Jumaat, 10 Jun 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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

The Star Online: World Updates

Alaska emails shine light on Palin, no bombshells yet

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 06:34 PM PDT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The state of Alaska on Friday released more than 24,000 pages of former Governor Sarah Palin's emails, shedding some light on how the possible Republican U.S. presidential contender conducted business.

Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, stands near the Lincoln Memorial after taking part in the Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride to honor U.S. veterans, in Washington May 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Molly Riley)

The printed emails to and from Palin, who abruptly quit as governor of the oil-rich state nearly two years ago, were made available to those willing to pay $725 for copies and hundreds of dollars more in delivery fees.

Six hours later, almost one quarter of the emails had been scanned and posted online by various media websites.

Most of the emails so far reviewed concern fairly dry day-to-day workings of the governor's office, punctuated by the folksy language she has become known for: "You bet!"

Much of the correspondence comes from one of Palin's Yahoo accounts -- gov.sarah@yahoo.com -- which she often used from her BlackBerry. Some of the emails posted online include:

* A request to aides to set up a meeting with John McCain's team as he campaigned to become the Republican presidential candidate, several months before he chose Palin as his running mate. "Is it possible to get hooked up (maybe by Nick Ayers?) with someone from the McCain campaign?" Palin wrote. "I want to talk to McCain's people about his ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and resources positions."

* Palin's initial tentative support for Mike Huckabee in the 2008 Republican primaries: "He called. Very cool. Unless McCain calls, Huck's a good pick for me, just fyi. He says he's all for gasline and anwr- very cool," Palin wrote.

* Aides planning to send emails to the Anchorage Daily News complaining about treatment of Palin by a blogger on the newspaper's site. "Guys, I may be pretty wimpy about this family stuff but I feel like I'm at the breaking point with the hurtful gossip about my family," Palin wrote "I hate this part of the job and many days I feel like it's not worth it ..."

* An aide suggesting a meeting with Pete Rouse, then chief of staff "for a guy named Barack Obama". "I'm game to meet him," Palin replied.

* Aides arranging a TV interview on energy issues where the answers are taped and the questions to be introduced later.

* Opposition to hunting bears in the McNeil River Bear Sanctuary. "I am a hunter. I grew up hunting - some of my best memories growing up are of hunting with my dad to help feel (sic) our freezer. I want Alaskans to have access to wildlife...BUT - he's asking if I support hunting the bears in the sanctuary? No, I don't... I don't know any Alaskans who do support hunting the McNeil bears that frequent the viewing area.

The emails, some heavily redacted to remove private or privileged information, come from the first two years of Palin's governorship, from December 2006 to September 2008.

The six cartons of documents include emails from Palin's official account as well as two private Yahoo accounts she used to conduct state business, a practice that critics said circumvented Alaska's open-records law.

Dozens of reporters descended on the state capital, Juneau, to get earliest access to the documents, which were first requested in 2008 shortly after Republican presidential nominee McCain chose Palin as his vice presidential running mate.

After the Republican loss to U.S. President Barack Obama, Palin quit the governorship with more than a year left in her term to embark on a more visible national career as a television commentator and author. She has not said whether she would run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Journalists and Alaska political activist Andree McLeod sought the emails under state public records laws in 2008.

At that time, Palin was the subject of a legislative probe into accusations she abused her power as governor to seek revenge against a state trooper who had been married to her sister.

The New York Times and The Washington Post started scanning and posting the e-mails on their websites, and are asking readers to comment. MSNBC is working with data research firm Crivella West to produce a searchable database online, some of which is available at http://palinemail.msnbc.msn.com.

About 2,400 pages are being withheld because state attorneys have deemed them to contain privileged information.

The emails "show a very engaged Governor Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state," said Tim Crawford, treasurer at SarahPAC, Palin's political action committee. "The emails detail a governor hard at work. Everyone should read them."

Alaska's open-records law mandates a 10-day deadline for delivery of public documents when requested, but Alaska officials argued the request overwhelmed state resources and received numerous extensions.

Requests by news organizations to see emails up to Palin's resignation as governor in July 2009 are still pending.

About 3,000 of Palin's husband Todd's e-mails were released last year after a request by NBC.

(Additional reporting by Bill Rigby in Seattle; Writing by Bill Rigby; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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

Helicopters open fire to disperse Syrian protesters

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 06:34 PM PDT

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian helicopter gunships fired machineguns to disperse pro-democracy protests, witnesses said, in the first reported use of air power to quell unrest in Syria's increasingly bloody three-month-old uprising.

Syrian refugees look through a fence at Altinozu refugee camp in the Turkish border town of Altinozu in Hatay province June 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

The use of the aircraft came on a day of nationwide rallies against President Bashar al-Assad, as unrest showed no sign of abating despite the harsh crackdown by his authoritarian state.

The helicopters opened fire in a northwestern town after security forces on the ground killed five protesters, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"At least five helicopters flew over Maarat al-Numaan and began firing their machineguns to disperse the tens of thousands who marched in the protest," one witness said by telephone.

"People hid in fields, under bridges and in their houses, but the firing continued on the mostly empty streets for hours," said the witness, who gave his name as Nawaf.

Syria's state television, in contrast, blamed violence in the area on anti-government groups. It made no mention of attack helicopters but said an ambulance helicopter had come under fire over Maarat from "terrorist armed groups," injuring crew.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal have asked the U.N. Security Council to condemn Assad, though veto-wielding Russia has said it would oppose such a move.

Denouncing the Syrian government's actions, the White House said Friday's "appalling violence" had led the United States to back the European draft resolution at the United Nations. "The Syrian government is leading Syria on a dangerous path," the White House said.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem wrote to the Security Council accusing the opposition of violence and sabotage, Al Arabiya television said. Foreign governments were basing their views on "inaccurate information," it said.

State television said earlier well-armed "terrorist groups" had burned police buildings and killed members of the security forces in Maarat al-Numaan, which lies 55 km (35 miles) south of Syria's second city Aleppo on the highway to Damascus.


Moualem's letter asked for U.N. help to combat "extremism and terrorism." Damascus wanted dialogue with the opposition, the letter said.

Syrian authorities have banned most foreign correspondents from the country and have repeatedly tried to portray anti-government protesters as armed and violent.

"There were peaceful protests today (in Maarat) calling for freedom and for the downfall of the regime," one demonstrator said by phone. "The security forces let us protest, but when they saw the size of the demonstration grow, they opened fire to disperse us."

"During the protest, two officers and three soldiers refused to open fire so we carried them on our shoulders. After that, we were surprised to see helicopters firing on us."

The northwest border area, like other protest hotspots, is prone to tension between majority Sunni Muslims and Assad's Alawite sect, which dominates the Syrian power elite. The violence may reflect splits within the security forces, whose commanders are mainly Alawite and conscripts Sunni.

Activists said Syrian forces had shot dead at least 33 at rallies across the country after Friday prayers.

A U.N. spokesman said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had been trying to call Assad all week but was told that the president was "not available."


Thousands of civilians have fled from the northwestern border area into Turkey, fearing security forces' revenge for incidents in which 120 troops were reported killed this week.

Local people said at least 15,000 troops along with some 40 tanks and troop carriers had deployed near Jisr al-Shughour.

"Jisr al-Shughour is practically empty. People were not going to sit and be slaughtered like lambs," said one refugee who crossed the border into Turkey.

A 40-year-old from Jisr al-Shughour, with a bullet still in his thigh, also described mutiny in Syrian ranks.

"Some of the security forces defected and there were some in the army who refused the orders of their superiors," he said. "They were firing on each other."

Human rights activists aired a YouTube video described as from a Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Armoush, saying he had defected with soldiers to "join the ranks of the masses demanding freedom and democracy."

A Turkish newspaper said Ankara was looking into creating a buffer zone along the border as a contingency if hundreds of thousands of Syrians are driven out.

The International Committee of the Red Cross urged Syria to allow its aid workers wider access to the civilian population, including the many believed wounded or detained.

Rights groups say over 1,100 civilians have been killed since March in the revolt to demand more political freedoms and an end to corruption and poverty.

(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson, Ece Toksabay and Tulay Karadeniz in the Turkish border area and Mariam Karouny and Yara Bayoumy in Beirut, and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; writing by Andrew Roche; editing by Peter Millership and Eric Walsh)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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

Syria says European U.N. draft would aid 'terrorists'

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 06:03 PM PDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A European draft resolution condemning Syria for its bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters would only embolden "extremists and terrorists," Syria warned U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon in a letter.

A protester chants slogans during a protest organised by Lebanese and Syrians living in Lebanon, to express solidarity with Syria's anti-government protesters, in Tripoli, northern Lebanon June 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Omar Ibarhim)

"It is important that the Security Council should not intervene in the internal affairs of Syria, which is a founding member of the United Nations," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told Ban in a letter obtained by Reuters on Friday.

"We are quite certain that any resolution that is adopted by that body under any heading will only exacerbate the situation and send a message to those extremists and terrorists to the effect that the deliberate destruction that they are wreaking has the support of the Security Council," he said.

U.N. Security Council diplomats met again in New York on Friday in an attempt to break their deadlock on a draft resolution that would not impose sanctions on Syria but would condemn it for the crackdown and suggest Syrian security forces might be guilty of crimes against humanity.

Diplomats said Friday's meeting produced no changes among the 15 Security Council members. Currently nine council members, including the draft's sponsors Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, plan to vote for it.

Russia and China dislike the idea of any council discussion of Syria and have suggested they might use their veto power to kill the resolution. Lebanon, India, Brazil and South Africa have also said they have problems with the text.

Envoys said the latest draft, which was submitted to the council on Wednesday by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal, could be put to a vote next week.


Moualem offered no apology for the crackdown, which rights groups say has killed over 1,100 civilians since March. He said Damascus had no choice but to press ahead to ensure "the security of the nation and the population."

"We hope that the United Nations and its Member States will assist Syria in confronting the challenges of extremism and terrorism and will not hastily adopt a position that will provide a cloak for the murderous, destructive gangs," Moualem said in the letter, which was dated on Thursday.

He said that diplomatic moves to condemn Syria in New York and elsewhere "constitute flagrant intervention in the internal affairs of Syria and an attempt to destabilize it and control the current and future decisions and destinies of its people."

Earlier, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters that the U.N. secretary-general had been trying to speak on the telephone with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but was told that the president was "not available."

Moualem said the Syrian government was committed to "building democracy, widening citizens' participation in the political process, firmly establishing national unity and ensuring general order."

He added that in the coming days "a committee comprising high-level party representatives and other independent persons will conduct a comprehensive national dialogue in Syria."

Moualem said the demonstrations in most places in Syria are not peaceful but "acts of violence, murder and destruction that reduce public and private installations to ashes."

"Stockpiles of arms and ammunition have been discovered in a number of places, which confirms that the problem we face has gone beyond the mere making of demands to an onslaught on the security, stability and sovereignty of the country that is being fomented from abroad," he told Ban.

He said certain countries base their views about what is happening in Syria on "erroneous information" and ignore both the reforms the Syrian government is implementing and the crimes being committed by "armed gangs."

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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

The Star Online: Business

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

The Star Online: Business

Potential in Islamic REIT

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 06:52 PM PDT

DH Flinders Ltd, a specialist Asia-Pacific corporate advisory practice that focuses on real estate, financial services and small capital sectors, sees good investment opportunities in Islamic real estate investment trust (REIT) in Malaysia.

Executive director Stephen Hawkins says Malaysia already has a good start in terms of Islamic REIT awareness, having established the guidelines for this type of investment.

"Malaysia has syariah guidelines and syariah REIT guidelines, so there's already a formal structure that provides fund managers and operators a structured environment to work within.

"It also provides the regulators with an environment to regulate and investors will be able to see clearly how things will be structured and run in this market," he tells StarBizWeek.

DH Flinders has offices in Australia and Singapore.

In November 2005, the Government, through the Securities Commission (SC), issued guidelines for Islamic REIT, setting a new global benchmark for the development of Islamic REIT and making Malaysia the first jurisdiction to introduce such guidelines in the industry.

According to Bursa Malaysia website, presently, Malaysia is the only government to establish such guidelines for Islamic REIT.

The guidelines facilitate the creation of a new asset class for investors and provide new opportunities for market players, including fund managers, to further diversify their investment portfolios.

"Malaysia has an advantage over the rest of the region because it has taken the time to put those guidelines in place," says Hawkins.

On a global level, Hawkins believes that there is a large, untapped market for Islamic REITs. Malaysia, he says, is in a good position to benefit with its established guidelines in place.

"From a Malaysian context, Malaysian people and Malaysian funds are already comfortable with syariah-compliant REITs.

"From an international perspective, there are lots of syariah investors in the Middle East that look to countries like Malaysia that have established guidelines. There's an opportunity to provide more investment products to those investors to give them choice."

Hawkins notes that by having an established conventional REIT market in Malaysia, both local and foreign investors would be confident in diversifying their investment portfolio into Islamic REIT.

"From a REIT perspective, I see some good opportunities in Malaysia. Investors are already aware of REITs in this country. They've become comfortable with this vehicle in the last five to 10 years."

According to Bursa, there are 13 REITs being offered in Malaysia now, including two Islamic REITs.

Al-Aqar KPJ REIT is the first Islamic REIT in the world while Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT is the first Islamic plantation REIT.

Both Al-Aqar KPJ REIT and Al-Hadharah Boustead REIT rank among the top-three REITs in Malaysia in terms of dividend yield, according to information on the local bourse's website.

"There are already (Islamic REIT) vehicles out there, but I believe there's a lot more market appetite for this type of products," Hawkins says.

According to SC guidelines on Islamic REITs, rental incomes are derived from permissible business activities conducted according to syariah principles.

In the case where a portion of the rental is from non-permissible activities, then these rentals shall not exceed 20% of the total turnover of the Islamic REIT.

An Islamic REIT is not permitted to own properties where all the tenants operate non-permissible activities.

With more stringent guidelines (as opposed to) conventional REITs, Islamic REITs usually comprise investments in industrial properties.

This is because industrial properties are the easiest of the property sub-sectors to assess and to ensure that they are syariah-compliant, says Hawkins.

"Most industrial facilities, even if they're multi-tenanted, you kind of know what they're doing and it's easy to asses or judge. But a lot of industrial properties are single tenanted anyway.

"It's harder for a hotel or shopping centre as there's going to be alcohol or gambling activities in this type of property. It's difficult to eliminate this from your tenancy mix. Even from an office point of view, it will be multi-tenanted and it won't be easy to determine what the tenants are doing inside."

Essentially, properties that are syariah-compliant would need to operate under circumstances where it is not contrary to syariah law. These include gambling activities or the selling of alcohol, tobacco-related products and manufacture or sale of non-halal or related products.

"Fundamentally, industrial properties (tend to be more) compliant with the syariah guidelines," says Hawkins, adding that industrial properties are capable of generating good and stable yields.

"From my perspective, for the industrial sub-sector, the buildings may not be the trophy assets. They're not going to be the largest office tower or the newest shopping centre in a city.

"But I believe that industrial properties can provide good yields because they have all of (right investment) fundamentals, such as strategic locations and long leases."

Hawkins also says that the industrial property sector is not subject to huge upswings and downturns experienced by other property sectors.

"In good times, the rents (for industrial properties) may not increase as sharply as other sectors but in a downturn, they are more defensive from a returns and value perspective, and essentially, more resilient."

Hawkins also believes that industrial property sector is a "proxy for the overall economy."

"Demand for industrial space is essentially linked to economic activity. Asia is in the middle of a big growth cycle and the world is starting to recognise that Asia is where that growth is, and industrial property is a proxy for that growth.

"As the population grows or economic activity starts to increase, people need more industrial space. It's a good time to be in Asia and Malaysia and a good time for the industrial sector to provide strong returns to investors in a REIT product that is safe and provides solid yield, plus growth."

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

Regional debut for Mah Sing

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 06:52 PM PDT

MAH Sing Group Bhd plans to make its debut as a regional property player this year and hopes to kick off its first offshore project in China by year-end.

Group managing director and group chief executive Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum says the decision to hold back from venturing overseas earlier has been a blessing for the company as it has allowed Mah Sing to build up a stronger market presence locally.

"We had planned to venture into China two years ago but decided against it after some careful analysis. On hindsight, this has proven to be the right decision and the company is in a much more comfortable position to do so now," he tells StarBizWeek.

To achieve its vision as a world-class regional developer within the next five years, Leong says Mah Sing has also set its sight on Singapore, Australia and Indonesia.

Locally, the company has grown to be one of the most diversified property developers in the country with a broad product offering in the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor Baru.

It has 34 projects (including five completed ones) in the residential, commercial and industrial segments.

To support its sales target of RM2bil to RM2.5bil this year, Mah Sing plans to roll out between RM2.5bil and RM3bil worth of launches. Of this, some 36% will comprise landed residences, 32% will be service residences and small office home office (SoHo), 29% from commercial properties and 3% from industrial projects.

Mah Sing's range of residential projects are marketed under the township Perdana brand, medium high to high-end Residence brand, and high-end Legenda brand.

For high-rise properties, Mah Sing recently launched the M series M Suites and M-City, and Plaza series Garden Plaza in Cyberjaya.

Leong says the current trend is to have mixed-use developments that have a mixture of residential suites, office suites and retail outlets within the same development, "as buyers are opting for products that improve their quality of life, and the convenience of everything being in close proximity to each other."

Its latest project to be previewed, M-City@Jalan Ampang, attracted over 3,000 registrants for the designer SoHo suites, residential suites and sky villas.

The RM920mil project features 1,200 units of residential suites, office suites and retail outlets, on five acres of freehold land.

The first component to be previewed was the designer SoHo suites comprising single storey units with built up of 781 sq ft, 853 sq ft and 1,066 sq ft, as well as duplex units with built up of 910 sq ft and 1,330 sq ft.

These semi-furnished residences have average price of RM800 per sq ft (psf).


Based on a garden city concept, M-City boasts of over four acres of greenery with hanging gardens, lagoon parks and other thematic parks for residents.

There will also be lifestyle retail outlets to cater to the needs of residents and tenants. The three-storey boutique retail shops has average lot size of 28' x 78'.

According to Leong, Mah Sing is also making an impact in the commercial property sector, and is one of the few listed developers to offer industrial products through its iParc range of projects.

Its latest iParc 3@Bukit Jelutong will comprise 25 units of 3 storey semi-detached bungalows with land size of 60'x132', built up from 5,339 sq ft and indicative price from RM3.3mil.

They will be designed for 4-in-1 centralised functions, where the factory, office, showroom and warehouse can operate from one central location.

Going forward, Mah Sing wants to build more street malls and retail malls.

It has three street mall projects Southgate KL, StarParc Point Setapak and Star Avenue D'Sara, and two retail malls Icon City Petaling Jaya and Southbay City on Penang island.

Since its launch in 2008, Southgate KL with gross development value (GDV) of RM458mil, has been 98% sold. Of the five blocks of lifestyle retail and modern office suites, two were sold en-bloc and the balance on strata.

"At the moment, we have approximately 70% tenancy rate for the retail portion of Block A, and

the building is expected to open for business in August," Leong says.

StarParc Point Setapak with GDV of RM129mil was launched in the first quarter of 2009. It is nearly 100% taken up.

Fronting the upcoming Parkson Mall and Jalan Genting Klang, the covered lifestyle square will feature al-fresco dining outlets and boutique shopping.

The three-storey shop office units with built-up from 4,880 to 6,904 sq ft are priced from RM2.2mil,

There are also the six-storey series comprising double-storey retail lots from 2,251 to 4,950 sq ft priced from RM1.3mil, while the four-storey offices of 1,264 to 2,715 sq ft are from RM295,000.

Lifestyle projects

Star Avenue D'Sara that fronts Jalan Sungai Buloh is one of the first new commercial projects along Jalan Sungai Buloh.

Comprising 92 units of three- storey shop office priced from RM2.2mil, the RM402mil project was launched in April.

Located close to the proposed MRT station in Taman Industri Sungai Buloh, the project is adjacent to the Rubber Research Institute land, has dual access from Jalan Sungai Buloh Shah Alam and Persiaran Cakerawala.

As for retail malls, Icon City Petaling Jaya, located on 20 acres at the crossroads of Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong and the Federal Highway, is Mah Sing's flagship project in the commercial segment.

The project with GDV of RM3.2bil offers one of the best visibility in the Klang Valley.

Under the first phase of the project, 30 prime lots comprising seven and eight storey lifestyle shop offices with wide frontage, high ceilings, quality finishing, private lifts and main road frontage, were recently previewed, of which 19 units valued at RM192mil were sold.

The second phase of the project comprising two and three storey retail lots (with indicative price from RM3.6mil), small office versatile offices (from RM570,000) and residential units, are now open for registration.

Leong says the development will also have a hotel, corporate office towers and a retail mall.

Meanwhile, Southbay City on Penang island, located about five minutes from the upcoming second Penang bridge, will have commercial portion to the tune of RM2bil in GDV.

The first phase of the project will comprise the RM265mil Southbay Plaza that will be ready for a preview soon.

The residential suites with built-up of 1,030 to 1,645 sq ft will have indicative price of RM550 psf, while the lifestyle retail shops of 1,000 to 12,500 sq ft will be at RM500 psf.

MAHSING : [Stock Watch] [News]

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

SP Setia seen hitting RM3bil

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 06:52 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of SP Setia Bhd, the largest property stock on Bursa Malaysia, rose 5 sen to RM4.15 after meeting earnings expectation for the half way mark of its financial year with analysts confident the company would be able to meet its full year sales target of RM3bil.

Sales for the second quarter and the first half had surpassed previous highs, and revenue for the seven months of its financial year ending October 2011 was already higher than any other full year except for its 2010 financial year.

"Current unbilled sales have touched a record RM3.2bil following strong year-to-date (7 months) pre-sales of RM1.66bil. Setia is very much on track to meet its sales target of RM3bil," said AmResearch in a note yesterday.

CIMB Investment Bank in a report said some 57% of the sales came from the Klang Valley.

"The four townships in Johor contributed huge sales of RM510mil or 36% of the total while Penang chipped in 7%. The Johor sales were very commendable, being an unprecedented RM1bil on an annualised basis compared with past sales of RM400mil to RM500mil per annum," it said.

"SP Setia's second half sales should exceed first half sales comfortably as sales from KL EcoCity should be considerable."

Expected to drive sales this year will be the company's KL Eco-City project. HwangDBS Vickers Research in its note said KL Eco-City's RM1.8bil worth of bookings from boutique and strata offices and recent condo tower launch at an average selling price of RM1,200psf, which was a 40% premium to adjacent properties, should be converted soon, following the signing of S&P agreements from mid-June onwards with the completion of DBKL's land privatisation exercise.

It pointed out that other launches to watch were V Residences and Brook Residences (with a gross development value of RM233mil), Fulton Lane@Melbourne with a projected GDV of RM1.4bil and Aeropod@ Kota Kinabalu (projected GDV of RM1bil but is awaiting approvals).

"SP Setia will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the mass rapid transit with 25% of RNAV exposed to potential interchanges ie KL Eco-City and Jalan Bangsar (near KL Sentral)," said Hwang DBS.

It said SP Setia could be involved with more landbanking deals. Hwang DBS said SP Setia has been the most aggressive developer with four acquisitions year-to-date with a GDV of RM15bil.

AmResearch expects land acquisitions to be the primary valuation driver. "Based on its township track record, SP Setia would be the leading candidate to co-develop a parcel of the prime residential land in Sg Buloh with EPF-owned Kwasa Land, leveraging on its successful Eco Park brand," it said.

"We are expecting stronger newsflow on this front in the next few months. It is also bidding for the 100-acre seafront land in Bayan Mutiara, Penang believed to be valued at over RM900mil including reclamation cost, and a potential GDV of over RM5bil," said the report.

SPSETIA : [Stock Watch] [News]

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

The Star Online: Sports

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

The Star Online: Sports

Seven-year wait ends, Katrina finally wins her gold medal

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 05:53 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Her younger sister Farah Ann Hadi won the Sukma (Malaysia Games) individual all-around title in gymnastics in Malacca last year but Katrina Ann Hadi had to wait for seven years to earn hers in synchronised swimming.

The Selangor swimmer ended her long wait for an individual Sukma gold medal in the sport by garnering the highest points of 76.500 in the solo technical display yesterday morning.

Jillian Ng, the daughter of former Asian Games gold medallist cyclist Ng Joo Ngan, notched 72.100 points for the silver medal while the bronze went to Gan Zhen Yu of Negri Sembilan, who managed 65.400 points.

Katrina was only 12 when she won a gold in the team discipline when the sport was last competed at Sukma level in Negri Sembilan in 2004.

Synchronised swimming only made its way back into Sukma once the National Sports Council decided to turn into an annual affair at Malacca last year.

And the 19-year-old has since emerged as the top synchronised swimmer in the country with her representing the country at the Commonwealth and Asian Games last year.

"My sister won the individual gold and it's my turn to get one today.

"I hope to get another gold medal tomorrow to achieve my target in Sukma (when she combines with Lee Yhing Huey (for the duet technical routine).

"It should not be a problem but we respect our rivals and will not underestimate them," said Katrina, who is also bound for the World Championships in Shanghai in August.

Fellow Shanghai-bound synchronised swimmer Yhing Huey also received a timely boost to her confidence by completing a double sweep for Selangor later in the afternoon.

Yhing Huey danced her way to the gold with 73.200 points, finishing ahead of Emanuelle Mah of Penang (71.800 points) and Jacqueline Ng of Kuala Lumpur (67.100 points) in the Solo Free Routine event

The 19-year-old Yhing Huey, whose elder sister Zylane Lee is also in the national swimmming team, was delighted to realise her mission to become a Sukma gold medallist.

"I did well today but I still need more experience.

"We do not go for many competitions and we need the exposure if we are to improve to fight with stronger opponents," said Yhing Huey.

Selangor and Penang now have two gold medals each after the team and solo disciplines ended.

Two more gold medals will be decided in the duet competitions (technical and free) today.

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

Vivian-Khe Wei overpower Indonesian pair to reach semi-finals

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 05:49 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Women's doubles pair Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei continued their surprise run by over-powering Indonesian pair Anneke Feinya Agustin-Nitya Krishinda Maheswariin in straight games to reach the semi-finals of the Thailand Open in Bangkok yesterday.

Vivian-Khe Wei won 21-18, 21-19 in 42 minutes to chalk up their second straight win over an Indonesian pair and will play Chinese seventh seeds Shu Cheng-Bao Yixin today for a place in the final.

Shu Cheng-Yixin sent another Indonesian pair, Imawan Gebby Ristiyani-Nuraidah Tiara Rosalia, packing 21-10 21-8 in the quarter-finals.

Vivian-Khe Wei are playing in their first international Open since they were reunited in a bid to qualify for the London Olympics next year.

The qualifying campaign for the London Olympics started last month and Vivian-Khe Wei can give their bid a big boost if they can upset the scratch Chinese pair in the semi-finals today.

Vivian-Khe Wei stunned top seeds and local favourites Duanganong Aroonkesorn-Kunchala Voravichitchaikul in rubber games en route to reaching the last eight on Thursday.

However, it was the end of the road for veteran Wong Choong Hann and the men's doubles pair of Lim Khim Wah-Goh Wei Shem last night.

World Championships-bound Choong Hann was outclassed 9-21, 7-21 by reigning world champion Chen Jin and it was the Malaysian's ninth consecutive defeat out of 11 meetings against the Chinese shuttler so far.

Fourth seed Chen Jin and top seed Chen Long will be out to make it an all-Chinese affair in the final when they play South Korean opponents Lee Hyun-il and Park Sung-hwan respectively.

Khim Wah-Wei Shem failed to put the pressure on Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong after winning the first game 21-17 and allowed their more experienced Korean rivals to come back.

Sung-hyun-Yeon-seong, the second seeds, won 21-11, 21-10 to secure a semi-final meeting with Indonesia's Alvent Yulianto-Hendra Aprida Gunawan.

Quarter-final results

Men's singles: Chen Long (Chn) bt P. Kashyap (Ind) 21-18, 21-5; Park Sunghwan (Kor) bt Sourabh Verma (Ind) 16-21, 21-16, 21-11; Chen Jin (Chn) bt Wong Choong Hann (Mas) 21-9, 21-7; Lee Hyunil (Kor) bt Wang Zhengming (Chn) 18-21, 21-9, 21-9.

Women's singles: Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Saina Nehwal (Ind) 21-13, 21-12; Jiang Yanjiao (Chn) bt Juliane Schenk (Ger) 16-21, 21-13, 21-8; Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) bt Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) 21-16, 21-19; Cheng Chao-shieh (Tpe) bt Bae Joo-youn (Tpe) 21-19, 21-17. Men's doubles: Alvent Yulianto-Hendra Aprida Gunawan (Ina) bt Chai Biao-Guo Zhendong (Chn) 21-17, 21-18; Howard Bach-Tony Gunawan (US) bt Fang Chiehmin- Lee Sheng-mu (Tpe) 21-10, 21-17; Jung Jae-sung-Lee Yong-dae (Kor) bt Ingo Kindervater-Johannes Schoettler (Ger) 21-11, 21-13; Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor) bt Goh Wei Shem-Lim Khim Wah (Mas) 17-21, 21-11, 21-10.

Women's doubles: Poon Lok Yan-Tse Ying Suet (Hkg) bt Mariana Agathangelou-Heather Olver (Eng) 21-15, 21-19; Shu Cheng-Bao Yixin (Chn) bt Imawan Gebby Ristiyani-Nuraidah Tiara Rosalia (Ina) 21-10 21-8; Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei (Mas) bt Anneke Feinya Agustin-Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (Ina) 21-18, 21-19; Qing Tian-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Jung Kyung-eun-Kim Ha-na (Kor) 21-16, 21-12.

Mixed doubles: Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn) bt Songphon Anugritayawon-Kunchala Voravichitchaikul (Tha) 22-20, 21-11; Lee Sheng-mu-Chien Yu-chin (Tpe) bt Cho Gun-woo-Kim Min-seo (Kor) 21-17, 29-27; Shin Baek-choel-Kim Min-jung (Kor) bt Lee Yong-dae-Ha Jung-eun (Kor) 25-23, 22-20; Nova Widianto-Vita Marissa (Ina) bt Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thoungthongkam (Tha) 21-17, 21-14.

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

Audi defending Le Mans title with faster car

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 05:31 PM PDT

LE MANS, France (AP) — Peugeot's hopes of breaking Audi's domination in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend has become even more challenging thanks to Audi producing a faster car.

Benoit Treluyer of France in his Audi No. 2 clinched the pole with a fastest qualifying lap of 3 minutes, 25.738 seconds on the 13.6-kilometer circuit in western France.

Defending champions Romain Dumas of France, Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller of Germany will start from second on the grid in their Audi No. 1 on Saturday.

Audi has won six of the last seven titles in the world's best known endurance race, but the pole is its first since 2006.

"We worked hard for this result," Audi Sport director Wolfgang Ullrich said. "It is not what is important, it is the outcome of the race on Sunday. This provides motivation for the team. No car was in qualifying configuration because we worked on the setup for the race.

"I am surprised to see such a close result between the leading prototypes. The level is extremely high."

Audi took the top three spots last year with its R15 model, while no Peugeot was able to finish the race.

The German manufacturer has enjoyed a relatively smooth transition with its new R18 model. But speed is no guarantee of victory.

In the 1,000 kilometers of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium last month, Audi posted the best time in qualifying but could finish only third behind two Peugeots.

"We know that anything can happen in 24 hours," Peugeot Sport director Olivier Quesnel told French daily L'Equipe. "We will have to make no mistake to win it. We will have to be impeccable in every area. We are prepared but it's a very long way to go."

Audi will be under the pressure of the French manufacturer in the opening laps as the Peugeot No. 9 and No. 8 will respectively start from third and fourth on the grid.

Tom Kristensen of Denmark, the winningest driver at Le Mans with eight victories, clocked the fifth best lap in his Audi No. 3.

The Peugeot No. 7 driven by Marc Gene of Spain, who won the 1,000 kilometers of Spa-Francorchamps, will start from sixth.

Meanwhile, a Swiss team will be the first to race a hybrid car in the 79th edition at Le Mans, bolstering the green credentials of a sport better known for its gas-guzzling engines.

Hope PoleVision Racing will make its debut in the endurance race this year and unlike the other 55 vehicles, its engine will feature hybrid technology designed by the UK-based Flybird Company by which a carbon disc stocks the energy generated under braking and releases it as the car accelerates out of the corner.

This allows the team to save as much as 5 percent on fuel and reduces the number of pit stops needed.

The race is won by the team that completes the most laps in 24 hours, with up to three drivers alternating.

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

Two more Taiwanese food products recalled

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 06:04 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Two more Taiwanese food products have been ordered to be recalled under suspicion they are tainted by a cancer-causing plastic additive.

Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Hassan Abdul Rahman said Delitea Sdn Bhd was ordered to recall the products after the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that that two products - Strawberry Pudding Powder and Strawberry Pudding - manufactured by Signwin Food Enterprise, Taiwan, were suspected of being contaminated with bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP).

"Samples of the food products have been taken for analysis of their DEHP contents.

"The products will only be released if the analysis shows they are not contaminated with DEHP," he said in a statement here Friday.

Consumers were advised to avoid the products until the results were known.

Meanwhile, Dr Hassan said the ministry had confirmed six food products from Taiwan, earlier suspected of being contaminated, were found to be free from DEHP.

He said the food products Jelly Powder imported by Cocon Food Industries Sdn Bhd and five other products, Coconut Ice, Frozen Cofee, Honey Alovera, Mango, Kumquat, Peace Juice, imported by Ho Chuan Trading - were deemed safe for consumption.

Dr Hassan also said only one of the two products from Cosway (M) Sdn Bhd analysed was found to contain DEHP.

Following this, the ministry had ordered the company to destroy Oriyen Nutri Grow (Boy) Orange Drink Premix, 330g product (code : 36135).

Oriyen Nutri Grow (Girl) Cranberry Drink Premix, 330g product (Code : 36136) is safe.

However, the Ministry advised consumers who had earlier used the tainted product Oriyen Nutri Grow (Boy) Orange Drink not to worry as the contamination posed a low health risk.

For further information, including the list of affected food products from Taiwan, the public can visit http://moh.gov.my or http://fsq.moh.gov.my or call the Food Safety and Quality Division of the ministry at 03-88833652/03 -88833653. - Bernama

Related Stories:
5 out of 16 Taiwanese food products free of carcinogens: Liow
Passion fruit drink range cleared of banned substance
Taiwan fruit and energy drinks being tested for carcinogens

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

Pirated DVD peddlers cashing in on Astro First movies

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 02:58 AM PDT

KUCHING: Local filmakers may be enjoying a booming time with their movies raking in millions of ringgit in box office receipts but the pirated DVD and VCD peddlers are making more, thanks to Astro First provided by pay-television operator Astro.

Astro First was launched on Jan 13 this year, promising Astro clients the latest movies within two weeks after the cinema releases.

But the move has backfired with many local movies aired over Astro First being recorded and sold as VCDs and DVDs in the open market here.

A random check by Bernama revealed that among the latest local movies being aired over Astro First and in local cineplexes here but already available in VCD or DVD format are "Kongsi" and "Seru."

These are being sold as low as RM5 or RM6 each, depending on the bargaining power of the buyers as well as "attractive packages" offered by the peddlers to the potential buyers.

Among the packages offered is the purchase of the DVDs at RM5 each if buyers take more than three pirated DVDs, be they local or English movies. Asked if the local movies, aired by Astro First and immediately sold in DVD format, were pirated or not, the peddlers said these were value for money because the audio and visual quality were good and the movies were still being shown at the cineplexes.

Touted as the first of its kind movie-on-demand service, Astro First made its debut on Channel 480, charging RM15 per movie, which is inexpensive compared to paying up to RM80 for a family at a cineplex here.

Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry's Sarawak director Wan Ahmad Uzir Wan Sulaiman told Bernama that selling of such DVDs infringed the Copyright Act 1987.

He said although the ministry had the power to act against the offenders.

"It is up to the film producers, distributors and Astro to take the necessary action, and it is better for them to lodge an official report with details to us so that we can make seizures or arrests," he said.

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

IGP: Cops nab Indonesian terror suspect Agus Salim, again

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 02:06 AM PDT

Published: Friday June 10, 2011 MYT 4:32:00 PM
Updated: Friday June 10, 2011 MYT 5:06:01 PM

PETALING JAYA: Police have re-arrested alleged Jemaah Islamiah (JI) sleeper agent Agus Salim, who slipped back into the country under a false name after being deported in 2009 for harbouring Southeast Asia's most wanted terror suspect Mas Selamat Kastari.

The 34-year-old from Sumatra, Indonesia was detained in Johor Baru on Monday in a restaurant where he had been working.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar confirmed the arrest but declined to elaborate.

Salim was initially arrested in 2009 under the Internal Security Act (ISA), suspected of helping hide Mas Selamat bin Kastari, the alleged head of the Singapore cell of regional terror outfit JI with links to Al-Qaeda.

Mas Selamat escaped from a Singaporean high-security prison in 2008 and came to Johor Baru, where he was recaptured in 2009.

Salim was deported to Indonesia in 2009, but police investigations revealed that he re-entered Malaysia under a new name, several months ago.

It is learnt that Salim was working at the same restaurant where he had been employed before his 2009 arrest and is believed to be a JI "sleeper agent" assisting JI members in Malaysia.

JI is blamed for a string of attacks in the region, including the 2002 Bali bombings in which 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Coming Soon

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 03:12 AM PDT

Laddaland In an effort to provide a better future for everyone, Thee takes up a job offer in Laddaland, Chiang Mai, and moves his whole family there. As the family settles in their new, big house, mysterious things start to happen next door. Apparently, a Burmese maid was brutally murdered there, and her spirit lingers ...

This Thai horror stars Saharang Sangkapreecha, Piyathida Woramusik, Suthatta Udomsilp and Apipich Chutiwatkajornchai.

BlitzA detective is asked to bring to justice a serial killer who has been targeting the police. Starring Jason Statham, Paddy Considine, Aidan Gillen and Luke Evans.

Green Lantern A test pilot, Hal, receives a mystical green ring that gives him otherworldly powers.

By accepting the ring, Hal also becomes a member of the Green Lantern Corps, protectors of peace and justice who are warriors from outer space. When a new enemy threatens peace in the universe, Hal is determined to prove to the other members of the Green Lantern brotherhood that he is just as capable as they are.

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard and Tim Robbins.

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

Hurrah for superheroes

Posted: 10 Jun 2011 03:07 AM PDT

With so many superhero movies playing and about to be played, we felt compelled to address the subject.

SUPERHEROES come in all shapes, sizes and colours these days. Here, four comicbook/movie buffs share their thoughts and wishes about the much used (and abused?) movie genre.

By the ragged rings of Raggador

MY favourite comic-book movie was, for a long time, Superman: The Movie. More than 30 years have passed since it came out, and the film is certainly dated. Other movies have come along to knock it off its perch, but no actor has managed to dethrone Christopher Reeve in my book as the absolute champ among actors playing superheroes.

He was amazing as both Superman and Clark Kent, coming across as both mortal and otherworldly at once. More than the dodgy special effects ever could, it was really Reeve – backed by that rousing John Williams score – who made us believe a man could fly.

One of my favourite superhero flicks, Spider-Man became Supes' successor, then Spider-Man 2, and then The Dark Knight blew everything else out of the water.

But for the longest time, Superman: The Movie soared above them all. None of the sequels came close, not even Superman II, and quite frankly, after Sucker Punch, I am dreading what Zack Snyder is going to serve up with Man of Steel. Hope I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Now for some other superhero movie "Oscars":

Best. Score. Ever: John Williams, Superman: The Movie.

Most Comic-like Movie: Creepshow, directed by George Romero and written by Stephen King.

Most Misunderstood: Ang Lee's Hulk. It was really close in spirit to the comics when they had all those "psychoanalysing the monster" storylines. And those giant poodles do exist, I've seen them in Bangsar. Honest.

Abomination: The Justice League Of America TV movie.

Son of Abomination: The little-seen Man-Thing movie from 2005.

Grandsons of Abomination: The dreadful Captain America TV movies and equally awful Cannon Films version a bit later on. Cap ... three strikes and you're out. This year's movie had better ace it!

Ain't So Bad: The Nick Fury: Agent Of SHIELD TV movie with The Hoff. Hey, it was good for a laugh!

Guilty Pleasure: A tie between Wes Craven's Swamp Thing and Tim Story's Fantastic Four.

Most folks wouldn't openly acknowledge that they're terribly good but ... heck, Adrienne Barbeau in the bayou? Jessica Alba in blue tights? Duh.

My editor won't let me sign off without stating my superhero movie wish. Well, The Avengers next year is many a comic book geek's dream come true already. But, by the Ragged Rings of Raggador and various other alliterative invocations, what I really want to see is a Doctor Strange movie done well.

And they'd better get those Steve Ditko-esque spells and funky trans-dimensional effects right. Ah, that would be a film to watch. Preferably after a few beers. – Davin Arul

The devil in these guys

THE greatest fear among fans of comic books that are made into movies is the project falling into the wrong hands. Getting Guillermo del Toro on board as director for the film adaptation of this Dark Horse Comics title was the first "Yes!" that Hellboy fans gave to the deal because of the man's solid credentials in the fantasy genre – he directed Blade II based on the Marvel Comics vampire hunter which was released in 2002 to massive success; the 2001 Spanish-Mexican gothic thriller The Devil's Backbone; the 1997 American sci-fi horror film Mimic; and the critically-acclaimed 1993 Mexican horror Cronos.

Del Toro and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola proved to be very much on the same page when the two of them, at a meeting to discuss the movie, revealed that Ron Perlman was their choice to play the titular character. (Yes!!)

As further indication of how big a Hellboy fan he is, del Toro co-authored a tale (Yes!!!) that was included in the Hellboy: Odder Jobs (Dark Horse Books, 2004) collection of short stories by "some of today's top names in horror" – the second of a three-volume series, the first being Hellboy: Odd Jobs (1999) and the third, Hellboy: Oddest Jobs (2008).

Winning fans over even more was his refusal to go with the studio suits' attempt to mess with the character (Yes!!!!), such as making him a man who becomes Hellboy when he is angry (that's the guy from Marvel, stupid).

Hellboy by Revolution Studios was released in 2004 to moderate success at the box office, while Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) by Universal Pictures fared better.

This goes to show that Hellboy is still very much a cult favourite despite the big studio treatment, unlike the mass appeal of his mainstream counterparts Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men.

Mignola's "boy" was first published in 1994, a relative newcomer to the comics scene when compared to Superman, Batman, Captain America, Thor and other major characters who have been around for 50 years or more. Pretty much unheard of outside the comic book circle you might say.

A prince of hell born on earth during World War II, Hellboy was the name given to him by the American paranormal investigator who discovered, and later adopted, him. His true name is Anung Un Rama – the Beast of the Apocalypse who brings destruction to the world with his Right Hand of Doom.

Nurtured by his adoptive father Professor Bruttenholm (simplified to "Broom" in the movies), Hellboy, who was given honorary human status by the United Nations, grew up fighting on the side of good against his own kind (demons and devils) and against his destiny to end all life.

Seeing Hellboy in the flesh (albeit on the silver screen) is like meeting for the first time the person you have heard and read about all your life. You wonder what he will be like. Is he anything like the comic books? Big, red, more brawn than brains? Wise-cracking tough guy with a good heart? Not what you expected?

On that score, del Toro and Perlman got it right. No complaints. If any, it's that there should be more.

I want to see Roger the Homunculus, a humanoid created by alchemy who is my other favourite character from the Hellboy series. Among many, actually.

Dr Kate Corrigan, professor of history and consultant to Hellboy's special US government unit, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). Sigourney Weaver is my choice to play an ass-kicking on-screen Kate Corrigan.

Man up Abe Sapien and more screen time for him, to show his capabilities as a BPRD field leader.

There's no word on the grapevine about new characters in the third Hellboy movie though. What we've got is that the next one would sort out the relationship between Hellboy and a pregnant Liz Sherman.

Come what may, it's been a thrilling joyride with del Toro at the helm, whose work on Hellboy is indeed, to quote an old cliché, a labour of love. More please. – Lim Cheng Hoe

Heroes within

Comic book fans have known all along that beyond the garish coloured costumes and speech bubbles, lie meaningful, thought-provoking stories that enable us to understand our humanity better by juxtaposing it alongside superhuman fantasies.

The comic-book film adaptations I enjoy range from the serious film adaptations like Zack Snyder's Watchmen, based on one of the most respected graphic novel series, which blurred the lines between fantasy and gritty reality.

I also loved Jon Favreau's two Iron Man films, which required less-thinking but had huge amounts of fun and jaw-dropping action moments.

I guess the comic-book film adaptations I love best are the ones which lie somewhere in between Watchmen and Iron Man, in terms of thought-provocation and fun, such as Bryan Singer's X-Men and Christopher Nolan's Batman franchises. Both these writer-directors manage to go beyond the obvious special effects and stylistic requisites of a super-hero movie and made their comic-book characters human and believable whilst having important things to tell the audience about the state of society, government and prejudice.

These comic-book adaptations, in particular, manage to teach us about power and make us believe that we could be heroes ourselves. Isn't that why we watch these films in the first place? – Jason Lim

Let's cut to the chase, shall we?

Favourite Comic-Book Superhero movie: The Dark Knight

Yes, it's a very obvious choice, but there haven't been many other superhero movies that could actually stun me to the point where I could not get out of my seat even after the credits had stopped rolling. Of course, a lot of it had to do with Heath Ledger's towering performance as the Joker; but the real genius here is Christopher Nolan and how he managed to weave all the absurd, fantastical elements of the comics into a believable and utterly gripping crime drama (that just happened to have a man dressed as a bat in it).

Favourite Non-Comic-Book Superhero movie: The Incredibles

I've lost count how many times I've watched The Incredibles, and I've loved it more each time I've watched it. Unburdened by the limitations of real world physics (and the whims of diva actors), Pixar created a superhero movie that was well, incredibly exciting, funny, believable, and also had lots of heart as well.

It's such a great family movie that I suspect I'll be watching it with my future kids for many years to come. Fantastic Four, eat your cosmic ray-infused heart out.

The Brett Ratner award for worst superhero movie ...

A few come to mind, actually. Catwoman, Ghost Rider, X-Men: Last Stand, and *shudder* Batman And Robin. But the worst one has still got to be The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen; that horrendous adaptation of Alan Moore's seminal graphic novel about a super group of literary "superheroes". How bad was it? It was so bad that Sean Connery quit acting altogether; and cemented Alan Moore's decision to cut all ties with Hollywood after that.

My Dream comic book movie

I literally want a Dream movie. As in the Dream from Neil Gaiman's Sandman comics. OK, he's not exactly a superhero; rather, one of the Endless, a family of entities that control the most powerful forces in the universe, brought to you by the letter "D" (namely Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium).

A Sandman movie has been mooted before, but it fell into Lucifer's personal development hell and has not been heard of since. That's probably for the best though; the Sandman books are so expansive and complicated that any attempt to condense it into a two-hour movie (or even a trilogy for that matter) would probably be doomed from the beginning.

Rather than adapting the books per se, I would much rather Gaiman himself wrote an original screenplay for a movie featuring the Endless instead. Failing that, a movie about Death (that cute Goth chick who happens to be the most powerful being in the universe) with Zooey Deschanel in the lead role would be nice. Make it happen, Neil.

Also, since Disney pretty much owns Marvel these days, it would be great if Pixar devoted some of their genius and resources to make a really awesome Marvel movie. Unfortunately, Pixar head honcho John Lasseter has already ruled out that possibility for now, but hey, one can always dream, right? – Michael Cheang

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

Portia's painful account of anorexia

Posted: 09 Jun 2011 07:16 PM PDT

Unbearable Lightness: A Story Of Loss And Gain
Author: Portia de Rossi
Publisher: Atria Books, 308 pages

An actor shines an uncompromising light on a problem that plagues her industry yet remains little discussed.

AFTER reading Unbearable Lightness, I had to watch the film Who Is Cletis Tout or at least fast forward through it to find what I was looking for. Somewhere in that bad comedy from 2001 there had to be some evidence of the terrible tragedy behind it.

If you pay close attention and know what you are looking for, there are some minuscule clues. Such as how the character Tess, played by Portia de Rossi, usually wears long sleeves no matter how sunny the scene is.

Or how you never see her legs, and her neck is almost always hidden under a curtain of her signature platinum blond hair.

Technically, that could mean nothing. De Rossi is a professional and gives no hint that she is in agonising pain throughout the film.

You would never guess that she collapses at the end of each day and needs to be carried off the set. You can't imagine that this young actress would then go home and cry for hours every night. Or that soon, a doctor will tell her what her family has been telling her for months: that she is killing herself .

De Rossi, an Australian model turned actress gained fame first as icy beauty Nelle Porter in TV series Ally McBeal, then as George Micheal's hilariously self-centred sister in comedy series Arrested Development.

Despite her soaring career, de Rossi never felt she deserved a single leaf of her laurels. She lived in constant terror that one day she would be revealed as the fraud she thought she was, and worked even harder to be good enough. And for her, the only way to be good enough, was to be thin enough.

In Unbearable Lightness, de Rossi chronicles her battle with anorexia, a disorder that consumed her body, her mind and her life. De Rossi was always an over-achiever.

As a child, she was horrified once when her mother referred to their family as "average" and spent her life trying to rise above the curse of ordinariness.

She did exceptionally well at school, but decided to pursue careers that have demolished stronger women than her. As a model and actress, she began seeing herself through that distorted microscope that magnifies physical flaws. Her eyes were too small, her jaw was too square, her thighs were too thick. She blamed herself for all of it.

Fuelled by self-hatred, de Rossi's strict self discipline took on the darker form of obsession. Every minute was spent measuring, counting and calculating. Every night was spent revisiting every calorie she had consumed (only a few hundred calories, eaten clumsily with chopsticks to slow herself down) and the missed opportunities to burn them. She would berate herself for every minute sitting when she could have been standing, every moment standing when she should have been running.

Her ideal weight dropped lower every time she reached it. She measured her thighs, and then when they stopped touching, even when she pressed her knees together, she measured the widening gap between them. She stopped getting her period and she stopped sweating.

She never went out with friends because she could not risk ending up in a restaurant where she could not have her normal meal of watery oatmeal and artificial butter.

She did not invite people home because she was lying about eating more than she was so they wouldn't worry.

Actually eating was not an option.

What Kay Redfield Jameson did for manic-depression with An Unquiet Mind, Portia de Rossi does for anorexia in Unbearable Lightness. Both authors shine piercing, first-person lights on misunderstood but potentially deadly disorders that affect mainly women and girls, but also an increasing number of boys and men.

For someone who had to spend so much of her life hiding her insecurities, her sexuality and her eating habits, it's amazing how much de Rossi opens up in Unbearable Lightness. There is nothing too shameful to share, including horrifying photos of herself at her thinnest, all angles as she stands awkwardly on brittle legs.

There were times I wondered whether this book should be shared with anorexics or not. De Rossi does almost too good a job bringing us into her mind at that time, so close to her obsession that you could almost share it. Frankly, I still worry that the book could act as a trigger.

However, it is an excellent book for those who want to understand the condition, for those who might be worried about someone who has lost too much weight, spends too much time in the gym or who never seems to eat when others are around. Hopefully, it will also make us think twice about the ease with which we comment on or criticise other people's weight.

De Rossi beat something that has taken many other lives. It was shortly after Who Is Cletis Tout that she finally got the wake up call and the help she needed.

The book has a happy ending, as those familiar with her career may know.

Today, de Rossi eats what she wants, when she wants and because she no longer constantly thinks about food, she finds she has fewer cravings and no problems maintaining a healthy weight.

De Rossi continues to do well in her career. She is a smart actor and, like her wife Ellen De Generes, possesses pitch perfect comedic timing.

To be better understood, anorexia needed a voice this honest and, perhaps unfortunately, this famous.

Unbearable Lightness could be an inspiration to those who know that healing is neither quick nor easy but it is possible.

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

Matterhorn: A powerful tale of war

Posted: 09 Jun 2011 07:15 PM PDT

Author: Karl Marlantes
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, 600 pages

NO event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now." Richard Nixon, as reported in the New York Times, March 28, 1985.

The United States paid an extremely heavy toll for its involvement in the Vietnam War. Described by historian George F. Kennan as "the most disastrous of all America's undertakings over the whole 200 years of its history", it was a humiliating defeat that caused a major loss of pride to a country that had previously thought of itself as invincible.

What's more, the loss weakened the American public's faith in its government and in the honesty and competence of leaders.

And perhaps most importantly, there were the thousands who lost their lives fighting in the brutal jungles of Vietnam, caught up in a grim war few of them understood or supported.

Matterhorn paints a stirring portrait of these soldiers who chose to serve their country in an unpopular war and paid the ultimate price for it.

Karl Marlantes's novel revolves around young lieutenant Waino Mellas, who, together with his comrades in Marine troop Bravo Company, are tasked with defending the Matterhorn, a fortress on a hill near the border of Laos.

After fortifying the place, Mellas and his men are ordered to abandon it, and later retake it after it is claimed by the enemy.

Apart from the relentless assaults of the North Vietnamese Army, Mellas and Bravo Company find themselves having to deal with all the horrors of a think rainforest, as well as hunger and thirst, and dissent and racism.

Then there are the political machinations of the soldiers' superiors, many of whom care more about the advancement of their military careers than the well-being of their men.

What results is a stark portrayal of the horrors of war and the ordeals suffered by those caught up in it. Matterhorn is breathtakingly, painfully real.

Author Marlantes actually served in Vietnam and was awarded, among others, the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star and two Navy Commendation Medals for valour. His novel captures with grim accuracy the horrific setting of war-torn Vietnam, constantly beset with trouble around every corner, whether it be disease, savage wildlife or land mines.

But Matterhorn is a little difficult to get into in the beginning. Marlantes's writing is tight and matter-of-fact, almost military in its efficiency, with little pause for description. This works especially well in his combat scenes: Matterhorn's battles are tense and gripping, coming at you with the force of a rocket-propelled grenade, unflinching in their brutality.

This style is less effective, however, in the character-driven scenes, especially in the initial chapters.

Additionally, many of the characters converse in military jargon. I found this rather off-putting in the beginning, what with characters making references to K-bars and squids and Nagoolians and losing KP (don't ask me what it all means!). Fortunately, however, it is easy to become accustomed to the language. Also, for those who have to know, a handy glossary of Marine slang is included in the back of the book.

Matterhorn's strength is its engaging characters.

Main character Mellas is complex and fully-fleshed out, a naïve young officer who only enrolled in the Marines because of a special educational programme.

Never expecting to actually see combat, Mellas finds himself quite out of his depth commanding a platoon in the Da Nang jungle. His naivety and faith in human nature often clashing with the grim realities of war, Mellas soon finds himself forced to confront some of the terrible things he's done, including making a poor decision that costs the life of one of his men. These poignant scenes, powerfully expressing the guilt and terror felt by survivors of conflict, are among the novel's highlights.

Matterhorn's supporting cast members are just as endearing. Incompetent yet spirited Pollini, the religious and good-spirited Cortell, black rights advocate China, incorrigible Vancouver, selfish alcoholic Colonel Simpson – the cast is vast, often intimidatingly so, and it is to the author's credit that he manages to make so many of them memorable.

Marlantes paints the Marines of Bravo Company as regular men, each with strengths, weaknesses, fears and aspirations of their own, all thrown together in a situation they can never hope to comprehend.

Despite their differences, these men have no choice but to rely on each other for survival, in the process forming friendships so strong they are willing to sacrifice their lives for each other.

This fact makes the novel's high body count even more tragic: a great number of the characters die in agonising and senseless ways throughout the novel, and even the surviving characters do not escape fully unscathed.

All in all, Matterhorn is an engrossing and powerful read on many levels. Firstly, it is a striking narrative populated with fascinating characters whose lives are forever changed the destructive nature of the unmerciful by war.

Secondly, Matterhorn offers an unflinching depiction of the Vietnam conflict, an era still vilified by many, sparing nothing as it exposes the racial discrimination, class struggles, and political uncertainties of the time.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it is a testament to the power of the human spirit under fire, as well as a grim reminder to us of the horrors of war, whose effects linger long after the fighting stops.

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

Let down by Sasameke manga

Posted: 09 Jun 2011 07:14 PM PDT

Sasameke Vol.1
Story and art: Ryuji Gotsubo
Publisher: Yen Press; 464 pages
For older teens

ME and football – we're like oil and water. Yet, something drew me to Sasameke, which revolves around the said sport.

Our hero is Rakuichi Nagahama, a football prodigy who is so good at the sport that he left Japan for Italy to hone his skills. However, three years later, Rakuichi returns to his small hometown, seemingly defeated. Obviously his dreams of football glory have not gone the way he wanted, though nobody knows how that happened. Now, Rakuichi just wants to forget that he was ever interested in the sport.

However, his friends are excited to have him and can't wait for him to be part of the football team, which is the last thing Rakuichi wants. Everybody expects him to excel in the field but the truth is Rakuichi isn't even interested in the sport anymore.

It's tough living up to expectations – especially yours, and that is what makes Sasameke's premise intriguing to me. I expected a story that is not just about football but of accepting your limitations and loving yourself despite it.

Instead, what I got was a mixed bag that left me ... incredibly confused.

The characters seem interesting at first. There's Matsuri, a fellow football player and an eccentric who recruits Rakuichi into his detective gang, "The Matsuri Detectives"; Maiki Oumi, the second-year student dubbed "the beautiful freak". She is an award-winning author who can catch bugs with her chopsticks and whose favourite mode of communication is to beat you to a pulp. Not exactly a realistic character, but intriguing nevertheless.

Rakuichi could have been developed so much better; he started out as a sympathetic character, what with his struggle with the supposed failure of his dreams, only to become an unlikeable, angsty teen that blames people for his problems. After three volumes of this, it gets quite tiresome when there's little character change.

But what's worse is that you have an interesting cast of characters only to waste them in a haphazard plot.

I was drawn to the manga because I expected to read a tale of having to overcome past failures and to get an insight of Rakuichi's emotional life. Instead, Rakuichi's failure in Italy was explained in an offhand and disappointing manner at the beginning of the manga, and oddly never mentioned or explored further.

What we get instead is a bunch of crazy characters who get Rakuichi involved with a series of strange activities such as a high-speed motorcycle chase. Then there are lots of football matches. Lots of it. Great if you're a footie fan, not so fantastic if the sport isn't appealing.

Sports manga are great if the sports activity works in tandem to develop the characters. In Eyeshield 21, a bullied kid finds that he is special when playing American football. In the famous football manga, Captain Tsubasa, we see how a boy develops into a man while playing football. Let's not forget Slamdunk!, in which a delinquent teenager discovers the meaning of comradeship and responsibility playing basketball.

In Sasameke, rather than have Rakuichi's emotional development as the anchor of the story, we get random acts of football on top of unconnected incidences that don't make sense. As a result, I still have no idea what the manga is all about halfway through this thick manga. This is never a good sign.

The quality of the mangaka's art wavers from panel to panel as well. When the art is done well, it's truly striking, but when it goes down in quality ... well, it looks as if a two-year-old took over the mangaka's seat. The only saving grace is that the mangaka illustrates action scenes pretty well.

I had such high expectations of Sasameke – it looked like such a handsome manga (it's actually an omnibus collection of Vol.1-3) and seemed to have such a great potential. But I came away flatly disappointed by the haphazard plot, and the characters I couldn't root for. Looks like footie and I would have to go our separate ways once more.

Sasameke Vol.1 is available at Kinokuniya KLCC.

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