TOO MANY DATUKS: (Oct 9) Community leaders from various walks of life have voiced dismay over the large number of people receiving Datukships, saying it lowers the stature of the award. Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said care should be exercised when handing out state awards. Commenting on the 84 people who were awarded Datukships for the 66th birthday of Malacca Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob, Dr Rais said it was a record for Malacca.
FAKE DATUKSHIP: (Oct 13) A 46-year-old businessman Datuk was arrested by police for allegedly selling a fake Negri Sembilan Datuk title to his younger brother eight years ago. The man, who obtained his Datukship from Pahang in 1994, is alleged to have sold his brother the title of Darjah Dato Paduka Tuanku Ja'afar (DPTJ) in 1996 for RM12,000.
LANDSLIDE: (Oct 11) A major landslide closed the North-South Expressway at 302km near Gua Tempurung. Tonnes of earth, boulders and trees came crashing down the hill slope burying at least six vehicles in metre-high rubble. A motorcyclist, who suffered a broken leg, was the only casualty in the 7.30pm incident as all the drivers and passengers managed to get out of their vehicles in the nick of time. The two lanes for southbound traffic will be closed for three months for repairs. The two lanes for the northbound traffic at that section would be converted to two-way traffic during the period.
ACA INVESTIGATES: (Oct 14) An eight-man team from the Anti-Corruption Agency, engineers and experts carried out on-site investigations following complaints of irregularities in the construction of the newly opened East Coast Expressway. The team, which included two engineering forensic experts, were at the 103rd kilometre and 120th kilometre stretches to gather soil samples and carry out measurements on the four-lane expressway near Lanchang.
MCA AGM: (Oct 10) The world is a hunting ground and the sky is the limit for those who want to seek greener pastures in the wake of rapid globalisation, according to MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting. Winding up the debate at the party’s general assembly, he pointed to youngsters armed with just a laptop computer who travelled around the world in search of opportunities.
FIRST MALAYSIAN IDOL: (Oct 9) Jaclyn Victor surpassed 10,000 other contestants to emerge as the first Malaysian Idol. She won the grand prize of a recording contract from BMG and will have the opportunity to share the stage with other winners on World Idol next year. The show, a nationwide talent search pitting hopefuls against each other for a shot at fame, began in Britain under the title Pop Idol in 2001.
HOWARD WINS: (Oct 9) Prime Minister John Howard swept his conservative government to an unexpectedly big re-election win as Australia's booming economy drowned out criticism of his staunch support for the US-led war in Iraq.
ALLEGED DECEIT: (Oct 9) Afghanistan's historic election plunged into crisis after 14 of the 18 candidates demanded voting be stopped because of irregularities. An aide to Yunus Qanooni, the main challenger to President Hamid Karzai, said the opposition candidate was demanding a suspension of the first Afghan exercise in democracy for decades to prevent further fraud. Karzai, the favourite to win, rejected calls from his rivals for fresh voting.
DELAYED: (Oct 11) Afghan officials delayed counting ballots after the historic presidential election to deal with complaints of fraud, but several candidates appeared to be pulling back from an initial decision to reject the vote. Counting of votes in Afghanistan's disputed presidential election was expected to start soon after a deadline passed for complaints about irregularities
KERRY MAINTAINS STAND: (Oct 14) For a third straight debate, Democrat John Kerry stood his ground against George W. Bush, slugging it out with a president bent on painting him as a dangerous left-winger on social issues. A CNN snap poll taken after the 90-minute encounter at Arizona State University gave the Massachusetts senator a 52% - 39% lead among viewers.
SUPERMAN DIES: (Oct 11) US actor Christopher Reeve, who brought comic book hero Superman to the silver screen, then championed the disabled after an equestrian accident in 1995 that left him paralysed, died of heart failure at the age of 52. Reeve died after suffering cardiac arrest and falling into a coma at his home in Connecticut.
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