Selasa, 19 Julai 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Fun in the sun with Henry Golding

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:47 PM PDT

Henry Golding relives his childhood on the idyllic east coast of Terengganu in his travelogue Without Boundaries: Islands And Beaches.

IT was more than just a seaside respite for Henry Golding when he took a trip to some of the country's finest beaches. The English-Iban host, who spent his childhood on the idyllic east coast of Malaysia, said his travels on his latest TV programme, Without Boundaries: Islands And Beaches, has helped him rediscover his roots.

"The first part of my life was spent in Dungun in Terengganu, till my family moved to Surrey, England, when I was about nine," he explained.

The former-model would return to Malaysia only about 12 years later, when he would quickly find fame as a talkshow host in Kuala Lumpur.

Now at 24, Golding is one of the most recognisable faces on local television. To date, he has appeared on 8tv Quickie!, ESPN's Castrol Football Crazy and Welcome To The Rail World, a travel programme that documented his journey around the country by train.

He appears to be coping well with the attention, too, looking decidedly cheerful amid a bustling crowd at a promotional event at Full House Café in Sunway Giza, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Despite his long years abroad, Golding said his childhood home remained a familiar territory.

"A lot of westerners get a shock when they go to tropical beaches but I grew up in the jungle and I was used to it," he said.

"I had no qualms about coming back at all though I did not expect the amount of growth that KL had since I last saw it as a child. It surprised me."

His return to Dungun on the pilot was especially emotional. "This place will always be special to me. Going back was truly an eye-opening experience. It brought back so many old childhood memories that were watered down and it made them vivid again.

"I remember eating keropok lekor (fish sausage which is a speciality from Terengganu) on the beach and just being out there in the sun and the sea," he recalled fondly.

"I was allowed to roam freely as a child and I spent a lot of time by the sea. It instilled a huge sense of freedom in me and it just felt so safe out there."

Reliving the experience, he said, has allowed him to reunite with Mother Nature.

"The waves pretty much just wash all your worries and responsibilities away and you can just lie there in the sun, soak up happiness and become really peaceful..." he trailed off.

The exuberant host enjoys some real action, too. Besides revisiting his childhood home, he also tries his hand at scuba diving and fire-dancing, with comical results.

"My fire-dancing was poor, that's all I can say," he said with a laugh. "I have no arm coordination whatsoever. I kept hitting myself and it left me with a lot of bruises and singed leg hair."

The sunny host will also be taking viewers through his diving and surfing experiences, along with his sojourn with the Sea Gypsies, a tribe from Semporna in Sabah, throughout the 10-episode series.

For Golding, the thrill in travelling lies in being experimental.

"I like trying out new things and meeting people I might otherwise never have met," he said. "I had the best time in Semporna. It was my first time in Sabah and people there were just unbelievably friendly."

He hopes to draw attention to the many splendours of our tropical home with the show.

"A lot of people in Malaysia don't actually realise just how amazing and naturally beautiful this place is and I'm trying to expose them to that.

"You don't have to fly a million miles just to get to a nice beach. We have unbelievable beaches right here on our doorstep."

Without Boundaries: Islands And Beaches airs on Wednesdays at 9.30pm on 8TV. For more information, log on to

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Lockheed Martin puts in place voluntary layoff program

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 08:26 PM PDT

REUTERS - Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's No. 1 defence supplier by sales, put in place a voluntary layoff program for its corporate headquarters and enterprise business services employees.

About 6,500 U.S.-based salaried employees are eligible for the voluntary program, the company said.

A view shows the cockpit of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II at the Australian International Airshow in Melbourne March 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Mick Tsikas)

Under the terms of the program, volunteers will be offered a severance package, Lockheed said.

Lockheed currently employs about 126,000 people worldwide.

The company's shares closed at $78.40 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Divya Sharma in Bangalore, editing by Bernard Orr)

(; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging:

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Michelle Obama to appear on TV's "Extreme Makeover"

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 08:26 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. first lady Michelle Obama will appear on ABC show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" as part of her initiative to support military families, the network said on Tuesday.

Michelle Obama's appearance on the show will be shot on Thursday in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the episode will air in October, said Patrick Preblick, a spokesman for ABC.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama gestures as she boards her plane in Gaborone at the end of her week-long trip to Africa June 26, 2011. (REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool)

The first lady is making the appearance as part of her Joining Forces initiative for military families.

The episode will focus on 15-year U.S. Navy veteran Barbara Marshall and her family. Michelle Obama and the "Extreme Makeover" team will help Marshall's mission of assisting homeless veterans by building a new house that will house several families, ABC said in a statement.

Michelle Obama last month filmed an appearance on the children's TV show "iCarly" which was also tied to her Joining Forces initiative. In 2009, she was seen in an episode of "Sesame Street" to promote healthy eating.

The reality TV series "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" performs speedy and drastic home renovations for families that have suffered misfortune.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Closure-hit Chinese workers demand gov't assistance - paper

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 08:26 PM PDT

HONG KONG (Reuters) - About 200 workers at a South Korean-owned toy firm in China's Guangdong province rallied outside a municipal government building in Dongguan county on Tuesday, demanding assistance in claiming unpaid wages, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported.

Korean toy maker Dongguan Suyi Toy Company Ltd, which employed 470, shut down owing workers a estimated 1 million yuan ($154,717) in total and suppliers some 10 million yuan, the newspaper said on Wednesday.

Workers are demanding government intervention as they had not been able to contact the management, the newspaper said.

The company may have collapsed due to accelerating costs and reduced orders resulting from the debt crisis in Europe, the newspaper said.

It added similar closures are expected in future and might spread to the textile industry as operators start feel the pain of a bank financing squeeze.

($1 = 6.463 yuan)

(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Oil higher on weaker US$, stronger home starts

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 06:11 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Oil reversed direction again Tuesday, rising 2 percent as traders took their cues from the dollar and stock markets.

Crude oil is used to produce gasoline and other fuels, and it's also a major investment commodity. Prices can swing with the collective mood on Wall Street. Recently benchmark oil has fluctuated between $95 and $99 a barrel as investors gauge how Europe deals with Greece's debt crisis and the debate goes on in Washington over spending and the U.S. debt ceiling.

"Every day, we hear more about what governments are doing to get their sovereign debt under control," independent analyst Andrew Lipow said. "But you don't see results, and that leads some people to think we're headed in the wrong direction."

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery rose $1.57 to settle at $97.50 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, which is used to price many international oil varieties, gained $1.01 to settle at $117.06 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

The dollar fell against other currencies on Tuesday, sending some investors to commodities like oil. Oil, which is traded in dollars, tends to rise as the dollar falls and makes crude cheaper for investors holding foreign currency.

A broad stock market rally also helped push oil higher. The Dow Jones industrial average, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 index all rose about 2 percent in afternoon trading.

Some upbeat economic news supported higher oil on Tuesday as well. The Commerce Department said construction of new homes grew by 14.6 percent last month. Builders began work on a seasonally adjusted 629,000 homes in June. That's about half of what economists say is needed to sustain a healthy housing market. Still, analysts consider it a positive sign for the battered industry.

The housing market and the unemployment rate are key factors in the nation's economic recovery, which most view as sluggish at best right now. When more people head back to work and buy homes, oil and gas demand is expected to rise.

Meanwhile, MasterCard SpendingPulse reported that motorists continued to cut back on gasoline in the U.S. for the 17th consecutive week. Its weekly survey of credit card purchases estimates that Americans bought 1.1 percent less gas than the same period last year, based on a four-week average.

In other Nymex trading for August contracts, heating oil added 2.03 cents to settle at $3.098 per gallon, while gasoline futures gained 1.75 cents to settle at $3.1149 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1.3 cents to settle at $4.511 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Latest business news from AP-Wire

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Moody's eyes debt downgrade for 5 top-rated states

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 06:08 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Moody's Investors Service warned Tuesday that it probably will lower the credit rating on five states if it downgrades the U.S. government's credit rating.

The credit rating agency said it has placed on review for possible downgrade the triple-A bond ratings of Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

A triple-A rating is the highest for debt and tells investors an institutional borrower presents a minimal credit risk.

Last week, Moody's placed the U.S. government's triple-A credit rating under review for a possible downgrade as Congress and the White House wrestle over raising the nation's $14.3 trillion borrowing limit. Moody's said there is a small but rising risk the government will default on its debt.

The government reached its borrowing limit in May. Treasury says the government will default on its debt if the limit is not raised by Aug. 2.

Any action on the states' ratings would come within 10 days of a U.S. rating downgrade, the firm said.

A downgrade would raise interest rates on U.S. treasury bonds, increasing the interest that taxpayers pay those who buy the bonds. It would also push up rates for mortgages, car loans and other debts, which are linked to Treasury rates.

It would have a ripple effect on states, particularly those that depend most on federal revenues and those with more federal government workers, contracts and Medicaid expenditures, among other factors.

"One of the factors that goes into a rating for a state is the health of their economy, so if the federal government is cutting back on activity within that state, that could weaken the economy," said Naomi Richman, Moody's managing director.

Moody's examined the 15 states that have a triple-A credit rating to determine which might be most vulnerable to the fallout from a downgrade in the U.S. government's rating. The firm concluded that Maryland, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia would be most at risk.

The firm's review affects some $24 billion in obligations and related debt for the five states combined.

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US stocks rebound on earnings, debt-limit proposal

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 06:07 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Strong profits and a bipartisan plan to lift the U.S. debt limit drove a stock market rebound Tuesday.

Stock indexes rose after Coca-Cola, IBM and other companies reported better second-quarter earnings. The indexes added to their gains in the afternoon after President Barack Obama backed a proposal by six senators that would cut debt by $3.7 trillion over the next decade and raise the country's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 202.26 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 12,587.42. That's the Dow's largest one-day jump this year.

"It looks like there's bipartisan support for a robust plan," said Burt White, chief investment officer at LPL Financial in Boston. "The stock market had been looking for a reason to have a relief rally. And it looks like they got the start of one today. "

The ongoing deadlock in Washington over raising the country's borrowing limit and Europe's debt crisis have been weighing on markets this month. The Dow slid five of the previous seven days.

The S&P 500 index rose 21.29 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,326.73. That's the broader index's best day since March 3. The Nasdaq gained 61.41 points, or 2.2 percent, to 2,826.52.

Tuesday's gains turned the three major indexes positive for the month. The Dow and Nasdaq are now up more than 1 percent in July. The S&P 500 is up 0.5 percent.

Information technology stocks led industry groups higher after IBM Corp.'s results beat analysts' estimates. Corporate software spending held steady during the quarter. IBM's stock rose 5.7 percent.

The tech gains could continue Wednesday. Apple Inc. reported another surge in earnings after the stock market closed as sales of iPhones and iPads again set records. The stock rose 6 percent to $399.53 in after-hours trading.

Coca-Cola Co.'s income increased 18 percent in the second quarter on stronger sales overseas. The world's largest beverage maker raised some prices to offset higher ingredient costs. Coca-Cola's stock was up 3.3 percent.

KeyCorp rose 4.3 percent after the Cleveland-based banking company reported a jump in earnings thanks to a drop in loan losses. The bank reported income of 25 cents a share, up from 3 cents a share a year ago.

Harley-Davidson Inc. rose 8.9 percent, making it the top performing stock in the S&P 500 index. The motorcycle maker reported its first increase in U.S. sales since the final quarter of 2006. Sales of its motorcycles, some of which sell for more than $30,000, had languished throughout the economic slump.

A jump in housing construction lifted the stocks of Lennar Corp. and D.R. Horton Inc. The Commerce Department said building of new houses and apartments increased 14.6 percent in June from the previous month. Single-family house construction rose 9.4 percent, the largest increase since June 2009, the month that marked the end of the recession. Much of the monthly increase, however, came from new apartment buildings.

Bank stocks were mixed. Wells Fargo & Co.'s profit soared 30 percent to 70 cents per share on stronger results from lending. Uncollected loans dropped for the sixth quarter in a row. The bank's stock gained 5.6 percent.

Both Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. fell after posting disappointing results.

Bank of America lost 90 cents per share. That's more than analysts polled by data provider FactSet expected. The loss included a $8.5 billion settlement the bank paid to mortgage-bond investors.

Goldman's earnings more than doubled to $1.85 per share, up from 78 cents a year ago. But a drop in bond trading kept results from hitting the analysts' estimates of $2.35 per share.

Two weeks are left before the Treasury Department says the government must lift the country's $14.3 trillion borrowing limit or risk defaulting on its obligations.

Most economists say that if the world's largest economy reneges on its debts, the consequences would be catastrophic. In testimony last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said a default would be a "calamitous outcome" and "create a severe financial shock."

Bernanke said U.S. government bonds are so widely used in global finance that if faith in them were undermined it would have far-reaching and unexpected consequences.

Four stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was below average at 3.9 billion shares.

Latest business news from AP-Wire

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Contador relaunches Tour bid but Hushovd wins 16th stage

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 05:33 PM PDT

GAP (France): Tour de France champion Alberto Contador relaunched his yellow jersey bid with an unexpected attack on the 16th stage of the race, won by Norwegian Thor Hushovd yesterday.

Hushovd, of Garmin-Cervelo, outsprinted Norwegian compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen to take his second victory of the race after a rainy 162.5km ride over undulating terrain from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux.

Frenchman Thomas Voeckler re­­tained the race leader's yellow jersey but the Europcar leader, like the Schleck brothers Andy and Frank, lost time to both Contador and Australian Cadel Evans in a thrilling finale.

Former two-time runner-up Evans finished 4:23 behind Hushovd to move one place up to second overall at 1:45 behind Voeckler.

Contador and fellow Spaniard Samuel Sanchez crossed the line three seconds later at 4:26, with Voeckler and Frank Schleck in a 14-man group which battled to finish 18 seconds later.

Andy Schleck, the runner-up in 2009 and 2010, struggled to follow wheels on the tricky 11km descent to the finish where he finished 5:32 adrift.

In the process Andy Schleck lost 1:09 to Evans and 1:06 to Contador.

Frank Schleck dropped to third at 1:49 with younger brother Andy at 3:03. Sanchez, another beneficiary of Contador's move, is fifth overall at 3:26 with Contador sixth at 3:42.

Voeckler admitted Contador's move, on a stage that had been labelled a 'transition' before three consecutive days in the Alps, had stunned everybody.

"It really surprised me he (Contador) attacked like that," said the Frenchman. "Everyone was expecting him to wait for the big mountain passes in the Alps but he went for it on the Col de Manse.

"I wasn't the only one who couldn't follow, the other guys behind me were all grimacing too. The problem is, when Contador attacks it is usually pretty effective."

Contador has been racing with a right knee injury, suffered in one of the several crashes which hampered his first week on the race and forced him to change position on the bike to compensate for the pain.

But the Spaniard looked back to his attacking best when he seized the day on the 9km climb to the Col de Manse outside Gap, whose summit was 11 km from the finish.

After the Schlecks managed to ride back on to his wheel, Contador began the first of three further accelerations which ultimately took Evans and Sanchez with him, leaving the rest behind.

The trio crested the summit with a 20 second lead on the Schlecks and Voeckler's group and pushed on during the rain-hit descent, with time trial specialist Evans pulling away on his own in the final kilometres.

Until late last year both Schlecks raced under the wing of Bjarne Riis, who is the owner and manager of Contador's Saxo Bank team.

Frank Schleck said could only take his hat off to his former boss's use of inside information.

"We didn't expect him (Contador) or any of the other big favourites to do that. Bjarne knows we don't like bad weather and that the descent would be quite tricky for us," said Frank.

"Hats off to them. But it's not a tragedy. We will stay focused on what we have to do and we're looking forward to three days in the mountains." — AFP

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China’s basketball star Yao Ming expected to announce retirement

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 05:32 PM PDT

SHANGHAI: Yao Ming should make it official today, announcing what is widely expected to be his retirement from the NBA and a sport that made him a household name in China.

The 2.29m centre for the Houston Rockets played for eight seasons in the NBA, but has missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years. His career, including frequent appearances for the Chinese national team at Olympics and World Championships, has been punctuated by leg and foot injuries.

Today, a large reception hall at a hotel in the Pudong section of Shanghai – Yao Ming's hometown – has been booked for what will likely be the country's media event of the year.

Hundreds of media have been accredited to attend the restricted event and are expected to arrive hours early to go through security checks. It is expected to be broadcast live in China and in many countries around the world.

Reports have been circulating for nearly two weeks that the 30-year-old star would retire, but the Rockets have not commented due to the NBA lockout and his management refused to confirm the reports. The NBA said they have not received official retirement paperwork from Yao Ming.

His contract expired after last season, and the Rockets said they were interested in re-signing him if he came back healthy. Yao Ming said in April in China that his professional future depended on his recovery from a stress fracture in his left ankle.

Kevin Durant was on a promotional tour in China earlier this month when he was asked about Yao Ming's impact on the game.

"Tough, man, tough to see a great player and a great competitor like Yao Ming leave the game after being injured a few years," Durant said during a stop in the city of Tianjin, east of Beijing.

"He comes in, he works everyday. He sets such a good example for the players coming into the league."

Named to the NBA All-Star team eight times after being the top overall pick in the 2002 draft, Yao Ming averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds. More importantly, his impact expanded the NBA's influence in Asia into lucrative merchandise sales and TV ratings. – AP

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Zvonareva, Pavlyuchenkova reach 2nd round in Baku

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 05:11 PM PDT

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) - Top-seeded Vera Zvonareva breezed through the opening round of the inaugural Baku Cup on Tuesday, while second-seeded fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had to battle through heat exhaustion and 25 double faults before advancing.

Zvonareva was only briefly tested, saving a set point to recover from 3-5 in the second set before beating Nigina Abduraimova of Ukraine 6-1, 7-5. Zvonareva imposed herself from the start by breaking serve in the opening game, and Abduraimova was no match for her vastly more experienced opponent.

Pavlyuchenkova, in contrast, had to work much harder for her 7-5, 6-4 win over Valeria Solovieva, needing almost 2 1/2 hours to overcome the 274th-ranked Russian. Pavlyuchenkova hit 16 double faults in the first set alone and required treatment for heat exhaustion after breaking to lead 3-1 in the final set. Earlier, third-seeded Elena Vesnina overcame fellow Russian Yana Buchina 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 to begin another quest for her first WTA title. Vesnina has reached five finals on tour.

Buchina led 2-0 in the third set when Vesnina called a medical time-out to receive treatment to her right shoulder. When play resumed, Vesnina immediately broke back. She missed two match points on Buchina's serve at 5-4, and closed out the match on her third match point with a blistering service return.

Vesnina will next play former top-15 player Aravane Rezai, who has struggled with off-court problems and seen her ranking slump to 112th. The Frenchwoman easily overcame 15-year-old Kamilla Farhad of Azerbaijan 6-0, 6-2.

Fifth-seeded Monica Niculescu of Romania advanced when Eirini Georgatou retired with a left ankle injury when trailing 5-1. The Greek was later taken to a hospital for examination.

Georgia's Anna Tatishvili upset eighth-seeded Russian Evgeniya Rodina 6-4, 6-2, seventh-seeded Russian Ksenia Pervak battled for 2 hours, 19 minutes to overcome Thailand's Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 3-6, 6-1, 7-5, and Elena Bovina of Russia needed six match points and 2 hours, 38 minutes to defeat Kazakh Zarina Diyas 6-0, 3-6, 7-5.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Harry Potter 7' works box office magic overseas

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 11:52 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP): "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" continued its record-setting sorcery at international theaters this past weekend and is well on its way to passing the half-billion dollar mark in total worldwide receipts just days after it opened.

As of Sunday night, "Potter 7" had earned $481.5 million worldwide, with a record-breaking $312.3 million of that coming from 59 international territories, including record grosses in Great Britain ($36.6 million) and Australia ($26.7 million). As usual, "Harry's" box office magic got a little wizardly assist from ticket-price inflation and pricey 3-D admissions.

"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" continued to pummel international audiences into submission in its third weekend of release. After dominating the chart for two weeks, Michael Bay's destruction derby remans an overseas favorite, adding another $39 million in nearly 9,300 locations in 59 territories. This brings the cumulative international total to $460 million and its worldwide revenue within stomping distance of $800 million.

"Cars 2" took the weekend's international checkered flag in third place with $12.4 million in 28 territories and an overseas total of $146.6 million and a global total of $311.9 million after a month in release.

Here are the top 10 movies at international theaters this past weekend, followed by distributor, international gross for the weekend (excluding North America), worldwide gross to date (including North America), and number of weeks in domestic release, as compiled Monday by Rentrak and provided by

1. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," Warner Bros. International, $312,300,000, $481,500,000, one week.

2. "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," Paramount International, $39,000,000, $762,800,252, three weeks.

3. "Cars 2," Walt Disney International, $12,400,000, $311,926,000, four weeks.

4. "Kung Fu Panda 2," Paramount International, $9,500,000, $582,063,774, eight weeks.

5. "Mr. Popper's Penguins," Fox International, $6,562,985, $100,763,246, five weeks.

6. "Bad Teacher," Sony Pictures Releasing International, $6,500,000, $146,705,192, five weeks.

7. "Bridesmaids," Universal Pictures International, $5,300,000, $220,090,335, 10 weeks.

8. "Zookeeper," Sony Pictures Releasing International, $5,100,000, $58,152,466, two weeks.

9. "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," Walt Disney International, $3,100,000, $1,028,741,000, nine weeks.

10. "Larry Crowne," Universal Pictures International, $2,000,000, $44,627,885, three weeks.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Home Ministry: Parts of Economist article blacked out were incorrect, misleading

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 06:38 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: The Home Ministry blacked out parts of The Economist''s article on the recent Bersih 2.0 rally for being incorrect and misleading.

Its Publications Control and Quranic Text Division secretary Abd Aziz Md Nor said the sentences contained incorrect statements and could mislead readers.

He said the decision to instruct the magazine's publisher to black out the sentences was made after consulting the police.

"We went through the article and found the incorrect statements.

"Subsequently, we told the publisher to black out those sentences," he said when contacted Tuesday.

Abd Aziz said they received the July 16 edition about a week before it went on sale for clearance, which, he added, was the normal procedure.

The article chronicles the July 9 rally, including the arrest of more than 1,600 people.

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MCA supports move to establish Malaysia-Vatican diplomatic ties

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 05:55 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The MCA has expressed support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's visit to the Vatican to establish formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Party president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said with this, any religious misundestsanding involving Christians in this country would be easier to resolve.

"We cannot deny that the Christian community does face problems just like the Buddhists in this country, but we believe with active engagement by the Government, the issues can be resolved," he said after chairing the MCA Central Committee meeting here Tuesday.

Dr Chua, however, said diplomatic relations alone were not enough without the active participation of the Government in strengthening inter-faith relations in the country.

He said establishing bilateral relations between Malaysia and the Vatican was also in line with the Global Movement of Moderates proposed by Najib in his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last year, to counter extremism of all forms.

"It's a good start to strengthening the relationship between moderate Muslims in the country and people of the Christian faith ... it will all go well for the future," he said.

Najib visited Vatican City Mondday and met with Pope Benedict XVI.

It was the second meeting between a Malaysian prime minister and the Pope, after the one involving Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Pope John Paul in June 2002. - Bernama

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IGP: Video on illegal rally to be screened this week

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:53 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The police are expected to show video and photographic evidence on the July 9 illegal rally to the media at the Theatrette Hall in Bukit Aman, here this week.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said the police, through the six special committees set up to investigate allegations of police aggression during the rally, needed time to complete their evaluation and examination on these claims.

"It will take us time to find out the actual number of people at the rally. We also need to interview our personnel as well as civilians to obtain data," he said during a news conference in Bukit Aman Tuesday.

He also urged the public not to jump to conclusions or have negative perceptions towards the police while investigations were being carried out, adding that the police welcomed any recordings on the rally which could be used as evidence.

"From my observations (on photos and videos on the Internet), I find there is something not quite right. We urge the public to surrender any evidence that can help us get a clear picture of what happened," he said.

On the special committees formed last week, Ismail said it comprised experienced and credible officers who worked round the clock to finish up investigations on the demonstration, but declined to reveal further details.

He said they were responsible for thoroughly investigating the six main areas where the illegal rally was held, namely, Dataran Merdeka, Masjid Jamek, Jalan Petaling, Jalan Pudu, Stadium Merdeka and Jalan Bukit Bintang.

Ismail said they lauded Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's suggestion to broadcast video recordings on how the police handled the rally, which would be evidence against claims that police were violent during the rally.

Police are currently working hard to gather all the facts before completing investigations and exhibiting video recordings to the public.

Muhyiddin had recently encouraged the police to act fast as the alternative media and pro-opposition bloggers were already hyping up the issue to taint the Government's image. - Bernama

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Metro Watch

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 05:55 AM PDT


Syabas will be carrying out a large scale operation on outstanding bills throughout Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya from now till July 23. Syabas is targeting accounts that have been given a "red stamp" reminder but still failed to settle their bills within 14 days after receiving the notice. The operating hours at 11 Syabas offices will be extended from 9am-5pm on July 23 and 9am-noon on July 24 to facilitate customers' transactions. For enquiries, call Puspel at 1-800-88-5252 or SMS PUSPEL and send to 39222.


The New Pantai Expressway (NPE) will be closed in stages from now until Sept 30 from 10pm-6am (Km0.0 to Km19.8) to facilitate road resurfacing work. Highway users are advised to follow the road signs and to keep within the speed limit. For details, call the NPE Infoline at 1-300-88-1010.


The Malaysian Mental Health Association is organising a free public forum on Gambling Addiction on Saturday from 9.30am-4pm at Maktab Kooperasi Malaysia, Jalan Templer, Petaling Jaya. It aims to create awareness on gambling addiction and to highlight avenues for such people to seek help. To register, contact 03-7782 5499/


Students of SMK USJ 12, will be having a charity fundraiser called Pause 4 PAWS this weekend from 10.30am-6.30pm at the IPC Shopping Centre, Mutiara Damansara. There will be photography sessions with pets, sale of PAWS merchandise and a donation drive, with proceeds going to PAWS Malaysia.


Cyberview Sdn Bhd will be hosting the 10TH iGREET (Information on Green Technology) on July 28 from 9.30am-1pm at Kelab Komuniti Taman Tasik Cyberjaya. Featured topics are on renewable energy system as an investment and GBI township tool. Admission is free. For details, contact Amy Fadzlan at 03-8315 6179/ or Rozi Hanum at 03-8315 6048/


The Smart Highway will be closed to traffic from 11pm on Wednesday till 6am on Thursday to facilitate maintenance work. For details, call the SMART Helpline at 1-300-88-7188.

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Rain fails to wash out clinic by Liverpool

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:47 AM PDT

IT MIGHT have been a gloomy, wet morning last Friday, but the drizzle could not stop 30 youths, aged 7 to 16, from attending a special coaching clinic organised by adidas Malaysia and the visiting Liverpool Football Club (LFC).

The session, held at the field of Garden International School in Mont'Kiara, saw Liverpool legend Phil Thompson joining some of the teams coaching staff to give the children some tips to better their game.

The children were all winners of a contest organised by adidas and al-Ikhsan Sports, where customers who purchased a minimum of RM150 on official LFC merchandise or adidas boots at al-Ikhsan stores throughout the country.

"adidas works together with various clubs and communities to support football, one of our key business areas, at the grassroots level.

"While we do not carry out the coaching ourselves, we are more than happy to help organise such events through our partners, like the coaching clinic today," adidas Malaysia brand manager Bryan Gee said.

Gee added that helping to develop football in the country was not just about providing coaching but also covered other areas like equipment where adidas could step in to help.

"The Liverpool team were in Malaysia for only three days so we could only organise one coaching clinic but it is an important step. Premier league teams like Liverpool have some of the best coaches around so when the opportunity arises, we will work with them," Gee said.

Thompson gave his support to the clinic and said it was a brilliant idea.

"It is nice to do something else and be able to give back to the community. When I was playing, we used to visit a country and just play a game there. Now, it is different," the iconic defender said.

Thompson also spoke about last year's Premiership season, saying that it had been an average year on the whole.

"Manchester United won the league because they had the best average team. Since then, they have been trying to strengthen the team and so has Liverpool. We will get more of an idea of the next season by the end of the month," said Thompson, who has worked as a pundit for Sky Sports in the UK.

Although the drizzle never seem to let up, Thompson and the LFC coaching team took to the field with no hesitation as they put their young charges through a two-hour session that focused on the basics at first.

The team used various coaching techniques modelled after an actual LFC training session and it was clear that the children were having the time of their lives on the pitch.

It did not matter that none of the players had shown up, after all, it was a coaching clinic, and the youths definitely picked up some great tips that would help them improve their game in future.

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Squatters cause frequent outages by stealing from main lines

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 05:43 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]KOTA KINABALU: Squatters in the outskirts of the city are stealing electricity and causing a huge loss to the state's utility company.

Youth gets refund for dud diploma

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 05:43 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]JOHOR BARU: A man's dream to be a graphic designer was shattered when he discovered that his diploma is not recognised.

Tangkak rice farmers has tripled yields

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 05:42 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]TANGKAK: Padi farmers in Kampung Kesang Tasek had harvested a new padi variety planted in April.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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China's Baidu, music labels launch online service

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 12:19 AM PDT

BEIJING (AP): Chinese search engine says it is launching a music download service with three global music labels in China in a deal that ends legal disputes with them.

Baidu said Tuesday it will distribute music online with Universal Music, Warner Music, and Sony Music and pay them for the content. The downloads are available only in China and will compete with a similar service run by rival Google Inc.

Baidu said it and the music companies also agreed to end outstanding litigation. Music companies have sued Baidu over complaints that it links to websites offering pirated music.

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Nicole Foo is made for the stage

Posted: 18 Jul 2011 08:38 PM PDT

Nicole Foo, also known by her moniker 'Bihzhu', is truly made for the stage.

According to Nicole Foo's bio, the efferverscent songstress was "already wielding household objects as a microphone and holding impromptu concerts for her grandmother in her earliest years in Penang."

Small wonder then, that she eventually went on to form the immensely popular pop-jazz duo Rhapsody together with Ywenna Carolin, back in 2005. Buoyed by Foo's charismatic vocals (drawing favourable comparisons to greats such as Ella Fitzgerald to Billie Holiday), Rhapsody took a legion of fans hostage and barrelled through high-profile shows at the Penang Island Jazz Festival, Actors Studio Bangsar, KL Performing Arts Centre and more. The partnership ended amicably in 2010 when Carolin moved to Singapore.

Long-time fans should take heart at the 27-year-old's recent return with a promising new solo endeavour under her alter-ego, Bihzhu. A five-track EP entitled Nightingale Tales is due in October, and she's also currently a leading musical collaborator for the Share The Love community movement, in which her new single The Heart Way features prominently.

Bihzhu's new material draws upon a wellspring of influences, from soul and reggae to a cappella, world music and pop. It's just this sort of broad-minded, keen appreciation for music that gives her a huge leg up over your typical flavour-of-the-week diva.

We recently got the low-down on what's in store for Bihzhu.

Why did you make a conscious decision to make an active solo comeback as "Bihzhu"?

Life gave me some wake up calls. Late 2010, it had been almost a year since I left my full time job, "supposedly" to pursue music, and I realised that I had nothing to show for it. Then in October, I was attending a spiritual seminar in the United States, and was invited to perform, and I had some of the most incredible experiences there that really put a whole new spin on why I sing.

It was almost like pre-Bihzhu, I sang for selfish reasons, only for myself, but now I know that I am only an instrument for the music to come through. I know this might come across as esoteric mumbo-jumbo, but those experiences I had were life-changing revelations.

Who are your major musical collaborators and partners these days?

With Rhapsody, I wrote all the lyrics and contributed partially to the melodies and Ywenna composed almost all the songs. I had a mental block that I couldn't really write music because I don't play any musical instruments. But early this year, I took a stab at it and most of the songs on the EP are my own works. My friend Savy Ho (producer, musician, arranger) helps me a lot with the arrangements, while for gigs, I work a lot with Faz Aznam (guitarist), we played together with Rhapsody and I really enjoy playing with her, but am looking to play with more musicians in the near future.

What has inspired or influenced you over the years?

I remember growing up listening to my dad's cassette tapes so I really loved groups like The Brothers Four, and Peter, Paul and Mary. I partly wish he was a jazz aficionado so I could've grown up digesting that music too, because believe it or not, I only started getting into jazz when I was in college. I am also a huge fan of Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso, and Fat Freddy's Drop from New Zealand, a cappella groups, world music, gospel etc.

What's the main difference with your music now, as compared to your time with Rhapsody?

With Rhapsody, it was very jazz-influenced. I always say being in a band is like being in a relationship, you need to have chemistry, love and trust each other, and want the same things. And I enjoyed every minute of it, but everything you do has to be mutual. Going solo now, the biggest difference is that I pretty much get to go in any direction I want, and express myself in ways that might not have been possible with Rhapsody, for example, Ywenna soooo did not like reggae, but I do! (laughs)

Tell us about your upcoming EP Nightingale Tales.

I'm really into jazz, but that's not the only thing I like, so Nightingale Tales is like a mini musical smorgasbord of all the different parts of me, a little folk, a little reggae, a little jazz, a little pop, a little soul.

I know some artistes are so clear about who they are and they have a very specific sound, but I feel like I'm just starting to explore who I am, as a person, as a musician, and these five songs are a good start, a small step.

I was chatting with my uncle in Penang and he said that the nightingale is a bird that isn't flashy but it's enchanting when it starts to sing, and I was like, heyyyyy, that's so me! I'm not the flashiest bird either but I think it's different when I sing (or at least that's what people tell me!) and since all the songs tell a different story about my life so far, I think Nightingale Tales is super apt. So far, the plans are for it to be independently released, and I'm looking at different distribution options right now, but nothing concrete yet.


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