Isnin, 13 Jun 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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

The Star Online: World Updates

Parts of NZ city have to be abandoned after quakes: govt

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 08:06 PM PDT

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - This week's earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand's second biggest city, confirm parts of the quake-prone city will have to be abandoned, but did not substantially add to damage bill from a series of major tremors since last September.

The series of quakes, the most powerful one upgraded to magnitude 6.3 from an initial measurement of 6, sent boulders tumbling down hillsides and destroyed buildings already weakened in previous quakes, as the city struggles to recover from a Feb. 22 shake which killed 181 people.

"The damage that occurred yesterday has simply exacerbated the damage that occurred in the two previous events in the same places as before so I don't think it's going to hold us up or put us back," Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee told Radio New Zealand.

An elderly man had died at a rest home in the city as a result of this week's quakes, local media reported on Tuesday, although no other details were immediately available.

Brownlee said the most recent tremors, which injured 46 people, confirm that parts of the eastern side of Christchurch needed to be abandoned and should hasten the decision-making process.

However the fresh round of shakes had done little to dent the rebuilding plan, and would not substantially add to the overall NZ$15 billion ($12.2 billion) damage bill, Brownlee said.

Parts of eastern Christchurch suffered further liquefaction, where water pushed up from under the ground by the force of the quake turns the ground into liquid. Other parts of the city could be at risk of liquefaction in future earthquakes, and will likewise need to be abandoned.

New Zealand's GNS Institute, which has warned the latest series of tremors could produce another spate of powerful aftershocks in the weeks to come, has reported 37 earthquakes of magnitude 3.2 or greater in the Christchurch area in the past 24 hours.

Early on Tuesday about 15,000 houses remained without power, and many schools and businesses were shut as residents were asked to stay at home so essential infrastructure could be repaired.

Christchurch has experienced a number of strong earthquakes since a magnitude 7.1 quake struck the city on Sept 4 last year.

Parts of the city centre have been closed since the Feb 22 quake, and many of the buildings in the area sustained further damage or collapsed after the latest shakes.

The New Zealand dollar lost as much as a cent in the aftermath of the quakes on Monday, as markets trimmed expectations the central bank would raise rates this year.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut rates after the February tremor to a record-equaling low of 2.50 percent. But signs of recovery and an upbeat assessment from the bank at its review last week had led markets to price in rate rises from December.

"It is not difficult to imagine that this new damage may delay the reconstruction effort in the city and thus, all else equal, the timing of when the RBNZ needs to begin withdrawing monetary stimulus," said Deutsche Bank chief economist Darren Gibbs.

(Reporting by Adrian Bathgate; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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

Tokyo Electric compensation plan gets cabinet OK, shares up

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 08:06 PM PDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's cabinet approved a draft law to help Tokyo Electric Power Co compensate those affected by the radiation crisis at its stricken nuclear plant, sending the utility's shares up as much as 13 percent.

Raindrops are seen on the surface of a logo of Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) at its headquarters in Tokyo May 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao/Files)

The decision is a step forward in a slow process that has frustrated the victims and investors but it remains uncertain when, or even if, the scheme will be enacted into law. Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces mounting pressure to step down and his cabinet has been unable to get several disaster-related bills passed in a divided parliament.

It comes three months after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered radiation leaks at Tokyo Electric's Fukushima Daiichi plant 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, triggering the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, and a month since the government first presented its plan.

The utility, also known as Tepco, said on Tuesday it was preparing to make fair and speedy compensation payouts under the scheme approved by the government.

"We hope that the proposed bill will be enacted in parliament as soon as possible," the company said in a statement.

While the scheme was designed to restore market confidence by keeping the utility solvent, Tepco shares had been sliding and its credit default spread spiked, reflecting investors' scepticism about the fate of the scheme and Tepco itself.

"It's not the problem of the scheme per se. It's just that it has not been finalised into a law yet. That's what makes (the market) anxious. And there have been many comments in the meantime," an executive at one of the Tepco's creditor banks said recently. He declined to be named given the sensitivity of the matter.

Shares in other utilities also gained after the cabinet nod on Tuesday, even though the move clears only the first hurdle for the scheme that aims to help Asia's largest utility handle compensation claims expected to run into tens of billions of dollars.

Trade Minister Banri Kaieda, whose ministry regulates Tepco and other power utilities, told a briefing the government aimed to submit the compensation bill to parliament as soon as possible.

Asked about a newspaper report that Tepco could raise its electricity tariffs to raise funds for compensation, Kaieda said: "We have to watch so that (Tepco) will not shift it (compensation fee) on to utility fees so easily."

The Mainichi newspaper reported on Tuesday that Tepco will face a total of 10 trillion yen ($124 billion) in compensation claims and will have to raise its electricity charges by 16 percent from next year to cover the costs. The paper cited documents it had obtained.


Under the plan, a fund will be set up to help Tepco compensate people and businesses affected by radiation leaks from the Fukushima plant so that the regional power monopoly in Tokyo and surrounding areas can keep supplying electricity.

Thousands of residents and businesses have been forced to evacuate the area around the plant.

The country's other nuclear power operators will be required to make annual contributions to the fund and the government will also inject money in it if necessary. Tepco will pay back the fund over an unspecified number of years.

The government plans to issue special-purpose bonds to help finance the fund and has said that in return for public backing it would exert control over management of Tepco and other power utilities "for a certain period of time."

(Additional reporting by Chisa Fujioka, Writing by Tomasz Janowski; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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

FACTBOX - Key quotes from US Republicans' first debate

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 07:36 PM PDT

REUTERS- Seven U.S. Republican presidential hopefuls held their first major debate in a nationally televised forum from Manchester, New Hampshire on Monday that included most of the top-tier contenders vying to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

Here are some key quotes from the candidates.

Republican presidential hopefuls (L) former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and (R) former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA) applaud U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) as she is introduced at the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 campaign in Manchester, New Hampshire June 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney

"This president has failed. And he's failed at a time when the American people counted on him to create jobs and get the economy growing. And instead of doing that, he delegated the stimulus to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and then he did what he wanted to do: card-check, cap-and-trade, Obamacare, re-regulation."

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

"This president is a declinist. He views America as one of equals around the world. We're not the same as Portugal; we're not the same as Argentina. And this idea that we can't have 5 percent growth in America is hogwash."

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann

"Unlike how the media has tried to wrongly and grossly portray the Tea Party, the Tea Party is really made up of disaffected Democrats, independents, people who've never been political a day in their life, people who are libertarians, Republicans -- it's a wide swathe of America coming together."

Former pizza executive Herman Cain

"This economy is stalled. It's like a train on the tracks with no engine and the administration has simply been putting all of this money in the caboose. We need an engine called the private sector."

(Additional reporting by Paul Eckert in Washington)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Bromance is in the air

Posted: 14 Jun 2011 03:36 AM PDT

Brotherhood, on screen and off, has never been so strong.

MOVIE and television couples often rely on the boy-girl variety to add sizzle to the ratings.

Bones is a typical example of such a drama. David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel play FBI agent Seeley Booth and forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, lead characters who have an obvious soft spot for each other and are always on the verge of getting hooked up, a situation that is milked every season to date.

However, recently, one cannot help but be aware that change is in the air, and there is a new formula in town, of the boy-meets-boy variety, that seems to have gotten the knickers of screenwriters all in a twist.

Say hello to bromance, the less conventional yet more conservative cousin of romance. The word, a conflation of "brother" and "romance", entered the lexicon as a description of a non-sexual, exceedingly close friendship between two men.

On screen, bromances are making their presence felt. Take, for example, the latest season of the investigative medical drama House M.D. The coming together of Hugh Laurie's brilliant diagnostician Dr Gregory House and Lisa Edelstein's hospital administrator Dr Lisa Cuddy may have taken six seasons to bear fruit, but while the pairing turned sour almost as soon as it began, it is House's bromance with his close friend, Robert Sean Leonard's Dr James Wilson, that looks set to continue into the next season and beyond.

In the recent British incarnation of Sherlock Holmes in the short BBC series Sherlock, Martin Freeman's Dr John Watson is more than just a housemate to Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes. The two sort of hit it off on their first meeting, and the relationship quickly develops into a bromance, in which the two trust each other to the extent of putting their lives in each other's hands.

Bromance is not just an on-screen exclusive. It was surely the high-profile boy-boy relationships among some Hollywood stars that sparked off the attention in the first place.

The first couple to make a splash was Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. Way before Bennifer, a conflation of Ben and Jennifer (Lopez or Garner), there was already Matt and Ben.

The two childhood friends, who used to act together in school plays and in bit roles when they were starting out, co-wrote the script for Good Will Hunting, which went on to win them an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1997 but, more importantly, got them on the Hollywood A-list.

The two best friends started the bromance ball rolling when they bought his-and-his Jeep Grand Cherokees, in green for Matt and black for Ben. Despite pursuing successful individual careers, the two remain tight and hang around in the same social circles, with regular boys' nights out. In the ultimate compliment, their relationship has even been satirised in an off-Broadway play!

The other significant celebrity bromance is that between George Clooney and Brad Pitt. While some actors become friends after being in the same movie, these two pals seem to make it a point to be in the same film. The Ocean's franchise is the most representative of their happy collaboration.

The obvious on-screen chemistry between the two extends to their relationship off screen – they go on double dates and play pranks on each other, and also engage in charity activities together, showing that they would rather spend time with each other even without the movie link-ups.

Reel bromances are going totally mainstream. In 2009, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel starred in what was touted as the first bromantic comedy, I Love You, Man. In the movie, Rudd's Peter Klaven is about to get married when he realises he doesn't have any male friend whom he would like to break the news to.

Klaven sets out to find a male pal so he can have a meaningful best man for his wedding. The situation looks bad until he meets Segel's Sydney Fife. The two bond almost immediately, and this is cemented when they discover that they share a passion for the same music during their man-dates.

I Love You, Man was a hit in the domestic US market, proving that a brom-com could do as well as a rom-com.

Movie producers looking to cash in on the phenomenon have been looking to cop partnerships as a natural source of bromances. The 2010 hit The Other Guys, starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as cops in a mismatched partnership, was also promoted in part as a bromantic comedy.

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto went from gym mates to co-stars in the reboot of Star Trek in 2009 where they play the iconic Captain James T. Kirk and Mr Spock, characters who have an intimate bond built up through their adventures together on the starship Enterprise.

However, unlike the original actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, who never quite got along in real life, Pine and Quinto are so close off-screen that they have admitted that bromance was the word that came closest to describing their relationship.

In the Twilight series, some fans have commented that Robert Pattinson's vampire Edward Cullen had greater chemistry with Taylor Lautner's werewolf Jacob Black than with the insipid Bella Swan, played by a listless Kristen Stewart. The bromance almost outshines the romance in this case!

On the small screen, the bromance between Matt Bomer's con man Neal Caffrey and Tim DeKay's FBI agent Peter Burke is the basis of the television series White Collar. The two sparkle with their repartee and obvious fondness for each other.

In Glee, it is the bromance of Chris Colfer's Kurt Hummel and Cory Monteith's Finn Hudson that shines rather than the more ordinary romance between Hummel and Darren Criss's Blaine Anderson.

When Kurt's father gets together with Finn's mother, the two boys find themselves linked but with little to talk about. Their journey towards understanding, up to the point where Finn defends Kurt from a bunch of bullies, ranks better than most of the romance stories in teen dramas.

"Women are like one's clothes," goes a Chinese saying that relegates women to the status of apparel in a man's life. Women, it suggests, will come and go, but man-to-man relationships are what counts. It does sound like bromances are nothing more than old wine in new bottles, although some would argue that in today's more egalitarian world, the emphasis on them harks back to a patriarchal emphasis best left behind.

In this column, writer Hau Boon Lai ponders the lives, loves and liberties of celebrities.

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

The Star Online: Business

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

The Star Online: Business

FBM KLCI up in early trade

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 06:43 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI was marginally up in Tuesday's early trade, rising 0.07% or 1.09 points to 1,546.97 at 9.15am.

Among the gainers were Nestle (M) Bhd and DiGi.Com Bhd which gained 10 sen and eight sen respectively to RM48 and RM29 respectively.

Regional markets were mixed. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.04% to 9,444.47 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.78% to 22,332.88.

Shanghai's A index was down 0.01% to 2,700.20 while Taiwan's Taiex Index rose 0.32% to 8,740.66.

Seoul's Kospi Index gained 0.11% to 2,051.09, while Singapore's Straits Times Index slipped 0.16% to 3,054.11.

Nymex crude oil dropped 66 cents to US$96.64 per barrel. Spot gold rose US$1.75 to US$1,517.85 per ounce. The ringgit was quoted at 3.039 to the US dollar.

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

Game company Bethesda is latest hacker target

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:41 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) - A group of hackers has gained access to the websites of the U.S. Senate and video game company Bethesda Softworks, the latest in a series of cyberattacks plaguing a broad range of online victims.

The group, which calls itself Lulz Security, posted what it called a "small, just-for-kicks release of some internal data" from on its website on Monday. Likely referencing reports that the Pentagon is considering whether a cyberattack could be considered an act of war, the group also wrote "is this an act of war, gentlemen? Problem?"

A representative from the office of the Senate sergeant-at-arms did not immediately return a phone message for comment Monday afternoon.

Bethesda acknowledged the intrusion in a blog post Monday, saying hackers may have gained access to users' names, email addresses and passwords. The company said no credit card data or other financial information were compromised.

Josh Shaul, chief technology officer at database security software maker Application Security Inc., said the data Lulz posted is "verifiable proof" that it was able to gain access to and take control of the Senate's website.

"It's a very skilled group," he said. "They claimed it was easy."

Lulz Security has also recently claimed responsibility for breaking into the websites of PBS, Sony Pictures, Nintendo and others. Meanwhile, it's unclear who was responsible for a recent cyberattack on the International Monetary Fund's computer system or the one on Citibank that stole about 200,000 credit card account numbers, customer names and email addresses.

Shaul said the recent string of attacks take advantage of insecure systems. While companies are protecting the perimeter of their computer systems, once hackers get in, "everything is there to own," he said. It's the equivalent of a bank putting a guard at the door and leaving all the money in a pile instead of in safes and vaults, he added.

"We've created this situation where it's so easy for a skilled attacker to break in and get data," Shaul said. "They are doing it because they can."

Bethesda declined to comment beyond its blog post and did not say how many users were affected.

In Twitter messages, Lulz (Internet-speak for laughs) said it has had information on more than 200,000 users "for weeks" and broke into Bethesda's website more than two months ago. Bethesda, meanwhile, said that a hacker group "attempted an unlawful intrusion" over the weekend.

Lulz said on its website Monday it is not releasing information it has on the 200,000-plus users.

Bethesda, behind games such as "Brink" and "Fallout: New Vegas," is a subsidiary of ZeniMax Media Inc., based in Washington, D.C.

Latest business news from AP-Wire

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

Apple's Steve Jobs gets comic book bio treatment

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:39 PM PDT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Steve Jobs, the public face of Apple Inc., is getting a biographical comic book.

Publisher Bluewater Productions Inc. said Monday it will bring a 32-page biography - titled "Steve Jobs: Co-Founder of Apple" - of the iconic CEO to comic book shops, bookstores and online retailers Aug. 24, detailing his life and career.

"His innovations command front page news, speculation of his health affects the stock market. Not bad for a college dropout," Bluewater President Darren Davis said.

The book, written by C.W. Cooke and drawn by Chris Schmidt, profiles the technological innovator who helped co-create Apple and then oversaw its resurgence with products including the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

"Admire him or hate him, Jobs' vision and business acumen revolutionized the world," Cooke said. Between Jobs and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, "you would be hard pressed to find someone with greater influence over how we communicate, interact and do business over the last 30 years."

The comic is part of the Vancouver, Washington-based publisher's wider series of looks at contemporary figures ranging from Lady Gaga to Sarah Palin to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

"There are definitely some similarities between Zuckerberg and Jobs. It takes a certain kind of drive and a certain kind of genius to move society the way they have," Cooke said. "The idea behind both efforts is to show the person behind the personality and that it is never what you'd expect."

Bluewater said the success of its Zuckerberg comic - it sold out - led the company to look at Jobs as a subject.

"His story, and that of Apple, is epic," Davis said - AP

Latest business news from AP-Wire

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

The Star Online: Sports

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

The Star Online: Sports

Hoo-Woon going places after Thai outing

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:38 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The women's pair of Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei have earned the chance to fight for Olympic qualification with their creditable performance in the Thailand Open last week.

The duo defeated top seeds Duanganong Aroonkesorn-Kunchala Voravichitchaikul of Thailand and two other Indonesian national back-up pairs en route to reaching the semi-finals in their first Open tournament since they were reunited as a pair.

Vivian and Khe Wei went their separate ways after a runners-up finish in the Asian championships in India in April last year.

Doubles chief coach Rexy Mainaky hopes that Vivian-Khe Wei would step up and soon take over from seasoned pair Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty.

He said that Pei Tty-Eei Hui were no longer the force they once were as injuries had taken their toll on them and the London Olympics in August next year could mark their last major assignment.

The one-year qualification period for the Olympics began last month and the top 16 pairs at the end of it will make the grade.

A country can be represented by two pairs if both are ranked among the top eight and Rexy said that Vivian-Khe Wei would be given the chance to earn qualification.

"After discussions with Pang (Cheh Chang, who is the coach of the women's doubles players), we decided to bring them back together to try to aim for the Olympics," he said.

"We hope to find another pair to take over from Pei Tty-Eei Hui, who probably have one or two good years of badminton left in them.

"Except China, every other country now has a problem finding a good second pair for the women's doubles and relies heavily on the first pair.

"We hope Vivian-Khe Wei can bridge the gap and be ready when Pei Tty-Eei Hui retire."

The performance of Vivian-Khe Wei in the Thailand Open also augurs well for the Indonesia SEA Games in November where they may feature as the second pair alongside Pei Tty-Eei Hui.

The duo certainly fit well into the team as they can play in the mixed doubles as well.

"They have no problem combining together but they still need to build up their power and be consistent to become a pair to be reckoned with," said Rexy.

Vivian-Khe Wei will not be competing in the Super Series Singapore Open and Eei Hui-Pei Tty are the sole Malaysian women's pair in the tournament beginning tomorrow.

The men's pairs in the fray are Lim Khim Wah-Goh Wei Shem, Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Ong Soon Hock, Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong and former national shuttlers Gan Teik Chai-Tan Bin Shen.

With world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei skipping tournament, Wong Choong Hann is the only Malaysian in the main draw while Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Liew Daren have to play in the qualifying rounds today.

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

Pointless finish for Zulfahmi in Silverstone

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:38 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian motorcycle rider Zulfahmi Khairudin finished out of the points in a wet 125cc race of the Air Asia British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday.

Zulfahmi was placed 18th in the race won by German Jonas Folger. It was Folger's first win of the season in the championships.

In six legs of the GP125cc world championships thus far, Zulfahmi finished among the points on two occasions. He was placed 10th and 11th in the second and third round in Spain and Portugal respectively.

Zulfahmi will resume his campaign in Assen, Holland, in a fortnight's time.

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

Nurulasma rowing to greater heights

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:37 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The late Britain Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, once said that a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, but an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Since taking up canoeing in 2008, Che Ku Nurulasma Ku Abdullah was only good enough as a reserve for the Terengganu team in Sukma.

Two Games went by (2008 Terengganu and 2010 Malacca) and not once was she featured in the multiple gold-medal winning team.

However, it did not dampen her spirit. She decided to open the door to another opportunity by taking up rowing.

Her decision to take up rowing barely two months ago paid off handsomely as she bagged the gold medal in the women's single scull event in the just concluded 14th Sukma.

"I knew that my chance to be in the starting line-up for Terengganu canoe team was very slim," said the 18-year-old.

"But I never felt like giving up. When the coach asked if I wanted to try out for the rowing team for Sukma, I never gave it a second thought.

"Training was the hardest part for me because I had to learn the techniques in just a short time. Fortunately, everything paid off."

With the Terengganu government fully backing the rowing team with the purchase of three new boats for the Games, the pint-sized Nurul found that her love for the sport has grown tremendously.

"Rowing is a new sport in Malaysia and most of the athletes have problems training because of the lack of facilities," she said.

"The price of equipment is also a major factor that limits the participation of more athletes in the sport. I'm glad that rowing was included for the first time in Sukma and I hope it will spur the growth of the sport."

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Hollywood producer honours Shanghai roots in film

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 03:57 AM PDT

SHANGHAI (AP): Mike Medavoy walked the red carpet, mingled with Chinese studio executives and attended industry seminars. But unlike other Hollywood producers pressing the flesh at the Shanghai International Film Festival, he isn't just shopping for projects in what is fast becoming America's hottest foreign movie market.

For the producer who worked on films like "Rocky," "Apocalypse Now" and "The Terminator," the festival is a homecoming of sorts. Medavoy was born in Shanghai in 1941 to Russian-Jewish parents and lived there for six years before moving with his family to Chile and then the US. His grandfather moved to Shanghai to avoid the pogroms of imperial Russia.

And now the veteran producer has found the perfect project to honor his Chinese roots - an adaptation of a Chinese love story set against World War II-era Shanghai, where many European Jews sought refuge from persecution.

Medavoy announced on Monday that he and partner Shanghai Film Group will turn Chinese author Bei La's "The Cursed Piano" into a feature film and shoot an accompanying six-hour TV miniseries exploring the Jewish experience in Shanghai, based on the Daniella Kuhn story "Tears of the Sparrow."

"I feel a great deal of responsibility to get this story told," Medavoy said.

"My fear of course is based on the fact that I have to measure up not only to the standards that these gentlemen have set for the project," he said, referring to his Chinese partners, "but I also have to measure up to my own standards and the standards my parents brought to me when they decided to have me born here."

Medavoy said he hoped to complete the project while his 90-year-old mother is still alive.

He received a vote of confidence from Bei.

"I think he will create something outstanding by pouring in his own emotions and his parents' emotions," Bei said.

Medavoy shared vignettes from his family history. He said his father became a car mechanic in Shanghai at age 12 before shifting to a telephone company.

When the Medavoy family moved to Chile, his employment options were limited because he didn't speak Spanish - but he could fall back on the car repair skills he had picked up in Shanghai.

Medavoy's Shanghai heritage has cropped up quite a few times since the festival kicked off on Saturday.

He proudly told a red carpet interviewer at the opening ceremony that he was born in Shanghai.

Speaking at a panel discussion on film finance on Sunday, he described his parents' emotional return to Shanghai 18 years ago, when they traveled with him to the inaugural Shanghai International Film Festival.

"As soon as I got down (from the plane) and my father started walking out of the Shanghai airport, he started to cry," Medavoy said.

Asked why he was so upset, his father responded, "I'm crying because this is the place that saved our lives. I don't think any of us would have existed without the friendship of the Chinese people during the war."

"The Cursed Piano" is not Medavoy's first Shanghai-related project. He also developed the script for the 2010 film "Shanghai," a World War II-era thriller starring John Cusack, Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li and Ken Watanabe, but later sold it to fellow American producer Harvey Weinstein.

"Sommersby" and "The Human Stain" screenwriter Nicholas Meyer is to pen the "Cursed Piano" script.

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

Land of horror

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 01:18 AM PDT

A family of four is haunted by a dead maid when they move into Laddaland. Get spooked!

It's a dream come true as the day finally arrives when you can afford to buy a big and beautiful house for your family to live in. In Laddaland, this scenario plays out like a typical real estate TV commercial.

Thee gets a new job with a higher salary and decides to move his family to a big and beautiful housing project in Chiang Mai called Laddaland. Moving into his new home with his wife Parn, his daughter Nan and his son Nat, life seems perfect for Thee. But, little does he know what lies in store, or perhaps, what lurks in the storeroom.

Right after moving in, a homicide is discovered at the house next door. The Burmese domestic help, Makin, who used to live in their house, was brutally murdered and her battered body was found stuffed inside the refrigerator in their neighbour's house. Thereafter, the hauntings begin as Makin's ghost scares everyone in Laddaland by continuing to visit various houses doing her usual chores.

So the question here is: if you had spent all your hard-earned savings buying a beautiful new house for your family but find out that the place is haunted by a creepy ghost, would you continue to stay there or move out immediately?

And to make things more exciting, Laddaland is partly based on a Thai urban legend about a haunted recreational park in a housing development in Chiang Mai that has long been abandoned.

Laddaland (also known as The Lost Home) is directed by horror specialist Sophon Sakdapisit, who helmed Coming Soon (2008) and co-wrote prominent Thai horror flicks like Shutter (2004 and the 2008 Hollywood remake) and Alone (2007) and even contributed to horror omnibuses like 4bia (2008) and Phobia 2 (2009).

Constantly on the lookout for a fresh spin on the horror yarn, Sophon commented in a recorded interview, "I believe this is very new because most horror films usually work on a plot that starts from the ghost. But for Laddaland, my co-writer and I focused on the family's issues first. So, the story is very tense and it will be an even scarier horror film."

The family of four in this story comprises the father, Thee ('Kong' Saharat Sangkapreecha), the mother, Parn ('Pock' Piyathida Woramuksik), the daughter, Nan ('Punpun' Suthatta Udomsilp), and the son, Nat ('Gobgab' Apipich Chutiwatkajornchai).

"Thee is a hard-working man who loves his family very much and wants nothing more than a happy home. His wife, Parn, comes from a rich family and has a very strict mother, who opposed their marriage because he was not well off like them. Their teenage daughter, Nan, was brought up by the grandmother (Parn's mother), who made her believe that her dad doesn't love her. Their son Nat is still very little, so there is nothing complicated about his thoughts," Sophon explained in brief about the new family in the haunted village.

The 30-year-old filmmaker also spoke about some of the scary scenes from the movie that are shown in the teaser trailer.

Commenting on the scene where some teenagers get spooked by a ghost at the haunted house, Sophon shared, "The haunted house is there for those curious teenagers who love the mystery. So, this scene is about Nan's friends going there late night after completing their reports. While they are taking Nan home by motorcycle, they pass by this house and figure they should check it out.

"The hard part about shooting a horror film is the cast normally won't have any experience with ghosts in real life. So the acting must be from their own interpretation of feelings that they never experienced before."

He then spoke of the scene where the villagers get a group of monks to conduct a ceremony to appease the murdered maid Makin, whose ghost still walks around the houses she used to work in.

"The residents grouped up at the meeting clubhouse where the monks started to pray. Parn notices that one monk keeps looking at the corner of the room. So Parn gets even more scared when she observes the monk getting shocked and the residents become even more scared of the ghost."

Another challenging scene to shoot was where Thee dragged Nan into the haunted house. Thee doesn't believe in ghosts and wanted to show his daughter that there are none. But Nan knows very well that the ghost exists because she has already seen it. So, the challenge lay in the tug-of-war between the angry and frustrated father and the scared and resistant daughter.

"It's a very difficult scene because it deals with the feelings of the two characters. So, I told Punpun to remember that she is Nan and she won't get inside that house no matter how hard Kong (who plays her dad) tried to pull her in. So Kong had to do many takes because we shot from many different angles."

> Laddaland, rated 18, opens in local cinemas on June 16.

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

US, Chinese stars usher in Shanghai film festival

Posted: 11 Jun 2011 06:50 PM PDT

SHANGHAI (AP): Susan Sarandon cracked jokes with Chinese actor Zhang Guoli. Matt Dillon tried out his Mandarin and Rupert Murdoch touted the new movie his Chinese-born wife is producing.

Hollywood's elite joined China's biggest stars at the Shanghai Grand Theater to usher in the 14th edition of the country's leading international film festival on Saturday - in a sign of respect for what is fast becoming one of the American movie industry's key foreign markets.

Chinese box office numbers surged 64 percent to hit $1.5 billion in 2010. And despite import restrictions that effectively limit the country to 20 foreign blockbusters a year, American movies are doing brisk business. Last year, the James Cameron 3-D sci-fi epic "Avatar" - distributed by the Hollywood studio Fox, a unit of Murdoch's media company News Corp. - brought in $204 million as it became China's top-grossing release in history.

Keen to gain exposure in this blossoming market, American stars were well-represented on the red carpet that kicked off the Shanghai International Film Festival in the eastern financial center.

It was Sarandon's first visit to China, but she wasted no time in picking up on local cultural cues. After receiving a lifetime achievement award from festival organizers, she jokingly asked veteran actor Zhang to give her acceptance speech on her behalf. Zhang had just finished delivering a lengthy ribbing to Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, who was honored for outstanding achievement to Chinese cinema.

The "Thelma and Louise" star then invited Zhang to a game of table tennis. Sarandon owns several table tennis clubs and bars in the US.

"Maybe he'll play pingpong with me if we open one in Shanghai. And that would be a good excuse to come back to China," she said.

Zhang stood up and obliged, joking that he was an ace player.

"My acting is much better than my pingpong. Maybe you can wear a blindfold," Sarandon responded.

Sarandon's appearance is telling because she has been critical of the Chinese government in the past, joining other Hollywood celebrities in signing letters urging Beijing to ease up on film censorship and calling on Washington to scrutinize China's human rights record.

Earlier, Dillon stumbled through the Chinese greeting "Shanghai Film Festival: Here I am" on the red carpet and then thanked fans for braving the heavy rain.

Mischa Barton from the American teen TV drama "The O.C." also greeted fans.

Barton, Dillon and Sarandon were in Shanghai just to attend the opening ceremony. None of the three is promoting movies at the festival.

Murdoch also attended with his third wife, Wendi Deng Murdoch, and was quick to mention the upcoming film she is producing, Chinese-American director Wayne Wang's adaptation of the novel "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan," which stars Chinese actress Li Bingbing and South Korea's Jun Ji-hyun.

"I'm very proud of my wife and her film 'Snow Flower,"' Murdoch said.

Murdoch and wife and Fox Film Entertainment Chief Executive Jim Gianopulos are also scheduled to speak at a panel discussion on film finance on Sunday.

An American director is chairing the jury for the Shanghai festival's Golden Goblet prizes. "Rain Man" director Barry Levinson is leading a seven-person panel that also includes British screenwriter Christopher Hampton, Japanese director Yoichi Sai, French-Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Anh Hung, Spanish actress Paz Vega, Chinese director Wang Quanan and Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu.

A second panel headed by Japanese filmmaker Shunji Iwai will hand out prizes to promising young Asian directors.

The Shanghai International Film Festival runs until June 19.

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

The Star Online: Nation

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

The Star Online: Nation

Penang to go ahead with mosque polls

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 06:34 AM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will not budge from its decision to carry out the election of mosque officials as it is accordance with the laws, said its Religious Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.

He said the proposed election adhered to Section 104(a)(b) of the State of Penang Enactment 2004 and 4(1) Congregation Committee and Mosque Officials Requirements (Penang).

"The new procedure introduced by the Penang Islamic Religious Council is an improvement of existing regulatory procedures adopted by the previous state government," he told reporters Monday.

Commenting on calls for the state government to get the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before holding the mosque polls, Abdul Malik, said the new procedure accorded congregators the right to nominate candidates through mosque committees to the council before getting the consent of the king.

Abdul Malik said the mosque congregation committees would decide whether the congregators were eligible to vote and the state government would set up the congregators' database after the election.

After nomination was closed last Tuesday, 193 out of 200 mosques had sent the nomination lists, he said, adding that this showed the proposed election had received an overwhelming response from congregators.

Meanwhile, Penang Umno Liaison Committee chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman said the state Umno had sent an appeal letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong through Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, to oppose the move.

"I hope the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the head of Islam will prevent the mosque polls from taking place as it could divide the Muslims," said Zainal. - Bernama.

Perkasa wants Penang Malays to oppose plan for mosque elections

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

Cashier gets 10 years and 12 strokes of cane for CBT

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:42 AM PDT

MALACCA: A bank cashier was jailed 10 years and ordered to be whipped 12 times for criminal breach of trust (CBT) involving RM1,925,500.

Roslizam Zabar, 40, from Kg Batu Gajah, Merlimau, Jasin, pleaded guilty to three alternative charges which he committed at Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad (BIMB) in the Masjid Tanah Business Complex, Alor Gajah.

On the first alternative charge, he deceitfully and without the knowledge of the bank deposited a non-existent cheque via a blank BIMB cheque deposit form for the amount of RM95,000 and credited it into the account of Roslen Enterprise between Dec 5 and 26, 2008.

On the second and third alternative charges, he committed similar acts involving RM1,578,000 between Jan 9 and Aug 25, 2009, and RM252,500 between Aug 2 and 17, 2010.

The charges under Section 409 of the Penal Code carries a jail term of two to 20 years with whipping and/or fine.

Sessions Judge Abu Bakar Katar sentenced him to 10 years and four strokes of the cane for each charge and ordered the jail terms to run concurrently beginning Monday.

Roslizam had claimed trial when he was first charged last March 4 with 56 counts of CBT involving RM1,925,500 that he allegedly credited into the account of Roslen Enterprise.

However he changed his plea to guilty when the three alternative charges were offered to him Monday. - Bernama

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

PM announces 15 ETP initiatives

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:27 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Economic Transformation Programme has reached a new milestone and has to date recorded a total of RM170.28bil in investment.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it was possible to achieve a 6% growth or more, adding that economic transformation was beginning to bear fruit in a relatively short time.

"Today, we have reached a new milestone. Including nine all-new and six recapped initiatives announced today, the ETP has seen 50% or 65 of it's 131 Entry Point Projects taking off, represented by 87 initiatives.

"If we look at the Gross Domestic Product for the first quarter of this year, it is clear that our economy is on the right and stable track.

"Although the GDP growth was at a moderate 4.6%, the consumption and investment growth which was at 6.6% and 6.5% respectively, reflects increasing confidence among consumers and investors," he said Monday.

Najib announced the 15 initiatives Monday during the sixth ETP progress update at the Securities Commission here.

The 15 initiatives, which is under seven National Key Economic Areas (NKEA), is expected to bring in RM66.31bil in Gross National Income; RM63.38bil in investment and 63,531 new jobs.

"On a cumulative basis, the ETP has to date recorded RM170.28bil in investment; RM220.15bil in GNI and 362,396 new jobs.

"This is the largest ever in history in such a short period of time," he said.

The seven NKEA areas are education; healthcare; agriculture; communications content and infrastructure; wholesale and retail; oil,gas and energy; and business services.

The nine new initiatives include plans to build a 160-acre UCSI Group integrated health education cluster in Bandar Springhill, Port Dickson which will feature Malaysia' first private teaching hospital; two Sime Darby Specialist Hospitals in Ara Damansara and Desa ParkCity; and an early childhood care and education consortium and training hub.

Other projects include developing Malaysia as a leading global shrimp producer, and enhance it's swiftlets nests production.

Tourism Malaysia's three main annual sales events will be reintroduced under the Unified Malaysia Sale umbrella to take place from June 15 to Aug 31 this year.

Another project is the Sustainability Achieved via Energy Efficiency or SAVE which will provide monetary rebates for energy-efficient refrigerators, air-conditioners and chillers.

At a press conference later, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala explained that the moderate 4.6% growth was due to a problem with an off-shore reservoir in Sabah.

"Crude oil exports were down 11.2% in the first quarter.

"We will see production and crude oil export increase once the problem is fixed; and the economy rebound in the second half of this year," he added.

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

The Star Online: Metro: Central

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

The Star Online: Metro: Central

City Watch

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:47 AM PDT


With the looming due date for submission and payment of tax for businesses, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Sunway-TES is organising a free tax planning consultation and workshop. It is scheduled to be held at Lecture Theatre 6, Level 4, North Building, Sunway University on June 18. Seats are limited to 150. For details e-mail


Optimax Eye Specialist Centre will be conducting a seminar for the public on "Advances in Vision Correction and Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery" on June 18 at the Optimax Eye Specialist Centre, Sunway Branch, 11 Ground Floor, Jalan PJS 11/28B, Bandar Sunway, Selangor. The talk will be held from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. For details call 03-5621 3388. Refreshments and door gifts will be provided.


Wawasan Open University (WOU) will hold an Open Day at its Kuala Lumpur regional office at Level 3, Menara PGRM, Jalan Pudu Ulu, Cheras on June 19 from 10.30am to 4.30pm. There will also be special preview on its MBA in Manufacturing & Production Management as well as Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management programmes on June 18 at 11am. For details, call 03-9281 7323 or 1300 888 968 or visit


The Malaysian Association of Hotels is organising its yearly Corporate Social Responsibility programme called "The Charity Jam" on Thursday from 10.30am to noon at the RP Entertainment Centre at the Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur. This is in aid of the needy children of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of University Malaya Medical Centre and is jointly organised by Chefs Association of Malaysia and Malaysian Association of Housekeepers.

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

BIM awards for three professionals

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:47 AM PDT

THREE members of the Balai Ikhtisas Malaysia (BIM) received the Professional Excellence Awards for their respective categories.

The recipients were Tan Sri Dr Mohd Noor Ismail (Pure and Applied Science category), Elvin Fernandez (Engineering, Construction and Property category) and John Chang (Medical and Health Care category).

The executive committee judged the nominees based on several criteria, such as academic qualifications, contribution and length of service.

Deputy Foreign Minister A. Kohilan Pillay represented Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman at the awards ceremony themed "Professionals Leading the Nation's Transformation".

Present at the event were 300 professionals from the 23 organisations under BIM.

In his speech read by Kohilan, Anifah called upon all professionals to be a cohesive body and to play their respective roles and work with the government under the various development programmes in the Economic Transformation initiatives of the New Economic Model.

Chang, 65, who graduated with a Bachelors in Pharmacy from the National University of Singapore in 1969, used to be the president of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society.

He received the award for Pharmacist of the Year in 1997 and elected Fellow of the Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society in 2009.

"It is better to get involved early to influence change rather than be a victim of change, when complaints would be too late, especially with institutional regulations and policies," said Chang.

This is the first time that Chang has been nominated for the BIM award. "I feel honoured and privileged to be presented with this award under the healthcare category," he added.

Fernandez, 62, said he too was proud to receive the award.

"I am happy that for the first time a valuer is receiving this award. I also accept the award on behalf of the Institution of Surveyors Malaysia," added Fernandez, who is the managing director of Khong & Jaafar Group of Companies.

Fernandez is also the secretary-general of the Asean Valuers Association and was awarded the 'Property Consultant of the Year 2005' by the Board of Valuers, Appraisers & Estate Agents Malaysia.

"My proudest achievement was when I was the International Valuation Standards Committee chairman for 2007/2008. I was the first Asian to be conferred this position," said Fernandez.

Mohd Noor is the corporate adviser for Tradewinds Malaysia Bhd as well as chairman of Marditech.

> IF you have a business-related event such as product launches, new appointments and store openings to highlight, e-mail us at

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

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved