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Musings From Abroad

Ex-Malaysian PM Najib Razak to face probe for stealing

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been arrested in Kuala Lumpur, state media reported, as part of a probe into alleged theft and money laundering at the 1MDB state investment fund

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Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been arrested in Kuala Lumpur, state media reported, as part of a probe into alleged theft and money laundering at the 1MDB state investment fund.

Najib’s family lawyer told Channel News Asia on Tuesday that the former leader would be charged for his role in the 1MDB scandal the next day.

Earlier on Tuesday, Malaysia’s anti-corruption agency questioned Riza Aziz, the stepson of Najib and a Hollywood film producer.

Alleged corruption at the 1MDB fund helped bring on the unexpected defeat of Najib’s coalition in the May 9 polls. The new government reopened investigations that were stifled while Najib was in office.

Riza was solemn as he arrived at the anti-corruption office and did not speak to reporters.

US investigators say Riza’s company, Red Granite Pictures Inc, used money stolen from 1MDB to finance Hollywood films including the Martin Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street.

Musings From Abroad

US President, Joe Biden, signs legislation against planned rail workers’ strike

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The United States President, Joe Biden has signed legislation to block a national railroad strike that could have devastated the American economy.

Senate voted 80 to 15 on Thursday to impose a tentative contract deal reached in September on a dozen unions representing 115,000 workers, who could have gone on strike on December 9.

“It was tough for me but it was the right thing to do at the moment — save jobs, to protect millions of working families from harm and disruption, and to keep supply chains stable around the holidays,” Biden said, adding the deal avoided “an economic catastrophe.”

“That fight isn’t over,” Biden said of the push for sick leave.

Reacting to the president’s assent, American Association of Railroads CEO Ian Jefferies said “none of the parties achieved everything they advocated for” but added, “without a doubt, there is more to be done to further address our employees’ work-life balance concerns.”

The attempt to slash labour and other costs to bolster profits in recent years has been fiercely opposed to adding paid sick time that would require them to hire more staff.

The strike could have left millions stranded and frozen almost 30% of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, stoked already surging inflation, and cost the American economy as much as $2 billion a day.

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Musings From Abroad

CLIMATE CHANGE: Germany to sign climate protection contracts with industries

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As the cry towards a green environment intensifies amidst the increasing effects of climate change, Germany is taking a lead in the climate renewal agenda as it is set to sign climate protection contracts with industrial companies next year.

The Economy Minister, Robert Habeck revealed on Sunday that the agreement will support a transition towards cleaner production and a switch to hydrogen.

Habeck was quoted as saying by Funke media group that  “the aim is to efficiently develop a green industry along the value chain that becomes marketable.”

Reports emerged during the week that Germany was planning to award companies in energy-intensive industries including chemicals and steel 15-year subsidy arrangements that he called climate protection contracts, in return for reducing carbon emissions in their production.

Recall that several world leaders last month, converged in Cairo, the capital of Egypt for the United Nations COP27 Climate Summit, over talks on the “need to deepen cuts in emissions and financially back developing countries already devastated by the effects of rising temperatures.”

According to UNFCCC, the most recent seven years, from 2015 to 2021 were the warmest on record. The 2018–2022 global mean temperature average is estimated to be 1.17 ± 0.13 °C above the 1850–1900 average.

Africa seems to be feeling the heat more as countries across the continent’s East and West have suffered devasting drought and floods beyond what used to be the usual climate pattern.

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