Selasa, 16 Ogos 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Venezuela mulls moving reserves to China, other nations

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 09:15 PM PDT

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may transfer billions of international reserves from Europe and the United States into banks in nations like China, Russia and Brazil, an opposition lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Julio Montoya said in an interview with Globovision television that he had obtained documents signed by Venezuela's finance minister and central bank chief revealing plans to move about $6 billion in cash into the emerging market countries, which are more friendly to Chavez's socialist policies.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is seen at a cabinet meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas August 1, 2011. Chavez may transfer billions of international reserves from Europe and the United States into banks in nations like China, Russia and Brazil, an opposition lawmaker said on Tuesday. (REUTERS/Miraflores Palace/Handout)

The initiative would also transfer $11 billion worth of gold reserves from various banks abroad to the Venezuelan central bank, Montoya said.

Chavez has not authorized the plan, he said, and demanded an explanation for what critics and analysts called a foolhardy idea.

"He isn't the owner of the international reserves, nor of Venezuela's gold or dollars," Montoya said.

In recent comments, Chavez has talked about ending the "dictatorship of the dollar" and the need for an alternative monetary system.

Despite strained global confidence in the U.S. economy, most countries still see the dollar as the safest reserve currency.

Montoya said the opposition suspects that China and others had requested the reserves transfer to guarantee massive loans they have granted to Chavez over the years.

The Venezuelan government has not commented on Montoya's allegations.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; editing by Chris Wilson)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Mekong dolphins on brink of extinction - WWF

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 09:15 PM PDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Irrawaddy dolphin population in the Mekong River numbers roughly 85, with the survival of new calves very low, suggesting they are at high risk of extinction, environmental group WWF said on Wednesday.

The Irrawaddy dolphins live in a 190 km (118 mile) section of the Mekong between Kratie, Cambodia and the Khone Falls, which are on the border with Laos.

An Irrawaddy dolphin, also known as the Mekong dolphin, swims in the river at Kampi village in Kratie province, 230 km northeast of Cambodia, March 25, 2007. (REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea/Files)

Fishing gear, especially gill nets, and illegal fishing methods involving explosions, poison and electricity all appear to be taking a toll, with surveys conducted from 2007 to 2010 showing the dolphin population slowly declining, the WWF added.

"Evidence is strong that very few young animals survive to adulthood, as older dolphins die off and are not replaced," said Li Lifeng, director of WWR's Freshwater Programme, in a statement.

"This tiny population is at risk by its small size alone. With the added pressure of gill net entanglement and high calf mortality, we are really worried for the future of dolphins."

Research also shows that the population of dolphins in a small transboundary pool on the Cambodia-Laos border may be as few as 7 or 8, the WWF added, despite the fact that Irrawaddy dolphins are protected by law in both nations.

The group called on Cambodia to establish a clear legal framework to protect dolphins, including steps such as banning gill nets if needed.

"Our best chance of saving this iconic species from extinction in the Mekong River is through joint conservation action," Li said.

Dolphins once ranged from the Mekong delta in Vietnam up through the Tonle Sap in Cambodia, and then up tributaries into Laos, but shot by soldiers and harvested for oil in the past.

Irrawaddy dolphins are found in coastal areas in South and Southeast Asia, and in three rivers: the Mekong, the Ayeyarwady in Myanmar, and the Mahakam in Indonesian Borneo.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; editing by Miral Fahmy)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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On bus tour, Obama shifts blame to Republicans

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 07:44 PM PDT

PEOSTA, Iowa (Reuters) - President Barack Obama sought on Tuesday to turn voter anger over the economy toward Republicans in the U.S. Congress as he courted rural Americans in a campaign-style bus tour through a key election state.

U.S. President Barack Obama eats an ice cream at DeWitt Dairy Treats in DeWitt, Iowa, August 16, 2011. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Obama announced steps -- including a $350 million plan for rural businesses -- to boost hiring in farm communities, his latest effort to fight an unemployment rate stuck at over 9 percent despite earlier White House job initiatives.

The Democratic president portrayed Republicans as blocking measures that could help mend the economy.

"We could do even more if Congress is willing to get in the game," he said, referring to job-creation measures he is pushing for in free trade, payroll taxes and road construction.

"The only thing that is holding us back is our politics. The only thing that is preventing us from passing the bills I just mentioned is the refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party, and that has to stop," Obama said. "Our economy can't afford it."

As he spoke, Texas Governor Rick Perry was a few miles to the north in Dubuque, Iowa, campaigning for the Republican nomination to run against Obama next year.

Together with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Perry has emerged as one of the leading candidates to challenge Obama in 2012.

Obama's re-election, seen by commentators as highly probable several months ago, now faces a tougher climb because of the persistently high U.S. unemployment rate despite his big spending and stimulus programs.

Public approval of Congress has also sunk to record lows in recent polls. The president is taking every chance to distance himself from anger about political gridlock in Washington, where Republicans and Democrats fought bitterly about raising the debt ceiling and narrowly averted default this month.


Obama began his three-day road trip in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois -- states he won in the 2008 election -- on Monday to press his case for the need to stoke job creation nationwide.

He has since traveled more than 300 miles (500 km) through backroads of the rural Midwest on a $1.1 million, jet-black bus with blacked-out windows and flashing police lights that stood out sharply against bucolic towns and expansive farmlands.

The slow-rolling journey exposed the president to voters who, polls suggest, are furious about the Washington impasse that prompted a U.S. credit rating downgrade by Standard & Poor's.

Although he was challenged by Tea Party supporters on Monday, the crowds Obama has faced so far have been mainly friendly. Many have urged him to take a tougher line against the Republicans and push forward policies to help the economy.

Obama acknowledged on Tuesday the government had a limited role to play in the economy, and in some cases did things that were "boneheaded," but stressed there were steps Washington could take to help businesses regain confidence and momentum.

"The prime driver of economic growth and jobs is going to be our people and the private sector and our businesses. But you know what? Government can help. Government can make a difference," he said.

Obama intends to put forward a specific plan for economic growth when Congress returns from recess in September.

But his options may be limited by a divided Congress, where Republicans control the House of Representatives and oppose any significant spending measures to stimulate growth. Democrats control the Senate.

He spent much of Tuesday at a rural economic forum in Iowa where he unveiled $350 million in funding for small businesses over 5 years -- not the big plan to be presented to Congress.

After taking part in brainstorming sessions with farmers, small business owners and local officials, Obama said he was glad to discuss policy options in a venue where "I had no idea who was Democrat, who was Republican, who was independent."

"In Washington, you'd think that the only two ways of thinking about our problems is either government is terrible and it has to be basically eliminated, or government is the answer to every problem," he said.

(Additional reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Laura MacInnis in Washington; editing by Philip Barbara)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'America's Got Talent' is summertime TV choice

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 07:11 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Summertime is for cutting yourself some slack, whether that means reading potboilers poolside or testing the limits of fried food at county fairs.

Television has its own seasonal playlist, mostly dominated by reality shows and topped by "America's Got Talent," the NBC contest that takes an expansive view of achievement.

Yes, angelic-voiced Jackie Evancho, 11, was a star last season on "AGT" (the efficient nickname used by its producers and NBC). But the show, airing Tuesdays and Wednesdays and hosted by Nick Cannon, welcomes much more than elegant child sopranos.

There's a wide variety of singers as well as dancers, the stuff of other TV contests. Then add contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists and "danger acts," the injury-defying sort that push "AGT" onto vaudeville turf. "For me, each year it's about giving the audience acts that others don't feature. We want different singers than 'American Idol' and 'X Factor,"' said the show's executive producer, Cecile Frot-Coutaz. "And we want young, cool variety acts that people talk about."

The attempts to be different aren't always pretty. "Whether it's 'AGT' or not, it's amazing what somebody will do to garner fame," said Howie Mandel, who judges the show with Sharon Osbourne and Piers Morgan. "It's probably more apparent in our audition rounds where it goes everywhere from brilliance to insanity."

This season, the mix has included a talking bird act, male pole dancer, BMX stunt team and a man who played a game of elimination by throwing himself on a series of boxes. One of them held a knife. Contestants who successfully tried out on YouTube, one of the "AGT" audition options, include preteen singing group Avery and the Calico Hearts, juggler Charles Peachock and the West Springfield Dance Team, all performing on this week's wild-card competition. Presenting a jumble of entertainment is vintage show business but a TV rarity these days: "We're the only show that offers this," Mandel said. "America's Got Talent" is hitting a ratings high in its sixth year, both among total viewers and advertiser-favored young adults, according to Nielsen Co. The Tuesday episodes are up 22 percent compared to last year, drawing an audience of 14.6 million, while Wednesdays are averaging 12 million, a 12 percent increase over 2010.

As with other TV vocal contests that offer established singers a promotional platform, "AGT" attracts a fair share of pop stars. Past performers include Stevie Nicks, Jason Derulo and Maroon 5, with Colbie Caillat appearing on Wednesday's show.

High-brow types inclined to complain about its cultural impact might consider this: A concert film that includes Evancho is being used to help raise funds for PBS stations, which air the "Masterpiece" and "Nova" series and other counterpoints to "America's Got Talent." Morgan puts the NBC show in the context of his native Britain's pop culture, recalling offbeat summer variety shows held by seaside towns and dubbed "End of the Pier." "It reminds me of 'AGT': You never know what's going to happen," said Morgan, who is also a CNN host.

That element of surprise extends to the judges, particularly Morgan and Mandel, who engage in regular on-screen sparring. They could be following the model that Simon Cowell, creator of "AGT" and the original "Britain's Got Talent," built with Paula Abdul on "American Idol."

But unlike Cowell and Abdul, who are reuniting as judges on Cowell's "The X Factor" and admit to a mutual fondness, Morgan and Madel seem to genuinely irritate each other. When Mandel joined the series last year and showed his fondness for silly acts, he said, Morgan started calling him "annoying, a half-wit," Mandel recalled. "Now he's not lying. I will do anything to annoy him."

Responds Morgan: "He does annoy the hell out of me. He's as annoying off-screen as on-screen."

(Morgan has other off-screen issues. His past as a London tabloid editor has put him in the spotlight of the U.K. scandal centered on Rupert Murdoch's News of the World. Morgan, who briefly edited the paper before moving to the rival Daily Mirror, has denied any involvement or knowledge of illegal phone hacking.)

Osbourne is no shrinking violet but keeps her focus on the contestants. After all, she says, she and her rock-star husband were "AGT" fans before she became a judge.

"The first season of the show, Ozzy and I were totally addicted to it. We were doing Ozzfest (the music tour) and we'd record it and watch it traveling," she said. "It was just so different. It was funny, it was exciting and we really got addicted to it."

The semifinals start Aug. 23, and Osbourne would like to see one of the more offbeat acts eventually take the $1 million prize. "If a singer wins we're like every other talent show on TV," Osbourne said.

Not yet. The season-two winner, ventriloquist Terry Fator of Dallas, signed a five-year, $100 million dollar Las Vegas headliner deal. And a finalist from last year, Recycled Percussion, a band that uses a hodgepodge of buckets and other noise-making tools, signed its own Vegas casino show deal.

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The Princess’s Man holds promise

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 04:43 PM PDT

A pall of doom overshadows the entire story of The Princess's Man.

THIS writer is not particularly fond of shows that hint of a tragedy at the very start of the show. I prefer to be lulled and eased into a story, instead of being thumped on the head with a "this will end badly" montage.

(And since The Princess's Man is based on actual historical events and characters, those familiar with Korean history will know for certain that this, indeed, does not end well for some parties.)

This is how The Princess's Man begins. It takes place in Korea's turbulent past, where factions in the Korean kingdom are vying for power in the wake of the King's failing health.

Young nobleman Kim Seung Yoo (Park Shi Hoo) is racing across the dark countryside on horseback, running away from his captors who have actually let him go on purpose.

Seung Yoo doesn't realise that he is leading his enemies to his father, Kim Jong Seo (Lee Soon Jae), an important court official that has been accused of treason by the King. When he does arrive at his father's hiding place, his enemies – men of Prince Suyang – barge in with swords drawn. But his attempts to protect his father proves to be in vain as he is not only badly injured but his father is slain before his very eyes.

Then, we flashback to a year ago during happier times; Seung Yoo had less pressing concerns then.

He was often drunk and a regular client of gisaengs (the Korean equivalent of geishas), much to the disapproval of his world-weary father.

But one day, he is summoned to the palace to tutor the strong-willed and beautiful Princess Kyung Hye, who scares her tutors so much that no one is willing to teach her. The Princess isn't interested in chasing away another tutor, so she concocts a plan with her lady in waiting, Se Ryung (Moon Chae Won), Prince Suyang's eldest daughter. She tells Se Ryung to put on her royal garments and pretend to be her.

Se Ryung's first encounter with Seung Yoo was an eventful one. Seung Yoo, aware of Kyung Hye's many tricks, boldly raises the screen which separates them and warns her of chasing him away with her wiles. Se Ryung, on the other hand, points out the lipstick stain on his neck and chides him for being a vulgar man.

So begins the two star-crossed lovers' journey. Park, in his first leading role in a sageuk (Korean historical costumed drama), was charming and mysterious in Prosecutor Princess. As Seung Yoo he is mostly charming, with a sly and confident streak that plays off Moon's spunky, if typically opinionated, noblewoman.

However, thanks to what we saw in the beginning, we know that things are not going to be easy for our lovebirds. (And with the producers describing it as a "Romeo and Juliet" story, it doesn't seem the lovers will have a happy ending either.)

The first few episodes are mostly light-hearted, but because of the pall of doom that overshadows the entire story, the humour is tinged with tragedy. And depending on whether you're in the mood for tears, this may turn you off or draw you in.

But I can see that this sageuk has lots of potential. For one, it is handsomely shot and there's careful attention to costumes and sets so everything looks very authentic. The action scenes are convincing, and the characters compelling enough, and the story layered and deep.

Perhaps, too deep. While I do enjoy Seung Yoo and Se Ryung's romantic dance, I find myself zoning out as their elders – mostly the King, Suyang and Jong Seo – plot and scheme to ensure their political survival. The scenes weigh the already heavy drama down further, and it's somewhat disorienting to bounce from these scenes to the lighter, happier interactions between Seung Yoo and Se Ryung.

Still, the political scheming has a point, nevertheless. As Seung Yoo and Se Ryung flirt innocently with each other, they are actually being used as pawns by their fathers.

I do appreciate how the writers paint the villains in a more "realistic" light. They are not the way they are because they are evil, but because they are merely trying to survive.

Prince Suyang is largely a doting father and family man, and says at one point that he has to make his move first to ensure that the future king would not execute his family, which many in the court consider a threat or a real contender to the throne. While his methods are far from admirable, one can understand the motivation behind it.

Another plus point of The Princess's Man is its length. While many sageuks are unnecessarily long – like Jumong, which stretched to 81 episodes – The Princess's Man is expected to have only 24 episodes. Unless, of course, Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) decides to extend the number of episodes due to good ratings.

For those adverse to tragedies, here's a glimmer of hope. Although based on real history, there is still a possibility that Seung Yoo and Se Ryung's fate may be more pleasant than we think, comparisons to Romeo and Juliet, notwithstanding. History doesn't always report everything (or the truth), and who knows, maybe Seung Yoo and Se Ryung manage to survive against all the odds and to live their lives in peace, undetected by historical scribes.

The Princess's Man airs every Wednesday and Thursday at 9.03pm on KBS World (Astro Ch 391).

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'Teen Wolf' lead star is ready to howl

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 01:30 AM PDT

HOLLYWOOD (MCT): All of his life actor Tyler Posey has been hyperactive. He thinks that's one reason he was able to work nine-hour days as a nine-year old kid and still squeeze in the required schooling on the set.

All that excessive energy is going to come in handy as Posey assumes the role of Scott McCall in Teen Wolf, MTV's slick new thriller series that's currently showing on Astro's AXN Beyond HD (channel 720).

Posey, 19, has been acting since he was six. He entered the business because of his dad, John Posey, a journeyman actor. It may be the wisdom of his dad that makes Tyler so comfortable in a business fraught with disappointment. "I don't really get deterred," he says sitting on the edge of a couch in a hotel room here. "I go on so many auditions and get maybe 1 percent of the things I go in on. It's insane, but that's the business. It's all I've known for the past 14 years of my life."

He says he never becomes so discouraged that he wants to stop. "I don't think of it like that. I did my best work. I know I'm a good actor and everything happens for a reason. I didn't get the project for a reason. I don't know, I guess it's OK with me, unless it's a project I really, really wanted. Then it's 'OK, that really sucks.' If I didn't get Teen Wolf I would've been bummed, but there would've been something else that would've caught my eye."

Posey's ADHD was a problem in school. "I wasn't a bad kid, never been in a fight. I wasn't the best in school. I think I was in school just to hang out with my friends. I didn't care about the curriculum. I didn't care about any of that. Which is bad," he pauses, and speaking louder, he says, "Kids, stay in school, PLEASE.'

"When I say I didn't try, there was a point when I did try. It just didn't click with me. I think I'm ADD, that's why. I would really try and just get these bad grades and I remember I would go home and be so bummed I would cry sometimes ... I just don't get it. And even though I had a lot of fun in high school you grow up, it's hard being a teenager. It's hard, you know?"

There was a time when his fascination with acting dimmed. "When I got into high school I started getting out of acting a little bit and wanted to be more with my friends. I was going through a rebellious stage. I was a young teenager and really just wanted to focus mostly on my friends. So I had this moment where I stepped out of acting for a while and really got to look at what a great thing it really is. Ever since then I renewed my passion for it, and it's just 110 percent now, so it's all I want to do, but I also have a band which is another thing I want to do."

As a kid he was shy about his avocation. "I didn't want my friends to know what I did. I didn't want my friends talking about it. I hated being recognized on the street. When anyone would recognize me, I'd say, 'No, it's not me. I just look like that kid.' "

It's different now. "I own up to everything. I don't know what it was, I was immature. I was pretty shy. I grew up on the set and hung out with adults, so I matured a lot quicker than the other kids. I was shy around my friends. It was weird. I think I was more mature than them and they were just kind of annoying I thought. I grew out of that when I was a junior."

The audition for Teen Wolf was the first lead role he'd ever tried out for. He mustered through two auditions when he was called for a third. "The whole MTV was in the room. The audition process was six hours long, but it was awesome," he says. "It was definitely the longest, definitely the most fun ... That same day I was almost late to the airport because I had to go shoot a movie in Louisiana. On the way to the airport I got a call from my agent. She said, 'Tyler, oh, I'm sorry ... you got it!' 'Yeeess," he shakes his fists.

Teen Wolf is not just a spooky adventure, it's also a romance. Posey admits he's performed many onscreen kisses. "My first one was right when I got back into acting, at 17, I was on a TV show called Lincoln Heights and played Rhyon Brown's boyfriend. ... I wasn't embarrassed at all. I thought, 'Am I cool? Now all these people can watch me kiss.' Now I'm proud of everything I do, before I was so ashamed and that's completely gone. I just feel so good and it's almost like a rebirth ... It's a perfect example: if you have a dream, go do it."

In Teen Wolf Posey plays Crystal Reed's boyfriend. Counting the scenes that had to be reshot, Posey figures they've kissed over 200 times. "It's definitely good practice," he laughs.

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The Star Online: Sports

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Malaysia set a top eight target for world team squash tourney

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 05:29 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia have only targeted a top eight finish in the upcoming Men's World Team Squash Championship from August 21-27 in Paderborn, Germany.

The Malaysian team of Mohd Azlan Iskandar, Ong Beng Hee, Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and debutant Kamran Khan (pic) are seeded fifth for the tournament and are drawn in Pool E together with 12th seeds Pakistan, Denmark and Austria.

At the last world team meet in Odense, Denmark in 2009, Malaysia finished a disastrous ninth and this time around the team will be out to make amends.

"Our target is obviously to avoid finishing ninth again and a top eight finish will be a good result," said national coach Allan Soyza.

"But we still need to be cautious and take it one match at a time, especially against Pakistan who have the potential to cause upsets."

Pakistan are represented by Malaysian Open runner–up Aamir Atlas Khan, Yasir Butt, Waqar Mehboob and Danish Atlas Khan.

The last time Malaysia met Pakistan was during the final of the Guangzhou Asian Games last year when Pakistan won 2-0 as Beng Hee was suffering from food poisoning.

"Although we are seeded fifth, it all depends on the performance on the day as Azlan is still short of match fitness while their No. 2 player, Yasir has the potential to trouble Beng Hee," said Allan.

Meanwhile, debutant Kamran Khan, who is now the national No. 4, may see precious court time against the likes of Denmark or Austria.

"We chose Kamran for the world team meet because he has proven his worth by training hard to climb to No. 69 in the world and becoming the fourth ranked player in the country is testimonial of that," said Squash Racquets Association Malaysia secretary general and general manager Christopher Brodie.

"He made an impression during the World Cup earlier in January and he has shown that he can be a good team player, which was why we picked him," added Christopher.

England, the 2009 runners-up are the top seeds for the championship while defending champions Egypt led by world No. 2 Ramy Ashour are seeded second.

England have picked a strong squad, with world No.1 Nick Matthew leading the team together with James Wilstrop (No. 4), Peter Barker (No. 7) and Darryl Selby (No. 11) and are looking good to reclaim the title they last won in 2007.

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National side to bank on Faizal and Izwan for goals in China

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 05:29 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Faizal Saari (pic) and Izwan Firdaus will be the lethal weapons up front for Malaysia in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy at the Ordos Hockey Stadium in China from Sept 3-11.

Experienced forward Tengku Ahmad Taijuddin did not feature in the five friendly matches against Japan in Bukit Jalil because of a hamstring injury he suffered in the Razak Cup tournament in Malacca on July 28.

However, the pint-sized Faizal of Terengganu and Penang's lanky Izwan have combined well and each scored four goals in the five friendlies.

Izwan was the top scorer in Division One of the Razak Cup tournament with seven goals.

Malaysia ended the five-match friendly with two wins, a draw and two defeats. They scored 11 goals and conceded nine in the five matches.

The 20-year-old Faizal, who played for Southern Hotshots in the Australian Hockey League (AHL) last month, said that he was satisfied with his scoring percentage in the friendlies.

"Although Tengku Ahmad did not play in the friendlies because of his injury, I combined well with Izwan to score eight field goals, especially as it is the fasting month," said Faizal.

"We did not have the energy because we were fasting, otherwise we could have scored more field goals.

"But what is important is that we have improved our scoring prowess and that is a good sign in our preparation for the Champions Trophy," said Faizal, who came down with cramps during the last and fifth friendly on Sunday which ended 2-2.

Faizal said that the cramps were just a minor setback and a few days rest will do for him to get back to training by Friday.

"My mission in China is to give my best and score in almost every match," said Faizal, who has 58 international caps to his credit.

Six teams will feature in the Champions Trophy and Malaysia will open their campaign against Asian Games champions Pakistan on Sept 3.

Their other matches are against South Korea (Sept 4), China (Sept 6), India (Sept 7) before wrapping up their round-robin fixtures against Japan on Sept 9.

The final, third-fourth placing and fifth-sixth placing matches will be played on Sept 11.

Faizal's younger brother Fitri, a Project 2013 midfielder, was called up to join the national senior team Aug 5 and he scored a field goal on his debut during the fourth match against Japan.

Faizal, however, said that his brother Fitri would face a tough fight to win a place in the national team.

There are 25 players in the training squad and national coach Tai Beng Hai is expected to finalise the 18-player squad on Aug 26.

The players will take a break to celebrate Hari Raya on Aug 30 and 31 and then leave for China on Sept 1.

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Diver Jun Hoong misses out on a surprise bronze after finishing fourth

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 05:29 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian woman diver Cheong Jun Hoong just missed out on nicking a surprise medal for Malaysia in the 1m springboard event on the opening day of the World University Games (Universiade) diving competitions at Shenzhen Notatorium yesterday.

The 20-year-old pulled off the unexpected by making it to the top-eight final by topping her semi-final heat with 268.35 points.

In the final held in the evening, Jun Hoong gave her best shot to deliver the first medal for the Malaysian contingent as she stayed inside the top three after the first two attempts.

However, she slipped to fifth after only scoring 42.55 with her third dive.

Jun Hoong eventually settled for fourth with a total of 281.35 points, just slightly behind China's Chen Ye who claimed bronze with 283.30 points.

American diver Bryant Kelci snatched the silver with 304.00 points as Shi Tingmao, the world champion in the 1m springboard at the recent World Championships in Shanghai, claimed the gold with 320.65 points.

Jun Hoong had completed the preliminaries with the fourth highest marks of 257.90 points behind Kelci (259.80), Chen Ye (272.45) and Tingmao (317.90).

The American and the Chinese duo were placed in the stronger semi-final heat together with another Malaysian diver Leong Mun Yee, who also made the cut.

But Mun Yee later pulled out on the instructions of the coach, leaving Jun Hoong to fight it out alone.

Jun Hoong, the bronze medallist in the discipline at the Guangzhou Asian Games last year, was happy to put up a good performance.

"I came here not targeting a medal as I knew the standards of competition were almost the same as that of the world championships.

"Most of the divers who competed at the world meet in Shanghai stayed back to train in China as they were also involved in the Universiade.

"I just give my best in the final," said Jun Hoong, who still have the women's 3m springboard individual event to look forward to.

London Olympic-bound diver Bryan Nickson Lomas and Fakhrul Izzat will be the Malaysians in action in the men's 3m springboard individual today with reigning world and Olympic champion He Chong hotly favoured to take the gold.

Fakhrul partnered Ahmad Amsyar to finish 10th (300.03) in the men's springboard synchro final earlier.

Malaysia are still looking for their first medal after four days of competition with the divers and shooters, who will be starting their campaign tomorrow, seeming to be the best hopes.

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

US stocks fall on European economic, debt worries

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 05:49 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Worries about Europe's economic and debt problems sent stocks Tuesday to their first loss in four days.

The major indexes bounced up and down in another volatile day. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 120 points in the first half hour of trading after a report showed that Germany's economy stalled last quarter and dragged down growth for Europe.

The Dow recovered and had a slight advance at midday, but resumed its drop after the leaders of France and Germany tried to calm worries about Europe's debt problems by pushing for long-term political solutions. Investors were hoping for immediate financial measures like the introduction of a single bond jointly backed by the eurozone's members. The Dow fell as many as 190 points in the early afternoon before again recovering.

At the close, the Dow was down 76.97, or 0.7 percent, to 11,405.93.

It was the first time in seven trading days that the Dow rose or fell by less than 100 points.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 11.73, or 1 percent, to 1,192.76.

The Nasdaq composite fell 31.75, or 1.2 percent, to 2,523.45.

"The real question the market is trying to answer is: Are we going to have another recession or not?" said John Burke, head of Burke Financial Strategies with $200 million in assets under management. "Today, the answer is maybe yes, because it doesn't look like Europe has figured out a solution to its debt."

A proposal for a Europe-wide tax on financial transactions also hurt stocks, said Nick Kalivas, vice president at broker MF Global. "It's another slap in the face to the banking system" and would cut into profits and limit trading, he said. "The path toward economic growth still looks pretty uncertain."

The day's trading showed how critical economic developments about Europe have become to U.S. investors. But Tuesday's losses were moderate and pointed to some stability in the market after the selling that sent the S&P 500 down 17 percent from July 21 to last Wednesday.

In the U.S., economic reports Tuesday were mixed: Housing remains weak, but factory output rose last month at its fastest pace since an earthquake in Japan disrupted global manufacturing in March.

"Investors don't know which way to go here," said Paul Brigandi, senior vice president of Direxion Funds, which has about $7 billion in assets under management.

On one side, he said buying looks attractive because stocks are cheaper after the recent plunge.And more U.S. companies on Tuesday joined the stream of those that have reported earnings above analysts' expectations. But on the other side, selling looks appealing because of worries about the global economy and debt problems in the United States and Europe.

Prices for gold and Treasurys rose as money moved into investments considered safer. Oil fell on worries that a weaker economy will mean less demand for energy.

Fitch Ratings said Tuesday it will keep its credit rating on the United States at the top grade. Two of the three major credit-rating agencies now have stood by their AAA grade of U.S. debt. Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. on Aug. 5. That sent stocks on a volatile slide last week.

Europe's economy and debt troubles have been among global investors' main concerns over the last year and a half. On Tuesday, the European Union reported that economic growth in the 17 countries that use the euro slowed to 0.2 percent between April and June from 0.8 percent the previous quarter. Germany's growth fell to 0.1 percent from 1.3 percent.

That will make it even tougher for Spain and other countries to raise revenue. Some European countries have borrowed so much that they may need help repaying debt.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a "new economic government" for Europe and said all countries that use the euro should have mandatory balanced budgets and better coordination of economic policy. They also pledged to harmonize their corporate taxes to show they are "marching in lockstep" to protect the euro.

In the U.S., the government reported that homebuilders are still stuck in their years-long slump. They broke ground on new homes at an annual rate of 604,000 last month, according to the Commerce Department. That's down from 613,000 in June. In 2005, before the housing bubble burst, housing starts were typically above 2 million.

Manufacturing may be recovering. The Federal Reserve said industrial production rose 0.9 percent last month on a pickup at auto factories, utilities and mines. Manufacturing was one of the strongest industries after the recession ended in 2009, but its growth has slowed this year.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. rose 3.9 percent after it said net income rose 5.7 percent last quarter from a year ago on strong overseas sales. Earnings growth was stronger than analysts expected, and the world's largest retailer raised its profit forecast for the year.

Home Depot Inc. rose 5.3 percent after it said second-quarter net income rose 14 percent and raised its profit forecast.

Investors have largely ignored the strong earnings that companies have reported for the second quarter. Those in the S&P 500 index earned a record amount per share last quarter on an operating basis, which ignores one-time costs and other special items, according to S&P senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt.

Investors have been overwhelmed by the market's volatility, said Tim Holland, portfolio manager of the Aston/Tamro Diversified Equity fund. "When you have these big swings, people completely lose focus on companies and their results. They're paying more attention to the market than the companies that make up the market. The earnings season was good and better than expected."

Holland said companies also have healthier balance sheets than during the financial crisis of 2008. He has been buying stocks that are cheaper following the market's plunge. "We like to buy the best when they're depressed," he said.

Energy stocks in the S&P 500 fell 1.7 percent after oil fell $1.23 per barrel to settle at $86.65.

NYSE Euronext Inc. fell 8.4 percent for the biggest loss among stocks in the S&P 500 on worries that a possible European financial-transaction tax could hurt its profits.

Saks Inc. fell 4.6 percent after it said it's going into the fall season "a bit more cautiously." Its higher-income customers have been spending more, because they're more protected from the weak job market than middle-income Americans. But the volatile stock market could hurt wealthy shoppers' confidence.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent from 2.31 percent late Monday as investors moved into things considered safer. A bond's yield falls when its price rises. The 10-year yield fell to a record low of 2.03 percent last week.

Gold rose $27 per ounce to settle at $1,785. Last week, it rose above $1,800 for the first time.

Nearly three stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume at 4.5 billion was close to its average over the last year of 4.3 billion.

The Dow rose 213 points Monday after a series of acquisitions led by Google's $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility. Its rise of 763 points over three days was the Dow's biggest since November 2008, during the depths of the financial crisis.

On Wednesday stock markets in Australia and New Zealand have opened slightly higher following a subdued day of trading on Wall Street and in Europe.

Australia's benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 4.4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,251.7 in early morning trading on Wednesday.

New Zealand's NZX 50 was up 5 points, or 0.3 percent, at noon.

Stocks around the world lost their steam Tuesday after muted German growth figures reinforced fears over the global economy. - AP

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Oil falls on concern about German economy

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 05:42 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Oil fell Tuesday on renewed concerns about Europe's biggest economy.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery gave up $1.23 to finish at $86.65 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, which is used to price many international oil varieties, lost 71 cents to end at $109.13 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

Oil dropped early in the day after Germany said its economy nearly ground to a halt in the second quarter, growing only 0.1 percent from April to June. The report fell well below expectations and showed that Germany was not immune to the financial troubles plaguing its neighbors.

A downshift in Germany's economy raises a number of concerns among investors. As Europe's largest economy, Germany is the strongest member of the European Union. If Germany struggles, it could impact the EU's ability to support weaker countries with financial aid. That means European credit troubles could spread elsewhere.

Europe consumes more than 17 percent of the world's oil, so a slowdown could mean weaker global oil demand.

"If Europe weakens further, we could be talking about a recession in the eurozone," independent analyst Jim Ritterbusch said. "That means a stronger dollar, and when that happens, it's usually bearish for oil."

Oil, which is priced in U.S. currency, tends to fall as the dollar rises and makes crude more expensive for investors using foreign money.

The report on the German economic overshadowed news of resurgent factory output in the U.S. The Federal Reserve said that U.S. industrial production grew in July at the fastest rate of the year.

Meanwhile, drivers continue to pump less gas than a year ago. A weekly survey by MasterCard SpendingPulse showed that U.S. drivers have cut back on gasoline purchases for 21 consecutive weeks. SpendingPulse, which collects credit card data from thousands of stations around the country, said that drivers bought an average 386 million gallons per day last week, down 3.4 percent from the same period last year.

"We haven't had much of a summer driving season," said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service. Kloza said last week's turmoil on Wall Street may have rattled leisure travelers and cut down unnecessary driving.

"People feel miserable when they hear about high unemployment," he said. "They feel miserable when the stock market crashes, and they feel really miserable when they see gasoline prices near a dollar more than last year."

In other Nymex trading for September contracts, heating oil lost 1.15 cents to finish at $2.9326 per gallon and gasoline futures fell 2.07 cents to end the day at $2.8538 per gallon. Natural gas dropped 9.2 cents to $3.932 per 1,000 cubic feet. - AP

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Gold prices climb on mounting economic concerns

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 05:40 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Gold prices moved higher Tuesday as concerns deepened about the slowing European economy.

Economic growth in Germany and France barely budged in the second quarter, according to a new European Union report. That could hurt the broader economy across the 17 countries that use the euro.

The news reinforced concerns about demand for commodities in Europe, which also is dealing with sovereign debt problems in several countries.

Gold for December delivery rose $27 to finish at $1,785 an ounce. The price has risen about 10 percent since Aug. 1, when worries began to mount about slower economic growth in Europe and the U.S.

Investors buy gold because it's seen as a relatively stable asset to hold during uncertain economic times. It's also used as a hedge against currency movements and inflation.

MF Global senior market strategist Rich Ilczyszyn is one of the analysts who believes gold could reach $2,000 an ounce, unless the global economy stabilizes and there is a clearer picture about growth in the months ahead.

"It's perception and it's a fear-based trade and a very emotional trade if you will," he said of gold. "I think at some point cooler heads are going to prevail and you'll probably see traders go back into equities in some way."

Other metals were mixed on the day.

Platinum and palladium, which are used in automobile catalytic converters, rose after the Federal Reserve said factory production increased 0.9 percent in July, the biggest gain of the year. The auto industry accounted for most of the increase.

September palladium rose $10.15 to finish at $756.50 an ounce and October platinum gained $20.90 to end at $1,818.10 an ounce. September silver added 51.2 cents to end the day at $39.819 per ounce.

Copper, which is used in many construction materials, fell after the Commerce Department said July's new home construction dropped 1.5 percent from June to a seasonally adjusted 604,000 homes. September copper lost 3.8 cents to finish at $3.994 a pound.

Wheat prices rose on concerns that the Northern Plains spring wheat crop would fall short of expectations, Global Commodity Analytics & Consulting LLC President Mike Zuzolo said.

About 13 percent of the wheat in Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington had been harvested as of Friday, the U.S. Agriculture Department said. That compared with 31 percent at the same time last year.

About 66 percent of the crop was in good-to-excellent condition, compared with 82 percent a year ago, the agency said.

Wheat for September delivery added 12.25 cents to finish at $7.2475 a bushel, December corn rose 7.5 cents to $7.275 a bushel and November soybeans fell 1.75 cents to $13.495 a bushel.

Oil and other energy products were lower on concerns that demand may wane because of the slowing European economy.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery dropped $1.23 to finish at $86.65 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In other Nymex trading, heating oil lost 1.15 cents to finish at $2.9326 per gallon, gasoline futures dropped 2.07 cents to $2.8538 per gallon and natural gas fell 9.2 cents to finish at $3.932 per 1,000 cubic feet. - AP

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Sweet success for Steve Berry

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 12:29 AM PDT

Success came slowly but surely for bestselling American author, Steve Berry.

ALTHOUGH every new book of his appears on bestseller lists everywhere from Malaysia to New York, thriller writer Steve Berry likes to say that he does not know much about writing.

"But I'm an expert on rejection," the 56-year-old adds in his good-humoured drawl, on the phone from his home in St Augustine, Florida.

He explains that he wrote eight manuscripts and had his work dismissed 85 times in total before one story was picked up and published by Ballantine Books in 2002.

That novel was The Amber Room, a tale of art heists and war history. It was followed by nine others, all blending historical fact and heaps of imagination.

Seven of the books star Berry's popular character, Cotton Malone, a Copenhagen-based rare-book dealer. Berry describes him as an alter ego who gets to do things his creator has not had the chance to try, including firing guns and jumping out of planes. Both collect old books – Berry has more than 1,000 – have a son in his teens, and are "lousy with women", he jokes.

The latest in the Malone series, The Jefferson Key, is now available in major bookstores in Malaysia. A tale of modern-day piracy and old-school action, the book has had regular spots on The New York Times' bestseller list since it was published in May.

At first glance, it seems that Berry and his creation have a lot in common with thriller king Dan Brown and his fictional creation Robert Langdon, who is regularly embroiled in historical mystery. Asked about this, Berry responds humbly and happily.

"I'm fine with the comparison. I was a fan long before The Da Vinci Code," he says, of Brown's 2003 mega hit. "If it wasn't for Dan Brown and what he did by publishing The Da Vinci Code, I wouldn't be here. That book brought the thriller genre back to life."

In fact, he adds, if he sees a Brown book in a store window, he always pauses to pay his respects. "I stop and I bow. You must pay homage to the Da Vinci!" Like his hero Brown, Berry began writing in the 1990s, but it took him much longer to get published.

After graduating with a law degree from Mercer University in Georgia in the United States, he practised divorce law and, later, criminal law, married and raised a family. But in his 30s, he says, "a little voice in my head started telling me to write books".

So, every day he would write stories from dawn to breakfast, before either his first wife or three children got up.

"I was 35 years old when I wrote my first book. It was horrible. I wrote a second book – it was horrible. Then I wrote my third book," he pauses suggestively, "and it was also horrible!"

Finally, he joined a writers' group in nearby Jacksonville, an hour's drive away from his then home in Atlanta, Georgia, and the feedback he received over the next six years helped him polish his manuscripts enough for publication.

"I quit three times, but that little voice in your head keeps driving you and nags you and annoys you," he says.

Now he teaches writing to aspiring authors and the lesson always includes these words: never give up.

Berry spends up to 18 months on every novel and a third of the time is usually research. He reads extensively, consulting perhaps 300 sources for every book and also likes to travel to the locations his characters find themselves in.

He flew to Russia for The Amber Room and France for The Templar Legacy (2006), the first Cotton Malone book. While he failed to find time to head to China for last year's The Emperor's Tomb, he had "eyes and ears on the ground" and got regular reports from a friend who visited the country for three weeks.

The next Malone novel is slated for 2013, while Berry is now working on a standalone, which will star a disgraced newspaper reporter.

"Cotton called me on the phone and asked if he could have a year off," he says in explanation, though clearly it is he who needs the break!

He has no plans to do a John Grisham and write legal thrillers for a change of pace, saying: "I do not adhere to the philosophy that you should write what you know. Write what you love."

And what he loves is history. His fees from teaching and lecture tours are channelled into History Matters, a non-profit society he founded with his second wife, Elizabeth. They raise funds to preserve historical artefacts, whether art, writing or memorabilia. Most recently, they helped the Bridgeport History Centre raise funds to preserve 19th-century posters.

"History matters," says Berry. "Without knowing where we're coming from, we have no clue where we're going. History is critical in that regard." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

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Mining mum’s identity

Posted: 15 Aug 2011 04:09 PM PDT

A Korean author examines the mother-child relationship in her touching English language debut.

THERE'S a big difference between "mother" and "mum." "Mother" is someone to be respected, perhaps held at arm's length. But "mum" is an intimate name. It's the woman on the floor playing with her child, wisps of hair falling around her face, instead of the woman in the starched dress sitting in the parlour.

The distinction made all the difference for novelist Kyung-Sook Shin, whose book Please Look After Mom has made a splash in English language publishing world and is a bestseller in her native South Korea.

On a recent day in New York City, Shin discussed, through her translator, the popularity of the novel and its universal themes of mother and child, and the gradual realisation that all our mums actually have a life outside the family and are women with thoughts and desires.

The book centres on a modern-day family coping with grief when their mother, known only as "Mom", vanishes in a busy city train station. The story tracks the woman's disappearance through the eyes of her children, her husband and, ultimately, through her own words.

The first line reads: "It's been one week since Mom went missing."

As a teenager, Shin had taken the night train to Seoul with her mother and thought to herself that when she became a writer she would write an ode to her mum. Shin contemplated the book for years, thinking of the character as "Mother", but was unable to set anything on the page.

Then one day, the first line suddenly came to her, and the use of "mum" changed everything.

"It surprised me," she said. "Everything flowed very naturally ... as though a door had opened."

Shin is one of South Korea's most widely read and acclaimed authors. She was honoured with the Manhae Literature Prize, the Dong-in Literature Prize and the Yi Sang Literary Prize, as well as France's Prix de l'Inapercu. She had dreamed for years of becoming a writer and published her first work of fiction in a Korean literary journal at 22.

Shin grew up on a farm with many brothers and sisters. She was an avid reader, even though there weren't many books available.

"As my older brothers would borrow books and bring them into our house, I would read the books and find out about a world I didn't know," she said. "I would just take them away to into my space, and they would come look for me or the books."

She papered the windows of her room so that she could focus, reading entire anthologies, history books, whatever she could get her hands on.

"My mother was very happy to see me read," she said.

Most of the younger children out in the country were expected to help with farm work, she said, not become writers. And so, Shin went to Seoul to study, with her family's blessings. From the time she was 16 to age 30, she worked all sorts of jobs so she could write – editing at a publishing house, writing for a radio station, tutoring children.

"There was a kind of literary atmosphere that I was able to inhabit and I was able to kind of understand what it meant to be working with literature," she said.

When she was about to turn 30, she published a collection of short stories that sold 300,000 copies, the first time a collection had done so well in South Korea, she said, and everything changed. Since then, she has been writing full time, working on coming-of-age stories, historical novels and non-fiction. She has published seven novels, two non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

Please Look After Mom, her first book to appear in English, made its debut at No. 4 on The New York Times list of bestsellers and is now in its eighth printing. It will be published in 19 countries.

The book is richly imaginative, but also grounded in reality as the daughter, oldest son and husband take the reader through their guilt, fears and realisations about the mum and the sacrifices she made. Through them, a portrait is created of a woman whose identity is shaped almost entirely by her children, her secret thoughts and desires locked away.

As she wrote her book, the person Shin called most was her own mum.

"I used to think, as many people do, that my mother was born a mother. But through the process of writing I came to understand that she was born something else entirely and became a mother," she said.

Shin's English author, Robin Desser, said she was hooked from the first sentence. She worked with a translator to preserve Shin's voice and to tweak the text so readers would really grasp the story.

"You hope for the perfect balance between being true to the authenticity of the work, and having a translation that reads fluently," she said.

Desser said the differing points of view, and the universal theme of motherhood, made the book a natural for translation. It also has the bonus of showing English readers sociological changes occurring in South Korea.

"She uses specific imagery so powerfully and with great emotion, so you feel you are there," she said. "You are at once related to something, being delivered to your door and heart with so much grace."

And while reading it, readers can't help but think about their own mums and feel pangs of sadness, melancholy or nostalgia.

But Shin, currently a visiting scholar at New York's Columbia University, doesn't want us to feel guilt over the selfless acts of her story's mother and the self-absorbed children.

"I don't think that's a productive way of looking at mother-child relations," she said. "I'd like to think of it as a natural cycle that you get a mother's love and then you give that love to someone else. Through that progression, we can make good on that relationship." – AP

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The Star Online: Nation

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Home Ministry reprimands The Star over supplement​

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 07:33 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has reprimanded The Star over the publication of articles on non-halal restaurants with buka puasa stories in its "Dining Out" supplement.

He said the newspaper should be more sensitive on such matters and exercise extra care on issues related to race and religion.

"The mainstream media should be more responsible and try to avoid offending any community. They should know their limits and must not follow the style of online media," he said at a press conference at his ministry.

Hishammuddin met The Star executive director and group chief editor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai for 45 minutes to listen to the action taken by the daily to ensure that there would be no repeat of such errors.

Wong also met ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Mahmood Adam and deputy secretary-general (security) Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Radzi to explain the error and hand over the reply to the ministry's show-cause letter.

Wong said the newspaper had suspended its supplements editor and was conducting an internal inquiry chaired by former industrial court president Yussof Ahmad.

He said The Star sincerely apologised for the mistake and the daily had no intention to demean Islam and the Muslim community.

"We view the oversight in the supplement seriously and we will be taking stern action against all those responsible," he said.

Wong said the advertisement-driven "Dining Out" supplement on Aug 10 was meant to highlight all types of food outlets.

He said it was not a Ramadan supplement as the cover page heading "Ramadan delight" wrongly suggested.

"The Star published a Buka Puasa' supplement focusing exclusively on halal food on July 30," he said.

Wong said the daily was sensitive to the feelings of the various communities in the country and had conveyed the newspaper's apology to all Muslim readers regarding the regrettable oversight on Aug 12.

He said as a newspaper, The Star had been supportive of Muslim festivals by giving due prominence in all sections of the newspaper and correctly spreading the teachings of Islam as articulated by government and religious leaders.

Wong explained that on the first day of the holy month on Aug 1, The Star carried a front-page photograph of terawih prayers to inform readers on the start of the Ramadan fasting month.

"We are also the only newspaper in the country that promotes better understanding of Islam by publishing a column written by the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) every Tuesday.

"This column has been running since Feb 9, 1993," he said.

He assured the ministry that the daily would exercise extra care and scrutinise all aspects of its editorial work flow to ensure the mistake it made in the supplement was not repeated.

The Star once again apologises to the Muslim community for the error.

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Four students attacked by teen mob

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 06:03 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Four students of a secondary school here were seriously injured in an attack by a group of 30 students, believed to be from another two schools, in a school compound here Tuesday.

One of the victims suffered head injuries, another broke his right hand while two others were seriously injured on the body in the attack, which happened as they were exiting the school gate at about 1.15pm.

The attackers, armed with iron rods, batons and helmets, were all believed to be aged 17 years.

The four victims were sent to Kuala Lumpur General Hospital for treatment.

Police arrived soon after the incident was reported and detained a suspect while the victims' school disciplinary teacher later made a report at the Dang Wangi Police Headquarters before informing the victims' parents.

Police, when contacted, confirmed receiving the report of the incident and said they were hunting all the suspects and were confident they would be picked up soon. - Bernama

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Remand extended for suspect in French tourist murder case

Posted: 16 Aug 2011 04:54 AM PDT

KUANTAN: The suspect arrested in connection with the murder of French tourist Stefanie Foray has been remanded for another week to facilitate police investigations.

The 36-year-old man has been in remand since last Wednesday.

Foray, 30, from Bour En Bresse, France was reported missing on May 8.

Pahang CID chief SAC T. Narenasegaran said here Tuesday that the suspect was involved in renting out diving gear.

Following a report made by the woman's family through the French Embassy in Singapore, police traced Foray's last stop to Pulau Tioman on May 10

Further investigations led to the discovery of human remains believed to be Foray's buried in a cave at Kampung Tekek, Tioman on Aug 8. - Bernama

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