Ahad, 28 Ogos 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

A telly good time

Posted: 29 Aug 2011 03:18 AM PDT

Viewers will be treated to lots of special shows on TV during the festive season.

IN conjunction with the double celebration – Hari Raya Aidil Fitri and the country's 54th National Day – there are many entertaining shows for TV viewers. From magazine shows (Passage To Malaysia: The Hi Life, Raya Bapa Merdeka and We're 1Malaysia) to blockbuster movies (Pisau Cukur, Nur Kasih The Movie, Papadom, Magika, Evolusi Kl Drift 2 and Adnan Sempit), just take your pick.

Hari Raya Eve

> Passage To Malaysia: The Hi Life (TLC/Ch 707, 9pm): Denise Keller takes the high road through Malaysia and discovers fascinating terrain with unique ways of life at high altitude. In the cool hill station of Cameron Highlands in Pahang and the thick jungle around Gopeng, Perak, she learns to navigate Banjaran Titiwangsa, Peninsula Malaysia's main mountain range. She then heads to the remote Kelabit highlands of Sarawak before climbing Sabah's Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in South-East Asia.

First Day Of Hari Raya

> Pusara Di Lebuh Raya (TV3, 11am): Hakimi, a bus driver, makes a promise to send his parents on a pilgrimage to Mecca once his wish to have a child is fulfilled. Four years later, his wife is pregnant again and Hakimi decides to fulfil his promise but he is short on cash. Desperate, he agrees to take a job with an unlicensed bus company. Fauzi Nawawi, Lisdawati, Fadilah Mansor and Idris Md Diah star.

> HKPO & Frances Yip: Diva Concert (8TV, 1pm): Catch "Asia's leading lady of song" – who sings in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Thai, Japanese and Polynesian – at a concert where she performs with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in 2005.

> Shahrukh Khan Malaysia (TV1, 9.15pm): Iqram Dinzly stars in this comedy as Shah Rizal who is obsessed with Bollywood stars like Shahrukh Khan, and Hindi music. However, his interest in everything Bollywood only lands him in trouble as he starts slacking in his studies. Intan Ladyana and Afzan Abdul Rahman co-star.

> Konsert Aura 3 Diva (Astro Raya HD/Ch 188, 9.15am): A 90-minute musical showcase featuring Datuk Siti Nurhaliza, Ramlah Ram and Ella who performing their evergreen and latest hits.

> Magika (Astro Citra/Ch 131, 1pm): The award-winning movie tells of Ayu (Diana Danielle) and Malik (Fimie Don) who are mourning the death of their mother. One evening, after a fight with his sister, Malik goes into the woods where he gets lost in a magical world called Magika. The Nenek Kebayan (Ziana Zain) and her follower Awang Kenit capture Malik as they need children's tears to make a magic potion. Ayu tries to save her brother and en route meets mythical characters such as Badang (Mawi), Naga Tasik Chini (Datuk M. Nasir), Puteri Bunian (Maya Karin) and Puteri Gunung Ledang (Ning Baizura).

> Kitab Cinta (Al Hijrah/Ch 114, 8.30pm): When her wedding ceremony to Irfan is called off at the last minutes, Mustika struggles with her grief and learns to accept it as fate. Months later, she befriends Iqbal and their friendship blossoms into love. Nur Fazura, Hardy Hartono and Aaron Aziz star.

> Michelle Yeoh (The Biography Channel/Ch 731, 9pm): Malaysian-born Datuk Michelle Yeoh attended the London Royal Academy of Dance in her teens, but a spinal injury ended her dream of becoming a prima ballerina. However, she made it big in the film industry as an action star, starring opposite such notables as Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-fat. She achieved international fame after appearing in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and the award-winning action thriller Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Find out more about Yeoh in this special.

> Konsert Tribute P. Ramlee: Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti (Astro Raya HD/Ch 188, midnight); Held in collaboration with Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, the event brings together established names in the music industry – Datuk Sharifah Aini, Ning Baizura, M. Masir, Ella, Yuna, Misha Omar, Amy Search, Jaclyn Victor, Haziq, Vince, Aizat, Altimet and Hujan. They perform cover versions of songs made popular by the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee.

Merdeka Day

> Raya Bapa Merdeka (TV3, 1pm): Take a stroll down memory lane and relive the country's most significant moment when our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, took charge of the first National Independence Day celebration which was during Ramadan that year.

> We're 1Malaysia (8TV, 5pm): This programme tells the entire journey of the signing of the Merdeka memorandum to how unity was forged and how Malaysia was formed as an effort of unity and harmony among the ethnic groups.

> Nur Kasih The Movie (TV3, 9pm): Brothers Aidil and Adam are determined to find the true meaning of happiness. Aidil must find the strength and reason for him to move on for the sake of his two children following the death of his wife. Meanwhile, Adam and his wife Nur Aminah help Aidil cope, though they are struggling with their own dilemmas. Remy Ishak, Tiz Zaqyah, Fizz Fairuz and Mia Sara star.

> Papadom (TV1, 9pm): This award-winning movie is about Saadom who is a successful nasi kandar businessman in Penang. His wife's last wish was for him to take good care of their daughter Mia. From a busy businessman Saadom changes into a father who is very much focused on his daughter, which Mia finds stifling. Afdlin Shauki and Liyana Jasmay star.

> P. Ramlee (History/Ch 555, 9pm): P. Ramlee was the inimitable, charismatic and multi-talented Malaysian screen legend with a huge following in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in the 1950s and 60s and whose reversal of fortune in the 70s left him scorned and forgotten by his fans. Yet long after his death in 1973, there was a resurgence of interest in his films and a clamour for everything P. Ramlee which has endured to this day.

> Mahathir (The Biography Channel/Ch 731, 9pm): Discover the life of Mahathir Mohamad, one of South-East Asia's most outspoken and controversial leaders. As Prime Minister for 22 years, he modernised Malaysia.

> A Leader's Legacy: Tun Abdul Razak (National Geographic Channel/ Ch 553, 10pm): Travel back to Malaysia's nascent years (1970-1976), when the late Tun Abdul Razak became the second Prime Minister of Malaysia. Known to many as the "Father of Development", here is the inspiring personal story of Tun Abdul Razak's visionary leadership.

Third Day Of Hari Raya

> Police Story 2 (8TV, 6pm): Jackie Chan returns as cop Chan Ka Kui, who is all set to bring down the toughest guys in the city. When Hong Kong faces a bomb threat, Chan has to flush out the bad guys. However, Chan's increasingly grumpy girlfriend, May, becomes tired of playing second fiddle to drug dealers and mad bombers.

> Adnan Sempit (TV3, 9pm): Nan Sempit, an orphan and a mat rempit, decides to move to Kuala Lumpur after being treated unfairly by his aunt's family. During his stay in the city, Adnan stays with his elder brother Macha (Cat Farish) and works as a dispatcher at a private company. Adnan soon charms his way into the heart of his boss Nadia (Intan Ladyana).

Fourth Day Of Hari Raya

> Evolusi KL Drift 2 (TV9, 1.30pm): Illegal racer Zack is now a professional drifter. However, his past as an illegal racer is back to haunt him when his rival Joe wants to settle an old score with him. Joe's sidekick Ery is also after Zack as he blames Zack for his best friend's imprisonment. Syamsul Yusof, Fasha Sandha, Farid Kamil, Aaron Aziz, Iqram Dinzly and Diana Danielle star.

> Simfoni Lebaran RTM/Mediacorp (TV1, 9pm): A special concert featuring artistes from Malaysia and Singapore, including Noryn Aziz, Nora, Hardy Mirza, Rahayu, Taufik Batisah and Sarah Aqilah. They perform popular Raya songs such as Hari Di Hari Raya, Aidilfitri and Cahaya Aidilfitri.

> Geisha Melayu Terakhir (Astro Ria/Ch 104, 9pm): Suraya is a bangsawan actress who is much loved by the villagers. During the Japanese occupation, Suraya is caught by Major Shiro who later releases her on condition that she works for the Japanese forces. Starring Scha Al Yahya and Tiz Zaqyah.

Fifth Day Of Hari Raya

> Pisau Cukur (TV9, 1.30pm): What happens when prey and predator are both trapped on a luxury cruise ship? Two gold-digging girls, Bella and Intan, are in the company of three Datuks, their wives and children, plus Bella's diehard fan. On this eventful voyage, viewers can expect some surprises. Starring Maya Karin, Nur Fazura, Aaron Aziz, Eizlan Yusof, Datuk Rahim Razali and Umie Aida.

> Malaysia Revisited: Architecture (History/Ch 555, 10.30pm): We discover how the effects of climate change have given us more reasons to construct greener buildings and to give old shophouses a second chance. Architects Ken Yeang and Serina Hijjas talk about their respective green buildings in Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Also a visit to an eco-mosque in Kuching, Sarawak, and the Unesco World Heritage City of George Town, Penang.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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Israel "could not stop" nuclear Iran with one strike

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 12:05 PM PDT

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel would not be able to halt Iran's reported quest for atomic weapons with a single strike, a senior Israeli defence official said on Sunday.

Israel and the West suspect Iran is trying to use its nuclear programme to develop atomic weapons, a charge denied by Tehran which says it wants to generate electricity.

Both Israel and the United States have hinted they might consider taking military action as a last resort to stop Iran getting the bomb.

The defence official, who in line with Israeli army guidelines declined to be identified, mentioned Iran during a review of the security situation in the Middle East in a briefing to foreign reporters.

"We're not talking about Iraq or Syria where one strike would derail a programme," the official said, referring to Israel's 1981 air strike that destroyed Iraq's atomic reactor and the bombing in 2007 of a Syrian site which the U.N. atomic agency said was very likely a nuclear reactor.

"With Iran it's a different project. There is no one silver bullet you can hit and that's over," the official said.

Israeli leaders have urged the United States and other Western countries to present Tehran with a credible military threat to back up economic sanctions already in place.

The official said the United States stood a better chance of forcing Iran to change its mind over its nuclear programme than Israel.

"With all respect to Israel ... the greatest fear of the (Iranian) regime is the USA. There is no question about it."

Some analysts say the likelihood of an imminent Israeli war with Iran has ebbed, thanks to the perceived success of political pressure on Tehran.

Recent Israeli estimates do not show Iran developing nuclear weapons before 2015.

Israel is widely believed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, and Iran has accused it of hypocrisy over the issue.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Lockerbie bomber neighbours describe wealthy recluse

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 10:31 AM PDT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Neighbours of the Libyan man convicted in the 1988 bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner over the Scottish town of Lockerbie described a wealthy recluse, constantly surrounded by security guards.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, who was convicted for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing over Scotland, sits in a wheelchair as he attends a pro-government rally in Tripoli in this still image from a July 26, 2011 video from Libyan state television. (REUTERS/Reuters TV via Al Jamahirya/Files)

Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, who had been diagnosed with cancer, served only eight years in a Scottish jail for orchestrating the attack on Pan Am 103, before being released on compassionate grounds in 2009 and flown back to Libya after doctors gave him only months to live.

He was received with a hero's welcome on his return to Tripoli, and the televised images of cheering crowds angered many relatives of the 270 people killed in the attack, 189 of whom were Americans.

The Obama administration harshly criticised Scotland's decision to release Megrahi and many U.S. politicians and victims' families have pressed for his extradition to the United States.

One of Megrahi's neighbours said he had been whisked away by security guards last week when Tripoli fell to rebels battling forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, who like Megrahi, has gone into hiding. Libya's new government is likely to come under pressure to find Megrahi and hand him over.

"The day Tripoli fell, four security men, his private security, took him, his wife and his sons and left. They left in a Mercedes," said Ahmed Mlaaty, 20, a student and one of Megrahi's neighbours, standing outside his handsome villa.

As a condition of his release, Megrahi had been obliged to check in regularly with Scottish authorities, who said last week they had lost contact with him in the "dust of battle".

Neighbours said Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence operative, owns several properties in the Demeshk area of Tripoli's Hadba district, one of the smartest in the city.

Megrahi's properties appeared empty, with a padlock on the gate of one residence where he was said to receive guests.

Sprays of bougainvillea, tall palm trees and brightly coloured flowers could be seen behind the high walls of the neighbourhood's large villas.

"He kept himself to himself .... He's a millionaire. He gets his money from big daddy (Gaddafi). People keep their distance. They don't want to get into state affairs as it will only bring trouble," Mlaaty said.

Another neighbour who had sat with Megrahi at local functions but had never spoken to him said he appeared a reserved, well-turned-out man.

Most neighbours said Megrahi appeared unwell, but there is controversy over his severity of his condition -- diagnosed by Scottish doctors as terminal prostate cancer -- and whether it warranted his release.

"I saw him many times, he was in a wheelchair, he looked very ill, very thin. He always had security, more than one car. He never went anywhere without them," said senior policeman Ali Ahmed al-Khudair, 40, who said he resented the security patrols that accompanied Megrahi's arrival in the neighbourhood.

"He wasn't a millionaire before, but he is now. He came here after he was released from prison. Then he bought these houses. This is one of Libya's top neighbourhoods," he added.

Another neighbour said Megrahi caused no one any harm, and said his complicity in the bombing had not been proved.

"Everyone associates him with Lockerbie, but I'm not sure he was involved," said Noora Abdul Hadi, 27, a doctor.

Attiya al-Usta, 77, said he had seen Megrahi just before the February uprising against Gaddafi's 42-year-rule.

"When he came back from Europe he looked ill. But recently he looked fit and neat. I saw him just before the revolution. He didn't look ill at all. He was sitting in a chair on his balcony. He looked 100 percent."

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Rosalind Russell)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Libyan forces close in on Gaddafi stronghold

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 10:31 AM PDT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libyan forces closed in on Muammar Gaddafi's home town on Sunday, saying they would seize it by force if negotiations for its surrender failed.

Ahmed Bani, spokesman for the rebel military council, attends a news conference in Benghazi August 28, 2011. (REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori)

Libya's new rulers, trying to establish control over all the country, set their sights on the coastal city of Sirte --Gaddafi's birthplace -- and two other towns controlled by his supporters, Sabha in the southwest and Jufrah in the southeast.

One commander said his forces were within 100 km (60 miles) of Sirte from the east and others were advancing from the west.

"We will continue negotiations as long as necessary. However, the liberation of these cities will take place sooner or later," said the military spokesman of the National Transitional Council (NTC) in the eastern city of Benghazi.

"In our opinion this is a matter of days," Colonel Ahmed Bani said.

In Tripoli, the stench of rotting bodies and burning garbage still hung over the city, overrun by anti-Gaddafi forces last week. Many corpses have turned up, some of slain Gaddafi soldiers, others the victims of killings in cold blood.

A Libyan official said 75 bodies had been found at the Abu Salim hospital, which was caught up in heavy fighting, and another 35 corpses were found at the Yurmuk hospital.

The NTC and the Western powers that backed rebel forces with a five-month bombing campaign are acutely aware of the need to prevent Libya collapsing into the kind of chaos that plagued Iraq for years after the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.

The NTC, whose leaders plan to move to Tripoli from Benghazi this week, is trying to impose security, restore basic services and revive the oil- and gas-based economy.


In good omens for economic recovery, officials announced that a vital gas export pipeline to Europe had been repaired and that Libya's biggest refinery had survived the war intact.

In the far west, Tunisian authorities reopened the main border crossing into Libya, restoring a key supply route for Tripoli, after Gaddafi forces were driven out on Friday.

That should help relieve a looming humanitarian crisis in the city, where food, drinking water and medicines are scarce.

Trucks loaded with food and other goods were already moving across the Ras Jdir crossing towards Tripoli, about two hours' drive away. A U.N. official said aid would be sent along the route once it was confirmed to be secure.

The streets of the capital were quiet after sporadic overnight gunfire and explosions in a city traumatised by emerging evidence of widespread summary killings that took place during last week's battles to expel Gaddafi.

Some residents ventured out to hunt for water, food and fuel. And in Martyrs' Square, known as Green Square in the Gaddafi era, traffic police reappeared in crisp white uniforms, directing cars amid a sea of bullet casings.

"I came back to work on Friday. Life is beginning to come back to normal," said one policeman, Mahmoud al-Majbary, 49.

Asked if fighters were obeying the traffic police, he said: "Not yet, we're getting there slowly. We're mainly really here to reassure the people that they are safe."

Libyans may remain fearful as long as the man who subjected them to his capricious will for 42 years remains at large.

Gaddafi, 69, is on the run, perhaps intending to lead an insurgency against his foes grouped loosely under the NTC.

NTC officials rejected any idea of talks with Gaddafi, saying he was a criminal who must be brought to justice.

"We did not negotiate when we were weak, and we won't negotiate now that we have liberated all of Libya," the NTC's information minister, Mahmoud Shammam, told a news conference.

The Associated Press earlier quoted Gaddafi's spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, as saying Gaddafi was still in Libya and wanted to discuss forming a transitional government with the NTC.

NTC officials say Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam and his spy chief should be tried in Libya, although they are wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Sirte, 450 km (280 miles) east of Tripoli, is a vital prize for anti-Gaddafi forces, who say they prefer a negotiated handover of the city, but will storm it if need be.

"Our aim isn't bloodshed, our aim is liberation," Colonel Salem Muftah al-Refaidy, an NTC commander, said in Benghazi.

He told Reuters there was no going back to the past. "After all this bloodshed we can't say, 'Come here Muammar, come here Saif -- we're sorry, take Libya'. It's done. Game over."

He said NTC troops were within 100 km of Sirte from the east and were also approaching from Misrata to the west.

Shammam warned that negotiations could not be "endless", adding that if talks failed rebel supporters already in Sirte would rise up as they had in Tripoli before it fell.


In Tripoli, residents queued for bread or scoured grocery shops for food. Many took a stoical view of their plight.

"This is a tax we pay for our freedom," said Sanusi Idhan, a lawyer waiting to buy food.

Aymen Mohammed poured water into plastic containers for his neighbours. "There are many people here who don't have water so we're filling the bottles from our well," he said.

With Libyan television off the air, the NTC has begun using mobile phone text messages to reach the public. One issued on Sunday urged electricity workers to get back to work.

An earlier message said former Gaddafi loyalists should be treated with dignity and respect. Another said any pro-Gaddafi fighters still carrying weapons should be treated as outlaws.

Usama el-Abed, deputy chairman of the Tripoli council, said water shortages were affecting 70 percent of the city's two million people. He told reporters hospitals were all working except for the one where the killings occurred in Abu Salim.

Shammam said public sector workers would not lose their jobs. Efforts to pay the salaries of those in and around Tripoli were under way.

"Money is still tight, but things will be better in the next few days," he told a news conference in Tripoli.

The NTC hopes to gain access soon to hundreds of millions of dollars of assets frozen abroad. It also needs to get oil and gas revenue, normally 95 percent of exports, flowing again.

Bani, the military spokesman, said the gas pipeline to Europe had been repaired.

"The gas pipeline is back and running, supplying the pump stations and the Mellitah (gas processing) refinery. Gas will start flowing to Europe," he declared, without saying when such shipments would resume.

The pipeline, which supplied about 10 percent of Italy's gas imports in 2010, was shut down in February shortly after the revolt against Gaddafi began.

Libya's largest oil refinery at Ras Lanuf on the Mediterranean coast is intact despite fighting that had raged nearby and staff are preparing to restart operations at the 220,000 barrel per day plant, the general manager told Reuters.

Ras Lanuf was held by Gaddafi forces until a few days ago and the front line is only about 25 km to the west.

(Additional reporting by Mohammed Abbas and Maria Golovnina in Tripoli, Robert Birsel, Alex Dziadosz and Emma Farge in Benghazi and Richard Valdmanis in Tunis Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Damage from Irene appears to be less than feared

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 06:01 PM PDT

WASHINGTON: Tropical Storm Irene's trek up the East Coast caused less damage than many had feared, a bit of reassuring news for a fragile economy.

Insured damages from the storm will likely range between $2 billion and $3 billion, and total losses will likely be about $7 billion, according to preliminary estimates from Kinetic Analysis Corp., a consulting firm.

Both figures are lower than had been expected, suggesting that the storm poses little threat to the nation's $14 trillion economy. Some economists said that, as with past hurricanes and earthquakes, the recovery could end up boosting growth in the coming months. Demand for building repairs might help the depressed construction industry, for example.

"Irene left several places with black eyes, but it doesn't seem to have delivered an economic knockout," said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody's Analytics.

In the short run, the costs will grow as storm-ravaged areas deal with lost business, dislocated workers and transportation delays - damage that will take months to understand. And in some areas, the impact will be measured in lost tourist dollars, canceled flights and shuttered stores.

Irene slammed into a region that's vital to the economy's health. The mid-Atlantic and New England account for about 16 percent of the nation's economic output and about 14 percent of its workforce, Sweet said.

But Kinetic's estimates suggest that Irene will have caused far less insured damage than the $6 billion the insurance industry paid out after Hurricane Isabel struck the East Coast in 2003. Other analysts agreed broadly with Kinetic's early estimates, saying insured losses are unlikely to exceed $4 billion. Other consultants will release their own projections this week.

Sweet said small businesses on the North Carolina coast will likely lose two weekends of tourist activity, including the travel-heavy Labor Day weekend. Beach communities spanning the East Coast face the same threat.

For ordinary people in hard-hit areas, Irene's costs could run high. Victims of natural disasters often lack the insurance they need to recover their losses and return to work quickly, said Susan Voss, Iowa's top insurance regulator and president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. People who lose homes can end up in temporary housing far from their homes and workplaces.

Many don't realize that flood damage isn't covered by standard homeowner's insurance policies, Voss noted. A standard homeowner policy covers damage caused by wind or by rain through a damaged roof. A separate flood insurance policy would be needed to cover damage from rising water, such as from the storm surges unleashed by Irene.

Economists said that reconstruction from Irene could increase U.S. economic growth in the October-December quarter, though the benefits will be limited by the relatively slight damage the storm caused.

"This region is very highly insured, so a lot of money will start pouring in, and that should re-employ a lot of construction workers who are now out of work," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. Zandi said. He said the benefits from rebuilding might extend into next year's January-March quarter.

"That will put some people back to work, at least temporarily," said David Kotok, chairman of Cumberland Advisors.

For now, power outages and flooding will close some businesses, costing workers pay and likely increasing some temporary layoffs. Transportation and shipping may also be disrupted. The length of the outages and the extent of public transportation problems in cities like New York will help determine the costs, analysts said.

Such disruptions will emerge in economic data starting this coming week, when the government reports how many people applied for unemployment benefits as the storm bore down on the Southeast. Economists expect a post-storm rise in applications.

One concern is that weak economic data, even if blamed on a natural disaster, could weigh on consumer confidence and make businesses reluctant to spend.

But major fixtures of the economy are already returning to normal. The New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ are preparing to open Monday. Mayor Michael Bloomberg lifted an evacuation order for lower Manhattan as of 3 p.m. Sunday.

Airlines planned to resume some flights into and out of East Coast airports on Monday. Crews are already restoring power in Southern states hit by the storm and are starting work in the northeast.

And Irene will add only about 15 percent to insurers' weather-related payouts this year, if the current cost estimates hold. Tornadoes, flooding and droughts in the Midwest and South have forced the industry to handle about $17 billion in weather-related claims this year.

New York Stock Exchange ready for trading Monday

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 05:59 PM PDT

NEW YORK: The opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange will ring on time Monday.

Operators of the historic Big Board and other major U.S. exchanges said they plan to open for trading as usual.

Their announcements came after city officials said damage from Tropical Storm Irene wasn't as severe as feared in New York's financial district.

How all the people who work at the exchanges and related businesses in New York will make it to work remained a puzzle late Sunday. Limited bus service resumed in Manhattan and the Bronx Sunday evening, but it wasn't clear the city's subways and buses would be running normally in time for Monday's morning commute.

And flooding and downed trees obstructed tracks throughout the commuter rail systems that bring workers in from the Connecticut, New York and New Jersey suburbs.

The nation's largest mass transit system shut down ahead of the storm, and hundreds of thousands of city residents were ordered to leave threatened areas. Mayor Michael Bloomberg lifted the evacuation order for downtown Manhattan, effective 3 p.m.

Weather has shut down or delayed the opening of the stock markets about two dozen times in the past. The most recent weather delay occurred Jan. 8, 1996, when the New York Stock Exchange opened 90 minutes late, at 11 a.m., due to a snowstorm. The New York Stock Exchange also closes for nine holidays a year when stock markets around the world are open.

The exchanges help link buyers and sellers of stocks and other investments like commodities. So they're essential to making the world's financial markets work.

Over the years, the weather has become less of a concern for markets because computerized trading has cut the need for live brokers, who used to shout all their orders out in person on the floor of major exchanges.

When broker Peter Tuchman started working on the New York Stock Exchange 25 years ago, he said there were about 1,500 traders on the floor and all transactions were made through "open outcry and paper."

Now he said there are just about 350 brokers on the floor.

Because most transactions are electronic, the major exchanges said they were prepared to open Monday even if the storm's impact had been severe. The New York Stock Exchange said that, if it faced flooding and power outages, it could have used its electronic exchange, the NYSE Arca in Chicago. The NYSE acquired that exchange in 2006 and offers trading through it in more than 8,000 stocks and options.

Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. spokesman Frank DeMaria said it could have handled trading through its exchange in Stockholm, Sweden, and additional centers in the U.S. Nasdaq, which is based in Lower Manhattan but conducts its opening and closing bell from a television studio in New York's Times Square, already is all electronic, so it doesn't even have a trading floor.

The owners of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade also expect to open normally. Those exchanges handle the buying and selling of commodities and derivatives.

The question that weighed on the minds of exchange operators the past few days was not whether they technically could open. They wondered, Would it make sense to open? If there was significant damage on the East Coast, executives figured that many investors would be more focused on repairing their homes than on buying and selling stocks.

"If large swaths of your membership ... can't participate in your marketplace, you have to give some real serious thought to how healthy the market would be if you would open," said Eric Noll, executive vice president of transaction services at Nasdaq.

Executives from the major exchanges held a conference call Sunday afternoon with Securities and Exchange Commission officials and decided it was best to open. SEC spokesman John Nester said in an email that the exchanges' decision to open was made "in consultation with the SEC following a series of discussions throughout the weekend."

The NYSE said its building on Wall Street near the southern tip of Manhattan and the systems inside are in working order.

Investment banks that have offices downtown also said they would operate as usual Monday, even if employees had to work from home or find alternative ways to get to the office.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. spokesman Stephen Cohen said the firm's headquarters wasn't significantly affected by the storm, and "we'll be open for business," although he declined to be more specific.

Citigroup Inc. spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos said the company's office buildings downtown were "fully functional." She added that the company was also "investigating transportation options for employees," given the uncertainty of mass transit.

Richard Adamonis, a spokesman for NYSE Euronext Inc., said Deutsche Bank, the group scheduled to ring the opening bell on Monday, would be there as scheduled. - AP

Latest business news from AP-Wire

Designer for port Samalaju Port

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 05:40 PM PDT

KUCHING: Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd (BPHB) has engaged KTA (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd to carry out a detailed design for the proposed Samalaju Port, a crucial component of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) to serve energy-intensive industries.

Chief executive officer Datuk Mior Ahmad Baiti Mior Lub Ahmad said KTA, a leading multi-disciplinary consulting firm, was appointed last month. The new port project has been accorded top priority by the state authorities.

To be located on 450ha and about 60km by road from Bintulu town, the deep sea port will primarily handle the import of raw materials and export of finished products from the industries operating in the Samalaju Industrial Park.

The first batch of pioneer investors in Score - Press Metal Bhd, Japan's Tokuyama Corp, OM Materials and Asia Minerals Ltd - have started the construction of their manufacturing facilities in Samalaju Industrial Park.

Press Metal is setting up a new aluminium smelter, Tokuyama is investing in a polycrystalline silicon factory while OM Materials and Asia Minerals are both building a manganese smelter.

Their combined investment is estimated at RM9.5bil.

Mior Ahmad said BPHB, which was tasked by the Sarawak government to spearhead the project, had received the report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which was commissioned in April to conduct a study on the viability of the new port.

Among the recommendations, Pricewaterhouse Coopers has come up with an estimated development cost of the new port but Mior Ahmad declined to reveal the price tag.

Some analysts have put the port's development cost at about RM1.2bil.

Also completed were the hydraulic study and an environmental impact assessment study.

"We (BPHB) are preparing a draft layout plan for the approval of the state government.

"We target to start preliminary works, including earthworks, on some of the proposed packages of the new port in January 2012," Mior Ahmad told StarBiz yesterday.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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Leipheimer wins USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 06:59 PM PDT

DENVER, Colorado (AP) - American Levi Leipheimer won the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and his third stage race title this year with a seventh-place finish in Sunday's sixth stage.

Daniel Oss, who rides for the Italian Liquigas team, won the 70.9-mile final stage of the 518-mile inaugural event in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 8 seconds.

Leipheimer, a Montana native who lives in Santa Rosa, California and competes for RadioShack, assumed his second race lead with a slim victory in the stage 3 time trial and led the race for five of its seven days.

Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo) finished second overall, trailing by 11 seconds and Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) finished third, 17 seconds behind.

"The victory means so much to me, mainly because of the way we raced," said Leipheimer, who earlier this month won the six-day Tour of Utah and in June won the nine-day Tour of Switzerland, the biggest win of his 15-year pro career.

"It took some of the best form of my life to beat Christian and Tejay. I took the (leader's) jersey, I lost the jersey. I had to race one of the best time trial's of my life to get it back and keep it. It took every ounce of energy I had."

Elia Viviani (Liquigas) of Italy, victorious in stages 4 and 5, was second in the finale.

American Fred Rodriguez, a former three-time national road champion, was third.

The event featured 17 teams and a starting field of 130 in Colorado Springs that included reigning Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, as well as brothers Andy and Frank Schleck, who respectively placed second and third last month in the Tour de France.

Evans, who hadn't competed in the United States since 2006, finished seventh overall, trailing by 1 minute, 18 seconds. Frank Schleck placed 13th overall with Andy Schleck 34th.

Leipheimer, who placed third in the 2007 Tour de France, was among four teammates predicted as top contenders in this year's Tour de France . None of the contenders found success, with Leipheimer the only finisher, 32nd overall and the lowest place of his seven Tour de France finishes in nine attempts.

"For or five crashes will set you back, but I refocused and had some other goals like the Tour of Utah and here in Colorado," Leipheimer said.

Leipheimer is also an accomplished mountain biker who won the 2010 Leadville 100, breaking the course record set by former teammate Lance Armstrong the previous year.

Federer says he's still hungry as US Open starts

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 06:58 PM PDT

NEW YORK (AP) - First came the end of Roger Federer's remarkable run of reaching a record 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals.

Then he failed to make it to a major semifinal after a record 23 in a row.

The U.S. Open marks Federer's last chance to prevent the close of another streak: In each season from 2003-10, he won at least one Grand Slam title - and sometimes as many as three. He's 0-for-2011 heading into the year's last major tournament, where play is scheduled to begin Monday morning, after what the U.S. Tennis Association said was "minimal damage" to the site over the weekend from Tropical Storm Irene.

This U.S. Open also is Federer's first major tournament since he turned 30 on Aug. 8. That age tends to represent a barrier to success in tennis: Of the past 100 Grand Slam titles, only five were won by a man past his 30th birthday. The last to do it was Andre Agassi at the 2003 Australian Open.

Federer, though, said that his age hasn't affected his expectations.

"Hasn't changed anything. I'm still as professional. I'm still as hungry. Everything's still completely normal," he explained. "It's just a number that's changed. I'm ready to go."

His resume is filled with some rather impressive numbers, including a total of 16 Grand Slam titles and five consecutive U.S. Open championships from 2004-08, before his 40-match winning streak at Flushing Meadows ended in the 2009 final against Juan Martin del Potro. Last year, Federer lost in the semifinals to Novak Djokovic.

For his career, Federer is 223-33 in Grand Slam matches, an .871 winning percentage. He can tie Agassi for the second-most victories at majors - Jimmy Connors retired with 233 - by beating 54th-ranked Santiago Giraldo of Colombia (who, for the record, is 2-10 in Grand Slam play) on Monday.

They're slated to play their first-round match in Arthur Ashe Stadium at night, after seven-time major champion Venus Williams meets Vesna Dolonts of Russia.

Other matches on the Day 1 schedule include 2006 U.S. Open champion Maria Sharapova against Heather Watson of Britain; reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova against Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania; 2010 U.S. Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva against Stephanie Foretz Gacon of France; 19-year-old American Ryan Harrison against No. 27-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia; and No. 8 Mardy Fish - the highest-seeded American in New York for the first time - against Tobias Kamke of Germany.

With 2005, 2009 and 2010 champion Kim Clijsters sidelined by a stomach muscle injury, the third-seeded Sharapova joins Williams' younger sister, Serena, as the women considered most likely to win the title two weeks from now.

"I mean, to be honest, I have been seeded a lot lower, and I've still been one of the favorites," Sharapova said, "so it's not anything new for me that people expect me to do well."

For the first time since the 2004 Australian Open, neither Federer nor Rafael Nadal is seeded No. 1 at a Grand Slam tournament.

Instead, that honor went to Djokovic, who is producing one of the greatest seasons in tennis history. He's 57-2 with nine titles, including at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. He's also 5-0 against Nadal, with all of those matchups coming in tournament finals: two on hard courts, two on clay, and one on grass at the All England Club last month.

"The record speaks for itself," Federer said. "It's been an amazing run, and he's still playing really well, and he's definitely one of the favorites here - if not the favorite."

With two-time U.S. Open runner-up Djokovic at No. 1, and defending champion Nadal at No. 2, Federer is seeded No. 3, his lowest spot in New York since he was 13th in 2002.

Even though Federer only has one title so far this season, his lowest total in a decade, and he's gone the past six major tournaments without a championship, he's sure he has more success in store. He still is capable of producing masterful tennis, such as when he ended Djokovic's 43-match winning streak by beating him in the French Open semifinals.

That's why someone such as seven-time major champion John McEnroe doesn't discount Federer's chances of collecting a 17th Grand Slam trophy at some point.

"This guy is arguably the greatest of all time," McEnroe said. "He's still playing some great tennis." Federer takes inspiration from past players who played well in their 30s, such as Ken Rosewall, Jimmy Connors and Agassi, who was 35 when he lost to the Swiss star in the 2005 U.S. Open final, a year before retiring.

"I feel my game allows me to still play for many more years, because I have a relaxing playing style. I have almost played 1,000 matches on tour and that leaves its toll, but I'm very professional when it comes to massages, stretching, diet, sleep, all of that stuff," Federer said. "So I have always looked in the long term. ...

That's why I'm confident I can still play for many more years to come at the highest of levels."

Bjorn wins Johnnie Walker at 5th playoff hole

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 06:04 PM PDT

GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AP) - Denmark's Thomas Bjorn held his nerve in a five-man sudden-death playoff to win the Johnnie Walker Championship on Sunday, triumphing at the fifth extra hole to maintain his remarkable resurgence this year.

In one of the most dramatic finishes this year, Bjorn made birdie at the par-5 No. 18 - for the third straight time in the shootout - to finally shrug off plucky South African George Coetzee and claim a second victory on the European Tour in 2011.

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal and England's Mark Foster were eliminated one by one from a tense and energy-sapping playoff at Gleneagles that lasted more than 90 minutes and was played out in bitterly cold conditions and into the wind. All five players had finished with 11-under totals of 277.

Foster, the joint overnight leader, had earlier squandered a three-shot lead with seven holes to play, bogeying the last for a level-par 72 when all he needed was a par. It took the event to the European Tour's first five-way playoff in 19 years.

Emboldened by a superb season which saw him win the Qatar Masters in February and finish fourth at last month's British Open, Bjorn, who shot a final-round 69, sealed the 12th victory of his career after a sensational 7-iron approach to the fifth extra hole from 135 yards (meters).

"The way I played the last three playoff holes, I can't be more proud of what I did," said Bjorn, who collected a (euro) 266,000 ($380,000) winner's check to take his season's earnings beyond (euro) 1 million. "That 7 iron was probably one of the best golf shots I've ever hit."

It also secured another victory this year for a player over 40, following wins by Ernie Els (South African Open), Thomas Levet (French Open) and Darren Clarke (British Open), and lifted Bjorn 11 places in the rankings to No. 59.

"It's the year of the over-40s," he said. "When there's so many young players coming through, it's nice to go out there and feel like you can still compete. It gives you a boost, that I might be 40 but that it's not over yet."

However, it was yet another blow for the 36-year-old Foster, who described himself on Saturday as a "serial runner-up."

Beginning the final round tied for a three-shot lead with Spain's Ignacio Garrido, Foster exited at the fourth playoff hole, leaving him to rue a failure to wrap up the title in regulation time when he drove into the deep rough at the last hole and landed next to a tree. After two hacks out of the rough, he then couldn't get up and down.

A final-day meltdown was nothing new to Foster, who led or shared the lead in three previous tournaments this year - the French Open, the BMW International and the Scottish Open - without going on to win. His last win came eight years ago, at the Dunhill Championship in South Africa when he won a six-man playoff.

"It's just a game of fractions," Foster said. "I honestly felt like I made a good swing off No. 18 the first time round. I just needed a break."

On the fifth hole of the playoff, the 112th-ranked Coetzee - who finished with rounds of 66, 67 and 67 after opening up with a 5-over 77 - was always playing catch-up following his drive into the left rough. His sent his third shot to within 20 feet but couldn't drain the birdie attempt, leaving Bjorn the simple task of putting out.

"Thomas did unbelievably well," Coetzee said. "I can't complain. I wasn't even looking like making the cut at one point."

Larrazabal - this year's BMW International winner in Munich - and Wiesberger both shot 69s but exited the playoff at the first and second extra holes respectively on the PGA Centenary course that will host the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Garrido, who was seeking a first win in eight years like Foster, started birdie-birdie but dropped shots at four of next six holes, slipping three shots behind Foster and becoming swallowed up by chasing pack.

It's the first time Bjorn, a two-time Ryder Cup winner, has won two tournaments in one year on the European Tour since 1998.

"I'm delighted, it's been a brilliant week. Things are going in the right direction," Bjorn said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

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City folks throng Chow Kit market for Aidilfitri essentials

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 04:50 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Raja Bot Market or better known as Chow Kit Market remains the focus of city folks buying essential goods to celebrate Aidilfitri in a few days.

A Bernama survey found crowds of mostly housewives thronging the market to buy goods like rice, flour, onion and dry chilli because of the lower price.

Despite price increases, Chow Kit market still manages to offer better prices to attract customers from other areas like Cheras and Gombak.

Civil servant Rogayah Embok, 46, who lives in Cheras said she came to shop at Chow Kit market as she found price of dry goods to be less expensive.

"Since I work at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, I get to compare prices and find them to be cheaper. Moreover. I can haggle with sellers at Chow Kit," she told Bernama here Sunday.

Zaitun Osman, 48, a teacher from Gombak, said Chow Kit market offers daily essentials that are cheap and of high quality.

"I am picky when buying goods, especially beef and will choose the batang pinang section as it is good for rendang cooking," he said.

Not far from Jalan Chow Kit is Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the place where Muslims throng to buy their Aidilfitri clothing and cookies.

Most of the dealers are offering last minutes discounts as high as 60-70 percent on clothing.

"Very interesting and profitable as the goods are cheaper than those at supermarkets," said Rosli Kamad, 39, who has just bought clothing for his children.

Siti Saleha Abdul Ghani, 27, a clerk from Pahang said she and her husband chose to shop here because of the cheaper price and variety of clothing.

"Traders even hold auction of Raya clothing at night," she added.

Kuih seller Syahrizal Saad, 25, said despite the high price of home made biscuits, buyers could still pay RM55 for three boxes.

"The 22 types of biscuits get overwhelming response from buyers as they are made without using artificial colouring," he added - Bernama

Dr M: Malaysia has prospered under Barisan

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 02:52 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has prospered under the Barisan Nasional system of a coalition government, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Sunday.

In response to a question posed by a member of the public on whether the current Barisan-led government needed a change, Dr Mahathir said the system was good as it included the participation of all races.

"You cannot blame the Barisan or the system, but the policies that is followed by each government," he said at the Q&A held in conjunction with the launch of the Chinese version of his memoir "A Doctor in the House" at the Bookfest@Malaysia 2011.

In an indirect response to the Bersih 2.0 rally, Dr Mahathir said: "No one should be entitled to everything that he thinks he is entitled to, because everyone must make some sacrifice."

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


Posted: 28 Aug 2011 01:00 AM PDT

For the month of August, 2011:


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

2.       Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story Of His Trip To Heaven And Back by Todd Burpo & Lynn Vincent

3.       Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going by Han Fook Kwang et al 4.       Einstein: The Life And Times by Ronald W. Clark

5.       A World Without Islam by Graham E. Fuller

6.       Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff

7.       Speeches That Changed The World edited by Emma Beare

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

9.       The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

10.       We Are A Muslim, Please: One Girl, Two Lives by Zaiba Malik


1.       A Dance With Dragons: A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R. R. Martin

2.       Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

3.       Love Always by Harriet Evans

4.       Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham

5.       Fall Of Giants by Ken Follett

6.       The Tennis Party by Madeleine Wickham

7.       Luka And The Fire Of Life by Salman Rushdie

8.       The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obréht

9.       The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

10.       Insatiable by Meg Cabot

This month's list compiled by MPH Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur; www.mphonline.com.

Wah, warehouse sale!

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 01:00 AM PDT

YES, the MPH Distributors' warehouse sale is back, all you book lovers will be glad to know. With discounts on everything from children's books and educational titles to bestselling fiction and non-fiction books, you'll want to mark Sept 15 to 18 on your calendar. Another date you will want to make note of is Sept 13. That's the day on which Star2 will offer selected titles at further marked down prices exclusively for The Star's readers.

The sale will be held from 8am to 7pm, Sept 15-18, at Bangunan TH, No. 5, Jalan Bersatu, Section 13/4, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

"Like" the sale on Facebook at "MPH Distributors Warehouse Sale" for the latest updates and a chance to win books daily.

Cartoon capers

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 12:59 AM PDT

Big Nate – Boredom Buster
Author: Lincoln Peirce
Publisher: Harper, 207 pages

WELCOME to the world of Nate Wright – a sixth grader who is also the drummer in a band called Enslave The Mollusk; a tween who loves art and fortune cookies; writes for his school newspaper; carries a torch for schoolmate Jenny; and is a cartoonist extraordinaire.

On the flip side, he is almost every teacher's nightmare and often gets sent to detention class. In fact, his claim to fame is being the all-time record-holder for detentions!

Nate can't stand his bossy big sister, Ellen, but loves hanging out with Francis the brainiac, Teddy the sports nut and Spitsy the dog. His worst enemy is Gina (aka Ms Goody Two-shoes), and his least favourite teacher is Social Studies teacher Mrs Godfrey (aka Godzilla).

Vying with Nate for Jenny's attention is his rival, Artur.

Once you get to know him, Nate is a very engaging character. With his expressed interest in doodling, comics and art, he goes all out to help get his readers started as cartoonists (like himself!) in Big Nate – Boredom Buster. Already, on the imprint page, Nate invites and entices readers to "write", "draw", "laugh" and "scribble".

We know we are in for a lot of fun within its pages when even Jeff Kinney, author of the bestselling Diary Of A Wimpy Kid remarks on the cover: "Big Nate is funny, big time."

So, let's get this clear: this may look like a storybook but it is not. It is, however, a "boredom buster", and it is brimming with ideas and activities to get the creative juices flowing. There's never a dull moment – there are doodles to scribble, coded messages to decode, pop quizzes to take, funny scenes and faces to draw, and lots more.

You can also turn a scribble into a more meaningful picture, unscramble word puzzles, search for "hidden" words, invent nicknames or wacky words, get lost in a maze, make up your own jokes, create captions, fill in speech bubbles in a comic strip. There are step-by-step instructions on how to draw faces, too.

Among the most fun things to do is the poetry slam, which involves thinking up rhyming words, and writing couplets or making up a rap.

With Nate taking the lead, the activities will fire up the imagination, set creative thought processes in motion, and draw out the artist/cartoonist/storyteller in the reader. The book is designed, ultimately, to unleash the cartoonist within.

This is a great book for eight- to 12-year-olds to delve into during the school holidays or on lazy afternoons or rainy days. Break the monotony of routine – and certainly, banish boredom!

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Director Sofia Coppola weds in southern Italy

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 05:59 PM PDT

ROME (AP) - Filmmaker Sofia Coppola went back to her roots for her wedding, marrying rocker Thomas Mars in the remote, southern Italian town where her great-grandfather was born.

Coppola's famous filmmaker father, Francis Ford Coppola, escorted the 40-year-old Sofia down the aisle Saturday to a waiting Mars, lead singer of the French band Phoenix and the father of their two young daughters.

The early evening ceremony took place in the garden of the palazzo that the elder Coppola renovated in the historic center of Bernalda, a city near the Gulf of Taranto in Italy's Basilicata region, according to Mayor Leonardo Chiruzzi who performed the ceremony.

"Everything went well," Chiruzzi told The Associated Press afterwards. "It was simple, calm, in the garden."

The bride wore a sheer, lavender tulle dress and Mars a gray suit with a flower in the lapel. The bride and her father were preceded down the aisle by the couple's older daughter and other children. After Coppola and Mars said their "si" in the civil service, she tossed her bouquet and a friend caught it, Chiruzzi said.

The newlyweds and the father of the bride, wearing a white linen suit and pink shirt, then popped out of the palazzo briefly to greet onlookers. She was holding a glass of bubbly.

Its her second marriage; she divorced fellow filmmaker Spike Jonze in 2003. Bernalda, near the UNESCO-recognized troglodyte settlement of Matera to the north, was home to Francis Ford Coppola's grandfather, Agostino, before he emigrated to the United States at the turn of the last century.

Chiruzzi said the wedding was simple by design.

"If they wanted to do a Hollywood wedding, they wouldn't have done it here," Chiruzzi said by phone on the eve of the nuptials. "(They) chose to do it here because it's here - it's here that is beautiful."

He stressed the low-key nature of the event. The ANSA news agency said guests included Johnny Depp and Talia Shire, the bride's aunt, who is best known for her roles in her brother's "The Godfather" films and as Sylvester Stallone's girlfriend Adrian in "Rocky."

A dinner was planned to be followed by cake, made to serve about 100 people. It was a simple vanilla cake with chantilly cream, decorated with white flowers and prepared by the chef at the Magna Grecia hotel in Bernalda, said Biagio Loiudice, who runs the hotel.

"They came in last week and chose the cake," he said by telephone. "It's not high, very simple. They preferred simplicity."

Sofia Coppola's 2003 film "Lost in Translation" won the filmmaker an Academy Award for original screenplay and made her the third woman ever nominated for a directing Oscar. Her 2010 film "Somewhere," about an actor who sees the emptiness of his existence through the eyes of his child, won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice film festival last year.

The elder Coppola has become something of a spokesman for Basilicata, a mostly poor region located on the "arch" of boot-shaped Italy. In a promotional video for the area, he reminisced about his grandfather's tales about Bernalda and extolled Basilicata's unspoiled - and largely unknown - beauty and culture.

He is planning on turning the Bernalda palazzo where the wedding took place, "Palazzo Margherita," into a luxury boutique hotel.

Nearby Matera is on UNESCO's world heritage list, prized as an example of a traditional human settlement that dates from Palaeolithic times. The famous sassi, caves dug into the soft tufa rock that gives Matera the look of ancient Jerusalem, were used as primitive, one-room homes and remain a tourist draw today.

Some have been renovated and turned into trendy hotels, but the area remains so ancient-looking that Mel Gibson shot much of "The Passion of the Christ" there.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Art through the ages

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 01:08 AM PDT

A show of Aboriginal art depicts a community's strong ties with its past and its determination to meet the future head on.

ART is without doubt a reflection of the culture or society that produces it. In the case of Living Art From Ancient Land, however, the links go much deeper.

Each piece of Aboriginal art showcased in this exhibition, produced by the Yolngu artists of Elcho Island, Australia, captures a little piece of the rich history and traditions of their people. The display allows visitors to look at Aboriginal art from a perspective that highlights authenticity and artistic respect.

Situated off the coast of northeast Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Elcho is home to a thriving Aboriginal arts centre which has been community-managed since 1992. Elcho Island Arts works with over 200 Yolngu artists, supporting them to create high-quality traditional and contemporary visual art from which they not only derive an income, but also share their culture.

"Each artwork tells of the connection my people have with the lands and the environment," says artist Megan Gurruwirri, who was in Kuala Lumpur recently as her work is being shown in Living Art. "Every piece talks about the lands, the seas, the animals and how they relate to us; about how Creation began, and all the songs that we have sung through the ages."

One of her pieces is a wooden sculpture of a medicine woman, inspired by a real person who used to heal Gurruwirri's community when she was growing up.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Dr Susan Cochrane, manager of Elcho Island Arts and curator of Living Art, the works of Elcho artists are seen not just in other parts of Australia, but around the world.

Dr Cochrane'saim is to raise the visibility of indigenous art to the world community.

"This is living art, by living artists. However, many Aboriginal people (in Australia) live in very remote areas, which makes their art less familiar to the outside world. Meanwhile, the tourist industry has created a very generic and commercial impression of what Aboriginal art is," she explains, adding that learning to appreciate Aboriginal culture is a very important part of the process.

"Their culture is completely different from white culture, and they have been so generous in sharing their art, stories and traditions with us. That is an enormous bridge. So on our side, we need to show our appreciation by highlighting these wonderful elements, and emphasising on authenticity," says Dr Cochrane, who is also a renowned researcher and writer specialising in contemporary Aboriginal and Pacific art.

For all its rich output of artworks, Elcho Island is still relatively remote and isolated from the metropolitan areas of Australia – many of the artists have never been off the island. Perhaps due to this, much of the Yolngu people's ancient traditions have been preserved, and are abundantly visible in their artworks.

The most striking thing about the Elcho artworks is their use of rich, ochre tones. Gurruwirri, who is arts administration officer at Elcho Island Arts, points out that they traditionally paint only with four colours, red, black, white and yellow, and occasionally mix them to produce brown and green. Yet, despite the seemingly-limited colour palette, the bold juxtaposition of hues and dynamic patterns are fascinating.

Equally captivating are the strong ties the works have to the Yolngu people's history. Patterns, colours and motifs, for example, are not just for visual impact; they offer insight into the artist and his clan's history.

Each moiety (one of two clan subdivisions) within the clans of the Yolngu community take ownership of their own motifs, references and colours, based on their individual creation ideas and geographical location. Only members of a particular moiety can use the unique elements in their art, and a custodian ensures the representations respect the clan's traditions.

Furthermore, when the artists paint "clan paintings", works that depict stories specific to a clan, there are certain rules and guidelines which need to be followed.

Artist Peter Datching, who is of the Yirritja moiety, for instance, often focuses on his totem, a crocodile ancestor named Baru. The distinctive elongated diamonds used in his painting Fire Diamond are also specific to his Gumatj clan, and relate to the invention of fire. Oysters, by Linda Namilyal Bopirri, on the other hand, features the oyster shells, which were historically found in her particular clan's lands, while her Witidj Python At Waterhole is based on folktales belonging to her clan.

Within these frameworks, however, there is plenty of room for imagination and interpretation.

"The motifs and patterns may be the same, but each artist approaches them in a completely different way," Dr Cochrane says.

Respecting their ancient artistic traditions does not impede the artists from exploring new ways of creating art.

"When they are not doing clan paintings, the artists are free to use their own ideas," she adds.

As such, they are embracing different media that are not traditionally Aboriginal, and using them to tell unique stories about their heritage, for example, print-making and painting on canvas instead of bark. Several artists, among them Gurruwirri, Mavis Warrngila Ganambarr and Judy Manany, are also extending their tradition of coil weaving to create new forms of soft sculpture, such as a quirky collection of animals woven out of pandanus fibre, bush string, shells and seeds.

For Gurruwirri, the process of marrying her cultural heritage with a constantly evolving modern world is a welcome challenge as it allows her to express not just her own passion but also the stories of her people.

"Art is a very important part of our culture, but it is also very important to the world because it's everywhere. It's not just within our minds, but within our hearts," she says.

Living Art From Ancient Land is on at Shalini Ganendra Fine Art@Gallery Residence (No. 8, Lorong 16/7B, Petaling Jaya) until Sept 31. Viewing from 11am to 7pm, Tuesday to Saturday. For more information, call 03-7960 4740 / 03-7958 2175 or go to shaliniganendra.com.

Easy does it

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 01:03 AM PDT

The latest men's collection from Jendela KL offer relaxed and stylish outfits.

HOMEGROWN brand Jendela KL recently showcased a pop-up collection of menswear. Called "Wrap-Unfold", the line combines traditional and contemporary looks.

Using lightweight fabrics and architectural lines, the theme is about the "rebirth of everything tangible and intangible".

Focusing on the brand's core values in design, the outfits are relatively simple with an overall relaxed look.

The collection is divided into Fashion Edge, Pop-Up Batik and All Black. There are 24 outfits altogether, highlighting different styles from sophisticated to artistic.

"We are not presenting the standard suits in this collection, but an adaptation of a stripped down suit that is light and easy," states Faisol Abdullah, designer of Jendela KL. "Looking at world trends, men's fashion is unfolding into a more relaxed setting," adds Faisol.

The collection is about going beyond trends, but with a strong identity as Faisol believes it is every man's right to take an interest in being fashionable.

The pieces consisting of pants, jackets, shirts and sarongs can be worn separately or mixed and matched.

Interesting selections include a bold coloured shirt with an upturned collar and contrast sleeves and back. There is also a tunic top with an asymmetrical hemline.

The shirts are streamlined and pants generally relaxed while the use of linen makes for comfortable, stylish apparel. There are also casual sleeveless shirts that can be worn with or without a jacket.

The collection is in collaboration with Audrey's, a new collection of men's jewellery by Fairuz Kamilan. It is inspired by the late style icon Audrey Hepburn.

Fairuz believes that Audrey's will push boundaries through its stylish designs for men who embrace jewellery to complement any outfit. Fairuz states, "Be it a gift for a loved one or a special piece to be handed down from generation to generation, Audrey's jewellery range has something for every man."

The Audrey's men's collection comprise bold and colourful pieces with a range of precious stones in eye-catching designs. All the pieces are set in 18K white gold and high quality diamonds. Undoubtedly, these accessories will add new elements to one's existing wardrobe.

Jendela KL's Wrap-Unfold men's collection, priced from RM250 to RM580, is available at Tenc, Level Three of Pavillion Kuala Lumpur. The Audrey's men's jewellery collection, priced from RM1,500 to RM8,500 is sold at Audrey's, Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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