By Maclean Patrick

It cannot be faulted if we all agree that it is human nature for people to group together within familiar circles. We see this in family units, communities, villages, towns, cities, states, countries and (the obvious) political entities.

It’s a comforting effect – to be able to huddle together in a tight unit either for warmth or security. A habit born from prehistoric times since the days the human species branched out to populate the world.

Human beings are herding creatures, much like the rest of nature.

And as Sarawak approaches its state election, we are presented with a tantalising option: which herd will we join?

Direct membership is nothing new to the Barisan Nasional (BN). Yet there should be a caveat as proposed by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing.

“Direct BN membership should not be a sanctuary for party dissidents or rejects of any BN component party. If BN accepts those characters, it will create a destabilising precedence and open the floodgates for unruly personalities to come in,” he told a local daily.
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's economy is set to crash if no regulation is imposed on the inflows of hot money, DAP economist Charles Santiago said.

A rallying market and appreciation of the ringgit have forced the government to think twice before imposing capital control.

Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah has said in an interview with Bloomberg recently that “we are benefiting from the capital inflows and the appreciation of the ringgit. It’s not affecting our property market like many other countries.”

The World Bank has warned that Asian economies may need to impose capital controls as “quantitative easing by the US threatens to spur asset bubbles in the region”.
By Athi Shankar

GEORGE TOWN: A group of prominent politicians and social activists from East Malaysia are seriously contemplating pulling out Sabah and Sarawak from the Federation of Malaysia.

They are planning to take up their case to the United Nations to hold a referendum on the status of the Borneo states as independent nations.

They no longer want their states to be under the clutches of the Umno-led Putrajaya administration.

The group has already sought legal advice from the international community to explore all orderly and democratic means to legally declare Sabah and Sarawak as separate sovereign states.

Sources said the group was keen to avoid any civil unrest, bloodshed and armed conflict with the central government, features usually associated with separatist movements.
By Rahmah Ghazali

FULL REPORT KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has alleged that it was Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin's “old friend” Omar Mustapha who introduced the Malaysian government to US-based public relations firm Apco Worldwide.

He claimed that Khairy and Omar were partners in the consultancy firm, Ethos.

Anwar had revealed this in the Dewan Rakyat today, when he explained his “One Israel and 1Malaysia” jibe.

The opposition leader also furnished documentary evidence to substantiate his allegation that the government had links with the company, which, according to him, masterminded the “One Israel” concept more than a decade ago.

"Omar was reported to have introduced Apco to the government as its consultant, and its (Apco's) adviser was stationed in the Prime Minister's Office after Najib Tun Razak took over as prime minister. But this did not go down well with some of the government officials," he said.
1. Jakarta
Jakarta Skyline

Jakarta @ Night

Established in the fourth century, the city became an important trading port for the Kingdom of Sunda. It grew as the capital of the colonial Dutch East Indies. It was made capital of Indonesia when the country became independent after World War II. It was formerly known as Sunda Kelapa (397-1527), Jayakarta (1527-1619), Batavia (1619-1942), and Djakarta (1942-1972). Now the city has a population of 9.58 million people, according to 2010 census count.
A large South Korean flag being waved by suppo...Image via WikipediaSeoul. Taking the World Cup back to South Korea in 2022, 20 years after it was jointly staged there with Japan, would again present football governing body FIFA with dilemmas over the fractured and difficult relationship between the North and South.

As if to remind football’s power-brokers that they are still technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty, tension escalated again this week.

North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells at a South Korean island off the North’s coast, killing at least two civilians and two soldiers. The action prompted return fire from the South and the dispatch of a US aircraft carrier group to Korean waters.
Thursday, 25 November 2010

Turkey, which was earlier listed as the 16th biggest economy in the world in terms of size of national income, has revised its position in the ranking as the 15th, due to a correction made by the Council of Ministers in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures in the country's 2011 Program.

Following such correction, Turkey's Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) based national income size, which was previously envisaged as 947.83 billion USD for 2010, has become 1.1 trillion USD.
by Sydney Sasson
The Malaysian Insider
November 23, 2010

Dear Deputy Foreign Minister Pillay,

We read with interest your latest statements in the Dewan Rakyat today that the Malaysian government is keeping Malaysians abroad under watch.

Guess what? Malaysians abroad are keeping the Malaysian government under watch too. Its encouraging to know that a number of civil society initiatives and solidarity actions taken by Malaysians overseas in the past year have been noticed by the Malaysian government.

It means that all those days of braving the cold and rain to protest against the archaic Internal Security Act and government corruption, and writing to various overseas Members of Parliament and lobbying politicians, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Commonwealth Human Rights Council, the overseas press and international civil society organisations to alert them to the worrying state of human rights in Malaysia has not been in vain.
street beggingImage by Dave_B_ via Flickr“The real wealth of a nation is its people, the beneficiaries and the drivers of human development, and expansion of their freedoms, with the main focus on empowerment, equity and sustainability, is the cornerstone of the basic concept of human development,” reaffirms the 2010 Human Development Report (HDR) – 20th anniversary edition entitled “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development.”

The main objective of 2010 HDR edition, that was presented today at the UN Office in Armenia with participation of Dirk Boberg, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Armenia, and Ara Petrosyan, RoA Deputy Minister of Economy, is to provide a retrospective systematic assessment of trends in key components of human development – life expectancy, school enrolment, literacy and income - over the past 40 years.
Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Tun RazakImage via WikipediaThe government backs down on a tycoon's sports betting plan

The Malaysian government has portrayed its recent decision not to legalize sports gambling as the action of a responsible administration responding to public opinion and keeping its promise to be more open and accountable.

In fact, the episode is a sharp reminder of how deeply entrenched the crony culture is in the country and how little has changed under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

While Najib has pleased many Malaysians by refusing to allow businessman Vincent Tan to expand his gambling empire, the prime minister's image has suffered because of his secretive attempt to revive sports betting.
Raja Petra Kamarudin at a press conference aft...Image via WikipediaUnknown forces attempt to block Malaysia Today from printing documents involving a huge scandal

Malaysia Today, the hard-hitting news website edited by Raja Petra Kamarudin, has been blocked by mysterious technical problems twice in the last 24 hours after publishing damning articles of deep corruption at the top of the Malaysian government.

One implicated the United Malays National Organization, the country's leading political party, in looting MAS, the country's flag carrier. A second alleged that a friend of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was attempting to steer RM200 million into the pockets of Najib's family from China Railways Engineering Corporation (CREC), for double-tracking the national railway.
Flag of the Malaysian state Sabah. Based on a ...Image via WikipediaBy Queville To

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Musa Aman's 'timely' announcement of a special allocation of RM1 million to each Barisan Nasional representatives in Sabah next year has been described as a "form of political corruption".

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said Musa's announcement – under the state budget - warrants Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) attention and investigation.

“It is a political corruption to allocate RM1 million public funds to the BN constituencies alone. It is clearly an election budget to boost the winning chances of BN in the next general election and not for the benefit of the people. It is to be used to buy votes,” Lim charged.
Matt Oakley Leicester City skipperImage via Wikipedia
Jakarta. Indonesia can now count itself as part of Asia’s invasion of English football, after Championship League side Leicester City announced over the weekend that Iman Arif has a minor stake in the club.

Leicester City was bought by Asia Football Investments, headed by Thai businessman Aiyawatt Raksriaksorn, in August reportedly for 40 million pounds ($63.8 million).

But English media reported that a second investor accounted for 20 percent of the cost, or an estimated 8 million pounds, to purchase the team.

On Friday, Leicester City officials revealed that it was Iman’s Cronus Sports Management Pte Ltd that had acquired a minor stake in the club.
JAKARTA, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Angklung, the traditional Indonesia's West Java musical instrument made from bamboo, has been included in the list of the UNESCO's (United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization) list of intangible cultural heritage, local media reported Friday.

The instrument was among 46 items from 21 countries inscribed to the list at the Fifth Unesco Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on Intangible Cultural Heritage in Nairobi, Kenya.

The angklung now joins the wayang (the Javanese shadow puppet theater), the keris (the Javanese ceremonial dagger) and batik among the Indonesian representatives in the list.
In an interview with ET Now, Robert Levitt , CFA, Founder, Managing Member and CIO, Levitt Capital Management , says India is a difficult market as regulations are not yet developed. Excerpts:

You recently mentioned that markets will enjoy a free ride till the end of the year. How is it looking for emerging economies such as China and India, and what is going to keep the momentum going from here onwards?

There is a respite over the last few days since the G20 meeting came out and it was not real clear to people how the currencies were going to revalue. But if you think about it, it was never going to be so clear. The Chinese or the US are not going to say they have decided to devalue the dollar 40% over the next five years. It does not happen like that because if it did, there would be a rush to do it immediately. And there is a concern about the Plaza accord with the Japanese Yen over a short period of time really appreciated quickly.