Two people were killed in separate road accidents which occurred nearly 12 hours apart.
The first incident was reported at 10.36pm on Monday, involving a foreign national in a car collision near the Kiulap underpass, according to the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF).
Paramedics pronounced the 43-year-old man dead at the scene. The deceased was transported to the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital for a more detailed investigation.
In the second incident, the Sengkurong Police Station received a call at 10.01am yesterday, regarding a collision between a vehicle and a trailer near Mulaut Primary School.
Eleven firefighters led by SO Misli bin Haji Pungut, rushed to the scene, where they immediately removed the vehicle’s battery before using a crowbar and a bolt cutter to remove the victim from the wreckage.
In a statement, the RBPF said that the victim, a local woman 47, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. A report from the RIPAS Hospital later confirmed that the victim had died from injuries caused by the crash.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
The RBPF urged road users to remain fully focussed while driving, especially when exiting and entering a junction.
Road users are also reminded to belt up for added safety while driving, particularly during vehicle collisions.The accident involved a trailer and a vehicle. PHOTO: RBPF ABOVE & BELOW: A damaged windscreen as a result of the accident; and the victim was pronounced dead at the scene. PHOTOS: RBPF
Brunei Darussalam yesterday recorded one imported COVID-19 case, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 176.
With the latest imported COVID-19 case, the country has four active cases receiving treatment at the National Isolation Centre (NIC) in the Tutong District. All the patients are in a stable condition.
The latest information of COVID-19 as of noon yesterday was shared by the Ministry of Health in a press statement.
The release stated case 176 is a woman aged 23, who arrived in Brunei Darussalam on B1874 flight on January 13 from Nepal via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
She is being monitored and treated at the NIC. Contact tracing revealed she did not have any close contacts.
The MoH took 211 samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing in the past 24 hours and carried out 90,111 tests since January 2020.
Some 516 individuals are undergoing mandatory self-isolation at government monitoring centres after arriving from abroad while 11,919 have completed their stint since March 2020.
Healthinfo.gov.bn revealed that there have been 141 cases in the Brunei-Muara District, 29 in the Belait District and six in the Tutong District.
Information can be obtained from the MoH official website at www.moh.gov.bn, Health Advice Line at 148 or through the BruHealth app or healthinfo.gov.bn web app.
The trials and tribulations of sending food supply to flood stricken victims in the rural part of Tutong and Belait districts recently was shared by members of the Four Wheel Drive Association of Brunei Darussalam.
The association delivered basic food necessities to 40 flood victims in Kuala Ungar on Sunday, which is about one-and-a-half hour drive from town.
According to a member, Vance Lee, it was a nerve-wrecking experience with flood waters reaching waist level recorded. One of the vehicles was trapped inside a drain, taking the convoy an hour to tow it, restart the engine and continue their journey.
“The driver missed the track and the car ended up in the ditch,” he explained. “One of our members was trapped in flood waters. Thankfully, we managed to rescue him,” he said.
Lee also shared, “The villagers were mostly elderly and they were running out of food supply as the road was impassable; and the nearest convenience shop in Lamunin.”ABOVE & BELOW: Members of Four Wheel Drive Association of Brunei Darussalam navigate flooded roads to offer relief to villagers in Kuala Ungar; and a vehicle drove into a ditch during the journey. PHOTOS: AZLAN OTHMAN
Participants in a group photo with villagers
Lee said the association has been assisting flood victims in the rural areas for years, including Benutan, Kuala Ungar, Rambai, Sungai Mau, Bukit Sawat, Labi and Sukang as well as villages in the Temburong District.
Meanwhile, the association’s President Haji Ibrahim bin Haji Damit said teamwork is paramount in executing the challenging relief mission.
“We will only return home once we have delivered food to all the flood victims.”
The association will continue its charity drive to Sungai Mau, Labi and Mendaram Besar Longhouse in collaboration with project FEED, Lotus Light Charity Society and Lions Club on January 31.
“We find joy in helping the helpless in time of need. We are ready to provide cooperation and assistance where necessary,” Haji Ibrahim added.
The Health Promotion Centre (HPC) through its Mental Health Strategy Group in cooperation with the Counselling Division of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Secondary School, organised a Brunei Bully Free programme for Year 7 students.
Some 90 students participated in the campaign as part of HPC’s School Outreach Programme for the Promotion of Mental Health for Children and Adolescents.
The programme aimed at increasing awareness, especially among children and adolescents on the issue of bullying, its effects on their growth including the impact on the quality of their mental health in the long run, as well as its prevention.
The programme also served as a platform to share intervention tips in dealing with bullying.
A briefing on Brunei Bully Free and ways to stop bullying was delivered by Clinical Psychological Officer at the HPC Nor Syahmun binti Haji Matassan.
Students also participated in various activities hosted by Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Universiti Teknologi Brunei students.Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Secondary School students during the anti-bullying programme. PHOTO: HPC
A newly-opened restaurant in Kiarong was issued a BND500 compound fine for multiple violations under Section 12(1)(c), Chapter 30 of the Minor Offences Act following a spot check by officials from the Law Enforcement Unit of the Bandar Seri Begawan (BSB) Municipal Department yesterday.
Joining the operation were personnel from the Food Safety and Quality Control Division under Ministry of Health (MoH).
During the inspection, used kitchen utensils and food waste were found piled in a heap behind the restaurant.
Four of the restaurant’s employees were fined BND100 each for discarding cigarette butts in a public area, which is a violation under the Section 12(1)(a), Chapter 30 of the Minor Offences Act.
Meanwhile, the MoH’s Food Safety and Quality Control Division found the hygiene standards on the premises to be unsatisfactory, with food stocks and drinks placed on the floor.
The preparation area and kitchen utensils were also found to be in an unsatisfactory condition, while the dry and fresh foods were stored in a disorganised manner inside the freezer.
The offenders were ordered to settle their fines within seven days, at the Finance Division on the third floor of the BSB Municipal Department. Failure to do so would result in a further fine of BND1,000, or a month’s imprisonment, for the first convicted offence.
For subsequent offences, the penalty is a fine of BND3,000 and a prison term of up to three months.
To lodge complaints on illegal dumping, contact Darussalam line at 123 or via WhatsApp at 8333123, or e-mail to email@example.com.ABOVE & BELOW: Grease leaking out the ventilation duct; and messy area behind the restaurant. PHOTOS: BSB MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT
Viddacom Muara Integrated Supply Base (MISB) staff rolled up their sleeves for a good cause during a blood donation campaign yesterday.
The campaign that collected 48 pints of blood was organised in collaboration with Blood Donation Centre, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital.
MISB representative Siti Hidayah binti Haji Shadoon said the campaign was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) aimed at generating awareness among staff.Viddacom Muara Integrated Supply Base employees during the blood donation campaign. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS
A corrupt customs officer’s appeal against his jail sentence was dismissed by the Chief Justice yesterday in the name of public interest.
Haji Mohammad Haikal bin Haji Suhaili pleaded guilty on June 13, 2020 to 27 charges of receiving bribes and was sentenced to three years’ jail, a fine of BND4,912, or serve an additional five months’ jail in default of payment.
He then appealed to reduce the “excessive” sentence.
“Perversely, the applicant abused his power as a customs officer to enable the smuggling of alcohol and cigarettes into Brunei Darussalam in return for bribes,” Chief Justice Dato Seri Paduka Steven Chong stated.
He also noted that a substantial prison sentence is necessary to deter such a conduct.
“This sort of criminal behaviour by customs officers, if unrestrained, will bring the whole customs service into disrepute,” the Chief Justice said on dismissing the application.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Nor Hafizah binti Ahmad represented the Public Prosecutor as respondent.
The multi-faceted relations between Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of India mark its 31st anniversary this May, and have witnessed a steady growth during these years, which is characterised by goodwill, mutual respect and understanding.
Even during the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries have endeavoured to maintain the momentum in bilateral relations through continued progress in the areas identified during the seventh round of bilateral Foreign Office Consultations in June 2019 and the First Joint Trade Committee Meeting, in September 2018.
“These two important engagements have laid down the roadmap for further strengthening and diversification of our relationship by opening new platforms for bilateral cooperation. Efforts are in on to utilise online platforms to continue this engagement.”
High Commissioner of India to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar highlighted this in his speech at the 72nd Republic Day of India reception at The Empire Brunei last night.
Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof and spouse Datin Hajah Kalshom binti Haji Suhaili attended as guests of honour.
The high commissioner said Brunei is an important country for India’s energy security, through its export of crude oil to India; crude oil represents over 90 per cent of Brunei’s exports to India, while India’s exports to Brunei include automotive, machinery, frozen bovine meat and food items, among others.Minister of Defence II Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohd Yussof and High Commissioner of India to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar during the cake cutting. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi and spouse Datin Hajah Kalshom binti Haji Suhaili with Ajaneesh Kumar
Both sides have identified areas for cooperation including agriculture, education, ICT, science and technology and healthcare. They are also exploring bilateral cooperation in digitisation, e-commerce and e-governance.
“As part of India’s commitment to support Brunei’s capacity building programme, India has been offering training programmes for the benefit of Bruneians,” he said.
Brunei officials have participated in various training programmes, and among them, Nanosatellite Assembly and Training, cybersecurity and housing, an e-ITEC training module from October 2019.
To strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of education, India is also offering 1,000 fellowships to scholars from Brunei and other ASEAN member countries for integrated PhD programmes at globally renowned 23 Indian Institutes of Technology colleges in India.
He also highlighted the ASEAN-India online hackathon scheduled for next month, which will provide youth from ASEAN member countries the opportunity to interact, exchange views and acquire knowledge in the field of education and science and technology, and while simultaneously familiarising with the cultures, values and work ethics of others.
Brunei will be represented by six Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) students and two mentors at the hackathon, the high commissioner said.
He also expressed confidence that the friendship between the people of the two countries and the existing bilateral relations between both governments will continue to flourish and reach greater heights.
“2020 was a stressful year for the whole world as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic that shattered the global economy, which is expected to contract by about 4.3 per cent in 2020-21 and push several countries into technical recession. It posed an unprecedented challenge to our scientific community and instilled a deep sense of fear in each and every human-being.
“I must thankfully appreciate the prompt and decisive measures taken by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and strictly enforced by His Majesty’s administration in effectively containing the spread of the coronavirus in the country,” he said.
These steps have been extolled by one and all and last night’s event was testament to the effectiveness of those decisive and prompt actions initiated by His Majesty and his government, he added.
The high commissioner also congratulated Brunei on assuming the ASEAN Chairmanship for 2021.
Following the speech, the high commissioner ushered the minister and spouse for the cake cutting ceremony.
The Vande Bharat Mission will continue to extend all possible assistance to stranded Indians to facilitate their repatriation home.
Indian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar noted this during a flag hoisting ceremony marking the 72nd Republic Day of India yesterday.
“In many parts of the world, some of us have lost our loved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides causing great social distress, it also causes great stress and disruptions in the economics of all countries, India included.
“We saw a massive 23.9-per cent contraction in our gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of the current year at 12.4 per cent. The battle is not yet over, but we see a silver lining on the horizon. The launch of the anti-COVID vaccines and the commencement of the inoculation process have further provided a sense of relief as well as encouragement to one and all,” Ajaneesh Kumar said.
“In line with the massive and unprecedented initiative taken by the Indian Government to evacuate Indian nationals stranded in various parts of the world (under the Vande Bharat Mission), the Indian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam actively supports the repatriation of Indians stranded in Brunei. “Since July 3, 2020, the mission has organised nine chartered flights and facilitated the return of 1,246 stranded Indian nationals. “Return legs of these flights were utilised by 244 Indians and Bruneians travelling back to Brunei as well. The mission will continue to extend all possible assistance to stranded Indians to facilitate their repatriation to India,” he added.
The high commissioner conveyed the address from Indian President Ram Nath Kovind delivered on the eve of the Republic Day. The event was attended by guests and members of the Indian community residing and working in Brunei.ABOVE & BELOW: Indian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Ajaneesh Kumar during the flag hoisting; and attendees at the India’s 72nd Republic Day celebration. PHOTOS: ROKIAH MAHMUD
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Americans tend to notice everything about an incoming president at their inauguration, and thus Joe Biden’s choice to wear a USD7,000 Rolex watch on the day he was sworn in did not pass without comment.
Nor did the fact that the timepiece was made in Switzerland escape attention, as it marked one of the new president’s first breaks with his predecessors, who chose watches a bit more quotidian and even manufactured domestically – the type of industry Biden said he wants to promote.
Biden’s stainless steel Rolex Datejust “is a far cry from the Everyman timepieces that every president not named Trump has worn conspicuously in recent decades”, The New York Times wrote, referring to just-departed head of state Donald Trump.
The new president is of course not the first to wear a Rolex, sharing the fashion preference with Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon B Johnson and Ronald Reagan.US President Joe Biden. PHOTO: AP