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Monday, October 31, 2011

Qantas to resume flights

CANBERRA: Qantas will resume flights on Monday after an independent tribunal ordered a permanent end to the industrial dispute with its union members.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline will resume flights by mid-afternoon on a limited schedule.

The move comes after Fair Work Australia issued a ruling, after hearing evidence from the airline, unions and the government.

The dispute had resulted in Qantas grounding all its flights on Saturday.

"Operations will resume progressively from this afternoon. Our focus is bringing our schedule back to normal as soon as possible," Joyce said.

The airline and the union members were in a dispute since August this year when the carrier announced a plan to restructure its operations and outsource some of the services.

The unions were against the plan, which they said was expected to result in almost 1,000 job cuts at Qantas' Australian operations.

Last week, Qantas claimed that the industrial dispute was costing it A$15 million per week due to flight cancellation and delays.

The dispute took a dramatic turn on Saturday when Qantas grounded all international and domestic flights.

"This has been a challenging period for Qantas, its employees, its customers and its shareholders," Joyce said.

He added that the matter was now being looked into by the tribunal and he was confident the airline and unions will work together to find a solution.

"The industrial process has now passed into the hands of the independent umpire. All parties will be treated equally and we will respect the decisions that are made," he said.

"We have new and existing agreements with 12 unions. We anticipate the conclusion of agreements with the remaining three." - Agencies

Jilted man beats up couple


A couple, who walked out of a supermarket happily, was beaten up by a jilted man in town of Chongqing, China.
It happened too fast that 20-year-old Xiao Wu could not fight the assailant.


Holding his girlfriend's hand, Xiao Wu was walking home around 9pm when the incident occurred last week.
A man, believed to be drunk, suddenly blocked their way and rushed towards the couple.
Then, the man started to kick and beat up Xiao Wu.
Police from a nearby traffic beat base rushed to arrest the 25-year-old man whose surname is Ren.
"My girlfriend of eight years dumped me. I hate seeing the couple behaving so lovingly and holding hands," said Ren.
The businessman also told police that he was under the influence of alcohol and regretted for his act.
He was brought back to the police station for further action.
Source: Agencies

Sisters reunited after 40 years


PETALING JAYA: Deepavali this year was truly special for three sisters. They were reunited after being separated from each other for about 40 years.
Roslin Rajoo, 52, was separated from her two sisters Bablin and Rani when they were young.
Roslin moved to Kuala Lumpur while the two stayed on in Penang.
All lit up: (From left) Rani, Roslin and Bablin celebrating Deepavali together.
All three got married and became housewives.
They have a fourth sibling, Samuel, 46, who they believe is in Taiping.
Bablin, 50, and Rani, 48, had tried to locate Roslin over the years, but gave up after several years and they moved on with their lives.
However, Roslin kept looking for her two sisters by asking her friends about them.
She also visited the old school where the three went to when they were young and visited their former neighbours.
Her persistence paid off when she located them in Penang about two weeks before Deepavali.
“I never expected to see my sisters again on this special occasion. The Festival of Lights has literally lit up my life by reuniting me with my sisters,” she said in an interview yesterday.
Roslin said her husband Raymond Chandrasekar, 52, was very supportive of her quest.
Rani said the family were celebrating Deepavali together for the first time in four decades.
“I’m just so happy that my sisters are with me. Nothing makes me happier than to be with them,” she said.
Bablin said she felt blessed for having her two sisters back.
“I’m happy to know I have beautiful nieces and nephews,” she added.
Bablin’s husband Lim Chia Soh, 51, said he was happy that his wife’s dream had been realised.
Roslin said the sisters were planning a reunion this Christmas.
“We hope to have our brother Samuel join us,” she added. - theStarOnline

Friday, October 28, 2011

About 10,000 Qantas passengers facing delays due to strike


SYDNEY: About 10,000 passengers are facing lengthy delays at airports across Australia on Friday, as 70 Qantas flights have been cancelled due to industrial action by the airline's transport workers, the Australian flag carrier, Qantas said on Friday.
Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce has apologised to the airline' s passengers who are to be affected by the delays, reports Xinhua news agency.
"We urge the unions to stop this, to put to the table more realistic demands and to think about the jobs they're endangering around the country," he told the Nine Network, Australia's top- rating commercial television network.
"We've always said we want to do anything that will stop this disruption happening to our passengers - again I apologise to those customers that have been impacted by this."
The Transport Workers Union has confirmed Qantas baggage handlers and ground staff in major airports in Australia including Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane, Adelaide, Darwin, Perth and Canberra will walk off the job for an hour at various times on Friday.
Friday's strike coincides with the Qantas annual general meeting in Sydney.
Qantas said about 70,000 passengers had already been affected by the recent months of industrial actions.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has called on the Federal Government to step in.
"This is getting worse and worse and I think it is time for the prime minister to get active," Abbott told the Nine Network on Friday.
"It is time for the prime minister to prove that her laws are consistent with a degree of protection for the traveling public."
But Assistant Treasurer and former union leader Bill Shorten said Qantas and the unions would be able to work out a solution.
"I have no doubt that there is a solution capable of being worked out by these parties," Shorten told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio.
"It's an important issue but timing is everything." - Bernama

Single mother working three jobs blames herself for neglecting teen


KAJANG: A single mother is pining for her 13-year-old son Sih Wei Yang who has been missing from home since five weeks ago.
And she blames herself for not taking care of the boy as she has to work three jobs to support the family.
Fighting back tears, Hong Ah Lan, 46, said: “Our relationship had been strained since his father divorced me.
“I could not pay attention to him as I had to work three jobs to put food on the table.”
Hong has a regular job at a pharmacy and a part-time job as an insurance agent. She uses her lunch break to teach Bahasa Malaysia at a tuition centre.
She dropped Wei Yang at the SMK Jalan Bukit here on Sept 23 – and that was the last time she saw her son.
“When I went to pick him up after school, the teachers said he was absent on that day,” sobbed Hong at a press conference called by Hulu Langat MCA division chief Jeffrey Lee yesterday.
She said Wei Yang had packed a T-shirt in his school bag on that day, saying he was involved in a school activity.
“I did not suspect anything. There was nothing abnormal about it,” she said.
Hong lodged a police report on Sept 24 when her son did not return home.
She said she sent her son to a private Chinese school in Kelantan early this year and later to a rehabilitation centre in Batu Pahat, Johor.
“I think he was angry with me for sending him to the rehabilitation home,” she said, adding that it was the second time since March that Wei Yang had gone missing. At that time, he had spent a few days at a classmate’s house.
She said the police had contacted her ex-husband about the missing boy but the father denied Wei Yang was with him.
Lee said parents should pay more attention to their children, especially those in their teens.
Those with information of Wei Yang’s whereabouts can call the Hulu Langat MCA at 03-8734 7869. - theStarOnline

Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince Nayef named as new crown prince


Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Nayef Bin Abdel-Aziz Al Saud
Prince Nayef - Image Credit:EPA

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian King Abdullah appointed Interior Minister Prince Nayef as his new heir in the world's top oil exporter, said a royal court statement read out on state television early on Friday.
The statement said the crown prince had been appointed after the king met the Allegiance Council, a family body set up in 2006 to make the process of succession in the conservative Islamic kingdom smoother and more orderly.
(Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing By Sami Aboudi)
Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Australian missing during jungle trek dies


image
LABIS: An Australian who went jungle trekking with four others has died, possibly due to a heart attack.
Chris Birchill, who was in his 40s, and the four had earlier been reported missing for about 20 hours at the Sungai Bantang forest reserve in Bekok.
Segamat OCPD Supt Abd Majid Mohd Ali said Birchill’s body had been sent to Segamat Hospital for a post mortem to determine the cause of death.
“The other trekkers from South Africa and United Kingdom were unhurt but they have also been sent to the hospital for treatment,” he said, adding that a search and rescue team found them in the thick forest at 10.50am yesterday.
He said 114 personnel from various agencies embarked on a search and rescue operation after receiving a distress call at 3pm on Wednes­day.
“We also sent a helicopter and a K9 unit to help. Due to a heavy downpour at noon, it took more than two hours to lead them out of the forest. They finally emerged at around 2.30pm,” said Supt Abd Majid, who headed the search and rescue effort.
It was learnt that the five men, who had previously gone for similar trips in Indonesia and other Asian countries, embarked on the expedition into the forest at 8am on Wednesday.
The place is a popular tourist destination in the Labis forest reserve, which is about 8km from Bekok town. - theStarOnline

Cops arrest debonair foreigners suspected of involvement in luggage theft


SEPANG: For over a year, three debonair foreigners have been prowling the country’s airports stealing luggage.
With their charm, they distracted their marks before slipping away with victims’ belongings.
Their grandfatherly looks also made their victims less suspicious of their intention.
The law, however, caught up with the two Peruvians, both aged 56, and a Spaniard, 52, when police arrested them on Tuesday.
Sepang OCPD Supt Imran Abdul Rahman said the trio were arrested after a 76-year-old man, believed to be a senator, reported that his luggage had been stolen at KL Inter­national Airport (KLIA) at around 5am on Saturday.
“He was about to check in his luggage before his flight to Kota Kinabalu when he realised that one of his bags was missing,” Supt Imran.
Police tracked the three men to a condominium in Ampang on Tuesday and found 16 stolen bags, five watches and an iPad.
The suspects had been travelling in and out of Malaysia since last year and are believed to be involved in at least 12 theft cases at KLIA.
“Their modus operandi was to have two of them distract their victim while the third would quietly walk away with the victim’s luggage.”
He added that police had obtained a CCTV recording of the three men carrying out the crime at KLIA.
The men have been remanded until Nov 7 to facilitate investigations. - theStarOnline

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Couple burn to death on their way to celebrate Deepavali


MARAK...Honda City dan Iswara Aeroback  marak terbakar.
Blazing....Honda City and Iswara Aeroback totally on fire - photo: Harian Metro
SEREMBAN: A couple met a fiery end, while their two children sustained severe burns, when their car caught fire following a three-vehicle accident in Batu 10, Jalan Seremban-Tampin Wednesday.
MAUT...Mugunthan dan Jothi rentung.
P.Mugunthan and K.Jothi
The family was heading to Alor Gajah, Malacca to celebrate Deepavali at a relative's home when the mishap occurred at 8.56am.
Officer-in-charge of Rembau fire and rescue station Zamrus Zainal said P. Mugunthan, 42, and his wife, K. Jothi, 36, were burnt to death in their Honda Civic car during the incident.
"Passers-by only managed to rescue the couple's sons, aged 10 and 13. The drivers of the other two cars escaped unhurt," he said.
The bodies were taken to Seremban Hospital for post-mortem. - Bernama

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Schoolgirl raped after skipping school, drinking with boys


KOTA KINABALU: A 14-year-old schoolgirl paid a hefty price for playing truant and taking part in a drinking session with some friends she ended up being raped.
The Form Two pupil from Keningau district, some 160km from the city, had decided to skip school with three other girls and a male student on Friday.
Keningau district police chief Deputy Supt Zahari Mohamad said the group went to an empty house in a village near their school and began taking alcoholic drinks.
At about 4pm, two of the students decided to leave the place and left the other girls who were fast asleep behind.
“When they left, the drunk male student raped one of the girls,” DSP Zahari said.
The teenager suffered injuries to her mouth, right arm and left leg and was referred to the Keningau Hospital.
She was later transferred to the Likas Hospital in the city.
Police detained the 14-year-old schoolboy in connection with the case. - theStarOnline

Massive floodwater approaching inner Bangkok

image
BANGKOK: As of Monday, massive bodies of floodwater are moving closer to the heart of Bangkok while flood levels in already inundated areas are rising, reports Thai News Agency (TNA).


Flood water from Rangsit area of Bangkok’s neighbouring province of Pathum Thani has inundated the inbound lanes of Vibhavadi Rangsit road at a section from the National Memorial to Don Mueang airport. 


Rising waters in front of the airport’s departure terminal is believed to be threatening the government’s Flood Relief Operations Centre (FROC), which is inside the airport. 


Localised flooding is also expanding at the Rangsit campus of Thammasat University since crisis there began last Saturday. The first floor of the campus gymnasium that functioned as an evacuation center is now flooded. 


About 4,000evacuees are being relocated to the Rajamangala Stadium inner Bangkok’s Hua Markarea.


Moving out of Bangkok, the crisis is still far from over in many provinces of the lower north, central and northeast, despite decreasing water levels in some areas.


In Phichit province, over 90 homes in Ban Noenyung village of Rangnok sub-district has been isolated from floods reaching over three meters deep.


In Nakhon Sawan, residents have remained on the edge despite easing floods, water levels of the Ping and the Chao Phraya rivers running through the province have been rising.


In Chai Nat, localised flooding that began in mid-September has begun to subside along with the level of the Chao Phraya river in the province. The amount of damage has yet to be evaluated, but dozens of bridges, roads, communities and government offices have spoken clearly of the devastation.


In the north eastern province of Kalasin, strong flood currents have destroyed dykes along the local Chi river and pummeled into Kamalasai district, and its Lam Chi, Khong Chai and Chao Tha sub-districts.


Traffic on Highway No. 214 at a section from Kamalasai to Roi Et province has reportedly been forbidden by floods of over one meter deep. - Bernama/TNA

Deepavali bazaar licensees slammed for selling licence to foreigners

Bazaar in Singapore - image by Stefano Vigorelli
KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Deputy Minister Datuk M.Saravanan today slammed Deepavali Bazaar licensees in Brickfields and Masjid India area who sold the licence to foreigners.


He was told that foreigners such as from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh had to RM2,900 to RM4,000 compared to the original  fee of RM120 for the licence.


Saravanan said the licence was issued to Indian associations and traders who wanted to trade at the Deepavali bazaars in conjunction with the festival.


Hence, he asked the traders who were cheated to give information about the individuals or associations who/which had distributed the licence when lodging a police report.


Speaking at a press conference on the matter today, Saravanan said the authority concerned would take action against those involved as there were many complaints received on foreigners trading at Brickfields and the Masjid India area.


"Foreign traders are not allowed to do business at the bazaars and Kuala Lumpur City Hall has revoked three licences possessed by foreigners there," he said. -  Bernama

Monday, October 24, 2011

1 in 3 have high cholesterol


Prof Dr Wan Azman Wan Ahmad says younger people now suffer from heart diseases
Prof Dr Wan Azman Wan Ahmad says younger people now suffer from heart diseases
KUALA LUMPUR: More younger Malaysians are now suffering from heart disease due to high cholesterol levels.

Statistics gathered by the National Cardiovascular Disease Database(NCVD) Registry also showed that Malaysians suffer from heart attacks at a younger age (mean age of 58) when compared with people in Thailand (65 years), mainland China (63 years) and Western countries (66 years).

Professor Dr Wan Azman Wan Ahmad, professor of medicine and cardiology at University Malaya Medical Centre, said a change in lifestyle routines and unhealthy dietary habits were contributing to the rise.

"Although the risk for cardiovascular diseases increases with age, in recent years, it has become common for younger people to suffer from heart diseases.

"High blood cholesterol levels, or dyslipidaemia, is prevalent among 28 per cent of Malaysians above the age of 40. Having high cholesterol puts them at a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases. The higher the blood cholesterol, the greater the risk of developing heart disease," he said in an interview.

The prevalence of high blood cholesterol levels, Dr Wan Azman said, ranged from 35 per cent when patients had acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and up to 73 per cent when they had to go for treatment (percutaneous coronary intervention).

"Although high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, many are taking it lightly. Often it does not ring alarm bells. Only when their health is at stake that people start realising the dangers and consequences of high cholesterol," said Dr Wan Azman.

The NCVD Registry, he added, showed that more than 90 per cent of patients had at least one established cardiovascular risk factor, which included high cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension.

He also said heart diseases had been the leading cause of death in both men and women in Malaysia for the past three decades.

Consultant cardiologist Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin said patients who suffered from high cholesterol should change their lifestyle routines, especially if they smoked, or did not follow a healthy diet.

"It is best to quit smoking, exercise regularly, eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight. And it's important to bring low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, to target levels via proper treatment."

Many patients, Dr Khoo said, had failed to reach their LDL cholesterol goals due to failure to take their medicine or non-aggressive treatment by their physicians. He said generally patients remained ignorant about the role of drugs in their cholesterol management.

The findings of the first Centralised Pan-Asian survey on the Under-treatment of Hypercholesterolemia Study (Cepheus), said Dr Khoo, showed that a substantial proportion of patients failed to take their medication diligently.

"About 54 per cent of the patients thought that missing a tablet once every two weeks or more would not have any effect on their cholesterol levels.

"Physicians play a role in explaining how these cholesterol-lowering drugs actually work. This will help patients understand better the necessity of taking their medication regularly and on time," said Dr Khoo.

The Cepheus study was the largest survey conducted on the current treatment status of high blood cholesterol levels (hypercholesterolemia)in Asia Pacific. It involved more than 7,000 patients from Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Only about 49 per cent of the patients participating in the Pan-Asian survey achieved their LDL-C goals.

He said despite more effective treatment available, both physicians and patients disliked changing their current method of treatment.

"A disturbing fact is that about 64 per cent of patients are still on the same lipid-lowering drug they were prescribed the first time" said Dr Khoo.

He also said anyone who had been tested and diagnosed with high LDL-C levels should seek early medical treatment.

"It is important for patients to understand their condition well and ensure that any treatment prescribed is always adhered to, regardless of whether their cholesterol levels are under control, unless otherwise advised by their doctor." - NST

7.2 quake in Turkey kills 85, collapses buildings

People rescue two women trapped under debris in Van eastsern Turkey after a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey, collapsing about 45 buildings in Van province, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011 according to the deputy Turkish prime minister. Only one death was immediately confirmed, but scientists estimated that up to 1,000 people could have been killed. The worst damage was caused to the town of Ercis, in the mountainous eastern province of Van, close to the Iranian border. ( AP Photo/Ali Ihsan Ozturk, Anatolia)


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Cries of panic and horror filled the air as a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Sunday, killing at least 85 people as buildings pancaked and crumpled into mounds of rubble.
Tens of thousands fled into the streets running, screaming or trying to reach relatives on cell phones as apartment and office buildings cracked or collapsed. As the full extent of the damage became clear, survivors dug in with shovels or even their bare hands, desperately trying to rescue the trapped and the injured.
"My wife and child are inside! My 4-month-old baby is inside!" CNN-Turk television showed one young man sobbing outside a collapsed building in Van, the provincial capital.
The hardest hit area was Ercis, an eastern city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border, which lies on one of Turkey's most earthquake-prone zones. The bustling city of Van, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) to the south, also sustained substantial damage. Highways in the area caved in and Van's airport was damaged, forcing flights to be diverted.
State-run TRT television reported that 59 people were killed in Ercis, 25 others died in Van and a child died in the nearby province of Bitlis.
Up to 80 buildings collapsed in Ercis, including a dormitory, and 10 buildings collapsed in Van, the Turkish Red Crescent said. Some highways also caved in.
Residents in Van and Ercis lit camp fires, preparing to spend the night outdoors, after hundreds were treated for injuries. Others fled seeking shelter with relatives in nearby villages.
"There are so many dead ... there is too much destruction," Ercis Mayor Zulfikar Arapoglu told NTV. "We need urgent aid. We need medics."
Rescue efforts went deep into the night under generator-powered floodlights. Workers tied steel rods around large concrete slabs in Van, then lifted them with heavy machinery.
Residents sobbed outside the ruins of one flattened eight-story building, hoping that missing relatives would be found. Witnesses said eight people were pulled from the rubble, but frequent aftershocks hampered search efforts. By late evening, some joy emerged as a teenage girl was pulled out alive.
U.S. scientists recorded over 100 aftershocks in eastern Turkey within ten hours of the quake, including one with a magnitude of 5.9.
Some inmates escaped a prison in Van after one of its walls collapsed. TRT television said around 150 inmates had fled, but a prison official said the number was much smaller and many later returned.
Many buildings also collapsed in the district of Celebibag, near Ercis, including student dormitories, hotels and gas stations.
"There are many people under the rubble," Veysel Keser, the mayor of Celebibag, told NTV. "People are in agony, we can hear their screams for help."
Nazmi Gur, a legislator from Van, said his nephew's funeral ceremony was cut short due to the quake and he rushed back to help.
"We managed to rescue a few people, but I saw at least five bodies," Gur told The Associated Press.
"It was such a powerful temblor. It lasted for such a long time," he said. "But now we have no electricity, there is no heating, everyone is outside in the cold."
Authorities had no information yet on remote villages but the governor was touring the region by helicopter and the government sent in tents, field kitchens and blankets.
Houses also collapsed in the nearby province of Bitlis, where an 8-year-old girl was killed, and two mosque minarets toppled over in the province of Mus.
The earthquake also shook buildings in neighboring Armenia and Iran.
In the Armenian capital of Yerevan, 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Ercis, people rushed into the streets in fear but no damage or injuries were reported. Armenia was the site of a devastating earthquake in 1988 that killed 25,000 people.
Sunday's quake caused panic in several Iranian towns close to the Turkish border and caused cracks in buildings in the city of Chaldoran, Iranian state TV reported.
Leaders around the world conveyed their condolences and offered assistance.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish ally in this difficult time, and are ready to assist," President Barack Obama said.
Israeli President Shimon Peres telephoned Turkish President Abdullah Gul to offer assistance.
"Israel shares in your sorrow," Peres said in a statement. "Israel is ready to render any assistance that may be required anywhere in Turkey, at any time."
The offer came despite a rift in relations following an 2010 Israeli navy raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead. Greece, which has a deep dispute with Turkey over the divided island of Cyprus, also offered to send in a special earthquake rescue team.
Turkey lies in one of the world's most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines. In 1999, two earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 7 struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18,000 people.
More recently, a 6.0-magnitude quake in March 2010 killed 51 people in eastern Turkey, while in 2003, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake killed 177 people in the southeastern city of Bingol.
Istanbul, the country's largest city with more than 12 million people, lies in northwestern Turkey near a major fault line. Experts have warned that overcrowding and shoddy construction in Istanbul could kill tens of thousands if a major earthquake struck.

DAP lodges police report against Khairy


GEORGE TOWN: The DAP has lodged a police report against Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin for alleged criminal defamation against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's son.
Party chairman Karpal Singh said they would also be initiating legal action for a tweet Khairy made on Oct 17 on the issue.
"The damages are going to be 'very, very' high. The attacks on Lim's 16-year-old son for allegedly molesting a schoolmate will become a point of contention in the next general election," Karpal said in a speech during a handing-over ceremony of houses to Kampung Buah Pala residents here Sunday.
"We all have children. As Lim has rightly said, we (politicians) are political targets; come for us, not our children," he said.
Karpal lodged a report at the state police contingent headquarters on Penang Road at about 5pm.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thailand shores up capital as waters creep higher

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Sandbags being filled and laid around the Thai Parliament building in Bangkok on Sunday. Thailand's capital was bracing for floods as water levels rose in some of Bangkok's northern suburbs.

BANGKOK: Thailand's capital was braced for possible flooding on Sunday as water levels rose in some of Bangkok's northern suburbs and troops raced to fortify defence walls to protect two key industrial zones.
Measures to divert floodwater from the north around the city and into the Gulf of Thailand appeared to be working but the possibility of heavy rainfall into canals already full to the brim left much of the city uneasy.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said authorities were doing everything possible to drive the water out and help those most in need.
"The water is coming from different places and headed in the same direction. We're trying to build walls, there will be some impact on Bangkok, but we don't know the extent of that," Yingluck told reporters. Thailand's worst flooding in half a century has affected a third of the country and has been bearing down on Bangkok since early last week, despite initial assurances that the capital would escape the floods. Twenty-eight of provinces and 2.46 million people are affected, with water covering an area the size of Kuwait.
A total of 356 people have been killed since July 25 and at least 113,000 have moved to more than 1,700 makeshift shelters. The labour ministry estimates about 650,000 industrial workers do not have an income.
Water covered some northern Bangkok suburbs on Sunday after spilling out of the Prapa canal.
Residents around the densely populated Don Muang area, where one airport is located, were seen boarding trucks for evacuation and many homes were flooded, with water levels at two metres in some parts.
An estimated 1,200 people living in shanty towns along the banks of the swelling Chao Phraya River were advised to leave on Saturday, while cars were moved to higher ground and residents searched for bottled water or sandbags. The full force of the flooding has hit central provinces and those on the fringes of Bangkok, where water levels have reached as high as three metres, with vehicles completely submerged and some residents believed to be stranded in their homes.
Large swathes of farmland have been damaged, with traders anticipating a loss of about 2 million tonnes of milled rice. But the country's rubber and sugar industries are expected to emerge relatively unscathed.
The crisis is likely to have a heavy toll on the export-driven economy, Southeast Asia's second-biggest, with supply chains severely disrupted by blocked roads and the closure of seven swamped industrial estates in Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Ayutthaya provinces bordering Bangkok.
Growth might be about 3 percent rather than the 4.1 percent forecast earlier, the central bank said, although the finance minister has said it may not even top 2 percent this year.
Bangkok was sunny on Sunday, although the Meteorological Department has forecast scattered rain.
Troops were raising levels of flood walls to protect Lat Krabang and Bangchan industrial zones to the north and east of the city but army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Saturday he could not guarantee they would not be breached.
Lat Krabang hosts 254 factories - 49 Japanese - and Bangchan has 90. Both are responsible for autos, transport, food and beverage and electrical appliances industries. Honda , Isuzu Motors and Unilever are among the firms operating at the two estates.
Japanese automakers have suffered badly, with output slashed by 6,000 units a day, while big tech firms face disruptions in manufacturing of computer hard drives. - theStarOnline

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chinese toddler left bloody in hit-and-run dies


In this photo taken Tuesday Oct. 18, 2011, journalists surround the unidentified parents of a two-year-old girl identified as Wang Yue in a hospital in Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong province.  A video showing Wang Yue being struck twice by vans and then ignored by passers-by is sparking outrage in China and prompting soul-searching over why people didn't help the child.  (AP Photo) CHINA OUT
In this photo taken Tuesday Oct. 18, 2011, journalists surround the unidentified parents of a two-year-old girl identified as Wang Yue in a hospital in Guangzhou in south China's Guangdong province (AP Photo)
BEIJING (AP) — A toddler who was twice run over by vans and then ignored by passers-by on a busy market street died Friday a week after the accident and after days of bitter soul-searching over declining morality in China.


The Guangzhou Military District General Hospital said that the 2-year-old girl, Wang Yue, died shortly after midnight of brain and organ failure. 


"Her injuries were too severe and the treatment had no effect," intensive care unit director, Su Lei told reporters.


The plight of the child, nicknamed Yueyue, came to symbolize what many Chinese see as a decay in public morals after heady decades of economic growth and rising prosperity.


Gruesome closed-circuit camera video of last Thursday's accident, aired on television and posted on the Internet, showed Yueyue toddling along the hardware market street in the southern city of Foshan. 


A van strikes her, slows and then resumes driving, rolling its back right wheel over the child. As she lays with blood pooling, 18 people walk or cycle by and another van strikes her before a scrap picker scoops her up.


Yueyue's death touched off another round of hand-wringing about society and personal responsibility. Many comments posted to social media sites said "we are all passers-by."


Li Xiangping, a professor of religion at Huadong University, said on a Twitter-like service that it is too easy to blame others. 


"What after all prompted such a sad phenomenon? Officials? The rich? Or is it our own cold-heartedness?" Li said on Sina Corp.'s Weibo.


Police have detained the drivers of both vans on suspicion of causing a traffic accident but have not said what formal charges they would face and if manslaughter would be among them now that the girl has died.


The people who could be seen on the video passing by the injured Yueyue have recounted being harassed for ignoring her. 


The respected Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper quoted a man it identified only as a hardware merchant Mr. Chen as saying that he had been receiving crank calls ever since someone picked him out as the 16th passer-by. 


He said he hadn't noticed the child.


Some experts said an unwillingness to help others is an outgrowth of urbanization as migrants pour into cities and create neighborhoods of strangers.


"Rapid urbanization not only affects China or Foshan, but anywhere in the world where you have a lot of high-rise buildings, where there is high population density, then the relationship with the neighbors, and with each other is affected," said Yao Yue, a psychologist and director of telephone help-line for distressed people in Beijing.

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