Sabtu, 15 Mac 2014

The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

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

The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro


HPB launches weight management scheme

Posted: 15 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Singapore's first national-level weight management initiative was launched.

An initiative of the Health Promotion Board (HPB), the One Million KG Challenge is designed to link incentives directly to the outcome of losing excess weight, and aims to get Singapore residents to lose 1,000,000kg collectively in three years.

It is open to residents in Singapore aged 18 to 64, whose Body Mass Index (BMI) ranges from 18.5 to 37.4. To calculate BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in metres.

Singapore's obesity prevalence has increased 0.7 percentage points a year since 2004 to reach nearly 11% in 2010.

The National Health Survey 2010 shows that 1.7 million Singaporeans with a BMI of 23 or greater are vulnerable to developing obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases.

HPB hopes to round up 300,000 participants over three years. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Vietnam ends search, India intensifies mission

Posted: 15 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

HANOI: Vietnam has decided to end the search mission for MH370, a senior military officer said at Vietnam's National Committee for Search and Rescue.

Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of the General Staff of Vietnam People's Army, told reporters that the decision was made after Vietnam had received information from Viet­namese Ambassador to Malaysia Nguyen Hong Thao yesterday afternoon that Malaysia has decided to end the search in the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Indian navy ships supported by long-range surveillance planes and helicopters scoured Andaman Sea islands for a third day yesterday without any success in finding evidence of the missing jet, officials said.

Nearly a dozen ships, patrol vessels, surveillance aircraft and helicopters have been deployed, but "we have got nothing so far", said V.S.R. Murthy, an Indian coast guard official.

The Indian navy's coordinated search has so far covered more than 250,000sq km in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal "without any sighting or detection", the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

The search has been expanded to the central and eastern sides of the Bay of Bengal, the ministry said.

India intensified the search yesterday by deploying two recently acquired P8i long-range maritime patrol and one C 130J Hercules aircraft to the region. — Agencies

Mortality and search for what matters

Posted: 15 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

In order to function, humans generally live under the assumption of their continual existence for the foreseeable future.

TAIPEI: One of the few certainties in life is that it ends. We live until the day we don't.

But in order to function, humans generally live under the assumption of their continual existence for the foreseeable future.

It is mysterious and tragic events such as the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that jolt us back to the reality of our mortality and our inability to know – much less to control – our fate.

The mystery of Flight MH370 reminds us that there is no authoritative source of guidance in life.

The flight was still missing as of press time and the 11 nations that cooperated in one of the largest searches in history have not even come close to determining the fate of the plane and the people onboard.

If the authorities cannot even find a plane in the busy waters of the South China Sea, how can we expect there to be an authority in the way we live our lives?

These events remind us that we might be suffering the slings and arrows of our fortune, but we suffer them for a reason, that life is about doing what is important, not what "should be" important.

In different stages of our lives, we can often be distracted and flustered by what is expected from us by society, such as intense pressure for school exams and pressure to get a job and keep it.

While education and financial security are essential to sustain our lives, they are but means to an end. It is, however, easy to mistake them as the goals of our lives when we lose track of things.

Not getting bogged down by daily turmoil and keeping stress to a manageable level is the best way to reserve enough space in our lives for reflection on the things that truly matter to us.

But what are the things that truly matter to you? No one can answer that for sure.

No one can tell you what is important in your life. But that does not mean you should not seek advice in the search for your life's goals.

One good place to start is to find the ideals we want to pursue. Leaving room for mental fortitude most importantly leaves room for better usage of our time, which in our finite lifetimes should not be spent wallowing in irrelevant worries that society places on us, including the obsession of prestige and wealth.

The things that society normally envies are good things, but they should come naturally during the pursuit of the projects that we dedicate our passion to.

Turning things the other way around invites envy and decreases our happiness.

Finding the things that evoke our passion will allow us to transcend worldly obsessions. It could be a calling from nature.

It could be a calling from art. Or science. Once that thing is found, it should be where we dedicate the best parts of our lives, our energy.

Finding one's passion is not entirely an inward-looking process, either. A central part of facing the uncertainties of life is to remember one's place in the greater scale of things and to remember people we share our lives with.

Life insurance and leaving a will can benefit one's life, even though the true value of our lives can never be counted by money.

Quantitative values set by society are done more for the lack of a better alternative than really assigning a fixed number to our being, as is the case of wealth distribution that ends up assigning humans into egregiously different classes.

Donating organs can be another possibility, as our dead body can yet be of use in benefiting medical research or extending the life of others.

The fate of the 239 passengers and crew members on Flight 370 is still uncertain. We hope for the best for these people and for their loved ones.

We can feel feeble in the face of great mysteries, but such feebleness can be the beginning of a search for our answers to the question of all time: why are we here?

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

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

The Star Online: Nation


‘Ops Outlet’ goes full swing

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The fight against smuggled cigarettes has gone full swing with the Royal Malaysian Customs Depart­ment conducting raids nationwide since the beginning of the month.

The raids under Ops Outlet are part of renewed efforts by the department to curb the sales of smuggled cigarettes as it is costing the Government some RM1.9bil in uncollected taxes annually.

Customs deputy director-general (enforcement) Datuk Matrang Suhaili said that while this was the fifth year that Ops Outlet was being carried out, this time around the department was pushing for more drastic measures.

"We are looking for harsher punishment for offenders, such as compulsory jail time for those who would usually be slapped with just a fine. This issue is serious and we are treating it as such," he said when contacted yesterday.

So far, 44 dedicated Ops Outlet strike teams involving 200 members have been formed to conduct checks on outlets suspected of selling illegal cigarettes.

One such raid conducted at a convenience store in Jalan Nagasari here yesterday saw cigarettes seized and the shopowner arrested, while two other raids conducted simultaneously in the city also yielded more illegal cigarettes.

Raids conducted in Selangor, Kelantan, Johor and Perak found 10 outlets selling the illegal cigarettes.

"So far, the results have been encouraging and we will continue in our efforts to remove these contraband from the streets," said Matrang.

Concerned that Malaysia is now ranked number one in the world for contraband cigarettes, the Customs Department is also pressing for the maximum sentence against offenders.­

Those caught selling smuggled cigarettes face a maximum of three years' imprisonment, or a fine of up to 20 times the value of the seized item, or both, under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act.

Repeat offenders face a maximum of five years' imprisonment, and a fine of up to 40 times the value of the item, or both.

Cloud seeding op to resume today, says dept

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The National Security Council has recalled a Hercules plane from the MH370 search and rescue operations for cloud seeding duty which is expected to resume today.

This comes in the wake of mounting public alarm over depleting water levels in dams as well as the current dry weather and open burning cases that are contributing to the choking haze over parts of the country.

The Meteorological Department's atmospheric science and cloud seeding division director Azhar Ishak said the operation would kick off at around 2.30pm today, adding that it was targeted at clouds over water catchment areas and places with severe haze.

The operation, he said, would be carried out with the cooperation of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, with the C-130 flown by Squadron 20 from its Subang base.

"We have identified favourable cloud conditions. We hope to induce rainfall over water catchment areas in Selangor as well as areas such as Port Klang, Putrajaya and Sepang which are experiencing severe haze," he told The Star here yesterday.

He had earlier said that the cloud seeding exercise had to be postponed as the RMAF's C-130s were being deployed to help in the search and rescue of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane.

Should conditions remain good today, Azhar said the cloud seeding operation might also be carried out in Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor.

He said from Tuesday or Wednesday onwards, the department would conduct cloud seeding using a private aircraft that it had contracted.

The aircraft, a six-seater Cessna, had been modified for the operation and was currently undergoing repairs, said Azhar.

"We will continue cloud seeding until heavy rainfall starts in the inter-monsoon period," he said. "This is expected to begin from the end of March to May."

Azhar said cloud seeding would be carried out in as many states as the department could reach, especially over areas affected by severe haze.

His officers, he added, would constantly refer to the department's satellite images to locate suitable rain clouds for the operation. "We will be doing wet seeding with the C-130 and dry seeding with the Cessna," he said.

Wet seeding involves spraying a salt solution at the base of identified clouds while dry seeding is done using hygroscopic flares, fixed onto an aircraft's wings, that will disperse salt particles into the clouds when lit.

Cloud seeding is expected to be able to induce rainfall within 15 minutes to half an hour after the exercise.

Related story:

Watering plants, washing cars may land you in trouble

Owners at risk of losing their land if they carry out open burning

Tamil song’s message of hope

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: "Colourful birds expanding your wings to fly, tell us if you have seen our flight in the sky?"

That was a translation of the opening for a touching two-minute Tamil song that embodied hope for the safe return of the missing MH370.

The song titled Pray for Hope: MH370 was written and composed by Malaysian artistes Jay and Arulselvan Selvasamy, and was uploaded to YouTube on March 13.

As of 4pm yesterday, the video has been watched over 800 times.

The lyrics by Arulselvan call on the missing passengers to "come to clear the tears of your loved ones", and for God to "show your mercy for their safe return."

YouTube user Sivakami Cassandra said the song was very touching and a great effort by the two.

Another user, Kar Lee said that it was a "very touching song and beautiful video. Love to everyone who has missing family and friends."

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


Mona Lisa's secret smile reveals a feminist

Posted: 13 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

In Mona Lisa's smile, an American art historian sees a feminist.

IT'S taken him 12 years, but an amateur art historian from Texas reckons he's solved the mystery of the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile, five centuries after it was immortalised by Leonardo da Vinci.

In a just-published book, The Lady Speaks: Uncovering The Secrets Of The Mona Lisa, William Varvel argues that La Gioconda was a 16th-century feminist who favoured a greater role for women in the Catholic church.

"La Gioconda was trying to get people to see that the New Jerusalem would be here as soon as you recognise women's theological rights," Varvel, 53, a former mathematics professor, told AFP in a telephone interview.

"La Gioconda may be a grand statement for women's rights," he added.

His theory joins many others – some serious, others fanciful – surrounding what is perhaps the world's most famous painting, which draws legions of tourists every day to the Louvre museum in Paris.

History remembers the Mona Lisa as Lisa del Giocondo, a mother of five born into an aristocratic Florentine family whose husband, a cloth and silk merchant, commissioned the portrait.

Da Vinci, who had already painted The Last Supper for a Dominican convent, toiled on the oil-on-poplar painting from 1503 to 1506 and perhaps several years after.

In his 180-page book that's not always an easy read, Varvel explains that, in the course of his career, Da Vinci had painted "each and every verse" of the final chapter of the Old Testament's book of Zechariah, which anticipates the rise of an ideal society within a New Jerusalem.

He did so, Varvel contends, "in order to state that women's rights to the priesthood should be recognised."

What's more, the author said, "Leonardo constructed and placed a total of 40 separate symbols taken from chapter 14 into the background, middle ground and foreground of the composition of the Mona Lisa."        

Thus, Calvary rises from behind the Mona Lisa's right shoulder, while the Mount of Olives is on the other side. And folds on the arms of her robe suggest a yoke – a reference to Biblical texts and women's oppression.

For Da Vinci, the idea of a New Jerusalem "was based upon a universal recognition of both men and women of the laity to have recognised rights of the priesthood of Jesus Christ," Varvel said.

He added: "The perception of the New Jerusalem is the secret that her smile reflects."

Fascination with the Mona Lisa endures: Over the years, some viewers claim to have sensed mysterious signs in her eyes, her voice has been reconstructed by Japanese enthusiasts, and a doctor once diagnosed her as having an excess of cholesterol.

"It's even been said that she's a man, even the portrait of Leonardo da Vinci himself," art historian Laure Fagnart told AFP.

"In my mind, there's nothing that's really hidden from us," added Fagnart, a specialist in Renaissance art at the University of Liege in Belgium, who has not read Varvel's book.

"This is the portrait of a bourgeois woman like dozens of others from that time, albeit perhaps more difficult to read than other works," she said.

"Da Vinci was an artist who put thought into his painting, he did nothing in an innocent fashion."

For all the years he's committed to studying the Mona Lisa, Varvel has never actually seen it up close.

"I'm not going to fight the crowd to see La Gioconda," he said. "If I go to Paris, the Louvre is going to give me a private showing – and if they don't, I won't go." – AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: Central

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

The Star Online: Metro: Central


Philippine Catholic Haiyan survivors make vow of sacrifice

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

OPONG: Returning to their destroyed village after a catastrophic typhoon that killed thousands in the Philip­pines last year, a weary band of Catholics vowed a lifelong sacrifice to thank God for saving them.

They had walked through the streets of their hometown for three consecutive days before the storm with icons in hand while praying and asking the Lord to spare them from the looming catastrophe.

Although giant ocean surges that swept through their coastal village destroyed many homes, and some of the most powerful winds recorded on land tore roofs off others, all of the roughly 3,500 residents of Opong survived.

The devotees' ensuing vow was to perform a religious procession similar to their pre-typhoon marches at least twice a week for the rest of their lives.

"We want to thank the Lord for giving us a second chance at life. We want to thank Him for giving us the strength of our faith," Elsie Indi, a mother-of-four, who is one of the regular members of the procession, said after a recent march.

Ten days after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit, AFP photographer Philippe Lopez took a dramatic photo of Indi at the head of the Opong procession that came to symbolise the devotion, hope and resilience of many typhoon survivors.

The image won the Spot News category in the prestigious World Press Photo Awards, and was named by Time magazine as one of the top 10 images of 2013.

Indi, 42, her invalid husband and four children fled their home just after dawn on Nov 8 as knee-deep water rushed in, racing ahead of the torrent to a rice paddy at the base of a mountain about one kilometre away.

They, along with many other residents of Opong, sheltered in the muddy field for about six hours, waiting for the storm surges to recede into the Pacific Ocean and the intense rain to pass.

During that time, the typhoon killed or left missing about 8,000 people in towns and cities of the central Philippines near Opong, making it the country's deadliest storm on record.

"Everyone in Opong survived, we can thank God for that," Indi said.

During the most chaotic and desperate period immediately after the typhoon, some of the residents of Opong held their processions twice a day.

The procession, involving anywhere from a few people to more than 20, took more than an hour.

Such acts of devotion are common even outside times of disaster in the Philippines, where about 80% of the nation's 100 million people are Catholic thanks to a Spanish colonial heritage.

In what is known locally as a "panata", devotees promise to God to make some form of sacrifice as repayment for a prayer that has been granted.

In some of the most extreme and famous panatas, devotees around the country have themselves nailed to crosses or whip their backs into a bloody mess of red flesh every Good Friday.

"After being saved, we had to make some sacrifices. The procession is one form of sacrifice," said Virginia Piedad, 47, a primary school teacher who came up with the idea for the Opong community's panata.

Asked when the Opong residents would give up the procession, Piedad and Indi insisted they would continue their hour-long marches every Wednesday and Saturday with the same Jesus statues in their arms until they died.               

But despite the relentless giving of thanks, life for Indi and many others in Opong often feels like an abyss of anxiety and exhaustion.

The iron-sheet roofing, windows and steel trusses of Indi's cramped home were torn away or badly damaged during the storm, and she has no means to replace them.

She estimates it would cost more than 150,000 pesos (RM11,000) to repair the house, an impossible amount when her work as a market vendor brings in most of her family's only income.

Indi's husband, Roel, has not worked for six years because of severe diabetes, while three of her children are still studying.

A fourth child, a 21-year-old son, earns about 200 pesos (RM15) a day making concrete blocks for houses.

Indi said she had to borrow 15,000 pesos (RM1,100) from a local lender to reopen her stall after Haiyan, with an interest rate of 33% over the term of the six-month loan adding to almost unbearable financial pressure.

"We are begging for help. We need money to rebuild our house," Indi said as she stood at the entrance to their ruined home and cried.

Nevertheless, Indi insisted she and the other residents of Opong were fortunate simply to be alive, and that was reason enough to continue with their religious procession.

"We are thankful ... and it gives us comfort," she said. — AFP

Crackdown hits popular platform WeChat

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

SHANGHAI: Chinese Internet giant Tencent has shut several accounts on its popular instant messaging platform WeChat, users said on Friday, in what appeared to be part of a broader government crackdown on political content.

WeChat, known as weixin or micro-message in Chinese, has more than 300 million users in China and overseas, allowing them to send text, photos, videos and voice messages over mobile devices.

Accounts shut down included one for "Union of Elephants" which specialised in irreverent takes on current affairs, and "Consensus Net" which featured articles on topics such as democracy.

Chinese authorities maintain a huge surveillance network, inclu­ding online, where the so-called Great Firewall of China blocks access to sites deemed sensitive and a vast censorship machine deletes content considered objectionable.

The accounts were suspended on Thursday without prior notice or follow-up explanation from Tencent, he said.

Tencent, owner of WeChat, could not be reached for comment on Friday. But a Tencent official said late Thursday that messages that violated Chinese law faced a crackdown.

"To guarantee user experience ... the release of pornographic, violent, rumour-spreading information, and other types of information which violate laws, regulations and relevant policies are strictly prohibited," Marsh Zhang, a publicity director at Tencent, said in a posting on his personal microblog.

"As soon as they are discovered, we will severely crack down and deal with them."

He made no specific reference to accounts being closed.

Other affected accounts inclu­ded those of Luo Changping, who blew the whistle on a corrupt government official, and a journalist and columnist Xu Danei, who also writes for the Chinese website of Britain's Financial Times newspaper and domestic outlets.

Some pointed out online that the closures came on the final day of the annual session of the National People's Congress, or legis­lature, while others linked them to rumours about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which had 153 Chinese passengers on board.

The crackdown mirrors similar action against another popular form of social media in China, microblogs or weibo, equivalents of Twitter

After the move, Tencent's Hong Kong-listed shares closed down just over 4% on Friday. — AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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

The Star Online: Metro: South & East


Philippine Catholic Haiyan survivors make vow of sacrifice

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

OPONG: Returning to their destroyed village after a catastrophic typhoon that killed thousands in the Philip­pines last year, a weary band of Catholics vowed a lifelong sacrifice to thank God for saving them.

They had walked through the streets of their hometown for three consecutive days before the storm with icons in hand while praying and asking the Lord to spare them from the looming catastrophe.

Although giant ocean surges that swept through their coastal village destroyed many homes, and some of the most powerful winds recorded on land tore roofs off others, all of the roughly 3,500 residents of Opong survived.

The devotees' ensuing vow was to perform a religious procession similar to their pre-typhoon marches at least twice a week for the rest of their lives.

"We want to thank the Lord for giving us a second chance at life. We want to thank Him for giving us the strength of our faith," Elsie Indi, a mother-of-four, who is one of the regular members of the procession, said after a recent march.

Ten days after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit, AFP photographer Philippe Lopez took a dramatic photo of Indi at the head of the Opong procession that came to symbolise the devotion, hope and resilience of many typhoon survivors.

The image won the Spot News category in the prestigious World Press Photo Awards, and was named by Time magazine as one of the top 10 images of 2013.

Indi, 42, her invalid husband and four children fled their home just after dawn on Nov 8 as knee-deep water rushed in, racing ahead of the torrent to a rice paddy at the base of a mountain about one kilometre away.

They, along with many other residents of Opong, sheltered in the muddy field for about six hours, waiting for the storm surges to recede into the Pacific Ocean and the intense rain to pass.

During that time, the typhoon killed or left missing about 8,000 people in towns and cities of the central Philippines near Opong, making it the country's deadliest storm on record.

"Everyone in Opong survived, we can thank God for that," Indi said.

During the most chaotic and desperate period immediately after the typhoon, some of the residents of Opong held their processions twice a day.

The procession, involving anywhere from a few people to more than 20, took more than an hour.

Such acts of devotion are common even outside times of disaster in the Philippines, where about 80% of the nation's 100 million people are Catholic thanks to a Spanish colonial heritage.

In what is known locally as a "panata", devotees promise to God to make some form of sacrifice as repayment for a prayer that has been granted.

In some of the most extreme and famous panatas, devotees around the country have themselves nailed to crosses or whip their backs into a bloody mess of red flesh every Good Friday.

"After being saved, we had to make some sacrifices. The procession is one form of sacrifice," said Virginia Piedad, 47, a primary school teacher who came up with the idea for the Opong community's panata.

Asked when the Opong residents would give up the procession, Piedad and Indi insisted they would continue their hour-long marches every Wednesday and Saturday with the same Jesus statues in their arms until they died.               

But despite the relentless giving of thanks, life for Indi and many others in Opong often feels like an abyss of anxiety and exhaustion.

The iron-sheet roofing, windows and steel trusses of Indi's cramped home were torn away or badly damaged during the storm, and she has no means to replace them.

She estimates it would cost more than 150,000 pesos (RM11,000) to repair the house, an impossible amount when her work as a market vendor brings in most of her family's only income.

Indi's husband, Roel, has not worked for six years because of severe diabetes, while three of her children are still studying.

A fourth child, a 21-year-old son, earns about 200 pesos (RM15) a day making concrete blocks for houses.

Indi said she had to borrow 15,000 pesos (RM1,100) from a local lender to reopen her stall after Haiyan, with an interest rate of 33% over the term of the six-month loan adding to almost unbearable financial pressure.

"We are begging for help. We need money to rebuild our house," Indi said as she stood at the entrance to their ruined home and cried.

Nevertheless, Indi insisted she and the other residents of Opong were fortunate simply to be alive, and that was reason enough to continue with their religious procession.

"We are thankful ... and it gives us comfort," she said. — AFP

Crackdown hits popular platform WeChat

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

SHANGHAI: Chinese Internet giant Tencent has shut several accounts on its popular instant messaging platform WeChat, users said on Friday, in what appeared to be part of a broader government crackdown on political content.

WeChat, known as weixin or micro-message in Chinese, has more than 300 million users in China and overseas, allowing them to send text, photos, videos and voice messages over mobile devices.

Accounts shut down included one for "Union of Elephants" which specialised in irreverent takes on current affairs, and "Consensus Net" which featured articles on topics such as democracy.

Chinese authorities maintain a huge surveillance network, inclu­ding online, where the so-called Great Firewall of China blocks access to sites deemed sensitive and a vast censorship machine deletes content considered objectionable.

The accounts were suspended on Thursday without prior notice or follow-up explanation from Tencent, he said.

Tencent, owner of WeChat, could not be reached for comment on Friday. But a Tencent official said late Thursday that messages that violated Chinese law faced a crackdown.

"To guarantee user experience ... the release of pornographic, violent, rumour-spreading information, and other types of information which violate laws, regulations and relevant policies are strictly prohibited," Marsh Zhang, a publicity director at Tencent, said in a posting on his personal microblog.

"As soon as they are discovered, we will severely crack down and deal with them."

He made no specific reference to accounts being closed.

Other affected accounts inclu­ded those of Luo Changping, who blew the whistle on a corrupt government official, and a journalist and columnist Xu Danei, who also writes for the Chinese website of Britain's Financial Times newspaper and domestic outlets.

Some pointed out online that the closures came on the final day of the annual session of the National People's Congress, or legis­lature, while others linked them to rumours about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which had 153 Chinese passengers on board.

The crackdown mirrors similar action against another popular form of social media in China, microblogs or weibo, equivalents of Twitter

After the move, Tencent's Hong Kong-listed shares closed down just over 4% on Friday. — AFP

Philippines and MILF to ink deal on March 27

Posted: 14 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

MANILA: The Philippines and Muslim rebels are to sign a treaty on March 27 to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest rebellions, a senior aide to President Benigno Aquino said.

The terms of the deal, completed in January after drawn-out talks, would see the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) disband its 12,000-member guerrilla force and share power with Manila in the Muslim south of the mainly Catholic nation.

"After 17 long years of arduous negotiations, we are finally arriving at a political settlement that will seal enduring peace and progress in Mindanao," Teresita Deles, Aquino's chief advi­ser on the peace process, said in a statement.

The decades-old rebellion has claimed 150,000 lives according to official estimates, and condemned large swathes of the south to poverty and violence.

The insurgency also gave rise to smaller groups of Islamist militants, some allied to al-Qaeda.

"The signing ... is expected to benefit not only the Bangsamoro (Filipino Muslims) but the entire country, and will radiate beyond our borders to the regional community, and perhaps the whole world," Deles said.

After the peace deal signing, Aquino is to ask parliament to pass a "basic law" creating a Muslim self-rule area covering 10% of the country's land, with its own police force, parliament and power to levy taxes.

The law will be ratified in a regional referendum, and the region would then elect its own parliament in May 2016, coinciding with the next presidential election to elect Aquino's successor. — AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

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

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting


Six most common fights among new parents

Posted: 13 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Some new parents gush non-stop over their baby but somehow find lots of fault in one another.

MAYBE you used to greet your partner at the door with a smile and a kiss, but now, when he arrives, you launch into a fight because he's two minutes late and you need to take a shower or have a moment of baby-free sanity. That's pretty typical for new parents.

It's going to be a tough first few months; having a baby really does change everything (no one was lying about that). But just because you two are clashing about parenting doesn't mean you can't get back on track and agree to, well, agree. 

Cathy O'Neil, co-author of Babyproofing Your Marriage shows us how to move past the biggest new-parent obstacles without bodily harm.

1. Whose sleep is more important?

"My husband always sleeps in and won't get out of bed before 8.30am on the weekends, except to do something he wants to do."

What to do: Agree to make sleep a priority – for both of you.

Someone's got to get up with baby in the morning. And one partner might think that because they were up at night, they're entitled to sleep. The other might think that because they worked a 50-hour week, they should be the one to snooze late. But really, you both should be allowed to catch a few extra Zzzzs here and there.

So make a pact to make sleep a priority for both of you. That may mean skipping the weekly soccer game with buddies, or not immediately tackling the sink full of dishes, and sleeping instead.

2. Keeping score

"We're constantly tallying up who did what, especially when we're tired – so pretty much always!"

What to do: Lay down your weapons, and hand over your martyr badge.

Remember, you two are on the same team. Instead of making lists after the fact, think ahead to the future.

Make one master list of everything you both need to do and then divide it up.

3. Screen time during family time

"My wife says I'm on my work e-mail and phone too much when I should be focused on family."

What to do: Set aside a time and place for working at home.

Remember your kids are only little for a short time. When you're with them, be present. This means designating a certain room, or even a chair or desk, as a home workspace, and specific times when each of you takes a turn there.

When you or your partner is working, the other should respect that time. But when you're not in the work seat, put down the cellphone, close the laptop and enjoy some quality family time.

4. Which is the 'right way' to do it?

"We fight about what we each feel are wrong decisions the other makes for baby."

What to do: Step back, even if it's hard.

The parent who's around baby most usually feels in charge of how things should go. But if you find yourself constantly telling your partner how to parent, he or she will never know the basics. Plus, you may end up resenting always having to be in control.

So take a close look at what they did "wrong." If it's not critical in the grand scheme of raising your child, just let it go.

5. Big things that go unappreciated

"I work really hard for our family, and I never feel like it's enough for her."

What to do: Say what's on your mind.

It's easy to feel like you are unappreciated. But remember, it goes both ways. It doesn't take grand gestures. A compliment here and there creates a more positive, supportive dynamic between you two. If you need validation, speak up. 

Tell your partner exactly what you need to hear to feel valued; sounds self-explanatory, but so many of us find it hard to be open and honest when we're trying to survive the new-parent phase.

6. Lack of sex

"He wants to do it at as often as we did before, but by bedtime after breastfeeding all day, I need space."

What to do: Schedule some romance.

There's no wrong way to feel here; you both are right. Try to see your partner's side of it. Is there anything that would put you in the mood? Maybe it's more one-on-one conversation, fewer chores during the day or a little extra romance (chocolates and a rom-com, anyone?). If so, tell him.

Some new parents find that switching up the time of day they have sex helps. Heck, why not schedule some sex?

Sure, it sounds not so spontaneous or exciting, and it might not be at first, but eventually, once you're both back in the swing of things, you'll get back into your old groove. – TheBump.com/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Cricket mums stand by their special ones

Posted: 13 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

In India, children with special needs who have a knack for playing cricket are cheered on by their mothers.

BEING disabled doesn't have to be the big setback that it's made out be – that's what Manisha Kolte, a daily wage earner from Nagpur in Maharashtra, India, told her son, Nikhil, ever since the boy realised that he was "different" from the other children in his neighbourhood. Nikhil has been visually challenged since birth and his mother has been his biggest source of strength and his greatest supporter.

"When everyone in the family, including my husband and in-laws, had given up on my son after they came to know of his disability, I made up my mind to prove everyone wrong. There is nothing wrong with him, so why should he be written off without being given a chance?" says Kolte.

Despite the hardships, Kolte has "brought him up to think and be like a normal child. He may be studying in a special school which is equipped to provide him with quality education, but he is like any regular child. I know he will do well in life."

Recently, Nikhil made his mother very proud when he padded up to play for a one-of-its-kind premier cricket league tournament for the visually impaired in his hometown.

"When he told me that he was participating in this special tournament, I was happy that he was going to successfully cross another barrier that this society has set for people like him. Playing cricket has further boosted his confidence.

"As a mother, I feel my prayers will bear fruit the day he is completely independent. Sometimes, I spend sleepless nights wondering whether he will be all alone once I am gone but I want to continue hoping for the best – and efforts like this cricket competition give courage to mothers like me," she adds.

Setting up the Premier Cricket League for the visually impaired in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is the brainchild of Amar Wasnik, a local social worker.

"I have been working with differently-abled men and women for the last 15 years. The whole idea behind initiating this tournament was not just to motivate the visually impaired but also to spread awareness amongst the general public about the challenges they face. If they can play cricket, they can do anything. But in order for them to be fully empowered, this society too has to be on their side," says Wasnik.

While Wasnik's efforts have found a staunch supporter in former Indian team fast bowler Prashant Vaidya, he is hoping that "later on, people from different parts of the country will also come out to promote such events.

"We are glad that youngsters from different parts of Vidarbha, including Amrawati, Akola, Hingna and Yavatmal, have participated this time around."

The composition of the teams was also carefully thought out. Each team comprised 11 players: four were totally visually impaired – they wore cool black eye patches – four had 70% impaired vision and three had more than 40% impaired vision."

Like Kolte, when Sundari Gajbhije, a school teacher, came to know that her son, Kaustubh, 14, was participating in the cricket league, she couldn't contain her excitement.

"He was born with 80% visual impairment. I have seen him struggle with this disability, but he always emerges successful," she observes with a smile.

Gajbhije, however, was not this positive at the beginning. As a mother, initially, it was heartbreaking for her to discover that her baby had this disability.

"I was so disheartened that I would try to forget about him or ignore him. It was my mother who made me understand how blessed I was to have Kaustubh in my life. Today, I understand what she was telling me all those years back. He is such a caring child and very sensitive to what I am thinking and feeling. He has learnt to face the adversities of life head-on, and I am leaving no stone unturned to ensure that he is able to fulfil his dreams and ambitions. Participating in the Premier Cricket League has been good for his morale and mine."

To be match ready, players like Kaustubh and Nikhil got to practise their sweep shots at the pitch using a cricket ball that is larger than the standard size and is filled with 'charras' that make a lot of noise. During the games, which were held last year, Wasnik had gone all out to make the event as glamorous and fun-filled as its more famous counterpart, the Indian Premier League, or IPL, which attracts big bucks, the attention of the mainstream press as well as A-list celebs.

"We too had a live DJ and cheer leaders to pep up our players and pump up the spectators at the Narendra Nagar NIT grounds," he says.

Besides Kolte and Gajbhije, cheering loudly from the stands was Sudha Gupte, who earns a living as a domestic help.

This was the first such tournament her son Ankit, 16, participated in.

"Our entire family is so happy and this feeling can't be described in words. As far as we are concerned, he is the Sachin Tendulkar (aka India's 'God of Cricket') of our clan. My husband even bought him a pair of expensive sports shoes to make sure he was comfortable while playing," says Gupte.

She feels what her son has achieved is quite inspirational. "My daughter, Sarita, who is 10 and has normal eyesight, now insists that she would like to play a sport. She wants to follow her brother's example and be brilliant at whatever she does. I know that this tournament will lead to more and better opportunities for children like Ankit."

But if Gupte can't stop talking about her son's talent, then her mother in-law and Ankit's grandmother, Savitri Bai has some valid concerns for his future – and that of others like him.

"It is good that special children are getting chances like these to prove themselves. But I want ask – what happens to them after this? There is so much money being spent on well-known players, but who is bothered about these visually impaired children who are also playing good cricket?

"I think the government should step in to help them out so that they are not left in the lurch. What if Ankit doesn't get adequate opportunities to hone his game further? He may get frustrated and disheartened with life. That is something I would never want for my own grandson or any other child," she cautions.

In a country where the needs and aspirations of the disabled are often neglected, Savitri's fears are valid. But as long as these youngsters have strong family members – who are usually their mothers – by their side, there will always be some hope for them. – Women's Feature Service

Hi-tech isn't complicated, it's child's play

Posted: 13 Mar 2014 08:45 PM PDT

A study shows young kids have a real knack for figuring out how gadgets work.

Pre-school kids are better than university students when it comes to figuring out how gadgets, gizmos and unusual toys work.

Or so say the results of research undertaken by the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Edinburgh.

The researchers tested how 106 kids four and five years old and 107 college undergraduates faired in getting to grips with something they called "Blickets", a game with both physical and electrical elements that functioned in an unusual way.

The object of the game is to place clay geometric shapes (Blickets) on a box in certain numbers or combinations in order to activate a light and play music.

The researchers found that because children are more flexible and less biased than adults when it comes to concepts such as cause and effect, they were quicker in solving the problem at the heart of the game.

For example, following game demonstrations, the preschoolers quickly figured out that combinations of shapes placed on the box would trigger the music, while the students persisted in trying to figure out which individual geometric shapes made the music play. They stuck to a common and obvious rule even though through demonstrations, the researchers had indicated that said rules didn't necessarily apply.

"As far as we know, this is the first study examining whether children can learn abstract cause and effect relationships, and comparing them to adults," said UC Berkeley developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik, senior author of the paper published online in the journal Cognition.

The paper highlights that on the whole, children are more likely to follow Bayesain logic, or in layman's terms, to entertain unlikely possibilities in order to understand how something functions.

Therefore it's little wonder that the average five-year-old can crack a smartphone's passcode and run up a huge bill thanks to in-app purchases in a matter of minutes.

"One big question, looking forward, is what makes children more flexible learners – are they just free from the preconceptions that adults have, or are they fundamentally more flexible or exploratory in how they see the world?" said Christopher Lucas, lead author of the paper and a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

"Regardless, children have a lot to teach us about learning." — AFP Relaxnews

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star eCentral: TV Tracks

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

The Star eCentral: TV Tracks


Bazinga! 'Big Bang Theory' has been renewed till 2017

Posted: 13 Mar 2014 05:37 AM PDT

The popular show is now the top-rated scripted sitcom in US broadcast TV.

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my
 

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved