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There is an air of spirituality over multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia. Today, Muslims welcome their holy month - Ramadan - by starting a period of fasting and abstinence. Yesterday, Hindus and Taoist Chinese started celebrating I>Navarathri /I>(nine nights) and the Nine Emperor Gods Festival respectively which fall at the same time every year according to the lunar calendar. Meanwhile, the Catholics are well into observing the Rosary month that falls every October.
Penang today is very much an amalgam of the old and the new - a bustling port, a heritage city and an industrial base. Its charm also lies in its diversity and the influences of its many cultures.
Incessant rain and strong winds which lashed Penang, Kedah and northern Perak in the past three days have caused widespread havoc on the island and the mainland, with one young life lost in the floodwaters.