Friday, October 31, 2008

The Tigers Strike Back!



The Tamil Tigers, pushed back by a major military offensive, showed they still have the strength to hit back with air raids on a military base in the northeast region of Mannar and a power station in Colombo which plunged the Sri Lanka's capital into darkness.

The Air Tigers is the air force of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.The Air Tigers were revealed on 2007 when it conducted its first air raid on the Sri Lankan Air Force base. Since then they have conducted four other air raids. The Tamil Tigers are the first and only rebel organization in the world to establish a fully functional air force with an estimated possession of five light aircrafts.




Timeline

2007 March: Tamil Tigers launch their first confirmed air raid, hitting a military base next to the international airport.

2007 April : Two international airlines suspend flights to Sri Lanka following another air raid by Tamil Tigers.

2008 Oct : Tamil Tigers launch air raids on a power plant in Colombo and a military base in the northeast.


The Tiger air attacks came as government forces stepped up their own air strikes against the guerrillas inside their de facto mini-state in the north.

The LTTE will continue to strike back even if they are defeated thus the Sri Lankan Government should realise that there is no miltary solution for this conflict and sincerely work towards lasting peace through negotiations with the LTTE. Consessions will have to be made for a long lasting peace.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

MY Career, Education & Entrepreneur Fair 2008!


This event is Organized by People Source (M) Sdn Bhd and managed by My Events Sdn Bhd, My Career, Education & Entrepreneur Fair 2008 will assist those who want to take their careers, Education and Entrepreneurship to the next level. With the theme ‘ Exploring New Opportunities ', this event will showcase job and education opportunities available not only in Malaysia but also in abroad.



Mid Valley, Kuala Lumpur
7th to 9th November '08


Persada, Johor Bahru
29th & 30th November '08


Sabah Trade Centre, KK, Sabah
21st & 22nd February '09



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pandemics of our Time!

These are interactive maps of some of the most deadly pandemics of our time








Sunday, October 26, 2008

The World at War!

Global Conflicts.
Wars,Civil Wars & Proxy Wars



The Global Arms Trade.
Demand and Supply!



The Global Arms Trade.
Top Spenders




Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The Large Picture

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Deepavali


HAVE A BLESSED DEEPAVALI WITH LOTS OF LOVE!

Singapore Update - The New Vasantham

It’s great news for Indians in Singapore. A brand new MediaCorp (Singapore’s National TV broadcaster) channel – ‘Vasantham’ was launched last week. ‘Vasantham’ was unveiled in a show that celebrated with more than 100 local artistes and award winning Kollywood playback singers Krish and Neha Bhasin. ‘Vasantham’ is Singapore’s first full-fledged free-to-air Indian channel. It will broadcast nine hours of programming daily instead of the previous two and a half hours. Previously called ‘Vasantham central’, it used to share a single channel with both ‘Arts Central’ and ‘Kids Central’. These are exciting times for local artistes and TV audience, as the number of locally produced and acquired programmes have doubled.





There are many reasons for this new channel. Two of the main reasons stated are the influx of Indian foreigners working in Singapore demanding more quality shows and the increased competition from various Indian cable channels. In the end however it all burns down to money. More airtime = to more advertisements = to more $$$, simple as that. Increasing pressure among local Indians for more show time has also been a reason. However putting all that aside, it feels great to finally have a channel to call our own. Looking at the start the channel has made the future looks bright. This is just the beginning and not the end.

The Nuclear Boom!


Friday, October 24, 2008

In a related update to my previous post, it appears that the Malaysian Foreign Minister has urged the University of Malaya to lift the speech ban of Ms Ebadi.

"We would like Dr. Ebadi to be invited to the forum," Foreign Minister Rais Yatim told the Star daily.

"Malaysia should allow the freedom of expression and criticisms at the highest level. I will go and investigate this matter," he added.

Malaysia Bars Iran Nobel Prize winner !


The University of Malaya has cancelled a scheduled visit by the outspoken human rights lawyer and Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi who was supposed to deliver a speech entitled Islam and Cultural Diversity on 3 November.
Ms Ebadi campaigned for greater rights for women and children.She has faced numerous death threats and hostility in the Iranian media, and the government banned her Centre for Protecting Human Rights in 2006.

The Malaysian foreign ministry had sent a letter "strongly advising" the organisers not to go ahead with the speech."We were told there would be big implications for bilateral relations," the unnamed official said, adding that Iranian diplomats were "pushing for Malaysia to call it off".

The university's vice-chancellor, Rafiah Salim, told the French news agency AFP that the decision was made "out of respect for our Iranian students, who were not very happy".

Shakuntala Devi- Human Computer and Mathematical Wizard-1 day program


World acclaimed Math Genius and Guiness Record holder Madam Shakuntala Devi is in Malaysia as part of her World Tour, conducting Seminars and Workshops.


Venue : Artha Dharma Concept Builders
Life Long Learning Center
Wisma Citras 25-1 , Brickfields

Date: Nov 1 2008

Time : 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Fee: The fee will rm 99. 00 only.Limited places (100 only)


For advanced bookings please contact us via the following :

012 2345664, 0166120587, artha.dha...@gmail.com.

Please email and sms only if you want to come and book your seat.

Shakunatala Devi is a well-known mathematical genius and calculating progidy from India. She has been nicknamed 'Human Computer' because of her extraordinary talent and skill in solving complex mathematical problems without any mechanical aid. Shakuntala Devi was born on 4th November, 1939 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Shakuntala's father was a circus artiste and it was he who introduced Shakuntala to the world of mathematics, through card tricks. Shakuntala's amazing memory power was tapped, which then led her to develop an extraordinary love for numbers at the tender age of three.

Gradually, over the years, Shakuntala's memorizing and calculating skills were strengthened, whilst she simultaneously became an expert in complex mental arithmetic. Beginning at the University of Mysore and the Annamalai University, Shakuntala's public displays of her extraordinary abilities and talents even spread to institutions worldwide, bewildering the crowded gathering of students and professors alike. In her time, older calculating prodigies like Truman Henry Safford were also present, yet Shakuntala started displaying her talents from a very young age.

With her brilliant mind, Shakuntala Devi was adept at solving arithmetical problems, including functions of addition, multiplication, division, calculating square and cube roots, along with complex algorithms and Vedic Maths. She could even state the day of the week of any given date in the last century in a jiffy. Shakuntala could even outdo some of the fastest available computers of that period. Amongst her numerous feats, the most outstanding ones that fetched her name in the 1995 Guinness Book of World Records are:
  • In January 1977, at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Shakuntala Devi extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number, at the fifty-second mark, with the correct answer being '546372891'. She had beaten the then fastest computer, UNIVAC's time of 62 seconds, and 13,000 instructions.
  • On 18th June, 1980, Shakuntala Devi demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers: '7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779', picked randomly by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. She produced the correct answer of '18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730', in just 28 seconds.
  • Shakuntala could find the cube root of 332 812 557 in under a minute.

Today Shakunatala Devi is an accomplished mathematician whose interests also include the mystic field of Astrology. While setting up of several mathematics research centers are her future plans, Shakuntala Devi has also written numerous books, some of which are - Puzzles to Puzzle You, Fun with Numbers, Astrology for you and Mathablity.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Lost Temples!


Ancient Temples of Malaysia

Temples have long been part of the local landscape of South East Asia, with great monuments such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur in Indonesia built by the Hindu and Buddhist Kingdoms of the Pre-Islamic era. Having said so, one would wonder why no monuments were built in the Malay Peninsular of modern day Malaysia.Perhaps a little correction should be made there; no monuments have been discovered yet.It is generally accepted by historians that a Hindu civilisation was established in the Bujang Valley up north in the ancient Kingdom of Kedaram. Tamil traders established settlements in the Bujang Valley as early as the 3rd century AD.Over 50 Buddhist and Hindu temples have been excavated from various sites in the valley.

An Ancient Ruin of the Bujang Valley

Over many centuries these temples were lost swallowed by the jungles of Malaya. Though almost 30 sites were discovered, none of them have matched the collosal size of those discovered in neighbouring countries. However it is widely believed that deep in the jungles of Malaysia lay hidden monuments which will enrich the Pre-Islamic history of Malaysia.

more from malaysiantemples

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 launched successfully!

India's first moon mission blasts off


Chandrayaan-1 placed in transfer orbit

Pallava Bagla

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 6:23 AM (Sriharikota)

Chandrayaan-1, India's maiden moon spacecraft, was put into Transfer Orbit around the earth by the Polar Launch Vehicle PSLV-C11 after it blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

The 1,380 kg Chandrayaan-1, carrying 11 payloads, was released into a Transfer Orbit 18.2 minutes after the PSLV-C11 blasted off.

ndtv.com


Chandrayaan-1 launch perfect, says ISRO chairman

SRIHARIKOTA: As India's first lunar mission settled into its chosen orbit successfully, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair described the launch as "perfect" which was achieved after "fighting against all odds".

"It is a remarkable performance by the launch vehicle," he said.

It is a perfect launch. Now it will be orbiting the earth, he said, adding that today "what we have started is a remarkable journey for the Indian spacecraft to go to the moon and try to unravel the mysteries of the moon".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Virtual Strip Search Scanners for Airports!


Body Scanners in EU Airports By 2010!
The European Commission Regulation has asked all European Union airports to use virtual digital scanners by 2010. This scanner is a virtual strip search machines, which creates a 3D image of a naked body. Such a scanner has been opposed as it is next to a strip search.
Australian airports are trialling body scanners that can see through passengers' clothes. (ABC)


Trial Begins


AIR travelers will be invited to take part in "virtual strip searches" at Australian airports when the Federal Government begins trials of security screening measures this month. The measures include a body scanner that can see what lies under a person's clothes. The Government says the scanner could detect weapons and explosives, but critics say it is an invasion of privacy.

more from theage


To fight Terror?

Ever since terrorist Richard Reid tried to detonate a bomb hidden in his shoes, the government has been searching for a faster, more efficient way to detect plastic explosives.

“The technology we’re using today, in some cases, can take 12 seconds to do a scan,” says Randal Null, Chief Technology Officer of the Transportation Security Administration. “We’d like to drive that down to a few seconds.”
So now, instead of looking at your shoes, Null says, “we are actually going to do a full body scan of an individual.”

Airport security screeners have the ability to take the shirt right off your back, “so all anatomical features are shown,” says Null.

It’s called Backscatter X-ray — low levels of radiation that could deliver high levels of embarrassment at airports all across the country.


The Protest and Privacy Debate!

Mr O'Gorman, who heads the Council for Civil Liberties, says the technology is a "total invasion of privacy", allowing virtual strip searches and has overstepped the mark.

"You have to ask yourself: Has the war against terrorism got to the stage where we, in effect, have to have our genitals shown, viewed by someone in another room, in the name of airport safety? We say this goes too far," he said.

"We say it skews the balance between proper security on the one hand and the maintenance of basic civil liberties, particularly bodily privacy, on the other.

"These virtual scanners will show women who've had breast enlargements, breast implants, or show women who have colostomy inserts, will show women who have had mastectomies.

"And we can switch it to men - it will show men who have had penile implants."

But the Government says this will not be allowed when the technology is used with the public.

"No images will be stored," the Office of Transport Security's Andrew Tongue said.

"Anybody but the person viewing the image is remote from where the person will be going through the body scanning, so they can't link in any way a person and their image.

"Faces are blurred, so we've tried to build a system that is very protective of people's privacy. And anybody participating in the trial is a volunteer."

Chandrayaan's Countdown Begins, Undeterred by Rain!

One hour ago :

The work on filling of propellant for the first stage of the polar launch vehicle had been completed and the second stage filling would be over tonight, SDSC Associate Director Dr M Y S Prasad told PTI here, 80 kms north of Chennai.


"The countdown, which started at 5.22 am yesterday, is progressing smoothly and the propellant filling of PS-2 (first stage) has been completed," he said adding a total of about 43 tonnes of propellant would be filled.

Asked about weather conditions in this space port town, which is witnessing isolated rains, Prasad said the rains would not affect the launch. "The rain does not matter as the spacecraft is fully rain proof. Even if it is drenched, the launch would take place as per schedule." However, the launch might have to be rescheduled if there was cyclonic weather conditions, he added.

Tamil Imperialism??? (9th-13th Centuries)

The Chola Empire at its Peak

The Chola Empire rose to power in the 9th century in the Tamil speaking districts of Southern India. Although the Chola Dynasty existed since at least 100 B.C., it was during the 9th Century that it began its rise into a major world power. Under Rajaraja Chola (Rajaraja The Great) and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a notable military, economic and cultural power in Asia.

The Chola Empire stretched from southern Maldives as far north as the Himalaya Mountains and West Bengal in North India. Rajaraja Chola conquered peninsular South India, and annexed parts of Sri Lanka by defeating the Pandyas. Rajendra Chola went beyond,occupying coastal Burma, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands,Lakshadweep, Sumatra, Java, Malaya in South East Asia and Pegu islands with his fleet of ships. He defeated Mahipala, the king of Bihar and Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital called Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Tamil Chola armies exacted tribute from Thailand and Cambodia. The power of the Cholas declined
around the 13th century. The Cholas were the first Indian empire to engage in naval conquest overseas.


The Empire



IMPERIAL CHOLA ARMY:


~10,000 Velaikarrar royal guards
~200,000 Professional infantry and cavalry troops (30 regiments)
~60,000 war elephants
~50,000 horses
~500,000 reserve infantry (fully mobilized strength of conscripts)

IMPERIAL CHOLA NAVY:

~100,000 naval infantry/marines
~1,000 ships/boats

CHOLA WARSHIPS:

1) Colandia - The largest sailing ships, they had large cargo holds and could hold hundreds of soldiers. Used extensively in campaigns throughout the Indian Ocean, and they even sailed as far as Western Europe going back to ancient times.

2) Sangara - Medium sized fighting ships, they typically had many steel/iron shields attached to the sides for protection. They had supports for Ballistas for fighting with other ships, and had
catamaran supports for stability at high speeds. Incidentally "Catamaran" is the English pronunciation of the original Tamil name "katta maram" ("short trees", which were used
for ship building).


Visit http://www.geocities.com/rajiv20/jweb/chola.html for
more "DETAILS ON CHOLA MILITARY FORCES AND CAMPAIGNS"



Image of Areas under direct control of the Chola Empire, 1030 AD


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Stockpile!

Estimated Nuclear Warheads of the world!

Estimated number of Nuclear Warheads 2004


Third World Joins the Nuke Race




Check these links for more:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pacific Earthquake poses no tsunami threat to Sabah!

Strong Earthquake Hits Tonga Islands, No Tsunami Threat To Malaysia


KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 (Bernama) -- A strong eathquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale hit Tonga Islands, about 7,898km Southeast of Tawau, Sabah, at 1.11pm today.

The Meteorological Department said in a statement that the earthquake did not pose any tsunami threat to Malaysia.

Great Language Families throughout the world!


Britannica's Concise Pictured Encyclopedia


The following maps are courtesy of Dr. C. George Boeree's "The Language Families Of The World", Shippensburg University
[link]

The Sino-Tibetan Family


The Indo-European Family
(with the isolates Basque, Burushaski, and Nahali)


The Miao-Yao, Austro-Asiatic, and Daic Families


The Dravidian Family



The Austronesian Family



Did you find your roots???


Saturday, October 18, 2008

National Career Fair!

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) is currently hosting the third National Career Carnival at the Dewan Canselor Tun Abdul Razak, from 17th -19th October. The National Career Carnival 2008 (NCC2008) is a government initiative, with the co-operation of the private/corporate sectors.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gov. condemned over ban of HINDRAF

Agence France-Presse - 10/16/2008 8:51 AM GMT

Malaysia was accused Thursday of aggravating race relations by banning a Hindu rights group whose leaders are being held without trial.

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which represents Malaysia's ethnic Indian minority, has been declared illegal by the government which found it "posed a threat to public order and morality".

Hindraf chairman Waytha Moorthy, who fled to Britain before the group's leadership was rounded up last year, vowed the movement would continue to fight for the rights of the disadvantaged community.

"Hindraf will not flinch with these threats and will continue its struggle," he said in a statement.

The government "enjoys demonising and bullying us on the pretext of law, public order, national security, when all we are fighting for is to address the true and real condition of the downtrodden Malaysian Indians," he said.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, president of the national human rights society Suhakam, said the ban was unnecessary and showed a lack of sensitivity to the minority community which shunned the government in March elections.

"Hindraf is more a wave of consciousness than an organisation and in declaring it illegal the government has possibly alienated the Indian community even more," he told AFP.

"The cause of marginalisation is a real one and if you look at Hindraf activities so far, there has been no violence and none of their activities can be described as a threat to security with the exception of last year's demonstrations."


The Cosmic Dance of Shiva and Quantum Physics

Shiva's Cosmic Dance at CERN

The image of the Cosmic Dance of Shiva gained international fame in 2004 with the installation of an idol of Lord Shiva in the Cosmic Dance form (Nadaraja) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva. Lord Nadaraja is seen as a symbol of not only the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, but also the daily rhythm of birth and death which is seen in Indian mysticism as the basis of all existence.

Shiva's Cosmic Dance at CERN

The dance of Shiva is the dancing universe; the ceaseless flow of
energy going through an infinite variety of patterns that into one
another.

Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction
is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and
death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of
inorganic matter. According to quantum field theory, all interactions
between the constituents of matter take place through the emission and
absorption of virtual particles. More than that, the dance of creation
and destruction is the basis of the very existence of matter, since
all material particles 'self-interact' by emitting and reabsorbing the
virtual particles. Modern physics has thus revealed that every
subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an
energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction.

more

Shiva's Cosmic Dance at CERN

"The Wave Structure of Matter Explains the Atomic Structure
of Matter. The 'Particle' as the Wave-Center of a Spherical
Standing Wave in Space" explains the cosmic dance of
Nataraja."

"Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and
destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons
and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is
also the very essence of inorganic matter," and that "For
the modern physicists, then, Shiva's dance is the dance of
subatomic matter." -Fritjof Capra in The Tao of Physics,
1975

more



Shiva's Cosmic Dance at CERN - night view

On June 18, 2004, an unusual new landmark was unveiled at CERN, the European Center for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva — a 2m tall statue of the Indian deity Shiva Nataraja, the Lord of Dance. The statue, symbolizing Shiva's cosmic dance of creation and destruction, was given to CERN by the Indian government to celebrate the research center's long association with India.

In choosing the image of Shiva Nataraja, the Indian government acknowledged the profound significance of the metaphor of Shiva's dance for the cosmic dance of subatomic particles, which is observed and analyzed by CERN's physicists. The parallel between Shiva's dance and the dance of subatomic particles was first discussed by Fritjof Capra in an article titled "The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics," published in Main Currents in Modern Thought in 1972. Shiva's cosmic dance then became a central metaphor in Capra's international bestseller The Tao of Physics, first published in 1975 and still in print in over 40 editions around the world.

A special plaque next to the Shiva statue at CERN explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva's cosmic dance with several quotations from The Tao of Physics. Here is the text of the plaque:

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, seeing beyond the unsurpassed rhythm, beauty, power and grace of the Nataraja, once wrote of it "It is the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of."

More recently, Fritjof Capra explained that "Modern physics has shown that the rhythm of creation and destruction is not only manifest in the turn of the seasons and in the birth and death of all living creatures, but is also the very essence of inorganic matter," and that "For the modern physicists, then, Shiva's dance is the dance of subatomic matter."

It is indeed as Capra concluded: "Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance. The metaphor of the cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics."

more


Shiva's Cosmic Dance at CERN - night view


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Top 100 Universities!

The Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings identified these to be the world's top 100 universities in 2008. These institutions represent 20 countries with Israel represented for the first time. Whilst North America dominates with 42 universities, Europe and Asia Pacific are well represented with 36 and 22 respectively.


In 2004 Universiti Malaya (UM) had reached 89th place.Did you find UM in this year's list???
No....but the country's oldest university moved up from 246 last year to 230.

What about UPM???
UPM Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nik Mustapha Raja Abdullah said the university was ranked 320, up from 364.

Our National University (UKM) ???
UKM Vice-Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin said the university was ranked 250 from 309 last year.

And what happened to our apex-status Universiti Sains Malaysia???
Oh, USM deputy Vice Chancellor (academic and international affairs) Professor Ahmad Shukri Mustapa Kamal said the university had dropped from 307th spot but he was not able to confirm the current standing.


WOW...
Interesting.......



Asian Aircraft Carriers


Asian Aircraft Carriers

The Asian race to dominate the seas can best be understood through their ambitious Naval expansion programmes reflected in the development and purchasing of Aircraft carriers.

Thailand - HTMS Chakri Naruebet (1997)

China - Unconfirmed/Developmental stage (n/a)

Japan - Hyuga (Japan's 1st post World War II carrier,officially called a helicopter-carrying destroyer) (2007)

Korea - Dokdo class amphibious assault ship (2005)

India - INS Vikramaditya (2010)

Vikrant class aircraft Carrier - In progress

INS Vikrant (1957) -
The ship which played a key role during 1971 Indo-Pakistan war was decommissioned in 1997 and preserved as a floating museum at Mumbai.

INS Viraat (1986) -
currently in service

Who will rule the Oceans?

Only time can tell...

HINDRAF BANNED!

The Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has been banned by the Malaysian government.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar yesterday issued a statement declaring Hindraf, which has been championing Indian rights and trying to prevent the demolition of Hindu temples in the country, an illegal organisation.

In a statement yesterday, Syed Hamid said the decision to declare Hindraf illegal was made as a result of investigations by the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

“The ministry found the organisation’s activities contravened the Societies Act 1966 and if left unchecked, the organisation could pose a threat to public order, peace, security and morality in Malaysia,” he said, adding that even the sovereignty of the country and prevailing racial harmony would be jeopardised.

He made the declaration based on powers vested under Section 5(1) of the Societies Act.

Five top Hindraf leaders are being detained under the Internal Security Act and chairman P.Waythamoorthy is in self-imposed exile in London where he has been lobbying international organisations on the plight of Indians in Malaysia.

Coalition of Indian NGOs secretary-general Gunaraj George said that by banning Hindraf, Syed Hamid had rendered the Indian community voiceless, but said it would not dampen the spirit of its supporters.

“I know that their struggle will go on especially to free all those detained under the ISA.”


The Star
New Strait Times
Strait Times Singapore

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sultan UNSHIELDED!

A special Malaysian court consisting of a panel of five judges ordered ex-Agong, Tuanku Jaafar Tuanku Abdul Rahman to settle a $1 million debt to the Standard Chartered Bank in an unprecedented verdict that ended a centuries old tradition shielding Malaysia's royal Sultans from legal prosecution.

"This would be an ordinary case but what is exceptional is that it involves a ruler," the bank's lawyer, Robert Lazar, told The Associated Press.

A special panel of Malaysia's top five judges unanimously ruled that Tuanku Jaafar was liable for a $1 million credit provided by the bank in a 1999 business contract involving him and the U.S.-based Connecticut Bank of Commerce. Tuanku Jaafar was Malaysia's king at the time

Lazar said Tuanku Jaafar cannot appeal the verdict and Standard Chartered will be able to recover the payment from the ruler's bank deposits.


Blood Money and 'horror' of Saudi executions!


Saudi beheading on the rise!

Amnesty International reported that Saudi Arabia has executed 71 people through the end of August this year. Nearly half of them were foreigners, including migrant workers who don’t understand Saudi laws, have no political connections and are too poor to pay “blood money” that would spare them.

Foreign nationals, mostly Asians and Africans, who face capital trials in the conservative kingdom, are frequently unable to understand court proceedings if they are not Arabic speakers, are often not represented by a lawyer and are routinely held for long periods in harsh conditions and coerced into false confessions.

The state does not provide official statistics but Amnesty said it had recorded at least 1,695 executions between 1985 and May 2008. Of these, 830 were foreign nationals - a highly disproportionate figure since foreigners make up about one-quarter of the country's population.

In some cases, execution is followed by crucifixion, Amnesty says in its report.

Saudi officials were not immediately available to comment. They routinely defend beheadings as a quick and clean form of execution sanctioned by the Islamic faith.

Saudi Arabia is one of the few states in the world with a high rate of executions for women. It is also one of the few to execute people for crimes they committed when they were still under the age of 18.

The kingdom applies a strict version of Sharia law, under which rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking can all carry the death penalty. Part of the reason for the rapid rise in executions, Amnesty shows, has been an extension of the use of death penalty in the late 1980s to cover "corruption on earth" (sometimes applied to political activities) as well as drugs-related offences.


A Saudi executioner prepares to behead a convicted drug dealer in Jeddah in this 1985 image. Photograph: Rex Features


BBC

GUARDIAN

LA TIMES

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Petrol and Diesel price brought down again!

Today,our Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the price of petrol would be cut by 15 sen to RM 2.30 a litre while diesel prices would fall by 20 sen to RM 2.20 effective Wednesday.

"Because oil prices have fallen sharply in recent times, the government has decided to cut fuel prices to allow the masses to benefit (from) lower prices," Abdullah said in a statement


This is the third adjustment to the price of petrol and diesel.Looks like Anwar Ibrahim has succeed in putting some pressure on the ruling government.However, to what extent is this reduction going to help?Is it enough?Right now many questions are being asked.Will there be another adjustment in the near future??


Survey shows Tamil Nadu support for LTTE!

A survey undertaken in 10 cities in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu by the Indian Express newspaper shows that a clear majority of the respondents wanted India to lift the ban on the proscribed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and 66% of the respondents said the LTTE is either freedom fighters and/or the sole and genuine representatives of Tamil voice.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Russia launches the sixth space tourist for $30m !


British-born space tourist, Richard Garriott, blasts off in $30m odyssey

A Russian carrier rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carring a British born American “space tourist" as a private passenger aboard a Soyuz capsule.He is said to have paid the Russian space agency $30 million for the privilege and undergone a year’s training.


Richard Garriott and his father, Owen

The multi-millionaire computer-game developer is the son of of a Nasa astronaut,Owen Garriott who flew aboard one of Nasa’s last Apollo missions to Skylab, America’s first orbiting laboratory.





And we will be sending our very own space tourist again, for the SECOND time, very soon!
I bet he is training somewhere in Russia now
Or maybe not...

In case others have more money than us to "book" a seat.

Thanks to Russia!

The War on Terror???