Rabu, 20 Julai 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Australia seeks to stop Guantanamo Bay book profits

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 10:10 PM PDT

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian prosecutors said on Thursday they had begun legal action to seize book profits from David Hicks, the only inmate at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay military prison inmate convicted of terrorism offences.

Hicks's book, "Guantanamo, My Journey", was published last year by Random House, and is based on his time at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba from 2001 until 2007.

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks leaves Yatala Prison in Adelaide December 29, 2007, after his release. (REUTERS/James Knowler/Files)

Under Australian law, a person cannot gain commercial benefit from a crime, which can prevent criminals receiving payment for writing books about their offences.

A spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions said Hicks had been served orders on Wednesday and that the case was set for August 3 in the New South Wales state Supreme Court.

Hicks's book has reportedly sold 30,000 copies, regarded as "solid" sales for a hardcover book in Australia. As a rule of thumb, an author can expect around 10 percent of sales, with Hick's book having a recommended price of A$49.95 ($47).

Hicks was captured in Afghanistan in late 2001 and spent five years in Guantanamo before pleading guilty to supporting terrorism and becoming the first person convicted by the war crimes tribunals created by the United States to try non-American captives.

Law professor Clive Williams said Australia's "Proceeds of Crime" law favours the prosecution, but Hicks may use the court case to publicly raise issues over his conviction.

"He may well raise issues going to the nature of his plea, whether duress was involved, whether it was a plea that should be recognised under the Australian legal system," Williams, from the University of New South Wales, told local radio.

"For David Hicks to defeat the claim, the attempt to seize those assets, he will have to raise questions that go to the heart of his conviction."

Hicks, a former kangaroo skinner, admitted training with al Qaeda and meeting its then-leader Osama bin Laden, whom he described as "lovely," according to police evidence given to the U.S. military court.

Hicks returned to Australia in 2007 as part of his guilty plea, which also included a one-year gag order.

Another Australian, Mamdouh Habib, was released from Guantanamo without charge in 2005.

Australia, a close U.S. ally, was an original member of the U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 airliner attacks in the United States.

(Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Dow Jones panel says found no U.S. wrongdoing

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 10:10 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Special Committee, responding to a letter from two U.S. senators, said it had found at News Corp's Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires no sign of journalistic wrongdoing like the phone-hacking scandal at its British newspapers.

"Our focus from the outset has been on insuring that the highest standards of journalistic ethics are being met at the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires," Tom Bray, chair of the special committee, wrote in a statement responding late on Wednesday to a letter earlier in the day from Senators Barbara Boxer and Jay Rockefeller.

A photograph of the front page of the August 1, 2007 edition of the Wall Street Journal. (REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files)

"In conversations with countless present and former Dow Jones employees we have found absolutely no sign of journalistic misconduct such as is at the heart of the scandal in London," Bray wrote.

Boxer and Rockefeller, both Democrats who a week ago urged U.S. officials to investigate whether News Corp broke a law banning bribes to foreign officials, were particularly interested, in their latest letter, in information on Les Hinton -- the former Dow Jones chief executive and publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

Hinton stepped down from his position in response to the scandal, ending a 52-year career with News Corp. He had previously been chairman of News International, whose now defunct weekly tabloid News of the World is at the center of the phone hacking uproar.

But the special committee statement said: "We did not investigate former Dow Jones Chairman Les Hinton's activities in London, which were investigated there in the past and are the subject of renewed focus now."

The Dow Jones special committee was created in 2007 to help ease concerns of the Bancroft family, who owned Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, before it was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The five-member watchdog group was set up to police the editorial independence and integrity of the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones under News Corp's ownership.

News Corp has so far been able to keep the impact of the phone hacking scandal mainly to the UK, and away from the United States, where News Corp is headquartered.

In their letter, the senators asked whether the Dow Jones Special Committee plans to conduct a broader investigation that includes an examination of whether former senior Journal or Dow Jones executives had knowledge or a role in alleged criminal activity at News Corp publications.

Bray said The Dow Jones Special Committee will respond further to the senators' letter in "due course."

Reuters is a competitor of Dow Jones Newswires, the financial news agency that News Corp acquired along with the Wall Street Journal in 2007.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke and Jennifer Saba; additional reporting by Himank Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Gary Hill)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Ohio leads list of top 20 U.S. states with toxic air

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:06 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People living in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are most at risk in the United States from toxic emissions spewing from coal and oil-fired power plants, two leading American environmental groups said in a report on Wednesday.

Electricity generation and chemical processing were the top culprits for dangerous emissions, which can lead to or worsen ailments such as asthma and cancer, according to the report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

While Ohio topped the list of 20 states most affected by toxic air pollution, Kentucky and Maryland were ranked fourth and fifth. Next were Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina.

"Power plants are the biggest industrial toxic air polluters in our country, putting children and families at risk by dumping deadly and dangerous poisons into the air we breathe," said Dan Lashof, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The study, an analysis of toxic emissions data from 2009 released last month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, found that coal and oil-fired plants were responsible for nearly half of all toxic air pollution in America.

The report was prepared by comparing data from the electric utilities sector to those from other industry sectors and ranked on the basis of total emissions by sector.

In 2009, electricity generation in America was responsible for 49 percent of all industrial toxic air pollution and accounted for about 75 percent of all mercury air pollution, the study said.

The findings underline the need for strong action by the Environmental Protection Agency to spur industry to clean up the emissions, Lashof said.

Amendments designed to block the U.S. environmental regulator's air pollution standards are expected to be brought before the U.S. House of Representatives this week, the groups said.

In February, the Republican-led House, in a bid to cut government spending and avoid a U.S. default on financial commitments, voted to thwart the EPA from making rules to limit mercury and other toxic emissions from cement plants.

(Editing by Bill Trott)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Action unlimited

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 01:56 AM PDT

Professional WWE wrestlers Melina Perez and John Morrison vouched that a big part of the ring actions are for real.

AS a kid, Melina Perez used to get beaten up by her big brother. These days, however, she has not only turned the tables on her brother, she could probably choke slam him as well. She is after all, Melina, professional World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler and one of the most popular and toughest WWE Divas in the business.

Lucky for her brother, Melina doesn't actually want to beat him up. After all, he was instrumental in cultivating her interest in wrestling in the first place.

She has fond memories of watching the WWE on TV with her big brother when she was a little girl.

"I loved my brother and always wanted to hang out with him, but he hated having me around. That's why I loved watching wrestling with him, because that was the one time I could spend time with him and not get beaten up!" she recalled with a laugh. "He now claims that he toughened me up for wrestling, and made me what I am today."

Melina was in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, recently together with fellow professional wrestler (and on-and-off boyfriend) John Morrison for the WWE Asia Tour meet-the-fans session presented by Astro (which broadcasts all the WWE shows).

Winner of three WWE Intercontinental Championship and one ECW World Championship titles, John Morrison (real name John Randall Hennigan) has also wrestled under the names Johnny Nitro and Johnny Blaze (amongst others). He has also won the WWE Tag Team Championship four times with two different partners – Joey Mercury and The Miz; and one World Tag Team Championship with The Miz.

Also dubbed "Guru of Greatness" and "Shaman of Sexy", John started out in professional wrestling through a show called Tough Enough, and gradually progressed through the ranks to become the bona fide WWE star he is today.

"I was into wrestling, martial arts and gymnastics during school and college. So without really thinking about it, I was doing stuff that was preparing me for a career in sports entertainment," said John, who also used to study film.

"Then when I found out about Tough Enough, it hit me – this is what I really wanted to do. I was interested in film and sports ... and here was a show that could lead me to the WWE and allow me to do everything that I want."

Melina's path to the WWE was a little different though. After all, not many little girls dream of becoming a professional wrestler, even though she already had a close affiliation with the ring, thanks to her father who used to be a boxer.

Initially, her dream was to become a doctor. However, Melina's life changed when she reluctantly joined a beauty pageant at a local mall, which she won, much to her surprise. After a stint as a model, she decided to become a professional wrestler, and though she failed to get into Tough Enough, she perservered and eventually got into the Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), a feeder programme for the WWE.

Melina made her debut on OVW in 2004, introduced into the programme as John's ex-girlfriend. She and John (then known as Johnny Nitro) then teamed up with Joey Mercury (with Melina as manager) to form the formidable MNM team that took the WWE by storm by winning the WWE Tag Team Championship in 2005 on their very first match on WWE Smackdown.

Melina made her singles debut as a wrestler in 2005, and has won three WWE Women's Championship and two WWE Diva's Championship titles since.

Underneath that tough, bad girl image Melina portrays in WWE, the real Melina is actually surprisingly gentle, soft-spoken and a real sweetheart who looks more like a high school cheerleader than a professional wrestler. Admitting her soft-spoken and timid real life persona, she uses the stage to let out another side of herself.

"My character on TV is the complete opposite (of me in real life). I tend to let people walk all over me in real life; so when I'm on stage, it's my time to do or say the things I should have done to those people off stage," she said.

"Who you are in the ring is the same as who you are in real life, but with the volume turned way up like, a hundred times," said John, who is not as intimidating, but is no less charismatic in real life as he is on TV.

"Your character (on stage) has to be based on something real. I'm basically just being myself, but in a larger-than-life way, and in an arena where I can push myself athletically and try to entertain people the best way I know how."

John likens the WWE locker room to a big fish tank with sharks like John Cena, Kane, Batista and Triple H all circling around waiting to go in for the kill. So who is the biggest shark in the dressing room then?

"Biggest shark is John Morrison!" he declared.

"And if you ask John Cena, he'd say the same thing, except that his answer would be himself! That's the way we all see ourselves, because if you don't see yourself as the biggest shark, other people aren't going to see you that way."

One thing he doesn't like is when people come up to him and complain that the WWE isn't "real sport" or that "it's all fake!".

"Yes it's staged, but people who ask that question don't really get it," John said indignantly.

"Movies are fake as well. It's all entertainment ... that's what the 'E' in WWE stands for. Ultimately, that's what we are – we're entertainers.

"And as far as the wrestling goes, we're not trying to kill each other. The whole point is to have a good time – to cheer people you like and jeer people who don't like."

According to Melina, the show may be scripted, but the athleticism is all real.

"You can't wrestle unless you're an athlete. You can't do the superhuman stuff that John Morrison does unless you train hard for it," she says.

And when the wrestlers get injured, it's for real. John has been out of commission with an injury recently, after an altercation with fellow wrestler R-Truth two months ago.

"I have a herniated disc, a compressed vertebrate that is compressing the nerves in my right arm. I had to go for a simple neck surgery where they drilled through some bone at the back of my neck to make room for the nerve to go through.

"It's like taking your foot off a hose – that's what they did when they took the bone out, to make room for the nerve," he explained, adding that he can't wait to get back in action and go for his first ever World or WWE Championship title.

One thing is for sure though, if I were R-Truth, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near John Morrison when he gets back. "I'm now in rehabilitation, and trying to get the strength back into my arm. I'm hoping to come back in August, find R-Truth and give him some payback!"

Hungry for more WWE action? Catch WWE Raw (Tuesday, 10pm) and WWE NXT (Thursday, 10pm) on Astro SuperSport (Ch. 811); and WWE SuperStar every Monday at 10pm on Astro SuperSport 2 (Ch. 816). For highlights of Smackdown, check out WWE After Burn at 11pm every Friday on Astro SuperSport 3 (Ch. 817).

Astro subscribers can also catch the latest WWE Pay-Per-View programmes on Astro Box Office Sports (Ch. 971). For more information on how to subscribe to these, check out Astro's website astro.com.my.

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Packing a wallop

Posted: 21 Jul 2011 01:51 AM PDT

Young actor Ammar Alfian Aziz is more than capable of muscling his way toward meatier roles.

HE is all muscles, confident in attitude and still holds the "bad boy" tag for speaking his mind. This aside, newcomer actor Ammar Alfian Aziz, who has a hot sizzling body, is probably the most misunderstood upstart around. In person, he's actually a really nice guy who is no push-over – just slightly reserved and the no-nonsense type.

Exactly a year after he posted on his Facebook page that he hated (local) entertainment journalists and wanted to "kill one of them", this solidly built actor, who became notorious overnight, has found that things have not changed much.

He is still on the blacklist of some media channels but it doesn't bother him in the least. The focus is on his acting career and he is bent on making an impression with ... well, meatier roles.

"I don't care if people don't like me. I am here to do my thing, earn some money and improve my acting skills along the way," said Ammar who was first introduced as the lead hero Neo in the TV drama, Tari Tirana, after he took part in Hero Remaja 2008 alongside handsome actors Kamal Adli and Fizo Omar.

Even if the negative perceptions about him remain, Ammar is pretty cool about it. This is because he had tasted fame long before he became an actor. As a teenager, he was making good money as a model in Singapore and was the face for a line of men's briefs. Life as a model has given him perspective and a reason to stay calm despite the adverse media publicity last year.

"At 16, I was ahead of my time. Now I feel like I've matured even more after I got involved in acting. So, when I got mixed up in some controversy, I knew I could handle it," said the 24-year-old actor who is wise beyond his years.

Ammar, known as one the sexiest actors in the industry, is a well tanned hunk who has only been around for two years. He is already making heads turn. Thanks to his brooding muscleman image and the controversy, Ammar's female following has grown by leaps and bounds. His Facebook fan page is fast approaching 5,000 fans.

"It's kind of flattering but I don't really care anyway if girls like me or not. I guess that's the way I've always been," said Ammar who is the youngest of three siblings.

According to Ammar, he doesn't need to react to any publicity, be it good or bad.

"If anyone wants to write me off, that is their prerogative. My family and friends know who I am and they wouldn't believe everything that's written about me," said the actor, who was born in Cardiff, Wales.

He stands at 185.4cm and has a degree in sports science from UiTM Shah Alam.

Though he has mastered every possible martial arts from boxing, kick-boxing, wrestling, ninjutsu, taekwando, kung fu, karate and will soon take up MMA (mixed martial arts), Ammar doesn't often show off his beautiful physique. He isn't an exhibitionist. If you are lucky, you might only catch him flaunting his frame when training in the gym.

There are no magic pills to get a body like his. The man believes in hard work in the gym and the right diet.

"Just a lot of workouts and discipline. Every workout counts and you to have to really push yourself, train your mind to become immune to the pain when you carry weights. Then there is also a strict diet to follow. I take 30 half-boiled eggs (without the yolk) every day, steamed chicken, grilled fish, vegetables and fruits.

"I will only have rice once a week in moderation. You have to set a personal standard and try to keep to this discipline or else you will never achieve your goal," said Ammar who trained intensively two years to tone his body and muscles.

As a fitness freak and a trained gym instructor, Ammar sometimes doubles up as a bodyguard when the situation warrants it. He has a lot to show off in the martial arts area. And this is something he would like to do in dramas and movies if he gets the right roles.

"I'm so eager to act in movies that will test my physical ability. It's nice to do it ('bash people') on screen and get paid for it," said the actor whose parents are professors at a local university.

When it comes to love, this Malaysian lad is looking for a woman with brains. She has to be caring and understanding too. If you are wondering what happened to his on-off relationship with actress Puteri Sarah Liyana Megat Kamaruddin of Aduh Saliha, his girlfriend of three years, that question is off limits.

This sexy actor who got his good looks from his Arab lineage, said he has experienced countless fan encounters that have ranged from the sultry to the slightly uncomfortable.

"I get proposals and suggestive offers which are slightly inappropriate to say here but I just brushed them aside. It sounds kind of odd, but it's most flattering nonetheless!" said Ammar, who is the nephew of popular motivator, Datuk Fadzilah Kamsan.

Though he has logged a number of memorable roles on more than 30 TV dramas to date, like Dimensions, Cinta Luhur Ezumin, Kemp Pink, Dia Atila, Sirah Cinta and Kasanova Metropolitan, Ammar is eagerly looking forward to get bigger roles.

"It would be great if I could get a gangster role like the one in KL Gangster. A character that is not evil but just misunderstood – something like me. That would be really cool," concluded Ammar who hates cheesy roles.

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Stocks dip after biggest day in a year

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:55 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP): A rally over hopes for a debt-limit deal turned into a waiting game for investors.

One day after the Dow Jones industrial average had its best day this year, the stock market edged lower on Wednesday. Analysts say concerns about lifting the U.S. debt limit outweighed strong earnings from Apple and a slew of new corporate deals.

"In this environment, stringing together a few days like yesterday is going to be tough," said Brad Sorensen, director of market analysis at Charles Schwab.

Apparent progress on raising the U.S. debt limit launched a stock market rally Tuesday. The Dow jumped 202 points, its best day this year. But investors woke up Wednesday to find Washington still at a stalemate. And with less than two weeks before the government risks defaulting on its debt, they are finding it hard to continue the celebration.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 15.51 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 12,571.91.

The S&P 500 index dropped 0.89 point to 1,325.84. The Nasdaq fell 12.29 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,814.23.

Apple Inc. rose 2.7 percent after the company's income doubled last quarter. Sales of Apple's iPhones quadrupled in Asia.

The stock of Zillow, a real estate website, jumped 79 percent in its first day of trading to $35.77. Zillow's initial public offering of stock priced at $20 late Tuesday.

Clorox rose 2.4 percent after billionaire investor Carl Icahn raised his bid for the company to $80 a share. The consumer products company rejected his previous offer.

News of record earnings and new deals would usually brighten investors' mood, Sorenson said. In the current earnings season, for instance, some 75 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index have beaten analysts' estimates. But larger worries about debt troubles in the U.S. and Europe are holding the market back. "It's causing investors and businesses and consumers to be concerned about the future," he said.

European Union officials plan to meet at an emergency summit Thursday in Brussels. Many expect EU members to drum up a new aid package for Greece. Worries about Europe's debt crisis have plagued markets for months. The results of stress tests on European banks released last week failed to calm fears that the crisis could soon turn worse. The tests didn't take into account the possibility that most analysts are worried about: a default by Greece or Portugal, two of the countries most at risk.

E-Trade Financial Corp. gained 13.7 percent, more than any other stock in the S&P 500 index. E-Trade's largest shareholder urged the online discount brokerage to consider putting itself up for sale. In a letter to E-Trade disclosed in a regulatory filing, the money manager Citadel LLC called for changes to the company's board, saying E-Trade's "phenomenal franchise" had been "squandered."

Cleaning and pest-control services company Ecolab Inc. said it would buy the water treatment company Nalco Holding Co. for $5.4 billion.

Nalco soared 24 percent while Ecolab dropped 7.3 percent.

Tuesday's rally 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 0.4 percent.

Rising stocks outpaced falling ones by a small margin on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was below average at 3.5 billion shares.

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OPEC: Venezuela's oil reserves top Saudi Arabia

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:54 PM PDT

Published: Thursday July 21, 2011 MYT 7:12:00 AM
Updated: Thursday July 21, 2011 MYT 11:09:48 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP): OPEC says Venezuela has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the country with the biggest proven crude oil reserves.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries says Venezuela's proven crude reserves have risen to more than 296 billion barrels.

That's above Saudi Arabia's reserves of more than 264 billion barrels.

Analysts say Venezuela's reserves have grown by including more of the country's extra-heavy crude. They caution that heavy crude is more difficult and expensive to process than oil found elsewhere.

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Intel, Qualcomm show changing face of computing

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 07:53 PM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP): The changing face of the computer industry was on display Wednesday as two companies representing the old guard and the new issued strong results for the latest quarter.

Intel, a bedrock of the PC business, and Qualcomm, a vanguard in mobile computing, showed how companies at opposite ends of the computing spectrum are adapting to a market that's in intense upheaval.

Intel's net income rose 2 percent to $2.95 billion as revenue jumped 21 percent to $13 billion. The world's No. 1 maker of PC processors benefited from healthy demand from corporations and in emerging markets. It also rode the popularity of smartphones and tablet computers in selling the chips powering servers that handle the increased mobile traffic.

CEO Paul Otellini said the results left him with "increasing confidence" for the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm's net income rose 35 percent to $1.04 billion, and revenue rose 34 percent to $3.62 billion. The maker of wireless chips credited robust smartphone adoption. The company raised its guidance.

Taken together, Intel's and Qualcomm's numbers demonstrate two things:

_ The rise of mobile gadgets and weakness in the consumer PC market in U.S. and Europe have profoundly transformed Intel's business.

_ Those changes are benefiting companies such as Qualcomm as they assume a more prominent role in the semiconductor world.

But investors' dismissive reaction to the reports underlined that the companies are still subject to different sets of expectations, even as their businesses overlap more.

After the results came out late Wednesday, Intel Corp.'s stock fell 34 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $22.62, apparently because of fears that the PC market is so wobbly that Intel's forecasts might be too high. Qualcomm Inc.'s stock declined $1.50, or 2.6 percent, to $55.77 as some investors expected even stronger results.

Left unspoken in both company's reports was Apple Inc., whose introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad last year have single-handedly launched the computer industry in two new directions, leading to a reshuffling of the established order.

Apple on Tuesday reported blowout quarterly results, and its stock are headed toward an all-time high of $400. Apple has now sold nearly 29 million iPads. In the latest quarter, it sold five times as many iPhones as it did Mac computers.

Qualcomm is a key Apple supplier, and investors are hoping that the company can win more business - possibly by replacing iPhone chips now made by the wireless-chip division of Germany's Infineon Technologies AG, which Intel bought last year for $1.4 billion.

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Under-strength All Blacks not taking Fijians lightly

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 06:29 PM PDT

DUNEDIN: The All Blacks open their World Cup build-up with a Test against Fiji tomorrow, resting key players but stressing they will not fall into the same trap as Australia against Samoa.

The one new international is Otago Highlanders' lock Jarrad Hoeata while team–mate and fly-half Colin Slade gets his first start in his second Test.

But coach Graham Henry has enough depth in his squad to have 531 Test caps among the run-on side with another 216 to call on from the bench.

"This is an important test for us as we kick off this year's Test season," Henry said following the team announcement yesterday.

"You just need to look at how Fiji's Pacific neighbours Samoa played against Australia on the weekend to know that if we underestimate Fiji, we do so at our peril."

Samoa last weekend scored an upset 32-23 win over the Wallabies, who rank third in the world behind the All Blacks and South Africa, but fielded a vastly under-strength side against the Pacific islanders.

Henry has taken the opportunity to rest several members of the Canterbury Crusaders, who played in the Super 15 final less than two weeks ago, and there is an experimental look about the forwards to face the physical Fijians.

Wyatt Crockett, in the squad as injury cover for Tony Woodcock, returns to the All Blacks for the first time since 2009 to join Andrew Hore and Ben Franks in the front row.

In the middle row, newcomer Hoeata will partner 61-Test veteran Ali Williams, who is making his comeback after being sidelined by injury for two years.

Richie McCaw, who missed most of the Super 15 season because of a foot injury, will captain the team from the flank but his regular loose forward partners Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read have been replaced by Adam Thomson and Liam Messam.

But in anticipation of what could be expected from the bruising Fijians, Henry has opted for five forwards on the bench and only two backs.

"We have got some real competition for places and it's exciting for those players picked and they will be keen to put their best foot forward," Henry said. – AFP

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Blade Runner qualifies for the world meet in his final attempt

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 06:26 PM PDT

RALEIGH (North Carolina): With his final attempt, South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius qualified for next month's World Athletics Championships by smashing his 400m personal best in Lignano, Italy on Tuesday.

Pistorius, known as the 'Blade Runner' because he runs with carbon fibre prosthetic running blades, clocked 45.07 to record a time inside both the world meet and 2012 London Olympics qualifying mark.

"It was just a dream race," Pistorius, 24, told Reuters in a late night telephone conversation from Lignano.

"I just have not been able to sleep. I must have 300 messages congratulating me.

"I am sure tomorrow when I wake up it (the accomplishment) is going to hit me.

"It is really humbling to know I have gotten so much support from everyone."

The performance enabled Pistorius to become the first amputee sprinter to qualify for the World Championships, which begin on Aug 27 in Daegu, South Korea.

His achievement was all the more dramatic as his qualifying time was recorded on the final day of eligibility for the South African team, he said.

"See you in Daegu sounds so wonderful," said Pistorius, who had both lower legs amputated when he was 11 months old.

A multiple Paralympic gold medallist, the South African had sought for years to compete in the World Championships and Olympics.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport gave him a chance in 2008 when it ruled in his favour after a long legal battle with the International Association of Athletics Federations over the use of his running blades, which the IAAF said gave him an unfair advantage.

But after the CAS decision, he failed to record a time inside the Olympic qualifying mark and missed the Beijing Games.

On Tuesday, those previous disappointments were forgotten when he booked his place at the worlds and London Olympics with one final composed surge.

"With 180m, I just decided to set out for the end, and I really ran a very comfortable last 100m," Pistorius said.

"It is kind of strange because I broke my personal best by half a second, which is ridiculous," he said with a satisfying chuckle. – Reuters

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Voeckler still in yellow as Contador attacks again

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 06:25 PM PDT

PINEROLO (Italy): Luxembourg's Schleck brothers Andy and Frank soaked up a late attack from yellow jersey rival Alberto Contador as the Tour de France moved a step closer to the final two mountain stages yesterday.

Europcar leader Thomas Voeckler avoided two late crashes in the hectic finale of the 17th stage, won by Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Sky, to keep a hold of the race leader's yellow jersey ahead of two mountaintop finishes in the Alps.

But during a dramatic finale on the tricky 8km descent to the finish from the Col de Pramartino the Frenchman gave up 0:27 to his rivals as he flirted with disaster three times.

As Boasson Hagen celebrated his second victory of this year's Tour, Voeckler lost 0:27 to a nine-man group which contained the Schleck brothers Andy and Frank as well as Contador, Samuel Sanchez and Australian Cadel Evans.

"Mountain biking is not my speciality!" said Voeckler, who on the third near-miss misjudged a bend and ended up in the courtyard of a house.

"I left the road three times and the third time I was lucky. If there had been a wall in front of me, I wouldn't have had time to stop.

"If I'd taken fewer risks I would have finished with Evans and the others. But (losing) 27 seconds is not too bad, it could have cost me a (broken) collarbone."

Contador's attack late on the Col de Manse outside Gap on Tuesday helped salvage a yellow jersey bid that had looked severely compromised following a series of crashes inside the first nine stages.

Yesterday the Spaniard went on a downhill attack again after cresting the 6.6km Cote de Pramartino, only for the Schleck brothers – who had lost time to Contador and Evans on stage 16 – to counter.

Once over the summit Contador was followed by Euskaltel leader Sanchez and together they took all the risks on the tight, technical turns of the descent to open up a gap on the Schlecks and Evans.

With Voeckler showing the peloton how not to take the turns, the chasers were nervous. But as the road straightened out the chase was on, with the Schlecks and Evans closing the gap to the Spaniards inside the final kilometre.

Evans admitted it had been a "confusing" descent but he was ultimately happy not to lose any time.

"We closed the gap on the flat there, but it was a bit confusing with people coming and going and crashing and so on," said the Australian.

Their nine-man group came over the finish 4:26 behind Boasson Hagen, who had soloed across the line alone having attacked his breakaway group before the summit of the Pramartino.

After his runner-up place to compatriot Thor Hushovd on Tuesday, he was all smiles.

"I was very close to winning on Tuesday. I was frustrated, and so I really wanted to do something," said the Norwegian.n — AFP

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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Connecting with Gen Y and Z

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:42 PM PDT

A parenting 101 by a couple whose six children straddle two generations.

HUSBAND-and-wife team, Jamilah Samian and Ahmad Fakhri Hamzah, has recently come up with the interestingly titled The Groovy Guide To Parenting Gen Y And Z.

The subtext "123 ideas to connect with youths who breathe the Internet" gives you an idea of the content within the 184 pages of the self-published book.

Why "groovy"? The writers say because it is in sync with the way the ideas are presented in the book. It's meant to be an upbeat, easy, engaging read, despite the serious subject matter.

Both 49, the couple have six children – five boys and one girl – aged between 12 and 25: four Gen-Ys (those born between 1981 and 1994) and two Gen-Zs (those born between 1995 and 2009).

Jamilah is a work-at-home mum, juggling parenting duties, writing and running the company she set up with her husband, Myriad Ventures. Under this company, Jamilah and Ahmad, both certified trainers, run training programmes on parenting and more.

In addition, the couple, who reside with their brood in Ampang, Selangor, run a homestay programme in Janda Baik, Pahang, as well as their youngest son's cookie business.

Jamilah has written two other books, Cool Mum Super Dad and Cool Boys Super Sons. This is her third book and the first she co-authored with her husband. She is currently working on her next book, about marriage.

Here, Jamilah and Ahmad share parenting tips and insights with readers.

How long did it take you to figure out which parenting methods work and which don't?

Jamilah: I've not always been the kind of parent that I am now. My first years as a parent were a struggle as I had so little knowledge (about being a parent). It took me 10 years to figure it out. I read a lot. There isn't one specific parenting title that opened my eyes. So it was about taking the best of everyone and figuring out what worked for my family.

Ahmad: It was about refining the methods. It's a continuous journey because the children and the environment they grow up in keep changing. It's about situational parenting – doing the right things rather than doing things right.

A lot of employers find Gen Y unsuitable in a structured work environment. There are also people who think Gen Y is not employable, that they make better business owners and entrepreneurs. What's your take on this?

Jamilah: That's true, whether fortunately or unfortunately. Gen Y grew up in a world where they see a lot of possibilities. Because of the information that is available to them, it opens their minds. I have always encouraged my kids to be entrepreneurs. But not everyone has to become one; it depends on the child.

In the workplace, it does take a change of mindset on the part of the employer. A lot of managers in the corporate world come from the baby boomer generation, and this is usually the group that has the biggest conflict with Gen Y.

For the baby boomers, work defines them. For Gen Y, balance is priority, and they tend to look out for their own welfare rather than the company's. They don't see the need to be loyal to a single employer for long.

The way to deal with Gen Y is simply to take the time to explain to them. Tell them why structure is important to the task at hand. Tell them why certain things are done. They're more likely to listen with this direct approach.

Ahmad: I think it boils down to all parties not giving enough time to learn and find ways to complement each other's strengths, and also finding ways to fill the gaps. Every generation has its uniqueness. We should utilise this uniqueness and not moan about it.

Are your children entrepreneurs?

Jamilah: Our eldest, Ahmad Saifuddin, 25, is a computer engineer who is happy with his flexible work arrangement. He is not into working in a big corporation, with a fixed corporate structure. He writes applications for iPhone, and conducts training.

Our second, Ahmad Salahuddin, 23, started his company seven months ago. He was a corporate trainer previously, but he believes he will be able to unleash more of his potential working on his own.

Alia Nadhirah, 20, is a third-year medical student. Ahmad Safiuddin, 17, is awaiting his O-Levels results, while Ahmad Syarifuddin, 15, and Ahmad Sirajuddin, 12, are still in school.

Siraj, our youngest, has a thriving cookie business called Siraj's Chocolicious Honey Cookies! He started it to save money to visit a friend in South Africa after we told him to raise the funds himself. His business was so successful that even after he'd made enough for the trip, he decided to continue!

Your book talks about instant gratification, entitlement and multi-tasking as three issues with Gen Y and Z. Which one is most challenging?

Jamilah: Of the three, entitlement is the hardest. There are two aspects – positive entitlement and negative entitlement. Gen Y is used to being heard, and getting things fast. As parents, we need to nurture a positive sense of entitlement, which is about speaking up against things that are not right, asking questions and an entitlement to information and knowledge.

Negative entitlement happens when children are used to getting materialistic things. It's become a given, which we shouldn't nurture. Kids need to be grateful for what they have and know that no matter how wealthy their parents are, they have to earn their own living.

Ahmad: I agree. It's entitlement. Kids need to know themselves and their roles in society. It's also about setting boundaries about what to expect.

What is the most important point parents need to know about fostering independence in their children?

Jamilah: Parents need to always try to be visionary and think of the big picture. We have a tendency to be protective. The questions you need to ask are: How is this helping your child? Are you crippling him? And this applies to all ages, from the very young to adult children.

If you keep jumping to his rescue, it'll help him in that moment, but he'll come to you again later. You're not going to be there all the time.

Ahmad: There has to be trust but also firm boundaries. There is no compromise on cardinal sins but we are merciful on minor mistakes.

What is your personal parenting practice?

Jamilah: We change and the kids change, too. We always need to make constant adjustments and be ready for the changes. But no matter how ready you are, there will still be surprises. With us, there is a strong connection with God. We do whatever we can and surrender the rest to Him. If something doesn't work, ask yourself if there is something you can do to make things better.

Ahmad: I always try to equip my kids with thinking tools. I get to know them, engage them, and the most important things are to be flexible and to BE there.

How do you deal with the differences in your kids?

Jamilah: I don't see their differences as weaknesses, but strengths. I always ask how I can encourage my kids to use their differences to become the best person he or she can be.

Ahmad: We harness their strengths and allow them to explore and discover their passions. We are there to always support and guide.

How do you view education for kids?

Jamilah: In learning, there must be room for them to think beyond what is given to them. One of the reasons I decided to put my kids in the O-Levels (international stream) is to allow them room to think further. It doesn't emphasise so much rote learning, and memorising. I want them to think and to apply what they learn. I will always tell them that they have to be clear on why they need good grades. It is so that they can go to university, and not just for the sake of getting straight As.

Ahmad: It is a continuous and relentless effort on our part to provide a multi-dimensional approach to learning. We provide the informal aspect of education to complement what they learn in school.

What is the one thing you hope your kids will bring with them into their adult lives?

Jamilah: The most important thing is that they see themselves as agents of positive change.

Ahmad: We hope each will have a moral character that will touch the hearts of others who are connected with him or her.

What do you hope to impart with this guide?

Jamilah: After the first two books, I thought I was done with parenting books. But when we give talks, parents are always asking, "What do we actually do?" It's very well to share theories, but different people have different ideas of how to translate those theories into action. So we decided we needed to do a book about practical ideas that parents can use.

Good parents always try to find ways to make things work, but sometimes they will have doubts. This book spells out contemporary issues with parenting, and how to deal with them. Armed with the why and how, parents become focused and more confident about what they're doing, and where they're going with their children.

The Groovy Guide To Parenting Gen Y And Z is available at major bookstores.

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The Star Online: Nation

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2.2 million yet to renew their driving licences

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 03:20 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: As many as 2.2 million out of 11.8 million driving licence holders are inactive or have not renewed their licence, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.

The Road Transport Department (JPJ) received feedback from the motorists that they had difficulty in remembering the expiry date of their licences.

"Even those who had imbedded their driving licences particulars in their MyKad, claimed that they were unable to see their particulars to renew them," he said.

Kong added that summons would be issued to those caught driving without valid licences, and reminded them that they were not covered by insurance.

"Those who failed to renew their licences for a three year period would have to undergo the driving competency test before they are allowed to renew them," he said.

Kong added there was one case of a person driving without realising that his driving licence expired three years ago.

"We had also received numerous appeals from persons who had to undergo the competency part of the driving test but we had to reject them," he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Kong said the new initiative to renew the driving licences based on the person's date of birth was an effort to provide an effective delivery system to the people.

"We believe this will indirectly reduce the number of inactive driving licence holders," he said.

Kong said the JPJ has been directed to formulate the systems so that the "renewal on birthdays" proposal could be implemented soon.

"This will take some time but I don't want the driving licence holders to rush to the JPJ offices to renew them immediately," he said, adding that the renewal would be done after the expiry of the driving licences.

To a question, he said the holders of "P" licence would not be affected as it would be based on their date of birth when they get their licence.

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Only 19,000 public transport operators have registered with SPAD

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 02:47 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: Only 19,000 of 80,000 public transport operators in Peninsular Malaysia have registered with Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) since April 1.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar urged the remaining 61,000 bus, taxi, tour coach and lorry operators to register and not wait until the Sept 30 deadline.

"It's been three months but the number who registered is still small. Our people like to do things at the last minute and hope it will be extended.

"We can't extend the deadline as it is not determined by SPAD, but by law. In the central region, only 20 percent of public transport operators have registered," he told reporters after a meeting with over 100 public transport operators here Wednesday.

Syed Hamid said all public transport licensees in Peninsular Malaysia have to register with SPAD, a body formed to replace the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB).

Under the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (Amendment) Act 2010, failure to register within the period given will render the licences invalid.

Registration will allow update of licensees personal information like address, phone number, age and term.

This will help improve supervision and facilitate transformation of land public transport industry.

He also said application for temporary licences for additional bus services for Aidilfitri will be opened from Aug 1-15. The services are for seven days before and eight days after Aidilfitri. - Bernama

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Lynas required to compile residents health data for future comparison

Posted: 20 Jul 2011 02:08 AM PDT

KUANTAN: Lynas Corp is required to compile a medical history of residents living nearby the Gebeng industrial area that would contain their present state of health with the aim of using the information for future comparison after its rare earth facility commenced operation.

Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) director general Raja Datuk Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan said it would serve as a baseline data for Lynas before the operation began.

"It will be used later to provide a comparison for assessing the operation's impact on the people living in nearby areas such as Balok.

"We will see whether there is any increase of people afflicted with radiation-linked diseases or cancer,'' he said when met after a briefing on the project to state government officers and staff here recently.

More in The Star on Thursday

Related Stories:

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Lynas to fix minor problem
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Lynas must join Gebeng crisis response group
We will comply with all recommendations, says Lynas

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Hangover' star Cooper to star in 'Paradise Lost'

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 11:19 PM PDT

SYDNEY (AP): "The Hangover" star Bradley Cooper will appear as Lucifer in a movie version of the classic poem "Paradise Lost" to be filmed in Sydney.

An Australian official says the movie will be directed by Australian Alex Proyas, who also directed "I, Robot" starring Will Smith and "Knowing" with Nicholas Cage.

New South Wales state Acting Premier Andrew Stoner says the movie will be shot predominantly at Fox Studios in Sydney. It is targeted for release in 2013.

"Paradise Lost" is an epic poem by 17th century English poet John Milton. It tells the story of Satan tempting Adam and Eve, and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Stoner said Wednesday that had the movie not been lured to Sydney with financial incentives, "it would have been opportunity lost, not Paradise Lost."

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Maggie Q plays killer heroine

Posted: 19 Jul 2011 04:46 PM PDT

It seems we never get tired of watching a seemingly fragile woman playing the heroine.

THE idea of a black-op agency taking a young girl off the streets, accuse her of a crime she didn't commit only to force her to become an efficient operative is rather appealing.

It must be because this premise – which originated in the 1990 Luc Besson's French film titled La Femme Nikita – has been revisited in a Hollywood film starring Bridget Fonda, a five-season Canadian TV series featuring Peta Wilson and now, another TV series headlined by Maggie Q called Nikita.

Another piece of evidence of why this idea is popular enough to be recycled is that every version has its own legion of fans.

While the movie is a distant memory for me, the 1997 Canadian show was pretty enjoyable with its extremely serious tone and intense leads. Hence, I was all ready to not like the latest show – Maggie Q is just way too skinny to carry off the killer look, right?

The pilot didn't do much to convince me otherwise either – it didn't help I was purposely looking for any reason to dismiss it. Nonetheless, I was happily proven wrong when in the last 15 minutes of the pilot, I got the hint of what the show is capable of – action, humour, explosions, twisted conspiracies, beautiful people, cliched baddies, one-liners and technological advanced tools – pretty much all the stuff that any action-packed thriller should have.

This version veers off from its predecessors in that our heroine has escaped the clutches of the secret government unit known as Division after serving it faithfully for many years. Now, she is intent on bringing it down as she realises that Percy (Xander Berkeley), who heads Division, is giving his loyalty (and by fault, the Division's) to whoever would pay him the highest price for an assassination.

Nikita's mission is also fuelled by the fact that the Division has ordered the termination of a man she has fallen in love with while working undercover.

Each week, an episode goes to great lengths to show exactly how Nikita foils a Division mission, using every trick she had learned from the organisation when she was serving it.

It's a typical move of any action-based series – with loads of fights with our heroine executing cool kicks and punches, taking down burly men and still coming off looking so good.

Now, the twist is, Nikita has a mole inside Division – one of the newest recruits, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) – who has been trained by Nikita on all things Division. Through Alex we get to see the workings of Division, which is located deep underground somewhere in the United States, revealing the kind of physcological and physical training Nikita must've gone through when she was first recruited.

Meanwhile, Nikita has stationed herself in a bare room with large windows, which is furnished with one bed, a clothes rack (yes, one), a computer, a box filled with guns and sometimes-there-sometimes-not-there furniture.

But not everything is dandy about this show. While the two female leads are watchable – one particular supporting character, a fellow new recruit by the name of Jaden (Tiffany Hines), is just so irritating.

She's obviously there as a roadblock for Alex, but her character really does not need to do anything but just stand there and glower at Alex, and we can hate her.

Now, no La Femme Nikita series is complete without the presence of the super serious Michael (Shane West), Nikita's handler, or the geeky Birkoff (Aaron Standford), who is in charge of all things technical in Division. Fortunately, both these characters survived the transition from the Canadian show in one piece. I am happy to report the chemistry between Maggie Q and West is there.

In the 1997 series, one of the driving subplots of the show was the forbidden relationship between Nikita and Michael. So it should be interesting to see how that relationship is going to be explored here since Nikita is on the outside and they are enemies (he is assigned by Percy to bring down Nikita).

But at the end of the day, what is most important is the story of the protagonist. Here, Nikita is constructed so well that we are okay with suspending disbelief and taking the leap along with the show. So welcome back Nikita, it's always nice to see you.

Nikita is aired on WarnerTV (HyppTV Ch 162) every Monday at 10pm.

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