Isnin, 1 Ogos 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Himalaya glaciers shrinking on global warming, some may disappear

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 09:26 PM PDT

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Three Himalaya glaciers have been shrinking over the last 40 years due to global warming and two of them, located in humid regions and on lower altitudes in central and east Nepal, may disappear in time to come, researchers in Japan said on Tuesday.

A man with a child walks in front of the Gankar Punsun glacier at Dochula in Bhutan November 18, 2009. Three Himalaya glaciers have been shrinking over the last 40 years due to global warming and two of them may disappear in time to come, researchers in Japan said on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files)

Using global positioning system and simulation models, they found that the shrinkage of two of the glaciers -- Yala in central and AX010 in eastern Nepal -- had accelerated in the past 10 years compared with the 1970s and 1980s.

Yala's mass shrank by 0.8 (2.6 feet) and AX010 by 0.81 metres respectively per year in the 2000s, up from 0.68 and 0.72 metres per year between 1970 and 1990, said Koji Fujita at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies in Nagoya University in Japan.

"For Yala and AX, these regions showed significant warming ... that's why the rate of shrinking was accelerated," Fujita told Reuters by telephone.

"Yala and AX will disappear but we are not sure when. To know when, we have to calculate using another simulation (model) and take into account the glacial flow," Fujita said, but added that his team did not have the data to do so at the moment.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday.

The Himalayas is an enormous mountain range consisting of about 15,000 glaciers and some of the world's highest peaks, including the 8,848-metre-high Mount Everest and K2.

Apart from climate change and humidity, elevation also appears to play a critical role in the lifespan of glaciers, which are large persistent bodies of ice.

The Rikha Samba glacier in the drier region of west Nepal has also been getting smaller since the 1970s, but its rate of shrinking slowed to 0.48 metres per year in the past 10 years compared to 0.57 metres per year in the 1970s and 1980s.

This was because the 5,700-metre-high glacier was located on a higher altitude, which meant that losses in mass from melting could be compensated at least partly by collection of snowfall, Fujita said.

"In the case of Yala and AX, they are situated on lower elevation (altitudes), therefore shrinkage was accelerated. Glaciers that have no chance to get snow mass will eventually disappear," Fujita said.

Yala glacier is located about 5,400 metres above the sea level, while AX is 5,200 metres high.

(Reporting by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

ANALYSIS - Angry over U.S. debt debate, voters may punish leaders

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 08:55 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Throw the bums out!

A view of Capitol Hill in Washington August 1, 2011. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

That phrase, which captured the anti-incumbent mood among U.S. voters in 2010, may apply to next year's elections, too, after the debt debate in Washington enraged the American public and demonstrated an unprecedented level of dysfunction among Democratic and Republican politicians alike.

After weeks of drawn-out talks, refusals to compromise, and partisan attacks, the two sides agreed a deal on Sunday that would lift the U.S. debt ceiling and cut the deficit over 10 years.

But deal or no deal, the damage to the those who led the messy process has been done.

"The big loser after this exercise is Washington," said Republican strategist Scott Reed, who noted that in the last three elections more than 100 members of the 435-member House of Representatives have lost their jobs.

"That could be a precursor for what this next election would look like," he said. "It has the potential to be an anti-incumbent feeling in both parties."

Americans across the country grew increasingly concerned -- and increasingly angry -- in recent days about the antics over the debt ceiling, which brought the country to the edge of default and could have plunged it back into recession.

Leaders from both sides were scrambling in the aftermath of the debt deal to take credit and place blame, and both sides seemed aware that they have lost credibility in the process.

"Nobody's a winner when it comes to ... dysfunctionality and chaos in Washington," said David Axelrod, the top strategist for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, who spoke in his Chicago offices on Friday before the deal.

"Even though I believe strongly the president's been a force to try and bring some sense and reasonableness to this process, the process itself is an ugly, ugly thing, and so just by dint of being associated with it, you know, you get tainted to some degree."

A Washington Post-Pew Research Center Poll released on Monday showed Americans viewed the budget battle in strikingly negative terms, with the word "ridiculous" used by the most respondents to describe it.

Variations of the words "disgusting" and "stupid" came in second and third as descriptions from poll participants.


The U.S. Treasury said it would be unable to borrow more money to pay its bills after Aug. 2 if the debt ceiling were not raised.

Analysts said the fallout from the process of addressing that deadline could reshape the makeup of Congress.

"This whole situation has only led to a deterioration in Americans' perception of politicians in general and Congress specifically," said Costas Panagopoulos, political science professor at Fordham University.

"There was a strong anti-politician, anti-incumbent sentiment that we observed in 2010, and that may also manifest itself in 2012 and in subsequent elections."

It's difficult to say which side would lose the most.

Tea Party conservatives helped give Republicans control of the House after the 2010 election, largely on the platform of reducing U.S. spending. But many Americans were put off by that group's general refusal to compromise.

"They'll both suffer from it, but I think the Republicans (with) their starting position (of) 'we're not going to compromise' ... they'll come out worse for the wear," said one 61-year-old voter from Virginia named Stuart, who declined to give his last name.

"I'm fed up, I think America's fed up. The world is fed up," he said while walking outside the White House on Sunday.

Republican strategist Reed said congressional leaders from his party would have plenty of time to regroup from any damage it would suffer from the process, while Obama and Democrats would suffer from the president's economic stewardship.

"Obama's the biggest loser here because he failed to lead," Reed said.

Democratic strategist Axelrod said both parties would suffer in the short term, but in the long term, the difference in philosophies -- and Obama's greater willingness to compromise in the debt debate -- would help his party.

"In the long term I think this has been a kind of definitional battle," Axelrod said. "I think that much of this country hungers for constructive compromise that'll move the country forward."

(Editing by Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

Hama assault into second day, U.N. revives Syria debate

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 08:25 PM PDT

AMMAN (Reuters) - A two-day assault by Syrian government forces on anti-government protesters in the city of Hama was widely condemned in the West and prompted European powers to relaunch a dormant U.N. resolution condemning Damascus for its crackdown.

Smoke rises as an armoured vehicle is seen stationed on a street in the city of Hama in this still image taken from video posted on a social media website on August 1, 2011. (REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV)

Tanks pounded residential neighbourhoods across the city after evening prayers on Monday, marking the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

Earlier, at least four civilians were killed by tank fire on the second day of attacks on the city where memories are still vivid of the brutal suppression of an uprising in 1982.

"The shells are falling once every 10 seconds," a witness told Reuters by phone. The thump of artillery and explosions could be heard in the background.

At least 122 civilians taking part in the protests calling for President Bashar Al-Assad to give up power have been killed in Syria since Sunday, according to witnesses, residents and rights campaigners.

About 85 of those were in Hama, where Assad's father crushed an armed Muslim Brotherhood revolt 29 years ago by razing neighbourhoods and killing many thousands of people.

Reacting to the new bloodshed, European powers relaunched a dormant draft U.N. resolution to condemn Damascus for its crackdown on protesters, circulating a revised text to the Security Council at a meeting on Monday.

Following the hour-long closed-door meeting, several diplomats said that after months of deadlock in the council, the fresh violence appeared to be pushing the divided members towards some form of reaction.

But envoys disagreed over whether the 15-nation body should adopt the Western-backed draft resolution or negotiate a less binding statement.

Germany requested the meeting after human rights groups said Syrian troops killed at least 80 people on Sunday when they stormed Hama to crush protests amid a five-month-old uprising against Assad.

The Assads have been repeatedly warned by the United States, European Union and Turkey against any attempt to repeat the massacre of Hama.

But the government is signalling to its growing legion of critics abroad that it will not bow to calls for change that have swept across the Arab world, and to its people that it is prepared to all the force at its command to stay in power.

Having embarked on a military drive to crush Syria's democracy protests at all costs, the Assads appear to have decided to raise the cost of protest, just as the Muslim month of Ramadan, which began on Monday, offers the opposition a platform to expand its nearly five-month-old uprising.

"The assault on Hama is an indication of loss of control. They crossed the threshold," said Bassma Kodmani, head of the Paris-based Arab Reform Initiative. "They want to show that they can raise the level of repression to the whole country."

Security forces, dominated by Assad's minority Alawite sect, had besieged Hama, a mainly Sunni Muslim city of 700,000, for nearly a month before the assault.

Analysts said that by choosing to crush the dissent there with overwhelming military force, Assad had chosen a path of no return against those clamouring for his overthrow.

"What has been clear is that the government is prepared to use force without limit," Beirut-based Middle East analyst Rami Khouri told Reuters. "But this is not solving the problem. Instead, it is making the rebellion more robust."


Army tanks stormed the eastern town of Albu Kamal after a two-week siege, activists in the region said, as the military stepped up assaults aimed at subduing dissent in the tribal Deir al-Zor province bordering Iraq's Sunni heartland.

Government armour attacked the town of Zabadani near the border with Lebanon after evening prayers, residents said.

More than 20 tanks and armoured personnel carriers entered the resort town in the foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountains after people demonstrated in support of Hama, witnesses said.

At least three protesters in Zabadani were wounded by machinegun fire from the tanks, two witnesses said.

Residents said at least 29 civilians had been killed in a weekend tank assault on Deir al-Zor, the provincial capital.

Syrian authorities have expelled most foreign journalists since the anti-Assad protests began in March, making it hard to verify activists' reports or official statements.


The European Union extended sanctions against Assad's government, imposing asset freezes and travel bans on five more people associated with the crackdown. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said more sanctions could be levied unless the Syrian leadership changed course.

Practical action by the U.N. Security Council on Syria, where rights groups say over 1,600 people have been killed since the uprising began, has until now been paralyzed by disagreements among members.

Western European countries first circulated a draft resolution two months ago but it went nowhere after Russia and China, both allies of Damascus, threatened to veto it. Temporary council members Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa also said they did not support it.

Critics have said they fear that even a simple condemnation could be the first step toward Western military intervention in Syria, as happened in Libya in March. U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice described that as a "canard" and said the resolution contemplated no such thing.

Following a briefing on Syria by Oscar Fernandez Taranco, deputy head of the U.N. political department, all 15 council members spoke but the body took no immediate action, postponing discussion until Tuesday, diplomats said.


The 1982 Hama massacre instilled such fear that few Syrians were ready to challenge Assad family rule openly until this year, when many were inspired by the largely peaceful popular uprisings that toppled Arab autocrats in Egypt and Tunisia.

The Syrian leadership blames "armed terrorist groups" for most killings during the revolt, saying that more than 500 soldiers and security personnel have been killed.

The state news agency said the military entered Hama to purge armed groups that were terrorising citizens, an account dismissed as "nonsense" by a U.S. diplomat in Damascus.

The agency said eight police were killed while "confronting armed terrorist groups" in Hama.

Footage posted on social media showed large parts of the city covered in smoke, and panic-stricken groups around dead or wounded people in the streets as gunfire rang out. Reuters could not independently verify the content of the videos.

U.S. President Barack Obama said he was appalled by the Syrian government's "horrifying" violence against its people in Hama and promised to work with others to isolate Assad.

(Additional reporting by Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman, Oliver Holmes in Beirut, David Brunnstrom and Marine Hass in Brussels, Daren Butler in Istanbul, Catherine Hornby in Rome; Patrick Worsnip in New York; Writing by Michael Roddy, Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

What’s cooking

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 07:42 PM PDT

This week, we're here to tell you how television can help you satiate your cravings for all sorts of food, glorious food. Well, sort of ...

TIME'S up! Utensils down, hands up. If you've been anywhere near my house lately, you would probably have heard this phrase from reality cooking show Top Chef every hour upon the hour. I'm just mad about the show, you see, and for the last month or so I've been watching nothing but back-to-back episodes of it – right from Season One.

Along with Project Runway and perhaps Masterchef Australia (I think the Australian version is far superior to the American one), Top Chef is one of the few reality shows that is more about substance than style.

I've always been a fan of cooking shows, right from the days of Wok With Yan in the early 1980s. Anyone remember Florence Tan and her cooking show? Well, those shows, just like Nigella Lawson's Nigella Bites or Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa, are instructional – they demonstrate recipes to audiences. You watch and you learn. Whether you pick up any skills or not is another matter.

But Top Chef is not that sort of a cooking show. There are no recipes divulged and you are not taught how to cook. In fact, most of what is cooked on the show, we can't recreate at home. Well, at least I can't – sous-vide a duck breast? Use liquid nitrogen to make a cookie? Serve steak in the form of culinary foam? Whaaat?

There is also nothing beautiful about Top Chef (though fans of its host Padma Lakshmi may disagree vehemently – you know who you are!). Most cooking shows on TV are set in beautiful kitchens equipped with even more beautiful gadgets (I'm not a fan of Rachael Ray but I love her vintage orange fridge!). The presenters are good looking or at least nicely made-up and stylishly attired and the food preparation and presentation is perfect. Always. Nothing ever goes wrong. Nothing is ever out of place.

In Top Chef, the kitchens are industrial (I think they're still beautiful), the chefs are almost always sweaty and in a frenzy and they only wear their chef's whites. Pots and pans and sometimes glass bottles fall all over the place and dishes sometimes turn out disastrously. The show is stripped down.

Now, I'm not completely naive. I am aware that like all reality shows there is some level of manipulation to ensure that the show is entertaining, whether in casting the contestants or editing the footage. But on this show, audience manipulation is minimal. The focus is always on the cooking, not the drama. Sure there have been some really wacky contestants on the show (remember Marcel?), but however eccentric they may be, they're brilliant at what they do.

This is quite unlike that other reality cooking show I used to enjoy: Hell's Kitchen. You want to see drama? Watch Gordan Ramsay. The latest season of Hell's Kitchen that just concluded on Star World was unbearable – no cooking (well, hardly any), just a lot of swearing. Bleep. Bleep Bleep. Slam the door shut. Bleep some more. I stopped watching mid-way and I doubt if I'll ever tune into a Ramsay show ever. (How's that for drama?)

One reason I watch Top Chef is to be inspired. These chefs kick a$$. They are amazing. They're given a seemingly ridiculous challenge – creating an amuse-bouche (a bite-sized hors d'Ĺ“uvre) using ingredients from a vending machine – and they come up with some truly mind-blowing dishes. They conceptualise, shop and cook up a six-course meal in a matter of hours. Who are these machines? What goes on in their mind? Can I be their friend?

My favourite contestant of all time is Richard Blais who was the runner-up in the fourth season of the show. He also returns in Season Eight (Top Chef: All Stars). Blais is an amazing chef who combines modern techniques (liquid nitrogen, liquid nitrogen and liquid nitrogen) to reinvent classic, time-honoured dishes without losing the integrity of the original.

Blais was undoubtedly one of the strongest contestants the show ever had and he was also one of the nicest. I could never recreate anything Blais ever made on Top Chef – heck, I can't even pronounce half of what he cooked – but I am amazed at his passion and tenacity and embarrassed that I often am too lazy to even fry an egg for dinner. - S. INDRAMALAR

I'M not much of a cook, anyone who knows me will tell you. I like to bake, I find dishwashing therapeutic and every now and again I stick my head into the fridge to see if there's anything interesting in there. But that's as far as my association with the kitchen extends. When it comes to TV cooking however, it's a completely different story. I'm a bit of a couch potato you might have guessed by now. But I seem to be doubly so when it comes to cook shows.

I can't tell you how much I love just vegging-out while Chef Michael Smith concocts all sorts of delicious meals from the stuff in his larder. I wish my larder were that neat and tidy. I wish I knew some of the names of the spices that have been lying in there for way too long (and have things growing on them ... eww). But I digress. Smith, in his Chef At Home series, always makes things look so darn simple, especially since he's only usually cooking for his wife and son. I'll watch Jamie Oliver too, but find Oliver's accent and off-kilter style a little annoying sometimes. And if I weren't a borderline diabetic, then Lawson would get more of my attention, too.

One of my favourite cook shows is Secret Meat Business, which features Australian chef and author Adrian Richardson. I suspect I watch it so I can brush up on my Aussie accent. Well, I also love meat. Richardson is the type of bloke who makes his own sausages (using equipment you can get from a hardware shop!). He apparently knows everything one needs to know about all sorts of meat – how to choose it, cut it, cook it and yes, eat it, too.

Anna Olson is another favourite simply because her kitchen just looks so inviting! Her recipes, however, are a little difficult to follow. (Any recipe for which I have to use more than three utensils immediately gets filed under "just savour what you see, don't bother attempting ... ever!")

The most exciting cook show for me though has to be Junior Masterchef (the Australian version) hands down. How absolutely fantastic that those little ones were able to cook up all those delectable offerings. Imagine having to choose your own ingredients! That would have been a difficult enough task for me, let alone making something out of them. I love that the hosts – Gary Mehigan, Anna Gare, George Calombaris and Matt Preston – have some culinary knowledge and that they play guides as much as judges.

I've actually learnt some very useful recipes (schnitzel, chicken winglet and oysters ... yeee-um) from Junior Masterchef and it helps that all the recipes and procedures are available on the Internet and can be pulled up anytime you need them.

On the odd occasion I also enjoy tuning into Restaurant Makeover, just to see how new tiles, tables, and a new menu can turn things around for places ready to go out of business.

I often wonder what the crew would do if they came to my place. Knock down the 10-year-old cupboards? Order new sink fittings? What about a brand new fridge? Bar counter with matching swivel stools? I must admit I wouldn't mind having a handyman like Igor around to get my kitchen looking ship-shape ... maybe that way I'd spend more time in it. Oh well, one can dream. - ANN MARIE CHANDY

Ann Marie and Indra leave you with a quote from Julia Child, one of TV's most entertaining cooks to date: 'One of the important requirements for learning how to cook is that you also learn how to eat.'

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

The Star Online: Sports

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Sports

Azhar and Tze Ping win folding bike’s Open events

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 05:58 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The first official folding bike event in the country, the Folding Bike Fun Ride 2011, got off to a promising start at the PLUS Speedway Karting Circuit in USJ, Subang Jaya, on Saturday night.

Apart from the 41 folding bike enthusiasts competing in the exciting races, national cycling stars past and present were also present to cheer them on while adding a touch of glamour to the event.

Bike shop mechanic Azhar Zulaily emerged as the men's Open winner after leaving Sakhri Zohir almost 35 seconds behind in the eight-lap final featuring the top eight riders from two first round heats. Joseph Ng finished third.

And then 27-year-old Teo Tze Ping from Sri Hartamas won the women's Open category after fending off the challenge of Janice Chai, who came all the way from Kluang. Liana Jas­min took third spot.

The men's Masters category, for riders above 35-years-old, was won by 49-year-old Mohd Adzri from Klang, with Khairul Anuar taking second spot and Mohd Reffe in third.

The home crowd had something to cheer about when 37-year-old Subang Jaya's Rachel Lim won the women's Masters final, with another Subang Jaya rider, 47-year old Jessica Lee, finishing second and Rozita Sham­sudin of Kajang taking third spot.

Prior to the main events, participants were given a chance to test themselves against the clock in a timed 100m dash with national cycling head coach John Beasley on hand to clock their times.

The fastest man on a folding bike over 100m was Mike Chen who clocked 12.714, while women's Masters winner Rachel was the fastest sprinter at 14.436.

Former cycling great M. Kumaresan, track star turned BMX rider Rizal Tisin, newly crowned national mountain bike champion Shahrin Amir and former national road champion Fau­zan Ahmad Lutfi were on hand to add a touch of glamour to the event.

The Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) sent a team in full force to officiate and provide technical assistance to event organisers Comma Motorsports and Folding Bike Trading, while isotonic drinks brand 100PLUS provided refreshments for the riders.

"This is the type of event that will make cycling accessible to all walks of life. I'm not sure if there ever was a race specifically for folding bikes held anywhere in the world. This might be the first, although John Beasley has suggested that we conduct thorough checks to see if anyone has ever recorded a 100m timing on folding bikes, it might even be a world record!" joked MNCF deputy president Datuk Naim Mohamad.

"Jokes aside, we see this as an ideal platform to promote cycling to the masses, among other disciplines of cycling. The bikes are affordable and accessible, plus they are really practical bicycles to commute with.

"The numbers of folding bike owners is growing, so for them to have an event such as this is a great idea. It will only help the interest in cycling to flourish. For us, as the national body, we will support the growth in this area of cycling."

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

Ramdan out to make an impact in first start of the season

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 05:57 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Petronas Syntium Moto Yamaha AHM rider Mohd Ramdan Rosli will be making his first start in the 2011 season of the Petronas Asia Road Racing Cham­pionships in Chennai this weekend after missing the first two legs.

Ramdan, who missed the first two legs due to injuries sustained in April, is optimist he could make an impact in the third leg of the championships at the Madras Motor Race Track in the Underbone 115cc race.

"I am 100% fit to race and my participation in the Round 5 (Teluk Intan) and Round 6 (Alor Setar) of the Petronas AAM Malaysian Cub Prix Championship recently proved that I have fully recovered," said Ramdan.

"I am ready to handle the most technical track in the calendar which requires skills and bravery to master."

The Underbone 115cc title may be out of his reach by now as he is without a single point in the championship, but the 15-year-old rider is looking forward to tackle the 3.717km circuit with eight right turns and four left turns. "The track in Chennai has many technical corners and it is crucial to get your lines right and make sure the bike is set up well.

"Even though my chance to fight for the crown is very slim, but my objective remains the same which is to do my team and country proud," he said.

Ramdan is hoping for a top five finish in the race this weekend in his bid to collect as many points as possible.

"The likes of Indonesian riders namely Rafid Topan Sucipto, Hadi Wijaya and Denny Triyugo will make it hard for me.

"Last year I managed to finish seventh in Race 1 and I'm confident of doing better this year in Chennai," he said. Currently leading the standings is Indonesian ace Rafid of Yamaha CKJ TJM Racing on 75 points, followed by Ramdan's team-mate, Shahril Izzuwan Mohd Noor on 58 points while in third placing is defending champion, Hadi of Kawasaki NHK Rextor Manual Tech on 46 points.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

Malaysian storms to third place in British F3 International Series

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 05:57 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's Jazeman Jaafar claimed a deserving third place at the end of a challenging British F3 International Series weekend at Spa Francorchamps with the biggest grid of the season of 29 drivers.

The Spa-Francorchamps race weekend combined the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series and the FIA F3 International Trophy, with Jazeman's points tally from the Spa event putting him in sixth place in British F3 and seventh in the International Trophy.

In wet conditions, a storming start by Jazeman for the first race put him up to third place at the end of the first lap.

Determined to be in front, he pushed hard and pressured Fortec's William Buller from the start until the chequered flag to claim third place.

Jazeman finished 16th on track in the second race with a semi-reverse grid, where he was later penalised for his part in race incidents, and was 12th in the final race of the weekend.

"It was great to be back on the podium again and score valuable points for both the British F3 and International Trophy.

"I had an amazing start and managed to avoid quite a bit of chaos to catapult my Carlin car into third place. We showed strong pace throughout the whole race as well as battling with Buller.

"It's been a weekend of highs and lows for me. Standing on the podium is always a great feeling and I needed those points for both British F3 and the International Trophy, but my weekend went a bit downhill after that.

"I guess Race 2 was a low point, with the close racing proving to be a little too close. I learned a lot from the mistakes I have made and will definitely bounce back stronger in the next few rounds. I also feel privileged to have been racing at the legendary circuit of Spa-Francorchamps," said Jazeman.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

The Star Online: Business

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Business

US House passes bill to raise Govt debt limit and cut spending(update)

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 06:05 PM PDT

WASHINGTON: The deal passed by Congress to raise the debt ceiling and cut more than US$2 trillion in public spending should have only a minor impact on the economy for the next two years.

Almost all the cuts would be made in 2014 or beyond. The approach heeds a warning by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and many private economists: Cutting too much too soon could harm the weak economic recovery.

Yet the deal won't do much to help the U.S. economy, either, at least in the short term, economists said.

Under the debt deal, discretionary spending, which excludes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, would be cut $21 billion in 2012 and $42 billion in 2013, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

Combined, those cuts come to less than 1 percent of the nation's $14 trillion economy. The impact "should be relatively minor," says Brian Gardner, senior vice president at Keefe, Bruyette and Wood, an investment bank.

The spending cuts would increase to $75 billion in 2015 and $156 billion in 2021, the CBO estimates.

Overall, the first phase of cuts would reduce spending by $917 billion over 10 years. A congressional committee would decide on a second phase of cuts totaling $1.5 trillion.

Reduced government spending could mean less money for highway construction, housing assistance, government-sponsored scientific research or any number of other federal programs.

Companies that work on Defense Department contracts could suffer, too. The stocks of Lockheed Martin Corp., General Dynamics Corp. and Raytheon Co. all sank about 1 percent Monday.

If lawmakers fail to reach a deal on a second round of cuts, the Pentagon's budget would be cut automatically by about $500 billion. That measure is designed as a threat, to make sure congressional negotiators have strong incentives to compromise.

Delaying the deepest cuts buys time for the economy to recover. Right now, it can't absorb shocks very well: Unemployment is still 9.2 percent, people are spending less, worker pay has stagnated, and economic growth is the slowest since the end of the recession in June 2009.

Worries about the economy, including the weakest manufacturing in two years, were one reason the stock market couldn't sustain a rally after the debt deal was struck. The market was flat Monday.

The Federal Reserve meets next week. Economists will watch for any signals that the Fed is considering new steps to help the economy, such as re-investing its government bond holdings indefinitely to keep interest rates down.

The debt deal could restore some confidence among individuals and businesses by removing the fear that the U.S. government would default on its debt for the first time, says Troy Davig, an economist at Barclays Capital.

Overall, the deal could subtract about 0.2 percentage point from economic growth in 2012, Davig estimates. While that is a relatively light blow, the economy only grew at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in April, May and June.

In the first three months of the year, the economy grew even more slowly, at a rate of 0.4 percent. The third straight quarterly drop in government spending contributed to the slower growth.

While Bernanke and other economists had warned against cutting too much in the first few years, they also urged Congress to reduce spending over the long term, arguing that solidifying the nation's finances would help the economy.

"Bernanke will be pleased at least with the direction of the agreement," says David Jones, chief economist at DMJ Advisors, a Denver economic consulting firm. "There are no major cuts in the early years but at least a determination to make significant cuts over the 10 years of the deal."

Democratic lawmakers favored smaller cuts over the next two years to avoid hurting the fragile economic recovery, said staffers from both parties with knowledge of the negotiations. Republicans wanted upfront cuts totaling tens of billions of dollars more. The staffers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations.

Republicans insisted on cuts in exchange for allowing an increase in the limit on how much money the government can borrow. Without the increase, the government would not have been able to pay all its bills after Tuesday, the White House said.

While the deal enables the government to avoid a default, credit agencies could still downgrade their ratings of U.S. debt. That would make it more expensive for the government to finance its debt, and lead to higher interest rates for everyone.

There is little in the debt package to promote economic growth, economists say. A "grand bargain" with reforms to the tax code, cuts in entitlement spending and more long-term deficit reduction would have put the U.S. debt on a sounder footing, they say.

Some other measures meant to stimulate the economy expire at year's end. For example, a 2 percentage-point cut in the Social Security tax that will give most American households $1,000 to $2,000 to spend is set to expire after this year.

Obama wants to extend the Social Security tax cut, White House spokesman Jay Carney says. That could prove difficult with a committee focused on finding up to $1.5 trillion in budget cuts at the same time.

Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, forecasts that cuts in federal spending and the end of the tax cut could reduce economic growth by 1.5 percentage points in 2012. - AP

US House passes bill to avoid default

WASHINGTON: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed bitterly fought, compromise debt-limit legislation Monday night that would prevent a U.S. default on its obligations but at a cost of deep cuts in government spending.

The measure still must gain approval in the Senate before it goes to the White House where President Barack Obama has promised to sign it into law. It passed the House 269-161.

Passage in the Senate was seen as nearly certain. The upper chamber was slated to vote on it at noon Tuesday, just hours before the midnight deadline for lifting the $14.3 trillion cap U.S. borrowing.

In the minutes before the legislation won approval, applause rang out through the lower chamber as Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made a dramatic appearance on the House floor, her first since she was shot during a meeting with constituents at a Tucson, Arizona, shopping center in January. Giffords has been undergoing rehabilitation since she was gravely wounded by a gunshot that pierced her brain. She acknowledged her warm welcome, standing among well-wishing colleagues, raising her left hand to waive to fellow legislators in the House.

Her office said she had returned Monday in support of the measure that was passed by the House.

While the odds were in favor of House passage, the compromise deal deeply angered both right-wing Republicans and left-wing Democrats.

The measure was crafted through the crucible of one of the United States' nastiest political fights in recent history. It carefully threaded the needle between the philosophically opposite ends of the political spectrum.

Polls showed that Congress and even Obama have taken a sharp hit in U.S. public opinion because of the prolonged battle over lifting the debt ceiling, something that past Congresses have done as a matter of course.

Without legislation in place by the end of Tuesday, the Treasury would run out of cash needed to pay all its bills which could interrupt payments to investors in Treasury bonds, recipients of Social Security pension checks, anyone relying on military veterans' benefits and businesses that do work for the government. Administration officials say a default would ensue that would severely damage the economy.

Beyond merely avoiding disaster, Obama and congressional leaders hoped their extraordinary accord would reassure investors at home and around the world, preserve the United States' Aaa credit rating and begin to slow the growth in America's soaring debt.

News of the agreement initially buoyed global investors, but European markets surrendered those increases and closed down significantly on worries about the American economy. U.S. stocks also climbed after opening but slipped well into negative territory after a bad report on American manufacturing. Shares closed the day, however, down only about 11 points, or .09 percent.

Before the vote, Obama sent a video to Congress aimed at selling Democrats on the plan. "This has been a long and messy process," he said. "As with any compromise, the outcome is far from satisfying."

As the Senate opened for business Monday, Majority leader Harry Reid declared the deal shows that the often-dysfunctional Senate can come together when it counts. "People on the right are upset, people on the left are upset, people in the middle are upset," he said. "It was a compromise."

The deal came together Sunday night when Obama sealed a deal with leaders of both parties in both houses of Congress on the plan that would initially cut about $1 trillion from U.S. spending.

Obama and many economists and financial experts predicted global chaos and plunging stock markets without the legislation.

House Speaker John Boehner, obviously pleased and relieved at the House vote, gaveled the measure as passed. His standing took a beating in the long fight as he struggled to meld the wishes of the low-tax, small-government tea party wing of his party - 87 new members elected last year - and more mainstream Republicans in the House.

The tea party and Republicans more largely successfully blocked Obama's attempts to raise taxes as part of the plan to slash the deficit, but the president was successful in blocking opposition attempts at a short-term debt ceiling extension. That would have returned the now-poisonous issue to the national agenda early next year, in the midst of the presidential and congressional election campaign.

At a news conference Monday afternoon Boehner said the compromise would "solve this debt crisis and help get the American people back to work."

House Democratic leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, was far less effusive. "I'm not happy with it, but I'm proud of some of the accomplishments in it. That's why I'm voting for it."

The broadest outlines of the emerging plan, a deal that involved deep negotiations between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Biden, would raise the federal debt limit in two stages by at least $2.2 trillion, enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections.

The cuts in government spending would be phased in over a decade. Thousands of programs could be trimmed to levels last seen years ago.

No benefit cuts were envisioned for the Social Security pension system or Medicare, the federal programs that provide health care payments to the elderly. But other programs would be scoured for savings. The possibility of higher taxes taking effect were hotly disputed and off the table in the near future.

The first step would take place immediately, raising the debt limit by nearly $1 trillion and cutting spending by a slightly larger amount over a decade.

That would be followed by creation of a new congressional committee that would have until the end of November to recommend $1.8 trillion or more in deficit cuts, targeting benefit programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, or overhauling the tax code. Those deficit cuts would allow a second increase in the debt limit, which would be needed by early next year.

If the committee failed to reach its $1.8 trillion target, automatic spending cuts totaling $1.2 trillion would kick in, and the debt limit would rise by an identical amount. The conservative campaign to force Congress to approve a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution has been jettisoned.

Social Security, as well as the Medicaid and food voucher programs that provide health care and grocery money for the poor, would be exempt from the automatic cuts, but payments to doctors, nursing homes and other Medicare providers could be trimmed, as could subsidies to insurance companies that offer an alternative to government-run Medicare. - AP

Experts say US could still lose AAA debt rating

NEW YORK: Even though the House of Representatives approved a deal to raise the federal government's debt ceiling, the U.S. could still lose its coveted AAA debt rating sometime in the next six months, largely because the agreement does not cut enough spending.

The three main ratings agencies declined to comment Monday on the prospect of future downgrades. But the agencies, along with economists and analysts, have signaled that doubts about America's debt will persist.

The Senate is due to vote on the bill Tuesday.

Moody's Investors Services has said it will probably rate the U.S. debt as AAA for now but with a negative outlook - a rating that indicates a possible downgrade yet to come.

Fitch Ratings has indicated the deficit must be reduced to a "more sustainable level" for the U.S. to maintain its AAA rating. And Standard & Poor's has said any deal to raise the debt ceiling must cut at least $4 trillion from future budget deficits or the rating will probably be lowered to AA.

The proposal crafted by Obama and congressional leaders cuts only about half that amount, which led at least one expert to suggest that S&P could still downgrade the rating as early as next month.

"The details (of the deal) don't look as pretty as the headlines," said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.

Ratings agencies probably won't look favorably on the fact that most of the spending cuts in the current plan won't be made until after 2013, LeBas said.

"That means you're waiting longer to do the saving, and you would have accumulated more debt," LeBas said.

Avalon Partners chief economist Peter Cardillo believes there is a 70 percent chance of the U.S. being downgraded to a AA credit rating within the next six months, as more details of the spending cuts emerge.

But both Cardillo and LeBas said a downgrade - once considered highly unlikely and catastrophic - might not be that bad for the U.S.

A credit rating downgrade usually leads to higher interest rates, said Kim Caughey-Forrest, senior stock research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group. That would make it more expensive for governments, companies and consumers to borrow money. The 10-year Treasury note is considered the floor for all other interest rates, so higher rates could raise borrowing costs on everything from mortgage loans to credit cards.

But the conventional wisdom that rates will rise sharply on a downgrade might not hold up. A study released last week by JPMorgan Chase bond strategists points to a more gradual increase.

The study showed just a slight increase in lending rates when countries lose their AAA rating. In May 1998, S&P knocked Belgium, Italy and Spain from AAA to AA. A week later, 10-year rates had barely budged. In some cases, rates actually fell. A week after S&P took Ireland's AAA rating away in March 2009, 10-year rates in that country fell 0.18 percentage points.

Analysts and bond traders are not convinced rates will rise much if the U.S. loses its AAA rating. Caughey-Forrest and others note the recent high demand - and the resulting falling yield - for Treasurys.

Global investors still consider U.S. debt one of the safest investments. Many mutual funds, money market funds and banks find U.S. debt so safe they hold Treasurys as a proxy for cash. And they've continued to do so, despite the threat of a debt default and a downgrade.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was at or below 3 percent in July and dropped to 2.75 percent on Monday, an eight-month low.

A downgrade could spur a "quick jolt of nervous, knee-jerk selling" of bonds, LeBas said. Some money-market funds could be forced to sell U.S. government debt if they require client money to be invested in only AAA-rated debt. The combination would likely cause yields on Treasurys to rise in the short term, said Brad Hintz of Bernstein Research.

LeBas expects yields on 10-year Treasurys to jump above 3.5 percent this year - not a level traders consider to be a significant increase. When the recession began in December 2007, yields were as high as 4.20 percent.

But Hintz, LeBas and others said demand for Treasurys will return quickly, sending yields back down.

"A downgrade won't frighten foreign buyers away because this is the largest market and there's no other place to go," Cardillo said.

Treasurys have a solid appeal for the world's central banks. China's central bank holds an estimated $1.16 trillion. Japan, the second largest foreign owner, holds $912 billion.

And at $9.3 trillion, the U.S. government bond market is massive compared to other countries. Treasurys are also considered the easiest security to buy and sell quickly. Daily trading of Treasurys runs at $580 billion, far higher than British gilts ($34 billion) or German bunds ($28 billion), according to a recent study by Fitch.

"I think no matter what happens, Treasurys are the safe haven," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at the brokerage BTIG in New York. "No other market is as large or as liquid." - AP

Latest news, pictures and videos on US budget crisis from the AP-Wire

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

Oil falls on weak economic reports

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 06:04 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Oil fell Monday as early enthusiasm about a deal on America's debt ceiling turned to concern about the global economy following weak readings on U.S. and Chinese manufacturing.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery fell 81 cents to settle at $94.89 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was as high as $98.60 earlier in the session. Brent crude, used to price many international oil varieties, added 7 cents to settle at $116.81 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Oil, which usually moves with global markets, climbed early in the day after U.S. lawmakers came up with a last-minute deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling and avoid default. "It looks like we dodged a bullet," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. "The question long-term, though, is what's going on with the economy."

The government may continue to pay its bills, but the economy is still sluggish. Traders noted that spending cuts won't spark energy demand in the U.S.

Independent oil analyst Jim Ritterbusch said soft oil demand will be a rising concern "once the initial hoopla of the debt ceiling deal subsides."

The dollar rose in afternoon trading, which also helped push crude lower. Oil, which is traded in U.S. currency, tends to fall as the dollar rises and makes crude more expensive for investors holding foreign money.

Oil has been sliding since the middle of last week following reports that gasoline demand continues to be weak, while the economy grew just 1.3 percent from April to June. New reports on manufacturing in the U.S. and China added concerns about petroleum demand overall.

The Institute for Supply Management said manufacturing activity in the U.S. barely grew in July. While it's expanded for 23 straight months, the July reading was the lowest since July 2009 - a month after the recession officially ended.

That followed a report on Sunday that China's manufacturing sector slowed. HSBC's purchasing managers' index for China fell to its lowest level in 16 months. The drop in Chinese manufacturing is particularly significant for economists and oil traders. The country's burgeoning economy is expected to drive global oil demand in coming years. If its economy cools off, many analysts will need to revise their bullish price estimates for oil.

In other Nymex trading for September contracts, heating oil and gasoline futures both fell less than a penny to settle at $3.0974 and $3.054 per gallon, respectively. Natural gas rose 4.3 cents to settle at $4.188 per 1,000 cubic feet. - AP

Latest business news from AP-Wire

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

Appeals court tosses former AIG executives' insurance fraud convictions

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 06:01 PM PDT

HARTFORD, Connecticut: Former executives of American International Group Inc. and General Re Corp. who were convicted in a US$500 million fraud case deserve a new trial, because the judge at their 2008 trial wrongly admitted stock-price data into evidence and gave improper jury instructions, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the fraud convictions for the five officials and sent the case back to U.S. District Court in Hartford.

Prosecutors had accused the executives of participating in a scheme in which New York-based AIG secretly paid Stamford-based Gen Re to take out reinsurance policies with AIG in 2000 and 2001 to boost AIG's falling stock price. Reinsurance policies are backups purchased by insurance companies to completely or partly insure risk they have assumed for their customers.

Ronald E. Ferguson, Elizabeth A. Monrad, Robert D. Graham and Christopher P. Garand, all former executive officers of Gen Re, and Christian M. Milton, AIG's vice president of reinsurance, were sentenced to prison in 2009 for their involvement in the scheme, which authorities estimate cost AIG shareholders more than $500 million.

Testimony from two cooperating witnesses associated with Gen Re helped convict the five executives of conspiracy, mail fraud, securities fraud and false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission. They received sentences ranging from one to four years in jail, but remain free on bail pending the outcome of the appeal.

"We are very gratified by the decision, we look forward to a new trail," said Frederick P. Hafetz, a lawyer for Milton.

Messages seeking comment were left Monday with the U.S. attorney's office in Connecticut. AIG declined to comment.

In his ruling, Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote that most of the arguments in the defendants' appeal were without merit. However, he said the verdicts had to be vacated because of how U.S. District Judge Christopher Droney handled stock-price evidence and because Droney gave jury instruction that influenced the verdict.

The lower court was inconsistent in its rulings on displaying stock-price charts, Jacobs said. One chart showing the full decline in stock price was excluded as overly prejudicial, but it was "functionally identical" to another chart shown during prosecutors' opening statement, he said.

"The court's solution, to allow only isolated ranges of stock-price data, did not mitigate the prejudice," Jacobs wrote. "Instead of a downward line, there were three dropping sets of dots; it is inevitable that jurors would connect them."

In instructing the jury, the trial judge erred by offering an ambiguous standard of conviction that allowed the jury to convict without determining what caused the fraud, Jacobs wrote.

General Re is part of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is led by billionaire investor Warren Buffett of Omaha, Nebraska. The executives who were convicted claimed Buffet was involved in the fraud, but he denied the allegations and was never charged. Prosecutors say he did not approve the deal. - AP

Latest business news from AP-Wire

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

The Star Online: Nation

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Nation

Food stamps will be mainly aimed at the destitute: Shahrizat

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 05:44 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]KUALA LUMPUR: Food stamps will be given out mainly to the destitute should the Government choose to implement the system in future to help ease the burden of rising food prices.

Najib undergoes successful knee surgery

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 04:22 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak underwent successful arthroscopic surgery of the left knee which he had injured in a sports event.

Guinean student found dead in hostel room

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 04:18 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]KUALA LUMPUR: A student from Guinea, West Africa, was found dead in his hostel room at Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia in Gombak here on Monday.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Short films bring festival to a close

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 06:24 PM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: It was a night to remember for hundreds at the finale of the month-long George Town Festival where the highlight was the screening of 10 short films.

The screenings, called "Tropfest" was held at the Esplanade here where the people sat on chairs or relaxed on carpets on the ground.

The films, about seven minutes in length each, had the spectators captivated.

The titles played during the breezy night were – Carmichael and Shane, Marry Me, Animal Beatbox, Beyond Words, Fences, The Unspoken, Lucky, Flight, Focus and Mankind Is No Island.

The memorable night started at 9.45pm and ended with a five-minute fireworks display, some 90 minutes later.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said for Penang to be an international and intelligent city, it must also have a civil society.

"To be a civil society, we must develop an appreciation for arts and culture besides promoting and expanding its development. The festival aims at building a vibrant cultural landscape and a dynamic art performance hub that will light up our lives," he said.

The Star is the official paper for the event.

Earlier in the night, some 200 music lovers were entertained at the St George's Church where the Lisbon Chamber Choir performed.

The 22-piece choir including its conductor Prof Teresita Gutierrez Marques mesmerised the people with songs like Aria in D Major by J.S. Bach and Trai Trai by Manuel Faria.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

Malaysian Bhangra singers make breakthrough in Bollywood

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 06:00 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Two Malaysian Bhangra singers have made a giant leap into the Bollywood film industry with an invitation by movie director Rajiv Mehra to produce a song for his upcoming film.

While Malaysians like veteran Tamil singer M. Vasudevan and rapper Yogi B (real name, Yoges­waran Veerasingam) had left their mark in the South Indian music scene, Goldkartz – comprising brothers Manjit Singh and Sukhjit Gill – has become the first South-East Asian group to produce and sing for a Bollywood movie.

Rajiv Mehra's movie, Chala Mussadi Office Office, is a big screen adaptation of the hit TV sitcom Office Office which revolved around main character Musaddilal, played by Indian actor Pankaj Kapoor, and his humorous interactions with corrupt government officials.

Pankaj Kapoor will be reprising his part as schoolmaster Mussaddi Lal Tripathi in the film.

"It's a great honour, as Malay­sians, to be recognised for our talent," Manjit, who produced the single Mauja for the movie, said.

"We are pleased our song has caught the attention of Bollywood, particularly from the music directors, Sajid Ali and his brother Wajid," Manjit added.

For Manjit and Sukhjit, their Bollywood experience had been with Indian composer-singer-producer Shankar Mahadevan, on the song Rock with You from their second album, 24 Karaatz.

Manjit, a lawyer, and Sukhjit, a law student at Universiti Malaya, will leave for India today to promote Mauja and Chala Mussadi Office Office.

The movie will be released in India on Aug 5.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

The Star Online: Metro: Central

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: Central

PJ residents want cement plant relocated

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 04:08 AM PDT

residents of Section 51A in Petaling Jaya held a protest yesterday demanding for the relocation of a cement plant because of pollution and traffic problems.

According to resident Khor Choon Hooi, 36, lorries from the cement plant were using Jalan 225, the main access road to Sungai Way and Section 51A.

"At times the plant operates round the clock to fulfill orders, regardless of public holidays or weekends," he said.

Zakaria Abdul Rahman, who has been living in Section 51A for more than 40 years, said the lorries coming in and out from the plant also pose a danger to motorists.

"The lorries have also damaged the road, making it uneven and dangerous for motorcyclists.

"The plant is also polluting the environment, clogging drains and covering the nearby houses with dust. One of my neighbours has developed a skin allergy due to this," he said.

Kampung Tunku state liaison officer Kelvin Chong said the plant began operations more than three years ago and ceased operations for a few months after being issued a stop-work order.

However, it resumed operations six months later.

"The Selangor MCA Public Complaints Bureau received complaints from residents three months ago on the problem and had sent a letter to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) but no action was taken.

"We want the council to consider relocating the plant. The council should refer to Local Agenda 21 and get the residents approval before allowing such plants to be built in the residential area," he said.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

RM12.4mil spent on repairing low-cost flats in KL

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 04:07 AM PDT

ABOUT RM12.4mil has been spent under the 1Malaysia Maintenance Fund so far to repair low-cost flats, said Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik.

The fund was set up to repair and maintain private low-cost flats whose Joint Management Bodies (JMB) could not afford to pay the entire amount for the work done. Under the scheme, medium low-cost flats will have to pay 40% of the maintenance work instead of the 20% for low-cost flats while the rest will be funded by the government.

Raja Nong Chik said this after a gotong-royong in Taman Sri Sentosa.

"The prime minister had announced a RM6.5mil allocation for repainting the 45 blocks here and the replacement of lifts at the 14-storey block in Taman Ria AC4. We then decided to add on another RM3.5mil.

"This comes under the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) in the Prime Minister's Department,"

"Repair work will also be carried out at the Taman Melati Flats, Jalan Tun Razak low-cost flats in Kampung Baru and Desa Pandan low-cost flats," he said.

The gotong-royong was separated into nine zones, which was led by local community leaders and government agencies as part of the Kuala Lumpur Cleanliness Campaign 2011.

The zones included the low-cost flats, commercials areas, Pinang 1A apartments and AC4 low-cost flats in Taman Sri Sentosa.

Nong Chik also said the cleanliness of the Ramadan bazaars was the responsibility of traders.

"We have increased the deposit this year to ensure that only genuine and capable traders will be doing business. They would have to comply with the rules.

"The ministry has also allocated RM1mil for cleaning work in the city," he said.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved