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By Ravindran Raman Kutty

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Being the Advisor for the World Youth Organisation, I was honoured to receive an invitation to the soft launch of the World Urban Forum (WUF) 9 at the newly opened Mayor's Courtyard, Jalan Tangsi, Kuala Lumpur.

WUF is the world's premier conference on Cities. It kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya in 2002, and moved on to Barcelona, Spain 2004; Vancouver, Canada 2006; Nanjing, China 2008; Rio De Jenario, Brazil 2010; Naples, Italy 2012; Medellin, Colombo 2014, and now Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 2018.

It is a non-legislative technical forum convened by the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) since 2002. The forum is hosted bi-yearly in a different city to examine the most pressing issues facing the world today - rapid urbanization and its impact on cities, communities, economies, climate change and policies.


By Mohd Shukri Ishak

Bernama's correspondent Mohd Shukri Ishak shares his take from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.

JAKARTA (Bernama) -- Maintaining security and traffic management in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia with more than 10.7 million people, is a tough undertaking for the guardians of the city.

However, there are both opportunists and responsible citizens who help motorists get through the horrendous daily traffic snarls in this city that was once known as Batavia. The huge number of vehicles and roads means traffic lights will not suffice and Jakarta cannot afford to employ traffic cops in the hundreds or thousands.

Yet at almost every junction or U turns, there will be someone or a small group manning the traffic for a small reward depending on the motorists' generosity. While motorists back in Malaysia may fume over their presence on the road, in Indonesia these unofficial 'traffic wardens' provide a welcome respite for the worn out motorists.

In a city where its dwellers spend an average of 22 days a year navigating through the traffic jams, imagine without them most motorists will have to wait for hours to make a U turn or cross a junction. These unofficial traffic wardens are just ordinary souls who are out there to make a living.

One of them is Saiefudin, 27, who earns tips up to Rp150,000 (RM45) daily by helping out the motorists : "Our earnings depend on the generosity of the motorists, I normally work up to the evenings at the congested stretches, " he said.


By Rohana Nasrah

BEAUFORT (Bernama) -- For years, the rural district of Beaufort has remained a sleepy hollow with most of its denizens depending on agricultural and fishing activities to make ends meet.

Located in Sabah's interior in the southwest part of the state ? the main town of Beaufort is about 97 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu - the district has in recent years seen much improvements in the socio-economic status of its people.

Comprising some 53 villages, Beaufort has a population of 80,000.

According to Beaufort district officer Mohd Shaid Othman, statistics have revealed an annual decline in the poverty rate.

The number of people categorised as poor in Beaufort has dropped to 1,289 as at January this year, from 1,606 in November 2016. In the Membakut sub-district, the number has reduced to 328 from 360 for the same period.



By Vikneswaran Raman

PETALING JAYA, Jan 22 (Bernama) -- The members of public and those who participate in sports and fitness activities irregularly or inconsistently without proper preparation or training may not realise that they are more prone to sports injuries.

Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Mohd Rusdi Abdullah, of Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC), treats an average of 800 sports injury cases annually.

"However, only 10 percent involve professional athletes while the rest are 'weekend warriors' or sports enthusiasts who are not well prepared for extreme activities.

"On the average about 30 percent of those injured require surgery, while the rest may need conservative (non-surgical) treatment such as physiotherapy, injection, bracing and medication. Usually we will try non-surgical method first, but if there is no recovery then we will opt for surgery depending on the severity and other factors.

"In most cases, the irregular sportsmen and sportswomen are physically not fit for extreme sports activities. Often their muscles are not toned, no proper warm up or stretching, insufficient or improper gear, as well as not wearing a proper shoe, " he told Bernama in an exclusive interview at SJMC here.


By Shakir Husain

NEW DELHI (Bernama) -- Bollywood is a portmanteau word created from Bombay, now known as Mumbai, and Hollywood. Mumbai is where most of Hindi cinema's directors, producers and actors live.

Some see the word Bollywood as belittling India's thriving commercial film industry, which has its own independent identity and has achieved success beyond the nation.

However, it is also true that Bollywood has sought inspiration from Hollywood not just in the art of making movies but in lifestyles as well.

It was no surprise that when the claims emerged about prominent Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein's sex abuse of film stars, questions were raised about similar goings-on in Bollywood.

Lurid details about Weinstein's alleged abuse, including rape, of Hollywood women who depend on men like him for work have shocked the Western world.


By Ali Imran Mohd Noordin

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- "I will show all of you the documents first, otherwise some of you might have difficulty believing it."

That was how Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad started the press conference revealing the latest updates on the Felda land controversy on Jan 15.

He had chosen to do away with conventional greetings and went straight to the heart of the matter, which was the return of all the plots of land involved in the Jalan Semarak real estate controversy to Felda.

His jubilant demeanour throughout the event reflected his satisfaction over solving the organisation's biggest controversy within a year and nine months after taking over the post of Felda Chairman from Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad.

He had also taken several other remedial measures such as revamping the management, restructuring the organisation's assets as well as beefing up its financial position.


By Erda Khursyiah Basir

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- When Norjauharatul Wahidah Zakaria finally succeeded in buying a house in 2016, it was a dream come true for her.

"To be honest, I had not reached a stage where I could afford a roof over my head but then I was thinking it was time to make an effort to buy one because house prices have been rising every year," said the 32-year-old former spa employee who is now an executive at a private company, here.

When she heard of the My First Home Financing Scheme or MyDeposit - implemented by the federal government in April 2016 to enable middle-income earners to buy their first home - she became hopeful of her chances of owning a house; in fact, she was among the scheme's early successful applicants.

By October 2016, Norjauharatul Wahidah, her husband, who is a private sector employee, and two children aged six and eight had already moved into their own house, a single-storey, three-bedroom unit at Bandar Kinrara in Puchong, Selangor.

"My dream came true, " she said, smiling. "It doesn't matter how big or small our house is, the important thing is my husband and I, and our children have our own roof over our head."