Jumaat, 2 September 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Chile air force plane presumed crashed, 21 aboard

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 07:38 PM PDT

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A Chilean air force plane with 21 people aboard was presumed to have crashed in the Pacific Ocean on Friday after it disappeared near the remote Juan Fernandez islands, authorities said.

Defense Minister Andres Allamand said the CASA 212 military plane tried twice to land before it went missing in the late afternoon. He said search teams were heading to the area, but that nightfall was hampering efforts.

"I empathize with the anguish and uncertainty of the relatives of the 21 passengers aboard the plane which is presumed to have gone down," President Sebastian Pinera said. "This is a very hard blow for our country."

TVN national television said five of its staff members were among the passengers, including popular presenter Felipe Camiroaga.

The crew was planning to film a report about reconstruction on the islands, which like Chile's mainland coastline were battered by a tsunami triggered by a devastating earthquake that hit Chile early last year.

Captain Otto Mrugalski, who is directing search and rescue efforts, said no remains of the plane had been found around the Juan Fernandez islands, which lie about 420 miles (670 km) off Chile's coast.

But the mayor of the islands, Leopoldo Gonzalez, told state television that passengers' belongings had been found in the sea about a kilometer (0.6 mile) from the islands' landing strip. Local radio Bio Bio later cited Gonzalez as saying a door of the plane had been found in the water.

Felipe Paredes, who staffs the control tower at the landing strip, said he saw the plane struggling to land and cited heavy winds and sporadic rain.

"When the plane was blown off course by the wind, it managed to pull up again," Paredes said. He said he then lost sight of the plane.

(Reporting by Moises Avila, Antonio de la Jara, Simon Gardner and Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Concern rising about Iran military nuclear work - IAEA

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 07:07 PM PDT

VIENNA (Reuters) - The watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency is "increasingly concerned" about possible work in Iran to develop a nuclear payload for a missile, the IAEA said in a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday.

A logo of nuclear energy is seen with pictures of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (top L) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Mohamed Elbaradei (bottom R) during a launch ceremony for an Iranian-made computer game in central Tehran July 16, 2007. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubaz/Files)

The U.N. nuclear agency report said it continued to receive new information adding to such worries. One diplomat familiar with the Iran probe said some information concerned activities allegedly carried out as recently as last year.

The developments highlighted in the IAEA's latest quarterly inspection report are likely to fan Western suspicions about the underlying nature of Iran's nuclear activity, which Western powers suspect is aimed at developing atom bombs.

It may provide additional arguments for the United States and its European allies to further tighten the sanctions pressure on Iran, one of the world's largest oil producers.

Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, dismissed what he called "baseless allegations" about Iran's programme.

But he nevertheless described the report as a step in the right direction, saying it showed that Iran had fully cooperated with the IAEA by allowing a senior nuclear inspector full access to atomic sites during a five-day visit last month.

"This new trend of positive cooperation between Iran and the IAEA should continue," Soltanieh told Reuters.

Western diplomats have dismissed Iran's attempt to show increased openness about its nuclear work, saying it is still failing to address core concerns about its aims.

In addition to addressing the issue of alleged military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme, the U.N. agency said Tehran had begun installing machines for higher-grade uranium enrichment in an underground bunker near the holy city of Qom.

Shifting enrichment activity to such a subterranean site could offer greater protection against any attacks by Israel or the United States, which have both said they do not rule out pre-emptive strikes to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons.

At a separate research and development site, the Vienna-based IAEA said, Iran had started enriching uranium experimentally with a more advanced model of centrifuge than the erratic, 1970s vintage machine it has been using for years.


"Iran has made progress on the enrichment side," the diplomat familiar with the IAEA's investigation said, adding the Islamic state was making a "lot of effort" to get the underground Fordow site up and running.

Uranium enriched to a low level of fissile purity is suitable for running civilian nuclear power plants. If refined to a much higher degree, it forms the core of nuclear bombs.

The report showed that Iran has now produced a total of more than 4.5 tonnes of low-enriched uranium since the activity began in 2007, an amount which experts say could provide material for at least two bombs if refined much more. Its output of higher-grade refined uranium had also risen.

It was a further sign of Iran's determination to press ahead with enrichment in defiance of international demands that it desist from such work.

For several years, the IAEA has been investigating Western intelligence reports indicating Iran has coordinated efforts to process uranium, test explosives at high altitude and revamp a ballistic missile cone to accommodate a nuclear warhead.

The IAEA, tasked with ensuring that nuclear technology is not diverted for military aims, says Iran has not engaged with the agency in substance on these issues since 2008.

The IAEA report said it was "increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the agency continues to receive new information."

It said the information was "extensive and comprehensive" and obtained from many member states and through its own efforts.

Iran denies harbouring any nuclear weapon ambitions, saying it wants to refine uranium only for electricity or isotopes for medicine and agriculture. But it has long restricted the access of IAEA inspectors, stoking concerns abroad.

"I categorically reject this sort of allegation. I'm 100 percent sure (about Iran's) exclusively peaceful activities," Soltanieh said.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Chile air force plane presumed crashed in Pacific

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 07:07 PM PDT

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A Chilean air force plane disappeared near the Juan Fernandez islands in the Pacific Ocean with 21 people aboard on Friday and was presumed to have crashed, authorities said.

Defense Minister Andres Allamand said the CASA 212 military plane tried twice to land before it went missing in the late afternoon. He said nightfall was hampering search efforts.

"As it was approaching the island, it was declared missing after radio contact was lost," Allamand said, adding search teams were heading to the area.

Captain Otto Mrugalski, who is directing search and rescue efforts, said no remains of the plane had been found around the Juan Fernandez islands, which lie about 420 miles (670 km) off Chile's coast.

The mayor of the islands, Leopoldo Gonzalez, told state television that passengers' belongings had been found in the sea about a kilometer (0.6 mile) from the islands' landing strip. Local radio Bio Bio later cited Gonzalez as saying a door of the plane had been found in the water.

Felipe Paredes, who mans the control tower at the landing strip, said he saw the plane struggling to land and cited heavy winds and sporadic rain.

"When the plane was blown off course by the wind, it managed to pull up again," Paredes said. He said he then lost sight of the plane.

TVN national television said five of its staff members were among the passengers, including presenter Felipe Camiroaga.

(Reporting by Moises Avila, Antonio de la Jara, Simon Gardner and Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Pakistan reaches 116-1 in reply to Zimbabwe's 412

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:01 PM PDT

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AP) — Pakistan fought back to be 116-1 in reply to Zimbabwe's 412, including an unbeaten 163 by opener Tino Mawoyo on the second day Friday of their one-off test at Queens Sports Club.

Pakistan lost Taufeeq Umar early when he was trapped lbw by Kayle Jarvis on 4, but opener Mohammad Hafeez was 79 not out in an attacking innings in which he punished Zimbabwe's inconsistent bowling, especially from the seamers.

Hafeez and Azhar Ali, 27 not out, put up 108 together to leave the match in the balance after Mawoyo had patiently faced 453 balls for his maiden century in only his second test.

He is only the third Zimbabwean in test history to carry his bat through an innings.

"First I like to give thanks to the Lord," Mawoyo said of his record. "It feels good. I know Grant (Flower; Zimbabwe's batting coach) has done it before, but I don't know of anyone else. It's been hard work for me in the past few months."

Mawoyo conceded that Zimbabwe's erratic bowling in the final two sessions allowed Pakistan to come back into the game.

"It's going to be hard tomorrow," he said. "It's spinning a bit so I hope the seamers will come tomorrow and hit their straps early on to give our spinners a good foundation."

Resuming from his overnight score of 82, Mawoyo nervously reached his ton, but handled off-spinner Saeed Ajmal better than the day before.

His fifth-wicket partnership of 94 with Craig Ervine gave Zimbabwe the foundation to put on a competitive first-innings score in good batting conditions.

Ervine was out a single run away from his maiden test half-century, being caught and bowled by Junaid Khan off a rising delivery.

At that point, Zimbabwe needed another partnership and Mawoyo and test debutant Greg Lamb put on a crucial 95 for the sixth wicket before Lamb was trapped plum in front by Ajmal on 39.

Aizaz Cheema then cleaned up the Zimbabwe tail by removing Ray Price (6), Brian Vitori (14), Kyle Jarvis (0) and Chris Mpofu (8) with some brilliant bowling.

In reply, Hafeez and Ali gave Pakistan a god start after losing opener Umar on 4 early. Umar was adjudged lbw to pace bowler Kyle Jarvis, Zimbabwe's best bowler of the day.

Scoreboard Friday at stumps on the second day of the one-off test between Zimbabwe and Pakistan at Queens Sports Club:

Zimbabwe 1st Innings

Tino Mawoyo not out 163

Vusi Sibanda st Akmal b Saeed 45

Hamilton Masakadza b Saeed 11

Brendan Taylor lbw b Saeed 10

Tatenda Taibu c Akmal b SKhan 44

Craig Ervine c and b JKhan 49

Greg Lamb lbw b Saeed 39

Ray Price c Azhar b Cheema 6

Brian Vitori c YKhan b Cheema 14

Kyle Jarvis b Cheema 0

Chris Mpofu b Cheema 8

Extras: (7b, 13lb, 1w, 2nb) 23

TOTAL: (all out) 412

Overs: 150.4

Fall of wickets: 1-71, 2-91, 3-111, 4-176, 5-270, 6-365, 7-374, 8-394, 9-394, 10-412.

Bowling: Sohail Khan 24-8-62-1, Aizaz Cheema 28.4-11-79-4 (2nb), Junaid Khan 29-14-55-1 (1w), Saeed Ajmal 54-13-143-4, Mohammad Hafeez 9-1-30-0, Azhar Ali 6-1-23-0.

Pakistan 1st Innings

Mohammad Hafeez not out 79

Taufeeq Umar lbw Jarvis 4

Azhar Ali not out 27

Extras: (6lb) 6

TOTAL: (for 1 wicket) 116

Overs: 29

Fall of wicket: 1-8

Still to bat: Younis Khan, Misbar-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Junaid Khan, Sohail Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Aizaz Cheema.

Bowling: Brian Vitori 8-0-55-0, Kyle Jarvis 7-3-16-1, Chris Mpofu 3-0-12-0, Ray Price 9-3-19-0, Greg Lamb 2-0-8-0.

Toss: Pakistan.

Umpires: Ian Gould, England, and Rod Tucker, Australia.

Third umpire: Jeremiah Matibiri, Zimbabwe. Match referee: David Boon, Australia.

New Zealand eager to play as Rugby World Cup host

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:00 PM PDT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Ox and his mates are hitting the road to watch their beloved All Blacks play in the Rugby World Cup, making a trip they've been working on for months.

Shortages of hotel accommodation and reports of high prices for anything still vacant haven't bothered Ox, Horny, Snapper or Cookie, either, because they're traveling in a $3,000 delivery truck they've converted into a makeshift motorhome.

In many ways, the four blokes, all in their 50s, represent the spirit of rugby in New Zealand. In this isolated nation of 4 million people, rugby has been the most important game for more than a century. It has become entwined with the attributes New Zealanders most value in each other — loyalty, brotherhood, ingenuity and humility. It appeals to a rugged physicality that New Zealanders identify with.

Already the 20 international teams that will compete for the title of rugby world champion have begun arriving in New Zealand. The tournament, which is held every four years, will include 48 games and run for six weeks starting Sept. 9. Long shots like Russia and the U.S. will compete against rugby powerhouses like England and South Africa.

So far, 1.1 million match tickets have been sold — nearly three-quarters of the total available — making it by far the biggest event New Zealand has ever staged.

The country is planning a big party. But there have been some hiccups along the way.

On the international stage, rugby doesn't attract the following of sports like basketball or football. But in New Zealand it dominates. Some 147,000 men, women and children play the game competitively — more than 3 percent of the population. The game crosses cultural and economic boundaries.

The roots of its popularity here trace back to the All Blacks 1905-06 tour of Britain, France and North America. The team from the colonial outpost made an impression by winning 34 out of 35 matches.

"Winning. That's how it all came about," says Ron Palenski, an author and historian who runs New Zealand's Sports Hall of Fame. "We were a small country, and there were not that many things that we were better at than anybody else in the world. It was established very early on ... and it became a rallying point for New Zealand, a point of pride."

Indeed, the All Blacks continued to dominate. The 1924-25 team became known as "The Invincibles" after winning all 32 of their matches. In all, the All Blacks have won three-quarters of their international games — although they have won just one World Cup.

The four buddies hitting the road next week hope that will change. Danny "Ox" Mather, Greg "Snapper" Vreeburg, Grant "Horny" Hornblow and Gavin "Cookie" Cook are all self-employed tradesmen who've juggled their work schedules and family life to accommodate four weeks on the road. They plan to stay in van parks with the idea of meeting other fans from across the world.

They've installed insulation, a sink, a power system, and an old shower door to provide some light in their home on wheels. Oh, and they've crammed four beds into a 10-foot long interior — a squeeze, but they aren't planning to spend much time indoors.

They've stashed provisions in friends' freezers along the way to keep them fed. They'll be taking plenty of beer. They've bought tickets to every All Blacks group match plus the finals, and plan to see some other teams play, too. And they believe they'll save at least $10,000 on accommodation.

New Zealand was a surprise selection to host this year's tournament. Although a sentimental favorite, the country didn't have the size to produce the kind of revenue that larger countries could command. Yet it slipped past the front-runners thanks to a clever marketing campaign that promoted the country as a "Stadium of Four Million."

The government has been the financial underwriter for the tournament. It predicts it will lose about $33 million — money it says will be well spent on promoting the country. The games are such a big deal that the government went as far as changing the school calendar so that children would be on vacation for the final.

One of the sadder moments in the planning came in March when tournament organizers decided to relocate the seven matches due to be played at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch. The stadium was judged too badly damaged by the devastating earthquake that hit the city a month earlier. The quake destroyed much of the city's downtown and killed 181 people.

Elsewhere, New Zealand has spent $400 million revamping its existing stadiums and building a new facility in Dunedin.

By nature, New Zealanders tend to be reserved and aren't the type to plan for over-the-top hoopla, even at a world tournament. Yet they have been trying to be good hosts.

In the Northland district, for instance, there's a "Paint it Red" campaign to celebrate the fact that the three teams that will be based there — Canada, Japan and Tonga — all have red flags and red team colors. Regional authorities are distributing 42 kilometers (26 miles) worth of red banner tape to adorn stores.

In the town of Blenheim, authorities have added Russian translations to some street signs to celebrate the arrival of that team. Throughout the country, hundreds of concerts and festivals are planned, including major celebrations along Auckland's waterfront.

Not all the planning has gone smoothly. Two promotions — one involving 1,000 sheep running through downtown Auckland, the other urging fans to abstain from sex to support the All Blacks — were canceled after receiving widespread ridicule.

There's also been some price gouging. A motor lodge in Auckland reportedly jacked up room prices from $27 per night to $270 per night during the cup. The manager declined to comment to The Associated Press.

Those kind of stories have put off some Australians, said Mike Jones, the general manager of Total Sports Travel in Melbourne. He said his bookings are down from four years ago when the tournament was held in France. He blames the global recession.

"The big contributing factor is that it's overpriced," Jones said. "New Zealand obviously tried to cash in on the event by charging a lot more."

Tournament organizers reject that notion. They say price-gouging is rare and they are happy with visitor numbers — which they say may top 100,000 — and ticket sales to date. Still, Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden joined the country's sports and recreation minister Murray McCully in Australia last week to try and drum up some last-minute business.

What worries Snedden more than visitor numbers is what will happen if the All Blacks, the tournament favorites, get knocked out before the final.

"It is a threat," Snedden said. "My own feeling is that if that happened, we would come through it. But I recognize that it would absolutely and utterly test us, the character of the nation.

"That would be a moment when people would have to take a deep breath, and remember they're hosts, and put aside their disappointment, and keep a smile on their face," he said.

One person who says it wouldn't change a thing is "Ox" Mather. He says the main objectives of their road trip are to meet other rugby enthusiasts from all over the world and to have a great time.

"It's just a sport," he said. "It's not live or die. If they lose, it's just another day."

Senna replaces Heidfeld at Renault F1

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 05:57 PM PDT

PARIS (AP) — Renault says Bruno Senna is replacing Nick Heidfeld at the Formula One team for the rest of the season.

Heidfeld took over after Robert Kubica sustained a career-threatening injury in a rally car accident in February.

But the German driver was replaced for the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend by Senna, whose uncle was the late Brazilian F1 great Ayrton Senna.

Renault team principal Eric Boullier announced on Friday a "swift and reasonable solution" was reached with Heidfeld.

Boullier added "our separation process was already a painful one, and neither of us wanted to go through another legal hearing."

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

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Sometimes small is big

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:42 PM PDT

VIZEUM Media Services might not be one of the biggest media agencies around, but chief executive officer Andy Miller truly believes that there is an advantage to being small.

"We're probably ranked between eighth and tenth in terms of billings size (when compared to other media agencies in the local industry). We're still small in the market," he tells StarBizweek.

Being a relatively "small player" in the market, Miller says Vizeum has the advantage of offering its services at a reduced budget compared to the other "big boys."

"I've always felt that you don't necessarily need big budgets to come up with great campaigns. Innovative thinking does not come from having more people and more billings."

Vizeum, which is part of the Aegis group, has been in Malaysia for five years and today has a total staff strength of just over 40 people.

"And I've always believed that the most strategic thinking comes from low budget campaigns. With a lower budget, the focus has to be harder (to come up with great work)," Miller adds.

Still, Miller doesn't deny the advantage of having big budgets behind a particular campaign.

"Having a big budget means the campaigns can be more integrated. But you always need to work around the budget that you have," he says.

Miller says Vizeum has had a "pretty good year so far," having won some businesses relating to the tourism and meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) sectors.

With economic crises currently looming over the US and Europe, Miller says he is positive about the Malaysian tourism scene.

"I think tourism levels in Malaysia will remain healthy for this year. Thailand is still suffering from its political problems. Though they're settling down it's still in people's minds."

Miller feels that with the economic problems in the United States and Europe, the question is whether the long-haul tourists coming to Malaysia will be affected in the near term.

"Malaysia is still a value-for-money choice and I am cautiously optimistic about our local tourism sector," he says.

Miller shares a similar sentiment for the outlook of the media industry for the rest of 2011.

"We've seen a buoyant year with no major event (unlike last year, where the FIFA World Cup boost spending)."

Next year will see England hosting the Olympic Games.

For now, Miller feels that the event will neither have a positive nor negative impact on the local media planning industry.

Vizeum made headlines when it became the third biggest winner in terms of medal tally at the Malaysian Media Awards (MMAs) in July, beating some big, well-known players.

The first and second spots went to leading global media specialists Universal McCann and Mindshare Malaysia respectively.

Vizeum won two golds, three silvers and one bronze at the prestigious event.

"We were very pleased to have won big at the MMAs. The recognition we got (from our peers and competitors) was way above what an agency of our size would usually get," Miller says excitedly.

However, he adds that winning awards is not the "be all and end all" for a media agency.

"Winning awards is an endorsement from the industry that you're on the right path and a measure of the quality of work that you're doing."

To stay ahead of the competition, Miller says that Vizeum was in the process of finalising its consumer connection system (CCS), a tool that describes the usage of bought, owned and earned media and its role and function to consumers.

"It will be the largest CCS that Malaysia has ever seen and it will be available from November onwards. It will redefine how media planning is done and will be for use for all our existing and potential clients to help give them richer and deeper insights."

Miller says the CCS was developed by global market research company Synovate and will include feedback from over 3,000 respondents across Malaysia.

"It will cover touch points in both traditional and non-traditional media. When we add this to the already tried and tested tools that we have, the CCS should prove very useful and powerful in the market."

Miller also says that Vizeum, via parent company Aegis, was active in training its staff.

"We train our people as a group. It's imperative to do it to keep our staff abreast of the latest information and it's also important for them to know that they are being trained for the future."

On a another point, Miller notes that while there is added emphasis on non-traditional media today, especially in digital space, traditional media is still important and will always remain an important avenue for clients of both media and creative agencies.

Advertising expenditure (adex) grew 15% to RM5.02bil in the first six months of 2011 versus RM4.38bil a year earlier, with newspapers continuing to command the lion's share of the total ad spend, according to data from Nielsen.

Newspaper adex accounted for 41% of total ad spend in the first half of 2011, followed by free-to-air TV and pay-TV, at 28% and 22% respectively.

Tips on freelancing for a visual artist

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:41 PM PDT

Title: Creative, Inc: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business

Authors: Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Although it calls itself the "ultimate guide" for freelancing, Creative, Inc is more of a guide for those with a penchant for visual arts. While it does provide information that potential freelancers in any field could utilise, much of its contents are specifically for illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, stylists and other similar visual arts fields.

Each chapter covers a specific aspect of freelancing interspersed with interviews with creative professionals from various related fields. These professionals are either people who have launched successful freelance careers or are corporate professionals in charge of hiring freelancers for their respective companies.

For those in the visual arts fields who are thinking about starting up their freelance careers, this book is useful as it covers a whole range of topics from how to "set up shop" to balancing business and personal lives. The interviews also provide insightful knowledge on things like how to promote one's business, obtain more clients and manage one's time.

Not being a visual artist, many parts in the book did not apply to me. There are definitely fundamental qualities that all successful freelancers must have such as the ability to manage money and clients but portions that were specific to designers and illustrators were not relevant.

Some of the things I found useful were their tips on how to start up a professional blog and personal branding. Ilasco and Cho also provided examples of estimate and invoice letters, as well as a breakdown on how to construct these, which I found extremely useful as well.

Since both writers are designers, it's no surprise that the book doesn't look like the run-of-the-mill guide book. With an eye-catching cover, rounded corners and interesting page layouts, this book was not as difficult to read as expected. Although the chapters were kept short, they were extremely informative.

While it may not be something that you constantly refer to, it's a good book to pick up if you're thinking about starting a full time, freelancing career.

Everyone’s a creative

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:41 PM PDT

Title: The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice

Author: Todd Henry

Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover

MAKING the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity Charles Mingus

"Meet Amos. He is a manager at a Fortune 100 company, and though he is not a typical creative' he faces all the pressures that accompany creative work. Amos is a brilliant, accomplished, and fast-rising leader who is currently helming five major projects for the company. He manages the communication and marketing needs for his department, gleans consumer insights that can be applied to new projects, and coordinates product development input from R&D.

In addition, Amos is responsible for developing his direct reports and ensuring that the organisation that reports to him is in alignment with the company's priorities. There are several constituencies to please at multiple levels in the organisation, and Amos spends a lot of his time just trying to identify his true objectives within the barrage of input he receives from his superiors. The most difficult thing, according to Amos, is that amidst all the meetings and pseudo work,' he knows that his main job is to move the needle' and make progress on his projects. He knows the real value he brings to his company is the ability to generate key ideas at just the right time to properly direct the course of a project. Amos gets to think about his work much less than he'd like because he's just so busy trying to stay ahead of everything else...he has to work nights, let stuff go, or just accept that everything he does can't be great, even though that is the expectation."

Amos' situation is becoming more typical these days. It is not enough to just do your job anymore.

In order to thrive, all of us, regardless of our role, have to be ready to generate brilliant creative ideas on demand. The marketplace has morphed from one made up of manufacturers mainly supported by manual labour to one where millions of people are making a living with their minds. Due to this, the term "creative" is no longer just limited to that advertising guru dressed in designer jeans dreaming up the next big idea. A "creative" can be anyone who needs to solve problems, innovate, design things, write, think and strategise; a person responsible for crafting systems that form the foundations for an organisation's future growth.

Two of a kind

There are "traditional creatives" such as designers, writers, visual artists, musicians and performers that deliberately choose a career that allows them to exercise their creativity on a daily basis. However, there are also the "accidental creatives" people such as managers, strategists, consultants, salespeople, client service representatives who need to add unique value to their work, carve a niche in the marketplace and push a business hunch from conception to execution.

Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice, has written a book that is touted to help both groups. If you are a "traditional creative", the book will help you establish enough structure in your life to get the most out of your creative process. It will also teach you how to stay engaged over the long term; a general problem for those who must produce continually on demand. For the "accidental creative", the book should help you unlock your latent creative abilities by teaching you to do what many brilliant creatives already do instinctively, and how to do it consistently.

Henry is the founder and CEO of Accidental Creative, a consultancy that helps organisations generate brilliant ideas. In 2006 he started The Accidental Creative, which has grown into one of the top business podcasts. Henry acknowledges that creative work generally comes with a unique set of pressures as many of us can feel out of touch with the mysterious process through which creative work is generated.

"On some days, ideas spring forth effortlessly, and we feel poised to attack any problem that comes our way. On others, we struggle with a single obstacle without any significant momentum." We are asked to "produce ever-increasing amounts of brilliance in ever-shrinking amounts of time." In the new "create on demand" workplace dynamic that is becoming more commonplace, we need to consistently invent brilliant solutions that meet specific objectives by defined deadlines. If we do it successfully, we get to keep our jobs. If we do not, we get to work on our resume.

It can be frustrating to be accountable for a process we have so little control over, especially in the modern marketplace, where our career success is directly tied to our ability to generate great ideas consistently. In this book, born out of his consultancy and popular podcast, Henry has created a practical method for discovering and more importantly controlling your personal creative rhythm.

Nurturing creativity

The book is divided into two sections. Chapters 1 through 3 deal with many of the pressures faced by creatives in the workplace, and why doing brilliant work day after day can be so challenging.

Chapters 4 through 10 offer some practices that you can implement to help you experience higher levels of creative insight on a daily basis. Henry talks about the "assassins of creativity" and emphasises how managing five key elements i.e. F-R-E-S-H can save the day:

Focus: Begin with your end goal in mind

Relationships: Build stimulating relationships and ideas will follow

Energy: Manage it as your most valuable resource

Stimuli: Structure the right "inputs" to maximise creative output

Hours: Focus on effectiveness, not efficiency

Henry reasons that the "always-on" manner in which many creatives approach their work is arrhythmic, but the creative process is naturally rhythmic, there are "peaks and troughs of productivity, an ebb and flow to idea generation." We therefore need to incorporate practices that instil a sense of structure, rhythm and purpose into our lives to "create a space for our creative processes to thrive rather than to expect it to operate in the cracks of our frenetic schedule." Henry highlights that when we violate the natural rhythms of the creative process, we may initially still be able to produce a very high volume of work, but we will eventually find that, in time, we will not be producing our best work.

Instead, we will find that we will trend towards mediocrity; and that great ideas will no longer come with the frequency that we prefer. Many creatives tend to "sacrifice their long-term viability on the altar of short-term productivity"; eventually discovering that the trade-off simply is not worth it. When you fall into a pattern of reacting to everyday pressures of your work, you may unknowingly do things that cause damage to your creative muscles.

On one hand, the lure of another conceptual breakthrough is seductive, but on the other, we must deal with the reality that our work is being both timed and judged. It is difficult to stay excited about work when we feel that practical limitations will ultimately prevent us from really doing something we believe to be truly great.

Using an analogy from military strategist Thomas Barnett, Henry explains that "every organisation begins as an advanced force and ends up as an occupying force." We need a "leviathan" force to aggressively capture new ground but we also require this same force to do the largely administrative work of occupying that ground that is captured i.e. dealing with systems, processes and protocol in executing ideas. Henry shows us methods to balance our "race to brilliance" with the constraints of real working life.

I recommend that you read this book to ramp up your brilliance and visit AccidentalCreative.com to learn how to do more with less time.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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Chefs to share their skills at BookFest

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 05:03 AM PDT

A group of renowned chefs will take you on a culinary journey, complete with tips and tricks.

IT'S that time of the year again when BookFest@Malaysia, that massive book exposition organised annually by Popular Book Co (M) Sdn Bhd, rolls out thousands of great book deals along with book-related events for book lovers over nine days.

If you have been to the expo – which began on Aug 27 – for the entire week and have had your fill of books, then tomorrow, the expo's second last, will be a great opportunity to check out what's literally cooking on Cook-Out Day.

As you enter the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre's Hall 5 between the children's section and the Popular Pavilion, you will find The Stage where a potpourri of flavours will sizzle from woks and pots the entire day as an assortment of chefs take turns to share their fine cooking skills with you.

Kicking off the cook out in the morning will be chef Justin Hor Chee Keong with a taste of Cantonese cuisine cooking; he will share the many varieties of Cantonese cooking techniques such as frying, stewing, deep frying, boiling, braising and so on.

Malay food lovers will have two Malay chefs, Kamariah Jamaludin and former Café Dania owner and author of a debut cookbook, Memorable Recipes For Malay Occasions, Marina Mustafa will share Malay food recipes that they learnt in their mothers' kitchens.

Marina co-hosted Dari Dapur Marina with veteran actress Azean Irdawaty on Astro Awani in January 2010 for eight episodes and she was also a part of the reality cooking show Ideal Celebrity Chef for seven episodes, aired on TV3 in June 2010. She was also selected as one of BBC TV London's Cooking Series guest cooks on Malaysian cuisine.

Nonya food lovers will be in for a treat with two experts, chef Ricky Ng and Debbie Teoh, sharing their know-how on delectable and intricate Nonya recipes.

Chef Ricky Ng – who was born into a Nonya family in Taiping, Perak, and has authored seven cookbooks – picked up valuable tips on Nonya cooking and kuih-making from his grandmother, mother and aunties, who were all experts in their type of cuisine.

Having worked in numerous restaurants all over Europe, Ng won "The Best Chef of Europe" award in 1992. He is also skilful in baking as well as Thai, Malay and Indian cuisine and Western fine dining. The versatile all-rounder even knows Chinese cuisine from different provinces of China, local hawker food and a whole lot more.

Teoh is also a true bred Nonya who hails from Malacca. Her father is a Baba from Malacca and mother, a Nonya from Penang.

Her forte is both northern and southern Nonya cuisine, and she is a Nonya food consultant for Tourism Malaysia.

For fish lovers, Chef Leong will show you the way to master the art of fish cooking – one of the hardest ingredients to deal with since delicate fish is so easy to overcook – while Ong Jin Teong will show off Penang's heritage food through his cooking demo.

If breads, biscuits, pastries, desserts and Malay traditional kuih are up your alley, chef Zubaidah Che Pa is the one you want to see. She's had more than a decades' experience in conducting baking courses and will be presenting a baking demonstration of biscuits.

A professional baker, chef Elisabeth Siahaja – who presented 50 different types of breads in her book, Magic Bread House – will knead some dough to show you how she magically conjures fulfilling breads for you and your family.

Cook-Out Day at Bookfest@Malaysia 2011 is on tomorrow from 11am until 8.45pm at The Stage@Hall 5 at the KLCC.

Star Publications (M) Bhd is a BookFest@Malaysia 2011 media partner.

BookFest@Malaysia 2011 began on Aug 27 and will continue daily (10am-10pm) until this Sunday at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Admission is with purchase of the BookFest catalogue (which comes with an extra, separate edition for entrance into this year's new Lifestyle Pavilion) at RM2.50 per entry or RM10 for multiple entries over the nine days. Catalogues are available at all Popular and Harris bookstore outlets and at the BookFest entrance. Entrance is free for students 18 years old and below and for senior citizens aged 60 and above. For more information, visit bookfestmalaysia.com.

Young vampire hunter

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 03:37 AM PDT

Alex Van Helsing: Voice of the Undead

Author: Jason Henderson

Publisher: HarperTeen, 304 pages

ALEX Van Helsing finally belongs somewhere. It just happens to be an underground organisation that secretly hunts and kills vampires.

Voice Of The Undead is Jason Henderson's second novel in the Alex Van Helsing series. The first, Vampire Rising, published last year, was an interesting twist on an old tale, but a slow read. Voice Of The Undead is a more action-packed story, and the characters are more fully developed.

In the first book, Alex enrolled at the prestigious all-boys Glenarvon Academy near Lake Geneva, Switzerland, only to find himself fending off an attack by a fanged woman. He also noticed that he gets a strange static in his head that warns him when vampires are near. Because of this ability, the 14-year-old is recruited by the Polidorium organisation, in which his English teacher is a high-ranking officer, to become a vampire hunter.

In Voice Of The Undead, Alex attends school during the day and spends his nights searching Lake Geneva for the magic-protected Scholomance, an ancient vampire school. During one of these missions, he burns down Glenarvon Academy, which is forced to relocate to an all-girls academy down the road. Meanwhile, the Polidorium want Alex to track down a vampire named Ultravox.

The Alex Van Helsing series is tapping into the market of books for young adult boys, and does so successfully. The novels are engaging and suspenseful, without relying on a central love story.

Henderson also cleverly alludes to many old horror stories, from Frankenstein to the tale of the girl with the green ribbon around her neck. He slowly creates new paranormal characters, and he does so smoothly.

Alex's close friends, who aren't especially gifted, keep the story accessible to all readers. Just as Harry Potter needs Hermione and Ron, Alex needs his friends Minhi, Paul and Sid.

But where is Lord Voldemort? One could argue that it's the vampire Elle, who seems to constantly taunt Alex, but readers know almost nothing about her. Yet. Here's hoping more will be revealed in the next book. – AP

One paranoid Weekend

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 03:35 AM PDT

The Weekend

Author: Bernhard Schlink

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 215 pages

WHEN I read the English translation of German author Bernhard Schlink's The Reader in 1997, I was very moved by it. Its simple storyline (young boy falls in love with a much older woman who turns out to have been a Nazi during World War II) coupled with Schlink's exploration of the guilt of the German people over the atrocities and casualties of war turned The Reader into a tour de force on the psychological make-up of a nation.

Then, 13 years later, Schlink produced The Weekend, which has been touted as the sequel to The Reader. However, it's far from being a direct sequel – none of the protagonists from The Reader make an appearance in The Weekend, for instance. However, both personal and national guilt as well as Schlink's trademark style of raising difficult societial questions stemming from Germany's history do link the two novels.

The Weekend tells the story of a group of long-time friends who meet in a run-down country villa; one of the group, Jörg, a former member of the Baader-Meinhof gang (aka the Red Army Faction), has spent the past 24 years in prison for committing several murders and causing unrest. In the opening paragraphs of the novel, Christiane, Jörg's older sister, greets her brother as he is finally released from the prison he has called home for the past two decades.

Even in this opening chapter, Schlink does not make it easy for his readers. With gloomy and rainy day images, intertwined with Christiane's double fear of her brother's murderous capabilities and of losing him once more (both physically and emotionally), and Jörg's maladjusted behaviour due to his years in prison, Schlink sets the tone for his novel – The Weekend will not an easy read and the moral/social/political/psychological layers explored does not make for leisurely reading.

Schlink cleverly depicts each character with just enough personal details and background information to place them within the group and link them to their common past without making any one character the main protagonist. He wanted real life historical events to drive the novel, and by limiting the focus on each character, the author has achieved his goal of making the events of the post-1945 and the Baader-Meinhof years the main stars of the narrative.

As Jörg was the one who was incarcerated, the rest of the characters circulate around him, trying to decipher his thoughts and rationale behind his actions all those years ago. But, though he is the guest of honour of the weekend, Jörg wants nothing more than to hide away from his friends and contemplate the path his life has taken.

While it would be have been an easy thing for him to do to make the novel more mainstream, kudos to Schlink for not taking the predictable route of having Jörg plead for redemption. Instead of having him admit to his past mistakes, he has Jörg stubbornly refuse to admit that his time with the Baader-Meinhof gang and the murders he committed and the social unrest he helped to cause were wrong. In Jörg's eyes, what he did in the late 1970s he did for the greater good of his group's principles and beliefs. It is this controversial, stubborn belief system maintained by Jörg that makes Schlink an author to reckon with and The Weekend a compelling read.

Admittedly, The Weekend lacks the emotional punch that was available in spades in The Reader. I also found parts of The Weekend to be draggy – if the text had been edited more, the novel would have had a much tighter air of paranoia that I believe Schlink would have wanted to get across. I put this down to the German losing its original meaning in the translation process.

I think it is timely that a novel such as The Weekend with its theme of guilt, redemption, social disturbances and political murders is released at this point, as the world's current socio/political/religious beliefs are not so far removed from what was happening post-1945.

The Weekend is not a mainstream novel for the general public, but for those who are interested in history and current affairs, this is a novel that should be read.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Madonna says she identifies with Wallis Simpson

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 01:59 AM PDT

VENICE, Italy (AP): There may be few people better suited than Madonna to tell the story of the two-time American divorcee for whom Britain's King Edward VIII abdicated his throne.

The star herself acknowledges the parallels with Wallis Simpson, the central figure in her sophomore directorial effort, W.E., which made its world premiere out of competition at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday.

She ticked off their common traits: Americans married to Brits. A shared love of fabulous clothes. A sense of adventure. Tenacity, resourcefulness and resilience. But on a deeper level, Madonna can relate to the limitations imposed by enormous fame - or, in the case of Simpson, notoriety.

"I think once you become famous, you have to pretty much relinquish the idea that people are going to see you for who you are, or look beyond the surface of things," Madonna told a small group of reporters. "I think that was a source of great frustration for Wallis Simpson and for Edward VIII, because after he abdicated, they didn't really have the opportunity to defend themselves.

"So hopefully, I have been able to do that for Wallis Simpson through my film."

Madonna spent several years researching before sitting down to write the film with Alek Keshishian, the director of her Truth or Dare documentary. What emerges is a sympathetic portrait of the oft-maligned Simpson that attempts to show what the American divorcee - and not just the king - sacrificed to marry in 1937.

"I think she felt an existential loneliness," Madonna said.

"W.E." - short for Wallis and Edward, who are portrayed by Andrea Riseborough and James D'Arcy - tells Simpson's story through the eyes of a modern-day namesake who seeks solace from her unhappy marriage in the details of what in its day was considered the romance of the century.

Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) becomes obsessed with a Sotheby's auction of personal items that once belonged to Wallis and Edward, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The everyday objects - an engraved cigarette case, a martini shaker - become a sort of portal between the 1930s and 1998, the year of the real-life auction. In a testament to their enduring fascination, the sale totalled US$23.4mil, three times Sotheby's original estimate.

The movie covers the same historical period as last year's Oscar-winning The King's Speech, which focused on Edward's brother Bertie, who strived to overcome a speech impediment as he was elevated to the throne in the wake of his brother's abdication.

"I view the success off that film as laying the ground work for my film," Madonna said. "There's a little bit of history, and a little bit of knowledge. We are not starting from a blank slate."

Much of Simpson's inner life in the film is revealed by the Duchess's correspondence with the Duke and other confidantes.

In the film, Wallace confides in a letter to her aunt, "You have no idea how hard it is to live out the great romance of the century, and to know I will have to be with him, always and always and always and always."

Madonna read numerous books and viewed footage in her research and adamantly rejects contentions that Simpson was a Nazi or Nazi sympathiser, a point she seeks to rebut in the film.

"In fact, I believed she was a Nazi too, when I started my investigation. But after years of research, I could find no empirical evidence proving she was a Nazi or Nazi sympathiser," Madonna said.

While she and her husband did have lunch with Hitler, and Simpson met with Hitler's foreign minister, Madonna said they were far from the only ones in that era to do so.

"There was nothing unusual about them having a meeting at that time," Madonna said. "I believe people wanted to undermined their popularity once they abdicated."

The film is rich in sometimes dizzying visual detail, with a sumptuous wardrobe created by Arianne Phillips from photographs of the Duke and Duchess together and studies of fashion archives and museums.

The jeweller Cartier also recreated copies of pieces that the Duke had commissioned for the Duchess, apparently an attempt to make up for the royal jewels that would never be hers.

Madonna said she wanted to indulge in the luxury as a counterpoint to the poverty of the inner lives of the two protagonists: "To make the point that no matter how beautiful and glamorous your surroundings, there is no guarantee for happiness."

For the film's press debut, Madonna wore a replica of a bracelet of Latin crosses made for Simpson by Cartier, with the birthstones of her four children, and a prim dark dress with a high white collar and white trim along the sleeves that she said would have appealed to Simpson.

Madonna said she received support for the project from both her two director ex-husbands, Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie. But she also acknowledged that that during her nearly 10-year marriage to Ritchie, she was intimidated from directing.

"I didn't think I had the right to make a film until I paid my dues, which I did by making Filth and Wisdom in 2008, she said.

Madonna, the enduring pop icon who has been a dancer, singer, actress and now director, says all of her experience is coming together in W.E.

"I see myself as a storyteller. Film has always informed the other areas of my work. I don't think that being a filmmaker is such a big leap," she said. "I think all of my work before actually prepared me for the responsibility of filmmaking."

Her actors brimmed with praise for her directorial skills.

"I never experienced a director more prepared, more inexhaustible, more excited about the subject material," D'Arcy said. "There is no question - because it is Madonna - it comes with an element of fear, which she dismisses instantly because there is work to be done."

Winslet owns most memorable scene in 'Carnage'

Posted: 01 Sep 2011 07:20 PM PDT

VENICE, Italy (AP): The most memorable scene in Roman Polanski's new film "Carnage" belongs to Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.

Just ask her kids. Winslet says they haven't forgotten about the day she had to projectile vomit on set.

"My kids came to work for the vomit day, and I am so thrilled that they were there because they literally have not stopped talking about it since. It was hysterical," Winslet told a news conference Thursday ahead of the world premiere of Polanski's latest film in competition at the Venice Film Festival.

Based on the play by Yasmina Reza, "The God of Carnage," the film is a sort of "Lord of the Flies" for the adult set - where civilized intentions go horribly awry as each character reveals their baser sides.

The satire packed with comic moments stars Winslet and Christoph Waltz as husband and wife Nancy and Alan, appearing opposite Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly as Penelope and Michael - two sets of parents who meet to sort out the details of a playground fight that left one of the boys with swollen lips and broken teeth.

The parents manage to maintain the appearance decorum as they niggle over whether Nancy and Alan's son was armed with a stick, or just holding one. But rigid Penelope's assertion that the parents of the alleged bully lack interest in their son's behavior was more than Winslet's Nancy could stomach, literally.

Fittingly, Nancy projectile vomits the cobbler they have been eating - all over Penelope's cherished and rare art books.

Though the stunt required Winslet to operate a complex apparatus, Reilly disputes that Winslet had the toughest job.

"While Kate was the one who threw up, Jody and I had to clean up the vomit, so we had the more disgusting involvement with the vomit," Reilly said.

The all-star cast said they got on famously, and were united in praise of Polanski, who skipped the premiere.

"If Roman Polanski invites you to join in any project, you really don't say no," Winslet said. "I had seen the play in New York so I was already very much a fan on the piece. I just felt extremely fortunate to be included."

Polanski's movements are restricted by an Interpol warrant in effect for 188 countries for extradition to the United States to face sentencing for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977. He moves freely between Switzerland, which refused to extradite him, and France, which has a blanket policy of not extraditing its citizens.

"Carnage" is set in Brooklyn, but shot on a soundstage near Paris over six weeks. Most of the action takes place inside an apartment, which was constructed to allow the actors to move seamlessly through the space. Brief exterior shots show the boys fighting at a riverside park - and later give the film a bittersweet postscript.

"The use of space was actually a very precise and confined and minimal and detailed affair," Waltz said. "But that is exactly Roman's forte. The precision, the detail, the exactitude. The microscopic way of working."

Polanski had the actors rehearse the script like a play, memorizing the entire screenplay and then doing run through after run through. While the screenplay was similar to the script, Winslet said the tone and rhythm were different - creating a unique piece.

"The whole thing was actually shot in story order from start to finish, which I don't think any of us have ever experienced in film before," Winslet said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Armed conflicts hindering M’sian aid mission in Somalia

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 06:13 AM PDT

MOGADISHU: Armed conflicts in Somalia not only make life hard for the victims of drought and famine, they also make it extremely difficult to channel international aid.

The humanitarian mission to Somalia organised by Putera 1Malaysia Club has to be accompanied by armed personnel whenever they distribute food and supplies.

Ever since the mission landed at the Mogadishu International Airport on August 28, they had been closely guarded by government soldiers.

Aid distribution is overseen by security forces carrying heavy arms, including rocket launchers.

In Somalia, it is common to see citizens carrying weapons such as AK-47s in city streets. Neither soldiers nor police, they are armed for self-protection as violence continues in the aftermath of the long civil war.

The war began in 1991 when the Somali Union of Congress appointed Ali Mahdi Muhammad as the new president, against the opposition of the armed wing of the union, led by General Muhamad Farah Aidid.

To date, Somalia has failed to form a permanent government. Armed conflicts between tribes continue.

The situation has been made even more unstable by the Al-Shabaab anti-government group of Somalis, now controlling certain regions of the country.

"They have no identification," said government officer Abdul Razak Duale of the group. "They wear masks. You can't see their faces. You don't know who they are. Maybe it's your son."

Within the 55-member Malaysian mission, security measures include confinement to residential grounds between 6 pm and 6 am daily.

Mission members engaged in aid distribution are trained to leave an area when a situation becomes out of control.

"In view of the grave uncertainty, we are prepared to face any eventuality, and that was our pledge," said mission head Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, Putera 1Malaysia Club chairman.

Mission members have distributed 300 tonnes of goods to residents of camps around Mogadishu, including Badbado and Maalin camps last Thursday.

The mission has also delivered medicine to the Somali Ministry of Health, and contributed RM30,000 (US$10,000) to the Somali National Eye Centre.

So far, no member of the mission has been injured.

"We take all precautionary and security Measures," said Abdul Azeez, "and leave the rest to God." - Bernama

Related Stories:
Club plans to set up camp in Somalia
Second aid mission arrives in Somalia
Relief team off to Somalia

Bangalore-Malaysia linked credit card gang busted

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 03:32 AM PDT

NEW DELHI: Indian police cracked a Bangalore-Malaysia linked syndicate that used cloned credit cards to dupe shopping outlets and steal goods worth RM1.3mil in India's IT capital.

Bangalore police are now tracking a Malaysian, the alleged mastermind of the group, who is also suspected to have links to members of the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LLTE).

"He hacked bank accounts across the globe, including India, through the Internet and collected their unique identity details including the PIN (personal identification numbers)," city-based DNA newspaper quoted Bangalore Police Commissioner B.G Jyothi Prakash Mirji as saying.

He said the hacked information was then passed to a contact person in Chennai, who forwarded it to gang members settled in various parts of the country.

The major bust came a fortnight after Australian police charged five fraudsters from Malaysia and Sri Lanka in a Sydney court, allegedly for operating an international syndicate that specialised in similar white-collar crime.

When police arrested two Indian nationals in Bangalore last Tuesday, they seized electronic products, gym equipment, liquor bottles and about five kg of gold, all bought using fake credit cards, reported the newspaper.

According to probes, the Malaysian had supplied his Indian counterpart blank cards at about RM400 each and credit card printing machines and card readers.

Police are still tracing six other key gang members in the city. - Bernama

Kedah MB says he’s fine, capable of carrying out duties

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 03:22 AM PDT

ALOR STAR: Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak said Friday he was fine and is perfectly capable of discharging his duties.

"Why should there be a need (for an acting mentri besar)? I'm out (of hospital) and in good health," he said when asked to comment on a news report Friday that the PAS leadership was mulling over replacing him due to his health condition after he suffered a heart attack in July.

The report said that PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang would seek an audience with the Sultan of Kedah pertaining to a leadership change in the state.

Azizan said that if PAS wanted to move a leadership change, it should have done so when he was being treated at the National Heart Institute and not now when he had already recovered.

Azizan said however that he would abide by any decision by the PAS leadership.

"I didn't ask to become a mentri besar; they asked me to...if they want me to quit, I will do so, even tomorrow," he said. - Bernama

More in The Star on Saturday

Related Stories:
Azizan resists PAS leadership's moves to replace him
Azizan's removal talk no surprise, says Chor
Kedah MB back at work

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Dancefloor action heats up in the city

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 04:37 AM PDT

A very busy week ahead for the start of the month with lots of music to enjoy.




113, Jalan Ampang, KL

GLOBAL pres Verbal & Co. Verbal is one-half of the J-Urban group m-flo. He serves as the unit's rapper and main lyric writer, and also acts as a producer.

Along with bandmate and close friend Takahashi Taku and former group member Lisa, Verbal formed m-flo in 1999. Outside of the m-flo umbrella, Verbal has collaborated with some of the biggest names in J-Pop, including Amuro Namie and Koda Kumi and he was one of the creators behind the Suite Chic project.

In 2005, he was featured as one of the MCs of Teriyaki Boyz, alongside Wise, Nigo, Ilmari and Ryo-Z of Rip Slyme.

He was also a part of The Rocket Scientists (along with Sphere of Influence).

Verbal has also released two English-language singles under the alias L Universe. His other (rarely used) aliases are Vincent Galluo and Johnny Astro.

ADMISSION: TICKET ENTRY (Zouk): RM35 / RM45 (inc 1 drink). RESERVATIONS*: Please call 03-2171 2075 (12pm-6pm) or 016-3323191 (after 6pm) or email rsvn@zoukclub.com.my *applicable to 21 yrs old and above.


18, Jalan Liku, off Jalan Riong, Bangsar, KL

This September, CHEMISTRY nights continues in Milk with louder anthems of Electronic Dance Music running seamlessly.

So if EDM are sounds to your ears, this session is definitely the spot to see and to be seen. You can be sure to expect another extraordinary night! On deck duty for the night are: Miss Chanel, Miss SS and Khairul Azhar.

ADMISSION: FREE entry for LADIES before midnight. TICKET ENTRY (with one drink) RM30. For reservations and bookings call +6012-309 7811 / +6017-374 1307.


1st Flr, 62, Jalan Daraisamy (Asian Heritage Row), KL

ALAM plays a four hour set @ QUINTE tonight. Regularly playing in both KL and Melbourne throughout the year anticipates challenges that builds his musical influences when delivering fresh, cutting-edge sounds and having full control when connecting with the audience. Cover charges apply.


113, Jalan Ampang, KL

Tonight: Soiree with Stella Nutella. Tomorrow: Aristobeats with Terence C. Cover charges apply.


Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, KLCC, Jalan Pinang, KL

Head over for some quality deep house, tech house and house music featuring DJs Tigermoose aka DJ Grrrrrr, DJ Cassie-D and DJ K. Free entry.


4A,Lorong Yap Kwan Seng, KL

The annual wild and wet party is back with the FOAM PARTY. Get out those swimming-trunks, bikinis and flip flops and party wild. Soak all your worries and stress in oodles of bubble fun. Cover charge: RM50 (with one drink). Reservations and information, call +603-2166 0750.



Mandarin Oriental, KLCC, Jalan Pinang, KL

Sultan Lounge & OMP Entertainment presents an evening with Derrick Carter. Supported by Kuala Lumpur's finest house DJs: Shazan Z, Kamil Layali, Alam and special guest Ori Koro (DigitalSix Soundsystem, Indonesia).

After a successful outing almost two years past, OMP have decided to bring back one of the pioneers of house music, the legendary DJ hailing from the 'Windy City' of Chicago — Derrick L. Carter — one of pinnacles of Chicago house music 90s wave.

Though he doesn't spin much locally in the US anymore, when he does he attracts large crowds. Most of the time he works in Europe, where he's become a minor celebrity among dance-music aficionados. A night not to be missed.

Admission (with two drinks): RM75 before midnight / RM100 after. Call +603-2179 8966 for information and reservations.


6th Floor, Pavilion, Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL

US House DJ Parrish Wintersmith makes a return to our shores. For eight years (2001-2009), LA based Parrish Wintersmith was one half of the production/songwriting/remix/dj duo: 'Groove Junkies'.

As a remixer, Parrish has contributed work to remixes for various artists including: Rihanna, Christine Aguilera, Pussycat Dolls, Janet Jackson, Deborah Cox Leela James, Frankie Knuckles and Ben Watt.

As a global DJ, his travels have extended to multiple cities across five continents. The entire list is much too long to include here.

However, Parrish has played extensively with gigs such as the world famous Pacha in Ibiza, Neighbourhood and Cherry Jam in London, Electric Daisy Festival, Detroit Electronic Music Festival as well as Trademark in Sydney, Australia.

He's rocked the the DJ booth for Hennessy VSOP red carpet events in Seoul, Korea. Parrish is also focused on additional interest relative to the entertainment industry.

He contributes a blog/column called, 'Music & Maneuvers' in both tillate, USA & electronicamagazine.com, UK. The future will see Parrish involved with quality music and projects that will hopefully continue to touch lives in a positive way. +603-2141 9620 for information.


113, Jalan Ampang, KL

OMFG presents Guru Guru and Mr Nasty, accompanied with the freshest house tunes. ADMISSION: TICKET ENTRY (Zouk & Barsonic): RM25 Ladies / RM35 Men (inc 1 drink) RESERVATIONS*: Please call +603-2171 2075 (12pm-6pm) or +6016-332 3191 (after 6pm) or email rsvn@zoukclub.com.my *applicable to 21 yrs old and above.



113, Jalan Ampang, KL

MAMBO JAMBO pres SECRET AGENT. Velvet Underground will take you back to the 80's, 90's and NOW with all your favorite party hits. Everyone's favorite midweek excuse to party just got bigger, better and crazier!

Accept no substitute... this is The Original Mambo Jambo! EVERY WEDNESDAY! Free Entry for Ladies All Night* inclusive of 5 Complimentary Cocktails / House pouring spirits *Terms & Conditions apply

ADMISSION: TICKET ENTRY (VELVET): RM30 Men (inc 1 drink) RESERVATIONS*: Please call +603-2171 2075 (12pm-6pm) or +6016-332 3191 (after 6pm) or email rsvn@zoukclub.com.my*applicable to 21 yrs old and above.

Club Beat welcomes submissions from promoters and clubs regarding the latest clubbing events in the Klang Valley. All queries and information should be sent to Jason Cheah at jascion@gmail.com and Jacobus Raj at jacobus@thestar.com.my

Patience is the key to fasting

Posted: 02 Sep 2011 04:37 AM PDT

ALMOST every year, before the fasting period begins, I would sometimes be completely oblivious that puasa was just around the corner.

This is because time goes by so quickly and before you know it, the holy month is here again.

Plus, I also have friends, who like to remind my other fellow Muslim friends and I about our upcoming fasting duties when we are enjoying a Starbucks coffee, or eating roti canai and nasi lemak at the local mamak shop.

When I was a child, I was never very enthusiastic about fasting.

But now, as I am slightly older and experienced, I now view it as a great way to improve my patience and soft skills.

Someone once told me that patience is the key to survival.

If people do not approach things in a calm and collected manner, then catastrophe would occur almost on an hourly basis.

Usually at the start of Ramadan, I would hear the whispers in the workplace corridors from some people commenting that puasa is tough and difficult, it is scientifically not good for one's health, and to these people the whole exercise was an impossible feat.

Relatively fair comments as fasting is not something for everyone.

But experience has taught me it does make you a better person.

As this week is Hari Raya, I wish to share some of these experiences.

When you are fasting your body feels a little weak and empty, and it is very easy to fall into the mood trap and accidently say something silly, out of frustration and you usually end up offending someone.

If you want to have a good career, then this is the last thing you should do!

Fasting is a reminder that you should not be saying nor be doing bad things.

I also often think that if it was not for fasting, I would be susceptible to weight gain.

It is very easy to indulge in good food five to six times a day, especially thanks to our makan-makan culture.

But the fasting month reminds me to get out of the habit of snacking, eating at the correct times, and making sure I rehydrate with the proper amount of fluids in the evening.

It sounds like a training regime, but that is exactly what fasting is — about sacrifice and discipline.

Some of my Western friends who do not practice any form of cleansing are struggling with weight loss and high blood pressure.

Maybe a bit of puasa would not hurt them as much as they think!

Another way that fasting helps is by increasing your level of tolerance for "pain".

Because your stomach is empty, you may feel queasy.

It is not a feeling of hunger, but more of a cramp because the stomach has been empty for most of the day.

When you have this feeling, it is very tempting to break your fast. But you feel it is such a waste if you do because you have fasted for most of the day.

So by working and standing the discomfort, and pushing through it, you have a feeling of accomplishment because you managed to beat the pain.

You know what they say — pain is temporary, but pride is forever.

And, of course, spirituality is another thing that comes into play.

After all, the basic premise of fasting is to teach us restraint, compassion and abstinence, not just from food and drink but from committing worldly sins.

I hope my above experiences have given some of you a different perspective about the fasting month.

Fasting has certainly made me a more tolerant person.

I am always inspired by the stories that my family tells me about how some people achieve great things during the holy month.

The one that always comes to mind is about former Olympic middle distance runner, Hicham El Guerrouj, who would still train during the fasting month when he was still competing.

I do not have the physical strength of Hicham, but I will definitely approach eating during the Hari Raya celebration period with a marathon strategy, and not a sprint.

To all Muslim readers, Selamat Hari Raya, and to all Malaysians, a belated Selamat Hari Merdeka.

Ben Ibrahim is a TV producer and presenter, lecturer and MC. Benb.ibrahim@gmail.com or twitter@BenIbrahim

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