Rabu, 24 Ogos 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Heavier women may have less IVF success

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 08:21 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The heavier a woman is, the more trouble she may have getting pregnant and having a baby through in vitro fertilization, or IVF -- and may lose the baby more often, according to a U.S. study.

Researchers led by Barbara Luke of Michigan State University found that women who were overweight or obese were less likely to become pregnant using fertility treatments than normal-weight women.

Past studies have also hinted at worse IVF outcomes in heavier women, although they don't prove that the extra weight is directly responsible for the reproductive troubles those women experience.

"Treatment and pregnancy failures with increasing obesity significantly increased starting with overweight women," Luke and her colleagues wrote in Fertility and Sterility.

They drew data from a reporting system that includes more than 90 percent of IVF treatments done in the United States -- information on 150,000 fertility treatment cycles done in 2007 and 2008 at 361 different clinics.

For each cycle, the reporting system included whether the cycle was canceled, if it led to a pregnancy, and whether that pregnancy ended early in a miscarriage or stillbirth, or if the woman gave birth to a live baby. For most cycles, it also had data on women's height and weight before starting treatment.

From the beginning through the end of fertility treatment, heavy women saw poorer results.

"We know that being overweight and obese is not good (for IVF), it's just how bad is it and where are the bad effects?" said Brian Cooper of Mid-Iowa Fertility in Clive, who wasn't involved in the study.

About nine percent of cycles in normal-weight women were stopped early, compared to 16 percent of cycles in the heaviest women -- those with a body mass index over 50, which is equivalent to a 1.6 metre (5 foot 5 inch) woman who weighs over 136 kg (300 pounds).

Normal weight women had a 43 percent chance of getting pregnant during each cycle using their own, fresh eggs for IVF, compared to 36 percent for very heavy women. Rates for overweight and less obese women fell in between.

For women who did get pregnant, the trend continued, with the heaviest about twice as likely as normal-weight women to lose the baby in many cases.

For overweight and obese women trying to get pregnant, even a little bit of weight loss helps, said Howard McClamrock, an infertility specialist at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

"This is what we're constantly faced with: ideally she might like to lose weight, but she might not have that much time," added McClamrock, who was not involved in the study.

Though he noted that research has been pointing more and more towards a connection between extra weight and worse IVF outcomes, the reason is unclear.

One explanation is that extra fat tissue releases estrogen, which fools the brain into thinking the ovaries are working when they really aren't, so it doesn't do its part to kick the ovaries into gear, Cooper said.

Luke and her colleagues said that thin and heavy women may have different causes of infertility, though they added that they did not have data on lifestyle factors that may affect IVF success, or any data on the male partners.

Thin and normal-weight women generally had higher rates of endometriosis, in which cells from the lining of the womb grow on other organs. Polycystic ovary syndrome, where the ovaries become enlarged and contain several small cysts, were more common in very heavy women.

Cooper said that weight still isn't as big an issue for fertility as age, or whether a woman smokes.

"Weight isn't everything, but it's an important factor that we have control over. Fix it now, because even a little bit (of weight loss) can make a big difference," he added. SOURCE: http://bit.ly/pjwsra

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

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

N.Korea set to consider nuclear moratorium - Kremlin

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 08:21 PM PDT

SOSNOVY BOR, Russia (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-il promised on Wednesday to consider suspending nuclear arms tests and production if international talks on Pyongyang's atomic program resume, a Kremlin spokeswoman said.

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev (R) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il during a meeting at the "Sosnovyi Bor" military garrison in Siberia's Buryatia region August 24, 2011. (REUTERS/Dmitry Astakhov/RIA Novosti/Kremlin)

The pledge, made at talks with President Dmitry Medvedev, was intended to improve the chances of reviving the six-nation aid-for-disarmament talks that collapsed when North Korea walked out of them in 2008.

Diplomats, however, may treat it with caution as they say Pyongyang has flouted past agreements over its nuclear weapons ambitions and is unlikely to give up efforts to build an atomic arsenal it sees as a bargaining tool with the outside world.

"Kim Jong-il expressed readiness to return to six-party talks without preconditions," Medvedev's spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, said after the president met Kim at a military base in the Siberian town of Sosnovy Bor near Lake Baikal.

"In the course of the talks the North Koreans will be ready to resolve the issue of imposing a moratorium on testing and production of missile and nuclear weaponry."

The reclusive North Korean leader, who arrived in nearby Ulan-Ude on Tuesday in an armoured train and wore a khaki military uniform, did not speak to reporters after the talks, held 4,420 km (2,750 miles) east of Moscow.

Timakova's comments made clear North Korea wanted to discuss a moratorium only after six-nation talks resume with Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and the United States. Washington and Seoul say it must agree to a moratorium before talks reconvene.

The talks are intended to provide impoverished and secretive North Korea with economic aid as an incentive for giving up its nuclear weapons program.

Moscow and Beijing have called for a quick resumption of talks. Seoul, Washington and Tokyo say they are willing to resume the talks where they left off, but that Pyongyang must first show it is serious about denuclearising.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said Kim's reported offer was "insufficient" to warrant a resumption of the nuclear talks.

"If it's true, a welcome first step, but far from enough," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. "We will not go back to six-party talks until North Koreans are prepared to meet all of the commitments that we've all laid out."


Medvedev said after meeting Kim that progress had been made on a long-discussed proposal to build a natural gas pipeline to South Korea that would pass through the North.

"As for gas cooperation -- there are results," he told reporters. "I understand that North Korea is interested in implementing this kind of trilateral project."

Medvedev gave few details but said a commission was being formed to develop the proposal and a South Korean delegation had recently visited Russian natural gas company Gazprom.

The time and day of Wednesday's meeting were not announced until the last minute although Kim, 69, had been traveling across Russia since arriving near the Pacific coast on Saturday. He traveled by train because of his fear of flying.

Kim was driven to the military base in a black Mercedes car. He had spent the previous day boating on Lake Baikal, North Korea's state news agency said.

"Thanks to special attention and care on your part, Mr. President, we are having a happy trip," he told Medvedev.

During Communist times, Moscow picked Kim Jong-il's father to lead North Korea but Russian influence waned after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Kim has left North Korea to visit China, which now has more influence on Pyongyang than Russia, three times in less than two years and has been seeking help from regional powers for his isolated nation, which is struggling with floods and economic sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons program.

Citing a "severe deficit" of food products, Russia said on Friday it would send 50,000 tonnes of grain to North Korea by the end of September. The North has also been seeking foreign investment to improve infrastructure.

(Additional reporting by Alexei Anishchuk and Andrew Quinn in Washington, Writing by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Vicki Allen)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

WITNESS - Trapped in Tripoli hotel, journalists were the enemy

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 06:18 PM PDT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Most of our weeks in Tripoli's Rixos Hotel as "guests" of Muammar Gaddafi's government were marked by boredom and frustration.

Employees of the Libyan Embassy burn portraits of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at the embassy's garden in Buenos Aires August 23, 2011. (REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci)

But by the time a sniper's bullet shattered my satellite gear just after I set it up on a roof, the game had changed.

Rebel fighters swarmed into the city on Saturday night, taking government officials by surprise with the speed of their assault after months of backward-and-forward combat on several fronts across Libya.

The mood in the Rixos Hotel, designated home to foreign journalists covering the conflict as best they could from the government side, turned to anxiety.

The relationship with government minders who controlled our movements had always been antagonistic.

From Saturday onwards, as gunmen kept the 35 reporters, photographers and television crew penned up in the hotel, it dawned on us that we were pretty much being held hostage and could become human shields.

Food and water ran short, power blacked out. Outside we could hear the din of battle. But we were unable to report the war we had come to cover just as it reached its denouement.

We sweated it out for five days, increasingly fearful that we might become casualties of a fit of rage by our armed guards, a sudden attack by the rebels, or loyalist sniper fire.

When officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross ran into the lobby on Wednesday morning and told us to grab our gear and run, the relief and elation propelled me out through the door.


The luxury Rixos, with its pillared lobby and opulent decor, had always seemed like a gilded cage set amid the eucalyptus trees.

Even before the rebel assault, correspondents were prohibited from venturing out of the hotel on their own.

When we did leave, government minders hovered nearby during interviews and coached residents on their answers. They carted us to and from pro-Gaddafi rallies and showed us gory sites where they said NATO air strikes had killed civilians.

Gaddafi and his minions showed an absolute conviction his troops would vanquish the rebels it described as rats and traitors. Unfortunately for us, the government saw us as an extension of the Western effort to bring down "the brother leader".

They called us spies who called in coordinates for air strikes.

But their confident, if belligerent, mood changed last Saturday, when the rebels cut off Tripoli's sole link to the outside world and raced into the Mediterranean city for the final showdown.

The officials at the Rixos talked urgently into cell phones in the lobby and asked us for information from the frontlines. They still promised to fight to the death -- and they warned of an impending massacre no matter who won.

The fighting began after the Saturday evening meal and raged all night. We heard several air strikes but mostly the roar of mortar or rocket fire and automatic weapons. Tracer bullets landed on our balconies.

On Sunday morning, only a few of the hotel staff could be seen. The government minders and other officials either did not show up or melted away over the course of the day.

By nightfall, the hotel was almost deserted except for the pack of journalists, a few other foreigners, four cheerful cooks -- and a handful of armed young men.

Government troops stationed outside stood at the ready to protect the hotel and fend off rebels.


The fighting around the hotel grew more intense. The air was thick with gunfire and the floors shook from the impact of rocket-propelled grenades.

We donned flak jackets and helmets. We carried sacks stuffed with necessities -- water, satellite phones, cameras -- into a windowless room on the second floor of the hotel.

The few remaining young Libyans, Gaddafi supporters who were incensed by what they saw was our support for the rebels, brandished weapons and shouted at us angrily. They were suspicious of our communications equipment and visibly on edge.

Over the next few days we drifted back and forth between fear and tedium. All but one of the remaining hotel staff disappeared, so we brought bread, cheese, fruit and bottled water from the hotel's kitchen.

Power and water failed for at least one full day, so we distributed electric candles that someone had found and filled empty bottles for washing from the hotel's Turkish baths.

Fighting continued around the hotel. For much of the time we were unable to make calls on our local cell phones, nor could we venture outside to use satellite phones because of the snipers.

The windows in the restaurant downstairs were shattered by a shot or shrapnel while two colleagues made tea.

A sniper's bullet hit my BGAN, the satellite transmission device, as I sat a few feet away writing emails. I dashed out of the room.

People stretched out on the floor of the hallway near our safe room, often wearing their body armour, dozing when they could. We draped a banner from the upstairs balcony that said 'press' so gunmen who might enter the hotel would know we were non-combatants.

The fear came and went that the hotel would be the scene of a showdown between Gaddafi forces and rebels.

Even as we received reports that most of Tripoli had fallen, the armed volunteers holding us there against our will were utterly convinced that the rebels would be repelled.

They were diehard Gaddafi supporters who suspected us -- cut off from the outside world as we were -- of distorting the situation to the rebels' favour.

Camaraderie saw us through the ordeal. We set up an impromptu cinema one day while we were camped out in the basement, but the screening of 'Point Break' on someone's laptop was interrupted by fighting that broke out near the hotel.

Nevertheless, spirits flagged as things wore on and we wondered when we would be freed.

On a desk in a room that had been occupied by government minders, we found printouts of private emails sent by us journalists -- apparent evidence that the correspondence had been monitored.

Wednesday morning dawned after another tense night that brought only a few hours of sleep for most of us and hours of discussions.

A bout of shouting with our armed guards in the lobby ended suddenly when the ICRC team rushed in the door and to our rescue. We didn't wait to settle the bill.

(Writing by Missy Ryan and Angus MacSwan, editing by Peter Millership)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Asian markets mostly up in early biz

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 07:06 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Asian markets are trading mostly higher in Thursday morning trade taking their cue from Wall Street's overnight extended gains.

However, market observers note Asian investors would remain vigilant on the state of the world's largest economy - the US - even as more economic data continue to be reported in the coming weeks.

"Even though Wall Street extended its gains last night its key equity indices rose between 0.9% and 1.3% on better economic data we suspect Asian investors would be keeping an eye on the U.S. stock futures performance for market direction today," Hwang DBS said in its morning note. It noted the Dow Jones Industrial Average Sep futures contract lost ground early this morning (partly due to news that the CEO of Apple has resigned) to hover at a 73-point discount to the spot rate.

"We expect the benchmark FBM KLCI on our Malaysian bourse to move sideways with a marginal positive bias ahead after declining by 13.2-point yesterday," it said.

At 10am, the local index is down 0.14% while markets in Japan, China,Taiwan and South Korea are up an average of 1% each.

Among the early gainers, EPIC is up 10sen to RM3.03 after obtaining an unconditional takeover offer for its shares at RM3.10 each while banking stocks CIMB and RHBCap are traded lower.

Nymex crude oil lost 10 cents to US$85.10 per barrel.

Spot gold added US$1.98 to US$1761 per ounce.

The ringgit was quoted at 2.9853 to the US dollar.

Support Line

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 06:09 PM PDT


EKSONS Corp shares pulled back from the recent highs of RM1.57 on March 29 to a low of 98.5 sen on Aug 9 before bouncing off in the wake of bargain hunting interest, ending at RM1.10 yesterday. The mending technical signal suggests more recovery in the short term. If prices can overcome the 50-day simple moving average of RM1.17, the outlook would be brighter. Initial support is seen at RM1.02.


KUMPULAN Fima shares turned sideways on consolidation after rebounding moderately from the RM1.46 level to a high of RM1.74 on Aug 18. Based on the daily chart, a push above the relatively strong overhead barrier of RM1.76 may lead to a re-test of the recent peak of RM1.95, of which a successful penetration would signal a rally continuation. Initial support is expected at RM1.60.

WIJAYA Baru Global

WIJAYA Baru Global rebounded strongly from the 52 sen floor to settle at 73.5 sen yesterday, which was near the previous rally peak. With technical indicators on the mend, it appears a breakout of the 78.5 sen barrier may be on the cards, enroute to the RM1 mark. Current support is envisaged at 69 sen, followed by the 60-sen level.

The comments above do not represent a recommendation to buy or sell.

EPF seeks prime assets

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 06:07 PM PDT

THE global economy is undergoing tremendous changes. There is much to be made, with sound and well-calculated judgement; and much to be lost, if prudence is missing. About a year ago, the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) issued a statement that it was going to invest about 1bil (RM4.88bil) in British real estate.

It appointed ING Real Estate Investment and Deutsche Bank's property investment arm, RREEF, to manage the investment, each getting 500mil to buy into the European property markets, focusing on the United Kingdom.

In just about 12 months after that statement was issued, the pensions fund has accumulated four premium properties in the city of London. All four purchases were previously owned by property investment funds, one of them held by a consortium with members on both sides of the Atlantic.

Its latest purchase was concluded on Aug 11 when it added 11-12 St James Square, another venerable address in the West End, to its London portfolio of assets. It also said it was looking for other assets to buy and a whiff of this was in the air when word got out that another two properties are on the cards. EPF has yet to confirm these two new purchases.

However, it has been reported that the purchase of Tower Bridge House, E1, an 185,000 sq ft office block, might be concluded directly with Credit Suisse Asset Management's German open-ended fund CS Euroreal, and not via EPF's two appointed consultants, ING Real Estate Investment and RREEF. If EPF does seal the deal, it will represent one of the largest off-market deals this summer in Britain. An off-market deals means there are no signages posted to publicly indicate that the property is for sale. It is exclusively and privately concluded.

The other property is reportedly a distribution centre outside London, belonging to British supermarket chain Sainsbury's for 80mil (RM392.22mil).

EPF's new direction to invest in overseas properties is both interesting and relevant to many Malaysians.

First of all, the fund is supposed to act in the interest of 12.72 million employees, who channel a portion of their salary as EPF contribution every month. These "investors" (meaning all of us who are employed) will want to know how their monies are invested.

As at March this year, property investment only constituted RM1.84bil (or 0.41%) out of a total investments of RM450.26bil. By comparison, equities constitute 35.55%, or RM160.06bil.

As the United States, Britain and the European Union wade through troubled waters, it is very likely that more property funds will be releasing very prime properties for sale, not only in London, but across the Atlantic and in Australia.

As a source in the private sector says: "Now is the time to pick up some of these prime assets in the Western world."

This is obviously not lost on the EPF and many who have invested in the residential sector.

EPF's interest in UK may be due to a couple of factors, the currency exchange, which is in our favour, for one. The Australian dollar is comparatively strong today, while the sterling is hovering below RM5 to a pound. At its height, it was trading at about RM7 to a pound. As the European Union go through this painful period, Britain will be very much affected by it although it has continued to hang on to its currency. The pound may depreciate further so the issue of currency gains (or loss) is a double-edged sword.

The other attraction: London is a financial centre that goes back many decades. Although a bit of that financial glitter has dimmed because of its current troubles, there is an overall sense of confidence that it will bounce back. Hence, the interest in British assets today although that recent riot which started in Tottenham is a blip.

The EPF does have vast resources, simply because every month, millions of us add to our total contributions in the fund. These monies have to go somewhere, instead of being confined within Malaysian borders.

One of the reasons there is so much interest is that property funds are liquidating. It could be a closed-end fund, or an open-ended one.

Unlike the limited range of investment opportunities in Malaysia, property funds have over the years proven to be popular in the West, as they offer reasonable returns with little volatility. But the global downturn of the last several years have brought that to a halt.

These funds were run by large insurance and investment companies that pool the monies of investors to enable a fund manager to purchase a variety of commercial properties such as office blocks, retail units and warehouses.

When the economy was good, there was more money being invested in these funds than there were people cashing out. Fund managers, therefore, have no problems holding on to these property investments over the longer term. But when investors became nervous, they are likely to withdraw or cash out.

Because the current credit crunch is expected to continue for some time, there may be more liquidation ahead. While all this is happening, the prices of London properties began to improve in the second quarter of 2009, while the rest of Britain property market continue to languish.

Incidentally, if one were to check the EPF website, among the maze of frequently asked questions is this innocuous one:

"Can EPF invest overseas?"

The answer? "No. EPF can only do so with the approval of the Ministry of Finance. To date, EPF has not been granted the permission to invest overseas." Ummh, somebody may need to update that.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Roddick, Isner reach Winston-Salem quarter-finals

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 07:21 PM PDT

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (AP): Andy Roddick advanced to the quarter-finals in the Winston-Salem Open, beating Santiago Giraldo 6-1, 6-3 on Wednesday night in the final men's tune-up before the U.S. Open.

Roddick was in sharp form for the second match in a row and showed signs that he might be recovered from recent injuries in time for the last Grand Slam event of the year.

This was just his third match in the last six weeks because of an abdominal strain.

"That's the biggest thing for me, not to be scared of extended rallies," Roddick said. "You have to get your legs back and there's only one way, and that's jumping in."

Giraldo led the second set 2-1 before Roddick took the next three games to regain control.

Until this week, Roddick hadn't won a match since the second round of Wimbledon, recovering from an abdominal injury during much of that time. Now he has won on back-to-back nights.

"It's a thing where you crawl before you walk," Roddick said. Roddick will next face Argentina's Juan Monaco, who beat Kei Nishikori 6-0, 6-3.

Roddick and local favorite John Isner are the lone Americans remaining in the draw. Fourth-seeded Isner beat No. 13-seeded Jarkko Nieminen 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Isner, from nearby Greensboro, solved Nieminen's serve and needed just 23 minutes to win the second set.

"I held serve comfortably today, and that puts so much pressure on my opponents," Isner said. "Any guy with a big serve will tell you being able to get cheap points puts so much pressure on (the opponent)."

In the quarter-finals, Isner will face Marcos Baghdatis, who beat Steve Darcis 7-5, 6-0. Isner lost only seven points out of 51 on his serve. The match ended, appropriately, with an ace.

Third-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov advanced by beating Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7). He will face the Netherlands' Robin Haase, who defeated Pierre-Ludovic Duclos 6-4, 7-5.

Ninth-seeded Sergiy Stakhovsky upset No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final against French qualifier Julien Benneteau, who Russia's Igor Andreev 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5).

Senna to race for Renault at Belgian GP

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 07:19 PM PDT

Published: Thursday August 25, 2011 MYT 10:19:00 AM

PARIS (AP): Brazilian driver Bruno Senna will race for Renault at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Senna will replace German driver Nick Heidfeld and will compete alongside Vitaly Petrov, the Formula One team said on Wednesday, without indicating whether Senna will keep his spot until the end of the season.

Heidfeld was drafted in when Robert Kubica suffered a career-threatening injury in a rally car accident in February.

Senna made his F1 debut with Hispania Racing last season, and had started the season as a reserve driver for Renault.

His late uncle was F1 great Ayrton Senna.

Ban lifted on Venezuelan swimmer Albert Subirats

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 07:17 PM PDT

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP): The international swimming federation has lifted a one-year suspension placed on Venezuelan swimmer Albert Subirats, Venezuelan authorities said Wednesday.

Subirats won gold in the 50m butterfly at the short course world championships in 2010, but was banned for failing to notify anti-doping authorities of his whereabouts during a nine-month period.

"I spoke with the FINA president Julio Maglione, who said that everything had come out in a favourable way for Albert," Venezuelan Aquatic Sports Federation president Lourdes De Goncalves told state television.

Subirats claimed he submitted the paperwork to the federation detailing his movements during three periods in 2010 and 2011, and that the Venezuelan body admitted losing the information.

The lifting of the ban clears Subirats to compete in the Pan-American Games at Guadalajara, Mexico, in October.

Subirats will also be available to swim at the 2012 Olympics. If the ban had not been lifted, he would have had just two months to obtain the qualification time necessary to compete in London.

The swimmer's personal trainer, Luis Moreno, posted on Twitter that the decision was "one of the most significant victories in Venezuelan sport."

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Tomoi action in Canada

Posted: 25 Aug 2011 03:08 AM PDT

Dain Iskandar Said's film Bunohan will be going to the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

SOME believe everything in life happens for a reason. For Bunohan director Dain Iskandar Said and producer Nandita Solomon, there has been a great blessing in disguise in what should have been bad news for their film. Bunohan was scheduled to be completed in May this year, but circumstances dictated that they could only finish earlier this month.

"Sometimes things happen for the right reasons, and you can't fight it," said Dain when met at his production office, Apparat, in Kuala Lumpur. "So there was a delay, but because of that, we made certain calls and decisions that actually were to our advantage."

That advantage sees Bunohan going to the 36th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) next month. The film will be screened as part of the Discovery section which highlights first- and second-time directors. And not only that, Bunohan has also been picked up by Universal Pictures for distribution in Britain, France, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. This double portion of good fortune came only recently and had both Dain and Nandita in high spirits.

"We're very excited because of the market opportunities that will be there (in Toronto)," said Nandita.

And even though the TIFF is a non-competitive festival, Dain is still excited to be going there. "Festivals are great, no doubt about that," he said. "They put your film in a certain place, put it on the map. And also the buyers and market are there and that's our main concern right now. We want to be able to sell the film."

Bunohan, an action-drama, tells the fatalistic story of three men – a tomoi fighter, an assassin and a businessman – whose lives and fates intertwine in a violent way. The film is set in the badlands at the border between Thailand and Malaysia. Filmed during the east coast monsoon, the film features darkly beautiful images of the land (courtesy of Thai cinematographer Charin Pengpanich) and edgy tomoi (South-East Asian martial art) fight sequences.

Dain and Nandita first met TIFF's Asian cinema programmer, Giovanna Fulvi, in Hong Kong in March. In April, Fulvi came to Malaysia and they showed her the film which she then took back with her to Toronto.

"She saw the film and really liked it," said Dain.

Bunohan will not be the lone film from South-East Asia at the TIFF this year. Indonesian actioner The Raid, by Gareth Evans who also directed the silat movie Merantau, will also be showcased, as well as Headshot, a new film by Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang.

Nandita believes Bunohan will be a different kind of experience for foreign audiences. "Dain had his own unique vision of how he wanted to tell the story. And all his influences – he loves European cinema, Wim Wenders and stuff like that, and also American cinema such as Terrence Malick and Michael Mann. Those influences do show in the film. It's also a kind of ode to the western as well. However, Dain's style is still very much rooted in Malaysian culture, and that comes across too. So for outside audiences, we'll have to see how they respond to it."

Making Bunohan has been a rollercoaster ride for both Dain and Nandita, a whirlwind experience of highs and lows.

"The thing about filmmaking, it has been such a journey for me and Nandita," said Dain. "It's our first film under our own steam, finding the funding and carrying out the production. And we have some wonderful supporters."

Added Nandita: "We definitely can't do it on our own. We've worked with some really wonderful people."

She cited co-producer Tim Kwok as one of those who have helped the film a lot. Kwok is a Malaysian producer based in Los Angeles, California, who recently worked with Japanese director Shunji Iwai on his English-language debut, Vampire, which went to the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, among others.

"It's been up and down," said Dain. "One minute you might get the worst news, but on the same day, suddenly you get good news. It's like a yo-yo, in the course of 24 hours sometimes."

But things are definitely looking up now. With the film out there now, a lot of the work will be shouldered by Nandita as the producer. Dain, meanwhile, is already working towards his next film. He has a couple of things going on – a "gangsters with heart" film and another fight film. In the meantime he is also working on a documentary in Indonesia. Next month he will be heading to the TIFF which will hold three public screenings of Bunohan and two market screenings. (The film will be released locally sometime next year.)

"Things happen for a reason and I believe that there's always a right time for everything," said Nandita. "We got invited to a festival and that kind of gives us artistic credibility. And then landing a sale like Universal Pictures gives us a certain amount of commercial credibility."

An animated journey

Posted: 25 Aug 2011 03:06 AM PDT

As Pixar turns 25, we take a look at the philosophy that drives their success.

Most movies start their life off as an idea.

At Pixar Animation Studios, however, it is not the idea that starts off the movie-making process.

Says president and co-founder Dr Ed Catmull: "We start off by picking the person to direct the film; it's not picking an idea.

"We pick the person, and then, they come up with the idea for the film. They usually come up with two or three ideas. And of those, we then pick the one that seems like it's the best, and they've got the passion behind it."

Passion is, of course, a critical element to any endeavour, particularly creative ones.

The people at Pixar believe in this so strongly that even though there may be sound commercial reasons for making a sequel, for example, it is left up to the director (of the original movie) to make the final decision.

Giving the example of The Incredibles, Dr Catmull says: "With (The) Incredibles, I think people did want it (a sequel). But since (director) Brad (Bird) wanted to do some other things first, we deferred, since our belief is we want to be director-driven on that.

"And we just want to be careful about that, because if you lose that passion of the directors, then it has these long-term ramifications."

So, in case, you were wondering, the reason why the only sequels to have come out from Pixar so far are from Toy Story and Cars, is because director John Lasseter still had stories to tell about the characters from those movies.

Lasseter explains: "A lot of filmmakers create a film and then move on; and they're not really interested in going back and revisiting that.

"For me, I directed the first two Toy Story movies and the first Cars. When I get done making a film, these characters are like friends of mine. And I love the worlds we've created.

"And I always feel like, in both the Toy world and definitely Cars' characters, there are so many more stories that you can tell."

Movies for all

Both Dr Catmull and Lasseter were speaking to the international press in Los Angeles, in conjunction with the release of Cars 2, and Pixar's 25th anniversary.

Cars 2 is the 12th full-length animated film release in Pixar's stable of highly successful animated movies.

Starting with Toy Story in 1995, Pixar movies have come to set the standards that other animated films are measured by.

One of the reasons for that is because their movies appeal to both kids and adults alike.

When asked if Cars 2, which has a more complex storyline than the original, was aimed for an older tween crowd, Dr Catmull says: "They (the filmmakers) actually don't have discussions about who it's aimed for. It just isn't part of the consciousness, because it distorts the way people think about filmmaking when they do it. And in particular, we don't aim them towards kids. The only thing we do is we're clearly trying not to put in things that you wouldn't want for kids at all. But other than that, the film is what the film is."

He adds that Pixar's philosophy is that children live in an adult world, which they do not always understand, and asking questions is a normal occurrence.

So, if they do not understand some parts of a movie, and ask questions about it, that is just part of their normal learning process.

For Lasseter, who is also Pixar and Walt Disney chief creative officer, the secret of Pixar's success lies in being 100% focused on the story and characters of each movie.

"We keep telling an intelligent story that plays for adults, as well as kids. And they're original. They're not based on anything. And I believe you have to do that every single time," he says.

He adds that Pixar has one of the strongest brand names in the world of cinema simply because every movie they have made "truly, deeply entertained audiences".

"And I'm devoted to have every single movie coming out from Pixar be really good, and every single movie that comes out from Pixar be very different from the one that came out before.

"And I think that goes to the next movie, Brave, which is totally different than anything we've done," he says.

A long road

Lasseter describes making movies at Pixar as a "long journey".

"Creating the stories at Pixar, you don't just write a script and then make the movie.

"It took three years to make this movie, and we were working on the story all the way up to the end.

"So, we were really constantly developing, and it's just kind of evolution. You try things, and some stuff sticks and works, and some stuff doesn't. But you learn from it, and you go on from there, and it inspires something else.

"So, it's this interesting journey that goes on, and every Pixar film is like that, this included."

Part of the journey includes eight screenings throughout the movie-making process for Pixar staff to offer their input.

Cars 2 producer and Up associate producer Denise Ream shares that for each screening, they fill up the screening room, which can fit 235 people, with all the Pixar directors and film crew.

"After the screening, we go into extensive note sessions with typically, our editor, head of story, producer, director, all of the Pixar directors, people from development.

"A lot of times, we'll have the entire story department in these note sessions, and we just hear what everyone has to say.

"We then encourage everyone who has watched the movie – all the crew members – to send us their notes."

The notes are all compiled, and the director then goes through all of them and decides what he wants to include from all the suggestions.

Ream says: "It was incredible to me that anyone and everyone at the studio was encouraged to give notes, and to give their opinions about how to make films better.

"Like, I remember just a small example from when I was watching Up; there's a book that Ellie put together for Carl that he finally pulls out at the end of the movie. And she's written a letter to him, and she just signed it 'Ellie'.

"And I said to (director and screenwriter) Pete (Docter), she would have said at least 'Love, Ellie'. You don't write a letter like that without putting some sort of endearment, and sure enough, they changed it.

"So that's a small example, but everyone is really encouraged to do it at Pixar."

Making it right

According to Ream, not being afraid to admit failure is a key element to Pixar's success.

Dr Catmull shares that once Pixar's driving goal of making their first full-length animated film – Toy Story in 1995 – was achieved nine years after the company was founded, he started asking himself, what's next?

"Somehow, it felt like just doing another film was like repeating the same goal.

"So, it took me a while to get my head around it," he says.

It took him about a year, but then he realised that there was a pattern happening in companies similar to Pixar.

"A group of bright, creative people would come together. They did good marketing, they did good financing, and they produced a product. They'd go public. The CEO would get on the cover of Fortune Magazine. And then the company would do something incredibly stupid.

"And I don't mean, looking back at it incredibly stupid. I mean, right at the time, it was incredibly stupid. And it was clear to me that there were some forces going on inside each of these companies that they were blind to, and it was derailing them. And the question is, if we were ever successful, would we do the same thing?"

To him, the real issue was not whether Pixar could make another film, but whether they could make a sustainable culture so that this unforeseeable "incredibly stupid thing" did not happen to them, and derail the company.

"Your only hope is to continue to look for the things that are going wrong. So, as a company, we just have been aware throughout that there are things that are going wrong that we can't see. So we need mechanisms to try to figure out what they are. And the truth is, with all of our films, we have some serious problems. Some of them very serious, just derailing near the end or remaking them. But at any stage, whether it's early or late, we will fix the problem. So, somehow, we end up here, 25 years later and 12 films under our belt. And with the realisation that we still haven't figured out how to make these films."

The turning point for him was Pixar's third film, Toy Story 2.

"It was very late in the game, actually within eight months of having to deliver the film, when we realised it wasn't working, and we basically threw it away and started all over again," he says.

Although it was a very difficult decision, Dr Catmull shares that all those involved in the movie believed that making the hard decision for the right reasons is the right thing to do.

"So, our standards about films were set by that film.

"For me, it was our defining moment. It wasn't just a matter of being successful. We were challenged, and then we rose to it.

"And so later, when we had other challenges – and we have had major challenges since then – the crew expects us to do the right thing.

"So if it means throwing things away and starting over again, then that's what we should do."

He adds: "It would be offensive to release a film that's wrong. And so, that's the culture – it needs to be right. It needs to be a good film."

Cars 2 opens in cinemas nationwide today.

Pacino, 'Scarface' cast celebrate film's legacy

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 03:01 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES (AP): Al Pacino says he got burned while making "Scarface."

Literally, he grabbed the hot barrel of a gun that had just shot 30 rounds during one of Tony Montana's violent scenes.

"My hand stuck to that sucker," the 71-year-old actor recalled. He couldn't work for two weeks.

Pacino relayed the experience during a discussion with "Scarface" co-stars Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia and F. Murray Abraham and producer Martin Bregman at a party in Los Angeles Tuesday heralding the film's Blu-ray release.

Part of the charm of the film, Pacino said, is that it wasn't initially a hit.

"It's one of my favorites because of its whole evolution," he said. "It (was) sort of eviscerated after it opened by the press. ... Nobody was fond of it, except it had good audience participation."

He said "it's almost a miracle" audiences continue to discover and appreciate the film.

He wanted to make it after being inspired by Paul Muni's performance in the 1932 original. Sidney Lumet suggested he make the main character Cuban instead of Italian.

Pacino's "Scarface" is set in 1980s Miami, and Tony Montana is an ambitious immigrant who runs a growing drug empire until he eventually collapses under greed and addiction. Pacino's performance as the gun-wielding, coke-snorting Montana is among his most memorable.

He said that during the nine months he was shooting the film, his character practically inhabited him. When a friend's yappy little dog lunged at him, Pacino said he cocked back his fist instinctively, as if threatening a punch.

"So I love Tony Montana, man, because I couldn't do that!" Pacino said Tuesday.

Bregman called "Scarface" a "perfect, perfect movie."

Its timeless themes of greed, desire and ambition would make it controversial even if it were just released today, Pacino said.

Screenwriter Oliver Stone and director Brian De Palma were both "trying to talk about the avarice of the '80s," Pacino said. "At that time, there was this whole thing about greed, which was Wall Street and everything, and I think that's part of it. A great character, too, Tony Montana - a person who dares to do anything, who flies like a Phoenix, like Icarus, close to the sun."

The Blu-Ray will be released Sept. 6. "Scarface" is also set to play at 475 theaters nationwide on Aug. 31 for a special one-night engagement.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Sodomy II: Group holds banners supporting Saiful

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 06:30 PM PDT

Published: Thursday August 25, 2011 MYT 9:30:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: About 40 men gathered at the entrance of the Jalan Duta court complex on Wednesday, holding banners in support of Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the plaintiff in the sodomy trial of Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The group, mostly wearing yellow t-shirts gathered from 8.30am carrying banners stating " Justice for Saiful" and " Selamat Hari Raya peliwat 2.0".

They also shouted slogans against Anwar Ibrahim.

More to come: Related Stories:
Sodomy II: Semen can't be used as evidence, court told
Sodomy II: Possible not to have scars despite anal penetration, says witness
Sodomy II: Anwar denies he had sexual relations with Mohd Saiful

Drug mule recounts Peru ordeal

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 05:54 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosna Shariff, who was jailed for two-and-a-half years in Peru for being a drug mule, says she is looking forward to being reunited with her three children.

Recounting her ordeal, Rosnah, 43, said that four years ago, an Indonesian friend told her that a Nigerian man needed someone to deliver documents.

She was offered US$60 (RM180) for the job.

"I was desperate as I was divorced and had to take care of my children.

"My contract job as a cleaner was ending then," she said.

Rosna was flown to Spain and stayed there for five days before going to Peru.

"Two men came to my hotel and handed me a bag. I did not think anything was amiss," she said at a press conference with Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil yesterday.

However, at the airport, police detained her and found 5.7kg of drugs in her bag.

"I fainted. I was really scared because in Malaysia I knew the penalty was death."

After she was released from prison, Rosna could not afford to come back and made a living sewing purses.

Putera 1Malaysia Club and a Malay daily sponsored her return to Malaysia on Tuesday.

Rosna hopes to support herself by sewing purses and bags, a skill she learnt in prison.

Transit homes for landslide-hit victims

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 05:51 PM PDT

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The orang asli villagers affected by the landslide at Kampung Sungai Ruil here earlier this month will be shifted out to transit homes near an army camp in nearby Brinchang.

The Department for the Development of the Orang Asli (Jakoa), with the help of the Defence Minis-try, is clearing and levelling the 1.8ha of private land there to build 137 units of terrace houses to temporarily house the affected villagers.

They will be staying at the transit homes for up to two years, pending studies by the relevant technical agencies on the safety of the village.

"We expect the houses to be ready by the first week of October.

"All the villagers will be relocated there," the Jakoa director-general Datuk Sani Mistam said after a buka puasa function with the villagers on Tuesday.

The Aug 7 landslide buried five houses, resulting in the death of seven villagers, including three members of a family.

Two seriously injured victims are still receiving treatment at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh.

Initial reports said "excessive rainfall" caused the tragedy.

The villagers are currently hous-ed at the Dewan Jubli Perak in Tanah Rata and have been barred from en- tering Kampung Sungai Ruil, which had since become a ghost town at night.

Sani said the village needed to be vacated as it was deemed unsafe.

"Depending on the technical report, we will decide whether to strengthen the slope to stabilise the land," he said.

Responding to the order to move out, village chief Kader Ahsan, 42, said the villagers agreed to comply with the order, although "it is not what we want".

"As our safety is at stake, we will follow the authorities' instructions," he said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Reduced toll charges for Raya, LDP toll-free on National Day

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 12:11 AM PDT

THE Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP) and the Sprint Highway will be offering discounts on Aug 30 and 31 in conjunction with the Hari Raya and National Day.

On Aug 30, those driving on the LDP will only need to pay RM1, a 60sen discount from the usual rate while those travelling on the Sprint will be given a 20sen discount.

LDP users will be able to enjoy a toll-free day on Aug 31 in celebration of the country's 54th Merdeka Day.

Ling­karan Trans Kota Sdn Bhd (Litrak) chief executive officer Sazally Saidi said they did not want to miss out on the double festival and wanted to treat road users with discounts.

Sazally said about 470,000 motorists used the LDP daily.

"We hope with this offer, more road users will travel during this festive period either to visit friends or for holidays with their families," Sazally said during a Hari Raya shopping treat for orphans from Pusat Jagaan Baitul Hidayah recently.

The shopping treat held at Mydin Subang saw about 30 orphans from the Puchong home busy looking for their favourite baju Melayu, shoes and songkok within a budget of RM150 each.

The orphans aged between four and 15 were helped by employees of Litrak and Mydin.

Sazally said the event, which was part of the company's corporate responsibility programme, was also held to celebrate festivals such as Deepavali, Chinese New Year and Christmas.

City Watch

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 12:04 AM PDT


There will be a temporary water disruption on Aug 25 from 10pm until Aug 26 5am in the Hulu Selangor district. This is due to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd pipe works at KL-Kuala Selangor Highway (LATAR) at Jalan Templer, Rawang. Areas affected include Kampung Dato Lee Kim Sai; Taman Bersatu Rawang; Belmas Johan/ R&R/ Industri Indah Rawang; Industri Kri dan NSK. The public are advised to store enough water during the period. For further call 1-800-88-5252 atau SMS by typing PUSPEL and send to 39222 or log on to www.syabas.com.my.


Operafest Children's Choir will be having a concert on Aug 27 and 28 in aid of animals called 'Save a Stray'. The concert will be held at PJ Live Arts, Jaya One, Petaling Jaya.


In conjunction with the second term DBKL Assessment Tax payment month 2011, several counters have been opened at shopping malls until Aug 26. Public can make payments at Lower Ground Floor Berjaya Time Square (11am to 8pm), Ground Floor Jusco Maluri Shopping Centre (10am to 9pm), Ground Floor Jusco Metro Prima Kepong (10am to 11pm), Ground Floor Carrefour Shopping Centre Wangsa Maju (10am to 8pm) and 1st South Area 2, First Floor, Mid Valley Megamall (10am to 9pm). For enquiries call 03-2617 9950.


Plus Highway users will be able to enjoy toll rebates up to 20% on selected days during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays. Those who pay toll electronically on Aug 25 and 26 will be given 20% rebate while users making toll transaction using electronic system on Aug 30 and 31 will enjoy 10%. On Sept 1 and 2, toll transactions made via the electronic system will be given 20% rebate as well. The toll rebate can be redeemed at PLUS customer service centre beginning Oct 15 until Dec 31 this year.


Society For Inner Resources Development (SIRD) Malaysia is organising a workshop on Aug 28 entitled Spiritual Values for Family Welfare and Harmony (English). The workshop will take place at Bangunan Peladang, Jalan Templer, Petaling Jaya from 8.30am to 4.30pm. The workshop requires pre-registration. . For further information call Uni Kannan at 012-379 7181 or Siva 012-385 0997.


Malaysian Buddhist Consultative Council (MBCC) will organise a National Annual All Night Chanting and Blessing Service from Aug 27 at 7pm to Aug 28 at 11.30am at the Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple, Lot 85, Jalan Sentul, Kuala Lumpur. MBCC wishes to invite the members of Sangha and all Buddhists to participate in the programme. For enquiries call 03-7804 9154.

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Dealing with bad breath

Posted: 24 Aug 2011 12:53 AM PDT

Halitosis (bad breath) can be due to many reasons, and these are not just confined to the mouth.

ONCE in a while, someone walks into a room and chokes every living thing in it with the overwhelming scent of perfume. The wearer is oblivious to the reaction of others as the sense of smell has become acclimatised to the constant stimulus.

In a similar fashion, those with bad breath have no inkling how the foul odour affects those within the "smell radius".

Foetor oris is Latin for "stinky mouth". In scientific nomenclature, malodorous breath is termed as halitosis.

Who has it? Unfortunately, everyone, at some time of the day, but for some poor souls, it's all day long. A simple test would be to lick the inside of the wrist, let the saliva dry a bit, and take a sniff. Try doing this first thing in the morning for full impact!

Bad breath certainly has unavoidable social connotations. One can accept a less than perfect visual image, but when subjected to the smell of rotten eggs at close proximity, it's a tough call indeed.

The eye can behold, the nose cannot endure!

Impolite as it may sound, foul odour that encroaches the breathing space of others provokes emotional, physiological and psychological reactions of friends, acquaintances and work colleagues.

It is estimated to be the third most common complaint presented at the dental clinic in the US.

Mouth odour

The mouth is like a swamp, harbouring 600 different types of bacteria, some of which makes the oral orifice smell bad.

These little bugs contribute to the stench by their decomposition of food particles, cellular debris and mucous trapped in between teeth, gums, the back of the tongue and throat, releasing offensive sulphurous gases.

Unhealthy, inflamed gums and plaques are the chief causes of halitosis as there are high concentrations of bacteria here. The back of the tongue is a notorious hideout for rogue bugs.

Ill-fitting dentures, bridges, crowns and poor dental hygiene promotes bad breath.

A persistent sneezer with clogged sinuses, throat or respiratory tract infection are the common non-dental sources of foul breath.

The tonsil are two marble-like lymph tissues at the throat, with little crevices on its surface. Food particles and cellular debris can collect in these nooks and crannies, inviting bacteria to work on it. Mouth ulcers and more sinister lesions like oral and nasopharyngeal cancer can present with halitosis.

The morning after

The self-cleaning mechanism in the mouth is a technology patented by nature. The swirling movement of the tongue and the drooling of saliva helps to sweep food, bacteria and what nots, flushing them down into the gullet en route to the stomach.

This explains the "morning after" breath, because during sleep, there is stagnation and reduced saliva flow, a situation particularly aggravated in the mouth breather and sonorous sleeper. The auto cleanser enters into the sleep mode.

Dry mouth (xerostomia), fasting, the side effects of taking certain medications (eg antihistamine, antispasmodic etc), consuming beverages like coffee and alcohol, and reduced saliva production (Sjogren's syndrome) contributes to unpleasant mouth odour.

More than a mouthful

An unhealthy gut leaves tell-tale smells, from both ends!

Acid reflux, indigestion, poor bowel habits, and a preponderance of "bad gut bacteria", allow the back-flow of noxious gases that spews from the mouth, although the origins lie deep down, ten meters from the oral orifice.

Halitosis is a challenging issue for poorly controlled diabetics. In an environment of high blood sugar, of which little gets into the cells for utilisation, the body trims the fat and breaks down proteins for a secondary source of energy, thereby creating an acidic state known as ketoacidosis.

Sweet, sickly ketones exude from the breath, which is aggravated by dehydration and a dry mouth.

Together with gum infections, which occur more readily, these factors pave the way for a uniquely unpleasant breath.

The dentist says

Since the bulk of the causes of halitosis originate from the oral cavity, let's hear it from the horse's mouth.

Sitting in the dentist's chair was never one of my favourite pastimes, but Dr Catherine Chong has turned my visits to her office into "dental spa" sessions.

With due respect, the following is an extract from a casual interview.

CS: Dr Chong, why do dentists wear masks?

Dr Chong: To prevent droplet infection lor ... ahh, also to reduce contaminated spray on the face.

CS: What about to mask out bad breath?

Dr Chong: Yeah, and that too (chuckles).

CS: What is the number one reason patients come to see you for?

Dr Chong: Pain is usually their motivating factor.

CS: What about halitosis, do patients present that as their chief complaint?

Dr Chong: Hardly, either they are not aware or they live with it. They usually do not bring up the smelly issue.

CS: Is the cause of bad breath usually obvious?

Dr Chong: Yes, in the majority of cases, there is a dental cause, like unhealthy gums, plaques, caries, problems with dentures and general oral neglect. However, among those who complain of having bad breath, it is often due to a non-dental cause like sinusitis or poor digestive health.

CS: Since all of us do have, on occasions, breath that is a tad bad, especially in the mornings and after certain foods, is that normal?

Dr Chong: Call that physiological halitosis if you like. It usually becomes less noticeable after brushing, flossing or eating a meal.

However, some individuals have a highly disproportionate perception of their intensity of bad breath (even though unnoticed by others).

And we went on and on exploring the stinky problem. This is what she recommends:

> Regular dental check-ups, treating obvious causes.

> Brush teeth after every meal.

> Floss the spaces in between.

> Clean and brush the tongue.

> Rinse with mouthwashes.

> Chew on sugarless gum.

> Remove and clean dentures, nightly.

Might I also add that practising a healthy lifestyle, such as adopting regular exercises, ensuring adequate hydration, healthy diet (balanced with five to six serving s of fruits and vegetables daily), supplements for optimal health (multivitamins, antioxidants, fish oil, etc) and looking after gut well being (probiotics, fibre and digestive enzymes) helps.

Dental hygiene is an integral component of general health. In the absence of dental causes, other more pressing undercurrents need to be unmasked and tamed.

Halitosis is more than just a social handicap; something is rotting, and it better not be your health!

Dr C. S. Foo is a medical practitioner. For more information, e-mail: starhealth@thestar.com.my.

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