Khamis, 30 Jun 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Chill out with Arnold

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 04:30 AM PDT

KICK off your shoes because it is time to chill and hang out with Arnold (pic) on Red FM's Evening show (Mondays to Fridays, 7pm-10pm) as he plays you the grooviest hits to end the day with.

Joining the Red FM family fresh off Red FM Rudy Recruit's talent search late last year, Arnold has been winning listeners over the airwaves with his fun-loving attitude and easy-going charm. Bringing his knowledge of music and video production to the show, the Red FM's Evening show is a non-stop entertainment-filled segment.

It's also an interactive show where Arnold welcomes listeners to join him in having some fun on-air. Decide on the song you want to listen to with Red FM's Text What's Next where listeners are given a choice of two songs. You get to decide which song you love and which one you want to shove by texting in your request. Give Arnold a shout out as well and be the first person to call him when the cue for Red FM's Onboard comes up. Just declare "I'm On Board" and walk away with a prize for your effort.

One of the highlights of Arnold's show is his interviews with a celebrity guest every Thursday night. Among the international celebrities he has interviewed are Ronan Keating, Olly Murs, Jamie Woon, and Theo Hutchcraft from Hurts, as well as the American Idol Season Nine winner, Lee DeWyze.

The charming deejay has also interviewed local celebrities such as James Baum, Bo Iqram, stand-up comedian Kuah Jenhan and most recently, Henry Golding. He counts Lee DeWyze and Kuah Jenhan as among two of his most memorable guests in the studio due to their down-to-earth and lively personalities.

The cheery Arnold also hosts the Red FM's Fresh Forty Chart every Saturday from 3pm to 7pm. Log on to for more details on the shows he hosts. Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page ( and follow us on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

Red FM's station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1 FM; George Town and Seberang Perai: 107.6 FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4 FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan & Tapah: 104.9 FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6 FM; Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9 FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8 FM.

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Javier Colon wins NBC's singing show 'The Voice'

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 08:23 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP): Soulful crooner Javier Colon was crowned the inaugural winner of "The Voice," NBC's new singing contest.

Colon triumphed over three other finalists when the audience vote was announced on Wednesday's live season finale. He will receive a $100,000 prize and a recording contract.

A slim, 2 percent margin separated Colon from second-place Dia Frampton, 23, of Utah, host Carson Daly said. The other finalists were Vicci Martinez, 26, of Tacoma, Washington, and Beverly McClellan, 41, of Virginia.

"Wow, thank you," a stunned-looking Colon said as confetti rained down on him. "The three women behind me are absolutely awesome and it was a pleasure to be here with them."

"The Voice" featured pop stars Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton as "coaches" for the contestants. In a twist on the talent show format, the contestants initially were picked sight unseen and on the basis of their voice.

Colon was coached by Maroon 5 frontman Levine, who lifted his arms in victory when Colon's name was announced and then rushed on stage to hug him. Shelton, who coached Frampton, smiled and applauded. The other pro-contestant pairings were McClellan-Aguilera and Martinez-Green.

During the live finale, the contestants had the chance to perform with other famous singers. Miranda Lambert, who is married to fellow country star Shelton, sang with Frampton; Stevie Nicks with Colon; Pat Monahan of Train with Martinez and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder with McClellan.

Based on a Dutch series, "The Voice" proved a much-needed ratings hit for NBC and will return to the network's lineup. The next season's casting call is under way at NBC's website.

Besides the blind audition, the show brought another fresh wrinkle to TV: rocker McClellan and bluesy singer Martinez are openly gay. That contrasts with TV's No. 1 singing show, "American Idol," which has included gay singers who didn't address their sexuality until after the competition ended, such as Adam Lambert.

The four finalists will start a six-city concert tour in late July.

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Libya risks extremism if war drags on - World Bank

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 08:53 PM PDT

REUTERS - A protracted struggle for Libya could leave it in the hands of extremists instead of the liberal economic technocrats who now lead its rebel movement, the World Bank's representative for Libya said on Thursday.

A rebel fighter stands on a makeshift attack vehicle at the frontline along the western entrance of Ajdabiyah April 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Files)

"If this civil war goes on, it would be a new Somalia, which I don't say lightly," said Marouane Abassi, World Bank country manager for Libya who has been in Tunisia since February.

"In three months we could be dealing with extremists. That's why time is very important in this conflict, before we face problems in managing it."

Abassi, who is Tunisian, said the World Bank had been working with Libya since 2006 on plans for economic reforms led by leader Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, although many of those reform plans were scuppered by Gaddafi.

He described some of the leaders of the rebel Transitional National Council as among those most strongly associated with economic reform plans.

"...We know them, we did good work with them," Abassi said, citing Ali Issawi, a former economy minister and ambassador, and Mahmoud Jebril, who resigned from a state economic think-tank after Gaddafi overruled his suggestions for liberalising the economy.

"These guys tried inside (Gaddafi's government). In 2009 Gaddafi stopped the connection between us and them," said Abassi. Nevertheless, parts of Gaddafi's government and local councils were still seeking World Bank advice up to February, when pro-democracy protests broke out, he said.

"In the last two years it was a battle between reformists and the old guard. But even the last minister of economy who was against us ... accepted the rules of the game," he said.

The rebellion, which began with an uprising in February and has been backed by Western air strikes since March, has so far failed to dislodge Gaddafi, raising pressure on Western countries to take more decisive action.

France said on Wednesday it had sent arms to the rebels, which some countries believe violates an arms embargo. Gaddafi says the Western intervention is a plot to steal Libya's oil.

Abassi said he left the World Bank's Tripoli office on Feb. 20 after government forces began suppressing protesters.

"Now we are trying to understand how we can help Libya after the conflict," he said.

Tunisia, where he is now based, is also suffering financially, losing some $200 million a month in remittances and other revenue from Tunisian expatriates who have returned.

"Over 65,000 Tunisians have returned out of 125,000 who were living in Libya. They are like refugees in Tunisia without revenue. Tunisia gave them some cash handouts and we are trying to provide funds and grants," Abassi said.

"Over 1.7 million Libyans come each year to Tunisia and for the Tunisian economy it's very important. They spend a lot of money on health -- maybe 50 percent of the revenue in clinics in the south is from Libyans," Abassi said.

(Editing by Peter Graff)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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US Senate confirms Petraeus as CIA director

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 08:53 PM PDT

Army Gen. David Petraeus answers a question during a meeting with members of the Department of Defense press pool in this December 6, 2007 file picture. (REUTERS/Haraz N. Ghanbari/Pool/Files)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to confirm General David Petraeus to be the new director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace Leon Panetta, who is leaving the CIA to become Pentagon chief. Petraeus is expected to start his new job in September.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Venezuela's Chavez says was treated for cancer

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 08:53 PM PDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Thursday he had undergone a successful operation in Cuba to extract cancerous cells and was on the road to full recovery.

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro (L) and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez read a copy of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) newspaper "Granma" in Havana June 28, 2011, in this handout picture. (REUTERS/Revolution Studios/Cubadebate/Handout)

Chavez, in a televised speech, said the medical process was "slow and careful" and he was on the road to "full recovery".

It was the first address by the 56-year-old socialist leader since he underwent surgery in Havana on June 10, triggering widespread speculation he might be seriously ill.

Chavez said he was determined to "overcome" the battle for his health and ended his speech with the revolutionary slogan "Until victory forever."

Fans and critics alike had been poring over the latest video of Chavez for clues to his health after the scrapping of a regional summit he had been due to host kept the guessing game going.

Analysts said his prolonged absence was fueling tensions between factions in his ruling Socialist Party, although it is unclear whether his opponents can capitalize on the situation.

Hours after releasing new video on Wednesday of the president walking and chatting with his friend and mentor, Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuela canceled a July 5-6 summit coinciding with its 200th anniversary of independence.

That was a heavy blow for supporters who wanted the charismatic but authoritarian president -- who loves to grandstand at such big events -- back home in time for the national party.

"Uncertainty is now intensifying in Venezuela," said Diego Moya-Ocampos, a Venezuelan analyst at IHS Global Insight. "A prolonged absence by Chavez could encourage a likely political crisis of unprecedented levels."

Inheriting Castro's mantle as Washington's main irritant in Latin America, Chavez has become one of the world's most well known leaders during his 12 years in power.

The official line had been that he was recovering well from an operation to remove a pelvic abscess and will return soon.

Venezuela's benchmark dollar-denominated 2027 global bond rose 1.000 point in price to bid 74.500 with a yield of 13.070. That followed a 2.8 percent rally on Monday.

Local analysts say some in the market appear to have decided a weakened Chavez is better than no Chavez at all -- which would imply a power vacuum and potential for chaos.

A government program to repurchase sovereign bonds and ones from state oil company PDVSA may also be supporting prices.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Sandra Maler)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Injured Safee doubtful for second-leg tie against Taiwan

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 04:18 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Mohd Safee Sali knee injury may force him out of the Asian Zone World Cup first round, second-leg qualifying match against Taiwan at the Taipei Stadium on Sunday.

Team manager Datuk Subahan Kamal said Safee, the top scorer in the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championships with five goals, is racing against time to be fit for the game.

Safee left with the squad for Taipei yesterday.

"I have my doubts about Safee's chances of playing in Taipei but he is there now with the team for the return-leg match," said Subahan yesterday.

Subahan, who will leave for Taipei today, said Safee had complained of pain during the first-leg match in Bukit Jalil and was substituted before the start of the second-half.

He said they had other options for the strike force and would not risk aggravating Safee's injury.

"We want him to be ready for the second round match against Singapore – scheduled for July 23 (away) and 28 (home) – provided we get past Taiwan," said Subahan, who is confident Malaysia can advance to the next round after winning the first-leg 2-1 at the National Sadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.

But national coach Datuk K. Rajagopal can at least take heart from the return of Super League top striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha for Sunday's match.

The Kelantan striker, who is the leading scorer with 17 goals, has recovered from his hamstring injury but was rested against Taiwan in the home-leg.

"I am sure Norshahrul will inject more bite upfront. I am confident coach Rajagopal will come up with a game plan," said Subahan, who expects the talented Norshahrul to combine with either Baddrol Bakhtiar, Abdul Hadi Yahaya or Ahmad Fakri Saarani upfront.

Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin and S. Chanturu can provide a different option in attack.

Goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat should reclaim the No. 1 jersey after sitting out the first-leg with a shoulder injury. Mohd Sharbinee Allawee was fielded in the first-leg.

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Dawn of Red Bull era

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 04:16 PM PDT

LONDON: Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull may be heading for an era of Formula One dominance akin to Michael Schumacher's with Ferrari in the previous decade, according to the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

The 80-year-old also told the official website that Vettel's victories had more weight than Schumacher's because of the level of competition faced by the 23-year-old German.

"Sebastian is in a similar position as Michael," said Ecclestone. "Sebastian is the best right now and that's why he is dominating.

"That's what makes it so interesting for the fans because every race weekend starts with a big question mark - who will be able to beat Vettel? That's why fans tune in."Vettel, the sport's youngest world champion, has won six of the first eight races this season and finished second in the other two.

He has a 77-point advantage over McLaren's Jenson Button and his own Australian team-mate Mark Webber with 11 races remaining.

The German has 16 wins to date, in comparison to seven-time world champion Schumacher's record 91, and is one of five world champions on the starting grid - Schumacher, Button, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

When Schumacher won a record 13 races in the 2004 season, he was the only champion on the starting grid until Canadian Jacques Villeneuve returned for three races late that year.

The German won five titles in a row with Ferrari while compatriot Vettel is heading for his second in succession with Red Bull.

"The competition Sebastian is facing is much bigger than that confronted by Michael," said Ecclestone. "That makes Seb's wins even more noteworthy.

"I don't see a reason why there shouldn't be a Red Bull era just as Ferrari had theirs with Michael."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told reporters after Vettel won last weekend's European Grand Prix in Valencia that the champion was just getting better and better.

"He's a perfectionist. He analyses his own performance more than anybody," said Horner.

Schumacher, now 42 and in the second year of his comeback with Mercedes, was also renowned for his obsessive attention to detail and careful analysis of anything that might give him an advantage.

Apart from taking a good look at the steering wheels on the cars of his rivals after qualifying for the Valencia race, Vettel also made sure he was fully up to speed with their progress on Sunday."He never ceases to surprise us because at one point we hadn't told him we had put the prime tyres on Mark's car because we didn't want him (Vettel) to push any harder," said Horner.

"But then he came on the radio at one point and said, 'What time is Mark doing on the primes?' We all looked at ourselves and thought 'Who told him?'.

"Of course he was watching the big TV screen as he is going round and he has the capacity to take that in.

"He's always thinking which is one of his major strengths." — Reuters

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Klitschko to unleash fists of fury

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 04:15 PM PDT

HAMBURG: If Wladimir Klitschko thought he was going to get a glimpse of David Haye's boxing style on Wednesday, he must have been disappointed.

After warming up at a public training session, the Briton threw just one punch before leaving the ring, stunning a crowd that included his Ukrainian rival in a much anticipated heavyweight fight tomorrow.

Haye showed no interest as Klitschko started his workout, chatting with TV reporters before leaving the training centre in Hamburg with his entourage.

After his full-hour session, Klitschko said he was getting fed up with his opponent's "childish" antics.

"I can't even take it seriously. It's not even funny anymore," said the 35-year-old IBF and WBO champion. "You can trash talk a certain time, but as I said, reality is coming ... and it's serious business. It won't be funny for David Haye."

The two fighters have traded some fairly strong insults, even by heavyweight boxing standards, in the lead-up to the fight. Haye, the WBA champion, has worn a T-shirt showing the severed heads of Klitschko and his older brother Vitali.

In one of his latest taunts, Haye said he was more worried about getting knocked out by Germany's E. coli outbreak than by Klitschko, who has a 55-3 record with 49 KOs.

Haye, a 30-year-old former unified cruiserweight champion, said he believes his presence has made the heavyweight division more interesting, especially among American boxing fans.

"Their message is 'get Wladimir out of this division because he's killing it," Haye said on Wednesday. "It's only now, since I've started doing my thing, that people think, 'OK, let me see what this guy's all about, maybe we've got an entertaining fight here."'

During his brief workout, Haye shaped up with an uncharacteristic southpaw stance in an apparent attempt to play mind games with Klitschko, who was watching ringside with his brother, the WBC titleholder. When his coach brought out the pads, Haye threw just one punch before taking a bow and leaving the ring.

Klitschko was not impressed.

"I think he sits in the room in the hotel and he thinks: 'What else can I do' to anger the Klitschko team," Wladimir said.

"But little by little, we're coming to the reality. And reality's name is July 2." — AP

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Oil drops 11% in 2nd quarter

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:51 PM PDT

NEW YORK: After rising to become an obstacle to economic growth, oil prices went backward in the second quarter.

The benchmark price in the U.S. dropped nearly 16 percent in May and June, and closed the quarter with an 11 percent decline. Having settled at $95.42 per barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil is back where it was in late February. And at $3.54 per gallon (3.8 liters), the national average for gas is almost 7 cents lower than when the quarter started.

But there were worried economists and frustrated drivers along the way. Oil rose 7 percent in April and peaked near $115 per barrel on May 2. Gas hit $3.98 per gallon days later.

High fuel prices were blamed for everything from lagging consumer confidence to lower retail sales. Consumers are still feeling the effects, but "the bubble has popped," analyst and trader Stephen Schork said. "(Oil prices) were going like gangbusters in April. Then we gave it all back really fast."

The turnaround came as consumers balked at soaring gasoline prices and some of the world's major oil importers released emergency supplies. There were also echoes of last year's second quarter: A financial crisis in Europe and questions about the global economic recovery pulled prices lower.

Still, the 28-nation International Energy Agency, which includes the U.S., remained worried enough about oil's impact on the global recovery that it pledged last week to release 60 million barrels of crude and refined products onto the market in an effort to prevent another price spike.

The second-quarter decline surprised many investors and there's little consensus on where prices go from here. Most analysts do expect prices to be especially volatile in the second half of the year. There were 37 days in the first six months where prices either rose or fell by 2 percent or more.

The U.S. Department of Energy expects oil to rise from an average of about $98.55 in the first half to $101.91 per barrel by the end of the year. Some analysts, however, expect prices to be lower than that, maybe falling to $80 per barrel by New Year's Eve.

Oil will move depending on the answers to four major questions, experts say:

- How much oil will China consume? China's oil appetite is expected to drive world demand for years. But there are signs of a pull back. Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill, said earlier in June that China's oil consumption grew 8 percent in May. That was the second month of single-digit growth after consumption had expanded 10 percent or more in each of the previous six months. If China's consumption lags estimates, expect oil prices to tumble.

- Will non-OPEC countries release more oil? Oil plunged last week after the IEA announced the release of oil. The group said it should more than make up for the loss of Libya's 1.5 million barrels of daily exports. The release is only a temporary fix, however, and analysts say world supplies will continue to tighten - pushing prices higher - unless IEA loosens the spigot again.

- Will there be another Arab Spring? Tensions have died down in North Africa and the Middle East since the spring. But any new flare-up in the region will push oil higher. Turmoil in Yemen, for example, has left President Ali Abdullah Saleh badly injured and clinging to power. A regime change there would destabilize a country that sits along one of the world's crucial oil shipping lanes.

- Will Greece's financial troubles continue to hurt the European economy? Greece's approval of financial reforms this week cleared the way for more international aid. But the country still must prove in September that it has implemented new austerity measures to be eligible for more bailout money. Failure to do so could further destabilize the euro and push oil lower. Oil, which is priced in dollars, tends to fall as the dollar rises versus other major currencies.

The direction of oil prices also depends on expectations for world economic growth. Economists have forecast global oil demand at a record 89 million barrels per day this year. If the global economy slows and demand forecasts drop, oil prices would keep sliding in the third and fourth quarter.

"I'm always concerned that demand will come in significantly lower than what they're expecting for the second half of the year," said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. "Everyone's buying more fuel-efficient cars. Eventually that's going to make a difference."

There are also random events, like hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, which could affect prices.

In other Nymex trading Thursday, natural gas prices rose after the government reported that U.S. supplies grew less than expected last week. The Energy Information Administration said that storage levels rose by 78 billion cubic feet. The natural gas contract for August delivery gained 5.9 cents to settle at $4.374 per 1,000 cubic feet. For the quarter, natural gas prices were little changed.

Heating oil for July delivery added 1.25 cents to settle at $2.9327 per gallon and gasoline futures for July added 2.19 cents to settle at $3.0316 per gallon. Both contracts expire on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude gained 8 cents to settle at $112.48 on the ICE Futures Exchange. - AP

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US stocks rise as Greece clears final bailout hurdle

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:49 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Four days, 480 points.

That's how the Dow Jones industrial average closed the final four days of June. The Dow added more than 150 points on Thursday alone after Greece cleared the final hurdle needed to receive its next installment of emergency loans. A pickup in manufacturing around Chicago also pushed indexes higher.

The weeklong rally began Monday when Nike Inc. reported quarterly results that showed that consumers were spending more than expected. The stock market's gains put it on track for the best week since July of last year.

It was a stunning reversal from the beginning of the month, when the Dow dropped nearly 280 points in one day. The first day of June, reports showed that auto sales fell sharply in May and that private companies were hiring far fewer people than expected. The late surge was not enough to turn the broader stock market positive for the month, but it brought the Dow up 0.8 percent for the quarter. The Standard and Poor's 500 index and Nasdaq composite each lost about 0.3 percent for the month.

Thursday's gains came after Greek lawmakers passed a cost-cutting bill that had to be approved before international lenders would release $17 billion in rescue funds to Greece. The country needs the money to avoid defaulting on its debt. A default by Greece could disrupt financial markets and lead to a widespread European financial crisis.

Traders were also reassured by encouraging signals about the U.S. economy. A trade group reported that manufacturing in Chicago sped up unexpectedly in June. Analysts had forecast a decline. Earlier in the week, Nike Inc. reported earnings that were better than analysts had predicted. That led many investors to believe that high gas prices haven't stopped consumers from spending on non-necessities.

The Dow rose 152.92 points, or 1.3 percent, to 12,414.34. The S&P 500 added 13.23, or 1 percent, to 1,320.64. The Nasdaq composite gained 33.03, or 1.2 percent, to 2,773.52.

Companies that typically benefit from global expansion led the Dow. Intel Corp., Caterpillar Inc., and Hewlett-Packard Co. each gained more than 2.4 percent.

Stocks are still below the 2011 highs they reached in late April, when a series of weak economic reports indicated that the U.S. economy was slowing down. Since then investors have been debating whether the slowdown would be a short-term blip or the beginning of a long stall in the economic recovery.

"We have been in the camp that says it's temporary," said Brad Sorensen, a market analyst at Schwab. Sorensen says the pickup in Chicago manufacturing was the latest proof that the short-term slowdown view is correct

The manufacturing report, along with the government's formal end to its bond buying stimulus program known as QE2, sent bond prices lower as investors put less money into safer assets. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell to 3.16 percent from 3.11 percent late Wednesday. Bond yields rise when prices fall.

Among U.S. companies, metals manufacturer Worthington Industries Inc. jumped nearly 10 percent after the company raised its quarterly dividend and said it would buy back up to 10 million shares of its own stock. Callaway Golf Co. fell 1.7 percent after the company shook up its leadership, announced job cuts and said it expects to have weak results in the second quarter. And fertilizer maker CF Industries Holdings Inc. fell 5.1 percent on news that farmers planted more corn in spring, which may weigh on prices and reduce farmers' income.

Three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was average at 3.8 billion shares. - AP

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Reports say FTC investigating Twitter

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:45 PM PDT

WASHINGTON: Federal regulators are looking into the interactions between Twitter and a company called Ubermedia, which develops applications that help users follow and communicate with each other on Twitter's popular online messaging service, according to two published reports.

The Federal Trade Commission inquiry is still at a preliminary stage and the focus remains unclear, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

The Business Insider blog, which first reported the probe, said FTC antitrust investigators are studying how Twitter deals with outside companies that build applications for its messaging platform -such as photo-sharing, URL-shortening and advertising services - and whether it is trying to limit competition by buying or banning outside developers.

The FTC regularly looks into complaints - often filed by rivals - of anticompetitive behavior by companies in the technology sector. The initial probes do not always turn into full-blown investigations.

The Journal reported that Twitter blocked UberMedia from accessing messages on its platform, called "tweets," earlier this year, but has since restored access.

The FTC and Twitter declined comment. Ubermedia did not immediately respond to a request for comment. - AP

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Stylish stars

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 05:01 AM PDT

MUSIC and fashion always go hand in hand as long as we can remember – Elvis with his rhinestone jumpsuits, The Beatles with their bespoke suits and Cher with her over-the-top dresses. However, it was Madonna who brought high fashion to music when she commissioned the l'enfant terrible of the fashion world, Jean-Paul Gaultier, to design her stage outfits for her Blonde Ambition Tour (which gave us the iconic cone bra!).

While their movie star colleagues still command attention when it comes to fashion, music artistes are rising fast in the world of fashion. Now, more than ever, female music stars are upping their glam ante on the red carpet. Gone are the days where a designer dress is good enough. Now, it's all about the accessories, hair, shoes, make-up ... the whole nine yards. These singers have to change their looks every now and then to keep things fresh.

In its special fashion issue, Galaxie takes a look at 11 music stars who are blazing the red carpet with their sense of style. While some of them take fashion risks (Lady Gaga, Rihanna), many others like Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez stick to what they are comfortable with.

"Style, to me, is supposed to be fun, (and reflective of) who you are. My personal style is more classic," said Gomez who has launched her own fashion line, called Dream Out Loud.

What's Gomez's fashion tip? "I think less is more so don't try to wear anything too revealing. And lots of accessories! You can always change an outfit by adding a scarf or a bangle."

Apart from fashion, music lovers will enjoy Galaxie's profile on indie heroes All Time Low. The band is currently enjoying mainstream success, thanks to the pop-rock single I Feel Like Dancin'. While some fans have accused the band of "selling out", All Time Low maintained that the band has always experimented when it comes to music.

"It's definitely not something we've really explored before, but at the same time, it was very much a natural process and was really fun to write," lead vocalist Alex Gaskarth said about single I Feel Like Dancin'.

On the gossip front, Glee's Dianna Agron clarifies her sexuality and Ryan Reynolds opens up about his failed marriage to Scarlett Johansson.

For fans of David Archuleta, Galaxie is giving you the chance to meet the American Idol cutie! Win tickets to his upcoming concert in Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur, as well as exclusive meet-and-greet passes. All these and more in the July 1-16 issue of Galaxie magazine, out on newsstands now.

Galaxie, voted Entertainment Magazine Of The Year in Malaysia, is published fortnightly by Star Publications (M) Bhd. Find us on Facebook (, Twitter (@galaxiemag) and for daily dose of entertainment news. – Gordon Kho

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She sees dead people

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 05:00 AM PDT


Author: Myra McEntire

Publisher: EgmontUSA, 400 pages

FOR 17-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern belles, soldiers long forgotten, a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants to stop seeing the apparitions so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organisation called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Between Here And Forever

Author: Elizabeth Scott

Publisher: Simon Pulse, 256 pages

ABBY accepted that she can't measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible. Until the accident. Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby's life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.

She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she'd never seen. Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could.

Fixing Delilah

Author: Sarah Ockler

Publisher: Little, Brown, 310 pages

LIFE is not perfect. Delilah Hannaford understands that, but what she cannot fathom is why everything that could possibly be bad seems to happen to her. After the death of her father, losing her friends, and having a boyfriend who is not a boyfriend, Delilah wonders if things could ever get better. And then the Hannaford family heads off to Vermont for the summer, and layer by layer, the family's secrets – both past and present – unravels. And Delilah wonders if the truth is what she really needs after all.

Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Publisher: Penguin, 398 pages

SIXTEEN-year-old Amy made a decision to give up many things – her school, her friends and her partner – but the hardest to take was giving up her own planet. Cryogenically frozen on a starship along with her family, Amy is awoken 50 years earlier than she expected before reaching New Earth.

Everything has changed: the people are monoethnic, there is no free will, and difference has been eliminated. Amy quickly realises that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction but a botched murder attempt and her frozen parents could be next. However, things get frosty when one of her murder suspects, Elder, is the future leader of the ship and the love subject that she could have never seen coming all along.

Me … Jane

Author & Illustrator: Patrick McDonnell

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 40 pages

IN his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall – a real-life primatologist – and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals", until one day she finds that her dream has come true.

On The Seesaw Bridge

Author: Yuichi Kimura

Illustrator: KowshiroHata

Publisher: Vertical, 36 pages

STUCK on this see-saw bridge for what feels like an eternity the two, once rivals, slowly begin to open up to each other. They disclose their feelings and their history to each other. Upon learning that their lives are quite similar, and that their fate might be the same, they devise a way to get off the bridge together. However, this will require utilising the see-saw bridge's unpredictable movement to its fullest, as their only hope is to be launched off the bridge before it falls into the raging river below.

Nine Little People Who Lived In A Chest

Author: Wee Su May

Publisher: MPH Publishing, 209 pages

SYLVIA'S mum, Marjorie, gives her an ugly wooden chest. That very night, Sylvia hears strange sounds and gets the shock of her life when she realises that the carvings on the chest have come alive. She befriends Tuktu and his little family and is told that they have a condition that can only be cured by another little family that lives in another chest.

In this story, Sylvia goes through many adventures to find the other chest, while keeping Marjorie in the dark. Eventually, she manages to track down the other chest. There is an emotional reunion between the two little families who are related and used to belong to one chest. Then the search for the materials needed for the antidote begins. Will Sylvia let Marjorie in on the secret and can they race against time to make the antidote and save the lives of Tuktu and his family?

The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life With The Chimps

Author: Jeanette Winter

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade, 48 pages

THIS is another account of Jane Goodall's life, written by acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter. Follow Jane from her childhood in London to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates and their habitat. Young animal lovers and Winter's many fans will welcome this fascinating and moving portrait of an extraordinary person and the animals she dedicated her life to.

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Full metal jacket

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 04:52 AM PDT

Ever wondered how the rivalry between Optimus Prime and Megatron began?

We love the Transformers. In our younger days – which is to say, last week – we'd spend hours playing with the toys, making "krik krak krik kruk!" sound effects while transforming robots into cars and back.

We love everything about the Transformers, and we can tell you odd bits of trivia like who were the first combiners (the Constructicons), what was Bumblebee's original alt-form (Volkswagen Beetle), and the name of Optimus' old girlfriend (Ariel/Elita One). We're sure you have friends like us.

However, to truly appreciate the Transformers comics, one would need to be an absolutely massive Transformers nerd.

This is because the Transformers comics have an incredibly storied history and possess way, way more depth than what you'd expect from a series that stars robots blasting the ever-loving snot out of each other.

This brings us to the three Transformers comics that we're reviewing today. Local publishers Pelican have licensed these titles from IDW Publishing, making them affordable for the masses here. They're all tied to the live-action Dark Of The Moon movie, but while their on-screen counterparts are content with engaging in chaotic melees of explosions and lasers, the robots in the comics instead focus on character development, drama and storytelling.

No, seriously.

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon: Foundation explores Optimus and Megatron's violent "sibling rivalry" back on Cybertron, while they were still under the mentorship of Sentinel Prime. It's an engaging story that takes us into the minds of the two great leaders; here, we see Prime's internal struggle to be "the good guy" in a ruthless civil war, and we learn why Megatron loathes his "brother" so much.

Meanwhile, in Rising Storm, we get a peek at the upcoming challenges that the Autobots will have to face in Dark Of The Moon.

Rising Storm doesn't develop the characters as much as Foundation did, but it does tease us with an inkling of the sinister plot that the Decepticons have cooked up.

This is a comic book that's not afraid to blow up a few well-liked characters to highlight the dangers and tension in the Autobot-Decepticon war, and it firmly establishes Shockwave as a cold, logical, villainous badass. All said, Rising Storm's greatest achievement is that its story of trials and triumph made us anticipate the movie more eagerly than even the movie trailers could.

Both these prequel comics add a juicy layer of characterisation to the robots you'd only recognise in the movies as "the pink one that turns into a motorbike" or "that F-16 guy". Unfortunately, the comics also add a lot of complexity.

Foundation and Rising Storm have links to not just the Dark Of The Moon movie, but also to the various comics and adaptations that surround the entire Transformers series. So, there are plenty of details and backstory that a new reader will miss out on. The standalone story arcs in each book will still be enjoyable, but you might start asking questions like "Why are the Arcee sisters three separate-but-connected robots?" or "What's the deal with the Autobot Science Division and the Cybertronian Defence Force on Cybertron?" (Answer: read all the adaptation and prequel comics for the previous two movies.)

Ironically, while the prequel tie-ins add a lot of extra flavour and narrative context to the overall story of the Transformers, the Dark Of The Moon Movie Adaptation itself is something that's best avoided altogether.

The Movie Adaptation isn't bad per se, it just attempts to do the impossible: it tries to create a sensible story out of what's essentially a glorious festival of action, explosions and CGI effects, as directed by Michael Bay.

That's like asking Shakespeare to script a play about wrestling; the action portrayed in the adaptation will never match up to the real thing, and any attempt to weave in a narrative of tragedy and the triumph of the human spirit (or robotic spark) will be muddled by the fact the source material's really just about people beating up one another.

Our recommendation is for you to pick up Foundation and Rising Storm if you're a big fan of the Transformers series. The Movie Adaptation, meanwhile, should be best skipped in favour of actually watching the movie.

There are a lot of things in these comics that'll keep the Transformer lover in you happy, but if they aren't enough then you can do what we're doing right now: playing with the toys while waiting to get tickets for Dark Of The Moon.

Krik krak krik kruk!

Transformers: Dark of the Moon: Foundation, Rising Storm and Movie Adaptation graphic novels plus related Transformers titles are available now at MPH book stores nationwide.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Umno Youth exco member lodges police report, denies arson threat

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 06:04 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth executive council member Lokman Nor Adam filed a police report Thursday over a statement made by PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail claiming that he (Lokman) had threatened to set fire to PKR's head office.

Lokman lodged the report about 1pm at the Tropicana police station here, accompanied by Umno Youth information chief Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Federal Territory Umno Youth chief Rizalman Mokhtar and Selangor Youth chief Ungku Salleh Ungku Jamal.

"Saifuddin alleged that I had threatened to set fire to the PKR office when I was in front of the office concerned on Monday.

"He also said I threatened to harm PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk S. Ambiga (chairman of non-governmental organisation Bersih) if Bersih goes ahead with its illegal assembly planned for July 9. These are all baseless accusations," he told reporters after lodging the police report.

He further challenged Saifuddin to produce evidence on his allegations.

"Earlier, there was a slight commotion and verbal exchange in front of the police station between Umno Youth and PKR Youth members, but the situation was brought under control when the police intervened. - Bernama

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Warning over two Chinese herbal products

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 05:58 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The public has been urged to stop consuming two traditional Chinese herbal products found to contain undeclared drugs.

The Singapore Health Sciences Authority claims to have found dexamethasone and chlorpheniramine in Ren Sem Tu Chon Chin Kuo Pill, which was supposed to treat back and joint pain, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

Ren Sem Tu Chon Chin Kuo Pill was not registered with the Pharmaceutical Control Bureau, he added.

"Its registration number and the hologram are fakes. The bureau has never registered such a product," he said, adding that action to stop its sale was ongoing.

He said the ministry would have to find the manufacturer before action can be taken.

The other product, Huo Li Bao, touted to treat joint pain, was found by the Singapore authority to contain piroxicam, chlorpheniramine, frusemide and caffeine.

"The substances found in the products are contraband drugs," Liow said after opening the Wangsa Maju MCA division operations centre for the 13th general election here Thursday.

He said Huo Li Bao was registered with the bureau on June 25, 2009.

"During the registration then, tests did not show that it contained such substances. We are investigating the matter," he added.

Liow said the ministry could haul up the relevant parties which registered the product once tests showed they contained the prohibited substances.

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Minimum wage bill goes through

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 04:25 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Wages Consultative Council Bill 2011 was passed in Parliament Thursday, with the Human Resources Minister giving assurance that stakeholders would be consulted in the decision-making process.

"The Government guarantees that it will continue to listen to the biggest trade unions and employers federation before making any decisions regarding minimum wage issues," Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam told Charles Santiago(DAP-Klang) during the debates, Thursday.

Santiago had asked the ministry to state the reason why the minister had absolute power in appointing the committee inside the advisory council and the working definition of minimum wage.

Dr Subramaniam said would continue the tradition of consulting both sides to ensure the public would benefit from the wage advisory council.

"There is no hidden agenda by the Ggovernment and we take this step to ensure Malaysian workers get the wages they deserve," he added.

He said a technical commission would determine the definition of minimum wage according to each social indicator.

The committee, comprising economists, would measure minimum wage based on, among others, consumer price index and poverty rate, he said.

Dr Subramaniam said the outcome of every meeting would be published for the public references.

Related Stories:
MTUC not pleased with new wage Act
Minimum wage policy soon

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Harry Potter and beyond

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 09:06 PM PDT

It's hard to believe that more than a decade ago the idea of a Harry Potter movie was being conceived. Who would have thought that soon after the release of the first movie, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, the Harry Potter franchise would be a world-wide phenomenon.

The film series, with the final installment scheduled to premiere on 14 July 2011 in Malaysia, is based on the Harry Potter novels by British author J.K. Rowling, who in an interview said she first came up with the concept while on a train ride from Manchester to London. "The idea of Harry Potter fell into my head. A scrawny, little, black-haired, bespectacled boy became more and more of a wizard to me." She ran with the idea and began writing Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone when she returned home. When the book was finished, publishers thought it was too long, but Barry Cunningham, who was with Bloomsbury Children's Book decided to take a gamble.

The gamble paid off … big time. The book received numerous literary awards and soon in 1999, Rowling sold the film rights of four Harry Potter books to Warner Bros. and the lady who was reportedly living on benefits became a multi-millionaire and by the end of last year, the author was named "Most Influential Woman in Britain' by leading magazine editors. As of March of this year, Forbes magazine has estimated that Rowling's net worth was US$1 billion.

But the franchise has not only been good to its author. The lead, Daniel Radcliffe, was spotted by producer David Heyman and writer Steve Kloves in a theater. "There sitting behind me was this boy with these big blue eyes, I remember my first impressions. He was curious and funny and so energetic," Heyman said in an interview. After convincing the 11-years-old's parents, Radcliffe auditioned and got the coveted role.

Today the Harry Potter franchise has earned the actor several awards and has made him one of the richest young men in Britain with over 60 million pounds to his name.

Harry Potter's Emma Watson has also done well for herself. The English actress, who plays Hermione Granger, had only acting parts in a few school plays before she was picked over thousands auditioning for Hermione's role.

Although Watson initially indicated that she might not return after Harry Potter And the Order Of The Phoenix, saying she wanted to further her education, she relented and returned to sign on for the final installments saying she "could never let Hermione go". Watson received a reported two million pounds (double of what she was first offered).

In an interview with Reuters, Watson, who enrolled at Brown University in Rhode Island for a four-year degree, said she was putting her education on hold indefinitely to concentrate on her commitments, namely acting.

Apart from her acting career, Watson has also dabbled in the modeling world. The now 21-year-old made her modeling debut for Burberry's Autumn/Winter campaign in 2009. Late last year, the actress was named the new face of French cosmetics giant Lancome. She is the brand's youngest ambassador to date.

Most recently, Watson who gave herself a pixie crop when the final movie shot was completed, was named Britain's best dressed woman in a Glamour magazine poll.

A somewhat least popular star of the Harry Potter franchise is Rupert Grint, who plays Harry's best mate, Ron Weasley. But Grint isn't bothered by the lack of publicity he's gotten. In an interview with a British newspaper, the 22-year-old actor said he rather enjoys he's quiet life and that it gave him time and opportunities to do what he wanted to do – work on more independent projects with smaller budgets.

Grint has already taken roles in a few movies, Thunderpants, Wild Target and Cherrybomb. He stars next in the anti-war movie, Comrade, in which he takes on the lead role.

As for the franchise itself, the end of the movie isn't the end of the franchise. DVD sales for Harry Potter And The Deadly Hallows - Part 1 shot up to the No. 1 spot on Nielsen Videoscan's chart when it was released in April. It's no doubt that when the second part is released on DVD and Blu-ray, it will top the charts as well.

Early next year, Potter fans will also be able to catch a glimpse of how the movies were made when Hollywood studio, Warner Bros. opens the doors of its Leavesden facilities where much of the franchise was filmed.

Called Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making Of Harry Potter, the tour will feature original sets, costumes, props and effects used in all eight Harry Potter movies, Reuters reports.

Among the exhibits on the three-hour tour is the set for the Great Hall at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, headmaster Dumbledore's office and other attractions to be announced at a later date.

Currently under construction outside London, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden is set to be one of the largest studio production facilities in Europe when it opens next year.

And if fans can't wait for the studio tour, there's always the Harry Potter exhibition currently on show in New York City. The exhibition, Harry Potter: The Exhibition, opened at Discovery Times Square will run through 5 September 2011 before it goes international.

Most recently, the Potter franchise received another shot in the arm when author J.K. Rowling unveiled the full extent of her latest project – Pottermore – a free-to-use website that will feature "extensive new materials about the characters, places and objects in the much-loved stories," all written by Rowling. From her announcement online on the Pottermore website, Rowling says the content on Pottermore will supplement the Harry Potter stories, rather than create brand new stories.

In Pottermore, Potter fans will be able to purchase Harry Potter ebooks, find new illustrations and take part in the interactive "Moments", which will allow users to "move through the chapters" and experience places like Hogwarts and Diagon Alley firsthand.

In a statement released by Rowling about the new site, she said: "I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation. I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings and other content in a safe and friendly environment." in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures and TGV Cinemas and supported by Galaxie magazine and RedFM, will be holding a Harry Potter Retrospective – the screening of all Harry Potter movies – from 5 to 11 July climaxing with the premiere of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 on 12 July with an additional screening of the final movie on 18 July at TGV Sunway Pyramid. Remember the journey before it all ends in an epic battle between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. Click here for details.

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Lohan released from house arrest after 35 days

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 05:32 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP): Lindsay Lohan was freed from house arrest Wednesday morning, ending a drama-filled 35 days and opening the next chapter in the troubled starlet's efforts to put her court troubles behind her.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Lohan's electronic monitoring equipment was removed shortly before 10 a.m. and she was removed from the jail system around 10:20 a.m.

Lohan is not entirely free. She still has to complete 480 hours of community service, complete an anti-shoplifting class and comply with other terms of her release.

Her spokesman, Steve Honig, said Lohan is "very focused" on resuming her community service, which is being performed at a downtown Los Angeles women's shelter and will also require her to work at the county's morgue.

Lohan, 24, was sentenced to four months in jail in May for violating her probation in a 2007 drunken driving case by taking a necklace from a jewelry store without permission earlier this year. She pleaded no contest to the theft and received no additional penalties, but will remain on probation for several more months.

Lohan's shorter confinement was the result of jail overcrowding in Los Angeles' only women's jail and mandatory credits, but it was not without drama.

Just days into her captivity, authorities were summoned to Lohan's home in the beachside community of Venice because her monitoring equipment reported her out of the area. The equipment had to be replaced because of a faulty battery in the actress' ankle monitor, and after officials learned that a houseguest had spilled a drink on another piece of monitoring equipment.

Lohan was summoned to court last week after probation officials told a judge the actress had tested positive for alcohol. Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner determined after reviewing Lohan's case file that the actress was no longer required to undergo random drug tests and that she had not been ordered by a previous judge to abstain from alcohol.

Sautner did order the actress to stop hosting parties while serving house, telling her at one point, "Don't give people a reason to hate you."

Lohan has struggled to put a pair of 2007 drunken driving and drug arrests behind her. She was jailed twice and sent to rehab twice last year for failing to comply with the terms of her probation. She was accused of the necklace theft roughly three weeks after her release from rehab.

She has said she wants to resume acting and remains a cast member of a biopic of the infamous New York Gotti crime family titled, "Gotti: In The Shadow of My Father." Shooting on the film is expected to begin later this year.

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