Ahad, 5 Jun 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Yemen's Saleh comes out of surgery, future unclear

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 09:20 PM PDT

SANAA/RIYADH (Reuters) - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was recovering from an operation in Saudi Arabia to remove shrapnel from his chest while a truce between his troops and a tribal federation appeared to be holding.

Protesters, interpreting Saleh's absence as a sign that his grip on power was weakening, celebrated on the streets of Sanaa where they have been staging anti-government demonstrations since January.

Anti-government protesters shout slogans while holding a defaced portrait of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a demonstration demanding his ouster in Sanaa June 4, 2011. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

"Who is next?," asked one banner held up by a protesters in a sea of red, white and black Yemeni flags, referring to the wave of uprisings in Arab world that has seen the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt toppled and inspired uprisings elsewhere.

Saleh was wounded on Friday when a rocket was fired into his presidential palace in Sanaa, killing seven others and injuring his closest advisers. He is being treated in a Riyadh hospital.

He left as acting president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the vice president who is seen by many as having little power. Leaving Yemen at a time of such instability, even for medical care, could make it hard for Saleh to retain power.

Early on Monday, a truce between troops loyal to Saleh and the Ahmar group, leader of Yemen's Hashed tribal federation, appeared to be holding, offering some respite after two weeks of fighting in the capital in which more than 200 people have been killed.

Key in the coming days will be any news of Saleh's condition and any signals from Saudi Arabia on whether he will be able to return to Yemen -- or whether Riyadh will apply pressure on Saleh to step down.

Saleh, a political survivor who has ruled the impoverished country at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula for nearly 33 years, had so far managed to remain despite the defection of his top generals and ambassadors.

Saleh has exasperated his former U.S. and Saudi allies, who once saw him as a key partner in efforts to combat Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, by repeatedly reneging on a Gulf-brokered deal for him to quit in return for immunity.

"The kingdom (Saudi Arabia) will convince Saleh to agree to the Gulf-brokered exit so that the situation can be resolved peacefully and without bloodshed," said Saudi analyst Abdulaziz Kasem.

Saleh's fall could also give renewed impetus to protest movements around the region.

"The departure of Saleh is a turning point not just for the Yemeni revolution but also is a huge push for the current changes in the Arab region and is the start of the real victory," said Zaki Bani Rusheid, a leading figure in Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood.

Egyptian political scientist Hassan Nafaa agreed: "The 'Arab Spring' will continue, Arab people are in a state of total rejection of their current ruling systems."

(Reporting by Andrew Hammond and Reed Stevenson)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

New melanoma drugs a big improvement in survival

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 12:39 PM PDT

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Two new drugs using very different scientific approaches can extend survival among patients with the deadliest form of skin cancer, offering the first new hope for real progress in many years.

Advanced melanoma patients taking an experimental pill, vemurafenib, developed by Roche and Daiichi Sankyo were 63 percent less likely to die than patients given chemotherapy, according to a new trial presented on Sunday at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

Dr. Paul Chapman of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the study's lead investigator called the results an "unprecedented level of difference" for patients with advanced melanoma, who typically survive just eight months on current treatments.

In a separate study presented at ASCO, previously untreated people with advanced melanoma treated with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Yervoy, or ipilimumab, plus chemotherapy lived an average of two months longer than people who got chemotherapy alone.

Yervoy works by spurring the immune system to fight off the cancer. Vemurafenib is designed for use in patients with tumors that have a mutation in a gene known as BRAF that allows melanoma cells to grow. About half of all melanomas have the genetic aberration.

The Roche trial included 675 patients with previously untreated, inoperable late-stage metastatic melanoma with the BRAF mutation.

After a median three months of treatment, vemurafenib patients also had a 74 percent reduction in the risk of cancer progression compared to dacarbazine.

"This is a huge difference," said Dr. Antoni Ribas, an oncologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has studied vemurafenib. "Even if it diminishes over time, who cares?"

Nearly half of patients treated with the Roche drug had tumor shrinkage, compared with 5.5 percent with chemotherapy.

Side effects included skin rashes and joint pain. About 18 percent of patients developed a low-grade skin cancer.

Analysts, on average, have forecast annual vemurafenib sales of $452 million by 2015 and expect Yervoy annual sales of $1.26 billion, according to Thomson Pharma.


Roche expects U.S. and European regulators to decide on approval of its drug before the end of the year.

Bristol-Myers' Yervoy was approved in March for patients with inoperable or metastatic melanoma, based on a previous study which showed the drug given alone extended survival by four months in patients who had failed other treatments.

"What was interesting about this study was not only was it the second one to show a benefit," but that the improvement "took place even in the presence of dacarbazine chemotherapy," Dr. Jedd Wolchok of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who presented the study at the meeting, said in a telephone interview.

"We worried a lot that chemotherapy could be immunosuppressive," Wolchok said, noting that that might explain why the average survival benefit was two months instead of four.

"We don't know what dacarbazine did to the ipilimumab, but we do know even in the presence of dacarbazine, ipilimumab still produced a durable response and extended survival."

Doctors said taken together the new studies offer new options for patients.

"This is really unprecedented time to have two new approaches to treat advanced melanoma," said Dr. Lynn Schuchter of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, a melanoma expert who moderated a panel discussion of the drugs.

"Once you finally understand what is driving the disease we can develop therapies that are more effective," she said.

She and others expect vemurafenib to be approved this year. Meanwhile, doctors are already working out treatment strategies.

For patients who are stable with slow-growing tumors, Chapman said he would start them off on ipilimumab.

"That is a drug that can take a while to work, so if the person has time I would rather give him essentially two shots on goal rather than one."

For advanced patients who need a quick response, he would use vemurafenib first.

Schuchter said now the future is going to be to build upon this success and combine therapies.

"Cancer cells outwit us -- they are brilliant -- and figure out other pathways," she said.

Bristol-Myers and Roche announced earlier this week a collaboration to evaluate the combination of Yervoy and vemurafenib as a therapy for metastatic melanoma.

More than 70,000 people in the United States and 160,000 worldwide are diagnosed with melanoma each year, according to the American Cancer Society. The five-year survival rate for the aggressive cancer is just 15 percent.

(Editing by Bill Trott and Marguerita Choy)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

Syrian forces kill 35 in protest town - residents

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 12:39 PM PDT

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian forces have killed 31 civilians since Saturday during demonstrations in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour demanding the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, residents said on Sunday.

The killings began when snipers deployed on the roof of the main post office fired volleys of bullets at a funeral for six protesters who were killed on Friday, when a large protest demanding democracy came under fire, they said.

Protesters chant slogans in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as they carry his pictures outside al-Omari mosque, where another demonstration to express solidarity with Syria's anti-government protesters is taking place, in downtown Beirut June 3, 2011. (REUTERS/ Mohamed Azakir)

"In the last 24 hours at least 31 people have been shot dead, among them eight mourners at the funeral," said one of the residents, a history teacher who gave his name as Ahmad.

He said angry mourners torched part of post office after the shooting.

The official Syrian news agency said "armed terrorist groups" killed four policemen in the town, attacked public buildings and "spread terror in the heart of citizens who called on the authorities to intervene forcefully to protect them".

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 31 civilians and four police were killed. Ammar Qurabi, head of the Syrian Human Rights Organisation, said security forces killed at least 20 civilians.

"The killings in Jisr al-Shughour are an act of revenge by the state for the Friday protests and another attempt to silence a Syrian town through the use of violence," Qurabi said.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis; Editing by Jon Hemming)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Robert Pattinson wins early MTV Movie Award

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 07:50 PM PDT

UNIVERSAL CITY, California (AP) - The British are invading the MTV Movie Awards for the second year in a row.

English actors Robert Pattinson and Tom Felton picked up the first two popcorn-shaped trophies Sunday in the same categories that they won last year: Pattison for best male performance as vampire Edward Cullen in "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," and Felton for best villain as Slytherin wizard Draco Malfoy in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1."

Team Jacob wasn't totally left out. Jason Sudeikis, the show's host, kicked off the hijinks-filled ceremony at Gibson Amphitheater by starring in his own version of "The Hangover" in which he went in search of Pattinson's "Twilight" co-star Taylor Lautner, who plays werewolf Jacob Black.

Lautner also earned an unexpected lip lock from Pattinson.

When Pattinson returned to the stage with "Twilight" leading lady Kristen Stewart to accept the best kiss award, instead of smooching each other, Pattinson declared he didn't "feel like kissing" her then descended back into the audience and planted his lips on Lautner.

Pattinson also won the best fight award along with Bryce Dallas Howard and Xavier Samuel for their "Eclipse" battle. Other winners included Justin Bieber for best jaw dropping moment for "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," and "Kick-Ass" actress Chloe Grace Moretz for biggest badass star.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Best sellers

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 02:26 AM PDT

FOR the week ending May 29, 2011:


1. A Doctor In The House: The Memoirs Of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

2. Chicken Soup For The Soul: Think Positive: 101 Inspirational Stories About Counting Your Blessings And Having A Positive Attitude by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark

3. Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going by Han Fook Kwang, et al

4. When A Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind – Or Destroy It by Jonathan Watts

5. Make Yourself Unforgettable: How To Become The Person Everyone Remembers And No One Can Resist by Dale Carnegie Training

6. How To Get Things Done: Organize Your Life And Achieve The Results You Want by Ann Jackman

7. Hospital Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones

8. The Power by Rhonda Byrne

9. Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

10. The Emperor Of All Maladies: A Biography Of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee


1. Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

2. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

3. Room by Emma Donoghue

4. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

5. Any Man Of Mine by Rachel Gibson

6. Big Girl by Danielle Steel

7. The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

8. The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

9. One Day (movie tie-in) by David Nicholls

10. The Tennis Party by Madeleine Wickham

Weekly list compiled by MPH Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur; www.mphonline.com.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

Diary of a dad

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 02:26 AM PDT

Wimpy Kid author keeps day job on kids' website.

JEFF Kinney has made more than enough money writing about one Wimpy Kid to live comfortably for the rest of his life.

But thinking about the millions of kids he reaches each month through the popular children's website Poptropica.com makes him keep his day job.

"It's the other great love of my life," said Kinney, author of the best-selling Diary Of A Wimpy Kid book and movie series. "It's very difficult to walk away from an audience of 10 million kids a month. To know that you can make a positive impact on what they're learning and what they're experiencing online is sort of addictive."

The books are told from the perspective of Greg Heffley, a self-centred middle school boy whose angst over growing up – and dealing with bullies, girls and sibling rivalry among other things – is conveyed in funny stories and simple sketches.

On Poptropica, kids create their own avatars and can play and learn while exploring virtual islands through storytelling.

Kinney, the father of two boys, sees himself as part author, part cartoonist, part web designer and all Dad.

"There's a lot of junk in the world for kids, and we try not to add to that. We try to create something that's quality," said Kinney, who lives in Plainville, a small American town about 48km southwest of Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2001, while he was working on the book, he took a job at the Boston-based Family Education Network, a business unit of Pearson PLC, publisher of the Financial Times and Penguin books. He worked as a design director for various websites, including fun brain.com, a popular kids' site for online educational games. Parts of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid were first published on funbrain in 2004.

In 2007, the Family Education Network launched Poptropica, a site Kinney came up with while mowing his lawn.

In a little over three years, Poptropica has become one of the largest virtual websites for pre-teens, averaging eight million to 10 million unique visitors monthly.

Kinney's boss, Jess Brallier, said Kinney's work on the Wimpy Kid books and Poptropica may look easy but Kinney does things over and over until they're just right.

Kinney is creative director and executive producer of Poptropica, and he works on every aspect of the site, from creating the islands to making sure the chat with historic characters is preprogrammed so kids have no real contact with anyone else using the site.

"He'll animate and re-animate. He will work on a word for four hours," Brallier said. "I think he's a perfectionist because he doesn't want to let people down, and it's a responsibility he feels, especially with kids."

For Kinney, the success he has had with Wimpy Kid and Poptropica still seems surprising to him.

He grew up in suburban Maryland reading the comics pages and longing to be a cartoonist. In college, he published a comic strip about a freshman in several school newspapers, but then spent three years struggling to get the strip syndicated, receiving more than 50 rejection letters.

The idea for the Wimpy Kid books came to him in 1998 and took nine years to get published.

"I was writing a journal at the time, keeping a journal of my own life, with text interspersed with my drawings," he said. "I realised that was a really good format."

Kinney's goal was to publish one book. He never imagined that his idea for Wimpy Kid would turn into a series of books that would stay on The New York Times' best-seller list non-stop for almost four years.

Kinney says Greg, the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid protagonist, is loosely based on his own childhood experiences.

"My worst points are reflected in Greg, so I'd say he's a cartoon exaggeration of my pre-pubescent self," he says.

Kinney said he writes for adults, many of whom can look back and laugh at their middle school years. But the books have been a runaway hit with kids, particularly those ages eight to 11, and are known among parents and teachers for holding the interest of reluctant readers. There are now 42 million Wimpy Kid books in print – translated into 40 languages – including five books in the series, plus a movie diary and a do-it-yourself journal.

Kinney downplays his success, saying only half-jokingly that he sees his books "as a gateway to more legitimate reading".

"It will always stick with me that I couldn't break onto the comics pages," he says. "On the flip side, when I go to an authors' convention, I feel like I'm not quite a real author because I use cartoon drawings to bolster my writing."

In the end, Kinney says he feels more like a cartoonist.

Kinney's friends say he has remained the same modest, self-deprecating guy he was in college, when he was known for drawing caricatures of everyone in his dormitory, playing practical jokes on people and juggling knives.

"I think he steps back from it every day and says, 'I can't believe this is happening,'" said Aaron Nicodemus, a friend who attended Villanova with Kinney before Kinney transferred to the University of Maryland. "He was always surprised, like, 'Really, you want to market it to kids? You really want to split it into three books?' It was always a pleasant surprise to him."

For Kinney, balancing the books, the movies, Poptropica and his family isn't easy.

Most days, Kinney, who recently turned 40, works on Poptropica in his home office, then works on his Wimpy Kid books nights and on weekends. He works from the Family Education Network offices in Boston once or twice a week. Working from home allows him to spend time with his wife, Julie, and sons, Will, eight, and Grant, five. He's also a Cub Scout leader.

"Our life, in most ways, is very normal," he says.

His sons' reaction to their dad's books has been as understated as his. "My five-year-old makes it clear to me that my books are not his favourites," Kinney says, laughing. – AP

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

Getting it right

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 02:26 AM PDT

Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, And The Fate Of Every Person Who Ever Lived
Author: Rob Bell
Publisher: HarperOne, 201 pages
ISBN: 908-0062083357

WHEN asked to review Rob Bell's new book, Love Wins, I had mixed feelings. Bell is a Christian pastor with quite a following, but his name does not have universal recognition. I ask you: does his name ring a "bell" for you? Besides, The Star is a newspaper for Malaysians of all faiths, or even no faith. What could I say about a religious book that would have interest for a wide and varied readership?

Bell tells us, in his title, what he intends to explain to us in his book. It is, "a book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived". Quite an ambitious title for a book that comes in at under 200 pages. You could fill a library with books about all that. Very sincere men and women with good minds and humble hearts may disagree about the fate of humans after they die. Apparently, though, we can all rejoice, for Bell knows.

In my opinion, that tells us something important about this writer. He actually believes that he can answer a question that philosophers and theologians have wrestled with for centuries.

Or does he? In some interviews I have come across, Bell has stated that in writing this book he was just trying to get people to think, to consider the possibilities. If so, why that expansive title? Truth in advertising would require the author to rename his book: Love Wins: What I Believe I Have Learned About Heaven, Hell, And The Fate Of Every Person Who Ever Lived. A little real modesty, please.

Bell claims ancient support for his conclusions, citing well-known religious thinkers of earlier centuries. This is supposed to give credence to his conclusions, and it does help. However, for material that addresses an issue this important, I need to see some citations from those early sources. Without those, its like saying, "See, even Augustine agrees with me!"

Bell does not, in any way, speak for all Christians, I feel. But judging from his style, he has no problem acting as though those who see matters differently are theologically deficient. The fact is that all religions have mysteries, and Christianity is no different. So we should all speak with confidence about what we clearly know and leave the mysteries to God. There is nothing wrong with saying, "I don't know".

Bell presents some conclusions that many will find comforting. After all, he tells us, in the end, we all get to heaven. Some of us may not go there immediately when we die, but with an infinite amount of time, and an infinite amount of love, eventually all of us will be gathered by God. To use his style for a moment, "And he knows this, how?" The answer: Bell's own opinions about the ancient words of the Bible.

Then there is his style. How can I describe it? Witty? Pithy? Hip? Too cool for words? Please, Rob. If you are writing a book that will get worldwide attention, even getting you into Time magazine (Pastor Rob Bell: What if Hell Doesn't Exist? April 14, 2011), at least write as though you are talking to all of us, not just an American subset between the ages of 25 and 40. After all, this is important stuff. Get it wrong and we could regret it. For eternity.

Love does win! I believe that with my heart and soul. But, in my opinion, Bell's book does not. It is more like graffiti on a cathedral than a new stained glass window.

Mike Constantine is an American living with his wife in Malaysia under the Malaysia My Second Home Programme. He is keenly interested in the great questions of life. Though not a theologian, he has pondered theological issues all his life.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Nation

DPM: Public perception of police force has improved

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 08:01 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Statistics show that the national crime rate has dropped and the public perception of the police force has improved.

The overall crime rate dropped 15% last year, with street crime decreasing by 35%, compared to the year before, revealed Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The reduction followed measures implemented under the National Key Results Area.

The public's fear about crime dropped to 52.8% last year from 58.5% the year before, he said after visiting the Dang Wangi police station, one of the stops during his walkabout in the city Sunday.

Muhyiddin went on a walkabout to several areas in the city to meet the people and better understand their needs.

He kicked off his walkabout by having breakfast with over 2,000 people at the Batu parliamentary constituency.

"I am here to listen to the problems and issues faced by the residents so that the Government can help find ways to solve them," he said.

He presented RM159,500 in contributions to 255 NGOs in the constituency.

Later, he continued his walkabout in several residential areas in Kampung Baru.

In Kg Pindah, Muhyiddin inspected a 1m-deep sinkhole on Jalan Syed Mahadi and announced a RM300,000 allocation to Kumpulan Ikram Sdn Bhd to look into what caused it.

At the Jalan Tun Razak flats, Muhyiddin said RM500,000 was approved to repair the road while another RM450,000 was allocated to repaint seven blocks.

Muhyiddin also went to a restaurant to listen to the grouses of 30 taxi drivers and attended prayers at the National Mosque.

At the Lembah Pantai constituency, he told the crowd to choose wisely in the next general election. "Make a wise decision and choose a party that can solve problems and help develop the country,'' he said.

Sunday's one-day visit to the Federal Territory was part of Barisan Nasional's ongoing campaign to go down to the ground in each state to listen to the people.

More in The Star on Monday

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

Muhyiddin goes on walkabout in KL

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 04:51 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin went on a walkabout Sunday in several areas in the federal territory of Kuala Lumpur, starting with Taman Billion Mewah where he braved a heavy downpour to meet more than 2,000 residents and members of NGOs of the Batu parliamentary constituency, and joined them for breakfast.

Muhyiddin, who was accompanied by his wife, Puan Sri Norainee Abdul Rahman, arrived at the housing estate at 8.30 am and was greeted by Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin and Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Addressing the people, Muhyiddin said it was vital for NGOs to maintain a close relationship with the government and understand all its policies.

In this way, they would be in a better position to bring up the people's problems for the government to find immediate solutions, he added.

Muhyiddin said the Barisan Nasional government strove to resolve the people's problems all the time and not only when elections were at hand.

"We work for the people all the time. We work to improve their livelihood," he said.

Referring to the Batu constituency, Muhyiddin said some of the problems identified there were related to hawkers, taxi drivers and the self-employed, as well as amenities.

These problems would be resolved by the agencies under the Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Ministry, including Kuala Lumpur City Hall, he said.

"I believe many programmes have been implemented to resolve the people's problems, but more can be done to improve their livelihood, now and in the future," he said.

At the event, Muhyiddin handed over a cheque for RM159,500 to four representatives of the Malay, Chinese, Indian and Sikh communities for the benefit of 225 NGOs in that area.

Some of the money is to meet the needs of various houses of worship.

Muhyiddin and his wife also tried their hand at preparing "roti canai" for the breakfast they had with the people.

After about two hours there, Muhyiddin, along with Raja Nong Chik and Mohd Shafie, continued his walkabout in Kg Pindah, Kampung Baru, and also met with the residents of the Jalan Tun Razak Flats in Kampung Padang, Kampung Baru.

In Kg Pindah, Muhyiddin had a close look at the metre-deep sinkhole that appeared in Jalan Syed Mahadi during heavy rain and flash floods on April 14, forcing the evacuation of 40 families to Wisma Belia.

The deputy prime minister announced that RM300,000 had been allocated for Kumpulan Ikram Sdn Bhd to undertake a study to identify the cause of the sinkhole, the first to appear in that area.

A sum of RM500,000 was approved to repair the road, he said during the walkabout in the Jalan Tun Razak Flats area. Muhyiddin also announced a RM450,000 allocation to give the seven blocks of the Jalan Tun Razak Flats a new coat of paint.

More in The Star on Monday

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

Four more bodies recovered after Pengerang boat tragedy

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 04:00 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on Sunday recovered the bodies of four more people believed to be among illegal immigrants involved in a boat tragedy off Pengerang, near Kota Tinggi, last Wednesday.

MMEA Southern Region enforcement chief First Admiral (Maritime) Zulkifli Abu Bakar said the recovery of the four bodies brings to six the number of bodies found, with one person still missing.

The first body was found at 8am by villagers from Sungai Rengit and the second at 9.50am two nautical miles south of Tanjung Stapa, he said in a statement.

Zulkifli said the third and fourth bodies were found at 10.30 am at Teluk Ramunia and 1.30 pm southeast of Teluk Ramunia, respectively.

Seventeen illegal immigrants were rescued while seven went missing at sea last Wednesday after their boat capsized south of Tanjung Ayam, Pengerang. - Bernama

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

No flight of fancy

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 02:35 AM PDT

After years of dabbling in various art forms, a veteran artist has solid plans etched out for the future.

IT was 60 years ago when a nurse came to tend to his ill father in their little wooden house in Gambang, about 30 kilometres from Kuantan, Pahang, but Loo Foh Sang says the memory of that day is as clear as if it was yesterday. After all, she accurately predicted his future.

"Your little boy will grow up to be a successful artist one day," the nurse told his mother, while admiring his charcoal works on the walls of the house.

Loo, the youngest boy in a family of nine children, was then seven.

"I drew on every surface I could find and my mother didn't seem to mind. No one gave much thought to what the nurse said because it was not common then for people to pursue drawing seriously. Nowadays, even if you don't like to draw, your parents will send you to art class," he says at Sutra Gallery in Kuala Lumpur, where his solo exhibition, Full Flight II, will be held starting Tuesday.

The artist often ends up gesturing frantically with his hands when trying to get a point across.

"I think I'd be able to explain what I mean much better in French. Sometimes I feel like I've lived in France for so long, I've forgotten how to speak English!" he adds, referring to the 20 over years he spent abroad.

It was there that he learned the art of printmaking – the focus of this exhibition – under the tutelage of Englishman Stanley William Hayter, the printmaker and painter who founded Atelier 17, one of the most influential print workshops of the last century.

"Paris is nice, very nice. There was plenty going on in the art scene there, although I did sometimes find it difficult to make friends with the locals. I studied French for a year and spent four years studying art at the École Nationale Supérieure Des Beaux-Arts in Paris before printmaking.

"I took twice as many classes as anyone else with Hayter because I wanted to return to Malaysia as quickly as possible. But after coming home, I changed my mind and instead returned to Paris, where I opened my own studio and lived for another 17 years. My twin sons were born and raised there and I only returned to Malaysia in 1988."

For the next 15 years or so, Loo taught printmaking at the Malaysian Institute of Art and was subsequently appointed head of the fine arts department at Central Academy of Art, both in KL.

"That was the reason I came back to Malaysia – to teach and educate others. Many people here do not know much about printmaking and I thought it was time to come home and give back what I can."

Loo says he is retired now – but that's just the official version, because he also believes an artist never really hangs up his palette.

"Your work never really ends. The older you get, the better your art becomes. Although I'm back for good, I do make time to return to Paris for a holiday every two or three years. It's nice to catch up with old friends and see how much has changed in the city since the last time I was there."

Despite his early start with charcoal, Loo says there was a time when no one would have guessed that he'd end up on a lifelong journey in art. He was a whizz with numbers in school.

"I was better at mathematics than I was in art. I was awarded a scholarship to study in Taiwan at 15 but my mother thought it was too soon for me to leave home. So I finished secondary school here and ended up studying art at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore," he says.

His Parisian journey halfway across the world had seemed just as unlikely. With not much money in his pocket and fresh out of art school, Loo had his first exhibition in Bentong, Pahang. He sold 60 of the 100 works on display.

"I was new and no one knew my works. I am very grateful to friends and family for their support. How else could I have sold so many paintings at my first exhibition?"

The money he got was enough to pay for his flight to Paris in 1966 and take care of his living expenses for six months.

"Of course, after that I had to find part-time work to pay the bills!"

Loo has tried his hand at various artforms including ink, oil and printing. But in recent years, he has focused mainly on stencil on silkscreen, woodcut, etching and engraving.

Full Flight II features about 40 artworks of varying sizes, using etching, one of the traditional printmaking techniques.

In his first print exhibition at Sutra Gallery, In Full Flight, in 2005, Loo was inspired by the Indian classical dance of Odissi.

The current show continues to explore his fluid figures that give an impression of being slightly distorted with their elongated limbs, spindly torso and exaggerated curves. However, while the previous display concentrated solely on capturing the beauty of Odissi dancers, this one showcases Malaysian culture in all its diversity.

"This exhibition is a representation of my works from 2002 till now. They are all etchings, done free-hand, of traditional musical instruments, wayang kulit, Peking opera, classical Indian dance and cock fighting."

Loo says in Malaysia, it is more common for printmakers to do floral motifs or landscapes than figures.

He believes it is his unique spin on a traditional printmaking technique that sets him apart from the other artists.

"Coming up with the 'right' composition to best capture the motion in these works, with the level of detail that I incorporate, is not something easy to do. But you have to work hard," he says.

And work hard he does. Particularly as he is determined to be a centenarian.

"I have big plans and I plan to live up to at least 100. I will start a printmaking research centre and workshop. Once I hit 70, I will make arrangements to open an art museum. Maybe I'll call it the Loo Foh Sang Museum of Art," he adds, grinning.

Full Flight II runs from Tuesday till July 5. Sutra Gallery is at 12, Persiaran Titiwangsa 3, KL. Viewing hours are 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Call 03-4021 1092 for details.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Hoochie coochie man

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 03:08 AM PDT


After 50 years of keeping the blues alive, John Paul Hammond gave Malaysian audiences a piece of himself at this year's Borneo Jazz 2011 festival.

JOHN Paul Hammond remembers the first time he heard the blues. He was seven and his father, John Henry Hammond, had taken him to see Big Bill Broonzy. That was back in 1950, and despite his tender years, the music made a deep impression on him, seeping into his soul.

"I'd never heard anything like it, I was completely astonished," he says. Hearing him speak for the first time is surprising, his voice is soft, almost tender, and with an innate air of humility. In contrast, his singing has been likened by critics as low, soulful, smoky and "booming" like an oncoming train.

In Malaysia, performing at the Borneo Jazz 2011 festival recently, Hammond intimated he knows 400 songs by heart, insisting that every one of them is special to him.

At 68, his face is deeply lined, weathered by the years that have not altered the dedication and energy that comes through his performances on the road.

Watching him play live with his rack harmonica and two favourite guitars (one of them a 1935 National Duolian, which his wife bought him for his 48th birthday) is a raw experience, like watching a man possessed by the dark, gritty passions of the blues.

"When I was 10, I started buying records, gravitating towards country blues," he recounts. "And when I got my first guitar at 18, it just all came together for me. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life."

It may be worth mentioning that his father was one of the most important figures in 20th century popular music.

Back in the day, Hammond senior was a talent scout for Columbia Records in a time when the United States was still rife with institutionalised racism. He changed the course of music by ignoring the Jim Crow (racial segregation laws enacted from 1876-1965) boundaries of colour, producing records for giants like Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Count Basie.

Hammond Jr, however, didn't grow up with his father – his parents split when he was young and he would only see him several times a year. Nonetheless, perhaps music was in his blood. Although initially enrolled in art school, Hammond soon dropped out and reinvested whatever artistic talent he had for painting and sculpting into music.

Got his mojo working

Over the years, he became deeply involved with the evolving music scene of the 1960s and began a musical career that has seen him play or record with artistes like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Tom Waits (who once described him as a force of nature, with a voice so compelling, complete, symmetrical and soulful, that it is at first impossible to imagine improving it).

His tight relationship with Waits led to his much loved and critically acclaimed 2001 release, Wicked Grin, an intense album produced by Waits, who also provided husky backing vocals and instruments to Hammond's earthy interpretations of many of his own compositions.

Although he has penned a few originals himself, Hammond has never professed to be much of a songwriter; but his role in the 1960s blues renaissance is widely commended as invaluable – most of his work has been in keeping the classics alive.

Grammy winner and multiple nominee, he still tours tirelessly today, reinterpreting blues songs from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, so much so, some have likened him to a white version of Robert Johnson. He brings songs like This Train and Crossroads Blues from the 1920s and 1930s back to life, giving contemporary audiences a chance to savour some of that pre-war delta blues fire.

To date, Hammond has produced 34 albums and remains among the last of a generation that made the blues famous. In that sense, he is a piece of walking history – full of priceless stories about countless musicians.

He took the time to share one such anecdote with a roomful of journos.

Apparently, Eric Clapton, who was a friend of his, had given that famously charismatic 1970s blues-rocker Rory Gallagher his address and phone number in New York.

One day, he got a phone call from the Irishman, who happened to be in town. Gallagher told him he was interested in finding a guitar that Jimmy Reed had on an album cover. Hammond knew this pawn shop on the lower East Side and brought him there, and sure enough they found exactly what Gallagher wanted.

The pawnshop happened to be owned by this tough couple, so Hammond, being the gracious host, said to Rory: "Why don't you let me do the talking, I'll get a good price, you know?"

Having asked "How much?" the pawnshop lady looked Hammond up and down, sizing him up.

"She didn't like me, I guess, cos the next thing she said was, that'll be five hundred dollars!" Hammond laughs in recollection.

Still open mouthed and in shock, Hammond suddenly felt Rory give him the elbow, his companion then stepped up, put on his Irish brogue and knocked the price down ten times lower.

At the end of it, says Hammond, the lady was practically crying, and Gallagher got the guitar for 50 dollars. "So that's how I met Rory Gallagher. He was incredible, but unfortunately, he didn't take good care of himself, but what a terrific guy!"

Having been repeatedly voted one of the Top 10 blues artistes in the world, Hammond was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Blues Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Nothing but the blues

So what is it that draws him to the blues?

"I don't know how to put it in words, it's a feeling that everyone can relate to somehow, and when you do it right, it just knocks you out." Although he struggles to articulate it, Hammond explains the heart of the blues has to do with the human condition, which he says doesn't really change from generation to generation. "We just keep on making the same mistakes over and over," he smiles.

Hammond confesses he still feels the same today about the music as he did when he first started out. "Something comes through me when I play, it's kept me going all these years and enables me to be on the road 300 days a year."

Part of it is also being able to share that "feeling" he can't really describe, with the audience, and knowing they can feel it, too.

"I've been so fortunate in my career to have those experiences where the audience really likes it and makes you feel good ... it's inspiring."

On what he thinks about the blues today, especially in the context of today's popular music culture, he answers that it's like a continuum. "The blues has always been blues, I don't think blues has ever really been mainstream. If you do too much to it, it isn't blues anymore, but if you do too little, it becomes a ballad or something.

"So, I think every generation discovers the blues, and some people will be so drawn to it that they'll want to do it all the time. You don't get to hear it on the radio, so you kind of have to seek it out."

Despite the wide acclaim Hammond has received, his commercial success over the years has been moderate. "I've had a lot of ups and downs. I've been told two or three times in my career that I was washed up, that I'll never go anywhere," he says with a raw and touching honesty.

But he hasn't let that stop him from doing what he loves, he just lets "all that stuff" roll off his back.

"I know what I love to do." And do it he does.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Unwanted curves

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 08:21 PM PDT

IN conjunction with the mid-term school holidays nationwide, The Spine & Joint Specialists, as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative named "Straighten Up Malaysia", or SUMA for short, is offering a free spine check (scoliosis screening) to children aged below 12 years at any of its network of centres around the country (until the end of the month).

All spines have curves. Some curvature in the neck, upper trunk, and lower trunk is normal. Humans need these spinal curves to help the upper body maintain proper balance and alignment over the pelvis, said Tonik Asia Group Marketing Director Ronan Lee.

"However, when there are abnormal side-to-side (lateral) curves in the spinal column, we refer to this as scoliosis. Scoliosis is an alteration of both structure and function that occurs in the spine. In some cases, there is severe increase of the curve, and this could eventually harm the functioning of internal organs and body structure.

"The major concern with scoliosis is that the deformity or curvature of the spine becomes more severe during a child's growth spurt.

"The progression of curve during the growth phase can be very fast and the spine can become more deformed or 'bent'.

"If the scoliosis develops to such a degree that it changes the shape of the rib cage, the child is then in danger of the scoliosis causing problems with breathing and heart function," he added.

Scoliosis also changes a child's posture. With postural changes, it can also influence the child's psychological development, leading to a "self conscious" nature, withdrawal, and in some cases, depression.

The postural changes can also affect movement patterns of the spine.

The early stages of scoliosis can be difficult to detect, hence a spinal check up with a specialist is best advised as early detection can help to prevent further progression of the curve and increase the chances of successful treatment.

To know more, contact 1-300-80-SPINE or drop by at any of their centres to make an appointment today.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

Gutsy journeys

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 08:20 PM PDT

MALAYSIA recently celebrated World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) for the third consecutive year, and the key focus this year is on educating and empowering Malaysians with reliable and expert information on good digestive health to help reduce the prevalence of digestive diseases in the country.

This year, WDHD was initiated by the Healthy Tummies Advisory Board (HTAB) and supported by VITAGEN Healthy Tummies Programme (VHTP), a long-term community service initiated by Malaysia Milk Sdn Bhd.

The event was officiated by Dr Jiloris J. F. Dony, chief of the TB & Leprosy Sector for the Health Ministry.

At the launch ceremony, Dr Jiloris stated: "Public awareness on various health issues has increased greatly in recent years, specifically in areas like heart disease, breast, cervical and lung cancers, and even AIDS. Sadly however, when it comes to digestive health, there are many who remain ignorant, or worse, complacent of even basic digestive health. This is an area that needs to be given immediate attention due to the rising prevalence of digestive diseases in Malaysia.

"Our digestive system actually affects our overall health, and digestive system diseases are easily preventable and can be cured if detected early. However, too often, there is not enough emphasis on this as many of us do not understand our digestive system and the importance of taking care of our digestive health. Thus, HTAB's efforts to commemorate World Digestive Health Day could not have come at a better time."

Dr Jiloris added: "The public really needs to understand the importance of looking after their digestive health. Even simple lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, and quitting bad habits, for example smoking, can do wonders for your digestive health. I applaud HTAB and VHTP's efforts, and would like to wish them all the best for organising such a successful and significant event!"

VITAGEN deputy general manager Michael Ong said: "As a market leader of nutritious fortified dairy products and juice drinks, Malaysia Milk believes that it is our responsibility to contribute towards improving the health status of all Malaysians and to support the Ministry of Health's efforts so that the prevalence of digestive disorders in the country can be reduced.

"Hence, VHTP was established in 2009 with the aim of reducing the prevalence of digestive system disorders and improving digestive health. That explains why VHTP has been supporting the celebration of WDHD since the inauguration of WDHD three years ago. This partnership between the expert groups and Malaysia Milk has made it possible for us to support this community service initiative".

Assoc Prof Dr Sheikh Anwar, spokesperson of the HTAB, shared: "We hope that by raising awareness through dissemination of expert information, the public will take the first step to empower themselves with the right knowledge and start to lead a healthier lifestyle.

"We believe education on prevention is crucial. It helps one recognise the signs and symptoms of digestive-related diseases. In turn, early measures and precautions can be taken to reduce the prevalence of digestive diseases. Failing to recognise and treat such symptoms may lead to even more serious conditions, such as colon cancer."

This year's theme, "Enteric Infections: Prevention and Management", emphasises the importance of hygiene in every day life; and how clean water, food and environment could play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system.

The WDHD celebrations commenced with a roadshow held over a period of five days, from May 25 to May 29, at the Oval Concourse of One Utama Shopping Mall, Petaling Jaya. The roadshow was also supported by leading health experts from Nutrition Month Malaysia (NMM), Malaysia Paediatric Association's Positive Parenting Programme, as well as the National Cancer Council (MAKNA).

At the roadshow, nurses, nutritionists and dieticians were also available for free digestive health screening and counselling, while other interactive and family-orientated activities conducted during the five-day event focused on promoting good digestive health.

These activities aimed to encourage the public to make healthier choices in their lifestyle and diet.

In addition, an educational guidebook, sponsored by VHTP, was distributed for free to members of the public. This publication contains information on digestive diseases, the different types of digestive problems, and tips on preventive measures through simple lifestyle changes.

For more information on the World Digestive Health Day road show and its activities, members of the public can contact the Secretariat at (Sue Hui/Fasha) tel: 03-5632 3301/5637 3526.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.

Discovering plant sterols

Posted: 04 Jun 2011 08:14 PM PDT

PLANT sterols have been the subject of much scientific research since the 1950s. In essence, they are naturally occurring plant constituents, and studies have shown that they can inhibit the absorption of dietary cholesterol. This in turn implies that they may be supportive of a healthy cardiovascular system.

In fact, a meta-analysis of 41 trials have shown that intake of 2g per day of sterols reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) by 10%. The analysis found that the effects of the sterols were additive with diet or drug interventions (ie rendered even more effective with such interventions).

In practical terms, such a 10% reduction in LDL levels translates to an expected reduction of coronary heart disease by about 12% to 20% over five years.

According to naturopath Monitar Tan, who is a trainer and health consultant at Blackmores, taking plant sterols, along with other measures to reduce cholesterol, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet, can effectively lower LDL levels.

"Let's take the analogy of a house with four maids. They cope well, cleaning, dusting, and generally keeping the house quite clean. However, add in another four maids, and the house would be that much cleaner. That's the effect of adding sterols to the diet."

She adds: "Some studies have noted positive results three weeks after plant sterol consumption."

Geeting to know sterols

Plant sterols are fat-like compounds with a chemical structure that is very similar to cholesterol. "Oh, no," you might think. "Doesn't this add to the cholesterol load in my body?"

The answer is a definite no. Though they share similar chemical structures, plant sterols are minimally absorbed by the body. However, during digestion, they do compete with cholesterol for absorption. In effect, this leads to less cholesterol being absorbed by the body, and more being secreted OUT of the body.

Plant sterols are present naturally in many foods, especially in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains.

The safety aspects of sterols have been addressed by various agencies worldwide. The US Food and Drug Administration has classified it as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). It has also authorised the claim that foods containing plant sterols may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.

Though no adverse effects have been noted in the studies, it has been observed that there's a reduction in beta carotene levels with sterol consumption. Part of this can be explained by the fact that reduced levels of LDL reduces the absorption of carotenes as LDL acts as a carrier for them.

Experts have advised that the reduction can be offset by adding sufficient fruits and vegetables into the diet. Tan notes: "Studies have noted this decrease in carotene levels. That's why certain manufacturers have added beta carotene into plant sterol supplements to make up for the decrease."

She adds: "Interestingly, studies have shown that sterols do not effect fat-soluble vitamin absorption."

A question of diet

The studies that have been conducted on plant sterols show that its effects appear to be independent of the diet of the participants. This has prompted some to make the observation that plant sterols work, even in those who do not observe a healthy diet.

However, it must be emphasised that a healthy diet provides so much more benefits. It gives dietary fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and the many nutrients that are packed in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains. And, a low-fat diet adds to the cholesterol-lowering effects – some studies show that eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in sterols, can reduce LDL by 20%.

Hence, it would make sense that plant sterols would be the smart addition to such a healthy diet in order to lower cholesterol levels.

What about the question of amount of intake? Would more sterols lead to even more reduction in LDL levels?

The studies that have been conducted with plant sterols have observed that the 2g daily intake of sterols effectively lowers LDL levels, with no serious side effects or health risks. They have also found that additional intake beyond the 2g has no additional LDL-lowering effects. This is reflected by the Australian Heart Foundation's recommendation of a daily intake of 2-3 grams of plant sterols per day for certain individuals.

Other medications

What about those taking prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications? Will plant sterols affect such drugs?

Some studies have addressed this question. In a trial of 167 adults on statins, it showed LDL reduction of 10% more than with placebo. Several more trials have shown an additional benefit of plant sterols to those taking statins.

So yes, it does appear to have a benefit even for those who're on statins to lower cholesterol levels.

Tan has this advice for those who're on statins or other drugs: "If you're taking any medications, and you want to add plant sterols supplements, it's best that you space them two hours apart. This is to avoid competitive absorption, as well as other interactions.

She emphasises that plant sterols are largely used as a treatment measure, especially for those with elevated cholesterol levels.

Besides lowering cholesterol levels, Tan notes, plant sterols have also been observed to increase HDL levels, albeit slightly. "The rise is not statistically significant," she explains.

When all is said and done, cholesterol control requires a lifestyle change that incorporates exercise and dietary interventions. Just popping pills or supplements is just not good enough.


1. Plat J, van Onselen EN, van Heugten MM, Mensink RP. Effects on serum lipids, lipoproteins and fat soluble antioxidant concentrations of consumption frequency of margarines and shortenings enriched with plant stanol esters. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000;54:671-677.

2. Blair SN, Capuzzi DM, Gottlieb SO, Nguyen T, Morgan JM, Cater NB. Incremental reduction of serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol with the addition of plant stanol ester-containing spread to statin therapy. Am J Cardiol. 2001;88:1157-1162.

3. Maki KC, Davidson MH, Umporowicz DM, et al. Lipid responses to plant-sterol-enriched reduced-fat spreads incorporated into a National Cholesterol Education Program Step I diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001;74:33-43.

4. Sheperd J, Cobbe SM, Ford I, et al, West of Scotland Coronary Prevention Study Group. Prevention of coronary heart disease with pravastatin in men with hypercholesterolaemia. N Eng J Med. 1995;333:1301-1307.

n This article is courtesy of Blackmores. For more information about this article and last week's "I am cholesteril", visit www.blackmores.com.my. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by USA Best Price.
Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved