Singapore repatriates ‘radicalized’ Indonesian maids

Daesh flag. (REUTERS)
Updated 05 July 2017

Singapore repatriates ‘radicalized’ Indonesian maids

SINGAPORE: Singapore has repatriated two Indonesian maids it said were radicalized online, one of whom wanted to travel to Syria with her foreign boyfriend to join Daesh group.
Second Home Affairs Minister Desmond Lee told parliament the discovery of the two brought to nine the number of radicalized foreign domestic workers uncovered by the city-state since 2015. All have been repatriated.
The affluent island-republic’s leaders have warned it is a prime target for a terror attack because of its strong stand against terrorism and reputation as a regional financial center.
The city-state is also supporting the US-led international coalition against Daesh with non-combat assistance like air-to-air refueling.
Lee said in response to a question in parliament that the two Indonesian maids were Daesh supporters who were “radicalized through social media.”
“One of them intended to travel to Syria with her foreign boyfriend to join Daesh,” he said Tuesday.
No details were given for the seven other maids repatriated earlier.
While none of the nine maids intended to carry out attacks in Singapore, “we cannot condone support for any radical ideologies... whether by locals or foreigners,” Lee said.
Hundreds of thousands of foreign maids and construction workers are based in Singapore, one of Asia’s wealthiest economies.
Singapore in 2015 and 2016 arrested 40 “radicalized” Bangladeshi workers who it said were plotting violence in their homeland. All but six — currently serving jail terms for terrorism and terrorist financing — have been repatriated.
The convicted ringleader, Rahman Mizanur, was jailed for five years last year. He had tried several times to join Daesh in Syria but could not get visas to Turkey or Algeria, court documents showed.
He and a group of other Bangladeshis working in Singapore had planned to violently overthrow the Bangladeshi government and establish a caliphate there, according to the documents. They also collected funds to support their cause.

UK vaccine frontrunner could be available in first half of 2021

Updated 6 min 10 sec ago

UK vaccine frontrunner could be available in first half of 2021

  • Human trials of the vaccine will expand to hundreds more people in the “coming weeks.”

LONDON: A leading British scientist has said a Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out across the country as early as the first half of next year.

Professor Robin Shattock leads the team working on Imperial College London’s vaccine, one of the UK’s two most promising research programs. He told Sky News: “We anticipate if everything goes really well, that we'll get an answer as to whether it works by early next year.

“Assuming that the funding is there to purchase that vaccine, we could have that vaccine rolled out across the UK in the first half of next year.”

Shattock also warned that there was “no certainty” that any of the vaccines currently being developed would work, but said the risk of that is “very, very low.”

Imperial College London is now conducting human trials of their vaccine, with 15 volunteers having received it so far. Shattock said this will be ramped up in the “coming weeks” to include another 200 to 300 patients.

“I think we're very lucky in the UK that we have two very strong candidates, the one from Imperial, the one from Oxford, and so we’re pretty well placed, but there's still not a certainty that either of those two will work,” he said.

Oxford University is also developing a vaccination for Covid-19, in partnership with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

While Shattock said he hopes Imperial College London’s vaccine will be available for the whole of the UK in the first half of next year, it is unclear how long it would take for it to be available outside of the country.

The UK, European Union and the US have all invested huge sums into vaccine development, and struck deals with pharmaceutical companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars each to ensure first-in-line access to successful vaccinations.

However, international organizations such as the UN, International Red Crescent and Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders have raised concerns that the world’s poorest countries will be unable to access vaccinations and effective Covid-19 treatments due to rich countries outspending them.