Isnin, 18 Julai 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

The witching hour

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:40 AM PDT

The secret circle of people with an ability to cast powerful spells reconvenes on television.

HEY, remember that time when witches were portrayed as hags with warts on their noses, and they rode dirty broomsticks through the night sky while cackling at the moon. Well, that's how it was generally depicted in a famous theatre production and cartoons.

Then, in 1964, a shiny new witch came into our living rooms via the television – Samantha Stephens (portrayed by Elizabeth Montgomery) of the series Bewitched.

It depicts the life of Samantha, who marries an ordinary man much to her mother's shock. From time to time, trouble brews in this happy family, no thanks to Samantha's mother. That's when Sam casts a spell to save the day, and she does this by twitching her nose.

But magic isn't always the solution. Most times than not, she solves her domestic problems like a regular person. After all, the supernatural elements in the show are nothing more than metaphors for any typical marital problem.

This series ended in 1972 with a spin-off titled Tabitha, which is based on Samantha's daughter (the adult Tabitha was played by Lisa Hartman). But this one didn't last more than 12 episodes.

While there were some other witches who have popped up on our radars – especially in the films (The Practical Magic, Witches Of Eastwick and The Crucibles) – television didn't offer anything that would keep the audience spellbound.

Then in the 1990s, the witches' time came around again. From the look of things, they haven't looked back since – they've managed to hold onto their presence even when other supernatural beings have come into the picture (yes, we're talking about you, vampires and werewolves).

Here we take a look at five of our favourite witches. Sorry Alex Russo (Selena Gomez in The Wizards of Waverly Place), you didn't make the cut.

1. Bonnie Bennett (Katerina Graham) of The Vampire Diaries – When two vampires are in love with you, it pays to have a best friend who is a powerful witch as you are bound to get into all kinds of trouble. Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and Bonnie have been BFF, like, erm, forever.

However, when the Salvatore brothers (who are two very good-looking vampires) arrive in Mystic Falls, Bonnie begins to realise she may have paranormal powers.

Later, Bonnie learns from her grandmother that she is a natural-born witch whose ancestors originate from Salem, Massachusetts (they fled the town when the Salem Witch Trials began).

Bonnie also discovers there are others like her – but not all of the witches and warlocks are selfless like she is. She is such a good friend, that although she is not in favour of Elena dating a vampire, Bonnie still helps the Salvatore brothers when they run into danger. See what Bonnie is up to in Season Two, which is showing on 8TV on Tuesdays at 9.30pm

2. Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis), True Blood – In Season Three of True Blood, it is revealed that Lafayette may be a male witch. He and his boyfriend Jesus Valeasquez (Kevin Alejandro) – a proud "brujo" or male witch – took a trippy journey in their minds after consuming vampire blood, where they encounter a shaman.

The connection between Lafayette and witchcraft is still not clear as the stylish cook at Merlott's is not accepting all the magic mumbo-jumbo Jesus is spouting.

In the new season, the storyline goes a little deeper into witchcraft when some evil witches plan to wreak havoc in Bon Temps, forcing our heroine – Sookie (Anna Paquin) – to face down a coven. Wait for it in Season Four, returning on HBO sometime in October.

3. Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan), Buffy The Vampire Slayer – In the first season of Buffy, Willow is a shy and nerdy girl who befriends Buffy who fights with vampires and demons. Later on, Willow begins dabbling in witchcraft. As it turns out, Willow has the gift to be a powerful witch. As she casts more and more spells, she becomes a person who is more reliant on magic to do even the simplest things.

Things turn really ugly when her girlfriend Tara is killed and Willow turns powerfully dark (for more metaphoric impact, her red hair is transformed into black) and goes on a revenge rampage. Fortunately, her friends save her and she has to relearn to use magic for good again.

4. The Halliwell sisters (Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan), Charmed – The Halliwell sisters discover they are part of long line of witches who must battle against forces of evil using witchcraft. Dubbed as the Charmed Ones, they use their ancestral spell book – Book Of Shadows – to protect the innocent.

The show falls in the realm of soap opera but the fashion, the actresses and comical moments have all worked their magic on the audience and we kept on watching. Charmed went on for eight years, not even slacking in viewership when Doherty's character was killed off and replaced with another Halliwell played by Rose McGowan.

5. Sabrina Spellman (Melissa Joan Hart) in Sabrina, The Teenage Witch – Based on the Archie comic book series, Sabrina was born to a warlock dad and a mortal mum. She has two aunts – both a tad eccentric, OK forget the tad – and a talking cat named Salem. She may have magical powers, but she still has to get through the teen angst and growing pains like any other teenager.

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

Then and now

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:36 AM PDT

The Sofa Spudniks remember the good ol' days of watching telly and marvel at how some genres evolve but have such staying power.

BEFORE there was McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) on Grey's Anatomy, there was Dr Gonzo Gates (Gregory Harrison) on Trapper John M.D. And before Dr Gonzo Gates, there was Dr Kildare (Richard Chamberlain) on Dr Kildare. All heartthrobs, all hot, hot doctors on medical dramas over the years. Medical dramas have always been a hit on TV (and not just because of the leading men) and they've always been a hit with me.

Trapper John M.D. was my first favourite medical drama. I was in primary school when the series was on – way too young to have an actual crush on Dr George Alanzo Gates aka Gonzo Gates (besides, my sister who was then a teenager with raging hormones, called dibs on him. It sucks being the youngest!). But I was old enough to love the series. I loved the drama (there was always some sort of unfolding drama in every episode), I loved the romance (Gonzo Gates – yes, the name has to be said in full – was quite the ladies' man, although in those days, things didn't heat up quite so much) and I loved watching the doctors save patients. Everybody loves a hero, right?

Well, Trapper John M.D. ended in 1986 and I remember being quite sad. I didn't realise then that medical dramas just like it would always be made, albeit modified to suit the times.

Think about it – there has never been a shortage of television hospitals and the drama that comes with the territory.

In the 1990s, there was ER (Noah Wyle and George Clooney in scrubs? Nice!) and Chicago Hope (Peter Berg is just so lovely) and don't forget Doogie Howser, M.D. (Neil Patrick Harris was a scene-stealer even then).

ER (set in the Emergency Room of the fictional County General Hospital in Chicago) was especially significant, not just because of Wyle and Clooney, but because it introduced chaos and realism into the genre: the pace was hopped-up and the stories were continuous, overlapping and messy. The situations were more believable too – things went wrong; doctors botched up big time; issues were raised.

ER brought grunge and glamour into the previously all-too-sterile hospital sets and for that, it became a hit (the show ran for 15 seasons and remains the longest-running primetime medical drama in the United States).

Even now, medical dramas are extremely popular – just look at the new medical series that keep sprouting (Hawthorne and Miami Medical being among the more recent ones).

Some series continue to push the boundaries – and by "some" I really mean the genre-bending House M.D. which stars the oh-so-hot-but-also-nasty Hugh Laurie. House took a fresh approach to the time-honoured genre and, despite my constant gushing over Laurie, the show really hasn't spawned any hearthrobs. It rocks because it's different, has good writers (though I'm not so thrilled about Season Seven), multi-dimensional characters that develop and interesting storylines.

Other medical dramas that have upped the ante include the always hilarious Scrubs (which brought interns/medical students to the forefront way before current hit series Grey's Anatomy) and Nurse Jackie (that focuses on nurses, starring Edie Falco).

But, if you're not looking for change and just want the romance-laden, soap opera-laced medical dramas – that is if you want hot guys in scrubs – you have nothing to worry about: Grey's Anatomy has been picked up for yet another season! So has its spin-off Private Practice.

Hot docs are here to stay though, even if like McDreamy, they may just be re-imaginations of old classics. Yes, I am 100% sure that McDreamy is the re-imagined Gonzo Gates.

No? Well, check this out. McDreamy is handsome, has gorgeous eyes and out-of this world thick and luscious hair, is a brilliant doctor and is super cool too (he lives not in a penthouse or big suburban house, but in a pimped-out silver trailer).

Well, guess what? Gonzo Gates was handsome too, had fabulous hair and dreamy eyes and lived in a mobile home which he parked on the hospital grounds. Sure, he wasn't a hot shot neurosurgeon with a troubled, complicated personal life but I'm darn sure he was the original McDreamy. And, I really think Gonzo Gates is a much cooler name! – S.I.

I'm a little bit country, And I'm a little bit rock'n'roll. Put up your hands if you know which brother and sister duo would sing that number every week on television.

The year was 1976 and I was in Standard Two. Created by Sid & Marty Krofft (boy-oh-boy they must have been the Simon Fuller of the 70s), Donnie & Marie was one of those variety shows that my family and I would never miss. Cheesy? Yes, it had an ice-skating intro for crying out loud. Shortlived? Yes, it got yanked off the air after three years because Donnie was no longer on the market (he got married to a childhood sweetheart). Significant? Well, Donnie (then 18) and Marie Osmond (16) were the youngest ever hosts on television at the time. Did I love the show? You bet your bottom dollar.

Donnie and Marie Osmond were my idols, laugh all you want. I'd never miss a show, and I just loved it when they did their country/rock'n'roll trade off segment (Marie was country and Donnie, rock'n'roll for those of you who have no idea what I'm on about), and when they came to the end of the show (when they'd sing their signature May tomorrow be a perfect day, may you find love and laughter all the way ... I can still remember the lyrics more than three decades later!)

Sid & Marty Krofft (TV producer siblings) were masters of the variety genre and they had a string of TV shows which kept me glued to the telly. (The Krofft Supershow was one of those Saturday afternoon programmes I'd never miss come hell or high water!)

There were other variety shows back in the day which always somehow appealed to everyone in my family – mum, dad and maid included! One such show was BBC's The Rolf Harris Show, which featured Australian Rolf Harris in a sort of variety-talk-art show (broadcast from 1967-1974 on BBC1,

I'm not sure when it came to Malaysia but I think it must have been in the late 70s).

I remember the show having dancing, singing and incredible instruments like the didjeridoo and the wobble board; I remember a live audience and that he'd usually end the episode by painting something in a very avant-garde way – with a large painting brush and splashes of paint that at first didn't resemble anything and then would suddenly transform into an incredible piece of art. (It's worth going to YouTube and seeing one of these very interesting sessions, believe me!)

My sisters and I still sing Rolf Harris songs today (we do a decent Court Of King Caractacus), and I think we learnt them all from that show, it left an indellible impression no doubt.

Fast forward to today and I see history repeat itself often. I and my two kids, we don't agree on many things. But when American Idol is on, you'll find us huddling in front of the telly together (rooting for different performers nonetheless). Ditto the "quality family time" for So You Think You Can Dance, America's Got Talent and Got To Dance – reality shows which I think are the result of years of evolution of the variety genre.

You've got people of all ages, creeds and colour dancing and singing (and occasionally doing other zany things on stage); there's a little bit of country, a little bit of rock'n'roll; lavish sets; throw in some spitfire critical analyses (that would be Simon Cowell) and somehow everyone – whether you're eight and in primary school, a teenage college student, 40something journalist or retired grandfather – is suddenly bright-eyed and on the couch for the next couple of hours. And there's something magical about the variety show that keeps us coming back for more. – A.M.C

Ann Marie thinks 'Parenthood' is the 'Little House On The Prairie' of the 2000s, but Indra disagrees. What are the programmes of yesteryear that you remember watching, and do they compare to something on TV today? Tell us at

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

The Star Online: Sports

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

The Star Online: Sports

Eye-catching swimsuits herald our synchro team’s debut

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 06:33 PM PDT

SHANGHAI: The "football theme" swimsuits worn by the Malaysian synchronised swimming team heralded their debut on the World Championships stage at the Oriental Sports Centre yesterday.

The eight-member strong team of Lee Yhing Huey, Lee Zhien Huey, Emanuelle Mah, Tan May Mei, Mandy Yeap, Yeo Pei Ling, Shareen Png and Katrina Ann Hadi were not just decked in orange swimsuits with black stripes but with numbers sewn on their backs.

And Malaysia's first participation in the team discipline provided good indications that they are on course to do well at the Palembang SEA Games later.

Malaysia ended as the best ranked in the region after the technical display, chalking 72.700 points for 20th spot.

They were ranked ahead of Thailand, who managed 67.400 to finish 21st while Indonesia and Singapore occupied 23rd and 24th spots respectively.

Thailand, Singapore and hosts Indonesia are seen as Malaysia's biggest rivals as they have continued with the synchronised swimming programme despite it not being in the SEA Games roster for some time.

The team discipline was not in the programme when the sport was last contested at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in 2001 and Malaysia looked on course to do well if the results are any indication.

Chinese coach Long Yan, who handles the Bukit Jalil-based swimmers, said they had not participated in the discipline at a major stage for some time.

"The last time we took part in the team event was at the Doha Asian Games five years ago.

"We want to gauge where we stand, especially as the SEA Games will have synchronised swimming this time."

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

Dutch sprinters could dominate swim worlds

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 06:22 PM PDT

SHANGHAI (AP) - While standout Brazilian sprinter Cesar Cielo waits for his status to be determined by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, one thing is certain for the women's signature events at the world swimming championships: the Dutch pose a serious threat.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo, who has overcome a recent serious bout of meningitis, is among the favorites next week for the 50- and 100-meter freestyle races and along with Frederike Heemskerk, Inge Dekker and Marleen Velduis, the Flying Dutchwomen are undoubtedly the team to beat in the 400 freestyle relay.

The same four women have won the relay at the last two major international meets - the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2009 worlds in Rome - when they also set the current world record.

They're the latest in a long line of Dutch sprinting standouts, starting with the likes of Pieter van den Hoogenband and Inge de Bruijn - who won a combined 15 Olympic medals at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games.

"We're long and tall people - maybe that's good for sprinting freestyle," Veldhuis said.

The historic legacy also helps.

"As a little child I was sitting in front of the TV watching Pieter and Inge de Bruijn," Kromowidjojo said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Now they're retired, but a few years ago I was training with them, so it was really nice and awesome to swim with your idols."

The 20-year-old Kromowidjojo and Veldhuis, who is returning from a maternity leave, train together at the Pieter van den Hoogenband swim stadium in Eindhoven, and "VdH" still checks in on his former teammates from time to time.

Dutch head coach Jacco Verhaeren is the link between old and new generations, having coached van den Hoogenband for 15 years.

"In all club teams in the Netherlands the top event is 50 and 100 freestyle, so there's a lot of focus on it - maybe a little bit too much, to be honest," said Verhaeren, who would like to see his younger swimmers branch out into other events.

In such a small country, however, it's difficult to excel in every discipline. "If we can choose, we choose 50 and 100 freestyle and the relays," Verhaeren said.

Kromowidjojo is the Dutch team's budding star. She swept golds in the 50 and 100 free at the short-course worlds in Dubai in December for her first major international individual titles.

However, Britta Steffen - the German who won the sprints in both Beijing and Rome - did not compete in Dubai, so it's difficult to pick favorites here.

"It's a very close race - Therese Alshammar, Marleen Veldhius, Britta Steffen, me - so I don't see myself as the favorite and I don't think there is one favorite," Kromowidjojo said.

Other top sprinters include Francesca Halsall of Britain, Jeanette Ottessen of Denmark, and Americans Natalie Coughlin and Jessica Hardy.

Kromowidjojo's father is from Suriname and his grandparents came from Indonesia, but Ranomi was born and raised in the Netherlands.

"She's a completely typical Dutch girl," Verhaeren said.

She pronounces her name "just how you write it," as she likes to say.

Kromowidjojo's victories in Dubai were all the more impressive considering that she was struck with meningitis midway through last year, forcing her out of the European championships in Budapest.

"It was really serious, I was really ill," Kromowidjojo said. "I didn't swim for seven weeks, but after I recovered really fast and two, three months later we had Europeans (short-course) and I had four gold medals and four weeks later we had worlds (short-course). It was amazing."

Meningitis is an infection of the lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, and at one point Kromowidjojo was wondering if she would ever swim again.

"Yes, everything is in your head. Maybe I cannot swim, maybe I cannot walk. You hear stories like people are deaf or cannot work anymore or nothing be the same as they were," she said.

Fortunately for Kromowidjojo, the illness left her with no disabilities. It did, perhaps, give her more motivation.

On her right wrist, Kromowidjojo has a tattoo featuring the Chinese character for water, the No. 1 and the letter K for her relay gold in Beijing. She'll be looking to add another tattoo in Shanghai - and lead her teammates to gold in the relay.

Cielo hopes to have a chance to win gold here, too. The world title holder in the men's 50 and 100 freestyle, Cielo is awaiting a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing after testing positive to a banned diuretic, furosemide.

Swimming's governing body FINA challenged a Brazilian federation decision to give Cielo and three teammates only a warning after testing positive in May. Cielo blamed his positive test on a contaminated batch of a food supplement he regularly used.

The hearing will begin Wednesday in Shanghai. A decision is expected by Friday, two days before the Sunday start of the eight-day pool swimming program.

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

Leader Voeckler dismisses his prospects of bagging Tour title

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 05:38 PM PDT

MONTPELLIER: Tour de France leader Thomas Voeckler (pic) continued to keep the hosts dreaming of a shock home triumph but said on Sunday he has "zero chance" of ending their 26-year wait for the yellow jersey.

Europcar team leader Voeckler emerged from three tough days in the Pyrenees mountains with his 1:49 lead on Luxembourg's Frank Schleck intact.

A handful of other, more fancied challengers are in Schleck's wake including Australian Cadel Evans (2:06), younger brother Andy (2:15) and Spain's reigning three-time champion Alberto Contador (4:00).

Three days in the Alps, starting tomorrow, and the penultimate stage time trial on Saturday are set to decide the race.

Voeckler, who famously spent 10 days in the lead in 2004 when he kept the yellow jersey, albeit temporarily, from Lance Armstrong, has won plenty of plaudits in recent days.

Even Armstrong posted a Twittter message on Saturday which talked up the Frenchman's chances.

But after Sunday's 15th stage, won by sprinter Mark Cavendish, Voeckler brushed off suggestions he could become the first home winner since Bernard Hinault in 1985.

"There's a week of racing left and the Tour has been designed so that the race is decided in the final week," said Voeckler.

"I'll give it everything, but I'm not going to lie and say I can win it. I really believe I have zero chance of winning the Tour de France.

"It's not a question of not wanting to. Everybody would like to win the Tour. Since Bernard Hinault we're waiting for a (French) winner and since Richard Virenque a podium finisher.

"It would be a great publicity stunt but I'm not going to go out and lie and say I'm the man to succeed them."

Voeckler's biggest achievement in the race so far was defending his lead on stage 14 to Plateau de Beille, where the Schleck brothers took turns at testing their rivals with flurries of accelerations.

The Frenchman was able to counter every time, but hinted that wearing the yellow jersey, which in the past has propelled unlikely champions to unexpected feats, has given him wings.

"I was able to follow (the favourites) yesterday and for sure, I'd love to be able to follow them in the coming stages, but I really don't think I have what it takes to compete with them in the high mountains," he added.

"For me, it's almost freakish that I was able to follow them."

With Contador, the Schlecks and Evans expected to resume their yellow jersey battle in the Alps, Voeckler doesn't expect to benefit from ad hoc alliances.

He is simply counting on his team – and his legs – to do the talking.

"It's not like on the flat (stages) when you can get a bit of help (from other teams). In the mountains, that just doesn't exist. Your legs can either follow or they can't," he added,

"The fact you're keeping up with the best climbers on the Tour gives you a lot of motivation. But I know the Alps are coming up, and I'm expecting some difficult moments." – AFP

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

The Star Online: Business

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

The Star Online: Business

European banks may need 80 billion euros of additional capital

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 05:13 PM PDT

LONDON: European banks may have to raise as much as 80 billion euros (US$113bil) of additional capital as the stress tests failed to allay investor concern about a Greek default and governments' ability to bail out their lenders.

The eight out of the 90 banks that failed the July 15 tests had only a combined capital shortfall of 2.5 billion euros, the European Banking Authority (EBA) said on July 15. As many as 20 banks need to bolster capital, JP Morgan Cazenove analysts led by Kian Abouhossein wrote in a report after the results' publication.

Regulators didn't include a Greek default in the tests even though credit default swaps indicate investors see an almost 90% chance of one. The EBA included a 25% writedown on 10-year Greek government bonds held in banks' trading books even as the securities trade at about 51 cents on the euro.

The exams won't succeed in reassuring investors until governments put in place a mechanism to stop failing banks weighing on public funds, said Gary Greenwood, an analyst at Shore Capital.

"The EBA are stress-testing the wrong thing," said Hank Calenti, a bank strategist at Societe Generale SA in London in a telephone interview.

"They need to be testing the ability of the euro zone to support its banks. It's firstly a question of the ability of the sovereign to bail out the banks, and then who is going to bail out the sovereign."

The 46-member Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index has slumped 12% this year as the debt crisis worsened. The index fell 0.3% yesterday.

"We think the European banking stress test is unlikely to provide much in terms of assurance to the markets," said Dirk Hoffmann-Becking, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in a note to clients yesterday. "The concerns about contagion of the sovereign debt crisis into core Europe have taken centre stage."

Euro-area government leaders will hold a special summit on July 21, stepping up efforts to stem the contagion from Greece. Leaders are at odds with one another and with the European Central Bank over demands by Germany and Finland that private investors bear some of the burden for a second Greek bailout.

Yields on two-year notes from Ireland, Portugal and Greece soared to euro-era records last week. Yields on Spanish and Italian 10-year bonds surged to the most since the euro's inception in 1999.

"You should probably be stress-testing the sovereigns not the banks," said Liverpool, England-based Greenwood. "The only thing that can ultimately give the markets some comfort is evidence that the sovereigns themselves have sorted out their balance sheets." Reuters

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

Philips surprises with US$1.8b loss

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 05:09 PM PDT

AMSTERDAM: Philips yesterday made a surprise writedown on acquisitions that dragged the group to a 1.3 billion-euro (US$1.8bil) second-quarter net loss, just weeks after warning on profits at two key divisions.

The Dutch group which is the world's biggest lighting maker, a top three hospital equipment maker, and Europe's biggest consumer electronics producer said it took writedowns at its healthcare and lighting divisions, leading to a 1.4 billion-euro impairment.

Last month the company warned of sharply lower second-quarter profits and slowing sales growth at both its lighting business and the toasters-to-shavers consumer division, citing weak consumer demand in Europe.

"This is a wider signal that the consumer is not really recovering," said Hans Slob, analyst at Rabo-bank.

Philips CEO Frans van Houten said in a statement: "We do not expect a material performance improvement in the near term as operational risks and issues remain, and also considering the current uncertain economic environment."

The company will launch a 500 million-euro cost-savings programme that will run into 2014 and a 2 billion-euro share-buyback programme, which will be completed in the next year.

Philips shares have fallen 30% in the past 12 months, versus a 16.5% rise of the STOXX Europe 600 Personal & Household Goods index.

Restructuring specialist van Houten, who scrapped Philips' earlier growth targets when he took over as chief executive in April, set new medium-term goals for 2013 yesterday, including sales growth of between 4% and 6%, and earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) margins of 10%-12% for the group.

Rabobank's Slob said that while the share buyback was positive, indicating that management considered the shares to be heavily undervalued, the overall outlook was disappointing.

"The management admits Philips is a lower-margin business," he said, adding that he expected the new guidance to trigger more analysts' downgrades.

"The vision 2013 is disappointing. It is low in terms of profitability and the EBITA margin of 10% to 12% is not impressive," said Petercam analyst Marcel Achterberg.

Philips has struggled to compete with lower-cost Asian makers of consumer electronics, while tepid consumer confidence and weak economic growth in Europe and the US have hit demand for products ranging from televisions to electric toothbrushes, as well as its street and home-lighting systems.

Philips competes with Samsung and LG Electronics among others in consumer electronics, and with General Electric and Siemens in the hospital and lighting markets. Reuters

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

Support Line

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 05:06 PM PDT


CBSA shares rebounded slightly from the most recent low of 34.5 sen (now the support floor) amid mild bargain-hunting interest yesterday. Technically, the uptick of the stochastic and the 14-day relative strength index from the neutral zone suggest more gains in the short term, but trading may be volatile, with strong overhead resistance anticipated at the 43.5- sen level.

Dialog Group

DIALOG Group pulled back from an all-time peak of RM2.88 on June 2 to RM2.53 amid extended correction yesterday. The short-term trend is bearish. If the crucial 100- day simple moving average of RM2.52 is violated, the stock may fall to the RM2.40 or the RM2.20 levels. Resistance is expected at the RM2.72 mark.

Eng Teknologi Holdings

ENG Teknologi Holdings hit an intra-day high of RM2.07 yesterday. Apparently, the positive reading from indicators suggests the stock's price is likely to firm in the immediate term on follow-through interest. Resistance is envisaged at RM2.25 followed by the RM2.50 mark while current support is resting at the RM1.80 line. # The comments above do not represent a recommendation to buy or sell.

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

The Star Online: Nation

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

The Star Online: Nation

Appelate court dismisses appeal of Ayah Pin follower

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 05:45 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: A follower of the Ayah Pin deviationist sect failed in her appeal here Monday to reinstate her application seeking for a declaration that she has the absolute right and freedom under the Federal Constitution to profess and practice any religion.

Justices Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin, Datuk Azhar Ma'ah and Datuk Clement Allan Skinner agreed with the decision of the then High Court judge Tan Sri Md Raus Shariff (now Federal Court judge) that the matter was within the sole domain of the Syariah Court by virtue of Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution.

Article 121 (1A) of the Constitution gives the exclusive jurisdiction to the Syariah Court to determine matters relating to Islam.

The panel unanimously dismissed Kamariah Ali's appeal against the Dec 30 2005 High Court's decision which threw out her originating summons and also her application to refer legal questions to the Federal Court.

Justice Azhar held that the subject matter before the High Court was apostasy and, therefore, was within the Syariah Court's jurisdiction and not the Civil Court.

Kamariah, who was represented by Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, was ordered to pay legal costs of RM10,000 to respondents Majlis Agama Islam dan Adat Melayu Terengganu and the state government, and another RM5,000 to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Kamariah, 60, wanted the Federal Court to determine whether the right to profess a religion as enshrined under Article 11 (1), includes the right of Muslims who have reached adulthood, to leave the religion.

In her originating summons, she sought a declaration that the choice to profess a religion was determined by her and not by any declaration or confirmation of another party.

She also wanted the court to declare that she had the right to enforce her absolute right to profess any religion of her choice as enshrined under Article 11 by declaring herself no longer professing Islam and that any federal law and state enactment, with respect to Islamic religion did not apply to her.

On July 20 2005, officers of the Department of Religious Affairs, Terengganu (JHEAT), with the help of the police raided Kampung Ayah Pin, located in the Besut District, Terengganu and arrested many people, including Kamariah.

On Aug 4, 2005, Kamariah was charged at the Kuala Terengganu Syariah High Court for allegedly committing offences against the Islamic law under Section 10 and Section 7 of the Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu) 2001. - Bernama

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

First Sarawak Deputy CM and former SNAP chief James Wong dies at age 89

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 05:40 AM PDT

KUCHING: Sarawak's first Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar James Wong Kim Min, 89, passed away Monday morning after a heart attack.

He was rushed to Normah Medical Specialist Centre here at about 10am and died shortly after.

Wong played an instrumental role in the formation of Malaysia. He was the state's longest-serving assemblyman and became Deputy Chief Minister in 1963.

He was also formerly Sarawak National Party (SNAP) president and held several state ministerial portfolios before retiring from active public service in 2001.

More in The Star on Tuesday

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

Man fails in bid to be legally declared a woman

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 05:38 AM PDT

KUALA TERENGGANU: A medical assistant failed in his bid to be declared a woman, when his application for a gender change was rejected by the High Court here Monday.

Mohd Ashraf Hafiz Abd Aziz, 26, also wanted his name changed on his birth certificate and MyKad to Aleesha Farhana Abd Aziz.

Justice Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa, in rejecting Mohd Ashraf's application, said there was no legal statute to grant such an application based on the factor of a sex-change operation.

He added the plaintiff did not satisfied three other criteria for being declared a woman - chromosome count, and exterior as well interior organs.

More in The Star on Tuesday

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Potter' takes down Batman with $168.6mil weekend

Posted: 17 Jul 2011 07:43 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP): The boy wizard has vanquished the dark knight and a band of pirates with a record-setting magic act at both the domestic and international box office.

Warner Bros. estimates that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" took in $168.6 million domestically from Friday to Sunday. That beats the previous best opening weekend of $158.4 million, also held by Warner Bros. for 2008's Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight."

Overseas, the film added $307 million in 59 countries since it began rolling out Wednesday, topping the previous best international debut of $260.4 million set in May by Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides."

International results for "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" included record openings in Great Britain at $36.6 million and Australia at $26.7 million, according to Warner Bros.

Worldwide, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" topped $475 million in a matter of days, putting it on course to become the franchise's first billion-dollar worldwide hit.

"This will be the biggest 'Harry Potter' by far," said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. "A billion dollars is definitely going to happen."

The current franchise high is $974.8 million worldwide for the first film, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" 10 years ago.

"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" does have the advantage of 3-D screenings, which cost a few dollars more than 2-D shows. Because of the higher 3-D price, plus regular inflation, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" sold fewer tickets but took in more money than "The Dark Knight" over opening weekend.

Overall domestic revenue for the weekend totaled $263 million, a record for a non-holiday weekend, according to box-office tracker

The "Harry Potter" finale also set a record for best opening day domestically Friday with $92.1 million, nearly $20 million ahead of the previous high for "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" two years ago.

Other records for "Deathly Hallows: Part 2": best domestic gross for debut midnight shows at $43.5 million, topping the $30 million for last year's "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"; best domestic opening in huge-screen IMAX theaters with $15.5 million, surpassing the $12.2 million for last year's "Alice in Wonderland"; and best worldwide IMAX debut with $23.5 million, beating the $20.4 million for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" two weeks ago.

"This is just really a monumental event," said analyst Paul Dergarabedian. "The 3-D component, plus the IMAX, plus it being the last 'Harry Potter,' it was just this convergence of things that created this incredible record."

Paramount's third "Transformers" blockbuster, which had been No. 1 the previous two weekends, slipped to second-place with $21.3 million domestically. It remains the year's top domestic hit with $302.8 million.

The latest "Transformers" added $39 million overseas, bringing its international haul to $460 million and worldwide total to $762.8 million.

Among this year's releases, that's second only to "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" at $1.03 billion.

The weekend's other new wide release, Disney's animated family flick "Winnie the Pooh," got swamped by "Harry Potter" mania. A return to the hand-drawn animation style of earlier adaptations of A.A. Milne's beloved storybook characters, "Winnie the Pooh" pulled in just $8 million domestically, finishing at No. 6.

"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" is the eighth and final film adapted from J.K. Rowling's seven novels about the young wizard's indoctrination into a secret world of sorcery and his epic battles with evil conjurer Voldemort.

Cast more than a decade ago at ages 10 and 11 as Harry and his pals Hermione and Ron, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint became instant celebrities. They grew up on screen, maturing from inexperienced children to adult actors whose earnest performances contributed to glowing reviews from critics for the finale.

The three now are moving on to adult roles, including Radcliffe's stint on Broadway in the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

"It's just a great way to exit, with the class and style that J.K. Rowling wrote into these stories," Fellman said. "It comes to an end, as all goods thing do. When you have the opportunity to be a part of that, to work on all eight movies over 10 years, to see the kids, meeting them for the first time when they're 10 and 11, and just now going to see Daniel Radcliffe at 22 years old in 'How to Succeed in Business' on Broadway. There's a bittersweet part of it."

The first "Harry Potter" film shown in 3-D, "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" continued a downward trend for domestic revenues derived from the 3-D format.

Some earlier hits took in 70 percent or more of their domestic cash from 3-D shows. But "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" did just 43 percent of its domestic business in 3-D, with most fans choosing cheaper 2-D tickets.

That still means a healthy $72.5 million in domestic revenue from 3-D screenings, but it also shows that American audiences have lost much of their fervor for seeing movies in three dimensions.

Overseas audiences remain eager for it, with 3-D tickets accounting for 61 percent of international income on "Deathly Hallows: Part 2."

Woody Allen hit a milestone as his romance "Midnight in Paris" pulled in $1.9 million to raise its domestic total to $41.8 million, a personal revenue record for the filmmaker. The Sony Pictures Classics release beat Allen's previous high of $40.1 million for 1986's "Hannah and Her Sisters."

Factoring in today's higher admission prices, "Hannah and Her Sisters" and other earlier Allen hits such as "Annie Hall" sold far more tickets than "Midnight in Paris."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," $168.6 million ($307 million international).

2. "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," $21.3 million ($39 million international).

3. "Horrible Bosses," $17.6 million.

4. "Zookeeper," $12.3 million.

5. "Cars 2," $8.3 million ($12.4 million international).

6. "Winnie the Pooh," $8 million.

7. "Bad Teacher," $5.2 million.

8. "Larry Crowne," $2.6 million.

9. "Super 8," $1.92 million.

10. "Midnight in Paris," $1.9 million.

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

The Star Online: Metro: Central

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

The Star Online: Metro: Central

Metro watch

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 06:30 AM PDT


There will be blood donation drive at several locations today. Sangria Island Bar & Restaurant in Jalan P. Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur (11am to 4.30pm), Dewan Kelab Sukan dan Sosial Bina Puri Kuala Lumpur, Wisma Binapuri, 88 Jalan Bukit Idaman, 8/1 Bukit Idaman, Selayang (9am to 3pm), Dewan Utama Kolej Islam Antarabangsa, 3rd Floor Trustworthy Complex No.1 Jalan 31/10A, Taman Muda, Batu Caves, (9am to 5pm). For enquiries, visit or call 03-2695 5557/8.


Sense At Play will be organising a workshop entitled "Enhancing Fine Motor Skills for Writing Readiness" on July 23 at Bandar Utama and the rates are RM70 per person or RM120 for parents. It will be conducted by occupational therapist Teo Lee Fun, who will explain the importance of proper development of our fine motor skills for handwriting. For details, call Anna at 012-372 3776.


Syabas is launching an outstanding bills operation in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from today until July 23. Those who still fail to settle their outstanding bills within 14 days of receiving it will find their water supply cut. In lieu of the operation, Syabas has extended its payment counter operating hours at its offices from 9am to 5pm on July 23 and 9am to noon on July 24. For more information, call PUSPEL at 1800-88-5252 (toll free).


The General Studies Department of Ungku Omar Polytechnic, Ipoh will be organising a MUET seminar for teachers and lecturers on July 23 from 8.15am to 1.30pm at Dewan Jubli Perak, Ungku Omar Polytechnic, Ipoh. For details, call 017-502 5009 (Nathan) or 013-422 1215 (Ima). Closing date is July 20.


Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman through its Centre for Extension Education (CEE) will be conducting a two-day workshop on Writing for the Media on July 26 and 27. For details, call 03-7957 2818/ 03-7958 2628 ext 8610 (Jennifer/Sia) or 016-223 3563, Fax: 03-7957 3818 or e-mail


Sri Chaitanya Sridhar Govinda Seva Ashram will be observing the inauguration (installation) festival of their Lordships Sri Jaganath, Baladev, Subhadra on July 21 from 8pm to 9.30pm. The ashram is located at No. 7 Jalan 18/21 Taman Kanagapuram, Petaling Jaya.


Pudu English Old Girls' Association is having a high tea reunion on July 23 at Grand Hall PESS SMK Perempuan Pudu from 12.30pm to 4.30pm. For details, call Susan Kuah at 012-295 9109 or Wong at 016-209 6665.


Malaysian Craft will be having their Aidilfitri Craft Promotion 2011 at Kompleks Kraf, Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur, from July 21 to 29 from 10am to 8pm. For details, call 03-2161 3793.

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

MSSM athletes dominate International Little Athletics championships

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 06:30 AM PDT

THE Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) dominated the International Little Athletics championships at the National Sports Council (NSC) training centre in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur recently.

In the two-day championships, the MSSM collected 30 gold, 30 silver and 22 bronze medals while Western Australia Little Athletics Association (WALAA) were second with 25-26-29 medals followed by Singapore Schools Sports Council (SSSC) on 9-8-13.

The championships cater for the Under-14 and Under-15 age groups for both boys and girls.

Meet manager A. Trapadi said the championships were an initiative, between the MSSM and SSSC, since 18 years ago.

"The MSSM and SSSC take turns to organise the championships. The WALAA are invited and they always come with a big squad. The championships are a platform for junior athletes to gain exposure.

"The focus is on multi lateral. That means each athlete must be good in different disciplines — run, throw and jumps — and the vision is to prepare them in all departments and specialise later.

"We have seen several athletes, who had taken part in this championships, moving on to represent their country in international competitions.

"The athletes from Australia look forward to this event annually,'' said Trapadi.

The Malaysian team, selected based on their performance in the Milo-MSSM championships in May, won the bulk of the gold medals from the boys. The boys won 23 gold medals compared with the girls who contributed only seven.

Trapadi, who is also the national long and middle distance coach, admitted the Malaysian girls did not fare well.

"The results are an indication of their progress. When they return to their home states, the coaches should intensify their training programme. As most of them are below 15, they have ample time to improve,'' said Trapadi.

The championships are also unique as the teams are given the privilege to name their best athlete in the respective age groups.

The MSSM had picked Chin Poh Kuan (girls' Under-14), Cheah Yau Chung (boys' Under-14), Noor Shahidatun Nadia Mohd Zuki (girls' Under-15) and Mohamad Akmal Safuan Hassan (boys' Under-15) as the best athletes.

Noor Shahidatun Nadia won two golds with new records. Her first gold came in the triple jump. Her leap of 12.82m erased the previous record of 11.61m.

She cleared 5.87m in the long jump which was better than the old record of 5.69m. WALAA's Blake Phillips also got his name into the record books. The Australian hurled the discus to a 57.96m to erase the old record of 53.70m.

Trapadi said next year's championships would be hosted by SSSC.

Roll of Honour

Best athletes (boys)


MSSM: Cheah Yau Chung

WALAA: Chad Ross

SSSC: Kendrick Sinatra Hardy


MSSM: Muhamad Akmal Safuan Hassan

WALAA: Blake Phillips

SSSC: Muncheriji Zubin Percy



MSSM: Chin Poh Kuan

WALAA: Amy Braimbridge

SSSC: Lynette Lim


MSSM: Noor Shahidatun Nadia Mohd Zuki

WALAA: Rebecca Newton

SSSC: Shanti Veronica Pereira

Medal Tally   G S B

MSSM            30 30 22

WALAA           25 26 29

SSSC             9 8 13

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

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Metro watch

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:30 AM PDT

Water Cut

Residents in Kulai are advised to store adequate water as there will a 14-hour water disruption beginning from 10am till midnight today. The affected areas are the whole of Air Bemban, Air Manis area, Kulai industral area, Oil Palm industrial area, Pekan Kelapa Sawit, Taman Wedo, Taman Manis, Taman Scientex, Pekan Bukit Batu, Taman Mas, Tan Yoke Fong area. For enquiries, call 1800-88-7474 or SMS to 019-772 7474 or email at

Anniversary gift

Lee Biscuits Pte Ltd is celebrating their 77th anniversary with a RM15 limited edition gift pack as a gesture of appreciation for the continuous support from their loyal customers. Those interested to get the gift pack can call 07-686 8333.

Fund raising concert

The Lisbon Chamber Choir will be performing at the Calvary Church Auditorium in Bukit Beruang on July 23 commencing at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced at RM200, RM100 and RM50. For details, call 016-205 5780 (Doris Teo), 012-392 7970 (Christina Ng), 012-618 6770 (Lee Siew Len) or 012-621 8909 (Chee Siok Hoon).

Handicraft's lure

Looking for unique and beautifully carved wooden and traditional batek and ceramic products for souvenirs or home decoration? Check out the Pahang Handicraft Corporation complex at Kampung Pandan II, Kuantan-Terengganu bypass. Opens from Monday to Friday, 8am-5pm. For details, call 09-538 5677.

Change of number

The Muar Inland Revenue Department at Sungai Abong here has changed its telephone number from 06-952 7000 to 06-956 3100, beginning June 1.

Zero waste zone

Kuantan Municipal Council (MPK) launched the Zero Waste Zone 2011 and it is MPK's aspiration to ensure that Kuantan Town Centre becomes a zero waste zone from Jalan Tanah Putih in front of Giant Hypermarket to Teluk Cempedak. For details, call 09-512 1555/1666 or log on to their website at

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

Proposed project to upgrade site

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:30 AM PDT

MALACCA: The government has identified project to upgrade the Krubong Landfill site here at an estimated cost of RM42.8 million through a co-operation with National Solid Waste Management Department (NSWMD), the state assembly was told, recently.

Housing, Local Government and Environment committee chairman Datuk Mohd Yunos Husin said the proposed project would be at a 12ha idle site acquired by NSWMD close to the present landfill in the area.

"The project will be implemented through an open tender," he said when replying to a question by Chua Kheng Hwa (BN-Bemban) at the state assembly on Wednesday.

He said the land acquisition for the project took place on June 23 and the project was expected to be completed by June 2012.

Mohd Yunos said the upgraded landfill site will could complement the need of a sanitary site for a five years while awaiting the SolidWaste Sanitary Landfill Development Project in Sungai Udang to be completed.

He said the upgrading project involved closing the present landfill and constructing a Level IV sanitary landfill at the new site.

Mohd Yunos said the upgraded site would meet the requirements of green technology in line with the concept of Malacca as a Green TechnologyCity State.

Separately, the assembly also told that an allocation of RM18,969,300 was received for the implementation of Public Infrastructure Maintenance (PIM) and Basic Infrastructure Project (BIP) this year.

Rural Development and Agriculture committee chairman, Datuk R. Perumal said 474 projects had been approved for PIM and BIP in the state this year.

He said up to June 2011, 281 projects have been completed at a cost of RM11,551,011.56.

Perumal said this when answering a question by Datuk Ab Rahman AbKarim (BN-Pantai Kundor).

He said the scope of PIM involved maintenance and upgrading including works on building painting, drainage system maintenance and others.

As for BIP, the allocation could be utilised to build new, maintainand upgrade basic infrastructure projects such as public amenities like small bridges and jetties, he said.

Meanwhile, State Islamic Affair committee Datuk Yaakub Md Amin revealed that ten state government owned plots were trespassed by unauthorised individuals and groups.

He said the plots includes land reserves, river reserves and vacant lots where Melaka Tengah district recorded the highest number oftrespassers with five lots followed by four lots in Alor Gajah and one at Jasin.

The state government viewed the encroachment issue very seriously and would act accordingly to the provision allocated under Section 425 ofthe National Land Code Procedure, he said when replying a question byDatuk Tahir Hasan(BN-Paya Rumput).

The assembly also heard that the state governments intends to establish three more local councils in the state.

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

Shortcomings should be forseen

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 04:30 AM PDT

NUSAJAYA: An assemblyman has reminded government agencies to be alert and sensitive when implementing a new procedure or regulations and to avoid doing it during peak periods like school holidays.

Pulai Sebatang representative Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said the recent implementation of the biometric scanners at the check-points in Johor by the Immigration department took place at the wrong time and had cast a negative image on the country especially among tourists.

"Everytime a new system is introduced, there will be some shortcomings in terms of technical problems or even human related," he said, adding that unfortunately when the system was implemented on June 4, that was a "peak period" due to school holidays in Malaysia and Singapore.

Tee, who is also Johor MCA backbenchers club adviser, said that was the period when many people travelled across both countries especially via the causeway and Second Link.

"I was told some people were stuck in a traffic jam of up to six hours," he said in his speech at the state assembly.

"Why was the system implemented at the peak hour?

"Why did the department not think about the consequences?

"Were they really ready in terms of technical support, manpower and enforcement when implementing this project" he questioned.

Tee added that he was informed that the system was also not done thoroughly but instead, random foreigners were targeted and scanned.

"This defeats the purpose of the implementation the system," he said, adding that he hoped the Immigration department would be alert and sensitive in future to prevent such incidents from recurring.

Tee commended the government for the implementation of the system, which was mainly done for the country's safety and as another added security measure apart from the present passport system.

On another issue, he urged the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) to revise its decision to impose fines of palm oil fruits, which were not fully ripened.

He added that the hefty fines had caused many factories to reject fruits and this was a huge waste especially when the price of palm oil was very high.

"Has MPOB done anything to educate the farmers, suppliers and collection centres on this new regulation and how to avoid waste of the fruits?" he asked.

He hoped the MPOB would be able to get all the relevant parties together to discussion on ways to overcome this problem.

The assemblyman also commended the Johor government for bringing in RM26bil in investments within three years, which helped to generate 54,000 job opportunities in the state.

"Between January and March alone some 10,544 jobs were available compared within states being government by the opposition especially Kelantan which only attracted RM6.6mil and created 204 jobs only," he added.

He said preference for job opportunities in the state should be given to locals first before being offered to foreigners.

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Echoes: Anggun's latest album

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 02:22 AM PDT

Indonesian singer Anggun weaves her personal life stories into her latest album, Echoes.

IT may sound like a cliche whenever an artiste says he/she has attained their proudest moment with their newest album release. But when Anggun Cipta Sasmi (or simply Anggun) says her 12th album Echoes is her best to date, she speaks in all honesty. Judging from the hours, sweat (and tears) that went into producing the album, it is pretty convincing the album is the 37-year-old Indonesian singer/songwriter of French citizenship's finest work so far.

And with her personal life stories weaved into lyrics, can she be blamed for regarding Echoes as her best?

"I try to be honest whenever I compose songs. I hold Echoes close to my heart as some lyrics are based on my personal life experiences. Plus, it is the first album released under my label, April Earth, giving me a sense of pride and joy," said Anggun in a long distance call from Paris, where she resides with husband, French writer Cyril Montana and three-and-a-half-year old daughter Kirana Cipta Montana Sasmi.

This profound emotion is felt in the poignant song Eternal – which pays tribute to her late father, writer Darto Singo, who lost his life to cancer seven years ago.

"The song is about acceptance of my father's passing. Although I cannot feel him in the flesh, I know his soul remains forever," said the singer with a hint of sadness in her voice.

Besides loss, the 12-track album (in English and Bahasa Indonesia) also incorporate themes surrounding love, pain and loneliness. Irish-influenced Hanyalah Cinta (Only Love), deals with the quest for true and unconditional love while A Stranger, speaks of loneliness and fear of the unknown. Year Of The Snake, is a restrained song about a woman remembering life's painful moments while upbeat Weapons, applauds girl-power.

The pop rock-inspired Echoes, if compared to her previous hip hop album Elevation, certainly swings to a different beat altogether. This clearly showcases her continuity to reinvent herself through new artistic projects.

"All my albums have a different feel as I enjoy experimenting with various music genres. My debut, Snow On The Sahara, featured world music while the second self-titled album was pop with hints of world music. Echoes is an adult album with a combination of pop, rock and retro touch.

"For Echoes, I ventured into pop and rock as I'm familiar with these music genres. I used to be a rock singer in Jakarta so I decided to pay homage to my humble beginnings by adding these influences," said Anggun, citing native Javanese artistes, rock 'n' roll singers, among her influences. Elvis Presley, Metallica and The Police are some of her favourite acts.

Echoes sums up this transformation, returning to the pop sound that made her name, but this time with new collaborators. The origins of Echoes can be found in the coming together of renowned music producers Gioacchino, Pierre Jaconelli, Jean-Pierre Pilot and William Rousseau.

"What surprised us was the contrast between the simple and fun-loving woman and image of a superstar diva from her videos and live performances. The two personalities co-exist inside her in perfect harmony," said Rousseau in a press release provided by Sony Music.

Anggun began her career as a child star in her home country, launching a recording career at nine. In 1994, at the young age of 20, she moved to Europe to launch her career. However, life wasn't a bed of roses when she first moved to London. Besides experiencing culture shock, she endured financial problems and had to make ends meet singing in clubs.

Anggun had a different stroke of luck upon moving to Paris in 1996. There, she was introduced to music producer Erick Benzi, a key person who had helped launched her music career. In 1997, she finally tasted sweet success with the release of her highly revered debut album, Snow On The Sahara. The release of five more English albums – Anggun, Chrysalis, Open Hearts, Luminescence and Elevation, further sealed her career and positioned her as one of the most successful Asian artistes in the international arena.

In 2004, Anggun received the prestigious distinction Chevalier des Arts et Lettres medal for her worldwide achievements and support of the French culture. A year later, she was appointed spokesperson for the International Year of Microcredit (a UN program aimed at eradicating debt in the third world).

In 2009, she added another feather to her cap by becoming Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

While obtaining medals or releasing five international albums is undoubtedly a massive feat, Anggun doesn't seem overwhelmed by her achievements. Instead, she views it as a humbling experience.

"I am very blessed because of the support system of the record company and fans. The music industry has changed so much for the past 10 years due to illegal downloads. I am truly grateful that people appreciate what I do and it makes me happy doing what I am passionate about.

"In order to survive the music business, you need perseverance because everything happens with hard work and luck. Ultimately, it depends on how much you want to succeed," she said on a parting note, adding she hopes to stop over in Kuala Lumpur in October.

Echoes is available from Sony Music at all music stores.

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

The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved