Thursday, December 31, 2009

Russia may send spacecraft to knock away asteroid

Russia's space agency chief said Wednesday a spacecraft may be dispatched to knock a large asteroid off course and reduce the chances of earth impact, even though U.S. scientists say such a scenario is unlikely.

Anatoly Perminov told Golos Rossii radio the space agency would hold a meeting soon to assess a mission to Apophis. He said his agency might eventually invite NASA, the European Space Agency, the Chinese space agency and others to join the project.

When the 270-meter (885-foot) asteroid was first discovered in 2004, astronomers estimated its chances of smashing into Earth in its first flyby, in 2029, at 1-in-37.

Further studies have ruled out the possibility of an impact in 2029, when the asteroid is expected to come no closer than 18,300 miles (29,450 kilometers) from Earth's surface, but they indicated a small possibility of a hit on subsequent encounters.

NASA had put the chances that Apophis could hit Earth in 2036 as 1-in-45,000. In October, after researchers recalculated the asteroid's path, the agency changed its estimate to 1-in-250,000.

NASA said another close encounter in 2068 will involve a 1-in-330,000 chance of impact.

Don Yeomans, who heads NASA's Near-Earth Object Program, said better calculations of Apophis' path in several years "will almost certainly remove any possibility of an Earth collision" in 2036.

"While Apophis is almost certainly not a problem, I am encouraged that the Russian science community is willing to study the various deflection options that would be available in the event of a future Earth threatening encounter by an asteroid," Yeomans said in an e-mail Wednesday.

Without mentioning NASA's conclusions, Perminov said that he heard from a scientist that Apophis is getting closer and may hit the planet. "I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by 2032," Perminov said.

"People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow us to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people," Perminov said.

Scientists have long theorized about asteroid deflection strategies. Some have proposed sending a probe to circle around a dangerous asteroid to gradually change its trajectory. Others suggested sending a spacecraft to collide with the asteroid and alter its momentum, or hitting it with nuclear weapons.

Perminov wouldn't disclose any details of the project, saying they still need to be worked out. But he said the mission wouldn't require any nuclear explosions.

Hollywood action films "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon," have featured space missions scrambling to avoid catastrophic collisions. In both movies, space crews use nuclear bombs in an attempt to prevent collisions.

"Calculations show that it's possible to create a special purpose spacecraft within the time we have, which would help avoid the collision," Perminov said. "The threat of collision can be averted."

Boris Shustov, the director of the Institute of Astronomy under the Russian Academy of Sciences, hailed Perminov's statement as a signal that officials had come to recognize the danger posed by asteroids.

"Apophis is just a symbolic example, there are many other dangerous objects we know little about," he said, according to RIA Novosti news agency.

Source :Yahoo

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Puncak, Bogor : The Favorite Place for Holiday

What are you gonna do for this long holiday ?
well, Puncak still the best place to go for holiday... Specially for Jakarta villagers.

It was located in Cianjur, Bogor, West Java. Just 2 hours by car from Jakarta

The view was very great. Specially if you like country side & mountain view.

The weather was very cool, just arround 15 C.

The best place for your family.

Nice place to spend you holiday here. And you also can try many cheap food here, from vegetables, fruit, candy, etc.

Well, just want to say... Have a very great Holiday... and Happy new year 2010.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

You Need To Know About Plastic

There’s so many people who has warned about the danger of plastic. But still only few people who cared about this warning.
Plastic is a material that can be found in almost every goods. From drinking bottle, TV, refrigerator, pipe, CD, car, cellphone till pesticide. Therefore we can be definite that we used stuff that contains Bisphenol-A in our daily activity. Things that used plastic and contains Bisphenol-A are Food and beverage industry as container to keep the food, wrapping plastic, mineral water bottle, etc. One test proofed that 95% people had used stuff that contains Bisphenol-A.
Plastic is used cause its light, cheap and not easy to be broken. But plastic also has risk to environment and our family health. Therefore we have to understand about the plastic which safe to used.

What is the meaning of the symbol that we can find on a plastic product?

1. PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), commonly used for clear plastic bottle like a bottle of mineral water, juice bottle and in almost every drinking bottle. Don’t used for warm or hot water. Throw away the bottle if already used for at most 2 times.

2. HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), commonly used for milk bottle. As same as #1 PET, HDPE is recommended just for one time used.

3. V or PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) is plastic that hard to be recycled. Its commonly found as cling wrap. PVC contains DEHA which can be leaky to the oily food if warmed. It’s potentially dangerous for lever and kidney.

4. LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) commonly used as a food container or soft drinking bottle. Plastic which have #4 code can be recycled well and also good for other things which need flexibility but strong. This plastic can be said indestructible but it still good for food container.

5. PP (Polypropylene) is the best choice for plastic, especially for food container and drinking bottle and the most important is drinking bottle for baby. The characteristic of this plastic is unclear or cloudy transparent. Find this symbol if you buy things in plastic.

6. PS (Polystyrene) commonly used as Styrofoam food container or disposable drinking bottle. The Polystyrene can leak styrene into food, when it gets contacted. Styrene is dangerous to the brain and nerve system. In addition to food container, styrene also can be found in smoke cigarette, vehicle pollution and building material construction. This substance must be avoid and now many states in America and China already forbid food container with syrofoam material.

7. Other (commonly Polycarbonate) can be found in food or sport water container. Polycarbonate can secrete its main material which is Bisphenol-A to our food that can be potentially damaged our hormone system. Just avoid plastic with Polycarbonate.

There still many plastic goods that don’t mention these symbols, specially the local made plastic. Therefore, when you get unsure don’t but it. Although the plastic with symbol is more expensive, that price is more valuable than our family health.
At last, avoid to use any kind of plastic to microwave. Just use ceramics, glass or pyrex as it replacement.
Don’t throw away your plastic trash (specially with Bisphenol-A) at any place, cause it can soiled water and in the end can soiled each and every drinking water.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Third-placed Indonesia looks ahead to hosting 2011 Games

After fulfilling its target of finishing third in the medal tally at the recent Southeast Asian Games held in Laos, Indonesia looks forward to hosting the competition in 2011.

“Being ranked third is indeed a good result and is what we expected,” said the State Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Andi Mallarangeng on Friday, after the 10-day sporting event between Southeast Asian nations was brought to a close at the Vientiane National Stadium.

The track-and-field squad won the most gold medals for Indonesia, with a total of seven gold, plus seven silver and seven bronze medals, followed by the weight lifters, who collected five gold, one silver and one bronze medal in the weight lifting arena.

Indonesia brought home a total of 43 gold, 53 silver, and 74 bronze medals to finish third behind reigning champion Thailand, which collected 86 gold, 83 silver and 97 bronze medals, followed by Vietnam with 83 gold, 75 silver and 57 bronze medals.

Indonesia’s gold haul was still below 62, the number of gold medals respective sports associations predicted the country would win.

However, the number three position came as a relief after strong competition from other participants, including Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.

After trailing throughout the competition, Indonesia surpassed Malaysia and consolidated its third position on Thursday.

Malaysia remained in fourth place with 40 gold, 40 silver and 59 bronze medals, followed by the Philippines (38-35-51), Singapore (33-30-35) and Laos (33-25-52).

Myanmar (12-22-37), Cambodia (3-10-27) and Brunei (1-1-8) completed the gold-winning countries, while East Timor won three bronze medals.

Indonesia’s push to third place was helped by its 11-gold medal rush on Thursday, with badminton delivering three, and pencak silat, wrestling, fin-swimming, judo, athletics, tennis volleyball and beach volleyball all winning one each.

However, some sports failed to deliver during the Games.

The boxers fell short of winning a gold, winning only three silver and six bronze medals. The pencak silat fighters failed to retain their five-gold haul, bagging two gold, three silver and three bronze medals.

Source :The Jakarta Post

Monday, December 14, 2009

How the Tiger scandal really blew up

As we wind down from TigerCrashGate -- yes, it's true, we're almost done, at least until he returns to the course -- it's worth taking a look at the way that this story spiraled from one-car hydrant-bump to worldwide scandal, one whose cost will eventually be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here's the key question to all of this: did we need to know about Tiger Woods' secret, off-the-course life? Many argue that this is an unforgivable invasion of a family's privacy, that we're interested in Tiger Woods as a golfer, not as a family man. As long as he keeps sinking long putts on Sunday afternoons, who cares what he does later that evening?

But that just-golf-it mindset doesn't account for the fact that Woods is not "just a golfer," he's the public face of an entire corporation. What he does on his own time is not his own business, not when his actions can do financial harm to those who have invested hundreds of millions in his image. That financial impact, not the "more mistresses or more majors?" question, is the real story here.

Still, the reason why this scandal exploded the way it did is because Woods' secret dealings were allowed to continue unabated, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The more Woods got away with his misdeeds, the bolder -- and stupider -- he got. (Leaving your name on a voicemail? Sending texts from your own phone? Really, Tiger?)

Part of this is surely because of the coverage bubble that Woods enjoyed for all of his career, a bubble that was born fully formed in Gary Smith's absurdly over-the-top introduction/sanctification of Woods in a legendary 1996 Sports Illustrated article entitled "The Chosen One." The see-no-evil approach to Tiger then dominated the golf media for more than a decade, partly because everyone was so in awe of Woods, and partly because Woods would cut off any access to any media outlet daring to poke around the edges of the mystique.

Did Tiger Woods have everyone fooled? Did the golf media know about Tiger's affairs and cover them up? Did everyone just happen to look the other way at the proper time? Those are questions that each media member will have to answer for him- or herself, but here's one huge clue: there are several golf media members who have not written a single word about this, the biggest story to hit golf in decades. Why? Well, you'd have to ask them, but it's a fair bet that they're setting themselves up as good guys when Tiger eventually does return. ("See, Tiger? All those other guys piled on, but I didn't! I'm still your pal!") On the flip side, credit longtime golf writers like Steve Elling who actually did call out Woods, knowing full well that they'll find that next one-on-one interview that much tougher -- if not impossible -- to secure.

Many in the golf media got completely outplayed on this story because of their insistence that it was no golf story at all, it was nothing but celebrity garbage, tawdry trash-digging that was beneath them. And again, if it was nothing but the personal affairs of a private family, that would be true. But Tiger's absence from the tour is going to cost people and corporations hundreds of millions of dollars and fundamentally alter the game of golf for the short term -- so, yeah, that very much is a golf story.

Journalists who complain that the tabloids were setting the agenda in this story should have been practicing a little shoe-leather journalism themselves. After the initial revelation on the day before Thanksgiving that Rachel Uchitel was somehow involved with Woods, it was a blogger, Ryan Ballengee of Waggle Room, who trumped the mainstream media and first contacted her. In the absence of comments from Team Tiger, the tabloids filled in the gaps, and despite their "bat boy/UFO abduction" rep, were on the whole more accurate than not. (Tiger's admission of "infidelities" plural is a testament to that.)

There were some notable missteps on the tabloids' part. The story about Elin Woods moving out proved to be completely groundless, even though many outlets picked it up and ran with it. (We decided not to here because of the flimsiness of the sources.) More significantly, the Life & Style story about two professional golfers calling out Woods turned out to be an utter falsehood; we had decided to mention it here because there was on-the-record attribution, not "unnamed sources." Surely, we figured, no magazine would be foolish enough to print actual names without verifying. Wrong. Lesson learned -- and that's an aspect of this story that deserves further scrutiny.

This is not to defend the tabloids' approach to celebrity -- they look at stars the way that the rest of us look at a Thanksgiving turkey right out of the oven -- but their dogged method of running down a story does indeed have its merits. (Paying interview subjects is not one of them, nor is publishing articles without bylines.) Still, if other journalists were similarly unconcerned about their future access to their subjects, they'd be able to uncover some secrets on topics more important than celebrities' sex lives.

For now, though, the Tiger story has reached a natural stopping point. We can take some time over the holidays to breathe deep, stop wondering about how many more mistresses will come out of the woodwork, and -- thank you, heaven -- stop hearing lame Tiger jokes.

The old Tiger Woods is gone. The new one -- well, we haven't met him yet. But he won't be on the same celebrity-worship pedestal as the old guy ... and, all in all, that's probably for the best.

Source :Yahoo Sports

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Records fall on day 3 of SEA Games

Siow Yi Ting of Malaysia marked her birthday with a Southeast Asian Games record-setting performance in the 100 meters breaststroke Friday when a slew of competition records were also set in swimming, weightlifting and shooting.

After the third day of the games, Vietnam unexpectedly topped the medals table with 14 golds, eight of which it won Friday in seven events, ranging from karate to cycling.

Singapore also has 14 golds but is second because of fewer silvers and bronzes, while Thailand is third with 13 golds.

Much of the attention Friday focused on the pool where five of Friday's six races produced records. Siow, who turned 24 on the day of her race, swam the 100 meters breaststroke in 1:09.82 minutes, beating the 1:10.15 time set by Nicolette Teo of Singapore in 2007.

She also took part in the 400 meters freestyle relay where Malaysia won a bronze in a time of 3:51.40, which beat the previous meet record of 3:51.86. Singapore won the gold in 3:45.73 while Thailand took the silver with a time of 3:48.09.

"I just relaxed my mind and swam hard, that's how I did it," said Siow, an undergraduate student at the University of Arkansas.

"It was simply awesome, really an amazing feeling," she said, noting that she hadn't been swimming anywhere near her personal best for a long time.

Siow represented Malaysia at the Sydney Olympics when she was 13.

Games swimming records were also by Malaysia's Daniel Bego in the men's 100 meters freestyle, Vietnam's Huu Viet Nguyen in the men's 100 meters breaststroke and Malaysia's Khoo Cai Lin in the women's 400 meters freestyle.

Source :The Jakarta Post

Australia Shipping Alert Over Massive Iceberg

Australian authorities Friday issued a shipping alert over a gigantic iceberg that is gradually approaching the country's southwest coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the once-in-a-century cliff of ice, which dislodged from Antarctica about a decade ago before drifting north, was being monitored using satellites.

"Mariners are advised that at 1200 GMT on December 9, an iceberg approximately 1,700 kilometres (1,054 miles) south-southwest of the West Australian coast was observed," it said, giving the iceberg's coordinates.

"The iceberg is 140 square kilometres in area -- 19 kilometres long by eight kilometres wide."

Experts believe the iceberg -- known as B17B -- is likely to break up as it enters warmer waters nearer Australia, creating hundreds of smaller icebergs in a hazard to passing ships.

"It's still 1,700 kilometres away, so it's quite a long way away, it's not really on our doorstep yet but it's been heading steadily towards us," glaciologist Neal Young said Thursday.

Young earlier told AFP that an iceberg of that size had probably not been seen in the area since the days when 19th century clipper sailing ships plied the trade route between Britain and Australia.

The iceberg has been floating around Antarctica since shearing off the icey continent but had lately begun heading north because of ocean currents and weather conditions.

Its discovery comes after two other large icebergs were spotted further east, off Australia's Macquarie Island, followed by more than 100 smaller chunks heading towards New Zealand.

Young described the icebergs as uncommon, but said they could become more frequent if sea temperatures rise through global warming.

Source :Yahoo News

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thailand Celebrates 82nd Birthday of Ailing King

Thousands of well wishers waving Thai flags and dressed in pink gathered Saturday to catch a glimpse of Thailand's ailing King Bhumibol Adulyade, who has been hospitalized for more than two months and was to make a rare public appearance to celebrate his 82nd birthday.

The palace has said that Bhumibol, the world's longest-reigning monarch, is recovering from an inflammation of the lungs and is in no danger, but concerns about his health and the eventual succession have shaken the nation.

The king, who had not appeared in public since Nov. 2, left the Bangkok hospital where he has been staying since Sept. 19 to make his way to the Grand Palace, where he was to appear in front of members of the royal family, government officials and members of Parliament before greeting the crowds outside.

Many Thais donned pink shirts as a tribute to the king, a trend that first started two years ago when astrologers determined that pink was an auspicious color for the king's health.

"I've been doing this every since I was 40 years old," said Thongsuk Saechin, an 86-year-old housewife who traveled from Nakhon Pathom, 55 miles (90 kilometers) northeast of Bangkok to see the king and wish him well.

It was also a chance for weary Thais to put aside political differences and unite behind one cause - something most haven't done since fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006 for alleged corruption. Since then, a series of sometimes violent protests by pro- and anti-Thaksin forces have rocked the country and raised doubts about its political stability.

Bhumibol, who has been on the throne for 63 years, is a constitutional king with no formal political role. But he is widely revered and regarded as the country's sole unifying figure. His disappearance from the public eye and a lack of details about his health have caused widespread uneasiness about the country's future.

The king's health is a particularly sensitive topic because of concerns that the succession may not go smoothly. The heir apparent, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not yet have the stature or moral authority of his father.

Open discussion of the matter is barred by strict lese majeste laws that make criticism of the monarchy punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Bhumibol's birthday is typically celebrated with several days of fanfare that start with the king presiding over an annual military parade in his honor.

This year's military parade, which was scheduled for Wednesday, was canceled, as was his annual speech to the nation on the eve of his birthday. This is the second consecutive year the ailing king has had to cancel his widely watched televised speech due to health reasons.

Source :The Jakarta Post

Ministers open Green Festival in Jakarta

Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta, accompanied by Forestry Minister Zulkili Hasan, and Minister for Women’s Empowerment Linda Gumelar, opened Green Festival 2009 fun eco-festival at Bung Karno Sports Complex's east parking lot in Senayan, Central Jakarta, on Saturday.

The free-entry festival, held by a partnership association of three mass media and four corporations, will run over the weekend to promote global warming awareness.

The festival is jointly held by Kompas daily, MetroTV, Female Radio, consumer goods manufacturer PT Unilever Indonesia, state oil and gas firm PT Pertamina, electronic company PT Panasonic Gobel Indonesia and Sinar Mas Group.

The parking lot would be divided into four main areas to exhibit simulations of the global warming phenomenon, environmental workshops, music entertainment, and tips for individuals to reduce domestic carbon emissions.

“Delivered monotonously, these messages would not come across. But [through this festival], it is expected the messages would be accepted by most members of the public,” Gusti said in his opening speech.

Last year, the festival successfully attracted 44,000 visitors. Eighty percent were mothers and children.

Green Festival
Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Sunday 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Source :The Jakarta Post

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Disney does Dickens ... again

With Christmas still a month away, it seems Hollywood movie producers simply couldn't wait to present moviegoers with a little gift before the holiday season began, with Disney's release of A Christmas Carol.

This 3-D animated feature is an adaptation of Charles Dickens' famous book of the same title, widely regarded as one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told and traditionally enjoyed by millions each year during the holiday season.

A Christmas Carol, first self-published by Charles Dickens in 1843, tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a conservative and individualistic financier, who has devoted his life to business and making money. The social perspective of the story and its portrait of Christmas traditions have played a big role in reinventing Christmas, with an emphasis on families and friendship.

In his miserly outlook, Scrooge (Jim Carrey in this version) forgoes friendship, love and the Christmas spirit itself. His obsession sees him becoming a cold-hearted and greedy man, who despises Christmas and all things related to charity, fun and happiness.

The feature begins seven years after the death of Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley (Gary Oldman). One night, the ghost of Marley visits Scrooge, warning him his soul will bear heavy chains for eternity if he does not change his ways, and to tell him another three spirits will visit him.

The first of these is the Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes Scrooge back to his childhood and shows the old man his tender side.

The second, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes him to the home of his nephew, Fred (Colin Firth), to take a look at Fred's middle-class social life, and then to observe the modest life of his clerk, Bob Cratchit, during his family's Christmas dinner.

In this scene, Scrooge is touched when he sees the high spirits of the disabled Tiny Tim.

The third, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, gives Scrooge visions of a future if he does not learn and change his behavior. One of the visions is that Tiny Tim will die.

The 96-minute feature is beautifully directed by Robert Zemeckis, with a similar technique to that he employed in animated films such as The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007).

Thumbs up also for Jim Carrey for taking on a multitude of roles in the film, including as young, middle-aged, and elderly Ebenezer Scrooge, and as the three ghosts that haunt him - grappling with different "ye olde" accents for each.

Hollywood star Gary Oldman also plays three characters (as Bob Cratchit, Marley's Ghost and Tiny Tim), and Robin Wright Penn plays Belle and Fan.

The optional 3-D feature comes highly recommended, as this adds to the intimacy of the story with its graphic depictions of the three spirits, and gives moviegoers a fuller experience of Disney's Dickensian England - sliding down rooftops and flying over chimneys and through forests.

Adding to a long list of films based on A Cristmas Carol, including three by Disney in the past 26 years, and Jim Carrey's past role as The Grinch who stole Christmas, Zemeckis has done well to give his own take on Dickens' imagination, adding new dimensions to the tale.

However, think twice before taking your kids watch this one if they're a bit sensitive, as some of its scenes could have them jumping out of their seats.

Three out of five stars.

A Christmas Carol (Walt Disney Pictures, 96 minutes)

Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Produced by Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey & Robert Zemeckis
Written by Robert Zemeckis based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Starring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Cary Elwes, Colin Firth & Robin Wright Penn

Source :The Jakarta Post

Monday, November 23, 2009

'New Moon' wolfs down $140.7M in opening weekend

"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" gobbled up $140.7 million the first three days the vampire romance was in theaters, while gaining $258.8 million worldwide, according to studio estimates.

"New Moon" placed third on the all-time domestic chart behind last year's $158.4 million opening weekend for the Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight" and 2007's $151.1 million haul for "Spider-Man 3."

Among the top-10 all-time openings, "New Moon" is the only one that came outside of Hollywood's busiest time, the summer season. The movie adaptation of Meyer's next "Twilight" chapter, "Eclipse," arrives in the heart of summer, next June 30.

The No. 1 domestic debut for Summit Entertainment's "New Moon" was more than twice the $69.6 million haul over the same weekend last year for "Twilight," the first in the franchise based on Stephenie Meyer's novels.

"Obviously, with the success of 'Twilight' itself, sequels being what they are will generate X-number of dollars more, particularly if it's a satisfying sequel," said Richie Fay, head of distribution for Summit.

On Friday, "New Moon" set an all-time domestic high for opening day with $72.7 million, topping the previous record of $67.2 million by last year's "The Dark Knight.

Overall, Hollywood had its second-biggest non-holiday weekend ever, with final numbers expected to come in slightly behind the $260 million the industry rang up over the weekend of July 18, 2008, when "The Dark Knight" opened.

Compared to the same weekend last year, business was up 59 percent.

"New Moon" continues the story of teen romance between a school girl and a vampire (Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson), with the sequel adding a love triangle with a werewolf (Taylor Lautner).

Opening at No. 2 domestically this weekend was the Warner Bros. football drama "The Blind Side" with $34.5 million. The film stars Sandra Bullock in the real-life story of Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher, who was a homeless teen taken in by a wealthy family and enrolled in private school.

The previous weekend's top movie, Sony's disaster tale "2012," slipped to third-place with $26.5 million, raising its domestic total to $108.2 million. Worldwide, "2012" has taken in $449.8 million.

In limited release, Penelope Cruz and director Pedro Almodovar's latest collaboration, "Broken Embraces," opened big with $107,597 in two theaters for a $53,799 average. The Sony Pictures Classics romantic drama centers on a blind screenwriter relating the story of a lost love.

Nicolas Cage and director Werner Herzog's dark crime thriller "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" opened with $257,267 in 27 theaters, averaging $9,528 a cinema. Released by First Look Studios, "Bad Lieutenant" is the story of a drug-crazed cop on a manic murder investigation.

The huge spike in business this weekend sets the stage for big crowds over Thanksgiving, one of the busiest periods of the year at theaters.

Along with "New Moon" and other holdover movies such as Jim Carrey's holiday-themed "A Christmas Carol," new releases for Thanksgiving include the Robin Williams-John Travolta comedy "Old Dogs" and the post-apocalypse drama "The Road."

After a strong run in limited release, George Clooney's animated comedy "Fantastic Mr. Fox" expands into nationwide release the day before Thanksgiving.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final figures will be released Monday.

1. "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," $140.7 million.

2. "The Blind Side," $34.5 million.

3. "2012," $26.5 million.

4. "Planet 51," $12.6 million.

5. "Disney's A Christmas Carol," $12.2 million.

6. "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire," $11 million.

7. "The Men Who Stare at Goats," $2.8 million.

8. "Couples Retreat," $2 million.

9. "The Fourth Kind," $1.7 million.

10. "Law Abiding Citizen," $1.6 million.

Source :
Source :Yahoo

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sumatran Orangutans Get a Helping Hand

Time may be running out for Sumatra’s forest people, the auburn-haired orangutans that once lived across much of Sumatra. The great apes are now only found in northern Sumatra and Aceh, their numbers falling each year with every hectare of lowlands destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations or small scale farming.

A three-hour drive from Duri in the central northern part of Sumatra to Pekanbaru highlights just how much native forest has been lost.

There is barely one stand of primary forest left over a 100-kilometer journey; the haze of that
forest burning to make way for palm plantation farming stings the eyes and chokes travelers and residents alike.

According to research, the Sumatran orangutan was once found as far south west as Padang. Today, these great apes, found only in Sumatra, are on the critically endangered list and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. The Red List suggests a population decline of Sumatran orangutans of more than 80 percent in the past 75 years.

There are believed to be just 6,000 left in the northern reaches of Sumatra and this number is fast declining with more habitat loss to illegal and legal logging, palm plantations and currently on the table, plans to clear 33,600 hectares of rainforest in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem for pulp paper production, according to the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS).

A research report on the world’s most endangered primates by Ian Singleton, Susie Ellis and Mark Leighton, states that more than 1,000 orangutans disappeared annually in the Leuser Ecosystem (National Park) during the late 1990s. 10 years on, there are fears the Sumatran orangutan may have less than a decade before it succumbs to total extinction.

This week, SOS, based in Bali, is joining hands with other orangutan conservation organizations around the world for “Orangutan Caring Week” to highlight the plight of these old men of the jungle and the rapacious destruction of their habitat, according to Dewi Kastari
of SOS.

“Around the world, organizations caring for orangutans are working together this week to raise awareness of the plight of orangutans. SOS is visiting schools in Bali to teach students the value of our Indonesian jungles and how critical their protection is for the survival of orangutans,” said Dewi.

SOS is also hosting a photographic exhibition of orangutans and their disappearing habitat at local Ubud restaurant Tutmak.

“SOS is also proud to present the first ever screening in Indonesia of the Australian-produced film The Burning Season by film maker Cathy Henkel,” added Dewi.

The English version of the film that discuses the loss of Indonesia’s primary forests, will be presented tonight (Thursday Nov. 12) at the Wantilan Pura Desa in Hanoman Street, Ubud, while the Indonesian language version of the film will be screened on Friday night.

The film traces the journey of entrepreneur Dorjee Sun who believes he can make money out of saving forests through selling carbon credits, and Jambi palm plantation farmer Achmadi, who slowly comes to understand that the palm oil he is planting comes at a greater cost than he had ever realized.

According to Greenpeace, Indonesia holds the dubious distinction of the fastest rate of primary forest clearing in the world.

In 2007, Greenpeace wrote that “Of the 44 countries, which collectively account for 90 percent of the world’s forests, the country pursuing the world’s highest annual rate of deforestation is Indonesia, with 1.8 million hectares [4,447,896 acres] per year between 2000 and 2005 — a rate of 2 percent a year, or 51 kilometers square every day.”

Raising the general public’s awareness of this great loss, and its potential to cause the extinction of the Sumatran orangutan, along with other flora and fauna of Sumatra’s lost jungles, is the goal of SOS, a goal constantly under threat of being realized too late.

Source : The Jakarta Post

Saturday, November 14, 2009

8 Fat Fighting Foods

You feel desperate with your weight & fat..? Combat fat now! Your allies in battling bulge? Foods that do the work for you. These edibles have proven lipid-melting powers that help you slim. That’s a win.

Almonds Almond joy! Dieters who ate 3 ounces of these nuts every day reduced their weight and body-mass index by a solid 18 percent compared with an 11 percent drop in the no-nut group, a study in the International Journal of Obesity found. Almonds are high in alpha-linolenic acid, which can speed the metabolism of fats. Stick to 12 per serving.

Berries Vitamin C–loaded fruit such as strawberries and raspberries can help you sizzle up to 30 percent more fat during exercise, suggests research from Arizona State University at Mesa. Blend a vinaigrette of 1 cup berries and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar.

Cinnamon This spice could make your waistline nice. Sprinkling ¼ teaspoon on your food may prevent a postmeal insulin spike—this increase normally occurs after you eat and “signals the body that it should store fat rather than burn it,” explains Lauren Slayton, R.D., of New York City. Add a dash to your oatmeal, yogurt or coffee.

Mustard Hello, yellow. The spice that gives mustard its color, turmeric, may slow the growth of fat tissues, a study in the journal Endocrinology notes. Eighty-six mayo in favor of any mustard; sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower and roast for a tangy side.

Oranges Prevent pound creep with this citrus star: It contains fat-torching compounds called flavones. Women who ate the most flavones had a significantly lower increase in body fat over a 14-year period, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds. Snack on slices or drink freshly squeezed OJ (with pulp!) for the biggest payback.

Soybeans These green gems are rich in choline, a compound that blocks fat absorption and breaks down fatty deposits. Add ½ cup edamame to a salad.

Sweet potatoes Trade up to sweet taters. They’re high in fiber, which means no drastic insulin jumps and thus less fat packed onto your hips. Bake a small sweet potato—think of two bars of soap as a portion size—and top with a dollop of lowfat or nonfat cottage cheese.

Swiss cheese Holy cow: “Calcium-rich foods reduce fat-producing enzymes and increase fat breakdown,” says Michael B. Zemel, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Put toe to toe with some of its cheesy counterparts, Swiss is a heavy hitter in the calcium department; layer a slice on a lunchtime sandwich, or stack some on high-fiber crackers.

So... start your action now and post a comment if you already succeed.

Source : Yahoo

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 Shocking Truths about Allergies

Allergies may seem straightforward: You're exposed to allergens like dust, mold or animal dander, you get watery eyes, you sneeze and you feel miserable. But you may be surprised to learn why some people suffer more than others. Here, 10 shocking facts about what may really be making you feel bad.

1. If you're the oldest in your family, you may be more prone to allergies.
Researchers in the UK recruited more than 1,200 children, testing them for signs of allergies at birth, age 4 and age 10. They found markers of allergies in firstborns, but not in later-born children, likely because firstborns experience different conditions in the womb, researchers say.

2. It may not be your pet that's causing your allergies.
"It could be something else entirely," says Jeff May, an indoor air quality expert and coauthor of Jeff May's Healthy Home Tips. "Dust mites from your animal's bed (or yours), or mold underneath antiques in small spaces" are possible culprits, he says. Even homes without pets can have an pet allergen problem. In fact, a study from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that more than 99 percent of homes in the U.S. have detectable cat or dog allergens even though less than half of those homes have a dog or cat living there. Allergens can hitch a ride on other people's clothes and they've been discovered in schools, hospitals, shopping malls, cinemas-and even in the offices of allergists.

3. Timing your meds right can make all the difference.
"Your body follows what's called a circadian rhythm-it acts differently at different times of the day," says Richard Martin, MD, head of the pulmonary division at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, CO. This natural rhythm influences when allergies worsen, and therefore determines when it's best to take medication to achieve its maximum effect. For example, if you have 24-hour meds, you should take them at night. "Allergy symptoms peak in the morning hours, so this ensures they'll be moving through your bloodstream when needed most," he says.

4. Obese children and adolescents have a higher risk of allergies.
Especially food allergies, a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology notes. Researchers analyzed data from over 4,000 subjects ages 2 to 19, and discovered that obese participants were about 26 percent more likely to have allergies than children of normal weight. The rate of food allergies was especially troublesome-59 percent higher for children who were obese.

5. Your sneezes around your daughter's new kitten may be more than just a cold.
"You can grow up with pets and still develop allergies to them as an adult," says Morris Nejat, MD, of the New York Allergy and Sinus Centers. "Having a pet gives you an immunity that can be lost when you leave that environment-to move away and start your own life, for example. If you then bring an animal into your own home, you may have lost your immunity and developed an allergy to your new pet."

6. Plants aren't as healthy as you think.
Unfortunately, "plants do not purify the air," May says. "Put a thin layer of gravel on top of each plant's soil-this helps keep debris in the plant, protecting you from mold allergens," recommends James M. Seltzer, MD, chairman of the Indoor Environment Committee of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. "Even silk plants can cause mold," Dr. Seltzer says.

7.Trouble breathing? Don't look to your lungs, look to your gut.
Upsetting the normal balance of microflora in your stomach and intestines can change your entire immune system, researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School report, intensifying your body's response to common allergens like pollen or animal dander. According to scientists, our modern diet and increased use of antibiotics may be at fault. Safeguard your health with a diet low in sugar and high in raw fruits and vegetables, especially following treatment with antibiotics.

8. Allergies can trigger bad breath.
"For some people, a dry mouth, caused by taking antihistamines for allergies or by the postnasal drip that streams down the back of your throat during allergy attacks, can result in bad breath," says Cyril Meyerowitz, DDS, director of the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, part of the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York. "Sometimes tiny pieces of food lodge on the tongue or in the crevices of your tonsils and cause a nasty odor."

9. You can't become immune to your allergy meds.
"You may feel that your allergy medication has become ineffective, but there's no scientific basis for medication tolerance," says Linda B. Ford, MD, medical director of the Sarpy/Cass Department of Health and Wellness at the Asthma and Allergy Center in Papillion, Nebraska. "What's more likely is that the disease has become more severe, in which case you should consider other treatment options, like allergen immunotherapy, intranasal steroids, isotonic saline nasal washes and/or other antihistamines."

10. Your allergies may have an upside.
A study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston reports that people with a history of allergies have nearly a third lower risk of developing a type of brain cancer called glioma than those without the condition. Researchers suspect this may be due to the genetic variations that cause the allergies.

Source :Yahoo

's Baggers, Restaurant with 'Rollercoaster'

Last month, my friend invited me for dinner in a restaurant called 's Baggers. This restaurant was located in the outskirts of Nuremberg, Germany.
This restaurant looks like a shirt shop from the front, because there were some banners above the entrance door with so many t-shirts pictures.
When I got inside, I found so many T-shirts hung in a display area. The T-Shirts were sold for the costumers as a souvenir.

The waiter greeted us with friendly, and she gave us the 'resto card' with the instruction paper. Frankly, I was confused by all this things, especially when I entered the restaurant area on the 2nd floor. Lots of round table with the rails in the center similar like the roller-coaster tracks. At first I thought it was just decoration, but I was wrong.

My friend explained how to order food here, because he quite often visiting this restaurant.
He took the slide- tv screen on the table, then he inserted his 'resto card' in the 'card place' next to the monitor.
Select your table number (as we sat by a number), each number has a different color, this color is used to distinguish your order. I just realized that to ordered food here we used the online monitor, so no need to call a servant. You just need to press the 'touch screen' to select all the menu you like. Everything's there, started from the name of food, pictures of food, price, number of orders, dessert & drinks, even the total of your bill can be seen on the monitor. Amazing.........

After observed the menu, I immediately ordered some foods and drinks. Just for information, all the drinks here are beer, coke and wine, so all were served from the bottle.
For glasses, plates, spoons, and others can be found on the middle of the table.
After waiting for a while, my drink comes first. This's surprising me up... The food & drink sending process from the kitchen to the customers is using the roller-coaster tracks.
Wow... Amazing.................

Everything rolled from the kitchen which is located on the top floor to our table, according to it's number and color table who ordered. No food or drink got spilled, because they're packed with so well. Even sometimes they put some fireworks on our food as a decoration.
Not just the place and the decorations were great, the food taste was pretty good too. Especially if you visit this restaurant in the summer, you can have your meals outside while you can enjoy the warm night air.
Unfortunately, when I visited this place, it's already winter and snow has started to fall, so it's not possible to eat outside the restaurant.

It's been 2 hours I enjoyed my dinner here. Enjoying a variety of Germany's foods, from the main menu until the delicious dessert. They also played some music from the big TV screen.
After finished with all of our food, then we headed to the cashier and handed our 'resto card'. The cashier scanned our cards, so they would know the food we have ordered and also the bill which we have to pay.
Amazing, all the process were done automatically. But to clean up the table, they still do it manually by a waiter.

I really have a great dinner. I was amazed by this restaurant and hopefully I could visit this restaurant again one day.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

World's largest cruise ship sets sail from Finland

The world's largest cruise liner on Friday began its maiden voyage to Florida, gliding out from a shipyard in Finland with an amphitheater, basketball courts and an ice rink on board.

The 16-deck Oasis of the Seas spans 1,200 feet (360 meters) from bow to stern. Its 2,700 cabins can accommodate 6,300 passengers and 2,100 crew.

Commissioned by Royal Caribbean International, the ship cost euro1 billion ($1.5 billion) and took two and a half years to build at the STX Finland Oy shipyard in Turku, southwestern Finland.

The liner has four swimming pools, volleyball and basketball courts, and a youth zone with theme parks and nurseries for children. There is also an ice rink that seats 780 spectators and a small-scale golf course.

It features various "neighborhoods" - parks, squares and arenas with special themes. One of them will be a tropical environment, including palm trees and vines among the total 12,000 plants on board. They will be planted after the ship arrives in Fort Lauderdale.

In the stern, a 750-seat outdoor theater - modeled on an ancient Greek amphitheater - doubles as a swimming pool by day and an ocean front theater by night. The pool has a diving tower with spring boards and two 33-feet (10-meter) high dive platforms. An indoor theater seats 1,300 guests.

Accommodation includes loft cabins measuring 545 square feet (51 square meters) with floor-to-ceiling windows. There are also 1,600 square feet (150 square meter) luxury suites with balconies overlooking the sea or promenades.

One of the "neighborhoods," named Central Park, features a square with boutiques, restaurants and bars, including the "Rising Tide" bar, which the shipping line describes as "the first moving bar at sea."

It moves up and down three decks, allowing customers to get on and off at different level promenades.

Engineers at shipbuilder STX Finland said environmental considerations played an important part when planning the vessel, which dumps no sewage into the sea, reuses its waste water and consumes 25 percent less power than similar, but smaller, cruise liners.

"I would say this is the most environmentally friendly cruise ship to date," said Mikko Ilus, project engineer at the Turku yard. "it is much more efficient than other similar ships."

The liner was due to make its U.S. debut on Nov. 20 at its home port, Port Everglades in Florida and will be officially named on Nov. 30.

It will embark on its first cruise - a four-day trip to the port of Labadee in Haiti - on Dec. 1.

The Oasis of the Seas was due to call in at the English port of Southampton before continuing its voyage across the Atlantic.

STX Finland is building a sister ship - Allure of the Seas - for Royal Caribbean which is due to be launched in 2011.

Source : The Jakarta Post
Picure : National Geographic

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Want prosperity? Index ranks Finland as place to be

For those who value their freedom of expression as much as health, wealth, and prosperity, then Finland is the place to be, with an index ranking the Nordic nation the best in the world.

The 2009 Legatum Prosperity Index, published on Tuesday and compiled by the Legatum Institute, an independent policy, advocacy and advisory organization, ranked 104 countries which are home to 90 percent of the world's population.

The index is based on a definition of prosperity that combines economic growth with the level of personal freedoms and democracy in a country as well as measures of happiness and quality of life.

With the exception of Switzerland, which came in at number 2, Nordic countries dominated the top 5 slots, with Sweden in third place followed by Denmark and Norway.

The top 10 were all also Western nations, with Australia (6th place) and Canada (7th place) both beating the United States, ranked 9th. Britain came in at number 12.

In Asia, Japan was the region's highest ranked country at number 16, followed by Hong Kong (18th place) and Singapore (23rd place) and Taiwan (24th place).

Dr. William Inboden, senior vice president of the Legatum Institute, said the lower rankings for Asian nations were largely due to their weak scores for democracy and personal freedoms.

"Many Asian nations have good economic fundamentals, but the Index tells us that true prosperity requires more than just money," Inboden said in a statement.

"Democratic institutions and personal freedom measures are letting some Asian nations down. Furthermore, countries which have low levels of economic stability, such as Cambodia, finish even further down in the overall rankings."

Cambodia came in the 93rd slot while China, with its tight political controls, came in 75th despite booming economic growth.

And the world's least prosperous country? According to the Legatum Index, it is Zimbabwe, with Sudan and Yemen close runners-up.

The index combines objective data and subjective responses to surveys.

source : Yahoo

Friday, October 16, 2009

The tolerant Tengger tribe

At the foot of Mount Bromo, the sound of the dawn drums rose from several mosques in the middle of the Hindu Tengger settlements, as Hindus prepared for their annual Yadnya Kasada ceremony.

At the mosque, people prayed as another day of fasting began; in the Luhur Potent Temple, the shaman priests — the religious leaders of the Hindu Tenggerese — prayed too. Whatever their beliefs, all prayed devoutly, none disrupting the others.

The time of Yadnya Kasada is special for the Tenggerese because it is held every full moon in the month of kasodo (the tenth month). In this year, this festival fell on Sept. 5 and 6, coinciding with Ramadan.

But it causes no conflict in the community.

Although they have converted to Islam, Achmad Zaini, 35, a Ngadisari villager from Sukapura subdistrict, Probolinggo regency, and Satugia, 30, an Argosari villager from Senduro Lumajang subdistrict, still take part in Hindu rituals.

“Although I’ve now converted to Islam we still celebrate Kasada as our traditional ceremony,” Achmad says.

“It’s the same for any Tenggerese who are Christian. And there are plenty of Tenggerese Muslims who throw chickens, goats and flowers into the crater of Mount Bromo.”

Satugia also packed several kilograms of vegetables from his garden into sacks to be taken to the top of Mount Bromo. After performing dawn prayers, Satugia and several others got into a big truck for the hour-long drive to the famous mountain.

“Before we had access to a vehicle, we used to walk from our village to the Bromo area, which took more than four hours. Now we’re too lazy to walk, because I might break my fast because of fatigue,” Satugia said.

According to tradition, offerings are thrown into the crater of Mount Bromo to recall the sacrifices of the ancestors, and to make offerings to the Almighty in return for blessings of fertility and security.

The Tenggerese believe that the Kusuma god, the son of Rara Anteng and Jaka Seger, who was sacrificed to the spirit of Mount Bromo, is their ancestor.

Sutomo, one of the elders of Argosari village in Lumajang said that most of the Tenggerese, who live in 19 villages and four regencies –Probolinggo, Lumajang, Pasuruan and Malang – are Hindu.

However, since the 1950s, many have converted to other religions, especially Islam and Christianity.

“Islam, and the other immigrant religions, entered in a peaceful manner and without any confrontation,” he said. “There are no conflicts in our society even though people have different beliefs.”

Sutomo is among the first generation of the Tenggerese-Lumajang who has embraced Islam. His father, Imam Supii, joined the Islamic Union Party.

Although his father was sympathetic with Islam, he did not convert. Sutomo joined the Islamic Youth Organization in 1962, although at that time he was a Tenggerese Hindu.

“In 1948, many scholars came to the Tenggerese settlement. I converted to Islam in 1971. Since then every year there have always been Tenggerese who have converted to Islam, whether because of marriage or because of personal awareness,” he said.

According to data from the Argosari village office, of the region’s 3,468 residents, 1,380 are Muslim.
Sutomo said Tenggerese who had embraced Islam had similar lives to Indonesia’s other Muslims, and many have joined Islamic organizations Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah.

What all the villagers have in common is their piety, whatever their faith.

“Like Bali, the Bromo area is visited by many tourists and all sorts of liquor are available. However, no villagers dare violate the customary rules that prohibit gambling, adultery, theft and drinking liquor. All the liquor is just for the tourists,” he said.

This piety, however, does not translate to fanaticism.

“There is no group such as the Islamic Defenders’ Front [FPI] or hard-line Islamic group here. And there are no raids or appeals in the fasting month for shops that sell liquor to close down for the fasting month. We also do not prohibit people to eat and drink in front of us when we are fasting,” he said.

“Our customs and religious beliefs run in harmony here. We’re always open to religious differences, such as the rule of polygamy. Although Islam does not prohibit polygamy, all the Tenggerese have rejected polygamy,” he said.

Punishments apply to those who break social rules. According to Kartono Noto Raharjo, village head of Ngadas subdistrict in Sukapura Regency, any married man caught having an affair is fined 50 bags of cement, as is his co-offender; if the affair results in pregnancy, the couple is fined 100 bags of cement and expelled from the village in shame.

“This rule also applies to Tenggerese teenagers. If they are caught having sex before marriage they will be fined 50 bags of cement and made to marry.”

With one bag of cement priced at Rp 50,000 (US$5), the fines — up to Rp 5 million — are onerous, given the average monthly income of the Tenggerese is less than Rp 2 million.

Martiam, the village head of Argosari in Senduro subdistrict, Lumajang, also said there was no conflict or ill-feelings between Muslims and Tenggerese Hindu beliefs or those of other faiths.

“The Muslims here do not question their neighbors who follow different religions and look after dogs and sell food made from pork. We are used to dealing with stray dogs and occasionally they lick our feet,” he said.

During Idul Fitri, citizens embrace non-Muslims and offer hospitality, he said. And vice versa: During the Karo holidays or the Tenggerese holiday and Yadnya Kasada, Muslim citizens also celebrate.

“Whatever the religion, we believe that we are still Tenggerese and have a responsibility to maintain our heritage and traditions of our ancestors,” Martiam said.

“Although we follow different religions, we are still working in the rice fields together and we built a mosque by working together.”

Ayu Sutarto, a Jember scholar who has lived on the slopes of Bromo with the Tenggerese for five years, said that the Tenggerese community was like a miniature version of the Indonesian people who hold firmly to the values of Pancasila.

Despite their different beliefs, the Tenggerese society is friendly and open.

“Although they hold onto their traditions strongly, they are very tolerant about the differences,”
he said.

“There are never any conflicts related to religion there. There is no exclusion of Tenggerese people who choose to embrace another faith, whether Muslim or Christian.”

Source : The Jakarta Post

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Boyzone's Stephen Gately dies in Spain

Singer Stephen Gately, a member of the Irish band Boyzone, died Saturday while vacationing on the Spanish island of Majorca, the group's Web site said Sunday.
His four bandmates were to travel to Majorca, the posting said.

Gately, 33, was in Majorca with his partner, Andrew, the Web site said.

It did not offer Andrew's last name.

No further details about Gately's death were immediately available.

Boyzone made history in the United Kingdom with 16 consecutive Top Five hits, according to Ticketmaster's Web site.

It's one of Ireland's best-selling bands, with six No. 1 singles in the United Kingdom, and four No. 1 albums, Ticketmaster said.

The group, which separated in 2000 to pursue solo projects, reunited in 2008.

Its greatest hits album -- "Back Again ... No Matter What" -- was released last year.

Gately joined the band in 1993 after answering an audition ad. "A lot of people didn't think we would make it out of Ireland back then," he said previously on the group's Web site.

"We were overwhelmed when Boyzone began to take off, it was incredible."

source :

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

UNDP : Norway is the best place to live, Indonesia is ranked in 111th

Have you ever wonder which country is the best place to live ? Well, here are the results according to UNDP.
Norway takes the number one spot in the annual United Nations human development index (UN HDI) released Monday but China has made the biggest strides in improving the well-being of its citizens.

The index compiled by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) ranks 182 countries based on such criteria as life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

Norway, Australia and Iceland took the first three spots while Niger ranks at the very bottom, just below Afghanistan.

China moved up seven places on the list to rank as the 92nd most developed country due to improvements in education as well as income levels and life expectancy.

Colombia and Peru rose five spaces to rank 77th and 78th while France -- which was not part of the top 10 last year -- returns to the upper echelons by moving up three places to number 8.

The UNDP said the index highlights the grave disparities between rich and poor countries.

A child born in Niger can expect to live to just over 50, which is 30 years less than a child born in Norway. For every dollar a person earns in Niger, 85 dollars are earned in Norway.

This year's index was based on data from 2007 and does not take into account the impact of the global economic crisis.

"Many countries have experienced setbacks over recent decades, in the face of economic downturns, conflict-related crises and the HIV and AIDS epidemic," said the UN development report's author Jeni Klugman.

"And this was even before the impact of the current global financial crisis was felt."

Afghanistan, which returns to the list for the first time since 1996, is the only Asian country among the bottom ten which also include Sierra Leone in the 180th spot, just below the Central African Republic.

The top ten countries listed on the index are: Norway, Australia, Iceland, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland and Japan.

The United States ranks 13th, down one spot from last year.
And for Indonesia, has been ranked in position 111th, one level above Honduras.

See the complete HDI Rank Country here

Source : yahoo news

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Journey to Prague

Several weeks ago, me and my colleagues went to visit the city of Prague in Czech Republic.
We went from Nuremberg, Germany with a bus.
One of the unique about Germany's transportation is, if you had a plan to travel, then you'd better buy the tickets in advance, like us, we got 50% discount for booking 2 weeks in advance.

The travel time was approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes. Along the way you'll find very beautiful scenery.
The bus officer would come to surveyed you one by one, to ask your purpose visiting Prague and for how long. No need to worry, it's just a routine questions.
But make sure you brought your passport and for the visa, it has become one package deal if you visit the European Union.

Arriving at the main station of Prague, I was surprised with the classic form of the building, a little bit old, but it's beautiful.
Then we headed to ground floor, because one of the officers say 'everything is under the ground'. Amazing... 4 floors below the ground... Wow...

At level 1 you'll find food court, game center and also money changer. You must exchanged your Euros here with Korun Ceskych (Czech currency),
because not all restaurants and stores accepted Euros. But I suggested you not to exchanged too much at the station, just exchanged to buy a ticket only,
because you'll have low rates, you better trade it out later, because in the tourist area or near the Vltava river there's plenty money changers and banks are open every day with a better exchange rate. The rates at the station usually 1 Euro = 22.10 Cr, but in the bank you'll have 1 Euro = 25 Kr.

The stairs to subway was really steep, its about 20 meters high.
We bought 24 hours tickets for all transportation for 100 Kc, which can be used for all types of transportation, from trains, subways, buses and trolley.
For additional information, at each station, hallway, buses, trains and trolley, all equipped with cameras (CCTV), so I felt more secured.

We drove to our apartment which already booked via the Internet, 1400 Kc for 1 night, 3 beds.
After taking a short rest, we were rushing to explore this city.
Starting from the restaurant on the street, because it was lunch time. Be careful to order food here, because if you ordered bread here, then you'll be charged for extra tax, if you ate at a restaurant in hotel, then you'll be charged for seats per person.
But even so, the food taste was pretty good here, and worth to try, after all its cheaper than in Germany.

In the Old Town Square we found ongoing street party, where hundreds of young people gathered and danced near dozens of vans/trucks carrying huge speakers with rock/metal music.

It's very noisy here, but it's also exciting because many of those wearing unique costumes. You do not need to worry about riot, because many policemen were guarding this party.

Then we headed too the famous Astronomical Clock, which already a lot of people lined up in front of the clock to see the 'action' every one hour.
For those who wanted to explore the city with more relaxed, you could rented a horse-drawn carriage which can accommodate about 4 people.

We've around the city until it reached the edge of the Vltava river. Here, we were offered a boat tour up the river, such as 'Little Venice' with the price for 290 Kr plus snacks and drinks that you can choose by yourself.

It was really exciting and fun too, because the tour guide explained about some historical of the city, important events and sometimes made a funny joke.

We were all fascinated by the beauty of this city from the river. After touring the river to a small canal for 40 minutes and are happy to take photos, we walked on the bridge filled with tourists, while enjoying the night view from here.

Apparently the scene more beautiful at night than during the day, but do not forget the time, because about 10 hours of the night, the roads were pretty quiet and you'd better went back to your hotel.

Tomorrow morning we are looking for breakfast at fast-food restaurant and it's true price is much cheaper than in Germany.
After breakfast we ride the tram around the city, we hasn't had a clear goal ... After about far enough,
we got off the tram and under the direction toward the 'Little Eiffel Tower' or the Petrin Tower.

To get to the Petrin Tower Park and you need to have the tram which takes you to the top of the hill, you don't need to pay for this streetcar, because it includes in 1-day ticket.

When you reached to the top of the hill, you will find a very beautiful garden, full of roses and of course the Petrin Tower.
Since the tower was opened at 10 a.m., so we're walking around the park and having some pictures.
After the tower was opened, I bought a ticket for 100 Kr to climb this 60 meters high tower.

There are 2 levels of the tower, the first 20 meters tall and if you continue the journey you will reach the top of this tower.
I felt really satisfied when I reached the top of this tower. It only took less than 10 minutes to climb this 299 stairs. Although I was a little afraid of heights, but I didn't want to waste this beautiful view from the top of this tower.
Unfortunately, my camera's battery was out while on the tower, so I missed to take a picture with a group who wore unique costumes, just like a traditional costumes.

From Petrin Tower we headed to the Castle of Prague using tram.
Once again I was fascinated with the architectural style of buildings here. The architecture was influenced by the Christian culture of 18th century (my thought).
What I'm confused, at that time how do they can make the building of this grand and beautiful, with great detail.

Unfortunately, to entered some certain rooms in the palace, you must have a special ticket.
There's so many guard who guarding this palace, and some of us took a picture with them.
The scenery outside the palace was also very beautiful, because the palace was located fairly high on the hill.

After we finished for walking around this palace and we also a little but tired, so we decided to have lunch in a restaurant near the Old Town Square.
Time passed so quickly, because at 3 pm we had to returned to the main station where our bus was waiting to went back to Nuremberg.

Wow, it felt great for visiting this historical city. Do not forget to buy some gifts and souvenirs when you visit this city.
The journey to this city would gonna be an unforgettable experience for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bamberg, Nice City to Visit

Germany, is one of European country that is worth a visit as a tourist destination.

The country which the capital city is in berlin
also has small towns that have other very beautiful scenery.

One of the beautiful small town is Bamberg.

Located in Bravia, north of Nuremberg, about 45 minutes by bus from Erlangen, has Regnitz river. When World War II, the city of Bamberg survived the bombing,

so the original buildings still stood firm with their ethnic form.
Bamberg name itself is taken from the House of Babenberg.

If you go to Bamberg, you have to taste the cuisine of this city, one of which is called the historic beer Rauchbier (smoked beer). There also many delicious foods here, I've tried one of them, and the taste was really nice...

The price is also not too expensive, a 0.5 liter glass only about 3 euros. It does feel a little bit different from the usual beer, and the color was slightly brown.

This town is quite famous for its beer, because there are about eight traditional brewer in town.

Bamberg also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage because of its authentic medieval appearance.
This city also has many main sights, which are :
- Cathedral (1237), with the tombs of emperor Henry II and Pope Clement II.
- Alte Hofhaltung, residence of the bishops in the 16th and 17th centuries
- Neue Residenz, residence of the bishops after the 17th century
- Old Town Hall (1386), built in the middle of the Regnitz River, accessible by two bridges
- Klein-Venedig ("Little Venice"), a colony of picturesque fishermen's houses from the 19th century along one side of the river Regnitz.

I really enjoyed my trip to this city... And the weather in autumn is really cool, also you can enjoy the sight of trees changing their color from green to orange.
So... what are you waiting for, prepare your passport and have a visit to this beautiful city, and don't forget to buy some souvenirs for your family and colleague.


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