Sabtu, 22 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


Thousands mourn Shanghai's 'underground' bishop

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 05:18 PM PDT

Shanghai (AFP) - Thousands of mourners packed a Shanghai square Saturday to bid farewell to "underground" Catholic Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang, whose faith led him to endure decades of suffering at the hands of China's ruling Communist Party, they said.

Fan, who was imprisoned for much of the last two decades and spent his final years under house arrest, died last Sunday at the age of 97 after several days of high fever, according to the US-based Cardinal Kung Foundation, a Roman Catholic organisation.

China has a state-controlled Catholic Church, which rejects the Vatican's authority, as well as an "underground" church. Experts estimate that there are as many as 12 million Catholics in China, split roughly evenly between the two churches.

"I came here to bid farewell to our bishop," said a woman in her 60s who gave her name only as Clare and who was among a throng of mourners gathered outside the funeral home where Fan's body was laid out.

"He had kept loyal to the Lord throughout his life and endured great suffering. I have great respect for him," she said of Fan, who was appointed bishop of Shanghai in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

In the square outside the funeral home, a large screen displayed photos of Fan while mourners sang, prayed and listened to a man narrating the bishop's life story.

As the service got underway, it relayed scenes from inside the funeral home: Fan's body was laid out in the centre, flanked by mourners and clergy in red-and-white robes. A large photo of Fan adorned the hall, surrounded by flowers.

Chinese authorities had turned down a request from worshippers to hold Fan's funeral service at Shanghai's main Catholic cathedral, the Cardinal Kung Foundation said.

- 'Forbidden' from pastoral duty -

Fan was ordained a priest in 1951 and spent more than two decades in jail and labour camps. His appointment as bishop of Shanghai in 2000 was rejected by China's state-run church.

"Bishop Fan was forbidden to carry out his pastoral duty as the government put him under house arrest almost immediately -- a sentence that he served until the day he died," Joseph Kung, president of the foundation, wrote in a statement.

China's Communist regime broke ties with the Vatican in 1951, and although relations have improved in recent years as the country's Catholic population has grown, they remain at odds over which side has the authority to ordain priests.

Shanghai is considered an important diocese given the city's historical ties to the Catholic Church -- it was home to Xu Guangqi, one of the most prominent converts secured by 16th-century Italian missionary Matteo Ricci.

The long-serving bishop of Shanghai's state-run Catholic Church, Aloysius Jin Luxian, died last year at age 96.

Father Giuseppe Zhu Yude, a priest from the underground church, led the mass for Fan's funeral on Saturday.

Overseas and underground Chinese Catholics had requested that Jin's successor, Thaddeus Ma Daqin, be allowed to preside.

But that request was apparently rebuffed. According to the Vatican-linked AsiaNews website, Ma -- who was stripped of his title after he dramatically split with China's state-run church at his installation ceremony last July and has since been under house arrest -- remained under close watch by authorities.

Members of both the state-controlled and underground churches were in attendance at Fan's funeral, and some expressed concern about the uncertainty the church in Shanghai now faces.

"Bishop Fan had held onto his faith during the darkest times," said a middle-aged woman named Grace. "I believe as long as we follow his example, the Lord will bless the Shanghai diocese and we will have new leadership."

India's new breed of politicians

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

As India heads towards general elections, candidates with no political background will throw down the most serious challenge yet to the establishment.

IN Indian politics, as is generally the way of the world, old men died and the young filled their places. But the typical politician has not changed beyond recognition over the decades. He is still mostly a he; a relic and beneficiary of village values even when he lives in the heart of a city, who correctly identifies modernity as his archenemy; a practical man of ordinary intellect who is perceived to be corrupt, even dangerous.

Until recently, the young who were heralded as the "new breed" of politicians tended to be merely the progeny of this typical politician. They were not very different from their papas.

They just wore the skin of an easily procured Western education and all its masquerades. It was as if the typical Indian politician were a species so suited to the terrain where it foraged that it did not have to evolve.

But then circumstances forced the voters to evolve and from them have risen the mutants – engineers, activists, corporate executives, journalists, former government officers and at least one actress – who have become politicians out of necessity. Na├»ve and upright, they view politics as a transformational public service. It is not the first time that Indians infected with idealism have entered politics. But now, as the great republic heads toward general elections, they will throw down the most serious challenge yet to the old.

"What has happened is that the pool of hyper-aspirational youth has become very, very large, and they want Indian politics to change," said Nandan Nilekani, the co-founder of the software firm Infosys and until recently the bureaucrat at the helm of India's attempt to give every citizen a unique biometric identity.

Nilekani is running for office for the first time, and his declaration of assets to the Election Commission will affirm the known fact that he is a billionaire and the richest candidate in the fray among those whose wealth can be measured.

Most of those who are debuting in electoral politics are drawn to the Aam Aadmi Party, a new outfit born out of public rage against the typical politician.

Nilekani is an anomaly because he has joined the governing Indian National Congress.

The significance of the vast pool of hopeful, educated young people that Nilekani was referring to is that they do not have the means to escape to the West and so are deeply invested in the fate of the nation. The idea of home as the only refuge, which is often expressed as nationalistic awakening, is the fundamental force behind the heightened interest in politics today not only among the young, but also the many layers of the middle class.

In November 2008, after 10 terrorists attacked Mumbai, the urban disquiet over the state of the nation erupted in the form of street processions and passionate television shows that abused the political class so severely that politicians threatened to censor television news in the interest of national security.

Meera Sanyal, a banker whose friend died in the terrorist attack as he was dining in a hotel, was inspired by the public rage against politicians to run in the 2009 general elections as an independent candidate from the high-profile Mumbai South constituency.

She fared very poorly. She is running again now, and this time, she told me, "There is a sea change in the voters."

In 2009, she said: "People thought I was crazy. Friends said politics was dirty business and there was no place in it for someone like me. But now, the idea that a person with no political background should enter politics has become mainstream."

This is a consequence of the extraordinary impact of the Aam Aadmi Party, which she has joined.

"It is a magnet for people with no political background who want to enter politics," she said.

The Aam Aadmi Party believes it is a sudden force of nature that can make the typical Indian politician extinct.

The transformation has begun, and irrespective of the fortunes of the Aam Aadmi Party, the golden age of a dominant species is over. — © 2014 The New York Times

> Manu Joseph is author of the novel 'The Illicit Happiness of Other People'.

Between truth and reality

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

Experts trying to solve the MH370 mystery look at the theories floated over the past two weeks.

SINGAPORE: As the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane deepens, new theories have been floated by pilots and aviation enthusiasts to explain its disappearance. We look at some of these theories and what experts say about them.

1. The plane could have caught fire mid-air

A fire probably broke out onboard MH370 and the pilot was trying to save the plane by making a sharp left turn to land on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, said an experienced Canadian pilot.

The flight crew, however, might have been overcome by smoke and the aircraft continued flying on autopilot until it ran out of fuel, said Chris Goodfellow.

Another possible scenario: the fire could have destroyed the control surfaces and the plane then crashed.

The loss of transponders and communications made sense in a fire, he wrote in an article, adding that it was likely electrical. The pilot's first response would be to shut down and restart the circuits.

Another possible cause of fire was overheating of one of the landing gear tyres, which blew on takeoff and started burning slowly.

"Fire in an aircraft demands one thing: Get the machine on the ground as soon as possible," he said, adding that Langkawi is closer than Kuala Lumpur.

What experts say:

Some said this explanation makes sense. But others quoted reports which said the left turn was achieved using a computer system on the plane. That would involve typing seven or eight keystrokes into the computer.

If the course of the plane was changed during a major emergency, it was more likely done using manual control.

Some also pointed out that the plane is believed to have made a series of turns after the first one. Such vigorous navigating, they said, would have been impossible if the crew were unconscious.

Moreover, the electronic "ping" detected by the Inmarsat satellite at 8.11am on March 8 – the day it went missing – narrowed its location at that moment to one of two arcs – one in Central Asia and the other in the southern Indian Ocean. Both areas are not in the direction of Langkawi.

2. The plane could have "stalked" another aircraft to avoid radar detection

Some believe the missing Boeing 777-200ER could have hidden in the shadow of another plane. With its transponder and lights switched off, MH370 could trail another aircraft undetected, said pilots and aviation enthusiasts.

To a ground radar controller, the planes would appear as one or two "blips" depending on how close they were.

Aviation blogger Keith Ledgerwood believes that MH370 could have trailed the Barcelona-bound Singapore Airlines (SIA) Flight 68, which left Changi Airport at about 1.05am, 25 minutes after MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

Both planes were in the same vicinity, he said.

"There are several locations along the flight path of SQ68 where it could have easily broken contact and flown and landed in Xinjiang, Kyrgyzstan, or Turkmenistan," he added.

When contacted, a SIA spokesman would only say: "All queries related to MH370 have to be directed to the investigating authorities."

What experts say:

While it sounds feasible on paper, it would be difficult to closely shadow a plane at night without radar help.

Some also pointed out that military radar, which has higher resolution, would still be able to identify that there were two objects.

The two planes would need to be no further than about 1,000m to appear as one on a military radar, radar expert Hugh Griffiths told BBC News.

3. The plane could have used "terrain masking" technique to avoid detection

MH370 could have dropped to an altitude of 5,000ft, or possibly lower, to avoid commercial radar coverage after it turned back from its planned route, Malaysia's New Straits Times reported, quoting officials.

It is also possible that MH370 had hugged the terrain in some areas that are mountainous to avoid radar detection. The technique, called terrain masking, is used by military pilots to fly to their targets stealthily.

What experts say:

Aviation expert Jason Middleton of the New South Wales University told British paper Guardian that avoiding radar was a well-known technique.

"Radar goes in a straight line. If you are in the shadow of a mountain or even the curve of the Earth – if you are under the radar beam – you cannot be seen," Middleton said.

But flying a large aircraft this way is dangerous because it puts tremendous stress on the airframe.

Flying at such low altitude would also require a much higher fuel burn and result in lower speed.

4. The plane could have crashed or exploded mid-air

Some believe that the plane might have crashed. Others said it might have exploded mid-air, which would explain why no debris has been found by search teams so far.

There were also reports of sightings by people in countries from Indonesia to the Maldives.

However, these reports turned out to be false leads.

What experts say:

Austria-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), which has extremely sensitive sensors throughout the world, said it did not detect any explosion or crash – either on land or at sea.

CTBTO stations have detected several plane accidents in the past, including the crash of an aircraft at Narita Airport in Japan in March 2009.

5. Flight had "structural issue"

Stanford computer science student Andrew Aude put forward a theory that the plane had a structural issue.

He cited a Federal Aviation Authority directive, which pointed to the fuselage cracking at a spot where the satellite antennae is located.

That could lead to rapid decompression and damage to the structure of the aircraft.

Aude said that could explain why no alert was raised by those onboard because they could have been rendered unconscious by a slow decompression of the plane.

What experts say:

Boeing has since clarified that the missing Boeing 777-200ER was not subject to a new US safety directive that ordered additional inspections for cracking and corrosion on certain 777 planes.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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

The Star Online: World Updates


Philippine security forces arrest top communist leaders

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 09:30 PM PDT

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippines security forces arrested the country's top communist leaders on Saturday, a week ahead of the 45th anniversary of the group's armed struggle when it is expected to launch attacks on government targets, head of the armed forces said on Sunday.

The communist leaders had been blocking peace negotiations and ordering followers to step up attacks against plantations, mines, telecommunications and construction firms to raise funds to finance their revolution, according to the military.

Benito Tiamzon, chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)) and his wife, Wilma Austria Tiamzon, were in two vehicles when army and police forces intercepted them in Carcar, Cebu, on Saturday, said General Emmanuel Bautista, the head of the armed forces.

"The arrest of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon is another victory for the combined efforts between Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and other stakeholders in pursuit of peace and security," Bautista said in a statement.

"We will continue to strengthen our resolve to bring other criminals to justice in honour of the victims of the violence perpetrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army and in honour of our people who deserve to live in peace and developed society."

The 3,000-member New People's Army, the armed wing of the communist party, has been waging a protracted guerrilla war for a communist state from the rural countryside.

The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people. The government offered a 5.6 million pesos ($123,600) for the arrest of Benito Tiamzon in 2012.

Bautista called on the Maoist-led guerrillas to abandon the armed struggle and return to the comfort of their families.

Negotiations between the government and National Democratic Front, the political arm of the rebel group, brokered by Norway had stalled since 2011 over demands to free political prisoners.

The government is also fighting Muslim separatists in the south of the mainly Roman Catholic state in Southeast Asia, but a comprehensive peace agreement will be signed this week with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), ending four decades of conflict that has killed 120,000 people. ($1 = 45.3000 Philippine Pesos)

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Michael Perry)

Venezuela death toll rises to 34 as troops and protesters clash

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 06:21 PM PDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Three Venezuelans died from gunshot wounds during protests against socialist President Nicolas Maduro, witnesses and local media said on Saturday, pushing the death toll from almost two months of anti-government demonstrations to 34.

Troops briefly clashed with a small group of protesters who attempted to block a highway in an upscale neighbourhood of Caracas after thousands of opposition sympathizers marched to demand the release of students imprisoned during the unrest.

Demonstrators complaining of soaring prices and product shortages have vowed to remain in the streets until Maduro resigns, although there are few signs that the country's worst turmoil in a decade will force him from office.

Argenis Hernandez, 26, was shot in the abdomen as he was demonstrating near a barricade in the central city of Valencia and died early on Saturday in a nearby hospital, according to local media reports.

A motorcyclist attempted to cross the barricade and opened fire on demonstrators when they would not let him through, wounding Hernandez.

Bus driver Wilfredo Rey, 31, died on Friday night after being shot in the head during a confrontation between demonstrators and hooded gunmen in the western city of San Cristobal, according to local residents.

Rey had not been involved in the protests, they said.

Forty-year-old Jesus Labrador was hit by a bullet on Saturday in the Andean city of Merida during a shoot-out between armed protesters burning tires and hooded gunmen on motorcycles, according to a resident of the area.

Labrador died minutes after arriving at the hospital. Four others suffered bullet wounds in the incident.

The protests began in February with sporadic demonstrations by university students. They intensified after three people were killed following a February 12 rally in downtown Caracas.

Jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez called on Maduro to resign in a letter read by his wife at a rally.

"Maduro, if you resign, you will open a path toward peace for Venezuelans," wrote Lopez, who was jailed last month on charges including instigating violence after helping turn the protests into a national movement. "The solution is in your hands."

A group of demonstrators later gathered near Plaza Altamira, which has been a hot spot of opposition protests, but the National Guard dispersed them with tear gas.

DUELLING MARCHES

The opposition has repeatedly declined Maduro's offers for dialogue about the situation, saying they refuse to take part in meetings that will provide little more than photo-ops for the ruling Socialist Party.

Maduro says their refusal to engage in dialogue is evidence they are interested in snatching power rather than negotiating.

During a rally following the pro-government march, Maduro accused opposition extremists of setting fire to a military university in San Cristobal earlier this week.

"Can this be called protest? This is terrorism. This is fascism," Maduro said.

"These 'Chuckies' are the direct descendants of the Nazis," he said, referring to the murderous doll of the horror movie series - a designation often used by government leaders to describe the violent protesters.

The state prosecutor's office said on Saturday evening that a 21-year-old man had been detained in relation to the incident and charged with crimes including sabotage.

Demonstrations have ranged from peaceful marches to violent clashes between police and hooded protesters hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails.

They have also involved street barricades made of trash and debris that is set on fire, snarling traffic and angering drivers of all political persuasions.

Opposition sympathizers accuse troops of using excessive force against demonstrators, spurring outrage that has helped keep the protests going.

Maduro says adversaries are seeking to destabilize the government as part of a Washington-backed coup similar to the one that briefly ousted socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2002.

Prosecutors in recent days ordered the arrest of two opposition mayors following accusations they had not done enough to clear barricades in their municipalities.

Congress on Tuesday asked prosecutors to open a criminal probe of Maria Corina Machado, an opposition legislator and high-profile protest leader, for crimes including treason and inciting civil war in association with the unrest.

(Additional reporting by Javier Faria in San Cristobal; Editing by Gunna Dickson and Lisa Shumaker)

Pilot of missing plane shared his flight simulator passion online

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 06:20 PM PDT

HONG KONG/TOKYO (Reuters) - Some trace of the passion that Zaharie Ahmad Shah had for flying can be found in the trail of e-mail exchanges and online message board posts that detail the Malaysia Airlines pilot's construction of a state-of-the-art flight simulator at home.

Now the stack of computer monitors, graphics cards and software he painstakingly sourced and improved is being pored over by investigators trying to make sense of the disappearance more than two weeks ago of the passenger jet he was piloting.

There is no evidence that Zaharie was responsible for the loss of Flight MH370, which had 227 passengers and 10 crew, including the 53-year-old captain, aboard.

In fact, many in the online community of specialist vendors and flying enthusiasts whom Zaharie turned to for components and advice say it is common for pilots to enjoy flying so much that they have simulators at home.

"Many pilots contact me interested in making 'home' simulators. Zaharie along with some others pilots actually used my motion controllers to upgrade the realism of their simulators by building motion platforms," Thanos Kontogiannis, a California-based aviation enthusiast who helped Zaharie build the simulator, posted on his blog on Monday.

Kontogiannis, whose LinkedIn profile and blog describe him as a San Diego-based Qualcomm employee who builds motion controllers in his spare time, did not respond to requests for comment.

But with investigators convinced that the missing plane was diverted thousands of miles off its scheduled course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing by a skilled aviator, attention has focused on Zaharie and the 27-year-old co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid.

Malaysian police seized the simulator last week from Zaharie's gated home in an upscale suburb west of Kuala Lumpur. Games he was running from the Microsoft "Flight Simulator" series and the latest "X-plane" title were being examined.

"Looking through the flight logs in these simulator games is a key part of the investigation," said an official with direct knowledge of the investigation into Zaherie and his co-pilot.

"X-plane 10 was interesting to investigators because it was the latest thing Zaharie bought. Also it is the most advanced out there and had all sorts of emergency and combat scenarios."

Malaysian investigators have asked the FBI for help in memory recovery after discovering some data was deleted on February 3.

VIRTUAL COCKPIT

Zaharie spent thousands of hours in the virtual cockpit of the machine playing flying games or boosting its capabilities. He seemed proud of the results.

On the evening of November 17, 2012, he posted a picture of his newly-finished simulator and its specifications to an online forum, calling it "awesome" and saying it was his "passion". He said it was "time to take to the next level of simulation" with a motion controller and that he was "looking for buddies".

A motion controller makes the chair of the simulator pitch and turn like in a real cockpit to simulate the climbs, descents and banked turns of a real plane. Zaharie's set-up also included a centre pedestal, where aircraft controls sit, and overhead panel.

It's impossible to estimate exactly how much Zaharie spent on his simulator, but rough estimate by Reuters shows it was likely to be well in excess of $7,000.

Flight simulator costs vary depending on parts used. For example, a replica Boeing-737 seat on Flight Simulator Centre, a website with simulator parts, costs almost $5,000. An overhead panel listed on another website costs $800.

The software, currently a focus for investigators, would have allowed him to practice landing at more than 33,000 airports, on aircraft carriers, oil rigs, frigates, which pitch and roll with the waves, and heli-pads atop buildings.

Other software Zaharie was using would have let him to use the Internet to fly with friends and he could have simulated "a lot of malfunctions, emergencies, go-arounds, return-to-base or divert with fairly exact procedures", according to Naoya Fujiwara, a flight simulator expert from Japan.

He could have simulated any weather and even downloaded real weather, wind and temperature data from a professional server, Fujiwara said.

Given the large amount of cheap memory loaded onto modern computers, it's unlikely Zaharie would have had to erase his flight data for technical reasons - so it remains unclear why some of the data was erased on February 3.

"Today storage capacity is not a problem for a computer running simulators," said Fernando Nunez Correas, a simulation software developer using some of the same components as Zaharie.

Erasing data may have been part of a regular maintenance routine or done to help improve the simulator's performance, flight simulator users say.

He could not have practiced evading radar, for instance, because radar is not part of the simulation, Nunez said.

(Additional reporting by Niki Koswanage in KUALA LUMPUR and Noel Randewich in SAN FRANCISCO; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies


'Jurassic World' casts Omar Sy

Posted: 21 Mar 2014 08:05 PM PDT

Omar Sy, the French star who turned heads with his work as a sympathetic caretaker in The Intouchables, has landed a role in Jurassic World.

He joins a cast that includes Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio and BD Wong. Sy shared the news with fans in English and French on Twitter, but did not divulge what part he will play in the when dinosaurs attack sequel.

It's a prominent gig for Sy and another chance for the actor to cross over to English language films. He has also lined up roles in next summer's X-Men: Days of Future Past and the James Franco thriller Good People.

Jurassic World hits theatres on June 12, 2015. Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) directs. – Reuters

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


Grenade blasts rattle northern Thai city

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 01:25 AM PDT

BANGKOK: A string of grenade blasts shook a northern Thai city popular with foreign tourists, leaving several people wounded in attacks that police said Saturday could be linked to the kingdom's deadly political crisis.

The explosions in Chiang Mai on Friday evening came hours after the Constitutional Court nullified a February general election disrupted by opposition protests, angering government supporters.

The targets were a seafood restaurant, a petrol station and a brewery that has faced criticism because of its controlling family's links with anti-government protesters.

Four people were wounded but were out of danger Saturday and had returned home, Chiang Mai provincial police commander Grit Gitilue said by telephone.

"We established two possible motives for the attacks - personal conflict or politics. We are giving more weight to the second one," he said, adding that no suspects had been arrested.

Two grenades were also fired near an anti-government rally in the eastern province of Chonburi on Friday evening but nobody was hurt, police said.

The unrest is a blow to efforts to lure back tourists after a state of emergency was recently lifted in Bangkok in response to an easing of months of political violence that has left 23 people dead.

The violence, mostly concentrated in Bangkok, has often targeted opposition protesters seeking to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government and install an unelected "people's council" to oversee reforms.

Thailand has been bitterly divided since her elder brother Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted as premier by royalist generals in a 2006 coup.

Yingluck has been charged with negligence in connection with a rice subsidy scheme, and could face impeachment within weeks.

Her supporters, known as the "Red Shirts", have warned that they will not tolerate a "judicial coup" to oust the government through the courts.

The red-clad movement was due to hold a political rally on Saturday evening in the seaside city of Pattaya.

Their mass protests against the previous government in 2010 triggered street clashes and a military crackdown that left more than 90 people dead in the country's worst civil unrest in decades.

Yingluck's Puea Thai Party had been expected to win the February election, which was boycotted by the opposition.

The polls were annulled on the grounds that they were not held nationwide on the same day, due to the disruption by demonstrators.

Parties linked to Thaksin - who lives in Dubai to avoid prison for corruption - won every previous election for more than a decade, helped by strong support in the north.

But many southerners and Bangkok residents accuse the Shinawatra family of raiding the public coffers to buy the loyalty of rural voters through populist policies. -AFP

Australia skydiving plane crash kills five

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 01:18 AM PDT

BRISBANE, Australia: A light aircraft used for skydiving crashed in an airfield in eastern Australia on Saturday and burst into flames, killing all five people on board, police said.

The plane veered left shortly after taking off from the Caboolture airstrip, 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of Brisbane on Australia's east coast, before plunging to the ground.

"We have a pilot and there were four skydivers on board and they were the only five people that were on board," Queensland police superintendent Michael Brady told Sky News.

Brady said a male pilot, two skydiving instructors and two skydivers including a woman were on board, but could not confirm reports that their family members were watching as the plane plummeted to the ground.

Forensic investigators were at the scene but there was no immediate word on what caused the crash, with the airport closed until further notice.

Bryan Carpenter, who works at the airfield used mostly for small aircraft, said the plane was a Cessna 206, which was often used on skydiving flights.

He told Sky News the burning high-octane fuel destroyed the plane immediately.

"On impact with the ground (the plane) burst into flames and there were no survivors," he said.

"This is the worst-ever fatality accident we've suffered (at Caboolture)."

Rescue workers quickly reached the scene and the fire was extinguished within minutes, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service said.

Mark Thompson, who was at the scene, told reporters that dozens of people rushed to help put out the fire but the heat forced them back.

"When I got there there was nothing to be done," he said.

"There was just wreckage on the ground. It was well and truly burnt out."

In September 2010, nine people were killed in a skydiving plane crash in New Zealand when the aircraft crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff near the Fox Glacier tourist spot. There were no survivors. -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


Grenade blasts rattle northern Thai city

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 01:25 AM PDT

BANGKOK: A string of grenade blasts shook a northern Thai city popular with foreign tourists, leaving several people wounded in attacks that police said Saturday could be linked to the kingdom's deadly political crisis.

The explosions in Chiang Mai on Friday evening came hours after the Constitutional Court nullified a February general election disrupted by opposition protests, angering government supporters.

The targets were a seafood restaurant, a petrol station and a brewery that has faced criticism because of its controlling family's links with anti-government protesters.

Four people were wounded but were out of danger Saturday and had returned home, Chiang Mai provincial police commander Grit Gitilue said by telephone.

"We established two possible motives for the attacks - personal conflict or politics. We are giving more weight to the second one," he said, adding that no suspects had been arrested.

Two grenades were also fired near an anti-government rally in the eastern province of Chonburi on Friday evening but nobody was hurt, police said.

The unrest is a blow to efforts to lure back tourists after a state of emergency was recently lifted in Bangkok in response to an easing of months of political violence that has left 23 people dead.

The violence, mostly concentrated in Bangkok, has often targeted opposition protesters seeking to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government and install an unelected "people's council" to oversee reforms.

Thailand has been bitterly divided since her elder brother Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted as premier by royalist generals in a 2006 coup.

Yingluck has been charged with negligence in connection with a rice subsidy scheme, and could face impeachment within weeks.

Her supporters, known as the "Red Shirts", have warned that they will not tolerate a "judicial coup" to oust the government through the courts.

The red-clad movement was due to hold a political rally on Saturday evening in the seaside city of Pattaya.

Their mass protests against the previous government in 2010 triggered street clashes and a military crackdown that left more than 90 people dead in the country's worst civil unrest in decades.

Yingluck's Puea Thai Party had been expected to win the February election, which was boycotted by the opposition.

The polls were annulled on the grounds that they were not held nationwide on the same day, due to the disruption by demonstrators.

Parties linked to Thaksin - who lives in Dubai to avoid prison for corruption - won every previous election for more than a decade, helped by strong support in the north.

But many southerners and Bangkok residents accuse the Shinawatra family of raiding the public coffers to buy the loyalty of rural voters through populist policies. -AFP

Australia skydiving plane crash kills five

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 01:18 AM PDT

BRISBANE, Australia: A light aircraft used for skydiving crashed in an airfield in eastern Australia on Saturday and burst into flames, killing all five people on board, police said.

The plane veered left shortly after taking off from the Caboolture airstrip, 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of Brisbane on Australia's east coast, before plunging to the ground.

"We have a pilot and there were four skydivers on board and they were the only five people that were on board," Queensland police superintendent Michael Brady told Sky News.

Brady said a male pilot, two skydiving instructors and two skydivers including a woman were on board, but could not confirm reports that their family members were watching as the plane plummeted to the ground.

Forensic investigators were at the scene but there was no immediate word on what caused the crash, with the airport closed until further notice.

Bryan Carpenter, who works at the airfield used mostly for small aircraft, said the plane was a Cessna 206, which was often used on skydiving flights.

He told Sky News the burning high-octane fuel destroyed the plane immediately.

"On impact with the ground (the plane) burst into flames and there were no survivors," he said.

"This is the worst-ever fatality accident we've suffered (at Caboolture)."

Rescue workers quickly reached the scene and the fire was extinguished within minutes, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service said.

Mark Thompson, who was at the scene, told reporters that dozens of people rushed to help put out the fire but the heat forced them back.

"When I got there there was nothing to be done," he said.

"There was just wreckage on the ground. It was well and truly burnt out."

In September 2010, nine people were killed in a skydiving plane crash in New Zealand when the aircraft crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff near the Fox Glacier tourist spot. There were no survivors. -AFP

Road accident kills 35 in southwest Pakistan

Posted: 22 Mar 2014 01:21 AM PDT

QUETTA, Pakistan: A collision between two passenger buses and a petrol tanker killed 35 people in southwest Pakistan on Saturday, officials said, with many of the victims burning to death.

A bus travelling to Karachi collided with the tanker in the early hours of the morning in Gadani district on the coast of Baluchistan province, senior administration official Akber Haripal told AFP.

"The bus and the tanker had a head-on collision and the oil tanker turned over, but the situation got worse when a second passenger bus coming from behind rammed into the first bus as it skidded on the oil spilled on the road," he said.

The first bus then caught fire, he said, adding that 35 people were killed, most burning to death while trapped inside the bus, and 30 were injured.

Amir Sultan, another senior administration official confirmed the incident and toll and said the dead bodies were "beyond recognition".

"These passengers buses travelling between Baluchistan and Karachi have automatic hydraulic doors and their windows are sealed because the buses are air conditioned, so most of the passengers were trapped inside," he said.

Sultan said the injured were being taken to Karachi after receiving first aid at a government-run medical dispensary because there was no hospital in the area.

Pakistan has one of the world's worst records for fatal traffic accidents, blamed on poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving. -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


Home birth: Weighing the risks

Posted: 20 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT

The case of two women who died during unassisted home birth here recently highlights issues like the safety of delivering babies in a non-hospital setting and the support services available.

I'm a mum, just that my son's not with us now…" writes Lily Lai (not her real name) in her blog where she shares her birthing experience. What started as a joyous first pregnancy turned into a nightmare for the first-time mother when an unassisted home birth went awry.

She had learnt about natural childbirth and believed she could deliver her baby at home safely with the help of her hypnobirthing coach.

But 10 days after her first contractions started, Lai was rushed to the hospital only to find that her baby had died in her womb.

Late last year, two first-time mothers also had tragic unassisted home births; they died from excessive blood loss after delivering their babies.

National statistics for unassisted home births are not available but gentle birth advocates and doctors are saying the number is growing. A quick search on the Internet finds plenty of web sites, chat groups and links to books and home videos on the subject. Childbirth-related sites like HypnoBirthing Malaysia lists at least 90 unassisted home birth stories.

"A lot of times women are reluctant to come to hospital (to deliver their babies) because they feel their choices are taken away from them," says consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur Dr Paul Ng Hock Oon.

Since 2008, a support network for mothers, The Gentle Birthing Group Malaysia (GBG), has been advocating "gentle birth" – drug-free and natural birthing options

"But a gentle birth doesn't have to be natural birth, it can be a C-section if it's done with respect to the baby and the mother makes the decision. If she's happy with a medicalised birth (epidural, episiotomy and the whole works), it's her choice," says GBG representative Chrissy Steinhardt. "But when it's not her choice, the interventions can result in a traumatic birthing experience for the mother."

It doesn't help that the medicalisation of childbirth means what is a straightforward, natural process is now treated as a medical procedure. Caesarean rates in Malaysian government hospitals hover around 25% in 2008 compared to around 10% in early 2000. The figure is believed to be higher in private practice.

Something to think about: Is the medicalisation of childbirth pushing women into delivering at home?

Something to think about: Is the medicalisation of childbirth pushing women into delivering at home?

Doctors are medically and ethically obliged to ensure the safety of mother and baby, Dr Ng explains.

"That is why they sometimes go to the other extreme and in turn makes patients feel their choices are taken away from them," says Dr Ng who has more than 20 years' experience in obstetrics, including an 11-year stint in the UK.

Also, fear of litigation is scaring medical providers into defensive and often interventionist practices.

Home birth risks

But whilst women should tune in to their natural birth instinct, the risks of unassisted births should not be taken lightly.

A study published in 2010 in the American Journal Of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that planned home births involved less medical intervention but carried twice or thrice the risk of the baby dying.

First-time mothers were also far more likely to need last-minute transfer to a hospital, up to 37%, compared to only four to nine percent of home birthing women who had had at least one child. Reasons for transfers include lack of progress in labour, concerns about the foetus, hypertension, bleeding and a poorly positioned foetus.

Chances are, most low-risk women will have a safe, natural childbirth but it is the 10% that are worrying, especially when they don't have quick access to medical help, says Selayang Hospital's Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr Mohd Roslan Abd Halim.

"Even in hospitals, you can come in as a low-risk patient and end up as a high-risk patient. Things can change very fast during the labour process," says Dr Roslan who joined Selayang Hospital in 1999.

According to WHO, postpartum haemorrhage is the most common cause of maternal deaths worldwide. It can be caused by the failure of the uterus to contract, vaginal or cervical lacerations, uterine rupture or retained placental tissue.

Hence, the most risky time for the mother is after the baby is delivered.

"We've had patients who were wheeled into the hospital covered with blood from head to toe due to excessive blood loss after delivering at home," says Ng. "Their husbands or birth companions couldn't quantify the amount of bleeding or checked their pressures and pulse rates. Some had low haemoglobin level and required a blood transfusion."

Unlike The Netherlands where midwife-led deliveries are well established, Malaysia does not yet have a good support system, according to Dr Tang Boon Nee, president of the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia (OGSM).

"In The Netherlands (where one third of births are assisted home births), things are done in a controlled fashion. The midwife goes to the house, assesses the situation, the ambulance is kept on standby and the ob-gyn is on alert," says Dr Tang. "Everything is set in that motion to prepare for the delivery in case something goes wrong."

Without the supervision of a qualified and experienced midwife or care provider during home births, most mothers and their birth companions can't recognise potential problem, asserts Dr Ng.

But women die giving birth in hospital, too.

"Of course, we haven't achieved zero mortality, our mortality rate is 27 over 100,000 (one of the best in the world)," Dr Tang explains. "We are losing patients because they are usually high-risk women who end up in hospitals with heart disease, multiple C-sections, pulmonary embolism and high-blood pressure during pregnancy.

"Yes, there are maternal deaths in hospital births, but there're many more unnecessary deaths for mothers and babies in unassisted home births."

Midwives needed

In Malaysia, assisted home births are legal and common in small towns or rural areas where access to a hospital is difficult. Based at health clinics, these certified midwives attend to the expectant mothers in their homes with equipment for monitoring foetal heart rate and resuscitation, and medications to stop bleeding. High-risk and emergency cases are transferred to the nearest hospital.

But in urban areas like the Klang Valley, women do not have adequate support for planned home births such as certified midwives who are confident enough or willing to assist in home births.

"If we don't provide the option to birth at home for women, they are going to have to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea. They feel they have no choice," says Nadine Ghows, one of the co-founders of GBG. Hence, the next big step for GBG is to push for midwifery care in Malaysia.

"We need to advocate for midwife-led birthing centres and not just about making hospitals more birth-friendly," says Ghows.

Midwives-led birthing centres, where women can experience a calmer, less invasive birth while in close proximity to a hospital in case of emergency, could be a solution.

Studies have found that midwife-led birth centres for low risk women are as safe as consultant-led care and are often associated with less intervention during labour and delivery, according to a 2013 Ministry of Health report by Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan in Kuantan, Pahang.

The Kuantan hospital is one of only three public hospitals in Malaysia that houses a low-risk birthing centre adjacent to the main hospital building. Managed by midwives and assisted by medical officers, the birth centre is equipped with delivery, antenatal beds and postnatal beds. The other two centres are in Hospital Tawau, Sabah and Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Johor Baru.

From 2009 to 2011, the figures for successful spontaneous vaginal delivery ranges from 96.1% to 98.6% compared to figures from the hospital's labour room that averages 68.99%. The centre also posted lower rates for instrumental delivery, episiotomy, C-section and neonatal admission to intensive care. The number of delivery in the birth centre is 20% (over 2,000 a year) of the total hospital delivery.

The study aims to promote the set-up of more low-risk birthing centres in Malaysia to address the problem of overcrowded obstetric facilities in government hospitals.

"What is important now is for us to be the bridge between mothers and care providers, to keep the dialogues going and advocate for more birth options," says Ghows.

Dr Mohd Roslan Abd Halim, Head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics Department at Selayang Hospital and consultant obstetrics and gynaecologist Dr Joy Poore showing us the private labour room.

Dr Mohd Roslan Abd Halim, head of Gynaecology and Obstetrics Department at Selayang Hospital and consultant obstetrics and gynaecologist Dr Joy Poore in the private labour room.

Making headway

On the bright side, public and private hospitals are making an effort to create a more welcoming and comfortable birthing environment, and address unnecessary obstetric interventions.

Recently, the Ministry of Health introduced the Mother-Friendly Care guidelines in hospitals nationwide, says Dr Roslan.

"Hospitals who want to attain the baby-friendly care status have to fulfil these guidelines which include: encouraging the use of non-drug pain relief like a massage or shower, allowing mothers to move about during labour and choosing a comfortable birthing position, and discouraging the use of invasive procedures like rupturing the membrane, episiotomy (a surgical cut made just before delivery to enlarge the vaginal opening) or induction of labour, unless medically necessary.

"If you've been practising interventionist obstetrics or midwifery for the longest time, it's not easy to change the mindset. It takes time but it can happen. "We need to also educate our nurses that women want to have a say in their delivery process. My dream is to make hospital delivery as homely as possible and for women to have safe and satisfying birthing experiences," he adds.

Communication is key

Sometimes a doctor's perceived (or not) patronising attitude can be a turn-off.

"There are many assumptions that medicine causes harm to baby and mother. But if doctors are too dismissive about patients' fears, they don't address the problem," Dr Ng admits. "Doctors should be open enough to let patients ask questions and patients should not be afraid to ask, even if you think it's a silly question."

In recent years, the number of women coming to their doctors with birth plans has shot up tremendously.

"Eighty per cent of these birth plans are very reasonable whilst the remaining 20% may require more discussion. For example, many don't want the routine injection to promote uterine contraction. I would explain the rationale behind the injection and if there's leeway to avoid it."

"I think it's just a matter of doctor being able to communicate those choices to the patient and to our own personal degree of comfort," adds Dr Ng.

And more often than not, most women are willing to listen.

"I had a patient who was beyond her due date by 28 days and refused an induction. I said, 'Well and fine, but do you mind staying in the hospital so that we can make sure the baby is fine?'" says Dr Roslan.

Eventually, the patient delivered a happy baby via natural childbirth.

The medical fraternity is open to more dialogues with advocacy groups to improve birthing options for women.

"We would like to work with advocacy groups that include doctors from private and government hospitals and the gentle birthing advocates to set standards of what is acceptable within a hospital setting," says Dr Ng.

"I believe that patients' positive experiences (in hospitals) will convince the medical fraternity that we perhaps need to rethink our perspective of obstetrics."

While doctors are prepared to listen, advocates have to be mindful of our standards and issues regarding risks too, he adds. "Hopefully, we can all move forward in a positive way."

As for Lai, she delivered a healthy baby at the hospital two months ago.

"Forums, doctors, books and birthing classes may offer a one-sided view of childbirth. It's best to choose an obstetrician you can trust and talk too, and go with his advice.

"Choose someone who appreciates life, isn't lackadaisical, has a sense of responsibility to take all precautions and is equipped with the experience and skills to ensure mother and baby will be safe," says Lai.

To read about Lily Lai's home childbirth experience, visit http://hypnobirthinghomebirthaquestionmark.blogspot.com. 

Related stories:

Natural and unaided

A midwife on standby

A gentle birth

The gentle birthing way

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


Netflix recruits Jane Fonda and Sam Shepard

Posted: 21 Mar 2014 07:22 AM PDT

Each of the two actors is set to participate in a different series in development at the streaming platform's studios.

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

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my
 

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved