Ahad, 23 September 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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

The Star Online: World Updates

China surveillance ships enter waters near disputed islands

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 07:45 PM PDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Two Chinese marine surveillance ships entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea on Monday, prompting an official protest from Tokyo amid rising tension between Asia's two biggest economies.

China's Xinhua news agency confirmed that two civilian surveillance ships were undertaking a "rights defence" patrol near the islands, citing the State Oceanic Administration, which controls the ships.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said it had lodged an official protest with the Chinese envoy to Japan against the move.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply after Japan bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, sparking anti-Japan protests in cities across China.

"In recent days, Japan has constantly provoked incidents concerning the Diaoyu islands issue, gravely violating China's territorial sovereignty," China's Xinhua news agency said.

The ship patrols were intended to exercise China's "administrative jurisdiction" over the islands, it said.

"Following the relevant laws of the People's Republic of China, (the ships) again carried out a regular rights defence patrol in our territorial waters around the Diaoyu islands."

The Japanese Coast Guard ordered the Chinese ships to move out of the area, but received no response, an official said.

Besides the two marine surveillance ships, there were nine Chinese fishery patrol ships near the islands as of 7:00 a.m. (11:00 p.m. British time on Sunday), but they were outside what Japan calls its territorial waters, the Coast Guard said.

Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by China's memories of Japan's military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s and present rivalry over regional influence and resources.

The islets are located near rich fishing grounds and potentially huge gas reserves.

The latest flare-up in tensions comes when both countries focus on domestic political pressures. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's government faces an election in months, adding pressure on him not to look weak on China.

China's Communist Party is preoccupied with a leadership turnover, with President Hu Jintao due to step down as party leader at a congress that could open as soon as next month.

Despite the long-running territorial disputes, their economic ties have grown closer over the years. China is Japan's largest trading partner. In 2011, their bilateral trade grew 14.3 percent in value to a record $345 billion (213 billion pounds).

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Antoni Slodkowski in Tokyo and Chris Buckley in Beijing; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Obama's foreign policy bright spot now looking dimmer

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 07:45 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If you thought Mitt Romney was the only presidential candidate whose problems were piling up in the final stretch of the 2012 election campaign, think again.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Henry Maier Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Henry Maier Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

From Middle East upheaval to the troubled Afghan war effort to a more assertive Russia, President Barack Obama is facing pressures that threaten to chip away at a foreign policy record his aides hoped would be immune to Republican attack.

The White House is increasingly concerned but isn't hitting the panic button, yet. Administration officials are heartened by Republican challenger Mitt Romney's own recent foreign policy stumbles and doubt Obama's critics will gain traction in a campaign focused mainly on the U.S. economy.

As a result, when Obama speaks inside the cavernous U.N. General Assembly hall on Tuesday exactly six weeks before the U.S. election, he will seek to reassure American voters as well as world leaders he is on top of the latest global challenges. But he won't propose any new remedies or bold initiatives.

There will be close scrutiny of how far he goes in talking tough about Iran's nuclear program - but even on that point, aides say privately he will not break new policy ground.

Obama's final turn on the world stage before facing voters will be a reflection of where his priorities lie. Despite simmering global crises, he will skip traditional private meetings with foreign counterparts and squeeze his U.N. visit into just 24 hours so he can jump back on the campaign trail.

However, Obama will make time in New York on Monday to tape an appearance on the popular TV talk-show "The View" - a scheduling decision that had campaign aides scrambling to defend the president's choice of voter outreach over diplomacy.

U.N. delegates shouldn't take it personally.

"It's just that they don't vote," said Joseph Cirincione, a foreign policy expert at the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation.

But Obama's relatively low-key U.N. itinerary will also be a stark reminder that the heady optimism that greeted him when he took office promising to be a transformational statesman has cooled, giving way to geopolitical realities.


Aides insist foreign policy is still a bright spot for Obama. The White House never tires of touting the killing of Osama bin Laden and the ending of the Iraq war. But his record appears to have dimmed a bit with a recent run of bad news.

Obama has found himself sharply at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over how to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, a dispute that sent relations between the two close allies to a new low on the president's watch.

An eruption of violent unrest against U.S. diplomatic missions across the Muslim world has confronted Obama with his worst setback yet in his efforts to keep the Arab Spring from fuelling a new wave of anti-Americanism - and has underscored that he has few good options to deal with it.

NATO's cutback of joint operations with Afghan forces in response to a spate of deadly "insider" attacks has also raised questions about what will be left behind when, under Obama's strategy, most U.S. forces depart Afghanistan in 2014.

And Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision last week to suspend a U.S. aid mission to Moscow threatens what's left of Obama's "reset" in relations with Russia, which his aides had touted as a signature foreign policy accomplishment.

At the same time, the Obama administration has shown itself unwilling to intervene to end the bloody crisis in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad has defied calls to step aside.

Romney and his campaign aides have pounced on these developments, seeking to support their argument that Obama has weakened America's global standing by failing to lead.

"It's symptomatic of failed policy," said Dan Senor, a Romney adviser who served as a spokesman in Baghdad under President George W. Bush. "Biography and force of personality are nice attributes but not substitutes for leadership."

Obama, whose lofty oratory and vision of multilateralism helped him win the Nobel Peace Prize after 11 months in office, is widely credited with improving the tone of U.S. foreign policy after what was perceived as Bush's go-it-alone approach.

"It's clear that the United States is in a stronger position than we were when he took office," White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said in previewing the themes of Obama's U.N. speech.

But while polls show Obama remains personally popular in many parts of the world, America's image is again in decline, especially in the Middle East, the focus of intense personal outreach at the start of the president's term.


Though it remains unclear how much of a liability the latest crisis will be for Obama at home, his approval rating on foreign policy dropped to 49 percent from 54 percent in August, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll after attacks on U.S. missions in Egypt, Libya and other Muslim countries.

But Romney may have a hard time reaping dividends. A Pew poll found that while 45 percent of Americans approved of Obama's handling of the crisis, only 26 percent backed Romney's criticism of his response. Romney was widely accused of opportunism in a national tragedy.

Obama, at the U.N., will address the unrest in Muslim countries fuelled by an anti-Islamic film his administration has denounced, and will repeat his message that the United States "will never retreat from the world," Vietor said.

The U.S. president said on Sunday in an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" program that despite the promise of the Arab Spring, there will be "bumps in the road" on the way to a more democratic and peaceful Middle East and North Africa.

He will also reassert that Iran must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. But aides say privately that while he may sharpen his rhetoric, he will stop short of setting a specific "red line" for Tehran as Netanyahu has demanded.

Obama told "60 Minutes" he shares Netanyahu's concerns but will make policy decisions based on U.S. interests.

Calls for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks - something he promised to make a priority when he took office but which he has failed to advance - have been a staple of Obama's U.N. appearances, and it would be a glaring omission if he did not mention the issue. But he will have to be cautious to avoid alienating pro-Israel voters.

Before travelling to New York, Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, told the New York Times that Washington must change its approach to the Arab world and help build a Palestinian state to reduce pent-up anger in the region.

The implicit warning in Obama's U.N. speech will be that a Romney presidency would pursue a more hawkish foreign policy.

Also unspoken will be the fact that Obama and his aides were caught flat-footed by the latest turmoil in Muslim countries and are still struggling to recalibrate their Arab Spring strategy.

Though the protests seemed to have subsided in most places for now, some conservative commentators have conjured up images of the Iran hostage crisis - which helped sink Jimmy Carter's re-election - should the situation deteriorate.

"If there's more of it, it drives home a sense that he doesn't know what he's doing," said Elliot Abrams, former deputy national security adviser under Bush.

(With additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Warren Strobel, Cynthia Osterman and Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

China jails ex-police chief, closes in on disgraced Bo

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 07:14 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court jailed ex-police chief Wang Lijun for 15 years on Monday after finding him guilty on four charges, including seeking to conceal the murder of a British businessman, in a scandal that felled ambitious politician Bo Xilai.

Former police chief Wang Lijun attends a court hearing in Chengdu in this file image taken from a September 18, 2012 video. REUTERS/CCTV via Reuters TV/Files

Former police chief Wang Lijun attends a court hearing in Chengdu in this file image taken from a September 18, 2012 video. REUTERS/CCTV via Reuters TV/Files

The verdict ends the career of one of China's most controversial police officers and moves the ruling Communist Party closer to deciding the fate of Bo whose contentious downfall has shaken a looming leadership handover.

The Intermediate People's Court of Chengdu in southwest China said Wang, former police chief of southwestern Chongqing municipality, received the sentence for "bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking", according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

"Wang Lijun stated to the court that he will not appeal," said the Xinhua report. Wang's lawyer, Wang Yuncai, was not available for comment immediately after the announcement.

The scandal that felled both men erupted after Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo, murdered British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011 in Chongqing, where Bo was the flamboyant Communist Party chief.

As well as the conviction of sabotaging an investigation into the murder, Wang was found guilty of defecting to a U.S. consulate, taking bribes and conducting illegal surveillance.

Officials have said the murder arose from a business dispute in Chongqing, which Bo and Wang ran as their fiefdom.

After first helping Gu evade suspicion of poisoning Heywood, Wang then kept evidence of the murder, according to the official account of Wang's trial. In late January, Wang confronted Bo with the allegation that Gu was suspected of killing Heywood. But Wang was "angrily rebuked and had his ears boxed".

Days later, Bo stripped Wang of his post as Chongqing police chief. Wang, fearing for his safety, fled west to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu where he hid for more than 24 hours until Chinese officials coaxed him out.

In August, Gu was sentenced to a suspended death sentence, which effectively means life in prison.

Wang sealed his fate at a trial a week ago by admitting the charges, according to an official account of the hearing published by Xinhua news agency. Only official media outlets were allowed inside the courtroom.

"As for the crimes that the prosecution has alleged, I understand them, I admit to them and I am repentant for them," Wang told the court in Chengdu, a city about 300 km (190 miles) from Chongqing, according to that earlier account.

The Chinese government has not said what will happen to Bo, who in March was sacked as party boss and in April suspended from the ruling Communist Party's Politburo, a powerful decision-making council with two dozen active members.

So far, Bo has only been accused of breaching internal party discipline. But experts say the public citing of Bo's angry rebuke of Wang has raised the likelihood that he too will face criminal charges, probably after the party congress.

Before then, party leaders could first expel Bo from the party and hand him over for criminal investigation.

"The prosecutors said Wang exposed leaders to major crimes by others," said Li Zhuang, a Beijing lawyer who opposed Wang and Bo for mounting a sweeping crackdown on foes in the name of fighting organised crime. Bo was the likely target of Wang's allegations, said Li.

"That was a slap around the ears that changed history," Li said of Bo's alleged actions against Wang. "Otherwise, Bo might still be in power and hoping to rise higher."

(Additional reporting by Sally Huang and Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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

The Star Online: Sports

Vettel wins dramatic Singapore Grand Prix

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 07:43 AM PDT

SINGAPORE: Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel survived an incident-packed Singapore Grand Prix to reignite his world title defence with a thrilling victory on Sunday.

After two safety cars, crashes and the shock retirement of title-challenger Lewis Hamilton, Formula One's youngest double champion finished in front of McLaren's Jenson Button for only his second win of the season.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso was third, claiming his eighth podium of the season in the dramatic night race around the narrow, demanding street circuit through the heart of downtown Singapore.

Force India's Paul di Resta took an impressive fourth and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg was fifth, ahead of Lotus's former world champion Kimi Raikkonen. Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Mark Webber rounded out the top 10 in a race that did not even reach the 61 allotted laps after hitting its two-hour time-limit, meaning it was halted after 59.

With the win, Vettel climbs to second in the standings behind the consistent Alonso, who has a reduced lead of 29 points. Raikkonen lies third and the unlucky Hamilton drops down to fourth.

"This has been one of toughest races of the year, to be honest," said Vettel, last year's winner in Singapore. "There are so many bumps, there's no room for mistakes and it just seems to go on forever... I'm just incredibly happy."

Hamilton made a smooth start from pole accompanied by Williams driver Pastor Maldonado, but a misjudgment on the first corner cost the Venezuelan two places as Vettel and Button sailed through.

Several cars ran wide on the first two corners and Caterham's Vitaly Petrov lost some of his front wing, but an investigation found no cause for punishment.

Ferrari's Massa was the big loser in the early jostling as he dropped to the back after pitting with a puncture. At the front Hamilton and Vettel, swapping fastest laps, were peeling away from Button.

Red Bull driver Webber came in for soft tyres on lap nine, setting a trend followed by the leading drivers. Meanwhile his team-mate Vettel overcame a scare at turn 10, the notorious "Singapore Sling".

Sauber's Sergio Perez also had a problem at the tough corner and Maldonado would have had his heart in his mouth as he pounded the brakes and narrowly averted a slide heading wide into a left-hander at the end of a long straight.

Hamilton pitted from the lead on lap 12 but was soon back in front, ahead of Vettel. But disaster struck on lap 23 when a gearbox failure put him out of the race, prompting gasps from the crowd.

Vettel was now in the lead for one of the rare occasions this season, but HRT's Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan added a fresh twist when he ploughed into a barrier and stopped on the track, prompting the safety car.

Most cars took the opportunity to pit. But Maldonado, after complaining of a hydraulic problem, rolled his car into the garage and out of the race.

Button nearly collided with Vettel before the safety car left the track - and straight after the resumption Schumacher ploughed dramatically into the back of Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, smashing the front wheels off his Mercedes.

Despite the front of Schumacher's car briefly becoming airborne, both drivers emerged unharmed. With the safety car out again, Petrov also retired.

Massa made contact with Bruno Senna as he barged past his Brazilian countryman and only just retained control of his car in a wild manoeuvre that took him up to ninth.

Vettel set consecutive fastest laps as he scented his second victory in a row in Singapore, with a lead of nearly two seconds over Button heading into the final 15 laps. Alonso was seven seconds adrift in third.

Perez lost bodywork in a misguided attempt to squeeze past Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, and Webber caused chaos with a bold move past Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi.

But the race was now Vettel's to lose and he brought calm to the chaotic grand prix with a smooth ride to the abbreviated finish.-AFP

England ask India to bat in World Twenty20

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 06:55 AM PDT

COLOMBO: England captain Stuart Broad won the toss and sent India in to bat in a group A match of the World Twenty20 in Colombo on Sunday.

The match holds only academic interest as both teams have already qualified for the Super Eights round after knocking minnows Afghanistan out of the competition.

No points are carried forward into the next round and the Super Eights groups are to be formed on the basis of pre-tournament seedings. India rested seamer Zaheer Khan, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and opener Virender Sehwag, as off-spinner Harbhajan Singh returned to the side for the first time since August last year.

England made one change from the team that beat Afghanistan, dropping left-arm spinner Samit Patel and replacing him with seamer Tim Bresnan. England: Stuart Broad (capt), Jonathan Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright.

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ashok Dinda, Rohit Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh.

Umpires: Simon Taufel (AUS) and Aleem Dar (PAK)
TV umpire: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)- AFP

Adlington declines chance to compete at 2016 Games

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 03:47 AM PDT

LONDON: Double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington says she will not compete at the 2016 Rio Games but would like to play a secondary role for her country as the British star winds down her hugely successful career.

The 23-year-old became a household name following the 2008 Beijing Games, when she became the first British swimmer to win two gold medals at the same Olympics since 1908 by taking the 400m and 800m freestyle titles, but says Rio is a step too far.

"Rio is out of reach. I'll be 27 by then, and swimming, especially for distance swimmers, is a young person's game," Adlington told the Mail on Sunday after recently adding 400m and 800m bronze to her Olympic achievements in London.

"If I was a sprinter then I would go to Rio. But I don't have an ounce of sprinting in me, and that's why my Olympics are over."

She is undecided whether she will compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow but if she does, she will likely drop down to the shorter distances.

"If I were to race in Glasgow - and that's an if - then it would be in the 200m and 400m but definitely not the 800m. I'm done with that distance," continued Adlington who pulled off the 400m/800m double at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Dehli.

"I'd like to be in Rio, though, even if I'm just a fan. Hopefully I can be a bit more than that, like a mentor, or have some kind of official or unofficial role with the British swimming team. All I know is that three Olympics is one too many for me."- AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

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

The Star Online: Nation

Anifah leads Malaysian delegation at 67th UN general assembly

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 03:55 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian delegation to the 67th session of the United Nations (UN) general assembly in New York from Sunday until Oct 1 will be led by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.

The ministry, in a statement Sunday, said the UN was an important platform for Malaysia to demonstrate its utmost commitment and to strengthen its cooperation in addressing various issues that promoted efforts in maintaining international peace and security.

Anifah is scheduled to deliver Malaysia's National Statement at the General Debate on Sept 29.

The theme of this year's session is "Bringing About Adjustment or Settlement of International Disputes or Situations by Peaceful Means".

Anifah is also scheduled to attend the High-Level Meeting on the Rule of Law on Monday, High-Level Event on Peacebuilding - Way Towards Sustainable Peace and Security on Tuesday and High-Level Meeting on Countering Nuclear Terrorism on Friday.

He will also be attending the Asean and OIC related meetings, Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting and other sideline events held during the period.

Anifah will also hold several bilateral meetings with his counterparts to discuss matters of mutual interest. - Bernama

Robbers leave empty-handed after failing to break into ATM

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 03:29 AM PDT

SABAK BERNAM: Three robbers were frustrated in their attempt to break into an automated teller machine (ATM) outside the main entrance of Politeknik Sultan Idris Shah, here Sunday.

Sabak Bernam police chief Supt Noor Mushar Mohamad said the masked men fled the scene empty-handed after they failed to crack the ATM's cash compartment about 3am.

"The gang failed to weld open the ATM and fled the scene with their tools," he told reporters here.

Noor Mushar said the suspects wore dark clothing and had stormed into the polytechnic's security booth, which was about 10m from the ATM.

They gagged and tied up a security guard to a chair and pushed him onto the floor, where he was found by his partner who came back from his rounds at 6am, he added.

The closed-circuit television recording was being scrutinised to identify the suspects, he said. - Bernama

Fire at Taman Seputeh flats razes two units

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 03:21 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Residents of a flat in Taman Seputeh here were forced to evacuate their units after a fire broke out on the third floor of the building Sunday.

City Fire and Rescue department operations officer Zukeri Shafie said they received a distress call at around 3.21pm.

"Five fire engines and 35 firemen from three fire stations nearby were dispatched to the scene.

"When we arrived there at around 3.34pm, two units on the third floor were already engulfed in flames," he told reporters when met at the scene.

He said firemen managed to control the fire in 15 minutes and that no one was injured in the incident.

"We believe the foreigners who lived in both units were not home at the time of the fire," he said, adding that the cause of the fire and extent of damage have yet to be established.

He said when the fire broke out, many residents on the lower floors evacuated, bringing their valuables, clothes and documents with them.

One of the residents who evacuated her home was 52-year-old Maimunah Ahmad Aziz.

She said she was watching television with her husband when she heard several minor explosions.

"I looked out of the window and saw smoke billowing from the upper floor," she said, adding that she and her husband had gathered their valuables and documents, and rushed out of the building.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Visual feast at 6th International Art Expo Malaysia

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 05:15 AM PDT

Miro, Miao and a young artists' auction are among the treats at the 6th Art Expo.

A SPECIAL suit of etchings/aquatints by the Spanish maestro Joan Miro, a world premiere of animation wizard Miao Xiao-chun's latest Neo-Cubist film, and The Young Contempo Auction. These are among the highlights of the 6th International Art Expo (AEM) Malaysia, which opens in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. It will be a visual feast like no other, with more than 2,000 pieces of works from 60 art galleries/institutions spanning 23 countries, all displayed under one roof.

This being the Year of the Dragon, a mythical creature synonymous with China, the AEM will go big on chinoiserie again. Apart from Miao's giant animation, which has been a drawcard since its debut in 2009, other highlights will feature selected artists from China's Szechuan New Wave of forty-somethings headed by Feng Zheng-jie, the Shaanxi Art Association under grandmaster Wang Xi-jing, and artistic gems from Tsinghua University of Beijing.

Also bannered is a special tribute pavilion for the second-generation Lingnan master Au Ho-Nien (born 1935), now based in Taiwan, while that country's national treasure, Li Chi Mao, will have works drawn from his dedicated museum in Malacca. Prof Li, 87, has two other museums under his name in Taiwan and China.

AEM had the special tribute pavilions for Living Legend Artists from 2007-10. Among those honoured were Datuk Chuah Thean Teng, Chung Chen Sun, Cheah Yew Saik, Datuk Syed Ahmad Jamal (all from Malaysia), Prof Jang Sung Up (South Korea) and Prof Li.

To plug the geographical gaps and offer visitors a view of scarcely-seen art from faraway places, and works by those not represented at the various booths, the organisers have opened up a new flank for embassies to bring in some of their best talents. The embassies involved are Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador and Switzerland.

Spain's ATR gallery, an AEM stalwart since its inception in 2007, is presenting an impressive array of limited edition prints by Joan Miro (1893-1983). The works are from the surrealist artist's 1979 portfolio, A Passage To Egypt, done at his workshop in Palma de Mallorca, where the Barcelona Catalan had moved to in 1956 and lived until his death.

Miro, winner of the Graphic Works prize at the Venice Biennale in 1964, is one of the greatest 20th century artists, together with fellow Spaniard contemporaries Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. ATR also promotes works of Picasso and the fast-emerging sculptor, Jesus Curia.

Miro is known for his child-like abstracts of cosmic symbols, figures and birds of an inner universe. He first struck his etchings in 1933, as illustrations for Enfances and then, Daphnis And Chloe, a Greek romance novel. He was also an accomplished painter, sculptor and ceramist. The Miro etchings/aquatints are the largest batch of works ever approved by the Joan Miro Foundation.

Miao's lush high-tech futuristic narrations on contemporary life and the fate of Man using analogies and parodies from iconic paintings such as The Last Judgment and The Garden of Earthly Delights have cast a magical spell on visitors, transporting them into fantasy realms.

The expo will also incorporate the inaugural The Young Contempo Auction (TYCA) of emerging artists, a project by the Henry Butcher Art Auctioneers, to raise seed money for a fund to aid fledgling artists. The auction will be held at the AEM venue on Sept 29, at 4pm. Artists involved include Gan Chin Lee, Haslin Ismail, Wong Chee Meng, Mat Ali Mat Som, Khairul "Meme" Azmir Shoib, Stephen Menon, Roslisham "Ise" Ismail, Rennie Cheng and Siund Tan.

The National Visual Art Gallery (NVAG) and Bank Negara, two of the biggest art repositories in the country, will also offer glimpses of the museum-quality masterpieces from their vaults. Also, the Creative Alternative booth will show off works of top Southeast Asian artists from the collection of Hanif Idris.

Apart from artists from the embassy countries, others who will be exhibiting are from Britain, China, Malaysia, Iran, the Netherlands, Vietnam, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Spain, France, Hong Kong, Hungary, Myanmar and India.

Some galleries have bases in several countries and they no longer just represent artists of the country of origin but also promote those of various nationalities.

As indication that local art galleries have wholeheartedly embraced the expo, 20 Malaysian-based art galleries (excluding Bank Negara and the NVAG) are in this year's show, which will continue to host a special art charity booth, Have A Heart, for the mentally challenged who are artistically inclined.

AEM, the brainchild of art impresario Vincent Sim Tiak Choo, cannot hope to compete with the big boys such as Art Hong Kong. But it is fast becoming a fair that bridges art trends and impulses from various continents, including the Middle East, and primarily among Southeast Asian nations.

In the 2010 edition, a set of silkscreen works by American Pop Art icon Andy Warhol sold for RM2mil, bringing the sales turnover that year to more than RM11mil. This family-orientated fair provides art-tainment as well as educational programmes. Best of all, admission is free ! Ooi Kok Chuen

> The International Art Expo will be held at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Off Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur, from Sept 27-30. Viewing from 10.30am to 7.30pm daily, and till 6pm on Sept 30. A free shuttle bus service is available to and from KL Sentral (bus stop in front of the ERL departure hall) and the venue. Check times at artexpomalaysia.com.

New way of looking at art at Gillman Barracks

Posted: 23 Sep 2012 05:13 AM PDT

Besides artworks, talks and film screenings will be part of Gillman Barracks' offerings.

GET ready for a new way of looking at art with the opening of Gillman Barracks in Singapore.

The tastefully refurbished British army barracks, sprawled over six hectares and off Alexandra Road, is about the size of nine soccer fields.

After a S$10mil (RM25mil) makeover, the space which used to house restaurants and bars will host 15 local and international art galleries. Of these, 13 will open for public viewing this month, while two galleries – Pearl Lam Galleries and Kaikai Kiki Gallery – will be operational early next year.

Besides the work on the walls, visitors can look forward to a slew of talks, specially curated exhibitions and panel discussions, and even short films and documentaries. And these programmes will continue at the art spaces throughout the year.

Arts writer and academic Tony Godfrey, who is also the exhibitions director at gallery Equator Art Projects, says: "Each of us is aware that we have to fill the space with more than just art on the wall."

Indeed, Equator Art Projects is one of many which has in place a museum-style exhibition programming plan.

Its opening show, Marcel Duchamp In South-East Asia, will be accompanied by a series of discussions. Co-hosted by the Singapore office of the not-for-profit arts organisation in China, Yellow River Arts Centre, the talks will feature academics, critics and artists, including Dr Charles Merewether, Ho Tzu Nyen and Amanda Heng, who will respond to the question: What happened when Duchamp came to South-East Asia?

New York-based gallerist Sundaram Tagore, who owns an eponymous chain of galleries in cities including New York, Beverly Hills and Hong Kong, says his galleries are focused on inter-cultural dialogue and he intends to push that in his second Asian art space in Singapore.

The gallery is well known in New York for events ranging from dance performances to film screenings to book readings.

Tagore, 52, says: "We focus on people, thinkers, artists and film-makers who share our passion for dialogue. We use art as a vehicle to bring people together, and as such, we represent a global community of artists. We very much look forward to continuing this programming in Singapore."

While details are yet to be announced, gallery-goers can look forward to talks and film screenings. The gallery has a full-fledged film arm, which focuses on documenting the lives of artists.

The commitment to such dialogues about art is evident on the part of the Economic Development Board (EDB), too.

The Gillman Barracks, developed by the EDB, JTC Corporation and the National Arts Council, is Singapore's push to build an arts district akin to Beijing's 798 Art District, South Korea's Heyri Art Village and New York's Chelsea.

Complementing the gallery openings and shows is an exhibition curated by Dr Eugene Tan, programme director at the EDB, who is overseeing the development of Gillman Barracks.

Using the lush green surroundings of the barracks as the setting for encountering and experiencing art, the exhibition features 15 Singapore and international artists, including painter Jane Lee and installation artist Donna Ong, to highlight new meanings which a different environment brings to the art experience.

The works will flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces of the sprawling barracks.

Dr Tan, 39, says: "The galleries at Gillman Barracks will also function as platforms of exchange between the local and the international arts community. This will happen through the exchange with the international artists visiting Singapore to prepare for their exhibitions, and through the talks and outreach programmes that the galleries are planning."

Besides the galleries, the area will house the Singapore branch of the Yellow River Arts Centre and the independently-run Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. The latter, which will open next year, will add to the visual arts landscape through its international artist residency programmes, research projects and exhibitions.

In terms of art, there will be plenty to see, ranging from the cutting edge and the established artists, including works by a star-studded roster of A-listers such as Japanese superstars Yayoi "polka dot" Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara, to photographers Annie Leibovitz and Henri-Cartier Bresson.

It is this comprehensive vision for the arts which has attracted several international galleries. While most declined to say how much they have invested, only revealing that they could open a gallery, Japan's Ota Fine Arts says it has spent about US$125,000 (RM387,000) so far to open a gallery in Singapore.

Its director, Yasuko Kaneko, 31, says the country was picked as the gallery sees it as the "next destination for art".

The galleries pay commercial rates for the space and say they have not been offered any monetary incentives. In a call for applicants last year, rental rates were cited as between S$31.50 (about RM78.53) and S$35.50 (about RM88.50) a square metre a month.

Janice Kim, 42, gallery director of Space Cottonseed, who recently moved to Singapore from Seoul, sees great potential here.

"I have worked for a long time in the Korean art scene and found fresh and positive energy in Singapore. I feel this space offers me a chance to experiment and create something new," she says.

"Apart from reaching out to a new audience, Singapore appeals to me because this is a place where people really appreciate diversity and accept differences."

She plans to strengthen her exhibition programming by investing in arts publishing.

Italy's Partners & Mucciaccia Gallery is planning exhibition tours for students from primary to tertiary levels. Gallery director Valter Spano, 42, says these curator-led tours will expound on the exhibition project, provide an overview of art during that period and explain the meaning of the artworks shown.

Its opening show, From Picasso To The New Roman School, will present works by prominent contemporary artists, including the Spanish master Pablo Picasso.

David Teh, 35, director of Future Perfect, believes Gillman will make a big impact with the convergence of regional players and the "unique qualities" of the site.

"Contemporary art does not belong in high-end shopping malls nor should it be exclusive. Gillman, a dedicated gallery precinct, offers the public a diverse viewing experience in one convenient location," Teh says.

"The plans different gallerists have for their spaces promise to turn this into a hub for art-lovers from all walks of life." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Insidious tummy bacteria

Posted: 22 Sep 2012 11:51 PM PDT

A bacteria now recognised as a carcinogen for stomach cancer has been found to be using mothers as a means of transmission.

HELICOBACTER pylori (H. pylori) is a bacterium that causes chronic gastritis, a long-term inflammation of the stomach.

H. pylori infection is one of the most widespread, affecting about 50% of the world's population (over three billion people).

It commonly causes ulcers, and accounts for more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and up to 80% of gastric ulcers.

Before the discovery of this bacterium in 1982, spicy food, acid, stress, and poor lifestyle choices were considered the major causes of ulcers.

The majority of patients were given long-term medications, such as H2 blockers, and more recently, proton pump inhibitors, without a chance for a permanent cure.

Unfortunately, prolonged use of these medicines (which were administered to suppress hyperacidity) had been linked to the increased rate of atrophy or weakening of the stomach lining.

In 1994, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified H. pylori as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, in humans.

Today, H. pylori infection is well established as an important cause of stomach cancer, the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the world today.

Several research papers have also shown a link between H. pylori infections and diabetes.

While the prevalence of H. pylori infection is comparable between men and women, data shows that infected mothers are likely the main source for childhood H. pylori infection.

Studies have found that H. pylori infections are usually acquired in childhood by age 10.

Infection is most likely through ingestion of contaminated food and water, and through person-to-person contact (saliva).

As mothers are usually the primary caregivers in a household, they have close contact with everyone under the same roof.

A study conducted in Malaysia in 2010 found that H. pylori infection rates differed amongst different ethnic groups.

Research carried out at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) found that the highest prevalence of H. pylori infection was among Indians (45%), followed by Chinese (37%), and Malays 18%.

Researchers were unclear about the reasons for the difference, although varying socio-cultural practices particular to each race is probably a contributing factor.

This includes communal eating habits, diet, and genetic predisposition.

Most individuals infected with H. pylori have few or no symptoms.

Symptoms that could signal a H. pylori infection include episodes of gastritis, minor belching, bloating, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and even bad breath.

Individuals with more serious infections could experience persistent abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting (occasionally with the presence of blood), fatigue, and a sense of fullness after consuming a small amount of food.

Infected individuals usually carry the infection for life, unless they are treated to eradicate the bacterium.

While medical practitioners agree that H. pylori infections must be treated in order to prevent gastritis from worsening into ulcers or becoming a breeding ground for cancer, the current regimens are wrought with challenges.

Patients with H. pylori infection feel lousy because their stomachs aren't functioning well.

When put on treatment with antibiotics and other gastritis medications, many may feel worse. Side effects such as worsening stomach upsets, nausea, headaches and a metallic taste in the mouth, has led many patients to shy away from treatment or drop out without completing their course of medication.

With increasing antibiotic usage, the bacterium has developed defences to overcome their efficacy.

A study published in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Infection and Immunity indicated that H. pylori may replicate on the cell membrane, ultimately forming a microcolony that is difficult for the antibiotics currently being used, to penetrate.

Not only that, after two or three unsuccessful eradication attempts by antibiotics, a high rate of H. pylori resistance (50-73%) was observed.

This means that every unsuccessful attempt to kill H. pylori only makes the bacterium stronger.

Education is key in tackling H. pylori infection.

Practicing good hygiene such as the washing of hands before and after meals, brushing teeth, no sharing of plates, glasses and cutlery, and no bed-sharing between siblings, is a must.

In order to circumvent further infection, mothers should be tested for infection, especially if symptoms are present.

Natural alternatives to treat H. pylori such as black or green tea, garlic and red wine, have been expounded on by naturalists, although there have been few reliable studies to substantiate such claims.

Probiotics have been used to create a healthy colony of gut flora that builds a stronger immune system to fight H. pylori.

However, probiotics alone are not strong enough to kill H. pylori.

A study conducted by Swedish researchers on children in Bangladesh suggested that breastfeeding can protect children against early infection.

Breast milk contains antibodies that can bind onto foreign substances (eg bacteria), and help prevent infection.

"Children who have received high levels of antibodies to the peptic ulcer bacteria from their mothers during breastfeeding, were infected later than the children who had not received such high levels of antibodies," says Dr Taufiqur Bhuiyan from Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden.

In the world of nutraceuticals (natural substances with clinically proven benefits), the most promising results against H. pylori came from the Pasteur Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, using a conifer pine needle extract.

In a randomised double-blind clinical study, it was found to not only treat H. pylori infection, but also help restore stomach functioning, and reduce pre-cancerous lesions of the stomach in patients with atrophic gastritis.

The research programme for the compound has been going on for about 80 years.

Although it has been listed in the Russian pharmacopoeia since the 1950s, this research was a closely guarded secret within the tightly regulated former Soviet Union.

It was only through an inter-government scientific exchange programme with Australia, and the fall of the old political regime that the technology developed to extract the compound was successfully preserved and brought into the limelight.


1. Brown LM. Helicobacter pylori epidemiology and routes of transmission. Epidemiol Rev. 2000;22:283–97

2. NIH Consensus Development Conference. Helicobacter pylori in peptic ulcer disease. JAMA 272:65-69, 1994

3. Kuipers EJ, Perez-Perez GI, Meuwissedn SG. Blaser MJ, Helicobacter pylori and atrophic gastritis: Importance of the cagA status. J Natl Cancer Institute 1995; 345: 1525-8

4. Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, et al. Estimates of worldwide burden of cancer in 2008: GLOBOCAN 2008. International Journal of Cancer 2010; 127(12):2893–2917

5. Mehmet Demir, Huseyin Savas Gokturk, Nevin Akcaer Ozturk, Mustafa Kulaksizoglu, Ender Serin and Ugur Yilmaz, Helicobacter pylori Prevalence in Diabetes Mellitus Patients with Dyspeptic Symptoms and its Relationship to Glycemic Control and Late Complications, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Volume 53, Number 10 (2008), 2646-2649

6. Weyermann M, Rothenbacher D, Brenner H., Acquisition of Helicobacter pylori infection in early childhood: independent contributions of infected mothers, fathers, and siblings; Am J Gastroenterol. 2009 Jan;104(1):182-9

7. Wu ML, Lewin KJ. Understanding Helicobacter pylori (editorial). Hum Pathol 2001; 32: 247-8

8. Baylor College Of Medicine. "Helicobacter Pylori Infection Most Common In Early Childhood." ScienceDaily, 15 Mar. 2002

9. Alfizah H, and Rizal AM, and Isa MR, and Aminudin A, and Jasmi AY, and Ramelah M , Four years analysis of helicobacter pylori infection among patients with dyspepsia at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre. Medicine & Health, 5 (1). pp. 13-21

10. Toshihiro Nishizawa et al , Antimicrob. Agents Chemother, 2011

11. Vladimir G. Bespalov, Vagif S. Soultanov et al. Pre-cancerous Conditions and Changes of the Stomach and their Correction. Medline-Express No. 2-3 (202), 2009

n This article is brought to you by the Nuvaceuticals Division of Nuvanta Sdn Bhd.

Addicted to exercise

Posted: 22 Sep 2012 11:49 PM PDT

We are all familiar with the benefits of exercise, but overdoing it can yield some pretty debilitating results, especially on one's social life. This writer shares how her addiction to exercise nearly ruined her vacation.

IT was freezing in peaceful Jeju island – a popular vacation spot in South Korea known for its natural sights and beaches – when this writer set foot there a few months ago.

Drenched from the evening rain, I had been shaking like a leaf despite being wrapped up in a long black coat and shawl. It was so cold that my fingers were numb. Inside, however, I was seething with raging unease. It had been nearly a week since I hit the gym, and my body was threatening to explode from pent-up frustration.

"I would rather not eat or sleep than to not exercise" – a recalcitrant, if silly stand I have reiterated on my Facebook timeline every now and again. Yet, eating and sleeping was all I did in between stopovers at commercial touristy destinations during my 11-day bus tour across the south of Korea.

It was springtime when the boyfriend and I set out for our Korean retreat. We began our journey in Seoul, and had stayed in different hotels across the country for every night throughout our trip. That meant having to wake up at 6am every morning to pack and prepare for the day's trip.

I had planned on going jogging at night, but was often too exhausted from the tour's activities, which typically ended at 10pm. Plus, the frigid cold in places like Mount Sorak and Jeju island left the prospect of running outdoors entirely out of the question.

Most of the hotels we stayed in didn't have a gym either. I did bring a jump rope with me, but the cramped hotel facilities diminished whatever possibility of me having a good workout.

It was around day five when I started to notice that my triceps were losing their definition. I was frantic. It was only a matter of time before the rest of me swelled into a big, blubbery balloon. I was getting fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, and I was losing it.

I tried to make up for the lack of physical activity by eating as little as I possibly could throughout my trip, but for most of it, I was also moody, grumpy, and constantly lashing out at my boyfriend for no good reason.

It wasn't until my usually mild-mannered other (and better) half threatened to buy me a ticket on the next flight home, halfway into our trip, that it hit me: maybe I was taking my preoccupation with exercise a little too far.

I have been an avid gym-goer for years, but never have I imagined that exercise would start to take over my life.

My fitness regime has taught me patience, perseverance, discipline and determination, and has since transformed me from a bumbling fat kid into a self-assured, confident woman – so how could something so good be bad for me?

It turns out that even the sacred domain of exercise is not exempt from the "too much of a good thing" rationale.

We are all familiar with the benefits of exercise – weight loss, better health, better sleep, and so on – but overdoing it can yield some pretty debilitating results.

According to the American Running Association, when the commitment to exercise crosses the line to dependency and compulsion, it can create a physical, social and psychological quagmire for the avid exerciser. The phenomenon typically plagues runners.

As Richard Benyo, an American journalist and veteran distance runner writes on the subject in the Road Runners Club of America: "The exercise addict has lost his balance: Exercise has become overvalued compared to elements widely recognised as giving meaning in a full life – work, friends, family, community involvement – in short, the fruits of our humanity."

To the addict, more is always more – more training, more hours, more mileage, more intensity. Anything that comes in between them and exercise is immediately resented.

Signs of addiction include withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, irritability and depression when one's circumstances prevents one from working out.

Uh-oh. Sounds like we have a problem. Personally, I don't run and I am not one for outdoor adventures (I work out on the elliptical trainer and I cycle), but I have been known to miss out on dinner dates and movie nights with my boyfriend and friends just so I could have a good workout at the gym.

But exercise addiction, like any other addiction, can cost you more than just a night out with popcorn. To quote Benyo again: "The obsession bites back in the form of chronic injuries, impaired relationships and other problems."

Frankly, I am getting a little paranoid. Have I been overdoing it? I had after all, been a wet blanket for most of my trip in South Korea because I just couldn't stand NOT exercising (I usually exercise up to five times in a week).

I am still in my 20s, and already, I have been experiencing knee problems due to my bad form while cycling and from attempting barbell squats.

Osteoarthritis, the lesser-known but equally malignant cousin of osteoporosis, is another probable consequence of exercise addiction.

Osteoarthritis is a common joint disorder, which is usually due to aging, and wear and tear on a joint. There are no conclusive findings on the correlation between osteoarthritis and exercising to date; what is clear, however, is that osteoarthritis can be caused by trauma to, or overuse of the joints.

According to the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, "People who engaged in sports or other physically demanding activities are known to be at an increased risk of osteoarthritis in the joints they use most (eg knees and hips in soccer players, and hands in boxers).

"Part of this apparent correlation can be explained by increased risk of joint injury. It would also seem logical that these groups would be predisposed to osteoarthritis from overuse injuries, and not necessarily from trauma."

My colleague and self-professed outdoor enthusiast Leong Siok Hui, relates how constant and strenous physical activities has resulted in the wearing-and-tearing of her knee cartilage.

Leong is only 41, but she already requires knee surgery. Years of mountain climbing, running and cycling constantly have resulted in the deterioration of her knee joints, she shares.

She also has patella maltracking, a condition in which the patella does not remain within the central groove of the femur (thigh bone), and that has exacerbated the wearing down of her knees.

She is currently undergoing stem cell regeneration treatment for her knees. She misses the "runner's high", and still tries to fit in low-impact exercises, such as working out on the elliptical trainer, into her routine.

"This," she says, pointing to her knees, "should not be a reason to stop exercising."

So why push so hard? It is a question that exercise addicts get asked a lot. I am not an athlete. I have no performance goals. I don't even run marathons. So why try?

I wish I knew. During a more recent trip to Shanghai, I woke up at 4am just to hit the hotel gym to burn off the chocolate cake I had for dessert. That session did leave me quite dizzy, and I am grateful that I didn't pass out.

I recently took up CrossFit and the workouts-of-the-day (WODs) have not been kind to my body either. Movements like the "clean", the "snatch", and kettlebell swings have given me a sore back, a sore neck and bruises across the length of my legs, and I've only been at it for about a month.

What's in it for me? I really don't know. I just want to be good at it, and I am far from giving up.

For what it's worth, at least my pursuit for fitness has served as a rather effective anger management mechanism, and has kept me sane through many a bad day at work. Also, the world just seems a little less crappy when I'm working out, and I plan to continue doing this for as long as I breathe.

The remedy for this addiction is pretty obvious – just cut back on exercise, d'oh. But try telling Homer Simpson to cut down on his doughnuts, and you'll see that it's easier said than done.

The American Running Association suggests that exercise addicts should try to change the emphasis of their exercise from quantity (meaning that more isn't always better) to quality. For instance, you can try engaging in 30-minutes of interval training, rather than an hour of low-intensity training.

Try talking to an experienced personal trainer, and get him or her to plan out your workouts on a weekly basis. Draw a seven-day schedule, planning frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise with specific, reasonable goals relative to your abilities.

Very importantly, stick to your programme, and make sure that rest and recovery are given equal emphasis as they are essential in any well-balanced training programme.

Again, the above is easier said than done. I often feel like biting the heads off imaginary puppies on days when I'm not working out, but it's better to be safe than sorry. If I have to force myself to take a day off exercise, so be it.

I am currently working on cutting down exercising from five to four days a week. There is no point in pushing myself to exhaustion all the time, only to end up with a series of injuries. I want to be 60, and still rocking my six-pack abs.

Being addicted to exercise is hard, especially when you're living in a population where 20% are reportedly obese.

As if being addicted to exercise doesn't do enough to alienate me from family and friends, I have recently taken on the Paleo Diet, which is based on this simple premise – if the cavemen didn't eat it, then you shouldn't either.

Essentially, the Paleo Diet cuts out processed foods like grain products, legumes and dairy, and comprises mostly of meat, poultry, fish and veggies.

Understandably, I have been preparing most of my own meals since.

My colleagues make faces at my steamed chicken breast and vegetables, and my McDonalds-loving boyfriend thinks I'm crazy, but I think it's worth it. I have gained nearly 3kg of muscle mass in just a few months and my skin feels less oily than before.

I turn 21 (again!) this weekend and I have told my mum not to get me a cake. But perhaps I really ought to give this health and fitness thing a break. After all, it is my birthday, and surely a tiny slice (or five) of moist chocolate cake wouldn't hurt...

And when it hits my thighs, I can always burn it off at the gym.

n Fiona Ho is a fitness enthusiast and a newly certified personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Her current interests include CrossFit and RPM classes.

Inflamed guts

Posted: 22 Sep 2012 11:47 PM PDT

Inflammatory bowel disease does not only affect adults – children are not spared too.

ALTHOUGH inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is more common in the West, it has been on the rise in Asia over the past four decades. Most cases usually occur in those aged 15 to 30 years old.

In childhood, the peak incidence is between 11 and 13 years, but it can also occur in younger children.

In general, this long-term disease leads to inflammation of the intestines and damages the intestinal lining. Ulcers may form, which result in bleeding. The various types of IBD are Crohn's disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), and allergic colitis (AC).

Sometimes, the term indeterminate colitis (IC) is used to refer to cases that are impossible to accurately categorise. In a worldwide context, however, it is important to note that infection, and not IBD, is the most common cause of gastrointestinal inflammation.

In general, CD can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, whereas UC affects only the colon and rectum. UC is more common than CD in Asian countries, but the incidence of CD appears to be rising.

CD is more common in men, while the incidence of UC is equal in both genders. In Malaysia, IBD affects Indians more than other ethnic groups.

On the other hand, AC mostly occurs in infants and young children. It is due to allergies to foods like cow's milk, egg, soy or wheat. It usually occurs concurrently with other conditions such as asthma, eczema and hay fever, but children with minor immunodeficiency may also get it.

Causes of IBD

The underlying cause of IBD is still unknown despite a large amount of research into it, but experts believe that IBD is caused by a combination of factors such as:

·Genetics: Research suggests that for people with IBD, there is a gene which mutates, causing the body to react abnormally to microbes like bacteria, viruses or protein in food. If your child has a blood relative with IBD, he or she is at a slightly higher risk of developing the disease.

·Immune system: Many immunological abnormalities have been described in patients with IBD, but none have yet to be convincingly shown to be the main causative factor.

·Environment: Cigarette smoke or the spread of bacteria or viruses can trigger an ongoing immune system response, or aggravate the disease. These environmental factors can damage the intestinal lining directly, triggering the start of the disease or accelerate its development.

·Diet: An unhealthy diet can worsen symptoms.

Does your child have IBD?

Pay attention if he or she displays various combinations of these symptoms:

·Diarrhoea (can be as often as 20 times a day, or more)

·Abdominal pain

·Rectal bleeding (blood in the stools)

·Skin pallor (anaemia caused by blood loss through stools, or the intestinal inflammation itself)

·Loss of appetite


·Weight loss


·Recurrent mouth ulcers that are difficult to heal

·Inflammation in the eyes or skin

Those with IBD do not necessarily experience symptoms all the time. A child may go through periods of flare-ups and periods of no symptoms.

Nonetheless, proper treatment must be given, especially since IBD might delay puberty, or stunt a child's growth, due to nutrient loss.

In some cases, complications from CD can develop, including:

·Fistulas (abnormal openings between parts of the intestine, or between the intestine and another organ, such as the bladder or skin)

·Obstruction or rupture in the small intestine or colon

·Skin rashes


If you think your child might have IBD, please consult a doctor. The doctor might perform several tests to determine the diagnosis, including blood tests, colonoscopy, gastroscopy, barium X-ray and tissue biopsy.

Helping your child cope with IBD

Because there is no telling when symptoms may resurface after remission, managing the disease can be difficult.

Your child may feel tired, uncomfortable and irritable, so do your best to help your child receive the right treatment, and adopt a suitable diet for his or her needs.

Here are some tips:

·If your child has been prescribed medication by his or her paediatrician, make sure he or she takes them as instructed. Usually, anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressive drugs are prescribed for IBD.

·Talk to the doctor about any queries you might have. Discuss your child's symptoms. Don't be afraid to ask what you need to know from the doctor.

·Ask the doctor about foods to avoid giving your child. Over time, your child should also find out which foods in particular provoke their symptoms, and make a note to abstain from eating them. Discourage intake of junk food as these can exacerbate IBD symptoms. To help control symptoms, try giving your child smaller meals throughout the day. Prepare healthy lunches and snacks for him or her to bring to school.

·Encourage your child to exercise regularly as this helps to give him or her more energy and reduce stress.

With proper treatment and management of IBD, there is no reason why a child cannot lead a normal, active life.

Prof Dr Christopher Boey Chiong Meng is a professor of paediatrics and consultant paediatric gastroenterologist. This article is courtesy of the Malaysian Paediatric Association's Positive Parenting Digestive Health Initiative For further information, please visit www.mypositiveparenting.org. For further information, e-mail starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader's own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved