Saturday, May 30, 2009

City Bayview Thai Hawker Food Promotion

Date: 29th May to 14th June 2009

Time: Lunch or dinner

Location: CityBayview Hotel


From Friday, 29 May 2009 - 11:00am
To Sunday, 14 June 2009 - 8:00pm
Every day

Anybody interested to enjoy Thai hawker food in the hotel environment? If yes, then make sure you check out the current promotion from City Bayview Hotel. The promotion starts from today until the middle of next month. Anyone is welcome to tell me how was the food after your visit, ok? (click picture to enlarge)...enjoy !

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Malaysia economy down 6.2% in Q1

The Malaysian economy contracted 6.2% on-year in the first quarter of 2009, the worst since the Asian financial crisis, as manufacturing output shrank sharply as exports and industrial production fell.

Bank Negara said on May 27 that manufacturing contracted 17.6%, mining fell 5.2% while agriculture saw a 4.3% decline. Services also showed a decline of 0.1% but construction rose just 0.6%.

According to economists, the contraction was worse than expected. In the fourth quarter of 2008, the economy grew at only 0.1%.

The central bank said the sharp contraction in the first quarter was due to a significant deterioration in external demand, following the deepening recession in advanced economies.

Barcelona is 2009 European Champion!

A rare headed goal by Lionel Messi helped Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in the Champions League final on Wednesday, giving the Spanish side its third European Cup title and third trophy in a magical season. E'to scored the other early of the game and Barca were never look back. To be fair, MU were outclassed, outplayed and outsmarted. Barca is the best team of the night and they simply deserved the win. As for MU, they were soundly beaten and every player themselves and even Sir Alex knows and admits it.

Now FA Cup final between Everton and Chelsea is coming up this weekend before the football season closes this season. Off to the transfer window then...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BARCELONA V MANCHESTER UNITED The Dream Final...


Barcelona versus Manchester United - for many it's the dream Champions League final: Two of the best supported teams in the world contesting the most prestigious club competition, and all in the Eternal City.


Wednesday's final at the Stadio Olimpico has all the ingredients to be a classic: the meeting of two great teams, the clash of great two managers, one vastly experienced, the other a relative novice, both men favouring an open attacking brand of football, and the small matter of the showdown between the two best players of their generation.


The meeting of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the biggest stage provides a unique chance to watch two masters at work. If witnessing the two most prodigiously, outrageously gifted players clash when the stakes couldn't be higher doesn't whet your sporting appetite, there's something wrong.

For many it is the unofficial title decider to see who can lay claim to the being the best player in the world; the reigning European and FIFA World Player of the Year from Portugal, or the 21-year-old Argentine.


Going into the final the weight of history appears to be on the side of Manchester United. They are aiming to secure their fourth European crown and are spurred on by the chance to become the first side since AC Milan in 1990 to retain the famous trophy - plus United boast a proud record of never having lost a European Cup final, playing and winning in three.

By contrast, Barca have two European Cup titles to their name, but have twice been runners up, and given the vastly differing levels of experience between the two managers it would be a brave soul who chose Barca over United.


I'm tired after badminton just now. Hopefully I can wake up later to watch the match. My school gangs are now ready to play futsal, then follow by duck rice and finally watching the match together, and finally dim sum if MU wins since they are all MU die hard fans. For me, may the best team wins tonight :)

Happy Rice Dumpling Festival 2009


It's dumpling day today!!! Wishing everyone Happy Dumpling Festival !!! For a record, I had dumplings for my breakfast, lunch and dinner...wow! Even I myself couldn't really believe that I actually had dumplings for my 3 meals today. Wuahhahahaha. In fact, I had dumplings much earlier this year since last weekend even though the actual day is today since my sister was back during last weekend helping my mom to make the dumplings. Me? Of course I had the easiest job on hand, that is to eat and clear the food !!! Hehe.


Some general info on the Dumpling Festival :

On the 5th day of the 5th month in the Lunar calendar, it has been a tradition for the Chinese to celebrate and enjoy the “Rice Dumpling Festival”. Also known as “Dragon Boat Festival”. This year, the Festival falls on 28 May 2009.


The pyramid-shape dumplings are made from glutinous rice with savoury fillings and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Lest one thinks that rice dumplings are boring and ordinary, somehow through the years, due to the ingenuity of chefs, the traditional rice dumplings have evolved to become gourmet dumplings comprising unique ingredients that diners will certainly enjoy.


Every year, new creations are added on and of course, all these variations of rice dumplings promise to tantalise different taste buds.

Penang Floral Festival 2009 from 31st May to 07 June 09

From Sunday, 31 May 2009 - 10:00am
To Sunday, 07 June 2009 - 7:00pm
Every day

Free this Sunday? If yes, then head on to the Penang Botanic Garden for our annual Penang Floral Festival 2009. The event will be on for the whole week long starting this Sunday. Besides exhibitions, there will be lots of other activities happening around there. Those flower lovers can purchase 1 or 2 pots of flower to bring back home as well. Be sure to bring along your camera to snap a few shots of the flowers, people, the environment, surroundings and everything that you can come up with.


The official newsletter from the organizer:

THE Penang Floral Festival 2009 will be held from May 31st to June 7th, is expected to draw some 50,000 local and foreign visitors.

The Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas’s consort Toh Puan Majimor Shariff would be the guest of honour at the opening event on 31st May.

In conjunction with the Penang Floral Festival this 31st of May, Penang Botanic Gardens has brought in four mini trams for one month starting from 20th May. The environmental-friendly 1,300cc mini tram will take the visitors slowly around the green enclave during joggers' "non-peak" hours. It is small and occupy only 1/3 of the drive way.

Come try out the 15 minutes ride through Malaysia oldest botanical garden. Bring along your camera to snap photos of trees and plants that are bountiful in the gardens.


Events and programs:

31st May (10am to 2pm) - Official Opening Ceremony at Bandstand

31st May to 7th June (9am to 7pm) - Orchid Show & Competition at Formal Garden

31st May to 7th June (9am to 7pm) - Adenium Show & Competition at Formal Garden

31st May to 7th June (9am to 7pm) - Floral Art Show at Information Center

31st May to 7th June (9am to 7pm) - Carnivorous Plant Show & Competition at Formal Garden

31st May (9am) - Sculpture Competition at Bandstand

6th June (9am) - "Fancy Dress Competition" at Nature Heritage Exhibition booth

6th June (9am) - Children Drawing Competition at Bandstand

6th June (9am) - Children Colouring Competition at Nature Heritage Exhibition booth

31st May to 7th June (9am to 5pm) - Nature Heritage Exhibition

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's soooo HAZY today...

Wow...so early morning woke up already see the whole skies blur blur. As I was on my way to work, I can see it's clearly the visibility level has dropped a lot....wondering what's wrong or is there any forest burning in Sumatera again??? It turns out to be that this haze has been happening since yesterday morning, but it's getting more serious today...

The presence of the pollutant ozone found in the air around Penang caused a slight stir among Penangites who woke up yesterday to a thick cloud of haze hanging over the island.

The ozone, (which according to notes accompanying the Air Pollutant Index (API) data, can be produced from a reaction between industrial or vehicle emissions and sunlight), had caused the visibility level to drop to as low as 4km.

The API readings at 11am were 61 at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), 57 in Perai and 54 in Seberang Jaya — all moderate in air quality.


The reading at 3pm remained at 61 at USM and rose to 61 in Perai and 69 in Seberang Jaya yesterday.

The API for unhealthy air quality is 101 to 200 while moderate air quality is from 51 to 100.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh (pic), when contacted, confirmed that the state government had issued a warning to several factories to take measures on effective effluent management.

He also said the Malaysian Meteorological Department had reported some hotspots in Sumatera which could be a factor contributing to the haze in the northern states.

100,000 in a disc???


A blank disc that can store two million photos and 100,000 songs will be available within 10 years, Melbourne researchers predict.

The team at Swinburne University of Technology yesterday revealed it had used nanotechnology to record information in five dimensions. Today's discs record in two or three dimensions.

This means DVDs could potentially hold up to 10 terabytes of data -- equal to 10,240 gigabytes, whereas the average disc now can store 4.9 gigabytes, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Dr James Chon, co-author of the research, which will appear in "Nature" magazine, said the new disc could hold 100,000 songs instead of fewer than 100, and the equivalent of 2,000 movies.

Professor Richard Evans, from the CSIRO's Molecular and Health Technologies division, said the technology would first be used in medicine, finance and government sectors.

"Things like medical imaging, with MRIs that generate huge amounts of data, will be where this is introduced first," the AAP quoted him as saying.

The research was conducted by Swinburne University of Technology's centre for Micro-Photonics, supported by a discovery grant from the Australian Research Council.

Bernama

Friday, May 22, 2009

The 2009 'American Idol' Winner Is Kris Allen



The dark horse surged ahead at the last minute to win it in a photo finish.

With almost 100 million votes tallied, Kris Allen defeated front-runner and judges' favorite Adam Lambert to become the 'American Idol' season 8 winner.

The 23-year-old student from Conway, Ark. was so stunned by the surprise outcome, he was almost speechless. But he did manage to thank his fans. "You guys are the reason that all of us are here," he said.


Over the course of the season, Adam wowed viewers and the judges with his technical prowess, showmanship and interpretations of songs like 'Mad World,' 'Tracks of My Tears' and 'Ring of Fire.' In Tuesday night's finale, Simon Cowell declared him to be "one of the best and most original contestants we have ever had. You are a star." And Simon repeatedly declared on talk shows like 'Ellen DeGeneres' that Adam would take the 'Idol' title.

Meanwhile, underdog Kris flew under the radar until a breathtaking rendition of 'Ain't No Sunshine' during the Top 9 week. He began to get more notice with performances of 'Falling Slowly,' 'She Works Hard for the Money' and 'Heartless.'

And in a similar fashion to last year, when Simon tabbed David Archuleta as the winner and then hedged his bets in the finale results show, he told both contestants tonight that "I thought you were both brilliant. Unusually, incredibly nice people. And I think both of you should be very proud of what you achieved last night and the future's all yours."

The finale results show was packed with performances by the Top 13 finalists, including the usual duets, like Allison Iraheta with Cyndi Lauper and Danny Gokey with Lionel Richie.

But the most eyebrow-raising pairing (and the one that got the Twitterverse chattering) was when "Bikini Girl" (aka Katrina Darrell) made an encore -- with nemesis Kara DioGuardi. At the end, the judge unbuttoned her dress and flashed her own bikini.

After appearances by infamous contestants Nick Mitchell (aka "Norman Gentle") and Tatiana del Toro, the show got down to business. The Top 2 finally teamed up to sing together -- alongside the band Queen, no less.

The song? 'We Are the Champions.' How fitting.

DiGi doubling it's Penang broadband coverage...good news :)


If you are a DiGi broadband subscriber from Penang, then this is definitely a good news for you. After finally getting the broadband license, DiGi is now gearing up the efforts to catch up on lost time and opportunities on gaining the broadband market.

It was reported now that DiGi Telecommuni-cations Sdn Bhd plans to double its broadband service coverage in Penang by August.

Head of strategy and new business Albern Murty said it planned to target one-third of the broadband users in Penang. Currently, its services cover 31% of the population in Penang. The areas covered included George Town, Tanjung Tokong, Tanjung Bungah and Bayan Baru.

“We will allocate RM75mil for the expansion of our broadband services in Penang for the next three years,” he said at a media question-and-answer session recently.

Murty said DiGi’s strategy placed great emphasis on quality and addressed issues faced by broadband users.

“As part of efforts to make broadband affordable and accessible, DiGi will introduce an interest-free easy-payment plan called ‘Explore’ where the subscriber pays RM138 a month for 24 months. In return, he will receive a mini laptop worth RM1,799, and enjoy increased bandwidth quota of 16GB,” he said.

Murty said DiGi would target Johor Baru next. “We will look at cities with broadband user demand to launch broadband services,” he said.

DiGi Telecommunications is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bursa Malaysia-listed DiGi.Com Bhd.

More broadband providers provides more competition, hence there will most likely be war price just like mobile services war prices happening now. But more doesn't mean better. Let's hope that with the more quantity we have, there will also be better quality in their services.

Free movie tickets from GSC TODAY !!!


Free tickets free tickets!!! Who want free tickets....read all about it....come and grab it fast...

GSC GURNEY Plaza in Penang is giving away 81 free tickets today for the special screening of the action-packed 3-D movie "Monster vs Aliens".

Those interested can cut out the newspaper release in the StarMetro today to redeem the free tickets at GSC Gurney Plaza from 6pm onwards on a first-come first-served basis.

The redemption is only allowed for those aged above 18 and it is limited to a maximum of two tickets per person.

The special screening of the movie will be at 11am on Saturday at GSC Gurney Plaza.


What is the movie about:

The movie is about a Californian girl Susan (voiced by Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon) who is hit by a meteorite on her wedding day and she mysteriously grows to about 15m tall.

Alerted to the threat of this new monster, the military captures Susan, and secrets her away to a covert government compound.

There she is renamed Ginormica and placed in confinement with a ragtag group of other monsters including the brilliant but insect-headed Dr Cockroach and the half-ape half-fish The Missing Link (Will Arnett).

Their confinement is cut short when an alien robot lands on Earth and begins storming the country.

In a moment of desperation, the President enlists the motley crew of monsters to combat the Alien Robots and save the world from imminent destruction.

Makeover for our Penang Icon : KOMTAR

I'm sure most of us in Penang will went pass Komtar at regularly in our daily lives and activities. Recently, did you noticed the heavy construction there at the empty lot in front of Pacific Supermarket? I'm sure you won't miss it since the project is so huge that it took quite a length of times to complete it. Well, here it is....next month you will see a brand new draw over there...The Komtar Walk!


PENANG’s most famous landmark the 65-storey Komtar is set to regain its place as a premier attraction on the island with a new draw - the RM10mil Komtar Walk, which is expected to be ready by next month.

Shedding its image of neglect, the Komtar complex would be buzzing with locals and tourists alike once the project dubbed the “One-Stop Dinning Place” opens its doors.

Komtar Walk, which covers a 155m-long stretch parallel to Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong, is a food and beverage hub being developed by Pacific Hypermarket & Department Store Sdn Bhd.

The attraction is expected to create a spinover of activities in the heart of George Town by linking Upper Penang Roa (the state’s clubbing central) and Prangin Mall.

The company’s design manager Ooi Wooi Yaw said Komtar Walk’s layout was designed to be a breezy, hip and happening relaxation spot for Penangites and visitors to unwind.

“It’s mostly open-air to allow for a lot of wind flow but the Walk will also have a lightweight roof supported by contemporary steel structures to protect visitors from the rain and sun.

“The roof itself will be state-of-the-art with tiny LED lights embedded and the portion leading up to the new Komtar en-trance will be higher (than the rest of the roof) towering 15m above the ground,” Ooi said.

He added that out of the 19 new outlets, five single-storey ones will stand in a single structure at the foot of the overhead bridge facing the outdoor carpark.

Hmm...let's hope this Komtar Walk will really bring back the shine to our state icon. Of course let's also hope the management will keep the place in check to keep on attracting people there...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Botanical Garden new attraction: Tram Ride!


If you happened to visit our Penang Botanic Garden recently, did you notice there's a new attraction there? Well, apparently while I was coming down from my weekly hike from Penang Hill last Saturday, upon reaching the bottom of the hill (using the tar road beside the Botanic Garden), straight away I noticed there is a new tram in the garden. This tram is exactly the same we see in Taiping Zoo or even Disneyland HK to ferry tourist around the garden for those who are lazy to walk or have difficulties to travel around the garden but still wish to tour around. Turned out that this is the new move by the state government to promote the garden and boost up tourism in the state. Good move!!! Read the article below from The Star:


IF all goes well, the Penang Botanic Gardens will soon have a new attraction - an environmental-friendly mini-tram to take people for a ride around the green enclave.

Tram operator Richard Wong told The Star that four mini trams would run at the oldest botanical garden in the country from Wed-nesday for a month-long “trial run”.

It is learnt that the tram ride will be launched by state Tourism, Culture, Arts and Heritage Committee chairman Danny Law on tomorrow.

Children having a feel of the tram.

“If public response is good, we may continue operating at the garden on a profit-sharing basis with the state. It is still pending discussions,” Wong, who is the managing director and chairman of Aqua Bike Malaysia, said.

“The trams can ferry a total of 100 passengers if all are running at the same time. Two of the trams have been specially decorated with orchid motives for the Penang Floral Fest.

“This will be the first tram ride in the Botanic Gardens since the garden was opened in 1884. We are expecting a lot of visitors,” he said, assuring the public that the trams would not pollute the surroundings.

“It travels very slowly. In fact, people will probably be zipping past it.

“The 1,300cc engine runs on unleaded petrol. The head of the tram is imported from Japan and the coach is made locally.

A family of tourists from Thailand admiring the tram during the Floral Fest.

“The tram is small and will only occupy one-third of the path so there will be plenty of walking space for visitors,” he said.

The company also operates the tram service at the Taiping Zoo and Sungkai hot water springs resort in Perak and the Terengganu Museum and Islamic Civilisation Park in Kuala Terengganu.

Botanic Gardens agriculture assistant officer Ahmad Razali said the trams were brought in for the upcoming Floral Fest from May 31 to June 7.

“We hope the public will come and enjoy the trams as part of the whole Floral Fest experience.

“The rides will be available from 8am until 9pm daily.

“We will set up a booth where visitors can purchase the tickets for the rides,” he said, adding that the rides would cost RM1 (adults) and 50 sen (kids).

The 1.5km trip will take between 15-20 minutes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Federer snaps Nadal streak, finally lands 1st title of 2009


World No.2 Roger Federer won his first title for 2009 at the Madrid Mutua MadrileƱa Madrid Open defeating Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 and breaking the Spaniard’s 33-consecutive clay court match-winning streak. Federer served six aces and broke Rafa’s serve on both occasions when he had the opportunity, fought off four break points on his own serve and won 63 points to the world No.1’s 58 during the course of the one hour and 26-minute match.


Tournament top seed Nadal was gracious in defeat. “Roger was much better than me and deserved to win today,” he said immediately after the match, “the surface was faster than the courts I’ve been playing on recently and suited him better.” And the world No.1, who defeated Novak Djokovic in a marathon semifinal on Saturday, said that fatigue had not been a factor in the final. “Playing four hours was not a problem for today,” he said. Federer was delighted to have broken his 2009 title duck. "I thought that I played well - you have to play well against Rafa on clay - there are no easy ways and he's not going to hand it to you," said the world No.2.


"It's definitely good for my confidence, especially beating Rafa in the finals, I'm working hard and doing the right things and it gives me a lot of confidence going into the French Open which maybe wouldn't have been the case a couple of weeks ago. "The No.2 seed said he was pleased with the way he'd adapted his game to take the Madrid title. "I served well, mixed it up well and took all the right decisions today. In the end it looked quite comfortable out there for me, it was a good win for me, so I'm very satisfied. "I've had some bad losses this year in terms of the way I've played but I've felt this win coming for a few weeks so I am very pleased."


C'mon Roger, great job and bravo! Let's hope you can land the exclusive French Rolland Garros title come end of the month :)

Break Out - Extreme Dance Comedy 27 & 28 May 2009


Date: 27th May & 28th May (Wednesday & Thursday)
Time: 8.30pmLocation: Dewan Sri Pinang
Organizer: Korea Tourism Organization & LG Electronicsweb site:
www.breakout.co.kr


Tickets: RM63 and RM93
Tickets available at:
1) Switch Gurney Plaza New Wing (04-2295591), Switch Queensbay Mall (04-6465591), Switch Sunway Prai (04-3999591)
2) Axcess Hotline 03 – 7711 5000 or on-line at
www.axcess.com.my
3) New Bob Property, Gotlieb Road


Break Out sets to be one of the most expensive stage performance in Penang. This London West End and Broadway performers will amaze their audience with their new concept of non verbal production.

Break Out tells the tale of five clumsy convicts who long to taste the freedom that lies beyond the walls of prison. These five prisoners are inspired to plan a daring escape into the outside world when they received a mysterious and sacred text.

The story is told in a form of a dance that adapts pre-existing dance moves and combines gymnastics, break dancing, yoga and martial arts moving to unparalleled DJ music – a performance as never before.

Proceeds from the Penang shows will be donated to D’Home Mental Health Association, a charitable organization that provides support, guidance and education to family members and care-givers of the mentally ill.

Penang International Dragon Boat Festival 2009


Date: 23rd May 2009 - Malaysia Race Day (schedule)
Date: 24th May 2009 - International Race Day (International
schedule)
Venue: Teluk Bahang Dam, Penang
Admission and parking is FREE.
Organizer: Penang State Government


This year, our annual PIDBF will be held from the 23rd to 24th May 2009 at Teluk Bahang Dam, Penang. A forum on "PIDBF 2009" will be held on 22nd of May 2009.Dragon boat racing is one of our Penang State Signature Event. It is among the fastest growing water sports in this region. Dragon Boat Racing has become a very popular corporate and charitable sport, during which friendship, strength and endurance are developed among the participants.

I'm sure this will be another successful and enjoying event. What else more to say...this should be a very colorful event! If you are OK and can deal well with the heat, just pay a visit to Teluk Bahang dam this weekend to find out yourself. I bet lots of photographers will be there too to capture a few shots of this memorable annual event :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Current BLR rate for banks in Malaysia

I found this article talking about the current bank's BLR rate a few weeks back. With the current economy situation here in our country, it's interesting to say that if you have the cash and money to move around especially for those who are planning to buy a house for personal stay, now it's kind of good time. Just look at the attached picture, the BLR rates for banks in our country is currently at a very attractive and tempting number. I was just thinking it was nice to share this out...hehe.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Now we have our own Google Maps Malaysia


GOOGLE Inc has launched Google Maps Malaysia (http://maps.google.com.my), a new search platform that enables users to find local geographic information on their personal computers and mobile phones.

These include online maps, satellite imagery, driving directions, addresses and business listings, Google said in a statement today.

Google's Southern Asia product manager Andrew McGlinchey said Google Maps Malaysia was an exciting step forward in helping Malaysian users quickly and easily find the local geographic information.

"Google's dynamic and collaborative geographic platform allows consumers to create personal maps and enables businesses to connect with customers through virtual maps," he said.

Users can search for local businesses and points of interest, check out what events or movies are going on nearby, advise visiting friends and tourists on local attractions, research the locations or properties to buy or rent, and even locate dining, shopping or nightlife options, Google said.

Google's Southeast Asia head of marketing Derek Callow said Google Maps Malaysia enabled local users, businesses and developers to contribute and share their information.

"This is a great start and we're looking forward to working with many more Malaysian organisations to enhance the quality, features and usefulness of the local version of Google Maps," he said.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Intel fined record 1.06b euros!!!

The European Commission imposed a record 1.06 billion euro (US$1.45 billion) fine on chipmaker Intel Corp on May 13 and ordered it halt illegal rebates and other practices to squeeze out rival AMD.

In a statement posted on its website, it said Intel had violated EC Treaty antitrust rules on the abuse of a dominant market position by engaging in illegal anticompetitive practices to exclude competitors from the market for computer chips called x86 central processing units (CPUs)".

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years. Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated".

The computer manufacturers concerned by Intel's conduct in the Commission’s decision are: Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and NEC. The retailer concerned is Media Saturn Holding, owner of the MediaMarkt chain

The Commission said that throughout the period October 2002-December 2007, Intel had a dominant position in the worldwide x86 CPU market (at least 70% market share).

"The Commission found that Intel engaged in two specific forms of illegal practice. First, Intel gave wholly or partially hidden rebates to computer manufacturers on condition that they bought all, or almost all, their x86 CPUs from Intel. Intel also made direct payments to a major retailer on condition it stock only computers with Intel x86 CPUs.

"Such rebates and payments effectively prevented customers - and ultimately consumers - from choosing alternative products. Second, Intel made direct payments to computer manufacturers to halt or delay the launch of specific products containing competitors’ x86 CPUs and to limit the sales channels available to these products.

"The Commission found that these practices constituted abuses of Intel’s dominant position on the x86 CPU market that harmed consumers throughout the EEA. By undermining its competitors’ ability to compete on the merits of their products, Intel’s actions undermined competition and innovation. The Commission will actively monitor Intel’s compliance with this decision. The world market for x86 CPUs is currently worth approximately €22 billion (US$ 30 billion) per year, with Europe accounting for approximately 30% of that," it said.


Below are the highlights of the European Commission report:

Conditional rebates and payments

Intel awarded major computer manufacturers rebates on condition that they purchased all or almost all of their supplies, at least in certain defined segments, from Intel:

* Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer A from December 2002 to December 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing exclusively Intel CPUs
* Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer B from November 2002 to May 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing no less than 95% of its CPU needs for its business desktop computers from Intel (the remaining 5% that computer manufacturer B could purchase from rival chip maker AMD was then subject to further restrictive conditions set out below)
* Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer C from October 2002 to November 2005 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing no less than 80% of its CPU needs for its desktop and notebook computers from Intel
* Intel gave rebates to computer manufacturer D in 2007 conditional on this manufacturer purchasing its CPU needs for its notebook computers exclusively from Intel.

Furthermore, Intel made payments to major retailer Media Saturn Holding from October 2002 to December 2007 on condition that it exclusively sold Intel-based PCs in all countries in which Media Saturn Holding is active.

Certain rebates can lead to lower prices for consumers. However, where a company is in a dominant position on a market, rebates that are conditional on buying less of a rival's products, or not buying them at all, are abusive according to settled case-law of the Community Courts unless the dominant company can put forward specific reasons to justify their application in the individual case.

In its decision, the Commission does not object to rebates in themselves but to the conditions Intel attached to those rebates. Because computer manufacturers are dependent on Intel for a majority of their x86 CPU supplies, only a limited part of a computer manufacturer's x86 CPU requirements is open to competition at any given time.

Intel structured its pricing policy to ensure that a computer manufacturer which opted to buy AMD CPUs for that part of its needs that was open to competition would consequently lose the rebate (or a large part of it) that Intel provided for the much greater part of its needs for which the computer manufacturer had no choice but to buy from Intel. The computer manufacturer would therefore have to pay Intel a higher price for each of the units supplied for which the computer manufacturer had no alternative but to buy from Intel. In other words, should a computer manufacturer fail to purchase virtually all its x86 CPU requirements from Intel, it would forego the possibility of obtaining a significant rebate on any of its very high volumes of Intel purchases.

Moreover, in order to be able to compete with the Intel rebates, for the part of the computer manufacturers' supplies that was up for grabs, a competitor that was just as efficient as Intel would have had to offer a price for its CPUs lower than its costs of producing those CPUs, even if the average price of its CPUs was lower than that of Intel.

For example, rival chip manufacturer AMD offered one million free CPUs to one particular computer manufacturer. If the computer manufacturer had accepted all of these, it would have lost Intel's rebate on its many millions of remaining CPU purchases, and would have been worse off overall simply for having accepted this highly competitive offer. In the end, the computer manufacturer took only 160,000 CPUs for free.

As a result of Intel's rebates, the ability of rival manufacturers to compete and innovate was impaired, and this led to reduced choice for consumers.

Rebates such as those applied by Intel are recognised in many jurisdictions around the world as anti-competitive and unlawful because the effect in practice is to deny consumers a choice of products.

Payments to prevent sales of specific rival products

Intel also interfered directly in the relations between computer manufacturers and AMD. Intel awarded computer manufacturers payments - unrelated to any particular purchases from Intel - on condition that these computer manufacturers postponed or cancelled the launch of specific AMD-based products and/or put restrictions on the distribution of specific AMD-based products. The Commission found that these payments had the potential effect of preventing products for which there was a consumer demand from coming to the market. The Commission found the following specific cases:

* For the 5% of computer manufacturer B’s business that was not subject to the conditional rebate outlined above, Intel made further payments to computer manufacturer B provided that this manufacturer :
* sold AMD-based business desktops only to small and medium enterprises
* sold AMD-based business desktops only via direct distribution channels (as opposed to through distributors) and
* postponed the launch of its first AMD-based business desktop in Europe by 6 months.
* Intel made payments to computer manufacturer E provided that this manufacturer postponed the launch of an AMD-based notebook from September 2003 to January 2004.
* Before the conditional rebate to computer manufacturer D outlined above, Intel made payments to this manufacturer provided that it postponed the launch of AMD-based notebooks from September 2006 to the end of 2006.

The Commission obtained proof of the existence of many of the conditions found to be illegal in the antitrust decision even though they were not made explicit in Intel’s contracts. Such proof is based on a broad range of contemporaneous evidence such as e-mails obtained inter alia from unannounced on-site inspections, in responses to formal requests for information and in a number of formal statements made to the Commission by the other companies concerned. In addition, there is evidence that Intel had sought to conceal the conditions associated with its payments.

x86 CPUs are the main hardware component of a computer. The decision contains a broad range of contemporaneous evidence that shows that AMD, essentially Intel's only competitor in the market, was generally perceived, by computer manufacturers and by Intel itself, to have improved its product range, to be a viable competitor, and to be a growing competitive threat. The decision finds that Intel's practices did not constitute competition on the merits of the respective Intel and AMD products, but rather were part of a strategy designed to exploit Intel's existing entrenched position in the market.

Intel’s worldwide turnover in 2007 was €27 972 million (US$ 38 834 million). The fine in this case takes account of the duration and gravity of the infringement. In accordance with the Commission's 2006 Guidelines on Fines (see IP/06/857 and MEMO/06/256) the fine has been calculated on the basis of the value of Intel's x86 CPU sales in the European Economic Area (EEA). The duration of the infringement established in the decision is five years and three months.

The Commission’s investigation followed complaints from AMD in 2000, 2003 and 2006 (the last having been sent to the German competition authority and subsequently examined by the European Commission). The Commission's decision follows a Statement of Objections sent in July 2007 (see MEMO/07/314), a Supplementary Statement of Objections sent in July 2008 (see MEMO/08/517) and a letter sent to Intel in December 2008 setting out additional factual elements relevant to the final decision. Intel's rights of defence have been fully respected in this case.

The Edge Malaysia

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free WiFi in RapidPenang buses (test trial with 2)

RapidPenang Sdn Bhd (RapidPenang) is the first bus company in the country to have WiFi facility in its buses in a move to get more people to use public transportation.

Its chief executive officer, Azhar Ahmad, said for a start, the company was installing the facility in two of its buses, one on the bus which plies between Balik Pulau and the Bayan Lepas International Airport and the other, the one which plies the Teluk Bahang-Batu Feringgi-Weld Key route.

He said the use of the WiFi facility would be free and that the buses would have special stickers for easy identification by passengers.

"After three months, if response from passengers is good, we'll have the WiFi facility installed in stages in all of our 180 buses, and also the additional 200 buses which will be delivered to us in stages by the end of the year," he told a press conference here today.

Azhar said the facility was provided to enable passengers to surf the internet in the bus before arriving at their destinations.

Installation of the facility is another initiative by the company to serve the passengers better by improving the quality of our service, he added. — Bernama

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Penang Malakoff 26km Run: 7th June 2009


MALAKOFF, Penang 2009

Date: 7th June 2009

Location: Taman Perbandaran Penang

Distances: 26km & 6km


Anyone joining this event? I wish to join, or I should say I wish I can run this event. But in reality, I do not think I have the capability to finish this race in 3 hours time. This is not as easy as Penang Bridge run as the route for this one will bring you race uphill across the Mount Eskire and Fettes Park. Phew...very tough I must say. Therefore, I admit I do not have the guts to register myself for this one...can die one leh :p

Above is the route map for the run (both 26km as well as 6km). For more information, please visit the official website at http://www.malakoffrun.com.my/.

Best of luck to all those runners that have registered for this event. Happy training and happy running :)

RON97 petrol to cost RM2 a litre


THE sale of RON95 petrol at RM1.75 per litre will be implemented from September 1 as an alternative to RON97 whose price will be increased to RM2.00 per litre.

At the same time, RON97 would be made a premium product while RON92 would be removed from the market, said Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He also said that in view of its status as a premium product, the price of RON97 would not be controlled by the government unlike RON95 that would become a fixed-price product.

"Although the price of RON95 is quite high compared to RON92 which is being sold at RM1.70 per litre, it is of higher quality and in terms of performance, it is far better than RON92," he told reporters after launching RON97 in Putrajaya today.

He said RON95 could be used for all vehicles including imported luxury cars.

"All cars can use RON95 including the high-powered, branded and so on. If before this, cars of these types used RON97, now they can switch to cheaper RON95," he said.

He said the higher RON97 price in the market should not make the people panic because RON95 offers about the same quality and performance.

"The relevant government agencies support the sale of RON95," he said and added that the government would continue providing subsidy on the sale of petrol at three sen per litre. -- Bernama

Sunday, May 10, 2009

AirAsia 1 million free seats again from May 11-15

AirAsia Bhd is offering one million free seats, effective from May 11 to 15, with its promotional tagline "You pay the fee, we fly you for free!"

The company said on May 10 the promotion features an "All-In-Fare" policy which makes booking plans easy and efficient. Seats are provided free and the passengers only pay for airport tax and administration fee.

“The free seats promotion kicks off from May 11 to 15 (booking period) for the travel period between Jan 5 and April 30, 2010. Guests are welcomed to log on to www.airasia.com or mobile.airasia.com to find out more about this promotion,” said the low-cost airline in a statement.

AirAsia regional head of commercial, Kathleen Tan said the one million free seats promotion was to “honour our guests, for their utmost support and faith in our services all these years as without them, we would not have achieved anything”.

She said AirAsia’s success in winning the recent Skytrax’s Best Low Cost Airline 2009 award would not have been possible without the passengers rating the airline as the best.

“Like previous occasions, our free seats campaign is always important in boosting tourist numbers and extends economic benefits brought on by tourism to every point connected by our extensive network,” she said.

Tan said the free seats promotion would prompt travellers to be smart with their travels plans and look for the best fares available. She added AirAsia, with its incessant great deals, had always receive a steady flow of travellers with its unbeatable low fares.

“From now on we will also be introducing ‘All-In-Fare’ policy for the Malaysian market, making it easier for our guests to choose and decide. What you see is what you’ll pay! And rest assured it will be all low fares!” she added.

With the new All-In-Fare, free seats for flights from Kuala Lumpur to destinations such as Kuching, Kota Kinabalu or Langkawi are only RM28.50 nett. From Johor Bahru to destinations such as Penang, Miri or Sibu will only cost RM31.50 nett.

The Edge Malaysia 10th May 09

Happy Wesak Day and Happy Mini Thaipusam

Today is Wesak Day and also the so called mini Thaipusam day. If you happened to past by the botanical garden area or Burmah road, I'm sure you will be stucked there for quite awhile due to the crowd and procession going on. Hope you have a nice day as I'm too tired to write more....off to sleep then...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Win 3D2N island holiday...any takers?

RAPID Penang bus users stand to win a 3D/2N holiday package for two at the Coral Redang Island Resort.

Its creative and communications manager Yap Lee Ying said the prize includes a two-way ferry transfer from Kuala Trengganu, accommodation in a semi-detached chalet, boat trips for snorkelling and snorkelling equipment worth RM2,000.

All commuters have to do is attach their bus tickets to lucky draw forms and answer a simple question on Rapid Penang. The forms are available at Rapid Penang headquarters, depot and terminals and at www.rapidpg.com.my.

Yap said commuters can submit their forms at Rapid Penang headquarters at Lorong Kulit, Butterworth depot, Balik Pulau bus terminal or post them to Redang Getaway Contest, Creative & Commu- nications Department, Rapid Penang Sdn Bhd, Lorong Kulit, 10460 Penang by May 31.

“They can send in as many forms as they wish but are eligible to win only one prize. The contest is our way of thanking our commuters for their support,” she said in a statement.

For enquiries, call Rapid Penang (04-2281313 ext 203, 216 or 223).

Hmm, my colleague is training hard to have a nice body simply because he will be going to Redang in 2 months time (july 09). But he's flying there by plane. Wondering how he will reacts if he knows got such 'free' deal...too bad he doesn't take Rapid Penang, but rather in his brand new modified car :p