Devastating Temblor Strikes Japan

12 03 2011

A massive earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 8.8 struck off the northern coast of Japan on Friday, violently shaking tall buildings in Tokyo and triggering tsunami. The earthquake was the biggest recorded in Japan since 1923, Japan Meteorological Agency officials said.

As of 1 a.m. Saturday, 133 people were dead, 530 were missing and 722 were injured, according to the National Police Agency.

But one police official in Sendai’s Wakabayashi Ward reported that between 200 and 300 people had apparently drowned.

Deaths were reported in nine prefectures, including Iwate, Fukushima and Miyagi, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency and prefectural police departments. The meteorological agency put the epicenter of the quake 130 kilometers off the eastern coast of Miyagi Prefecture, which is part of the Tohoku region.

The temblor hit at 2:46 p.m. and was followed by strong aftershocks.

Sohar Back to Normal

2 03 2011

Protests have been rare in Oman and the ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, is offering reforms to try to quell the demonstrations. On Sunday, he ordered 50,000 civil service jobs be created and offered a monthly stipend of 150 rials ($390) for job seekers. A day earlier, the sultan replaced six Cabinet members.

Thousands participated in a pro-government rally on Tuesday afternoon. They rallied in central Muscat, in front of the capital’s biggest mosque, chanting slogans in support of Oman’s long-serving ruler and calling on the anti-government protesters in Sohar to refrain from destroying state and private property – in contrast to what happened on Sunday night, when demonstrators burned the Lulu supermarket in Sohar.

A large section of the demonstrators here yesterday welcomed the two Royal Decrees, issued by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, on setting up an independent consumer protection authority and granting autonomy to the office of the prosecutor general. Lauding the Royal Decrees, Dr Zakaria Al Mharmi, a medical practitioner at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital and one of the protestors, over the phone said, “We see the two Royal Decrees as part of the new reforms and we are confident His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said will announce more initiatives.”

How Your Underwear Drawer Affects the Economy

28 02 2011

Have you ever considered that the state of your underwear could reflect the state of the economy?
How your underwear drawer affects the economy. Your choice of underwear is just one of a number of unofficial retail indicators that indicate how well the economy is doing. Here’s why, and some of the others to look out for.

The consumer pants index (CPI)

People buy more pants when they are feeling wealthy, and make do with their faded old undies when times are tight. If you’re comfortably encased in a pristine pair of briefs while reading this, that’s a sign better times are here. If they’re tired and stringy, we’ve hit rock bottom.

Wahiba Sand, Sultanate of Oman

22 02 2011

The Sultanate of Oman is one of the least known, yet most exciting, tourist destinations in the Middle East. A spectacular, shimmering dunes of the Ramlat Al Wahaybah and a breathtaking view of sand sea is a worthwhile journey. The desert has so much to offer that your journey will be a memorable family vacation. Desert adventure is a fun and action-packed trip that is suitable for families with older children.

Gay – Realiti dan Dilema

22 02 2011

Aku ni seorang “gay”. Masalahnya aku ni seorang Islam dan buntu tentang apa yang perlu aku lakukan. Keluarga aku sudah pasti akan menghalau aku keluar dari rumah jika rahsiaku ini terbongkar. Keluarga aku agak moden tapi masih teguh berpegang kepada ugama. Aku tak sampai hati pulak melihat keluargaku tertekan dengan keadaan dan cara hidup aku sekarang dan yang paling pentingnya, aku tak sanggup kehilangan keluargaku.

‘Record-breaking’ Chilli

19 02 2011

Experts have pronounced a chilli grown in the market town of Grantham, Lincs, as the hottest in the world.
Tests have revealed the “Infinity Chilli” to have a Scoville Scale Rating of 1,176,182 – hotter than chilli reportedly used in hand grenades by the Indian military. But what is the attraction of this insanely hot ingredient?

The story of the world’s hottest chilli begins not in Mexico or Bangladesh, but next to the barbed wire at RAF Cottesmore in Leicestershire.

Nick Woods, working shifts as an RAF security guard and considering his growing family, decided he had to do something more entrepreneurial with his life.

Facebook Friends ‘Can Stress You Out’

19 02 2011

The more Facebook ‘friends’ you have, the more likely you are to feel stressed out by the social networking site, according to a new study.

Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University have found a significant minority of users suffered “considerable Facebook-related anxiety”. However, they only received very modest rewards.

More than one in 10 said Facebook made them feel anxious and more than three in 10 said they felt guilty about rejecting friend requests

The study found that 12 percent of the students questioned said they disliked receiving friend requests, while almost two thirds (63 percent) said they delayed replying to friend requests.

“The results threw up a number of paradoxes,” the BBC quoted the university’s Dr Kathy Charles, who led the study, as saying.

“For instance, although there is great pressure to be on Facebook there is also considerable ambivalence amongst users about its benefits.

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