaginable happens, the blame is always an oversight or simple human error. Already, Wong’s action has been spun as a “rare day when a Malaysian journalist resigns to take responsibility for an erroneous report.”

That said, Malaysiakini is truly fortunate that Wong was conscientious enough to take the rap and save further grief for the portal. It could have been ugly.

Sourced from NST.

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Yo Azmi, yer better look over both yer shoulders coz I think Rocky’s going back to NST and he definitely ain’t groveling but is a shoe-in for a top job. Don’t get yerself trampled or pushed aside when the next batch roll in, yer hear.

It could be ugly too but I hear real men do cry.

Anywayz.. didn’t yer ex deputy chair gaffed on the Japan meeting in 2006 or what about that other bloke who copy-catted (sic) an entire column or.. yeah right, some of us non-journos can nitpick splendidly too.

Web 2.0 and UGC is the way forward for news and information dissemination, bro. Save newsprint, save trees, save the environment, save.. ahhh.. never mind.

Oh yeah.. And btw, Mkini IS mainstream for the five liberated states under Pakatan Rakyat.

Nuff said.

P.S. Who am I? Ask Rocky lah.

Only one BN lawmaker supports ISA review

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 — A Barisan Nasional MP and two independents are among 77 mostly opposition legislators who have so far signed a petition to the Prime Minister calling for a debate in Parliament to review or repeal the Internal Security Act.

The anti-ISA parliamentary caucus did not, however, reveal the name of the BN MP, but chairman Lim Kit Siang of the DAP said he hopes to get more MPs from the BN to sign the petition and make it a bipartisan effort.

Lim told reporters in the Parliament lobby today that 77 MPs had signed a petition calling for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to prioritise a motion to debate the review and repeal of the Internal Security Act when the House reconvenes next Wednesday.

“This includes one BN MP, two independents and 74 Pakatan Rakyat MPs,” the Ipoh Timur MP said, explaining later that other PR legislators were out of town and unable to sign the petition.

He also revealed that the two independents were Datuk Dr Chua Soon Bui and Eric Enchin Majimbun, the MPs from SAPP, which recently exited the BN coalition.

“If more than a third of MPs show their desire to debate this issue, then the Prime Minister must make it a top priority if parliamentary democracy has any meaning here. If he says no, he is completely irresponsible.

“I regret that only one BN MP has supported the motion,” the DAP parliamentary leader said, adding that it was not even a motion to abolish the ISA but merely to debate it.

Caucus secretary Fong Po Kuan also stated that 23 BN MPs had been approached so far to sign the petition but only one agreed.

PKR Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul said that “some personally agreed but did not dare to sign as they needed to see what those above had to say. Maybe in three or four days they will change their mind.”

“At their national delegates conferences, both Gerakan and MCA called for a repeal of the ISA. By not supporting this petition their ministers and MPs have betrayed the trust of their delegates,” Lim added.

He also said that a second batch of signatures would be sent after the Deepavali break.

Sourced from TMI.

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Strange bunch of lawmakers (aka MPs) we have in parliament.

Makes me wonder if the entire BN lot, sans one courageous ‘braveheart‘, have any conscience of their own without having to look over their shoulder at big brother ‘I am not a bully‘ UMNO.

And I honestly thought that there’s some sort of parliamentary immunity accorded to these esteemed YBs.

But then again, the obvious answer is that the UMNO-led BN patronage system have usurped the hands of natural justice to prevail in this nation.

Evil shall prevail when good men (and women) do nothing‘ as the old saying goes and just like ‘casting pearls to swines‘, why do the electorate keep casting their votes for eunuchs to scurry aimlessly in the corridors of power?

Are we therefore at a critical juncture in Malaysian history when civil society should rise en masse on the streets to somehow get lawmakers to push for democratic reforms in parliament?

Must there be more street demonstrations before holistic human values are resurrected and placed within the inner fabric of our society for this nation to progress?

All the signs were evident since the Penguin Walk of 26th September ’07, through 10-Eleven, Hindraf, Freedom Walk and the Tsunamic GE12.

Our elected representatives i.e. the Executive and the Legislature have the noble duty to put right what is intrinsically wrong and by any definition, the ISA was never meant to exist in perpetuity. By the same token, when the CPM surrendered in 1989, the ISA should have been discarded in recognition of a great achievement which no other nation had the privilege to accomplish.

It is therefore ironic that an archaic piece of ‘preventive law’ such as the ISA may push civil society to confront its own government. Again and again, until true justice is upheld by nobler lawmakers.



Up To MCMC To Act Against Malaysiakini, Says Shabery

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 (Bernama) — Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said it is up the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to act against Internet news portal Malaysiakini, which published an e-mail supposedly linked to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s election manifesto for Umno’s polls.

“It is only appropriate if the MCMC, which is under the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications, takes action against Malaysiakini since it concerns an online news portal,” he told reporters after presenting excellence service awards and farewell gifts to retiring staff of the ministry at Angkasapuri here tonight.

Shabery said this in response to the e-mail published by Malaysiakini, purportedly from a “Najib Support Group” containing a so called Najib’s manifesto for Umno elections to be held in March next year.

In the party’s ongoing nomination process, Najib remains the sole contender for the Umno presidency. The nomination process, where the 191 divisions in Umno pick their choice of candidates for top party posts, ends on Nov 9.

Malaysiakini, without any verification from the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, had published the content of the e-mail.

This is one of the abuses of cyberspace where people just simply pick up things without checking and publish as the gospel truth. But the damage done is rather obvious.

“It was clearly done with the intention of tarnishing a national leader. The action is very much regretted,” he said.

Shabery also said that if the new media continued to publish articles without prior verification of facts, it will somehow tarnish their credibility in the near future.

Today, Malaysiakini apologised for their oversight while the reporter responsible resigned over the mistake.

Sourced from BERNAMA

—00000—

Najib accepts Malaysiakini apology

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak today accepted an apology from the Malaysiakini news portal for reporting that he had issued an Umno presidential campaign manifesto that had the country buzzing over its conservative slant.

I am satisfied on the basis of the unreserved apology by the editors of Malaysiakini and satisfied that the journalist concerned has taken responsibility,” the deputy prime minister said at Parliament House here.

He added that the real issue was that “the real culprit who released it is still in hiding” but said that he would leave any investigation to the relevant authorities.

The New Straits Times today quoted Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor as saying the  Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had started investigating the news portal, under sections 211 and 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Commission Act.

He said this followed a report lodged to the commission on the matter. However, he declined to reveal the origin of the report.

Malaysiakini published the report late Sunday quoting the manifesto, which among others, said Najib will defend Malay supremacy, set up a council of presidential advisers apart from denouncing a string of allegations against him and vowing to use all means to destroy elements that threaten the stability and peace of the country.

Journalist Wong Choon Mei, who wrote and uploaded the report, resigned yesterday to take responsibility for the matter.

Political observers see the e-mail as the latest sabotage effort against Najib, who is set to take over as Umno president next March.

Current incumbent Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi announced on Oct 8 that he would step down by March and pass the baton to his deputy Najib.

When quizzed on what appears to be a concerted attack on him as he gears up to take over the reins from the Prime Minister, Najib said that it looked as he would have to face “all sorts of things” until March.

Obviously nobody likes to face such totally unfounded and baseless attacks,” the Finance Minister said and called on the public not to be duped by such attempts.

Sourced from TMI.

—00000—

Arighty, let’s play a little game of chasing the red herring, shall we.

  • An e-mail from a dubious ‘support group’ source containing an alleged NTR manifesto related to UMNO matters was sent to Mkini and it was published without further verification.
  • NTR then claimed it was not from him and denied responsibility.
  • The Mkini journalist who published the ‘false’ manifesto took personal responsibility have resigned whilst the media agency itself apologised unreservedly to NTR.
  • And NTR have accepted it.

All’s well that ends well?

Not quite if we’re to consider the news reports that’s unfolding.

It is now up to the MCMC to take action on a report sent in about Mkini’s journalistic faux pas but the minister in charge of the MCMC refused to disclose who made the report.

So we now have two unknown factors to contend with i.e. the origin of the alleged manifesto and the identity of the person who filed the complaint on Mkini’s news report to the MCMC.

Despite NTR’s statement “the real culprit who released it is still in hiding”, don’t you find it strange that nobody has yet to file a police report to ascertain and locate the ‘real culprit’ responsible in forwarding the alleged manifesto?

Instead, we are confronted with ‘wounded pride’ press statements from [UMNO] ministers vilifying ‘unfounded and baseless’ attacks on a national leader which apparently exist in an unfettered cyberspace environment.

By his own admission, NTR acknowledged he will face underhanded efforts to sabotage his ascension to the premiership and it’s therefore par for the course that he gives as good as he gets.

Sidetracking from the real issues (or culprit) will indicate a perception of implicit collusion or worse, political subterfuge.

Speaking of which, can we then surmise that Utusan Malaysia’s publication of unverified news reports which had adversely affected an opposition minister should also get the ‘hands on’ attention the government agencies have accorded to NTR?

Whether it’s mainstream or new media, falsehood still wounds the innocent.

October 2008
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