Khamis, 3 April 2014

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

Indonesia's PDI-P set to win

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

JAKARTA: Indonesia's main opposition party is set to win a convincing victory at legislative elections next week, boosted by the nomination of the popular Jakarta governor as their presidential candidate, a poll showed.

The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) will take 37% of the vote at the election, a survey of 2,000 people by private pollster Roy Morgan Research suggested.

The poll put the corruption-mired Democratic Party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in fourth place with 10%.

The Golkar party, the former political vehicle of late dictator Suharto, came second in the survey with its support declining to 17%, while the Gerindra party of ex-army general Prabowo Subianto was in third with 14%.

The PDI-P had been expected to top the elections for some months, but it has seen an increase in popularity since the nomination of governor Joko Widodo as its candidate for the presidential elections in July.

Roy Morgan Research reported a 10% jump in the party's popularity after Widodo, known universally by his nickname of "Jokowi", was chosen in mid-March, compared to a previous poll.

His humble demeanour and common touch – he regularly heads out to meet people in the capital's poorer districts – has endeared him to a nation sick of aloof, political leaders with deep roots in the Suharto era.

The survey showed the percentage of people saying they would vote for Widodo in the presidential polls rising to 45% from 35% in a survey before his nomination.

His main rival for the presidency is seen as Subianto but he lagged far behind in the survey with only 15% saying they would pick him as head of state.

Roy Morgan Research is an Australian company which has an Indonesian office.

The survey was released on Wednesday.

Some 186 million voters are eligible to cast ballots in the legislative elections in the world's third-biggest democracy, with 12 parties competing for 560 seats in the national parliament. — AFP

Google launches digital tour of Angkor Wat

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

SIEM REAP: Cambodia's Angkor Wat has been digitally mapped for the first time, allowing people to visit the World Heritage Site from the comfort of their armchair using Google Street View.

The project is part of a growing trend aimed at Internet users who might otherwise never have the chance to visit the cultural and architectural wonders of the world.

Google took more than a million photos of Angkor – the result is 90,000 360° views of more than 100 temples.

Street View allows users to zoom in on an area, and then explore.

"Recently we've done the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji," said Manik Gupta, project manager at Google Maps.

"But the scale of Angkor Wat is what makes this unprecedented," he said at the project's launch yesterday.

"It is such an iconic place, people say it is the eighth wonder of the world, and it gives you this incredible sense – look at every single small nook and cranny, you'll find art work."

The Angkor Archaeological Park contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th century.

To create the project Google used a new innovation called "Trekker".

Fifteen digital cameras are attached by a long pole to a backpack, and each one records a 75 million mega pixel photo every two and a half seconds.

By walking around the Angkor Wat temple complex, they are able to photograph areas that Google's Street View cars cannot reach. — AFP

RM5.2m worth of ivory seized

Posted: 03 Apr 2014 09:00 AM PDT

SINGAPORE authorities seized S$2mil (RM5.2mil) worth of illegal ivory last week – the third largest haul of its kind since 2002.

Acting on a tip-off, officers from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the Singapore Customs intercepted and detained the shipment, which was passing through Singapore on transit from Africa in a 20-foot container.

The shipment – bound for another Asian country – was declared as coffee berries, but officers detected irregularities when the container was scanned at the Pasir Panjang Export Inspection Station on March 25.

The container was found to contain 106 pieces of ivory, weighing about one tonne in total. They were packed into 15 wooden crates.

AVA is investigating the case.

Elephants are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) which has, since 1989, prohibited international trade in elephant ivory.

Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act here, a permit is required for the import and export of elephant parts or products – including ivory.

In a statement, AVA said it will continue to work with Singapore customs, as well as other national and international enforcement agencies, to curb wildlife trafficking.

All companies should be cautious when accepting jobs from customers, and take care to avoid being implicated in the smuggling of illegal wildlife, their parts or their products, said the AVA. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network


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