Benazir Bhutto assassinated

General News December 27th, 2007

I am quite shocked today when reading the latest news from CNN about Benazir Bhutto being assassinated by a suicide bomber. Eventhough I am not a Pakistani but I have been following the Pakistan’s political scene with great interest. Many interesting development has happened since Mr Pervez Musharaff declared emergency state and allowing Mrs Bhutto to go back to Pakistan. I am terribly..terribly shocked with the news..

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday outside a large gathering of her supporters where a suicide bomber also killed at least 14, doctors and a spokesman for her party said.

Benazir Bhutto greets her supporters at the rally that was hit by a suicide attack.

While Bhutto appeared to have died from bullet wounds, it was not immediately clear if she was shot or if her wounds were caused by bomb shrapnel.

President Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting in the hours after the death, according to state media.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.

Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto’s vehicle.

Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital — less than two miles from the bombing scene — where doctors pronounced her dead.

Former Pakistan government spokesman Tariq Azim Khan said while it appeared Bhutto was shot, it was unclear if the bullet wounds to her head and neck were caused by a shooting or if it was shrapnel from the bomb. Video Watch Benazir Bhutto obituary. »

Bhutto’s husband issued a statement from his home in Dubai saying, “All I can say is we’re devastated, it’s a total shock.”

President Bush, vacationing at his Texas ranch, has been “informed about the situation in Pakistan,” said the White House. “We condemn the acts of violence which took place today in Pakistan,” said a spokesman.

The number of wounded was not immediately known. However, video of the scene showed ambulances lined up to take many to hospitals.

The attack came just hours after four supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif died when members of another political party opened fire on them at a rally near the Islamabad airport Thursday, Pakistan police said.

Several other members of Sharif’s party were wounded, police said.

Bhutto, who led Paksitan from 1988 to 1990 and was the first female prime minister of any Islamic nation, was participating in the parliamentary election set for January 8, hoping for a third term.

A terror attack targeting her motorcade in Karachi killed 136 people on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile. View timeline. »

CNN’s Mohsin Naqvi, who was at the scene of both bombings, said Thursday’s blast was not as powerful as that October attack.

Thursday’s attacks come less than two weeks after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lifted an emergency declaration he said was necessary to secure his country from terrorists.

Bhutto had been critical of what she believed was a lack of effort by Musharraf’s government to protect her.
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Two weeks after the October assassination attempt, she wrote a commentary for CNN.com in which she questioned why Pakistan investigators refused international offers of help in finding the attackers.

“The sham investigation of the October 19 massacre and the attempt by the ruling party to politically capitalize on this catastrophe are discomforting, but do not suggest any direct involvement by General Pervez Musharraf,” Bhutto wrote.

Thank god, I am living in a country where the people are not as extreme as in Pakistan. Ministers can still walking around freely without being accompanied by bodyguards. I hate exteremists!

[tags]Benazir Bhutto[/tags]

Bad News! Skype Does Not Work in Dubai

General News, Travel News November 12th, 2007

I was a little bit shocked to find out that I could not use Skype while trying to contact my wife from Dubai last week. The access has been blocked by Etisalat, the UAE’s MONOPOLY telecom company. This is the news which I have got after googling to find the reason why Skype has been banned in UAE.

State-owned Etisalat – the country’s only fixed line operator –claims it did not ban Skype, but that the decision was made instead by the Dubai government.”

“It’s illegal to use voice over IP in the UAE and it is left to the regulatory authorities to allow or disallow such things,” Ahmed Bin Ali, public relations manager at Etisalat, told ITP Business. However, Bin Ali went on to admit that he didn’t know why a technology that is legal across most of the world had been banned in the UAE. “I don’t have the answer. Up ‘til now the technology itself has not been standardised,” he added.

Coincidentally, the Skype block comes as Etisalat itself prepares to launch its own VoIP service later this year. However, when quizzed on whether Etisalat might have been using its UAE government connections to ban VoIP competitors in advance, Bin Ali claimed this wasn’t the case. “That’s not a fair [accusation],” he said. “It (Skype) has been blocked because it is illegal to operate.”
May 2005, ITP.NET

The question here is who own Etisalat? Off course, the Dubai government. So, if the government wants  to squeeze more money from the huge number of expats in UAE, any attempt to use other services apart from the services provided by the government will be stopped at all costs. Ermmm..This is what you can expect from the income tax free country. You earn some and you will loose some. You can’t win everything.

Malaysia, My Second Home Program (MM2H)

General News October 6th, 2007

mm2h.jpgThe Government of Malaysia is offering Malaysia, My Second Home Program (MM2H) to foreign citizens from all over the world along with their spouse and children, to retire and reside in Malaysia. The MM2H program is open to citizens of countries recognized by Malaysia regardless of race, religion, gender or age where successful applicants will be granted a social visit pass initially for a period of 10 years, which is renewable thereafter.

The government has approved a total of 1183 applications during the first nine months of this year. The total amount is still considered very-very low comparing to country like Spain and Thailand. Recently the government has announced another initiative to attract more foreigners to participate in the MM2H program. The initiative is to fast track approval for those who bought properties worth RM1 millions (approx. USD290K) and above in Malaysia.

Fast track for ‘My 2nd Home’ apps

By CHOI TUCK WO

LONDON: Applications for the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme will be fast-tracked for those who had bought properties worth RM1 million and above in Malaysia.

Tourism Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Victor Wee said they must show proof such as the sale & purchase agreement and other documents when submitting their applications.

He said although purchase of property was not a prerequisite for the programme, it showed the applicants’ financial capabilities.

Click here to read the whole article from TheStar online.

However, the standard basic requirement is still have to be fulfilled before applications being approved. So, below is the requirement for foreigners to participate in this MM2H program:

If applicants age are above 50 years old:

  • May either choose to
    • Open a fixed deposit account of RM 150,000
      OR
    • Show proof of monthly off-shore income of RM 10,000 such as a pension scheme.
  • Participants who fulfill the fixed deposit criteria may redraw up to RM 90,000 for approved expenses relating to house purchase, education for children in Malaysia and medical purposes after a period of one ( 1 ) year.
  • Must maintain a minimum balance of RM 60,000 from the second year onwards and throughout their stay in Malaysia under this programme.

if applicants age are below 50 years old :

  • Must open a fixed deposit account of RM 300,000
  • After a period of one ( 1 ) year, the participants may redraw up to RM 240,000 for approved expenses relating to house purchase, education for children in Malaysia and medical purposes.
  • Must maintain a minimum balance of RM 60,000 from the second year onwards and throughout their stay in Malaysia under this programme.

Other general requirements for all applications :

  • All applicants and their dependants ( spouse and children ) are required to submit a medical report from any private hospital in Malaysia.
  • Approved participants and their dependants ( spouse and children ) must possess a valid medical insurance coverage from any insurance company that is applicable in Malaysia. In case the insurance coverage by an insurance company is rejected or refused because of age factor, this requirement can be waived but proof of refusal is required.
  • Successful applicant and spouse issued the Visit Passes under the Malaysia, My Second Home Program will not be allowed to take up any form of employment in Malaysia. However, taking part in voluntary organization that is in accordance with the government rules and regulations is permitted.
  • All applications must be completed by a local sponsor that has been appointed by the Immigration Department of Malaysia. The sponsor shall submit the application directly to the Immigration Department.

There you are!!..The requirements seem not too high but still not being able to attract more foreign citizens to retire in Malaysia. Maybe the Government needs to do more promotions abroad to introduce Malaysia.

Errr..Where is Malaysia? A country located above Singapore and below Thailand.

Saudi Arabia To Have Rail Link From Jeddah To Dammam

General News October 5th, 2007

grand-plan.gifSaudi Arabia in on course to build rail link system under a project named as SAUDI LANDBRIDGE PROJECT .Upon completion which is expected in 2010, The Landbrigde Project will help to connect major cities of Saudi Arabia such as Jeddah, Riyadh , Dammam and Jubail. Ports in the Kingdom will also be linked via the new railway line. The Landbridge Project is planned to contruct over 1,000 km of new railway. The longest track will 950 km of new line between Riyadh and Jeddah followed by 115 km of new line between Dammam and Jubail. Existing line from Dammam to Riyadh (about 450 km) will only be upgraded with better standards and safety.

The new rail link will be crucial for Saudi Arabia economy because it will help to connect Jeddah which is a major transshipment hub on the Red Sea to Dammam which allows further shipment to Iran , Iraq , Kuwait , Qatar , and Bahrain. Shipments by sea will have to go around the Arabian peninsula which can take 5 to 7 days. With rail link, it will offer significant time savings compared to shipping by sea. With this reduced transit times, it will allow shipping companies to realize cost & service gains.

The other project which is being planned is Makkah and Madinah rail project. This railway project will primarily cover passenger service to accommodate annual pilgrimage.Approximately 2.5 million pilgrims during the Hajj period and 7.5 million Umrah visitors during the year and approximately 2 million Umrah visitors during the Ramadan season alone.High speed mass transit system is being planned to handle this heavy commuter traffic situation between Makkah & Jeddah.

Do They Know What Tsunami Can Do To Them?

General News September 14th, 2007

n_06gurney.jpgWhat were these people had in their mind? Another circus show? Surely they have had a terrible mindset. They should be looking for a safer place instead of waiting for tsunami to pull them to the sea. Ample warning was given by the authority but look at them. The scenario is the same as the one when tornado hit Penang. What if tsunami really hit the Gurney Drive and Esplanade?..How many will be injured or lost their lives?..

Back to tsunami in 2004, a total of 52 people died because of tsunami. Among the badly hit areas including Gurney Drive, northern beaches from Teluk Bahang to Tanjung Tokong and Balik Pulau.

Psshhhhh…The person who took the picture also has this terrible mindset. I took the picture from TheStar online..