Week that was


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 19 Nov 2006

NEW PALACE: (Nov 14) A new RM400mil palace complex will be built in Jalan Duta to replacethe Istana Negara that has been used since 1928. Work on the new Istana Negara, to be builton a 96.52ha site atop a hill, will start next June and is slated for completion in 2009. Thecomplex will have a floor area of 75,000 sq metres, excluding the parking area, and will bedivided into four wings. 

FASHION SUCCESS: (Nov 16) Malaysia’s foremost fashion event, the Kuala Lumpur FashionWeek 2006, ended with a style that reflected the five-day fashion showcase. Seven of thecountry’s finest designers – Carven Ong, Daniel Cho, Jendela Batik, Sharifah Kirana, BeatriceLooi, Melinda Looi and New York-based Zang Toi – presented creations which were bothdramatic and elegant at the finale, billed CNN Style Malaysia, at the Berjaya Times Square. 

IN FOR THE LONG HAUL: (Nov 13) Anyone thinking that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is only going to serve a single term as captain of the country had better think again. Stating that he needs time to see to it that current and future plans are carried out for the benefit of the people and the country, he said a lot more needed to be done, and it would certainly take more than just one term to carry out those plans. 

ANALYST CHARGED: (Nov 17) After being remanded for more than a week, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda was charged with abetting in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu. The 46-year-old was accused of abetting C/Insp Azilah Hadri and Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar, who were charged earlier, to commit the crime. No plea was recorded from the political analyst and bail was also not offered 

TINT NO MORE: (Nov 17) The dark days are over. At least for car windows, that is. Next year, the Road Transport Department will be launching a massive crackdown on cars with heavily tinted glass. Its director-general Datuk Emran Kadir said his department had obtained the nod from Cabinet to conduct the nationwide operation. Time to lighten up, it seems. 

WORDS OF WISDOM: (Nov 14) Be fair, just and careful. Do not hurt the feelings of component party members when raising issues. This was the impassioned plea party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made to Umno members. Abdullah spoke on the importance of maintaining harmony among Barisan coalition members like a family unit, adding that this was the very recipe that had held the party together all these years.  

AHEAD OF SCHEDULE: (Nov 16) The Measat-3 satellite has arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan ahead of its launch in December and, once delivered, will considerably increase Measat’s coverage and capabilities. With 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band high-powered transponders providing 36Mhz of bandwidth over a 15-year lifespan, the Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems-built satellite will be one of the region’s most powerful video distribution platforms.  

HOLDING ON TO THE REINS: (Nov 12) Even if 51% of Proton’s manufacturing division is sold to a strategic partner, Proton Holdings Bhd will remain in the Government’s control, according to Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin. Currently, talks are under way with Volkswagen AG (VW) on the possibility of teaming up with Proton Holdings Bhd to form a strategic partnership. 

DR M NEEDS REST: (Nov 13) Two months of complete rest. That’s what the doctor prescribed for former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr Mahathir was admitted to the National Heart Institute last week after he suffered a mild heart attack. It was discovered then that he had three blockages. A specialist from the Mayo clinic has advised against invasive procedures due to Dr Mahathir’s age, and recommended he maintains a proper diet and a more relaxed lifestyle. 

OUT IN SPACE: (Nov 15) Malaysia’s first astronaut will do what no one in space has done before: play traditional Malay children’s games there. So said Agriculture Ministry parliamentary secretary Rohani Abdul Karim, in reply to comments made by MPs on what the Malaysian astronaut might do in the International Space Station. Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and Kapten Dr Faiz Khaleed are both undergoing a year of training in Russia, but only one will be on board a Russian rocket for eight days of space travel on Sept 2 next year.  

SECOND SMALLEST: (Nov 15) A Universiti Sains Malaysia scientist has discovered a 10mm-long fish at maturity, believed to be the second smallest fish in the world, in a peat swamp in Perak. USM School of Biology lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Khoo Khay Huat discovered the unidentified new species, unofficially called “Perak fish”, which is slightly larger than the 7.9mm-long Jambi fish found in the peat swamps in Jambi, Sumatra.  

Foreign

ROYAL WIN: (Nov 17) France may get itsfirst woman head of state next year, if itgoes Segolene Royal’s way. As it is, herquest took a giant leap forward whenshe was crowned the Socialist’spresidential candidate for next year’selection. Royal won 60.62% of the votein a Socialist primary ballot, and herstraight-forward language and old-fashionedglamour has gone down a stormwith many voters who have grown tiredof a generation of male leaders castfrom the same elitist mould. 

BOY WONDER: (Nov 14) Two-month-old Prince Hisahito, the first boy to be born into Japan’s royal family in more than 40 years, was presented at a Shinto shrine in the imperial palace grounds in a traditional ceremony for royal babies. Princess Kiko, the 40-year-old wife of Emperor Akihito’s second son, Prince Akishino, gave birth to Hisahito in September, to the joy of conservatives anxious to preserve the custom of male-only succession in the royal family. Hisahito is third in line to the throne after Crown Prince Naruhito and Akishino. 

GOING SOUTH: (Nov 16) Thai Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont went to the rebellious Muslim south for the third time this month to meet scared Buddhists and urge Muslims to help end the insurgency. Surayud, who went first to apologise for the iron-fist policies of ousted predecessor Thaksin Shinawatra, told students at a public school he was committed to ending the rebellion, in which more than 1,800 people have been killed, through talks. However, militants, who have never set out their aims in public or taken credit for attacks, have not responded.  

DUTCH BAN ON BURQA: (Nov 18) The Dutch government agreed on Friday a total ban on the wearing of the burqa and other Muslim face veils in public, justifying the move on security grounds. Soon-to-be-drawn-up legislation will result in the Netherlands, once one of Europe’s most easygoing nations, imposing some of the continent’s toughest laws against concealing the face. The Netherlands will be the first European state to impose a countrywide ban on Islamic face coverings, though other countries have already outlawed them in specific places.  

MORE MAYHEM: (Nov 13) A man wearing an explosive vest walked into a crowd lining up outside a police commando recruiting centre in Baghdad and blew himself up, killing 35 Iraqi police recruits and wounding 58 in the blast. In Washington, Democrats, who took control of Congress last week, said they would push to start bringing US troops home in four to six months, but the White House warned against fixing a withdrawal timetable. The US plans to form an army and police force numbering over 300,000 is close to complete but doubts remain about their performance. 

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