Thursday, September 29, 2011

Victims say loud explosion similar to that ‘heard in action films’

SUBANG JAYA: “I thought I had died”. That was what went through Daryl Chua's mind just moments after he and his girlfriend were blown off their feet following the explosion at the Empire Shopping Gallery.
The 27-year-old car salesman from Sri Hartamas and his girlfriend Hibbie Tan, 23, were walking towards the autopay machine after having coffee at a ground floor cafe when the explosion occurred.
“As we were walking to pay our parking ticket, we heard a loud explosion like those in action movies and we were thrown a few metres away,” he said yesterday.
When Chua regained composure moments later, he said he heard security alarms ringing, glass and windows shattering and beams cracking and collapsing all around him.
He noted that many drain covers had popped out.
“My first thought was that the mall had been bombed.
“Thankfully none of the debris fell on us.
“When I picked myself up, I noticed I had cuts and bruises on my hands and arms.
“My girlfriend sprained her ankle. She also had scratches and bruises on her leg and thighs,” he said, adding that he had to carry her to safety.
Both were sent to University Malaya Medical Centre for outpatient treatment.
They, however, returned to the scene later to inspect their cars that were parked on the ground floor parking area. Both cars were damaged.
The explosion, which could be heard for kilometres in Subang Jaya, also shook houses in the area.
SS17 resident Galvin Tan, 35, was watching the Champions League match between Manchester United and FC Basel when he heard the blast and the tremors shook some items in his house.
He was shocked but immediately updated his Twitter, asking if anyone else had heard the blast.
The Asian Football Confederation photographer then called the SS17 police station, grabbed his camera and left his house within 10 minutes to locate the source.
At the scene, he took photos and updated his Twitter account.
Tan left for home at about 7am to update his blog ( with a lengthy description of the incident. He returned to the scene again at 10am for more updates.
As at 6pm yesterday, his Twitter post was shared by almost 200 users and had attracted close to 1,000 “likes” on Facebook.
Subang Jaya assemblyman Hannah Yeoh said Tan alerted her when the explosion happened.
“I called the police and was told that they are aware of the blast,” she said.
Yeoh went to the site shortly after and stayed there until 5am.

'Makcik' who insulted king staying in Sweden

KUALA LUMPUR: "Makcik Hajjah Sitt Al-Wuzara", the individual who posted insults against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Facebook and Twitter, will have to face the music if she returns to Malaysia, said Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim yesterday.

"Information on the individual was handed to the Attorney-General's Chambers on Monday."

He said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had contacted Facebook and Twitter to take down the posts made by the individual, but Twitter could not meet the request.

He added that the identity of the individual, who was reported to be living in Sweden, had been determined. 

Rais said because the case involved an individual living in Sweden, he or she could not be extradited to Malaysia because of constitutional foreign travel protection. 

He said, however, MCMC had contacted Interpol, which had indicated that it was willing to cooperate with the Malaysian authorities on the case. -- Bernama

Car thief drives off with baby on board

KUALA LUMPUR: Carjackers took a vehicle from a woman without realising that her baby boy was still inside.
In the 9.15pm incident yesterday, Ong Ming Chiang, 26, was driving from Jalan Kuching to Selayang when her Honda Accord was hit from behind.
When she pulled over to check the damage, four men rushed out of their car and held her.
One of the carjackers then drove off in her car with her 14-month-old son in the back seat.
The other three men left Ong and fled in their car.
She stopped a taxi and used the driver's handphone to call her husband Ong Yong Ming, 27.
Both of them tried to call her mobile phone, which was still in her car, in an effort to inform the carjackers about the baby. However, there was no answer.
The couple later received a call from a man who found their son strapped to his baby seat outside a restaurant, about 2km from the crime scene.
The carjackers must have left the mother's mobile phone with the baby on purpose after discovering the young passenger.
Yong Ming said he and his wife were thankful their baby was not harmed.
The couple later lodged a report at the Sentul police headquarters.
In an unrelated case, a businessman was shot at 12 times by two men on a motorcycle in Kepong.
P. Subramaniam, 43, who owns a tow truck business, was having tea at a stall outside his office in Jalan Prima 2 at 5.40pm when two men wearing full-faced helmets approached him.
One of them whipped out a pistol and shot him before fleeing.
Subramaniam was hit in the abdomen and hand.
Another man at the stall was hit in the leg while an Indonesian woman nearby was grazed by a bullet.
Subramaniam and the man were rushed to the Selayang Hospital while the woman received outpatient treatment. Both men were in stable condition.
City deputy CID chief Asst Comm Khairy Ahrasa said revenge could be the motive of the crime. - theStarOnline

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Despite her bravery, grandma fails to save boy

ALOR STAR: She may be 68 years old but Halimah Din is no ordinary grandmother.

Although she is asthmatic, Halimah brazenly dived into the canal near her house in Kampung Sungai Lintang, Yan, to search for her 5-year-old grandson, Muhammad Fardinie Zamri, who had fallen into the 2m-deep waterway.

She dived for almost 30 minutes, surfacing only to catch her breath.

Despite her brave attempt, the diminutive but gutsy woman failed to locate Fardinie at 5pm on Monday.

"I thought of nothing but to save my grandson. I did not even realise that the water was flowing very fast and that it was very cold," she said at her house yesterday.

Unfortunately, Fardinie, the third among four siblings, had drowned. He fell off his bicycle and into the canal while trying to cross a mini-concrete bridge over the waterway.

His brother, Muhammad Farhan, 10, said he caught glimpses of Fardinie in the 4m-wide canal as he struggled to stay afloat. 

"I was fishing nearby when I saw Fardinie approaching me on his bicycle. The next thing I realised, he was struggling in the canal."

Farhan tried to reach Fardinie but the current was too strong.

Halimah, upon hearing her grandsons' cries for help, rushed to Fardinie's aid.

Wearing a baju kurung, she jumped off the bridge to save Fardinie, who by then had been overcome by the strong current.

Several villagers who heard the commotion also dived in but their attempt to save the boy was futile. 

They only managed to recover his body, trapped in the bushes 30m from the bridge, an hour later. - NST

Four injured in shopping mall blast in Subang

SUBANG JAYA: Four people were injured while more than 300 people rescued and evacuated when an explosion occurred inside the Starbucks outlet at the Empire Subang here early Wednesday.
The scene after the blast. Pix courtesy of Goh Chien Hui
Four people, who were also trapped in the lower ground floor of the shopping complex that also houses a boutique hotel, were rescued by firemen from the Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department.
The 3.45am gas tank explosion that happened at the outlet located on the lower ground floor also damaged two other floors of the complex.
The injured, including a Nepali security guard and a local, who sustained cuts caused by falling shattered glass, were sent to the hospital for treatment.
The scene after the blast. Pix courtesy of Goh Chien Hui
Subang Jaya Fire and Rescue Department station chief Mohd Khairi Daud said firemen from Subang Jaya were assisted by their colleagues from PJ and surrounding areas in evacuating the hotel guests numbering more than 300 people. - theStarOnline

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Veteran singer Ahmad Jais in ICU but in stable condition

SHAH ALAM: Veteran singer Datuk Mohd Jais Ahmad, better known as Ahmad Jais, 75, who was admitted to Darul Ehsan Medical Centre (DEMC) here Saturday, was transferred to the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) early Sunday due to breathing difficulty.
The singer's fourth child, Maimun, 31, however, said her father's condition was stable at the moment.
"My father is asthmatic and when he has a cough, he tends to have breathing difficulty. He has been put on a ventilator to ease his breathing," she said when met here.
Maimun said her father had complained of fatigue after performing in Batu Pahat, Johor, on Sept 8. When his condition became serious on Thursday night, he was admitted to the KPJ Selangor Specialist Hospital in Section 20, here.
He was transferred to DEMC early Saturday as he has a medical record there.
Maimun hoped relatives, and her father's friends and fans would pray for his recovery. - Bernama

Satellite debris no-show a relief

KUALA LUMPUR: The buzz over the debris of a decommissioned six-tonne United States science satellite raining over Malaysian soil fizzled out yesterday, much to the relief of many.

Since last week, Malaysians had been speculating as to where the the 20-year-old US National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) would end up as the agency estimated that Malaysia would be among the countries within its impact zone.

But yesterday, Nasa confirmed that the satellite had torn through the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean, although it could not provide a precise time and location. 

Nasa said the debris fell between 11.23pm on Friday and 1.09am Eastern Daylight Time, yesterday (between 11.23am and 1.09pm in Malaysia).

International news agencies, however, reported that residents of Okotoks, south of Calgary in western Canada, had reported on Twitter that they saw debris falling on their town. 

Curious Malaysians posted news of the space research tool's fiery re-entry via Twitter in the last few days, with guesses as to where particles might fall and what would happen if it fell on Malaysia.But yesterday, responses from Malaysians came in slow. 

Some of the tweets were as follows:

@koqinkaremo88: yeay...!!! Malaysia selamat... Satelit x jatuh kt Malaysia.. Insyaallah... (yeay....!!! Malaysia is safe...satellite didn't fall on Malaysia...Insyaallah)

- @MiszGmah: satelit.. mintak jauh ko jatuh kat Malaysia. Ya Allah jauhi kami dari sebarang bencana. amin.amin.amin. slmtkan Malaysia (satellite..please fall far from Malaysia. Dear Allah, spare us from calamity. amin.amin.amin. save Malaysia).

National Space Agency director-general Dr Mustafa Din Subari said the agency was unable to observe the falling satellite debris because of the location. 

He said he wasn't really disappointed.

"The last thing we want is for it to fall through our skies." 

Mustafa said it was normal for satellites orbiting the Earth to fall back into the atmosphere.

"Only this time, the size is considerably larger so we expected to see evidence of re-entry," he said.

The satellite, which was used to monitor the Earth's atmosphere, is the biggest piece of US space junk to fall to Earth in 30 years and the first multi-instrumented satellite to observe numerous chemical components of the atmosphere for better understanding of photochemistry. 

Launched on Sept 12, 1991 aboard space shuttle mission STS-48 and deployed three days later, UARS ceased its productive scientific life in 2005.

Stretching 10.6m long and 4.5m in diameter, UARS is among the largest spacecraft to plummet through the atmosphere. 

Nasa now designs all its unmaned spacecraft with a controlled re-entry protocol. 

It did not do so when UARS was designed.Universiti Sains Malaysia Astronomy Club academic adviser Assoc Prof Dr Chong Hon Yew said the satellite's re-entry could not be seen with the naked eye or a normal telescope.

"If you want to see this, you will need to use a special radar and this is advanced technology. If it (re-entry) was at night (and in our area) then maybe we could have seen it." - NST

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A flaming Lamborghini after a warm up spin

KUALA LUMPUR: The number 18 in Cantonese has a similar meaning to “Guaranteed to prosper”.
That was not the case for a 31-year-old businessman who was driving his Lamborghini Gallardo bearing the registration number 18.
It suddenly burst into flames near Bukit Damansara at 11.50am yesterday.
Luckily, he managed to escape unhurt.
The same, however, could not be said of the car which was destroyed. A brand new Lamborghini car is worth about RM1.6mil.
Total damage: Fire and rescue department forensic personnel investigating the wreckage of the burnt Lamborghini Gallardo near Bukit Damansara yesterday.
The owner who declined to be identified said he had taken his car for a warm up drive near Jalan Beringin when he noticed smoke coming from the bonnet.
“I was driving up a slope at Jalan Beringin when I noticed smoke coming out from the engine bay.
“I stopped the car and got off and then it suddenly burst into flames,” he said, adding that he has owned the car for three years and was heartbroken to see it go up in flames.
The businessman believed a fuel leak could have caused the fire.
He said he last took the car for a spin about a week ago and decided to drive it yesterday to ensure the car was maintained properly.
Hartamas Fire and Rescue Department senior officer Shahrul Azizi said the car had caught fire easily because it was made of composite carbon fibre materials.
The Gallardo is powered by a V10 engine and is capable of reaching speeds of 300kph. - theStarOnline

Man had six sex slaves in basement rooms

Two residents showing the location of the basement
Two residents showing the location of the basement

Police have detained a man who held six women as sex slaves in a basement in China.
Li Hao, 34, is also accused of killing two of his victims and burying them in the room as a scare tactic.
He was nabbed on Sept 6, after one of his captives escaped and led police to the underground prison, Southern Metropolis Daily reported.
An official of Luoyang police bureau in Henan province said the suspect was undergoing tests to gauge his mental state.
Li Hao, a former civil servant with the city's technological supervision bureau, told police he purchased the basement - in an old residential community - four years ago.
He then spent over a year digging two small rooms - four metres beneath the basement.
Once finished, Li Hao kidnapped six women and locked them in the rooms.
He regularly raped them for the past two years, said police.
To prevent his victims from escaping, Li fed the women only once every two days, keeping them physically weak.
The only time any of them was allowed to leave the basement was when he needed money. He would force one of the women to have sex with other men for money and pocket the cash.
It was during one of these excursions that one victim - a 23-year-old woman - escaped and guided police to the basement, where they discovered three other women.
Police also found a shallow grave containing two bodies in one corner of the room.
The rooms had a computer, where the women could watch videos and play games, but without Internet access.
The suspect's wife, whom he had a son with, said she did not know about the basement.
She said Li had told her he had a part-time job as a gatekeeper, which gave him an excuse to go out at night.
Source: China Daily

Paralysed after being thrown off balcony

ALOR STAR: A mentally-challenged man is paralysed from the waist down after he was allegedly thrown off a balcony at a private religious school here on Tuesdat. 

Mohd Asymuni Ilias, 27, underwent a five-hour surgery on his spine at the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital here where doctors said he may never walk again.

Asymuni's father, Ilias Mustafa, a 52-year-old building contractor, said two of his son's schoolmates, rushed to his house in Taman Nilam here to inform him of the incident.

"I rushed to the school and found my son groaning in pain. He could not move.

"He told me that several schoolmates had pushed him off the balcony from the first floor of the double-storey building."

He said Asymuni, who is enrolled as a part-time student to study the Quran for almost 10 years, claimed he was attacked as a punishment for allegedly stealing a watch from one of his schoolmates.

"I know my son. He is a slow learner but he is not aggressive."

He said Asymuni often complained that he was being bullied but he never paid attention to his son's concerns.

"My son is a slow learner, but he has never hurt anyone or caused trouble at school.

"He is now paralysed and I am very sad and angry with those responsible for this," he said, adding that he had lodged a police report on the matter.

Ilias also complained that the school authorities showed very little concern over the incident.

"I pay RM100 to the school every month, but nobody seemed to care about my son's plight now."

Kedah Islamic Religious Department director Datuk Khairuddin Zain said he had directed his officers to check if the school was registered with the department.

"This is a very serious matter and we will work closely with the police to find out what had really happened," he said. - NST

Friday, September 23, 2011

From hero to zero

Andrej Pejic, the androgynous male model who has modelled women's clothing for Jean-Paul Gaultier, has told Grazia magazine that he starves himself to fit into women's wear.
The 20-year-old says he follows a strict low-calorie diet and has lost inches from his waist.
"My waist has gone from 29 to 25 inches. My hips are 35 inches," Pejic admits.
That's a US size zero.
The pretty boy model, who was born in Bosnia and raised in Melbourne, is signed to the same British modelling agency that discovered Kate Moss.
"I don't want to be a girl," Pejic rules out a sex change for himself. "But I like to dress as a girl.
“Let's be honest. You can't eat much if you want to do this. To do women's wear I have to be disciplined."
His bold statement has sparked anger from nutritionists who labelled the controversial cross-dresser as irresponsible.
Nutrition Australia says Pejic has sent the wrong message to young vulnerable people who may already be suffering self esteem issues.
“He is a role model who young people look up to so these sorts of comments can plant ideas in their heads,” comments a spokeswoman for the organisation.
“He needs to realise the impact his words have, he is a celebrity. I think he needs to think about comments like this and be more responsible.
“At lot of young people of this age are feeling pressure to fit in and may already have low self esteem so these sorts of comments certainly don’t help."
Source: Agencies

Ex-nurse nabbed for selling 'child ghosts'

Thailand police have arrested a former nurse whom they believed was involved in selling foetuses, which can be turned into Luk Krok (child ghosts).
The scam was exposed after a hunter accidentally found 14 bottles of preserved foetuses in an abandoned house in Ubon Ratchathani, a north-eastern province of the country.
Follow-up investigations led police to arrest ex-nurse Ura Sutthiwong.
Sutthiwong was said to have obtained the foetuses from performing illegal abortions for the women.
She would them preserved the foetuses in a bottle each and kept them in an abandoned house while looking for prospective buyers.
It is commonly believed that the soul of Luk Krok can be "called out" from a foetuse after performing some chanting and ceremony.
According to Thai superstition, Luk Krok can bring wealth to its owner especially in winning lotteries.
Source: Bangkok Post, Thailand (Published June 24 2010)

'Ghost' watches shooting of drama

Taiwanese idol drama Love Recipe began airing in Taiwan on Sept 4 and a set of photographs was released by the production team to promote the drama.
Strangely, one of the pictures show lead actor Kenji Wu leaning against a van with a face resembling that of a woman appearing near his right armpit.
The crew insisted that the van was empty at the time of the photograph was taken.

Taiwan's Next Magazine, meanwhilereported that Kenji had fallen sick after shooting the scene with him kissing actress Ivlyn Li in the van.
The actor-singer was on a three-day medical leave, it reported.

Kenji later said he felt  "someone" patting him on the back when he was in the vehicle.
"When I turned around, there was no one," he said, adding he also heard a voice saying 'No' next to him.
"After that, I felt dizzy and very cold," he said.
Kenji's manager said the incident could be a good sign that the drama was so interesting that even the spirits wanted to watch it.
The manager added he would bring the star to perform some prayers "to call back his frighten soul".
Source: Next Magazine

Fiery re-entry this weekend

KUALA LUMPUR: A dead American satellite the size of a bus is expected to fall back to earth this weekend and Malaysia is among the countries within its impact zone.

But the satellite is expected to break up into smaller pieces upon re-entry and the risk to public safety or property from the falling debris is said to be extremely small.

Nevertheless, Malaysia’s National Space Agency (Angkasa) is monitoring updates from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) of the United States.

The satellite is Nasa’s decommissioned Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), and so far, the US space agency could not put the exact time and place where the 6,000kg object would fall.

Nasa’s latest update showed the expected re-entry date as tomorrow, US time, plus or minus a day. This puts the expected date for Malaysia between tomorrow and Sunday.

Angkasa’s spokesman said their team, based at the National Observatory at the Bukit Malut Dam in Langkawi, Kedah, is monitoring the satellite.

“Although it is difficult to use the facility’s telescope to track the satellite, we will still try,” he said yesterday.

“Our team is also monitoring Nasa’s website round-the-clock for the latest updates on the expected time and location of the re-entry.”

Angkasa, unlike Nasa, does not have the equipment or expertise to monitor space debris or near-earth objects.

The spokesman said members of the public could also monitor the updates through the Nasa website at

He said there was no need for people to worry as the satellite would break up into pieces and the odds of being struck was estimated at 1 in 3,200.

He said the 20-year-old research satellite was expected to break up into more than 100 pieces as it reentered the atmosphere, most of them burning up.

Twenty-six of its heaviest metal parts are expected to reach Earth, the biggest chunk weighing 136kg.

The debris could be scattered over an area of about 800km.

The UARS’ trajectory takes it between 57 degrees north latitude and 57 degrees south latitude, which is also its crash zone.

The zone covers everything from Canada down to the tip of South America, and from Siberia down to the tip of Africa and Australia.

The UARS was launched on Sept 12, 1991, aboard space shuttle mission STS-48 and it was deployed on Sept 15, 1991. It was the first multiinstrumented satellite to observe numerous chemical components of the atmosphere for better understanding of photochemistry. UARS ceased its productive scientific life in 2005.

US media advised its citizens not to pick up any debris that they suspect came from the satellite.

The space agency says there are no toxic chemicals present, but there can be sharp edges. Also, it’s government property. It’s against the law to keep it as a souvenir or sell it on eBay. Nasa’s advice is to report any findings to the police.

US media reports said that UARS was getting advance publicity because it was the biggest Nasa satellite to make an uncontrolled re-entry in about three decades. - NST

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