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Nine Indonesian workers trapped, one dead in Malaysia supermarket accident


Nine Indonesian construction workers were trapped in the rubbles of the collapsed Jaya Supermarket in Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, after demolition operations went awry on Thursday evening.

One of the nine workers, identified as Maskor, 28, was confirmed dead, Star online reported.

The Fire and Rescue Department received a distress call at 5:08pm and about 50 firemen immediately rushed to the scene.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Soiman Jahid said the first worker was pulled out of the rubble at 5:45pm and followed by the second about fifteen minutes later.

The two injured victims Suriono, 31, and Salleh, 45 were sent to the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).

Rescue workers also recovered the body of a construction worker at 6:44pm.

Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed said Suriono was admitted to the emergency ward while Salleh received outpatient treatment.

“The dead victim has been identified as Maskor, 28,” he said at a press conference at the scene.

He said that six more construction workers were still trapped under the debris.

“We are working on the assumption that they are still alive. The search and rescue operation will continue untill all are accounted for,” he said.

A resident living nearby earlier said he had heard trapped workers shouting “Tolong, tolong (Help, help)” for a while, but there was only silence now.

One trapped worker apparently managed to call his boss on his handphone, and rescue workers are trying to trace him.

By nightfall, an operations centre had been set up and spotlights were used to help with the rescue efforts.

Soiman said the rescue operation involves over 150 personnel from his department, police, the Civil Defence Department, Petaling Jaya City Council and others.

“We are using the tracker dogs to search for the remaining victims,’’ he added.

The building has six storeys, including two basement levels. Most of the workers were on the ground and third floors when the incident, whose cause is currently unknown, occurred.

At one stage, the remaining part of the building was teetering dangerously, reporters on the scene said, with bits and pieces still falling off.

However, the Fire and Rescue Department has confirmed that there are no houses nearby and residents were not in danger.

Lucky survivors

An Indonesian worker Mohamad Iksan, 25, who was carrying out drilling operations in the basement, said he ran out immediately after some concrete slabs fell on the ground not far from him.

“Luckily I was near open space and managed to escape. I only realised part of the building had collapsed after I ran out of the building,” he said.

He said he was working with about eight colleagues during the incident and most of them were at the basement and the highest floor.

Andi, 30, who was on the fifth floor of the building, was taking a break with nine other construction workers when the incident happened.

“I was sitting down when I heard the loud sound of wind rushing past. Then the floor started tilting and we just ran for our lives.

“We rushed to the other end of the building. We are lucky to be alive,” said Andi, who had just started working on the construction site 20 days ago.

Rojak seller Faizal Md Yusof, 25, who was at his van nearby, saw the building “goyang” (sway) and then collapse.

“I saw six cranes falling down along with the building. I just left my van and ran for my life,” he said.

His van was located less than 50m from the collapsed building.

Store manager Lee, 37, said she heard loud booming sounds and looked out of her shoe shop to witness the building collapse.

“There is usually some noise from the construction. When I heard the loud noise, I knew something big fell but I never thought that the whole building would collapse,” she said.

source : www.thejakartapost.com Read More...

Pentagon plans new cyberspace war command


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon plans to create a new military command for cyberspace, stepping up preparations by the armed forces to conduct both offensive and defensive computer warfare, the New York Times said on Friday.

The military command will complement a civilian effort President Barack Obama plans to announce on Friday that will overhaul the way the United States safeguards its computer networks, the newspaper said on its website.

Citing Obama administration sources, the Times said the president will detail on Friday the creation of a White House office that will coordinate a multi-billion-dollar effort to restrict access to government computers, protect systems that run U.S. stock exchanges, clear global banking transactions and manage the air traffic control system.

The Times said the civilian office would be responsible for coordinating private sector and government defenses against thousands of cyber-attacks mounted every day against the United States, largely by hackers but sometimes by foreign governments.

Administration sources said the president would not discuss the Pentagon plan on Friday. But Obama is expected to sign a classified order in the coming weeks that will create the military cyber-command.

The need for improved U.S. cyber-security was driven home in April when the Wall Street Journal reported that cyber-spies had penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system.

The Times said the United States already has a growing number of computer weapons in its arsenal and must prepare strategies for their use as a deterrent or alongside conventional weapons in a wide variety of possible future conflicts.

Reuters has reported that companies in the cyber-security market range from security-software makers Symantec Corp and McAfee Inc, to traditional defense contractors such as Northrop Grumman Corp and Lockheed Martin Corp, to information technology companies such as CACI International.

The Pentagon had been working on a cyberspace strategy for several months. It was completed weeks ago, but was delayed because of ongoing arguments over the authority of the White House office and budgets for the entire effort, the report said.

source : reuters.com Read More...

Scientists develop new basis for H5N1 vaccine: WHO

GENEVA (Reuters) - Scientists have used bird flu virus samples from Egypt to develop a new basis for a vaccine against the toxic H5N1 strain that continues to circulate, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Avian influenza kills about half the people it infects, but unlike the quickly circulating swine flu story">H1N1 flu virus has not been shown to pass easily between humans to date.

The WHO said the candidate virus was developed at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta "thanks to the ministry of health and population of Egypt, for providing virus specimens,"

"This recombinant vaccine virus is available for distribution," it said in a statement on its website.

"Institutions, companies and others interested in pandemic vaccine development who wish to receive these candidate vaccine viruses should contact either the WHO Global Influenza Program ... or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Pharmaceutical companies including Novartis are already working on vaccines against H5N1 bird flu, which has killed or forced the culling of more than 300 million birds since 2003 as it spread to 61 countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

While eclipsed on the headlines by the highly contagious swine flu story">H1N1 strain, which proved deadly in its North American epicenter but has caused mild symptoms as it spread, the WHO stressed it was important to remember the risks posed by avian influenza.

The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization reported 250 outbreaks of H5N1 in birds in February alone -- in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam.

Avian influenza has killed 261 people out of 424 infected since 2003. By contrast, the swine flu story">H1N1 strain, commonly known as swine flu and which has put the world on pandemic alert, has infected more than 13,000 people but killed just 95, according to WHO figures.

Its statement on Thursday said flu experts were continuing to monitor the evolution of avian influenza and other flu viruses and stressed the need for countries to keep providing samples of identified strains.

"Countries are encouraged to share with WHO their specimens and/or isolates, both from humans and animals, for their inclusion in the WHO H5N1 vaccine virus development and selection process, in addition to other activities of public health significance," it said.

Virus sharing is a sensitive topic for developing countries such as Indonesia, who have bristled at the idea of companies using their biological material to manufacture and patent vaccines that are then sold at unaffordable prices.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, who raised the United Nations agency's pandemic alert to 5 out of 6 in response to the fast spread of swine flu, is trying to broker an international agreement on the sharing of virus samples by January 2010.

She has called on countries to do all they can to ensure fresh samples of both H5N1 and the new swine flu story">H1N1 strains reach the pharmaceutical community so that their vaccines can offer immunity against the latest forms of the viruses.

The WHO's statement did not include new guidance on the H1N1 virus or vaccines to fight it. WHO officials have said they would offer recommendations "during the summer" about how many pandemic vaccines focused on that strain may needed, depending on whether it continues to cause mild effects as its spreads.

source : reuters.com Read More...

RIM and Google: The Perfect Storm?

A “Perfect Storm”: The Linux-based Android OS, and tight integration with Google’s web services, running on BlackBerry hardware and connected to RIM’s corporate messaging/calendar syncing infrastructure would be an unstoppable mobile enterprise device platform that not even Apple’s iPhone, Windows Mobile or Palm webOS could dare to challenge. But could the marriage ever be consummated? (GoogleBerry Storm concept by Spidermonkey)

In my previous piece about Palm and the potential for webOS to be used for derivative tablet-sized devices, I talked a bit about Google’s problem with having to brand Android and finding a major device manufacturer with brand and sex appeal to attract customers in order to make a major commercial success of the platform.

It occurred to me that the perfect manufacturer, brand and partner for Android devices already exists: Research In Motion.

There is of course, the issue that RIM already has it’s own software platform, the BlackBerry OS, which has been under development for about 8 years.

While Android is Linux based, and Blackberry is completely proprietary, both share quite a bit in common from the developer perspective, in that the applications are written in Java. There are of course some religious differences as to how Java is implemented on both systems — BlackBerry uses a licensed derivative of the Sun J2ME JVM and version 4.x implements a subset of MIDP 2.0, whereas Android’s Dalvik is an Open Source re-implementation of Java that uses a unique Google-developed bytecode that is incompatible with that of J2ME, so it cannot be certified as “true” Java. Nevertheless, from a developer perspective, the two systems are very similar in terms of skill sets that are needed to create software that would run on either device.

Still, in order to develop Android and Blackberry apps today, developers need to maintain separate code bases and separate developer platforms. However, if BlackBerry and Android ran on the same JVM, they could in fact share the same developer environment. Developers would not need to prioritize which platform to develop for — their application development target would in fact be the same.

How could this be done? Either by porting Dalvik natively to the BlackBerry OS, so that Android apps could run side by side with conventional BlackBerry apps and eventually phasing out the licensed Sun J2ME JVM over time, or by having RIM move to Android and port all of their enterprise messaging/calendaring integration services for BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) to that platform, adding any branding and UI customizations required in order to make it more “BlackBerry-like” and including the legacy J2ME JVM on the device to provide legacy app support during that transition period. In terms of level of effort, the second option would probably make a lot more sense.

There are a number of reasons why RIM might want to consider abandoning their own in-house OS for Android. For starters, both RIM and Google are facing three competitors that are encroaching on their space rather quickly — iPhone, Windows Mobile and Palm webOS, and to a certain extent in the European and Asian markets, Symbian. A strategic alliance between the two where BlackBerry becomes the premier mobile Android platform for enterprise and heavy messaging users and would include tight integration with Google’s web services would send shockwaves down Infinite Loop and Microsoft Way.

A RIM/Google alliance would not preclude the existence of other Android devices on the market, such as the T-Mobile G1, but presumably only RIM Android devices would be BES capable. RIM could also run their own Android store with apps that take specific advantage of RIM Android devices, maintaining the unique value of what makes a BlackBerry a BlackBerry.

RIM could also take advantage of Google’s massive datacenter infrastructure, and enlisting Google’s help in order to provide redundant NOCs, as opposed to the single NOC in Ottawa which they maintain now. This would render BlackBerry system outages a thing of the past, or at least much more infrequent than they occur now.

Would a RIM and Google alliance make sense and result in a “Perfect Storm” for their competitors, or are the two companies incompatible?

source : zdnet.com Read More...

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