Singapore detains Indonesian maids for ‘funding Daesh’

About 250,000 domestic helpers from other parts of Asia work in affluent Singapore. Above, Indonesian maids undergo training in Jakarta for infant care prior to their deployment. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2019

Singapore detains Indonesian maids for ‘funding Daesh’

  • The maids became supporters of Daesh after viewing online material last year
  • About 250,000 domestic helpers from other parts of Asia work in affluent Singapore

SINGAPORE: Singapore has detained three Indonesian maids without trial under tough security laws over allegations they donated funds to support the Daesh group, authorities said.
It is the latest case of allegedly radicalized foreign domestic helpers arrested in the city-state, and the government said it highlighted the continued appeal of the militants’ “violent ideology.”
The trio, who worked as maids for between six and 13 years in Singapore, became supporters of Daesh after viewing online material last year, including videos of bomb attacks and beheadings, the interior ministry said.
Anindia Afiyantari, 33, Retno Hernayani, 36, and 31-year-old Turmini became acquainted around the time they were radicalized and developed a network of foreign contacts online who shared their pro- Daesh ideology.
“The three of them actively galvanized support online for Daesh,” said the ministry in a statement late Monday, using an alternative name for Daesh.
“They also donated funds to overseas-based entities for terrorism-related purposes, such as to support the activities of Daesh and JAD. Turmini believed that her donations would earn her a place in paradise.”
Officials did not say how much they contributed.
JAD refers to Indonesian militant outfit Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, which has pledged allegiance to Daesh.
The women are being held under the city-state’s Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial for up to two years.
Daesh lost the last scrap of its self-declared “caliphate” this year but remains influential. There are fears that foreign fighters returning from the Middle East could rejuvenate terror networks elsewhere, including in Southeast Asia.
There has been a steady stream of such cases reported in Singapore, which is majority ethnic Chinese but has a sizeable Muslim minority.
Before the latest three cases, authorities had detected 16 radicalized foreign domestic workers since 2015, though none were found to have plans to carry out violent acts in Singapore. They were repatriated after investigations.
About 250,000 domestic helpers from other parts of Asia work in affluent Singapore.


Trump finally dons mask as US sets new virus case record

Updated 12 July 2020

Trump finally dons mask as US sets new virus case record

  • “I’ve never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place,” POTUS tells reporters
  • The US is the worst hit by COVID-19, with more than 3.2 million cases and at least 134,000 deaths as of Saturday

BETHESDA, USA: President Donald Trump finally yielded to pressure and wore a face mask in public for the first time on Saturday as the US posted another daily record for coronavirus cases, while Disney World reopened in a state hit hard by the pandemic.

White House experts leading the national fight against the contagion have recommended wearing face coverings in public to prevent transmission of the illness.

But Trump had repeatedly avoided wearing a mask, even after staffers at the White House tested positive for the virus and as more aides have taken to wearing them.

Hours after the World Health Organization urged countries to step up control measures to rein in the disease, Trump donned a dark mask bearing the presidential seal as he visited wounded military veterans at the Walter Reed military hospital in a suburb outside Washington.

“I’ve never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place,” he told reporters as he left the White House.

Trump is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in the polls ahead of a November election and surveys show most Americans are unhappy with how he has handled the public health crisis.

But the president has continued to praise his own response to the pandemic despite a cascade of figures showing the extent of the disease’s spread across the United States.

 

Record-breaking numbers

The country posted yet another daily record of confirmed cases on Saturday night, with 66,528 new infections, while the death toll rose by almost 800 to nearly 135,000.

As of Saturday, the US had recorded more than 3.2 million coronavirus cases and at least 134,000 deaths from the disease. 

It is the country worst hit by the illness, followed by Brazil — which surpassed 70,000 deaths on Friday.

The coronavirus pandemic has infected over 12.5 million people, killed over 560,000 and triggered massive economic damage since the disease was first detected in China late last year.

In Florida, where nearly one in six of those new infections were recorded, the Walt Disney World theme park partially reopened after four months of shutdown prompted by the virus.

Hundreds of people queued to enter the park in Orlando, some sporting Mickey ears but all wearing face masks, with social distancing and other hygiene precautions also in place.

Days earlier, top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said that Florida had begun reopening before meeting the criteria that would have enabled it to do so safely.

 

Aggressive approach urged

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries to adopt an aggressive approach to tackling the virus, citing successful mitigation efforts in Italy, South Korea and elsewhere.

“Across all walks of life, we are all being tested to the limit,” he told a virtual news conference in Geneva on Friday.
“Only aggressive action combined with national unity and global solidarity can turn this pandemic around,” he added.

Elsewhere, French officials warned of rising cases in metropolitan France as the death toll there topped 30,000.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted a decision to allow bars and other businesses to reopen may have come “too soon” after his country reported a record 1,500 new infections on Friday.

Australian authorities said they would slash by half the number of people allowed to return from overseas each day after a fresh surge in cases that saw a lockdown imposed on Melbourne, the country’s second-largest city.

In Hong Kong, a spike has marked a setback for the city after daily life had largely returned to normal, with restaurants and bars resuming regular business and cultural attractions reopening.

Schools in the city will be closed from Monday after the city recorded “exponential growth” in locally transmitted infections.