This Egyptian artist creates portraits out of burnt tobacco

A portrait of actor Johnny Depp made of tobacco, by artist Abdelrahman al-Habrouk, burns in Alexanria, Egypt August 10, 2017. — Reuters pic

CAIRO, Aug 14 — In a small studio littered with empty cigarette packets in Egypt’s second city, Alexandria, Abdelrahman al-Habrouk sits hunched over a sheet of paper making portraits with tobacco.

The cigarettes fuel his art; he breaks them in half, painstakingly traces out monochrome images of celebrities or animals with the fine flakes of tobacco, then sprinkles his creations with gunpowder and sets them on fire.

The resulting scorch-marks on the white paper form the portrait.

Abdelrahman al-Habrouk makes a portrait of the American actor Johnny Depp with tobacco in Alexandria, Egypt August 10, 2017. — Reuters pic
Abdelrahman al-Habrouk makes a portrait of the American actor Johnny Depp with tobacco in Alexandria, Egypt August 10, 2017. — Reuters pic

Habrouk, now 23, started using unusual materials to make images a couple of years ago, experimenting with coffee, salt and sand before settling on the tobacco technique because it is more durable.

“The idea is that I’m trying to make the art live longer,” he told Reuters.

“I wanted to make something good out of something that is considered harmful,” he added. — Reuters

UK’s ‘Big Ben’ bell to fall silent for four years

The hammers which have struck the 13.7 tonne bell every hour for most of the last 157 years will be locked and disconnected from the clock, — Reuters pic

LONDON, Aug 14 — The “Big Ben” bell in the British parliament’s famous clock tower will cease its regular bongs at noon on Aug. 21, falling silent for most of the next four years while renovation works are carried out, the House of Commons said today.

The hammers which have struck the 13.7 tonne bell every hour for most of the last 157 years will be locked and disconnected from the clock, although the bongs will still sound for important events such as New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“This essential programme of works will safeguard the clock on a long term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home, the Elizabeth Tower,” said Steve Jaggs, Keeper of the Great Clock.

The Palace of Westminster on the bank of the River Thames, home to parliament, is a world heritage site and major tourist attraction, and Jaggs encouraged members of the public to gather in nearby Parliament Square to hear the final bongs next Monday.

The 96-metre-tall Elizabeth Tower, believed to be the most photographed building in the United Kingdom, is already half enveloped in scaffolding as part of a major renovation project.

As part of the works the clock housing Big Ben will be dismantled and each cog examined and restored. The clock’s four dials will be cleaned and repaired, their cast iron framework renewed and the hands removed and refurbished.

One working clock face will remain visible at all times, telling the time silently, and it will be powered by a modern electric motor until the original clockwork mechanism is reinstated.

All the other bells which chime every 15 minutes will be silent as well during the works that are due to be completed in 2021 when Big Bell’s familiar tolls will begin again. — Reuters

Smartphone lost or stolen? Here’s how to trace it

If your smartphone has been lost or stolen, apps and security features allow you to have it ring to alert you of its location, or remotely lock it and erase all your data — as long as it is still turned on and connected. — Picture by AntonioGuillem/

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 12 — Both Android and iOS feature very useful tools that allow you to quickly locate your smartphone if it gets lost or stolen. Even if you are unable to recover the phone, you can still remotely lock it and wipe all your data.

The first step is to make sure that your device can be located. In Android, go into Google Settings, then Security, and activate the option “Remotely locate this device”, if it is not already turned on.

Then you only have to connect to with any Internet browser, whether on a computer or mobile device, to access real-time information on the location of your smartphone. Other options allow you to have the phone ring to alert you of its location, or remotely lock it and erase all your information.

Some brands offer their own solutions, like Samsung with its “Find my mobile” function, which allows you to synchronize your smartphone with your Samsung account, and activate remote control and tracking.

In iOS, open “Settings”, then iCloud, and activate “Find my iPhone”. Then make sure that “Location Services” is turned on in your “Privacy” settings. Once this is done, in the event that your iPhone is lost or stolen, you can connect to and sign in to your Apple account to see exactly where your phone is. You can also do this using the “Find My iPhone” app using any other iOS device, once you have signed in with your Apple ID. You can then remotely lock your phone, have it play a sound, display a message, or erase all the data on it.

It goes without saying that these solutions will only work if your smartphone is turned on and connected (via a cellphone network or wifi). They also work for any other device that is connected to an Apple or Google account. — AFP-Relaxnews

33 suspected ‘Gang 24 Apache’ members to be charged tomorrow

Thirty-three suspected members of 'Gang 24 Apache’ are expected to be charged at Klang Sessions court tomorrow. The group was said to be involved in cases that included murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking and extortion. Bernama Photo

PETALING JAYA: Thirty-three suspected members of ‘Gang 24 Apache’ are expected to be charged at Klang Sessions court tomorrow.

Selangor police chief Datuk Mazlan Mansor said those detained were being investigated under Section 130V of the Penal Code for being a member of organised criminal group and Section 130W for assisting an organised criminal group.

“They have been detained for 28 days under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and will be brought to court tomorrow,” he said.

It is learnt that more than 100 policemen will escort the 33 individuals, who are currently held in Sungai Buloh and Kajang prison.

Other than Sosma, the police had taken action on some them for being involved in the underworld under Prevention of Crime Act (Poca).

Between January and July, Mazlan said a total of 266 people have been arrested under Poca.

He said police are also looking for 15 more individuals, in their 20s and 40s, believed to be members of the same gang.

They are:

1. A.Sivabala,30, last known address at No. 86 Jalan 10, Pandamaran Indah, Klang

2. M.Komandass, 37, No. 36 Lorong Selar 1, Jalan Tepi Sungai Klang

3. R.Ragunathan,27, No.30 Lorong Sutera 3, Taman Maznah, Klang

4. P.Vellasamy, 35, No. 32 Jalan Hulubalang 28, Taman Sentosa, Klang

5. A.Sinakaruppan,29, Lot 2884 Kampung Jawa Sungai Kandis, Jalan Kampung Jawa, Klang

6. K.Murugan,40, No. 1 Lorong Dato Abd Hamid 20, Taman Sri Sentosa, Klang

7. N.Hilavarasan,25, No. 3 Lorong Kerongsang 10A Bandar Puteri Klang

8. R.Suthagar,39, No. 73 Jalan Takwa 25/27 Taman Seri Muda Shah Alam

9. G.Prabakaran ,32, No. 5 Jalan Nagasari 36/1 Taman Desa Latania, Seksyen 36, Shah Alam

10. A.Ramakrishnan,32, D-45 Apartmen Bayu Villa, Jalan Batu Unjur 10, Taman Bayu Perdana, Klang

11. A.A Parameswaran,37, B-6 Lot 9879 Batu 4, Jalan Sellathevan Kampung Jawa, Klang

12. P. Jayanathan,39, No. 12 Jalan Dato Yusuf Shahbudin 3, Taman Sentosa Klang

13. L. Sathiya Seelan,34, No. 13 Batu 21/2 Kampung Jawa, Klang

14. M. Thilip Kumar,32, Lot 6292C Sungai Pinang, Batu 2, Jalan Kapar, Klang

15. S. Harvindran,21, Lot 10435 21 Jalan Kampung Jawa 4, Klang

The group was said to be involved in cases that included murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking and extortion.

The ‘Op Cantas Khas’ in Selangor came after two separate videos of a group of motorcyclists causing a commotion and acting rowdy outside a school went viral in April.

Those in the clip were seen holding banners; one bore the letter “24”, “TD4” and a black swastika.

In the first video, which lasted 1.1 minutes, the group was seen shouting and reviving their motorcycle engines outside the school.

Meanwhile, the second video started with a close-up of a cake with a picture of a man with a native American headdress and words “SMK Sri Andalas”, “24” and “Apache” written on it.

One of the motorcyclists causing the commotion was wearing a school uniform.

Both videos seemed to be recorded at the same location.

Mazlan was speaking to reporters after launching a crime prevention programme “Polis Selangor dan Komuniti Bersama Memerangi Jenayah’ at KDU International School here.

Also present was Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) senior vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

Arrive two hours earlier for SEA games opening, says organiser

Billboards featuring athlete’s picture can be seen along the road nearby KL Sport City in Bukit Jalil ahead of KL 2017 Sea Games in Selangor Aug 7, 2017. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Members of the public who attending the 29th SEA Games opening ceremony at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil have been advised to arrive two hours earlier to reduce congestion around the stadium.

The Malaysia SEA Games Organising Committee (MASOC) in a statement today said the people are also encouraged to use public transport to ease traffic at the stadium.

“Stadium gates will be opened as early as 4pm while the pre-event programme will start at 6pm before the official opening at 8pm,” the statement added.

MASOC said it had worked with Prasarana and the Land Public Transport Commission to take several initiatives including extending LRT operation hours for the Sri Petaling route at Bukit Jalil station to 1am.

“KTM Komuter service will also be extended and its details will be announced shortly,” said MASOC.

For bus service, MASOC said RapidKL would be providing a special service with 10 to 15 minutes frequency from seven locations to the National Stadium namely Jalan Reko Terminal, Kajang; Ampang Point, Ampang; Greenwood, Gombak; Hentian Bandar Shah Alam; KLCC bus stop; Platform C, Pasar Seni; and in front of NU Sentral, KL Sentral.

“The service to the National Stadium will start from 5pm to 8pm while the service from the stadium will operate from 10.30pm to 1am,” the statement said.

To facilitate the people to take public transport, MASOC said there are 18,000 parking bays in its service network along the route to Bukit Jalil.

It further said there are 3,500 more parking bays available at the Selangor Turf Club starting from 3pm and the fee is RM5 per vehicle.

“A free shuttle service will be provided in 10-minute frequency to ferry people from the car park to the stadium,” the statement added.

MASOC also reminded the people not to park their cars on the roadside in the stadium area as they would be towed away.

Members of the public are also reminded that the drop-off points have been designated at Arena Green Apartment and the area near Sri Petaling LRT station as well as the entrance of the National Sports Council Complex near Bukit Jalil Sports School.

“MASOC hopes the people will plan their journeys especially for the opening ceremony as well as adhering to guidelines to prevent traffic congestion,” the statement said.

Members of the public can obtain the latest information at KL2017 social media : :Kuala Lumpur 2017 ; Twitter: @KL2017Instagram: kualalumpur2017; and Youtube: Kuala Lumpur 2017.

— Bernama

Public education on Eczema needed to raise awareness of this skin condition

Public education on various health conditions by the media that includes mental illness and physical illnesses has been effective in getting people to better manage their specific conditions.

However, very little is known about Eczema which affects many people who include children and adults. In the U.S, Eczema affects about 10 percent to 20 percent of infants and about 3 percent of adults and children. I am sure, Singapore has its fair share of Eczema patients with some diagnosed with the ailment and others unaware that they have it.

Eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that causes the skin to become inflamed or irritated – the most common type being atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. The skin becomes itchy and rashes will appear. These rashes will appear on the face, back of the knees, wrists, hands, or feet. It may also affect other areas as well.

If we have sensitive skin and are not sure if Eczema has hit us, bathing too often or washing hands frequently will only cause harmful effects to the skin. This is why it is useful to see doctors who specialise in this area or at least see one who is knowledgeable in Eczema.

Generally, people fear what they don’t understand. For instance, some people might mistakenly believe that Eczema is contagious, when in fact it is not. Hence the need for public education on this health issue.

My recent encounter with this skin disease which was fortunately detected early by a knowledgeable and experience General Practitioner (GP) helped a great deal. She advised me to bathe only once a day, apply Eczema prone skin moisturizer and Eczema prone body wash, take omega 3 fish oil and use cloves when washing dishes or clothing.

The itchiness was so bad that I could not sleep at night and I began to feel depressed.

A bottle of Eczema prone skin moisturizer cost $42 and Eczema prone body wash is priced at around $29. As these products are rather expensive, perhaps the Ministry of Health could purchase these and offer it at discounted or affordable prices at the polyclinics and hospitals for the benefit and convenience of our patients. Even King Salmon Omega 3 fish oil which has several benefits can be made available here.

Together with medications to treat allergy and itchiness, the GP also prescribed oral steroids which will be tapered down as the conditions improves. She comforted me by saying that in cases such as mine, short-term dosage of oral steroids is needed rather than steroid cream, and will not adversely affect the bones.

More than 10 years ago, I was taken off a medication that caused rashes, and the good doctor reminded me to be mindful as my immune system is weak and thus the rash condition that I encountered a decade ago will return and on off.

The good news is that within a week of her medical care, the Eczema has been contained and I have every confidence of a recovery in due course.

For the record, Eczema is not contagious. It is always useful to share our life experiences when we have benefitted from such a health issue, so that those who might be prone to having Eczema will be well positioned to handle the situation better.

As such conditions vary with different people, it is best to seek medical advice and treatment from the professionals/experts and they include doctors from the National Skin Centre (NSC) in Singapore for those who require treatment living there. NSC is based at 1 Mandalay Rd, Singapore 30820.

For patients trying to grapple with this skin illness, the vulnerable (winclude the elderly lonely), understanding, empathy and structural support on the part of family members, religious groups, grassroots leaders and the community can help the sufferers cope much better.


Disclaimer: These treatment and medications described in this article have worked well for me. Please consult a qualified doctor or specialist for your own condition/s.



Raymond Anthony Fernando is a motivational speaker, poet, author, trainer, songwriter, freelance television actor, ghostwriter, media celebrity, regular newspaper forum page writer and an advocate for the mentally ill.

He is a volunteer with the Institute of Mental Health. The author of 32 books was married to Doris Lau Siew Lang, herself an author of 8 books. Doris was called to the Lord in April 2014. This Model Caregiver 2007 and Mental Health Champion 2010, who is born on Valentine’s Day, has contributed 31 years of service to the public sector, 15 years of experience in public relations work, and received several awards and commendations from government organisations.

Raymond attributes his success to his beloved wife, Doris, who has always been his greatest inspiration.

Move over nasi lemak burger, lobster nasi lemak coming through

Lawa Bintang’s lobster nasi lemak consists of a whole lobster with cheese and seasoned with herbs, and served with sambal chilli, fried egg and anchovies. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Aug 13 — Over at an industrial estate in Tampines, there has been a growing buzz at a coffeeshop where a long line forms every morning — sometimes up to two hours — by people waiting to try the latest street food fad: Lobster nasi lemak.

The dish is served with a whole lobster filled with cheese, seasoned with ground herbs and comes with the usual nasi lemak condiments — fried egg, sambal peanuts, anchovies and sambal chilli — and is priced at S$22 (RM70).

Co-owner of halal eatery Lawa Bintang, Sarena Talib, 45, first introduced lobster to the traditional nasi lemak dish sometime in March. She said the younger generation is more open and receptive to new food offerings, so she decided to be “daring enough” to include it in her nasi lemak.

Sarena started out offering her nasi lemak with sotong goreng (fried squid). Heartened by the good response to her “fusion dish”, she decided to add lobster, cray fish and softshell crab to her list of offerings.

Originally, Sarena just thought of offering grilled lobsters. But after exchanging ideas with her nephew, who is a chef, “he tried to make it more interesting by adding cheese”.

The former property agent entered the food business about four years ago when the property market slowed down. The transition, she said, was easier for her as her family had been selling nasi padang in Bedok North “for 40 years”.

“When we were young, my mother taught me to cook. She made sure all the children learned how to cook,” she added.

Sarena, who runs the stall with her husband, orders 20kg worth of lobster every day, but she said, it usually runs out within two hours.

Besides lobster nasi lemak, Lawa Bintang also offers soft-shell crab, cray fish and sotong nasi lemak. — TODAY pic Besides lobster nasi lemak, Lawa Bintang also offers soft-shell crab, cray fish and sotong nasi lemak. — TODAY picThe queues started to get longer earlier this week after some food bloggers wrote about her lobster nasi lemak. So much so, Sarena has implemented a limit on orders per customer.

“We had one customer order five lobsters (at once) and the people behind didn’t have a chance to get it. So we set a rule that one person can only order two lobster nasi lemak,” Sarena said.

When TODAY visited the stall on Thursday at lunch time, there were about 35 people in line.

Teacher Zahira Ali, 30, said: “I don’t mind paying such an amount for a nasi lemak lobster. Grilled lobster alone can be quite pricey as well. It can cost around S$50 to S$60 dollars alone.”

Another customer Kenny Chee, 51, who went with his family to try it for the first time and waited for 1 hour and 40 minutes, but did not get to try the lobster nasi lemak, so he ordered the nasi lemak sotong goreng instead.

“My colleague tried and he raved about it so we wanted to try it,” said Chee said, who said although he didn’t get to try the lobster, it was still worth the wait.

“It (the sotong goring) had a nice balance of sweetness and spiciness and the meat was well-marinated. They used basmati rice which is moist and has a nice bite to it,” Chee said.

Account Assistant Fathiyah Al Hilal, 27, who came back for the second time for the lobster nasi lemak also had to settle for another dish. “I had the nasi lemak sotong in March. It was very tasty …

“(The lobster) is sold out so I will get the sotong again. I don’t mind queueing because I know it’s good,” said Fathiyah. — TODAY

*Lawa Bintang is located at Blk 9008, Tampines street 93, and opens from 8am to 2pm from Tuesdays to Thursdays, 10am to 2pm on Fridays, and from 9am to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Closed on Mondays.- MMO

30 Feared Dead As Landslide Sweeps Away 2 Buses In Himachal Pradesh

The landslide happened at Kotrupi, 220 kilometres from Shimla

The police said the landslide on Mandi-Pathankot highway swept away the two buses 800 metres down into a gorge and buried one of the buses completely.

SHIMLA: Thirty people are feared killed after a massive landslide buried two buses they were travelling in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district. The incident happened near Mandi-Pathankot highway late last night.

The army along with the local authorities and the National Disaster Response Force are carrying out a search and rescue operation. Five people have been rescued, an official said. Eight bodies have been recovered, including the driver and the conductor of Chamba depot Chanden Sharma and Satpal, respectively.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolence. “Pained by the loss of lives due to landslide related accidents in HP’s Mandi district. My condolences with the families of the deceased,” PM

The landslide happened at Kotrupi, 220 kilometres from Shimla. The police said the two buses were parked on the highway while the passengers were out for snacks just before the landslide happened. It swept away the buses 800 metres down into a gorge and buried one of the buses completely.

One of the buses was going from Chamba to Manali and the other from Manali to Katra. Director General of Police Somesh Goyal said eight passengers were travelling in the Manali-Katra bus while 47 passengers were in the other bus.

The number of people who are feared dead in the landslide is likely to increase, Mandi Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kadam told reporters. Himachal Pradesh Transport Minister GS Bali the number of those feared dead could be as high as 50.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh tweeted he is on his way to the accident site, adding the NDRF has been called in. “Immediate relief will be provided,” Mr Singh said.- NDTV.

Usain Bolt’s Illustrious Career Ends In Tears After Cramp Downs Him In Final Race


Slated to run the final leg of the men’s 4×100 relay for Jamaica, Bolt tumbled to the track with an injury just after teammate Yohan Blake handed him the baton.

It was a heartbreaking ending to an outstanding track and field career for Usain Bolt on Saturday at the IAAF World Championships in London. Running the final leg of the men’s 4×100 relay for Jamaica, Bolt failed to finish when a cramp in his left hamstring led him to pull up just after teammate Yohan Blake handed him the baton. Bolt collapsed on the track, as the British, American and Japanese teams soared ahead to secure their first-, second- and third-place podium spots, respectively. This is the first time since 2008 that a team other than Jamaica won the event at a major meet.

“A lot of the pain is from disappointment from losing the race,” Team Jamaica doctor Kevin Jones told reporters (via the Associated Press) about how Bolt was feeling after the event. “The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him.”

The eight-time Olympic gold medalist didn’t remain on the ground for long. He got up with the help of his teammates Blake, Omar McLeod and Julian Forte to eventually limp across the finish line and offer the crowd a tearful wave. Bolt also appeared to apologize to his teammates, who looked on with understanding.

Bolt, 31, ran the qualifying legs for Team Jamaica without incident earlier in the day. This may have taken a toll on his muscles by the time the final rolled around at nearly 10 p.m. local time.

Having run 23 championship races since 2008, this was only the fourth time Bolt failed to win, the first time due to injury. Previously, he didn’t win because of a false start, a disqualification after the fact due to a teammate’s failed doping test, and last Saturday, because of an uncharacteristic performance – Bolt came in third in the 100-meter final.

Meanwhile, the top of the podium has continued to evade Team USA, which finished second to Great Britain on Saturday with a time of 37.52 seconds, just five-hundredths of a second behind the leaders.

Bolt’s longtime rival Justin Gatlin, who won the 100-meter final last Saturday, ran the second leg, but did not appear happy with the result. Before the start of the race, he called past U.S. foibles in the event “frustrating” and “embarrassing.”

“It gets to the point where it kind of fuels you,” he said. “You don’t want to let down your country anymore.”

While Gatlin and the other Team USA sprinters, including Mike Rodgers, Jaylen Bacon and 100-meter silver medalist Christian Coleman, appeared disappointed with second place, it sure beats last summer’s Olympic performance in which Team USA was disqualified for mishandling the baton.

The U.S. women, meanwhile, had a better night. The team of Aaliyah Brown, Allyson Felix, Morolake Akinosun and Tori Bowie won gold with a time of 41.82 seconds. Great Britain came in second with a time of 42.12 seconds and Jamaica pulled in third, seven-hundredths of a second later. – NDTV.

Russian airports may be equipped with first self-driving vehicles within 10 years

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

Self-driving vehicles are not the “remote future” anymore, a Russian tycoon says.

MOSCOW, August 9. /TASS/. First self-driving vehicles can be introduced in airports, Supervisory Board Chairman of Basic Element company Oleg Deripaska said on Wednesday.

“Areas are in place that have already been ready [for robotic cars use – TASS],” the businessman said at the meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

“Let’s say, airport transport and logistical segments of chains can already be equipped with autopilots now,” Deripaska said.

Self-driving vehicles are not the “remote future,” he said. “We will see that in ten years already. It is important this program is developing,” the businessman added. – TASS.