Ahad, 14 Ogos 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Best of 1Malaysia in Astro

Posted: 15 Aug 2011 05:22 AM PDT

ASTRO subscribers will be able to enjoy more than 50 new shows showcasing the best of 1Malaysia and one new dedicated channel, MyMusic (Channel 318), in conjunction with the country's 54th Independence Day celebrations through "Negaraku, The Best Of 1Malaysia" campaign. The campaign runs from today till Sept 16.

Viewers will have the opportunity to catch premiere titles such as In Person: Unsung Heroes and Meja Bulat Merdeka Special on Astro Awani (Ch 501), Hotels Of Malaysia and Nature's Keepers Malaysia (Discovery HD/Ch 571), Arena Sukan: DYMM Sultan Azlan Shah, Marina Chin and Ishtiaq Mubarak (Astro Arena/Ch 801) and many more.

In addition, international channels and Astro branded channels also have treats for its viewers during the Merdeka celebrations. Leading the line-up are shows such as Waktu Rehat – Squire Anding and Merdeka Day Specials (Disney Channel/Ch 615), Passage To Malaysia – Into The Wild (TLC/Ch 707), P. Ramlee (History Channel/Ch 555), Mahathir and Sudirman Arshad (The Biography Channel/Ch 731), A Leader's Legacy: Tun Abdul Razak (National Geographic Channel/Ch 553), Prebet Jamilah 2 (Astro RIA/Ch 104), Hai Zi, Sr 4 (Astro AEC/Ch 301), MY FM 13th Birthday Bash (Astro Wah Lai Toi/Ch 311), Merdeka Special Musical Concert and Tun VT Sambanthan (Astro Vaanavil/Ch 201).

Astro also looks to capture the spirit of the country through music, produced by Malaysians on a new dedicated channel, MyMusic (Ch 318) from Aug 31 to Sept 16 as part of the Negaraku campaign. MyMusic encourages local youth to submit their music videos, which captures their music talents, their voices and the sounds of Malaysia through Malaysian-made videos.

As an extension to MyMusic, Astro introduces MyMusic Indiepretasi, a project to give young local artistes the opportunity to reinterpret 10 songs that are proudly Malaysian and as voted by Malaysians. Among the songs in the running for this modern reinterpretation are Balada Pemuzik Jalanan (by Search), Standing In The Eyes Of The World (Ella) and 31 Ogos (Sudirman).

Malaysians can log on to www.mymusic.my/ for a chance to vote the top 10 songs which will then be given a new tune by local artistes and released as digital downloads and an album later this year. Malaysians can also submit their designs and participate in the design an album cover contest on the website.

To kick start this initiative, Astro joined forces with some of the top local talents in reinterpreting Saya Anak Merdeka, originally sung by Dr Sam back in 1986, to be reinterpreted to Saya Anak Malaysia, a collaboration with Hafiz, Adira, Hazama, Fina, Najwa, Azlan & The Typewriter, Altimet & Aizat, Phoebe, Mei Yan, Aanantha and others.

Astro is also encouraging budding video designers to make their own version of Saya Anak Malaysia to be featured on MyMusic channel.

Viewers can log on to www.astro.com.my/negaraku for the schedule of the special shows. For more information on MyMusic, log on to www.astro.com.my/mymusic/

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The Star Online: World Updates

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Gaddafi defiant, govt said talking with rebels

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 09:11 PM PDT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi urged his people early on Monday to "liberate Libya" from NATO and traitors, a day after rebels captured a key town on the road west to Tunisia, severing Tripoli's main supply route.

A woman holds a poster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during a protest over the recent NATO air strike in Majar, in front of the Hungarian embassy in Tripoli August 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Paul Hackett/EDITOR'S NOTE: PICTURE TAKEN ON A GUIDED GOVERNMENT TOUR.)

Late on Sunday, representatives of Gaddafi's government were holding talks with rebels at a hotel on the southern Tunisian island of Djerba, a source with direct knowledge of the talks said -- though the government spokesman denied it.

The talks followed a dramatic advance by the rebels that won them control of the town of Zawiyah, 50 km west of Tripoli on the coast, enabling them to halt food and fuel supplies from Tunisia to Gaddafi's stronghold in the capital.

Tripoli was not under immediate threat from a rebel attack, but rebel forces are now in their strongest position since the uprising against 41 years of Gaddafi's rule began in February, controlling the coast both east and west of Tripoli.

The rebels are helped by NATO aircraft which, under a U.N. mandate to protect civilians from Gaddafi's forces, are bombing military facilities and equipment that are trying to crush the rebel fighters.

Gaddafi's speech on Monday, delivered over a poor quality telephone line and broadcast by state television in audio only, was his first public address since rebel fighters launched their latest offensive, the biggest in months.

"The Libyan people will remain and the Fateh revolution (which brought Gaddafi to power in 1969) will remain. Move forward, challenge, pick up your weapons, go to the fight for liberating Libya inch by inch from the traitors and from NATO," the Libyan leader said.

"Get ready for the fight ... The blood of martyrs is fuel for the battlefield," he said, in what state television said was a live speech.

In Djerba late on Sunday, security staff turned away a Reuters reporter from the hotel where the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the talks between rebel and government representatives were being held.

Lights were on inside the hotel and a man in jeans and t-shirt, a list in his hand, was standing outside with hotel security staff.

In Tripoli, government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim blamed Western leaders and the media for the spread of rumours that the government was engaged in talks on the leader's departure from Libya.

"This information is absolutely incorrect and it is part of a media war against us. Their target is to confuse us, break our spirit, and shake our morale," he said.

"The leader is here in Libya, fighting for the freedom of our nation. He will not leave Libya," Ibrahim said.

Gaddafi's characteristically defiant speech followed a day of action across a swathe of northwest Libya during which rebels said they had seized the town of Surman, next door to Zawiyah, there was fighting in the town of Garyan that controls the southern access to Tripoli, and shooting could be heard near the main Libyan-Tunisian border crossing.


Rebels from the Western Mountains region to the south advanced into Zawiyah late on Saturday, and early on Sunday, about 50 rebel fighters were milling around near the central market, triumphantly shouting "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is greatest").

The red, black and green rebel flag was flying from a shop. At the point where it passes through Zawiyah, the main highway linking Tripoli to Tunisia was empty of traffic.

Rebel fighters told Reuters there were still forces loyal to Gaddafi in the town, including snipers on tall buildings. Bursts of artillery and machinegun fire could be heard.

One rebel fighter said Gaddafi's forces controlled the oil refinery on the northern edge of Zawiyah -- a strategic target because it is the only one still functioning in western Libya and Gaddafi's forces depend on it for fuel.

The fighting was spreading west from Zawiyah along the coastal highway towards the main Ras Jdir border crossing with Tunisia. A rebel spokesman called Abdulrahman said rebels had seized Surman, the next town west along the coast from Zawiyah.

But at the border crossing to Tunisia, Libyan customs and immigration officers were operating as usual, despite reports of clashes between rebels and pro-Gaddafi forces in the area late on Saturday.

On another front in Sunday's fighting, heavy gunfire could be heard from the town Of Garyan, a Reuters reporter in the area said. A rebel fighter told Reuters "We control 70 percent of Garyan. There is still fighting taking place at the moment."

Government spokesman Ibrahim said Zawiyah and Garyan were "under our full control" but that there were small pockets of fighting in two other locations in the area around Tripoli.

The coastal highway between Tripoli and Tunisia had not been blocked by the fighting, Ibrahim said in a telephone interview on Sunday, but foreigners were not being allowed to use the route "to save them from any bullets here or there".

Rebels, backed by NATO warplanes, have been trying since February to end Gaddafi's rule in the bloodiest of the "Arab Spring" uprisings convulsing the Middle East.

After a period of deadlock, the rebels' advance to the Mediterranean coast near Tripoli represents a major shift in the balance of forces.

Gaddafi says the rebels are armed criminals and al Qaeda militants, and has described the NATO campaign as an act of colonial aggression aimed at stealing Libya's oil.

(Additional reporting by Ulf Laessing in Ras Jdir, Tunisia, Tarek Amara in Tunis, Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Tim Pearce)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Pakistan let China see crashed U.S. "stealth" copter - FT

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 08:40 PM PDT

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan gave China access to the previously unknown U.S. "stealth" helicopter that crashed during the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May despite explicit requests from the CIA not to, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The disclosure, if confirmed, is likely to further shake the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, which has been improving slightly after hitting its lowest point in decades following the killing of bin Laden.

During the raid, one of two modified Blackhawk helicopters, believed to employ unknown stealth capability, malfunctioned and crashed, forcing the commandos to abandon it.

"The U.S. now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI, gave access to the Chinese military to the downed helicopter in Abbottabad," the paper quoted a person "in intelligence circles" as saying on its website.

It said Pakistan, which enjoys a close relationship with China, allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take pictures of the crashed aircraft as well as take samples of its special "skin" that allowed the American raid to evade Pakistani radar.

One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters there was reason to believe Pakistan had allowed the Chinese to inspect the aircraft. But the official could not confirm it happened with certainty.

No one from the Pakistani army was available for comment, but the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Pakistan's top spy agency, denied the report. The paper said Pakistan's top general, chief of army staff Ashfaq Kayani, denied that China had been given access.

The surviving tail section, photos of which were widely distributed on the Internet, was returned to the United States following a trip by U.S. Senator John Kerry in May, a spokesman for the U.S. embassy told Reuters.

Shortly after the raid, Pakistan hinted that it might give China access to the helicopter, given its fury over the raid, which it considers a grievous violation of its sovereignty.

"We had explicitly asked the Pakistanis in the immediate aftermath of the raid not to let anyone have access to the damaged remains of the helicopter," the Financial Times quoted the source as saying.

In an incident such as the helicopter crash, it is standard American procedure to destroy sophisticated technology such as encrypted communications and navigation computers.


Pakistan is a strategic ally to the United States but the relationship has been on a downward spiral since the killing of the al Qaeda leader in the raid by U.S. forces.

Islamabad was not informed in advance and responded by cutting back on U.S. trainers in the country and placing limits on CIA activities there.

The fact that the al Qaeda chief lived for years near the Pakistani army's main academy in the northwestern garrison town of Abbottabad reinforced suspicions in Washington about Islamabad's reliability in the war against militant Islamists.

There are also growing frustrations with Pakistan over its reluctance to mount offensives against militant factions in the northwest who are fighting U.S.-led foreign forces across the border in Afghanistan.

In a show of displeasure over Pakistan's cutback in U.S. trainers, its limits on visas for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants, the United States has suspended about a third of its $2.7 billion annual defence aid to Pakistan.

Despite this, both sides have tried to prevent a breakdown of relations.

The head of Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, visited the United States last month for talks with U.S. government and intelligence officials, which both sides said went well.

Despite the billions in aid, Pakistan still considers China a more reliable ally than the United States. China is a major investor in predominantly Muslim Pakistan in areas such as telecommunications, ports and infrastructure. The countries are linked by a Chinese-built road pushed through Pakistan's northern mountains.

Trade with Pakistan is worth almost $9 billion a year for Pakistan, and China is its top arms supplier.

In the wake of attacks that left 11 people dead in the China's western region of Xinjiang in late July, Pakistan dispatched the ISI's Pasha to Beijing.

(Writing and additional reporting by Chris Allbritton in Islamabad, Mark Hosenball and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Rosalind Russell and Alison Williams)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Egypt's ex-president Mubarak to return to court

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 08:40 PM PDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak returns to court on Monday to face charges of killing protesters, in a hearing that could decide if the head of the ruling military council will take the stand as a witness.

An Egyptian soldier walks past a graffiti of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at downtown Cairo August 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Defence lawyers say that any testimony by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi on Mubarak's role in trying to suppress the 18-day uprising, in which more than 800 people were killed, could decide the fate of the 83-year-old.

Tantawi, who was defence minister for two decades under Mubarak, heads the military council that took power when Mubarak was ousted on Feb. 11 by the mass protests.

Mubarak, accused of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters, went on trial on Aug. 3 in a case that has gripped the Arab world, where leaders rule for life and are seldom held to account.

The first Arab head of state to stand trial in person since popular uprisings swept the Middle East, the former air force commander faces charges that could carry the death penalty.

Mubarak appeared on a hospital bed, behind the bars of a courtroom cage with his sons, Gamal and Alaa, who will also appear again on Monday.

About 850 people were killed during the uprising and over 6,000 were wounded when security forces fired live rounds, rubber bullets and used water cannon and batons against the protesters.

The prosecutor accuses Mubarak of authorising the use of the live ammunition to quell the protests.

Mubarak denied all accusations during the opening session, which was aired live and counted as his first public appearance since he was toppled.


In the first court session, defence lawyers asked for Tantawi, former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and about 1,600 others to testify as witnesses.

Defence lawyers said the accounts would be vital for either incriminating or exonerating Mubarak from involvement in killing protesters.

"Tantawi's testimony would help the court determine whether Mubarak gave orders to Interior Minister Habib al-Adli to fire at protesters or whether Adli was acting independently," one member of the defence team, who asked not to be named, said.

A judge on Sunday set the next hearing for Adli and six of his lieutenants for Sept. 5.

Lawyers for the families of those killed have also demanded Tantawi testify in the trial.

"It is important for the court to meet the requests of the defence team, especially the request to hear the accounts of Field Marshal Tantawi in court to determine whether Mubarak asked him to confront and fire at protesters or not," the lawyer said.

"The defence team sees Tantawi as a compurgator, or a witness whose testimony would exonerate Mubarak. The plaintiffs' lawyers, however, expect him to testify that he received orders to fire, which is necessary to convict Mubarak," another lawyer handling the case said.

Essam Soltan, one of the plaintiffs' lawyers, said Judge Ahmed Refaat would ask lawyers to justify their request to summon Tantawi to testify before ruling on it.

The cases of the defendants are interlinked and each could accuse his superior of giving the orders to fire, thus weakening the case against Mubarak, Soltan said.

The military said officers called in by the judge to give their testimony would attend. But a judicial source said even if Tantawi were asked to testify, his testimony would come later in the trial to shield the army from taking the heat in the controversial case.

Tantawi's military council has promised a transition to democracy in the Arab world's most populous country -- a process far from complete.

(Editing by Sami Aboudi and Alison Williams)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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M'sian market seen to be volatile this week(update)

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 06:58 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: BURSA Malaysia is likely to be volatile this week as investors continue to be jittery over the European debt crisis, coupled with the negative rating of the US economy by Standard & Poor's, dealers said.

The local bourse started last week on a choppy note, in line with the regional bourses on news of possible financial crisis.

This resulted in huge sell-off and dragged the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI to below 1,500 level for the first time since March 17, 2011.

Affin Investment Bank head of retail research, Dr Nazri Khan, said the Asian markets would likely continue bouncing this week as a drop in the US jobless claims eased concerns about the global economic recovery, boosting global exporters and commodity producers.

Meanwhile, on the corporate scene, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia hogged the limelight with share swap deal, creating a powerful synergy between them and totally changed the local airline industry landscape.

On a Friday-to-Friday basis, the FBM KLCI dropped 40.76 points to 1,483.67 from 1,524.43 previously.

The Finance Index fell 416.41 points to 14,072.74, Industrial Index declined 43.23 points to 2,715.01 and the Plantation Index lost 384.49 points to 7,208.45. The FBM Emas Index decreased 33.12 points to 10,147.1, FBM Ace slashed 255.93 points to 3,794.09, FBMT100 erased 304.17 points to 9,963.58 and FBM70 dived 460.92 points to 11,052.20.

Total weekly volume increased to 7.776 billion units valued at RM14.682bil from 6.020 billion shares worth RM9.858bil previously.

The main market turnover improved 6.135 billion unit valued at RM14.448bil from 4.089 billion units valued at RM9.53bil.

Volume on the ACE market dropped to 1.033 billion shares worth RM162.075mil from 1.38 billion shares worth RM236.207mil.

Warrants rose to 586.675 million units valued at RM64.915 million from 481.029 million units valued at RM71.227 million previously.

At 9.30 a.m.(0139gnt) Monday, there were 246 gainers, 66 losers and 139 counters traded unchanged on the Bursa Malaysia.

The FBM-KLCI was at 1,487.70 up 4.03 points, the FBMACE was at 3,811.87 up 17.78 points, and the FBMEmas was at 10,182.37 up 35.27 points.

Turnover was at 121.327 million shares valued at RM68.025 million.

The AP reported Asia-Pacific stock markets opened strongly on Monday, after stocks in the U.S. and Europe closed higher last week following a volatile few days.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 145.86 points, or 1.63 percent, to 9,109.58 in early morning trading.

In Australia, the country's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 58.3 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,230.9.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX50 index was up 24.4 points, or 0.76 percent, to 3240.9.

Global markets fluctuated wildly last week as investors already concerned over Europe's worsening debt crisis were further rattled by signs the U.S. might be headed toward recession.

Stocks in Europe and on Wall Street ended the volatile week higher on Friday following positive retail sales data out of the U.S. and after European regulators imposed temporary bans on short-selling of financial shares late Thursday. - Bernama/AP

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Sales of gold up on eBay amid stock market turmoil

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 06:44 PM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO: For gold sellers on eBay, the recent stock market turmoil has been a boon for business.

Gold and silver sales on eBay had already been rising steadily over the past several years - so much so that eBay Inc. created a special area in May to make it easier for buyers to find sellers.

Now, activity on that part of the site, the Bullion Center, is intensifying as consumers unnerved by the economic uncertainty flock to gold in hopes it will be a stable investment.

"When people are coming down to the question, 'Do they want to have cash in the bank or gold in their hands?' the answer is they'd rather have gold or silver," said Jacob Chandler, CEO of Great Southern Coins, the largest seller of precious metals on eBay.

The stock market just ended one of its most volatile weeks in years, prompted in part by a downgrade in the nation's credit rating and fears of another recession. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 6 percent on Monday, its worst one-day drop since December 2008. Then the index rose Tuesday, fell Wednesday and rose Thursday and Friday to end the week 2 percent lower than a week ago.

Through most of last week, the average selling price increased for gold bullion - bars or coins stamped with their weight and level of purity.

According to the most recent data available from eBay, sales of 1-ounce gold American Eagle coins and 1-ounce gold Pamp Suisse bars rose steadily from Aug. 5 to Wednesday, before dipping slightly on Thursday.

On Aug. 5, when Standard & Poor's lowered the nation's credit rating, American Eagle coins were selling for an average of $1,800 among eBay's featured sellers. The average price of the coins, produced by the U.S. Mint, rose more than 8 percent to $1,952 on Wednesday, before dropping to $1,915 on Thursday.

The Pamp Suisse brand of gold bars sold for an average of $1,787 on Aug. 5 and climbed nearly 8 percent to $1,927 by Wednesday. On Thursday, the bars dropped slightly to $1,890.

Even before last week's market turbulence, investors were cautious because economic signals in the U.S. and overseas pointed toward trouble.

The Dow index fell 6 percent in the week ending Aug. 6. That week, the number of gold buyers on eBay rose 11 percent compared with the year's weekly average. The number of gold sellers rose 14 percent. EBay would not provide the total number of buyers and sellers.

"With all the turmoil in the markets, this is seen as a way to diversify," said Anthony Delvecchio, eBay's vice president of business management and strategy for eBay's North America business.

EBay, which is based in San Jose, California, does not impose minimum purchase amounts for bullion. Sellers offer gold both through auctions and "Buy It Now" fixed-price sales.

The increased popularity of gold on eBay echoes what's happening in the broader gold market, where prices have spiked during the past two years.

Gold traded at about $900 per ounce in the summer of 2008, before the financial crisis unfolded that year. It passed $1,600 in late May and briefly rose above $1,800 for the first time on Wednesday before pulling back to $1,784. On Friday, gold fell to $1,740.60 per ounce, still nearly twice the summer 2008 prices.

Great Southern Coins has benefited from this uptick. Chandler said the company is selling more gold lately, and its silver sales remain strong, too. Chandler estimated his business has nearly quadrupled in the past 45 days, and he said it appeared to be up about five or six times during the past week, with most of this growth coming from sales on eBay.

Daniel Hirsch, a New York-based statistician who recently purchased more than a dozen gold coins on eBay from Great Southern Coins, said he started buying gold less than a year ago in an effort to expand his investment portfolio.

"It's kind of a safe haven and a hedge against low interest rates," he said. - AP

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S'pore PM says US, EU threaten global economy; another recession possible

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 06:30 PM PDT

SINGAPORE: Economic problems in the U.S. and Europe pose a serious risk to world growth, Singapore's prime minister said Sunday.

"America and Europe have major problems, still unresolved," Lee Hsien Loong said in a speech. "There's quite a possibility that the world will go into another recession."

Singapore is the financial services hub of Southeast Asia and one of the world's richest countries. Lee's comments are his most pessimistic on the global economy so far this year.

Global stock and commodities markets have plunged this month amid investor fears that the U.S. could be slipping into its second recession in three years and Europe's debt crisis could deepen.

Lee said the first-ever downgrade of the U.S. debt rating by Standard and Poor's earlier this month reflected the country's unsustainable debt and deficit growth levels and the inability of political leaders to agree on a solution.

"If they don't correct it, they're heading for trouble," Lee said. "But they're not able to correct it because there are deep divisions between the Democrats and the Republicans."

"The real issue is investors around the world lack confidence that governments will be able to make the hard decisions."

The debt crisis in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy threatens to undermine European banks which have bought bonds from those countries, Lee said.

Singapore's economy suffered a brief, sharp recession in the first half of 2009, but rebounded to grow 15 percent last year and 4.9 percent in the first half of this year. The city-state of 5 million people depends on finance, tourism and manufacturing and is one of the most sensitive countries in Asia to fluctuations in external consumer demand. - AP

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The Star Online: Sports

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Bradley wins PGA in playoff after rousing comeback

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 06:38 PM PDT

JOHNS CREEK, Georgia (AP): Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship after staging an amazing comeback to force a three-hole playoff and beat Jason Dufner at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Bradley trailed by five strokes after making a triple bogey on the 15th hole and Jason Dufner appeared to have the title wrapped up, but Bradley rallied and Dufner collapsed.

The leader put his tee shot in the water at 15, setting up the first of three straight bogeys. Bradley made birdies at 16 and 17, going to the final hole suddenly tied for the lead.

Both players made par on the 72nd hole, but Bradley won the three-hole playoff by a single stroke. He tapped in for par at the 18th hole and lifted the Wanamaker Trophy.

"I can't believe it," Bradley said. " In the playoff, Bradley made a 4-foot birdie at the 16th hole to gain the upper hand. Dufner nearly holed out from the fairway with his approach, then missed a 6-foot birdie try.

Bradley was in command when Dufner three-putted the 17th for a bogey, going to the final hole with a two-stroke edge. Dufner rolled in a 20-footer for birdie but it didn't matter. Bradley two-putted from 18 feet for the win, tapping into the final hole from about a foot away.

The players were tied at 8-under 272 at the end of regulation. "A lot of experience to be gained from that," a dejected Dufner said. The 25-year-old Bradley, the nephew of LPGA Hall of Fame member Pat Bradley, won the PGA in his very first appearance at a major championship. Dufner was denied his first tour win.

Going to the playoff, the U.S. was assured of breaking its longest drought the modern era, having gone six straight majors without winning since Phil Mickelson captured the 2010 Masters.

Anders Hansen of Denmark closed with a 4-under 66, but finished one stroke out of the playoff at 273. Robert Karlsson of Sweden, David Toms and Scott Verplank tied for fourth at 275.

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Indonesia and India a force to be reckoned with in doubles

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 06:23 PM PDT

IT won't be an easy ride for Malaysia at the upcoming SEA Games in Jakarta and the next Commonwealth Games in Glasgow if the strong showings of Indonesia and India in the

doubles department are concerned.

Back-up shuttlers Bona Septano-Ahsan Mohd of Indonesia made heads turn here at the Wembley Arena with their surprise semi-final finish.

They lost 19-21, 17-21 to South Korea's Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong in the semi-finals but they showed great potential and will be the Indonesian pair to watch out for.

Their emergence should be a warning to Malaysia's national back-up coach Tan Kim Her, whose job is to build a solid team for the future.

His players like Lim Khim Wah-Goh Wei Shem, Mak Hee Chun, Tan Wee Kiong, who have yet to make their mark in big events like Bona-Ahsan, will be tested at the SEA Games in

Jakarta in November and hopefully, they will come good.

In the women's doubles, the breakthrough performances of Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa of India showed that the girls were more than just making up the numbers in the team.

On Saturday, the duo showed no fear of the fifth seeds, Chinese pair Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei and fought hard before going down 14-21, 16-21 in the semi-finals.

It was the first time that India's women shuttlers had come that far in the world meet. And they now appear as the favourites to defend the gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

Doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang have young and potential players like Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei and Ng Hui Lin-Ng Hui Ern coming through but they must have the right match temperament to make it big.

Currently, they are overlooked as just bystanders in the women's doubles competition. These players are expected to take over the mantle when seniors Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty slow down after next year's Olympic Games.

Said national coach Rashid Sidek: "In the Commonwealth Games, we will take part in the mixed team events and it is important to have good women players coming through if we hope to win a gold medal."

Meanwhile, South Koreans Sung-hyun-Yeon-seong's good run in the world championships also showed that they were getting better than their seniors Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung.

The second ranked Sung-hyun-Yeon-seong, who defeated Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong in the quarter-finals on Friday, reached the final but their seniors Yong-dae-Jae-sung, a two-time World Championships runners-up, crashed out 18-21, 14-21 to Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China on Saturday.

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Super Dan shows he’s still Lin and mean with remarkable victory

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 06:22 PM PDT

CHINA's Lin Dan took of his shirt to reveal his rippling musles before running around the court in sheer joy.

After lying low throughout this week, he was in the mood for celebration - especially after beating world number one Lee Chong Wei 20-22, 21-14, 23-21 in remarkable fashion.

The sensational come-from-behind win – especially after trailing 12-16 and 18-20 in the decider – saw Lin Dan winning his fourth world title, a first by a player in the world series. It was his 17th win over Chong Wei over 24 matches since they first crossed swords in 2004. It was also Lin Dan's second win over Chong Wei this year after the victory at the US$1.2 mil South Korea Open final in Seoul.

And when asked about his victory, Lin Dan said that he wanted to quickly end the game because he did not have much time to go sight-seeing in London and had wanted to buy gifts for his wife Xie Xingfang.

"The match was going too long and I wanted to just win it. Fortunately, I did not make as many mistakes as Chong Wei did towards the end," said Lin Dan.

"This is my first visit to London and I have not had time to do some sight seeing. I want to buy clothes for my wife," he said in a packed press conference, which drew laughter.

When asked about the way he celebrated the win yesterday, he said: "Yes, I was a bit emotional. Chong Wei played well and I have to work hard to get back into the game after the first game defeat."

"I am glad that we (Chong Wei and I) were able to give the fans a great badminton show. I saw a lot of quality matches from men's singles players in this world meet.

"I am a badminton ambassador and it is my responsibility to maintain the interest of the the badminton fans," said the 28-year-old Lin Dan. When asked about his Olympic Games preparation, he said: "This win here has put me in the right track for my Olympic Games preparations for next year at the same venue. I am happy and pleased with everything that has taken place here," he added.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Ford’s finest

Posted: 13 Aug 2011 09:24 PM PDT

WE'RE going to cheat a little bit in this list. Because any discussion of Harrison Ford's best performances has to include the iconic roles of Han Solo and Indiana Jones. They're just a given. So we're revisiting five other performances that have stood out over his varied, 40-year film career.

His best days may be behind him, but moments still shine through when he proves he's still got "it": that mix of superstar charisma and everyman relatability, heroism and irony. With Ford co-starring in Cowboys & Aliens, here's a look back at some of his finest work:

> Witness (1985): It's sort of baffling, but this is the only film for which Ford has earned an Oscar nomination; maybe he's just so good at what he does, he makes it look effortless. In director Peter Weir's thriller, he plays a police detective who goes into hiding in Amish country to protect a young boy who witnessed a murder. He's tough and he's smart, but as he grows more comfortable in this foreign community, he also proves he can milk a cow and raise a mean barn. And as we know from the Indiana Jones movies, Ford can wear a hat – any kind of hat – and make it look sexy. He also reveals a tender and understated side in the smoldering chemistry he enjoys with Kelly McGillis who stars as the boy's mother.

> The Fugitive (1993): This is one of those regular-guy-in-danger roles that are Ford's bread and butter. Based on the 1960s TV series, the film stars Ford as Dr Richard Kimble, who was wrongly convicted of killing his wife. When the bus he's riding in crashes on the way to prison, he makes his escape. His intensity, paranoia and fear are palpable. But Ford also functions as the straight man here compared to Tommy Lee Jones as the quick-witted lead investigator on his tail. Both performances give the film a depth beyond the usual summer chase thriller. But that contrast also sets up this classic exchange once their paths cross: "I didn't kill my wife." "I don't care."

> The Mosquito Coast (1986): Working with Weir again, Ford takes on a very different role. He plays an eccentric inventor who's so fed up with contemporary society that he packs up his wife (Helen Mirren) and kids (including River Phoenix) and moves them to the rain forests of Central America. Unhinged yet unshakable, he's obsessed to the point of shunning reality in his pursuit of utopia. It's to Ford's credit that he's so believable in playing a character who becomes supremely unlikable, even to the family that's supposed to love him. Then again, the script was adapted by Paul Schrader, an expert in the mind of the tormented man.

> Blade Runner (1982): Ridley Scott's film is a sci-fi classic, and Ford anchors it with stoic, film-noir cool. He stars as Rick Deckard, a retired Los Angeles detective in the year 2019 who's called back into duty to seek out and terminate rebel replicants. Based on a Philip K. Dick novel, Blade Runner is all about mood and production design – a dank, futuristic dystopia that's since become hugely influential. But Ford brings a much-needed sense of complex humanity to this dark spectacle.

> Working Girl (1988): A great example of Ford's capacity for romantic comedy. Yes, Mike Nichols' film is all about powerful women, with Melanie Griffith coming into her own as a big-haired secretary at a major Wall Street firm who takes over for her ailing boss (Sigourney Weaver). But the relationship she forges both professionally and personally with Ford's character, an investment banker who thinks she's really in charge, helps her confidence blossom. He's steady but also passionate, amusing and bemused, an imperfect Prince Charming. That may all sound like a contradiction, but it's that kind of versatility that makes Ford so enduring. – AP

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Harrison Ford: Straight shooter

Posted: 13 Aug 2011 09:23 PM PDT

Harrison Ford is a rebel at any age.

HOW does one react to seeing an aged Harrison Ford, in person? Even though he has not stepped away long enough from the big screen to make anyone forget he is getting older every year, it is still surreal to see him looking 69. This is probably because in our minds, he is forever Han Solo (metaphorically frozen in carbonite for delivery to Jabba the Hutt). And what's up with that stud on his left ear? It's very distracting.

The loss of youth doesn't mean he has cast less of a shadow in an industry obsessed with the young. Truth be told, he casts an even larger one.

Ford has always refused to play by Hollywood's rules – he has a lot of opinions and isn't afraid to voice them. Offend, schmoffend. Yet, far from getting into trouble for speaking his mind, he comes off as highly respected.

Even as he stays out of the public eye, reports of the formidable star flying planes, rescuing hikers, buying horses and doing charity work to save the environment have seeped through now and again. About the only time he seemed to get bad publicity was when he started going out with the much younger Calista Flockhart in 2002. The two – who are parents to her adopted son, Liam – made their partnership legal in June last year in Santa Fe, where he was filming Cowboys & Aliens.

Ford's forceful personality and obvious intelligence came through a couple of times during this interview held at the media event for Cowboys & Aliens in Missoula, Montana, in the United States. Ford stars in the sci-fi Western alongside Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde.

Pose a simple question to him, like why moviegoers are still fascinated by cowboys, and you'll get more than you bargained for.

"Well, I think America is a country that was formed at a point in civilisation when we needed to have a story for ourselves. We needed to tell ourselves what we represented to the rest of the world ... we had to create our own mythology. It was less invested in religion and more invested in taking from the land to create richness and opportunity. That manifested itself as an ideology and destiny of the United States – to just stretch from sea to shining sea. Bull****. There were people here already. What about their destiny? 'Oh it doesn't matter. Get out of here!'

"That's certainly part of America's ethos. It's complex. I am not denying good things have happened, as well as bad things. This is a country that's always told itself truths and half-truths. Maybe every other country does, I don't know, I don't consider myself a historian. But the mythology of the frontier, the mythology of good brave men going out and being self-reliant, being bold, being courageous is the mythology of the Western, and it's a powerful concept for the people. (But) it's been refined to a certain simplicity that leaves out other things."

If anyone else said that, they'd be in trouble right now.

Ford may have aged somewhat, but he obviously has a sharp mind and is healthier than we'd imagine an-almost septuagenarian. Maybe it's because he dabbles in carpentry and is a licensed private pilot. He also owns a ranch in Jackson, Wyoming (half of which he has donated as a nature reserve), where he keeps his horses. The most recent purchases were the horses he and Craig used in the film Cowboys & Aliens.

Director Jon Favreau remembers that he felt intimidated when he first hung out with Ford. That, however, changed when he realised that Ford is an actor who wants to be involved in the process of storytelling every step of the way.

Favreau said: "He's very taciturn and measured. He's been one of the most famous people in the world for 30 years. Yet he's found a way to stay balanced. He does a lot of charity work. He's very engaged with his family. He concentrates on the small stuff, which I think makes him a normal, cool guy.

"But he's also very passionate about storytelling and the work, which is really refreshing because he's somebody who's arguably made enough money not to care anymore, but he really cares."

Meanwhile rising movie star Wilde is obviously in awe at how Ford has never let his Hollywood persona affect his personal life.

She said: "He has a life and an identity beyond acting. Harrison is a family man, a carpenter, horseback rider and also does a lot of philanthropic work. He is grounded enough to be able to portray different characters in a more interesting way. I've learned from him that you have to continue to develop who you are beyond your characters. And if acting doesn't work out for him – which is highly unlikely – he would be just as happy. I mean you really get that from Harrison. He could be a carpenter, he could be just working in a shed and he'd be the same guy."

Ford admitted that he never goes to the movies. Though he loves the process of making movies and acquiring skills to make him useful in a role, he is not crazy about spending too much time thinking about them. All he wants is to continue "to do good work with good people".

"I want to be surprised by what comes along and the opportunities that I have. Listen, at my age, I am happy to be still working at all."

Cowboys & Aliens is now showing in cinemas nationwide.

Related Story:
Ford's finest

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The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Lone woman candidate is new Kg Baru Pandamaran village chief

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 08:30 AM PDT

KLANG: The lone woman candidate is the new Kampung Baru Pandamaran village chief.

Former Klang municipal councillor Low See Mee, 55, beat five other candidates by amassing 1,076 votes in the village polls on Sunday.

Another former Klang municipal councillor, Tee Boon Hock, came close when he garnered 835 votes.

The other four candidates lost their deposit of RM500 each when they failed to receive a minimum of one-eighth of votes.

The election on Sunday was part of a three-village pilot project to get villagers to elect their own chiefs.

Village chiefs are usually appointed by the state.

More in The Star on Monday

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Drug trafficker shot dead in gun battle with police

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 04:25 AM PDT

KAJANG: A drug trafficker met a bloody end when he was killed in a gun battle with the police, following a three-hour stand-off in Balakong near here early Sunday.

Despite an order to surrender, the defiant 34-year-old threw caution to the wind and took on a waiting team of policemen, firing seven shots in their direction.

The police returned fire, killing the gunman on the spot in the incident in Taman Impian about 1am.

The dead man's six accomplices, including two women, who were aged between 22 and 47, surrendered to the police outside the house to facilitate investigations under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which carries the death penalty upon conviction.

Kajang police chief Assistant Commissioner Abdul Rashid Abdul Wahab said the police seized a semi-automatic Glock pistol, .22mm revolver and a toy pistol in the premises.

More in The Star on Monday

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Nicol David wins Australian Open

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 01:52 AM PDT

CANBERRA: Malaysia's squash queen Datuk Nicol David scalped England's Jenny Duncalf in straight games here Sunday, to claim the Australian Open title in her first attempt.

Displaying brillance, she outclassed Duncalf 11-8, 11-4, 11-6 to ensure her name is added to the Heather McKay Trophy, alongside some of the greatest players the game has ever known.

The world number one took control from the first game when she took a 6-1 lead, and although Duncalf fought back to level terms, she was always playing catch-up and Nicol closed out the opener with a drive deep into the back corner.

Nicol, who is coached by Australia's Liz Irving, opened another early lead in the second and this time, Duncalf was unable to peg it back, the Malaysian wrapping the game up when she was awarded a stroke by the referees.

Duncalf had a better start to the third but at 4-4, Nicol again broke clear and the end was inevitable, the world number one smashing a backhand cross-court deep into the corner, leaving Duncalf swinging at air.

"You just know this Australian Open has so much history," said the 27-year-old from Penang.

"With all those big names on that trophy, you just know you want to get that title, as well, and I'm really pleased to win it. I knew that today was going to be a tough final, she knows my game really well and we play each other a lot.

"I really had to stay consistent in there, I was moving well, I focussed well and I just stayed on my game."

Nicol said her good starts to the first two games had given her a big advantage.

"Knowing I was watching the ball well, I could move well and I had to give her no time to play her shots, because she is so dangerous when she has time," she added.

"I was trying to keep the ball going and not make any errors."

Duncalf conceded her slow start had cost her dearly. "You're always playing catch-up. Especially the first, it ended up being pretty close, so those few points make a difference," she said.

"She gets everything back, against Nicol you've almost got to play a run of winners because in the actual rallies, she picks up most shots, which you've got to try and let not frustrate you.

"She's a great mover and a great retriever which makes it quite difficult, but you've still got to be positive and take it in when you can." - Bernama

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


Posted: 14 Aug 2011 02:13 AM PDT

FOR the week ending Aug 7, 2011:


1. A Doctor In The House: The Memoirs Of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

2. Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going by Han Fook Kwang et al

3. Einstein: The Life And Times by Ronald W. Clark

4. Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo & Lynn Vincent

5. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

6. Area 51: An Uncensored History Of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen

7. Brain Rules: 12 Principles For Surviving And Thriving At Work, Home, And School by John Medina

8. The Shadow Effect: Illuminating The Hidden Power Of Your True Self by Deepak Chopra, et al

9. I Am: The Power Of Discovering Who You Really Are by Howard Falco

10. Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice In The Dock ( updated edition) by Alan Shadrake


1. Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

2. Insatiable: The Stakes Have Never Been Higher by Meg Cabot

3. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

4. Fall Of Giants by Ken Follett

5. Love Always by Harriet Evans

6. The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

7. Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham

8. The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

9. Luka And The Fire Of Life by Salman Rushdie

10. The Abduction (Theodore Boone #2) by John Grisham

Weekly list compiled by MPH Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur; www.mphonline.com.

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The eternal search for identity

Posted: 14 Aug 2011 02:11 AM PDT

Reinventing yourself in a dystopian future ain't easy!

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books, 487 pages, ISBN: 978-0062084323) is set in a world – a future or alternate version of Chicago – that is divided into factions, each one ruled by a particular human quality. There's Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. In your 16th year of life you have to choose which faction you want to belong to and your choice is supposed to be guided by your personality.

Beatrice Prior has grown up in the Abnegation faction, raised by her parents to always put others first. But the compulsory aptitude test taken on the eve of the Choosing Ceremony reveals that she is suited not to just one faction, but three. Those with such results are rare and they are called Divergent. The woman in charge of testing Beatrice makes her promise to keep her unusual results a secret – for her own safety.

The results of the aptitude tests are meant to help 16-year-olds decide on their faction, but Beatrice keeps telling herself that her decision shouldn't be influenced by anything other than loyalty to her family. Nevertheless, at the choosing ceremony, her brother's decision to switch factions spurs Beatrice to choose to leave her parents and join Dauntless.

Divergent is one of the many recently published young adult (YA) books that are set in dystopian worlds. The huge success of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy probably encouraged more dystopian fiction to be published but it's by no means a new publishing trend, or fad. Dystopian fiction has always been popular with and compelling to readers of all ages.

I can see the appeal of these stories to teenagers. Common themes in YA dystopian fiction are the search for identity, and challenging authority and the status quo. Indeed, they are themes found in most teenage fiction no matter the genre.

Identity is a big thing with teens. Your teenage years are spent hating yourself, finding yourself, denying yourself, trying to be someone you're not, trying not to acknowledge who you really are. This continues, as far as I can remember, until your late 20s.

Adolescents also spend a lot of time and energy imagining that everyone who has authority over them is out to get them. These are the "I didn't ask to be born", "You're ruining my life" and "Stop controlling me" years. A lot of doors are slammed during this phase of life. It's no wonder that there's the need to escape into fiction that often details the bloody slaughter of those in power!

Having chosen Dauntless, Beatrice must survive initiation into this bold faction whose members sometimes seem to not only be brave but also possess a death wish. In an effort to start anew, she changes her name to Tris and allows one of her new friends, another transfer (from Candor), to give her a makeover. These are merely symbolic gestures. The real adjustment is the struggle to let go of everything she's learnt while growing up in Abnegation, and to reinvent herself from the inside out: Tris' beliefs, attitudes, instincts and responses must be shaped to fit her new identity as a one of the Dauntless.

Of course, this proves difficult, especially as Tris has shown that she is also suited to the Erudite and her home faction, Abnegation. With her struggle to conform to just one human quality, I expect Tris to start questioning the need for anyone to restrict themselves to being just one kind of person.

I am only at chapter nine of the book and I plan to take my time because I'm rather enjoying myself. Tris' switch from Abnegation to Dauntless is quite an extreme one and I look forward to some interesting developments as she continues to explore her newfound freedom and tentatively allow herself to enjoy sensations, emotions and thoughts not allowed before.

The warning to keep her Divergent status a secret is obviously significant to how the plot progresses and Tris develops. I'm pretty certain that there are big changes ahead for Tris's world and it won't stop here. According to her website, Roth has completed the draft of the sequel, Insurgent. And, yes, it's a trilogy, so I wonder what the third book will be called. Answers on a postcard, but my money is on Emergent or Resurgent.

I can't guarantee that I'll get to the end of this book and recommend it wholeheartedly, or that I'll read books two and three. All I can say is, I'm a quarter way through Divergent and I want to keep reading.

> Daphne Lee reads to wonder and wander, be amazed and amused, horrified and heartened and inspired and comforted. She wishes more people will try it too. Send e-mails to the above address and check out her blog at daphne.blogs.com/books.

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