Sunday, May 31, 2009

(Rightly) Believing In Yourself

Dr. Joyce Brothers, well-known author and psychologist says, "An individual's self-concept [what he believes about himself] is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change, the choice of friends, mates and careers. It's no exaggeration to say that a strong positive self-image [self-belief] is the best possible preparation for success in life."

A healthy self-belief is not an egotistic "I'm the greatest" attitude. Such an attitude is self-deception and a cover for deep insecurity and self-unbelief. Believing in yourself includes knowing and accepting your weaknesses as well as your strengths and believing with God's help that you can overcome your weaknesses and develop and use your strengths.

One very successful woman, a well-known entertainer, didn't have much going for her. She would never have won a beauty contest and at age 38 was living on welfare. After reading Claude Briston's, The Magic of Believing, and beginning to believe in herself, Phyllis Diller's life took a dramatic turn. One gift she had was the ability to make people laugh. Once she believed this, she didn't allow what she didn't have to stop her using what she did have.

Jimmie Durante was another entertainer who wouldn't have made a fortune with his looks. But he capitalized on his weakness and turned it into one of his greatest strengths. He didn't focus on his physical attributes—what he didn't have—but on his strengths—what he did have—and put these to good use because he believed he could.

You and I can do the same.

For an even stronger and healthier sense of self-belief know that no matter what you have ever done or have failed to do, God loves you totally and unconditionally, wants to forgive your every sin and wrongdoing, and has a God-given purpose for your life that He wants you to fulfill! All I ask is that you believe in yourself exactly the same as God believes in you.

Jesus said, "'Everything is possible for him who believes.' Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, 'I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'" Mark 9:23-24

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Heavy rains break open dam in Brazil; 1 dead, 2,500 homeless

Posted: 29 May 2009 0442 hrs

SAO PAULO - Heavy rain in northeast Brazil broke open a dam, destroying 500 homes and killing a 12-year-old girl, officials said Thursday.

The government of the state of Piaui said the damage wrought Wednesday by the breach outside the town of Cocal left an estimated 2,500 people homeless.

The girl died when the waters in the Pirangi river rose suddenly, up to 20 meters (60 feet) in some parts, it said in a statement.

"It was a real tsunami," said state governor Wellington Dias as he visited the area.

He added that he was talking with the federal government about providing aid to those affected.

Flooding and mudslides in northeast Brazil over the past few weeks have left 54 people dead.

- AFP /ls

From; see the source article here.

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Brazilian politicians caught in expenses scandal

This is now a worldwide phenomenon… officials squandering the people's money!!! Shame! Shame! Shame!


Posted: 29 May 2009 0403 hrs

Jose Sarney

SAO PAULO : Brazilian politicians were Thursday caught in an expenses scandal resembling the one that has plunged Britain's parliament into crisis.

Unlike in Britain, though, the Brazilian lawmakers looked likely to escape unscathed from revelations many were benefiting from housing rental allowances even though they were not renting properties.

The head of Brazil's Senate, Jose Sarney, admitted Thursday he was one of the elected politicians to claim 3,800 reais (1,900 dollars) a month for rent in the capital Brasilia, despite living in a rent-free official residence provided by congress.

Sarney -- who earlier this week denied getting paid the rent allowance -- told reporters he would reimburse the money from his own pocket. He said the 79,800 reais he had been receiving from May 2007 was an "administrative error."

Two other senators who also had official residences in Brasilia were also told by the Senate's administrative committee to return money they received.

Media including the news network Globo and the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo said 42 senators in the 81-seat senate had been receiving the rental allowance despite it being scrapped in 2002 for those who had official or private residences in the capital.

But a senior Senate member who is in charge of making the payments, Mao Santa, challenged that 2002 decision and said Sarney and the other senators should hold on to their allowances.

"The law doesn't say that, that you can't have it (the allowance). It has to be the same for everyone," he argued to Globo's G1 website. "I could have a house, but I don't. What should I do? Be envious of someone else who does?"

The Senate's administrative committee agreed with Santa's position later Thursday, overturning the 2002 rule and allowing all senators to receive the allowance, regardless of whether they used it for renting. - AFP /ls

From; see the source article here.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Find time to pause and reflect, especially on MRT escalators

That is why I will always prefer the nipa hut… very cool, placid, relaxing… very much at home in an unhurried environment…


EVERY morning, while standing on the left side of the upward-riding escalator at Raffles Place MRT station, so as to make way for those who are in a hurry on the right, I would wonder: "Who on Earth will walk up, instead of standing still, on this stunningly long and steep escalator?"

From my observation, there are, in fact, many commuters who do that.

Regardless of the time of the day, there is always a long line of men and women on the right of the escalator moving upward orderly and with haste.

Not only that, commuters are often in a "fighting" mode – they fight their way out of packed train carriages and crowded stations.

Some even run at track-and-field speeds, hoping to get an early start. The scene is like a race.

It strikes me, then, why people try to save some seconds by walking briskly up the escalator: They are constantly in a race.

But are they really in such a hurry?

Indeed, we are sometimes too busy to know why we are so busy, and we just keep ourselves always occupied, like a machine gone wild.

As a result, we can't afford to "waste time" by standing still and doing nothing on the escalator – we have to move forward all the time.

And we repeat the same rushing routine day in, day out.

Perhaps we should make use of the few seconds on the escalator to think about our life and ask ourselves: "Are we really in such a hurry?"

We should find time to pause and reflect. If we could do that, our lives would be less tiring.

Mr Charles Chen Jiacheng

From myPaper, My Say – Thursday, 28-May-2009

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"Sexting" no worse than spin-the-bottle: study

Posted: 27 May 2009 1128 hrs

090527-1128hrs A mobile user sending a text message.

OTTAWA - Youths exchanging nude photos of themselves over cellphones, known as "sexting," should not face child pornography charges, as some have in the United States, a humanities conference heard Tuesday.

Peter Cumming, an associate professor at York University in Toronto, presented a paper on children's sexuality at the 78th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences defending the practice as a modern variation on "playing doctor or spin-the-bottle."

"Technology does change things, and there can be very serious consequences" Cumming said. "But that obscures the fact that children and young people are sexual beings who have explored their sexuality in all times, and all cultures and all places.

"A distinction has to be made between nudity and child porn," he added.

The annual conference, held this year at Ottawa's Carleton University, brings together 8,000 researchers from around the world to discuss the latest social trends.

Sexting -- a combination of the words "sex" and "texting" -- made headlines earlier this year after students in a dozen US states were charged with child pornography for sharing nude and semi-nude photos with friends and classmates.

In March, three teenage girls sued a Pennsylvania prosecutor who accused them of peddling "child pornography," after a teacher discovered a waist-up image of two girls covered just by a bra, and another image of a girl topless.

District Attorney George Skumanik called for the girls to undergo five weeks of behaviour courses and take a drug test or face prosecution, according to a letter apparently sent to the teenagers' parents.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a co-signatory to the complaint, said Skumanik's threat was unconstitutional, and prosecution could have landed the girls on the sex offenders register, blighting future job prospects.

In other cases, a "bored" Florida boy was charged for sending a photo of his genitalia to a female classmate, while another was listed as a sex offender for emailing nude photos of his 16-year-old girlfriend to her family after an argument.

According to a survey by a US family planning organization, published in December, 20 per cent of American teenagers said they had participated in sexting.

Cumming said that to consider labelling a teen a sex offender because of a sexting incident -- a label that will stick for life -- defies common sense.

"It would be very unlikely to see dozens of news stories announcing that some children were caught playing spin-the-bottle, or doctor, or strip poker," he said in his presentation.

"Yet many of the cases brought forward have been on the same level of innocence and experience as those activities. In other words, kids are playing spin-the-bottle online."

Cumming also argued that such online activities are safer than traditional sexual games because there is no immediate physical contact and thus are less likely to lead to pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

- AFP/ir

From; see the source article here.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Village drama wins top prize at Cannes

CANNES (France) — Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon, a chilling study of malice in a German village on the eve of World War I, snatched top honours at the Cannes film festival yesterday.

The Austrian director's austere black-and-white work overcame stiff competition from films by heavyweight auteurs like Quentin Tarantino and Jane Campion to win the coveted Palme d'Or at the world's greatest cinema showcase.

The notoriously extravagant festival toned down the glitz for this year's recession-era bash and was lighter than usual in star power but it still saw celebs like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sashay up the fabled red carpet.

A range of other prizes were dished out to the 20 films in competition, with French director Jacques Audiard, who had been a frontrunner for the Palme, taking the Grand Prix for his bleak prison drama A Prophet.

Cult South Korean director Park Chan-Wook and Britain's Andrea Arnold jointly took the jury prize for Thirst, a vampire romance, and Fish Tank, a coming-of-age drama set in a grim London suburb.

Austrian television star Christoph Waltz clinched the best actor award for his role as a multilingual Nazi nicknamed the "Jew Hunter" in Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.

France's Charlotte Gainsbourg took the best actress award for her taboo-defying role as a woman driven insane by grief in the shock Danish thriller Antichrist by Lars Von Trier.

Brillante Mendoza of the Philippines picked up the best director prize for Kinatay, while Australian Aboriginal director Warwick Thornton's Samson and Delilah, was awarded the Camera d'Or prize for a first film.

Penelope Cruz was among the A-list celebrities at the annual French Riviera bash, who also included Martin Scorsese and Jim Carrey.

Tarantino's march up the red carpet — flanked by Pitt and his wife Jolie — for the world premiere of his long-awaited Basterds on Wednesday provided the biggest celebrity buzz of the 12-day festival. AFP

From, World News – Monday, 25-May-2009; see the source article here.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Find your future in Singapore with online portal


MORE efforts are underway to "help those who are interested to sink roots and set up a home in Singapore", said Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng.

These include the launch of a new online portal, which describes itself as a "one-stop portal for information about finding your future in Singapore".

The new website, which is already up-and-running, features a wide array of articles and video clips on life in the Republic.

Stressing that the Government would "press on with our efforts to build a strong core of committed and dedicated citizens", Mr Wong, who oversees the National Population Secretariat, added that citizens "always remain the Government's first priority, and citizen interests will always be accorded a higher priority over those of permanent residents and foreigners".

He noted that it was premature to assess if the marriage and parenthood package, which was enhanced in August last year, "has worked".

From TODAY, News – Wednesday, 20-May-2009

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The environment needs your support

Ong Dai Lin,

The vision is to create a “Sustainable Singapore” where limited resources will be used efficiently and innovatively — but community support is vital in making that a reality.

That was the message from Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), in his addendum to the President’s Address on Monday.

Technology and innovation are the keys in meeting new and emerging environmental challenges. And investing in new capabilities to reduce waste and control pollution can also “position Singapore as a global hub for environment and water solutions”, said Dr Yaacob yesterday.

But building a sustainable living environment “requires the support of the community”, noted the minister. Therefore, MEWR will reinforce partnerships with the People, Private and Public (3P) sectors to “strengthen shared ownership of our environment”.

To uphold high standards of public health and ensure good hygiene at food establishments, efforts to keep public premises litter-free will be stepped up.

Dr Yaacob also said MEWR will control pollution from industry and vehicles to ensure that Singapore’s air quality remains “among the best in Asia, and comparable with major cities around the world”.

The ministry will also expand the Active, Beautiful, and Clean Waters Programme to include more water bodies. ONG DAI LIN

From TODAY, News – Thursday, 21-May-2009

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thinking out of the box


Print ads need to stand out to catch readers’ attention

090519-CreativeAdvertising A PASTE-ON bookmark, an oversized ang pow-like envelope (picture) and a ribbon tied around this newspaper.

These are some examples of how Today advertisers have thought out of the box over the years or — as Mr Philip Koh, managing director of MediaCorp Press, put it — “out of the traditional box-shaped ads”. He said that creative buys like these make a brand and its products or services more noticeable.

According to Mr Arthur Sung, general manager of Starcom Singapore, it is important for print ads to stand out now that readers are becoming more time-starved. This is more so for categories that have little product differentiation and face heavy competition from others in the trade, such as mineral water and shampoos.

“In this day and age, a killer message is insufficient. One needs to have eye-catching message-delivery tactics, too,” he said.

For instance, PHD Singapore’s managing director Ms Pat Lim recalled how an electronics brand once concentrated its ad spend in only one newspaper on a single day and bought out every ad in it. “This was not a creative execution per se but I thought it was creative in how the brand chose not to spend its money in several media. Instead, it made a huge splash in one medium so that readers would see nothing but their ads for that one day!”

That was what HP Singapore did in this paper in 2003. In fact, Today also turned the paper into a broadsheet for the day and used HP’s corporate blue in the masthead.

But getting more creative in print ads need not always be about using fanciful artwork or exploring new territories. Sometimes, it can be as simple — and even cost-effective — as deciding whether to run an ad in full colour or black and white.

“Colour is only one way to pull people in but it will not be effective if the creative message is not clear and desirable. If the creative idea works stronger in a black and white ad, then pursue it and save money on media costs,” Mr Robert Doswell, managing director of Ogilvy RedCard, told Today.

He should know. His agency was behind an innovative series of small, black and white ads for budget airline Jetstar Asia. The idea sounds incongruous at first: Placing ads in the classifieds pages, and in the pet grooming and car accessories categories. Besides being what Mr Doswell described as “a very strong example of an advertisement that we rolled out at the lowest end of the cost scale”, the Jetstar Asia ad campaign caught a lot of attention.

In this case, it was not the artwork or the ad size but the clever ad copy that did the job. For instance, the Jetstar Asia ad in the car accessories section read: “Fly Jetstar Asia to Manila for $99 or buy a tyre”. Said Mr Doswell: “The Jetstar Asia concept worked off the surrounding content rather than being driven by a colour image.”

But MediaCorp Press’ Mr Koh said that it can be tough for ad agencies to keep coming up with new creative ad ideas at times. Also, there are limits to work within, such as ensuring that the creative buy is inserted into or attached to the newspaper in time for it to be delivered to homes.

Added PHD’s Ms Lim: “Cost and, to some extent, the lack of technology, are huge considerations in Singapore.”

For Mr Doswell of Ogilvy RedCard, it is media censorship here that can potentially restrict the media buyer’s creativity. “However, there is always a way around this problem,” he said, citing the example of his agency’s tongue-in-cheek ad for Durex condoms. This showed two balloon-like figures constructed from condoms in a suggestive position.

“If this safe but playful sex education ad can run, then there is always a way for any brand to play within the guidelines.”

From TODAY, Impact – Tuesday, 19-May-2009

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Higher pay for career switch

And I thought that there are no more high-paying jobs available…?



More than 80% of NTUC First Campus’ 660 vacancies targeted at PMETs

CHILDCARE centre operator NTUC First Campus is offering a higher starting pay for diploma and degree holders who join them under the Place and Train Scheme.

The starting pay for diploma holders is now $1,700 a month, $700 more than what it was in January when salaries were last revised.

After being trained, they can expect to earn $1,850 a month. Degree holders get $1,900 before training and between $2,200 and $2,500 after.

NTUC First Campus said the revisions would help make it easier for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to make a mid-career switch to a profession they may have a passion for.

Benchmark salaries for principals have also been increased from $2,400 to $2,700; high calibre principals can earn about $4,500 a month.

The childcare centre operator said this would encourage more preschool teachers to stay in the sector, upgrade their skills and take on bigger responsibilities.

To support the professional development of their staff, NTUC First Campus is giving out 25 scholarships worth $1 million for part-time and full-time degree and masters programmes, locally or overseas.

It has 660 vacancies to be filled this year. More than 80 per cent are for PMETs interested in becoming early childhood education teachers and principals.

This is part of its plans to grow from 75 centres this year to 150 by 2011. 938LIVE

From TODAY, News; Friday, 15-May-2009

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Ong Dai Lin,

HE WAITED for the seven-year-old boy in a public toilet at the Yishun Community Library. Then, on the pretext of helping him urinate, Chan Kok Weng sexually assaulted the boy.

Yesterday, the driver-cum-deliveryman pleaded guilty in the High Court to one charge of performing oral sex on the boy on April 27 last year.

Chan, 29, was having lunch at a coffeeshop near the Yishun library at 1pm on that day while waiting to pick up his father from the hospital.

Chan later hovered around the library’s premises to look for “targets” - young boys going to the toilet alone.

At around 1.50pm, the victim’s mother took him and his sister to the library. The mother later took the boy to the male toilet at his request.

Chan, who noticed what was happening, immediately went into the toilet to wait for the boy.

The victim then entered the toilet alone. There was no one else there.

Chan approached the boy on the pretext of helping him urinate and told him to remove his shorts and underwear.

He later lured the boy into one of the cubicles and performed oral sex on the boy.

Chan became afraid when the boy’s mother called for her son. He immediately helped the boy put on his shorts and underwear.

He also helped the boy to wash his hands. The boy then left the toilet while Chan remained inside.

The boy’s mother noticed that his hands were wet and he related to her what had happened.

The woman immediately informed the library staff and one male staff went to check the male toilet.

He found Chan hiding in a cubicle and the police were called in.

Chan faces a jail term of between eight and 20 years and at least 12 strokes of the cane.

He is the second man to be convicted under a sexual assault provision that was included in the Penal Code in February last year.

In March, a 26-year-old water cooler repairman, who performed oral sex on a seven-year-old boy in a school toilet, was sentenced to 10 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

From TODAY, News; Friday, 15-May-2009

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

He hid in Singapore for four days

This is already past, but just would like to put in on record; chronicle file. This is a look into the mind of a escaping fugitive… will someone duplicate the effort?



Mas Selamat managed to evade arrest — despite having thousands of security personnel looking for him. TODAY FILE PHOTO

JOHOR BARU — Despite a massive manhunt that was launched immediately following his escape, Mas Selamat Kastari managed to remain in Singapore undetected for four days, according to a Bernama report.

It was only on the night of the fourth day after he slipped out of the Whitley Road Detention Centre on Feb 27 last year that Mas Selamat reached Woodlands, the report, quoting a source familiar with operation to nab the Jemaah Islamiyah fugitive, said yesterday.

Mas Selamat, who walks with a limp, apparently hid himself in several places before reaching Woodlands.

From there, he was believed to have swum cross the Tebrau Strait towards Stulang Laut in Johor Baru under the cover of darkness, the source added.

"He used the buoy lights, which mark the border at the Tebrau Strait, as his guide to reach the place where he thought he could find a refuge," he said.

The question of how Mas Selamat managed to evade arrest — despite having thousands of security personnel looking for him in Singapore — remains unanswered for now.

"It is still a puzzle how he managed to avoid arrest and travel up to Woodlands, which is not a short distance from Whitley Road.

"Perhaps, we will be able to know later whether he had walked to Woodlands or used public transport, and the route he had taken to reach Woodlands," the source told Bernama.

Apart from the usual tight security at the Woodlands checkpoint, the Singapore authorities had also stepped up security in Tebrau Strait in anticipation of Mas Selamat making a dash across the narrow waterway.

The Singapore Police Coast Guard, for example, stationed boats in every kilometre along the sea border, said the source.

The search for Mas Selamat, now 48, finally ended on April 1 when he was captured by the Malaysian Special Branch at a kampung house in Skudai, Johor. He remains in the custody of the Malaysian authorities at an undisclosed location.

From TODAY, News – Thursday, 14-May-2009

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Friday, May 15, 2009

China sex theme park causing controversy: media

AFP - Friday, May 15

090515-ChinaSex Figurines in an erotic pose are seen at a sex exhibition in Shanghai, a few years ago. A new sex theme park in southwest China that exhibits naked human sculptures, giant genitals and boasts a sex technique workshop is stirring up howls of protest, according to state press.

BEIJING (AFP) - - A sex theme park in southwest China that exhibits naked human sculptures, giant genitals and boasts a sex technique workshop is stirring up howls of protest, according to state press.

"Love Land", billed as China's first-ever sex theme park, is slated to open in Chongqing municipality in October, but detractors hope the project will never see the light of day, the China Daily reported.

"We are building the park for the good of the public... to help adults enjoy a harmonious sex life," the paper quoted park manager Lu Xiaoqing as saying.

"Sex is a taboo subject in China but people really need to have more access to information about it."

Besides displays on sex history and techniques, the park boasts a giant rotating statue of the lower portion of a nearly naked woman bent over at the waist.

The announcement of the opening of the park elicited numerous comments from Internet users, with the majority of postings voicing opposition to the park.

Officials also registered their disquiet with the explicit images on offer.

"These things are too exposed," the China Daily quoted Chongqing policewoman Liu Daiwei as saying.

"I will feel uncomfortable to look at them when other people are around."

From Yahoo! News; see the source article here.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sea rise from Antarctic ice melt overestimated: study

AFP - Friday, May 15

The shore of Deception Island in Antarctica, in 2008. While a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet will have devastating impacts on global sea levels, a study published Thursday found the anticipated impact has been seriously overestimated.

CHICAGO (AFP) - - While a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet will have devastating impacts on global sea levels, a study published Thursday found the anticipated impact has been seriously overestimated.

Using new measures of the ice sheet's geometry, British and Dutch researchers predict its collapse would cause sea levels to rise by 3.2 meters (11 feet) rather than previous estimates of five to seven meters.

However, the study published in the journal Science found that even a one meter rise in sea levels would be significant enough to weaken the Earth's gravity field in the southern hemisphere and affect the Earth's rotation.

That rotational shift would cause water to pile up in the northern oceans and could result in dramatic regional differences in sea levels, with the largest rise on the east and west coast of the United States.

"The pattern of sea level rise is independent of how fast or how much of the (Western Antarctic Ice Sheet) WAIS collapses," said lead author Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol in England.

"Even if the WAIS contributed only a meter of sea level rise over many years, sea levels along North America's shorelines would still increase 25 percent more than the global average."

Antarctica holds about nine times the volume of ice as Greenland and is considered a sleeping giant when it comes to sea levels.

The western ice sheet is of particular concern because enormous sections sit in inland basins on bedrock that is entirely below sea level.

Vast floating ice shelves currently limit ice loss to the ocean but scientists fear the sheet could collapse if the floating ice shelves break free.

The study authors based their predictions on the assumption that only ice on the downward sloping and inland-facing side of the basins would be lost while ice grounded on bedrock that is above sea level or slopes upward would survive.

Researchers do not know how quickly the shelf would collapse. But if such a large amount of ice melted steadily over 500 years it would raise sea levels by about 6.5 millimeters per year.

That's about twice the current rate due to all sources.

"Though smaller than past predictions, the scale of the fully manifested instability is enormous," cautioned Erik Ivins of the California Institute of Technology in an accompanying article.

"The total mass gained by the oceans ... would be roughly equal to the mass showered to Earth by the impact of about 2000 Halley-sized comets."

Further complicating the situation is the fact that Greenland seems to be losing as much or more ice than Antarctica, even though it doesn't have the same unstable configuration.

"Greenland needs only half the mass loss rate of Antarctica to have an equivalent effect on polar motion due to its less polar position," he wrote.

Even "more ominous" are the current accelerations of ice flow into the Amundsen Sea Embayment in Antarctica, he wrote.

"Should the ice sheet grounding line migrate farther inland, ice resting on bedrock well below sea level could become unstable."

From Yahoo! News; see the source article here.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

No Hate Posts

Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

About 2 years ago, I put up my blog in, after my friend told me of putting up one, as a means of expressing my thoughts, an alter ego. At that time, although I have been hearing and seeing, and actually reading his blog and some others, I didn't really take it into heart as something that I should urgently do. I delayed some more days, more weeks, before I finally put up one.

A novice in this new arena, I simply just collected some stray thoughts, posted it, and let time slip before the next log was posted. When I picked up on the frequency of my posts, and with every log I post, I am reminded that my blog is open to everybody, to anybody, who would search, dig, or stumble upon it, with the technology and miracle of the World Wide Web.

What did that revelation instill in me?

That I should have no hate posts.

I know, there are many moments when the world don't seem to be fair, when the things happening at home, at work, at play, or anywhere else, when they don't go our way, and we don't like it, the fast and easy way of diffusing our anger, our angst, our pain, our frustration, is the internet, the blog! And what better way than to go to your room, shut the door, flick the switch on, and before you know it, you have spilled out yourself, your guts, all over the internet, through your blog.

And posts like this, after a few days, when you have gathered your wits, when the head is cooler, when the pieces are better fitted together, lo and behold, when you read your own blog, your posts, you can't take it in! And you feel so ashamed… of your blog, or yourself, of the world…

So I made it a point from the start that I should save myself from this damning experience, from this mournful event, and that I should have 'clean blog', so that anytime I look back at it, and anybody who find it, dig it, stumble upon it, will not find anything that will make them immediately leave and not want to come back, and tell friends to beware, lest they fall a victim of one hate blog – NO, I have made it a point to save my blog from hate posts.

May it remain till I'm done blogging… by then I will not have to answer to my Lord about one blog that didn't manifest a changed life, proclaiming instead the goodness and love of my God.

May my blog serve its purpose: real, sincere, relevant, beneficial.

Till then.

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A novel place to hawk credit cards

Talk about flexibility and ingenuity…


by Alicia Wong

05:55 AM May 13, 2009

YOU'VE seen them at bus interchanges and inside shopping malls - and now, credit card promoters have even set up shop at hawker centres.

One bank, Standard Chartered, has engaged marketing company Appco to promote its Platinum credit card, which it is now doing, at hawker centres, for instance, at Holland Village and Adam Road.

At the Adam Road hawker centre yesterday afternoon, Today spotted four promoters outside one of the entrances. Theirs was a casual set-up - a table, chairs, banner, laptop and printer.

Dressed in office wear and toting brochures, the promoters said they had been stationed there for the past week to catch the lunch and dinner crowds.

They look out for likely applicants and approach them as they enter, or else wait for the diners to finish their meal and leave. "It's (a good strategy) because we get a different crowd everytime ... no one eats at the same place all the time," said one promoter.

Another promoter said they were not allowed to enter the hawker centre and speak to people while they ate, as that would be akin to touting.

Diners who are interested can apply for a Platinum credit card on the spot. They just need to produce their identification card and access the Internet to print a copy of their monthly CPF contribution statement as proof that they earn more than $30,000 a year.

Today understands they average some 10 sign-ups a day.

Some patrons were surprised at this novel marketing move. One civil servant said: "This is quite inappropriate. People would like to enjoy their food, rather than make a decision (whether or not to get a credit card)."

But permanent resident Serge Landry, 44, who was spotted flipping through the brochure and trying to decide if he should sign up, felt it was "good if you have the time to listen".

When contacted, Appco said it needed its client's approval to comment; StanChart was unable to respond by press time.

From TODAY – Wednesday, 13-May-2009

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Unemployment could be health hazard

05:55 AM May 12, 2009

LOSING your job may make you sick, according to new research findings released last week.

A researcher at the Harvard School of Public analysed detailed employment and health data from 8,125 individuals surveyed in 1999, 2001 and 2003 by the US Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

Workers who lost a job through no fault of their own were twice as likely to report developing a new ailment such as high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease over the next year and a half, compared to people who were continuously employed.

Interestingly, the risk was just as high for those who found new jobs quickly as it was for those who remained unemployed.

Though it's long been known that poor health and unemployment often go together, questions have lingered about whether unemployment triggers illness, or whether people in ill health are more likely to leave a job, be fired or laid off.

In an attempt to sort out this chicken-or-egg problem, the new study looked specifically at people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own - for example, because of a business closure.

"I was looking at situations in which people lost their job for reasons that ... shouldn't have had anything to do with their health," said author Kate W Strully, an assistant professor of sociology at State University of New York in Albany, who did the research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health.

"What happens isn't reflecting a prior condition," she added.

Only six per cent of people with steady jobs developed a new health condition during each survey period of about a year and a half, compared with 10 per cent of those who had lost a job during the same period.

It did not matter whether the laid off workers had found new employment. They still had a one in 10 chance of developing a new health condition, Dr Strully found. The New York Times

From TODAY, Health – Tuesday, 12-May-2009

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Report: Top terror suspect hid in Malaysia village

This is the version of the report from Yahoo! News...


AP - Monday, May 11

090512-SelamatHideoutYahoo KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - The Islamic militant suspect recently recaptured after escaping from a Singapore jail avoided detection for a year by living in an isolated Malaysian hamlet and rarely leaving his wooden house on stilts, a newspaper said Monday.

The Star daily reported that Mas Selamat Kastari, one of the most wanted terror suspects in the region, lived in Tawakal, a village of less than 100 people in the southern Johor state. It said residents were shocked to find out the fugitive had been living among them.

"He never spoke to anyone and kept to himself. And he never prayed at the local prayer room," resident Mohamad Saat, 56, was quoted as saying.

Mas Selamat, the alleged Singapore commander of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group, was sometimes seen gardening or fishing in a canal behind his house, and went out rarely. If he did, it was usually after dark, dressed in a long white robe and white turban, the report said.

Mas Selamat escaped from a high-security Singapore jail on Feb. 27, 2008, which severely embarrassed the city-state known for its rigorous security. According to Singapore authorities, he was caught again on April 1 by Malaysian security forces.

Malaysian authorities have confirmed the arrest but shared no more details. Police on Monday would not confirm The Star's unattributed report.

Mas Selamat, a Singaporean citizen of Indonesian origin, is alleged to have plotted to hijack a plane and fly it into Singapore international airport, its government says. He was caught by the Indonesian police in 2006 and handed over to Singapore, where he was being held under the Internal Security Act that allows indefinite detention without trial.

He escaped detention in Singapore by wriggling out a bathroom window just ahead of a scheduled visit by his family.

Mas Selamat, who walks with a limp, is said to have used an improvised flotation device to swim across the Strait of Johor _ the narrow waterway that separates Malaysia from Singapore _ after his escape.

It was unclear why he ended up in Tawakal, where he rented the basement of a two-story wooden house on stilts, and how authorities learned of his whereabouts. The Star said Tawakal lies in a remote neighborhood surrounded by oil palms about 7 miles (10 kilometers) from the North-South Expressway that stretches the length of Malaysia.

The report said Mas Selamat was captured in a pre-dawn police raid on his house. The landlord of the house, who lived upstairs, was also arrested, it said.

It quoted resident Mohamad Saat Marjo as saying that some 30 armed policemen surrounded the house and ordered Mas Selamat to come out before breaking through the doors. They led him out with his face covered in a dark blue checkered cloth.

Police are now holding Mas Selamat under Malaysia's Internal Security Act, which is similar to Singapore's ISA. Malaysia has not said when or if he will be handed back to Singapore.

From Yahoo! News; see the source article here.

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