Thursday, July 31, 2008

Diamond Ring for Wedding........Once in a Life Time

I have been shopping around for my engagement diamond ring and at last I have found one......

Hope she will like it.....

The photos are quite blur as I have taken from a camera phone

The ring comes with GIA Certificate.

The size, colour and guess ...ha ha

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

America's Got Talent Go Bollywood.... Sit Back and Have Fun

Another fantastic act from UMNO----- 40 million land scandal

Again , a corrupted UMNO politician has presented another lovely presents for penangite, this time a RM40 million liability for Penang state government in a land deal scam according to the Edge.

Again, with an excuse of "negligence", they escaped without penalised............

Another sick Bolehland story (that will not be published in Utusan Malaysia) .............Again and again

Hilmi admits negligence in land deal 29-07-2008

By Regina William

PENANG: A former deputy chief minister admitted negligence and took responsibility for a land deal which resulted in the state government being liable to pay RM40 million in a legal suit.
Datuk Seri Hilmi Yahaya (Teluk Bahang-BN), who was the deputy chief minister from 1999 to 2004, said the incident happened when he was the land committee chairman.
Hilmi made the revelation when Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was elaborating on several land deals which had caused the state government around RM124 million in losses due to negligence of the previous Barisan Nasional state government.
In his winding up speech, Lim cited land acquisition cases which resulted in RM84 million in losses while the “Tan Hak Ju” case, which would cost the state government RM40 million, involving the giving of a 10.6 acre site to an individual by the then state government for quarry purposes but the deal was later cancelled.
Lim said before the case was brought to court, the individual had agreed to a compensation of RM1.8 million but the state government refused to pay.
The court then ordered the state government to pay RM40 million, which was reduced to RM29 million after appeal but at 8% annual interest, Lim said it would eventually cost the state government RM40 million.
Lim then criticised former deputy chief minister Datuk Seri Rashid Abdullah who has refused to clarify some of the land deals despite being asked repeatedly by the present state government.
At this juncture, Hilmi admitted being the one handling the case.
“This case was handled by me when I was handling the land portfolio and I admit there was negligence which resulted in the case being taken to court and compensation being paid.
“I feel responsible for what happened as the matter was not closely scrutinised when it came up to the committee. Even I visited the site and it was approved after a visit to the site and sadly, a mistake happened,” he added.
Lim, who thanked Hilmi for coming out in the open, also asked Hilmi to come forward with proof to help the state government.
“I am surprised how the approval was given despite the technical committee objecting to it,” Lim added.
Hilmi then stood up to say that the approval was given for the 10.6 acres, out of 100 acres, for quarry operations, so when the area was levelled it could later be developed.
“As far as I remember, only the Department of Environment objected to it but the final decision was made at the state executive committee level,” Hilmi added.
Lim then said the entire executive council committee must be held responsible for the decision made.

Oil Price Down Down Down .......................

Oil price is heading for consolidation and I would not be surprised if it will hit US110 soon and will hovering around that price for few months.

Switch your money to equity now for this summer. Olympic is coming and China government will release more measures to support the equity market. "One world, One Dream" A stable equity market will psychologically put Chinese people in better mood to enjoy Olympic. My target for Hang Seng index is 25,000 by end of August 08.

As for Dow Jones, it should hit 12,000 by middle of August 08 or sooner. US Presidential election is coming and you can see how hard Bush administration trying to support the market. Stock market is the last fortress for US economy...............................

Oil hits seven-week low on demand worries

Stronger U.S. dollar also sparks another dramatic sell-off

Oil prices have fallen more than 15% since setting a record on July 11, but prices remain nearly 65% higher than a year ago.
Oil prices tumbled more than $2 a barrel Tuesday, finishing at their lowest level in seven weeks as a stronger dollar and beliefs that record prices are eroding the world’s thirst for energy sparked another dramatic sell-off.

The drop — which surpassed $4 a barrel at one point during the day — was a throwback to oil’s nosedive over the past two weeks and outweighed supply concerns touched off by a militant attack Monday on two Nigerian crude pipelines. It was oil’s seventh decline in the last 10 sessions.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery fell $2.54 to settle at $122.19 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the lowest settlement price for a front-month contract since June 10. Earlier, prices fell to $120.42, also the lowest level since June 10. Oil has now fallen more than $25 from its trading high of $147.27, reached July 11.

More concerns that crude’s run-up over the past year has pushed prices to unsustainable levels fed Tuesday’s decline. The U.S. Transportation Department said Monday that U.S. drivers logged 9.6 billion fewer vehicle miles in May — or 3.7 percent — compared to the same period last year, the biggest drop ever for the historically busy summer driving month.

And demand for oil in the U.S. — the world’s thirstiest consumer — continues to fall, dropping by 891,000 barrels per day in May compared the same month a year ago, the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration said Monday.

“We’re seeing both statistical and anecdotal evidence of a very rapidly weakening demand picture,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Ill.

The declines accelerated after oil briefly dipped below $122, a key resistance level that triggered technical selling by computers programmed to dump oil contracts once prices fall under a certain threshold.

“Once we break through $120, we could easily slide through to $100,” said Darin Newsom, senior analyst at DTN in Omaha.

Also weighing on prices was a sharply stronger dollar compared to the euro, which made commodities less attractive to investors who have bought oil futures as a hedge against inflation and weakness in the U.S. currency.

The euro bought $1.5584 compared with $1.5752 late Monday in New York.

“It looks like oil is selling off today with the very, very strong dollar and nothing to drive it higher. Quiet seems to be bearish these days,” said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service in Wall, N.J.

In another sign that high prices are curbing Americans’ consumption for fuel, retail gas prices fell further below the $4-a-gallon mark. The average price of a regular gas fell 1.7 cents to $3.941, according to auto club AAA, the Oil Prices Information Service and Wright Express.

Monday’s attack in Nigeria targeted two pipelines believed to be owned by a unit of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and was the latest in a two-year campaign of attacks on the country’s oil industry. Shell said a pipeline had been damaged in attacks and that some crude production had been shut down to prevent the oil from spilling into the environment.

The oil company said Tuesday it may not be able to fulfill some oil-export contracts because of the damage. Shell didn’t specify how much oil production was cut by the attack or how long repairs would take.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta says it is acting to force the Nigerian federal government to send more oil industry funds to the southern region, which produces all of Nigeria’s crude oil but remains impoverished after decades of corrupt and wasteful governance.

Analysts at JBC Energy in Vienna, Austria, estimated the repeated attacks on country’s oil installations, Nigeria’s output had fallen to just below 1.9 million barrels a day from more than 2.4 million barrels a day in 2005.

Oil market analysts are awaiting U.S. data later in the week for indications of how the world’s largest economy could be expected to perform in coming months. Figures for gross domestic product for the second quarter will be released Thursday, while July auto sales and the July employment report are both due Friday.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Best Money lesson that I ever learned from the Best Mind

Don't Save Too Much

Steven Levitt
Author, "Freakonomics"

When I was a first-year assistant professor at the University of Chicago, my friend and department chair Jose Scheinkman relayed the advice Milton Friedman had given him 20 years earlier: "Don't save too much."

The logic was simple: An academic's salary rises steadily over time, as do outside opportunities (like writing popular books!). The right reason to save is so you can even out your consumption. When times are good, you should save, and when times are bad, borrow. Most likely I would never be that poor again, which meant I should be borrowing, not saving. I didn't follow the advice as fully as I should have, partly because my wife insisted we save - she is not quite as good an economist as Milton Friedman.

Swear Off Debt

Elizabeth Gilbert
Author, "Eat, Pray, Love"

Elizabeth Gilbert
Photo: Deborah Lopez, Courtesy: Wylie Agency

My father is the most frugal human being I've ever met. His most adamant instruction was that I should never under any circumstances go into debt. To this end, he passed along the message his own grandfather had taught him: "Borrowing money is like wetting your bed in the middle of the night. At first all you feel is warmth and release. But very, very quickly comes the awful, cold discomfort of reality."

That vivid image has stuck with me forever. Even when I was a diner waitress, I wouldn't let a month go by without paying off my credit card. And this adamancy has kept me warm and dry and free my whole life.

Sell for the Right Reason

Don Phillips
Managing director, Morningstar

Tom Mathers, founder of the Mathers Fund, shared these words of wisdom at an early Morningstar Conference: "If you find a great growth company, don't sell it just because it gets a little pricey - you may never get back in again." He told a charming story about how he and his wife were redecorating their home in the 1960s and wanted to buy a piano.

Tom held some shares in Disney, and while he liked the company, he thought its stock price was a bit rich at the time, so he sold the Disney stock to fund the purchase of the piano. Tom never got back into Disney and instead watched it rise and rise. Years later Tom would walk through his living room, see the piano and mutter to himself, "That's the most expensive damn piano on the face of the planet!"

Don't Follow the Herd

Robert Shiller
Professor of economics, Yale University

My teacher in graduate school at MIT in 1970, Charles Poor Kindleberger, who later wrote "Manias, Panics, and Crashes," first convinced me of the social process that drives much of what goes on in speculative markets. One needs to think antisocially to excel in investing, to resist the patterns of thinking that seem mysteriously to arrive simultaneously in the minds of millions of people around the world.

People do not trust their own judgment but go along with the crowd, even when they can see truth. In a world populated with such people, there are investing opportunities for people who make the effort and do the work see clearly for themselves.

Always Get It in Writing

Dave Barry
Humor columnist

Dave Barry
Photo: Raul Ribiera/Miami Herald, Courtesy: Dave Barry

I got my best financial advice when I was 16. I met this kid who was only eight, but he seemed smart, and he said, "If you give me $5, I'll invest it in a company I plan to start someday. In return I'll pay you 10% of the profits."

That young man was Bill Gates. I'm sure he'll remember this, now that it has been revealed in a reputable magazine.

Be Frugal but Not Stingy

Meir Statman
Professor of finance, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

My parents told me, "Use money well, but do not waste it." I remember receiving a bicycle when I was a kid. When I asked my dad how much it cost, he wouldn't tell me. So I grew up with the sense that money is there to do good things, to support your family and others.

I like to think I'm frugal. "The Millionaire Next Door" describes millionaires who never buy a new car because its value goes down substantially after two years and so on. I buy new cars. I check with other dealerships to get the best price. But the idea that I have to live like a pauper even if I have the means to live better doesn't make any sense to me.

What I Learned From Horace

John Bogle
Founder, Vanguard

"Whoever cultivates the Golden Mean avoids both the poverty of a hovel and the envy of a palace." I'm not sure when I first read that quotation from the Roman poet Horace, but I used it to introduce my chapter on balanced funds in "Bogle on Mutual Funds." These funds allocate investors' assets between stocks (usually about 65%) and bonds (the remaining 35%).

Today, sadly, balanced funds seem out of fashion, but the idea of the Golden Mean remains great investment advice. Asset allocation is the most important decision investors must make. It helps keep our counterproductive emotions out of the picture, assuring us of some profits when stocks rise and some protection when they fall. It also enables you to "stay the course" through thick and thin. Come to think of it, that's also a pretty good piece of advice.

Know Where Your Money Goes

Derek Jeter
Shortstop, New York Yankees

Derek Jeter
Photo: Ed Betz/AP

The best financial advice I've received is that you should always know where your money is. Even if you have someone who handles your finances for you, you should always be involved in the process. I learned this from my parents.

Use Small Bills

Roy Blount Jr.
Author and humorist

A bartender once told me, "Don't ever carry a bill bigger than a 20, because you'll think it's a 20, like you just did, and everybody won't be as honest as me."

What I Learned From Commodore Vanderbilt

John Steele Gordon
Author, "An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power"

If you take a look at my net worth, obviously I haven't received any good advice. But I've always admired Commodore Vanderbilt's advice to a young, earnest reporter: "Don't buy anything you don't want or sell anything you ain't got."

Vanderbilt was warning against speculation; he followed his own advice and died the richest self-made man in the world. I've never been an active trader - I don't have the personality for it - but Vanderbilt's advice is wonderful.

Create Your Own Opportunities

Bobbi Brown
Founder and CEO, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

Bobbi Brown
Courtesy: Bobbi Brown

I started working as a freelance makeup artist in 1980, and I worried that I didn't have enough money. My father told me I'd just have to figure out a way to make more money. So I started looking through the Yellow Pages and calling agencies, magazines, photographers - anyone I could offer my services to. I'd work for free until I proved myself.

Soon enough, I was getting regular calls to do their makeup. My father's advice made me feel that I was in control of my future. I realized that it was my job to find more opportunities.

Don't Get Too Good at the Wrong Stuff

Timothy Ferriss
Author, "The Four-Hour Workweek"

Professor Ed Zschau at Princeton University gave me a short but powerful piece of advice. I had volunteered for the second time to clean erasers and place name placards on desks before class to get to know him.

He said with a smile, "Don't get too good at the little things" and explained that if you excel at the menial tasks, those are the responsibilities people will associate you with and give you. Get noticed for doing things that help the big picture, not for fetching coffee, and your financial picture will grow just as fast as your reputation.

Careful of People You Trust

Scott Adams
Creator of "Dilbert"

When I worked in a bank, I learned that the only people who screw you are the people you trust. The people you don't trust never get the chance. So keep an eye on the people you trust.

Money Doesn't Make You Happy

Craig Newmark
Founder, Craigslist

Craig Newmark
Courtesy: Craigslist

Material stuff won't make you happy. I'm pretty sure I got the message at the Hebrew school attached to the temple in Morristown, N.J., where I grew up. Maybe I was around eight at the time.

It's very true; I'm pretty happy with a tiny fraction of the wealth I could have. I know a bunch of really rich guys, and they're no happier than anyone else.

What I Learned From Johnny Carson

Bill Nygren
Manager, Oakmark Select Fund

Back when I was in college, I remember watching Johnny Carson interview Andrew Tobias, who was giving personal financial advice. Johnny asked: "What's the best investment for someone who has only $1,000?" Mr. Tobias said, "Nonperishable consumer staples."

Of course, the audience roared. But Mr. Tobias was being serious and said that if you purchase nonperishables when they are on sale, the return on investment is enormous. That answer focused me on the idea that investing wasn't only about stocks and bonds but rather was a mind-set for making sense of all of the transactions a consumer engaged in.

Get Screwed Once, Get Screwed Twice.....

I cannot believe when news of PAS top leadership having negotiation or backdoor deals with UMNO came out in news paper again.

It seems that Pas Leadership have not wake up although they have screwed by UMNO not once but countless times during 1970-80 era.

Sad to say, they still believe in UMNO, where even Malay has started to despise the party during last general election.

I cannot imagine they still dare to talk to a leader (guess who? no prize for correct guess!!!!!!!) who has told public that he would not get married but ended up his wedding in a next day; a leader who announced that he would not increase fuel price until coming August but in turn caught rakyat off guard with a 40% increase in fuel price in a 24 hours turn.

Wake uplah, PAS , rakyat can vote you out just like when rakyat has voted Umno out from Selangor, Perak and Kedah.

Don't believe, just wait and see........banana skin is waiting for you......

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The end of the global house price boom?

Is this a best time to buy a house? wait until you read this article written by Global Property Guide .....

Weighed down by the credit crunch and high inflation, the global house price boom has ended, according to our latest survey of house price indicators.

Only 13 countries in which dwelling price indices are regularly published saw prices rise during the year to end Q1 2008, while 21 countries saw dwelling prices fall in real terms, i.e., after adjusting for inflation.

In most countries where house prices are not falling, they are clearly losing momentum.

The biggest house price fall was in Latvia (Riga), down -38.2% by May 2008 from a year earlier, after adjusting for inflation.

US prices also fell during the year to end of Q1, by anything from -4.2% to -18.1%, after inflation, depending on which index is used.

In Europe, significant real house price falls took place during the year to end-Q1 2008 in Ireland (- 13.2%), Luxembourg (-5.8%), Portugal (-4.3%) and Malta (-4.9%).

UK house prices were only slightly down at end-Q1 from a year earlier, the house price crash having begun in earnest in early 2008. House prices fell during the first quarter by between - 0.7% to -2.1% (inflation-adjusted), depending on the index used.

In Japan, the housing market is now losing momentum once again. The urban land price index for 6 major cities was up only 4.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) to H1 2008 in nominal terms (2.9% after inflation), down from 7.8% over the same period in 2007 (7.9% after inflation). The national index for Japan fell by 0.7% y-o-y to H1 2008 (-1.9% after inflation).

Inflation woes

In nominal terms, 28 countries saw their housing prices rise during the year to end-Q1 2008, while only 6 saw prices fall.

However when property prices are adjusted for inflation, the picture looks entirely different. Skyrocketing oil, food and commodity prices have pushed inflation up around the world.

In Ukraine for instance, nominal house price growth was sharply down from 79.5% in the year to Q1 2007, to 18.2% in the year to Q1 2008. But when adjusted for inflation, property prices actually fell by -6.4% y-o-y.

In real terms, property prices fell y-o-y to end-Q1 2008 in Norway, Spain, Greece, South Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Israel, Estonia and Lithuania, despite nominal price rises in all these countries.

House-price booms elsewhere

On the other hand, strong house prices increases were observed in a handful of emerging economies. Ahead of the pack was China (Shanghai), with an enormous 40.5% nominal house price surge during the year to the end of Q1 2008.

Other countries with impressive nominal house price increases y-o-y to end-Q1 2008 were Bulgaria (31.6% y-o-y), Hong Kong (31.1% y-o-y), and Singapore (29.8% y-o-y). Strong house price gains also took place in Cyprus, Australia and Taiwan.

Again, when adjusted for inflation, many of these price rises look much less impressive. The world’s top-performing housing market (after inflation) was not China or Hong Kong or Singapore, but Slovakia, where real house prices rose by 29.3%.

Causes of the downturn

There were arguably three main factors behind the end of the housing boom:

  • After a very long boom, house prices had become stretched in many countries. The main indicator of this is the price/rent ratio, which compares the relationship between the buying price of a dwelling, with its rental price.

    As the boom progressed, buying prices become high (in relation to rents and financing costs) in many countries, leading to decisions by some buyers to rent instead of buying. Mortgage-holders also came under extreme pressure as interest rates rose. A key lesson is the critical importance of monitoring price/rent ratios, to ensure that house prices valuations stay within reasonable limits. (Declaration of interest: The Global Property Guide produces comprehensive price/rent ratio estimates, globally). Inflationary pressures forced central banks to raise interest rates. This particularly impacted European countries where mortgage loans were primarily made on variable interest rate terms. Countries with heavily indebted households are also vulnerable when interest rates increase. In developing countries, the overall economy (which strongly sways the mood of the housing market) is sometimes very sensitive to interest rate changes or to direct intervention by the monetary authorities. In some countries, mere threats of interest rate hikes are enough to shake the stock market and scare away foreign investors. But conversely, developing countries typically have smaller mortgage markets, reducing the impact on housing markets.
  • Unsound regulatory and banking practices in the US and elsewhere led to over-lending by mortgage providers which, when these unsound loans began to go bad, caused a financial crisis. The bad news spread both by a panic contagion effect, and because many banks outside the US turned out to be more exposed than initially expected.


Inflation remains an extremely challenging problem for the world’s central banks. In addition, the financial shocks to the world’s banking systems resulting from house price falls remain to be worked through (historically, most banking system collapses around the world have been caused by falling house prices).

Until these financial systems feel more confident that their problems are behind them, loan volumes are likely to fall. Therefore, it seems likely that the world’s house price momentum will continue to go down.

Wow it is 41 ℃ in Hong Kong

when I touched down in Hong Kong last nite, it was incredibly hot. I cannot beleive it until I read the news paper today ......Guess what is the temperature?

41 ℃................................... Phew Phew

香 港 熱 爆 了
旺 角 女 人 街 41 ℃

「 好 鬼 熱 呀 ! 」 旺 角 女 人 街 檔 主 一 邊 對 艷 陽 咆 哮 , 一 邊 擦 拭 臉 上 沒 完 沒 了 的 汗 珠 。 本 報 記 者 昨 日 走 遍 港 九 新 界 檢 測 各 區 氣 溫 , 發 現 旺 角 女 人 街 下 午 時 分 高 達 41.1 度 。 醫 生 警 告 , 處 身 如 斯 酷 熱 天 氣 , 逾 廿 分 鐘 即 可 不 支 倒 地 。 有 專 家 指 出 , 香 港 市 區 熱 爆 源 於 「 熱 島 效 應 」 , 罪 魁 禍 首 是 散 發 熱 能 的 石 屎 屏 風 樓 , 以 致 近 年 香 港 氣 溫 上 升 速 度 , 比 新 加 坡 甚 至 非 洲 還 要 快 , 換 言 之 香 港 越 來 越 熱 。

昨 日 在 本 港 多 處 檢 測 日 間 氣 溫 , 發 現 元 朗 濕 地 公 園 的 最 高 氣 溫 達 46.5 度 , 其 次 為 元 朗 市 中 心 及 士 尼 樂 園 , 分 別 達 43 及 41.5 度 。 市 區 方 面 , 旺 角 女 人 街 最 熱 , 下 午 1 時 30 分 錄 得 41.1 度 。
女 人 街 檔 口 平 均 佔 地 百 多 平 方 呎 , 每 檔 卻 有 兩 至 三 台 大 風 扇 向 檔 主 及 客 人 送 風 。 有 檔 主 向 地 上 灑 水 降 溫 , 邊 咆 哮 「 好 鬼 熱 呀 ! 」 多 名 檔 主 均 向 記 者 發 出 「 熱 的 控 訴 」 , 更 投 訴 天 氣 炎 熱 令 市 民 「 冇 心 機 行 街 」 , 生 意 比 平 日 差 。

元 朗 市 中 心 : 43 ℃ ( 2:13pm )

元 朗 濕 地 公 園 : 46.5 ℃ ( 2:55pm )

中 文 大 學 氣 候 變 化 與 健 康 研 究 小 組 主 管 陳 英 凝 指 出 , 人 體 正 常 氣 溫 為 36.3 度 , 在 此 溫 度 才 能 維 持 血 液 循 環 及 消 化 等 系 統 正 常 運 作 , 體 溫 每 高 1 度 , 每 分 鐘 心 跳 即 會 增 加 20 下 。 醫 學 界 鮮 有 研 究 監 測 外 在 氣 溫 如 何 影 響 人 體 體 溫 , 但 酷 熱 天 氣 較 易 影 響 初 生 嬰 兒 及 長 者 的 健 康 。

銅 鑼 灣 : 32.2 ℃ ( 5:00pm )

粉 嶺 高 球 場 : 39 ℃ ( 1:05pm )

中 環 天 星 碼 頭 : 35.3 ℃ ( 2:00pm )

士 尼 樂 園 : 41.5 ℃ ( 4:17pm )

Tokyo Tokyo

If you ask me what is exciting in Tokyo, I have to say.....Food ,Food, Food, Drinks, Drinks, Drinks and Shopping......
You will not want to miss Tokyo during this summer time.............

Oil: What goes up...

After months of rising oil prices, crude has finally started to fall from record levels. Is it possible that oil below $100 and gas under $4 a gallon are in sight?

Read below...........................

Stocks have gained ground in the past two weeks, despite more dreary earnings news, as oil prices have fallen.

NEW YORK ( -- Oil's on sale!

Okay, not really. At about $124 a barrel, crude is still up substantially from a year ago. But it's down 15% in just a couple of weeks, and the threat of $150 oil has faded for now.

The stock market has taken notice. Despite some not-so-great news from many banks, stocks overall have rallied.

So why is oil falling? And can it continue to do so?

There's a simple answer to the first question: Oil prices are down sharply because oil prices were up sharply.

The spike in oil has hurt consumers around the globe. So demand for oil is finally starting to cool. Oil prices have fallen as a result. And stocks have gained ground.

"It's a circular phenomenon. Oil prices go up and it affects consumer confidence and stocks go down. When oil goes down, consumer confidence increases and stocks go up. It's a little bit of a see-saw," said Brandon Thomas, chief investment officer of Portfolio Management Consultants, investment arm of Envestnet Asset Management in Chicago.

With that in mind, there is a growing sense that oil could keep heading lower.

Some experts think that demand from emerging markets, most notably China, may finally slow down because of how high prices are.

"The ever deteriorating demand picture in the U.S. only seems to be getting from bad to worse and this contagion may even be spreading to China, the dynamo of demand growth," wrote Nauman Barakat, an energy trader at Macquarie Futures, the trading arm of Macquarie investment bank, in a report Thursday morning.

What's more, Stephen Schork, editor of oil industry newsletter The Schork Report, pointed out in his Thursday report that the fact that oil is below $125 is an important psychological milestone.

"We closed last night closer to $100 than $150 for the first time in seven weeks. We are closer to double-digit crude oil than some may want to admit," Schork wrote.

Still, some say that oil will probably need to go below $100 to truly help the economy and convince investors that the recent stock market rally is for real.

"Oil at $125 is heck of a lot better than oil at $145 but it is still way too high," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh.

"I think oil will go down to below $100 over the next six to nine months due to lower demand. And if that happens, stocks should go back up and the economy may avoid a global recession," Hoffman added.

As for the United States, the most important number to keep an eye on probably won't be oil but rather the price of gas. With oil heading lower, gas prices have come down too.

According to the latest daily survey from the American Automobile Association (AAA), the average national price of gasoline fell for the seventh consecutive day Thursday, hitting $4.026 a gallon.

So if we can get to a point where the price of gas begins with a 3 and not a 4, that would be significant.

"Consumers are concerned about paying more at the pump. Once you break down below the $4 gallon threshold that might be a real boost," said Thomas. "That seems to be the psychological barrier for people. If we can get below that it will help the economy overall."

Hoffman thinks that more declines in the price of oil and gas over the long haul are in the cards but warns that it could still be a bumpy ride for consumers and investors over the next few months.

Supply is the other key part of the oil price equation. So if anything happens to disrupt supply, say a hurricane hitting the Gulf of Mexico or increased tension with Iran, oil prices could spike higher again in the short-term.

"I'm not sure if oil has peaked. It will be a back and forth process and oil probably won't go straight down," Hoffman said. "But oil has already done so much damage to the global economy. We are past the point where oil prices were just threatening global economic growth."

And it goes without saying that a further retreat in oil and gas prices would be a welcome relief for many.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Extreme Measures at Extreme Time- Part 4

  • I am pleased with DAP 's government taking another good step to reduce burden of the poor. RM100 might be a small amount for certain people, but at least the expenditure allocated is spending wisely. At the end, rakyat are benefited.

  • My salute to Lim Guan Eng, who has consistently come out with policies that will benefit rakyat, not like the neighbouring Terengganu's Umno state government who is famous for big spending.....not on rakyat but on their own.

One-off payment for families earning below RM1,500 a month in Penang

GEORGE TOWN: Families in the state whose collective monthly income is below RM1,500 will receive RM100 each in compassionate aid from the state government.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said application forms would be distributed to the eligible families through water-meter readers soon.

“This one-off measure is a small token of solidarity and support in the face of rising fuel prices,” he said.

“We are also distributing this aid, which is expected to exceed RM10mil, to show that the state government can, and should, provide measures to lighten the burden of the poor,” Lim said at the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) office in Komtar yesterday.

He added that those staying in low and medium-low-cost houses and flats would automatically receive the aid and would not be given the applications forms.

On the form of payment, Lim said it would depend on the number of families involved.

“The money will go through the PBAPP and the families will receive the aid by the end of the year,” he said, adding that cash rebates were unlikely as it was “problematic”.

PBAPP general manager Jaseni Maidinsa, who was also present at the announcement, said water- meter readers were the best people to distribute the forms.

“The application forms will be distributed along with the bi-monthly water bill and consumers have until Sept 30 to return the completed forms to any of the eight PBAPP customer service centres,” he said.

The centres are located at Komtar, Prai, Bukit Mertajam, Jawi, Rifle Range, Kepala Batas, Taman Selat and Balik Pulau.

A Bikini Wedding or Bhutan's Style Wedding?

A fairy- tale wedding that ends up with Bikini wedding.......
I just love Hong Kong show biz news...........Hot and Creative..........
嘉玲 偉仔 辦泳衣婚禮?

劉嘉玲、梁朝偉莊嚴而浪漫的婚禮21日于不丹Uma Paro酒店舉行,一對準新人身在不丹籌備,雙方家長及親友亦陸續抵達。拉姑更爆料指嘉玲叫她帶備比堅尼泳衣,以及做足防曬措施,莫非兩人想舉行火辣泳衣婚禮?




悉心打扮的嘉玲(右)和偉仔前日坐車到舉行婚禮的Uma Paro酒店。


結婚在即的梁朝偉和劉嘉玲大前日已飛抵不丹,大批傳媒為追訪二人下周一舉行的世紀婚禮,各出奇謀搶閘前往這個限制旅客入境人數的小國,記者排除萬難成為首批到達不丹的傳媒,並于前日發現偉仔和嘉玲的蹤影,舉行婚禮的場地Uma Paro酒店更是保安森嚴。據知嘉玲和偉仔到后曾與有“不丹吳彥祖”之稱的不丹國王基沙爾見面,並獲國王安排遊覽不丹。


位于不丹帕羅的Uma Paro酒店,其實是由不丹國王所開,嘉玲和偉仔獲國王協力舉行婚禮,傳媒去不丹已是一個難題,要深入酒店又是另一難題。由于酒店高度戒備,記者惟有坐車下山,于香港時間約8時,記者在山腰附近巧遇嘉玲和偉仔乘坐一輛房車上山返酒店方向,兩車迎面經過時,見身穿鮮黃色、似是當地民族服的嘉玲化了妝,一臉神采飛揚,便服打扮的偉仔赫見記者則表現無奈,記者分秒必爭拍下二人照片后,嘉玲和偉仔的座駕也繼續朝山上方向駛去。

偉 仔 、 嘉 玲 草 原 帳 篷 行 禮

梁 朝 偉 和 劉 嘉 玲 在 不 丹 舉 行 的 世 紀 婚 禮 已 踏 入 最 後 倒 數 階 段 , 一 對 準 新 人 日 前 抵 達 不 丹 後 即 為 婚 禮 作 準 備 。 據 知 他 們 前 日 經 靚 仔 不 丹 國 王 基 沙 爾 安 排 , 深 入 神 秘 而 莊 嚴 的 不 丹 皇 宮 影 婚 紗 照 , 日 內 更 會 在 Uma Paro 酒 店 外 的 大 草 坪 上 , 由 國 王 基 沙 爾 和 泰 國 白 龍 王 見 證 、 約 100 位 賓 客 的 觀 禮 下 , 在 草 原 上 設 置 的 白 帳 篷 內 正 式 完 婚 , 為 20 年 愛 情 長 跑 畫 上 完 美 句 號 。

梁 朝 偉 和 劉 嘉 玲 在 不 丹 舉 行 的 世 紀 婚 禮 , 獲 不 丹 國 王 基 沙 爾 . 旺 楚 克 ( Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck ) 全 力 協 助 , 的 確 非 常 巴 閉 。 一 對 準 新 人 明 日 將 在 不 丹 國 王 所 開 、 位 於 帕 羅 的 Uma Paro 酒 店 完 婚 。 有 傳 基 沙 爾 會 親 臨 婚 禮 場 地 , 向 來 疼 錫 偉 仔 的 泰 國 白 龍 王 也 專 程 出 席 , 親 為 偉 仔 和 嘉 玲 證 婚 。

傳 提 前 今 日 結 婚

自 從 到 達 不 丹 後 , 偉 仔 和 嘉 玲 即 忙 於 打 點 婚 禮 事 宜 。 有 消 息 指 他 們 會 在 Uma Paro 酒 店 外 、 大 草 坪 上 設 置 的 帳 篷 內 舉 行 婚 禮 及 派 對 , 並 接 受 約 100 位 來 賓 祝 賀 。 雖 然 嘉 玲 好 姊 妹 那 英 未 能 出 席 , 但 另 一 閨 中 密 友 王 菲 則 從 北 京 飛 去 不 丹 觀 禮 , 據 知 她 更 會 為 好 友 再 開 金 口 , 獻 唱 《 我 願 意 》 一 曲 , 導 演 王 家 衛 則 為 他 們 剪 輯 多 年 來 的 生 活 片 段 , 在 婚 禮 上 播 放 , 而 嘉 玲 和 偉 仔 也 可 能 合 唱 情 歌 。
嘉 玲 和 偉 仔 的 婚 禮 已 迫 在 眉 睫 , 但 其 實 自 他 們 程 到 不 丹 後 , 有 見 於 太 多 記 者 往 當 地 採 訪 , 且 大 部 份 傳 媒 於 今 、 明 兩 日 出 發 , 故 盛 傳 二 人 提 前 今 日 結 婚 , 殺 記 者 一 個 措 手 不 及 。 湊 巧 二 人 隸 屬 的 澤 東 公 司 , 本 答 應 在 昨 日 發 放 他 們 在 不 丹 拍 攝 的 婚 紗 照 , 但 其 後 突 轉 口 風 , 改 於 今 日 發 放 。

Uma Paro 酒 店 側 的 通 道 , 也 有 護 衞 員 ( 箭 嘴 示 ) 駐 守 站 崗 。

有 指 嘉 玲 和 偉 仔 會 在 不 丹 的 Uma Paro 酒 店 外 、 草 坪 上 的 帳 篷 舉 行 婚 禮 及 派 對 , 記 者 發 現 該 處 確 放 置 了 兩 個 具 民 族 色 彩 的 白 帳 篷 。
記 者 Jing Chan 不 丹 傳 真

不 丹 皇 宮 拍 婚 照

從 香 港 飛 去 不 丹 的 保 鑣 公 司 老 闆 Stanley ( 右 ) , 已 在 Uma Paro 酒 店 範 圍 內 佈 防 。

其 實 偉 仔 和 嘉 玲 日 前 已 跟 國 王 基 沙 爾 見 面 , 基 沙 爾 除 了 安 排 他 們 遊 覽 當 地 名 勝 及 在 其 名 下 酒 店 舉 行 婚 禮 外 , 更 在 前 日 安 排 偉 仔 和 嘉 玲 在 莊 嚴 的 不 丹 皇 宮 影 婚 紗 照 , 美 術 指 導 張 叔 平 為 新 娘 子 包 辦 婚 紗 及 晚 裝 , 他 當 天 也 有 隨 行 , 難 怪 記 者 前 日 見 嘉 玲 和 偉 仔 悉 心 扮 靚 , 相 信 二 人 應 剛 拍 完 婚 紗 相 後 返 酒 店 休 息 。
另 一 方 面 , Uma Paro 的 保 安 昨 日 再 度 加 強 , 有 消 息 傳 出 昨 有 記 者 試 圖 進 入 酒 店 範 圍 採 訪 , 但 被 保 安 員 發 現 , 偉 仔 得 悉 後 還 酒 店 息 事 寧 人 。

小 八 卦 : 嘉 玲 披 民 族 服

前 日 嘉 玲 被 本 報 記 者 拍 得 與 偉 仔 乘 車 回 下 榻 酒 店 Uma Paro , 當 時 嘉 玲 身 上 穿 的 其 實 是 不 丹 的 民 族 服 Kira 。 Kira 由 Kira 、 Wonju 及 Toego 組 成 , Wonju 是 印 有 圖 案 的 底 層 衣 服 , 再 披 搭 恍 如 床 單 般 大 小 的 織 布 Kira , 最 外 層 的 Toego 則 是 一 件 短 身 外 套 , 然 後 再 將 Wonju 外 露 的 部 份 摺 起 增 加 層 次 感 。 嘉 玲 所 穿 的 黃 色 則 是 不 丹 王 室 的 顏 色 , 代 表 尊 貴 身 份 , 今 年 3 月 不 丹 舉 行 大 選 時 , 曾 有 候 選 人 以 黃 色 作 為 標 誌 , 結 果 遭 嚴 厲 批 評 。

話 你 知 : 封 閉 小 國 忽 然 熱 爆

有 「 最 後 的 香 格 里 拉 」 之 稱 的 不 丹 , 位 置 偏 遠 , 加 上 一 直 實 行 鎖 國 政 策 , 外 界 均 對 這 國 家 的 狀 況 所 知 不 多 , 但 由 於 嘉 玲 及 偉 仔 選 擇 於 當 地 結 婚 , 即 令 這 個 平 常 不 太 受 注 目 的 國 家 成 為 網 頁 熱 門 的 搜 尋 地 點 。

1. 不 慣 民 主

不 丹 第 四 任 國 王 辛 格 . 旺 楚 克 , 01 年 宣 佈 廢 棄 世 襲 帝 制 , 推 行 民 主 選 舉 , 06 年 12 月 他 遜 位 給 長 子 基 沙 爾 , 並 將 權 力 交 給 國 會 , 實 行 君 主 立 憲 制 , 今 年 3 月 更 舉 行 大 選 。 話 雖 如 此 , 民 主 措 施 卻 令 不 少 一 直 活 在 帝 制 下 的 不 丹 人 不 習 慣 , 當 局 於 是 特 別 安 排 一 場 街 頭 示 威 給 不 丹 人 開 眼 界 , 卻 被 投 訴 口 號 吵 耳 報 警 。

2. 四 位 皇 后


被 指 為 貌 似 香 港 影 星 周 潤 發 的 第 四 任 國 王 辛 格 . 旺 楚 克 ( 中 ) , 原 來 有 四 位 妻 子 , 而 且 是 四 姊 妹 , 因 為 不 丹 普 遍 流 行 一 夫 多 妻 或 一 妻 多 夫 。 其 中 Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck ( 左 一 ) 正 是 現 任 國 王 的 生 母 , 現 年 28 歲 的 國 王 基 沙 爾 也 被 指 貌 似 香 港 影 星 吳 彥 祖 。

3. 快 樂 為 本

不 丹 雖 然 不 富 裕 , 甚 至 有 點 兒 落 後 , 但 它 卻 是 全 球 排 名 第 八 個 最 快 樂 的 國 家 , 僅 次 於 富 庶 的 丹 麥 及 瑞 士 , 原 因 之 一 是 第 四 任 國 王 辛 格 . 旺 楚 克 首 創 以 國 民 快 樂 指 數 ( GNH ) 取 代 國 內 生 產 總 值 ( GDP ) , 作 為 衡 量 國 家 發 展 的 依 據 , 人 民 生 活 知 足 快 樂 , 也 因 此 不 丹 從 來 沒 有 盜 竊 等 治 安 問 題 。

4. 免 費

1974 年 , 第 四 任 國 王 辛 格 . 旺 楚 克 首 次 接 待 外 國 傳 媒 , 並 首 次 批 准 旅 行 團 入 境 , 逐 步 向 外 開 放 這 個 神 秘 小 國 , 但 直 至 99 年 不 丹 才 開 始 有 電 視 機 及 互 聯 網 , 現 時 連 《 靚 太 唔 易 做 》 ( Desperate Housewives ) 也 有 播 放 , 而 以 農 業 為 主 的 不 丹 , 醫 療 及 育 都 是 免 費 的 。

5. 老 翻 7 仔

儘 管 不 丹 一 直 致 力 保 留 其 傳 統 及 文 化 , 盡 量 不 受 外 界 影 響 , 因 此 橫 掃 全 球 的 麥 當 勞 , 在 這 沒 有 分 店 。 不 過 , 隨 近 年 的 開 放 , 無 處 不 在 的 便 利 店 7-Eleven 似 乎 也 影 響 了 不 丹 , 當 地 就 有 名 為 8-Eleven 的 便 利 店 。

向 不 丹 出 發 : $15000 玩 遍 不 丹

全 國 沒 有 交 通 燈 , 不 丹 只 靠 警 員 指 揮 交 通 。

讀 者 若 有 興 趣 一 遊 偉 仔 嘉 玲 舉 行 婚 禮 的 不 丹 , 必 須 透 過 本 地 旅 行 社 代 辦 簽 證 及 代 訂 機 票 酒 店 , 因 香 港 沒 有 直 航 班 機 往 不 丹 , 故 必 須 經 曼 谷 、 印 度 或 尼 泊 爾 轉 乘 不 丹 王 室 航 空 ( Druk Air ) , 而 經 曼 谷 前 往 不 丹 的 五 日 四 夜 行 程 , 總 花 費 每 人 最 低 約 15,000 港 元 。

‧ 簽 證 : 20 美 元 ( 約 156 港 元 )
‧ 經 曼 谷 轉 飛 不 丹 來 回 機 票 : 約 9,100 港 元
‧ 經 印 度 轉 飛 不 丹 來 回 機 票 : 約 10,200 港 元
‧ 經 尼 泊 爾 轉 飛 不 丹 來 回 機 票 : 約 6,500 港 元
‧ 當 地 政 府 規 定 的 每 日 最 低 使 費 ( 包 食 、 住 、 交 通 ) : 150 美 元 ( 約 1,170 港 元 )
資 料 來 源 : 《 蘋 果 》 資 料 室