31 December 2011

    Au Revoir, 2011!

    With almost half an hour left, we will yet again enter a new year. The year 2011 will leave us and go into the history books. For some, it is a year not to forget, a yet with many memories. For some, its a year with much hope and change for a self-betterment for the future. And for some, its just same old story like the previous years. Nothing much. Nevertheless, whichever or whatever the reasons it maybe, let us remind ourselves of what we had done throughout the whole year. Yes, as what we did see in the news, it has been a 'catastrophic' year as countless reports on natural disasters. And the biggest yet, the Japan earthquake and Tsunami. But, let us not 'gloom' ourselves as what had happened. On a personal note, as Muslims, take it as a sign that it is for us to wake up and muhasabah diri dan tingkatkan lagi amalan, baik yang wajib mahupun yang sunat agar pahala kita semakin bertambah disamping berdoa kepada Allah supaya hidup kita sentiasa diberkati-Nya.

    For me, so far, its been a fun and 'thrilling' adventure for me. I started my industrial training in March and ended in August. That period of 6-months has been a 'wow' for me. On the bright side, yeah, I did learn something new. As an accounting student, it really widens my knowledge on the profession itself and furthermore, rase macammane orang keje rase... (**)... For me, this year, its a mixed experience for me. I didn't travel much. Some of my acquainted-friends are already married. I made new 'cliques' and meet few new people. I can say that its been a bit 'slow' for me. But, on the upside, my business, the PA System rental? So far, this year has been good, with the highest rental. Though not many, because its seasonal, but the numbers do increase a lot compared to previous year. Jolly good!. 

    The other thing is that I found a new interest of having to learn new language. Yes, English is important, so as Bahasa Malaysia, because its our mother-tongue language, but, at this fast-paced world, there is a need to at least learn or know few other foreign languages. And, what I did, is introduce myself to Korean. Actually, I started to know more about the so called 'Hallyu' or Korean Wave since late last year. It somehow 'drag me' into this and slowly, I read, watch and hear. I used to watch dramas before, but only about 2-3 series, its only because my friend insist on watching it. So, I watch it. Before this, I prefer movies rather that dramas. Honestly, I did started watching korean movies few years ago, when at that time its only a handful or korean movies and 'bulks' of Hollywood movies that I watch. But now, my interest has grown into, as I categorized it, into 4 branches namely dramas, movies, variety shows and music or KPOP as we all know it. To such extent, I already started to learn how to read, write and pronounce (bukak buku la katekan...) and its going well so far. But, I still had to have subtitles though when watching dramas, movies or variety shows. For KPOP, it is something new to me. And again, previously I do listen to it, but, as KPOP has grown into a world phenomenon, I started to 'increase' my 'music bank'. And, perhaps, my other foreign languange that I wanted to learn is Spanish.

    Anyways, enough said, by the time I finish this sentence, there's only 5 minutes left. And so, last words from me is, its been a Topsy-turvy year for me. And perhaps, at some point an emotional one. For those who are still keeping track reading  my blog, I thank you for the time taken. Though my blog has not been updated for this year, but who knows next year I will post more. 

    Happy New Year everyone!...

    [RE-WIND 2011][#36] Vettel Does It Again

    Formula One’s new golden era continued in 2011, as five world champions did battle over the 19 races. The top four teams kept their same driver line-ups: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at Red Bull; Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at McLaren; Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa at Ferrari; and Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes. 

    Fernando Alonso - 2005 & 2006 Champion
    Michael Schumacher - The 7-time Champion is the oldest driver on the grid
    The 2009 Champion - Jenson Button - finishes as the overall runner-up
     New to the show, however, were Paul di Resta in place of Tonio Liuzzi at Force India; Sergio Perez in place of Nick Heidfeld at Sauber; and Pastor Maldonado in place of Nico Hulkenberg at Williams. Toro Rosso kept Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, Lotus Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, while Virgin paired regular Timo Glock with Jerome D’Ambrosio and Liuzzi slotted into HRT with Narain Karthikeyan as his partner until the Indian was replaced mid-season by promising rookie Daniel Ricciardo.

    The saddest change was forced upon Renault when Robert Kubica, surely one of the top three drivers in 2010, was so grievously injured in a rallying accident in the off-season that his F1 future still remains in doubt. The likable Pole was replaced initially by Heidfeld, who got his umpteenth chance to show his mettle against Vitaly Petrov, until he was replaced later in the year by rookie Bruno Senna after some less than stellar performances.

    On the technical side KERS - the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems which boost power by 80 bhp for a few seconds each lap - made a return with all the major teams, but not with any of the new ones. But the two biggest innovations were the introduction of Pirelli as sole tyre supplier in place of Bridgestone, and the DRS - Drag Reduction System - rear wings.

    Once again there were few significant political issues. The most notorious was Bahrain. The troubled situation there, which saw a later start to the season after the cancellation of the opening race, dominated the news for much of the year. Thankfully, the F1 paddock is due to return in April 2012.

    Due to a rally accident before the start of the season, Robert Kubica were unable to drive and were replaced by Nick Heidfeld
    Lewis Hamilton - The 2008 Champion has had a dismal year so far in his career
    Rubens Barrichello is the most experienced driver in Formula 1 with 326 races and 19 years of racing
    Kimi 'The Iceman' Raikkonen - The 2007 Champion has return to Formula 1 next year after a 2-year absence

    World Champion - Sebastian Vettel has won it again for this year, his second title of his career
     [For more, read here: PART 1 | PART 2]

    [RE-WIND 2011][#35] News of the World

    Front page of the final issue of the News of the World
     The News of the World was a national red top newspaper published in the United Kingdom from 1843 to 2011. It was at one time the biggest selling English language newspaper in the world, and at closure still had one of the highest English language circulations. Originally established as a broadsheet by John Browne Bell, the Bells sold to Lascelles Carr in 1891; in 1969 it was bought from the Carrs by Rupert Murdoch's media firm News Ltd. Reorganised into News International, itself a subsidiary of News Corporation, it was transformed into a tabloid in 1984. News of the World was the Sunday sister paper of The Sun. The newspaper concentrated on celebrity-based scoops and populist news. Its fondness for sex scandals gained it the nicknames News of the Screws and Screws of the World. It had a reputation for exposing national or local celebrities as drug users, sex freaks or criminals, setting up insiders and journalists in disguise to provide either video or photographic evidence, and phone hacking in ongoing police investigations. Sales averaged 2,812,005 copies per week in October 2010.

    From 2006, allegations of phone hacking began to engulf the newspaper. These culminated in the revelation on 4 July 2011 that, nearly a decade earlier, a private investigator hired by the newspaper had intercepted and deleted the voicemail of missing British teenager Milly Dowler, who was later found murdered. Amid a public backlash and the withdrawal of advertising, News International announced the closure of the newspaper on 7 July 2011. The scandal deepened when the paper was alleged to have hacked into the phones of families of British service personnel killed in action.
    In December 2011 a Scotland Yard spokesperson admitted at the Leveson Inquiry that it had not been a private investigator who had deleted Milly Dowler's voicemail, but by then it was too late to save the jobs of 200 redundant News of the World journalists.
    Senior figures on the newspaper have been held for questioning by police investigating the phone hacking and corruption allegations. Arrested on 8 July 2011 were former editor Andy Coulson and former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, the latter jailed for phone hacking in 2007. The former executive editor Neil Wallis was arrested on 15 July 2011 and former editor Rebekah Brooks, the tenth person held in custody, on 17 July 2011.

    Britain's best-selling Sunday tabloid, the News of the World, printed its last edition on July 10, 2011, amid a massive phone-hacking scandal that brought down the muckraking newspaper after 168 years. - Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
    News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch holds a copy of The Sun and The Times as he is driven away from his flat in central London July 11, 2011.- LUKE MACGREGOR/REUTERS

    [RE-WIND 2011][#34] IMF Chief Sex Scandal

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn (center), chief of the International Monetary Fund, was arrested on May 14, 2011, and charged with sexually assaulting a maid in his hotel room, a case that generated shock and revulsion, especially in his home country of France. Strauss-Kahn denied the charges, but resigned amid the scandal.
    Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s reputation with women was well known in France, and not even an affair with a subordinate could knock the International Monetary Fund leader off a political path pointed in the direction of the French presidency.

    All that changed over the weekend with charges that he sexually assaulted a maid in his hotel room, a case that generated shock and revulsion, especially in his home country.
    Police said yesterday that the maid picked Strauss-Kahn out of a lineup after reporting the attack Saturday. Unless the charges are quickly dropped, they could destroy his chances in a presidential race in France that is just starting to heat up.
    Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said his client denies all the charges and will plead not guilty to a criminal sex act, attempted rape, and unlawful imprisonment. An arraignment expected last night was postponed until today. A second lawyer for Strauss-Kahn, William Taylor, said testing for evidence delayed the arraignment. “Our client willingly consented to a scientific and forensic examination,’’ Taylor said.

    The IMF, which plays a key role in efforts to control the European debt crisis, named an acting leader and said it remains “fully functioning and operational’’ despite Strauss-Kahn’s arrest. The organization’s deputy managing director, John Lipsky, was named acting managing director. Lipsky is a former US Treasury executive and former banker at JP Morgan. Strauss-Kahn, 62, was arrested less than four hours after the alleged assault Saturday, plucked from first class on a Paris-bound Air France flight that was just about to leave the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The thrice-married father of four was alone when he checked into the luxury Sofitel hotel, not far from Times Square, on Friday afternoon, police said. It was not clear why he was in New York. The IMF is based in Washington, and he had been due in Germany yesterday to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel about increasing aid to Greece, and then in Brussels today and tomorrow to see EU finance ministers. The 32-year-old maid told authorities that when she entered his $3,000-a-night suite early Saturday afternoon, she thought it was unoccupied. Instead, Strauss-Kahn emerged from the bathroom naked, chased her down a hallway, and pulled her into a bedroom, where he sexually assaulted her, New York Police Department spokesman Paul J. Browne said.

    [For the rest of the story, read HERE]

    [RE-WIND 2011][#33] Arizona Shooting Rampage

     On January 8, 2011, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people were shot during a public meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, near Tucson, Arizona. Six of those shot died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll, one of Rep. Giffords' staffers, and a nine-year-old child. Giffords was holding a constituent meeting called "Congress on Your Corner" in the parking lot of a Safeway store when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head, subsequently firing on other people. One additional person was injured in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. News reports identified the target of the attack as Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona's 8th congressional district. She was shot through the head at point-blank range, and her medical condition was initially described as "critical".

    Loughner, a 22-year-old Tucson man, was arrested at the scene. Federal prosecutors filed five charges against him, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress and the assassination of a federal judge. Court filings include notes allegedly handwritten by Loughner indicating he planned to assassinate Giffords. The motive for the shooting remains unclear; Loughner did not cooperate with authorities, invoking his right to remain silent. Loughner was found by a judge to be incompetent to stand trial based on two medical evaluations. 


    [RE-WIND 2011][#32] Occupy Wall Street

    Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is a protest movement which began September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City's Wall Street financial district, initiated by the Canadian activist group Adbusters. The protests are against social and economic inequality, high unemployment, greed, as well as corruption, and the undue influence of corporations—particularly from the financial services sector—on government. The protesters' slogan We are the 99% refers to the growing income and wealth inequality in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. The protests in New York City have sparked similar Occupy protests and movements around the world.


    [RE-WIND 2011][#31] Hurricane Irene

    Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast at the end of August, leaving a path of destruction from North Carolina to New Jersey and causing 21 deaths. Though the storm fell short of doomsday predictions, it left millions without power, caused flooding, and triggered unprecedented evacuations and transit shutdowns in New York. Irene was downgraded to tropical storm, but it packed a punch across Massachusetts and New England, leaving more than 500,000 customers without power. The storm caused billions in damage across the East Coast. 

    Hurricane Irene was a large and powerful Atlantic hurricane that left extensive flood and wind damage along its path through the Caribbean, the United States East Coast and as far north as Atlantic Canada in 2011. The ninth named storm, first hurricane and first major hurricane of the annual hurricane season, Irene originated from a well-defined Atlantic tropical wave that began showing signs of organization east of the Lesser Antilles. It developed atmospheric convection and a closed cyclonic circulation center, prompting the National Hurricane Center to initiate public advisories late on August 20, 2011. Irene improved in organization as it passed the Leeward Islands, and by August 21, it had moved closer to Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The next day, Irene made landfall at Category 1 hurricane strength in Puerto Rico, where severe flooding resulted in significant property damage and the death of one person.

    Irene tracked just north of Hispaniola as an intensifying cyclone, pelting the coast with heavy precipitation and strong winds and killing seven people. After crossing the Turks and Caicos Islands, the hurricane quickly strengthened into a Category 3 major hurricane while passing through The Bahamas, leaving behind a trail of extensive structural damage in its wake. Curving toward the north, Irene skirted past Florida with its outer bands producing tropical-storm-force winds. It made landfall over Eastern North Carolina's Outer Banks on the morning of August 27 as a Category 1 hurricane, the first landfalling hurricane in the U.S mainland since Hurricane Ike, then moved along southeastern Virginia, affecting the Hampton Roads region.

    After briefly reemerging over water and weakening to a tropical storm, Irene made a second U.S. landfall near Brigantine Island in New Jersey early in the morning of August 28. Irene then made its third U.S. landfall in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York, at approximately 9:00 a.m on August 28. Considerable damage occurred in eastern upstate New York and Vermont, which suffered from the worst flooding in centuries.

    Throughout its path, Irene caused widespread destruction and at least 56 deaths; monetary losses in the Caribbean were estimated to be as high as US$3.1 billion. Damage estimates throughout the United States are estimated near $7 billion, which remains an uncertain estimate.


    30 December 2011

    [RE-WIND 2011][#30] Deadly Tornadoes

    The outbreak of tornadoes that ravaged the southern US last week was the largest in US recorded history, the National Weather Service has said. The three-day period from 25-28 April saw 362 tornadoes strike, including some 312 in a single 24-hour period. The previous record was 148 in two days in April 1974. The tornadoes and the storm system that spawned them killed at least 350 people in Alabama and six other states. It was the deadliest outbreak since 1936.

    The review by US meteorologists came as the southern US states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana and Kentucky continued the huge task of digging out from the destruction. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a university town that was the worst-hit single location, officials estimated debris removal alone would cost $70m (£42m) to $100m (£60m). The storm tore down century-old trees, flattened farm buildings and downed power lines, leaving as many as one million people without electricity in Alabama alone.

    On Monday, more than 400,000 people still had no power in that state, emergency officials said. The most destructive tornado struck Tuscaloosa, killing at least 65 people between there and the city of Birmingham, the National Weather Service said in a statement. That was the deadliest single tornado since 1955, when a twister in Kansas killed 80. Storm scientists say that tornado had a maximum width of 1.5 miles (2.4km) and a track 80 miles long.

    Part of Pratt City, a suburb of Birmingham, Ala., lay in ruins yesterday after a tornado struck overnight. (Marvin Gentry/Reuters)

    [RE-WIND 2011][#29] Europe Debt Crisis

    From late 2009, fears of a sovereign debt crisis developed among investors concerning rising government debt levels across the globe together with a wave of downgrading of government debt of certain European states. Concerns intensified early 2010 and thereafter making it difficult or impossible for Greece, Ireland and Portugal to re-finance their debts. On 9 May 2010, Europe's Finance Ministers approved a rescue package worth €750 billion aimed at ensuring financial stability across Europe by creating the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). 

    In October 2011 eurozone leaders agreed on another package of measures designed to prevent the collapse of member economies. This included an agreement with banks to accept a 50% write-off of Greek debt owed to private creditors, increasing the EFSF to about €1 trillion, and requiring European banks to achieve 9% capitalisation. To restore confidence in Europe, EU leaders also suggested to create a common fiscal union across the eurozone with strict and enforceable rules embedded in the EU treaties. While the sovereign debt increases have been most pronounced in only a few eurozone countries, they have become a perceived problem for the area as a whole.

    Nevertheless, the European currency has remained stable. As of mid-November 2011 it was trading even slightly higher against the Euro bloc's major trading partners than at the beginning of the crisis. The three most affected countries, Greece, Ireland and Portugal, collectively account for six percent of eurozone's gross domestic product (GDP).


    Dec 13 - The intensifying European debt crisis drove the euro down to its lowest level against the dollar since January. The euro traded at $1.3043 late in New York Tuesday. Earlier it sank as low as $1.3008. Late on Monday, it was worth $1.3186.
    European leaders agreed last week to tighten rules on government spending in an attempt to contain the debt crisis, but investors remain wary of possible defaults by heavily indebted countries like Greece. Leaders put off until March a decision on whether to add more money to a bailout fund for euro countries. Analysts say more is needed to help calm jittery bond investors. Parliaments in some countries may also oppose the pact.

    [RE-WIND 2011][#28] The Lunar Eclipse

    The longest lunar eclipse in over ten years animated the night sky on December 10. The red hue resulted from the sun's light passing through the earth's atmosphere. Viewers in Asia had the best view of the total eclipse, while those watching in Europe saw part of it at moonrise, and North Americans caught part of it as the moon set. It was not visible in South America or Antarctica. The next total eclipse will occur in 2014.

    The moon casts a reddish hue over Lake Pend Oreille during a lunar eclipse as it begins to set behind the Selkirk Mountain Range near Sandpoint, Idaho on December 10, 2011. (Matt Mills McKnight/Reuters)

    [RE-WIND 2011][#27] London Riots

    Buildings burn on Tottenham High Road in London during protests on August 6, 2011. (Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)
    Between 6 and 10 August 2011, several London boroughs and districts of cities and towns across England suffered widespread rioting, looting and arson.

    Following a peaceful march on 6 August 2011 in relation to the police response to the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by Metropolitan Police Service firearms officers on 4 August 2011, a riot began in Tottenham, North London. In the following days, rioting spread to several London boroughs and districts and eventually to some other areas of England, with the most severe disturbances outside London occurring in Bristol and cities in the Midlands and North West of England. Related localized outbreaks also occurred in many smaller towns and cities in England.

    The riots were characterized by rampant looting and arson attacks of unprecedented levels. As a result, British Prime Minister David Cameron returned early from his holiday in Italy and other government and opposition leaders also ended their holidays to attend to the matter. All police leave was cancelled and Parliament was recalled on 11 August to debate the situation.

    As of 15 August, about 3,100 people had been arrested, of whom more than 1,000 had been charged. Arrests, charges and court proceedings continue. Initially, courts sat for extended hours. There were a total 3,443 crimes across London linked to the disorder. Five people died and at least 16 others were injured as a direct result of related violent acts. An estimated £200 million worth of property damage was incurred, and local economic activity was significantly compromised.

    Police action was blamed for the initial riot, and the subsequent police reaction was criticized as being neither appropriate nor sufficiently effective. The riots have generated significant ongoing debate among political, social and academic figures about the causes and context in which they happened.


    [RE-WIND 2011][#26] Norway Attacks - Island Massacre [Part 2]

    A Norwegian dressed as a police officer gunned down at least 84 people at an island retreat before being arrested, police said Saturday. Investigators are still searching the surrounding waters, where people fled the attack, which followed an explosion in nearby Oslo that killed seven. The mass shootings are among the worst in history. With the blast outside the prime minister's office, they formed the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings killed 191.

    [Read more:]

    [RE-WIND 2011][#25] Norway Attacks - Bombings [Part 1]

     Norway has been hit by twin attacks - a massive bomb blast in the capital and a shooting attack on young people at a governing Labour Party youth camp. At least seven people were killed in the bombing, which inflicted huge damage on government buildings in Oslo. A few hours later a gunman opened fire at the camp on an island outside Oslo, killing at least 10. The suspected gunman was arrested at the camp and the government have confirmed that he is Norwegian. Police have said the 32-year-old suspect was also linked with the bomb attack. Witnesses described the gunman as tall, blonde and say he was dressed as a policeman.


    Norway's peace was shattered twice Friday when a bomb ripped open buildings in the heart of its government and a man dressed as a police officer gunned down youths at a summer camp. Police linked one Norwegian to both attacks, which killed a total of at least 16 people in nation's worst violence since World War II. Police said they did not know the motive or whether the attacks were the work of one person or a terrorist group, but Justice Minister Knut Storberget said the man who opened fire at the youth camp is Norwegian.

    In Oslo, the capital and the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, the bombing left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass, documents expelled from surrounding buildings and a dust-fogged scene that reminded one visitor from New York of Sept. 11. Ian Dutton, who was in a nearby hotel, people "just covered in rubble" were walking through "a fog of debris." "It wasn't any sort of a panic," he said, "It was really just people in disbelief and shock."

    [RE-WIND 2011][#24] Arroyo Arrested

    Former Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has been arrested on charges of election fraud.

    Mrs Arroyo was arrested on her hospital bed in the capital Manila, accused of cheating to win a seat in the Senate for one of her supporters during the 2007 election. Mrs Arroyo has been fighting a legal battle to be allowed to leave the country to receive medical treatment. She denies any wrongdoing and her lawyer says the charges are fabricated. Ferdinand Topacio said the government had filed charges with "indecent haste" in what he called an "emerging pattern of persecution". A Philippine court had issued an arrest warrant after the Election Commission filed charges against her.
    'Truth to prevail'
    For months, speculation has swirled that Mrs Arroyo was about to be charged - either with vote fraud or with embezzlement. With the threat of charges hanging over her, the government put her on a watch-list of people who have to ask for permission to leave the country. She launched a legal bid arguing that the travel ban infringed her constitutional right to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty.Twice this week the Supreme Court, which is dominated by her appointees, has ruled in her favour.

    At one stage she even travelled to the airport, where she was photographed in a wheelchair with a neck-brace. She says she has a rare bone disease and needs specialist treatment. But twice the government has foiled her attempts to leave the country. On Friday, the lower court's decision to issue an arrest warrant appears to have brought the first phase of the saga to an end. Court officials insisted she could not leave the country now that the warrant had been issued.

    "Hospital arrest is possible. The arresting officers will look at her health if that is needed," said court official Joel Pelicano. Election officials said Mrs Arroyo, who was president between 2001 and 2010, had ordered large-scale tampering with official returns in the 2007 Senate elections that cheated an opposition candidate out of victory. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

    "It is our desire that truth and accountability prevail and that the Filipino people be given the justice they truly deserve," said Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Politics in the Philippines is notorious for corruption, vote-rigging and long-running bitter rivalries between clans and families. Mrs Arroyo, herself the daughter of a former president, has been surrounded by corruption allegations for years, and survived several attempts to have her impeached while in office. Her predecessor Joseph Estrada was jailed for corruption, and former authoritarian leader Ferdinand Marcos amassed a vast fortune by embezzling public money.


    [RE-WIND 2011][#23] Thailand Floods

     Major floods occurred during the 2011 monsoon season in Thailand. Provinces located in the Chao Phraya and Mekong River basin, including Bangkok and surrounding neighborhoods were most severely affected directly or indirectly by inundation. Flooding also affected most provinces in Thailand's south. Flooding began around July 2011, and continued into December 2011. Over 12.8 million people were affected, and the World Bank estimated damages reached 1,440 billion baht (US$45 billion) as of December, 2011. As of December 3, 2011 some areas still remained 6 feet underwater and many factory areas remained closed. The World Bank's estimate for this disaster means it ranks as the world's fourth costliest disaster as of 2011 surpassed only by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, 1995 Kobe earthquake, Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    The flooding inundated about six million hectares of land, over 300,000 hectares of which is farmland, in 58 provinces, from Chiang Mai in the North to parts of the capital city of Bangkok near the mouth of the Chao Phraya. It has been described as "the worst flooding yet in terms of the amount of water and people affected". Seven major industrial estates were inundated by as much 3 meters (10 feet).


    [RE-WIND 2011][#22] FIFA Women's World Cup

    The FIFA Women's World Cup is an international association football competition contested by the senior women's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1991. Japan won the 2011 tournament in a penalty shootout. The current format of the tournament involves 16 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about three weeks;– this phase is often called the World Cup Finals. A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s).

    The FIFA Women's World Cup is recognized as the most important International competition in women's football and is played amongst women's national football teams of the member states of FIFA, the sport's global governing body. The first Women's World Cup tournament, named the Women's World Championship, was held in 1991, sixty-one years after the men's first FIFA World Cup tournament in 1930. The six World Cup tournaments have been won by four different national teams. The next World Cup will be hosted by Canada in 2015.


    Japan's midfielder Homare Sawa celebrates with the trophy and teammates after the FIFA Women's Football World Cup final match against the US on July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt am Main Germany. Japan won 3-1 in a penalty shoot-out after the final had finished 2-2 following extra-time. (Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)
    Japan won the Women's World Cup for the first time on Sunday, denying the United States a record third title after twice coming from behind in the final and then winning a penalty shootout in Germany. Japan had come into the tournament as sentimental favorites, helping rally a nation that had been devastated by a March 11 earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster. For the United States, it was more a disappointment -- especially considering that the team twice relinquished leads. The U.S. conceded equalizers at the end of the regulation and extra-time periods, then Japan had a player sent off before the Americans missed their first three spot-kicks. Japan missed their third, but Saki Kumagai blasted the winner high into the net for an unassailable 3-1 lead to make her team the first from Asia to win the four-yearly soccer event. "We lost to a great team, we really did," U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo told ESPN, which broadcast the game. "I truly believe that something bigger was pulling for this team."

    Japanese residents were glued to their televisions, despite the game starting around 4 a.m. local time. In one Tokyo eatery, for instances, scores adorned in the team's colors burst out in joy once their team beat the U.S. squad for the first time in 26 tries. The Japanese had won only three matches in five previous tournaments, and have never won the Asian title.

    Women's soccer a 'beautiful flower' for post-disaster Japan

    But, despite their preparations being affected by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated their homeland in March, Japan qualified second in Group B with two wins from three matches.
    They then denied the hosts a third success by winning the quarterfinal 1-0 in extra-time before beating Sweden 3-1 in the semis.

    The U.S. had last reached the final at home in 1999, winning the tournament for the second time after triumphing in the inaugural event in China eight years before then.And Pia Sundhage's team had looked set to end that long wait wait for another trophy, dominating the first half in Frankfurt as top scorer Abby Wambach hit the underside of the crossbar with a scorching left-foot shot and Lauren Cheney headed over when unmarked.

    Cheney was replaced at halftime by Alex Morgan, who broke the deadlock in the 69th minute when she latched on to a long pass from Megan Rapinoe and fired in a left-foot shot that gave Japan goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori no chance. But Japan equalized with nine minutes of regulation time left through Aya Miyama following some disastrous defending by the Americans.

    [For the rest of the story, read HERE]

    29 December 2011

    [RE-WIND 2011][#21] Daulat Tuanku

     The Sultan of Kedah, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’azam Shah yesterday took the oath of office as the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong at a ceremony steeped in royal traditions at Istana Negara, here. This is the second time that Tuanku Abdul Halim has been chosen as King, the first time from Jan 21, 1970 to Sept 20, 1975, having been appointed to the post at age 43, making him among the youngest Malay rulers to hold the post. Tuanku Halim was chosen by the Malay rulers the second time for the post at the 226th (Special) Meeting of the Conference of Rulers held at Istana Negara on Oct 14, 2011 for a five-year period, effective on Tuesday.

    TUANKU Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah menyerahkan surat sumpah pelantikan sebagai Yang di-Pertuan Agong Ke-14 kepada Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pada Istiadat Khas Mesyuarat Raja-Raja Ke-227 di Istana Negara, Kuala Lumpur. BERNAMA
    Tuanku Abdul Halim, 84, who was before this the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong since Dec 13, 2006, replaces the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, who ended his term as the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong yesterday. The rotation system for the post of Yang di-Pertuan Agong among the nine Malay hereditary rulers began since the country’s independence on Aug 31, 1957.

    The ceremony yesterday was the first held at the new, majestic and sprawling Istana Negara which bears Islamic and Malay architectural elements and located on a 96.52ha site in Jalan Duta, here. The ceremony began at 11.15am, with the 227th (Special) Meeting of the Conference of Rulers convened in conjunction with the taking of oath and signing of the instrument of office at the Balairong Seri (Throne Room). The meeting was chaired by the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail.

    [For the rest of the story, read HERE]

    [RE-WIND 2011][#20] The Royal Wedding

    Bells pealed, crowds cheered, even the sun put in a timely appearance, as Prince William emerged from Westminster Abbey with his bride on his arm. Wearing a broad smile, a Wartski wedding ring of Welsh gold and an ivory gown with lace applique, Kate Middleton – now Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge – joined The Firm amid the pomp and pageantry Britain prides itself on performing well. Before a global television audience of many millions, Kate played her part to perfection. From the dress – by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, kept a secret until the last moment and sending the British fashion industry into paroxyms of ecstacy – to the 1936 Cartier diamond tiara loaned by the Queen, she looked every inch the fairytale princess. Which, of course, she was not. The Queen's conferring of the ancient title of Duke of Cambridge on her grandson just hours before the ceremony deprived his wife of the title Princess Catherine. But she is a duchess, which is several rungs up the social ladder than her standing before entering the 1,000-year-old abbey this morning.

    The couple smile at the cheering crowds as they make the journey by carriage procession to Buckingham Palace. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
    Prince William and Kate walk down the aisle. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/AFP/Getty Images
     And there was no mention of fairytales – unlike 30 years ago when Robert Runcie, then Archbishop of Canterbury, gushingly pronounced Prince Charles's union with Lady Diana Spencer "the stuff of fairytales". Lessons have since been learned. Instead, the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, read a prayer penned by William and Kate, and asking for spiritual help to guide them through their new life together. And this time, the bride did not forget her groom's name and the groom did not stumble over the wedding vows. Indeed, apart from some slight wrestling required get the tight ring on to Kate's finger, everything appeared to go without a hitch. William, in the bright red dress uniform of a colonel of the Irish Guards, whispered: "You look incredible, beautiful," as his bride arrived at his side in front of the High Altar. The two exchanged smiles and glances throughout the service.
    [For the rest of the story, click HERE]

    28 December 2011

    [RE-WIND 2011][#19] Selamat Tinggal Akademi Fantasia

    Selepas 9 musim Akademi Fantasia bersiaran, kini secara rasminya, Akademi Fantasia melabuhkan tirainya buat kali yang terakhir. Satu tradisi dalam Akademi Fantasia adalah penyerahan finalis kepada keluarga masing-masing. Majlis yang penuh kemeriahan dan ada kalanya menimbulkan kesedihan ini telah diadakan di Rumah Kaca Akademi Fantasia di AEON AU2, Setiawangsa.

    Majlis penutup dan perpisahan ini telah dihadiri oleh tenaga pengajar, tenaga produksi, bekas-bekas pelajar yang tersingkir dan ahli keluarga finalis. Dalam majlis ini juga telah diserahkan trofi Akademi Fantasia kepada semua pelajar yang telah tersingkir termasuk Aida dan Amir yang digugurkan. Hadiah iringan daripada Sony Malaysia juga telah disampaikan oleh Pengetua Akademi Fantasia 9, Amy Search.

    Pengetua Amy juga sempat memberikan berapa pesanan kepada semua 14 pelajar Akademi Fantasia agar lebih bersedia menempuhi kehidupan yang baru sebagai seorang artis. Segala apa yang telah diajar oleh semua tenaga pengajar diharap dapat disimpan dan diamalkan demi kejayaan akan datang. Pengetua juga mengucapkan terima kasih kepada seluruh warga kerja Akademi Fantasia 9 yang bertungkus lumus menjayakan produksi Akademi Fantasia yang terakhir ini.

    Selamat Tinggal Akademi Fantasia!


    Akademi Fantasia, Season 9 is the ninth as well as the final season of Akademi Fantasia to be aired in Astro Ria which premiered on April 2, 2011. Aznil Haji Nawawi is appointed as the host of this season, after being a permanent judge in Season 8. The professional trainers as well as twelve students of this season were revealed in a press conference which took place in ÆON malls in Malaysia| ÆON AU2, Setiawangsa. On April 2, 2011, Amy Search was revealed to be the Principal for this season during Konsert Tirai Akademi Fantasia. It was also announced that this season will be the last season of Akademi Fantasia which was confirmed by Azlin Reza Azmi, the Manager of Astro Ria channel. On June 12, 2011, Hazama Ahmad Azmi was crowned the winner of the ninth season of Akademi Fantasia. This season attracted the lowest reception of votes in the history of Akademi Fantasia, with 3.74 million votes cast.


    Here are the past winners:

    AF 1 - Vince
    AF 2 - Zahid
    AF 3 - Mawi
    AF 4 - Faizal
    AF 5 - Mila
    AF 6 - Stacy
    AF 7 - Hafiz
    AF 8 - Shahir
    AF 9 - Hazama

    [RE-WIND 2011][#18] New King's Palace

     KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 15, 2011): The Yang Di Pertuan Agong now has a new official residence after the Istana Negara in Jalan Istana shifted to the RM800 million palace in Jalan Duta. The King's private flag was raised at the new Istana Negara for the first time in a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry at 10.25am today. Istana Negara Grand Chamberlain Datuk Tengku Farok Husin Tengku Abdul Jalil had earlier handed over the flag to a team of flag bearers to signify the commencement of duty of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) at the Jalan Duta Istana Negara square. The new palace, in tune with technology today, uses an automated flag raiser unlike the manual approach at the old palace. Istana Negara began shifting its operations to the new complex in Jalan Duta in stages since Oct 19 while the assignment of guards from ATM began yesterday. The new Istana Negara, built with Islamic and traditional Malay features, is located on a 96.52 hectare site. It will witness the installation of the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah of Kedah in December.

    The old palace had served as the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for 54 years. At 9am today, a ceremony was held to officially decommission the old Istana Negara. It began with the marching in of the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment (RAMD) comprising two officers and 58 men of various ranks accompanied by the RAMD central band. The ceremony continued with a team of flag bearers comprising 10 members of the RAMD who lowered the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's private flag as the last post was being played, signifying the shifting of the official residence of the King to its new home in Jalan Duta. Later, the ceremony continued with the procession of the flag bearers with the ceremonial horse squadron to the palace main entrance to present the flag to the Grand Chamberlain, who later directed Istana Negara officer Rosli Asri to lock the main entrance of the palace.

    Among those present to witness the flag lowering ceremony were Senior Deputy Secretary-General of the Prime Minister's Department who is also the chairman of National Official Ceremony, Datuk Othman Mahmood; Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt Gen Datuk Raja Afandi Raja Mohd Nor and Deputy Chief of Staff Maj Gen Datuk Abdul Aziz Ibrahim. The 11.34 hectare old palace which was the official residence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was originally a double storey bungalow built in 1928 by a local Chinese millionaire, Chan Wing. The building which was later made a palace of the Selangor Sultan was acquired by the federal government as the official residence of the first Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman Tuanku Muhammad, a few weeks before the declaration of independence. –Bernama

    27 December 2011

    [RE-WIND 2011][#17] Stump

     India has won the 2011 Cricket World Cup by 6 wickets over Sri Lanka. MS Dhoni crushed a six on the final ball to complete the chase for the Indians, who overcame a 274-run inning by their opponent, despite losing their first two batsmen (including "the master" Sachin Tendulkar) in the opening overs. The partnership between Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir led the comeback, as both came just shy of 188 runs between them. It's India's first World Cup championship in 28 years.


    The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup was the tenth Cricket World Cup. It was played in India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. It was Bangladesh's first time co-hosting a World Cup. The World Cup was also due to be co-hosted by Pakistan, but in the wake of the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team in Lahore, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to remove Pakistan from the hosting countries. The headquarters of the organising committee were originally situated in Lahore, but have now been shifted to Mumbai. Pakistan was supposed to hold 14 matches, including one semi-final. Eight of Pakistan's matches (including the semi-final) were awarded to India, four to Sri Lanka and two to Bangladesh.

    All matches in the World Cup were accorded One Day International status, with all matches being played over 50 overs. Fourteen national cricket teams competed in the tournament, including ten full members and four associate members. The World Cup took place between 19 February and 2 April 2011, with the first match played on 19 February 2011 with co-hosts India and Bangladesh facing off at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka. The opening ceremony was held on 17 February 2011 at Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka, two days before the start of the tournament, with the final on 2 April 2011 between India and Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

    India won the tournament defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the final in Mumbai. India became the first nation to win a World Cup final on home soil. India's Yuvraj Singh was declared the man of the tournament.

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