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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

A Sexier, Edgier Twilight

Posted: 08 Jul 2011 12:01 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter): One of the most talked about shows on U.S. network CW, The Vampire Diaries, has given the young adult set an edgier, sexier Twilight for the small screen. But sustaining the fast-paced storytelling, balancing an ensemble cast and taking on showrunning duties on a popular series isn't without its challenges. Even with regular web buzz, the drama averaged less than 3 million viewers and a 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo in its most recent airing.

It's been a busy few weeks for series creator Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek). The TV vet spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the creative changes that took place on Diaries, maintaining the speed of its storytelling and what has changed in television since Dawson's Creek aired.

The Hollywood Reporter: Vampire Diaries runs through storylines very quickly. Are there any concerns about sustaining the pace?

Kevin Williamson: It's hard to do. In terms of burning through story, no. This is one of those shows where the story just keeps coming. We're already planning Season 3 and we already know what the big storyline is and the big thruline.

THR: What has been the biggest adjustment for Vampire Diaries since it began?

Williamson: One of the biggest changes is we've gone from a four-act structure to a six-act structure. It's been one of my biggest challenges, trying to keep momentum in the story. We're all about our twists and turns and to try to work all that through sometimes - with a teaser - a seven-act break, is a bit of a head-scratcher.

THR: The show attracts a similar demographic that Dawson's Creek garnered. How has that audience evolved?

Williamson: The audience has seen every story ever done. They know every twist and turn that you're going to do. Part of the way you can send them off-kilter and keep them intrigued is to move at a fast pace so you don't give them time to get bored, you don't give them time to think about what the next twist is going to be because it happens so fast.

THR: Was there a storyline you weren't 100 percent sold on in the beginning that ended up moving forward?

Williamson: I remember when we came up with the [Katherine arc]. I said we can only bring Katherine in once or twice. We had written the first episode and we were down on set watching Miss Nina [Dobrev] portray her in that little black outfit and slink her way to set. I said, ``OK, we might need to rethink this.'' We kept saying we'd see her in three or four episodes, and the next thing you know, Katherine took over. We recreated the storyline. She was always supposed to be the puppeteer and the mastermind off-camera, and we brought it on-camera. It gave us another true villain and for Damon another adversary.

THR: Has Twitter affected your ability to maintain a level of secrecy?

Williamson: I do feel like spoilers get out there, whether it be the blogs or leaks within the studio and network. We've had a couple of big twists spoiled on the Internet and I'm always sad about that. I do know that if something is spoiled and given up and [fans] read it, and then that episode airs three weeks later, it doesn't hurt us too much. Most people who read those blogs, they read it so they can learn the spoilers and it doesn't keep them from watching [the show].

THR: What is the most frequent note you receive from the network or studio?

Williamson: We write so quickly that it'll be a note going, ''Could you explain what they mean in this moment?'' We're such a serialized show that if you didn't watch last week, you're not going to understand this week. So we try our best in Act 1 to reset, we try to stick in exposition to explain what's going on.

THR: What were conversations like casting a pivotal character like Klaus, first seen in Season 2's Know Thy Enemy?

Williamson: I wanted someone who felt European, who felt old world. Clearly, I went to the accents. [Laughs] Joseph Morgan came in and he nailed it. He had the sense of humor that I wanted Klaus to have. The way we always described [the character] is, ``Klaus can out-Damon Damon.'' We teased this season between Damon and Klaus, but there's so much material, it's an open minefield next year between Damon, Stefan and Klaus. The originals, here they come.

THR: Why do you think some of the TV shows you created in your career didn't last?

Williamson: When I brought [the CW] Hidden Palms, I wrote it on spec and said, ``Here's a story about a kid who moves to Palm Springs and moves in next door to a teenage serial killer.'' It was a teenage Dexter. As soon as it got picked up, they went, ``We don't know about that Dexter part.'' It was a little bit of wrong time, wrong network. I probably should have put that script in a drawer and waited.

THR: As a showrunner, what is your biggest challenge?

Williamson: The deadlines. TV goes so fast; you're filming one [episode], you're editing one, you're prepping one and you're writing one all at once. You've got your hands in seven different episodes all at one time. It's hard to juggle from time to time, particularly if one has a hiccup.

THR: Any other projects?

Williamson: I'm halfway through a new feature and I'm halfway through a new TV show, but they're just sitting there waiting for me to dive into them. Both are in the thriller realm: one's horror and one's more dramatic thriller.

Catch The Vampire Diaries Season 2 on 8TV beginning 12 July (Tuesday) at 9.30pm.

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The Star Online: World Updates

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FACTBOX - Who is James Murdoch?

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 09:06 PM PDT

REUTERS - Tipped as heir to the News Corp media empire, Rupert Murdoch's youngest son James, 38, is under pressure to show he can contain a scandal over illegal phone hacking that is damning the family's name and slashing by the day the value of its media assets.

Here are some facts about James Murdoch:

James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, Europe and Asia, leaves News International offices in Wapping, London, July 7, 2011. (REUTERS/Stringer)


-- His appointment as chief executive of the British broadcaster BSkyB in 2003 was initially met with accusations of nepotism, but he impressed analysts and investors by broadening the company, of which News Corp owns 39 percent, from a pure pay-TV offering to include broadband and telephony.

-- In March 2011, News Corp promoted James to deputy chief operating officer, a move that appeared to mark him as eventual successor to his 80-year-old father.

-- James Murdoch has stirred up controversy during his rise to power, notably in August 2009, when he used a keynote speech at a major TV festival to launch a blistering attack on Britain's state-owned broadcaster, the BBC, echoing his father's speech from the same platform 20 years earlier.

-- The younger Murdoch called the BBC's expansion plans "chilling" and accused the corporation of distorting competition by dumping free, state-sponsored news on the market.


-- Born in December 1972, James is the youngest of Rupert Murdoch's three children from his first marriage. He has a sister, Elisabeth, and a brother, Lachlan.

-- Schooled in New York, James studied film and history at Harvard University, but dropped out in 1995 without completing his degree.

-- Gaining a reputation as the family rebel, he started a hip-hop record company, Rawkus Records, which was bought by News Corp in 1996.

-- The same year he was appointed chairman of another News Corp music label, Australia-based Festival Records. He went on to take charge of the company's fledgling Internet operations.

-- When News Corp's Internet business was founded in the early days of the dot-com boom to house websites such as, James was made president of the unit and managed investments in, PlanetRx and Healtheon/WebMD.

-- As boom turned to bust, News Corp had to write off much of its $1 billion investment with Healtheon/WebMD.

-- Wired magazine reported in 2000: "Although Murdoch Junior denies any responsibility for focusing his father on the Internet -- 'It wasn't me! It wasn't me!' he cries in mock horror -- insiders say he's been very influential."

-- As the dot-coms imploded, James Murdoch went to Hong Kong in 2000 as chairman and CEO of News Corp's Asian satellite service, Star TV, remaining there for three years before taking up the top job at BSkyB in 2003.

-- In 2007 he took over the leadership of News International, News Corp's British newspaper stable and owner of the News of the World, Britain's biggest selling Sunday paper, in his role as News Corp's chairman and chief executive for Europe and Asia. In 2009 he became News International's executive chairman as Rebekah Brooks became its chief executive.


-- As allegations multiplied that its journalists had hacked into the voicemails of thousands of people, from child murder victims to the families of Britain's war dead, the tabloid haemorrhaged advertising, alienated millions of readers and posed a growing threat to Murdoch's hopes of buying broadcaster BSkyB .

-- Murdoch had been battling to win approval for the proposed $14 billion buyout of BSkyB, of which he is a former chief executive.

-- It fell to James Murdoch to announce that the paper would close after a final edition on July 10.

(Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Could Murdoch deputy Hinton take the fall?

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 09:06 PM PDT

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Les Hinton was adamant. Asked in 2007 by a British parliamentary committee whether the News of the World had "carried out a full, rigorous internal inquiry" into the use of illegal phone hacking by the newspaper and was "absolutely convinced" it was limited to a single reporter, Hinton did not hesitate.

Les Hinton, chief executive officer of Dow Jones & Company, speaks during the World Business Forum in New York October 5, 2010. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files)

"Yes, we have," the then-executive chairman of News of the World's owner News International told the select committee, "and I believe he was the only person, but that investigation, under the new editor, continues".

Four years on, Hinton may have serious reason to regret those words. In the middle of a voicemail hacking scandal that has killed the 168-year-old mass-circulation paper and threatens further damage to Rupert Murdoch's media empire, much of the public anger so far has focused on Rebekah Brooks, editor of News of the World between 2000 and 2003 when some of the most high-profile hacking occurred, and her successor Andy Coulson, under whom it continued.

But attention is now turning to Hinton, 67, who headed up News International during Brooks's and Coulson's editorships and now runs the New York-based Dow Jones & Co., another arm of Murdoch's sprawling News Corp. Murdoch's long-time lieutenant, some News Corp watchers say, could end up being a high-profile casualty in the scandal.

"The person that I think is most of a problem for Murdoch is Les Hinton," Peter Burden, author of a 2008 book about the News of the World, told Reuters.

"He was definitely around when it was going on and he's now running the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones, and for him to be seen to be mixed up in that whole tacky situation would be very, very damaging indeed."

Claire Enders, head of a research consultancy that advises many of Europe's biggest media and communications companies, points out that Murdoch's son and heir apparent James took on responsibility for News Corp's British newspapers after Hinton left for New York in 2007. The younger Murdoch now has to deal with problems that occurred on his predecessor's watch.

"For the last 6 months, I have heard that Mr Hinton has not been visiting the UK for precisely that reason, in order to avoid drawing any attention to himself," Enders told Reuters.

Britain's Guardian newspaper, whose story last Monday triggered the crisis for News Corp, had asked questions "about the role of Les Hinton in the culture of News International and in particular in the way that the company defence, the rogue reporter argument, was developed".

A spokeswoman for Dow Jones declined to comment and turned down a request to interview Hinton. She would not say whether British authorities had been in touch with Dow Jones.


Hinton has spent his entire career working for Murdoch, beginning as a reporter at the Adelaide News -- legend has it that he used to collect Murdoch's sandwiches -- and rising through the ranks until he was tapped to run News International in 1995, and later Dow Jones after News Corp bought the publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

Tall, trim and debonair, with rimless glasses and waves of silver hair, Hinton has a reputation for being level-headed and insightful, and wins praise for balancing out some of the stormier personalities within News Corp, including Murdoch himself.

"He runs interference for Rupert," said one source who knows both men. "He's a very nice guy -- congenial, easy going and smart."

Hinton lives in an elegant townhouse -- fitted out with a Jacuzzi and a deck -- on Manhattan's upper east side with his wife, Kath, a former aide to Gordon Brown.

He and Murdoch have spent more than 50 years working alongside each other, so it's not surprising that insiders describe Hinton as one of the newspaper baron's consiglieri, trusted to sort through sticky business issues or smooth political flaps.

One recent example: Hinton was instrumental in saving the Wall Street Journal's online pay model after his boss toyed with the idea of making the website free, according to a source familiar with the matter.

"I think Les was very helpful in persuading Rupert not to take down the subscription wall," the source said. "And now of course, Rupert will put a wall around anything."

The source saw Hinton as part of Murdoch's inner circle, but added that he was not as close to the mogul as Wall Street Journal editor Robert Thomson or Brooks, who took over as the News International chief executive in 2009.

"My sense is that they are not personally close in the way that Robert and Rupert are close," said the source. "But he has Rupert's respect."

A former Dow Jones employee, though, said Murdoch trusts Hinton as much as he trusts Thomson or Brooks, even if their relationship is less public.

"He's very smart, very level-headed, very calm. He makes Rupert see the light on things. Les believes the lower the profile you have, the longer you survive in News Corp. Les is a confidant and Rupert knows that everything Les knows will go to the

grave with him," said the source.


That relationship could now be tested as never before.

After his assurances to the parliamentary committee in 2007, Hinton answered further questions in September 2009. Speaking over a video link from New York, the Murdoch lieutenant again sought to convince the members of parliament that all was now right at the British tabloid newspaper.

"There was never any evidence delivered to me that suggested that the conduct of (the single reporter) Clive Goodman spread beyond him ... We went, I promise you, to extraordinary lengths within the News of the World," he said.

Though there were times during the hearing when Hinton's certainty appeared to be cracking -- he used the phrases "I do not recall" or "I do not know" or variations on them at least 55 times -- his faith in the newspaper's internal checks seemed resolute.

Asked whether he should have pushed his editors on "the extent of the inquiry and more details about what had actually been looked into", he replied that he "was happy when I gave evidence to you all two and a half years ago that the answers I gave were sincere and that the efforts made to discover any other wrongdoing had been conscientious and thorough, and I think people worked very hard in very difficult circumstances to both investigate what might have happened and to make sure that it did not happen again".

Those answers could come back to haunt him.

James Murdoch conceded on Thursday that statements had been made to parliament before all the facts of the case were known. "That was wrong," he said, without placing blame on any one person.

At least one of the two inquiries announced by Prime Minister David Cameron is likely to call Hinton, who could face questions not just about phone hacking but also about a payment to Goodman, the News of the World's former royal editor, after the journalist had been jailed.

"He's got lots of questions to answer," Mark Lewis, lawyer for the family of Milly Dowler, the murdered teenager whose voicemail the News of the World allegedly hacked into, told reporters outside the entrance to News International in London. "There is none so blind as those that will not see."

Author Burden believes that Murdoch's desire to protect his beloved Wall Street Journal will help dictate his next moves. "Rupert is very proud of the Wall Street Journal and that's why he wouldn't want to see it being damaged by Les Hinton being smeared," Burden said.

That, said the former Dow Jones employee, might mean Hinton has to fall on his sword: "I wouldn't be surprised if Hinton was the fall guy. He would take one for the team."

In his 2007 appearance before the parliamentary committee, Hinton gave his thoughts on the way his reporters sometimes skirted the line of what was permissible.

"Those lines exist all the time and editors, when they are running aggressive, investigative newspapers, are forever having to judge the wisdom or not of stepping over the line," he said. "And -- do you know what? -- they do not always get it right."

(With additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Paul Hoskins in London; Editing by Simon Robinson, Michael Williams and Kevin Liffey)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Hacking was "standard practice" at Murdoch paper - police

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 09:06 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Illegal voicemail hacking was "standard practice" at Britain's best-selling Sunday newspaper, and then covered up by executives, according to a senior police officer who was asked to investigate the matter in 2009.

After years of allegations about the News of the World's tapping of voicemails of celebrities and politicians, the scandal reached a tipping point this week when it was alleged that in 2002 the paper had listened to the voicemail of Milly Dowler, a missing schoolgirl who was later found murdered, and even deleted some of her messages to make room for more.

A man reads the last edition of News of The World tabloid in a bar, where many journalists from the newspaper gathered its closure, in London July 9, 2011. (REUTERS/Paul Hackett)

Assistant Police Commissioner John Yates told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that senior News of the World executives had failed to cooperate with police during a 2005-06 investigation into the practice.

"The only reason you now have a new investigation is because the News of the World produced new material and new evidence," he was quoted as saying.

He said the new investigation had been prompted by "material that was completely available to them in 2005-06".

"It makes their assurances in 2005-06 look very shaky."

He acknowledged that the reputation of London's Metropolitan Police had been "very damaged" by its failures to investigate more fully, adding: "I have regrettably said the initial inquiry was a success. Clearly now that looks very different."

"In fairness, in 2005-06 and even in 2009 (when Yates failed to reopen the inquiry), did we think hacking was standard practice? I don't think anybody knew. Now it's different."

Allegations that a growing list of victims included relatives of Britain's war dead and of those killed in the 2005 London transport bombings outraged readers and caused many firms to pull advertising, prompting a decision to shut the paper.

In the coming days police will question Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, owner of the News of the World and News Corp's other British newspapers, the Sunday Telegraph reported, quoting a senior News International source. Police declined to comment.

It was under Brooks's editorship that an investigator working for the newspaper is said to have hacked into Dowler's voicemail. Brooks says she did not know about the hacking.

The scandal has also brought to light accusations that journalists working for Murdoch and others illegally paid police for information.

Murdoch said on Saturday that Brooks had his full support and no management changes were planned as a result of the scandal.

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced two enquiries relating to the scandal. One of them, led by a judge, will look at the way the police investigated the allegations against News of the World and the relationship between newspapers and the police.

(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

A stroll for Bolt in Paris

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 06:37 PM PDT

PARIS: Usain Bolt comfortably won the 200m at the Paris Diamond League meeting on Friday despite Christophe Lemaitre running a season's best of 20.21 seconds.       

On a newly laid Stade de France track based on the 2008 Beijing Olympic version where the Jamaican first took the world by storm, Bolt triumphed in 20.03 to deny his French rival and boost his preparations for next month's world championships.       

Showman Bolt, hiding his face behind his hands like a Paris mime artist, was welcomed into the stadium like a rock star with a string of pumping tunes warming up the crowd and putting his opponents including Lemaitre in the shade.

The 100m and 200m world record holder then asked for silence as he began to focus but was forced to wait for several minutes for the high jump and technical issues before blasting off.       

"It was alright. There was a bit of a delay at the start," he told the crowd in a slightly frustrated voice.

Jeremy Wariner's preparations for the Aug 27-Sept 4 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea took a blow when the American former Olympic champion could finish only fourth in the men's 400m won by Chris Brown of the Bahamas in 44.94.       

"I hope this is the start of good things for me," Brown said. "Finally I executed my race well. This win means before Daegu I need to go back home and train twice as hard as before."       

Wariner had never lost in Paris.

'Blade runner' Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee still searching for a qualifying time for Daegu, was fifth in 45.84 and is some way off the 45.25 he needs with two races left.

Bespectacled world record holder Dayron Robles of Cuba just edged the 100m hurdles from American rival David Oliver after a false start in the northern outskirts of Paris while Amine Laalou of Morocco prevailed in the 1,500m.       

Caster Semenya showed she was finding form just in time for the defence of her world title by winning the 800m ahead of Halima Hachlaf of Morocco in an albeit modest time of 2:00.18.       

The South African has shrugged off the furore over questions about her gender and, following some poor times during her comeback last year, she looks to be enjoying her running again.       

Under cloudy skies at the eighth Diamond League meeting of the season, Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova won the women's 400m hurdles after edging out Jamaican Kaliese Spencer.       

A stiff breeze did not stop home favourite Mahiedine Mekhissi from surging up the pack to take glory in the men's 3,000m steeplechase to the delight of the crowd.        

As hordes of children in the two-thirds full stands banged their clapper boards, Trinidad's Kelly-Ann Baptiste powered to victory in the women's 100m sprint with a season's best of 10.91 to deny former world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.        

Meseret Defar ran the fastest time this year (14.29:52) in the 5,000m and had enough energy for a lap of honour.        

In the women's field events, Germany's Christina Obergfoell and Cuban Yargelis Savigne managed the best distances so far this year in the javelin and the triple jump respectively while New Zealand's Valerie Adams triumphed in the shot putt.

France's Renaud Lavillenie had the expected success in the men's pole vault, leaping 5.73m. — Reuters

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Setting Hai standards

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 06:35 PM PDT

THE national hockey team went on a tour of Europe and played nine matches in Holland and Spain. They won five, drew one and lost three. The tour was part of the team's preparations, which began four months ago, for the Olympic qualifiers. Coach Tai Beng Hai speaks to StarSport's S. RAMAGURU in a telephone interview about the tour and what it meant to the team. He also gives a little insight into their long-term goals.

Beng Hai: The long-term objective is to bridge the gap between us and the world's top six or 10 teams. On this tour, we played against club sides and the national teams of Holland and Spain to see where we stand against them. They rank among the top five in the world. Besides exposing our players, especially the younger and new ones, to the European style of play, it was also to add more depth so that we have a bigger pool for the Olympic qualifiers. I believe that we managed to achieve those objectives during the tour.

We have always found it difficult to play against European teams because of their different approach and their longer reach. To improve, we need to play these European teams regularly.

Starsport: You spoke about long-term objectives for the team? Where are we headed?

Beng Hai: We have been rebuilding the team since 2009 and we have seen improvements since. We can't take Malaysia back to the top, or even among the top six, overnight. Changing our playing style and improving on it will bear fruit in the long run. Only by playing to our strengths and using our skills can we challenge the top teams. I believe that sticking to our attacking-minded approach has definitely benefited us as evident from the recent results in the Guangzhou Asian Games where we won the silver medal.

Starsport: Are you happy with the programme and the inclusion of many youngsters in the training squad?

Beng Hai: We are happy that the programme has managed to gradually include more young players in the national team. It is also beginning to show positive results at this early stage. Although we had to leave out four players from the Asiad for the tour of Europe (because of injuries and such), at least we managed to take the younger players with us. Faisal Saari, Mohd Marhan Jalil, Azammi Adabi and Azreen Rizal made the grade from the previous batch. Now we have another batch of four players in the 25-man training squad and five others under attachment from the 2013 Project team who are showing good signs of making the grade too.

Starsport: Did the young players show potential during the tour?

Beng Hai: The most pleasing thing is the 2013 Project team youngsters' willingness to fight for a place in the starting 11. They showed no fear when playing against the top teams like Holland and Spain, who are the world's No. 3 and 4 respectively. The likes of Mohd Firhan, Mohd Azri Hassan and Faiz Helmi gave a good showing throughout the tour. Only their physical condition to compete at the senior level was a minor setback. But with more exposure and training, they can definitely make the grade with the national team.

Starsport: What's next? There is the Razak Cup later this month and, of course, the Asian Champions Trophy in September after the fasting month?

Beng Hai: We will be approaching the four-month timeline in our preparations. A review of the players in our training squad will be carried out after the Razak Cup competition. We hope to see players become more competitive and to fight for their places in the national team. Some of the established players have reached a plateau as far as their form is concerned. So the younger players must create a healthy competitive environment by working harder and capitalising on this opportunity to make the grade quickly.

We are now chasing games to prepare for these meets.

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Eagle helps Airil soar to a two-stroke lead in Negri

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 06:34 PM PDT

SEREMBAN: Malaysia's Airil Rizman burst into the third round lead of the Negri Sembilan Masters Invitational after carding an eagle on the par-five 18th for a six-under 66 at the Seremban International Golf Club yesterday.

Airil, who has had numerous opportunities to win this prestigious event before, moved to 13-under 203 to open up a two-stroke lead over compatriot Danny Chia, Antonio Lascuna of the Philippines and Thailand's Atthaphon Prathummanee.

Danny, also looking for his first win here, carded a 68 along with Lascuna while Atthaphon, the joint leader after the first two rounds, shot a 70.

Bangladesh's rising star Siddikur and Malaysian Shaaban Hussin are a further shot back after they both carded a 69.

The RM500,000 (US$165,000) tournament is the fourth leg on this year's Asean PGA Tour and is the most lucrative event on the circuit.

Airil and the other local players have an added incentive to perform in the final round today as there is a RM10,000 (US$3,300) bonus on offer to any Malaysian who takes top spot. This is on top of the RM78,750 (US$26,230) winner's cheque.

"Anything in the 60s will be good. I am just trying to keep the ball in the fairway, which is really important here," said the 33-year-old Airil.

"I am lucky I have a really good local caddie this week who seems to know everything about the course."

He finished the front nine in one-under but stormed into contention with a five-under back nine that included birdies on the 11th, 13th and 15th before chipping in for a three from 10 yards off the front of the green on the last.

Airil's last victory on Malaysian soil came in 2007 in a local Tour event in the same state.

"I think I have led this tournament on three occasions after the third round but have never won it," said Airil.

Danny, fresh from winning the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Clearwater Classic two weeks ago, birdied three out of the last five holes.

"I was a bit unlucky today. I had a couple of lip-outs and a couple of bad bounces. The front nine was not so good," said Danny.

Leading third-round scores

203: Airil Rizman (Mas) 65-72-66;

205: Danny Chia (Mas) 66-71-68, Antonio Lascuna (Phi) 66-71-68, Atthaphon Prathummanee(Tha) 65-70-70;

206: Siddikur (Ban) 69-68-69, Mohd Shaaban Hussin (Mas) 68-69-69;

208: Mohd Rashid Ismail (Mas) 70-66-72, Juvic Pagunsan (Phi) 69-66-73;

209: Kwanchai Tannin (Tha) 72-67-70, Varut Chomchalam (Tha) 66-69-74.

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The Star Online: Business

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Treasury pulse

Posted: 08 Jul 2011 09:34 PM PDT

Global foreign exchange market

THE week began on positive note with the European Union (EU) approving a 12 billion-euro disbursement to Greece. However, nagging worries over eurozone's sovereign debt angst continue with Moody's downgrading Portugal's sovereign credit rating by four notches to "junk" status.

The region's economy showed a slowing momentum, as EU's manufacturing PMI expanded by the weakest pace in almost two years in June at 52.0 points, compared with 54.6 points in May. The European Central Bank, however, lifted its benchmark interest rate by 25 bps to 1.5%, and cited close monitoring of upward risks of price stability. Euro rose against the US dollar to 1.4578, before paring gains to trade lower at 1.4350-levels at the point of writing.

As of noon yesterday, the British pound slipped against the greenback to trade at 1.5870-levels. The United Kingdom diverges further from the EU by keeping interest rates on hold at 0.5% and held its bond-purchase programme unchanged at 200bil.

In the United States, sentiments were buoyed by better-than-expected data. This includes an upside surprise of the ISM manufacturing index, which rose by 3.6% to 55.4 points in June from a month earlier. The increase was the first in four months, driven by a rise in inventories and employment as well as marginal improvement in key new orders. Consumer confidence as gauged by University of Michigan was slightly weaker at 71.5 points in June compared with 71.8 in May. During the week, the US dollar index rose by 0.91% to 74.92.

China's growth momentum is slowing as manufacturing PMI fell below expectations to 50.9 points in June from 52.0 in May. In addition, non-manufacturing PMI declined to 57.0 points, 4.9 points lower than the previous reading. A separate gauge as measured by PMI also signalled a slowdown.

Malaysia's exports came in weaker-than-expected posting a slower growth of 5.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) in May, a sharp fall from April's 11.1%. The decline was largely due to reduction in shipments to the United States. Meanwhile, imports also slowed to 5.6% from 9.4%, prompting trade surplus to narrow to RM$8.49bil. Despite Asia's weak data, the Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar index increased by 0.36% to 119.34.

We expect the US dollar/ringgit to trade within the range of 2.9800 to 3.0200 next week.

US treasuries (UST) market

UST yields exhibited a "twist" with the two-year yields rising by a marginal 0.3bp to 0.475% while the 10-year yields declined by 3.2bps to 3.151%. However, demand for US safe haven may continue to persist given the moderating global growth environment and lingering concerns over eurozone debt issues.

Malaysian bond market

Growth in the second quarter of this year has generally eased due to slower external demand, greater than expected disruptions due to the Japan tsunami events in March and lower than projected public sector investment. However, it expects growth to pick up in the second half driven by expansion of private consumption and investment, but cautioned that heightened external risks may continue to pose as downside risk to growth. On inflation outlook, Bank Negara cited inflation risks remain on the upside. It added that supply factors remain as key determinant but there are some signs that domestic demand factors could exert upward pressure on prices in the second half of 2011. Recall, May CPI came in higher at 3.3% y-o-y (April: 3.2% y-o-y).

We expect Bank Negara to potentially resume OPR normalisation by another 25 bps in the second half, bringing it to a more neutral level of 3.25% by end-year. However, the path for further normalisation would depend on the assessment of economic conditions and sustainability of growth momentum.

The reopening for the five-year benchmark Malaysian Government Securities (MGS)was announced this week, with issue size of RM4bil. Auction for the mentioned bonds will be held on July 13.

In the MGS/GII market, RM9.8bil worth of trades were transacted with a daily average trading volume of RM2.5bil versus last week's daily average of RM3.4bil. At the shorter end of the curve, the three-year benchmark yield climbed 3 bps to 3.25% as at Thursday's close, the five-year yield increased 2 bps to 3.51% while the seven-year yield closed unchanged at 3.71%. At the longer-end, the 10-year yield fell 1 bp to 3.92%, the 15-year yield fell 3 bps to 4.11% while the 20-year yield fell 1 bp to 4.22%.

In the public debt securities market, a total of RM1.5bil worth of trades was transacted. The GG/AAA segment and the AA segment contributed 46% and 51% of the trades, while the remaining 3% were contributed by the single-A segment. Daily average trade volume stood at RM367mil, lower than RM438mil in the previous week. Within the GG/AAA segment, Pengurusan Air SPV 6/16 contributed RM100mil trades with yield closing unchanged at 3.84%. Yield on the National Bank of Abu Dhabi 12/20 closed 2 bps lower at 4.6% with RM70mil done, while Danga Capital 4/15 and Cagamas MBS 12/12 closed unchanged at 3.86% and 3.63% with RM60mil done each.

In the AA segment, buying interest was seen on power bonds. Yields on Sarawak Energy bonds maturing 2016-2026 closed 2-21 bps lower at 4.09-5.18% with RM255mil done in total, while Jimah Energy bonds maturing 2014-2021 closed 2-44 bps lower at 4.06-5.05% with RM67mil done in total. RM45mil trades were transacted on Ranhill Powertron II bonds maturing 2015-2021 with yields closing 10-42 bps lower to reach 4.24-4.90%.

Ringgit interest rate swap (IRS) market

The ringgit IRS rates softened from one month peak during the week after Malaysia posted softer May export data. The shorter tenures fell even further after Bank Negara kept benchmark overnight policy rate at 3%. Overall, the rates ended the week by 2-9 bps lower.

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A new dawn in world economy

Posted: 08 Jul 2011 09:34 PM PDT

A new dawn in world economy?

Title: Uprising

Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy?

Author: George Magnus

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

At first glance, the title Uprising gives one the impression that the book is concerned about rebellion or revolt, or matters related to violent political conflicts involving armed resistance.

However, after reading its small-print sub-title Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy? and a quick browsing through its content, one realises that the book is actually an in-depth analysis of the contemporary global economy, in particular the influence and impact of the new emerging markets with the focus on the shift of economic power from the West to the Orient, especially China.

Its author George Magnus is a prominent investment banker and global economist, who has been acknowledged as the key analyst who had predicted the recent world financial crisis in early 2007. He is a senior economic adviser at the UBS Investment Bank in London, and had held similar posts at the Union Bank of Switzerland and SG Warnurg.

Magnus is also a popular and respected public commentator on world financial matters, contributing frequently to the Financial Times of London, the BBC, Bloomberg, the CNBC and several other prominent economic, business or financial publications. He is also author of the 2008 definitive international economic analytical book The Age of Aging: How Demographics are Changing the Global Economy and Our World.

Hence, Uprising is not simply any ordinary run-of-the-mill book, but a major authoritative book which anyone concerned with the contemporary global economy and the direction it is moving should read and reflect deeply on. What Magnus said in his book should not be treated lightly as he is no false prophet when it comes to matters of international economic wheeling and dealing.

Magnus begins his book with an incisive narration and analysis of the world events building up from the first year of the new 21st century to the current global economic scenario. He gives a sharp observation, and penetrating and critical analysis of events in China, including the implications of a world sporting event like the August 2008 China Olympic Games, which took place sandwiched between the May 2008 Great Sichuan Earthquake which claimed nearly 70,000 lives, and the October 2008 world financial earthquake following the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers, which, as Magnus puts it, "brought the world economy to the brink of an economic Armageddon, unrivalled since the Great Depression of the 1930s".

In his 358-page book, Magnus sets out to explain the impact and effect that the 2008 financial crisis has on the major emerging markets, and why the rich developed Western nations is going all out to challenge and curb their increasing threats, especially of China and India, in the global economic order.

A major theme of the book as Magnus puts it, is that "the West's financial crisis sparked a major change in the structure of the world economy, and that China's capacity to also embark on structural change voluntarily is weak, unless it is specially geared to the long-run interests of the Communist Party's grip on power".

This authoritative definitive book examines the two major economic powers and leading emerging markets in Asia – China and India – and several minor but significant markets in Eastern Europe, and also Turkey.

Currently, the emerging markets are headline news. And the question uppermost in the minds of political and business leaders in all these emerging markets of the world is what will happen following the 2008 world financial crisis and what does the future mean and hold for global finance, trade and commerce.

Magnus provides significant suggestions and pragmatic guidelines to resolve this global economic dilemma.

He presents a persuasive and cogent perspective on China and the other emerging markets from a post-financial crisis situation, urging those with economic potency to seriously reconsider their attitude and approach to the emerging new world economic order. A fundamental matter to critically and analytically examine is the question of what economic reforms are needed to meet the new global goals.

Magnus should most be appreciated for offering a convincing critical analysis of what the future global economy may look like – not merely for the emerging markets, but for policy-makers, businesses, financiers, investors, economists, and even ordinary citizens concerned with the economic well-being of their nation and the world.

Magnus deals with matters such as climate change, commodity prices, and world demographic trends, and gives valuable insights into the implications of these issues for the world economy.

One significant question Magnus deals with is whether the 21st century belongs to China. The Communist nation operating on enterprise capitalism for the last 30 years is now all set to regain what Magnus has pointed out in his book as its premier economic power it held from ancient times till the early part of the 19th century.

For all intent and purpose, China is set for an economic renaissance. It will soon regain its ancient mantle as a world economic power it lost when its reticent conservative bureaucracy forced it into international relation isolation while Europe moved economically forward with an industrial revolution in the 19th century.

The Uprising by the plucky economic seer Magnus is certainly essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and care about the future of the global economy.

Understanding the context, content and challenges of the world economic scenario during the first decade of this century is certainly vital for those responsible for making policies, plans and programmes to chart the direction, set the trend, and strive for vigorous economic success in their nations.

Thanks to Magnus, his book has provided the seeds for the planting, growing and harvesting of serious objective thinking, critical pragmatic evaluation, constructive practical ideas, and effective and efficient creative implementation of economic policies, plans and programmes.

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Posted: 08 Jul 2011 09:33 PM PDT

Flipping Burgers to Flipping Millions:

A guide to financial freedom

Author: Bernard Kelly

Publisher: Hyperion

WHETHER you have your dream job, operate your own business or are about to report to your first job, how you think about money is important. Few families build a billion-dollar family name in one generation. Which means that somebody, generations before the family became billionaires, had a vision for their family to become rich.

You may not think it is possible for your family to become one of those billion-dollar families. And you are right that it is not likely to happen in your lifetime. But if you are willing to think beyond your lifetime, and follow a plan and stay focused, you will have an incredible life. This book is about financial basics, quality of life, retirement and legacy. The author is McDonald's operations consultant, so he will be giving readers examples from his experience with the fastfood business.

Tough Calls from the Corner Office: Top business

leaders reveal their career-defining moments

Author: Harlan Steinbaum

Publisher: Harper Business

THIS is a treasure trove of rich business wisdom, stories of tough decisions and hard-won victories, and lessons from a lifetime of acheivement in the world of business. It offers inspiring stories, lessons, principles, strategies, solutions and ideas drawn from every stage in a successful career, from key choices to final leave-taking from the world of work. Thirty-nine of America's most succesful business leaders share the most important decisions of their career, and the life and career lessons they hold for us all.

The author writes about making career choices, taking that entrepreneurial leap, success versus risks, business models, reposition and refocussing, and when to let go of that business.

Bust: Greece, the Euro, and the sovereign debt crisis

Author: Matthew Lynn

Publisher: Bloomberg Press

IN 2001, Greece was acccepted into the Eurozone. Bloomberg columnist Matthew Lynn explores Greece's rise and fall and the global repercussions of its financial disaster. He writes about its implications for a fragile global economy. Lynn also looks at how the contagion has spread. He blends financial history, politics and current affairs to tell the story of how one nation rode the wave of economic prosperity and brought a continent, a currency, and potentially, the global financial system into chaos.

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University, Ryan O'Neal spar over Fawcett portrait

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 01:40 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The University of Texas system and Ryan O'Neal are sparring over ownership of an Andy Warhol portrait of the actor's longtime companion, Farrah Fawcett.

The system's board of regents sued O'Neal in federal court in Los Angeles on Friday, asking a judge to order the Oscar-nominated actor to turn over the painting. The portrait is one of two that Warhol made of the "Charlie's Angels" star and the university claims the actress bequeathed it to their Austin, Texas campus.

O'Neal's spokesman Arnold Robinson blasted the lawsuit in a statement, saying the university has known for more than a year that the actor has painting. "This is completely ridiculous lawsuit," Robinson wrote.

"Ryan O'Neal's friendship with Andy Warhol began 10 years prior to his meeting Farrah Fawcett," Robinson wrote. "When Ryan introduced Andy to Farrah, Mr. Warhol chose to complete two portraits of her, one for Ms. Fawcett and one for Mr. O'Neal. Mr. O'Neal looks forward to being completely vindicated in the courts."

The university's lawsuit claims O'Neal may be holding onto other pieces from Fawcett's art collection that she wanted the university to have after her June 2009 death. Fawcett attended the University of Texas at Austin in the 1960s, according to the complaint.

"The enduring value and public interest in the Warhol portraits is a testament not only to Mr. Warhol's talent and artistry, but also to Ms. Fawcett's status as a cultural icon," the lawsuit states.

Warhol created the portraits in the 1980s and they were only publicly displayed once, the lawsuit states.

The University of Texas wants O'Neal to purchase insurance for the painting and properly preserve it so that it can be turned over to the university if the lawsuit succeeds. It also seeks undetermined financial damages from O'Neal, but states the Fawcett portrait is priceless.

"The Warhol portrait is an irreplaceable piece of art for which legal damages could not fully compensate," the lawsuit states.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Lockdown enforced: Detained protesters being released

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 07:24 AM PDT

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KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 1,667 people have been detained in the Bersih rally here Saturday.

They included 1,500 men, 151 women and 16 children who had accompanied them.

City police CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah said all the detainees would be released once the paperwork were completed.

By 10pm, several key Bersih leaders, including chairperson Datuk S Ambiga, had been released.

They were among thousands of protesters who had gathered in several areas here to march to Stadium Merdeka.

Police had since Friday sealed off all major roads leading to the heart of the capital, telling people to stay away from any rally Saturday.

Commenting on the rally, IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar said as a result of steps police had in place only about 6,000 managed to gather unlike the crowds seen in the 2007 Bersih rally.

"We were not rough towards the crowd and we gave ample warning but they kept on provoking.

"I was told there are allegations of high handedness or police brutality by certain quarters and I urge those making such allegations to lodge reports and we will act against any of my men if there is any truth," he said.

Ismail said the demonstrators begun gathering at around 9am but their numbers grew at two locations by 2pm.

He said police managed to control the situation and by 5pm most of the crowd had dispersed.

Among those detained with Ambiga were PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, Subang MP PKR Sivarasa Rasiah and Batu MP Tian Chua.

PAS leaders who were detained included president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and vice presidents Datuk Mahfuz Omar and Salahuddin Ayub.

Malay rights group Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali said they did not go ahead with their rally Saturday to counter the Bersih rally as they did not have a permit.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin led a group of Patriot supporters to also counter the Bersih rally.

The group dispersed after police stopped their march in Bukit Bintang and fired tear gas and water cannons at them.

Bersih steering committee member Subramaniam Pillay said the rally was a success and some 50,000 people participated.

Meanwhile, Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he suffered a bruise on his head and a cut on his leg during the rally. He has been warded overnight at a hospital.

More in Sunday Star.

A blow-by-blow account of what occurred on Saturday:

8pm: Police, on their Facebook page, said 1,667 people had been detained as at 6.40pm - 1,500 were men and 151 were women, along with 16 children who accompanied them.

6.40pm: City police CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah says all detainees expected to be released by 9.30pm. It is learnt that Bersih's Datuk S. Ambiga and several others have been released already.

6.30pm: A total of 1,401 were detained, including 1,273 men, 115 women, 12 boys and a girl. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar says they will be released once investigations are completed.

5.30pm: The Bersih 2.0 steering committee failed to hand over its memorandum to the King at Istana Negara but declared its street rally a success.

It also condemned the arrests of any participants, including those from other groups.

Committee member Subramaniam Pillay said Bersih will hand over the memorandum to the King in due time, although there would be no street rally.

He also confirmed that Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has been detained and her last phone message said she was okay.

5.25pm: Police reported that as many as 924 arrests were made as of 3.30pm, of whom 875 were men and 49 women.

5.10pm: Throngs of people seen entering KL Sentral, most of them carrying face towels and bottles of mineral water.

4.30pm: Acting KL CPO Datuk Amar Singh says rally leaders detained under various offences, including under Section 27 of Police Act for illegal assembly.

4.20pm: Crowds that had gathered in KL for Bersih and Patriot rallies are dispersing; police keeping watch. A senior Bersih organiser requested crowd of supporters near Chinese Assembly Hall along Jalan Maharajalela to disperse.

3.18pm: Crowd gathered at entrance to Stadium Merdeka near MBSSKL. Some at police barricade but most have retreated and standing along Jalan Hang Jebat, seeming to wait for directions. Situation still calm.

3.15pm: Patriot disperses. FRU on standby watching everyone leave.

3.10pm: Patriot crowd praying in front of FRU water cannon.

3.01pm: Police say they have arrested 672 people as of 2.30pm (624 men and 48 women).

3.00pm: Thousands march through the rain towards Pudu. FRU fire tear gas.

2.55pm: Khairy picked up by police.

2.45pm: FRU fired tear gas at Patriot at Jln Bkt Bintang-Jln Pudu intersection to force them to disperse.

2.55pm: Bersih chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan detained for question. Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin has also been picked up by police.

2.39pm: Several Pakatan Rakyat leaders have been arrested, so far. Among them are PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, Kuantan MP Fuzaih Salleh, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, vice presidents Datuk Mahfuz Omar and Salahuddin Ayub and Batu MP Tian Chua.

2.35pm: Police say they had arrested 644 people (597 men and 47 women) by 2pm.

2.30pm: At least five FRU trucks head towards Pudu Raya.

2.25pm: Tear gas fired at crowd at Jalan Pudu and KL Sentral. Protestors throw back cannisters. Police warn reporters to stay away as they fire more tear gas fire. Its raining heavily

2.20pm: Police box in Bersih protestors between Swiss Garden Hotel and Magnum building. One man caught. Standoff between Bersih supporters and FRU who have closed the road in front of Magnum.

2.15pm: Crowd makes it into KL Sentral. Meanwhile, police are using batons to disperse at Jalan Pudu. The crowd disperses and regroups.

2.11pm: Kg Baru mosque has made announcement asking worshippers and the public to leave the mosque compound after prayers

2.10pm: Patriot group in Bukit Bintang waiting for two more groups from PWTC and Kg Attap before marching to stadium. Starting to rain here

2.05pm: Bersih and Pakatan leaders exit KL Hilton amid chants of 'Bersih!' to KL Sentral where they encounter locked doors.

2.01pm: FRU block Bersih group in front of Swiss Garden along Jalan Pudu as they march to Stadium Merdeka

2.00pm: Water cannons turned on crowd at Pudu Plaza

1.45pm: Third round of tear gas at Cahaya Suria Maybank interjunction as helicopters hover very low over crowd attempting to march to Stadium Merdeka.

1.40pm: Khairy Jamaluddin arrives to join Patriot group to a big cheer from crowd. Khairy is also on list of 91 forbidden from entering KL

1.41pm: Tear gas being fired at large crowd at Jalan Tun Perak near Maybank.

1.30pm: Reezal Merican defies restriction order to lead patriot in Bukit Bintang.

1.25pm: Police say 514 people had been arrested by 12.30pm (478 men and 36 women).

1.20pm. Patriot movement marches down Bukit Bintang in red shirts carrying Malaysian flags and singing national songs. Shops pull down shutters

1.19pm: Bersih group merges with another near Puduraya. Umno Youth's Patriot group, headed by pickup truck with loudhailer, is distributing Patriot t-shirts, shouting Hancur Bersih'

1.10pm: Thousands in Bersih crowd start from Pudu Plaza, passing Bukit Bintang and are on the way to Jalan Pudu in bid to reach Stadium Merdeka

1.00pm: Kuantan MP fuziah tweeted that she's detained in front of Hilton for obstructing police. She's in a black Maria now

12.55pm: Police say 441 have been arrested by 12noon (421 men and 20 women).

12.45pm: Lim Kit Siang and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders are at KL Hilton Hotel.

12.40pm: FRU fire tear gas at protestors shouting 'reformasi' at Agro Bank near Daya Bumi in KL

12.30: A huge crowd of protestors shouting reformasi are leaving Central Market in an attempt to head towards Masjid Jamek and Dataran Merdeka. Near Masjid Negara, protestors were also seen carrying PKR and PAS flags while shouting Bersih

12.15pm: PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar and Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin have been arrested at KL Sentral

12.13pm: Police allow 5 lawyers from the Bar Council to head to the KL train station as a crowd shouted "reformasi" from inside the train station.

12.05pm: PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail arrives at KL Hilton accompanied by Subang MP R Sivarasa and lawyer Latheefa Koya. PKR sec-gen Saifuddin Nasution also arrives at KL Hilton

11.35am: All is peaceful at KLCC. Tourists taking photos. Mall security stepped up with metal barricades set up around the entrance, except small opening to let shoppers in.

11.30am: Police say they have arrested 236, including 8 women, in KL city for involvement in illegal gathering

11.02am: RapidKL trains won't stop at three stations in the city from 10.15am on police orders - Hang Tuah and Maharajalela stations on the monorail line and Hang Tuah station on the Ampang line.

11.00am: A man wearing red shirt arrested by police near Masjid Jamek LRT station

10.40am: Bukit Aman media centre released a statement saying that one of the 21 arrested earlier Saturday has been released.

10.35am: A black maria is at Masjid Jamek with 13 people, mostly men, detained on suspicion of being Bersih demonstrators. Police detain 3 women in their early 20s for carrying red strips of cloth.

10.30am: A large crowd has gathered at the train station near Masjid Negara. Heavy police presence headed by Dang Wangi OCPD ACP Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman. More police trucks arrive to join FRU trucks at Istana Negara main gate but situation is still quiet.

10.01am: Shops start to open. Queue of 100 people in front of Machines, Lot 10, waiting to buy iPad2.

10.00am: A man was arrested by police at Jalan Melayu, off Jalan Masjid India, after he was seen shouting aggressively in front of the public and media representatives.

9.50am: Rela manning Central Market entrance. They say the market will open as usual at 10am but they will stand watch. Police patrolling on foot around central market before it opens.

9.45am: Small group of about 100 along Masjid India ordered to dispersed by police

9.30am: An official statement from KL police says they have arrested 21 people.

9.28am: 12 lawyers in suit and tie outside Masjid Jamek station. Large police presence but normal activity. Station remains open.

9.15am: A crowd of over 100 is at the KTM station near the National Mosque. Police are monitoring them.

9.10am: Police take away a group of people who had gathered near the Kg Baru mosque

9.07am: Road blocks on highways into KL causing traffic slowdown. A roadblock near Batu Tiga has brought traffic to a crawl, taking drivers more than half an hour from Shah Alam to the toll plaza heading to Kuala Lumpur. But traffic flow after the toll plaza is smooth.

9.05am: Three lawyers, in black jacket and tie, walked into Jalan TAR. They told newsmen they are there to provide legal assistance

8.50am: About 15 FRU trucks outside Istana Negara. Road blocks set up 500m away from main entrance of the palace

8.45am: 6 ambulances seen entering Jalan TAR, believed to be on standby.

8.40am: 12 police trucks and a black maria outside Sogo. About 120 policemen are around area. Random checks are being carried out on passing padestrians at Jalan TAR.

8.15am: Police close off entrance to Jalan Stadium with barbed wire. 20 black maria in front of car park.

8.10am: Heavy police presence, light traffic but no sight of crowds in areas around Chow Kit and Kampung Baru

8.05am: Jalan TAR is sealed off with large police presence outside Sogo.

8.00am: The city is near deserted. At Jalan Raja Laut, only policemen on duty were seen. Outside City Hall, about 200 policemen were seen having their breakfast. A police helicopter is hovering over the city.

7.55am: More police arrive on the monorail and are getting off at Maharajalela Station, opposite Merdeka Stadium.

7.30am: A number of FRU trucks, including those with water cannons, pass Jalan Maharajalela heading towards the National Mosque and Masjid Jamek.

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IGP: Situation returns to normal but roadblocks to stay

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 06:37 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Police are still monitoring the situation around the federal capital before removing the roadblocks to ensure that those who had joined the rally did not regroup, said IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar.

"I have directed the city acting police chief (Datuk Amar Singh) to carry out a surveillance to ensure that the crowd do not return.

"We will only remove the barricades after the surveillance reveals that the situation is satisfactory.

"If possible, I want to remove the roadblocks now but we have to monitor until everything have truly ended," he said.

He said the situation in the capital following the rally by Bersih returned to normal after 5pm when the crowd started to disperse.

The city had been out of bounds since Friday night with roadblocks placed at several locations to stop people from taking part in the rally. - Bernama

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PM grateful illegal rally did no serious harm

Posted: 09 Jul 2011 05:44 AM PDT

KUALA TERENGGANU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he is grateful that the illegal rally in Kuala Lumpur Saturday did no serious harm to people and property.

He said he was also thankful that the majority of Malaysians, especially in the federal capital and the rest of the Klang Valley, did not support the street demonstration.

He said the people who had stayed away from the rally were peace-loving Malaysians and they had heeded the advice of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Selangor Sultan and the Government.

"I also wish to congratulate the security forces, especially the police, who dispersed the gathering in the best manner possible and I hope that what happened today would be a lesson to Malaysians," he told reporters here.

Earlier, in Putrajaya, Najib praised the people who attended the launching of the National Cooperatives Day 2011, which he said showed that the people opposed the illegal rally organised by a small group of people in the country.

"It's obvious that the thousands who are present (here today) are those who are against the illegal rally planned by a section of our community.

"If there are people who want to hold the illegal rally, there are even more who are against their plan to hold the illegal gathering," he said when launching the National Cooperatives Day 2011. - Bernama

Related Stories:
Lockdown enforced: Crowds disperse, 1,401 detained
Lockdown or not, organisers to go ahead with rallies
Police won't allow illegal gatherings to disrupt peace and risk lives, says Hisham

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