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Monday, February 28, 2011

PKFZ: Chan Kong Choy charged with cheating


Former Transport Minister, Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy

PUTRAJAYA: Former Transport Minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy claimed trial to three counts of cheating over the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.
Chan is the second VVIP to be charged over the scandal-ridden project after his predecessor Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik was charged on July 29, 2010 with cheating over the same project.
Chan getting a hug from his wife Puan Sri Anne Chan outside the courtroom Monday
On the first count under Section 417 of the Penal Code, Chan is charged with deceiving then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at his office here between Feb 24 and 25 in 2004 into agreeing to approve Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd as the turnkey developer of the Transshipment Hub project at the Pulau Indah Free Zone at an estimated cost of RM1bil.
He is said to have dishonestly concealed the fact that the development cost would be financed through Kuala Dimensi’s issuance of bonds through Transshipment Megahub Bhd, with the support of the government and the Transport Ministry.
On the second count, he is charged with cheating Abdullah, also at the Prime Minister’s office here between Oct 11 and 28, in 2005 by deceiving the latter into approving Kuala Dimensi as the turnkey developer to carry out additional development works at PKFZ.
The works are the upgrading of road junction to the zone amounting to RM285.38mil, electrical infrastructure works amounting to RM135mil and construction of a business class hotel at RM90mil.
He is said to have concealed that the financing of the works would involve Kuala Dimensi’s issuance of bonds through Valid Ventures Bhd, with the support of the government and the Transport Ministry.
On the third count, he is charged with cheating Abdullah at the Prime Minister’s office here between March 28 and 29 in 2006 by deceiving him into approving Kuala Dimensi as the turnkey developer to carry out additional development works at PKFZ.
The works are concrete trenching works for electrical cable amounting to RM140mil, works for 33Kv of electricity supply to precincts 2 and 8 amounting to RM80mil, PMU infrastructure works amounting to RM30mil and the construction of a road linking PKFZ to West Port amounting to RM28.1mil and another road linking the main entrance of PKFZ to Cargo Terminal 4 at RM57.5mil.
He is said to have concealed that the works would be financed by Kuala Dimensi’s issuance of bonds through Free Zone Capital Bhd, with the support of the government and the Transport Ministry.
Each count carries a maximum jail term of five-years, a fine or both is convicted.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who is heading the prosecution, asked the court to set a date a month later for mention the case so that both sides could exchange documents and identify various issues pertaining to the case.
He said the prosecution also wanted time to hold a pre-trial conference with the defence to ensure that no unnecessary issues or facts were raised during the trial later.
He also said that both parties had agreed to have the bail set at RM1mil.
Gani is aided by Deputy Public Prosecutors Dzulkifli Ahmad and Manoj Kurup while Chan is represented by Arthur Wang, Badrul Munir Bukhari and Azad Bashir.
Azhaniz Teh set bail at RM1mil and set March 31 for mention of the case.- theStar

Michelle Obama gets a Republican boost on obesity


WASHINGTON (AFP) – Two prominent Republicans came to the defense of First Lady Michelle Obama, breaking ranks with some of their party's top stars who have taken jabs at her campaign against obesity.
Mike Huckabee, a formerly overweight talk show host who is a possible presidential contender, took issue with conservative critics who say the first lady is unduly involving the government in personal and family decision-making.
The critics include Sarah Palin, Minnesota lawmaker and Tea Party champion Michele Bachmann, and radio commentator Rush Limbaugh.
"I didn't say they're all wrong," Huckabee said on Fox News. "I'm just simply saying that what Michelle Obama is proposing is not that the government tells you that you can't eat dessert."
"What Michelle Obama has proposed is that we recognize that we have a serious obesity crisis, which we do," said Huckabee, who calls himself a "recovering foodaholic" who once weighed 135k (300 lbs).
The former Arkansas governor pointed out that 75 percent of military age youths in the United States do not qualify for military service "because they're either overweight or obese and can't meet the minimum army standards."
"That's serious," he said. "This is no longer just a health issue, an economic issue. It is becoming an issue of national security."
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has called himself portly, also distanced himself from conservatives critical of the first lady's efforts to encourage young Americans to stay fit and eat healthy foods.
"I think it's a really good goal to encourage kids to eat better," Christie stressed.
"I've struggled with my weight for 30 years. And it's a struggle. And if a kid can avoid that in his adult years or her adult years, more power to them. And I think the first lady is speaking out well," he added.
While "I don't want the government deciding what you can and what you can't eat. ... I think Mrs. Obama being out there encouraging people in a positive way to eat well and to exercise and to be healthy, I don't have a problem with that," Christie added.
Childhood obesity in the United States has tripled in 30 years.
Today, one in three US children are overweight or obese, meaning they are more likely than their normal-weight peers to grow up to be obese adults at higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bra donation of over 10,000 busts expectations



CozyCot, a Singaporean women's website, has busted expectations by collecting over 10,000 bras for charity in just three weeks - far exceeding its initial target of 1,000.

CozyCot Founder Nicole Yee had expected to collect 1,000 bras by the end of its recent three-week campaign, but said was surprised at the response.

"The overwhelming response from women is really heartening. It shows that women in Singapore will not think twice to band together for a good cause," Yee said.
Out of the 10,000 donated bras, collected from Singaporeans and foreigners, over 400 were new - some complete with price tags. The donated bras included sports bras, corsets - with sizes ranging from A to G cup.
The bras will benefit young women in orphanages and slums in Bali and Cambodia, as well as a maternity clinic in Cambodia.
Due to overwhelming response, CozyCot is extending its charity bra campaign till March 2011.
For more details, click cozycot.com

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Motorists to pay higher insurance premiums but will enjoy faster claims


PETALING JAYA: Motorists will need to pay more for their insurance premiums from next year under a new framework but will enjoy faster claims.
Bank Negara assistant governor Abu Hassan Alshari Yahaya who announced this yesterday said the premiums were not expected to have a material impact on the low-income group as the increase would be spread over four years.
After 2016, the premiums would be liberalised and determined mostly by market forces.
“The new framework is also expected to improve the time taken to settle claims from the current average of one to five years to six to 18 months,” he said at a media briefing here yesterday.
Abu Hassan stressed that the adjustment would be “manageable”, refuting a report in a local daily which stated that motorists may see premiums rise by between 250% and 450%.
“That is totally incorrect,” he said.
Citing preliminary figures for certain segments, he said for motorcycles 100cc and below, the annual increase would be between RM1 to RM3.50 (for third party insurance) and RM1 to RM2 (for comprehensive insurance).
For cars 1,500cc and below, the annual increase would be RM6 to RM34 (third party) and RM7 to RM19 (comprehensive).
The amount of premiums paid would depend on factors such as the vehicle’s age and the motorist’s history of claims.
“The fact is that insurance premiums have not been adjusted for a very long time,” he said.
Abu Hassan said discussions had been held with key stakeholders such as the police, hospitals and judiciary. A joint committee will also be established.
The current motor insurance rating framework has not been reviewed since 1978 and insurance companies have constantly raised the issue of the third party motor insurance business being unprofitable given low premiums which are not commensurate with high claim costs.
According to Bank Negara, the motor insurance business incurred an estimated annual loss of RM650mil as at 2009/2010. - theStar

Student sexually harasses teacher


A secondary school student has been accused of sexually harassing his female teacher in Taiwan.
The Upper-Grade Three student was said to have stalked the teacher near a lift at the popular school in Taichung.
On Oct 18, last year, the student even masturbated in front of her and said: "Teacher, I wish to … with you."
The issue was brought to light by Legislator Lo Shu-lei, who complained that the school did not punish the student.
Instead, it asked the teacher to go on leave until the teenager graduated, Lo said.
Lo said the teacher also asked the school for the CCTV clip - which believed could have captured the imager - but was rejected.
The teacher has not gone to work since the incident.
But the school said they have arranged for the middle-aged teacher to resume classes next week.
Taiwan's Education Ministry is investigating the incident.
Source: China Times

Ex-Miss Universe faces media boycott



Former Miss Universe Lara Dutta and hubby Mahesh Bhupahi are said to have upset members of the Indian media at their recent wedding in Goa.
The newly-married couple refused to pose for photos for the assembled press at the event last week, and could now face a media boycott, reports The Times of India,
A leading photographer commented: "There was no need to give us such bad behaviour, especially when we have always stood by the couple and covered each and every event of theirs so well for so many years now."
It is claimed that Mahesh shouted at the media, asking them why they had come to cover the private function.
"If they wanted it to be private and media-free they should have gone to Honolulu or somewhere where no-one would bother them," added the anonymous photographer.

Friday, February 25, 2011

3 young girls killed in Mexico border attack


CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) – Gunmen opened fire on six children playing in the yard of a home in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, killing three girls aged 12, 14 and 15, prosecutors said Thursday.
Three other children in the yard were not hit by the bullets in the Wednesday attack. Some were as young as 8.
Ciudad Juarez, in northern Chihuahua state across the border from ElPaso, Texas, has been the scene of bloody drug cartel turf battles that have killed more than 6,000 people the past two years. In several instances, youths have been killed just because they were in the same home as the gunmen's intended targets.
The Chihuahua state prosecutors' office said in a statement that the gunmen in the Wednesday attack were apparently targeting the father of two of the dead girls in a dispute that may have involved low-level drug dealing.
Two of the dead girls were sisters, and the third victim was their friend.
Mexico's human rights commission said it had launched an investigation into the shootings.
Three other youths, whose ages ranged from 13 to 15, were wounded in a shooting attack in Ciudad Juarez on a vehicle. State prosecutors said three adults in the vehicle were killed in that attack.
Also Thursday, gunmen killed the head of a state police agency that prosecutes car thieves in the western state of Jalisco.
The Jalisco attorney general's office said Jesus Quirarte Ruvalcaba and his wife, Maria Guadalupe Aldrete Rosales, were killed in the city of Zapopan, just north of the state capital of Guadalajara.
Quirarte, 51, and Aldrete, 49, were traveling in a state-owned Dodge Ram, apparently en route to their jobs, when gunmen fired on them.
Investigators found about a hundred 9-mm and 7.62-mm shell casings at the scene. Those types of bullets are fired by assault rifles and machine pistols favored by drug gangs.
Violence has spread in Jalisco recently as rival gangs battle for control. On Feb. 12, armed men attacked a Guadalajara nightclub, killing six people and wounding dozens more.
In the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco, where the Mexican Open tennis tournament is being played, police reported finding a man's hacked-up body in five plastic bags, in a low-income neighborhood far from where the tournament is being held.
Elsewhere in Acapulco, police said they detained a 16-year-old youth and a 20-year-old man with four assault rifles and five hand grenades, traveling in a stolen SUV.

Five involved in campus fracas identified


KUALA LUMPUR: Police have identified five students involved in Wednesday’s fracas at the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) campus in Serdang, which resulted in fist fights and a shattered glass door.
The five, who included students from other universities, were identified from CCTV footage and photographs captured at the scene.
Serdang OCPD Supt Abdul Razak Elias said police had received two reports on the incident.
“We have contacted them to have their statements recorded.
“Whether the university decides to take action against the students is another matter.
“We will continue our investigations as we have received two police reports on the incident,” he told a press conference at the Serdang district police headquarters in Seri Kembangan yesterday.
The fracas was sparked by the results of the UPM campus elections.
The university’s management will meet the polls winners today and police warned of stern action against any troublemakers at the meeting.
“I also warn students from other universities not to attend the meeting and stoke sentiments among the students,” said Supt Abdul Razak.
Meanwhile, UPM deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs and alumni) Prof Dr Fauzi Ramlan said he would meet and brief the winning candidates on their responsibilities in the new students’ representative council which is due to be formed next week.
In another development, Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said he had two separate meetings with student bodies – the Pro-Aspirasi group and the UPM Muslim Students Asso­ciation yesterday.
“In both meetings, I stressed that campus elections are the best method for our students to experience a political education and democracy,” he said in a statement.
Saifuddin added that the ministry was neutral and did not support any individual or group contesting in the campus elections. - theStar

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Man dies after 3-day Internet gaming spree

A man in China died after internet gaming for three days straight.

The unnamed man, in his 30's, had not slept, had hardly eaten and had barely moved from his computer when he collapsed and slipped into a coma Monday evening at an internet cafe outside Beijing.

According to the Beijing Times, the man, who had reportedly spent more than 10,000 yuan (RM4,666) on internet gaming over the past month, was rushed to a nearby clinic but was pronounced dead a short time later.

 

With more than 450 million internet users in China, online games are extremely popular, especially with young men
With more than 450 million internet users in China, online games are extremely popular, especially with young men
Police removed several computers from the cafe for investigation but have ruled out homicide and were examining specific causes of death.
 
The incident highlights China's increasing number of internet addicts, which according to researchers has risen to more than 30 million.

More than three years ago, a 30-year old woman in the province of Guangzhou, died of exhaustion after three days of internet gaming.

With more than 450 million internet users in China, online games are extremely popular, especially with young men.
Source: Agencies

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Philippine rep gets 18 months jail for drugs in HK


Rep. Ronald Singsond

HONG KONG (AP) - A Philippine congressman was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in a Hong Kong prison after he pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking and avoided a maximum life penalty by convincing a judge the drugs were for his personal use.
Rep. Ronald Singson was caught with 0.24 ounces (6.67 grams) of cocaine in July while transiting through Hong Kong's airport en route to a poker tournament in the gambling enclave of Macau.
District Court Judge Joseph Yau gave Singson credit for pleading guilty to the charge of trafficking in a dangerous drug. The judge also took into account Singson's "positive good character," his personal background and the prospect of his expulsion from the Philippine Congress.
Under Hong Kong law, bringing drugs into the territory can be defined as trafficking, regardless of the purpose. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment and a fine of 5 million Hong Kong dollars ($640,000). Prosecutors had challenged Singson's claim that the drugs were intended for his own consumption but Yau had sided with Singson, saying he did not think the Philippine politician needed to sell drugs given his wealth from various business interests. He added that Singson did not have any friends in Hong Kong or Macau he was likely to share the drugs with.
In handing down his sentence, Yau noted that Singson came from a prominent family, was well educated, had a 2-year-old daughter and a movie star girlfriend.
"He has virtually anything that any man would dream to have," Yau said, adding, however, that Singson "indulged in the abuse of a dangerous drug" and should have sought medical help for his addiction.
"It's sad to see a man of the defendant's background fall from grace," Yau said.
Singson is the son of Luis "Chavit" Singson, a provincial governor in the Philippines whose testimony in the corruption trial of his former friend, ex-President Joseph Estrada, helped convict the ousted leader in 2007 and secure a life prison term. Estrada was later pardoned.
The younger Singson's girlfriend is Philippine actress Lovi Poe. Singson, 42, previously testified he had used cocaine at various times since 2004 and amphetamines in his 20s. He said he went on a cocaine-and-gambling binge after attending an Usher concert in Manila and arguing with his girlfriend.
Singson's light sentence was in sharp contrast with the death sentences that China had handed down on three Filipinos convicted of being drug mules.
Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay traveled to Beijing last week and persuaded China to postpone the executions originally scheduled for this week. They would have been the first Filipinos to be put to death in China for drug trafficking.
The three, who unlike Singson come from humble backgrounds, were arrested separately in 2008 carrying packages each containing more than more than eight and 13 pounds (four and six kilograms) of heroin. They were convicted and sentenced in 2009.

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