Sabtu, 29 Oktober 2011

Thai floods creep closer to central Bangkok

Floods that have sparked an exodus from the Thai capital crept closer to the city centre on Friday as the government considered cutting through roads blocking the path of the water.
The city of 12 million people is on heightened alert because of threats on two fronts -- a seasonal high tide this weekend that is expected to coincide with the arrival of a mass of water from the flood-stricken central plains.
Tens of thousands of residents have left Bangkok after the government declared a five-day holiday, flocking to rail and bus stations in the city and jamming roads as they head to areas out of the path of the water.
So far, however, central Bangkok has only seen minor inundation in areas along the swollen Chao Phraya River, including near the Grand Palace, with the water receding after high tide passes.
Tourists walking through ankle-deep water near the Grand Palace appeared unfazed, despite a slew of travel warnings from foreign governments.
"It's adding to our experience," said 32-year-old British honeymooner Melanie Willoughby. "They all seem to be coping well. The only thing we found is that it's been hard to get (drinking) water."
Friday's high tide was lower than expected, raising hopes that the flood barriers on the Chao Phraya -- the city's main river -- would prevent a major overflow this weekend.
"The walls can still hold it back, despite flooding on the river banks which is usual during high tide," said an official at the city's Drainage and Sewerage Department, who did not want to be named.
The three-month crisis -- triggered by unusually heavy monsoon rains -- has left at least 377 people dead and damaged millions of homes and livelihoods, mostly in northern and central Thailand.
Billions of cubic metres of water lie north of the capital, moving slowly southwards as the authorities attempt to channel the muddy brown liquid through the city's canals and rivers, but most of the city centre has remained dry.
Some areas in northern Bangkok have seen waist-deep flooding, leading to the shutdown of the city's second airport, Don Mueang.
The government said it was considering a proposal by the private sector to dig temporary drainage channels through five roads blocking the water in eastern Bangkok to speed up the flow into the Gulf of Thailand.
But the transport minister suggested the move might not be necessary.
The authorities have opened sluice gates around the city to allow water through canals and are battling to prevent flood reinforcements leaking.
On Thursday an emotional Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in office for barely two months, warned that the country could not resist the "force of nature" by trying to hold back the water forever.
More than 100,000 people have sought refuge at emergency shelters and tens of thousands of troops have joined the relief efforts.
Almost 300 critically ill hospital patients have been evacuated from Bangkok to other provinces as a precaution.
While the government is largely focused on defending the capital, people in the worst-hit provinces north of the city have endured weeks of flooding.
The crisis is taking its toll on the lucrative Thai tourism industry, with the United States joining other countries including Britain, Singapore, Canada in advising against all but essential travel to Bangkok.
Most of the country's top tourist destinations have been unaffected by the disaster and Suvarnabhumi Airport, the main gateway to Thailand, is operating as normal, along with the city's subway and elevated train.
The disaster has taken a heavy toll on the economy. The central bank Friday slashed its 2011 Thai economic growth forecast to 2.6 percent, from a previous projection of 4.1 percent, as industry and farmers reel from the flood havoc.
Thousands of inundated factories have been shut down, putting more than half a million people temporarily out of work.
Japan said Friday it would allow thousands of Thai workers employed by its companies affected by the floods to go and work there for six months.

Poor clerk first to win million on India game show

NEW DELHI (AP) — A poor government clerk from a desolate region of eastern India has become the first person ever to win $1 million on an Indian game show.
Sushil Kumar's staggering win on the popular Indian version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" has transformed him into a role model for millions of aspiring youth yearning to escape from lives of poverty and find a role in India's burgeoning economy.
His win echoes the plot of the 2008 Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire," whose impoverished protagonist won the grand prize on the show.
Kumar and his wife of four months wept when Indian movie legend Amitabh Bachchan, the show's host, handed them a check for 50 million rupees (just over $1 million) after the contestant gave all the right answers.
"You have created history. Your grit and determination has made you come so far in this show," Bachchan said.
"We're happy of course but mostly we're just really stunned," Kumar told The Associated Press.
Before Kumar went on the program, which was taped Tuesday and will air next week, he earned $120 a month as a government office worker and supplemented his income by working as a private tutor in the small town of Motihari in the eastern state of Bihar.
Kumar, the 26-year-old son of a farm laborer, told viewers his family was so poor they couldn't afford a television set, forcing him to go to a neighbor's home to watch the quiz show. Watching him tick off correct answer after correct answer, his neighbors persuaded him to try out for the show, he said.
The trip to the Mumbai studio where the show is taped was his first ride in a plane and his first visit to a big city, he said.
Before arriving on the set, Kumar was confident of winning $50,000 or $100,000, but the jackpot seemed like a distant dream.
Just before the 13th question, he considered walking away with the $200,000 he had in hand but decided to take advantage of the option to peek at the final question.
"When I looked at the question, I didn't think I knew the answer but I kept staring at it for a long time and suddenly I knew that two of the four options were definitely not correct," Kumar said.
Kumar still had one of four lifelines granted on the show — the convenient double dip option that allows a contestant to offer two possible answers to a question.
The show's organizers declined to reveal the final question before it is aired next week, saying only that it dealt with history.
Kumar has clear, if modest, plans for the money.
He said he will use some to pay for a preparatory course so he can take India's tough civil service exam, which could lead to a secure and prestigious lifetime job.
He said he will also buy a new home for his wife, pay off his parents' debts and give his four brothers startup cash so they can set up small businesses.
And he plans to build a library in Motihari so the children of his village will have access to the books and knowledge he so desperately craved, he said.
The show first started in 2000 with a jackpot of $200,000, which was won twice. The prize money was hiked to $1 million last year.
Associated Press writer Muneeza Naqvi contributed to this story.

PBB: bahan api berplumbum akan hilang menjelang 2013

United Nations (AP) - petrol berplumbum, sekali begitu meluas ia telah dijual pada harga pam Amerika Syarikat sebagai bahan api "biasa", dijangka akan dihapuskan di seluruh dunia dalam tempoh dua tahun, Program Alam Sekitar Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu mengumumkan Khamis.

Dengan akhir petrol berplumbum di sisi, kesihatan awam dan penyokong-penyokong alam sekitar mendakwa kemenangan dalam perjuangan yang terbentang semua jalan kembali kepada ketika ia mula-mula ditambah gasolin pada tahun 1920-an.Petrol berplumbum masih digunakan dalam enam negara.Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Korea Utara, Myanmar dan Yaman dijangka siap fasa keluar menjelang 2013, kata Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu, yang membantu negara-negara.Penghapusan petrol berplumbum telah meningkat skor IQ, menurunkan paras plumbum dalam darah sehingga 90 peratus dan menghalang kematian pra-matang lebih daripada 1.2 juta orang setahun, menurut satu kajian baru oleh Thomas Hatfield, pengerusi California State University, Northridge jabatan alam sekitar dan kesihatan pekerjaan."Kita hidup dalam satu-satu masa apabila ahli-ahli politik dan pelobi membuat sukan bopeng ekonomi terhadap kesihatan awam," kata Peter Lehner, pengarah eksekutif Majlis Pertahanan Sumber Asli. "Kajian ini terbang dalam menghadapi orang-orang politik yang remeh-temeh."Pada tahun 2002, NRDC dan Program Alam Sekitar Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB) bermula tolakan terakhir untuk membasmi bahan api yang dipimpin langsung oleh pengasas Perkongsian untuk Bahan Api Kenderaan dan Bersih, yang membantu negara-negara membangun dengan suis untuk petrol tanpa plumbum.Kebanyakan daripada enam negara-negara yang masih menggunakan petrol berplumbum hanya menggunakan jumlah yang kecil, kata Jim Sniffen, jurucakap Program Alam Sekitar PBB. Mereka bekerjasama dengan agensi-agensi PBB dan rakan kongsi untuk menjalankan ujian darah untuk tahap plumbum dan membangunkan rancangan untuk fasa bahan api berplumbum, katanya.Lead menjadi bahan tambahan gasolin pilihan pada tahun 1920-an, selepas General Motors, DuPont dan Standard Oil of New Jersey, pendahulu Exxon, memilih lebih bersih pembakaran etanol dan alternatif lain sebagai satu cara untuk membuat enjin berjalan lebih baik. Ia menjadi universal walaupun amaran daripada peguam bela kesihatan awam dan skandal ke atas kematian pada tahun 1924 enam pekerja kilang penapisan di Newark, New Jersey, yang beracun manakala pembuatan dan "dipimpin dalam straitjackets," kata Kovarik Rang Undang-undang, seorang wartawan dan komunikasi profesor di Universiti Radford yang mengkaji sejarah petrol berplumbum."Dari segi sejarah, terdapat hanya segelintir kemenangan utama alam sekitar seperti ini," kata Kovarik. "Ia mengambil masa 90 tahun untuk membasmi apa yang sentiasa racun terkenal dari produk yang semua orang menggunakan. Ia satu pencapaian besar, tetapi ia benar-benar mengatakan sesuatu tentang bagaimana kesihatan awam kerja-kerja di seluruh dunia, bahawa ia mengambil masa yang lama ... Benjamin Franklin mengadutentang keracunan plumbum di kedai-kedai cetak. "Industri palsu mendakwa bahawa terdapat tiada alternatif untuk memimpin, yang lebih menguntungkan, dan mendapat kawalan ke atas kajian saintifik kerajaan, berkata Kovarik.Akhirnya, pendedahan kepada plumbum bawaan udara didapati menyebabkan kerosakan otak, buah pinggang dan kardiovaskular. Bagi kanak-kanak, ia didapati lebih rendah tahap IQ dan memendekkan rentang perhatian.Krisis kesihatan awam sekali lagi meletus di seluruh plumbum pada tahun 1960-an sebagai gerakan alam sekitar bloomed.Tuntutan mahkamah yang difailkan oleh NRDC pada tahun 1973 membawa kepada Agensi Perlindungan Alam Sekitar yang mengawal selia plumbum dalam gasolin dan akhirnya mengharamkan sebagai bahan tambahan pada tahun 1986."Ini merupakan isu alam sekitar yang telah dijumpai semula dan ia akhirnya dihentikan, tetapi ia boleh dilakukan lebih awal dengan langkah berjaga-jaga sedikit, kerana semua orang tahu tentang keracunan plumbum," kata Kovarik."Seperti yang kita melihat kepada masa depan beberapa kewarasan alam sekitar, ini adalah satu contoh yang hebat di mana kita boleh melakukannya dengan lebih baik. Kita perlu belajar daripada ini."

Jumaat, 28 Oktober 2011

Rihanna - RM5 ribu dalam masa lima minit

27 Okt - Demi 'keperluan' diri sendiri, penyanyi "California King Bed", Rihanna, sanggup berhabis duit lebih AS$1,500 (RM4,692) di sebuah kedai menjual barangan seks.
Dipetik daripada laporan NY Post, Rihanna telah singgah di kedai Lovestore dan membeli barangan seperti permainan seks, gari, lilin wangian dan juga pakaian dalam ketika berada di Paris baru-baru ini.
Satu sumber memberitahu The Sun, "Dia tahu apa yang dia inginkan dan tidak memerlukan sebarang bantuan ketika membeli. Dia kelihatan gembira dan seperti tergesa-gesa ingin pulang ke hotelnya."
Rihanna yang digosipkan bercinta dengan model muzik video terbarunya berjudul "We Found Love", Dudley O'Shaughnessy, juga dikatakan mengambil masa selama lima minit sahaja di kedai seks tersebut.
Penyanyi berusia 23 tahun ini kemudiannya dilihat memegang buku imej grafik aksi lesbian oleh Ellen Von Unwerth yang telah dibeli di kedai tersebut.
Ini bukanlah kali pertama Rihanna dilihat di kedai seks. Pada Mac lalu, dia dilihat berada di luar sebuah kedai seks The Tool Shed di Sydney, Australia dengan membawa dua bag penuh barangan yang dibeli. Kemudia pada Julai lalu, Rihanna sempat singgah di Wanda's Adult Emporium di Ottawa, Kanada bersama penyanyi Drake yang dilaporkan bekas teman lelakinya.