Jumaat, 12 Ogos 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Confidence in Obama's leadership shaken in U.S.

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 08:42 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A spree of bad news -- market gyrations, fears of a double-dip recession, stubborn unemployment and fallout from a debt deal -- has shaken confidence in U.S. President Barack Obama's leadership and could cloud his chances for winning re-election.

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at an iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House in Washington August 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Obama is seeking a second term in office in an election that is still far off -- November 2012. But a persistently weak economy coupled with rising perception of political dysfunction in Washington could complicate his political fortunes.

The political spectacle that preceded a bipartisan deal this month to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and the subsequent downgrading of America's credit rating by a leading rating agency have spawned stories in the U.S. media about America's decline as a world power on Obama's watch.

And opinion polls show that Obama's job approval ratings are edging downward even as members of his own Democratic Party grumble about his leadership and fault his willingness to make concessions to opposition Republicans in Congress.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Wednesday found that 73 percent of Americans believe the country is off on the wrong track.

This was the highest reading since October 2008 when the financial crisis was raging and just weeks before U.S. voters turned away from the Republican Party of then-President George W. Bush to put Obama into the White House.

"It is hard to imagine public optimism being more negative about the economy than it is right now. ... In terms of pubic opinion he has got a huge hill to climb," said Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think tank.

"I think Americans would like to re-elect the first African American president, but ultimately the presidential election is a referendum on performance," she said.

Obama also faces a daily drumbeat of criticism from the field of Republicans seeking their party's presidential nomination to face him in the 2012 general election. The field grows this week with Texas Governor Rick Perry, seen as a potential tough challenger, set to join the race on Saturday.


There have been huge swings in the markets this week. The Dow Jones industrial average has swung hundreds of points in either direction amid concern over the U.S. economy, the debt crisis in Europe and the U.S. credit downgrade.

"The debt ceiling fiasco and the downgrade, punctuated by ... stock market gyrations, has made something in me snap," said Matt Miller, a senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress. "It's the sound of confidence in Obama's leadership breaking," he wrote in Friday's Washington Post."

"The president has failed up until now to produce a coherent explanation about where we are and what we need to do that Americans can understand," said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank.

Obama has promised to deliver a steady stream of good ideas to lift hiring, and will head out on a three-day bus tour of the U.S. Midwest on Monday to talk about his vision.

But so far he has only renewed calls for action on a batch of measures that he has talked about for months, including the extension of a payroll tax cut and unemployment aid.

In the meantime, Americans have been worried by the recent turmoil that has been reminiscent of the 2008 financial crisis, with stock prices down by 10 percent from last month amid concern over another U.S. recession.

Christina Romer, a former top Obama economic advisor, said the risk of a recession has increased and urged the president to think big about a program that could create the hundreds of thousands of jobs that she says the economy needs.

"He has a unique opportunity now to really make the case to the American people. Congress is home and it is a chance for him to try to build consensus around a bold alternative," said Romer, a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. The U.S. Congress is on summer recess.

Lawmakers agreed to raise the U.S. debt ceiling in return for measures to lower the deficit.

They will convene a special committee to examine reforms of the tax code and government programs like the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly. But Republicans say that big government spending, which is what unnerved markets in Europe, is not the solution.

"The need we face is for structural reform, not stimulus," said Glenn Hubbard, a former top economic adviser to Bush. "Making credible long-term improvements in the nation's fiscal position can have powerful short-term effects by lessening uncertainty about future tax burdens."

(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Will Dunham)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Cameron seeks U.S. advice on gangs after riots

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 08:42 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron, under attack over his leadership during the rioting and looting that swept English cities this week, has enlisted U.S. street crime expert William Bratton to advise the government on handling gang violence.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron leaves 10 Downing Street in London August 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

"I'm being hired by the British government to consult with them on the issue of gangs, gang violence and gang intervention from the American experience and to offer some advice and counsel on their experience," Bratton told Reuters in New York.

British police flooded the streets again on Friday night to ensure weekend drinking does not reignite the rioting that shocked Britons and sullied the country's image a year before it hosts the Olympic Games.

Steve Kavanagh, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said 16,000 officers, instead of the usual 2,500, would remain on duty in London in their biggest peacetime deployment -- a measure of the perceived public order challenge.

Other forces, including those in Nottingham, Birmingham and Liverpool, said they would maintain a high level of policing over the weekend, though they said they did not expect further trouble after a couple of nights of quiet.

Even in normal times, alcohol-fuelled street disorder is common across urban Britain at weekends.

Cameron, describing the four nights of looting, arson and violence, in which five people were killed, as "criminality, pure and simple", said the initial police response had been inadequate.

His remarks drew a sharp reaction from the police service, which is facing deep cuts in numbers as part of a government austerity drive aimed at cutting the large public debt.

"The fact that politicians chose to come back is an irrelevance in terms of the tactics that were by then developing," said Hugh Orde, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, referring to Cameron and other senior ministers who cut short their holidays after two days of mayhem at home.

Bratton, credited with curbing street crime as police chief in New York, Los Angeles and Boston, said he would help the British government develop strategies on dealing with widespread rioting and gang culture.

"The government is very interested in trying to quickly come up with strategies and plans to deal with the issues and concerns identified during these riots," said Bratton, a former police chief and now chairman of private security firm Kroll.

A Downing Street spokesman said Cameron had spoken to Bratton on Friday, and that Bratton would join a series of meetings in the autumn, working unpaid and in a personal capacity. Bratton has worked with the British police at other times over the past 20 years.

Cameron himself has not escaped criticism. A ComRes poll for The Independent newspaper showed that 54 percent of Britons say he failed to provide leadership early enough to control the riots, while an ICM survey for The Guardian showed that only 30 percent thought Cameron responded well to the riots and 44 percent thought the opposite.

More than 1,200 people were arrested during and after the unrest. One London looter, 24-year-old Natasha Reid, turned herself in to police because she could not sleep for guilt after stealing a television, according to her defence lawyer.

In another case, Chelsea Ives, 18, one of thousands of people enrolled as "ambassadors" to help visitors to the 2012 Olympics, was identified by her mother who saw her on television after allegedly throwing bricks at a police car. Ives denied charges of burglary and violent disorder.

Courts have sat through the night to process those accused of crimes ranging from assault to stealing a bottle of water.

Offenders include a millionaire's daughter, a charity worker and a journalism student, but most are unemployed young men.

Some police forces have taken unusual steps to crack down on the protesters and deter future violence.

Greater Manchester Police launched a 'Shop A Looter' campaign using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to encourage people to inform on those suspected of looting, and posted pictures on its website (http://www.gmp.police.uk/disorderconvictions) of people convicted of offences.

Those pictures included a 46-year-old man sentenced to four months in prison for assaulting a police officer and a 28-year-old man sentenced to eight months for stealing clothes.

"The fightback has well and truly begun," Cameron told an emergency session of parliament on Thursday, outlining a range of measures aimed at preventing any repeat of England's worst riots in decades. Targeting street gangs became a top priority.

The trouble began in London after police shot dead a black man and refused to give his relatives information about the incident, but then degenerated into widespread looting and violence in many parts of the capital and other major cities.


The Conservative Party, which irked right-wing supporters by going into coalition with the left-leaning Liberal Democrats last year, is desperate to show it is tough on crime.

A Conservative minister said on Friday he would see if he could make it easier to evict people from government housing for rioting. "...I don't think this is a time to pussyfoot around," said communities minister Eric Pickles, adding that his plan would require legal changes.

"These people have done their best to make people frightened on the streets where they live. They've done their best to destroy neighbourhoods, and frankly I don't feel terribly sympathetic towards them."

British media reported that one London council was already trying to evict a tenant from such housing after the tenant's son was charged with offences linked to the riots.

A 68-year-old man who was attacked as he tried to put out a fire set by rioters in London on Monday night died of his injuries, officials said on Friday.

Three men were killed in Birmingham, central England, when a car drove into them as they tried to stop rioters, and a man died after being shot during riots in Croydon, south London.

The scale and ferocity of the rioting, not only in inner-city areas but also in some middle-class suburbs, has generated a law and order debate with starkly different views.

"There's got to be a curfew put in place. I would have put in as many police as possible straightaway -- they did that eventually. I probably would have used teargas myself," said Graham Sawyer, 46, a construction site project manager from Romford, east of London.

(Additional reporting by Peter Griffiths, Mohammed Abbas, Tim Castle, Adrian Croft and Olesya Dmitracova in London and Ray Sanchez and Daniel Trotta in New York; editing by Tim Pearce)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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U.S. suspends work of aid groups in Gaza Strip

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 08:12 PM PDT

GAZA (Reuters) - The United States has suspended operations of the aid organizations it funds in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip because the Islamist group had demanded confidential information about their work, a U.S. official told Reuters on Friday.

"USAID-funded partner organizations operating in Gaza are forced by Hamas's actions to suspend their assistance work. (They) were put on hold effective August 12," said the official, who is based in the region.

He added that "through a series of measures (Hamas) has imposed over the past months, it has created an environment which jeopardizes the ability of nongovernmental organizations to provide assistance to Gaza's most vulnerable residents."

The official, who declined to be named, said Hamas had demanded access to files and records of NGOs, which would reveal financial and administrative information, details of staff members and information on beneficiaries.

He said that Hamas had shut down the International Medical Corps (IMC) an NGO and USAID partner organization, after its officials objected to "unwarranted audits".

"We are disappointed that Hamas has once again chosen to put its political agenda ahead of the welfare of the Palestinian people," the official said, calling on the group "to cease its interference ... so that we can resume our humanitarian and development activities in Gaza."

Palestinian-based NGOs funded by the European Union have in the past also complained of Hamas meddling in their affairs.

Hamas administration official Taher al-Nono said an understanding had been reached which would allow independent auditing teams to inspect the files of NGOs, but he added that Hamas had the right to monitor their work in the territory.

The IMC will be allowed to reopen its offices on Saturday or Sunday, he added.

Responding to the USAID decision to suspend its partner organizations' work, Nono said "Such a decision sounds odd a day after the understanding was reached ... we reject any foreign intervention in Palestinian affairs."

The U.S. official said some 600,000 Gazans -- about a third of the population of the coastal strip -- were receiving some $98 million worth of assistance from USAID projects in health, education, construction and infrastructure.

Washington has designated Hamas as a terrorist group and it is shunned by the West for spurning permanent coexistence with Israel. The group seized control of the Gaza Strip from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in 2007.

Western-backed Abbas holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Palestinians want both territories for a future state with Arab East Jerusalem as its capital.

(Writing by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem, editing by Tim Pearce)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'SVU' opener reminiscent of Strauss-Kahn case

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 07:26 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP): "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" often seems to echo real life, and the season opener of this NBC crime drama is no different.

NBC says the episode will deal with an Italian dignitary accused of rape. Franco Nero, who appeared last year in the film "Letters to Juliet," stars as the official.

The network routinely insists "SVU" is fiction. But this episode appears to mirror the case of ex-International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a front-runner for the French presidency until his arrest in May on charges of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper in Manhattan. He has pleaded not guilty.

The woman has since filed a civil lawsuit against him.

"Law & Order: SVU" begins its 13th season on Sept. 21.

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Heather Locklear engaged to TV co-star Jack Wagner

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 06:34 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Heather Locklear is engaged to fellow "Melrose Place" actor Jack Wagner.

Locklear spokeswoman Sarah Fuller confirmed the engagement on Friday but offered no other details.

The actress' divorce from Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora was finalized in April 2007. She had been dating Wagner since at least 2008.

Locklear and Wagner worked together in the 1990s on "Melrose Place," a spinoff of "Beverly Hills, 90210." Locklear played Amanda Woodward. Wagner played Dr. Peter Burns.

Locklear also starred on the prime-time soap opera "Dynasty" and the William Shatner police drama "T.J. Hooker."

Wagner isn't just an actor. He sang the 1980s pop hit "All I Need." And he's an accomplished golfer who twice has won the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, an event usually won by professional athletes.

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Dani Pedrosa sets pace at Czech Grand Prix

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 06:11 PM PDT

BRNO, Czech Republic (AP) — Dani Pedrosa has completed the fastest lap in Friday's practice for the Czech Grand Prix.

The Spaniard, riding a Honda, covered the 5.4-kilometer (3.4-mile) Brno circuit in 1 minute, 56.328 seconds.

Coming off his fifth victory of the season at Laguna Seca, California, Casey Stoner finished second in 1:56.831 on his Honda, followed by another Honda rider, Marco Simoncelli, in 1:57.136. Defending overall champion Jorge Lorenzo, who won in Brno last year, finished fourth in 1:57.174 on a Yamaha.

Stoner, the 2007 champion, leads the overall MotoGP standings with 193 points, Lorenzo is 20 points behind.

Stefan Bradl led the MotoGP category with a fastest time of 2:03.166 on a Kalex. In the 125cc, Nicolas Terol had the fastest lap on his Aprilia in 2:08.456.

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Qatar buys stake in 2012 London Olympic Village

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 06:09 PM PDT

LONDON (AP) — The London 2012 Olympic Village has become Qatar's latest acquisition in world sport.

The property company of the Arab state's royal family and British developer Delancey have signed a 557 million-pound ($906 million) joint agreement to buy and manage the athletes village as private housing after next year's Olympics.

London's Olympic Delivery Authority said Friday that Qatari Diar and Delancey will take over 1,439 of the 2,818 new homes on the site and acquire land to build as many as 2,000 more.

The deal includes a profit-share agreement, recouping the British government some of the 9.298 billion pounds ($15.13 billion) of public money that the Olympics have cost.

"This is a fantastic deal that will give taxpayers a great return and shows how we are securing a legacy from London's Games," government sports minister Jeremy Hunt said. "The village will be the centerpiece of a new vibrant east London community."

The companies will rent out the homes, making the project next to the Olympic Park and its main stadium the largest of its kind in Britain.

Oil-rich Qatar, which last year won the right to host football's World Cup in 2022, already has investments in high-profile London developments including Harrods. The department store was sold to Qatar Holdings for a reported 1.5 billion pounds (then $2.3 billion) last year.

"This is a great deal for London and shows the confidence big private investors have in the future of the city," London Mayor Boris Johnson said.

A company called Triathlon Homes has already been appointed to manage the other 1,379 units in the village as affordable housing for key workers including teachers and health professionals.

The ODA said the new neighborhood will include education and health care facilities, parklands, public squares and open space alongside the housing.

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Zimbabwe beats Bangladesh by 4 wickets in 1st ODI

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 06:07 PM PDT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Brian Vitori took five wickets and Vusi Sibanda fell four runs short of a century as Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh by four wickets in the first one-day international at Harare Sports Club.

Bangladesh were all out for 184 runs as Vitori, who finished with figures of 5-30, became the first Zimbabwe player to claim a five-wicket haul in his first ODI.

Sibanda led Zimbabwe's chase, rescuing his team from a mini-collapse in pursuit of the winning target. He smashed eight boundaries and two sixes before falling on 96 after top-edging an attempted pull off Rubel Hossain to Mahmudullah at mid-wicket on 36.1 overs.

Zimbabwe took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. The next game is on Sunday when Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor expects a response from the tourists.

"They will come back strongly, no doubt about that," Taylor said. "But we are a vastly improved side from the one they last played six to eight months ago. Also playing at home, it will be hard for them to come back, but we can't sit on our laurels."

Zimbabwe also won the one-off test between the two sides, its first test after an absence of six years.

"The test win last week is really giving them a springboard to go out there and perform," Bangladesh coach Stuart Law said.

Taylor was out in the fifth over of the home side's run chase after he misjudged spinner Shakib Al Hasan's delivery to be clean-bowled.

Hamilton Masakadza was then run out by Mahmudullah for 41, having put on 86 runs for the second wicket with Sibanda.

Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine were dismissed in successive balls by Rubel Hossain as Zimbabwe were reduced to 124-4, but Sibanda came to the rescue before Foster Mutizwa (27 not out) and Prosper Utseya took the hosts home.

Earlier, wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiquir Rahim top-scored for Bangladesh with 59, smashing five boundaries in 91 balls, while Shakib Al Hasan made 53 from 63 deliveries.

But debutant Vitori made the difference for Zimbabwe, bowling at a lively pace and swinging the ball sharply on a flat pitch.

"It's obviously a great feeling," the 21-year-old Vitori said. "The wicket was flat, I just had to make use of it. There was something in it. I just had to maximize."

Vitori removed Tamim Iqbal (4) in the sixth over when the Bangladesh opener mistimed a pull shot for Elton Chigumbura to take a running catch at mid-on.

He then bowled Shahriar Nafees with a full delivery, before Mohammed Ashraful was caught on 2 by Chris Mpofu in the deep off a short delivery and Imrul Kayes was trapped lbw. Vitori later returned to remove Shafiul Islam for his fifth wicket.

Mahmudullah was caught by Hamilton Masakadza in the gully for 5 off Chigumbura's straight delivery. Al Hasan and Rahim rescued Bangladesh with a 105-run stand off 139 balls.

Rahim was eventually caught by Masakadza at long-off to give offspinner Utseya his 100th wicket in ODI cricket.

Shakib was lucky to survive on 17 when wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu missed a stumping off Utseya, but he was dismissed after hitting straight to Utseya at midwicket off part-timer Masakadza.

Chigumbura and Price also took a wicket each.

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Genting Singapore Q2 gross earnings 34% lower

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 06:15 PM PDT

SINGAPORE: Genting Singapore said yesterday that gross earnings from its casino-resort in the second quarter fell 34% from the previous three months, lagging behind rival Marina Bay Sands, as it was hit by lower win percentages in its premium players segment.

Resorts World at Sentosa made S$352.5mil (US$290.9mil) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in April-June, down 33% from the S$524.6mil reported for the year ago period.

This was also 34% lower than the S$537.9mil it earned in the first quarter of this year. Its EBITDA was lower than the US$405.4mil reported by Marina Bay Sands, Singapore's only other casino owned by Las Vegas Sands, for the same period.

Resorts World's net revenue for the second quarter was S$716mil, 22% lower than the preceding quarter due to unfavourable win percentages for its premium players segment, Genting said.

Singapore legalised casino gaming and allowed the building of two massive casino-resorts in 2005 as part of a plan to boost tourism. Genting's US$4.8bil Resorts World on Sentosa island opened its doors in February last year, while the US$5.5bil Marina Bay Sands started two months later.

The Singapore casinos are the world's second and third most expensive casino complexes after MGM's CityCentre in Las Vegas, and their profits and profit margins are among the highest globally.

Las Vegas Sands Corp swung to a net profit of $367.6mil in the second quarter, bolstered by improved business in Macau and Singapore, the world's two most lucrative gambling markets. - Reuters

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Indonesia bank chief denies suspending bank purchases

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 06:15 PM PDT

Saturday August 13, 2011

JAKARTA: Bank Indonesia Governor Darmin Nasution yesterday denied reports that permits for investors to buy local banks had been suspended pending new rules on ownership caps.

"Acquisition processes can still continue," Nasution was quoted as saying by Dow Jones Newswires.

Bank Indonesia spokesman Difi Johansyah had earlier said the issuance of permits to purchase banks had been suspended until a decision was made about new investment rules.

"Hopefully the regulation can be issued later this year," he said.

The proposed regulation is designed to improve prudential practices in commercial banks by preventing a single investor dominating management. Single investors currently can own up to 99% of local banks. - AFP

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Technical rebound likely

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 05:18 PM PDT

REVIEW: Asian stocks had a torrid start to the week in response to debt crisis in the United States and Europe, with fears of a global recession growing after a credit ratings downgrade for the world's largest economy.

On the domestic front, Bursa Malaysia, which was already in correction mode after establishing an all-time high of 1,597.08 on July 11, was no exception, with the benchmark FBM Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) tumbling a significant 9.24 points to 1,515.19 in initial trade on renewed selling action.

The broad-market sentiment was overwhelmingly negative and consequently, the key index drifted deeper into the red steadily on lack of support, touching a low of 1,476.24 in late morning.

However, just when the local bourse appeared in great danger of a major breakdown, some respite emerged from debt-plagued Europe.

At the end of Monday's session, the local market recouped substantially from an earlier 48.19 points drop to settle down 27.44 points to 1,496.99.

In a response to the downgrade by Standard & Poor's, overnight Dow took a 634.76-point plunge to below 11,000-point mark the next day, racking up the biggest fall in almost three years on liquidation spree and crude oil prices sagged US$5.57 a barrel to US$81.31 on demand worries, as the historic loss of the pristine triple-A credit rating stoked heightening fears of a double-dip recession in the US.

The bearish mood in the US sent jitters across the globe, which saw Asian markets suffering another painful beating, with equities drowning, as investors dumped anything deemed as risky assets.

At home, Bursa plunged as much as 73.52 points, or 4.91% to 1,423.47 soon after the opening bell, crashing below technical support line, depressed by the dreadful overseas performance.

Like the previous day, some respite came in and this round, investors took encouragement of a relief recovery in US stock futures to indulge in "bottom fishing," scooping up the battered blue chips, thus lifting the FBM KLCI significantly off the lows to finish at 1.472.14, down 24.85 points on Tuesday.

Thereafter, bargain hunting interest dominated the floor, with global equities showing signs of stabilising after US Federal Reserve pledged of at least two more years of near-zero interest rates.

In cautious trade, the key index climbed 8.38 points to 1,480.52 in mid-week but finished down 4.06 points to 1,476.46 on Thursday before recovering some 7.21 points to 1,483.67 yesterday.

Statistics: For the week, the major index shed 40.76 points, or 2.7% to 1,483.67 yesterday, compared with 1,524.43 on August 5.

Weekly turnover amounted to 7.776 billion shares worth RM14.682bil, versus 6.020 billion units valued at RM9.859bil done previously.

Technical indicators: After flashing a short-term buy at the neutral area in mid-week, the oscillator per cent K and the oscillator per cent D of the daily slow-stochastic momentum index sustained upward momentum to close at 54% and 44% respectively yesterday.

Mirroring the trend, the 14-day relative strength index (RSI) notched up from the very oversold single digit reading of nine on Tuesday to finish at the 26 points level yesterday.

In stark contrast, the daily moving average convergence/divergence (MACD) histogram was negative, trending sharply below the daily trigger line.

Elsewhere, weekly indicators were frail, with the weekly slow-stochastic momentum index and the weekly MACD retaining their sell signal.

Outlook: The FBM KLCI plunged to a low of 1,423.47 earlier of the week, summing up a total loss of 173.61 points, or 10.87% from the top of 1,597.08, dampened by the extreme volatility in global markets before paring losses to end the week moderately easier.

The steep declines has resulted a major breakdown on the chart, but it could not be confirmed, as the key index later managed to claw back to above the concrete floor of 1,474 points on short-covering activity.

In this respect, the recent breakdown was interpreted as a "whipsaw" or false alarm. That means, the local market is not yet bearish for now.

However, investors are advised to adopt a cautious approach as Bursa is in great danger and could worsen anytime, with prevailing uncertainty clouding equities.

Technically, the curving up pictogram of the daily slow-stochastic momentum index and the 14-day RSI from the oversold area suggest Bursa is likely to rebound this week, but the upside may be limited, simply because other indicators still are weak or negative.

To the upside, the key index will now be facing resistance at the 1,500 points psychological barrier, followed by the 200-day SMA of 1,530. The upper hurdle is envisaged at the 100-day SMA of 1,545 points and the next, at the 50-day SMA of 1,555 points.

A break below the 1,423.47 may drag the FBM KLCI to the 1,396-1,400 points band. Then, the lower 1,350 points line would be vulnerable.

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The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

EC to remove 12,000 names of voters aged 90 and above

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 07:07 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: The Election Commission (EC) will remove from the electoral roll 12,000 names of voters aged 90 and above effective immediately.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the decision was made jointly by EC and the National Registration Department (NRD) recently as those in the age group hardly dealt with the NRD anymore, or had either died or been stripped of Malaysian citizenship.

Speaking to reporters before breaking fast with the EC staff here Friday, Abdul Aziz, however, said those in the group wishing to cast their vote in the next general election could contact the EC to have their names reinstated if their names had been removed from the roll. - Bernama

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Ex-Exist band vocalist Mohd Ali Kamarudin fined for taking drugs

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 07:01 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Former Exist band vocalist Mohd Ali Kamarudin was fined RM1,000 by the magistrate court after testing positive for consuming methamphetamine.

Mohd Ali, 33, or better known as Mamat among his fans at the height of his singing career in the 1990s was found positive at the Nusajaya district police headquarters at around 3.35pm last November.

He was brought to the police station by police officers during their normal round-ups at Kangkar Pulai area and while at the police station he was found positive for the drug.

Mamat pleaded guilty offence under Section 15(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or a jail term of not more than two years.

He pleaded for a lighter sentence and a lesser fine as he was currently unemployed and had children to support.

Magistrate Maslinda Selamat then fined Mohd Ali RM1,000 or, in default, one month jail and also two years police inspection.

Maslinda ordered Mohd Ali has to report himself to the Tampoi police station once a month starting immediately.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Afif Ali prosecuted the case while the accused was not represented.

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PM: All parties must work with EC to ensure fair elections

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 05:45 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said all parties should work together with the Election Commission (EC) to ensure a fair and clean election.

The Barisan Nasional-led government was committed to ensuring a fair and free electoral process, he said.

"We will hold discussions with the EC and others can do likewise to allow the commission to come out with methods where the rakyat will be assured that the electoral process cannot be disputed," he told reporters after chairing the Barisan supreme council meeting on Friday.

He added that Barisan was open to discussions with the commission for the best possible formula to dispel the misconception that the party was not committed to free and fair elections.

He said this was to avoid the notion that fair and free elections were a monopoly by other parties.

"We will hold the talks with the commission so that any misgivings or allegations are given due attention to assure the rakyat," he said.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Glenn Close to receive Spanish film award

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 05:10 AM PDT

MADRID (AP) - The organizing committee of Spain's premiere film festival says Hollywood actress Glenn Close is to receive this year's edition of its lifetime achievement award.

The actress will also introduce her latest work, "Albert Nobbs," a movie directed by Rodrigo Garcia which depicts life in 19th century Ireland, at the San Sebastian Festival, it said in a statement Friday.

Previous recipients of the Donostia lifetime award have included American actors Richard Gere and Meryl Streep, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas and Swedish actress Liv Ullmann.

The annual festival is due to culminate with a star-studded red carpet award ceremony on Sept. 18 in the northern seaside city of San Sebastian, known as Donostia in the local Basque language.

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Acting auditions

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 03:15 AM PDT

HERE is your chance to act in a homegrown film alongside actress/model Amber Chia.

Shining Production Sdn Bhd, in collaboration with China's Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation (JSBC) International Channel, is looking for talents to star in its upcoming project Tears Of The Mom.

The movie is about the hardship and struggles faced by a group of Chinese descendants in inheriting family businesses.

Yoko Chou serves as movie director, producer and script writer.

Leading the cast are T.P. Lim and budding Japanese artistes Hero Tai and Kimuro Takahiro.

Auditions are for four Malay characters – supporting actress (aged between 20 and 25 and conversant in Mandarin), young girl (aged between six and nine and conversant in Mandarin), fatherly and motherly figures (aged between 50 and 55).

Auditions will take place tomorrow and Sunday (11am to 6pm) at Hotel Emas, Jalan Utara in Tawau, Sabah; Aug 19 at Amber Chia Academy, B-23-6, Jaya One, 72A Jalan Universiti, Petaling Jaya in Selangor; and Aug 20 at Snips Academy, 4.0, Bangunan Yayasan, Jalan Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur.

For more details, call 03-9059 4366/016-260 6133.

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Up for grabs

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 03:06 AM PDT

IN conjunction with the Celestial Kung Fu Carnival, you stand to win the following attractive prizes – CPL travel adapters, speakers and J Cube foldable keyboards – courtesy of Celestial Pictures.

Complete the following "I like Celestial Movies Kung Fu Carnival because ... " (in not more than 30 words) and e-mail: pr@celestialpictures.com by Aug 26 at noon.

Please include the following particulars in your entry: name, address, IC number and whether you are an Astro subscriber or not.

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Talk your way up

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 02:32 AM PDT

An illuminating book on getting what you want in life.

WHETHER it is discussing the terms of a business deal, reaching a compromise with your spouse over where to eat, persuading a traffic cop not to give you a ticket, or haggling over an item at the local pasar malam, all of us engage in negotiations every day. Mastery of negotiation skills would thus be key to obtaining maximum satisfaction and achievement in life. Unfortunately, many of us never take the time to work on improving ourselves in this area.

This is where Stuart Diamond's masterful book comes in. Getting More is a powerful and potentially life-changing manual on the process of negotiation. Absorbing and easily digestible, Diamond's book is a well-written triumph, aiming not just to educate its readers on this much misunderstood process but to also transform them into successful negotiators, capable of handling themselves in every scenario under the sun.

A former Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Diamond is currently a lecturer at the prestigious Wharton School of Business, Pennsylvania, where his negotiation course has been the most popular for the past 13 years in the student course auction.

Over the course of his career, Diamond has advised governments (Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico, among others), international organisations (including the United Nations) and multinationals such as Prudential, Google, Microsoft and IBM. In 2008, he provided the process that enabled the Writer's Guild of America to settle its year-long strike with Hollywood studios. Countless people have benefited from his techniques over the years, and Getting More is filled with glowing testimonials from satisfied readers who have used his lessons to gain everything from cheaper food to cushy job offers.

Most people, the book illustrates, mistakenly think that negotiations are about substance, facts, rights or power, and as a result, fail at them. Because, says Diamond, it is people who are central to every negotiation, and unless one understands the current emotional states (or the "pictures in their heads") of the person you are negotiating with, reaching an agreement will be an arduous task.

One of the most unique traits of Getting More is how it dismisses a lot of conventional wisdom. Diamond criticises processes often taught at business seminars or in self-help books: for example, the emphasis on achieving a "win-win situation"; achieving such a situation would not be useful all the time, he states. Sometimes, a lose-win situation is desired, to give some leeway in the relationship, and sometimes even a lose-lose situation can be a desirable outcome. Understand the goals of the party negotiating with you, Diamond stresses, and focus not on what they specifically ask for but instead, understand the fundamentals of their demands and work towards getting those right. Getting More is full of useful tips on to how to do this, including the use of role reversals, trading items of unequal value, and the identification of third parties or higher decision makers.

The book is organised well, with general principles illustrated in the front chapters, and sections dealing with specific areas toward the back – and are all written in a simple, yet very comprehensive style.

Diamond even includes a section on public issues, where he offers his ideas on negotiating tricky problems such as the tension in the Middle East, the abortion debate in America, and climate change. It would definitely be interesting to see these ideas being implemented by world leaders and policymakers.

One of the most interesting sections of Diamond's book deals with the use of "standards" and "framing". The former is the use of prior promises or commitments to hold a party to a bond, while the latter is the reshaping or reimagining of a situation in a way that becomes either more or less favourable to the party hearing it. While these concepts sound simple, Getting More illustrates how powerful they can be, listing simple yet comprehensive ways in which you can use them to your advantage.

Getting More is also packed with anecdotes of successful use of Diamond's techniques. While this is part of the book's charm, it is possible to be swamped by the sheer volume of these stories at times, particularly as many of them basically illustrate the same concept. It may also be possible to develop unrealistic expectations from reading all these glowing stories of success. However, Diamond does keep reminding us that every situation is different, and not every negotiation will succeed.

Overall, an illuminating book, written by one of the best negotiators in the field.

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Fights of fantasy

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 02:22 AM PDT

COWBOYS versus aliens is not the only crossover match-up we want to see. Here are some other pop-culture related smackdowns we would love to see happening.

Star Wars vs Star Trek

Which starship would win in a dogfight – the Millennium Falcon or the Enterprise? Which is more deadly, the Borg Cube or the Death Star? Who would win in a blaster showdown, Han Solo or Captain Kirk? One thing is for sure though, Data better let Chewbacca win at the holo-chess game of Dejarik, or the Wookie'll rip his robotic arms out of his sockets.

Ip Man vs Wong Fei Hong

Wong initiates the fight by asking Ip for a Wing Chun-styled massage. Insulted, Ip Man pulls out his ultimate weapon – a feather duster – and dusts Wong Fei Hong with it.

Kick-@ss vs Scott Pilgrim

One's a wannabe superhero loser with no powers and a knack for getting into fights with evil mob bosses. The other is a wannabe rocker slacker with a hot girlfriend and a knack for getting into fights with her evil exes. Not wanting to hurt a fellow geek, the two fight it out with a game of Street Fighter instead.

Transformers vs Gobots

Tired of being overshadowed by their more popular 1980s counterparts, the Gobots, led by Leader-One and Cy-Kill in a rare collaboration, launch an attack on Cybertron, only to be blown up at the first hurdle ... a security "moon" manned by an assortment of minibots led by ... Wheelie.

Jurassic Park vs Ji-Sung Park

At the twilight of his career and deemed surplus to requirements, the Manchester United player decides to accept a final lucrative payday to an unknown club in some Caribbean island. Upon arriving there, he discovers that his new paymasters are actually a group of sentient, Liverpool-supporting dinosaurs, and is turned into dinosaur chow.

Related Stories:
Hang 'em high

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Miracle or mirage?

Posted: 11 Aug 2011 04:12 PM PDT

The Shroud Codex
Author: Jerome R. Corsi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 382 pages

NEW York parish priest Paul Bartholomew resumes his duties after three long years spent recovering from a horrific car accident – only to experience frightening visions and find himself beginning to resemble the man whose image is impressed in the renowned Shroud of Turin. And then stigmata appear, marking Paul right in front of his congregation. Concerned about the potential for chaos in the city's Christian community, the Archbishop of New York asks Stephen Castle, well-known surgeon, psychiatrist and, most importantly, atheist, to find out what exactly is happening to Paul.

Shot by Both Sides
Author: Meisei Goto
Publisher: Counterpoint, 215 pages

TRANSLATED from Japanese by Tom Gill, this novel is about a man seeking evidence of his existence through his memories. Standing at a bridge one day, the narrator decides that he must search for the old military overcoat his mother had given him 20 years ago, when he first came to Tokyo.

His search leads him into the past of rural Japan during his student days. It was then where he paid many visits to the red-light district. A movie theatre reminds him of the time when he dressed up as a soldier and carried out propaganda work. But when everything comes full circle, what will he have gained when he finds himself back at the same bridge where he started out?

Zen Baggage
Author: Bill Porter
Publisher: Counterpoint, 359 pages

IN the spring of 2006, the author travelled through China and visited ancient caves containing collections of Buddhist texts, spoke to monks in charge of martial arts at the renowned Shaolin Temple, sat through six-hour Buddhist ceremonies and went to China's first Zen nunnery. This is the story of his pilgrimage to sites associated with the first six patriarchs of Zen. It's a combination of history, interviews with Zen masters and translations of the earliest known records of Zen.

How To Start A Conversation And Make Friends
Author: Don Gabor
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 205 pages

HOW do you strike up a conversation with someone you don't know and keep it going? This book offers insights into the required skills and some simple guidelines to doing just that. The author, a "small talk expert", has spent the last 25 years helping people to communicate confidently. In this book he discusses how to identify your personal conversation style and boost your speaking skills. There is also a section dedicated to social media networking, online communication, etiquette and security.

I Dare You
Author: Joyce Meyer
Publisher: Hachette Book, 292 pages

PEOPLE always question why they are here on earth. Do they serve a higher purpose? The author urges the reader to take charge of his life and make it count. Her principles are based on her belief that God has a plan for us and we are all here to carry out His will and enjoy doing it. She offers tips on how to pursue your passion in life and how to combine passion and purpose.

Dreams Of Joy
Author: Lisa See
Publisher: Random House, 354 pages

SET in 1957, this sequel to Shanghai Girls has Pearl's daughter, Joy, feeling betrayed after discovering who her biological mother is. Joy leaves America for China in search of a new home as well as her biological father. Pearl follows, desperate to bring Joy back, for the China that her daughter is entering is not the country that Pearl left. Then, Shanghai was China's wealthy and cosmopolitan commercial heart; in 1957, Joy was entering a China on the brink of Mao's Great Leap Forward, of massive famine and social disruption.

Us: Transforming Oursel ves And The Relationships That Matter Most
Author: Lisa Oz
Publisher: Free Press, 204 pages

ACCORDING to this author, there are three kinds of relationships that matter: one's relationship with the self, with others, and with the divine. Drawing on ancient traditions, spiritual and holistic thinkers, and personal insights, this book strives to take readers on a journey of enlightenment.

Somewhere Inside
Authors: Laura and Lisa Ling
Publisher: Harper, 322 pages

IN 2009, American reporter Laura Ling and her colleague Euna Lee were apprehended by North Korean soldiers while filming a documentary about defectors. The two were charged with trespassing and subsequently imprisoned and interrogated. They were the first Americans in history to be sentenced to 12 years of hard labour in a prison camp in North Korea. This book alternates between Laura's story of her capture and the story told by her sister, Lisa, about her efforts to secure Laura and Euna's release. The women were released after five months in captivity.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Malaysia’s team of eight hope to put on a fine show in NZ Winter Games

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 05:54 AM PDT

MALAYSIA will be represented by eight speed skaters in the New Zealand Winter Games in Dunedin, New Zealand from Aug 22-29.

The eight — comprising four girls Angeline Chan Hui Theng, Chew Jia Yi, Dione Tan Shu-Yen and Ashley Chin Sook Hui and four boys Yong Zhen Wei, Chw Jia Jian, Sean Yeo Qi Jun and Harris Rashid — will be accompanied by Tan Bee Leng as the coach.

Bee Leng, who has been in charge of the skaters since September last year, said the skaters were looking forward to the competition with confidence.

"The skaters have reasons to be excited as it will be their first competition since getting involved in speed skating.

They were active figure skaters and switched to speed skating after attending a workshop,'' said Bee Leng.

The one-week workshop, organised by the Ice Skating Association of Malaysia (ISAM), was conducted by an instructor from Canada. The workshop provided an opportunity for the figure skaters and Bee Leng to learn the basics in speed skating.

Bee Leng said the stint was a learning programme.

"We were impressed with the instructor. The figure skaters adapted well to the training programme and we are glad with their progress. They showed a lot of enthusiasm,'' said Bee Leng.

The eight were also among the 12 speed skaters who attended a one-week training camp in Changchun, China.

Bee Leng said the training stint also proved to be a learning experience for the skaters.

"They were eager to learn the skills involved in speed skating,'' said Bee Leng.

Due to limited access to the ice rink at the Pyramid Ice, the skaters had to train two days a week for the past five months. Each two-hour session was held either in early morning or late at night.

"We also conducted off-ice training sessions. We are convinced the eight will give a fine show in New Zealand,'' said Bee Leng.

In New Zealand, the Malaysian speed skaters will be in action according to the age groups in the sub-juniors, juniors and intermediate. The sub-juniors is for those aged 12 and below; the junior (13-15 years) and intermediate (16-18).

Jia Jian, Qi Jun and Shu-Yen will be in action in the sub-juniors (500m,800m and 1,000m); Sook Hui, Angeline and Harris in the sub-juniors and Jia Yi and Zhen Wei in the intermediate.

The events in juniors and intermediate are 800m, 1,000m and 1,500m. The boys and girls will also compete in the team events — 1,000m and 3,000m relay.

Bee Leng said the speed skaters were being groomed for next year's Youth Winter Olympics as well as the Asian Winter Games in 2015.

"The New Zealand competition will be an excellent opportunity for our speed skaters to gain exposure. We don't want to put any pressure on them. For us, it will be a good chance to evaluate them,'' said Bee Leng.

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Swinging in aid of breast cancer

Posted: 12 Aug 2011 05:53 AM PDT

Friday August 12, 2011

The PinkRibbon R2R charity golf championships will be held at the Kelab Golf Negara Subang (KGNS) in Subang, Selangor on Oct 7.

The championships is organised by PinkRibbon R2R in conjunction with the Breast Cancer Awareness Month - October 2011 to raise funds for their programmes.

The organisers are hoping to raise about RM50,000. Entry fee is RM500 per participant or RM2,000 per flight. For more information, log on to www.pinkribbonr2r.my or call 019-353 9273.

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