Sabtu, 4 Jun 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Key al Qaeda man said killed in Pakistan drone strike

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 09:20 PM PDT

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A U.S. drone strike killed a senior al Qaeda figure in northwest Pakistan after a tipoff from local intelligence, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Saturday.

Ilyas Kashmiri speaks during a news conference in Islamabad in this July 11, 2001 file photo. (REUTERS/Mian Kursheed/Files)

But a U.S. National Security official in Washington said he could not confirm the report and warned it could be premature.

The elimination of Ilyas Kashmiri, regarded as one of the most dangerous militants in the world, would be another coup for the United States after American special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a garrison town close to Islamabad on May 2.

More cooperation from Islamabad could help repair ties with ally Washington, badly damaged when it was discovered that bin Laden had apparently been living in Pakistan for years.

One Pakistani intelligence official in Islamabad and three in the northwest said Kashmiri had been killed.

"We are sure that he (Kashmiri) has been killed. Now we are trying to retrieve the bodies. We want to get photographs of the bodies," said the Pakistani intelligence official in Islamabad.

Kashmiri was wrongly reported to have been killed in a September 2009 strike by a U.S. drone. It is difficult or impossible to get confirmation of the identities of those killed in drone strikes because they take place in remote areas not accessible to foreign journalists.

A Pakistani television station quoted the group Kashmiri headed, Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI) which is allied to al Qaeda, as saying the latest report was true.

"We confirm that our Amir (leader) and commander in chief, Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, along with other companions, was martyred in an American drone strike on June 3, 2011, at 11:15 p.m.," Abu Hanzla Kashir, who identified himself as a HUJI spokesman, said in a statement faxed to the station.

"God willing ... America will very soon see our full revenge. Our only target is America."

The U.S. National Security official expressed doubts about the statement. Its authenticity could not be independently verified. Britain's Channel 4 News said the death had been confirmed by a senior HUJI commander and close aide of Kashmiri.

Kashmiri, said to be a former Pakistani military officer, and other militants were with an Afghan Taliban member involved in liaison with the Pakistani Taliban when the drone missile struck, said the intelligence official.

He said they were in a house in South Waziristan, close to the Afghan border in northwest Pakistan, that was believed to be the HUJI headquarters of Kashmiri's group, which has been described as an operational wing of al Qaeda.

"We were closing in on him and he switched off his satellite phone and cellphone and he wanted to cross the border to Afghanistan to find a hiding place," the Islamabad official added. "It was a tipoff by us since we were closely monitoring his movements."

Five of his close allies were killed in the attack by a pilotless drone aircraft, intelligence officials said.


The killing of bin Laden aroused international suspicions that Pakistani authorities had been complicit in hiding him, and led to domestic criticism of them for failing to detect or stop the U.S. team that killed him.

U.S. scepticism of claims of Kashmiri's demise may be further evidence of deep distrust between Pakistani and U.S. intelligence services public pledges by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other American officials that relations had improved.

Kashmiri was on a list which Washington gave Pakistan of militants it wanted killed or captured, a Pakistani official said.

Drone strikes have increased under the Obama administration, sometimes killing civilians and fuelling anti-American sentiment.

While Pakistani leaders publicly criticise the attacks, analysts say killing high-value targets would not be possible without Pakistani intelligence.

Washington reiterated its call on Pakistan to crack down harder on militancy after it was discovered that bin Laden had been living in the country.

The U.S. Department of State has labelled Kashmiri a "specially designated global terrorist". He has been linked to attacks including the 2008 rampage through the Indian city of Mumbai which killed 166 people.

The Pakistani media has speculated that Kashmiri was the mastermind of an attack on the PNS Mehran naval base in Karachi last month which humiliated the Pakistani military.

(Additional reporting by Saud Mehsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Hafiz Wazir in South Waziristan, Faisal Aziz in Karachi, Mark Hosenball and Myra MacDonald in London; writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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FACTBOX - Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 09:20 PM PDT

REUTERS - Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh has flown to Saudi Arabia for treatment of wounds sustained in a rocket attack on his presidential palace on Friday.

Here are some facts about Yemen's long-serving leader:

Supporters of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh hold posters and shout slogans as they climb flag poles during a pro-government rally in Sanaa April 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad/Files)


-- Saleh, in power for more than three decades, has used internal conflicts with Houthi Shi'ite rebels in the north, Marxist rebels in the south and al-Qaeda operatives to the east to draw in foreign aid and military support and solidify his power base. Al Qaeda has already used Yemen to attempt attacks in Saudi Arabia and the United States in the past two years.

-- Saleh presided over the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen in 1990 and has fended off rebels and separatists to prevent Yemen sliding into becoming a failed state.

-- He was elected president by parliament in Oct. 1994, and first directly elected president in September 1999, winning 96.3 percent of the vote. Most recently, he was re-elected in September 2006 to a seven-year term.

-- A string of Saleh's allies has defected to protesters, who are frustrated by rampant corruption and soaring unemployment. Some 40 percent of the population live on $2 a day or less, and one third face chronic hunger.

-- Saleh has made many verbal concessions during the protests, recently promising to step down in weeks in return for immunity from prosecution. The opposition agreed to the peace plan, which was negotiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

-- However, Saleh has yet to sign any plan and the latest refusal, on May 22, has sparked more street battles in Sanaa this time between his security forces and a powerful tribal group, the Hashed tribal alliance, led by Sadeq al-Ahmar whose family has backed protesters demanding Saleh's overthrow.

-- The fighting forced thousands of residents to flee Sanaa and raised the prospect of chaos that could benefit the Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda and threaten neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter. More than 370 people have been killed around Yemen since January when the protest movement began.

-- Saleh was wounded when shells struck his palace on Friday. The government blamed the tribesmen but Sadeq al-Ahmar blamed the government to help justify its escalation of street fighting in the capital.


-- Born in March 1942 into a tribe living near Sanaa, he received only limited education before taking up a military career, beginning in 1958 as a non-commissioned officer.

-- His first break came when North Yemen President Ahmed al-Ghashmi, who came from the same Hashed tribe as Saleh, appointed him military governor of Taiz, North Yemen's second city. When Ghashmi was killed by a bomb in 1978, Saleh replaced him as leader of the North.

-- The severity of his rule aggravated tension with the South, and sporadic clashes escalated into open conflict between the two states in 1979. The brief war went badly for Saleh.

-- However, Saleh was seen as a survivor. He crushed an attempt to overthrow him only months after he took power in North Yemen, and swept to victory when southerners tried to secede from united Yemen in 1994.

Sources: Reuters/

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Syria forces killed 70 protesters Friday - activists

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 09:20 PM PDT

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian forces killed at least 70 protesters on Friday, activists said, one of the bloodiest days since the start of an 11-week revolt against the authoritarian rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

A Syrian girl, living in Jordan, with the national flag painted on her fingers, takes part in a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in front of the Syrian embassy in Amman May 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed)

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets on Friday in defiance of security forces determined to crush the uprising, and some activists said the death toll could hit 100.

Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said at least 60 people were killed in Hama, where Assad's father Hafez crushed an armed revolt 29 years ago by killing up to 30,000 people and razing parts of the city.

A political activist in Hama said tens of thousands of people were attending the funerals of dead protesters on Saturday, and that more protests were planned later in the day.

"Anger is very high in the city, people will never be silent or scared. The whole city is shut today and people are calling for a three-day strike," the activist, who gave his name as Omar, told Reuters by phone from the city.

"We expect protests after the evening prayers."

Residents and activists said that security forces and snipers fired at demonstrators who thronged Hama on Friday.

On top of the casualties there, Syrian human rights group Sawasiah said one person was killed in Damascus and two in the northwestern province of Idlib. Seven people were killed in the town of Rastan in central Syria, which has been under military assault and besieged by tanks since Sunday.

Rights groups say security forces have killed more than 1,000 civilians during the uprising, provoking international outrage at Assad's ruthless handling of the demonstrators.

Assad has tried brute force and political concessions, often simultaneously, to quell protests. The tactic has so far failed to stop the revolt against 41 years of rule by the Assad family, members of the minority Alawite sect in mainly Sunni Syria.

In Deraa, birthplace of the revolt, hundreds defied a military curfew and demonstrated on Friday, two residents said.

Syrian forces fired on demonstrations in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor and in Damascus' Barzeh district. Activists and residents said thousands marched in the northwestern province of Idlib, the Kurdish northeast, several Damascus suburbs, the city of Homs and the towns of Madaya and Zabadani in the west.

"It is worth noting that Hama and Idlib, where the biggest demonstrations occurred, used to be the stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood," said one activist who declined to be named.

"The number of people who took to the streets could be a message from the (Muslim) Brotherhood to the regime that: "now we are taking part in the revolution in full weight"."


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was "deeply concerned" by reports that Internet service and some mobile phone networks had been shut down in much of Syria.

"We condemn any effort to suppress the Syrian people's exercise of their rights to free expression, assembly and association," she said in a statement. "Attempting to silence the population cannot prevent the transition currently taking place... the Syrian people will find a way to make their voices heard."

Syrian authorities released a prominent activist on Saturday who had been in jail since 2008, Abdulrahman said.

Ali Abdallah, in his 50s, had criticised Syria's ally Iran. He was a member of the Damascus Declaration, a rights movement named after a document calling for a democratic constitution and an end of the Baath Party's five-decade monopoly on power.

Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed groups backed by Islamists and foreign powers, and say the groups have fired on civilians and security forces alike. Authorities have prevented most international media from operating in Syria, making it impossible to verify accounts of the violence.

Activists say there have been some instances of citizens resisting security forces with personal weapons, and of security police shooting soldiers who refused to fire at protesters.

Assad has sent in tanks to crush demonstrations in some flashpoints but has also offered some reforms, such as an amnesty for political prisoners and a national dialogue -- measures dismissed by opposition figures as too little too late.

The United States, the European Union and Australia have imposed sanctions on Syria, but perhaps because of reluctance to get entangled in another confrontation after Libya, their reaction has been less vehement than some activists had hoped.

(Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, editing by Tim Pearce)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Killer instincts

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 03:19 AM PDT

Be it a clown or psychopath, when it comes to playing a character, Bill Irwin has all the right moves.

IT must be hard for a series to have lasted 11 seasons. But CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has managed to keep audiences entertained week after week since 2000, and continues to do so. This is in no small measure because of the complex character developments on the show.

The main cast are great to watch in action – from former team lead Gil Grissom (William Petersen) to the Texan born and bred second-in-command Nick Stokes (George Eads), to former DNA Tech who got promoted to CSI Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda) – each CSI has his own backstory, which viewers have come to know and love over the years.

New team leader Dr Ray Langston (Laurence Fishburne, no less) is another great addition to the series and with guest starts, too, CSI never fails to disappoint. Think Tony Curtis, Faye Dunaway, John Mayer, Kevin Federline, Roger Daltry, Liev Schreiber, Taylor Swift, Zachary Quinto and Justin Bieber. Many a time, when a guest hits all the right notes (or makes your goosebumps get goosebumps in this case), they are turned into recurring characters on the show.

And such is the case with Bill Irwin, who plays the psychotic serial killer Nate Haskell on the crime/forensics series. Haskell first appeared in the ninth season and has since popped up in episodes of the following two seasons. He's still around and in the last week, CSI fans would have felt his chilling presence once again.

It's odd that Irwin, the actor behind the killer character, once trained as a professional clown at the Clown College, of the famed Ringley Brothers And Barnum Bailey Circus in the 1970s.

Irwin has also, ironically, in the past played the role of Mr Noodle on Sesame Street's Elmo's World. Just how does one go from clown and children's TV star to the crime and investigation genre?

In a telephone interview with media from the region, Irwin said: "I'm still feeling the irony! I am not quite sure how I got the role of Nate Haskell and it is still rather unusual for me. I think it must have something to do with my stage roles."

Irwin won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his appearance as George in the revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in 2005.

"Initially, they told me he (Haskell) would only appear once, but I think they like to write for him. Although it has not been fun to play such a character, because he is really very ill, I think I have gained some insight into how to play him. I do feel fascinated that I had an instinct for it. One of the best compliments I have ever received was that a (real) policeman once said to me, 'You are very familiar, I've dealt with people like you ... arrogant criminals who enjoy making the police feel bad.' He was visibly angry. I guessed my portrayal of Nate Haskell must have hit a nerve."

Irwin, who turned 61 in April, shared that he got some of his ideas on how to play a killer like Haskell from his own experience of having to deal with prisoners.

"Many years ago, I did some work inside prison – it was theatre with prisoners. There were some wonderful men I met there, but they were deeply angry. They were not able to have any connection with other people that didn't involve hurting them in some manner. That's what I remembered and I tried to borrow those feelings for Haskell's character."

While Irwin had some qualms about playing Haskell, he enjoyed the chance to be on CSI. One of the most interesting things about the serial killer on the show is the chemistry he shares with CSI team leader Dr Langston.

"I love doing the Haskell character, mostly because I get to act with Laurence Fishburne. I think we challenge each other – it is like playing tennis with somebody who is very good to make sure your tennis is getting better. It lifts you up and challenges you, and I think, when we do a scene together, we surprise each other sometimes."

How does an actor like Irwin – who's been a clown noted for his contribution to the renaissance of American circus, is noted for his vaudeville-style stage acts and has made numerous appearances on film, television and on Broadway – want to be remembered?

Irwin laughed and said: "A couple of years ago, I created a show called The Happiness Lecture, and it didn't entirely work, but there was some good stuff in it and I remember thinking that this is an interesting time for me. I think I would like to be remembered as a good actor. When I was younger, I wanted to be remembered as a playwright, maybe that could still happen."

Catch Bill Irwin in action on the finale of CSI Season 11 this Tuesday at 10pm on AXN (Astro Ch 701) and AXN HD (Astro 721).

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Hanging tales

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 03:15 AM PDT

We need a revolution in TV land! So that we aren't left with painful cliffhangers after we've invested our time and emotions in a show.

IT is June, and the American TV schedule is littered with corpses: the family of superheroes in No Ordinary Family will no longer wield their amazing powers, we'll never find out what the "visitors" plan next for humanity in V, nor will we know just what The Event will be.

A pity, really. I liked No Ordinary Family's quirky charm and V improved in its second season – though the cheap special effects never did it any favours. The Event had an intriguing, if feet-dragging plot, though I had long worried for its longevity, seeing how its ratings floundered from the beginning.

I've learned over the years not to get too invested in American TV shows. I'd try to choose winners but can't help be drawn in by excellent, unique shows that often end up cancelled – Firefly, Dollhouse and Rome, to name a few. Shows that succeed ratings-wise – and they aren't always excellent shows per se – are renewed and tend to go on for many seasons, ratings willing. But that's not necessarily a good thing. Unless they have some very good writers, some end up going on for so long that the characters and plot become stale, and whatever joy to be had is sucked out. Some stories just need to die at their appointed time. (Someone put House out of his misery, please.)

Good storytelling isn't always rewarded in TV land, especially in the United States. Those that dare to be more adventurous don't always survive, as the majority of viewers either aren't receptive to complex, multi-episode storylines or take a while to warm up to them. (The exception is, of course, Lost, but that was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.) Critically well-received sci-fi drama Fringe was on the verge of cancellation this year and cult-favourite dramedy Chuck barely survived to go on to its fifth, and most probably last, season next year.

Apart from the sadness of not getting to watch your favourite show, the problem is that TV series often end in cliffhangers to entice viewers to return the next season. And since producers are usually not given enough notice of the cancellation to wrap up the stories lines, many cancelled shows end up with no endings, leaving the viewers terminally frustrated.

Well, this avid TV viewer is tired of this state of affairs. I'm fed up with shows that have no endings, I'm annoyed that shows with good storylines are given the shaft, and I'm no longer eager to invest my time in a TV show only to have it cancelled without proper resolution. What a waste of a story, and how futile the efforts of the production team. I demand a TV revolution!

At times like these I can't help but think of how TV shows are produced outside the United States; for instance, in South Korea, home of the Hallyu Wave.

There, TV dramas are rarely cancelled because they are given a definite number of episodes to complete their run. If the show has good ratings, it will be extended by a few episodes. As a result, viewers get stories with proper endings – and are inclined to buy the box sets. And I have to say that it's rather satisfying and stress-free to sit through a short 16-episode drama as opposed to five seasons with 22 episodes each season.

However, this system has created problems of its own. In chasing after good ratings, many producers opt to "live shoot" the shows. Meaning, dramas are produced in "real time" – the episode is often aired the same week it was made. This is so that producers can tweak the show's storyline if ever the ratings begin to waver.

This often results in the production team having to rush to complete the episode in a very short time. Actors often bear the brunt of the gruelling schedule, some collapsing on set out of sheer exhaustion.

In 2009, actor Kim Bum fainted on the set of his drama Dream. South Korean superstar Bae Yong-joon (who starred in hit soap Winter Sonata) was hospitalised for early stage of sepsis the same year.

According to the Korea Times, "his immunity (sic) system has weakened due to stress and over work". "I filmed all through the night until 6 o'clock this morning, and went home only to shower. We'll have to pull all-night shoots tonight and tomorrow, too, to make the broadcast tomorrow," said actress Yeom Jung-ah (at of the 16-episode drama Royal Family, which aired a few months ago in South Korea.

In the most extreme example of the live shoot system, the forensic drama Signs shot its last episode on the day of its broadcast. The result was a rushed product full of audio glitches and choppy editing, which annoyed viewers.

Changing the storyline to whet the audience's appetites often results in continuity problems in the storytelling and unexplainable character transformations, though sometimes the tweaks do seem to improve ratings somewhat.

Flawed system it may be, but if South Korea can air complete dramas, I really cannot see why Hollywood can't do the same. Even its cousin across the pond, Britain, air dramas with proper endings. Shouldn't Hollywood attempt to fix the system and allow TV shows to do what they're meant to do – tell a story? And as far as I know, stories have a beginning, a middle and an ending.

Elizabeth Tai is taking a break from Western dramas to sample the sweet and (usually) short relief of South Korean and Chinese dramas.

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Borhan is president for 8 terms

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 07:37 PM PDT

Saturday June 4, 2011

DATUK Borhanuddin Osman (pic), AMP Radio Networks executive director, has been elected as president of Commercial Radio Malaysia (CRM) for a record-setting eighth term at its recent AGM.

CRM, the representative association of 19 Malaysian commercial radio operators, says in a statement that Borhanuddin, has held the top post since 2004.

The other elected key posts are BFM's Malek Ali as vice-president, Best 104's Bakhtiar Arshad as secretary, and Media Prima's Seelan Paul as treasurer.

"Our growth as an industry is largely due to the commitment and single voice of our members," reasons Borhanuddin. "The future of radio is closely aligned to integration across multiple platforms. This is an exciting phase as radio transforms itself as a medium on the go."

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MSA receives record number of entries

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 07:36 PM PDT

THE Media Specialists Association (MSA), which is organising the 7th annual Malaysian Media Awards (MMA) this year, may have its hands full with the number of entries that it has to evaluate.

MSA organising committee chairman Andy Miller, who is also Vizeum Malaysia chief executive officer, says it has received 335 submissions this year - which is a record.

"I am surprised that we achieved a new record in terms of the number of entries after seven years.

"There are so many award shows out there but the fact that we've seen so many entries this year, shows that this (MMA) is the award that people want to enter," Miller tells StarBizWeek. Last year's MMA attracted some 250 entries. Miller believes that submissions were lower last year as the country was still recovering from the global economic downturn.

"It's great to have more submissions but that's not the most important thing. What's important in the quality of the entries," Miller adds.

Miller, who has been MSA's chairman for three years, says standards have been improving over the years.

"The reason the MMA was put together is to show clients how affective advertising campaigns can be. It's about improving the standard of work and to recognise the media planners in our industry."

According to Miller, entries are judged on media strategy (40%), the execution of the strategy (30%) and the results received for the brands involved (30%).

Miller says MSA will strive to improve the level of transparency for the judging process.

"We will have an external auditor and 30 judges to help eliminate any amount of bias. Even I, as the chairman, will not know the results of the event until the night of the awards."

To further improve transparency, the MSA is also inviting representatives from the Malaysian Advertisers Association (2As) and the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) to join the judging panel.

"Both the 4As and 2As will provide three judges each," says Miller, adding that judging will comprise two stages.

"First the judges will go through the entries and shortlist them based on categories. Next, the entries will be scored and submitted to our auditing firm."

This year's awards will see the same number of (12) categories as last year, namely the Best Use of Television, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, Digital (online/interactive/mobile), Digital Search, Sponsorship, Out of Home Media, Point of Sale, Branded Content on TV, Small Budget (under RM100,000) excluding digital and Integrated Media Campaign.

The closing date for submissions was on May 20 with late entries allowed until May 27. Judging of the MMA will be conducted on June 17, followed by the awards on July 1.

On the plan to disallow submissions to MMA if they include publications that are not audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), Miller says: "We're supportive of it. In the future, we're looking at seriously considering supporting the ABC on this."

Going forward, Miller hopes that there will be more online-based entries.

"Going digital is the trend and it's critical for the vast majority of (advertising) campaigns today. If you're not going to produce digital work, you're going to miss out on a large portion of the audience out there."

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Ad agencies need to adopt new approaches to manage Generation Y workers

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 07:35 PM PDT

Talent is a pressing issue in the advertising and media industry and yet many agencies are not doing enough to retain talent or upskill their employees.

Calling for the need to provide comprehensive training programmes, PHD Asia-Pacific chief executive Cheuk Chiang says the approach taken by ad agencies to manage Generation Y workers also needs to be reviewed.

"Our biggest asset is our people and the industry has not been doing enough to retain talented staff. The industry has a churn and burn' mentality. Many media and ad agencies recruit the younger staff and do not provide sufficient training to retain them, resulting in them leaving for other jobs.

"Generally, ad agencies are not also doing enough to nurture Gen Y staff to help them excel via the necessary training programmes,'' he says in an interview.

Baby boomers and Gen X basically do not understand how Gen Y behave and many labelled them as being "spoilt" and "opportunists."

Cheuk says Gen Y are into new experiences and agencies should offer them opportunities to climb up the ladder of success. PHD is a global media and communications agency and part of the Omnicom Media Group.

Under the group, various training programmes are offered to boost talent in areas like presentation and negotiations, finance, digital , branded content and other relevant areas.

On media trends, he adds there is a convergence of the different media with continued growth in digital media (especially social media and mobile) and branded content.

The importance of digital media can be seen through its ability to be accountable and reach a broad audience whilst branded content on television is effective in engaging with customers because it connects brand with consumers in an entertaining way, he notes.

Cheuk says the agency has been able to secure the best talent globally not only in digital media, but also in social media, mobile and the development of branded content because of the work it does.

For example, the agency's involvement in the "unbeatable" content campaign to promote Unilever's Clear shampoos was well received worldwide. In China, a third of the population watched the mini series, he says.

PHD's strategy for growth in Malaysia is to consistently deliver great ideas to help promote its clients' brands effectively.

The agency's strength lies in its new approach to communications planning or ETNA - Exploration, Thought leader, Neuro planning and Action planning.

Exploration involves a thorough understanding of the task.

It also involves consumer, brand, category and cultural insights. Thought leader is a communications strategy that provides direction across all touch points, while Neuro planning revolves on influencing behaviour via communication channels. Action plan is designed to create commercially viable ideas for execution.

On the outlook of the advertising expenditure this year, Cheuk says ad spend in areas like technology and travel is on the rise with consumer confidence returning to the market.

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Cristie Kerr leads LPGA ShopRite Classic

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 05:29 PM PDT

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (AP): Cristie Kerr birdied the final hole for a 6-under 65 and a one-shot lead over Catriona Matthew after Saturday's second round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The 33-year-old Kerr rolled in three of her eight birdies after making a double bogey on the 12th hole on the Bay Course at Seaview. Kerr capped the round with an 8-footer at the par-5 18th to put herself in position to win for the first time this year and for the 15th time in her LPGA career.

Kerr, who won this event in 2004, had an 8-under 134 total after a round that was played in a slight breeze in stark contrast to the strong wind that blew Friday.

There were 53 sub-par rounds in the second round compared to 13 the day before and, if the conditions don't change, a low score will probably be needed Sunday to collect the top prize of $225,000.

"You just have to feel out the conditions and see what the optimum score will be in those kinds of those conditions," Kerr said. "Shooting even par, I know, is not going to get it done."

Matthew is looking to become the first player in her 40s to win on the LPGA Tour since Helen Alfredsson won in China in 2008 at 43. The 41-year-old mother of two who has won only three times in 17 years on tour, had a 67 on Saturday. Her last win was the 2009 British Women's Open, 11 weeks after she gave birth to her second child.

"I've learned from those situations before and I'll be nervous tomorrow," said Matthew, who had six birdies and two bogeys. "So I just need to hopefully learn from being there in the past and cope with it."

Brittany Lincicome, looking for her first win since 2009, was alone at 6 under after shooting a tournament-best 64 that featured seven birdies and no bogeys.

"I drove it well, I hit it to most of the greens well and I just seemed to make everything," said Lincicome. "Nothing really went in yesterday so I must have been saving them for today."

Lincicome has not won since capturing the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her first and only major.

"I am just looking to win and get back in the winner's area, even the same zip code," she said. "It's been a while so it's nice to be near the top of the leaderboard. It's nice to be back in the media room and getting asked questions about my round. Everything is going in the right direction. I am working hard and playing well."

First-round leader Jiyai Shin (71), fellow South Korean Amy Yang (67) and American Mindy Kim (65) were tied for fourth place, three shots behind Kerr. Brittany Lang (66) and Shi Hyun Ahn (67) were four shots behind the leader.

Anna Nordqvist (68), Katie Futcher (68), I.K. Kim (70), Karen Stupples (70) and Haeji Kang were all at 139, five back. There were some amazing second round turnarounds.

Birdie Kim followed an opening-round 85 with a 70, but still missed the cut at 4 over. Beatriz Recari of Spain shot a second-round 65 to move from a tie for 89th to a tie for 20th at 1 under. Sandra Gal, who was a shot behind Shin after the opening round, had a 74 and also was at 1 under.

Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer were at 1 over after rounds of 71.

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Simba surprised & stopped by veteran Botha

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 04:48 PM PDT

JOHANNESBURG (AP): Promising South African heavyweight Flo Simba suffered a surprise sixth-round stoppage by veteran Francois Botha on Saturday for his first defeat in 11 professional fights.

The 21-year-old Simba was rocked by two big right hands from compatriot Botha - 21 years his senior - and the referee stepped in soon after with Simba out on his feet.

Botha, who lost to Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in his career, improved to 48-5 with three draws and one no-contest.

Simba looked to dominate a seemingly out-of-shape Botha early, landing his trademark right hook in the first round.

But Botha used his experience to ride Simba's onslaught and caught the youngster with two right hands and then a combination later in the sixth for a TKO victory.

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Brooks maintains lead in Champions event

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 04:47 PM PDT

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP): Mark Brooks survived a shaky finish that left him with a 4-under 67 and a one-stroke lead Saturday after the second round of the Principal Charity Classic.

Brooks, a Champions Tour rookie who began the day two strokes in front, salvaged a bogey on 18 after twice hitting into bunkers and finished 36 holes at 10-under 132. Mark Calcavecchia, playing in the same group as Brooks, closed with three straight pars after an eagle on 15 to wind up with a 66, putting him 9 under.

Peter Senior (67) and 2002 winner Bob Gilder (66) were 8 under. "It's fun," Brooks said, savoring his spot atop the leaderboard. "There are good galleries here, it's a great tournament.

It feels like a real tournament."

The weather calmed after Friday's breezy conditions and Glen Oaks yielded far lower scores as a result, including a 64 by Jay Don Blake that was one off the tournament record. It was the day's best score and left Blake 6 under heading into Sunday.

Brooks, who hasn't won a tournament since the 1996 PGA Championship, was in danger of losing the lead when he hit out of one fairway bunker and landed in another on 18. His next shot, to the back of the green, left him with a 45-foot putt for par and he got close enough for little more than a tap-in for bogey.

Calcavecchia had a chance to tie for the lead, but rammed his birdie putt on 18 past the hole before nailing his comebacker.

Brooks thought he, Calcavecchia and Senior, who also played in the final group, left a lot of makeable putts on the greens.

"Our whole group could have shot lower today," Brooks said. "There weren't a whole lot of putts being made. Our whole group could have shot better scores with good putting."

Brooks just missed a hole-in-one on No. 5, the ball skidding inches right of the cup. His 5-footer for birdie spun out and he had to settle for par. He came back with a birdie on 8 and an eagle on No. 9 after a nice 7-iron from 195 yards, but Calcavecchia kept plugging away and staying with him.

Even on the day through six holes, Calcavecchia birdied four of the next seven, then offset a bogey on 14 by sticking a 5-iron to 15 feet on No. 15 and sinking the putt for an eagle. He was kicking himself after missing a 3-footer for birdie on 17, but settled down to finish with his par on 18 after overshooting his birdie putt.

"I was glad I made that one after yanking that three-footer on the hole before," Calcavecchia said.

Gilder, playing in the 178th straight tournament for which he was eligible, had five birdies in a bogey-free round. His streak will end with this tournament because he leaves Monday for a two-week trip to Europe and will miss the Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn starting June 10.

Dana Quigley's record streak of 278 is out of reach, Gilder said. "There aren't enough tournaments," he said. "I'd have to play until I was 80."

Still, he'll head off on vacation feeling better about his game than he has for a while.

"It's been a tough year," Gilder said. "But some of things I've been working on are starting to pay off now. I'm very happy with (the round), very happy."

Senior stayed close to the lead with six birdies in the first 11 holes. After a bogey on 12, he finished with six pars.

Blake knocked in a sand wedge from 40 yards for an eagle on 11 and was on track to at least match the tournament record after a birdie on 15 dropped him to 7 under for the day. But he ran into trouble on 17 when his tee shot sailed into the long grass right of the fairway, though he almost salvaged par when his chip stopped on the lip of the cup.

"I was lucky to make bogey on that hole," Blake said.

He almost got it back on 18, but his birdie putt from 18 feet curled around the left side of the hole.

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The Star Online: Nation

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PM: Don't play with fire on racial, religious matters

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 05:52 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will not compromise with groups acting for their own interests without regard for the consequences of their actions, as these people are playing with fire by fanning racial and religious sentiments.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said these groups were gambling with the country's future.

"Eventually both the victors and the vanquished will be the losers," he said in his speech at the investiture in conjunction with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's birthday at the Istana Negara Saturday.

Najib said if this was what they coveted, then it would be a failed and disunited Malaysia that they would leave behind for the coming generations.

"Shouldn't we learn from what's happening elsewhere, such as in the Balkans in Europe?.

"We have painstakingly built and nurtured our relationship over decades. As such, we will not compromise on, and will reject, any attempt by specific groups to act for themselves without regard for the consequences that their actions will have on the majority of Malaysians and the country," he said, adding that one should also not fish in troubled waters.

More in Sunday Star

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Mat Sabu: Ulama in control of PAS

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 05:16 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu insists that the ulama are in control of the party as they are in the Syura Council, which oversees party discipline and policies.

"We are not like Umno where the ulama are put in a sole bureau," he told reporters after the party election results (Mat Sabu is new deputy, ulama lose out) were announced Saturday.

Mohamad toppled heavyweight incumbent Nasharuddin Mat Isa and challenger Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man in the race for the deputy presidency.

Nasharuddin has blamed his loss to the split votes among the ulamas in the three-way race. "I am not blaming anybody because it is the right of delegates to choose and we have to respect the constitution," he said.

He said while there were fewer names representing the ulama faction, the new leadership is represented equally by the ulama and non-ulama groups.

Deputy spiritual adviser Datuk Dr Haron Din denied that the deputy president's post must be held by an ulama.

PAS election director Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Rahman pointed out that although 1,077 delegates and elected office bearers were eligible to participate in the balloting, 22 did not exercise their right.

"If the eligible delegates turned up in full force, it could have changed the outcome of deputy presidential race, as Mohamed Sabu only won by a 21-vote majority," he added.

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Obedient Wives Club to offer sex lessons on how to pleasure husbands

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 04:54 AM PDT

RAWANG: Sex lessons to help wives "serve their husbands better than a first-class prostitute" will be among the courses provided by the Obedient Wives Club (OWC) to help promote harmonious marriages and counter social ills.

Its vice-president Dr Rohaya Mohamad said it was time sexual prowess took a front seat in marriage beyond the traditional "good mother or good cook" roles.

"A good or religious wife is also sexually good in bed," she told reporters after the launch of the club's Malaysian chapter at the Perangsang Templer Golf Club Saturday.

A husband who was kept happy in the bedroom would have no reason to stray or seek out prostitutes or indulge in other social vices, said Dr Rohaya, who was a medical doctor for 15 years in the Health Ministry before taking a leadership role in the club.

"The family institution is protected and we can curb social ills like prostitution, domestic violence, human trafficking and abandoned babies," she said, adding that she believed these problems stemmed from unfulfilled sexual needs at home.

Dr Rohaya, said the club would also offer counselling and lecture sessions for wives, husbands or couples.

She said the Malaysian chapter had around 800 members while its Jordan chapter had 200, with the Indonesian chapter set to be launched on June 19 in Jakarta.

When questioned whether wives should remain obedient if their husbands still abused or cheated on them with prostitutes, Dr Rohaya said everyone was subject to God's rule.

"God has his ways and is fair to all. A husband is also subject to God's rule, meaning he can go to hell too. But a woman must be a good wife to the end," she said, adding that according to Islam, women should pray, fast during Ramadhan, protect their chastity and obey their husbands if they wanted to enter Heaven.

OWC and the Polygamy Club was formed by Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd, an organisation founded by former members of the banned Al-Arqam Islamic group.

A mass wedding reception for eight couples was also held during the launch.

The brides were aged 18 to 22 while the grooms were aged 20 to 48. All are OWC members and agreed that disobedient wives were the cause of many social ills.

Related Stories:
Wives can curb social ills like prostitution by being obedient and alluring'

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


Posted: 03 Jun 2011 04:42 PM PDT

Decade of Change: Managing in times of uncertainty
Edited by: Geoffrey Brewer and Barb Sanford
Publisher: Gallup Press

THE changes of the past decade have inspired the Gallup Management Journal, an online business magazine, to review how it covered and evaluated events during this period. Taking a forward-looking view, it tries to make sense of the rapid changes even as they were unfolding. The book is divided into global changes, crisis management, leading change, managing change and strategies for the "new normal".

The book is a collection of articles by business leaders, consultants and management gurus.

Endgame: The end of the debt supercycle and how it changes everything
Authors: John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

HUNDREDS, if not thousands of books, have been written about the financial crisis that engulfed the world after the fall of Lehman Brothers. But what if the bigger financial crisis is ahead of us, not behind us? Both John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper are of the view that what's going to come is of greater consequence. They lay out steps governments around the world can take to weather the worst of the stormy days ahead, minimise pain most of us can expect to experience, and chart a bold course to sustained growth.

See Feel Think Do: The power of instinct in business
Authors: Andy Milligan and Shaun Smith
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Business

BY watching and empathising with customers, entrepreneurs can develop ideas that solve their real needs. For a while, it seems like MBA models, focus groups and CRM systems were in danger of taking over from good old human instinct and a passion for making a difference. Andy Milligan and Shaun Smith draw on examples from some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs – Steve Jobs, George Soros, Richard Branson, to name a few – to show how their relationships with their customers changed the course of their business.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Alex to run 100km to raise funds for a good cause

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 03:56 PM PDT

WHEN 33-year-old Alex Au-Yong was overtaken by a senior citizen while jogging in his neighbourhood about six years ago, he realised something was not right.

It dawned on the creative director then that personal health and fitness was crucial, and his life took a sharp turn from then on.

"That was the first turning point. I also wanted flat abs, so I signed up with a gym and trained and did a lot of running," said Alex in a recent interview.

Determination and hard work paid off for Alex as he pushed himself to great lenghts. Currently, Alex has competed in 11 marathons, nine triathlon meets and participated in an Iron Man competition.

* Full story in The Star today.

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Blind but not down

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 03:51 PM PDT

APRIL 4, 1981, was the last day 56-year-old telephone operator A. Thandapani got to watch a movie and enjoy the gift of sight.

Thandapani, who was then only 26, watched John Travolta's Urban Cowboy with only his left eye as he had lost his other eye to glaucoma at the age of 15.

Hours after the movie, he was wheeled into an operating theatre for surgery on his left eye. In a cruel twist of fate, Thandapani was left in a world of darkness as the operation was unsuccessful.

To him, the great blind poet Helen Keller's profound words kept coming to his mind — "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."

And these were the words that inspired Thandapani to be what he is today — helping his fellow human beings adapt to life without sight.

* Full story in The Star today.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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R&B diva LaBelle sued over alleged airport beating

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 07:06 PM PDT

HOUSTON (AP): A West Point cadet is suing veteran R&B diva Patti LaBelle, saying she ordered her bodyguards to beat him up as he waited for a ride home outside a Houston airport terminal.

The lawsuit alleges the cadet, Richard King, was waiting for his brother and father to pick him up outside one of the terminals at Bush Intercontinental Airport on March 11, when three of LaBelle's bodyguards attacked him. King was in Houston, his hometown, while on spring break from West Point.

"Apparently, defendant LaBelle believed King was standing too close to her (no doubt expensive) luggage, even though he was oblivious to her presence and the danger he was in," according to King's lawsuit, which was filed in Houston civil court on Wednesday and also names the bodyguards, the airport and a taxi dispatcher as co-defendants. "LaBelle lowered the window of her limousine and gave a command to her bodyguards. They sprang into action."

One of King's lawyers, John Raley, said the alleged attacked resulted in a concussion and lingering dizziness and headaches for his client. The lawyer said King, who played defensive back for Army, was told by his doctors he can never play football again because of his injuries. The lawsuit is asking for unspecified damages.

LaBelle's publicist did not immediately return a telephone call Friday seeking comment.

LaBelle's singing career has spanned more than four decades and includes several hit records and two Grammy Awards.

A surveillance video from the airport provided by King's lawyer and reviewed by The Associated Press showed King, 23, talking on a cell phone when one of LaBelle's bodyguards appeared to push up against him. It appeared that King then pushed him back. Raley said King did not push back but was only trying to protect himself from a punch.

After that, the bodyguard and two other individuals then pushed and punched King, hitting him in the face and knocking him to the ground.

In the video, the bodyguards could be seen towering over King and then moving away when King unsuccessfully tried several times to get up off the ground.

Police eventually came over and helped King. The video then cuts to King, who has a bandage on his head and blood on his yellow sweater, being placed on an ambulance stretcher. The video ends with two Houston police officers taking photos with LaBelle.

LaBelle "was a full participant in the cruel attack on King," the lawsuit said. "She ordered it, and never tried to stop it."

One of the individuals involved in the incident, Zuri Edwards, told police King hit him after he asked the cadet to back away from the limousine that LaBelle was in, said Kese Smith, a Houston police spokesman.

Edwards, who said he was the limo driver, and a bodyguard both told police King appeared to be intoxicated, Smith said. The police report named King as the suspect in the incident.

Raley said King had a few drinks on the flight to Houston but denied he was intoxicated.

Edwards declined to press charges and the case is still open, Smith said. Raley said King is still considering pressing charges.

Houston police reported the incident to West Point, which suspended King for at least one year and ordered he go on active duty.

"Our hope is West Point will watch the video and reevaluate the situation and recognize that Richard King is innocent and should not be punished in any way," Raley said.

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