Wednesday, February 28, 2007

IGP Orders Probe Papers On ACA Director-General To Be Resubmitted To A-G

Police today resubmitted to the Attorney-General (A-G)'s Chambers investigation papers on sexual crimes and assault allegedly committed by Anti-Corruption Agency chief Datuk Zulkipli Mat Noor against a housewife in 1997.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan told TheSun, Kuala Lumpur police investigated the complaints lodged by the woman in the Dang Wangi station and later submitted investigations papers to the A-G Chambers.

However, Musa said, as the A-G Chambers had not reverted to the police on the next course of action, a fresh submission was made today. "Investigation into the report in 1997 was properly and orderly carried out and promptly filed with the A-G Chambers. We sent it again today and will wait for their reply," he said.

It is learnt the woman had submitted a 12-page report to the police, giving full details of her alleged affair with Zulkipli when he was then the Johor police chief and alleged physical abuse at his hands.

The allegations against Zulkipli, including for graft, were made by Movement for Democracy and Corruption chairman Ezam Mohd Noor. Ezam had on Monday (Feb 26) told a press conference an ACA officer Mohd Ramli Manan had discovered the allegations and had informed former the then IGP Tan Sri Bakri Omar in 2003, but no action was taken.

Ramli, who headed the agency in Sabah in 2002, also said Zulkipli had been investigated for the housewife's reports filed with police stations in Dang Wangi, Segambut and in Mambau, Negri Sembilan. He also claimed Zulkipli owned several business interests and properties, including six houses in Pagoh, Johor, and that he had misused government vehicles to check on properties and businesses.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, who heads the Parliamentary Select Committee on Integrity, said Zulkipli and those who made allegations against him would be asked to present their cases before the committee. He said Zulkipli would be called in by the committee in two weeks. "He should be given a chance to clear himself and not be tried by the media ... for even if the allegations are found to be baseless, it can tarnish the ACA chief's image.

"We also want him to reassure the committee if he can still continue to head the ACA and was comfortable doing so if the allegations are found to be baseless," said Dompok, adding that the 12-man committee had agreed to hold the inquiry on March 12.

Zulkipli was quoted by the New Straits Times today as saying the law should take its course. He also said such allegations were part and parcel of the agency's operations. "There are a lot of challenges in our line of work. Some people may be happy, some, of course, may not. The bottom line is justice must be done."

Interestingly, Zulkipli is an ex-officio member of the Select Committee.

There are three other permanent representatives (ex-officio) from the civil service - namely the Malaysian Administrative, Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu), Public Complaints Bureau and Housing and Local Government Ministry.

Dompok said the duty of the committee was only to determine if there were elements of integrity involved in the allegations, following which the committee would make the neccessary recommendations to parliament on how those issues should be addressed. "We are not a committee that makes a final decision or gives out punishment on what should be done to him," he said.

Asked if any of the recommendations would be made to the Prime Minister as the ACA comes under the Prime Minister's Department, he said if the need arose, he would do so, including to other ministries and government agencies.

Efforts to contact A-G Tan Sri Gani Patail and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan for comments on the status of investigation on Zulkipli failed.

The late Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah was the A-G from 1994-2000. (TheSun)


***** Hmmm. Old skeletons in the closet are slowly but surely coming out to haunt the perpetrators and those who shielded them. Let the law take its majestic course at least now and let the guilty be punished accordingly. That is the least a citizen of a democratic country should expect.
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Sex Education Will Not Be A Specific Subject In Schools. The 'Ostrich Mentality' Lives On.

Sex education will be absorbed into current schools' syllabuses and will not be taught as a specific subject, said Women, Family and Community Development Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

She said the learning of the subject would be part of the education in moral, science, health, Islamic, biology, science and other programmes implemented by the Education Ministry.

"This subject will not be taught as a specific subject in schools," she told a press conference, here Wednesday.

To help teachers in handling the delicate subject, the government had formulated the Healthy Reproductive and Social Education Guideline that will be absorbed into the current education modules in schools.

Chew said currently the proposed guideline was still being discussed by the ministry and the Education Ministry to coordinate its implementation.

The guideline was developed by a technical group whose members included representatives from the Education Ministry, Health Ministry, Youth and Sports Ministry and the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.

Education Ministry Parliamentary Secretary P. Komala Dewi told the press conference that education on the subject would provide a platform for students to ask questions about sexuality matters so that they would be more sensitive towards family values and responsibilities.


She said the targeted groups for the education fall under five age categories, namely pre-school children, pupils, teenagers, youths and adults.

****** We must be one of few countries who still have not fully acknowledged the very real problem of adolescent sex. Worse still we pretend that it is not serious, and although studies have shown that our students are totally ignorant on matters pertaining to sex even at University level, our authorities prefer sandiwara to substance.

At this eleventh hour, our education ministry is still 'discussing proposed guidelines' for this half-hearted piecemeal approach to sex education. In effect what they are trying to do is to conduct sex education classes without the sex part in it! It amounts to removing the letters s,e and x from the word sex and teaching with whatever is left; a big zero. With sexual promiscuity so evident and rapidly on the rise even among school children, it is time that the education hotshots removed their collective heads buried in the sand for so long and come to terms with reality and that we are in for an epidemic of sex-related disasters unless we change our attitudes and hypocritical actions.

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Yet Another National Service Trainee Dies. What's Going On?

A National Service (NS) trainee at the training camp at the Kisana Beach Resort died at a hospital here this morning.

Camp Commander Mej Zulkarnain Abdullah said P.Prema was rushed to the Tengku Anis Hospital after she was found unconscious in a toilet at Jeram Linang here about 2.30am.

He said Prema, from Kajang, Selangor, was confirmed dead at the hospital.

She was among the 400 NS trainees from the camp undergoing training at Jeram Linang near here yesterday.

Prema was said to have gone to the toilet with a few other trainees at the training area. Her friends later came looking for Prema, who had not come out of the toilet, and found her unconscious.

National Service Training Department Director General Abdul Hadi Awang Kechil is scheduled to hold a press conference on the incident at noon today. (Bernama)

***** With chilling regularity at least one or more trainees seem to die every new session. Then we get the NS department big boys giving excuses and later our usual politicians led by the DPM Najib come out with the same reassurances. Why oh why must a young kid, someone's precious child, die at a national service camp? Beats me.

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Update: Najib Extends Condolences To NS Trainee's Family

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New South Wales Education Department - As Useless And Unworthy As Our Own.

A mother who sought Education Department help amid repeated assaults on her six-year-old son by a classmate was twice told "bullying builds character", a court has heard.

Angela Cox yesterday said she was stunned by the comment which came after her son Ben was choked by a nine-year-old boy at Woodberry Public School, near Maitland, on the Central Coast.

"I was really annoyed the school hadn't done anything," she said. "(Department officer) Ian Wilson told me bullying builds character and it was a good thing."

Mrs Cox and her son Ben are suing the state, claiming the department was liable for the treatment of her son in 1995 and 1996, which left him depressed, anxious and reluctant to leave the house.

"I couldn't believe something like this could happen," she told the Supreme Court yesterday.

***** So our education department isn't the only totally incompetent one in this whole wide world. Apparently there are also specimens in other places who closely resemble our pegawai2 from the Jabatan Pendidikan, if not in skin colour at least in their attitudes, views and general stupidity.

You can read the entire report from The Daily Telegraph, HERE.
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Antioxidants Won't Extend Your Life, May Increase Mortality.

Antioxidant vitamins has long been regarded as panacea to slow the aging process. But a most comprehensive study of the popular supplements may smash the miraculous images these pills have, said Wednesday's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

According to the analysis of separate studies on thousands of people, no evidence was found that taking beta carotene, vitamin A or vitamin E extends lifespan and, in fact, the supplements increase the likelihood of dying by about 5 percent. Vitamin C and selenium appeared to have no impact on longevity.

Based on the findings, published in the journal, the researchers warned that consumers should be cautious about taking supplements containing the nutrients.

"The main message is that prevention by beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E cannot be recommended. These three antioxidant supplements may increase mortality," said the study's senior author, Dr. Christian Gluud of Copenhagen University Hospital.

Some other experts believed the study supports the theory that antioxidants work only when they are in food rather than pills. People tend to take vitamins to stay healthy. At least 150 million Americans regularly take dietary supplements that often include antioxidants.

Some experts and representatives of the vitamin industry disputed the findings, criticizing that the separate studies were too diverse to pool together. (XINHUA online)

***** So all of you pill-poppers who spend a fortune on capsules and tablets to 'improve' your quality of life, get real. There is no shortcut to good health which simply means a moderate lifestyle, balanced diet, adequate exercise and a positive mental outlook. Don't think that by buying a few hundred ringgit worth of pills and swallowing them regularly you can escape the ravages of age and illness without taking the necessary precautions.

So instead of wasting your money, get yourselves enrolled and actively participate in an exercise programme, eat wisely and make sure you get an annual medical examination done.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Window For Malaysia-U.S. Free Trade Pact Closing Fast.

(Image - "Four Examples Of Stalemate": Source.)
The window for Malaysia to ink a free trade agreement with the United States is closing fast, Washington's top diplomat to the Southeast Asian country said Tuesday, and another opportunity like this may not come again for a while.

Trade talks between Malaysia and the U.S. appeared to have hit a deadlock as Malaysia refuses to budge on its procurement policy that favors ethnic Malay-owned companies.

"I hope we do not miss this opportunity because it won't come again for awhile," U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Christopher LaFleur said. "It wasn't the president's party that won the last Congressional elections. Democrats won the elections." In U.S. politics, the Democrats are generally considered to be more protectionist on trade issues than Republicans.

Problems in the trade talks have raised doubts whether the negotiations can be concluded by the end of March so the proposed pact could be reviewed by U.S. lawmakers before President George W. Bush's special "fast-track" trade authority expires July 1. That authority allows Bush to submit a deal to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote without amendments.

LaFleur told reporters that no further rounds of negotiations are currently scheduled, only that trade negotiators have "identified areas" needed for further discussion with their respective administrations.

Malaysia is the United States' 10th largest trading partner with US$44 billion (€33.43 billion) in two-way trade in 2005, which officials say will double by 2010 if a free trade pact is signed.

However, critics of the proposed accord say it would lead to job losses, erode workers' rights and mark the end of cheap, generic drugs now available to those with HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

The key obstacle to the talks is Malaysia's affirmative action program that awards government tenders to Malay-owned companies to give them an advantage to compete with the wealthier Chinese minority. While some government contracts are open to bids from foreign firms, Washington wants more clarity and transparency in the bidding process.

"Our time is indeed limited, we have to operate under assumption," LaFleur said. "After June, its very hard to predict when the President will get the authority (again)."

He likened a successful agreement to the opening up of Malaysia's then agrarian economic focus to American electronics manufacturers nearly four decades ago that helped turn the country into a manufacturing base. "An FTA would be a big step forward in our relations and would represent a turning point for Malaysia comparable to the first investment made by U.S. electronics firms in this country about 35 years ago," LaFleur said at a talk on Malaysia-U.S. economic relations.

Malaysian Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz said Malaysian authorities would not alter the affirmative-action program.

Other sticking points in the negotiations are differences over liberalizing Malaysia's services sector and highly protected car industry, its ban on majority foreign ownership of banks, poor intellectual property rights, labor and environmental issues. (IHT)

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US Vice President Dick Cheney Unhurt In Blast At U.S. Base In Afghanistan.

The Taliban said a suicide bomber who killed up to 18 people at the main US base in Afghanistan today was aiming for Vice President Dick Cheney who was visiting at the time.

"We wanted to target ... Cheney," Taliban spokesman Mullah Hayat Khan said by phone from an undisclosed location.

The blast suicide bomber killed 15 Afghans and three foreign troops today at Bagram Air Base, the Afghan interior ministry said.

The attack occurred at a security gate guarded by US troops at the heavily secured base about 60km north of Kabul.

"Initial reports are stating that 18 people were killed and three of them are foreign soldiers," interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said.

"The 15 others are civilian Afghan workers who wanted to enter Bagram air base for their work. On injuries we do not have exact reports."

US military officials confirmed what they called a "direct attack" on the base. A spokeswoman for Mr Cheney said the vice-president was safe.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force confirmed the blast was a suicide attack but could not immediately say how many people were killed or wounded.

***** Since the Vice President's trip to Afghanistan was an unscheduled one, this assassination attempt was probably hastily planned and carried out. Still it must have been too close for comfort for the US Secret Service. That the bomber could have come unchecked right up to the security gate shows a serious lapse and one which could have had tragic consequences, both immediate and long term.


You can read the full report from THE AGE, HERE.
Another view: Cheney 'Not A Target' For Attack On Military Base.
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From The Times Of India: US keeps mum on Cheney attack
From ZeeNews.Com: Cheney: `Loud boom` sent me to bunker

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Malaysia - Land Of The Molesting Bomohs.

Police were investigating a bomoh (medium), who is also a civil servant, after a clerk reported that he had tricked and molested her.

The 24-year-old woman came to know a few days ago that the bomoh had powers to cure her of her severe migraine.

The woman from Kampung Nibong wasted no time and during one visit the bomoh told her that her ailment was due to possession of a supernatural being who had ``fallen in love'' with her.

The bomoh asked her to return for the second treatment. He first massaged her head and fondled her.

The bomoh told her that it was part of the therapy and asked her to return for the final treatment. The victim returned for the last appointment on Monday.

On seeing her submissiveness, the bomoh grabbed the opportunity to further outrage her modesty. The victim then shirked and related the story to her friend, who had accompanied her for the treatment.

She then lodged a police report on the same day. The bomoh, who is also a civil servant, willingly surrendered himself.

State Deputy CID chief Superintendent Khairi Ahrasa said police were probing the case under Section 354 of the Penal Code. (TheStar)

***** When will our people ever learn? Every now and then such stories are highlighted yet these simpletons still insist on placing their trust and their lives on these bomohs. The government spends billions on health and education yet sadly such instances of foolishness are still repeated.
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US, Italian Ambassadors In Sri Lanka Wounded In Tamil Rebel Attack.

The ambassadors of the United States and Italy were wounded in an artillery attack by suspected Tamil rebels in eastern Sri Lanka, human rights minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who was accompanying them, said.

US ambassador Robert Blake and Italian envoy Prio Mariani were hit by shrapnel from the attack at the Batticaloa airforce base as they got off a military helicopter, Samarasinghe said.

Mariani had a head injury and was taken to the main local hospital together with 11 others, hospital director Muruganathan Moorthy told told Agence France-Presse. The US ambassador had minor injuries and was being flown to Colombo.

The attack came as helicopters carrying Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe as well as ambassadors from the United States, European Union, Canada and Germany and France landed in the restive eastern district of Batticaloa on a goodwill mission.
(Forbes; Tiscali News)

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Chinese Scientists Experiment With Remote Control Of Animals.

Chinese scientists said they have succeeded in an experiment to remotely control the flight of a pigeon with electronic technology.

Scientists with the Robot Engineering Technology Research Center of east China's Shandong University of Science and Technology say they implanted micro electrodes in the brain of a pigeon so they can command it to fly right or left or up or down.

The implants stimulated different areas of the pigeon's brain according to signals sent by the scientists via computer, and forced the bird to comply with their commands.

It's the first such successful experiment on a pigeon in the world, said the chief scientist Su Xuecheng. The electronic signals resemble the signals generated by the brain which control body movement, said Su.

Su and his colleagues are improving the devices used in the experiment and hope that the technology can be put into practical use in future.

Su conducted a similar successful experiment on mice in 2005. (www.chinaview.cn)

***** I'm sure that such novel experiments will ultimately benefit human beings suffering from a vast range of neurological disorders. Trailblazing research has often led to an array of almost 'miraculous' remedies in the past and there is no reason to doubt that the future will be even better.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

A Poor Pakistani Teenage Girl's Living Nightmare.

A teenage girl in Hyderabad, southern Pakistan, whose late father lost her in a poker game when she was two years old, has asked authorities to save her from being handed over to a middle-aged relative.

Rasheeda, 17, said she has filed applications with the police and a local councillor asking them to prevent Lal Haider, 45, from taking her to his home.

Her mother, Nooran said her husband racked up a debt of 10 000 Pakistan rupees to Haider playing cards. "My husband didn't have money to pay, and instead he told Lal Haider that he could take Rasheeda when she grows up," she said.

Despite being paid his money last year, she said Haider still insisted the girl should be given to him because of tribal customs. While both families live in Hyderabad, a city 160km north of the southern city of Karachi, they belong to the same tribe in Baluchistan province.

The girl's uncle, Dur Mohammad said Haider apparently wanted to marry the girl to his son.

Khalid Rajput, a local councillor dealing with the case, said the decision that Rasheeda should be handed over to Haider was taken late last week at a tribal council meeting. "We know some tribal elders from Baluchistan came for the meeting in which the girl's family was told to give her as per their customs," he said.

Irfan Bhutto, a police officer in Hyderabad, said Haider had been summoned. We will ensure the girl does not have anything to do against her will." (Independent Online)

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Dismissal Of Anwar Ibrahim As DPM Was 'Unconstitutional', Court Of Appeal Told.

The Court of Appeal was told today that the dismissal of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister was unconstitutional.

Counsel Karpal Singh said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had to seek the audience of the King and then advised him on the matter.

“But Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar and then informed the Yang di Pertuan Agong, which is unconstitutional,” he said in his submission.

Anwar is appealing against a High Court decision which struck off his suit against Dr Mahathir and the Government following his dismissal on Sept 2, 1998.

Karpal said Anwar was not seeking to be reinstated to the Cabinet but was seeking damages.

Senior Federal Counsel Asmabi Mohamad said the King would act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or a Minister and when Dr Mahathir conveyed his decision to revoke Anwar’s appointment, the King did not object to it.

Judges Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Datuk Raus Sharif and Datuk Heliliah Mohd Yusof heard the appeal and judgment was adjourned. (NST)

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UKM Study: Most Female Students With Disciplinary Problems Admit To Having Sex.

A Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) study has revealed a shocking finding about high-risk female students in one state where most of them admitted to have had sexual intercouse.

The study, conducted by UKM's Children and Youth Psychology specialist Dr Khaidzir Ismail, found all the 887 high-risk female students except for one confessing to have had experienced the "pleasure of the flesh".

The three-month High-Risk Female Youth Profile Study, which ended last December, took 20 students with disciplinary problems from each schools, ranging from Form One to Form Five, as its respondents.

"It is sad and shocking to find all except one of the respondents admitted to having experienced sex. This is painful finding but it is a reality that we have to accept," he told Bernama at his office in Bangi near here today.

It is understood that the study was a Selangor government's initiative in an attempt to find a handle to the moral values' deterioration among the female youths in the state.

From the findings of the study, the state government aims to formulate a special training module to promote high moral values among the young female generation.

Khaidzir said the study also found that the female students, aged between 15 and 16, were at a high risk of being involved in various disciplinary problems like trying to lose their virginity. "The study also found that the problems committed by these students were due to external pressure like coming from broken homes where their parents having difficulties in coping with life," he said.

Findings of the study also revealed that apart from the sexual experience, most of the respondents took drugs, involved in pornography, secret societies, vandalism and truancy.

Khaidzir said most of these high-risk female students were poor in their academic achievements, communication skills, and having low self-esteem and self-control as well as problem-solving capabilities. (Syed Azwan Syed Ali, Bernama)

***** While most of us knew, despite the pious claims of government educationists, religious groups and politicians on the 'high moral values' and practices of our anak dara, that many of them were running wild and trying out everything from drugs, to sex and worse, the sheer numbers and percentages quoted is frightening to say the least.

While the authorities are busy 'curbing' social ills and the hot-blooded libido of the adults, the children are quietly having a go themselves.

The UKM researchers should be congratulated for honestly and transparently revealing the damning figures. Now let us wait and see how the government tries to cover-up this issue or attempts to put a positive spin to it.
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Jesus Coffin Found, Says Titanic Director.

Titanic director James Cameron has produced a documentary that he says will rock the foundation of Christianity. Cameron claims the coffins of Jesus Christ and his family have been found at a burial cave in a suburb of Jerusalem.

By implication, the filmmaker says that Jesus did not rise from the grave — an assertion that hits at one of the main pillars of Christian faith, the Resurrection. Further, the documentary claims Jesus sired a child with Mary Magdalene, a disputed theme made famous by the best-selling fiction book ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and the 2006 movie based on it, the Time magazine reported on its website.

Cameron is scheduled to hold a news conference in New York on Monday to unveil what he says are the stone coffins of Jesus, his mother and Mary Magdalene.

Cameron and the film’s director, Simcha Jacobovici, claim to have put together DNA and archeological evidence, as well as evidence found in biblical studies proving the coffins belong to Jesus and his family.

The caskets were discovered in a 2,000-year-old cave in the Jerusalem suburb of Talpiyot during construction of an industrial park 27 years ago. After 20 years of examination, the names on the caskets supposedly became clear: Jesua, son of Joseph; Mary; Mary; Matthew; Jofa and Judah, son of Jesua. (The Times Of India)

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(From FreeRepublic.com)
The findings in the cave, including the decipherment of the inscriptions, were first revealed about ten years ago by internationally renowned Israeli archeologist Professor Amos Kloner.

Since their discovery, the caskets were kept in the Israeli Antiquities Authority archive in Beit Shemesh, but now two have been sent to New York for their first public exhibition.

Although the cave was discovered nearly 30 years ago and the casket inscriptions decoded ten years ago, the filmmakers are the first to establish that the cave was in fact the burial site of Jesus and his family.

The film, which documents the stages of the discovery, is the result of three years labor and research. It will be broadcast on the international Discovery Channel, Britain's Channel 4, Canada’s Vision and Israel’s Channel 8, which also took part in the film's production.

According to the filmmakers, the film’s claim is based on close work with world-famous scientists, archeologists, statisticians, DNA specialists and antiquities experts.

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Drug May Treat Down Syndrome Symptoms.

Stanford University researchers might have found a drug which can help people fight the mental retardation caused by Down syndrome, according to a study published on Sunday.

An old drug once used to study epilepsy substantially improved learning and memory in mice with Down syndrome symptoms, the researchers said.

What's more, the gains lasted for months after the treatment was discontinued. The researchers are now considering a clinical trial to test whether the compound has a similar effect in humans with Down syndrome.

The finding, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, also can help scientists understand what causes the mental retardation seen in Down syndrome patients.

"This treatment has remarkable potential," said Craig Garner, a professor of psychiatry and a director of the Down Syndrome Research Center at California's Stanford University.

However, the researchers caution that the research is preliminary and it is too early to tell if the drug will be successful in people.

Down syndrome is the most frequent genetic cause of mental retardation and occurs equally around the world, in about one in every 800 births. About 5,000 children born in the United States each year have Down syndrome.

Symptoms range from moderate mental retardation to very mild disability. Many Down's patients also have health problems, especially heart trouble. (Xinhuanet)
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RTM To Show Contributions By Non-Malays In Independence Struggle. But Why Now?

Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) will show contributions by the non-Malays in the struggle for independence through a series of special programmes soon.

Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said the programmes included exclusive interviews with non-Malay leaders in the effort to promote racial unity.

The special programmes would be shown in the form of documentaries and aimed at newer generations, he said.

"The new generation don't know much about the contributions of these people. We have many footages on their contributions that have never been shown on television," he told reporters after opening the national-level Quran recital assembly at the Kampung Meraga Mosque in Kijal Sunday night.

Zainuddin said RTM would also air patriotic songs containing elements from East Malaysia. "Presently, the patriotic songs aired are only from the Peninsula and none from Sabah and Sarawak," he said.

At the same time, RTM would also asked drama producers especially the non-Malays to produce dramas involving non-Malay actors and actresses but using Bahasa Malaysia, he said. (Bernama)

***** "We have many footages on their (non-Malay) contributions that have never been shown on television," Lord Zam said. Why was it not shown until now? Is there an unwritten rule or policy that non-Malay participation and achievement should be downplayed or worse, totally ignored? We all know that history as recited and propounded by the government is only half the truth. There is nothing worth mentioning about non-Malays in the official lopsided version of our independence. So if now suddenly Zam wants to telecast their contributions the inference is that something must be coming up soon, perhaps the general elections.

As the 50th anniversary of our Merdeka and possibly the elections draws closer you can be sure that more such patriotic stunts will be seen and the story of our 'struggle for independence' will be
milked dry by the authorities.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

What A Waste Of University Seats.

There are Mara students, including those pursuing medical courses, who are seeking employment before completing their studies.

The reason: not being compatible with the courses they signed up for.

Mara director-general Datuk Nam Marthinin, who said this, added that parent and peer pressure had made the students sign up for “popular courses” which they were not interested in.

“This situation is prevalent not only in Mara but also in other educational institutions,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of the Mara Education Carnival in Plaza Angsana yesterday, he advised students to choose their courses wisely to avoid wasting their time and money.

He also said some Mara graduates turned to other jobs which they were not qualified in.

“For instance, becoming a salesman after qualifying as a doctor is not only a waste of effort but also funds due to the high fees involved,'' he added.

“From my experience, I have noticed that many students are unclear about what their courses really entail,'' he said, adding that they faced difficulty choosing the right courses for them. (TheStar)


***** Every year there is so much competition for those precious seats and we see straight-As students being given dukacita letters. Yet at the same time we have some of these favoured ones who are squandering away their good fortune! How unfair and what a crying shame.

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Iran Launches First Rocket Successfully Into Space?

Iran said on Sunday it successfully launched its first rocket into space carrying cargo intended for research, at a time of mounting tension with the West over its nuclear programme.

"The first space rocket has been successfully launched into space," a state television anchor announced, without disclosing its range.

"The rocket was carrying material intended for research created by the ministries of science and defence," Mohsen Bahrami, the head of Iran's aerospace research centre, told state television.

He did not give further details on the nature of the cargo.

"All the tests (leading up to the launch) have been carried out in the country's industrial facilities in line with international regulations," said Bahrami.

"The manufacture of the rocket and the cargo was achieved by experts at the centre of aerospace research and the engineering centre at the ministry of agricultural planning," he added.

Iran has for the past years been pressing ahead with a nascent space programme, which has already seen an Iranian Russian-made satellite put into orbit by a Russian rocket in October 2005. That satellite, called Sina-1, was Iran's first and so far only probe to be launched into space and was described by the Iranian press at the time as being for research and telecommunications purposes.

Iran has said it is planning the construction and launch of several more satellites over the next three years.

The announcement that Iran has succeeded in launching its first rocket into space comes amid mounting tensions with the United States over its nuclear programme, which Washington alleges is cover for weapons development.

OPEC member Iran denies the charges, saying its atomic drive is solely aimed at supply energy for a growing population. (Channel Newsasia)

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Doesn't The Malaysian Youth Council Have Anything Better To Do Than Be Envious Of Others?

Low budget airline AirAsia must 'project' the country’s culture so that foreigners can recognise it easily as a Malaysian concern. Thus spake Malaysian Youth Council president Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.

"We are happy that AirAsia is able to provide cheap air tickets to travellers but its management must ensure that the airline projects the country’s identity and culture," the wise one added.
" For example, the uniform of air stewardess did not project a Malaysian image."

When will these gentlemen who have no business acumen to speak of, stop their childish prattle and their attempts to find fault with a well run organisation? What they are basically trying to do is give vent to their deep envy of AirAsia and the fact that a non-Malay is running it far, far better than the dead-as-a-dodo MAS. The 'cultural', 'national identity' demand is just a cover, a stupid subterfuge.

MAS had the appropriate dress code and met every requirement in maintaining a Malaysian identity. Look what happened to it? It is not the blind acceptance of everything that smells of patriotism which decides the success or failure of any business concern but efficiency and the best possible service to the customer, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.

MAS failed because the government, blinded by racial fervour, went on appointing Bumi after Bumi who had precious little real experience in handling such a huge organisation. These 'tokoh korporat' bowed to many demands, unreasonable and ridiculous, from various quarters and the end result was a right-royally screwed MAS. This is the same thing that MYC's Shamsul is attempting to do here. Give in to a nobody like him now and AirAsia will have to pay the price later.

Ignore this and other idiotic attempts in the future to derail a profitable and popular venture. AirAsia as it is now has brought much fame and recognition to the nation which myopic people like Shamsul cannot clearly see. It is time that he and those of his mentality are advised to wake up and smell the kopi Tongkat Ali .

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Johor Baru MP Shahrir Says His Wife Not Related To Robert Kuok.

Johor Baharu Member of Parliament Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said today his wife is not related to Malaysia's richest man Tan Sri Robert Kuok, quashing rumours to that effect.

"I have a Chinese wife but she is from Ipoh, not from Johor. I am not at all related to him (Robert Kuok). I didn't marry his daughter, I didn't marry his niece and I didn't marry any Kuok. These are all rumours," he said when replying to reporters' questions.

Shahrir said Kuok has no daughter and that rumours of him being related to Kuok could have come about due to him (Shahrir) being outspoken on controversial issues.

"Many people think that a politician who makes a lot of noise must be very rich, and that I, because I may have about 10 per cent of the Kuok fortune which is about RM2 billion to RM3 billion, I can afford to say anything that I like," he said after closing a forum on education organised by Johor Baharu Umno, here.

Shahrir said he has known Kuok for many years and was convinced that Johor and the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) can benefit from his wisdom and experience as a businessman. Kuok is one of five advisers of the Iskandar Development Region Authority (IDRA), which held its first meeting yesterday.

Shahrir said Kuok could advise the IDRA as to how to go about attracting investment to the IDR.

He also said that a local newspaper had contacted him to use his good offices to arrange for an interview with the low-profile businessman but that he would not do it. Asked whether he had been bothered by the rumours, Shahrir said he was not at all bothered by them.

"I am actually bothered because I don't have any money. Even though Kuok has no daughter, I know his children. I know his nephews and there are times when I meet them. I am sorry to disappoint you all," he said. (Bernama)

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Large Majority Of Muslims Reject Terrorism

A large majority of Muslims across the world have been forthright in rejecting terrorism, according to a US survey that says the findings were "surprising". But only 46 percent US nationals and Europeans are ready to reject terrorism, while 24 percent of those surveyed have said that terror attacks are "sometimes justified".

In an interesting twist to what has been touted as "a clash of civilizations", spurred by 9/11, even supporters of international mastermind Osama bin Laden, "most overwhelmingly approved of specific American actions in their own countries".

Eighty-six percent Pakistanis, 81 percent Bangladeshis and 74 percent Indonesians said they rejected terrorism. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nigeria were the Muslim nations where 20 surveys have been conducted over the last two years by the University of Maryland that covered the US and Europe.

The Daily Times did not indicate which of the European nations were surveyed. Entitled 'Terror Free Tomorrow', the survey says a half of the Westerners associated Islam and Muslims with terrorism.

For most Muslims surveyed, their professed support of terrorism/Bin Laden could be more accurately characterised as a kind of "protest vote" against current US foreign policies, not as a deeply held religious conviction or even an inherently anti-American or anti-Western view.

According to the survey, "In truth, the common enemy is violence and terrorism, not Muslims any more than Christians or Jews. Whether recruits to violent causes join gangs in Los Angeles or terrorist cells in Lahore, the enemy is the violence they exalt. America's goal, in partnership with Muslim public opinion, should be to defeat terrorists by isolating them from their own societies.

"The most effective policies to achieve that goal are the ones that build on our common humanity. And we can start by recognising that Muslims throughout the world want peace as much as Americans do."

According to the Christian Science Monitor, public opinion surveys in the US and Europe show that nearly half of Westerners associate Islam with violence and Muslims with terrorism.

Given the many radicals who commit violence in the name of Islam around the world, that's an understandable polling result. But these stereotypes, affirmed by simplistic media coverage and many radicals themselves, are not supported by the facts - and they are detrimental to the 'war on terror'.

"When the West wrongly attributes radical views to all of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, it perpetuates a myth that has the very real effect of marginalising critical allies in the 'war on terror'", says the Christian Science Monitor.

Indeed, the far-too-frequent stereotyping of Muslims serves only to reinforce the radical appeal of the small minority of Muslims who peddle hatred of the West and others as authentic religious practice, it says. (IBNLive)

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Lee Kuan Yew: Singapore To Be Among Top First World Nations.

Singapore, which according to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, currently sits in the lower half of the First World nations -- is ready to move into the upper half in the next 10 to 20 years.

To do that, he said, Singapore must continue to grow and transform its landscape by incorporating the best features of big cities in a tropical version and make Singapore a great place to live and to bring up children which in turn would attract investments from most advanced countries.

"You must have a lively, vibrant city. If you go to London, or you go to New York, you see it humming day and night. Well, we're starting on that route," he said in a Channel NewsAsia report.

Lee said Singapore had revamped itself to become a clean and green city. The next step would be to make it "a vibrant city with gardens and water everywhere. There will be clean running water, greenery and broadwalks for people and children to enjoy these streams and ponds -- fishing, boating or dining al fresco," The Straits Times quoted him as saying at a Lunar New Year dinner in his Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC) last night.

"This will be done in your lifetime," Lee said.

Besides attracting investors, Lee, the architect of modern Singapore, said the island state must also continue to attract foreign talents, whom he described as the extra "megabytes" needed for Singapore's expansion. "It is in our interest to make them feel welcomed, and to integrate them into our community, because they are the extra megabytes in our computer.

"The Singaporeans form the hard disk whether it's five-gigabyte or whatever, you need this extra megabyte to be able to cope with all the expansion which we are now experiencing," he said.

Singapore recently projected a population growth of 6.5 million within the next 20 years from 4.5 million at the moment, of which foreign talents are expected to contribute significantly to the growth. (Bernama)


***** How interesting it is to read about the path an enlightened and optimistic country, not saddled with colonial garbage and neoracist beliefs and practices, is taking. Comparing them with us is an exercise in futility. While Singapore is aspiring to be among the upper crust of the First World, we are still steadfastly holding on to outdated philosophies and policies and contentedly slithering in the depths of mediocrity and happily shouting "Malaysia Boleh!" No wonder the Singaporeans look down on us. Can you blame them?
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Blog-stituting Your Soul?

By Rob Baker (South Africa).
Biblical folk say that the love of money is the root of evil. Some bloggers seem to agree. In the middle of 2006 the blogosphere was shaken to its roots by a United States-based company called PayPerPost.


Cashing in
PayPerPost's business model works as follows - advertisers wishing to promote their websites approach PayPerpost. PayPerPost pay bloggers to write entries into their electronic journals, which include a link to the advertisers' websites.

"Opportunities" which PayPerPost offer bloggers range from writing about Las Vegas to websites offering Russian Brides. Payments for a blog entry range from some R30 to R7000.

This article's author tested out PayPerPost by writing 2 blog entries a day for them during January, pocketing some 3500 Rands. Not bad for some 40 hours of work.


Heck, if enough South Africans joined PayPerPost President Thabo Mbeki might just reach his employment targets (he can help by lowering bandwidth costs).

Slightly irritating
An irritation for South Africans thinking of joining PayPerPost is that they pay you through PayPal. Now considering that PayPal was co-founded by a South African (Elon Musk), it's a miserable shame that they don't cater for making payments to South African bank accounts.

This effectively restricts one to using the money received in PayPal for making payments for online purchases through PayPal, unless you're lucky enough to have a PayPal-friendly offshore bank account.

To join PayPerPost you need a blog that's been around for at least 90 days and has at least 30 blog entries. The high-paying articles stipulate that only blogs with high enough Google pageranks can take on the "opportunity" - the author's blog had a google pagerank of 3, which restricted him to a maximum payday of R140 for his highest-paying article.

A nasty was to follow, the google pagerank of his blog dropped to 2 in the middle of the paid posting (it seems Google is penalising blogs being used for paid blogging?).

If you don't like PayPerPost there are other options. With PayPerPost's success, along have come the inevitable copycats. Blogitive, Reviewme and Loudlaunch numbering in their ranks.

"Where's the ethical issue?", you may ask. The rub is that PayPerPost's advertisers often insist on the blog entry being "positive" - if you don't write positively, you don't get paid. Paid bloggers are thus forced to express enthusiasm for a product, which they may not like.

Whereas previously you could pretty much count on bloggers to write from their hearts, many of them are now prostituting their viewpoints for a fistful of cash. Cry the beloved days of innocence for the blogosphere, for they are no more. (Independent Online)

#
Rob Baker glogs at http://www.p4s1.com/ and blogs at http://www.southafrica.to/

# You can flame him at yzerfontein@gmail.com.

****** Disclaimer by The Malaysian: The above report is meant purely for information and is neither an endorsement nor criticism of paid postings.

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Abuse Of Power By Malaysian Inland Revenue Board. Court Awards UK Man £440,000 Damages.

A British man has been awarded more than £400,000 in damages by a Malaysian court after he was prevented from leaving the country for 16 years.

Ronald Beadle, from Derbyshire, was trapped in Malaysia after the country's Inland Revenue Board ordered that his passport be seized over a tax dispute.

The judge ruled that the Inland Revenue Board had acted arbitrarily and abused its powers.

However, she did not accept that Mr Beadle had been falsely imprisoned. Nor did she allow his claim for loss of earnings, arguing that it was purely theoretical that he could have made a living elsewhere.

Retire

The dispute started out as a simple mix-up over tax, and turned into a 16-year legal odyssey.

In 1981, Malaysia's Inland Revenue Board ordered that Ronald Beadle's passport be seized over a disputed sum of £3,000 ($5,874). But it was not until 1998 that a court ruled it was his employers and not he who had failed to pay up.

In the meantime, Mr Beadle was forced to remain in Malaysia and was unable to return to Britain, even for his father's funeral.

Now the court has awarded him almost £440,000 ($861,551) in damages.

Mr Beadle, who first came to the country as a serviceman in the 1960s, says he would still like to retire in Malaysia. (BBC NEWS)

***** What a great advertisement for our Visit Malaysia Year 2007! I wonder why the authorities didn't realize the mix-up earlier and set the poor guy free. Can the court award compensate for 16 years of living in a foreign country under such stressful conditions especially when he was not guilty? A shameful episode indeed.
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Friday, February 23, 2007

Politician Doctor Struck Off The Register By Malaysian Medical Council. Two Docs Suspended/Reprimanded.

Penawar state assemblyman Dr Mohd Azam Rauzan has been struck off the Malaysian Medical Council register and is no longer allowed to practise medicine in Malaysia.

Council president and Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said in a statement yesterday that Dr Mohd Azam had admitted to “abusing his professional privilege as a registered practitioner by causing untrue information to be provided to the Registry of Births in reports certified and signed by him.”

Another doctor, Dr Albert Lim Kok Hooi, was suspended for six months from Oct 10, while one Dr Mohamed Padzil Daros was reprimanded for other reasons.


Dr Ismail said Dr Mohd Azam's offence concerned the supposed delivery of four babies at his clinic at No. 7, Jalan Padi Mahsuri 15, Bandar Baru Uda, 81200 Johor Baru, but records in the clinic did not show any such entry.

Dr Mohd Azam’s name was removed from the register with effect from Dec 28, after he contravened Section 2.1.4 of the council’s code of professional conduct. His case was one of three decisions made by the council between October and December involving various offences.

Dr Ismail said cases of doctors being struck off the rolls was not rampant, adding that the council will continue to release names of errant practitioners to the public. “We are coming down hard on errant practitioners. This is to protect the public and the profession,” he said. Since the Medical Act was enacted in 1971, the names of five doctors have been struck off the register.

Dr Lim of the Gleneagles Oncology Centre in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, had his licence suspended for six months from Oct 10, after being found guilty of “abusing his professional privilege and skills by engaging in an emotional relationship with the wife of the complainant” during the period when his mother was under the doctor's care. Dr Lim, who breached Section 2.2.4 of the council's code, has appealed against the sentence at a High Court.

A reprimand was issued against Dr Mohamed Padzil of Klinik Famili Sri Damansara in Bandar Sri Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, after he was found guilty of “conduct considered derogatory to the reputation of the profession.”

He had admitted to displaying a signboard at his place of practice which had the words “Klinik & Farmasi” (Clinic & Pharmacy), indicating that he was selling drugs and other medical items not only in treating his patients but also over the counter to non-patients. This was contrary to Section 3.4 of the code.

Jurisdiction of the council over professional conduct of its registered persons is governed by the Medical Act and the Medical Regulations. The council maintains a register of eligible medical practitioners and has regulatory and disciplinary powers for the profession. (TheStar)
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New Federal Roads To Have Motorcycle Lane.

All new federal roads will have special lanes for motorcycles to reduce fatalities involving motorcyclists and pillion riders in road accidents, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said. As for existing federal roads, he said, the motorcycle lane would be built if there was still reserve land at the location and availability of funds.

He said the Public Works Department had been instructed to submit a proposal on the building of special lanes for motorcycles on all federal roads as well as to identify the "killer-stretch" and cost of the project.

"It is not going to be like before by only drawing lines on the left and right side of the road to separate the lane for motorcyclists. This time, the lane for motorcyclists will be away from the main road," he told reporters after opening a fly-over linking Jalan Ipoh to Jalan Duta here.

Due to land scarcity in Kuala Lumpur, Samy Vellu said it would be a problem to build additional lane for motorcyclists at existing roads in Kuala Lumpur adding that at present, the Federal Highway, from Jalan Pantai to Klang, already had separate lane for motorcyclists. He said the government felt the need to have special lane for motorcyclists following a finding that it could reduce fatalities involving motorcycle riders from 60 per cent to 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, sources from the ministry said the proposed building of the motorcycle lanes, estimated to cost RM300 million, would be submitted to the Cabinet after several issues on the matter were to be resolved.

Roads in Kuala Lumpur which recorded high accident rate death like Jalan Kepong-Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Kuching and Jalan Cheras will be given priority for building of motorcycle lanes. The government is also considering widening existing federal roads, stretching 17,500 km, from two lanes to four lanes.

On the bypass between Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Duta which was opened to traffic yesterday, Samy Vellu said it was among steps taken by the government to reduce traffic congestion in the city. (Bernama)

***** While the idea is good and should be implemented, as usual we must start worrying about the way the tenders and contracts for this project would be awarded. Hopefully no cronies will be involved and the project completed without problems. Perhaps this time around there won't be delays, postponements, cost overruns and the shameful spectacle of the government compensating undeserving contractors. Is this too much to ask?

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Pak Lah: Malaysia 'Won't Lock Up Foreign Workers.'

Malaysia's prime minister has said he will not act on calls to "lock up" foreign workers in response to fears of a growing crime wave in the country, local media said.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's comments, reported in newspapers on Friday, followed proposals by senior officials, including the home minister, to curb the movements of migrant workers. He said concerns about crime involving foreign workers needed to be discussed further before any measures are implemented.

If such action was "beneficial to all parties, including the workers, then there is nothing wrong in implementing it,'' he was quoted as saying during a visit to Indonesia. "But if the intention is to them lock up, it will not be acceptable."

Efforts by police to regulate foreign labourers' movements would violate their basic rights, he said.

Malaysia, with a population of about 27 m, has long attracted migrant workers from poorer neighbours such as Indonesia, Myanmar, India and Bangladesh. Many of them work in menial plantation or construction jobs that most Malaysians refuse to do.

About 1.8 m foreigners work legally in Malaysia, while an estimated 700,000 others lack proper documents. But the government has come under pressure recently amid reports of a growing crime wave and other social problems that some blame on foreign – particularly Indonesian - workers.

Monitoring

According to police of the 230,000 crimes reported in 2006, some 5,000 were committed by foreigners.

Last week Radzi Sheikh Ahamad, the Malaysian home minister, said his ministry intended to propose a bill calling for the confinement of about 2.5 m foreign workers.

The chief of police Malaysian police Chief Musa Hassan said the proposal was meant to curb crime by monitoring foreign workers' activities and restricting their movements. Under the plan workers would not be allowed to leave their living quarters unless they registered with their employers, who would be responsible for their movements.

Malaysian and international rights groups have condemned the idea, saying it could appear to be racial profiling and worsen already poor living conditions for foreign workers. (AlJazeera.Net)
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