Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Money Can Burn Hole In Your Pocket

Hantu Laut

Today, I'll wind down on politics and look at some of society's negative human impulsions.

It's a sad story of trying to "keep up with the Joneses" and a compelling case of "easy come easy go"

Obviously, money can be your master or your servant and can "burns hole in your pocket" if one lacks prudence.

My good friend Apuh knows it, so he is saving his for the future generations. Future generations?? I told my children I want to enjoy mine, anything left behind, just consider yourself lucky, done my duty giving them good education.

It does not take long to finish millions if you don't have sustainable return and as the axiom " a fool and his money are soon parted" one can be penniless in no time. Mr Martin is one such person.

In Malaysia, living beyond the means are common among certain sector of the general population,particularly in credit card spending and buying cars they can ill afford.Malaysia's household debt rose to 67 % of GDP in 2009, partly due to the banking institutions changing policy of focusing on the household sector as part of their diversification strategy of not putting all eggs in one basket.

Prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis lending to the corporate sector was much higher than household sector, taking almost 70 % of total lending.

Compared to the U.S which has household debt of over 95 % in 2009 and worse Britain, which household debt exceeded the GDP, ours is still manageable so long as the economy stays rosy.

Some of us have gone through hard times and came out unbroken, some did not, and suffer the consequence.

The foregoing is a sad story of prodigality.

Family’s Fall From Affluence Is Swift and Hard

The New York Times

WAMEGO, Kan. — Grateful to have found work in this tough economy, Nick Martin teaches grape growing and winemaking each Saturday to a class of seven students in a simple metal building here at a satellite campus of Highland Community College.

Then he drives 14 miles in an 11-year-old Ford Explorer to a sparsely furnished tract house that he rents for $900 a month on a dead-end street in McFarland, a smaller town. Just across the backyard is a shed that a neighbor uses to make cartridges for shooting the prairie dogs that infest the adjacent fields.

It is a far cry from the life that Mr. Martin and his family enjoyed until recently at their Adirondacks waterfront camp at Tupper Lake, N.Y. Their garage held three stylish cars, including a yellow Aston Martin; they owned three horses, one that cost $173,000; and Mr. Martin treated his wife, Kate, to a birthday weekend at the Waldorf-Astoria, with dinner at the “21” Club and a $7,000 mink coat.

That luxurious world was fueled by a check Mr. Martin received in 1998 for $14 million, his share of the $600 million sale of Martin Media, an outdoor advertising business begun by his father in California in the 1950s. After taxes, he kept about $10 million.

But as so often happens to those lucky enough to realize the American dream of sudden riches, the money slipped through the Martins’ fingers faster than they ever imagined.

They faced temptations to indulge, with the complexities and pressures of new wealth. And a pounding recession pummeled the value of their real estate and new financial investments, rendering their properties unaffordable.

The fortune evaporated in little more than a decade.

While many millions of Americans have suffered through this recession with only unemployment benefits to sustain them, Mr. Martin has reason to give thanks — he has landed a job at 59, however far away. He also had assets to sell to help tide his family over.

Still, Mr. Martin, a strapping man with a disarming bluntness, seemed dazed by it all. “We are basically broke,” he said.

Though he faulted the conventional wisdom of investing in stocks and real estate for some of his woes, along with poor financial advice, he accepted much of the blame himself.

“We spent too much,” he conceded. “I have a fourth grader, an eighth grader and a girl who just finished high school. I should have kept working and put the money in bonds.”

Mrs. Martin recalled the summer night in 1998 when the family was having a spaghetti dinner at home in Paso Robles, in central California, and a bank representative called to ask where to wire the money. “It seemed like an unbelievable amount,” she said regretfully.

Soon after the money arrived, the family decided to leave Paso Robles, amid some lingering tensions that Mr. Martin felt with his brother and brother-in law, who had run the business. Mr. Martin had never been in management at the billboard company, though he had been on the board and worked at Martin Brothers Winery, another family business.

First, the Martins bought a house in Somerset, England, near the home of Mrs. Martin’s parents, and he decided to write a novel. At about the same time, they spent $250,000 on the 3.5-acre camp with four structures on Tupper Lake, deep in the Adirondacks, as a summer home. They began extensive renovations at the lake, adding a stunning three-story boathouse and two other buildings.

Clouds gathered quickly. Life in England turned sour when Mr. Martin’s novel, “Anthony: Conniver’s Lament,” did not sell, and the family’s living costs — school fees, taxes and even advice for filing tax returns — swelled. In 2002, fed up with England, the Martins chose a new base, Vermont, and plunked down about $650,000 for a home there, as renovations continued on the Tupper Lake property.

By March 2007, the Martins were determined to move to the lake full time.Read more.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Saudi Arabia urged US attack on Iran and more...

Nov 29, 2010


LONDON - KING Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on its website on Sunday.

The Guardian is one of a number of newspapers to have had access to US diplomatic cables ahead of their publication on whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

Referring to US diplomatic cables, the Guardian said that other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Teheran over its disputed nuclear program. The Saudi king was recorded as having 'frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program,' one cable stated, according to the Guardian.

'He told you (Americans) to cut off the head of the snake,' the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir said, according to a report of a meeting between Abdullah and US general David Petraeus in April 2008. -- REUTERS

Nov 29, 2010


US diplomats spied on dignitaries

WASHINGTON - THE United States has ordered its diplomats to play a larger intelligence role by performing espionage work like obtaining the credit card and frequent flyer numbers of foreign dignitaries, according to leaked US documents published on Sunday.

Secret cables - leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks and published in newspapers including the New York Times and The Guardian in Britain - reveal that US State Department personnel are asked to glean highly personal information from UN officials and key players from countries around the world.

The cables alluding to work usually associated with the Central Intelligence Agency and other spy bodies were sent to embassies in Africa, the Middle East, eastern Europe, Latin America and the US mission to the United Nations.

For example, a classified directive sent to US diplomats under US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's name in July last year sought technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, The Guardian said.

These included passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications, it reported.

The New York Times said that one cable signed by Clinton sought 'biographic and biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats' from US diplomats at the US mission to the United Nations in New York. -- AFP

Sunday, November 28, 2010

There Is No Clean Town In Sabah, Stupid !

Hantu Laut

Typical bumiputra denial syndrome.

Minister of Tourism Culture and Environment Masidi Manjun recent remark that Semporna is the dirtiest town in Sabah has stirred the hornet's nest with tongue-lashing responses from the local assemblyman and other Sempornians.

Sulabayan assemblyman Harman Mohammad insisted that Semporna is not the dirtiest town.As a matter of fact, he said the town has won two awards in 2007 and 2008 for being the second cleanest town and for good administration.

That must be a bloody joke and those who gave the award must either have blinkers on or just used to sight of squalor and can't differentiate what is cleanliness.

There is no clean town in Sabah per se.How can there be the cleanest or second cleanest.All Sabah towns are bloody dirty including Kundasang where Masidi Manjun came from which is close proximity to World Heritage Kinabalu National Park. It could have been a mini Swiss Alps instead of a shit hole.Obviously, when your eyes are used to looking at filth, filth is not dirty.

Masidi is right Semporna is dirty, Kundasang is dirtier.Wherever, the town council is run by aborigines they are the same......all are dirty.

Go to smaller towns like Kota Belud, Tuaran,Keningau, they are bloody disgrace.District Officers who usually head the local councils are absolutely lazy and couldn't care less.How much does it takes the will to clean up such small towns.

Neither is Kota Kinabalu clean, there are pockets of dirty areas all over the place.Sembulan, smack in the middle of the city, takes the trophy for being the dirtiest .It is one huge sewer and a big eyesore.

Kota Kinabalu seriously needs an extensive urban renewal scheme.Hopefully, the next mayor would be an innovator of constructive urban renewal and not constructor of billboards.

Sembulan, the hovel of KK

The Datu Bandar shouldn't be too happy when some idiots say KK is clean. I am sorry, by my standard, it is not clean.Slightly better than the previous Datu Bandar but not good enough.

Try the Water Front when the tide is out.The tourists really love the smell of our shit and the flotsam and jetsam in the waters.

The city roads are dangerous to drive on at night.Poor street lighting and absence or faded white line on major roads make driving at night and rainy days utterly dangerous.

Road markers should be consistently clear to motorists but in Sabah you have to drive with your instinct especially at night and rainy days or end up hitting the kerb that would send your car flying off the road.It becomes even more dangerous when it rains at night.

Why is it that every time our politicians talked about cleanliness they always think of the tourists.

To hell with the tourists, what about us Sabahans, the taxpayers, the ratepayers, don't you think we deserved much more than the tourists.

What are all these idiots shouting about.Every town in Sabah is a shit hole.Non can pass any standard of cleanliness.

Until they can learn how to clean their backsides there will be no clean town in Sabah.

Stop bickering you bunch of assholes and start cleaning your backsides first.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Appallingly 'Apple': Chinese Quality At American Price

Hantu Laut

Top brand, most innovative company, excellent marketing strategy ???

The whole world have gone technophiles with Apple products and yours truly included. I must congratulate Steve Job for doing such fine job of conning his customers with his high-end, high-tech but shitty quality products.

Why do you think apple (sorry for the lowercase) has insurance plan that can buy extended warranty beyond the normal one-year guarantee? Because they knew their products wouldn't last and with almost all components made in China you are guaranteed to get Chinese quality at American price.

Since about three years ago, I have gone completely gaga with Apple, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad and iPod, almost the whole spectrum of Apple products, except iPhone, which I really don't need and refused to buy because I don't talk much on the phone.

The iPhone is not a work machine, other than talking,browsing and doing your email it's just a pretty show-off gadget.

I still believe it is technologically more advanced than most products of its kind but the people at Apple should seriously look into the quality and durability of their products.

It is most appalling that you woke up one fine morning, switch on your pricey computer and found out that some aliens inside the computer are doing nasty things to your machine.

Thinking, it was a temporary phenomenon I switch off the computer thinking like most computers I had before it would reboot or repair itself. To my utter shock it didn't. You can see the three coloured vertical lines on the screen.

My next big shock came when I sent my computer to an Apple's dealer to repair the machine.They call me the next day and quoted RM2300 for the repair.The machine is less than 3 years old and and it is certainly a factory defect which Apple should make good without charging its customers.

Other than the annoying colour bands all other components are functioning properly.So, I have taken back the machine and use it till I resolved the problem with Apple headquarters.

It is very disconcerting that Apple in spite of its high technological achievements couldn't be bothered with the quality of its products.It has many contract manufacturers scattered all over the world but most of its products are assembled in China.

Other than defective computers some of it's Ipod series of music players are equally bad with sound quality sounded more like cheap Chinese stereo box.

How in the world can such a famous company who claimed to be producing high-end technological products can deliver such appallingly defective and pricey products to its costumers is beyond me.

I have an 80GB iPod that sounds like a cheap AM/FM radio which I have since stopped using. I now only use my Korean made thumb size Cowon iAudio player than sounds like you are sitting in a live concert hall.

Chinese quality at American price?

That's what you get of some of Apple's products.The vertical lines phenomenon is not only peculiar to iMac but also exists in its other products.A friend had the same problem with his MacBook about a year after the purchase but he was lucky as it is still within the warranty period.

Obviously, I am not the only unhappy customers, there are thousands of them all over the Internet with varied quality problems.

I am in the midst of writing to Apple and see what they have to say about their overpriced junks.

That's America for you.

They already lost two space shuttles because of complacency and quality problem but the Russians, supposedly, with inferior technology hasn't yet lost any of its spacecraft.

So, the next time you fell in love with anything American think of the poor factory workers in China and child labour elsewhere in the world.

The American used them.Apple is or was one of them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

PKR Sdn.Bhd set to implode after allegations of fraud

Just when you thought it is safe to go into the water, an allegation of fraud has now surfaced that may cause even more embarrassment for PKR. The latest controversy involves the onetime Secretary General of the party who filed an Affidavit alleging that his signature was forged.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Read more.

Voices From Anwar's Fallen Angels

KUALA LUMPUR - The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) central leadership polls which concluded last Sunday are just an arena to strengthen the power of party advisor Anwar Ibrahim and his cronies, said Anuar Shaari, former private secretary to the opposition leader.

He said the easy access for PKR vice-president Mohamed Azmin Ali to win the deputy president's post had been anticipated since the polls started on Oct 29.

"The overall direction of PKR has been planned by Anwar, who wants all members to obey to his wishes to see Azmin and his (Anwar's) daughter Nurul Izzah win the contest.

"From my point of view, this is what Anwar wants and he has been driving the PKR with a personal interest to prolong his political life, using the party for his sodomy case by organising demonstrations and putting pressure on the government, while having no clear direction as to where the party should go," he told Bernama Wednesday.

Anuar was commenting on the PKR top leadership polls which saw Mohamed Azmin, who is Gombak Member of Parliament, win the contest for deputy president, a post vacated by Dr Syed Husin Ali.

The mother of Nurul Izzah, who won a post of vice-president with the highest number of votes, is Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who won the president's post uncontested.

Anuar said it was not surprising that many PKR leaders quit the party after finding out that they were not fighting for the same goal with the top leadership anymore.

"We can see that those who quit the party are mostly those who could not accept the party's ideology. Only after joining the party will they realise that the party's struggle is more of a personality struggle and at the end of the day, their fight for the party would mean nothing," he said.

Commenting on Azmin's recent statement that something should be done to wipe out traitors in PKR, Anuar described it as a warning for the future challengers.

"For Azmin, traitors are those who do not obey them (Azmin and Anwar), and not the party. If the members do not support the two of them, then these members become traitors for Azmin," he said.

Anuar also described the decision by former Federal Territory PKR chairman Zaid Ibrahim to quit the party as apt.

He said he saw Zaid as an honest politician who believed in his struggle.

Meanwhile, former PKR Youth chief Senator Ezam Mohd Nor, said he left PKR in 2006 after anticipating that there would be Anwar's intervention to ensure victory of his chosen candidates.

He said PKR was no longer a party which fought for the rights of the people as was the initial objective for its establishment.

It has now become the party to fulfil personal agendas and a place to solve personal problems of a leader, Ezam said.

"The much talked about 'struggle of the people' is merely a mask. Once, I was just anticipating (that PKR is a personal party), but now, it is crystal clear, and it does not provide any opportunities for the people.

"All those things said by Datuk Zaid and others who have quit the party, about the existence of the elements of manipulation and intervention to determine the party leadership Anwar believed in, are true," he said.

Ezam said he also believed that Zaid, a former candidate for the vice-president's post and former minister in the Prime Minister's Department, was not someone who was greedy for power to the extent of quitting the party just because he did not get enough support during the party polls.

"For me, Zaid is not that kind of a person. He joins a party not because of the post or power. If we look at his history, he was once a minister, and he was not fired, but he resigned.

"Not everybody can do what he did, especially Anwar. Anwar never left a position vacant. He will stay put until he is fired (like when he was deputy prime minister)," he added. - Bernama

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sabah Dilemma, Between The Two Ibrahims

Jeffrey at political crossroads after Zaid’s exit


By Joe Fernandez

ANALYSIS Pakatan Rakyat co-coordinator Zaid Ibrahim’s sudden departure from PKR, under somewhat unhappy circumstances, has caught Sabah strongman Jeffrey Kitingan flat-footed but not entirely without political or other options, it seems.

Zaid, who had banked so much on Sabah and Sarawak to win the PKR deputy presidency, apparently left his allies in the party in a lurch when he quit out of the blue without breathing so much as a word to them.

His critics, and many supporters as well, explain this apparently impulsive action on his part is basically due to a fundamental “instability of character” in Zaid. The truth, as usual, may be somewhere in between.

This situation sums up Jeffrey’s current stand on whether he will continue to stay in PKR or leave the party like a close aide, Phillip Among @ Daniel Dell Fidelis, 41, did last Saturday. The reading in Kota Kinabalu is that Among, who doubles as de facto PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim’s aide as well during the latter’s Sabah visits, was trying to pressure his boss (Jeffrey) into taking a definite stand and quit the party as well. He does not seem to be succeeding so far although he remains unfazed.

“I will look at the situation again after Dec 16 when my two months leave ends,” said Jeffrey who doesn’t want to criticise Zaid.

“Zaid is someone who understood and accepted the aspirations of Sabah and Sarawak. After him, we can see no one else in PKR that we can relate to as easily,” he added.

He was speaking in Kota Kinabalu yesterday at the tail end of a press conference which was held basically to explain Sabah PKR’s stand on the Sabah budget unveiled last Friday. The local press seemed less interested in the budget than in his political future, if any, in PKR after Zaid’s exit.

Fundamental mistake

Jeffrey stressed that his politics is all about Sabah and Sarawak rights within the context of Malaysia as a federation of three territories being in partnership on the basis of equality. That’s the historical and legal basis on which there can be no concessions or retreat, he said.

He came almost close to admitting that he made a fundamental mistake in relying too much on PKR to help further his cause.

However, he said Sabah and Sarawak have had a historical window of opportunity since the 2008 general election to stand up and be counted, but this was not happening. It’s because, according to him, the people have not realised enough to bring pressure to bear on their political leaders.

He quite agreed that Sabah and Sarawak leaders have a window of opportunity to demand for a bigger oil royalty in preparation for the forthcoming general election. He said that the opportunity was always there. Not stated, but implied, was that Sabah and Sarawak leaders would not demand for a bigger oil royalty because there was no pressure on them to do so.

He made passing reference to the emergence of a third force in Malaysian politics but did not mention his own role in such a movement.

Interestingly, some of those who attended the press conference were members of a team which has been working on a third force principally focused on Sabah and Sarawak but extending across the South China Sea to include other marginalised communities.

The existence of the team only emerged when two of its members turned up at the press conference and one of them was seen with a bulky document entitled “3rd Force Model”. He took it back before this writer could have a chance to flip through it.

It appears with some degree of certainty that if not for Zaid staying in PKR, Jeffrey would have quit the party a long time ago. He would have seen no real purpose being served by him remaining with a party which is more focused on capturing Putrajaya but needs just a little help from Sabah and Sarawak.

'Faceless and nameless'

Jeffrey was willing to give a little glimpse of what the third force should look like.

“We (Sabah and Sarawak) look at it differently,” he said. “The third force would be faceless and nameless.”

He expects to hold a briefing around Dec 16 to explain the third force to the media. He may also touch on the emergence of Barisan Rakyat Sabah (BRS) comprising all local political parties in Sabah. However, the details are still to be worked out.

Jeffrey believes any party or all parties on both sides of the South China Sea can subscribe to the third force. “The people must subscribe to it (third force) and believe that it’s their cause. There will be cheer leaders, faceless and nameless, keeping the issue alive before the people for them to decide and adopt.”

This appears to rule out Jeffrey leading the third force through a new political party formed by him to the exclusion of other political parties. The question of a new political party emerging with him at the helm is itself a million-ringgit question. No one seems to know, including Jeffrey, although his supporters like Among swear that they would have to head eventually in that direction.

Among sees the cue being taken from the formation of a new political party – Parti Keadilan Baru (New Justice Party) – by Zaid. At this point, Jeffrey would have to make some sort of decision, he added. “Jeffrey will not join Zaid’s party. We have had enough of the orang Malaya (Peninsular Malaysians) dictating to us. We can co-operate but not kow-tow.”

He predicts that Zaid’s party will pursue the agenda for change and reform. His party is also expected to join either Pakatan or a new Pakatan. The new Pakatan will apparently come about if Anwar objects to Zaid’s party being in Pakatan and at this point in time, Among surmises, both DAP and PAS will abandon PKR since it will be left with only the original agenda of “freeing Anwar”.

Both DAP and PAS, said Among, cannot ignore Zaid’s new party which is expected to attract MPs who left PKR and up to a further 10 MPs who are against Azmin Ali being deputy president. These 10 MPs don’t expect to be fielded at the next general election and see Zaid’s new party as their golden parachute to ensure their continued political survival.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trojan Or Not, Anwar And PKR Is Going Down.

Hantu Laut

To help bring back democracy and free this nation of corruptions, cronyism and nepotism?

What a joke!

Who is going to believe him now?

The month-long balloting of PKR's direct election, if anything, is a farce and a sham.A de facto leader who claimed his party to be more transparent, democratic and less prone to corruptions is shattered by his own infliction.

Malaysians who believe his promises of democratic, clean and accountable government should look closely at the recent development in PKR.

What does it foretell when the party elections attracted only 10% of its members and a so called democratic process marred by intimidation, cheating and other irregularities.

The embarrassingly low turnout can only mean the party is on the slide for simple reason that the members are fed up with Anwar Ibrahim, his arrogance, self-aggrandizing, self-preserving and sardonic ways.

In spite of widespread claim of irregularities in the elections and his condonation to save himself and his sidekick from being challenged in the future, Anwar Ibrahim denied such unpleasantries.

Zaid Ibrahim whom he insinuated as a Trojan horse is the latest casualty of his greed to hang on to power. A reaction arising out of fear of losing the much coveted highest office.

Cheating is fine as long as he stays de facto leader and potential future PM.As they say the end justifies the means.

So, who own PKR?

The results of the elections conclusively makes the party Anwar's fiefdom.

The President, his wife remained uncontested, his daughter Nurul Izzah obtained the highest votes among all vice-presidents, his sidekick Azmin Ali won the deputy president post.

What happened to the other 90% of members? Have they been sidelined or not allowed to come out to vote because of uncertainty of where their allegiances are?

The election result also dampen the spirit of supporters in Sabah and Sarawak with some familiar faces ousted.

Former Sabah party chief Ansari Abdullah and current Sarawak chief Baru Bian lost to candidates from Anwar and Azmin's camp.

Jeffery Kitigan, sidelined by the KL leadership refused to contest in contemplation of leaving the party.Chistina Liew should do some hard soul searching whether she should stay in a party that show no appreciation for loyalty.

In the Peninsula among the big names that felled are Subang MP Sivarasa and Selangor exco Xavier Jayakumar.

Obviously, the miserable turnout was a boycott of the elections by majority of the members that bespeaks loss of confidence in Anwar and Azmin Ali's leadership.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saya Bukan Samseng !

Hantu Laut

Saya bukan samseng! Hanya mahu kebenaran.

I don't trust any judges of the government.

What if he becomes the government?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Yankee Doodle, Don't Mess Around With The Powers That Be.

Hantu Laut

The defender of the free world and of democracy and of human rights wanted this man so badly that they would do anything to get him.

Julian Assange is now considered a terrorist by the U.S government.

A 'WANTED' man who can shed lights on who are the whistle blowers on war atrocities committed by the U.S. administration in Iraq and Afghanistan.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange wanted by Interpol over rape case

The Guardian

An international arrest warrant is being issued for the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, after Swedish prosecutors were today granted permission to detain him for questioning in a rape case.

The Stockholm district court approved the request after hearing investigators had been unable to question the 39-year-old Australian on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. The allegations, which Assange has repeatedly denied, relate to two women he met while on a visit to Sweden in August.

Stockholm's director of public prosecution, Marianne Ny, said in a statement to the court: "So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogation." Speaking after the court's decision she said an international arrest warrant would be issued through Interpol.

Counsel for the women, Claes Borgström, told Swedish newspapers that it was "clear that Julian Assange is in hiding."

Assange's whistle-blowing website was behind the biggest leak of US military documents in history.

His London-based lawyer, Mark Stephens, said he had "repeatedly offered to be interviewed, first in Sweden, and then in the UK", including at the Swedish embassy in London and at a police station in the UK, in person or by phone, and by video conferencing and email.

"All of these offers have been flatly refused by a prosecutor who is abusing her powers by insisting he returns to Sweden," Stephens said.

He added that Assange, who has made a number of appearances in London recently, left Sweden after the prosecution told his Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig "that he was free to leave the country without interview".

According to another source, the Swedish prosecutor had set a date for a formal interview with him, but Assange instead left for London, though did not commit any offence in doing so, where he appeared at a press conference when the Iraq war logs were published. He subsequently decided not to return to Sweden, telling friends he feared he would be arrested if he did so. Stephens denies this account.

Assange was accused of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another woman in separate encounters in Sweden in August. A warrant for his arrest was first issued in August, but dropped within 24 hours when prosecutors said the accusations against him lacked substance. The case was then reopened.

Though no details of the allegations have been released by prosecutors, police leaks said both women had met him in connection with a seminar he gave in Stockholm on 14 August. The women filed their complaints together six days later.

Describing the case as "not a prosecution, but a persecution", Stephens said the Swedish authorities had a "blatant and deliberate disregard" for Assange's rights, and that the allegations were "false and without basis".

He added: "Both women have declared they had consensual sexual relations with our client and that they continued to instigate friendly contact well after the alleged incidents. Only after the women became aware of each other's relationship with Mr Assange did they make their allegations against him.

Media reports had reported the basis for the rape charge "purely seems to constitute a post-facto dispute over consensual, but unprotected sex days after the event," he said.

"My client is now in the extraordinary position that, despite his innocence, and despite never having been charged and despite never receiving a single piece of paper about the allegations against him, one in 10 internet references to the word 'rape' also include his name."

The timing of this latest development raised questions among supporters of Wikileaks. Assange has in recent media interviews been promising further Wikileaks disclosures, particularly about Russia. WikiLeaks angered the Pentagon by releasing thousands of classified US war reports from Afghanistan and Iraq. Assange travelled to Sweden in August to seek international legal protection for his website under Swedish law after WikiLeaks published 90,000 leaked documents about US military activities in Afghanistan from 2004-2010.

The issuing of an international arrest warrant could trigger international efforts to extradite Assange to Sweden.

As one of the first countries to sign up to the European Arrest Warrant scheme in 2004 Sweden can initiate a fast-tracked extradition for Assange from any other EU member state.

The issuing of an international arrest warrant is set to prompt Interpol, the Paris-based international police intelligence-sharing association, to distribute the warrant in its 188 member countries, opening the way for Assange's arrest in countries outside Europe. If he is arrested, Sweden's national authorities would be notified and the country would then be expected to request his extradition to Sweden.

However extraditions from countries which do not fall within the EAW scheme or have their own bilateral agreements are notoriously slow, and do not always result in the arrest and surrender of the wanted person.

The Guardian

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Zaid Ibrahim, It's Your Call

Hantu Laut

The recent spectacle in PKR that got Zaid into the political high winds could change the political landscape in the country if Zaid plays his cards right. As I have mentioned in my previous posts Zaid had no other choice but to start his own party and he must do it sooner rather than later.

Would Najib's government allow him to register a new party. For all intents and purposes it would be in the ruling party's favour to allow a third force. Zaid could well be the better messiah of reforms than Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar and PKR have failed miserably to deliver its promises of democracy, accountability and fair play.It is as crooked as a dog's hind leg.Azmin Ali's win in Sabah is dubiously perplexing..

Support for Anwar is dwindling fast as the people get a clearer picture of his intentions.As people grew tired of his political charade, sympathy for him is fading fast and would fade even faster if a more credible third force appears.Zaid has to work fast while the momentum is still there.Strike the iron while it is still hot or it will fizzle out.

The recent party direct elections that was reported to be highly improper that put Zaid in a quandary, him demanding full investigation, fell on deaf ears, with Anwar Ibrahim responding in self-serving high horses rendition of no such thing and lamented that of Zaid's unfounded delusional fear.

Zaid came from the same tree as Anwar but a fruit less infested and much more edible and credible.He was never a minister or held any governmental position in the old regime and could not be accused of any serious misdeeds. He has through his ingenuity made himself fairly rich through his political connections during his time in UMNO.

His short stint as a minister under the Badawi's administration put him at loggerhead with other ministers and UMNO's bigwigs over indiscriminate use of the ISA which saw him resigning from his ministerial post and the exit from UMNO.

Zaid troubles started the day he was labelled as successor to Anwar who do not want a successor through the democratic process.He will pick his own successor when the time come.

PKR is a spanner in the works of Pakatan's dream of taking over power and a third force would certainly deny them the walk to Putrajaya.

Next to go, Jeffery Kitingan?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Salam Aidil Adha


Monday, November 15, 2010

The Camel And The Eye Of The Needle

Hantu Laut

As expected Zaid would scarper from PKR.

Given the choice he is in and Anwar's affirmation that there is not a scintilla of truth in what he says, Zaid's stay in PKR has become embarrassingly untenable.

Bluntly put, he is saying Zaid is a liar, a sore loser and the much dreaded Trojan horse that he mentioned much earlier well before the party elections. Now, we all know who is the Trojan horse that Anwar meant.

Zaid should have realised the day he joined PKR he was accepted not because Anwar like him or feel comfortable with him or need his support, it was more out to spite UMNO.The day he walked into PKR he became a scorching challenge to Anwar's leadership and Anwar knew it would be a matter of time before he throws down the gauntlet at him.

Anwar, who is on downward mobility, because PKR members are beginning to see his true colour and are quite prepared to ditch him for someone who has more credibility realised the danger he is in if Zaid is allowed to stay in PKR.

“I am quitting because I want to dissociate myself from liars and cheats. I do not want to be part of a group that propagates lies and does not have any qualms about cheating for as long as the end justifies the means,’’ he told The Star.

As a newcomer he should not expect majority of PKR members to have sympathy for him, they would rather stay with the devils they know.Being that close to taking Putrajaya, Anwar and Azmin will annihilate anyone who become a threat to their ambitions to take Putrajaya

Obviously, Zaid hasn't got much choice.Make an exit or stay in PKR and be ridiculed mercilessly by Anwar and Azmin's people.UMNO has declared him persona non grata and there is no other party that can take him in.

He will be in political limbo unless he forms his own party.

As Jesus said "It is harder for a rich man to enter Heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle"

Sunday, November 14, 2010


A Prince of Brunei Takes On 2 Former Advisers

For sheer titillation, what can beat a trial involving a feud between two British lawyers and a prince of Brunei, a harem, X-rated statues and a $500 million yacht whose name we can’t mention?

The case of Casa de Meadows Inc. v. Zaman begins on Monday in New York State Supreme Court, pitting Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei against his former legal advisers, Thomas Derbyshire and Faith Zaman.

Prince Jefri, a brother of the sultan of Brunei, was for years the country’s financial chief — until an external audit alleged that the prince had embezzled billions of dollars. To avoid criminal prosecution, Prince Jefri agreed to turn over his holdings, including his majority stake in the British jeweler Asprey and the yacht.

Now Prince Jefri is accusing his former advisers of having cheated him out of money. Mr. Derbyshire and Ms. Zaman, who are husband and wife, are accused of skimming cash from real estate deals like the $11 million sale of the prince’s Long Island home. But the alleged embezzlement was also more prosaic, including 35 meals at McDonald’s, according to New York magazine.

Prince Jefri has considerably more expensive tastes. Beyond amassing the $400 million stake in Asprey and the New York Palace Hotel, he is also accused of hosting a 40-woman harem, the subject of a tell-all book by a former New York University student. And then there are the four pornographic statues of the prince and a female friend that he is seeking to bar from the courtroom.


New York Times

The tabloid-ready trial of the year opens November 8 in New York State Supreme Court:Casa de Meadows, Inc. v. Zaman, pitting a member of Brunei’s royal family against legal advisers who, he says, bilked him out of millions while managing various assets on his behalf. Herewith, some background.

The Prince
Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, age 55 or so (his birth date is hard to confirm); brother of the Sultan of Brunei. Prince Jefri was Brunei’s Finance minister—the royal family’s money manager—until his brother got fed up with his … lifestyle choices. In 2000, after he was accused of misappropriating billions in funds over fifteen years, a settlement was reached that required him to return most of his assets, including a controlling stake in Asprey—the British jeweler—which cost him nearly $400 million to acquire, and his$500 million yacht called Tits.

His Brother, the Sultan
The prince and his brother are no longer fighting, London’s
Daily Mail reported last year, perhaps because “the prince … was planning to reveal embarrassing information about his brother.” The sultan’s legendary collection of more than 7,000 cars, according to the Daily Mirror, includes604 Rolls-Royces,574 Mercedes-Benzes, 452 Ferraris, 382 Bentleys, 179 Jaguars, and21 Lamborghinis.

His Ex-Barristers
Thomas Derbyshire and Faith Zaman, British husband and wife. They served as legal advisers to Prince Jefri beginning in 2004, but in 2006, the prince turned on them, claiming they defrauded him in real-estate deals and charged hundreds of thousands of dollars to his corporate credit cards for, among other things, $420 at the Singing Star tattoo parlor in Venice, California, and 35 meals at McDonald’s. “The words ‘faithless servants’ do not do justice to the scope of their perfidy,” says the prince’s complaint. The couple deny the accusations and say they used the credit cards to cover expenses for the prince and two of his sons.

His Old Hangout
The prince and the barristers battled over management of—and expenditures at—the
New York Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue, which the prince owned. In 2008, a New York judge ordered Jefri to return control of the hotel to Brunei.

His Alleged Harem
In another lawsuit, the prince was accused of keeping a
40-girl harem at the Dorchester Hotel, not far from his $55 million home in London. (NYU dropout Jillian Lauren wrote a book about her time with Prince Jefri, entitled Some Girls: My Life in a Harem, in which she declared: “I knew I was a hooker, but somehow I felt like Cinderella.”)

… And the Judge
Veteran judge Ira Gammerman, who presided over Woody Allen’s lawsuit against producer Jean Doumanian. Actual dialogue:
JUDGE TO ALLEN: Stop talking.
ALLEN: Stop talking?
JUDGE: I’m the director here.

Also read:Brunei prince spent £37 million attempting to recover £4 million

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is China Becoming A "Show-Off" Nation ?

Hantu Laut

The 16th Asian Games opened with a bang.The pomp and splendour was as astounding as the opening of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, a correlated extravaganza of science,technology and human drama.

Compared to India's poor delivery of the recent Commonwealth Games, this new economic giant put out a magnificient show of verve and vibration.Richer and more advanced countries would not have been able to put up such splendour. They, probably, don't have to, they have shedded their inferior complex long time ago.

Is China becoming a 'Show Off'' nation?

In 2009 China displaced Japan to become the world's second largest economy and is expected to overtake the U.S before 2020.

By the end of 2010, the list of top 10 economic giants would look like this.....USA, China, Japan, India, Germany, Russia ,U.K, France, Brazil, Italy.

By 2020, the whole scenario would have changed and the list would look like this.......China, USA, India, Japan, Russia, Germany, Brazil,U.K,France,Mexico.

The emerging economies, particularly China and India are growing faster than the advanced economies, which is slowing down.

Chinese marvel.

(Six days. That's how long it took to build this level 9 Earthquake-resistant, sound-proofed, thermal-insulated 15-story hotel in Changsha, complete with everything, from the cabling to three-pane windows. The foundations were already built, but it's just impressive.)

In 2009, Japan real GDP shrank 5.2% brought about by long economic stagnation and a greying population.The US economy shrank 2.4% due to the 2008/2009 financial crisis.China, miraculously escaped unscathed.By the year 2020 China would have doubled its GDP to that of USA.

Do not be fooled by all the glittery and pompous shows whenever China hosted major world events and the megalomaniac structures you see in China's big cities that show off its enormous wealth. Some sort of never ending coming out parties wanting to show the world how far they have come.

There is a darker side to China's perceived prosperity.Beyond the high rises and churning factories lie the rural and semi-rural poor, rampant corruption and a government with little interest of wanting to arrest the widening gap between the rich and the poor.There are now, probably more billionaires in China than the rest of the world, other than the United States.

China may have a huge GDP but it is still in the poor man's club as far as the people are concerned.In 2009, its per capita GDP was only $6,600, compared to Japan $32,700, the U.S $46,000, Taiwan $32,000 and South Korea $28,700.

In this respect, in spite of the dazzling economic boom, you would be better off being a Taiwanese than a mainland Chinese.Comparatively speaking, even the average Malaysian is better off than the average Chinese.In 2009, Malaysia's per capita GDP was $14,900.

China's authoritarian politics is spawning a dangerous mix of crony capitalism, rampant corruption and a widening inequality.

Rising faster than China is the hype about China but behind the glowing headlines and publicity there are fundamental weaknesses rooted in the state.Beijing, still have a stranglehold on how politics and the economy should be run.The private sector account for not more than 30% of the GDP.It is still much more a socialist economy.

It's a comforting thought that this Middle Kingdom is now an economic giant but how long more can it keeping showing spectacular Chinese operas to the rest of the world?