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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 22 tsunami, quake warning just a prank

By Emmanuelle Landais Staff Reporter
Published: June 28, 2009, 23:14

Dubai: Bathers and coastal residents need not worry about an e-mail that was circulated on the internet warning of a tsunami that would take place on July 22, 2009. It's a hoax.

Gulf News reader Fatima Lamya, received the e-mail forwarded to her by a cousin. "I was actually 99 per cent sure that this mail is fake. I was not scared. I got this mail from my cousin and I think he got this from his friend. Many fake news is spreading like this," she said.

The e-mail appears to come from someone sincere and caring.

"I just wanted to let you know that please stay away from the beaches all around in the month of July. There is a prediction that there will be another tsunami or earthquake hitting on 22 July 2009. It is also when there will be sun eclipse," reads the e-mail.

According to a forecaster at the Dubai Meteorological Office, predictions like this are totally unreliable as the weather cannot be forecast that far into the future.

"It sounds like a complete load of rubbish. You cannot predict so far ahead and tsunamis are not linked to sun eclipses," the forecaster said.

The e-mail states that Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak, Singapore, Maldives, Australia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are going to be badly hit.

Several websites which serve to quash rumours and suppress urban legends have posted confirmations that the tsunami warning is a hoax.

Snopes.com concludes that scientists who have spent their whole lives studying earthquakes still cannot predict when and where one will hit. Snopes.com says the e-mail started circulating in April 2009 and has been taken from a blog.

Giant wave: Looking back

On December 26, 2004, an undersea earthquake with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia triggered a series of tsunami along the coast of most land masses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing more than 225,000 people in 11 countries.

The tremor, known as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, is the second largest earthquake ever recorded with a magnitude of between 9.1 and 9.3.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Jackson's funeral to be open to the public.

Plans for Michael Jackson's funeral are slowly coming together. His father, Joe Jackson, announced that the memorial will be large and open to the public. No doubt the turnout for the ceremony will be extraordinary. If there's one thing Michael Jackson's death has proven, it's that his fans and all those who loved him have not gotten less loyal over the years.

Speaking at a press conference, Joe Jackson revealed that as of yet, there is no date for the funeral as the family is not planning to set a date until they know exactly how Michael died. A first autopsy proved inconclusive, and the family is now awaiting the results of a second one. Said Joe Jackson, "We aren't ready for [releasing information on the funeral.] We don't have the time frame yet because we want to see when the private autopsy comes out."

Addressing Michael Jackson's fans he said, "The family and I are very proud to see all of you come out here and help us with this whole situation because we know that we do have fans all over the world and we know that we're loved all over the world. But one thing that I wish could have happened - I wish that Michael could be here to see all of this. [We] had to wait until something happened like this before it could be realized. Michael was a superstar... he was loved all over the world."

Joe Jackson also addressed the criticism he's received for plugging his record label on Sunday night while being interviewed on the red carpet at the BET awards. In response to some people's criticisms that it was the wrong time and place for such a plug, Jackson said, "Now I was asked that question and I answered just like it was asked because they wanted to know what else I was doing." Because we do believe Joe Jackson is genuinely in mourning, we'll bite our tongues.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bill Clinton

I like this guy.He makes love,not war!Probably the best US President in modern history.

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III, August 19, 1946) served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He was the third-youngest president; only Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy were younger when entering office. He became president at the end of the Cold War, and as he was born in the period after World War II, he is known as the first Baby Boomer president. His wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is currently the United States Secretary of State. She was previously a United States Senator from New York, and also candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Both are graduates of Yale Law School.

Clinton was described as a New Democrat and was largely known for the Third Way philosophy of governance that came to epitomize his two terms as president. His policies, on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and welfare reform, have been described as centrist. Clinton presided over the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in American history, which included a balanced budget and a reported federal surplus. Based on Congressional accounting rules, at the end of his presidency Clinton reported a surplus of $559 billion. On the heels of a failed attempt at health care reform with a Democratic Congress,Republicans won control of the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years. Two years later, in 1996, Clinton was re-elected and became the first member of the Democratic Party since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second term as president. Later he was impeached for obstruction of justice, but was subsequently acquitted by the U.S. Senate.

Clinton left office with an approval rating at 66%, the highest end of office rating of any president since World War II. Since then, he has been involved in public speaking and humanitarian work. Clinton created the William J. Clinton Foundation to promote and address international causes such as treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and global warming.

In 2004, he released his autobiography, My Life, and more recently has been involved in his wife Hillary's 2008 presidential campaignand in that of President Barack Obama. In 2009, he was named United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

WHO Declares First 21st Century Flu Pandemic

Residents wear masks as a precaution against H1N1 flu at a hospital in Santo Domingo May 29, 2009. REUTERS/ Eduardo Munoz/FilesBy Jonathan Lynn

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization declared an influenza pandemic on Thursday and advised governments to prepare for a long-term battle against an unstoppable new flu virus.

The United Nations agency raised its pandemic flu alert to phase 6 on a six-point scale, indicating the first influenza pandemic since 1968 is under way.

"With today's announcement, WHO moves from an emergency to a longer-term response. Based on past experience, this pandemic will be with us for some months, if not years, to come," WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in a letter to staff, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

People aged 30-50, pregnant women or people suffering from chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes or obesity are at highest risk, Chan told a news conference.

The virus has killed 109 people in Mexico, where it was first detected in April before spreading to the rest of the world, prompting the Mexican government to temporarily shut schools and businesses in an effort to slow its spread.

Countries from Australia to Chile to the United States are reporting that the new swine flu virus is "crowding out" seasonal flu, becoming the predominant influenza strain, she said.

For now the virus was "pretty stable," but Chan warned that it could still change into a more deadly form, perhaps mixing with the H5N1 bird flu virus circulating widely in poultry.

"So it is incumbent on WHO and all members to stay vigilant and alert for the next year or two or even beyond," she said.

Mexican health minister Jose Angel Cordova said on Thursday the virus was under control in Mexico but warned there could be a new spike in cases later this year.

There is also a risk the swine flu could mix with its seasonal H1N1 cousin, which has developed resistance to the main antiviral flu drug Tamiflu, made by Roche AG and Gilead Sciences Inc, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told a briefing.

The United States has been operating on pandemic status for weeks, with hundreds of thousands of cases and at least 1,000 hospitalizations, Schuchat said.


The virus disproportionately makes younger people sick. Some 57 percent of U.S. cases were among people aged 5 to 24, and 41 percent of those hospitalized were in this younger age group.

H1N1 is active in all 50 states and there are so many cases now that in some areas, patients with specific flu-like symptoms -- a fever above 104 degrees F (40 degrees C), cough or other respiratory symptoms -- are presumed to have the new virus.

WHO reiterated its advice to its 193 member countries not to close borders or impose travel restrictions to halt the movement of people, goods and services, a call echoed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"We must guard against rash and discriminatory actions such as travel bans or trade restrictions," Ban told a news conference at U.N. headquarters.

The move to phase 6 reflects the fact that the disease, widely known as swine flu, is spreading geographically, but does not indicate how virulent it is.

Widespread transmission of the virus in Australia, signaling that it is entrenched in another region besides North America, was one of the key triggers for moving to phase 6.

"We are satisfied that this virus is spreading to a number of countries and it is not stoppable," Chan said.

"Moving to pandemic phase 6 level does not imply we will see an increase in the number of deaths or very severe cases. Quite on the contrary. Many people are having mild disease, they recover without medicines in some cases and it is good news," she said.

"Although the pandemic appears to have moderate severity in comparatively well-off countries, it is prudent to anticipate a bleaker picture as the virus spreads to areas with limited resources, poor health care, and a high prevalence of underlying medical problems," she added.

Canadian health officials said they were concerned about reports of more severe symptoms in some aboriginal communities, but said it was too soon to say for sure.

"To make conclusions based on a couple of communities that this is somehow a disease that is worse in a particular ethnic group. It's much too early to make any of those kinds of conclusions or presumptions," said Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer.


Chan said WHO would start distributing a further donation of 5.65 million courses of Tamiflu from Roche.

WHO recommended drugmakers stay on track to complete production of seasonal influenza vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere's next winter. Each year, normal flu kills up to 500,000 people and infects millions.

Work on developing an H1N1 vaccine is already under way at leading companies, whose factories will be ready to switch to making a pandemic shot in around two weeks' time, when normal season flu vaccine production is complete.

Seasonal flu affects mainly the elderly and causes severe illness in millions, so a premature switch in vaccine production to cope with the new strain could put many people at risk.

"So our recommendation is they need to finish the seasonal vaccine and then move over," Chan said.

Chan said the Geneva-based agency would work with regulatory authorities to help fast-track approval of new pandemic vaccines that are safe and effective so that they can be made available as soon as possible.

In any case, the first doses would only be available in September, she added.

A pandemic could cause enormous disruption to business as workers stay home because they are sick or to look after family members and authorities restrict gatherings of large numbers of people or movement of people or goods.

World markets shrugged off the pandemic, as investors focused on possible global economic recovery.

The strain has spread widely, with 28,774 infections confirmed in 74 countries to date, including 144 deaths, according to WHO's latest tally of laboratory-confirmed cases. The United States has said tests only turn up a fraction of the true number of cases.
© REUTERS 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Most Dayak VCD contents not ‘TV-friendly’

WELL DONE: Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan who is Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management (fifth left, first row) poses for a group photograph with the finalists including first-placed winners Manaf and Nurhamimah (fourth and third right respectively). Also in the photo are Monshi (second right) and Kuching City North Datuk Bandar Abang Mohd Atei Abang Medaan (right).

By Samuel Aubrey

KUCHING: Most Dayak music videos will have to be re-shot because their contents are not “TV-friendly” for Muzik Aktif, a 24-hour music channel of Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) on Astro.

The state acting broadcasting director Monshi Abdullah said because of this only few Dayak music videos could be aired on the 30-minute slot for Sarawak over Muzik Aktif or Channel 180 every fortnight.

Monshi said starting next month, the Sarawak slot would be increased to one hour from 3pm to 4pm every Sunday and that RTM is now discussing with the artistes and production companies to re-shoot the videos to suit the VCDs to the system used by Muzik Aktif and for appropriate contents.

“(The problem now is) most of the Sarawak ethnic music videos are in karaoke format and not in the format that is right for TV,” he said when met after the finals of the state-level RTM Bintang Klasik Nasional 2009 at Auditorium P Ramlee here yesterday.

He was earlier asked on the lack of Dayak music videos on Muzik Aktif, especially during the Sarawak slot. The issue was hot topic of discussions during the Gawai festival and was even discussed on Internet forums.

The slot for Sarawak and Sabah was launched by the then Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek in early April, with plans to turn it into a one-hour slot dedicated to music from ethnic races of both states in July.

At present, the slot is only for 30 minutes and features either Sabah or Sarawak on alternate weeks. But by next month, each state will have a slot solely dedicated to them if the materials are ready.

According to Monshi, RTM as the government-owned broadcasting station could not just simply air any music videos on television.

As the standard-bearer, he said it was RTM’s duty to ensure that the artistes dress decently and act appropriately on TV shows.

“RTM has a certain ethical standard which the artistes have to follow,” he said.

Once this could be achieved, he was confident that the target to have an all-Sarawak ethic music slot could be achieved.

Meanwhile, 12 contestants took part in the finals of state-level RTM Bintang Klasik National 2009, which was divided into men and women categories.

Twenty-seven-year old Abdul Manaf Seron from Kuching won the men’s category, while Samarahan lass Nurhamimah Bohan won the women’s.

Both Abdul Manaf and Nurhamimah will represent Sarawak in the national-level competition of RTM Bintang Klasik Nasional, featuring only songs from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, in August.

Monday, June 8, 2009

BorneoPost Internet gagged

by MD

For the past few days, the online version of Sarawak BorneoPost (www.theborneopost.com) has been inaccessible. Browsing into their site and you will stumbled across a message or notice "Our website is currently being upgraded. We apologise for the inconvenience." Technically, website upgrading should not take more that 48 hours. So I smell something fishy.

I suspected that the state government has gagged (read: censored) BorneoPost from publishing their articles on the Internet as it has been used by bloggers for reference. Seem that the state government does not want bloggers to bad-mouth their leaders and their policy.

In addition, BorneoPost journalists also have published some sensitive articles and the state government probably did not want outsiders from outside Sarawak or outside Malaysia to read it.

If so, it will one of those Internet press freedom that is silently being removed.

If BorneoPost is back online in a couple of days from today, then I am wrong. For the time being, let's wait and see.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


By Dr. Roger W. Harris

THERE’S much talk in development circles these days about how much Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as computers, the internet and telephones, are contributing to poverty reduction and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

World leaders have declared their common vision of the Information Society where “everyone can create, access, utilise and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, communities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life”.

To what extent are the residents of Borneo able to enjoy the benefits of this emerging Information Society?

Borneo’s progress towards full and equal participation in the Information Society is unsurprisingly uneven. There are three scenarios;

Kalimantan makes up about one third of Indonesia’s total land mass, but its population of around 9 million people barely makes up 4 per cent of the country’s total. Overall, Indonesia is struggling to connect its population; there are 73 Indonesian internet users per 1,000 people, compared to 435 in Malaysia and 277 in Brunei.

There are only 14 computers for every 1,000 Indonesians, with 197 for every 1,000 Malaysians and 85 for every 1,000 Bruneians. Moreover, of Indonesia’s 70,000 rural villages, over 43,000 still do not have any telephone access.

Government plans to provide a telephone in every Indonesian village have fallen far short of expectations over recent years. So the prospects for an Information Society in Kalimantan remain bleak.

In Malaysia, whilst the Borneo states of Sarawak and Sabah have in some instances appeared at or close to the bottom of national development tables, the prospects for ICT infrastructure look better.

Sabah has only 7.9 internet users per 100 households, not the lowest among Malaysian states, but not far behind the national average of 10.4. Similarly, with 20.7 computers per 100 households, it fairs better than three other Malaysian states, but slightly short of the national average of 24.2.

It is the same for mobile phones. The picture is better for Sarawak, which averages 12.1 internet users per 100 households, 24.5 computers and 96.3 mobile phones, all above the national state averages.

In Brunei, where the annual GDP per capita for its 370,000 population averages US$25,600, for every 1,000 people there are 85 personal computers, 277 internet users and 847 fixed and mobile phones. This compares to 435, 197 and 943 respectively for Malaysia.

So there seem to be better prospects for a budding Information Society in the west and north of Borneo. However, as can be found everywhere, it is always the urban areas that enjoy access to ICTs first, with the rural areas being left behind.

So, as many Borneo residents live in rural, sometimes remote, locations, is it inevitable that they will continue to be excluded from the Information Society, despite the apparent progress in some places? Possibly not.

Started in 1998, the pioneering e-Bario Telecentre project, implemented by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak with funding from the Canadian and Malaysian governments, has demonstrated that remote communities can make good use of ICTs for their own development purposes.

By installing computers, telephones and internet facilities (via satellite) for public use, and then making good use of them, Bario has become an exemplary leader in rural development with ICTs.

The e-Bario project has won multiple international rewards; the implementing team is regularly called upon by international agencies to share its expertise and it has become a model for telecentre projects throughout Malaysia. When e-Bario began, the Government had no plans to install similar facilities anywhere else.

However, it recently announced its intention to establish a telecentre in every Malaysian mukim, all 927 of them, a process that is now under way in East Malaysia. It will be possible to obtain a first hand understanding of the project’s remarkable achievements by visiting the e-Bario Knowledge Fair in December 2007.

From e-Bario to e-Borneo? Why not?

Dr Roger Harris of Roger Harris Associates is a member of Sarawak Development Institute (SDI).

Obama wraps up landmark Middle East, Europe trip

PARIS: President Barack Obama on Sunday wrapped up a Middle East and Europe tour steeped in history and intense diplomacy, confident he has cleared the "debris" thwarting US relations with the Muslim world.

Obama, who visited Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany and France also believes he has made clear what he expects from all leaders in the strife-torn Middle East as he cranks up a regional peace drive, aides said.

Confidants also said the president was deeply moved by his visit to the former Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Germany and his meetings with World War II veterans at D-Day 65th anniversary celebrations.

"This was an extraordinary journey, one in which the president had an opportunity to look back in history, at the people who sacrificed and suffered to create the modern world and to look forward at the responsibilities that we all have in our times to forge a better future," senior political advisor David Axelrod said.

Obama on Sunday visited the Pompidou Centre modern arts museum in Paris with his family, before his planned flight back to Washington and the cauldron of domestic US politics.

The White House said it carefully monitored the response across the Arab world to Obama's landmark speech in Cairo on Thursday in which he vowed to forge a "new beginning" with Islam.

Officials cited an online poll by Maktoob Research for the Broadcasting Board of Governors that showed more than 75 per cent of people who were asked in Muslim nations said they viewed the speech positively.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow is a fictional character from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise who is portrayed by Johnny Depp. He was introduced in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), and appeared in the back-to-back sequels, Dead Man's Chest (2006) and At World's End (2007). He is also the subject of a children's book series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow, which chronicles his teenage years, and the character's image was introduced into the theme park ride that inspired the films when it was revamped in 2006. The character has also appeared in numerous video games.

Sparrow is the Pirate Lord of the Caribbean Sea and can be treacherous, surviving mostly by using wit and negotiation rather than weapons and force; although he will fight if necessary, he tries to flee most dangerous situations. Sparrow is introduced seeking to regain his ship the Black Pearl from his mutinous first mate Hector Barbossa in the first film, and in the sequels, attempts to escape his blood debt to the legendaryDavy Jones while battling the East India Trading Co.

Initially, Sparrow was conceived for the first film as a trickster who guides the hero, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), but Johnny Depp's performance led to Sparrow's role being altered. Depp's flamboyant and eccentric characterization, partially inspired by Pepé Le Pew and Keith Richards, turned Sparrow into an iconic anti-hero and the breakout character of the series. Depp earned his first Academy Award nomination, and in a case of life imitating art, Richards played a cameo role as Sparrow's father in the third film.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Welcoming everyone!

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