5 Daft Punk songs that filled the dance floors

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk have called it a day. (Facebook pic)

PARIS: Electronic music duo Daft Punk, who have filled dance floors for three decades with mega-hits you can’t get out of your head, say they are splitting.

As Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo call time on their collaboration – via music video – AFP looks back on the French pair’s five key hits.

‘Da Funk’ (1995)

This groove-based instrumental track from Daft Punk’s debut album was the band’s first worldwide hit and is now considered a classic of 1990s house music.

It won Daft Punk, who long hid their identities beneath motorcycle helmets, their first Grammy nomination.

It owes part of its popularity to its video, shot by top US director Spike Jonze, which features a man-sized dog with floppy ears and a boom box on the streets of New York.

‘Around the World’ (1997)

The ultimate pared-down Daft Punk song with its endlessly repeated three-word lyric of “Around the world”, MTV rated it the seventh-biggest dance anthem of all time.

The quirky French director Michel Gondry made the video featuring dancing mummies, skeleton men, synchronised swimmers and Martian spacemen. He said its “genius was always using repetition and stopping before it’s too much”.

‘One More Time’ (2000)

You will not have escaped this club anthem’s invincible beat if you have set foot on a dance floor in the past 20 years.

“One More Time” debuted at number one in the French charts, number 6 in the UK and the auto-tuned vocals by US DJ Romanthony make it easy for anyone — and everyone — to sing along.

Still need to jog your memory? The complete lyrics are “One more time/ We’re gonna celebrate/ Oh yeah, all right/ Don’t stop the dancing.”

That may be why the readers of US magazine Rolling Stone voted it the best dance track of all time in 2012.

‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’ (2001)

From Daft Punk’s second album, this upbeat electro-pop track scooped one of the duo’s six Grammy awards. Revolving around a jumpy robotic refrain of “Work it harder, make it better”, it was popularised again by US rapper Kanye West when he used a vocal sample from it in 2007 for his song “Stronger”.

‘Get Lucky’ (2013)

One of the group’s most covered hits, the song featuring US singer Pharrell Williams spawned hundreds of parodies.

Its addictive, ear-worm melody even prompted French president Emmanuel Macron to boogie in his seat at France’s usually sombre Bastille Day military parade in 2017 when an army band performed it.

While the rest of the podium got into the groove, the pop reference flew over the coiffed head of stoney-faced US President Donald Trump.

Petrobras share price plunges 20%

SHARES in Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras, plummeted yesterday after President Jair Bolsonaro changed the firm’s chief executive, fuelling fears he will intervene in energy prices and the economy in general as he eyes re-election.

The company’s ordinary shares dived 20.5% and preferential shares 21.5% on the Sao Paulo stock exchange, which closed down 4.9% overall.

Malaysia Aviation Group’s court approval paves way for RM3.6b capital injection

A general view of the Malaysia Airlines Academy’s heritage museum in Petaling Jaya July 29, 2020. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
A general view of the Malaysia Airlines Academy’s heritage museum in Petaling Jaya July 29, 2020. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Malaysia Aviation Group obtained court approval in Britain on Monday for an agreement between the airline’s leasing unit and a majority of its aircraft operating lessors, allowing it to begin a restructuring plan with new capital of RM3.6 billion.

MAG, parent of Malaysia Airlines, said on Monday the scheme received unanimous support of relevant lessors and represented an important component of a wider restructuring which will help to reduce its liabilities of more than RM15 billion .

“Now that the scheme has been formally sanctioned by the UK court, the airline can proceed to implement its restructuring plan with the support of its sole shareholder, Khazanah Nasional Bhd and existing stakeholders,” the group said in a statement.

The restructuring marks a step forward for the company which has been long been burdened with high costs and more recently the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Khazanah Nasional, also Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund, will be committing the new capital of RM3.6 billion to the group to fund the business throughout until 2025.

MAG said under the restructuring, expected to complete in early March, the airline will achieve bilateral agreements with finance lessors, spare engine lessors, maintenance service providers, corporate lenders, and government-related entities.

“Operating lessors have continued to support the airline with a reset of lease rates to market and deferrals,” it said.

It said it has also taken steps to help it through the Covid-19 crisis via network cuts, structural cost savings, cash conservation and payment deferral initiatives amounting to RM5.5 billion in 2020, with a target of RM397 million for the first quarter this year. — Reuters

6 ways Malaysia can propel its car industry supply chain

When Madani Sahari, chief executive of MARii introduced the concept of an AV testbed and test track in Cyberjaya in 2018 many were wondering how this could happen without 5G. (MARii pic)

From Yamin Vong

I’m really chuffed about the accelerated roll-out of 5G as announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

For once, I thought here is real leadership of a nation in need of a leader. And not just from the point of view of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also from the perspective of the economics of development.

Speaking as a veteran automotive journalist and from the context of the automotive industry as one of the most powerful economic forces for a modern commodity-based nation, the mobile telecommunications technology called 5th Generation is the key to the future of cars and the transport of goods.

A 5G telecommunication network will enable the concept of Connected Cars. Modern cars will be able to talk to each other, within a brand, say Volvo to Volvo, and further in the future, with each other across brands.

Cars will also communicate with traffic lights and probably in the future, there can be junctions where the traffic lights are more like intelligent robots to smoothen the flow of traffic.

This is the future of land transport including cars and with the wave led by commercial vehicles: connected, electric, and autonomous.

Malaysia has been without a real industrial policy since the resignation of Dr Mahathir Mohamad who honourably and credibly introduced the National Car to spearhead the industrialisation of Malaysia.

While this national project was diminished by its monopolistic character as a protected infant industry, it has since been much improved by its current partnership with China’s leading privately-owned car maker, Geely and its parent Zhejiang Geely group.

And to be fair, this liberalisation of the domestic auto industry happened under former prime minister Najib Razak who had more pressing matters to attend to.

If Malaysia succeeds in rolling out 5G and putting it in pole position in Asean by the end of this year as scheduled, it would be a big deal for the domestic car industry especially its supply chain.

The first thing that can happen is that an automotive institute’s vision of an autonomous vehicle test bed and test circuit in Cyberjaya will become a reality.

When Madani Sahari, chief executive of the Malaysia Automotive Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii), introduced the concept of an AV testbed and test track in Cyberjaya in 2018, we were wondering how this could happen without 5G.

But out of typical Malaysian courtesy, no one addressed that big elephant in the room. You can’t have AV and connected cars without enabling a 5G network.

At the briefing in 2018, Madani said that his team would work with other ministries and agencies such as GreenTech, the Road Transport Department and the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) to set up a test bed in Cyberjaya.

“We have visited similar autonomous test-bed facilities elsewhere, including Singapore, Europe and Japan,” Madani said.

Currently, Singapore is way ahead of Asean in the field of autonomous cars. About three years ago, it ring-fenced its one-square mile central business district for pilot testing of AV ride-hailing by a US company.

Indonesia is driving onto the Electric Vehicle supply chain by initiating deals with battery makers including CATL (Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd), the world’s largest maker of lithium-ion batteries to power traction motors in electric batteries.

While Indonesian president Joko Widodo is leading his vast nation with the Omnibus Law which streamlines the foreign investment process besides others, the country is also the largest nickel producer in the world; nickel is essential for lithium ion batteries.

Thailand has quickly ratified its participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership so that its domestic car industry can import electric cars from China at entry level prices of RM63,000.

This will obviously boost domestic demand for EVs and lead to spin-offs.

Malaysia’s MITI hasn’t yet brought the RCEP for cabinet sign-off and that binds the hands of its domestic car industry especially those participants who would like to disrupt the market with low-price imports of battery electric vehicles to tantalise Malaysian motorists.

The PM should now quickly do six things to power up the national economy and the automotive industry to its full potential:

1. Make a law for adequate electric charging points at commercial buildings and covered car parks at high-rise residential properties.

2. Ensure an intelligent electric network so that charging can be done at off-peak rates.

3. Be transparent and justify the existence of Manage Service Providers to the cloud service providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

4. Subsidise the last mile connectivity for the telcos to make it a level playing field with Telekom Malaysia which is dominant in this area because of previous subsidies.

5. Sign-off on the RCEP so that Malaysia can boost its domestic market for low-duty EVs from China, Japan and South Korea.

6. Provide new car APs automatically to car companies invested in Malaysia at the cap of 10% of Total Industry Volume of cars sold a year, starting with 48,000 APs for 2021.

 

Yamin Vong has been a journalist for 40 years and has covered the Tokyo Show almost consecutively since the early 1980s, driven thousands of test cars and met numerous auto industry chiefs. Currently, he’s focussed on the motoring industry’s land transport issues. He blogs at MotorMouth.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

UN nuclear watchdog tries to cushion impending axed access to Iran

Iran has been gradually breaching terms of a 2015 nuclear pact since the US withdrew in 2018. (Reuters pic)

VIENNA: The UN nuclear watchdog said on Sunday it had struck a deal with Iran to cushion the blow of steps Tehran plans to take this week that include ending snap inspections, with both sides agreeing to keep “necessary” monitoring for up to three months.

The announcement by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi, made at Vienna airport after a weekend trip to Iran, confirmed that Tehran would go ahead with its plan to slash cooperation with the agency on Tuesday.

Iran has been gradually breaching terms of a 2015 nuclear pact with world powers since the US, under former president Donald Trump, withdrew in 2018 and reimposed sanctions.

The pact aims to keep Iran at arm’s length from being able to make nuclear arms, which Tehran says it has never wanted to build.

US President Joe Biden has said he is ready to talk about both nations returning to the accord, although the two sides have been at odds about who makes the first step.

A key part of Iran’s plan for reducing cooperation this week is ending implementation of the Additional Protocol, under which the IAEA has the right to carry out snap inspections in member states at sites not declared to the agency.

Iran had agreed to implement the protocol under the 2015 nuclear deal.

“This law exists. This law is going to be applied, which means that the Additional Protocol, much to my regret, is going to be suspended,” Grossi told the airport news conference.

Before he spoke, the IAEA and Iran issued a joint statement saying Tehran would continue implementing the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, its core obligations to the agency that allow for monitoring of its declared nuclear facilities.

The IAEA will also continue “necessary verification and monitoring activities for up to three months”, the statement said, without specifying what those activities are.

Grossi said the steps that Iran would take this week would be “to a certain extent mitigated” by the terms of this new, temporary agreement.

“What we agreed is something that is viable, it’s useful to bridge this gap that we are having, salvages the situation now.

“But of course for a stable, sustainable situation there will have to be a political negotiation that is not up to me,” Grossi said, suggesting this created a window for talks on salvaging the nuclear deal.

Police list over 100,000 early recipients of Covid-19 vaccine

A convoy of DHL Express vehicles carry the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine with police escort from Cargo Village in KLIA, February 21, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
A convoy of DHL Express vehicles carry the first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine with police escort from Cargo Village in KLIA, February 21, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) has listed 102,000 recipients of the Covid-19 vaccine from the department under the first phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme which kicks off on Wednesday (Feb 24).

Bukit Aman Management Department director Datuk Ramli Din said, however, PDRM was yet to receive confirmation from the Health Ministry (MoH) on the actual number of initial recipients of the vaccine.

He said the vaccination was proposed to be given to PDRM personnel from all departments, which currently totals 118,214 people.

“It is not focused on one department or division only, because in principle, all of them are eligible to receive it,” he told Bernama today.

Ramli said the MoH had set for the police to start receiving the vaccine shots on Feb 26, and PDRM had proposed 147 vaccination centres (PPVs) to the ministry for the purpose.

“PPVs that have been identified do not involve all the police stations, but only IPK (contingent police headquarters) or IPD (district police headquarters) which aim to facilitate vaccinations in the respective districts.

“Recommendations are to be made by way of outreach to facilitate officers and members present to receive vaccine shots and facilitate monitoring of attendance, and these are in line with MoH’s recommendations,” he said.

He added that the MoH would carry out the inoculations, while the police would monitor security and ensure personnel who agreed to be vaccinated came to the respective PPVs.

The first batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived safely at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on board a special aircraft this morning.

Bernama reported that the vaccines are being stored at three Vaccine Storage Centres (PSV), owned by logistics company DHL, namely in Subang, Selangor; Bayan Lepas, Penang; and Senai, Johor, before it will be sent to MOH’s PSVs.

The media previously reported that the first phase of the immunisation programme from February to April will involve frontline personnel, followed by the second phase from April to August for high-risk groups, aged 60 and above, and vulnerable groups with morbidity problems and people with disabilities.

Meanwhile, the third phase, from May this year until February next year, is for adults aged 18 and above. — Bernama

Singapore probing Malaysian truck driver who visited Resorts World Sentosa Casino

The ministry noted that Malaysian truck drivers are not allowed to mingle in the community other than for delivery purposes and are not to stay overnight. — Reuters pic
The ministry noted that Malaysian truck drivers are not allowed to mingle in the community other than for delivery purposes and are not to stay overnight. — Reuters pic

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SINGAPORE, Feb 22 — The Singapore Ministry of Health (MoH) said it is investigating a Malaysian truck driver who was denied entry into the republic on Feb 18 after testing positive for Covid-19 on an antigen rapid test (ART) at Woodlands Checkpoint.

The ministry said the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test of the freelance deliveryman came back positive for Covid-19 infection the next day.

The MoH said his previous trip to Singapore was on Feb 8, when he tested negative for Covid-19 for his ART at the Checkpoint.

“Our investigations found that he had visited Resorts World Sentosa Casino on Feb 9 before departing for Malaysia on the same day,” it said in a statement yesterday.

While he was not included in the case count as he had not been allowed entry into Singapore after his positive ART test, the ministry said it will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure, including placing all identified close contacts on quarantine. 

The ministry noted that Malaysian truck drivers are not allowed to mingle in the community other than for delivery purposes and are not to stay overnight.

Investigations are ongoing to assess if there had been any breach of the relevant prevailing measures, said the ministry.

As at noon yesterday, Singapore reported 11 new Covid-19 cases, all imported, thus bringing the total infection tally to 59,869. — Bernama

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