Selasa, 7 Jun 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Root of evil

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 02:56 AM PDT

Ihereby declare that Criminal Minds is now on top of my personal crime procedural podium; knocking all three CSI shows off the top, breaking Bones, and leaving NCIS behind in the water.

I have to admit – I only started watching Criminal Minds about three months back, but in that short period of time, I managed to finish all six seasons of the show. Yes, it's that compelling.

Of all the crime procedurals on TV right now, Criminal Minds has to be one of the most psychologically and intellectually compelling. It revolves around the FBI's Behavioural Analysis Unit, or BAU, as they jet around America solving heinous murders and catching deranged and psychotic serial killers by analysing the behaviour of the unknown subject (or 'unsub', as they are referred to on the show) and essentially, going into the criminal's mind.

Yup, no high-tech gizmos to analyse DNA, no lab coats, and certainly no Horatio Caine-like strutting to be found here. The entire show is about the psychology of the killer, and the mind games and strategies the BAU uses in going about catching these killers is a far cry from all those conveniently-placed hairs and threads the CSI teams are so fortunate to find all the time.

If you've managed to last until now, you should know that the cast of the show has been through several changes since the first season – Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin) was replaced with David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) as the senior BAU agent in the third season; Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) replaced Elle Greenaway (Lola Glaudini).

Season Six is an especially confusing time for the show, with old characters leaving and coming back, new characters making their appearance, and even the introduction of another BAU team led by Forrest Whitaker that would have it's own (ultimately short-lived) spin-off series called Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.

Before the season had even started, a big fuss was made about A.J. Cook (who plays BAU media liaison Jennifer "JJ" Jareau) leaving the show; while the introduction of cadet agent Ashley Seaver (Rachel Nichols) didn't really contribute a lot to the show, to be honest.

Thankfully, the most interesting characters of the show are still there – unit leader Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), the socially awkward young genius Dr Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler); and the flamboyant technical analyst Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness).

Oh, and the tough Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) is still there as well, though his presence isn't really as essential to the show as the other three, in my humble opinion.

Equally important to the show are the strength of most of its unsubs, many of which have proven to be more than a match for the team more often than not (one of the most memorable unsubs ever was Tim Curry's maniacal 'Prince of Darkness' and C. Thomas Howell's chilling Boston Reaper). Without these formidable homicidal characters as a foil, the BAU would be really bored indeed.

The cast may be changing constantly, but at least the show itself hasn't changed much throughout the six seasons. The hallmark of the show has been its consistency and unwavering dedication to its format and structure. The cases it features are well-written, and the pace has been no less gripping.

And just to hammer home the fact that these are really serious cases, the BAU team goes around with their foreheads furrowed constantly, as they deal with their cases. It's a far cry indeed from the lighter moods of the CSI and NCIS franchises.

If there's one bad thing I can say about the show, it's that watching too many episodes in a row can be rather depressing. Most of the cases featured in the show are as evil, and as sick as they get, with each serial killer seeming even more depraved than ever.

Then again, that's just a minor gripe. At the end of the day, there's just something about Criminal Minds that keeps me going back for more. Being a largely episodic series, with episodes that stand alone most of the time, I don't have to keep watching it, but somehow I am drawn back again and again to watch Hotchner not smiling, to listen to Reid's incessant chattering, and giggle at Garcia's infectious cheerfulness.

Yes, I'm addicted to the show, and like the serial killers the BAU hunts, the real reason for this addiction remains an unknown subject for me.

Criminal Minds: Season Six airs every Saturday at 9.40pm on Fox (Astro Channel 710).

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Come join the fun

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 02:54 AM PDT

TO announce its grand arrival in Malaysia, Disney Junior is throwing a big party at Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, July 2.

Disney Junior Ahoy To Never Land promises to be a fun-filled experience for children and their parents. Participants will be able to enjoy the magic of Disney Junior as children's favourites like Jake And The Never Land Pirates, Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are brought to life. It's a bash tailored to inspire imagination, creativity and learning.

Here's the good news: the channel is offering 50 lucky readers of The Star a special pass each that admits a family of four to the event.

All you have to do is answer the questions that follow. The first 50 correct and most creative entries will get the passes.

1. When will Disney Junior (Astro Channel 613) launch?

2. Arrr! I am all set to join Jake and his crew of Never Land pirates on their treasure hunt because ... (in not more than 20 words).

E-mail your answers to, together with your name, age, IC number, address and contact number (and the names and ages of your children), with the subject header "Disney Junior Ahoy To Never Land". Closing date for entries is June 17, 2011.

* The contest is open to Malaysians with children aged two to seven years old.

* Winners will be notified via e-mail or SMS.

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Crowd-pleasing offerings

Posted: 08 Jun 2011 02:53 AM PDT

DISNEY Junior, a new channel devoted to children aged between two and seven years, launches on July 11. Check out what's in store on the day:

The Hive (8.30am) – A fun-filled animated series about children's activities including playing with friends, spending time with family and discovering how the world works. Told through the adventures of the Bee family (comprising Pappa Bee, Mamma Bee, Buzzbee and Rubee), who lives in Honeybee Hive.

Tinker Bell And The Great Fairy Rescue movie (11.30am) – During the fairies' summer visit to the flowering meadows of England, Tinker Bell develops a special bond with Lizzy, a curious child in need of a friend. As her fellow fairies launch a daring rescue to keep their existence a secret from humans, Tinker Bell takes a huge risk, putting her own safety and the future of fairies in jeopardy.

Jake And The Never Land Pirates (1pm) – This interactive treasure hunt series introduces a crew of kid pirates – leader Jake and pals Izzy and Cubby – in their Never Land adventures to outwit Captain Hook and Smee – two infamous characters from Disney's classic Peter Pan. The series teaches children problem-solving and physical activities.

Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! (2.30pm) – An animated series starring Dr Seuss' beloved cat. At the request of Sally and Nick, two very inquisitive children, Cat in the Hat, along with his zany mop-haired helpers Thing One and Thing Two, whisks viewers off on amazing natural science adventures.

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

CORRECTED - Blast at Intel Arizona microchip complex injures 7

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 09:06 PM PDT

(Corrects location of company headquarters in last paragraph)

A video wall displays Intel's logos at the unveiling of its second generation Intel Core processor family during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 5, 2011. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files)

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Seven workers at an Intel Corp microchip manufacturing complex outside Phoenix were injured by a small explosion there on Tuesday, fire officials reported, but the company said production was unaffected.

The blast of undetermined origin occurred shortly after 2 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. EDT/2000 GMT) in a support building at the Intel site in Chandler, Arizona, just southeast of the state capital, said Chandler Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Miller.

A spokesman for the world's leading chipmaker said the accident site was under construction at the time and that production was uninterrupted.

Miller told Reuters that four workers were taken to local hospitals with injuries ranging from concussions to shrapnel wounds, and three others were treated at the scene for less serious injuries.

He described the incident as both a "small blast" and as a "flash explosion," adding that an automatic extinguishing system quickly doused flames with a mix of water and foam. The extent of damage was not immediately clear.

Early indications were that the explosion occurred inside a chemical storage room of a single-level, 3,000-square-foot (280-sq-metre) building, Miller said. That building and an adjacent structure were evacuated of hundreds of employees, he said.

Miller initially had reported the explosion occurred in a microchip fabrication plant but later said the structure involved was a support building.

A preliminary account of the incident from a company spokesman differed from that furnished by fire officials. An Oregon-based Intel spokesman, Bill Calder, described the incident as a brief fire, not an explosion.

Calder also said a nearby plant and support buildings were evacuated but workers soon returned to the complex and production was unaffected.

The mishap took place at a separate fabrication complex under construction and designed to make Intel's new cutting-edge 22-nanometer chip, due to go into production later this year, Calder said.

Miller said the building where the blast occurred would remain closed while authorities investigated the cause.

"Until we identify everything involved, there's no way we can say when people will be back to work," he said, adding that the 10 other buildings at the site remained open.

Intel's website said its fabrication facilities in Arizona focus primarily on high-volume microprocessor manufacturing.

Shares in the Santa Clara, California-based company were holding steady in after-hours trading.

(Additional reporting by Noel Randewich; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Greg McCune and Eric Walsh)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Heavy rain forecast for China's drought-hit regions

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 09:06 PM PDT

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Heavy rains are forecast for central and southern China over the next 10 days, bringing more relief to some of the drought-hit regions, a government department said.

Citing a weather report by the Central Meteorological Observatory, it added that from June 9 to 12, 20-60 millimetres of rain may fall in the central and lower regions of the Yangtze River basin, with heavy storms predicted around June 14.

A fisherman steps out from his boat after fishing in the morning at the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Hefei, Anhui province June 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Stringer)

The rain may further increase water levels of the Poyang and Dongting Rivers, which run through Hunan, Jiangxi and Guizhou provinces.

This follows downpours over the weekend that alleviated some parched areas.

But the flood and drought management department warned that the drought was far from over, with the water level of the Yangtze River still below normal.

Parts of China along the Yangtze River basin and nearby have endured their worst drought in 50 years or more, with rainfall 40 to 60 percent less than normal over recent months.

The drought has damaged crops and exacerbated a power shortage by cutting power generation from dams, adding a slight bump to near three-year high consumer inflation.

It has affected millions of hectares of farmland, mainly in the five provinces of Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Anhui and Jiangsu along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze.

Rice acreage in these five provinces accounts for nearly half of China's total rice area, official data show. But early-season rice accounted for only 16 percent of China's total rice output of 196 million tonnes last year.

(Reporting by Carrie Ho; Editing by Ken Wills)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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ANALYSIS - OPEC could pour oil on troubled politics

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 09:06 PM PDT

VIENNA (Reuters) - War in Libya, Qatari support for its rebel army and rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran need not scupper OPEC's attempts to forge a new oil output deal in Vienna.

Kuwait's oil minister Mohammed Al-Baseeri arrives at the OPEC headquarters for a Ministerial Monitoring Sub-Committee meeting in Vienna, June 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader)

The 50 year-old group has held together through two Gulf wars involving its members and the protracted, bitter Iran-Iraq conflict that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands. OPEC oil ministers still sat around the same table.

On Wednesday the 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will draw on a tradition of finding common interest in staving off an oil price collapse or cooling an overheated market that can destroy demand for its multi-billion dollar exports.

While Arab world turmoil has complicated the quest for an output deal and could limit the scope of any agreement, analysts say it has also made it important for OPEC to muster a show of unity.

"Regional political issues are much further up the agenda for many countries than an OPEC meeting, but look at the solutions to those issues and they all boil back to the oil price," said Lawrence Eagles of J P Morgan.

With prices around $115 a barrel for Brent , he said there could be an output increase to help meet an expected rise in demand and tightening of supply in the second half of this year, but the question was "how much?".

On their arrival in Vienna, several ministers said very little, which in itself could be significant.

The representative of Iran, holder of the rotating OPEC presidency and the group's second largest producer after Saudi Arabia, made a low-profile entrance through a hotel basement.

He resisted the opportunity for anti-Western rhetoric, telling awaiting reporters through an interpreter that OPEC would make a decision after its meeting had reached a consensus.

The risk rivalries would spill over into the Vienna OPEC meeting mounted when Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sacked his oil minister and seized control of his ministry.

But Ahmedinejad later appointed his close political ally Mohammad Aliabadi as caretaker oil minister after parliament and Iran's constitutional watchdog said the president had no right to head the ministry.

Aliabadi, whose last job was head of Iran's Olympic Committee, has scant experience of oil.

Half the other ministers and country representatives who will be sitting with him around the negotiating table in Vienna are also new to the job, including Omran Abukraa, Libya's OPEC delegation head following the defection of top oil official Shokri Ghanem last week.

No-one was expected to represent the Libyan rebels, removing one possible source of tension, although Abukraa could find himself at odds with Qatar, which has helped the rebels to market oil.


In the context of so many new OPEC faces, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi's status as the elder statesman is more established than ever.

"There is only one vote that counts in OPEC and it is Saudi Arabia's," said Sadad al-Husseini, an oil analyst and former top official at oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Whatever OPEC agrees on Wednesday, it remains the case that Saudi Arabia, the guardian of most of the world's spare output capacity, can continue its policy of adjusting supply to meet demand, moderating prices and ensuring future customers for its vast oil reserves.

Already, Saudi Arabia plans to raise its production sharply this month.

That leaves it up to other producers to decide whether to give tacit support by agreeing to an increase from the group as a whole, which would be the first formal rise since 2007 and the first policy change since December 2008 when OPEC decided on a record supply cut.

The easiest option would be to make official leakage of well over one million barrels per day above the targets agreed in 2008 as the oil price crashed below $40 a barrel.

With prices well above $100, even Shi'ite Iran, which has long supported much higher prices than Sunni Saudi Arabia, might be willing to overlook political differences and agree a production change that is only a confirmation of the status quo.

But a formal output increase that officially adds new oil supplies would be a much grander gesture for both politics and oil markets.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

UK considers tougher approach to foreign takeovers

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 05:58 PM PDT

LONDON: What do Britain's major airports, most of its utilities, the top drugstore chain, one of its biggest brewers and the maker of the nation's favorite chocolate bar have in common? All are owned by foreign companies.

They have been snapped up in recent years in a rash of takeovers that is raising concerns about how much of this island nation has fallen to profit-seeking investors from abroad.

While the United States and many European countries have strict regulations barring foreign control of many businesses, Britain has been largely content in the belief it has more to gain than lose from its relaxed takeover rules.

But last year's controversial $18.5 billion takeover by Kraft Foods Inc. of 195-year-old Cadbury PLC, maker of the Dairy Milk bar, stirred up nationalist sentiment and prompted the government to consider a tightening of the legislation.

With its decision on a so-called Cadbury Law due in just a few weeks, debate is raging about whether Britain should become more protectionist.

On the one hand, unions argue that more foreign takeovers hurt Britons' job prospects. On the other, businesses and legal experts say that putting up barriers to entry will block crucial investment and encourage tit-for-tat practices.

Britain has consistently attracted more foreign direct investment than any other European country. According to analytics firm Dealogic, foreigners have spent more than $1 trillion on acquiring 5,400 British companies in the past decade. The British, in return, have spent $750 billion on 6,000 companies.

That trend has ratcheted higher in recent years, with overseas buyers attracted by the weak British pound and the country's comparatively relaxed tax laws.

Last year, foreign purchasers accounted for 54 percent of the 113 takeovers, compared with just 40 percent in 2009, according to London-based law firm Wedlake Bell.

Among the foreign owners are Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial, which bought Heathrow Airport owner BAA in 2006 for 10.3 billion pounds, while French utility EDF acquired British Energy in 2008.

Car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover, meanwhile, is on its third foreign owner, Tata Motors of India.

Potential future targets include banknote printer De La Rue, oil firm BP, food group United Biscuits, the London Stock Exchange, gas company Centrica and software manufacturer Invensys.

"It is an endorsement of the health of our public markets that so many overseas companies are interested in investing in London-listed companies," said Tim Bird, a partner at law firm Wedlake Bell. "However, we should be concerned that British firms do not have the firepower to be the hunter rather than the hunted as it suggests that U.K. companies are still relatively weak coming out of the financial crisis and the recession."

Many are worried the country's liberal takeover regime makes Britain's companies easy targets to predators from countries - mainly the United States, France, India and China - that do not allow anywhere near the same level of foreign access in return.

In the U.S., poison pill defenses - corporate plans to discourage takeovers - are still legal and many states have laws preventing foreign takeovers. Unlike its relatively easy entry into Britain, Dubai's DP World's attempt to buy port management businesses in the U.S. in 2006 was scuppered by a political backlash.

In Europe, Italy's government joined others this year in considering new rules to thwart unwanted foreign takeovers in sectors deemed strategically important.

Canada, like some developing countries, has been aggressive in warding off foreign bids to use its mineral wealth to strengthen other sectors. Australia's BHP Billiton last year abandoned its $39 billion bid for PotashCorp after failing to secure government approval.

A major concern is that foreign ownership can have a big impact on jobs.

"While there may be a business sense in some consolidations - for instance British Airways and Iberia - we are always very wary about the underlying rationale for the fusion," said Len McCluskey, general secretary of leading trade union Unite.

Last year's Cadbury-Kraft deal appeared to bear out such worries. Both lawmakers and the public were outraged when the U.S. company reneged on a pledge to keep open a British chocolate factory, switching production to Switzerland instead to reduce its tax bill.

A cross-party committee of lawmakers in May said they still have "significant concerns" about the company's jobs plans, and criticized Kraft's chief executive Irene Rosenfeld for refusing to appear before parliamentary hearings.

In the feverish climate that followed the deal, Business Secretary Vince Cable, a member of the governing Conservative-led coalition, launched a consultation examining tougher rules for hostile foreign bids.

Proposals under consideration included increasing the threshold for control of a company to 66.6 percent from the current 50 percent and banning hedge funds from voting on offers.

But it appears the government will shy away from any protectionist measures that take into account the nationality of the bidder and instead adopt more measured suggestions from the Takeover Panel.

The panel's changes include forcing predators to disclose more about their intentions and ensure they cannot lay siege to firms for long periods of time that create uncertainty for employees and shareholders. Break fees and non-solicitation deals will be outlawed, except in case of a friendly rescue takeover, and bidders will also have to stick to any pledges to employees for at least a year.

Patrick Sarch, an M&A partner in the corporate practice at London law firm Clifford Chance, which advised on the Cadbury deal, said the government was right to avoid any kind of public interest test that would potentially politicize takeovers, creating uncertainty for both buyers and sellers.

"Having a political discretion would ultimately be quite arbitrary," he said.

Sarch is among those who point out that not all foreign takeovers are negative as many bring significant investment. Some have resulted in headquarters - and jobs - being moved to London such as the merger of TUI and Thomas Cook. Jaguar Land Rover, meanwhile, probably wouldn't exist given the lack of domestic interest.

And regardless of how far the government takes the Cadbury Law, just about everybody agrees that keeping Britain competitive in areas like skills, infrastructure and tax is the only way to ensure a level playing field for both foreign and local buyers.

In the end, Sarch points out, it may be a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted: "It's a bit late in some ways to start protecting stuff now." - AP

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HSBC pays US$62.5mil to settle Madoff lawsuit

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 05:57 PM PDT

LONDON: HSBC Holdings PLC says it has agreed to pay US$62.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a hedge fund that lost money from the Bernard Madoff fraud.

The bank said Tuesday it would pay the money to investors in Thema International Fund PLC, an Ireland-based fund that brought a class-action lawsuit in New York.

At the time Thema, an Ireland-based fund, funneled money to Madoff Securities, various HSBC units provided custodial and administrative services to the fund. The lawsuit alleges that the bank should have known about the fraud.

The bank said the settlement, which is subject to U.S. court approval, did not amount to any admission of wrongdoing. It is thought to be the first settlement by a fund custodian related to the huge Ponzi scheme. - AP

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Australia suspends live cattle trade to Indonesia

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 05:54 PM PDT

SYDNEY: Australia late Tuesday suspended its 330 million Australian dollar (US$350 million) a year live cattle trade with Indonesia after gruesome televised images exposed slaughterhouse practices there.

The ban will last until proper treatment of the animals has been assured, said Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig, who signed the trade ban on Wednesday. The government had temporarily suspended exports to 11 slaughterhouses after the footage aired nationally last week.

"I want to work with both the industry and the Indonesian government through my department to ensure that we can do this as quickly as possible," he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "The suspension is there for up to six months to allow time for this to occur."

Cattle sales agent Tim McHugh said the suspension would have a huge economic impact on cattle ranches across northern Australia, where there are no export meat slaughterhouses.

"This is criminal to think that people can manipulate markets the way they have using emotive issues," McHugh told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio Wednesday.

"The reality is that it shouldn't be our responsibility with regard to foreign countries buying our product and what they do with it once it's in their hands," he added.

ABC television on May 30 broadcast footage from Indonesian slaughterhouses that showed steers being whipped and taking minutes to die after their throats were slit repeatedly. Australian slaughterhouses stun the animals first.

The government responded the following day by halting trade with slaughterhouses that featured in the documentary, as Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd assured colleagues that trade suspensions with individual slaughterhouses would not harm Australia's "strong and robust relationship" with Indonesia.

Live Australian cattle account for up to 40 percent of Indonesia's beef consumption, while Indonesia buys 60 percent of Australia's live cattle exports.

About 770 slaughterhouses operate in Indonesia and only five use the stun-gun method, according to Lyn White, campaign director of the animal welfare group Animals Australia, which filmed the footage.

Indonesia's methods of slaughtering animals are based on Islamic teachings, For Riwantoro, a senior official at Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture, told The Associated Press last week.

"We have to protect consumers by ensuring they consume not only healthy and clean meat, but most important, it must be halal," Riwantoro said.

He said without Australian cattle, Indonesia would rely more on local cattle or would look for imports from other countries.

Prime Minster Julia Gillard was quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald saying Australia would work with Indonesians and the cattle industry to bring about changes in the slaughterhouses.

Key lawmakers and Animals Australia and the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, better known as the RSPCA, had sought the ban on cruelty grounds. The animal welfare groups cooperated with Australian Broadcasting Corp. to produce the television footage aired nationally. - AP

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Wozniacki beats Falconi 6-2, 6-3 in Copenhagen

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 05:55 PM PDT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki eased into the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open on Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-3 win over unseeded Irina Falconi of the United States.

The 20-year-old Dane will play Angelique Kerber of Germany, who beat Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-2 at the indoor hard-court tournament.

Earlier, Simona Halep of Romania beat sixth-seeded Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-0, while Kazakh qualifier Galina Voskoboeva earned a 6-3, 6-1 victory against seventh-seeded Jelena Dokic of Australia.

Fifth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic won 6-2, 6-1 against Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson. Another Czech, fourth-seeded Lucie Safarova, knocked out Australian qualifier Johanna Konta 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States also advanced, along with Johanna Larsson of Sweden, Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, Mona Barthel of Germany and Zhang Shuai of China.

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Tiger Woods to skip US Open

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 05:55 PM PDT

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) - Tiger Woods pulled out of the U.S. Open on Tuesday because of lingering issues with his left leg, leaving him uncertain how soon he can resume his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus' record for major titles.

It will be the first time Woods has missed the U.S. Open since 1994, when he had just graduated high school.

"I am extremely disappointed that I won't be playing in the U.S. Open, but it's time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future," Woods said on his website. "I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed."

Woods said he hoped to be ready for the AT&T National, which starts June 30 at Aronomink, and the next two majors. Then again, he said two weeks ago he would do everything possible to be ready for the U.S. Open, which is far more significant.

"We're very disappointed that he won be playing in the National Open," USGA executive director Mike Davis said, whom Woods called Tuesday morning. "He certainly brings excitement to the event. He'll be missed, but the U.S. Open will go on. The event is bigger than one player, but he certainly will be missed."

The U.S. Open starts June 16 at Congressional, where Woods won the AT&T National two years ago and tied for 19th when the U.S. Open was last played there in 1997.

Woods was replaced by Michael Whitehead, a senior at Rice who was first alternate from the Dallas qualifier. Whitehead had to win a playoff just to get out of the first stage of 18-hole qualifying, and was stunned to get the news.

"They said on the phone that Tiger has withdrawn from the Open," Whitehead said. "So, 'Thanks, Tiger.' I guess I'm glad he was listening to his doctors." The future of Woods, meanwhile, is as muddied as ever.

"The hardest thing in the world as a golfer, or any athlete, is to stay out," two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange said. "It's smart what he's doing.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Open falls in that time frame. But every time something happens, and the longer he's away from the game, it's going to make it tougher for him to come back.

"It's going to be harder and harder the long this goes."

Woods hasn't won since the 2009 Australian Masters, a stretch of 22 tournaments. He not only lost his No. 1 ranking late last year, he has plunged to No. 15 in the world, his lowest spot in the ranking since the spring of 1997.

Woods announced his decision on Twitter: "Not playing in US Open. Very disappointed. Short-term frustration for long-term gain."

He had said in his most recent press conference that his injury was "not the doomsday that some of the press members are writing about." Some in his camp believe if he had skipped The Players Championship, his left leg would have been fully healed perhaps in time for the Memorial, which he missed last week. Only Woods knows what kind of shape his leg is in, although he said another surgery has never been brought up by his doctors.

The Masters is now the only major Woods has played every year since turning pro. He was recovering from knee surgery in 2008 and did not play the British Open and PGA Championship.

"It's been a frustrating and difficult year, but I'm committed to my longterm health," Woods said. "I want to thank the fans for their encouragement and support. I am truly grateful and will be back playing when I can."

The question is when will he return.

Woods is recovering from injuries to his left knee ligaments and left Achilles', and his Achilles' is believed to be giving him more trouble.

"My man is hurting," Arjun Atwal, a close friend and frequent practice partner, said last week at the Memorial. "He's in a boot, he's on crutches.

Not doing good."

The most recent of four surgeries on Woods' left knee came a week after the 2008 U.S. Open, which Woods won in a playoff for his 14th major. He had reconstructive surgery and was out for eight months, then returned and won seven times the following year before his personal life imploded on Thanksgiving night in 2009.

Woods was tied for the lead at the turn in the final round of the Masters this year and wound up in a tie for fourth. But he said he hurt his knee and Achilles' hitting from an awkward stance in the pine straw on the 17th hole of the third round at Augusta National, and he was limping toward the finish on Sunday. He described it as a "minor injury" in April.

Woods sat out the Wells Fargo Championship, then tried to play in The Players Championship, only to withdraw at 6-over par after nine holes because of what he called a chain reaction of pain in his knee, Achilles' and eventually his calf.

He later said he tried to come back too early.

"My gut feeling is I think it's a good thing for Tiger," said Mark O'Meara, who no longer spends as much time around Woods. "You're throwing yourself back in the fray at a major when you haven't really played besides Augusta - you can't count The Players. To be prepared to do that, you've got to have some reps, and not reps at home.

"He drives the needle and he always will," O'Meara said. "I'd rather see him come back when he's ready. And if he's not prepared, that he shouldn't come back."

The first time Woods missed a cut in the major was the 2006 U.S. Open, his first tournament in two months as he coped with the death of his father.

The U.S. Open will be the 12th straight major without Woods winning, the longest drought of his career. He remains four majors short of the 18 professional majors that Nicklaus won, the ultimate benchmark in golf.

"I still have plenty of time, and I feel that going forward, I'm excited about playing major championships and playing golf again," Woods said two weeks ago while promoting the AT&T National. "I just want to be healthy and solid, and I feel like I can give it a go."

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Sukma results

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 05:47 PM PDT



1km time trial: 1. Muhd Elmi Jumari (Sel) 1:09.854, 2. Muhd Arfy Qhairant Amran (Mal) 1:10.127, 3. Ahmad Fakrullah Alias (Pah) 1:10.148.

Keirin: 1. Muhd Arfy Qhairant Amran (Mal) 11.222, 2. Mohd Fakhruddin Daud (Joh) 11.273, 3. Mohd Fattah Amri Zaid (Ked) 11.279.


500m time trial: 1. Ju Pha Somnet (Per) 39.519, 2. Lauretta Eva Adrian (Sab) 40.093, 3. Nurul Ahmar Badeuzzaman (Sel) 40.474.

Keirin: 1. Ummi Hamimah Mohamad (Ter) 15.025, 2. Ju Pha Somnet (Per) 15.075, 3. Nurul Sakinah Abd Karim (Joh) 15.281.


Men's team foil: Semi-finals (F. Territories bt Johor 45-27; Sabah bt Selangor 45-190; Final (Sabah bt F. Territories 45-32).

Women's team epee: Semi-finals (F. Territories bt Sabah 45-33; Johor bt N. Sembilan 45-41); Final (Johor bt F. Territories) 45-31.

Women's team sabre: Semi-finals (Johor bt Penang 45-22; F. Territories bt Perlis 45-44); Final (Johor bt F. Territories 45-31).



Quarter-finals: Johor beat Kelantan 4-2; N. Sembilan bt Terengganu 4-2; Sarawak bt Perlis 5-2; Selangor bt F. Territories 7-3


Group X: Selangor bt Kedah 4-2; Kedah bt Pahang 5-2.

Group Y: F. Territories bt N. Sembilan 8-0; Sabah bt N. Sembilan 9-0.

TENNIS (quarter-finals)

Men's singles: Khoo Er Yang (Nse) bt Colin Wong Wei Ming (Sel) 6-4, 6-2; Mohd Faeez Said (Nse) bt Sean Yip U-Quan (FT) 6-3, 7-5; Juan Antonio Los Santos (Sel) bt Mohd Hafiz (Kel) 6-0, 6-0; Wan Abdul Muiz (FT) bt Akmal Hakim (Per) 6-4, 6-4.

Women's singles: Jawariah Nordin (Nse) bt Chan Jia Qi (Mal) 6-0, 6-0; Alyssa Boey (Sel) bt Nor Fara Ain (Nse) 6-0, 6-4; Ti Jia Wei (Pah) bt Nur Alialiyana (Per) 6-0, 6-0; R. Archnaah (Sel) bt Michelle Khoo (Pen) 6-3, 6-2.


Men: F. Territories bt Perlis 10-7; Selangor bt Penang 17-3; N. Sembilan bt Perak 12-10.

Women: Selangor bt Perak 20-3; Malacca bt Penang 43-3.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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MTV Movie Awards show sneak peeks at future films

Posted: 06 Jun 2011 06:52 PM PDT

UNIVERSAL CITY, California (AP): This year's MTV Movie Awards came with a preview of next year's possible winners.

Besides passing out prizes for MTV viewers' favorite films, Sunday's ceremony featured world-premiere clips from some of the year's most anticipated movies, including the forthcoming installments in the "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" franchises.

The most recent "Twilight" movie won five awards Sunday, and the scream-inducing star trio of Taylor Lautner, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart took a break from accepting trophies to present a clip from the penultimate film in the series. Set for release in November, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" includes preparations for a wedding and hints at a pregnancy between Bella Swan (Stewart) and vampire Edward Cullen (Pattinson). Jacob (Lautner) is shown throwing down the wedding invitation in disgust, then taking his shirt off and turning into a werewolf.

Pattinson was the star of this year's Movie Awards, dropping an F-bomb, locking lips with Lautner and collecting awards for best kiss, best fight and best male performance for "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse." He also won best kiss and best male performance last year for the previous "Twilight" film. Chances are good he'll be up for the golden popcorn trophy again in 2012.

"Potter" has a winning history at the MTV Movie Awards. Tom Felton, who plays bullying Draco Malfoy in the series, won best villain Sunday for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1." He won the same award last year.

"This will look very nice in my downstairs toilet," he said of his trophy. "Thank you."

Hermione Granger was also on hand: Emma Watson introduced footage from the final "Potter" film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." The ultimate showdown between Potter and Voldemort hits theaters in July.

Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams have each made movies that found fanatical fans among the MTV audience. Their joint effort, "Super 8," has been building buzz since last summer. Produced by Spielberg and written and directed by Abrams, the film tells the story of a group of young filmmakers who witness and photograph a mysterious train crash. Stars Elle Fanning and Joel Courtney joined Abrams and Spielberg to unveil the new clip. The film opens June 10.

While they didn't show any footage, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake gave a hint of their "Friends With Benefits" flick, due in July, by cupping each other's genitals while presenting an award Sunday. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who star in this month's "Green Lantern," presented together, as did Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and MTV Movie Awards host Jason Sudeikis, who star in the comedy "Horrible Bosses," out in July. The stars of "Bad Teacher," Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, presented an award together. And Danny McBride, Nick Swardson and Aziz Ansari, who wore braids and a karate uniform to emulate his idol Jaden Smith, showed off the chemistry they'll display in "30 Minutes or Less," which opens in August.

Actress Amanda Bynes said on the way into the show that she was looking forward to still other summer movies: "I'm excited to see 'X-Men 2' and 'Transformers 3,"' she said.

Any of them could be considered for MTV Movie Awards, since fans pick nominees and winners. One thing's for sure: They're already excited about the next "Twilight."

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Tom Hanks launches new film at London premiere

Posted: 06 Jun 2011 06:49 PM PDT

LONDON (AP): Hollywood actor Tom Hanks is in London for the world premiere of his new movie "Larry Crowne."

The Academy Award-winning actor - in London Monday for the world premiere of his new movie "Larry Crowne" - says the film is about not giving up to cynicism.

Hanks directed, co-wrote and also stars as the protagonist in the movie, which is about a middle-aged man who reinvents himself by going back to college after he loses his job.

"I think this film is about a battle against cynicism we all have," said Hanks, 54, on the red carpet.

"Larry is not in a hopeful space ... It's easy to surrender to the cynicism, and a lot of people have to face it, but Larry proves that the forward motion of him going back to school gives him the faith that something is going to happen. That is not only an upbeat message, but a very wise one," he said.

Julia Roberts plays his romantic interest - a jaded teacher at a local college.

Hanks was joined at a movie theater in a London shopping mall Monday evening by fans and celebrities including fellow actor David Hasselhoff and The Rolling Stones' guitarist Ronnie Wood.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Death row dogs get another reprieve

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 06:27 AM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here has granted a stay of execution on the decision by a magistrate's court to dispose off four dogs owned by a couple until their judicial review application is heard on July 5.

Judge Yaacob Md Sam said the hearing was needed to establish whether the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) was authorised by law to destroy the dogs as directed by the Balik Pulau magistrate's court on April 4.

The hearing would also ascertain if MPPP revoked the dog owners' licences of the couple in an authorised manner, he said in his oral judgment after hearing submissions for a judicial review of the magistrate's court decision from counsel Jerald Gomez, who was acting for Teoh Bee Eng, 56, and her husband Joseph Teoh Boon Aun, 42, the owners, Tuesday.

Earlier, Senior Federal Counsel Zaruddin Mohd Isa had applied for an adjournment to respond formally in writing, saying it was not fair for him to do so verbally as the file was in Putrajaya but this was denied.

On April 4, the Balik Pulau Magistrate's Court had ordered the Teohs to be fined RM8,000 for failure to affix a collar and licence on each of the dogs.

Magistrate Mohd Hidayat Wahab had also directed the four dogs belonging to them to be destroyed in an appropriate manner at the MPPP Veterinary Hospital.

The dogs are currently caged at the Penang Veterinary Department.

The case came about after Sullivan Maurice, 50, an Irish national, was mauled to death by two dogs belonging to the couple at their durian farm in Teluk Bahang on Jan 9. - Bernama

Related Stories:
Family wants dogs put down
Reprieve for four death row dogs

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Innovative SMEs get interest rebate, more incentives under Green Lane facility

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 04:08 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Innovative small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) will now enjoy incentives under the Green Lane facility, which includes a 2% interest rebate for loans approved by developmental financial institutions.

In addition, stamp duty on the loan agreement documents will also be exempted.

Announcing the incentives, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said SMEs that incurred expenses to acquire 1-InnoCERT certification (which assessed the innovation level of enterprises), such as site audit, certification and logistic costs could also get tax deduction.

"Qualifying SMEs can also have access to fast track registration in e-Procurement from the current seven days to one day, upon submission of complete documentation," he said at the opening ceremony of SMIDEX 2011: SME Innovation Showcase here Tuesday.

He said these SMEs would also have the priority to participate in government offset programmes and enjoy the privileges in government and Finance Ministry incorporated companies' procurement.

Muhyiddin said in order to achieve a quantum leap in economic growth, the country's economy needed to be powered by productivity-driven and innovation-led initiatives.

"Some countries are more innovation-led than others and I believe we can leaarn from the example of others who have performed well in this regard," he said.

He also urged entrepreneurs and companies to subscribe to a corporate culture that encouraged innovation even at the risk of failure.

"They need to allocate budgets for innovation activities and reward innovation with financial and non-financial incentives," he said.

Later at a press conference, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said the 2% interest rebate was subjected to a maximum of RM200,000 per year or an accummulative of RM1mil for a period of five years for each company.

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Chief Secretary's contract extended until June next year

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 03:38 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan has been reappointed as Chief Secretary to the Government on a one-year contract beginning June 24, 2011 until June 23, 2012.

A media statement from the Prime Minister's Office Tuesday said the reappointment of Mohd Sidek, 59, had received the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin in the interest of the country.

"His services as the Chief Secretary to the Government are still needed especially in enhancing the delivery system of the Malaysian Civil Service and ensuring that the initiatives launched by the Government to turn Malaysia into a developed nation are effectively implemented," the statement said.

According to the statement, Mohd Sidek was appointed as the Chief Secretary to the Government on Sept 3, 2006 until his mandatory retirement on June 23, 2007 upon reaching mandatory retirement at the age of 56 then.

Subsequently, he was reappointed as the Chief Secretary on a contract basis for two years from June 24, 2007 until June 23, 2009.

His services were then extended for another year from June 24, 2009 to June 23, 2010 and again from June 24, 2010 to June 23, 2011. - Bernama

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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Malaysia to host Writers Unlimited Tour

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 03:32 AM PDT

WHAT do writers and poets draw on when they create their work?

Most would agree it is some combination of ideas, experiences, emotions, and, often, factual research.

Creativity requires an open mind, and what could promote this better than a literary festival that brings writers from different parts of the world together to exchange ideas and experiences?

Since 1995, Writers Unlimited (formerly known as Winternachten) has been organising an annual international literary festival every January in The Hague, Netherlands, as well as literary events abroad in different countries.

Organised in cooperation with local partner organisations, these literary tours bring a small, select group of writers from different countries to the host country to connect with local writers and audiences.

This weekend, Malaysia will be hosting the first leg of this year's Writers Unlimited Tour in the Klang Valley, with the theme "Writing And Truth – Fact Or Fiction?".

Says event organiser and writer Bernice Chauly: "The main objective of the tour is for the touring writers to engage in as many ways as possible with the local writers.

"The theme will hopefully address many of the concerns and issues that are pertinent and relevant to many of us."

The four writers who will be visiting Malaysia are Gündüz Vassaf from Turkey; Iraqi immigrant to the Netherlands, Rodaan Al Galidi; United States-based Ethiopian Maaza Mengistem; and Abeer Soliman from Egypt.

Meanwhile, Malaysia will be represented by Dain Saad, Kee Thuan Chye, Chuah Guat Eng, Uthaya Sankar S.B. and Dipika Mukherjee.

When asked about the unique experiences each writer is expected to bring to the tour, Chauly answers: "Many of the writers come from interesting backgrounds and experiences and have written about them in different ways.

"You have many voices – the immigrant, the political commentator, the storyteller, the refugee, the rebel, the satirist; all will bring their own strengths to the discourse at hand."

The three-day event starting on Friday will have three events that are open to the public.

The first on Friday is a 10.30am reading in the Experimental Theatre at Taylor University's Lakeside Campus in Sunway, Selangor.

This event, which is free, is primarily aimed at students, and will feature readings from five of the writers, followed by a question-and-answer session.

June 11 will see two sessions held at The Annexe Gallery, Central Market, Kuala Lumpur, at 10.30am and 2.30pm respectively.

These two sessions, which are also free, will involve all the writers as they read or perform their works and discuss the theme with the help of moderators Amir Muhammad in the morning and Umapagan Ambikaipagan in the afternoon.

On June 12, there will be an evening performance at the No Black Tie restaurant in Kuala Lumpur that will consist of readings by the writers, as well as musical performances from the bands Stalk and Shh ... Diam!. There is a RM30 cover charge for this event, which starts at 8.30pm.

All the sessions will see the writers using the languages they usually work in – Arabic, Dutch, English, Malay and Turkish. However, English translations will be projected simultaneously on a screen for the benefit of the audience.

Says Chauly: "I would like as many kinds of people to come for these sessions as possible.

"It's a public forum, and we want the writers to not only engage with each other, but also with the audiences.

"I hope that people will be able to come away with greater insight into why writers write what they do, what they choose to write about, and how."

After Malaysia, the four touring writers will be visiting Makassar, Indonesia, for the second half of their tour. – Tan Shiow Chin

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Thousands attend three-day youth rally in KL

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 06:13 AM PDT

THOUSANDS of Malaysian youth attended a three-day festival focusing on arts and entertainment.

Themed Unity Through Independence, the Youthnity Festival 2011 held at the Tasik Titiwangsa was organised by the Youth on Unity (YOU) and 1 Malaysian Youth Entrepreneurs Club (1MYEC).

"While youth today are very talented, many of these talents are untapped due to lack of opportunities," said festival chairman Mohd Nazifuddin Mohd Najib, who is also the YOU chairman.

Besides concerts by Malaysian artistes like Awie, Ella, and several Akademi Fantasia students, there were also performances by indie bands, dance performances and a photography exhibition.

The festival was launched by Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin last Wednesday night.

Nazifuddin said the festival was their first event and they would be looking at organising others events in the future.

"We are hoping to get more members on board during this event so that we can get them involved in our future activities," said Nazifuddin.

Raja Nong Chik said the ministry would continue to support youth programmes so that they can showcase their talents, not only in big cities but also in smaller towns.

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Metro Watch

Posted: 07 Jun 2011 06:12 AM PDT


A section of Jalan Sultan Ismail heading towards Jalan Kuching in Kuala Lumpur will be closed temporarily in stages beginning June 5. The closure is to facilitate the construction of a covered pedestrian walkway for the Sultan Ismail and Medan Tuanku monorail stations. One lane of the road will be closed in the mornings for 18 months. For details, call 03-2299 1999 / 03-4022 4811.


THERE will be free trial classes for Jazzercise, a fitness class that combines dance-based cardio with strength training and stretching to sculpt, tone and lengthen muscles for maximum fat burn. Choreographed to today's hottest music, Jazzercise is a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, pilates, yoga, and kickboxing. Class on every Tuesday / Friday at 10am-11am or Wednesday 6.30pm-7.30pm at Plaza Mont Kiara. For more info, visit or call 019-2332968.


CAPTURE the zest of life in Cyberjaya through the lens of a camera by taking part in the Cyberjaya Photography Contest organised by Cyberview Sdn Bhd. The theme of the contest is A Zest of Life in Cyberjaya and has three categories: Live, Cyberjaya Architecture and Scenery. Contestants stand to win RM3,500, RM2,000 and RM1,500 in cash for first, second and third places respectively in each category. There will also be five consolations prizes of RM200 for each category. For more information, contact Rozi Hanum Shaharudin at, 03-8315 6048 or visit The contest ends on June 15.


La Salle Klang class of 1968 is having a reunion dinner on June 25 at 7pm at Govind Restaurant, Persiaran Raja Muda Musa, Port Klang. Old boys and teachers are invited. Contact Dr Dominic Lopez (012-681 2165 or, Joseph Teh Kim Chor (016-231 1577 or, Richard Chong (016-221 3283 or or Gary Yeoh Chai Huat (012-200 1223 or


Fifth Formers of 1961 in King George The V will be celebrating their golden anniversary this year by having a gala dinner on June 16, at 7pm at the Sungei Ujong Club in Seremban. For details, call Soo Weng Heng, Maggie or Joanne during office hours at 03-2148 0556 and Loo Chong Poh at 012-683 6191 or e-mail James Sundram at

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