Khamis, 14 Julai 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

UK's top cop under fire after hacking probe arrest

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 03:53 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's police chief came under fire on Thursday after his force said a former News of the World deputy editor, arrested by officers investigating phone hacking by the paper's reporters, had himself been hired as a consultant by the police.

Britain's Metropolitan Police Commissioner Paul Stephenson listens during the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) conference 2009 in Manchester, northern England, July 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Nigel Roddis/Files)

Paul Stephenson, London's police commissioner, was summoned for a 90-minute meeting with the city's mayor after the capital's force said it had employed the journalist between October 2009 and September 2010.

The disclosure was an embarrassment for a police force facing questions about its links to tabloid reporters and prompted Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May to write to Stephenson asking for an explanation.

Lawmaker Keith Vaz, the head of a parliamentary committee investigating the police's failure to properly probe phone hacking in 2006, asked Stephenson to appear before his committee next week and said the police chief had agreed to attend.

Neil Wallis, 60, was arrested in London on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications.

He is the ninth person to be arrested since an inquiry was reopened this year into phone hacking at News of the World newspaper, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

London mayor Boris Johnson said he had a "very frank discussion" with Stephenson over the hiring of Wallis.

Police are investigating allegations journalists on the paper hacked the phones of members of the royal family, politicians and celebrities, as well as victims of crime, including child murders, and the 2005 London bombings.

The scandal dates back to 2005-6 when the News of the World's royal reporter Clive Goodman and a private detective were arrested and later jailed for snooping on the voicemail messages of royal aides.

Police are also investigating claims police officers were bribed by journalists to provide information.

Last week, detectives arrested the paper's former editor Andy Coulson, who went on to become Prime Minister David Cameron's media chief before resigning in January.

Wallis was the deputy editor under Coulson until he quit following the conviction of Goodman, and went on to become the paper's executive editor before leaving in 2009.

The Metropolitan Police said Wallis had worked for them as an advisor for almost a year and was paid 24,000 pounds ($39,000).

"Chamy Media, owned by Neil Wallis, former Executive Editor of the News of the World, was appointed to provide strategic communication advice and support to the MPS, including advice on speech writing and PR activity," it said.

Wallis worked for the Met for two days a month while the Met's Deputy Director of Public Affairs was on extended sick leave.

In April, the paper's chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, one of its senior reporters James Weatherup, and Ian Edmondson, a former senior editor who was sacked after an internal inquiry into his conduct, were quizzed about listening to voicemails.

The officer leading the inquiry told lawmakers on Tuesday those arrested so far had been bailed until October and she did not expect any possible criminal charges before then.

(Additional reporting by Tim Castle)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Egyptians to give army rulers "Final Call" on Friday

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 03:23 PM PDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptians demanding a swifter purge of the country's political old guard were gearing up for more mass protests on Friday against a leadership they accuse of failing the revolutionary cause.

A child waves an Egyptian flag as protesters chant anti-government slogans in Tahrir square in Cairo, July 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)

Hundreds camped out in Cairo's central Tahrir Square on Thursday in the scorching heat to press Egypt's military rulers to punish corruption and brutality under President Hosni Mubarak, toppled in a February uprising.

The protesters said they saw the interim government's pledge to end the service of 650 senior police officers in response to lingering anger over the killing of peaceful demonstrators as too little, too late.

"This police shake-up came too late and is not enough. This was one of our main demands three or four months ago," said Ahmed Hassanein, a 30-year-old assistant professor who was protesting in Tahrir.

"The military council has not implemented any of the demands of the revolution. I don't understand them. Their position has been flimsy since they started running the country."

An air of revolution has returned to Tahrir in the past week as activists blocked streets to the square, set up tents and unfurled banners demanding that the ruling generals remove Mubarak's allies and those blamed for police brutality.

The protests, coupled with others in the coastal cities of Alexandria and Suez, lack the scale or intensity of the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak but have rattled markets, sending the main Egyptian share index down 5 percent this week.

Mubarak, who is at a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, is due to go on trial on Aug. 3 over the death of more than 840 protesters.

Activists are calling their planned Friday rally their "Final Call" to the military council.

The council said on Tuesday the protests were threatening public order and Egypt's security, angering the protesters who vowed not to leave Tahrir until their demands are met.

"Our protest tomorrow is to demand civilian rule. After watching the military speech on TV, I realised the military is not on our side," said car salesman Mohamed Salah el-Din, 26. "I will not leave Tahrir until our revolution succeeds."

A banner in Tahrir denounced the military statement.

The sharpening discourse highlights how the army -- once feted for overseeing an orderly end to Mubarak's rule and stopping Egypt sliding into chaos when police deserted the streets -- has fallen out of favour with pro-democracy civil society groups.

The army has reiterated its pledge to hand power back to civilians after elections, which are now postponed and may take place in November.

In an attempt to assuage public anger, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said the cabinet would be reshuffled in a week. The government has also pledged to raise the minimum wage.

"Some army personnel came to talk to us in Tahrir yesterday and tried to convince us that elections are the solution," said Atef Farouk, 37 and self-employed. "But I want an elected transitional council and for the military council to step aside from the political life."

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Libya rebels regroup but battle exposes weakness

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 02:52 PM PDT

AL-QAWALISH, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan rebel fighters prepared for a new offensive south of Tripoli on Thursday but tactical errors raised new questions about whether they will be able to march on the capital.

Western states are frustrated by a five-month rebel campaign that -- despite support from NATO warplanes -- has failed to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and some governments are now looking instead to talks as a way out of the conflict.

A rebel gestures as he watches the battle area in Al-Qawalish in the western mountains of Libya July 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

Gaddafi himself vowed to fight on.

In an audio speech carried on Libyan television, which was broadcasting a rally that gathered tens of thousands of supporters in the town of Al-Ajaylat, 80 km (50 miles) west of Tripoli, Gaddafi said: "I too will redeem you with my own life ... I will fight until the end."

Denouncing French President Nicolas Sarkozy, an early backer of the NATO bombing campaign, as a war criminal, Gaddafi said: "The end of NATO will be in Libya ... The end of the European Union will be in this battle."

About 100 km (60 miles) west of the capital where Gaddafi has his main stronghold, rebel commanders in the village of Al-Qawalish said they were massing their forces and preparing to advance east towards the town of Garyan, which controls access to the main highway into the capital.

But only a day earlier, the handful of rebels defending Al-Qawalish ran out of ammunition and fled when forces loyal to Gaddafi staged a surprise attack. The rebels took back the village before nightfall, with the loss of seven men.

"We came yesterday and we stayed here and we said we are not moving until the place is secure," said one rebel fighter who was manning a machine gun and gave his name as Tommy. "This mistake is not going to happen again. We're not going home."

The fighting exposed the limitations of a rebel force which lacks a clear command structure and relies on civilian volunteers who are committed to bringing down Gaddafi but have little or no military training.

The conflict in Libya started out as a rebellion against Gaddafi's 41-year-rule. It has now turned into the bloodiest of the "Arab Spring" uprisings convulsing the region and has also embroiled Western powers in a prolonged conflict they had hoped would swiftly force Gaddafi out of power.


The Russian presidential envoy who has been trying to broker a peace deal between Gaddafi's administration and the rebels said he believed the Libyan leader was far from beaten.

"Gaddafi has not yet used a single surface-to-surface missile, of which he has more than enough. This makes one doubt that the regime is running out of weapons," Russian newspaper Izvestia quoted Mikhail Margelov as saying.

"The Libyan prime minister told me in Tripoli: 'If the rebels seize the city, we will cover it with missiles and blow it up'. I assume that the Gaddafi regime does have this kind of suicide plan," Margelov said.

NATO urged its members to provide more warplanes to bomb Libyan military targets. The campaign against Libya has strained resources and relations among NATO's 28 members after only four months of military action.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen called on alliance members to help more with air-to-ground strikes.

"I encourage all allies that have aircraft at their disposal to take part in that operation as well," Rasmussen said in The Hague after a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who said Dutch planes would not now take part in bombing Libya.

NATO members France and Italy have spoken of the pressing need for a negotiated deal to end the Libyan conflict. France has said a political solution is taking shape and there have been contacts with Gaddafi emissaries.

But it was unclear how it would be possible to bridge the gap between Gaddafi, who refuses to relinquish power, and the rebels who say they will accept nothing less than the departure of the Libyan leader and his family.

Potentially adding to pressure on Italy to seek a peace settlement, Gaddafi's government said it was halting cooperation with Italian oil firm ENI.

The company is the biggest foreign investor in Libya's energy sector and has been in the country since the 1950s. It angered officials in Tripoli by pulling out its staff when the rebellion started and by establishing ties with the rebels.

Western powers, Arab governments and representatives of the Libya rebels are to meet in Istanbul in Friday for a session of the "contact group" which has been coordinating efforts to push Gaddafi from power.

China said it would skip the meeting because the way the group operated needed "further study." Beijing has established contacts with the rebels but it has condemned NATO air strikes and urged a compromise deal between the opposing sides.

(Additional reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers, Nick Carey in Misrata, Tarek Amara in Tunis, Lutfi Abu-Aun in Tripoli, Thomas Grove in Moscow, Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Justyna Pawlak and Christoper Le Coq in Brussels and Ben Blanchard and Sabrina Mao in Beijing; Writing by Christian Lowe and Giles Elgood; Editing by Sophie Hares)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Radio renovation

Posted: 15 Jul 2011 04:27 AM PDT

THE Red FM Radio Renovation is running for a month and your opinions as well as suggestions are needed on the music, features and content that you want us to build into the fastest growing English radio station in the country.

Log on to and leave your comments as your likes and dislikes will be taken into consideration. Join us on the path in producing a station that's designed to give listeners the best of music, entertainment and information around the world. And in return for your "hard work", we will reward you with a getaway.

Featuring a different escapade each week, you could find yourself whisked off to the luxurious Cyberview Resort and Spa in Cyberjaya, the exotic Ri-Yaz Heritage Marina and Spa, Kuala Trengganu, Trengganu, or the lush Belum Rainforest Resort in Perak.

Look up Red FM Radio Renovation on our website and win a stay at any of these amazing resorts for your thoughts. Keep on listening to the difference you make as it's the radio station that's built for you and by you.

While you lay down your thoughts online, strut into the glamorous world of modelling with Rudy and Jeremy on air. As the search for the X Top Model 2011 is coming to an end on July 23, win passes to the after party for an exciting celebration.

Tune in to the Red FM Breakfast show (Mondays to Fridays, 6am-10am) with the lively duo next week for a special contest. You get a chance to win VIP passes to the X Supper Party as well as a pair of Crocs shoes and possibly, a grand prize from Thomas Sabo for the ultimate winner.

Check out for more details on this contest and more. Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page ( and follow us on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

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

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V is for vague

Posted: 15 Jul 2011 04:27 AM PDT

LIKE Boyd Crowder in Justified, television today seems to thrive on the blurring between heroism and villainy. There are many characters on the small screen who've given new meaning to the dark side. Here are a handful of them.

1. Walternate and Fauxlivia (Fringe) – When the alternate universe is revealed at the end of Fringe's Season One, we literally gasped. The shock is further compounded when we meet the "evil twins" – Walter Bishop (aka Walternate) and Agent Olivia Dunham (aka Fauxlivia) from "Over There" at the end of Season Two. We view them as the enemies because they have been aggressively sending soldiers to our universe, presumably with a devastating end for us. However, if you think about it – people from Over There are just reacting to what was done to them when our Walter crossed between the two universes to take Walternate's son, Peter. Walter may have only wanted to save Peter, but his action had a ripple effect of massive proportions – the parallel universe got a lot weaker and is slowly breaking down. Also, a father has been kept apart from his son for years – see this from Walternate's point of view, and you wonder who's right and who's wrong.

2. Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries), Eric Northman (True Blood) and Spike (Buffy The Vampire Slayer) – These three vampires have no qualms when it comes to killing people – and delivering some deadpan humour to the dying. But these vampires also have another thing in common – they are love's bitches. Damon (Ian Somerhalder) tries to rein in his desire to charm schoolgirls into doing naughty things with him when he falls in love with goody-goody Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), his brother's girlfriend. He even goes into harm's way to try and save her. Now Eric Northman (Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd) has a more dreamy method of winning a human's heart, in this case Sookie Stackhouse's (Anna Paquin). He tricks her into drinking his blood, allowing him to know where she is at all times. Oh and this also makes her have erotic dreams that involve him. Sneaky, right? Although he doesn't pretend to be a knight in shining armour, his own armour falls to pieces when it comes to her. Finally, there's Spike – a vampire who has a reputation as the slayer of Slayers. That is, until he meets Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the current Vampire Slayer who has somehow moved his unbeating with her shampoo-commercial hair and can-do attitude. All that goodness even made him want to change his ways so much so he teams up with Buffy and her band of Scoobies to take down the Big Bads.

3. Dexter (Dexter) – Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) is a serial killer, hence he has to be the bad guy, right? Well, the truth is more complicated than that. Although he harbours a "Dark Passenger" which prods him to fulfil the need to spill human blood, Dexter doesn't deserve the villain label because he is a great brother to Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) and a dependable stepfather to his wife's two children. When he does go roaming the streets of Miami at night – the people who end up as his victims are those who truly deserve to be punished. He may be a killer but he wears the face of a human so well that we can't help but agree with his hilarious observations.

4. Dr Gauis Baltar (Battlestar Galactica) – Even though it was Baltar's (James Callis) greed that allowed the Cylon attack on his home planet Caprica – forcing any remaining humans to flee to space – he does try to be a better man from time to time. Only thing is, he fails most of the time – falling back to his cowardly ways, succumbing to his need to survive. It's easy to hate this character, but it's got to be said that Baltar reminds us that we are all flawed and are, sometimes, simply self-serving. One thing's for sure, the presence of Baltar amongst courageous characters like Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) has kept the audience on its toes as no one knows what he's going to do next. Like getting elected as the President (needless to say, he handled it badly) and then, later, turning into a revered religious figure – seriously, who saw that coming?

5. Ben Linus in Lost – Some of the things that Linus (Michael Emerson) has done – saying it's the creed of the island – are pretty disturbing. He gasses the peaceful folk of the Dharma Initiative so he can become the leader of "The Others", which gives him the licence to do all kind of B-A-D things. He also has had direct access to the Smoke Monster, so he creates some more havoc and kills more folk in the process. For goodness sakes, he serves as the catalyst who starts the domino effect that spells the end for everyone and the island. But it becomes clear he knows the errors of his way, near the end of the final season when he finally does the right thing, twice. Also in the alt-reality, in which he is a history teacher, he puts aside his own ambition to be in control for the sake of a student and is actually taking care of his ailing father with patience and love. Mumtaj Begum

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Shades of grey

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Shades of grey

Posted: 15 Jul 2011 04:26 AM PDT

Justified gives the classic good versus bad battle a good Southern style shakedown.

FOR every hero there is an anti-hero – you know, the antagonist who drives the protagonist to be a better person. In a simpler (i.e. fictional) world, villains are the polar opposite of heroes – gleefully dispensing bullets, vile humour and a really bad attitude. In stories based on reality, however, things are never quite so black and white. People – good or bad – come in all sorts of flawed forms.

They are misunderstood individuals who want to do the right thing; they are victims of circumstances; they are good souls trapped in evil minds. These imperfect characters make for compelling viewing.

Which brings us to Justified, created by Graham Yost based on Elmore Leonard's short story titled Fire In The Hole, about a tough lawman, enforcing his own brand of justice. It has a hero with a penchant for shooting people (after giving them enough notice, of course) and an anti-hero who goes around preaching about God and His ways, but is still capable of blowing things up to make a point.

These two characters drive one of the more interesting subplots in Justified, as they share a long history. When they were teenagers, they were friends who had each other's back when working deep in the coal mines of Harlan, Kentucky. They drifted apart after one left town to become the law and the other stayed behind to become an outlaw.

As adults, they cross paths again as the southern-bred deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is reassigned to Lexington, Kentucky (which includes Harlan) after a shooting incident in Miami. Meanwhile, Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) – a proud Harlan native – has gone on to be involved in all kinds of criminal activities alongside the Crowder clan.

As it happens – and will happen again – they come together, but on opposite sides. That first time ends with Raylan shooting Boyd and the latter going to jail. Only thing is, Boyd claims to have seen the light and starts on a spiritual journey to become a man of faith, much to Raylan's (and the audiences') scepticism.

In a telephone interview with Goggins last month, he shares: "At the end of Season One, Boyd has lost everything. He is a material, enigmatic guy who thinks he has the answer to just about everything. Then, he is left without any answers and ultimately left without any questions. Hence, I expect that in Season Two, you are going to see a guy looking for some peace, and looking to understand how he came to be the kind of person he is."

The actor, who turns 40 this year, brings so much more complexity to an already layered character and gives Boyd both humanity and intelligence, turning an otherwise merely dark character into a compelling one. Thanks to Goggins' bright eyes, calming voice and Boyd's poet-like words, it's real easy to forget Boyd is a cold-blooded killer. Instead, we only want to remember him as someone who wants to be a better man, worthy of a woman's love and the friendship of a man he respects.

Goggins confesses that he found Boyd's voice easily.

"I was surprised at how easy that came. Being from the South, I know a lot of people like Boyd who are unconventional poets, or self-taught poets. I wanted to at least attempt to portray a Southerner in a way that is reflective of my experience in the South and not just the stereotypical interpretation Hollywood normally engages in. His love of words is something that we talked about early on and the way he sings about things."

Goggins adds: "Boyd's intellect was inherent in the pilot and I really wanted to play that up. I wanted Boyd, more often than not, to be the smartest man in the room except when he is in the room with Raylan, then he is on par with the smartest man in the room. Their conversations are spiritual, intellectual and challenging. I think Boyd challenges Raylan in a way that Raylan can't get anywhere else and stimulates Raylan, and Raylan does the same for Boyd. To me, it was really interesting to explore that."

During this 15-minute conversation, it becomes clear the actor is far removed from his character. Although he does share the character's intelligence, polite way of speaking (but without a strong Southern twang) and love for words, Goggins has a wider world view.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, and raised in Lithia Springs, Georgia, Goggins moved to Los Angeles when he was 20 to pursue a career as an actor, then later expanded his vocation to filmmaker and photographer. He has a production company (Ginny Mule Pictures) along with other partners and their projects have won a couple of awards in various festivals. His photos – available for viewing at – comprise his travels to destinations like India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Central America and Morocco, which he hopes to be made into a book one day.

When asked what it is about these places that holds a fascination for him, he replies with – first of all – "I really wanted to go to Malaysia. I was so close. If I had another month, I was going to go to Malaysia and Bhutan, but I didn't make it."

He then continues: "Growing up in Georgia, the idea of visiting South-East Asia was so fun to me. I didn't really know that much about it and I have made it my life's journey to not just read about those places in books but to see them up close. The first chance I got, I wanted to start in South-East Asia. And I made so many friends and I had so many experiences that were off the beaten path that I just fell in love with the people and those independent cultures because they are so different yet they are so close to one another. I hope to go back soon and I hope to come to Malaysia next time."

Besides acting and travelling, any free time is spent participating in various non-profit organisations, ranging from environmental to humanitarian groups. Given all of this, it seems ironic that Goggins has yet to play a traditional hero, not that he's complaining.

Before Justified, Goggins was best known for portraying Detective Shane Vendrell in the gritty series The Shield for seven seasons. That series revolved around a group of cops patrolling the tough neighbourhood of Los Angeles, willing to bend the law to their advantage.

According to Goggins, characters like Detective Vendrell and Boyd appeal to him because they are not easily understood. "It is very challenging to play someone with different shades of grey or to be an open book, but have people read a chapter at a time.

"I quite like those roles and I look for that as an actor. Boyd is just the perfect mixture of rascal and hero. At the end of the day, Boyd is really cool, much cooler than Walton and he is in the world of Elmore Leonard which is a cool world in itself. I like the idea of playing someone who is cool. That is what it would mean to me as an actor," he says with a laugh.

He is equally excited that television has become bolder in exploring the dark nature of men. For one, having darker impulses and having an inner battle about that are part of being human. He explains: "I think there's a darker side to me. There's a dark side to every single person I know. My close friends that I like have a dark side and they have an edge. One needs a dark side to celebrate the light side. I think it balances people. "

Justified, which enters its second season on AXN on July 25, has all kinds of dark characters. There's Boyd keeping to himself and going about his job in the coal mines, only to have his murky past catch up with him. And Raylan doing his job to keep things safe – in this case tracking down a paedophile sex offender, which leads to so many other places and people – all while ensuring the one he loves doesn't run into trouble.

While the past between the two men is explored – and Goggins promises it to be kinetic, dynamic and emotionally revealing– Season Two brings forth a group of really strong female characters as well. At the centre is Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale), a matronly-looking woman who has a powerful hold on the people in the district. She and her three boys control most of the illegal businesses around town, and – get this – she runs a legal business selling family goods at the same time! As the 13-episode season progresses, it becomes hard to ignore the level of violence and hardship that exists in rural areas in the United States.

As it turns out, Goggins has received letters from people from these parts thanking him and everyone involved for how the show portrays them. "Different people from Harlan County reach out to me to say how proud they are of the show and how much they love the characters. (While) I do not think that people are killed on a daily basis in Harlan County, I also know for a fact that in the South there are characters who are larger than life, who are very similar to the characters portrayed in Justified ... Boyd in particular. I have never met a Boyd Crowder, but I have met 10 people who make up Boyd Crowder."

Justified Season Two premieres exclusively on AXN (Astro Ch 701) on July 25. Catch it every Monday at 10.55pm.

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V is for vague

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

No seeds reach quarterfinals of Mercedes Cup

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 04:11 PM PDT

STUTTGART, Germany (AP): Juan Carlos Ferrero knocked out the last remaining seed at the Mercedes Cup when he beat No. 3 Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-2 in the second round on Thursday.

Earlier, wild card Lukasz Kubot of Poland came back to upset eighth-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 for a place in the quarterfinals.

Garcia-Lopez and Youzhny, who won the clay-court tournament in 2002 for his first title, were the only two seeded players to make it into the second round.

Jeremy Chardy of France, the 2009 champion, also went out, losing to Santiago Giraldo of Colombia. Chardy won the first set when the match was suspended a day earlier because of rain, but Giraldo rallied when the match resumed on Thursday to win 1-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Qualifier Pavol Cervenak of Slovakia beat Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 7-6 (6). Hanescu had defeated top-seeded Gael Monfils in the first round.

Federico del Bonis of Argentina, another qualifier, defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-4, 6-3.

Wild card Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who comes from near Stuttgart, upset French Open quarterfinalist Fabio Fognini of Italy 7-6 (5), 6-4. Stebe posted his first win on the tour in the first round by upsetting Nikolay Davydenko.

Marcel Granollers of Spain defeated Benoit Paire of France 6-4, 7-5.

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Ferrer advances in rain-hit Swedish Open

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 04:11 PM PDT

Published: Friday July 15, 2011 MYT 7:11:00 AM

BASTAD, Sweden (AP): Second-seeded David Ferrer reached the Swedish Open quarterfinals by beating countryman Pere Riba 6-2, 7-6 (4) in a late-night match on Thursday.

Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia advanced in a walkover when his opponent, Argentina's Juan Monaco, withdrew from the tournament.

Other second-round matches were postponed until Friday because of rain over the clay courts in Bastad.

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A rugged start, solid finish for McIlroy

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 04:09 PM PDT

SANDWICH, England (AP): For the first time in 11 months, Rory McIlroy walked off the 18th green in the early stages of a major championship and did not see his name atop the leaderboard.

That's how good he has been at golf's biggest events.

And the way he rallied from a rugged start Thursday in the British Open, McIlroy didn't think his 1-over 71 was all that bad.

"Anywhere around even par was a good start," McIlroy said.

Facing enormous attention coming off his wire-to-wire win at the US Open last month, McIlroy made a few key putts in the middle of his round to steady himself against a stiff breeze at Royal St. George's.

He was six shots behind Thomas Bjorn, who played extraordinary golf in the tougher morning conditions of wind and some rain, and English amateur Tom Lewis, who took advantage of better conditions in the afternoon.

Trailing by any margin can only be considered a strange spot for McIlroy based on his recent, amazing history. He has been in the lead after seven of the last eight rounds in the majors, the exception being the 80 he shot in the final round at the Masters to lose a four-shot lead.

This day was different. And if the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland didn't know it, then he at least heard it.

The media has been building him up as golf's next star after his record-setting performance at Congressional. And when he stepped on the first tee with a freshening wind off the Strait of Dover, the cheers resounded the length of the 444-yard opening hole.

"It was great," he said. "I probably didn't take it in as much as I could have. I was just trying to concentrate on that first tee shot and get that out of the way. But it's nice to have that support out on the golf course.

It's fantastic. Hopefully, I can give them something to shout about."

It took awhile in the opening round.

The biggest cheer came for 22-year-old Rickie Fowler, who holed a 75-foot putt from just off the back of the first green. McIlroy also went long, just a few inches in front of Fowler, and he rammed his long putt some eight feet past the hole and wound up three-putting for bogey.

Then came the par-3 third, where McIlroy got one of the wild, hard hops so often seen at Royal St. George's and wound up in rough behind the green. The chip came out heavy, leading to another bogey. And his next tee shot went into deep grass in front of a large knoll.

Suddenly, this didn't look like the US Open champion. It looked like the kid who shot 80 the last day at Augusta National.

McIlroy powered a short iron out and onto the green, hit a superb chip from well left of the green at No. 5 to five feet to save par, and before long was back in his comfort zone.

It helped being paired with Fowler, an American of the same age, same style of play - they both waste no time hitting their shots - and with a history of playing together despite being so young. McIlroy and Fowler competed against each other in foursomes at the Walker Cup four years ago when both were teenagers at Royal County Down.

That was a home game for McIlroy, and this was not much different.

"The fans were great over here," Fowler said. "Obviously, they're cheering on Rory. It has a feeling like he's a hero over here now. He's had a pretty big impact, with impressive play recently and obviously at the US Open. So it's fun to play alongside him. I've always enjoyed it, and definitely felt like the crowd was in his favor today."

Fowler looked to be the better of the two on this day, but not so much at the end. Fowler stalled in his round of 70. McIlroy rallied for a 71, starting with a smart approach on the eighth hole that rode up a ridge and trickled back toward the hole to four feet away for birdie.

Equally important was the short, tricky par putt on the ninth.

For all the hype outside the ropes, McIlroy clearly felt at ease doing what he does best. He was in his element, flashing that smile to the gallery as he bobs along the fairway between shots.

"I felt the par on 4 was big, but the up-and-down on 5 from left of the green was big for me, got me into it a bit," he said. "I was a little disappointed I didn't take advantage of the two par 5s - put myself in good positions off the tee there and only made two pars. But it was definitely a round after the start that could have got away from me, and it was nice to hang onto it."

More media awaited after he finished up his round, to another rousing ovation. Everyone wants a piece of McIlroy these days. Everyone expects him to contend, especially in the majors.

"It's a nice pressure to have," McIlroy said. "I'm not complaining. I've put myself in this position, and it's what I've always wanted to do. I wanted to be under pressure to win tournaments. I mean, if that's the worst complaint that I have, I'll be doing all right."

He wasn't great Thursday. He didn't shoot himself out of the tournament, either.

He was doing all right.

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The Star Online: Business

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Judge okays Borders auction, liquidators open bid

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 05:07 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Borders Group, the second largest U.S. book store chain that once operated over 1,000 stores, appears headed for liquidation after a judge on Thursday approved its motion to auction itself off with a team of liquidators as its opening bid.

The move came after an offer made earlier this month from a private-equity investor disintegrated overnight.

Borders said it will accept bids until 5 p.m. Sunday and will give notice by Monday if no other bidder emerges.

Earlier this month private-equity investor from Phoenix offered $215 million for the company, plus the assumption of $220 million in debt.

But on Wednesday, creditors objected, saying that the agreement would not prevent Najafi from taking possession of the company and liquidating it immediately for profit. Landlords also objected.

Creditors said a bid from liquidators Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers is stronger. They believe it would pay out between $252 million and $284 million in cash.

Creditors said in a court filing that they were hopeful Najafi would submit a higher bid, but Najafi stood by its original offer.

On Thursday, Borders said it wouldn't seek approval for Najafi's bid at a scheduled hearing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of New York and designated the liquidators as the primary, or "stalking horse" bid.

Meanwhile, one analyst speculated that if Borders liquidates, that could spark a higher bid for its chief rival Barnes & Noble. Financier John Malone's Liberty Media made a $1 billion offer to buy Barnes & Noble in May.

Liberty Media has said it values Barnes & Noble for both its Nook e-reader business and its retail stores, so a full liquidation of Borders would increase the value of the retail side of the business, Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser said.

"This is perhaps an opportunity for a higher negotiated bid via Liberty or an entrance of another bidder," he wrote in a note.

Borders Group Inc., based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed for bankruptcy protection in February. The company started with a single store in 1971, and helped pioneer the book superstore concept along with larger rival Barnes & Noble Inc. It was brought down by heightened competition by discounters and online booksellers, as well as the growth in popularity of electronic books. It currently operates about 400 stores, down from its peak in 2003 of 1,249 Borders and Waldenbooks, and has about 11,000 employees

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Gold rises after Bernanke tempers stimulus hopes

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 05:06 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Gold prices are climbing after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke tempered hopes that a new stimulus package would be approved anytime soon.

Gold rose $3.80 Thursday to settle at $1,589.30 an ounce. That's a record in dollar terms but below its peak in the early 1980s after accounting for inflation.

Bernanke told Congress that the Fed wasn't taking immediate action to stimulate the economy. The comments came a day after he said they were looking at several measures that could aid economic growth if necessary.

Investors also are buying gold because of concerns over Europe's financial debt crisis and ongoing U.S. debt limit negotiations.

In other trading, oil and agricultural products are mostly lower. - AP

Earlier report

Gold record after Moody's warning

LONDON: Gold prices hit record highs for a second day yesterday after hints of further policy easing from the Federal Reserve and a Moody's warning the United States may lose its top-notch credit rating hurt the dollar and sparked buying of safe-haven assets.

Spot gold touched a record US$1,594.16, and was up 0.6% at US$1,590.66 an ounce at 1120 GMT. US gold futures for August delivery were up US$5.60 an ounce at US$1,591.30. Reuters

The precious metal has risen more than 6% so far this month and is on track for its ninth straight daily rise, its longest run of gains since October 2006. - Reuters

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EU hopes stress tests boost faith in banks

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 05:03 PM PDT

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - European regulators will release potentially unsettling details on the finances of 90 banks on Friday to increase transparency and convince markets that the financial system as a whole could withstand big shocks, such as a Greek debt default.

The publication of the results of the stress tests by the European Banking Authority is supposed to reduce the uncertainty hobbling bank's activities through disclosure of details including who holds how much in bonds issued by Greece and other shaky eurozone governments.

While officials are downplaying the possibility of a Greek default, the idea of the exercise is to publicly identify weak banks so national regulators can push them to strengthen their finances. That in turn could help them absorb losses and limit the blow to the European economy if Greece eventually can't pay back all its bond debt.

Banks are a key part of Europe's debt crisis because they hold billions in bonds from financially troubled governments. A default or other losses on those bonds could hurt banks and choke off credit to businesses, as happened after the 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Estimates of the number of banks that might fail run as high as 15, compared to seven that flunked a version of the tests done last year. That exercise was widely regarded as a failure after Irish banks that passed had to be bailed out by the government only weeks later.

This time, banking regulators have been trying to walk the fine line between being tough enough to be believable and not rattling nervous markets with more bad news.

Banks must show they can maintain adequate resources to absorb unexpected losses even during an adverse scenario in which growth falls 4 percentage points short of European Union estimates in 2011 and 2012. That comes out to a fall in gross domestic product for the 17-member eurozone of 0.5 and 0.2 percent.

The gloom and doom scenario also includes a fall in real estate, stocks and the U.S. dollar.

One key new measure will be detailed information on how much each bank holds of shaky government bonds from Greece, Portugal and Ireland - by country, amount and bond.

The big question is whether governments and banks act on the results in coming months by taking painful steps such as raising capital. Asking private investors for more money can dilute shareholdings, and therefore can weigh on stock prices; banks that can't get new capital from markets may have to turn to governments.

"What we would hope is that governments come forward with clear plans to aid failing banks, or banks that are nearly failing, and so far we haven't heard much about that," said Marie Diron, senior economic advisor for Ernst & Young.

She said estimates that around 15 banks could flunk sounded right. "Most of these would be in Spain, Greece and the countries under highest pressure, but some, I would think, as well in some of the core eurozone countries and that is where governments are least ready to tackle the issue."

For the weaker banks, the test could be the occasion for governments to decide to recapitalize them, either by pushing them to ask shareholders for more money or by using taxpayer funds. That would include banks that are being kept alive by emergency credit from the European Central Banks - according to the IMF, many of the banks in Greece, Ireland and Portugal as well as some Spanish savings banks.

Healthier banks would reduce the chances of a mushrooming disaster if Greece defaults.

"Really, the necessary condition for that is that governments go ahead and deal with banks that are shown to be failing this test or are nearly failing this test," said Diron. "The publication alone is not enough."

To pass, banks must show they can maintain a reserve cushion of high-quality capital - dubbed Core Tier 1 capital - of at least 5 percent of their loans and bond and securities holdings.

The current test includes far more data than last year's - some 3,000 pieces of information, as opposed to 149 - but has raised questions about its toughness in part because its worst-case scenario did not explicitly include a Greek debt default.

The agency finessed the default issue by asking banks to set aside reserves to cover risks on troubled government bonds but isn't outright calling it a default scenario.

Results were to cover 91 banks, but on Wednesday Helaba, a German bank, said it had been told by the EBA that its results would not be released since they included a form of capital not approved by the EBA.

Helaba said it and its owners, which include the German state of Hesse, had taken steps to convert the state's stake, known as a silent participation, to a form that met the EBA's requirements. It was told, however, that there wasn't time to review it to make sure the change complied.

The EBA didn't respond to reporter calls and emails on the matter.

Helaba said that if the silent participations - a form of non-voting stake - had been allowed it would have passed with a 6.8 percent core Tier 1 ratio.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Rajnikanth returns home after treatment

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 04:28 AM PDT

NEW DELHI (AP): News reports say Indian movie star Rajnikanth has returned home after staying several weeks in a hospital in Singapore where he was being treated for a kidney ailment.

Press Trust of India reports that the 60-year-old actor arrived in the southern Indian city of Chennai on Thursday. PTI says scores of fans were at the airport to greet the star.

Three hospital stays in April interrupted the shooting of his latest film, "Rana," before Rajnikanth left for Singapore in late May.

Rajnikanth's real name is Shivaji Rao Gaekwad. He has acted in more than 175 films since 1975. Many are in the Tamil and Telugu language films in southern India.

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Star-crossed lovebirds

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 02:38 AM PDT

Two lonely hearts find true love and start A Beautiful Life.

IT would appear that Hong Kong filmmaker Andrew Lau is better known for his male-centric crime thrillers like The Young And Dangerous series (1996-1998) and the Infernal Affairs trilogy (2002-2003) or even recent actioners like Initial D (2005) and Legend Of The Fist: The Return Of Chen Zhen (2010). But, a closer examination of his filmography shows romantic affairs such as Sausalito (2000), Dance Of A Dream (2001), Korean flick Daisy (2006) and Look For A Star (2008).

So, for his latest romantic escapade titled A Beautiful Life, Lau sets his touching love story between two lonely hearts against the rustic Beijing landscape.

The two-hour romantic flick stars Taiwan-born, Hong Kong-based Shu Qi and China's Liu Ye as star-crossed lovebirds.

She is Li Peiru, an aggressive and materialistic real-estate agent from Hong Kong, who sets out to make her fortune in Beijing but ends up in a torturous affair with her married boss.

He is Fang Zhendong, a rigid and righteous patrol officer in China, who decides to remain single to care for his autistic brother Zhencong.

The two couldn't be more different, yet they are drawn together during a chance encounter at a karaoke lounge when she gets drunk and throws up on him. As the path of true love never runs smoothly, what begins as a rom-com takes a different turn.

Just as Peiru is surrounded by selfish and greedy people, Zhendong is surrounded by a bunch of warm-hearted disabled folks.

Other cast members include Anthony Wong (who plays Zhendong's blind friend), Tian Liang (Zhendong's autistic brother Zhencong), Feng Danying (Zhencong's mute girlfriend, Xiaowan) and Andrew Lin (Peiru's irresponsible boyfriend).

The soundtrack of this modern-day romance includes Mandarin songs like Taiwanese singer Bobby Chen's Bu Zai Rang Ni Gu Dan (also the Chinese title of the movie) and Hong Kong singer Jackie Cheung's Wu Sheng De Ji Ta (Silent Guitar). The latter was adapted from Danny Summer's 1998 Cantonese version, which was in turn adapted by Malay rock band Search in its classic Fantasia Bulan Madu.

In a recorded interview, prolific cinematographer-turned-director Lau, 51, talked about how A Beautiful Life reflected what was happening in Hong Kong and China today.

"Like Peiru, many Hong Kong girls now head north to mainland China for work, relentlessly seeking opportunities to make money. In the movie, the lass crosses paths with a police officer and thus begins their love story."

Commenting on her character Peiru, Shu Qi, 35, remarked that many people list out their criteria for a partner and forget what it means to love.

"Some people fall in love with the idea of a perfect lover who fulfils all her wishes. So, they love all the things they imagine that person can give them instead of actually falling in love with a real person who can love them back."

Working with Lau again since Look For A Star was even more painful this time around. "The director seems to think that our tears flow from a tap. There was a long, emotional scene that tired me out as we did it again and again – seven takes in all – until the skies started to get stormy.

"It turned out that the director was actually waiting for the lightning and thunder to complement the mood of the two lovers," groused Shu Qi, who is looking forward to making her directorial debut in the near future.

Lau gave her the opportunity to make an early edit in this movie, just for the experience.

Sharing his thoughts on the love story between Peiru and Zhendong, Liu Ye, 33, offered: "Many people are in pursuit of the perfect love, but fail to realise that it does not exist. In the end, they've to understand that loving somebody means having to accept faults and imperfection." Seto Kit Yan

A Beautiful Life opens in local cinemas today.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Najib, Cameron hold talks in London

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 06:43 AM PDT

Published: Thursday July 14, 2011 MYT 9:33:00 PM
Updated: Thursday July 14, 2011 MYT 9:43:16 PM

LONDON: Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his British counterpart David Cameron held talks at No. 10 Downing Street here Thursday as the two historically-linked countries moved to bring bilateral relations a notch higher.

The meeting was held in conjunction with Najib's four-day offial visit to the UK at the invitation of Cameron.

The two leaders held talks soon after Najib's arrival at the famed address in central London on a rather chilly day despite summer being in full swing.

But Najib was greeted warmly by Cameron, both of whom shook hands and posed for photographers and videographers before moving inside for their tete-a-tete followed by a luncheon hosted by the British prime minister.

Earlier, Najib was met on arrival at the UK's Foreign and Commowealth Affairs Office by UK's Secretary of state for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs William Hague, before walking a short distance to 10 Downing Street.

Prior to that, Najib was joined by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor during an audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the British monarch.

During the leaders meeting, Malaysia and the UK also signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at curbing transborder crimes.

Malaysia was represented Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein while the UK by its Home Secretary Teresa May. The Malaysian leader also attended a high tea hosted by Hague. - Bernama

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Rains bring some relief from haze

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 06:24 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The rain brought much-needed respite from the thick haze that has blanketed the skies over the last few days.

Although the haze was still present, many areas recorded improved air quality, thanks to rains and thunderstorms experienced in many states Thursday.

As of 5pm, only 28 areas (54%) recorded moderate Air Pollutant Index (API) readings while the remaining 23 had healthy readings. This was an improvement from Wednesday which saw 31 areas with moderate air quality readings and Ipoh with an unhealthy API of 139.

(A good API reading is from 0-50, moderate (51-100), unhealthy (101-200), very unhealthy (201-299) and hazardous (from 300 and above).

According to the Department of Environment, readings for their Jalan Tasek station in Ipoh dropped to an API of 60 by 5pm compared with 139 the day before.

The Meteorological Department has forecast more rain or thunderstorm in most states for Friday.

However, the haze is far from over as forest fires are still raging in Central Sumatra, More hazy days are expected as this is generally a dry season despite the occasional rain. The southwest monsoon ends in September.

According to the latest regional hazemap, scattered hotspots with smoke plumes continued to be detected over central Sumatra.

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Global fund managers urged to take advantage of M'sian capital market

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 06:13 AM PDT

LONDON: Global fund managers have been called on to take advantage of various opportunities arising from developments in Malaysia's capital market.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, addressing the capital market roundtable organised on the third day of his official visit to the United Kingdom, said a developed capital market had a significant role to assume in Malaysia's quest to become a developed nation by 2020.

"All of you here today as global fund managers have the expertise we need and all of you can play a meaningful role in helping us achieve our future success," said Najib, who is Finance Minister, Thursday.

Najib said Malaysia today had one of the most comprehensive capital markets in the region, with its combined equity and debt markets having grown to US$667bil (RM2tril) in 2010, from US$240bil (RM720bil) in 2000.

It is projected to triple to between US$1.5tril (RM4.5tril) and US$1.9tril (RM5.7tril) in 2020.

He said the country's Economic Transformation Programme would create further momentum for growth and open up opportunities for issuers, intermediaries and investors.

Najib pointed out to the most senior members of some of London's leading financial institutions that Malaysia had a broad and diverse economy on which to build its capital market.

"Historical trends suggest that as Malaysia's capital market achieves maturity, growth in the debt and derivative markets will outpace growth in the equity market," he said.

He said, in particular, Malaysia was likely to replicate the pattern in developed markets where institutional funds rapidly outgrew the economy.

Touching on opportunities in Islamic finance, Najib told his audience that Malaysia was home to the world's largest Islamic banking and financial market, accounting for 66% of global sukuk issuance last year, and has 184 funds with US$8bil (RM24bil) in assets under management.

"Over the next 10 years, our Islamic capital market is set to triple in value," he said.

Later in the day, Najib attended a high tea hosted by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague.

The Prime Minister also toured the St Pancras International Railway Station and had a roundtable with UK rail companies focusing on rail construction and regeneration. - Bernama

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro Watch

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 03:17 AM PDT

Blood donation

There will be blood donation drives today at the multipurpose extension hall at Multimedia University, Jalan Multimedia, Cyberjaya (10am-5pm); engineering faculty and Menara SAAS foyer at Universiti Teknologi Mara, Seksyen 2, Shah Alam and Hillcrest Garden Sdn Bhd, Level 12, Block C, Menara Glomac, Kelana Business Centre 97, Jalan SS7/21, Kelana Jaya (9am-4pm); resource centre at Institut Kemahiran Belia Negara, Km25 Dusun Tua, Hulu Langat (9am-3pm); seminar room at Leong Hup Contract Farming Sdn Bhd, third Floor, Wisma Westcourt, 126, Jalan Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur (10am-1pm) and lecture hall at Sunway Lagoon Club, Petaling Jaya (11am-5pm). For details, visit or call 03-2695 5557/8.

Gambling addiction talk

A public forum on gambling addiction and where to seek help will be conducted on July 23 from 9.30am-4pm by University of Queensland's Professor Tian Po Oei and Singapore Institute of Mental Health's Dr Thomas Lee Kae Meng. Organised by the Malaysian Mental Health Association, it will be held at the Maktab Kooperasi Malaysia, Jalan Templer, PJ. Admission is free but pre-registration is required. Call 03-7782 5499 or e-mail

Public forum

The Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia and Pantai Hospital Klang are organising a free public health forum on "Being Familiar with Changes in the Breasts" at Premiere Hotel Klang at Studio V, lobby on July 24. The event will be from 10.30am-12.30pm (Mandarin session) and 2pm-4.30pm (Bahasa Malaysia session). Pre-registration is advised. Call 03-3258 5415 (Sharmaine) and 03-3258 5543 (Pua).

Meet old teachers

A "Meet the Old Teachers" high tea organised by the Methodist Girls School KL Alumni will be held on Saturday from noon-4pm at Citi Cafe, Lobby, Cititel Mid Valley Hotel, Lingkaran Syed Putra, KL. All former students and teachers are invited. Contact 012-333 2478/ (Mabel) or 019-352 3801/

Bike carnival

Catch some heart-pumping biking action at the ninth edition of the KL Mountain Bike Carnival 2011 to be held at Taman Lembah Kiara carpark, Jalan Abang Haji Openg, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, KL from 9am onwards this weekend. There will be three events — Race Carnival, Ride Carnival and Kidz Ride. For details, visit

Prayer day

The Thai Buddhist Chetawan Temple in PJ will be holding an Ashalak Puja Day tomorrow. At 11am, there will be Paritta Chanting and Tak Bart in the dining hall followed by the chanting of the Dhammacakkhapavattana Sutta in the main shrine hall and a Candle Light procession at 8.30pm. The temple is located at 24, Jalan Pantai, off Jalan Gasing, PJ. Call 03-7955 2443.

Charity night

The ex-RMAF Indian personnel are organising a reunion charity night on July 30 at 7pm at the Thean Hou Temple Hall in KL. Tickets cost RM80 per person/RM800 per table (10 people). The dinner proceeds will go towards repairing and renovating the Sivan temple at the RMAF airbase in Sungei Besi. For tickets, contact Rasa (012-335 2081), Rudy (012-527 6101) or Vijay(012-255 6247).

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Fancied NPNG-Emkay win league and FA Cup

Posted: 14 Jul 2011 03:17 AM PDT

NPNG-EMKAY FC have confirmed their stranglehold on the Football Association of Selangor (FAS) league.

Having already been declared as Super League champions even with two matches in hand, NPNG-Emkay went on a grand double by winning the FA Cup after defeating Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) 2-0 in the final at the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kelana Jaya recently.

The win certainly redeemed their battered pride. Last season, NPNG-Emkay FC were the favourites but failed to win any honours.

Their coach Michael Palani said they were happy to have regained their lost glory.

"The players gave their best throughout the season. They were determined to bring honours to the club. The support from the management was also was good.

"The players have been rewarded with a holiday in Bali. We are thankful to the management for the support to the players,'' said Michael after the match.

The final saw Michael fielding Azralan Azmi in the starting 11. Azralan, NPNG-Emkay FC's top scorer in the league, was nursing an injury but Michael said his striker was prepared to start the match.

And Azralan's presence was inspiring to his teammates. NPNG-Emkay FC dominated the game and scored in the 20th minute. R. Arumugam was at the right place to score past MPSJ goalkeeper Mohd Firdaus Razali.

Seven minutes later Zulkifli Chek Din scored to make it 2-0 for NPNG-Emkay FC. After the breather, MPSJ dominated the match but were unable to get the goals.

In fact they had several openings but were denied by the woodwork and the brilliant efforts of goalkeeper Mohd Zaidi Razlee.

NPNG-Emkay FC, with the comfortable lead, were contented to play safe and defended well.

Michael said for them winning the double — league and FA Cup — was the target.

"We had a miserable season last year. Despite having some established players, we did not fare as expected. It was a blow to our pride as we had a strong tradition in the FAS League.

"We had to drop some of the seniors from the squad. Youngsters, from our junior development programme, were promoted and they adapted well,'' said Michael.

However, Michael does not want his charges to take it easy and would continue their training programmes.

"The season may have ended but we have to be on our toes for the new season. We will train as usual. We are eager and determined to maintain our supremacy in the FAS League,'' added Michael.

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