Showing posts from 2013

Malaysians still struggle on poverty line

Sixty percent of Malaysians still live on less than $1,600 each month and struggle to buy basic necessities like food.

How often do you check the prices of the food you are about to buy?

When I go to the supermarket and I need soup, I buy soup. I look for the gluten free cereal and avoid the wholewheat. Do I choose the extra virgin olive oil or the lemon flavoured one?

Could I tell you how much a litre of milk costs? No.

The only time I’ve looked at the price of something is to consider whether $11 dollars is too much for a small container of raspberries. It is.

But I’m well paid. I’m not one of the half million people in Malaysia living on the poverty line.

Rural poverty

Although the government has done an admirable job reducing poverty in the country since the Millennium Development Goals were introduced in 1990, there’s still a huge challenge ahead.

The goal then – halve the number of people living on less than a dollar a day by 2015.

That goal has already been achieved.

But over 60…

Interpreter at Mandela memorial dubbed a 'fake'

To those outside the deaf community, the sign language interpreter for Nelson Mandela's memorial may have looked like he was working hard, translating the spoken words into gestures for four hours.

But he has been dubbed "a fake," and his actions outraged deaf people, according to an association for the deaf community in South Africa.

The service to commemorate the revered statesman, who died last week at the age of 95, was broadcast to millions of viewers around the world.

While dignitaries addressed the crowd Tuesday at Johannesburg's FNB stadium, the unidentified suited man with a security pass produced a series of hand signals that experts say meant nothing.

The Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA) said the "interpreter" was not a recognized professional, nor was he known by the deaf community in the country.

"The so-called 'interpreter' who interpreted at the official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB st…

United States Sends B-52s Over China Air Defense Zone

The United States sent two B-52 bombers over China’s Air Defense Zone, without notifying Beijing.

United States officials said on Tuesday, the two bombers went into a disputed area over the East China Sea challenging the country’s wish to expand its air zone.

Both countries have been at odds over China’s intentions and today’s actions are a clear indicator Washington will show Beijing that it will push back at Chinese attempts to claim the area.

The move by the United States also emphasizes the country’s strong relationship with Japan.

Americans are participating in military exercises this week and together with Japan they will challenge China to the vast portion of Ocean.

The United States and Japan have a long standing relationship dating back to after World War II and are giving China’s attempts at claiming that part of the sea a direct challenge.

On Tuesday, the United States flew the two Air Force bombers in direct defiance of Beijing’s express wishes that they be informed about…

Nelson Mandela: 10 surprising facts you probably didn't know..

He was loved and admired the world over, profiled in books and movies, and showered with awards and accolades. But even the most public of personalities have little-known facts buried in their biographies.
Here are 10 surprising facts you probably didn't know about Nelson Mandela:

1. He lived up to his name: Mandela's birth name was Rolihlahla. In his Xhosa tribe, the name means pulling the branch of a tree or troublemaker. (The name "Nelson" was given to him by his teacher on his first day of elementary school. It's not clear why she chose that particular name. It was the 1920s, and African children were given English names so colonial masters could pronounce them easily).

2. He had a cameo in a Spike Lee film: He had a bit part in Spike Lee's 1992 biopic "Malcolm X." At the very end of the movie, he plays a teacher reciting Malcolm X's famous speech to a room full of Soweto school kids. But the pacifist Mandela wouldn't say "by any m…

The world's most famous political prisoner

How the UK-based Anti-Apartheid Movement made Mandela a household name and struck a blow at South African segregation.

Peter Hain can still recall vividly the morning in 1972 when South African secret agents intended to kill him with a letter bomb sent to his home in London.

"Suddenly, in the middle of the family breakfast table was this terrifying, grotesque mixture of terminals and wires," Hain told. "We just sat there transfixed, and nothing happened. The police said we had been very lucky because there was a problem with the trigger mechanism."

Hain, whose family had left South Africa in the 1960s when he was a teenager, was by then one of the most recognisable faces of the UK-based Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM).

In 1969 he had launched the Stop the Seventy Tour campaign, which used direct action tactics to disrupt the Springboks' rugby tour to the UK and ultimately forced the cancellation of the South African cricket team's 1970 series in England.


Rooftop romance in Minnesota

There are plenty of fish in the sea, but Nicole and Alex Altstatt didn’t find theirs until they both signed up to explore the waters of online dating.
Nicole, 28, found her fish on the first hook: “I signed up for a bunch of different sites and decided to go on one date per site,” she said. “I hated the idea in the first place but luckily I didn’t have to go any further!”
Alex was her first and last date from the dating site "Plenty of Fish," and the two knew quickly that this was the real thing.

“The first thing I noticed about her were her good looks and her kind attitude,” said Alex, 32. And Nicole saw a man who was masculine but had a soft side. “He’s still a guy’s guy but he made time for me. And he continues to do that. That definitely stood out for me.”

They dated for a little over two years, and then Alex decided it was time to ask for Nicole’s hand in marriage during a photo shoot with her family.

While taking pictures in front of Minneapolis’ iconic Spoonbridge an…

END IT Movement :: Awareness in Atlanta, GA

Why Weddings Have Become Meaningless Displays Of Pretense For Gen-Y

It’s the most important day of her life; the day she’s dreamed of since she was a little girl; the day her life as a woman officially commences; her big day…

It’s her wedding day.

What was once a paramount, sacred tradition that enabled a couple united by love to become joined together for life has now become little more than a grand exhibition of wealth.

In today’s society, this oh-so-special day has actually morphed into a sort of contest, and even can be considered a spectacle in a way.

Every bride-to-be believes that her wedding will outshine everyone else’s, and the obsession with how perfect things will be for others has surpassed the importance of the personal significance of this (hopefully) once in a lifetime milestone.

What was meant to be one of the happiest days of a hopelessly romantic couple’s life has become a practice in personal advertising to communicate the message: “Here we are, happily in love, and here is the carefully crafted wedding to prove it!”

Many couples …

Killing Arafat - Enemy within...

Women should start having kids by 25

Americans say in poll that Women should start having kids by 25.

What’s the ideal age to become a parent for the first time? It turns out many people believe women should start sporting pregnant bellies fairly young, while men should wait a bit longer to become dads, according to a new survey.

The majority of Americans, 58 percent, believe the ideal age for women to start having children is 25 or younger, while the majority, 52 percent, said men should start having children at 26 or older, a recent Gallup poll found.

The average perceived ideal age for each gender to have children differs only slightly: 25 for women and 27 for men, Gallup found. Some 5,100 U.S. adults took part in the survey.

Gallup acknowledged “tension between biology and societal norms” in the results, noting young women may have the best odds of conceiving a healthy child but that rushing to become a parent “doesn't square with modern Western sensibilities about pursuing higher education and career goals, fin…

Egypt player suspended over Islamist salute

Islamists often flash a four-finger sign known as "Raba'a" (four) in Arabic to support anti-coup protests.

Al-Ahly football club bans striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher for hand gesture linked to supporters of ousted President Morsi.

Egypt's Al-Ahly football club says it has suspended striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher without pay for using a four-fingered hand gesture linked to supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in a goal celebration, according to the Associated Press.

The newly crowned African club champion said that the 28-year-old forward was suspended on Monday for showing the sign after scoring the second goal in a 2-0 win over South Africa's Orlando Pirates in the African Champions League final second leg in Cairo on Sunday.

Ahly won 3-1 on aggregate for its eighth continental club title.

The suspension may mean that Abdel-Zaher may miss next month's FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, the club sources said.

Islamists have often flashed the four-finger sign, called…

Malaysia Budget 2014 Highlights

Following are the highlights of the 2014 Budget themed “STRENGTHENING ECONOMIC RESILIENCE, ACCELERATING TRANSFORMATION AND FULFILLING PROMISES” which was tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Parliament on 25th Oct 2013.

* The domestic economy is projected to grow at a stronger pace of between 5.0 per cent to 5.5 per cent.

* The unemployment rate is estimated at 3.1 per cent while the inflation rate will remain low at between 2 per cent and 3 per cent.

* Goods exports are expected to grow 2.5 per cent due to improving external demand while on the supply side, the construction sector is expected to grow 9.6 per cent.

* The per capita income for 2014 is expected to reach RM34,126 compared with RM24,879 in 2009, an increase of 37 per cent over six years.

* It is even possible that Malaysia will achieve developed nation status much earlier than 2020.

* The 2014 Budget allocates a total of RM264.2 billion to implement programmes and projects.

* Of this amount, RM217.7 bil…

Top 10 most gender equal countries in the world

Iceland leads four Nordic countries at the top of the table, while the Philippines joins the top five for the first time in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap 2013 report, published today.

The report ranks 136 countries on their ability to close the gender gap – making sure women are not held back – in four key areas: health and survival, education, politics and economic equality.

1. Iceland holds the top spot for the fifth consecutive year, continuing to boast the narrowest gender gap in the world. Iceland’s overall score moves up due to improvements in economic participation and opportunity, as well as political empowerment.

2. Finland continues to hold the second position despite slight losses in its overall score due to a decrease in economic opportunity and participation.

3. Norway follows next, with a light increase in its overall score. Norway has just appointed a female prime minister, Erna Solberg, and is also one of the top 10 countries for the number of years dur…

Prince George's official christening photo makes history

Squeeee! Prince William and Duchess Kate pose with their excited little prince. The portraits were taken in the Morning Room, which dates back to 1825, when it was designed as a "Breakfast Room" for the Duke of Clarence.

The world got a rare glimpse of 3-month-old Prince George — and his chubby cheeks — outside of St. James’s Palace just before his christening on Wednesday. Now be prepared to enjoy his little baby face four more times with the official set of christening photos released by the palace Thursday.

One of the photos is history in the making: the newest heir to the British throne, Prince George, pictured with his three elder generations for the first time.

Four generations: Prince William, 31, holds his 3-month-old son, George, while standing next to Prince Charles, 64, and Queen Elizabeth, 87.

The portrait is reminiscent of another historic photo of British royalty taken after the christening of Prince Edward of York, the future Edward VIII, in 1894. That image de…

UN climate report draws grim picture

Scientists predict disturbing future for the Earth, saying by 2100 the oceans will be between 26 and 97cm higher.

It was a long night and the delegate's coats were still hanging in the cloakroom. Some spent all night on the final night, going line by line through thousands of scientific papers, putting the finishing touches to the science report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Now it is released, what does it say about the state of the Earth's climate system?

There is no disputing that it is a grim picture: a world with more frequent heatwaves, an ice-free Arctic in the summer, devastating floods, and sea levels rising fast.

"Warming is unequivocal," IPCC vice-chairman Jean-Pascal van Ypersele tells me. "It is extremely clear that most of it is due to human activity. The good news is that we can now act to reduce emissions and protect climate for future generations."

But is that too optimistic? And can the world's governments an…

UN calls on Sri Lanka to probe war crimes

Britain and Australia urge engagement with country as UN accuses Sri Lanka of drifting towards authoritarian system.

The UN has said that Sri Lanka could face an international probe unless it properly investigates suspected war crimes and other abuses from the civil war that ended in 2009.

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Wednesday she had seen no new or comprehensive Sri Lankan effort to properly and independently investigate as the UN's 47-nation Human Rights Council had repeatedly demanded.

As Australia and Britain were encouraging engagement, rather than isolation of Sri Lanka on Wednesday, Pillay said in the report that Sri Lanka might be sliding towards an authoritarian system, as President Mahinda Rajapaksa gathered power around him.

Her report said that she would recommend that the Council establish its own probe if the South Asian island nation does not show more "credible'' progress by March.

Pillay said the largely Buddhist So…

Miss America and the Indian Beauty Myth

Nina Davuluri made history Sunday night when she became the first Indian-American to be crowned Miss America. Much of the media coverage since has focused on the entirely predictable racist comments tweeted after she won ("OMG Miss America is a terrorist!" -- wow, I didn't see that one coming). Of course, that only lasted a few hours before public shaming websites popped up exposing the bigoted tweeters and encouraging followers to spam them back. The pushback is heartening and well-intentioned, but misses what ought to be the real shame target: India. After all, despite being a country of almost a billion people, India has left it to America to crown the first Indian beauty queen who looks... well, Indian.

The Indian beauty myth has its roots in the so-called history of the Aryan-Dravidian divide, which has permeated Indian consciousness for decades. As the story goes, Aryans invaded India sometime in 1200 B.C., driving Dravidians, the original Indian race, farther sou…

Give Moyes some Fergie time

Don’t expect any trophies from English champions Manchester United this season, as David Moyes rebuilds the team.

Manchester United fans won't want to hear it, and David Moyes certainly won't be thinking it, but it might be best for them to write this season off. Give him time.

If they win a big trophy of any description it will be a huge bonus.

This is no ordinary club and Moyes is no short term solution. He has been put in a desperately difficult situation which in the short term will be a nightmare, but which in the long term he can succeed.

As I wrote in this column, when news of Ferguson's retirement broke the great Scotsman's superlative reign could well have been cut short before a trophy was won. He is the best - but far from the only - example of time being given and faith being shown. Time is of course the last thing anyone in football is prepared to give, especially the over-excitable types on Twitter and phone-ins, egged on by swivel-eyed self-professed fo…

Mankind’s lifestyle in the year 2250

In 1776 Adam Smith published his “Wealth of Nations” which has guided economists and political thinkers ever since. It marks the start of the Industrial Revolution that began in England and then spread throughout most of the world. That was 237 years ago.

It is not that long ago - only 4 life-spans or so, the time of your great, great, great, grandparents. Where would we be 237 years hence? Presumably just as today we listen to Mozart, born 257 years ago, and watch or read Shakespeare, born 439 years ago - they have survived all changing tastes and spread well outside their original orbit of European culture to countries as varied as Japan, China, Argentina, Tanzania and South Korea; we can be sure that generations to come would have much the same cultural interests. In all likelihood in 2250 we would probably still enjoy tastes picked up from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, perhaps the Beatles, Picasso, some of the outstanding Nigerian and Indian novelists writi…

INDIA: The ruling won't end violence against women

Women in India's capital say the guilty verdict handed to four gang-rapists will change little in their society.

Let us take a look at "What next"? and What they have to say...

When a 23-year-old student died from injuries sustained during a gang-rape aboard a bus in this city, huge protests erupted across India, and in several other countries.

Newspaper columnists sought to expose the epidemic of rape in India, while public opinion turned vehemently against those men held for the prolonged attack.

Four men on Tuesday were found guilty of the rape and murder of the student in the December 2012 attack. They are due to be sentenced on Wednesday, and may face death by hanging. A fifth defendent, found to have been aged only 17 at the time of the attack, was last month sentenced to three years in jail.

A further suspect hanged himself while in prison awaiting trial.

The seven-month trial was held in a special fast-track court in south Delhi, with more than 100 witnesses call…