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KUALA LUMPUR – India has emerged as one of the top ten tourist markets for Malaysia, said Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

He said 770,108 tourists from India were recorded in 2014, a significant increase of 18.3 percent compared to 2013.

“Malaysia has become their choice for leisure and shopping, corporate meetings, incentive trips, filming movies and weddings,” he said at The Global Malayalee (TGM) Extravaganza Nite of Awards and Celebration 2015, here Saturday night.

Also present was All Malaysia Malayalee Association (AMMA) president Datuk Suseela Menon.

Mohamed Nazri said Malaysia had also launced the Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFest 2015) campaign in Mumbai and Chennai in conjunction with the ministry’s sales mission to India early this year which covered five cities namely New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad.

“Recognizing India as a strong component of our local business and tourism, Malaysia has supported and witnessed various Indian concerts, events and awards over the past few years, the most recent being the International India film Academy Awards (IIFA),” he said.

Mohamed Nazri said, hosting the TGM truly represented the country’s competence and expertise to hold globally-acclaimed events to cater to the region.

The event hosted by (AMMA) was held in conjunction with Tourism Malaysia 2015 Year of Festivals and intended to unite Malayalees from around the world to celebrate the achievements of the community, while reliving the richness of the Malayalee heritage, culture, tradition and language.

Mohamed Nazri said, this inaugural event over three days including a Symposium, Awards Gala Dinner and authentic Kerala Sadhya would be an example for other communities to organise similar events.

“With around 400,000 Malayalees in Malaysia, AMMA together with its affiliates all over the country, did numerous social activites not only for the Malayalee community but all Malaysians,” he said.

During the event, 24 notable Malayalee high-achievers received awards for their outstanding achievement in their respective fields such as technology, science, and performing arts.

Among them were President and Chief Executive Officer Siemens Malaysia, Prakash Chandran, AirAsia Group Chief, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and singer-songwriter, Reshmonu. – BERNAMA

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Imagine this scenario: you came to a mostly-Indian populated town to wreck havoc and escape scot-free. But along came a burly Indian man and started to go all WWE on you for causing so much fuss in his quaint borough. He emerges triumphant, you bloodied from the nose on the floor. Town is safe once more.

Knowing this DC comics-worthy of a storyline might just become a reality, Perak is to have seven Indian village chiefs next year to keep the area safe and sound.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said today they would be in charge in Kampung Hendra in Sungkai; Kampung Soon Lee in Bagan Serai; Kampung Tun Sambanthan in Ayer Tawar; Kampung Kamatchi and Kampung Sungai Sumun in Hutan Melintang; Kampung Kinta Valley in Kampar and Kampung Pundut in Lumut, Bernama reports.

The state government agreed to offer the position of village chief to people from the Indian community based on the density of the Indian population in these villages, he said.

Zambry spoke to reporters after chairing the weekly meeting of the state executive council at the Perak Darul Ridzuan building here.

The village chiefs would serve for two years from next year, he said, adding that the state already had village chiefs from among the Malay, Orang Asli and Chinese communities.– BERNAMA

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KUALA LUMPUR: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak are set to inaugurate the ‘Torana’ Gate at Brickfields at 12.30pm.

The gate, which is a gift from the Indian government to Malaysia, is a mark of continued friendship between both countries.

Construction of the gate was first announced by former Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in 2010 and the installation of the gate was done by local developer MRCB Engineering Sdn Bhd on Aug 20 this year.

The design of the gate was done by Aksaya Jain and Associates and it is identical to the “Great Stupa” at Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh, India.

The height of the gate was about 10 metres and width of 7.3 metres. The main structure is covered with sandstone sculptured blocks made in India and sent to Malaysia in blocks to fit the size of the Gate’s pillar structure.

The carvings on the block are jewellery patterned floral and geometric-shapes while the remainder of the sculptures are motifs of animals.

Aparts from the carvings, the gate also consists of granite slabs, bollard sculptures carved out of solid stone and low stone fenced wall.

According to a statement from the Federal Territories Ministry, Little India was chosen as a suitable site for the gate because the place was amongst the earliest Indian community’s settlement in this country.

“The Torana Gate herein augments the cultural characteristics of the local people of Indian origin.

“It could serve as yet another tourist attraction of domestic and foreign significance.

“Torana Gate is not only a symbol of the friendship between India and Malaysia, but it is also a symbol of unity and understanding amidst established ethnic diversity in Malaysia,” said the statement.

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PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and India share a common position in combating terrorism and extremism, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

In a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Najib said both leaders had expressed strong condemnation for terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

“We call upon all states to reject terrorism and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice.

“We also agree to continue sharing of information and best practises to address the challenges post by terrorism and other traditional and non-traditional threats,” said Najib Monday.

He added that both countries have also agreed to continue the ongoing cooperation on counter-terrorism and have agreed to further enhance relations in this field.

This is Modi’s first official visit since he took office in May last year. He was in Malaysia to also attend the 27th Asean Summit and related summits.

Najib also said both countries are looking to further expand the cooperation in terms of education.

Najib said many Malaysians have received their education in India particularly in medicine.

“India is looking for recognition of Indian degrees in the field of IT and engineering.

“I have asked the Higher Education Ministry and the Malaysian Qualification Agency to act on this,” said Najib.

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PUTRAJAYA: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is here for a maiden official visit to Malaysia after assuming his post in 2014, was accorded an official welcome at Dataran Perdana, here Monday.

Modi, who arrived in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to attend the 27th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, was greeted by his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak upon arrival at 9.40am, before the national anthems of both countries were played.

Modi then inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by 106 officers and men from the 1st Batallion of the Royal Malay Regiment.

Also present at the ceremony were Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, cabinet ministers, foreign diplomats and senior government officials.

Modi and Najib then proceeded for a four-eyed meeting to review both countries’ existing relations and cooperation as well as to identify potential areas of the Strategic Partnership established between the two countries in October 2010.

Malaysia and India had enjoyed warm and wide ranging substantive relations based on historical, cultural and economic links which had brought about mutual benefits to both countries.

As a symbol of India-Malaysia friendship, both Prime Ministers will officiate the Torana Gate in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, which is a gift from India to Malaysia.

— BERNAMA

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KABUL: A magnitude-7.7 earthquake hit northeastern Afghanistan on Monday, and was felt hundreds of miles away in Pakistan and India.

The temblor struck at around 2:10 p.m. (5:10 a.m. ET). The quake came just days after rain fell in many parts of Afghanistan, making mud-built houses more vulnerable to collapse.

The USGS said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.7 and was centered around 28 miles south-southwest of Jarm, Afghanistan.

In the Afghan capital Kabul, cars stopped in the streets and screaming residents streamed out of homes, offices and schools.

Similar scenes were reported in cities including Lahore and Peshawar in neighboring Pakistan.

NBC News producer Mushtaq Yusufzai was having lunch with his family in Peshawar when the earthquake struck.

“There was no was way to go downstairs so we immediately climbed to the rooftop,” he said. “It seemed the entire building is going to collapse. Women and children were crying and traffic was stopped on roads.”

The country’s Supreme Court was in a televised session and judges, lawyers and complainants were shown running out of the room.-NBC News

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NEW DELHI – If you’re going to spend 10 months of the year on the road, you’d want a pretty sweet ride.

For truckers in India, that means a kaleidoscope of colors, slogans, and intricately painted symbols that are as much about bling — as shrewd business sense.

Here, a truck isn’t just a way to get around. It’s a moving work of art reflecting the character of its driver — and a brilliant beacon for new customers.

“A better looking truck attracts more business,” says Shantanu Suman, graphic designer and filmmaker behind 2013 documentary “Horn Please,” which explores India’s spectacular truck art tradition.

“Imagine the truck is like a moving billboard. It travels from one side of the country to the other, carrying the message of the truck driver and owner.”

Home on wheels
In a nation spanning almost 4 million square kilometers, truck drivers are the ones quite literally keeping the Indian economy moving — delivering goods to rural parts of the country inaccessible by railway.

It’s a job which entails long months on the road, and these hefty vehicles transformed into mobile homes away from home, kitted out with bunk beds and photos of loved ones far away.

“Since they’re missing their kids and wives, they like to decorate their trucks with ornaments to remind them of home,” explained Suman.

“They might adorn the cabin with bangles — things that remind them of their wives.”

The symbolism continues on the richly painted exterior, with images of gods and goddesses, Bollywood stars, and political logos that say much about the person behind the wheel.

“Depending on which region they’re from, you’ll see Hindi, Muslim, Sikh, and Christian iconography,” said photographer Dan Eckstein, who traveled over 10,000kms of the country for his book “Horn Please: The Decorated Trucks of India.”

“There’s also a lot of decoration that has to do with luck on the road and warning away bad omens. There’s a little demon face they put on the front of the truck, or they might tie shoes to the bottom which is meant to keep away the evil eye.”

Come face-to-face with the luminous rear end of one of these trucks, and you’ll also likely see the words “Horn Please” emblazoned across the back.

It’s a call for other drivers to honk their horns when overtaking the truck; a long-standing tradition on Indian roads.

But whether the tradition of truck art itself will continue, is less certain.

“Truck painting is now undergoing a transformation. A lot of things that were once hand painted are now being replaced by stickers,” explained Suman.

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“Some of these truck artists who have been carrying forward this profession for generations, now don’t want their kids to do it because they realize the hardship. They say: ‘I want my kids to go to collage and work in an air-conditioned office, rather than be here in the sun painting trucks all day.'”

That said, it’s still a skill both artist and driver take huge pride in — and the journey isn’t over yet. – CNN

141

NEW DELHI – Former Indian president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam died at the age 84 after he collapsed while delivering a lecture in Shillong, Meghalaya at about 9pm (Malaysia time 11.25pm) yesterday.

Initial report by local media said that Dr Kalam suffered from a cardiac arrest.

The former president collapsed during the lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong and was rushed to the hospital, in which he breathed his last two and half hours later.

Immedietly after the news of his passing broke out, politicians and academicians paid tribute for his pivotal role especially in nuclear technology and science education in general.

Born in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Dr Kalam was India’s 11th president from 2002 to 2007.

He was also known as the missile man of India, who had envisioned India to be one of superpower nation by 2020.

He also contributed significantly to the betterment of children and women by promoting literacy among hardcore poor.

— BERNAMA

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authorities in Andhra Pradesh for allegedly smuggling 62kg of gold bars worth 17 crore rupees (about RM10mil), the Times of India reports.

It is not immediately clear whether Malaysians were among those arrested.

The newspaper said that acting on a tip-off, officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) of Chennai, in a special operation on Sunday night, travelled to the Visakhapatnam International Airport and carried out thorough checks on two flights from Kuala Lumpur and one from Singapore.

The officers initially checked 20 passengers of an AirAsia flight who were carrying a lot of electronic items, and found gold bars concealed inside the items, the daily reported.

A check on 10 passengers of a Silk Air flight from Singapore also found gold bars in contained in electronic goods.

A check on 25 AirAsia passengers on a second flight from Kuala Lumpur also revealed smuggled gold bars.

According to the daily, many of those arrested were frequent travellers and most of them were acting as couriers.

“They indulge in such business for monetary considerations. Depending upon the quantity, the couriers would get paid,” it quoted the DRI authorities as saying.

The couriers would always look for new avenues and new destinations, officials said.

Another possibility is that new flights would have been introduced between Visakhapatnam and Southeast Asian destinations or the frequency of flights between the two destinations could have been increased, added the officials.

So, it could have attracted the couriers to switch over to the new destination, away from their home, they said. – Bernama

285

KUALA LUMPUR – Maggi instant mee sold in the country is manufactured locally and not imported from India, said Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said the Health Ministry conducts regular food safety checks on the factories involved in manufacturing the product.

“…the factories concerned have taken all steps necessary to ensure their food products are safe for human consumption,” he said in a statement here Wednesday.

The statement was issued in response to media reports that India had temporarily banned the sale of Maggi instant mee in the country after finding the lead content to be above the permissible level.

Dr Noor Hisham added that the ministry’s monitoring also did not find instant mee products of the various brands sold in the country to have lead content above the level permitted by the Food Regulations Act 1985.

As such, he said consumers need not worry about consuming instant mee products sold in the country.

– BERNAMA