Sabtu, 10 September 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

For U.S.-Mexico border town, Sept. 11 brought high wall

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 09:35 PM PDT

NACO, Mexico (Reuters) - When news broke of the airliners striking the twin towers in New York 10 years ago, Mexican bookkeeper Jose Manuel Madrid was readying for work in his tiny hometown on the Arizona border.

Smoke from the remains of New York's World Trade Center covers lower Manhattan as the Statue of Liberty (L) stands guard in a photograph taken across New York Harbor from Jersey City, New Jersey September 12, 2001. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine/Files)

Watching the tragedy unfold on television, he had no inkling of how it would transform the lives of residents in the remote community of Naco straddling the international border.

"Nobody imagined the repercussions ... that these events would have" for us, said Madrid, now the mayor of Naco, a dusty ranching town of 6,000 residents in Mexico's northern Sonora State.

The Sept. 11 attacks, orchestrated by al Qaeda militants, led to the largest shake-up of the U.S. federal government since the Cold War, with the founding of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

As part of its core mission of preventing "terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States," the new Customs and Border Protection agency has since sharply boosted security on the nation's borders

The surge more than doubled the number of Border Patrol agents to 20,000. Infrastructure added to secure the Mexico border includes nearly 700 miles (1,125 km) of additional fences as well as lights, sensors, cameras, ground radar and even unmanned surveillance drones.

The changes transformed the lives of residents in Naco, Mexico, and its namesake twin in Arizona -- which have strong community and family ties dating to before the Mexican Revolution more than a century ago.

As a mark of a sometimes quirky relationship, firefighters from the Arizona side race south to help their less well equipped colleagues put out fires in Mexico. Residents used to hold a joint fiesta with a volleyball game over the waist high border fence, although those games no longer happen.

"We had to adapt to a new situation and get used to the changes," said Madrid, sitting in his office a couple of blocks south of the tall, steel border fence that now marks the international border.


On Sept. 11, 2001, locals recall how Border Patrol agents armed with assault rifles immediately took up guard at the Naco station, although the larger changes to security have been incremental over the past decade.

Most noticeable is the new border wall. Whereas it once extended about a mile either side of Naco, a curtain of steel up to 15-foot (4.5-meter) tall now carves across 20 miles (32 km) of the high grassland valley, lit at night by stadium-style lights, and monitored by video cameras.

The number of agents at the local U.S. Border Patrol station, meanwhile, has quadrupled to around 400. The station itself is being rebuilt at a reported cost of $40 million to include a new helipad, stabling for more than two dozen horses, as well as a gym, indoor shooting range and offices for agents.

As a measure of its success, the Tucson sector Border Patrol notes that drug seizures in the stretch of border including Naco have risen over the decade, while illegal immigrant arrests have plunged to 212,000 last year from highs of 616,000 in 2000.

"I believe, as an agent, we are more effective than we were 10 years ago, no doubt about it," said Tony Dominguez, a supervisory Border Patrol agent who has worked at the Naco station since before the attacks on New York and Washington.

"All the new infrastructure, the technology, the manpower increase -- it's given us an advantage to basically interdict anything that comes north," he added.

While the security surge has ended the volleyball match over the fence, it is welcomed by some on the Arizona side concerned about Mexican drug traffickers and even bandits slipping over the border.

"It feels a bit safer because of the wall," said local fire district chief Jesus Morales, who is the only elected official in the tiny, unincorporated Arizona town.

"It's ... a bit harder for people coming in to do bad stuff over here," he added.


But other residents in the high desert valley are not persuaded that the build up has been a benefit to the local community.

"With the wall, and the lights and the Border Patrol hovering over my house at five o'clock in the morning, I'm a lot less happy on the border now than I was," said Diane Daniel, who made soap and goats' cheese at her home near Naco at the time of the attacks.

Daniel is also skeptical that the surge at the border would prevent future attacks like those in 2001, carried out by 19 hijackers from several Arab countries who entered the United States legally.

"I think that the terrorists are either going to be domestic -- that would be my first concern -- or they are going to fly in First Class just like they did the last time," she said.

Local rancher John Ladd says some things have not changed since the attacks.

A decade on, a daily game of cat and mouse between the Border Patrol, smugglers and illegal immigrants continues to play out across his family's 14,000-acre (5,666-hectare) spread outside Naco, damaging fences and gates and letting livestock onto the highway.

"We've got cameras, we've got radar, we've got street lights, we've got more agents, we've got a wall," he said with a weary smile. "Nothing's changed."

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Greg McCune)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Two dead, 22 wounded in shooting at Florida nightclub

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 09:35 PM PDT

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - At least two gunmen armed with possible semi-automatic weapons opened fire outside a Florida nightclub early on Saturday morning, killing two people and wounding 22, according to police.

A witness described panic and chaos inside the Club Elite in the town of Palmetto south of Tampa.

"I was on the floor trying not to die," said Chip "Blu Chip" Hunt, a promoter who works with the club management. "I was between one who got shot in the back of the head and one that got killed and one gentleman that got Bayflighted (airlifted) out."

The two killed were named as Gwenette Matthews, 38, of Bradenton, and Trayon Goff, 25, of Palmetto, according to police.

Palmetto police spokesman Scott Tyler said the shooters were outside the club, but some bullets passed through the nightclub's open front door. Police believe at least one of the shooters was on foot and disappeared in a getaway car.

Hunt, who promoted the club's Friday night "Grown & Sexy" event, said Matthew was socializing inside the club with her sister and was killed by a bullet that came through the front door.

Hunt said the torrent of bullets seemed to be aimed at Goff who was outside, sitting up against the front wall of the building.

"The wall is like Swiss cheese," said Hunt. "He had so many wounds it was crazy. He got 75 percent of the shots. That's the one they was after."

Hunt estimated 150 people were inside the club.

Tyler said most victims were treated and released. Six people were flown to a trauma center in St. Petersburg and one remains in very critical condition, he said.

(Editing by Greg McCune and Sandra Maler)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Gaddafi town hit as NTC chief warns still a threat

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 09:35 PM PDT

NORTH OF BANI WALID, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan fighters launched an assault on one of the last bastions of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi while the head of the provisional government arrived for the first time in the capital and warned that the fugitive former leader still posed a threat.

Anti-Gaddafi fighters wait for the arrival of National Transitional Council (NTC) head Mustafa Abdul Jalil at Mitiga airport in Tripoli September 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Anis Mili)

Fighters poured into the desert town of Bani Walid on Saturday after a deadline set by the National Transitional Council (NTC) for Gaddafi strongholds to surrender expired. Scores of men loyal to the fugitive leader put up resistance.

The provisional government, which is trying to establish its control over the entire country and restore normal life, announced that it could restart some production of the oil that underpins Libya's economy within three to four days.

Bani Walid, 150 km southeast of the capital, has emerged as one of the final holdout towns for Gaddafi supporters making a stand after NTC forces overran his Tripoli headquarters in late August.

Anti-Gaddafi fighters believe one or two of the ousted leader's sons may be holed up in the town. Some NTC officials have even suggested Gaddafi might be there.

NTC fighters have had the town under siege for days and said they would assault it on Saturday if it did not yield. Fighting broke out a day early on Friday both there and near Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, one of the other few holdout cities.

NTC fighters said they had fought to within 500 m of the centre of Bani Walid on Saturday, but pulled back suddenly. NATO aircraft struck at least seven times at Gaddafi loyalist positions around the town, witnesses said.

Black plumes of smoke rose from surrounding areas as powerful explosions echoed across a rocky valley in Bani Walid's northern outskirts. A rocket fired by Gaddafi loyalists landed in the hills, kicking up clouds of dust.

"Field commanders have told us to retreat because NATO will be bombing soon," fighter Abdul Mulla Mohamed said, driving away in one of dozens of vehicles leaving the town.

"All our troops have retreated because of NATO. We are waiting for orders from our comrades to go back in again."

Graphic on rebel leadership click

Graphics on Libya/Middle East click

NATO confirmed its aircraft were flying missions over Bani Walid but would not comment on any airstrikes.

The main NTC positions on the northern approaches to Bani Walid came under fire, with sniper bullets and shells whistling over military pick-up trucks scattered around the narrow valley.

"We are not far from liberating Bani Walid," Daw Saleheen, a representative of the NTC's military council, said. "We urge Gaddafi fighters to lay down their weapons. You can go to any house and will be safe. It is not too late."

Two NTC commanders were killed and two wounded in the fighting. Doctors said two Gaddafi soldiers and one NTC fighter were killed on Friday. Abdullah Kanshil, an NTC official, said four or five civilians had died in overnight fighting.

Kanshil said about 1,000 Gaddafi supporters were defending the town -- far more than the 150 NTC officials previously had said were there.


As battles raged for the last towns still outside its grip, the NTC pushed ahead to assert its legitimacy.

It called the arrival of its chairman, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, in Tripoli on Saturday "historic". Abdel Jalil, a former Gaddafi justice minister who had run the NTC from the eastern city Benghazi, was greeted by scores of flag-waving supporters.

"Brotherhood and warmth -- that's what we will depend on to build our future. We are not at a time of retribution," Abdel Jalil told reporters on his arrival.

"This is the time of unity and liberation."

The NTC has said it will complete its move to Tripoli from Benghazi by the end of next week -- though previous forecasts have been followed by delays.

Establishing a unified interim government in the capital would be an important achievement in a country where opponents of Gaddafi are divided along regional and factional lines.

The interim authorities also are anxious to show they can restart an economy almost entirely dependent on oil. Production essentially stopped since the start of the six-month civil war.

The interim oil and finance minister, Ali Tarhouni, told reporters some oil production would start again at some fields in just three to four days, and full pre-war output levels would be reached within a year.

Diplomats said Britain plans to submit a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council early next week to start easing sanctions against Libya and establish a modest U.N. mission in the country.

The International Monetary Fund also chipped in on Saturday, recognising the NTC as Libya's legitimate governing body and saying it planned to send a team there when it is safe enough.

But Jalil said they must still capture Gaddafi's last strongholds before they can declare Libya "liberated" and set the clock ticking for elections and a new constitution.

"Gaddafi still has money and gold. These are the fundamental things that will allow him to find men," he said. "We must focus on our abilities to liberate Bani Walid, Sabha and Sirte."

The front lines around Sirte appeared to be quieter on Saturday after Friday's fighting. The NTC has also been sending hundreds of fighters south towards Sabha, the Gaddafi stronghold deep in the desert, in the last two days.

Gaddafi's own whereabouts remain a mystery. Hisham Buhagiar, the military coordinator of the NTC's hunt for him, said on Friday he had indications his quarry was in or near the town of Birak, some 700 km south of Tripoli. NATO forces had bombed the area late on Thursday, he said.

(Additional reporting by Sherine El Madany near Sirte, Emma Farge in Benghazi, William MacLean, Mohammed Abbas and Mohammad Ben-Hussein in Tripoli, Barry Malone and Sylvia Westall in Tunis, Abdoulaye Massalatchi in Agadez, Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations; Writing by Alistair Lyon and Barry Malone; Editing by Michael Roddy)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Nadal beats Murray to join Djokovic in U.S. Open final

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 06:18 PM PDT

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal, his form and confidence rising with every match, defeated Britain's Andy Murray 6-4 6-2 3-6 6-2 in the U.S. Open semi-finals on Saturday to join Novak Djokovic in a repeat of last year's final.

The Spaniard was untroubled beating an out-of-sorts Murray, who began shouting at himself as his frustrations started to boil over, to reach Monday's final with the loss of just one set in six matches.

Nadal beat Djokovic in last year's final but the Serb, who advanced with a thrilling five-set win over Roger Federer, has beaten him in five finals this year, including Wimbledon, to replace him as world number one.

Stosur beats Kerber to reach U.S. Open women's final

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 05:28 PM PDT

NEW YORK, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Sam Stosur survived a late fightback from unseeded German Angelique Kerber to win their U.S. Open semi-final 6-3 2-6 6-2 on Saturday.

Stosur, one of the most powerful hitters in the women's game, regained her composure after dropping the second set and failing to serve out the match at her first attempt to become the first Australian to reach the U.S. Open women's final since Wendy Turnbull in 1977, seven years before Stosur was born.

Stosur, who made the final at the French Open last year but lost to Italy's Francesca Schiavone, is bidding to become the first Australian woman to win a grand slam since Evonne Goolagong-Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980.

The 27-year-old Queenslander will play the winner of Saturday's second semi between Serena Williams and world number one Caroline Wozniacki in Sunday's final.

Woon-Vivian fall in semis

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 04:39 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Unseeded Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo's gallant run came to an end in the semi-finals of the Taiwan Open in Taipei yesterday.

Khe Wei-Vivian, who were in their second semi-final in three tournaments, found world No. 7 Ha Jung-eun-Kim Min-jung of South Korea too hot to handle, going down 18-21, 16-21.


Men's singles: Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha) bt Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) 21-18, 21-12; Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) bt Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Ina) 22-20, 22-24, 21-13.

Men's doubles: Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor) bt Alvent Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan (Ina) 18-21, 21-18, 21-18; Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung (Kor) bt Kim Ki-jung-Shin Baek-cheol (Kor) 22-20, 21-15.

Women's singles: Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) bt Pai Hsiao Ma (Tpe) 21-9, 21-18; Inthanon Ratchanok (Tha) bt Bae Youn-joo (Kor) 21-10, 21-13.

Women's doubles: Meilana Jauhari-Greysia Polii (Ina) bt Cheng Wen Hsing-Chien Yu Chin (Tpe) 21-12, 21-18; Ha Jung-eun-Kim Min-jung (Kor) bt Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo (Mas) 21-18, 21-16.

Mixed doubles: Tantowi Ahmad-Lilyana Natsir (Ina) bt Lee Yong-dae-Ha Jung-eun (Kor) 21-12, 21-16; Ko Sung-hyun-Eom Hye-won (Kor) bt Fran Kurniawan-Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth (Ina) 22-20, 21-13.


The Star Online: Business

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SEC takes Deloitte China unit to court

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 09:24 PM PDT

WASHINGTON: The US securities regulators have asked a federal court to force a Chinese unit of accounting giant Deloitte & Touche to produce records related to possible accounting fraud at Longtop Financial Technologies Ltd.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) effort to enforce a subpoena against Shanghai-based Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd underscores the difficulties regulators face in probin accounting irregularities at US-listed Chinese companies.

The Deloitte unit abruptly resigned in May of this year after uncovering "numerous improprieties" during its audit of the Chinese software company for the year ended March 31.

Deloitte had no immediate comment on the SEC action, and repeated efforts to contact its lawyers were unsuccessful.

The SEC said Deloitte had argued it should not be required to produce documents that predate the 2010 Dodd Frank Wall Street oversight law, and that producing any documents could subject it to sanctions under Chinese law.

"This is a culture clash that the SEC is throwing to the courts to resolve," said Jacob S. Frenkel, a former senior counsel in the SEC's enforcement division and now a partner at Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker.

The subpoena enforcement filed in US District Court in Washington D.C. marks the boldest move yet by the agency against a big accounting firm in its crackdown on fraud at Chinese companies that list on US exchanges.

Next month, the US and Chinese accounting watchdogs are due to meet in Washington for a second round of talks on joint inspections of auditing firms in China.

The chairman of the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board recently chided big accounting companies, saying they had a responsibility for the quality of audits conducted by their units in other countries.

Jake Zamansky, a lawyer who pursued investment banks after the dotCom crash on behalf of investors, predicted Deloitte would ultimately comply with the subpoena.

"Ultimately the SEC and PCAOB can take their licence away. As long as it has the name Deloitte on it, they have a responsibility to adhere to US laws," said Zamansky.

The SEC is seeking evidence to support its investigation into what it described as "an apparently massive fraud on the domestic securities markets" by Longtop, a Cayman Islands corporation with principal offices in China and Hong Kong.

It said Deloitte had failed "in every respect" to comply with its subpoena.

"Compliance with an SEC subpoena is not an option, it is a legal obligation," said Robert Khuzami, the director of the SEC's division of enforcement.

"Subpoena recipients who refuse to comply should expect serious legal consequences."

Subpoena enforcements by the SEC are relatively rare, the agency filing just 31 similar actions in the past five years.

Prominent previous recipients of SEC subpoena enforcements have included Enron's former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow and tobacco company RJ Reynolds.

The SEC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been probing US-listed Chinese companies and their auditors amid a recent rash of accounting scandals. Reuters

Report: Bank of America job cuts could hit 40,000

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 09:24 PM PDT

NEW YORK: US financial giant Bank of America is considering cutting up to 40,000 jobs as part of a hotly anticipated round of belt-tightening, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

The Journal cited unnamed sources as saying the company had discussed cuts of 30,000 to 45,000 jobs, but it said the numbers could still change and that the decision would be carried out over a period of a few years.

Such cuts would amount to more than 10% of the company's workforce.

The bank has been pummelled with losses from the 2007-2009 financial crisis and has recently been hit with a series of multi-billion dollar lawsuits relating to dodgy mortgage-backed securities issued by its subsidiaries, Countrywide Financial and Merrill Lynch.

Weighed down with the lawsuits, the bank reported a net loss of more than US$9bil in the second quarter.

Amid rumours that it had serious capital deficiency problems, last month it announced a US$5bil injection from investment guru Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

It has also said it will sell half of its 10% stake in China Construction Bank to raise about US$8.3bil in cash. - AFP

GLP eyes US$1.3b IPO of Japan assets

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 09:20 PM PDT

Saturday September 10, 2011

TOKYO: Singapore's Global Logistic Properties (GLP) is planning an initial public offering of its Japanese assets that could raise at least 100 billion yen (US$1.3bil) in the first IPO for a real estate trust in Japan in five years, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

GLP, the warehouse unit of Singapore wealth fund GIC, had hired Citigroup Inc, Goldman Sachs and Nomura Holdings as the main underwriters for the IPO, said the people, who asked not to be identified. - Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Image Entertainment picks up 50 Cent film at festival

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 12:22 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES: The rapper 50 Cent is taking some cues from Adrien Brody and Christian Bale - losing all kinds of weight for a film role.

Image Entertainment liked what it saw enough that the company has acquired ''All Things Fall Apart,'' which stars 50 Cent and Ray Liotta. Mario Van Peebles directed and co-stars.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, plays a college football star who's on his way to winning a Heisman Trophy when he is diagnosed with a tumor inches from his heart. 50 Cent lost 80 pounds for the role.

Image acquired the rights from Hannibal Pictures just before the Toronto International Film Festival began and has slated the movie for a theatrical release early in 2012.

50 Cent and Randall Emmett of Cheetah Vision Films produced ''All Things Fall Apart.''

The movie has played at the Miami International Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Aruba International Film Festival and the Peachtree Village International Film Festival in Atlanta.

Venice film festival nears end, contest wide open

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 06:29 PM PDT

VENICE, Italy, Sept 10 (Reuters): The Venice film festival ends on Saturday with the award of the coveted Golden Lion for best picture, but critics struggled to name their favourite in a year that had plenty of good films but few, if any, great ones.

The 2011 competition lineup boasted 23 movies, ranging from George Clooney's political thriller "The Ides of March" to the odd-ball, low-budget Greek tragedy "Alps".

Outside the main line-up, and ineligible for awards, were Steven Soderbergh's all-star "Contagion" and Madonna's second feature as director, "W.E.", about Wallis Simpson and her affair with Britain's King Edward VIII.

Those two pictures bumped up the star-power - a vital ingredient to a successful film festival - and Madonna, Clooney, Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Al Pacino were among the A-listers on the red carpet this year.

One notable absentee was Roman Polanski, unable to travel for fear of being extradited to the United States for a sex crime, but his "Carnage" was nonetheless among the favourites for the top prize.

The adaptation of a play takes place in real time in a New York apartment, giving it a theatrical feel, and the comedy of manners and sharp critique of U.S. middle class mores impressed the critics.

Clooney's The Ides of March, also based on a play, starred Clooney himself, Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman in a slick take on corruption in U.S. politics.


Popular literary adaptions included Russian director Alexander Sokurov's reworking of Goethe's "Faust" and Briton Andrea Arnold's visceral interpretation of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights".

Swedish film maker Tomas Alfredson took on John Le Carre's notoriously complex Cold War spy classic "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", and won almost universal praise for a taught, well-acted drama full of tension.

In Gary Oldman he also got one of the performances of the festival as George Smiley, the British spy immortalised by Alec Guinness in the 1970s British television series.

"This beautifully modulated piece of underacting deserves to make him a strong contender at next year's Oscars," Chris Tookey wrote of Oldman in the Daily Mail.

Irishman Michael Fassbender was also tipped for the best actor award for his performance as a sex addict in "Shame", itself a frontrunner for the Golden Lion.

And Matthew McConaughey took some viewers by surprise with an unusually dark turn as a cop turned bad in "Killer Joe".

Hong Kong film maker Ann Hui won plaudits for her ode to the elderly "A Simple Life", while Italian entry L'Ultimo Terrestre" (Last Man on Earth) would be the first home win in Venice since 1998.

Soderbergh's Contagion, while out of competition, was a critical hit for its well-structured account of a disease that spreads around the world claiming millions of lives.

Madonna's W.E. was less well received, although some reviewers pondered whether she was being judged unduly harshly because of her fame as a pop star.

Head of the jury Darren Aronofsky knows all about the ups and downs of launching movies in Venice.

He won the competition in 2008 with "The Wrestler" and two years later "Black Swan" went on to earn a slew of Oscar nominations, and a best actress Academy Award for Natalie Portman.

But his "The Fountain", in competition in Venice in 2006, was a critical flop.


The Star Online: Nation

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Asyraf recovering but still wary men in groups

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 07:36 AM PDT

LONDON: Malaysian student Muhammad Asyraf Haziq Rossli, who fell victim to a group of rioters here almost a month ago, is recovering well from his jaw injury.

The 20-year-old student, however, said, the metal plate inserted in his jaw would be there forever.

"I'm recovering well and will probably be able to eat solid foods in a matter of weeks. The pain is no more, but I feel it when it rains," he said.

He, however, added that although the incident happened almost a month ago, he was still phobic.

"Whenever I see men in groups, I will quickly avoid them and take another route," he told reporters here Saturday after meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhammad Asyraf, a first-year accountancy student at Kaplan International College, lost a few teeth and sustained a broken jaw after being assaulted and robbed by a group of teenagers during the London riots.

Ahmad Husni: IWK to merge with government subsidiary company

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 05:52 AM PDT

Published: Saturday September 10, 2011 MYT 8:52:00 PM

IPOH: The government has decided to merge national sewerage company, Indah Water Konsortium, (IWK) with a government subsidiary company, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah.

He said the decision was made recently by the National Economic Council.

"The move is an effort to strengthen both entities which is owned by the government. The biggest asset owned by IWK can be redeveloped and benefit the merged entity," he told reporters after distributing Jalur Gemilang flags to Chemor residents here.

He was commenting on a report that IWK was expected to be privatised soon to a consortium led by strategic investment agency, 1MDB.

Saying that the merger process had begun, Ahmad Husni however declined to disclose the name of the government subsidiary company, except to say that IWK would continue to be government-owned after the merger.

IWK is currently wholly-owned by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated. - Bernama

Air quality improves in the evening

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 04:04 AM PDT

Published: Saturday September 10, 2011 MYT 7:05:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The air quality in the country continued to improve, with 24 areas recording an Air Pollutant Index (API) reading of good at 5pm compared to only 19 with such reading at 11am and 18 at 7am.

The Department of Environment (DoE) reported on its website that 27 areas recorded moderate air quality at 5 pm compared to 32 areas at 11am and 34 at 7am.

It said no area had unhealthy air quality at 5pm.

Five areas with high API readings were Nilai in Negeri Sembilan (78); Batu Muda in Kuala Lumpur (71); Petaling Jaya and Banting in Selangor (70) and Cheras in Kuala Lumpur (also 70), the DoE said. - Bernama


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Age-old subject anew

Posted: 09 Sep 2011 11:22 PM PDT

Title: 30-Second Economics: The 50 Most Thought-Provoking Economic Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute

Edited by: Donald Marron

Publisher: Icon Books

KEYNESIAN Economics, Free Market Capitalism, Monetarism, Game Theory, Moral Hazard, Creative Destruction, Efficient Market Hypothesis and The Invisible Hand. You have certainly heard of them but save for that snatch of a memory from a university semester on the subject matter, do you really remember or understand what they really mean?

It is safe to say that economics is one of the most applied of all the social sciences. We live in very economically driven environments. You need at least a passing understanding of current economic issues to comprehend many of today's daily news headlines. Even if we have never taken an economics class or it has been quite a while since we actually did, most of us have picked up some essential economic terms and theories on a piecemeal basis through a kind of intellectual osmosis. We can wade through stories in the news or business sections on the economy without feeling too out of depth.

However, don't you sometimes wish you had a handy reference that provides you with quick yet insightful dips into the background and basis of these economic terms and theories? Perhaps a nippy little primer that provides you with a more secure footing on this key social science?

30-Second Economics edited by Donald Marron may be just the book you are looking for. It is a well designed and attractive introductory book that explains each of the 50 most thought-provoking economic theories in half a minute. Marron mentions that economics aspires to be "the physics of the social sciences." He notes that "physicists examine how fundamental natural forces shape everything from the movements of subatomic particles to the orbits of heavenly bodies. Economists, in turn, study how fundamental social forces explain everything from the price of bread to the wealth disparity between the United States and Zimbabwe."

Economy isn't science

In his introduction, Marron goes on to share that "Over the past two centuries, economists have developed a host of theories that explain how markets work and sometimes fail, how consumers, workers, firms and politicians make decisions, and why economies grow or stagnate."

He reasons that while economists have been succeeding "economics will never be physics" as economic theories have their limitations because "humans are less predictable than particles and planets. Economies are complex (more like ecosystems) and so our understanding of them sometimes falls short." He uses our near-universal failure to foresee the worst financial and economic crisis in eight decades as a sorry but perfect case in point.

Each 30-second theory is presented alongside a 3-second crash course for those in a particular hurry and a 3-minute boom for those who want to dive a little deeper. The first group of economic theories, Schools of Thoughts, examines the large-scale forces – markets, inertia, and history – that determine how the macro economy actually works.

The second cluster, Economic Systems, presents theories on how economies should be structured – with greater and lesser faith in markets – and how struggling economies can improve. In Economic Cycles, Marron looks into the factors that drive economic ups and downs and the possible role of governments in smoothing them.

Growth examines how the proper blend of capital, labour, resources, ideas and social institutions can foster prosperity. Global Trade looks internationally, explaining how products and capital flow around the world. Choice peers into our heads in order to see how individuals make decisions in the marketplace, in the home, and in the public sphere. Tax & Spend Policies examines the sometimes surprising effects of government tax and spending policies. Finally, Markets documents the remarkable power of the market forces; from the miracle of the invisible hand to the tragedy of the commons.

Substance in economy

Along the way, each section also presents a quick profile of some of the most important economists; from Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes to Milton Friedman and Friedrich Von Hayek.

The accompanying rather arty illustrations, done in a mock fifties style, try to convey some irony. However, these could have benefitted from a more "infographics" type approach where key information is summarised into iconic fact packed pictures; to increase the book's appeal to readers who digest matters better via visuals.

Interestingly, many of the top 50 theories in economics can be traced to economists who are somewhat obsolete (biologically and theoretically). Yet these theories themselves still remain vibrant; a testament to the continuing diversity of thought in this area.

As John Maynard Keynes once put it: "The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist."

In short, important economic theories are not always right. Marron challenges the reader to find, among the important theories presented, a few theories that are almost certainly wrong despite their influence.

This book lends a new kind of cool to a pretty old science. It takes a subject sometimes viewed as dry and rather theoretical and turns it into something that is fresh and fun, robust and relevant. It can perhaps encourage the economically uninitiated or dispassionate to chance a second glance at what is a highly fascinating body of work that impacts our daily lives.


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Task force urges investigation into sale of arms

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 05:11 AM PDT

FEDERAL Territory 1Malaysia MCA Task Force lodged two reports at the Dang Wangi police headquarters urging a thorough investigation into dangerous weapons being sold in Jalan Pasar Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.

Accompanied by eight MCA members, the task force deputy team leader, Frankie Gan Joon Zin, 45, and secretary Ng Chin, 52, lodged the reports at about 12.45pm.

It was noted that senior Special Branch officers, Deputy Supt Chua Tiew Sing and Inspector Yap Chee Kean spent about 30 minutes discussing the matter with Gan and Ng.

Gan and Ng would be called again to the police station next week to help facilitate the investigations.

"We had to lodge two reports as the area borders Bukit Bintang and Cheras. Traders selling the items along the Choong Wan Sin Chinese temple are under Cheras while the ones across this row are under Bukit Bintang.

"Two reports are needed for a thorough investigation," said Gan.

Both Gan and Ng said they were shocked that stun guns, tear gas and switch blades were sold to teenagers.

"We understand that these weapons are banned and it is right to seize them," said Ng.

Yesterday StarMetro carried a report that stun guns, knuckle dusters, retractable iron rods, tear gas cannisters. switch blades. drugs such as E-5 blue pill (a type of party drug) and sex enhancement products were being sold to the public.

The the products are all availabl;e for between RM10 and RM150.

A trader said he sold the items to customers who wanted to protect themselves from becoming victims of snatch thefts or to ward off molesters.

It was learnt that Dang Wangi police detectives had carried out a raid at about 9am yesterday.

Until press time there was no confirmation if any arrest were made but certain weapons were seized.

Police are working round the clock to trace the stun guns that the traders are in possession of.

City Watch

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 05:10 AM PDT


Catholic Teachers' Association Malaysia (CTAM) will be having a thanksgiving mass and dinner at St. Thomas More Church, Subang Jaya on Sept 16 at 6pm in conjunction with its 50th anniversary. Teachers both retired and serving as well as members of CTAM are invited. To attend, contact Gerald Kochappan at 016-6023032 or Neubert at 017-8783949.


Tickets for The Sultan of Selangor's Cup is going on a "Buy 1 Free 1" promotion only on Sept 12 at Quality Hotel, Shah Alam from 10am to 3pm. Tickets are priced at RM10 each. Purchased ticket will also be eligible for lucky draw on event day. For more details, contact 03-55103999.


The National Blood Bank will be organising blood donation drives today at Carrefour Mid Valley (11am-6pm), KPJ Ampnag Puteri Specialist Hospital (9am-2pm), Columbia Asia Hospital Puchong (9am-3pm), Giant Hypernarket Bandar Kinrara (10am-5pm), Giant Hypermarket Seri Kembangan (11am-5pm), Tom Dick and Harrys (Bas PDN), Unit S-G-03, The Scott Garden, Kompleks Rimbun Scott, 289, Jalan Klang Lama and Tesco Extra Cheras (11am-5pm). The public are encouraged to donate.


Bangsar Village will celebrate the birthday of famous children books writer Roald Dahl this September with activities like poem recitals of Roald Dahl's works by Julia Gabriel Centre today at 4pm and creative clay modelling sessions with Staedtler FIMO on Sunday at 3pm at Roald Dahl Pop Up Store, Ground Floor of Bangsar Village II. For more information on other activities, call 03-2282 1808.


A half-day workshop for aspiring participants of Ideation Award 2012 will be held on Sept 21 at Putra World Trade Centre (Dewan Tun Dr Ismail A). The award is a contest for young furniture designers aged 30 and below to win prize money and the opportunity to display at Malaysian International Furniture Fair in March next year. Admission is free. Register online by Sept 15 at


Persatuan Kanak-kanak Istimewa Kajang Selangor is organising a carnival on Sept 25 from 11am to 4pm at the SJK(C) Yu Hua field, Jalan Timur, Kajang. It aims to raise funds for its building construction. The public is invited to the carnival. For every RM10 donation, the donor will receive a token booklet to enjoy the food, drinks, games and other activities. For details, call 03-8736 6385 or email


The British Council is organising a global design and social networking event Pecha Kucha Vol. 12 in conjunction with the upcoming Kuala Lumpur Design Week Festival 2011 on Sept 19 from 8pm to 10.30pm at the White Box, MAP @ Publika,Level G2-01, Block A5, Dutamas, Off Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. Admission is free but space is limited, those interested are advised to come early. For more details, visit


My Art Gallery ULCC Puchong is organising an art exhibition for Children at No. 7-3, Jalan Puteri 2/1, Bandar Puteri Puchong, Selangor, (same row with Sri Puchong Hotel, Alliance Bank and KPMC Hospital). The art works, paintings and handicrafts done by young children from 3 years old to high school will be displayed from Sept 15-21. Admission is free. For more information, call 016-2004113 or visit


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Just Eating Out

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 04:28 AM PDT

Designer cake

EASE your cravings for gourmet coffee, fresh homemade breads, designer cakes and pastries at Hotel Equatorial Malacca's etc coffee corner. Opens 7am-11pm, Sunday to Thursday and 7am-1am on Friday, Saturday and eve of public holidays. For reservations, call 06-282 8333.

Grilled fish

Warung Mizi in Kampung Sungai Ular along the Kuantan-Kemaman Road serves more than 20 Malay dishes such as grilled meat and fish, and asam pedas. For tea, there are banana fitters and keropok to go with teh tarik. Open from 11.30am-6pm.

Special dishes

New Horizon Garden Restaurant Kuantan, a branch of the one in Kota Baru, is at Sri Dagangan 2. Opens from 11.30-3.30pm and 6pm-11pm daily. For reservations, call 09-515 7999 / 516 3555.

Trout highlight

Restoran Hainan Kitchen (non-halal) of First World Plaza in Genting Highlands is featuring Stirfried Shredded Pork with Ginger and Spring Onions served with Rice (RM17++) as this month's promotion. Open from 11am-10.30pm. Meanwhile, The Olive restaurant presents trout dishes, such as Beetroot Cured Ocean Trout (RM98++), Whole Baby Rainbow Trout En Papilote (RM88++) and Tasmanian Brown Trout (RM108++). Promotion ends Sept 30. For reservations, call 03-6101 1118 or go to


Posted: 10 Sep 2011 04:28 AM PDT

Mid-autumn fest

Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at Chin Swee Caves Temple in Genting Highlands, which will feature a Giant Lantern and a variety of delicious treats at the Merchandise and Food Bazaar ending tomorrow. The bazaar is open from 11am-9pm. Also happening in Genting is a concert by four Hong Kong artistes -- Michelle Yim, Louise Lee, Nancy Sit and Susanna Kwan who will be singing songs from TVB drama series such as Moonlight Resonance and Heart of Greed. The concert is at at 8pm at the Arena of Stars.


Healthy lifestyle

The Healthy Lifestyle campaign will be held at the Brinchang parking lot, Cameron Highlands tomorrow kicking off at 11.45am.

Open house

DiC Pahang will be having their Raya open house tonight from 8.45-11pm at their Casa Nonkasta, Jalan Teluk Sisek in Kuantan. All are invited.

Blood donation

Hainan Association is organising a blood donation campaign tomorrow at the Kuantan Parade shopping complex, Kuantan from 10am-4pm.

Bonsai contest

A national Bonsai competition is ongoing at Kuantan Parade shopping complex, in conjuction with the Pahang Lantern Fest, ending tomorrow.

Fishing competition

A fishing competition will be held at Tasik Taman Bandar Indera Mahkota, Kuantan tomorrow. Fee: RM100 per rod. For details, call Faizal (019-982 8969), Abang Mat Buah (019-946 2777) or Zaidi (013-973 7029).

Tin-mining history

Sungai Lembing Museum in Kuantan showcases the history of tin mining. Admission fee: RM1. Free entry for students in school uniform and children under 12 years old. Open daily from 9am-5.30pm, except Mondays. On Fridays, it opens from 9am-12pm and 2pm-5pm. For details, call 09-541 2378.

Orchid nursery

The orchid nursery in Taman Pertanian Jubli Perak in Indera Mahkota, Kuantan is home to a variety of orchids including the king of all orchids -- Grammatophyllum scriptum, also known as the tiger orchid. The nursery is open from 9am-5.30pm, Monday to Thursday, and 9am-6pm on weekends. Closed on Friday. For guided tour, call entrepreneur Abdul Rahim Ibrahim, 019-966 0928 / 013-9090 928.

IT fair

The Malaysia IT Fair is being held at the Malacca International Trade Centre in Ayer Keroh today and tomorrow, 11am-9pm. For details, call 03-7802 2288.

Community day

Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia Malacca branch is holding a community caring day at Machap Old Folks Home tomorrow at 1pm. Members of the public are encouraged to attend to lend a helping hand. For details, call 06-2810818.

Charity concert

Malacca Montfort Youth Centre (MYC) is holding its 10th anniversary charity dinner and concert on Sept 24 at Hotel Equatorial Malacca at 7pm. R&B diva Ning Baizura, singer Shanel Shanty and comedian Helmi Gimick are some of the highlight performances of the night with a 10-course dinner. Ning's costume jewellery will be auctioned and proceeds go to MYC. For tickets and sale of tables, call 06-351 0114.


The People's Museum, The Museum of Enduring Beauty, Kites Museum and 3D Gallery in the People's Museum Complex in Jalan Kota, Malacca are temporarily closed for upgrading works. For details, call Malacca Museum Corporation at 06-282 6526 / 281 4226.

Winter fair

The Luggage & Winter Fair and Health & Beauty Fair are being held at the concourse and main entrance respectively of Mahkota Parade shopping complex, Malacca. Promotion ends on Sept 18.

Raya dance

There will be a special Hari Raya song and dance performance tomorrow at 2pm at at the lower ground stage of Skudai Parade in Johor Baru.

RM8,888 grand prize for motorist in Johor

Posted: 10 Sep 2011 04:28 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Chevron Malaysia Limited today announced the winners of the Southern Caltex Menangi Hadiah contest, with the grand prize winner receiving RM8,888.

Subramaniam Mahali of Segamat, Johor grabbed the top prize in the contest that saw the participation of 46 Caltex service stations all over Johor.

"I am so happy to have won the grand prize. When I entered the contest, I never expected to win," said the 64-year-old Subramaniam at the prize presentation ceremony held here.

More than 50,000 entries were received for the contest that ran for three months, up to July 31.

Motorists needed only to make a minimum purchase of RM30 of fuel at the participating service stations, to be eligible for entry.

Besides the main prizes, the contest also offered 135 consolation prizes in the form of RM150 each. The contest, which was organised by Caltex retailers in the respective states, offered more than RM30,000 in prizes.

Caltex local site marketing chairman Bunawan Sagi said: "The dealers were more than happy to organise this contest and provide the opportunity for our customers to win some great prizes. "It is the least we can do to show our appreciation for their continuous support."

Chevron Malaysia Limited retail business consultant Wan Shamsul Ariffin Wan Mohd Samsudin said: "We are proud to see the Caltex Menangi Hadiah contest concluding on a joyous note for all involved. Congratulations to the winners, a big thank you to all our customers, and well done to the organisers."

Chevron Malaysia Limited operates the retail brand, Caltex, which has been offering Malaysians products and services for more than 70 years in over 420 stations across peninsular Malaysia.


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