Rabu, 27 Julai 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Air Canada plane returns safely to Sydney after fire - report

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 08:52 PM PDT

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Air Canada plane bound for Vancouver returned safely to Sydney airport on Thursday after a fire reportedly broke out in its galley mid-flight, Australian media said.

Sky TV showed the Boeing 777 taxied off the runaway on its own power and was not immediately met by emergency crews.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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New pressure on Gaddafi on foreign and rebel front

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 08:21 PM PDT

NALUT, Libya (Reuters) - Rebels fighting in Libya's western mountains prepared on Thursday for a new offensive against Muammar Gaddafi's troops, raising pressure on the Libyan leader a day after Britain granted diplomatic recognition to the opposition.

A frame from footage provided by the FIDE Press service shows Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli, June 12, 2011. (REUTERS/FIDE Press service/Handout/Files)

With hopes fading of a negotiated settlement, both sides appear prepared for the five-month-old war to grind on into the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in August.

The rebels said they were planning to attack the town of Ghezaia near the Tunisian border in the next 48 hours, and a Reuters correspondent saw dozens of heavily armed pickup trucks heading for the nearby rebel-held town of Nalut.

"We are reinforcing the position around Nalut and we will attack Ghezaia tomorrow or the next day for sure. We plan to take it," Omar Fakkan, a rebel commander, told Reuters.

He said that forces from a number of rebel-held towns in the Nafusa Mountains were gathering in Nalut, ready for the attack.

Rebel fighters have taken large swathes of Libya since the start of an uprising to end Gaddafi's 41-year rule, and now control much of the Nafusa mountain range, the northeast of Libya and the western city of Misrata.

Yet they remain poorly armed and are often disorganised. Despite four months of NATO strikes, they have failed to reach the capital Tripoli and appear unlikely to make a breakthrough soon.

Gaddafi has scoffed at the efforts to end his rule and has weathered the now-stalled rebel advance and the NATO air raids on his forces and military infrastructure.

A recent flurry of diplomatic activity has yielded little, with the rebels insisting Gaddafi step down as a first step and his government saying his role is non-negotiable.

United Nations envoy Abdel Elah al-Khatib visited both sides this week with plans for a ceasefire and a power-sharing government that excludes Gaddafi, but to no avail.

Asked about Khatib's proposal, rebel leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil said: "We were surprised the day before yesterday that we are taking 10 steps back... and he says to share power with Muammar Gaddafi's regime. This is laughable."

Gaddafi also appeared defiant on Wednesday, urging rebels to lay down their arms or suffer an ugly death.

"We all lead this battle, until victory, until martyrdom," he said in an audio message aired at a pro-Gaddafi rally in Zaltan, 140 km (90 miles) west of his stronghold Tripoli.

(For graphics, click http://r.reuters.com/nym77r and http://link.reuters.com/jav62s )


Ramping up pressure on Gaddafi, Britain expelled his diplomats from London on Wednesday and invited the rebel National Transitional Council to replace them.

Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that Britain now recognised the rebels as Libya's legitimate government and unblocked 91 million pounds ($148.7 million) in frozen assets.

The United States and about 30 other nations have also recognised the opposition, potentially freeing up billions of dollars in frozen funds.

"This decision reflects the National Transitional Council's increasing legitimacy, competence and success in reaching out to Libyans across the country," Hague said in London.

Gaddafi's government said the British move was "illegal and irresponsible" and a "stain on the forehead of Britain".

"We will go to the International Court of Justice and the national courts in Britain, and we will use their justice," said Libya's deputy foreign minister, Khaled Kaim.

However, the British move won praise from rebels fighting in the western mountains.

"We are encouraged by what Britain has done and there is no way Gaddafi can stay in Libya," said Fakkan.

"The fighting will get much worse now because he will have to fight to survive and the Libyans do not want him."

(Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr in Berlin, Rania El Gamal in Benghazi, Hamid Oul Ahmed in Algiers, Missy Ryan and Lutfi Abu Aun in Tripoli, Mussab Al Khairallah in Misrata; Writing by Lin Noueihed; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

Copyright © 2008 Reuters

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Qaeda's Zawahri tells Syrians to also fight U.S., Israel

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 08:21 PM PDT

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri urged Syrian protesters to direct their movement also against Washington and Israel, denouncing the United States as insincere in showing solidarity with them, according to an Internet video issued on Wednesday.

"America, which cooperated with (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad during his whole regime, claims today that it stands with you when it saw him floored by the earthquake caused by your fury," he said in the video posted on Islamist websites often used by al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri speaks from an unknown location, in this still image taken from video uploaded on a social media website June 8, 2011. (REUTERS/Social Media Website via Reuters TV/Files)

The video carried the date of the Islamic month corresponding to June, when Zawahri was named by the Islamist group to succeed Osama bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan in May after a nearly 10-year worldwide hunt.

"You are standing with your bare chests facing tank and artillery shells and helicopters," Zawahri said of the Syrians demonstrating against Assad, whom he denounced as "America's partner in the war on Islam in the name of fighting terror".

"Tell both America and (U.S. President Barack) Obama: ... our powerful uprising will not stop until we raise the victorious banner of jihad (holy war) ... over Jerusalem," said Zawahri, wearing a white turban and robe and seated next to an assault rifle.

There is little evidence of al Qaeda influence in the four-month wave of demonstrations against the Syrian government, sparked by protests that overthrew long-time rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.

But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem has said that the killings of some police and soldiers indicated that al Qaeda might be behind some of the violence.

In the past four months, the United States has repeatedly condemned Syria's crackdown against demonstrators, with the U.S. ambassador visiting the restive town of Hama earlier in July in an unusual show of solidarity with anti-Assad demonstrators.

Zawahri's whereabouts are unknown, although he has long been thought to be hiding along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Washington is offering a $25 million reward for any information leading to his capture or conviction.

(Reporting by Firouz Sedarat; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

John Lithgow to return to Broadway as a columnist

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 05:08 AM PDT

NEW YORK (AP): John Lithgow is coming back to Broadway in a familiar role - a newspaper columnist.

The Tony Award-winning star of the TV show "3rd Rock From the Sun" will star as Joseph Alsop in the Manhattan Theatre Club world premiere of David Auburn's "The Columnist" this spring.

Lithgow, who recently won an Emmy on "Dexter," got a Tony for playing another columnist based on Walter Winchell in the 2002 musical "The Sweet Smell of Success." He also earned a Tony in 1973 for his Broadway debut in "The Changing Room."

"The Columnist" will begin previews April 3 and open April 25 at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on 47th Street. It will be directed by Daniel Sullivan, who also helmed Auburn's play "Proof."

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The Star Online: Sports

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Tennis: Bartoli tops Marino to reach quarters at Stanford

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 06:12 PM PDT

STANFORD, California (AP) - Marion Bartoli of France reached her seventh quarterfinal of the year, beating Canada's Rebecca Marino 6-4, 6-3 Wednesday at the Bank of the West Classic.

The ninth-ranked Bartoli, who won this event two years ago, has won 18 of her last 21 matches.

Marino, ranked 40th, beat Bartoli at Quebec City last year - her only win over a top-20 player.

In other matches, eighth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia beat American Christina McHale 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, and fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland topped Taiwan's Chang Kai-chen 6-4, 3-6, 6-0.

The 20th-ranked Cibulkova reached her seventh quarterfinal of the year and will meet the winner of Thursday's match between top-seeded and defending champion Victoria Azarenka and qualifier Marina Erakovic.

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Pahang in Razak Cup final

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 06:06 PM PDT

MALACCA: Pahang continued their excellent run by beating the speedy and hard-hitting Armed Forces side 3-1 to qualify for the Division One final of the Razak Cup hockey tournament at the Bukit Serendit Stadium here last night.

Pahang will face defending champions Kuala Lumpur in today's final (6pm). KL edged Terengganu 2-1 in the other semi-final.

Pahang went on the offensive right from the start to take a 2-0 lead after just 17 minutes.

Defender Ahmad Kazamirul Nasaruddin scored off a penalty corner in the ninth minute before Mohd Hafiz Zainul doubled their lead eight minutes later.

Although Forces reduced the deficit with a penalty corner goal by Ahmad Ridzuan Zainal Abidin in the 28th minute, Mohd Aminuddin Abu sealed victory for Pahang with a field goal in the 58th minute.

In the other semi-final, Division One debutants Terengganu took the lead through Mohd Faizal Saari off a penalty corner in 26th minute.

Eighteen-time champions KL were awarded a penalty stroke two minutes later when Terengganu defender Mohd Shahrun Nabil used his head to stop the ball. But KL captain Mohd Amin Rahim's low flick was saved by goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin.

But KL were undaunted and managed to score two goals through Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor (32nd) and Mohd Amin (57th).

Meanwhile, former champions Negri Sembilan came back from a goal down twice to edge Perlis 3-2 to qualify for the Division Two final.

Negri got their goals through M. Rageshwaran (17th), T.M. Ganeisha (54th) and Azraie Mohd Azizan (55th) while Mohd Izzat Ghazali (8th) and Mohd Najmi Farizal Jazlan (46th) scored for Perlis.

Negri, who won the Division Two title in 2003, will face Selangor in today's final. Selangor defeated Kedah 3-1, with goals by Mohd Reza Maadun (4th, 43rd) and Faridzul Mohd Isa (68th). Kedah's lone reply came through Mohd Zakaria (55th).

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Evans will compete in the Olympics if the course is tough

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 06:03 PM PDT

SYDNEY: Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (pic) says he would love to compete at the 2012 Olympics, but only if the course is tough enough.

Evans became the first Australian – and only third non-European – to win the Tour when he finished in Paris on Sunday.

His schedule is being overhauled to accommodate extra commitments now but he hasn't ruled out racing at the Olympics, despite the London Games starting only days after the 2012 Tour de France.

Evans said if the road and time trial courses suit his strengths, he'll be hoping to compete in London.

"I don't know if the course is going to be suitable," Evans told the Australian Associated Press in a telephone interview from Switzerland yesterday.

"But if I can be the man for the job to represent the country, of course I would love to ride.

"If it's a course more suitable to someone else, then it should be for someone else."

Evans said the timing of the Olympics was no problem.

"The timing falls well for us as Tour riders – there's also an interesting World Championships course in 2012 and a few other things," he said.

"We have to prioritise and choose our goals, but Tour de France 2012 is going to come around really quickly."

The 34–year–old Evans is already a three–time Olympian, having competed in mountain bike events at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000 before switching to road. He contested both the road time trial and road race at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the same year he finished second in the Tour de France.

Australia's cycling fraternity has already started talking about Evans winning a treble of major road cycling events by winning an Olympic gold to go with his 2011 Tour de France and 2009 Road World Championship titles.

Evans, whose next ride will be later this week either in Holland or Belgium in a criterium, said he's barely had time to reflect since Sunday.

"I haven't had time to stop and think about being tired," he said. "But it's a slow realisation that I've won the Tour de France in 2011." – AP

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Asian markets down in early biz

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 07:01 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets were mostlty down in morning trade Thursday taking their cue from the weak overnight markets in the US.

The Malaysian bourse will probably not be spared from the selling pressures, Hwang DBS said in its morning note, adding that the benchmark FBM KLCI was expected to retreat further, possibly testing its immediate support line of 1,550 ahead.

At 10am, the FBM KLCI was down 10 points or 0.7% to 1,547.3 while the other Asian markets were all down an average of 1% each.

"Given the bearish underlying market tone, and coupled with the thin news flows on the corporate scene, investors may not be in the mood to buy equities at this moment," Hwang DBS noted of the local market.

One company that could see added interest today is Malaysia Airports, which is scheduled to announce its financial results for the Apr Jun quarter in the early afternoon, it said.

At 10 am, MAHB was flat at RM6.50 while large cap stocks such as RHB Cap and CIMB were dragging the index to lower territory.

Nymex crude oil lost 43 cents to US$96.97 per barrel.

Spot gold added US$1.90 to US$1615 per ounce.

The ringgit was quoted at 2.956 to the US dollar.

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US workers at IKEA's only US plant joining union

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 06:50 PM PDT

DANVILLE, Virginia (AP) - Workers at IKEA's only U.S. factory overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to unionize amid complaints they have been paid less, injured more and treated worse than the thousands of Europeans who work for the Swedish furniture giant.

The vote among workers at IKEA subsidiary Swedwood Danville was 221-69, according to IKEA and the union that will represent them in collective bargaining, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union said 312 workers were eligible to vote.

The National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the union election, did not immediately release the results. A vote is typically certified in days, and the union was eager to begin bargaining.

"Everything's on the table," said Bill Street, who led the successful union drive in this rural community of 43,000 near the North Carolina border. A handful of workers left the sprawling Swedwood plant several miles (kilometers) outside of Danville and celebrated at a local hotel, where their new union leaders encamped for the vote.

"I wanted to cry from the excitement," said worker Tawanda Tarpley, 33, who was among the union organizers at Swedwood. "We just want to be heard. Today we have victory."

Swedwood acknowledged the vote and said it would honor its workers' wishes.

"As we have communicated from the start of this process, we fully support the right of our co-workers to make this decision," Ken Brown, site manager at the plant, said in a statement. "We accept their decision and will work with their union in a mutually cooperative and respectful manner."

Street had listed a litany of grievances - lower pay than their Swedish counterparts, unsafe working conditions, racial discrimination - that was in stark contrast with IKEA's vaunted global reputation as labor- and environment-friendly.

The Virginia workers assemble the utilitarian bookshelves and coffee tables that the big-box retailer sells in its blue-and-yellow big-box stores. IKEA denied the allegations and said its own and independent reviews found the workers' complaints groundless.

"Swedwood stands for strong core values and work principles and treats its co-workers similarly, fairly and with respect, regardless of nationality, culture, etc.," Steen wrote in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

The plant is located in a region has suffered amid the decline of tobacco and textiles, two pillars of the past economy.

IKEA's corporate conduct is guided by its so-called IWAY Standard, which outlines environmental, social and working rules. The 18-page document governs its corporate behavior in areas ranging from wages to working conditions, but also including lighting levels and water supplied to workers.

The IWAY standards say overtime must be voluntary and ban employers from preventing workers from associating freely and collective bargaining.

Workers who had not spoken publicly before the vote for fear of retaliation openly discussed conditions at the plant afterward. They said management didn't listen to them, suppressed wages and promotions and ran a dangerous workplace.

Tarpley said five workers had collapsed in recent days from high heat. Street, who had predicted a close vote, was surprised by the margin. He said what may have tipped it for the union was the heat spell, which he said workers had to endure without relief from management.

"It's not just what a reasonable person would do to another human being," Street said. "The weather was just the icing on the cake."

Despite the criticism, Street said IKEA played fair during the long union drive.

Street said the union would come strong at the bargaining table, in view of the vote.

"IKEA, you have a choice to make. You can recognize what we've been saying over the past three years is in fact true and then begin bargaining with us in good faith, or you can continue this fight," he said after the vote was totaled.

IKEA's selection of Virginia for its first U.S. factory came with $12 million in incentive grants and the goal of ultimately hiring 780 people.

IKEA has 26 Swedwood plants in Europe. Workers at most but not all the plants are represented by a union or worker association.

The union victory was impressive in a right-to-work state and one with one of the lowest levels of union membership in the U.S.

Arthur B. Shostak, professor emeritus at Drexel University and an expert on the American work force, called the vote "a dramatic sign of a rising tide of discontent within the American workforce."

He said the widening income gap among Americans and along racial lines could fuel a new resurgence in union activism.

"These and other such factors have more and more workers persuaded that only a renewal of collective power, as from unionization, can begin to reverse a steady decline in the quality of their lives and prospects," he said.

An NLRB spokeswoman said the unionization vote was among the largest in recent years in the U.S. Typically, unionization votes involved two dozen workers, she said.

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Venezuela to raise oil production, Chavez says

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 06:49 PM PDT

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - President Hugo Chavez announced that Venezuela's state oil company will boost its crude output by 30,000 barrels a day beginning Thursday in honor of his 57th birthday.

It's a symbolic increase for a country that claims to already produce about 3 million barrels a day. But Chavez told state television Wednesday it's part of a longer-term upward trend and said that within a few years Venezuela will be pumping 4 million barrels a day.

Chavez said workers of the state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, will begin producing an additional 30,000 barrels a day in the eastern Orinoco River basin as a "gift" in honor of his birthday.

"Tomorrow there is a jump in production," Chavez said.

He said that "we're already at more than a million barrels" a day in the Orinoco region, an area that holds vast deposits of heavy crude oil.

Venezuela, which is an OPEC member, has dramatically increased its proven reserves in recent years. Earlier this month, OPEC recognized Venezuela as the country with the biggest proven oil reserves in the world, saying that with 296.5 billion barrels it now surpasses Saudi Arabia.

The state oil company has set a goal of producing 4.15 million barrels of crude a day in 2015.

Although the government says it is currently producing about 3 million barrels, other organizations such as the International Energy Agency and OPEC maintain its actual output is about 2.8 million barrels a day.

Chavez also said the government now predicts the country's economy could grow nearly 5 percent this year, up from an initial projection of between 2 percent and 4 percent.

The country reported the economy expanded at an annual rate of 4.5 percent in the first quarter, after two years of contraction. Yet the key oil sector, which is Venezuela's main economic engine, declined 1.8 percent in the first quarter due to a decline in oil production, according to the Central Bank.

Economic output decreased 1.4 percent during 2010.

Chavez spoke during a televised phone call to a group of business people and he urged private business owners to work with the government to build a "socialist economic model."

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The Star Online: Nation

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PM: Varsities to alter semester schedules to accommodate Deepavali

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 07:31 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Public universities will make changes to their semester schedules to allow Indian students to return to their hometowns to celebrate Deepavali, beginning this year on Oct 27.

The decision was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during the launch of the 1Malaysia Indian Student Movement (1MISM) at Universiti Malaya here Wednesday night.

He also said vegetarian food would also be made available in all universities, while bus services would be provided for all Hindu university students who wanted to go to temples on Friday evenings.

"I have instructed Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khalid Noordin to see to the implementation of these long standing concerns among Indian students," he added.

Najib also announced that 1Malaysia Development Berhad would also provide scholarships to poor students with excellent results to pursue their postgraduate studies.

He was responding to concerns were raised by 1MISM president Mahaganapathy Dass earlier during the ceremony.

1MISM was established to protect the rights and welfare of Indian university students.

It boasts about 7,000 members from higher education institutions around the country.

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PM announces NKRA to deal with rising cost of living

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 06:22 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: The cabinet decided Wednesday to add another National Key Result Area (NKRA) to the list of six to make it seven altogether.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the new NKRA dealt with the rising cost of living.

The existing NKRAs are reducing crime rate, combating corruption, widening access to affordable and quality education, raising the living standard of the poor, improving infrastructure in rural areas and improving public transport in the medium term.

"The six NKRAs were decided nearly two years ago based on studies on what the people wished the government should do.

"At that time, there was no global rise in food prices, which is now affecting countries all over the world.

"In view of this phenomenon, which has also impacted the lives of Malaysians, the government feels that we should determine the type of response to help ease the people's burden," he told reporters after the first 1Malaysia Online Roundtable with experts in various fields at the Prime Minister's Office, here on Wednesday.

Najib said the government would leverage the expertise of Pemandu to assist the relevant ministries and agencies as well as the Cabinet Committee on Supply and Price headed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

To this end, the prime minister said existing measures such as the price-control mechanism and subsidy for most essential items would continue.

"We have other initiatives such as the 1Malaysia Clinic which provides service to the people at the cost of RM1 and the 1Malaysia Shop, which we will expand nationwide," he said.

He also said that the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Noh Omar, was negotiating with poultry industry players to find ways to lower the prices of chicken.

The seventh NKRA, he said, covered not only food items but also other essentials, which would be given top priority because they had direct bearings to the people's well-being.

"We have started to implement it. We are now looking at the supply chain, how we can liberalise it, maybe by allowing imports to increase the supply in the market.

"We also want to see if we can utilise idle land for food production and look into the cost of other inputs such as livestock feed...whether we can find a cheaper alternative," he said, adding that all suggestions would be considered for the next budget.

He refuted claims that the decision to add the new NKRA was due to the coming general election.

"When we started the NKRA, it was not because of any election, it was because of what the rakyat wanted us to do.

At that time this (rising cost) was not an issue, otherwise we would have made it as one of the NKRAs," he said. - Bernama

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Banting murders: Key witness turns hostile

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 05:47 AM PDT

SHAH ALAM: A key witness in the murder trial of cosmetics millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others has turned hostile and claims he knows nothing about the alleged killings.

Farm hand U. Suresh also denied receiving orders from former lawyer N. Pathmanabhan, the first accused, to finish off' four visitors at a farm in Banting.

He insisted he did not know of a plan that was made on Aug 29, 2010, by Pathmanabhan, with his four farm hands, to teach a lesson' to the visitors (a woman and three men) who came to the farm the next day in a BMW X5 and a BMW saloon.

Suresh is currently serving 20 years jail after pleading guilty in Oct last year to disposing evidence related to the case.

When cross-examined by deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Ishak Mohd Yusoff on Wednesday, Suresh disagreed that Pathmanabhan was his employer and owner of the farm.

The cross-examination was allowed after the court found Suresh, 27, to be a hostile witness.

Suresh further disagreed that he and the other farm hands had beaten the male visitor - who drove the BMW X5 - on his thighs and hands with wood and a cricket bat to intimidate the woman.

This was supposed to have happened because the woman refused to call her family when Pathmanabhan asked her to do so.

After a string of denials, Suresh admitted he had bought petrol and diesel in three plastic containers of different sizes on Aug 30, 2010, but disagreed that it was used for burning purposes.

Suresh also denied witnessing two other farm hands, T. Thilaiyalagan and R. Matan, collecting ashes and storing it in a blue barrel, before loading the barrel onto an Isuzu Dmax on Aug 31, 2010.

He disagreed to the suggestion that Thilaiyalagan and Matan told him the ashes in the barrel belonged to the four visitors, and denied following them and another farm hand R. Kathavarayan to dispose the ashes at Sungai Panchau.

Pathmanabhan, Thilayalagan, Matan and Kathavarayan claimed trial to murdering Sosilawati, 47; her driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44, bank officer Noorhisham Mohammad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, at Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat, Banting, between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30, last year.

The hearing continues on Friday.

Related Stories:
Six held over murders, says witness
Banting murders: No human remains found at farm, court told
Sosilawati's ex-husband tells court he phoned accused
Banting murders: Victims' belongings found in different areas, court hears
Sosilawati's BMW found after public tip-off, court told
Sosilawati told a friend RM1mil cheque was from former lawyer Pathmanabhan
Two charged with murder allege torture while in prison
Sosilawati was in tears, says lawyer's widow
Sosilawati's daughter gives non-committal answers about company
Banting murders: Victim's wife recalls last phone conversation (Updated)

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Registration for NGOs within five days

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 05:09 AM PDT

NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisations (NGOs) can get their associations registered within five days provided they have the required documents, said National Registration and Society Divi­sion undersecretary Siti Zauyah Osman.

She said this to reporters after launching a course for NGOs on effective management of societies organised by the Selangor Registrar of Societies (ROS) at SKJ (C) Han MingBatu 4, Puchong.

It was attended by 55 NGOs whose members learned about managing their associations successfully and the process of submitting their yearly statements.

According to Selangor ROS director Noraffendy Abd Khalid, there are 650 societies registered and 1,000 deregistered last year in Selangor.

"We will send notices to remind the NGOs to submit their yearly statements," he said.

Siti Zauyah said there were several reasons for an NGO to be deregistered such as the failure to submit their yearly statement.

Special officer of the Home Affairs Minister and Puchong BN parliamentary liaison officer Datuk Loo Yeng Peng, said the course was to improve the management of NGOs.

"Hopefully, the NGOs can be more productive and effective," he said.

He also said it was important for NGOs and the government to work hand in hand.

"As a civil society movement, we should understand the needs of the rakyat and NGOs can serve as a medium between the government and the people to provide feedback," he said.

He added that the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2011 ranked Malaysia the 19th safest country.

"People have asked me 'How can Malaysia be ranked a safer country than Singapore (24th)?

"There are many aspects taken into account, not just the number of crime cases," he said.

Also present was BN Kinrara state coordinator Datuk Wong Hock Aun.

For more information about the ROS, visit www.ros.gov.my or call 03-8890 5776.

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Metro Watch

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 05:05 AM PDT


Kesas Sdn Bhd (Kesas) would be closing the Awan Besar Rest and Service Area tomorrow on the Shah Alam Expressway. The closure is to facilitate cleaning work which will be carried out from 7am to 11am. For enquiries, call Kesas Hotline at 03-5633 7188.


Tropicana Medical Centre will be organising a public forum themed 'Sleep Deprivation' on Saturday from 10.30am to 1pm. The venue at the auditorium, 7th floor, Tropicana Medical Centre, No 11 Jalan Teknologi, Taman Sains Selangor 1, PJU 5 Kota Damansara. Admission is free. For details, call 03-6287 1172 / 018-211 6789 (Ai Lin) / 018-2111 055 (Phoebe).


Royal Selangor has launched a donation drive inviting the public to donate their old and unwanted pewter items in aid of the Malaysian Nature Society. Only pewter made by Royal Selangor or Selangor Pewter will be accepted. The public can drop off their old pewter pieces at any Royal Selangor store. Call 03-4145 6233/ 34/37.


Kraftangan Malaysia is having a Aidilfitri Craft Promotion 2011 from now until July 29 at the Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur, from 10am to 8pm. Various activities await visitors. For info, call Kraftangan Malaysia media secretariat at 03-2161 3793.


Calling all schools! In conjunction with the coming Mid-Autumn Festival, Wangsa Walk Mall invites students to join the Lantern Making contest using recyclable materials. For registration, call Sean 03-7957 1333.


Kelana Jaya Medical Centre is organising a public forum on Appendicitis this Saturday from 2.30pm to 3.30pm at the centre's conference room on the first floor. It will be headed by surgeon Dr Jonah Azariah. To register, call Nurul Qistina 03-7805 2111 ext 4431.


The National Blood Bank and AEON Co. (M) Bhd with the cooperation of Ansara is organising blood donation campaigns from July 29 to 31 at all AEON shopping complexes in Klang Valley. It will be held from 10am to 6pm. For details, call 03-2695 5557/8.


Pertubuhan Penganut Samye Guan Yin Buddhist Centre Kuala Lumpur is organising a Grand Puja this weekend at the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. Vegetarian food will be provided. Free admission. For details, call 012-268 9528 (Grace)/016-381 8122 (Noreen).

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

A well-designed health plan

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 04:46 AM PDT

Lifestyle changes for health should be carried out consistently, and should not include crash diets or detox programmes that promise the world but deliver nought.

IN the previous article, we touched on myths surrounding "detox", a concept that suggests some sort of purging of toxic wastes in the body.

Apart from the ocean of websites promoting various detox regimens, volumes of books written by an assortment of individuals on the subject can easily fill a library. Conversely, mainstream peer review scientific journals reporting benefits are scant.

Why, then, do people embark on punitive diets lasting from a few days to weeks? In some segments of society, intermittent fasting is a socio-cultural and religious practice. Others may be seeking a quick fix to lose that bulge in quick time. Celebrities on talk shows can start off a craze, after losing 21 pounds in 21 days! Beyonce Knowles did just that on Oprah.

After every new year, short-lived resolutions lead to a spurt in the sales of yoghurt, health supplements, organic foods, and of course, the various detox regimens in town.

Almost all detox regimens are touted to flush the body of toxins, cleanse the gut, restore the immune system, deflate the bulge and ward off ill health. The marketplace is teeming with trendy fads such as the lemonade cleanse, the liver flush, the juice fast and myriad other potentially hazardous protocols.

The evidence-based guys say that there is no proof of effectiveness, and in many instances, can cause more harm than good.

Before we give marks to either group, let us just revisit simple physiology.

Physiology 101

The intestinal system is a complex highway with many routes leading to digestion, absorption, detoxification and elimination of metabolic discards.

Intestinal health also hinges on adequate digestive enzymes, balanced with a healthy population of good bugs (bacteria). The cells lining the route are also of paramount importance as they decide what to let in.

The "leaky gut syndrome" is thought to be a disorder in the integrity of the lining, leading to malabsorption of incompletely digested fragments, thereby affecting the immune system.

At the risk of oversimplification, optimal health cannot be achieved when the intestines are in a state of "dys-ease". The incessant bloating, belching, heartburn, flatulence, disturbed bowel habits, noisy and restless tummy reflects poor gut health.

Cleaning up the gut with laxatives, enemas and colonic flushes are the requisite preparations for a "good view" during instrumentation (passage of various scopes) and surgery. However, mechanically cleansing the intestines cannot guarantee gut health.

Paradoxically, most detox regimens, in one way or another, involve cleansing or flushing the gut of toxins.

Despite ongoing debate of the purported risks and benefits of the "royal flush", a compromise lies in the realm of common sense.

The science behind detox is weak but that does not mean that there are no benefits. For those who must overhaul their engines, avoid DIY or hearsay detox, but follow a guided and safe programme that should be overseen by a health professional who appreciates nutrition.

A detoxification programme need not be punitive. However, beware the dangers and pitfalls.

Almost all detox regimens involve calorie reduction; it is unsafe to dip below 1,500 kcal in men and 1,200 kCal in women over prolonged periods. If intake is restricted to lemons, vegetable juices, teas and "finished off" with laxatives, we run the risk of nutrient insufficiency, and electrolyte and fluid imbalance, not to mention a sore bottom from frequent visits to the loo.

Exercise and nocturnal activities are necessarily tailored down as there is hardly enough energy to sustain normal bodily functions. Harsh regimens should not be practised for extended periods as the body's system is pushed into reserve mode (starvation), where secondary sources of fuel like fats and proteins are broken down, leading to an acidic state known as ketosis.

The duration of restrictive diets (below 1,000kcal per day) should not exceed five days at most. Drastic fasting should be avoided in children, during pregnancy and lactation, the elderly, and those suffering from chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

A safe plan

A well-designed, physiological and safe calorie reduction programme can kickstart the new year resolution and carry forth a healthy lifestyle change. Such a regimen should not be taken as a crash diet for rapid weight loss, for such programmes almost always fail, invariably putting on more than was lost, in rebound.

A dietary change helps to overcome food addiction, especially cravings for carbohydrates. This ultimately resets the metabolic path.

1. Set the calories at a level sufficient to safely meet basal metabolic rate (minimum level of caloric intake needed to sustain life at rest), hovering not below 1,000kcal/day. The physiological metabolic demands of the human vehicle is 50% to 60% of calories from carbohydrates for primary source of fuel, 15% to 20% from proteins for "spare parts" (e.g. making enzymes, hormones and building muscles) and 20% to 25% from fats (storage for emergency use).

It is prudent not to veer too far from this ratio to ensure smooth running of the machinery. Measuring the exact calories from a balanced diet is a feat that is difficult to execute. An alternative is to scout for a replacement meal or shake that meets the above caloric and nutrient criteria.

2. Avoid prolonged periods of caloric deficits as above, ideally not more than five days.

3. Take at least five to six servings of fruits and vegetables, bearing in mind that each is 50 to 60 calories only.

4. Drink at least 2.5 or more litres of water.

5. A balanced combination of soluble and insoluble fibre (at least 25-30g/day) aids bowel propulsion and elimination of wastes.

6. Supplementation with a broad spectrum of essential vitamins, antioxidants and minerals support the liver's detoxification processes (by enhancing phase 1 and phase 2 enzyme systems) and avoid insufficiency of micronutrients.

7. Adding on specific strains of probiotics replenishes the healthy gut flora, aiding digestion, absorption and overall gut health.

8. Specific foods like garlic, cruciferous greens (e.g. broccoli, sprouts), and green pepper and curcumin (tumeric) also enhances the detoxification pathway.

The detox reaction

There are often reports of vague symptoms ranging from headaches, irritability and fatigue to bloating and diarrhoea during the detox or cleansing process. This reaction is popularly known as a healing crisis.

As a simple analogy, when one is suddenly subjected to unaccustomed intense exercises, the aches and pains come calling the following days. During a detox fast, mobilised toxins purportedly build up and are not eliminated rapidly enough, thereby causing some flu-like symptoms.

A similar reaction known as the "Herx­heimer" phenomenon is noted in the treatment of certain infections like syphilis, where such symptoms follow penicillin injections, as toxins of bacterial breakdown flood the circulation. A detox reaction is usually short-lived but if it persists or progresses, it could mean some other coincidental trouble and the programme may have to be stopped, and professional advice sought.

The results of such a five-day detox can cause weight loss, ranging from minute to an impressive drop, depending on compliance and the level of obesity to start off with. A large proportion is, however, fluid loss rather than real fat loss.

Unfortunately, many return to old habits, nullifying the hard work and efforts of the reset programme.

A minority are able to transform themselves at the next stage with a less stringent follow-up diet plan. Fewer still actually reach the goal (i.e. 10% weight loss, reduced blood pressure, reduced insulin resistance, improved lipid profile), but if they do, there is a good chance that these participants are able to maintain the "new you" in the long term.

The book entitled Healthy For Life (by Dr Ray Strand) promotes such a healthy lifestyle plan that has a side effect ... of permanent weight loss!

Metabolic chaos is often the result of poor traffic control at our oral gateway, surrendering to indulgence. The liver is the most burdened organ in our body. Apart from multitasking over 500 functions, it is also bludgeoned to submission by unreasonable overtime and pervasive job demands.

Detoxification is a cellular process that occurs at any instance and the powerhouse of cleansing is in this vital organ. Instead of sporadic and drastic spring-cleaning, practising a healthy lifestyle aids the body's miraculous natural detox process at any one time.

By being conscious, aware and doing the right things, we can succeed in consistent moderation instead of failing in punitive extremes.

Dr C.S. Foo is a medical practitioner. For more information, e-mail starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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Guard the gut

Posted: 27 Jul 2011 04:45 AM PDT

THE way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so the adage goes. For mothers, the way to a child's overall growth is through his gut. Good nutrition is key to raising a healthy, happy child.

At a recent discussion in Kuala Lumpur, a focus group consisting of 10 mothers with kids aged between one and four years discovered that while most mothers concentrated on their child's brain development, more are becoming aware that a good immune system is needed to complement the child's overall growth.

The event was held in conjunction with the upcoming Immunity Week, an interactive campaign aimed at empowering parents with knowledge of their children's immune system themed Great Tummies, Great Minds, presented by Nan Grow 3.

The women agreed that a holistic approach through good nutrition provides the backbone to a good immune system.

As we know, a child's immune system is at its most vulnerable during his early years. It has to battle many types of infectious micro-organisms found in the body. As such, each child requires good nutrition to strengthen the immune system, which is needed to build antibodies, and battle the bugs! An under-nourished immune system will no doubt weaken the body and lead to health issues.

More and more parents, despite their hectic schedules, are making sure that they equip themselves with the right knowledge in order to give the best for their children, the discussion further revealed.

Although paediatricians provide a reliable source of information on how best to raise their child, parents themselves would carry out rigorous research to help in their decision-making process. From comparing brands, labels and nutritional charts, they decide what should go into their children's tummies.

The intestines are where the largest immune organ in your child's body is housed. They naturally produce antibodies to help protect your child. The intestines play host to trillions of both friendly and bad bacteria that form a community called microbiota.

The friendly bacteria in your child's tummy protect him from harmful micro-organisms. By introducing bifidobacteria in your child's diet, it will help to ensure proper food digestion, optimum nutrient absorption and, most importantly, a good immune function.

Adding bacteria to your child's diet isn't radical. It's just something that he needs to have for a healthy intestinal function. Good bacteria must outnumber the bad for your child to have better immunity.

"The body is organic and everything is linked. I prefer to let my child play and explore on her own. This will enable her to build up her immunity," said Nimmala Shan, the mother of one-year-old Emmanuelle D'Oliveiro.

"There're no short cuts to long-term good health for children. I want my child to have a complete nutritional plan. I work on this daily to ensure he has the right nutrients," remarked Raja NurIntan Zurinna Raja Adam, mother of Ezekiell, three.

It is overwhelming to know what goes into raising a child. At the end of the day, all it takes to give your child a head start in life is a combination of a well-balanced diet for his brain and tummy, and good habits to ensure that the child's development has long-lasting results.

Zurinna fondly added: "If you ask Ezekiell what he wants to be when he grows up, he will say 'economist'! Of course he doesn't know what it means. Though I have big dreams for my son, he is free to be whoever he wants to be – a footballer or badminton player – as long as he is happy and he does his best."

Learn how you can help support your child's immune system and make sound decisions for him during the Immunity Week.

Free public forums will be hosted by participating hospitals in the Klang Valley, Penang and Johor during the Immunity Week (July 29-Aug 6). To register, go to www.greattummy.com.my. The first 10 participants to register online will receive a free nutrition and growth assessment of their child by doctors from participating hospitals.

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Councillor calls it a day after Sultan’s outburst on non-performing reps

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 05:30 PM PDT

JOHOR BARU: A councillor from the Central Johor Baru Municipal Council (MPJBT) has resigned from his post as he felt it was the correct thing to do.

Tiram Timur zone councillor, Norizam Shah Md Yunus, said that he would effectively end his term on Aug 1.

He resigned after state ruler Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar said that many councillors in the state were 'sleeping on the job'.

"The Sultan had a point when he said that 94% of the councillors in Johor are not doing their job," said Norizam.

It was reported on June 29 that the Johor ruler had criticised councillors in the state and urged those who were not doing their jobs properly to resign.

However, Norizam stressed that he had always fulfilled his duties as a councillor by catering to the needs of residents in his zone.

"I am resigning because I feel that this is a necessary step to send a message to those councillors who have not been discharging their responsibilities," he said at a public forum on crime prevention at the Taman Pelangi Indah multipurpose hall here recently.

He added that the resignation was entirely his own decision and that in his two-year tenure as a councillor, the MPJBT had always been supportive.

Norizam, who is also a Tebrau Umno division committee member, said that he had already informed MPJBT, Umno Tebrau division chairman Datuk Maulizan Bujang and Puteri Wangsa assemblyman Datuk Abdul Halim Suleiman of his decision.

When contacted, Maulizan said that he was aware of Norizam's resignation, and had recommended a replacement to the Johor government.

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Tearful departure for council head

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 05:29 PM PDT

PASIR GUDANG: Pasir Gudang Municipal Council's (MPPG) outgoing president A Rahim Nin broke into tears on his last day of duty.

Rahim could not hold back his emotions as he hugged and shook hands at his farewell with some 30 staff members after chairing his last full council meeting here recently.

"It has been a good 22 months for me and it is very sad for me to leave but life has to go on," he said in between sobs where some of his staff had joined in the sombre mood.

He added that although his stint at the MPPG was a relatively short one, he had many fond memories during the period, quoting the annual International Kite Festival as one of his favourite events.

"I would like to thank everyone at the council from the bottom of my heart for being cooperative and easy to work with while I held the post," he said.

Rahim has been promoted as Segamat's District Officer effective Monday. His post at the council was taken over by Onn Jabbar who was formerly assistant secretary general from the State Secretary's office.

Onn, 45, said that his predecessor had done a great job promoting Pasir Gudang and taking care of residents' needs.

"I will continue with his good job and the main focus now is to transform Pasir Gudang into a sustainable living place not only for the residents but also businesses and factories operating within the area," said the father of three.

Onn, who hails from Muar, added that MPPG would beef up its operations to ensure the cleanliness of wet markets, drains, and housing areas as well as reducing bureaucratic red tape for those applying for business and factory licenses.

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Agency does well since setting up in 2006

Posted: 26 Jul 2011 05:29 PM PDT

PONTIAN: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has saved 1,916 lives through various search and rescue operations since it was set up in 2006.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the agency was not only determined to crack down on errant practices at sea but was involved in other operations as well.

"The department also helped in saving some RM311mil in property through their search and rescue operations which is a huge amount," he said after officiating the Jiwa Murni project by the agency at Kampung Ayer Baloi here.

He added that the agency was also actively inspecting vessels and ensuring that the maritime community adhered to the 100 over maritime laws.

"For the first half of the year, the agency has conducted checks on 8,135 vessels and has made 393 arrests for various offences," he said.

This, he added, also included the transfer of illegal immigrants, smuggled goods and oil smuggling.

Ahmad believed the agency's performance would improve once they were named the sole agency in charge of surveillance and enforcement at our waters starting Aug 1.

"The MMEA will also take over 61 vessels from the Marine Police, 30 vessels from the Customs Department and several jetties belonging to these organisations," he said.

He added that a total of 1,060 enforcement officials would also be roped in and placed at the various MMEA bases nationwide beginning in August.

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