Isnin, 22 Ogos 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Son seeks to boost Gaddafi's Tripoli fightback

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 08:58 PM PDT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A son of Muammar Gaddafi who rebels said they had captured appeared with cheering supporters in Tripoli, giving a boost to forces loyal to the veteran leader trying to fight off insurgents who say they control most of the capital.

Saif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, gestures as he talks to reporters in Tripoli August 23, 2011. Saif, who has been seen as his father's heir apparent, visited the Tripoli hotel where foreign journalists are staying to declare that the government was winning the battle against the rebels. (REUTERS/Paul Hackett)

Saif al-Islam, who has been seen as his father's heir apparent, visited the Tripoli hotel where foreign journalists are staying to declare that the government was winning the battle against the rebels.

He took journalists to his father's Bab al-Aziziyah stronghold. Television footage showed Saif pumping his fists in the air, smiling, waving and shaking hands with supporters, as well as holding his arms aloft with each hand making the V for victory sign.

"We broke the back of the rebels. It was a trap. We gave them a hard time, so we are winning," Saif said.

Saif's arrest had been reported both by rebels and the International Criminal Court in The Hague and his appearance before the foreign media raised questions as to the rebels' credibility.

He said that Tripoli was under government control and that he did not care about the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court seeking him and his father for crimes against humanity.

Gaddafi himself has not been seen in public since some time before the rebels arrived in the capital at the weekend. But when asked if his father was safe and well in Tripoli, Saif told journalists: "Of course."

World leaders urged Gaddafi, 69, to surrender to prevent more bloodshed and appealed for an orderly transition of power, as the six-month-old battle for control of the oil-producing North African nation appeared to enter its final stages.


Rebels swept into Tripoli two days ago in tandem with an uprising within the city. Reuters reporters saw firefights and clashes with heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft guns, as rebels tried to flush out snipers and pockets of resistance.

Hundreds seem to have been killed or wounded since Saturday. But Gaddafi tanks and sharpshooters appeared to hold only small areas, mainly around the heavily fortified Bab al-Aziziyah compound in central Tripoli.

Civilians, who had mobbed the streets on Sunday to cheer the end of dictatorship, stayed indoors as machinegun fire and explosions punctuated some of the heaviest fighting of the Arab Spring uprisings that have been reshaping the Middle East.

U.S. President Barack Obama, saying the conflict was not over yet, cautioned rebels against exacting revenge for Gaddafi's brutal rule. "True justice will not come from reprisals and violence," he said.

The president also made plain that the United States would oppose any group within the loose coalition of rebels from imposing its power over other parts of Libyan society.

"Above all we will call for an inclusive transition that leads to a democratic Libya," Obama said.

In an audio broadcast on Sunday before state TV went off the air, Gaddafi said he would stay in Tripoli "until the end". There has been speculation, however, he might seek refuge in his home region around Sirte, or abroad.

In a sign Gaddafi allies were still determined to fight, NATO said government forces fired three Scud-type missiles from the area of Sirte towards the rebel-held city of Misrata.

Bab al-Aziziyah, a huge complex where some believe Gaddafi might be hiding, was the focal point of fighting in Tripoli.

"I don't imagine the Bab al-Aziziyah compound will fall easily and I imagine there will be a fierce fight," Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, spokesman for the rebel National Transitional Council, said in an interview aired by Al-Jazeera.

The Arab network, quoting its correspondent, said violent clashes were also reported near the oil town of Brega.

Rebels had initially said they held three of Gaddafi's sons, including Saif al-Islam. Al-Jazeera TV said that one of them, Mohammed, had escaped, adding that the body of another son, military commander Khamis, might have been found along with that of powerful intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi.


Western powers are concerned that tribal, ethnic and political divisions among the diverse armed groups opposed to Gaddafi could lead to the kind of blood-letting seen in Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

In a move that could ease tensions, a rebel official in the eastern city of Benghazi said, however, that efforts were under way to make contact with authorities hitherto loyal to Gaddafi.

Foreign governments which had hesitated to take sides, among them Gaddafi's Arab neighbours, Russia and China also made clear his four decades of absolute power were over.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Libyans who said they represented Gaddafi were making "more desperate" efforts to negotiate with the United States in the last 24 to 48 hours.

Washington did not take any of them seriously because they did not indicate Gaddafi's willingness to step down, she added.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who took an early gamble on the rebels and may now reap diplomatic benefits, called on the Gaddafi loyalists "to turn their back on the criminal and cynical blindness of their leader by immediately ceasing fire".

Late on Monday, Sarkozy spoke to Britain's David Cameron by telephone about the Libya situation, according to a press release from the French presidential palace.

"They both agreed to pursue efforts in supporting the legitimate Libyan authorities as long as Colonel Gaddafi refuses to surrender arms," the statement read. Paris has offered to host a summit on Libya soon.

Cameron also spoke to Obama on Monday night.


Western leaders reiterated their refusal to commit military forces to peacekeeping in Libya, which could mean tackling rearguard loyalists using urban guerrilla tactics.

NATO has backed the revolt with air power but eschewed the ground combat that cost U.S. and allied lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Britain's International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell told the BBC there was no possibility of British military involvement being expanded in Libya.

"We do not see any circumstances in which British troops would be deployed on the ground in Libya," he said.

But some governments have had civilian advisers in Benghazi for months, and the swift military advance of recent days revived questions about the shadowy role of foreign special forces on the ground.

First signs emerged of moves to begin restoring oil production that has been the foundation of the economy and a source of hope for Libya's 6 million, mostly poor, people. Staff from Italy's Eni arrived to look into restarting facilities, said Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

Italy, Libya's nearest European neighbour and the colonial power until World War Two, is a big customer for Libyan energy. But it will face stiff competition from others seeking a share of Libya's wealth -- a competition some fear could test the ability of untried rebel leaders to hold the country together.

(Reporting by Peter Graff in western Libya, Robert Birsel in Benghazi, William Maclean in London, Hamid Ould Ahmed and Christian Lowe in Algiers, Souhail Karam in Rabat, Richard Valdmanis in Tunis, Laura MacInnis and Alister Bull in Oak Bluffs, Mass.; Writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by Alison Williams)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Drug may help ease Ramadan headaches - study

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 07:56 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A painkilling, anti-inflammatory drug may help prevent headaches in Muslims fasting from dawn to dusk for Ramadan, according to a study from Israel -- where a "Yom Kippur headache" is also known.

About four in every ten people who abstain from food and water all day during the month-long Ramadan period get headaches, said the study, published in the journal Headache. This year, Ramadan began on August 1.

Muslims pray before having an iftar, the evening meal to break their fast, along the beach overlooking the Red Sea in Jeddah during the Muslim month of Ramadan, August 18, 2011. (REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed)

"Religious fasting is associated with headache," wrote lead researcher Michael Drescher, from Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, the United States, referring to Ramadan and Judaism's Yom Kippur, when people fast for 25 hours.

"This has been documented as the 'Yom Kippur headache' and 'first of Ramadan headache.'"

Doctors aren't quite sure what causes them. It could be dehydration, or caffeine withdrawal in people who are used to getting their morning coffee, Drescher told Reuters Health.

"There's probably more than one thing going on," he added.

Drescher and his Israel-based colleagues had already shown that Jews who took the drug known as etoricoxib, or Arcoxia, before fasting for 25 hours on the Yom Kippur holiday got fewer headaches than those who didn't.

Arcoxia, a cousin of the painkiller Vioxx, isn't approved for use in the United States because the Food and Drug Administration decided it was too similar to Vioxx, which Merck pulled from the market in 2004 when it was linked to a higher risk of heart attack. But Arcoxia is available in Israel, among other countries.

The drug has a longer-lasting effect than some other painkillers, which is important because taking a pill in the middle of the day when a headache sets in would be considered breaking the fast.

"If you take Tylenol (acetaminophen)... by the time you get around to feeling the effects of the fast, the medicine is long out of your system," Drescher said.

To see how Arcoxia would work during Ramadan, the researchers assigned 222 adults planning to fast in 2010 to either take the drug or an inactive placebo pill just before the start of fasting each day. All participants recorded how often they had a headache, and how severe it was.

After a week they switched treatments.

During the first day of fasting, when headaches are thought to be most common, 21 percent of people taking Arcoxia reported having a headache, compared to 46 percent of those who took the placebo pill.

The Arcoxia group also reported fewer total headaches during that first week, the researchers wrote. And when they did have headaches, they rated them as less severe than participants taking the placebo.

After a week, there was no longer any difference in symptoms between the groups, partly because even the people taking the placebo reported fewer headaches during fasting as time went on.

Drescher said this sort of finding had been noticed before.

"As to why exactly it happens, we don't know. Perhaps the body goes through some sort of desensitization to the fasting," he said.

He added that although the researchers didn't contact any Muslim religious authorities about the use of the drug during fasting, none of the participants voiced any objection to it.

When the researchers previously talked to rabbis about use of Arcoxia during Yom Kippur, the Jewish leaders pointed out that not having a headache could allow people to be "freer spiritually."

"The religious edict to fast really is not a command to suffer," Drescher added.

The study was funded by Merck, which makes the drug, and two of the study's six authors are company employees.

(Reporting by Genevra Pittman at Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

CORRECTED - Gaddafi son Saif at Tripoli hotel after arrest report

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 07:25 PM PDT

(Removes reference to hotel in paragraph 3; makes clear it Tripoli not Libya overrun in paragraph 4)

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Saif al-Islam, the son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who rebels and the International Criminal Court said had been arrested, arrived late on Monday at the Tripoli hotel where foreign reporters are staying.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's most prominent son, Saif al-Islam, pauses during an interview with Reuters in Tripoli in this March 10, 2011 file photo. (REUTERS/Chris Helgren/Files)

Saif appeared at the Rixos Hotel late at night and spoke to foreign journalists there.

Television footage showed him pumping his fists in the air, smiling, waving and shaking hands with supporters, as well as holding his arms aloft with each hand making the V for victory sign.

Saif told journalists that Tripoli, which has been largely overrun in the past 24 hours by rebel forces seeking to topple his father, was in fact in government hands and that Muammar Gaddafi was safe.

Earlier, armed pro-Gaddafi security mean guarding the hotel took a small group of journalists to Gaddafi's Bab al Aziziyah compound, where they had a meeting with Saif.

They returned to the hotel accompanied by Saif, who then spoke to journalists in the lobby before taking some of them back to the compound a short distance away for a brief visit.

Saif said: "I am here to disperse the rumours ...

"This is a war of technology and electronics to cause chaos and terror in Libya. They also brought in armed gangs by sea and by road."

He was referring to a text message sent to mobile phone subscribers in Tripoli on Monday congratulating them on the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Saif also said that Tripoli was under government control and that he did not care about an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court in The Hague seeking him and his father for crimes against humanity.

When asked if his father was safe and well in Tripoli, Saif told a journalist: "Of course."

(Reporting by Missy Ryan; Writing by Giles Elgood; Editing by Alison Williams)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Goodies up for grabs

Posted: 23 Aug 2011 04:06 AM PDT

TUNE in to Phineas And Ferb: Across The Second Dimension on Disney Channel on Aug 27 (7.30pm) and you could win some exclusive Phineas And Ferb premiums.

Ten grand prize winners will each receive a Phineas And Ferb T-shirt, notebook, towel and slippers; ten second prize winners will walk away with a towel and slippers; and 15 third prize winners will get slippers and a beach ball.

All you need to do is answer two simple questions:

1. Who is the leader of the Tri-State Area in the Second Dimension?

2. Why do you like the characters Phineas and Ferb? (Not exceeding 50 words.)

Send your answers together with your details (full name, identity card number, mobile number and mailing address) to by Sept 15 at noon.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

FBM KLCI lower

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 07:26 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Investors remained cautious on Tuesday despite Asian markets opening higher on speculation of another round of quantitative easing in the US, an improvement in a gauge of US industrial production data and Wall Street edging higher at close.

Gold prices reflected investor sentiments with the metal rising to another all-time high at US$1,913.50 an ounce at 9.29am before retreating to US$1,897.10.

At 10am, the local bourse's benchmark FBM KLCI was a tenth of a percent lower at 1,470.60 while Singapore's Straits Times Index dropped two-thirds of a percent to 2,713.25.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was up a tenth of a percent to 8,636.78 at the midday break, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index shed 0.30% to 19,427.88, Shanghai's A share index gained 0.17% to 2,520.25 and Seoul's Kospi Index advanced 1.68% to 1,739.51.

At Bursa Malaysia, trading was thin with 138.76 million shares done with at a turnover of RM218.86 million. Losers outpaced gainers 200 to 153 while 192 other counters were traded unchanged.

Sunway, the newly merged entity that took over the listings of SunCity and Sunway Holdings, fell 26 sen to RM2.54.

Among industrial stocks, Tasek was down 9 sen to RM7.70, Innorprise shed 12 sen to RM1.17 and Metech tumbled 16.5 sen to 31.5 sen.

Supermax was 9 sen lower at RM3.02, Tradewinds lost 7 sen to RM9.08 and Amway was down 9 sen to RM8.93.

Nymex crude oil in electronic trade was up 16 cents to US$84.58 per barrel.

The ringgit was quoted at 2.974 to the greenback and 4.275 to the euro.

US stocks inch higher, shaking off 4 weeks of losses(update)

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 06:45 PM PDT

NEW YORK: It was another day of big swings in the Dow Jones industrial average, but at least Monday ended with a modest gain.

The Dow soared 200 points in the morning, an encouraging start after four weeks of losses. By noon that gain shriveled to just 2 points, then came a rise of another 100 in the afternoon. At the end of the day, the Dow closed up 37 points.

Compared with the even wilder fluctuations over the past two weeks, Monday's trading looked relatively calm. The Dow has gained or lost at least 200 points eight days in August, including a 419-point plunge last Thursday. A downgrade of the U.S. credit rating and fears of a new recession have shaken investors, leaving the Dow down 10 percent this month.

Hewlett-Packard Co. rose 3.6 percent, the most of the 30 large companies in the Dow Jones industrial average. H-P sank 20 percent on Friday after saying it planned to sell its PC business and stop selling other products.

Bank stocks, which have been clobbered over worries about Europe's debt crisis, took another fall. JPMorgan Chase & Co. dropped 2.7 percent. Bank of America lost 7.9 percent, the biggest drop among the 30 Dow companies. Analysts at Wells Fargo cut their price target on the stock, citing fears that the U.S. could slip back into a recession.

Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor's equity research, cautioned against reading too much into the market's early jump Monday. "A two-hour rally isn't enough to change the trend," Stovall said. "It's natural in a declining market to have some days that run counter to the overall trend."

The S&P 500 index has lost 13 percent this month, putting the broad market measure on course for its worst August since 1998. After falling four weeks in a row, some stocks are appearing too cheap for investors to pass up, Stovall said.

Investors are still worried that the U.S. may fall into another recession. Some hope the Federal Reserve may announce some kind of action to help the economy when it holds its annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on Friday. It was at the same conference a year ago that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that the central bank would buy Treasury bonds to push interest rates lower.

The Dow rose 37 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 10,854.65.

The S&P 500 rose 0.29 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 1,123.82. It had been up as many as 22 points.

The Nasdaq rose 3.54 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,345.38.

Stocks have fallen for four weeks on signs that the U.S. economy is slowing. The sharpest drops came Thursday with news of weaker manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic states and an increase in the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits.

The Chicago Board of Options Exchange's volatility index has soared 68 percent this month. That's a sign investors are anticipating more wide swings in the S&P 500, the index most professional investors use. The index fell 1.4 percent Monday.

Treasury bond prices and gold have been rising this month as investors seek refuge from the turmoil in stocks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped below 2 percent last week, a record low. The yield ended the trading day at 2.10 percent Monday. Yields on bonds fall when demand for them increases.

Gold rose 2 percent to $1,892. Gold has gained 16 percent so far in August.

Three stocks fell for every two that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was above average at 4.8 billion.

Six of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 rose. Telecom stocks rose less than 1 percent, the most of any industry in the index. Boeing Co. rose 1.5 percent after Britain's Royal Air Force said it would buy 14 Chinook helicopters for $1.6 billion.

Lowe's Cos. rose 1.1 percent. The home improvement retailer said it will buy back up to $5 billion stock over the next two to three years. Last week, Lowe's lowered its sales forecast for the second half of the year as shoppers grow more worried about the economy.

No major economic reports came out Monday. Later in the week, traders will be sorting through figures on new home sales, chain store sales, durable goods orders and weekly claims for unemployment benefits to see if another recession could be on the way. The government will also release revised figures for second-quarter economic growth Friday. Another significant revision downward could alarm investors.

Stocks in Europe remained volatile Monday as investors gyrated between fears of a double-dip recession and hopes that the Federal Reserve will soon take action to revitalize the U.S. economy.

After rallying earlier in the day, European stocks erased much of their gains in late trading.

Britain's FTSE 100 closed 1 percent higher at 5,092.8, after having risen above 2 percent.

France's CAC 40 gained 1.1 percent to 3,051.3.

But Germany's DAX declined 0.1 percent to 5,473.7.

The indecisive mood in Europe and the U.S. followed a jittery day of trading in Asia, where most markets closed in the red.

The recent rise in the yen contributed to losses in Asia, where most markets ended the day in negative territory.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index lost 1 percent to close at 8,628.13 - a five-month low - as the strong yen hurts the country's exports by making them more expensive.

Japan intervened in currency markets earlier this month to try to reverse the yen's climb. The decision to sell the yen and buy the dollar worked initially, sending the greenback toward 80 yen. But the dollar has been weighed down by the dimming outlook for the U.S. economy and is back down to mid 76-yen levels.

South Korea's Kospi also took a hit, dropping 2 percent to 1,710.70.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.7 percent to 2,515.86 while the Shenzhen Composite Index lost 0.9 percent to 1,124.17.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng, meanwhile, swung into positive territory to eke out a 0.5 percent gain at 19,486.87.

On Tuesday morning Japan, Australia and New Zealand markets have followed jittery European and Wall Street leads by opening with modest gains.

New Zealand's benchmark NZX 50 index edged up 8 points, or a fraction of 1 percent, in early trading to 3,282.

Australia's S&P/ASX200 index added 20 points, or half a percent, to 4,102 points in early trade.

Japan's Nikkei 225 rebounded from a five-month low on Monday to open Tuesday with a 34 point gain - less than half a percent - at 8,664.

In Kuala Lumpur Bernama reported that share prices on Bursa Malaysia opened firmer on bargain hunting Tuesday with heavyweights such as Maybank which posted record profit Monday helping to lift the market.

In thin trade, the FBM KLCI increased 2.41 points to 1,474.57 after 15 minutes of trading.

It opened 2.2 points higher at 1,474.36.

"Against the sluggish broad market backdrop, investors are expected to react to individual corporate developments," HwangDBS Vickers Research said.After rising as much as 1.9 to 2.4 per cent initially, major US equity indices lost steam subsequently to finish between flat and marginally up last night.

Bursa Malaysia's Finance Index jumped 8.91 points to 14,031.37, the Plantation Index rose 22.29 points to 7,185.08 and the Industrial Index climbed 1.97 points to 2,735.94.

The FBM Emas Index appreciated 17.11 points to 10,091.08, the FBM70 Index was up 19.03 points to 11,019.84 and the FBM Ace added 4.93 points to 3,788.97.

Advancers led decliners by 153 to 50 while 95 counters were unchanged and 1,185 counters were not traded.

A total of 47.858 million shares worth RM50.625 million were traded.

Sunway which was re-quoted following the merger exercise between Sunway Holdings and Sunway City slipped 15 sen to RM2.65.

Among active stocks, Malayan United was flat at 20 sen, Astral Supreme inched up one sen and Perdana Petroleum perked up three sen to 75.5 sen.

Among heavyweights, Maybank added five sen to RM8.69, CIMB slipped two sen to RM7.75 while Sime Darby and Petronas Chemicals inched up two sen each to RM8.83 and RM6.26 respectively.Tenaga Nasional edged down two sen to RM5.47 - AP/Bernama

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Oil price down, getting Libyan oil to market could take years

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 06:16 PM PDT

NEW YORK: It could be a year or more before Libya produces enough oil to start exporting it in large amounts again.

International oil prices fell Monday because of the prospect that those shipments will hit the market again.

The shipments stopped six months ago as the rebellion in Libya raged. The conflict damaged pipelines and fields and forced out foreign oil engineers who once helped the nation export 1.5 million barrels of oil every day.

Before the country can begin producing oil in large amounts again, security must be re-established, a new government must be formed, the United Nations must lift international sanctions, and damage to oil fields and pipelines must be repaired.

The price of crude oil was already falling sharply because of concerns that the slowing global economy will slow demand from drivers and businesses.

The ouster of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi would clear the way for a new government and a return to oil production. But bringing Libyan oil production back to levels that will make a difference will take months if not years, experts say.

"This isn't going to lead to an overnight restart of Libyan oil exports," says Jim Burkhard, managing director for global oil at IHS CERA, an industry research group.

In the meantime, Burkhard says, the world's teetering economy will drive prices.

Since February, the loss of Libyan oil had driven up the price of Brent crude, which is traded in London. Brent crude is used to price much of the oil produced and sold abroad and sold to refineries on the U.S. East Coast.

On Monday, Brent crude fell 26 cents to $108.36 per barrel. It fell much further earlier in the day but rose as it became clear that it would take months for Libya to have an impact.

The price of U.S. benchmark oil, known as West Texas Intermediate, rose $2.01 to $84.42. Traders who play the international oil markets, anticipating that the price of Brent crude would keep falling, wanted more U.S. oil.

Libya sits on the largest oil reserves in Africa. Before the uprising, it was the world's 12th-largest exporter, mostly to Europe. Libyan exports were all but shut off in February as the unrest intensified and international oil companies evacuated workers.

Shokri Ghanem, the former chairman of Libya's National Oil Company, said Libya could start producing oil within three to four months, according to Platts, an energy information service. Ghanem said it could take two years to restore production to pre-uprising levels.

"There is some damage to installations, and there is a problem with some wells that were not closed properly," Ghanem told Platts.

Eni, the largest foreign oil producer in Libya, is not so optimistic. While it has sent some technicians back to the country to restart oil and natural gas operations, a company spokesman said restarting crude production could take a year or more.

Helima Croft, an analyst with Barclays Capital, compares Libya's political situation to that of Iraq in 2003, after Saddam Hussein was toppled by American-led forces.

"Everyone thought that Iraq would be stable overnight, but instead we had an insurgency," Croft says. "The oil was offline for years."

Judith Dwarkin, chief energy economist at ITG Investment Research, expects Libya to return to full production slowly over two years. In the meantime, she expects the price of West Texas crude to stay between $80 and $90 a barrel, barring an unforeseen supply disruption or a global economic collapse.

Besides worries about the world economy, oil prices have fallen recently because Saudi Arabia has produced more oil and developed countries have released oil from strategic reserves to make up for the loss of Libyan crude.

In other Nymex trading for September contracts, heating oil lost less than a penny to $2.8954 per gallon and gasoline futures dropped 3.67 cents to $2.8045 per gallon. Natural gas fell 4.9 cents to $3.891 per 1,000 cubic feet.



The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Holmes to have brain surgery, miss 3 months

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 07:01 PM PDT

EDISON, New Jersey (AP) - J.B. Holmes has withdrawn from The Barclays as he prepares to have brain surgery.

Holmes has been diagnosed with structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance.

He has been dealing with vertigo-like symptoms since May and has gone to several specialists. Doctors discovered last week he has Chiari malformations.

Holmes is to have the operation Sept. 1 at the Johns Hopkins University Hospital. He says brain surgery sounds scary, but it's a low-risk procedure and he should be able to return to competition about three months after the surgery.

Holmes is a two-time PGA Tour winner who played in the 2008 Ryder Cup.

No. 8 seed Baghdatis advances at Winston-Salem

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 07:00 PM PDT

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (AP) - Eighth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis defeated American Ryan Sweeting 7-5, 6-1 on Monday in the second round at the Winston-Salem Open.

Baghdatis was the first seeded player to take the court at the final men's warmup tournament before the U.S. Open. The 16 seeded players, including No. 1-seeded Andy Roddick, received first-round byes.

"I was able to find a solution to get by and win. That's the most important thing," Baghdatis said.

Qualifier Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Luxembourg's Gilles Muller 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the first round.

Also in the opening round, Israel's Dudi Sela defeated Italy's Filippo Volandri 6-3, 6-2; Belgium's Steve Darcis topped Portugal's Frederico Gil 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; France's Julien Benneteau won a matchup of qualifiers by defeating Brazil's Ricardo Mello 6-1, 6-3; and Argentina's Carlos Berlocq advanced when Austria's Andreas Haider-Maurer retired with Berlocq leading 7-5, 4-1.

Tiger Woods considers adding tournament

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 06:44 PM PDT

JUPITER, Florida (AP) - Tiger Woods is thinking about adding another PGA Tour event to his schedule.

Woods failed to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs that start this week in New Jersey for the top 125 players in the standings, meaning he is ineligible for tour events until October. He said on his website Monday that he might add a tournament in the Fall Series.

"Right now, I'm looking at my options," Woods said. The Fall Series begins in Las Vegas on Sept. 29. It is followed by the Open in San Martin, California, before moving to the East Coast for the final two weeks - the McGladrey Classic in St. Simons Island, Georgia, and concluding with the tournament at Disney on Oct. 20-23.

Woods won Las Vegas for his first PGA Tour victory in 1996. He also won Disney that year.

Woods said he wants to be part of the Presidents Cup team in Australia the week before Thanksgiving, although he will to have to rely on being one of two captain's picks.

"I've had some conversations with U.S. captain Fred Couples, and we'll see how it goes," Woods said. "Of course, I want to be on the team. It's always fun to play for your country, and we did pretty well two years ago in San Francisco. I'm just going to keep practicing and try to get better. It's Freddie's call, and he can make any choice he wants."

Woods is to play Aug. 31 in upstate New York, a one-day exhibition to support the charity of longtime friend Notah Begay.

Still to be decided is a full-time caddie. Woods used childhood friend Bryon Bell at the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship, where he missed the cut for only the third time in a major.

"I haven't decided on a new caddie yet, but am definitely thinking about it a lot," Woods said. "There's a few guys I'm looking at, but it all depends on timing. At this point, I'm in no hurry to make a decision."

He said the two things he is looking for in a caddie are experience and "a person I'll have fun with."

Woods fell to No. 36 in the world Monday, his lowest ranking since Nov. 17, 1996.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Lau Ching Wan talks about his role in Overheard 2

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 12:57 AM PDT

Lau Ching Wan loves his role as a rich man who drives fast cars in Overheard 2.

THE bankable hot-shot trio of Lau Ching Wan, Louis Koo and Daniel Wu is back in the thick of action with another Hong Kong crime thriller – Overheard 2.

Also written and directed by Alan Mak and Felix Chong and produced by Derek Yee, Overheard 2 may have a theme similar to its predecessor of the same name, but is not really a sequel as it features a whole new scenario and casts the three hunks in brand new roles.

After crashing his luxury sports car, reputable Hong Kong securities dealer Law Man-seng (Lau) is admitted to the hospital where he meets police officer Ho Chi-keung (Koo) from the Department of Homeland Security. Inspector Ho has found some surveillance devices in the wreckage of his sports car, which are for military use.

Meanwhile, Inspector Ho chances upon the mysterious and elusive Joe (Wu) hanging around Law's securities firm.

Hiding in an old folks home, Joe is wiretapping Law and other members of "Landlord Club", where all the business tycoons and entrepreneurs who initially gathered to play cards and mahjong, eventually end up as a syndicate that manipulates the stock market.

Lau, 47, shared his experiences on the set of Overheard 2 in a recent e-mail and phone interview from Hong Kong.

Playing a character that was very different from his police officer in the original Overheard, Lau said he had a very enjoyable time filming Overheard 2.

"This time, I am a financial genius, owning billions in properties and driving luxury cars. It's so different compared to Overheard.

"Also, it's quite rare for me to get cast as a rich man in a movie, with a beautiful house, luxury cars, nice attire and enjoying delicious ... I think I should get to play characters like this more often," mused the tall, dark actor, who has been married to former actress Amy Kwok (Miss Hong Kong 1991) since 1998.

Playing a rich man, Lau doesn't have to get down and dirty, but he is not exempted from dangerous scenes either.

"I don't have many action scenes in the movie unlike Louis and Daniel, whom I heard have fight scenes of some sort. My main responsibility here is to drive fast."

In fact, he counted "speeding in a luxury sports car for a car chase scene" as a major challenge for him in the movie "because I was really speeding and it was difficult for me to handle the vehicle."

Lau expressed how he enjoyed working with directors Mak and Chong.

"I think both of them are very well-prepared directors. While shooting the scenes with the car, it was apparent that they had a very strong sense of how the shoot should go. They also had concerns about safety, and gave clear and appropriate instructions to the team.

"Director Felix Chong told me many stories about his friend in the finance industry and the Law Man-seng character was written using all this information," continued the prolific film actor, who has more than 90 films under his belt.

Although he had several best actor kudos from other film awards, Lau finally won his most elusive – Hong Kong Film Awards for best actor in 2007 for his role as a washed-up actor in My Name Is Fame (his eighth nomination for the same category!).

Since he seldom gets cast as a wealthy finance expert, Lau considers it his breakthrough performance in this movie.

"This is because the characters that I portray most of the time tend to be characteristically righteous and loyal. However, this is a different character altogether; he appears to be righteous on the surface but he is actually a cunning person."

What about his most unforgettable scene in the movie?

"It was the love scene with Chinese actress Huang Yi, who plays my wife. We did not even know each other before that, and we were required to shoot such an intimate scene during our second meeting. So, in that sense, it was difficult for me."

Apart from Overheard 2, Lau also has three other movies this year – Danny Pang's Perfect Fairy Tale (co-starring Elanne Kwong and Wang Baoqiang), Johnnie To's Life Without Principle (co-starring Richie Ren and Denise Ho) and Derek Yee's The Great Magician (co-starring Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Zhou Xun).

With so much on his plate, it's no wonder that Lau said he was looking forward to catching up on his sleep and taking a much-needed rest in the later part of the year. – Seto Kit Yan

Overheard 2 opens in local cinemas on Thursday.


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Line-up for committee on electoral reforms to be revealed Oct 3

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 06:19 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The line-up for the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms is expected to be announced on Oct 3, when the motion on the setting up of the committee is tabled in Parliament.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the committee would then be given six months to make recommendations on electoral reforms in the country.

He said the Election Commission (EC) would prepare a memorandum on the setting up of the committee, including its framework, to be tabled to the Cabinet on Sept 7.

The framework, among others, would name nine members of the committee, besides taking into consideration all matters raised by non-governmental organisations earlier, he told reporters after attending a meeting with the EC concerning the committee's framework at Parliament House here Monday. Bernama

More in The Star on Tuesday

Three outstanding M'sians for 2011 Merdeka Award

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 04:30 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Three outstanding Malaysians are recipients of the 2011 Merdeka Award for their outstanding and lasting contributions to the nation and people in their respective fields.

Datuk Kenneth Yeang will receive the award in the Environment category - for outstanding contribution to the development of design methods for ecological design and planning of the built environment.

One of the two joint recipients in the Outstanding Scholastic Achievement category are Prof Datuk Dr Goh Khean Lee for his outstanding contribution in elevating the study and practice of gastroenterology and hepatology in Malaysia to global standards.

The other recipient is Prof Dr Mak Joon Wah for outstanding fundamental and applied research in parasitology and parasitic diseases, public health and pathology.

The announcement was made by the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Merdeka Award, Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas on Monday.

He said the recipients had demonstrated the true spirit of Merdeka - the liberation of mind and spirit and the pursuit of excellence.

Shamsul Azhar, however, said that there were no recipients in the categories of Education and Community, Health, Science and Technology, and Outstanding Contribution to the People of Malaysia.

Each category offers a prize money of RM500,000, a trophy and a certificate. The joint recipients in the category of Outstanding Scholastic Achievement will share the award equally.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to present the awards on Oct 10 at the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas. BERNAMA

Aussie High Court begins asylum swap hearing

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 04:04 AM PDT

MELBOURNE: The Australian Government's people-swap deal with Malaysia was unlawful because Kuala Lumpur had no legal obligations to afford asylum seekers proper protection, the High Court in Canberra was told.

The Australian Associated Press (AAP) said the court's full bench on Monday began hearing from refugee lawyers who say the controversial plan to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 already-processed refugees should be struck down.

The court ordered an injunction against the policy earlier this month but only began hearing detailed arguments against it on Monday.

The injunction will remain in force until the court makes a final ruling.

Debbie Mortimer SC argued on Monday Canberra could not legally send asylum seekers to a third country like Malaysia that did not have domestic or international legal obligations to protect them.

Canberra's unenforceable political agreement with Malaysia, which contains assurances asylum seekers would be treated humanely, was not adequate, Mortimer told the court. "There is no commitment in any sense other than a political one," AAP quoted her as saying.

Mortimer said the policy also infringed upon three fundamental rights of asylum seekers: liberty, freedom of movement and freedom from assault.

The Australian Government says it took into account a range of advice from Malaysian officials, the immigration department and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees before deciding Malaysia was a suitable destination.

The court will continue hearing the case on Tuesday.

Refugee lawyer David Manne told reporters he had no idea how long it would take the court to make its ruling.

Five boats carrying more than 300 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia since the government signed the deal late last month.

Meanwhile, Christian charities are offering to care for any unaccompanied children the government wants to send to Malaysia, at no cost to the taxpayer.

Mission Australia and Baptcare have offered to team up with Melbourne's Crossway Baptist Church to help accommodate up to 200 unaccompanied minors. BERNAMA


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Charity dinner raises RM7.18mil

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 04:20 AM PDT

A WHOPPING RM7.18mil was raised at SP Setia Foundation Charity Dinner 2011 last Saturday, bringing the total funds raised since the formation of the foundation to RM56.2mil.

With its objectives of assisting underprivileged individuals and charitable bodies in the areas of education, general and medical welfare, the foundation supports 2,400 primary and secondary school students yearly.

SP Setia Foundation chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the foundation focused on education through its Setia Adoption Programme, by taking care of the students' basic educational needs, including tuition fees and meals in schools.

Tey Lee Fong, a recipient under the Setia Adoption Programme, thanked the donors for their generous contribution at the event held at Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa.

"I started receiving aid from Setia Foundation when I was in Year Six, and today, I am pursuing a degree in Biochemistry at Universiti Malaya.

"I wasn't a top student but I always reminded myself to work hard. The efforts of the foundation have not been wasted and your contribution is truly meaningful to the community," Tey, who hails from Johor Bahru, said.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who launched the event, said he believed the contributions would go a long way in fostering national integration and lead to positive national development.

"The Setia Adoption Programme is in line with the government's policy to close the gap between the hardcore poor and the affluent, by lending education aid to needy students to ensure they would not be deprived of educational opportunities.

"Education is still one of the best ways to change the fortunes of a family and provide a brighter future for the youngsters," he said.

Lee added that RM20mil has been spent on the 7,514 adopted children, including 400 in secondary schools and nine in tertiary education institutions.

"We also have regular motivational camps and exam workshops to prepare our children for success, and acknowledge their achievements during the annual excellence awards celebration," he said.

Lee also announced that the programme has been extended to Sabah with RM150,000 allocated to implement the three-year Setia Tinangkaanak Programme involving 53 kindergarten children from three learning centres.

Later, Lee received mock cheques from the top six donors, namely SP Setia Bhd CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin (RM500,000), Archicentre Sdn Bhd (RM150,000), Tan Ngee Hong Construction Sdn Bhd (RM138,000), Cicet (M) Corporation Sdn Bhd (RM130,000), Tay Hup Brothers Construction Sdn Bhd (RM110,000) and Hong Leong Bank Bhd (RM100,000).

Formalities aside, the guests were sent into fits of laughter by the hilarious Phua Chu Kang and were entertained with songs sung by singer Penny Tai.

SP Setia employees also presented a performance that combined dances and a skit.

The foundation was established under the auspices of SP Setia in 2000 and funds are collected through one single fundraising activity, which is the annual charity dinner.

In 2008, RM5.3mil was raised and after a year of hiatus in 2009, RM5.86mil was collected in 2010.

Metro watch

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 04:17 AM PDT


There will be a water supply disruption in Petaling and Hulu Selangor from 11pm today to 5am tomorrow to facilitate installation work for pipes at the Setiawalk development site, Bandar Puchong Jaya. The areas involved are Jalan Bandar 3 until Jalan Bandar 8 in Pusat Bandar Puchong, Taman Kancing Jaya, Taman Tun Perak Rawang, Taman Tun Teja, Taman Jati/PKNS Batu 17, Rawang Batu 16 and Taman Rawang Perdana and Taman Amansiara in Gombak. For enquiries, call 1-800-88-5252.


Kinrara Metta Buddhist Society (KMBS) will be organising an Examination Blessing and Motivational talk for students taking major exams (UPSR/PMR/SPM/STPM) on Sept 4 from 9.30am to 12.30pm at the KMBS Centre, K37C, Jalan TK1/11A, Taman Kinrara, Puchong. For enquiries, call Sis Alison 012-3303 442 or Sis Paru 012-287 8105 or visit


Inconjunction with the coming Hari Raya holiday, Puspakom will be offering free inspection for cars at all Puspakom branches from today to Aug 26. Their qualified examiners will conduct inspection on emission, brakes, and suspension. The exercise is part of their corporate social repsonsibility initiative to ensure vehicles are roadworthy for the festive period. For more information, call 1-800-88 6927 or visit


THE Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) natural disaster operations centre will be operating 24 hours as usual throughout the Hari Raya season. Shah Alam residents who would like to make reports or complaints can call the centre at 03-5510 5811. Any complaints can also be made to its public complaints department at 03-5510 5133 (ext 254 and 285) or through


Tibetan master and yogi Choden Rinpoche, who received the Kalachakra teachings from the 14th Dalai Lama and Denma Lochoe Rinpoche will be at the 2011 KL Kalachakra for World Peace in Chin Woo Stadium, KL on Sept 10 and 11. For details email: or log onto its blog at or call, Eric at 012-3277 891 or Edwin at 012-3786 188.


Business premises and parks in Putrajaya will be closed during the Hari Raya holidays. The places closed are Precinct 8 public market (Aug 30 and 31), food courts at Precinct 8,16,9 and 11 as well as the Multipurpose Hall at Precinct 8 and neighbourhood Complex on Precinct 9,11 and 16 (Aug 27 to Sept 4), Umai d'Laje Cafe and Alaf Baru Monument (Aug 27 to Sept 9) and the Neighbourhood Studies Centre at Precinct 8,9,11 and 16 (Aug 27 to Sept 4).


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Centre for aspiring footballers

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 01:51 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: The 1Malaysia Cardiff City Club (1MCC) plans to open a National Development Centre (NDC) at Putrajaya in September to provide facilities and assistance for aspiring young local footballers.

Club chairman Datuk Chan Tien Ghee said the club would open five satellite centres elsewhere in the country, with Johor, Kedah and Kelantan being high on the list of potential locations.

"We hope to engage full time coaches and personnel in these centres to monitor the progress and talent of these young footballers," he said during the 1MCC-Cardiff City Football Club Community Tour 2011 here.

At the event, eight professional coaches from Cardiff City held a one-day coaching clinic for over 150 primary and secondary students from more than 40 schools statewide.

"We are still in the midst of finalising the details including the number of young footballers that will be enrolled in the centres," Chan said.

He added that the main objective of setting up the NDC and the satellite centres was to groom a pool of talent in the football fraternity for the country.

Meanwhile, one of the coaches, Scott Young, was full of praise for the young footballers that attended the clinic, describing them as "enthusiastic and keen to learn".

"Properly structured training is key to develop the talent in Malaysia," he said adding that the passion displayed by the children was plain to see.

One of the students who took part in the clinic, Muhd Azwaj Abd Razak, 13, from SMK Simpang Renggam said that he was excited when he first learnt about this opportunity to train with professional coaches from the Bluebells.

He recalled that one of the useful tips provided by the coaches was to always control the ball well as that would make it difficult for the opponents to win back possession.

Favourite kampung dishes for Ramadan buffet

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 01:50 AM PDT

KUANTAN: Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort is enticing city dwellers to break fast and rediscover kampung style dishes at its Ramadan buffet spread here.

Its executive chef Pari Subramaniam said Malaysia was famous worldwide for its great food.

"So, it is only fitting that our wonderful traditional cuisine be the 'star' of our Ramadan buffet,'' he said here recently.

He added there would be three rotating menus throughout the promotion.

Each buffet will feature over 100 of the best dishes that Malaysia had to offer, Pari said.

The buffet, from 6.30pm to 10pm is priced at RM68 for adults and RM34 for children aged between five and 12.

The spread will showcase the best local dishes infused with the freshest ingredients with some classic must-tries such as 'nasi ulam' (steamed rice mixed with an assorted of herbs and leafy greens), the hearty Bukhari Rice, Roasted Chicken Rice doused in the chef's concoction of light soy sauce and natural sweetness, succulent Roast Whole Lamb with Rosemary Sauce and Grilled Squid with Delicate Percik Sauce (coconut gravy cooked with spices and chillies).

There are also stalls serving the perennially delicious Penang mee rebus, grilled fish, roti canai, murtabak, assorted yong tau foo and many other delectable delights.

For a memorable sweet ending, the dessert table awaits, laden with sumptuous pastries, fresh-cut fruits and traditional favourites.

Guests will also be entertained with the traditional and melodious Malay music of 'ghazal' while enjoying the panoramic view of South China Sea at its Kampung Restaurant.

A private dining room is available for reservations of 40 persons or above. Prices are just RM58 for adults and RM29 for children aged between five and 12. Those who are interested can call 09-518 1234.

About 1,500 throng Assumption Chapel to celebrate

Posted: 22 Aug 2011 01:48 AM PDT

Malacca: The Feast of the Assumption, known as the 'sugar cane feast' by the Assumption Chapel Portuguese-Eurasian Catholic community of Praya Lane of Jalan Banda Hilir drew a large crowd including residents of the Portuguese Settlement and outstation devotees.

Some 1,500 devotees packed the quaint little Assumption Chapel with a large number spilling out into the side and back compound to witness the hour-long plus Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Michael Mannayagam.

The late evening service culminated with a procession bearing the statue of Virgin Mary followed by a pot-luck fellowship and Portuguese cultural, song and dance performances.

A unique aspect of this feast unlike others commemorated in Catholic churches around the country, was the generous display of sugar cane stalks at the facade of the chapel and also around the compound.

The stalks following the service were blessed,cut and distributed together with clusters of 'bunga rampai' (scented flowers) to all in attendance.

This tradition of displaying sugar cane stalks has been kept alive since the chapel was built in the late 1880's, after the 154-year Dutch occupation of Malacca in 1641 following the downfall of the Portuguese.

The celebration's organising committee chairman Martin Theseira, a long time resident of Praya Lane said local Catholics who were Portuguese-Eurasian community members were forced to go 'underground' for fear of reprisals from Dutch officials during their occupation of Malacca beginning in1641.

"During the early years of the Dutch occupation, there was a large Catholic community mainly made up of Portuguese community members living in Praya Lane and Banda Hilir.

"They fervently prayed to the Virgin Mary.

"Large sugar cane plantations also abounded these two areas in particular.

"For the locals, the plantations offered a safe haven where they gathered to conduct nightly worship and offered devotional prayers.

Succeeding generations after learnning the plight of their forefathers, chose a novel way to commemorate the 'protection' of their ancestors in the sugar cane plantations, where their faith was kept alive and steadfast.

Sometime in the late 1880's when the Assumption Chapel was built in Praya Lane, Portuguese Catholics residing in the area initiated the 'sugar cane feast' which still holds good annually to this very day.

Theseira said in bygone years, apart from sugar stalks being used to decorate the facade of the chapel and its compound, bunches of wild ferns and young coconut leaves would also be affixed.

Nevertheless, the sugar cane decoration aspect lives on and the younger generation are now aware of the sacrifices and steadfastness their ancestors plodded on with to keep their family faith thriving and in good standing, he added.


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