Sabtu, 2 Julai 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Cheers and some boos greet royal tour in Quebec

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 09:02 PM PDT

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Well-wishers outnumbered anti-monarchist protesters greeting Britain's Prince William and Kate on Saturday as the royal newlyweds' tour of Canada arrived in French-speaking Quebec.

No violence was reported, but groups supporting Quebec nationalism reminded onlookers the monarchy is still a touchy subject in Quebec, where Britain's defeat of France in 1759 gave it sovereignty over Canada.

Demonstrators protest before the arrival of Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, at the Institut de tourisme et d'hotellerie du Quebec in Montreal July 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Phil Noble)

One protest sign in English read; "Parasite Go Home" while another read in French; "Free Scotland. Free Quebec" according to Reuters photographers on the scene.

The protesters used megaphones to shout over a line of riot police, but their calls were often countered by chants from the larger crowd supporting the nine-day visit that began on Thursday in the national capital Ottawa.

Monarchy supporters hope the tour will reinvigorate the royal family's image in Canada, which they would also nominally rule if they eventually become king and queen of Britain.

Aides say the couple are enjoying the visit, and have occasionally fallen behind schedule after taking more time than had been scheduled to greet well-wishers.

The couple visited a hospital neonatal unit, then went to a cooking school where they donned chefs' uniforms to cover William's dark blue suit and Kate's gray Kensington dress as they prepared food during a cooking lesson.

The couple are scheduled to spend the night on a Canadian Navy frigate as it travels down the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Quebec City.

(Reporting by Louise Egan, Chris Wattie and Christine Muschi; Writing by Allan Dowd in Vancouver; Editing by Eric Walsh)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Monaco's Prince Albert marries in royal pomp

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 08:01 PM PDT

MONACO (Reuters) - Monaco's sovereign ruler Prince Albert wed South African Charlene Wittstock on Saturday in an opulent ceremony attended by European royalty and the international elite, fanning hopes for a new era of glamour.

Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco depart from the Monaco palace after their religious wedding ceremony in Monaco July 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Joel Ryan/Pool)

The 53-year-old married Wittstock, 33, in the courtyard of his palace at the foot of a marble double staircase lined with white flowers.

The long-awaited nuptials are the first of a ruling prince in Monaco since the prince's father, Prince Rainier III, married the Hollywood star Grace Kelly in 1956, and comes two months after Britain's wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Albert winked at his bride, who smiled shyly, as they sat on red velvet chairs holding hands, while the voice of a South African singer filled the courtyard.

The long white train of Wittstock's Giorgio Armani duchess satin gown encrusted with thousands of tiny crystals flowed over the red carpet. The groom wore the white dress uniform of Monaco's Carabinieri royal guard.

Albert's sisters Princesses Caroline and Stephanie, both dressed in pink, smiled as they watched the couple wed in front of a crowd including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, Armani and opera singer Renee Fleming.

Gathered to witness the event was a who's-who of Europe's royal families: Albert, King of Belgium, Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Felipe and Letizia of Spain among others.

Another 3,500 attendees sat outside to watch the festivities on giant TV screens.

The couple married in a civil ceremony in the palace throne room on Friday.

The wedding puts a spotlight on the tiny principality built around images of luxury and its ancient House of Grimaldi whose family members have ruled since 1297.

One royal fan travelled from the Netherlands to cheer and thousands of well-wishers are expected to flood the city state surrounded on three sides by France.

"We have followed the whole history, the life of the principality of Monaco," said Meina Meyes. "We really feel like part of the family because we know everything about them."

After the ceremony, Her Serene Highness will lay her bouquet at a nearby chapel, just as Princess Grace once did. A wedding dinner prepared by chef Alain Ducasse and royal ball awaits at the Monte Carlo opera, followed by fireworks.

Home to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix race car, Monaco is still considered a playground of the very rich: residents pay no income or property tax, and yachts crowd the port.

But tragedy and scandal, including admissions from Albert that he fathered two illegitimate children, have chipped away at its mystique over the years.

Just days ago, rumours of discontent threatened to mar the festivities. The palace strongly denied a report in French weekly L'Express that Wittstock tried to skip town on a one-way flight to South Africa and that it took "infinite persuasion" by the prince and his entourage to change her mind.

The son of Prince Rainier and Kelly -- who as Princess Grace ushered in an era of glamour to the tiny city-state and who died in a car crash in 1982 -- Albert met Wittstock while presiding over a swimming race in 2000.

Wittstock, whose champagne blonde hair and sculpted figure draws comparisons with Kelly, is a former national champion swimmer from middle-class roots. She stopped competing in 2007.

The culmination of months of painstaking preparations, the event has generated building excitement in the 8,000 Monegasques who hold citizenship from the world's smallest independent state after the Vatican City.

(Writing by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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U.S. slams Gaddafi threat to attack Europe

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 08:01 PM PDT

MADRID/TRIPOLI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stepped up Western calls on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to quit, brushing off his threat to attack Europeans in their homes and offices.

Still image taken from a video distributed by Libyan state television shows Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi welcoming South African President Jacob Zuma in Tripoli May 30, 2011. (REUTERS/ Libya TV via Reuters TV/Files)

"Instead of issuing threats, Gaddafi should put the well-being and the interests of his own people first and he should step down from power and help facilitate a democratic transition," Clinton told reporters on a trip to Spain.

In an address relayed to some 100,000 supporters in Tripoli's Green Square on Friday, Gaddafi urged NATO to halt its bombing campaign or risk seeing Libyan fighters descend on Europe "like a swarm of locusts or bees".

"Retreat, you have no chance of beating this brave people," Gaddafi said.

"They can attack your homes, your offices and your families, which will become military targets just as you have transformed our offices, headquarters, houses and children into what you regard as legitimate military targets," he said.

NATO announced it had stepped up strikes on Gaddafi forces in west Libya including the capital Tripoli, saying it had carried out more than 50 attacks since Monday.

Spanish Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said the alliance stance was unchanged.

"Spain's and the international coalition's response is to maintain the unity and determination with which we have been working these past months," she said.

Libyan rebels who had advanced to within 80 km (50 miles) of the capital were stopped in their tracks on Friday by a barrage of rocket fire from government forces, underlining the dogged resistance of Gaddafi troops to a five-month revolt.

"(It) was obviously a strategic withdrawal because of the battlefield situation and the amount of bombardment that the revolutionary forces were receiving," said rebel spokesman Ahmed Bani. "But we hope to counter that within the next 48 hours."

In Tripoli, a senior source in Gaddafi's government said there was reliable intelligence indicating the rebels were planning to attack oil export terminals in the eastern towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf.

"The Libyan government will do whatever (possible) to prevent such attacks," the source, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters.

"It urges international oil companies as well as international insurance companies to put pressure on their governments to force the rebels, who are supported by NATO, to stop their destructive operations."


Coalition military officials refuse to characterise the situation on the ground as a stalemate after a 104-day bombing campaign that has strained alliance firepower and tested unity, with internal divisions over strategy surfacing.

Analysts say part of NATO's strategy is to use the attacks to hinder efforts by authorities to put down any future uprising in Tripoli.

Britain's Defence Ministry said Apache helicopters hit three tanks and a bunker firing position in an attack on an army camp west of Tripoli late on Friday. Libyan state TV said NATO also bombed the central Al-Jufrah region on Saturday.

A document seen by Reuters showed African Union leaders had agreed on Friday that member states would not execute the arrest warrant for Gaddafi, leaving open the possibility that he could go into exile in one of the African Union's 53 nations.

The grouping also offered to host talks on a ceasefire and a transition to democratic government, but did not call on Gaddafi to step down and left open whether he had a future role.

Mansour Sayf al Nasr, the rebels' representative in France, told reporters at the summit in Equatorial Guinea: "We understood that the spirit of the document is that Gaddafi will not have a role to play in the future of Libya."

Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the Benghazi-based rebel council, told Reuters:

"We reject the African Union proposal because it includes nothing concerning our demands. We are only demanding one thing: Gaddafi's resignation ... We can gain freedom and democracy only if Gaddafi steps down.

"I think we can obtain freedom only through military operations and we will be able to do this."

In Tripoli, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim did not comment on whether any AU-hosted negotiations should start on the assumption that Gaddafi would step down, saying only: "We have been saying for months that we will have talks with all parties."

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business


Posted: 01 Jul 2011 07:53 PM PDT

Saturday July 2, 2011

WITH reference to the article in Starbiz on July 1 titled "Satang reprimanded and fined", Bursa Malaysia would like to highlight an error in reporting in paragraph 2 which stated that "The company has been without an audit committee since Nov 1, 2010 due to the resignation of the audit member with Malaysian Institute of Accountants qualifications".

Bursa would like to reiterate that its media release dated June 30 stated that while the board of directors of Satang had on Nov 1, 2010 approved the dissolution of its audit committee entirely with immediate effect, the company had reconstituted the audit committee on Nov 3, 2010 following a directive from Bursa.

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Eversendai posts 4-sen premium on Main Market debut

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 07:49 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares in Eversendai Corp Bhd closed at RM1.72 on its debut on the Main Market yesterday, 2 sen higher from its initial public offering (IPO) price of RM1.70 per share.

A total of 59.5 million shares changed hands. The shares opened at RM1.74 for a premium of 4 sen per share.

Eversendai is an integrated steel contractor, specialising in structural steel supply, design and erection.

Speaking at a press conference after the listing yesterday, group managing director Datuk A.K. Nathan said he was happy with the opening price and hoped the momentum would continue to build up.

"This is one of the greatest moment of my life to have the group listed. With our strong fundamental, we will continue to bid for more jobs" he said yesterday at a press conference after the listing.

Nathan said Eversendai had achieved its target turnover of RM1bil for this financial year ending Dec 31, 2011 after securing the RM139mil Qatar contract from its major client Qatar Petroleum. The job entails works for Phase-4A of the Nakilat Shipyard at Port Ras Laffan.

Nathan said the group had achieved 94% of the target turnover in May.

"We will continue to bid jobs locally and internationally. There are good opportunities for us in the local market and we expect to win some from the third quarter onward," he said adding that the company was eyeing for some RM10.2bil worth of jobs.

Apart from the local market, Nathan said the group would scout for business opportunities in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and South-East Asia.

Eversendai's final institutional price was fixed at RM1.70 and final retail price at RM1.62. The group posted a net profit of RM22.56mil on revenue of RM207.85mil for the first quarter ended March 31, largely due to contribution from the company's projects in the Middle East.

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How Sungei Buloh became the horticultural hub of Malaysia

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 07:44 PM PDT

GARDENERS all over Malaysia know of Sungei Buloh as the hub of horticulture in Malaysia. Centred on the grounds of the old leprosy hospital and settlement, Sg Buloh has, in the past 50 years, become the place to see what is new and available in garden plants.

In the early years of the 20th century, lepers were sent into exile to islands such as Pangkor Laut and Pulau Jerejak. In 1930, the hospital and settlement in Sg Buloh were established by the government of British Malaya to serve as a central facility to treat and house leprosy patients and the island settlements were gradually closed.

The patients lived in simple one-room duplex houses with a bit of land around each house on which they could grow vegetable and keep chickens. The patients and their families had practically no prospects of getting out and re-integrating with society at large.

By the 1950s the doctors were confident that leprosy had been beaten medically, but social acceptance of cured patients posed a huge problem. Then John Wyatt-Smith of the Forest Research Institute at Kepong a few miles down the road decided to do something about it. He arranged for about 30 able-bodied men from the settlement to be employed at the institute (now Forest Reserve Institute of Malaysia or FRIM). This was no small undertaking.

No other organisation was willing to offer employment. FRIM was able to take the lead because John Wyatt-Smith was such a respected and towering figure at the institute and the forest department.

When I joined FRIM in 1964, Wyatt-Smith had just retired, but the men from Sg Buloh had become indispensable. They did all the toughest jobs, moving heavy loads, felling trees, clearing land, and looking after the plant nursery.

In the process they earned the respect of their co-workers. Those not employed by the institute were encouraged by the hospital to take up the growing of ornamental plants, to sell by the roadside in front of their houses.

Slowly overcoming their fears, people in KL began to go to Sg Buloh to buy plants, because such plants were cheap compared with elsewhere. In the 1970s, the hospital organised a garden show, in which Lam Peng Sam and I were the judges.

My nurseryman at FRIM was Mat Isa bin Bulat. He died a few months ago, by then a highly successful businessman and living in a big bungalow in Sg Buloh. As a youth in Langkawi, Mat Isa's world crashed when he was diagnosed with leprosy. Sent to Sg Buloh for treatment, he was one of those selected to work in FRIM. I was at that time making an encyclopaedic survey of fruits, seeds and seedlings of forest trees.

This work would eventually be published in two thick volumes and become the reference textbook for those in the business of raising forest trees. At that time no such business existed.

Mat Isa looked after the hundreds of species of forest trees that I was raising, learning to recognise all the plants and their names. He learnt not only their Malay names but also their scientific names (Greek and Latin to most people) from the labels I attached to the plants. Then one day, he shocked everybody by announcing his resignation to go into business.

Kuala Lumpur was taking up urban greening in a big way and there was a willingness to try new species of trees from the forests. Mat Isa saw his opportunity. He could recognise and name hundreds of species of forest trees by their local as well as their scientific names. He rented land from his neighbours to set up nurseries in Sg Buloh, and was able to supply the growing demand.

I did not know how he was progressing until some years later when he overtook me on the on road to FRIM and waved cheerily. He was driving a Mercedes while was I driving my Datsun.

On another day, while having a drink with him in a kopitiam he told me how he had just lost a large sum of money. It was stolen from his car when he had stopped for lunch after withdrawing the money to pay salaries. It was something like RM 20,000. Did you report to the police?' He merely shrugged and said "what's the point". I guess when one has been through what Mat Isa has been through, the loss of RM 20,000 is not such a big disaster.

Over the years, Sg Buloh has become the centre of a highly innovative network of self-made men and women engaged in the horticultural business in Malaysia. This network keeps thousands of people employed, not only in Sg Buloh but also in feeder nurseries outside KL, and as far as Cameron Highlands and Muar. New flower varieties are usually first offered in Sg Buloh before they appear elsewhere.

From its original hub at the hospital area, flower nurseries have been established in the surrounding area. Sg Buloh provides a good example of how the best commercial or industrial hubs come into existence organically' through time. It requires the interaction of many individuals, in unique ways, in some unique place.

Such a hub can be easily destroyed but not easily duplicated elsewhere. As an example of how planned hubs can fall short, we have the so-called green lane' on the road from the Sg Buloh junction to the Rubber Research Institute. All along one side of the road, the land has been divided and let out to nurseries, but such nurseries are strung out for several miles, and the road has become a noisy, busy highway.

It is unpleasant to walk from one nursery to the next and dangerous to park and re-park on the roadside. It is also impossible to turn back. At the historic hospital hub, one can visit a large number of different nurseries within a small area, in peace and quiet. Now that leprosy and been beaten and its hospital relegated to history, the horticultural hub and its historical buildings, especially the one-room duplex houses, survives as a reminder of a huge human tragedy overcome by human determination. The Malaysian horticulture industry will suffer a serious setback if its Sg Buloh hub is lost.

l Botanist and researcher Francis Ng is the former deputy director-general of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia. He is now the botanical consultant to Bandar Utama City Centre Sdn Bhd and the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre.

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Syafiq out to cash in on rare European outing

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 06:03 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The San Marino Open and the City of Barcelona International Trophy will provide the national men bowlers a rare international outing, due to financial constraints faced by the Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC).

The San Marino Open began yesterday and will run until July 10 while the Barcelona tournament will be from July 12-17.

One man looking to cash in on the European outing is Mohd Syafiq Ridhwan Abdul Malek, who is hoping to win both tournaments and improve on his ranking in the European Bowling Tour (EBT).

Syafiq, winner of the Brunswick Euro Challenge in France in March, is ninth in the standings on 250 points.

Finland's Osku Palermaa sits on top of the standings with 590 points. "I just played in one EBT tournament and managed to be in the top 10 until now.

"I want to go all out and improve on my ranking in San Marino and Barcelona," said Syafiq.

"We don't have many overseas tournaments now and, even if we go, not all of us (men) can go."

Besides Syafiq, the other men bowlers for the European trip are Zulmazran Zulkifli, Adrian Ang and Alex Liew.

"I understand that the focus will be on the women this year as they have the World Championships in September," said Syafiq.

"That's why I intend to make full use of every chance that comes my way."

The national bowlers are expected to leave for San Marino on Tuesday.

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James to have heart-to-heart talk with BAM supremo Nadzmi

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 06:03 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk James Selvaraj is looking forward to meeting Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh before deciding whether to accept the high performance director job on a full-time basis.

James yesterday expressed surprise over BAM's decision to appoint a full-time high performance director.

On Friday, the BAM exco, chaired by Nadzmi, admitted that their decision to hire a part-time high performance director was not working out and that they wanted bring in someone on a full-time basis.

Ironically, it was BAM who offered James, a senior manager with Bata Malaysia, the job on a part-time basis.

The 61-year-old James said he had a lot of things to highlight to Nadzmi before committing to a full-time job.

"I am surprised with this decision as the BAM were clear about my position when they offered me the job. I do not like to wash dirty linen in public but I have been working as a high performance director for the last 10 months and I still do not know in what my role is," said James.

"Since I started, the selections of athletes and coaches for all the tournaments were not done by me. It was done by BAM officials.

"The high performance director is the one with knowledge about the game ... not the administrators. Don't you think I should be the one to decide on who should go where? After all, I was selected for my knowledge in the technical part of the game and my experience.

"Surprisingly though, all the coaches have been directed to hand in the names of their players for the Kedah Open (July 13-17) to me. Finally, I have been given the recognition and due respect to approve the selection of the players. But why now – now after 10 months?"

James said there were many other factors that needed to be considered before he would want to become a full-time high performance director.

"Will I get a good package ... better than what Bata is offering me? I have been with the company for 31 years. I have to re-look everything. More importantly, I want to know my job description," he said.

James said that he respected Nadzmi's decision to discuss the matter after the World Championships, which will be held in London from Aug 8-14.

"I have agreed with Nadzmi to discuss the matter after the world meet. I hope to meet with him alone. I want to have a heart-to-heart talk with him. For now, I will focus on preparing the team for the world event," he said.

James will join the team, led by world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, to Bath University for their centralised training from July 27-Aug 4 and he will continue the journey with the team to Wembley for the world meet.

This will be the second time that he is following the team overseas since he began work in September. He was with the natioal team at last week's Indonesian Open, which Chong Wei won for the fourth time.

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Coach Kim Her splits up Hee Chun-Wee Kiong combination

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 06:02 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: National back-up coach Tan Kim Her has finally put an end to the miserable partnership of Mak Hee Chun-Tan Wee Kiong after the duo's form took a dip following a misunderstanding between them.

Kim Her will now look for new partners for Hee Chun and Wee Kiong after the World Championships, which will be held in London from Aug 8-14.

Hee Chun-Wee Kiong were once the country's top pair, rising steadily to as high as 21st in the world rankings. However, bad vibes between the duo following uninspiring performances at the Guangzhou Asian Games spoiled everything.

Kim Her gave them several chances to mend their ways, with the recent Singapore Open being their last platform to salvage their partnership. Instead, the duo crashed out in the second round.

It was obvious to all that their partnership was beyond repair.

The duo started playing together early last year are now ranked 43rd in the world.

"I spoke up about their future as a pair at the coaching and training committee meeting (on Thursday) and we agreed that it was best to split them up," said Kim Her yesterday.

"Mak and Tan have their own specialities but it's unfortunate they do not have good chemistry. In doubles play, it is important to trust your partner and to have mutual respect. Skill alone is not enough."

Kim Her said he would tinker with the other partnerships to accommodate both Hee Chun and Wee Kiong.

"The only pair that will stick together are Lim Khim Wah-Goh Wei Shem. They are progressing well. We will continue to send them out for tournaments to help establish themselves as a reliable pair. We will look at other partnerships," said Kim Her.

"I will have a clearer picture on the new partners for Hee Chun and Wee Kiong after the world meet."

The other pairs under Kim Her's charge are Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Ming, Pang Zheng Lin-Yew Hong Kheng, Tan Wee Tat-Tan Yip Jiun, Teo Kok Siang and Chan Peng Soon. However, Kah Ming and Kok Siang are injured.

Peng Soon is on a loan to the mixed doubles department as he has seeks to qualify for the next year's London Olympic Games with Goh Liu Ying.

Meanwhile, Kim Her has listed the pairing of Hee Chun-Hong Kheng and Wee Kiong-Yao Han for the Kedah Open, which will be held from July 13-17.

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The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Despite Greek ban, M'sian team on Gaza aid mission determined to proceed

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 04:33 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian delegation aboard the Freedom Flotilla 2 has resolved to continue onward to Gaza despite a ban by the Greek Government.

Life Line For Gaza (LL4G) Malaysia president Norazman Mohd Shamsuddin said they would proceed if their ship's captain agreed.

"If the captain is pressured or prosecuted and is unable to continue the voyage, the Malaysian delegation will protest at Corfu where we are docked," he said in a statement Saturday.

The Greek Government has banned vessels planning to break a sea blockade by Israel from leaving its shores.

The vessels, sailing as part of the Freedom Flotilla 2, are carrying humanitariam aid for Palestinians in Gaza.

Norazman also said the delegation would also join other protesters in Athens to protest the ban.

Meanwhile LL4G crisis management team secretary Hishamuddin Hashim said a group of non-governmental organisations and political parties would band together to deliver a memorandum to the Greek embassy here on Monday at 2pm.

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Muhyiddin: Padi subsidies to be maintained

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 03:54 AM PDT

ALOR PONGSU (Perak): The Government has given its assurance that the subsidy for padi cultivation will be maintained and will not be reduced like other subsidies.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Government recognised the important role played by padi farmers in ensuring sufficient supply of the essential item.

"Other subsidies such as petrol subsidy had to be rationalised because we want to make sure that only those who are deserving will get the support from the Government. That is why we give various subsidies to padi farmers in recognition of their important role," he said in his speech at a meet-the-people session here Saturday.

Muhyiddin said as a former Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, he was aware that there were many problems faced by padi farmers in the country despite the various subsidies given by the Government.

"Despite the various subsidies being provided, we need to see how to tackle the perception that padi cultivation is only ventured into by the poor people.

"We want padi farmers to become successful agricultural entrepreneurs as in other sectors in the country," he added.

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Bersih 2.0 an unlawful organisation, says ROS

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 03:25 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) was declared an unlawful organisation effective Friday, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) said Saturday.

In a statement, ROS director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman said the declaration was made by the Home Minister under Section 5 of the Societies Act 1966.

Investigations showed that Bersih 2.0 was not a registered organisation, he said.

The statement said Bersih 2.0 had been moving actively, creating unease among the people.

It said the coalition had also been spreading pamphlets containing propaganda with the aim of toppling the government.

Its activities had brought about negative impact on the country's image and threatened public order, security, economic prosperity and the country's sovereignty, and undermined harmony among the people, it said.

Bersih 2.0 plans to organise illegal rallies in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak on July 9 purportedly to call for a clean and fair election. - Bernama

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds finalize divorce

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 03:13 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP): The Green Lantern and Black Widow, or at least the actors who play them on the big screen, are officially single again.

Court records show a judge finalized the divorce Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson on Friday in Los Angeles.

Reynolds appeared in the recent film adaptation of the DC comic "The Green Lantern," filed for divorce in December.

The filing came shortly after the couple, which kept their courtship and nuptials private, announced they had split.

The final divorce judgment filed Friday did not say how the pair would divide their assets.

Johansson portrays the Black Widow in "Iron Man 2" and the upcoming "Avengers" film.

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China documentary directors say they have freedom

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 09:29 PM PDT

HONG KONG (AP): Chinese directors attending a Hong Kong documentary festival say they enjoy significant creative freedom despite outside opinion of harsh censorship and oppression.

Filmmakers Zhou Hao and Ma Zhandong said late Friday that they can tackle most subjects they are interested in. Zhou's recent film "The Transition Period" features a county Chinese Communist Party secretary's drunken behavior. Ma's "One Day in May" follows a family recovering from the massive 2008 Sichuan province earthquake.

The directors' comments mainly apply to independent documentary makers who work outside the system, shooting without official permission and censorship. The downside is that it is impossible for their work to get wide releases in China.

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Shriver files papers to divorce Schwarzenegger

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 06:05 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Six weeks after Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed he had fathered a child out of wedlock, his wife Maria Shriver filed divorce papers Friday to end their marriage of 25 years.

The former television journalist and Kennedy family heir cited irreconcilable differences but offered no additional details about the breakup.

She also did not list a date when the couple separated, although they announced they had done so on May 9.

A week later, the Austrian-born former action star and former governor admitted he fathered a child with a member of his household staff years ago.

Shriver's filing does not indicate the couple has a prenuptial agreement, which likely means Schwarzenegger's earnings from his career as a Hollywood megastar will be evenly divided with his estranged wife.

She is seeking spousal support but any amount would be determined later, either through a settlement agreement or by a judge. The former couple's breakup is expected to be handled mostly behind closed doors.

Several of Schwarzenegger's biggest hits, including "Predator," "True Lies" and the blockbuster sequel "Terminator 2" were made during his marriage to Shriver.

Shriver was an award-winning television journalist but put her career on hold when Schwarzenegger ran for governor.

Economic disclosure forms filed when Schwarzenegger left as California governor in January show he has interests in at least eight entities each worth $1 million or more. An exact tally of his wealth is impossible to calculate.

The forms show the "Terminator" star still retains rights to intellectual property from his days as a fitness guru and movie star.

Shriver's holdings are more modest but are listed in the disclosure as being worth more than $1 million. She is a member of the Kennedy family and is a beneficiary of some of its assets, and also owns rights and royalties from her work as an author, the filings show.

In recent months, Shriver has appeared in videos posted on YouTube in which she talks about stress in her life, the weight of expectations and the search for faith in a troubled world.

She signed her divorce petition roughly two weeks ago, but her attorney filed it Friday afternoon.

Shriver and Schwarzenegger were married in 1986 and have four children together, including two sons who are still minors. Shriver's petition seeks joint custody of the teens, who are 17 and 13.

Schwarzenegger's spokesman Adam Mendelsohn declined comment in an email. Shriver's attorney Laura Wasser did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Shriver stood by her husband's side as he ran for California's governorship in 2003, even after the Los Angeles Times reported accusations by several women that they had been groped by the movie star.

Schwarzenegger later said he "behaved badly sometimes" and was twice elected to the governorship.

He failed to fix the state's chronic budget problems and left office in January with an eye toward environmental projects and a return to the big screen.

One of his projects was an animated collaboration with comic book legend Stan Lee titled "The Governator," but the project was shelved after Schwarzenegger admitted fathering the child out of wedlock.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro Watch

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 05:47 AM PDT


Amateur photographers can enhance their photography skills at the Ensearch photography workshop today from 9am-noon (session 1) or 2pm-5pm (session 2) at Faber Facilities Sdn Bhd Training Room 2, Lot 110, 1st Floor, Faber Towers, Jalan Desa Bahagia, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free. For details, call 03-6156 9807/08.


The New Life Sanctuary together with Universiti Malaya Medical Centre will be organising a blood donation campaign on July 16, from 9am-5pm at G02 & 03, Jalan SS6/16A, Dataran Glomac, Kelana Jaya. There will be free health screening tests, health talks and cooking demonstrations. For details, call 03-7880 8977.


Zurmang Kagyud Buddhist Devotees Association wil hold a talk entitled "Happiness Lies Within You". The 12th Zurmang Gharwang Rinpoche will give a talk on July 10, 10am-4pm at Kolej Bandar Utama (opposite Centrepoint) Multipurpose Hall, 3rd Floor, 1, Persiaran Bukit Utama, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. For details, call 012-218 2351 (Helen) or 012-231 0656 (Bin Eng).


Rainforest World Music Festival will be held from July 8-10 at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Kuching bringing together some of the world's most electic performers in the world music scene. A sneak preview of the bands will be held at Taylor's University Lakeside Campus today. For details, call 03-2080 8305 (Angel Ng).


There will be a free kinesiology talk on Monday at 7pm at 119B-4 Klang Lama New Business Centre, 3rd Mile, Jalan Klang Lama, KL. Participants will get an insight into the kinesiology technique. Kinesiology is a muscle-testing technique where you can resolve trapped or blocked issues which manifests into some kind of behaviour or attitude or illness. For details, call 012-267 6400 (Sree).


Jacob's Walk of Life that encourages better health in an exciting 6km walk will be held at Taman Botani Negara, Shah Alam, from 8.30am on July 17. Registration closes on July 8. Sign up for the walk & get more info via


Wawasan Open University will hold an Open Day tomorrow at Level 3, Menara PGRM, Jalan Pudu Ulu, Cheras, from 10.30am-4.30pm. University staff will be on hand to offer guidance on its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. For details, call 03-9281 7323.


Workshop on "21 Days to a Pain-Free Back", will be held in Block A, Surian Condominium, No 1 Jalan PJU7/12B, Mutiara Damansara on July 10, from 9am-4.30pm. For details, call 03-7713 3797 (Ridzwan).

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Saturday Events

Posted: 02 Jul 2011 05:47 AM PDT


1MALAYSIA Wedding Fiesta will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre today and tomorrow, under the KL Festival. Aim behind the event is to bring the various cultures of our vibrant nation together to celebrate the multitude of wedding traditions present in the nation. For details, call 03-6203 766 or Jeff at 016-202 7666 or Ramesh at 016-221 0207 or visit


MALAYSIAN Philharmonic Orchestra presents Family Fun Day concerts today at 3pm and tomorrow at 2.30pm and 4.30pm at Dewan Filharmonik Petronas Twin Towers in KLCC. Conductor Kevin Field, presenter Alsadair Malloy and the MPO will tantalise the audience with songs from around the world. For details, call 03-2051 7672 (Harry).


'AROUSE' an exhibition of feminity where two female artists Utin Rini and Chong Ai Lei explore the feminine subject and the paintings are showcased at House of Matahati (HOM) from today until July 16. All artworks can be viewed at HOM, 6A Jalan Cempaka 16, Taman Cempaka, Ampang. For details, call 012-373 6004 (Mimie Baharuddin).


UPTOWN Sunday Automart is relaunched tomorrow from 9am-3pm. Car enthusiasts wanting to share tips or get some accessories can head over to the automart at 12C and 14C, Jalan SS21/62, Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya. For details, call 03-7731 3451 or 012-296 6386 (ML Chai).


THE Yamaha Electone Festival aims to provide a wholesome and quality music education for children from as young as three, will be held on tomorrow, 3pm-6pm at the Dewan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Pusat Pelancongan Malaysia in Jalan Ampang. For details, call 012-376 8339 (Mary Ann Liew).


RESIDENTS of Jalan Limau Purut, Limau Besar, Limau Manis and upper Lorong Maarof in Bangsar are organising a jumble sale to raise funds for their community activities tomorrow, 10am-3pm at No. 1, Jalan Limau Purut. For details, call 012-283 1972 (Sulina).


JAPANESE film titled "Hotel Hibiscus" will be aired today at 3pm at the Mini P. Ramlee Cinema, Finas at Jalan Hulu Kelang, Ampang. Admission is free. For details, call 03-2284 6228.


FRIENDS of Bandar Harapan, in Ara Damansara will be holding their first "Green Bazaar" today. Interested parties can bring product from their homes to be sold or barter trade. Come share gardening tips and exchange or sell old garden tools. For details, call 017-575 9016 (Peter) or 019-211 7196 (David).


THE Lawrence Wright Jazz Ensemble will perform tonight at the Alexis Bistro Ampang in Great Eastern Mall. The members in this group come together to create art for listeners who are looking for musical twist and turns, strong sense of style, elegance and most of all, fun. Cover charge is RM25 and show starts at 10pm. Table bookings for diners only. For details, call 03-4260 2288 or visit


WEI-LING Contemporary at The Gardens Mall in KL will be hosting the "Art Caged / Uncaged" group exhibition where artworks will literally hang off the rafters. Featuring 13 Malaysian artists, the exhibition was inspired by classic bird singing competitions, the kind most South-East Asians would have once seen at neighbourhood fields where men would sit patiently while a judge went around listening to the songs of their birds. Exhibition ends July 30. Opening hours: 10am to 10pm daily. For details, call 03-2260 1106 or 017-887 7216.


THERE will be an "Aesthetics, Preventive Care and Oral Health" talk at the Kayangan Hall, DEMC Specialist Hospital, Section 14, Shah Alam today from 9.30am-noon. There will be free consultation from medical experts, free skin analysis and other promotions. Admission is free. Seats are limited. For details, call 03-5515-1965 or e-mail


ATELIER Art Space is an art exhibition entitled "Visualize" by six artists; Wong Eng Leong, Tey Beng Tze, Wong Min Lik, Lim Keh Soon, Hee Chee Way and Chong Kim Chiew at its premises at D-7-3, Jaya One, Jalan Universiti, Section 13, PJ till July 10. The gallery is open from 10am-2pm today while it is open from 10am-6pm (Mon-Fri). For details, call 012-282 6125.


THOSE who would like to find out about Taylor's University can visit its Open Day today and tomorrow from 10am-5pm, at its campus in Sunway. One of the highlights of the two-day event are the free talks by renowned Feng Shui consultant, Joey Yap, on topics "Choose the Right Career Path for You" and "Feng Shui & Architecture". Admission for the talks is free and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Career guidance counsellors, lecturers and deans will be present to answer all questions. Student ambassadors will take visitors around the new campus to view its up-to-date facilities. For details, call 03-5629 5000, e-mail or visit


THE 47th Ikebana international exhibition and hi-tea, will be held at the Park Royal Hotel today at 1.30pm together with Japanese cultural performance. For details, call 012-379 9211 (Paulene).

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Double joy for Mizz Nina

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 07:29 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Local pop star Mizz Nina wed her rock star fiance Noh Salleh of indie band Hujan yesterday – which also happened to be her birthday.

The celebrity couple solemnised their union in a private akad nikah ceremony at her parents' home in Ukay Heights in Ampang, Selangor.

Giving away the bride was her billionaire banker dad and AmBank Group chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim.

Also present were her mother Puan Sri Arishah Tuanku Maamor, Noh's mum Dayang Soraya Abang Fadzail and 150 of their family members and close friends.

At the akad nikah, Noh presented his wife with seven trays of hantaran (gifts) comprising betelnut, mas kahwin (bridal money), a jewellery set, an iPad 2 and a traditional Sarawakian cake.

He also gave her RM11,111.11 in wang hantaran (spending money).

The newlyweds, in matching black and white traditional Malay outfits, said they could not wait to start their married life.

When asked if they had any immediate baby plans, the songstress, famous for her song What You Waiting For, laughed and said: "Oh, not yet, but if Allah wants to grant me the gift of a child as soon as possible, I will be extremely thankful.

"Noh and I want to dedicate the first two years of our marriage to building our respective careers. We want to build a strong foundation for our family and be good role models to our children."

Mizz Nina and Noh will host a wedding reception at the Shangri-La Hotel here tomorrow, followed by a media reception at the Double Tree Hotel on Wednesday before heading to their honeymoon in the Maldives, Britain and Italy.

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Class of ‘78 Assuntarians walk down memory lane

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 05:09 PM PDT

THE tight hugs and excited squeaks summed up the joy of the members of the Class of 1978 from Assunta Secondary School when they met up for the first time in 33 years.

Dressed to the nines, about 100 of them gathered at Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya last Saturday for a reunion and to celebrate their 50th birthday.

They chatted lively among themselves and updated each other on their latest happenings.

Ruth Shamini Tucker flew in from Sydney, Australia specially for the gathering.

"It is so amazing to be here finally after anticipating it for a long time. It is the best thing I have ever done.

"We recalled the nicknames we used to have for each other and tried to match the names with faces," said the bookkeeper, who migrated to Down Under a month after graduating from Assunta.

For many, the opportunity to meet up with their then teachers and headmistress, Datin Paduka Sister Enda Ryan, were a priceless one.

Kuhaam Nannithamby said she was reminded of the "Thinking Pool" and "Woodlands" within their school compound.

"Sister Enda sent the naughty ones to the pool to reflect on their mistakes. I have never been sent there but we loved to sit around the small pond to study.

"We also frequented Woodlands, which was located next to the canteen and had a lot of trees and benches," the real estate agent reminisced.

Sister Enda, 83, was a picture of health and zest as she addressed the Assuntarians, whom she fondly referred to as her children.

She said she could remember quite a number of her former students, "especially the naughty ones."

"As we get older, we do not know how much time is left. So it is good to catch up.

"This is also the Assunta family spirit which we are so proud of. We visit those who are sick, attend weddings and funerals together," she said.

Sister Enda drew laughter from the floor when she talked about her car that carried the plate number "BAD 513", and how the Assuntarians removed their school badges from their uniforms, telling her that they were from another girl school in the vicinity when caught playing truant and hanging out with the La Salleans.

Despite having left school for more than three decades, the ladies had not forgotten about Sister Enda's favourite phrase.

When she ended her speech with "Do your best…" the rest of the ladies in chorus finished the sentence for her, "… and God will do the rest."

All of them then sang the Assunta school song. Valerie Manuel, an events company director, said she almost cried singing the song.

"It brought me back to the lawn where we sang the song during assembly, as the school flag was being raised up the pole," she said.

She added that work commitments have made her lost contact with the rest of the schoolmates but she made a promise to herself to keep in touch with them after the gathering.

The ladies later sang a happy birthday song to mark their big 50 and cut a butter cake.

"It is a simple cake with a simple icing — the way we had butter cakes in our time," Kuhaam said.

The organising committee also announced that proceeds from the night's event would be contributed to their alma mater.

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Calls for reform in leadership

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 05:08 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: In an effort to rejuvenate the party, some 15 disgruntled MIC branch chairmen are calling for reforms in the state leadership.

They wanted the party to mirror the MCA which was successful in injecting new blood into the party.

Taman Ungku Tun Aminah MIC branch chairman R. Vigneswaran who represented the group hoped that MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel would reshuffle the state's leadership line-up.

"It is high time for the party's senior leaders including Johor MIC chairman Datuk K. S. Balakrishnan give way to younger leaders to prove themselves," he said, adding that Balakrishnan has been at helm for 14 years.

He also voiced out about allocations totalling RM3mil not reaching the branches since 2008.

Vigneswaran added that when they wrote to the MIC leadership asking for the allocations, they were told that it would be given next year.

Pulai MIC youth deputy chairman P. Silva said that the allocations were meant to be used to fund youth activities, help out single mothers and helps sustain the branches.

"Without the allocations, we have been funding activities with money from our own pockets," he lamented.

Silva added that the state committee should submit a report to the party's president, the mentri besar's office and MIC branch chairmen to justify where the money was channelled to.

Kampung Seri Purnama branch chairman A. Martin, said that the state's committee members should be elected and not appointed because grassroot leaders understand the needs and wants of the locals better.

He also hit out at the some Johor assemblymen and said that they were not allowed to voice their frustration at the recent MIC convention.

When contacted, state MIC chairman Datuk K. S. Balakrishnan rubbished the allegations as baseless as everyone was given a chance to speak during the annual convention.

"We gave everyone full freedom to speak their mind on whatever issues they wished to bring up.

"As for the allocations, the state liaison committee's role is only to recommend which temples, Tamil schools and non-government organizations (NGOs) to distribute the money to," he said.

Balakrishnan added that he would not be contesting in the upcoming elections, as he wanted to retire.

"I wanted to step down from the post as state chairman but the party president told me to hold on so I did," he said.

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Chairman: Former members of Al-Arqam suspected to be operating in Tampoi

Posted: 01 Jul 2011 05:08 PM PDT

NUSAJAYA: Former members of the defunct Al-Arqam Islamic group may be trying to revive their movement under the banner of a business known as Global Ikhwan.

State religious committee chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman said the group comprising remnant members are operating under the new guise around Tampoi in Johor Baru.

Zainal added that religious authorities in the state are working together with the Home Ministry to monitor the situation closely to gather more information on the group.

"We are very concerned about these groups that promulgate misleading teachings, and are always on the look out and will take stern action against individuals or groups that are involved with these groups," he said.

Among the groups or teachings that have been declared illegal by the National Fatwa Council include the Al-Arqam group, the followers of the teachings of Ayah Pin, the Rufaqa Corporation and the Layar Bahtera group.

He added that the department had taken measures such as monitoring, advising and counselling, as well as detaining and charging those who remained stubborn.

Zainal said the department had also detained 25 members of the Layar Bahtera group in early June.

"We nabbed 22 men and 3 women, between 30 to 40 years in Taman Rinting near Masai," he said, adding that the group had been in operation for about three years with 30 members.

Members of the group. he added, did not pray five times a day, had their own interpretations of the Quran and Hadis, and their leader claimed to have knowledge of all mystical things.

Zainal also revealed that the Syiah group, which had been declared illegal by the National Fatwa Council in 1996, had been found to be in existence in Johor.

"The Johor government has taken corrective measures, including organising a few meetings with the group and counselling them.

"A seminar on the falseness of the Syiah understanding had been held in Johor Baru in February, and was attended by almost 1,000 people," he said. Books and pamphlets debunking the Syiah faith had been published and distributed to the public.

Zainal also urged members of the public to stay clear of these misleading faiths.

"If these teachings are not controlled, they may confuse the people.

"We will continue to monitor the situation closely along with the security forces to ensure the safety and peace of the people," he said.

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