THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Monday, July 30, 2007

29. Syariah-Civil Court Jurisdiction

Any further action on the judiciary’s call for Parliament to resolve the question of jurisdiction between the civil and syariah courts lies in the hands of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said.

“The matter is for the Prime Minister to consult with the component parties in Barisan Nasional. I will also refer the matter to the Attorney General,” said the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

He was asked if the Government would take up the call by the Federal Court in re Latifah Mat Zin on Wednesday.

“These are not matters that the courts can solve as the courts owe their jurisdiction to statutes,” Federal Court Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamed said.

In his judgment, endorsed by Federal Court Justices Arifin Zakaria and Augustine Paul, he asked Parliament to step in “to decide as a matter of policy what should be the solution and legislate accordingly.”

Bar Council chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan said there have been an increasing number of family disputes affecting Muslims and non-Muslims that overlap both jurisdictions.

“This decision brings about some certainty (and with that less anxiety and anguish to Muslims and non-Muslims) as to where parties may go to pursue their legal remedies,” said Ambiga, in commending the court for emphasising the importance of acting in conformity with the Federal Constitution.

While clarifying some issues, she said the Federal Court had noted there could be situations where there may be matters outside the jurisdiction of both courts, resulting in no available remedy in either court.

“This has to be comprehensively addressed either by the courts or by Parliament as suggested in the judgment.”

Asked whether the Backbenchers’ Club would raise the issue in Parliament, BBC chairman Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar said that if the Prime Minister and Government decided to amend the law, they would debate the bill when it was tabled.

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang said they did not have the numbers to take the initiative but they would press the Government and Parliament to follow up on the suggestion.

“There has been a lot of unhappiness, anxiety and uncertainty; there was a demarcation of jurisdiction between the civil and syariah courts but it seems to have led to a loss of powers for the civil court,” he added - by SHAILA KOSHY, The Star.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

28. Asian Cup Finals

The 'Lions of Mesopotamia' jog during warm up before today's final in Jakarta. Iraq continue to keep their Asian Cup dream alive as they settle in Indonesia, the third country they have had to play in, ahead of their meeting with three-time champions Saudi Arabia in the finals today - Al Jazeera/AFP.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

27. First Woman President

Congratulations to Pratibha Patil being elected as first female President of India and a victory for women everywhere.

Pratibha Patil became the first female president of India on Saturday, an election result described as an historic step forward for women in the world's most populous democracy.

Lawmakers elected the 72-year-old lawyer by a landslide over the 84-year-old Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for the largely ceremonial post of head of state.

"I am grateful to the voters... I am grateful to the people of India, the men and women of India," Patil said outside her New Delhi home, as supporters danced in the streets and burst firecrackers in celebration.

"This is the victory of the principles which our Indian people uphold," she told reporters.

Sonia Gandhi, the president of the ruling Congress party, smiled warmly on hearing that the candidate she had plucked from relative political obscurity had won the race.

"In the 60th year of our independence, for the first time, we have a woman president and I want to thank our alliance partners and all those who voted for her," said Gandhi.

The government's Communist partners echoed her views.

"It is a historic win ... it is a great moment," A.B. Bardhan, the leader of the Communist Party of India, told reporters. "Those who have opposed her have to reconcile her victory."

Patil, a native of western Maharashtra state, defeated Shekhawat by a large margin, securing 66 per cent of the votes cast by an electoral college of federal and state lawmakers, said election officer P.D.T. Achary.

A stream of well-wishers thronged Patil's residence in the national capital. People hugged each other in celebration and distributed sweets in the streets of her home town of Jalgaon.
In contrast, Shekhawat's official residence was deserted with the vice president submitting his resignation after conceding defeat.

"I congratulate Pratibha Devisingh Patil on her election as the president and accept the result in the election with humility," Shekhawat later said in a statement to the media.

Patil's victory came despite a savage campaign against her by the Hindu nationalist opposition, described by analysts as the most vitriolic in India's post-colonial history.

Flashing a victory sign, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Patil's win a vote against "the politics of divisiveness... a vote in favour of unity and for strengthening the foundation of our democracy."

Patil, governor of the northwestern state of Rajasthan, was accused of protecting her brother in a murder probe and shielding her husband in a suicide scandal. There were also claims of involvement in a slew of financial scams.

But the new president, a demure figure who dresses conservatively in a sari pulled over her hair, denied any wrongdoing.

She was also mocked for telling television viewers that a dead spiritual guru gave her a "divine premonition of greater responsibility."

India's top news magazine, India Today, mockingly put her on its front cover with the headline: "Embarrassing Choice."

Patil's showing is "better than expected" but "not surprising as independent lawmakers who want to be on the winning side must have voted for her," said political analyst Rasheed Kidwai.
"The gender appeal was also there with women legislators voting for her," he said.

But analysts said India's popular, outgoing President Abdul Kalam was a tough act to follow, adding Congress rebuffed his bid for a second five-year term because it wanted a party loyalist.

The silver-haired, shaggy-locked missile scientist, who became a national hero after overseeing successful tests in 1998 that turned India into a nuclear power, was dubbed the "People's President" for his populist style.

Under the constitution, the prime minister has executive power but the president plays a role in forming governments at state and federal levels, making the post hotly contested - AFP.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

26. Justice Done !

NEWS FLASH, 12.18am

Pakistan's Supreme Court has reinstated Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the country's chief justice, four months after he was suspended by Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president.

Chaudhry became a symbol of resistance to General Musharraf after refusing to quit in the face of pressure from the president and his intelligence chiefs. Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, head of the 13-member court, said: "The reference has been set aside and the chief justice has been reinstated."

The verdict on Friday is seen as a blow to Musharraf and possibly the biggest challenge to his dominance since he seized power in a coup in 1999. It could further complicate his bid to win a new five-year presidential term this fall.

The chief justice was suspended on March 9 following allegations that he abused his position, including using influence to get his son a job, fiddling petrol expenses and that he had a penchant for expensive cars.

The government filed a statement in the Supreme Court last month in which it also accused Chaudhry of harassing judges, showing bias in appointments and intimidating police and civil servants - Al Jazeera.

25. Blair Meets Quartet

Blair shaking hands with Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero

Can Blair with his limited mandate rope in the Hamas and bring in the much awaited peace in the Middle East ?

Tony Blair, the former UK prime minister, has met with the Quartet of Middle East negotiators, his first meeting with his new bosses as the Quartet's special envoy.

Blair met Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain's prime minister, and Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spain's foreign minister and a former EU Middle East envoy, earlier on Thursday.

Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN secretary general, Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, and Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, whose countries and organistations together make up the Quartet, will all attend the Lisbon talks.

At a press conference shortly before the Quartet meeting was due to be held, the US and EU again announced their refusal to deal with Hamas.

Both Rice and Luis Amado, the Portuguese foreign minister whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, rejected dealing with Hamas, even as critics questioned whether the stance could compromise Blair's work with the Palestinians.

Speaking for the EU, Amado said: "I see no conditions at the moment to engage [in] new relations with Hamas without a new position from them."

The meeting will also be the first high-level Quartet meeting since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, forcing out the Fatah faction led by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, which is now concentrated in the West Bank.

The split in the Palestinian leadership has placed another obstacle in the way of a peace deal, but it has also prompted Israel and the West to seek ways to support Abbas, whose West Bank-based government is the only recognised Government by the Quartet.

While Blair is enthusiastic about his role in the peace negotiations, critics say his limited mandate to help the Palestinians develop institutions and the rule of law, along with his orders not to deal with Hamas, will make it difficult for him to achieve a breakthrough - AFP.

Friday, July 20, 2007

24. Brown Blasts Putin

By taking a firm stand, Brown says no to nonsense. The suspect has to be brought to justice. Putin by denying that says " go to hell." Read on ...

Furious Gordon Brown last night stood up to Vladimir Putin - saying he had no apologies for expelling four Russian diplomats.

The officials were booted out over Moscow’s refusal to allow the extradition of a spy suspected of killing Alexander Litvinenko. Andrei Lugovoy is being sought after Mr Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with a lethal dose of Polonium-210 in London last November.

But Russian president Putin refuses to hand over Lugovoy - like Litvinenko, an ex KGB agent - to face trial here. Mr Brown, on a visit to Germany, said he wouldn’t let “lawlessness” take a grip in London.

The PM said: “I have no apology to make for this action. When a murder has been committed on British soil, and hundreds of innocent civilians’ lives have been put at risk, we expect authorities in other parts of the world to bring that person to justice. Failure to recognise that has led to this action.”

It is the first time in 11 years that Russian officials have been thrown out of Britain and it marks the biggest chill in relations since the end of the Cold War. Foreign Secretary David Miliband told MPs: “The heinous crime of murder requires justice.”

The knock-on effect of yesterday’s move in trade relations and criminal co-operation could be huge. Visa arrangements were suspended as Mr Putin threatened retaliation.

Mr Litvinenko’s widow Marina said she was “very grateful” for the expulsions - adding she was “proud to be a UK citizen”.

Mr Lugovoy, who denies the murder, blasted Mr Miliband, saying: “If they blame me directly, I will take that minister to court.”

Meanwhile it was reported, 18.7.2007, that Britain was waiting for a response from Russia, which has said it is planning a "targeted and appropriate" reply, in the ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

It was reported this morning that Russia has expelled 4 British diplomats over the spat - The Sun, U.K./AFP.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

23. Coach Sacked


Malaysia coach sacked over Asian Cup debacle

Malaysia coach Norizan Bakar paid the price for his team's atrocious Asian Cup showing when he was sacked on Wednesday ( last night ).

Norizan, 46, said he had been given his marching orders before the 2-0 defeat to Iran which followed embarrassing 5-1 and 5-0 routs by China and Uzbekistan.

"I was told by the FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) that my assignment had finished at the Asian Cup," he told reporters.

"To me this is the game. In coaching there is always winning and losing -- football is all about results. If it's that way then I have to take it."

Norizan enjoyed a successful domestic coaching stint with Perlis before being appointed Malaysia coach in 2005.

But the former assistant to Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and Allan Harris has enjoyed only mixed results.

The Asian Cup has brought Malaysia's demise from a regional power to the tournament's bottom-ranked team into painful perspective, with the FAM's deputy president also stepping down on Sunday.

Malaysia finished bottom of Group C with no points and a goal-difference of minus 11 - AFP.

22. Helicopter Crash

Nuri Helicopter Crash: SAR Operations

My deepest condolences to the families of the six officers of the Air Force who were killed in the recent Nuri helicopter crash in Genting Sempah.

How could a helicopter crash have happened and be allowed to happen in the Air-Force? An earlier news report said the helicopter was 39 years old. A helicopter this old should not be used when the maximum life expectancy of one is about 20 years. This is the civil aviation standard and it applies equally to the military.They are human beings as well. Whether they are for civilan use or military use, jets, fighters, bombers and helicopters more than 20 years old should be scrapped and not be allowed to be air-bourne however well maintained. It is not just metal fatigue but the dangers of component failure in any aging aircraft. When we can buy submarines, I fail to see why we cannot buy new helicopters every twenty years knowing very well they are the workhorses of the Air Force. The same applies to fighter jets and bombers. What is their age? No wonder we have so many jet crashes. How could such old and unserviceable aircraft defend a country in times of a war? So it is not surprising that the accident occurred and the owners of the helicopter should take the blame!

All the six airforce crew on board the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Nuri helicopter, which went missing on Friday, were killed.

The search and rescue team found the wreckage of the ill-fated helicopter near Genting Sempah, in Genting Highlands, today.

Royal Malaysian Air Force public relations officer Mejar Zulkiflee Abdul Latiff said the wreckage of the helicopter was found by the ground search team at 5km northwest of Genting Sempah at 1.24pm.

The victims are pilot Kapt Nor Azlan Termuzi, co-pilot Kapt Nor Intan Asykeen Mohd Arof, air quartermaster Sjn Khusnizaim Ariffin, Sjn Mohd Azmie Md Yassin, senior airman Saifulizam Alias and airman Muhammad Ridzuan Ahmad.

The wreckage of the US-made Sikorsky S61 transport helicopter was found on the fifth day of the aerial and ground search after it disappeared from the radar screen at 9.35am on Friday, 10 minutes after taking off for the RMAF base in Gambang, near Kuantan, from the Sungai Besi air base, here.

A search and rescue operation comprising more than 1,400 personnel using about 15 aircraft and was among the biggest operation carried out in recent years, was launched immediately to scour the area for the missing chopper.

However, the operation was hampered by the dense forest and hilly terrain in the mountainous area.

The aerial search, assisted by a US Navy "Sea Hawk" helicopter, also faced problems to locate the helicopter due to thick fog and heavy rain since it was reported missing - BERNAMA.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

21. Bastille Day

Nicolas Sarkozy was overseeing his first Champs Elysees parade as the new French President. He broke with tradition by inviting foreign military contingents, including from all 27 countries of the European Union at the recently held annual Bastille Day ( French Revolution ) celebrations in Paris. Flag bearers of the EU nations parade down the Champs Elysees. Mr Sarkozy said: "I wanted the national holiday to be a people's holiday." -AFP.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

20. Webmaster Released


Police released Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) webmaster and blogger Nathaniel Tan, 27, at 5.15pm on Tuesday, four days after he was remanded for investigations under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

Tan, who is secretary to Foundation for the Future president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, is believed to be in possession of documents linked to Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Johari Baharom’s alleged involvement in corruption.

The classified documents are believed to pertain to police case files on detainees or suspects investigated under the Emergency Ordinance.

On Friday evening, Tan was picked up from his office in Phileo Damansara by three Special Branch policemen from Bukit Aman - The Star.

19. Climate Change

Climate change refers to the variation in the Earth's global climate or in regional climates over time. It describes changes in the variability or average state of the atmosphere over time scales ranging from decades to millions of years.

In recent usage, especially in the context of environmental policy, the term "climate change" often refers only to changes in modern climate, including the rise in average surface temperature known as global warming.

The factors

Glaciers are recognized as one of the most sensitive indicators of climate change. Glaciers grow and collapse, both contributing to natural variability and greatly amplifying externally-forced changes. For the last century, however, glaciers have been unable to regenerate enough ice during the winters to make up for the ice lost during the summer months.

Climate changes can also result from interaction of the atmosphere and oceans. Many climate fluctuations, the best known being the El NiƱo Southern oscillation but also including the Pacific decadal oscillation, the North Atlantic oscillation, and the Arctic oscillation, owe their existence at least in part to different ways that heat can be stored in the oceans and move between different reservoirs. On longer time scales ocean flows play a key role in redistributing heat, and can dramatically affect climate.

Current studies indicate that radiative forcing by greenhouse gases is the primary cause of global warming. Greenhouse gases are also important in understanding Earth's climate history. According to these studies, the greenhouse effect, which is the warming produced as greenhouse gases trap heat, plays a key role in regulating Earth's temperature.

The biggest factor of present concern is the increase in CO2 levels due to emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Beginning with the industrial revolution in the 1850s and accelerating ever since, the human consumption of fossil fuels has elevated CO2 levels from a concentration of ~280 ppm to more than 380 ppm today. These increases are projected to reach more than 560 ppm before the end of the 21st century.

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an amendment to the international treaty on climate change, assigning mandatory emission limitations for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to the signatory nations.

Prior to widespread fossil fuel use, humanity's largest impact on local climate was likely to have resulted from land use. Irrigation, deforestation, and agriculture fundamentally change the environment. For example, they change the amount of water going into and out of a given location.

They also may change the local albedo by influencing the ground cover and altering the amount of sunlight that is absorbed. For example, there is evidence to suggest that the climate of Greece and other Mediterranean countries was permanently changed by widespread deforestation between 700 BC and 1 AD.

Al Gore

Al Gore reviews the scientific opinion on climate change, discusses the politics and economics of global warming, and describes the consequences he believes global climate change will produce if the amount of human-generated greenhouse gases is not significantly reduced in the very near future.

The film, An Inconvenient Truth, includes many segments intended to refute critics who say that global warming is insignificant or unproven. For example, Gore discusses the risk of the collapse of a major ice sheet in Greenland or in West Antarctica, either of which could raise global sea levels by approximately 20 feet (6m), flooding coastal areas and producing 100 million refugees.

Meltwater from Greenland, because of its lower salinity, could halt the Gulf Stream current and quickly trigger dramatic local cooling in Northern Europe.

The documentary ends with Gore noting that if appropriate action is taken soon, the effects of global warming can be successfully reversed by releasing less carbon dioxide. Gore calls upon viewers to learn how they can help in this initiative.

What to do?

10 simple things we can do to stop global warming:

1. Replace regular lightbulbs with compact fluorescent ones
( 150 pounds of carbon dioxide saved a year )

2. Drive less
( 1 pound of carbon dioxide for every mile you don't drive )

3. Recycle more
( 2400 pounds of carbon dioxide is saved every year if half your household waste is recycled )

4. Keep your tyres properly inflated
( Saves your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon saved means 20 pounds of carbon dioxide kept out of the atmosphere )

5. Use less hot water
( Instal a low flow shower head - 350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved every year. Use cold or warm water and save 500 pounds of carbon dioxide )

6. Avoid products with a lot of packaging
( 1200 pounds of carbon dioxide saved by reducing rubbish by 10% )

7. Reduce your heating and air conditioning usage
( Save 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly by turning heating down by 2 degrees in winter and cooling by 2 degrees in summer )

8. Plant a tree
( Just one tree absorbs a ton of carbon dioxide in its life time )

9. Turn off electronic devices instead of setting it to standby
( Saves thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide every year )

10. Be a part of the solution
( Take active part in above and see the film "An Inconvenient Truth" )

Well Mat Salo "You Asked For It". The above is a very simplified explanation of the phemenon to a layman.This is MY CONTRIBUTION to the Global Warming issue and hopefully readers adopt the above measures religiously to reduce the warming and climate change which could bring disastrous effects of wind turbulence (hurricanes), rains, floods, or droughts and the consequent destruction to man and property. So please pass the above message to your friends. We have and are already seeing some of its effects now. It could only get worse in the future.

Monday, July 16, 2007

18. Longest Bridge

The future is here. An artist’s impression of how the second Penang Bridge will look like after it is completed in November 2011. With construction scheduled to begin in November and completion by 2011, the 23km-bridge – of which 17km will be over water – will be the longest bridge in South-East Asia (or is it the world ?). Built on a fast track basis, the project should be completed by Nov 1, 2010. China is a building partner together with UEM Construction of Malaysia. China is providing the financing, through its Exim Bank at a favourable 3% over 20 years for US$ 800 million - The Star.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

17. An Urgent Appeal




Dear Sirs,

It is with utmost regret and consternation I am making this urgent appeal to you, Sirs, in your most distinguished capacities to seek and bring forth an amicable PEACE in the small island nation of SRI LANKA. This state has been in bitter conflict for the last 35 years and to-date more than 70,000 people have lost their lives.

Your combined varied experience, and Malaysia's capability in the handling of the communist insurgency and ethnic relations should be the reason for your suitability for this task.

I believe the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Hon. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake is on a visit to this country now. He would most probably say there is no conflict, or it is their internal matter or they are dealing with it. All of which are not true and has been the attitude of succeeding governments after governments prolonging this conflict.

A quartet of 4 donor countries consisting of US, Britain, Japan and Norway have failed miserably to bring forth a settlement. It has been all talk but no concerted action to force a solution.

The freedom fighters have a valid case of seeking a violent struggle in a land where reason and logic are not respected. I am not to dwell on their merits but I am seeking your committed involvement to bring about peace in a manner similar to that in Acheh, where an amicable settlement was reached spontaneously, after 30 years of bloodshed.

This is further to Mr. Kofi Annan's statement at the Khazanah Global Lectures where he mentioned that " Respect for national sovereignty can no longer be used as an excuse for inaction in the face of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity."

I am making this appeal in my personal capacity and on behalf of millions of Sri Lankans in Sri Lanka and throughout the world who are concerned but have not sought the right parties and persons to bring forth a solution.You cannot dismiss this urgent humanitarian request.

A 35 year war and 70,000 lives lost and no solution in sight are the compelling reasons for your involvement.

Thank you very much, Sirs, and I am looking forward to your positive response on this matter.

Yours most sincerely,

Rajahram Ramalingam

Friday, July 13, 2007

16. Kofi Annan

Khazanah Global Lectures
on 12th, July 2007

Kofi Annan
Former Secretary-General of the UN
Nobel Peace Laureate 2001

Jeff, there is is so much that we can all learn from Kofi Annan's speech. I only hope our Government Leaders also take note and pay heed to the clarion call for injustices in our society.

Some pertinent quotes I thought worth mentioning.

" A society so clearly defined by race and religion, which he said "remains the case here in Malaysia."

" There are three freedoms which all human beings crave for - freedom from want; freedom from fear, conflict or large-scale violence; and freedom from discrimination, arbitrary or degrading treatment."

"It is only when governments are grounded in the rule of law -fairly and consistently applied - that society can rest on a solid foundation."

" Leaders must also hold themselves to the same rules, the same restrains, and never above them."

" Respect for national sovereignty can no longer be used as an excuse for inaction in the face of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity." Sri Lanka is in dire need of help in this respect.

The above are my comments to Jeff Ooi in his post today.

More read here.

Thank you to Khazanah Nasional Berhad for having invited me to the Lecture.

15. New 7 Wonders

1.The ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico

2. Brazil's Statue of Christ the Redeemer

3. The Colosseum in Rome

4. The Great Wall of China

5. Peru's Machu Picchu

6. Jordan's Petra

7. India's Taj Mahal

About 100 million votes were cast by the Internet and cellphone text messages, said New7Wonders, the nonprofit organization that conducted the poll.

The seven beat out 14 other nominated landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Easter Island in the Pacific, the Statue of Liberty, the Acropolis, Russia's Kremlin and Australia's Sydney Opera House.

The pyramids of Giza, the only surviving structures from the original seven wonders of the ancient world, were assured of retaining their status in addition to the new seven after indignant Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete.

The campaign to name new wonders was launched in 1999 by the Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber. Almost 200 nominations came in, and the list was narrowed to the 21 most-voted by the start of 2006.

Also among the losing candidates were Cambodia's Angkor Wat, Spain's Alhambra, Turkey's Hagia Sophia, Japan's Kiyomizu Temple, Russia's Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral, Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle, Britain's Stonehenge and Mali's Timbuktu.

Organizers admit there was no foolproof way to prevent people from voting more than once for their favourite - AP.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

14. Volcano Eruption

Thousands of Indonesians have been evacuated from the slopes of a volcano that is spewing out hot ash and smoke in the east of the country.

The alert around Mount Gamkonora, in North Maluku province, has been raised to its highest level amid fears a major eruption could be imminent.

Scientists have reported seeing fire and ash clouds rising as high as 4,000m (13,100ft) since Monday.

Some 8,400 villagers have been moved to special camps away from the volcano.

However, scientists are warning that lava could still reach the camps if there is a large eruption - and have advised residents to wear face masks to protect themselves from the ash clouds.
Some 2,000 people are reported to have chosen to remain within the 8km (five mile) danger zone marked out by officials.

Activity at the 1,635m mountain rose sharply on Monday, prompting scientists to raise the alert level.

Saut Simatupang of Indonesia's Vulcanological Survey told Reuters news agency that the volcano was spitting out volcanic ash as high as 4,000m at its peak on Monday.

He said there had been less smoke and ash on Tuesday "but that does not mean
the volcano is safe".

Mt Gamkonora is the highest peak on the island of Halmahera in North Maluku province, some 2,400km east of the Indonesian capital Jakarta.

It is one of at least 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is part of the Asia-Pacific "Ring of Fire", a series of volcanoes and fault lines stretching from the Western Hemisphere through Japan and South East Asia - BBC/Reuters.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

13. Fashion Wear

Simple and comfortable: smock tops in floral prints are a comfortable yet fashionable way to go back to nature and very suitable for the hot weather - Starpic.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

12. Tsunami Warning Centre

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea earthquake that occurred on 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing large numbers of people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. Initial estimates had put the worldwide death toll at over 275,000. The plight of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than US $ 7 billion in humanitarian aid to those affected by the earthquake. Now comes some hope...

Leibniz University in Hannover is undertaking a 1.2-million euro (RM5.6 million) project to develop a tsumani early warning system for the Indian Ocean based on detailed flooding and evacuation simulators for the city of Padang in West Sumatra, Indonesia.

A team led by Professor Torsten Schlurmann has been working closely with leading scientists in this particular field from the entire country as well as their Indonesian counterparts on the project, which is sponsored by the German Government.

Padang which has a population of one million, is the third largest city in Sumatra and because of its direct coastal location at sea level, Padang is considered to be at high-risk for tsunamis in the earthquake prone region.

Along the west coast of Sumatra, a tsunami can engulf the coastal cities in some 18 to 20 minutes, according to scientists at Leibniz University.

By means of scientific evaluations of detailed flooding dynamics and optimum early warning and evacuation mechanisms in Padang, the project's `last mile evacuation' would make a supplementary contribution to the big project of setting up a tsunami early-warning system in the Indian Ocean, headed by the Geo-Research Center of Potsdam.

Under the "last mile evacuation" project, the scientists of an interdisciplinary research team will rely on satellite-based observation data of the earth, simulators of the over-flooding dynamics and the probable evacuation behaviour of the people.

The data would provide a "visualized artificial world" of Padang city. Additionally, an area of some 500 sq. km. would be covered by a part of the project with a stereo camera system, which would provide very precise view of the altitude of the land and also individual buildings.

The project is aimed to make an overall and effective determination of the tsunami early warning system in Padang city. This goal is based on components of the tsunami detection system in deep water as well as the processing of data and the setting off of the alarm system in the central Indonesia crisis and information centre, thus creating what the researchers claim would be a `locally-oriented crisis and information centre'.

Since the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004, scientists of Indonesian and German research institutes have been working on setting up a dependable deep-water early warning system with the deployment of GPS buoys and ocean floor pressure sensors, which should be put into operation at the end of the coming year off the coast of Indonesia.

The "last mile evacuation" project includes local authorities and NGOs in Padang as well as Indonesian research institutions. Over and above, the project will involve cooperation with the German Society for Technical Cooperation in the region.

In Germany, there are other bodies involved such as the Institute for Environmental and Human Safety of the University of the United Nations, the University of Wuerzburg, the Technical University of Berlin, the German Institute for Aerospace as well the small and medium-sized companies - Report by Manik Mehta, BERNAMA.

Monday, July 9, 2007

11. Kee's World

from The Star

Sunday, July 8, 2007

10. Asian Cup 2007

FROM 7th TO 29th JULY, 2007.




9. United States of Africa

The African continent is the most under-developed, most corrupt, most under-nourished, most famined and the poorest of all continents and in need of HELP. The Africans met recently to form a federal government like the US and failed. A federal government to talk to the world and bring immediate development is what they need but yet divided and without consensus. Aid and investments are not the only things the continent as a whole needs to pull it out of the doldrums to face the future with HOPE.

African nations failed to reach a firm timetable on steps towards a so-called United States of Africa after leaders were deeply divided over the issue at a three-day summit in Ghana.

A compromise reached late on Tuesday saw the African Union commission four studies to look at the practicalities of the idea of a single continental government. African leaders had been split between those seeking to install an African federal government immediately and others who favoured a more gradual approach.

The final declaration of the summit was delayed by 10 hours as the two sides tried to reach a compromise. "Africa shall evolve. It's not a revolution we are invoking so we cannot give you a timeline," John Kufuor, Ghana's president, said latye when asked why no timetable had been set out in the final declaration.

"We are not going to copy any [other union] that you may know like the United States of America or EU but something that is tailor-made for us and will suit our continent."

The studies commissioned by the African Union will examine the impact of the united government on the sovereignty of individual nations, its functions, a timeframe for its establishment and how it will be funded.

The push for a union government reflected a belief among some member states that the current African Union commission was failing to deliver, with even Alpha Oumar Konare, the commission chairman, acknowledging that the body's powers were ill-defined.

"We have all agreed that our common and final goal is the United States of Africa. The debate was not easy," Konare said. "An audit has to be done to clarify some of the concepts because there is a lot of confusion." However some leaders such as Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, said he wanted to give the African Union more time to mature rather than be completely overhauled.

Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's leader, and Abdoulaye Wade, his Senegalese counterpart had advocated the immediate formation of a continental government.

Diplomatic sources saying that Wade had at one stage threatening to begin his own fast-track process with a group of mainly west African states.

Gaddafi and Wade were not in their seats in the conference hall when the closing Accra Declaration was read to reporters - AFP.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

8. Live Earth Concert


Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent series of concert events on 7.7.07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to inspire a global movement to “Answer the Call” and help solve the climate crisis.

Live Earth was founded by Kevin Wall, CEO of Control Room, the company producing the events globally.

Live Earth will stage official concerts at Giants Stadium in New York; Wembley Stadium in London; Aussie Stadium in Sydney; Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro; the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg; Makuhari Messe in Tokyo; the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai; and HSH Nordbank Arena in Hamburg.

Live Earth marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign led by the Alliance for Climate Protection in the US, The Climate Group and Stop Climate Chaos in the UK, and other international organizations, to drive individuals, corporations and governments to take immediate and lasting action to solve the climate crisis.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is the Chair of the Alliance for Climate Protection and a Partner of Live Earth.

Live Earth will reach a worldwide audience through an unprecedented global media architecture covering all media platforms - TV, radio, Internet and wireless channels.

7. Triple Seven Concert

In conjunction with World Environment Day, Green Everyday Concert, at Stadium Bukit Jalil TODAY from 4pm till midnight. Some of Malaysia's top musical stars on show. See their names below!


Friday, July 6, 2007

6. Constitutional Reforms

Two very important changes that the British Prime Minister proposes:
(1) a written constitution and (2) parliamentary approval for going to war, are going to have profound changes in the way Britain is to be governed in the 21st century.This together with the other sweeping changes in education, health, economy, relationship with EU, will make Britain once again Great and be a respected power house in world affairs. Read on.

PRIME Minister Gordon Brown's proposed sweeping changes to the way Britain is governed on Tuesday, including moves towards a written constitution and changing the way it decides on going to war.

Brown made a series of recommendations to rebuild trust in government, increase power to parliament and boost engagement in the democratic process. "It is my hope that by working together for change in a spirit that takes us beyond parties and beyond partisanship we can agree a new British constitutional settlement that entrusts more power to parliament and to the British people," he said, in his first statement to parliament as prime minister. Brown spoke of a "route map" to make those in power more accountable and to uphold and enhance the rights and responsibilities of the citizen.

Chief among the so-called "royal prerogatives" he wishes to renounce is the power to declare war without parliamentary consent. "For centuries they (the prime minister and executive) have exercised authority in the name of the monarchy without the people and their elected representatives being consulted," Brown told parliament.

Such authority had "no place in a modern democracy", he said, and by transferring the powers to parliament, it would make a "more open 21st century British democracy which better serves the British people". "The government will now consult on a resolution to guarantee that on the the grave issue of peace and war it is ultimately this House of Commons which will make the decision," he said. Brown also proposed greater transparency in the intelligence services, with the creation of a new National Security Council bringing together domestic and overseas security with development and community relations.

It would help "coordinate military, policing, intelligence and diplomatic action and also to win hearts and minds in this country and round the world ", he said.

But it was his proposal for a British bill of rights codifying people's existing entitlements and/or a written constitution for the first time in the country's history that is likely to generate the most debate. Unlike other countries, Britain's constitution is an uncodified body of law and largely consists of written legal precedents, international treaties, parliamentary conventions and royal prerogatives.

Brown, keen to promote individual responsibility and British identity, said the starting point should be the country's shared values - AFP.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

5. Johnston Free

BBC's Johnston describes relief

BBC reporter Alan Johnston has said it is "just unimaginably good to be free" after 114 days in captivity in Gaza.
He said his ordeal felt like being "buried alive", and was "sometimes quite terrifying".
Mr Johnston, 45, was handed over to the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza City. Britain said the group had played a key role in his release.
Read the full report here.

Johnston has been freed, almost four months after he was seized by the Army of Islam group in the Gaza Strip.
Johnston with Hamas Leader, Ismail Haniya. Alan said "I dreamt many times of being free" and was delighted the "terrifying" ordeal was over.

Johnston was supported throughout his ordeal by his BBC colleagues. They are pictured holding a vigil in the newsroom at Television Centre to mark his 100th day in captivity.

After being released Alan Johnston could at last enjoy some of the privileges he had been denied in captivity - a haircut and a nice cup of tea.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

4. Johnston Released

NEWS FLASH, 9.00a.m.

BBC's Johnston 'released in Gaza'

BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has reportedly been freed from kidnappers in Gaza after almost four months in captivity.

Mr Johnston, 45, was handed over to officials of the Palestinian Islamist Hamas administration, reports say.

During his time as a hostage, three videos were released featuring images of Mr Johnston and of his belongings.

Calls were made for his release in rallies worldwide and in an online petition signed by some 200,000 people ( See plea for release on right column ) - BBC.

Thank God and thank all the people involved in his release, especially the Hamas Group, who spoke on his behalf for the release.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

3. Haze is Here!

Folks "The Haze" is back!

According to the Malaysian Meteorological Department, MMD, 171 hotspots were seen in Sumatra on Sunday compared to 91 on Saturday. This is expected to increase with the onset of the Indonesian Forest Burning Season. See The Star report here.

See below the hotspots from a satellite photo by MMD.

The red spots are hot spots.

Below is a photo of open burning smoke which is the cause of the haze.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has said that it cannot help prevent fires in Indonesia until an MoU is signed with that country. See report here.

Monday, July 2, 2007

2. The Copa America

Don't forget to catch Latin American action live on Astro's SuperSports, Channel 80, daily at midnight to early morning. Unforgettable action and entertainment. It is the oldest surviving football tournament in the world.

The Copa America took a breather last Friday after an opening three days which produced shock results, attacking football and the impressive tally of 24 goals in 6 games.

With all 12 teams having made their debuts, there have been almost no refereeing controversies and a refreshing absence of injury-feigning and gamesmanship. The main problems have been off the pitch where the organisers' ambitious plans to spread the tournament around nine venues including three brand new stadiums appeared to backfire.

Brazil, Ecuador, Chile and Mexico were unable to train at the Camachay stadium in Puerto Ordaz on the eve of Wednesday's Group B games because the finishing touches were still being put to the arena.

Meanwhile, the Anzoategui stadium in Puerto La Cruz, due to host two Group B games next Wednesday, is surrounded by a sea of mud, with two cranes still in place and building materials scattered around.

But the view for those watching on television is of modern stadiums, top-quality pitches, good attendances and excellent football.

Mexico produced the high spot with their shock 2-0 win over Brazil thanks to a sublime effort from Nery Castillo and a 30-metre free kick from Ramon Morales.

They were also helped by an outstanding second-half performance from goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who thwarted Brazil with a string of saves. To cap it all, Castillo provided a candidate for miss of the tournament when he ran half the length of the pitch, rounded Brazil goalkeeper Doni and shot wide of the open goal.

Peru also stunned the pundits with their 3-0 win over Uruguay in Tuesday's opening game while Roque Santa Cruz, a bit part player with Bayern Munich, hit a hat-trick as Paraguay trounced Colombia 5-0 in Maracaibo on Thursday.

Chile produced the most impressive fightback, twice coming from behind before beating Ecuador 3-2 with an 87th minute free kick from substitute Carlos Villanueva.

Bolivia also came from behind twice to hold hosts Venezuela 2-2 in Tuesday's other match.
Favourites Argentina duly thumped the United States 4-1 in Maracaibo on Thursday, although for more than an hour they struggled against a packed defence.

The US, who like Mexico take part by invitation, proved very much to be the party poopers. Not only did they bring a second-string line-up but, unlike any of the other 11 teams, they packed nine or ten players behind the ball and made no real attempt to win the game - Brian Homewood, Reuters.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

1. 2.3 million ICs lost

This represents about 9% of the population and is a very large number of a very important document to be lost. Surprisingly this could also be about the number of foreign illegal workers in the country? Being such a small document it can be easily carried about in the wallet. But at the same time, when we lose the wallet, through thefts, pickpockets and carelessness, the IC gets lost as well. The finders must return the ICs to its owners or to the nearest registration department. Stiff fines and jail terms must be imposed on persons using stolen identity cards.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho said the loss of 2.3 million identity cards including MyKad between 2002 and 2006 is worrying as it could lead to serious social problems.
"We're worried that such documents could be misused by other parties to apply for credit cards, insurance, licences, bank loans and so on. It can create social problems, such as bankruptcy," he told Bernama after visiting the Immigration and National Registration Departments here.

Tan hoped that the public would keep an eye on their MyKad as it was not an ordinary card but a document that vouches for one's citizenship.

"MyKad is used in government and business transactions. You can't sign any official documents like agreements or apply for a licence without it," he said.

Tan said the MCA Complaints Bureau had received many reports of people falling victim to the illegal use of their MyKad.

In a move to deal with the problem, the government has decided to impose steeper fines on those who misplaced their MyKad, he said.

A fine of RM100, RM200 or RM300 awaits offenders - BERNAMA.