Selasa, 13 September 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates


NATO, Afghan forces still battling Taliban attackers in Kabul

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 09:31 PM PDT

KABUL (Reuters) - NATO attack helicopters circled over an unfinished building in the centre of Kabul early on Wednesday in an operation to flush out Taliban fighters, more than 15 hours after the insurgents launched their biggest assault on the Afghan capital.

A NATO helicopter flies next to the building which the Taliban insurgents took over during an attack near the U.S. embassy in Kabul September 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)

It was not known how many fighters were still holed up in the high-rise building near Kabul's diplomatic district from where they fired rockets at heavily-fortified U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters.

"Forces are still working on clearing operations," a spokesman of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force told Reuters, in what is turning out to be the longest sustained attack on Kabul since the U.S.-led invasion a decade ago.

A source in the office of the Kabul police said fighting began again early on Wednesday, but he had no more information.

A Taliban spokesman in a text message to Reuters said the group's fighters were well and fighting foreign forces.

A squad of about five insurgents took over the shopping centre under construction on the outskirts of Kabul's diplomatic district on Tuesday, armed with rocket-propelled grenade launchers, AK-47 assault rifles and suicide vests.

Afghanistan blog, click http://blogs.reuters.com/afghanistan/

Explosions were interspersed with gunfire all afternoon and several rockets landed in the upmarket Wazir Akbar Khan district, near the British and other embassies. One hit a school bus but it appeared to have been empty at the time.

The gun battle around Abdul Haq square went on into the early evening, with three attackers killed and one or two still at large nearly eight hours after the assault began, the Interior Ministry said.

The insurgents also launched attacks in three other areas of the capital, in the biggest challenge to foreign forces as they prepare to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces across the country by 2014.

A Senate panel on Tuesday approved a $1.6 billion cut in projected U.S. funding for Afghan security forces, part of a significant reduction in outlays for training and equipping Afghan army and police expected in the coming years.

At least 9 people were killed and 23 wounded in the four attacks, and the ability of the Taliban to penetrate Kabul's vaunted "Ring of Steel" was a clear show of strength ahead of the handover.

"The scale of today's attack is unprecedented," said Andrew Exum, fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

"There was almost certainly either a break-down in security among the Afghans with responsibility for Kabul or an intelligence failure."

The U.S. and British embassies and the NATO-led coalition said all their employees were safe.

Violence is at its worst since U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban government in late 2001, with high levels of foreign troop deaths and record civilian casualties.

The assault was the second big attack in the city in less than a month after suicide bombers targeted the British Council headquarters in mid-August, killing nine people.

In late June, insurgents launched an assault on a hotel in the capital frequented by Westerners, killing at least 10. But Tuesday's attack was even more ambitious.

(Addtiional reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison and Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Ed Lane)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Civilians flee pro-Gaddafi town ahead of assault

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 08:30 PM PDT

NORTH GATE OF BANI WALID, Libya (Reuters) - Libyan fighters handed out free petrol to help hundreds of civilians flee a desert town held by Muammar Gaddafi's forces ahead of an onslaught aimed at capturing one of the ousted ruler's last bastions.

Libyans are seen through a Kingdom of Libya flag during a celebration rally in front of the residence of Muammar Gaddafi at the Bab al-Aziziyah complex in Tripoli September 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)

Complaining of hardship and intimidation, residents of Bani Walid headed to nearby towns or started the 180 km (112-mile) journey north towards Tripoli on Tuesday in cars packed with children and possessions.

Forces of the new ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) that overran Tripoli on Aug. 23 have met unexpectedly stout resistance in five days of fighting for Bani Walid, a sun-baked town set in rocky hills and valleys.

Along with Gaddafi's hometown Sirte on the Mediterranean coast and Sabha in the southern desert, Bani Walid is one of the last strongholds of old regime fighters.

Their dogged resistance has complicated NTC efforts to normalise life in the oil-rich North African state and the United Nations has voiced fears about the plight of civilians marooned inside besieged pro-Gaddafi towns, particularly Sirte.

Gaddafi's whereabouts are unknown. NTC officials have said he could be hiding in one of the outposts like Bani Walid, helping to rally a last stand against NATO-backed forces.

Residents escaping Bani Walid on Monday and Tuesday reported days of intense street-to-street fighting. They began to slip out after Gaddafi forces abandoned some checkpoints on the outskirts.

"It's too dangerous to go outside. Militia men are hiding around the city and (pro-Gaddafi) green flags are everywhere," 25-year-old resident Abdulbaset Mohamed Mohamed said, driving towards Tripoli.

NTC field commanders said people in Bani Walid had been told via broadcast radio messages they had two days to leave town before it came under full-blown attack.

"I think only 10 percent of the people are Gaddafi supporters. They are fanatics. And the rest are waiting to be liberated. We have given them two more days to leave the city," NTC fighter Abumuslim Abdu told Reuters.

The country's new rulers have hesitated to employ heavy-handed tactics to seize Bani Walid, which is home to the Warfalla tribe, Libya's largest.

SECURITY AND LEGITIMACY

Libya's interim rulers have said that, along with taking control of pro-Gaddafi enclaves, capturing or killing the fugitive leader is a priority and only then could Libya be declared "liberated".

In the capital, officials trying to restore security said they needed to integrate the fighters who toppled Gaddafi into the police force to ensure the revolution's legitimacy.

Osama Abu Ras, a member of the Supreme Security Committee for Tripoli, told Reuters that Gaddafi's forces remained capable of firing missiles and the capital may be a potential target for such attacks.

"We have a very strong (military) front now in our favour but there is a threat of some missiles, including Grad missiles, and rockets. This could be a real threat," he said.

While Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), have remained elusive, three Gaddafi officials were reported to be in NTC custody.

Abdel Hafid Zlitni, a former Central Bank governor and finance minister, was captured in Zawiyah, 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, NTC sources said on Tuesday.

They also said Mohammed Zwei, parliament speaker and former ambassador to Britain had been captured in the past week. Senior military officer Mustapha Kharroubi was also now under the NTC's watch, witnesses said.

Kharroubi is a veteran Gaddafi official and one of the few remaining officers who participated in Gaddafi's 1969 coup. It is believed he handed himself over to NTC officials late last month but this could not immediately be confirmed.

Gaddafi's family entourage in Libya is also dwindling. One of his sons, Saadi, arrived in neighbouring Niger on Sunday after crossing the southern Sahara desert frontier.

Two of Gaddafi's sons and his only biological daughter have made their to Algeria. One son is reported to have died in the war and three others, including Saif, are still on the run.

(Additional reporting by William Maclean, Hisham el-Dani and Alexander Dziadosz in Tripoli, Sherine El Madany in Ras Lanuf, Emma Farge in Benghazi and Barry Malone in Tunis; writing by Sylvia Westall; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Children may soon be spared U.S. airport patdowns

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 07:59 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Children under 12 may soon be spared pat-downs and taking off their shoes as the U.S. begins to implement new airport security screening procedures, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Tuesday.

"We have been piloting also programs to deal with children under the age of 12 with respect to not only taking off their shoes but also pat-down procedures," Napolitano told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Tuesday. "And we hope, over the coming weeks and months to be able to begin rolling that out."

A Transportation Security Agency (TSA) worker runs her hands over the head of a traveler during a patdown search at Denver International Airport, the day before Thanksgiving November 24, 2010. (REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Napolitano testified at the hearing, "Ten Years After 9/11: Are We Safer?" Tuesday morning.

In March 2002, the Transportation Security Administration's first class of federal screeners numbered 80 individuals, according to Napolitano's testimony.

Today, 14 million passengers fly to, from and within the United States each week -- and 100 percent of them are screened against government watch lists, Napolitano said.

More than 52,000 TSA personnel serve at over 450 U.S. airports.

Thousands of these TSA officers will require additional training to incorporate the shifts in strategy, Napolitano said.

Committee Chairman Senator Joseph Lieberman asked Napolitano about changing security policy at airports, as the TSA moves from a "one-size-fits-all" approach to a "risk-based" strategy.

"There will always be some unpredictability built into the system," she said. "But I think the traveling public will begin to see some of these changes really in the coming months."

Napolitano also mentioned the expansion of "Global Entry," which prescreens passengers for international travel and saw its one-millionth passengers just a few weeks ago.

"That really facilitates going in and out of and crossing borders," she said.

(Writing by Molly O'Toole; Editing by Greg McCune)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio


Seeking the truth

Posted: 14 Sep 2011 03:03 AM PDT

Miracle Detectives searches for answers to happenings that defy logic.

LAST month, hundreds of Catholics flocked to the Chapel of Our Lady of Good Health in Kampung Pandan, Kuala Lumpur, when claims surfaced that the image of Jesus had appeared at the chapel's lectern.

Regardless if this modern day miracle is fact or fiction, there is no denying issues concerning spiritual gifts have always been a debatable topic. While Catholics view Christ's image on the cloth as miraculous, some sceptics claim it is fake, sparking controversy and debate.

Questions concerning such miracles or if there is any logical explanation to the seemingly inexplicable are featured in Discovery Channel's (Astro Channel 551) newest TV series Miracle Detectives (MD).

In the show, which premiered last week, hosts Randal Sullivan and Dr Indre Viskontas gather critical information and try to determine if various incidents investigated are bona fide miracles or if there is a logical reason for what has happened.

Sullivan is an author and journalist who, while travelling as a war correspondent in Bosnia, saw an inexplicable vision during a violent thunderstorm. It changed his life, and he is convinced it was a miracle.

In this programme, he travels and investigates other miracles with Viskontas, a gifted scientist with a PhD in neuroscience, who approaches the supernatural with a sceptical point of view.

"The goal of the show is to present two different sides of the story and allow viewers to come to their own conclusions. Many amazing and unsolved mysteries in each episode give room for viewers to form their own opinion," said Viskontas in a telephone interview from San Francisco, California.

In the six-part series, these investigators visit the sites of each incident to hear first-hand accounts of these incredible stories. Speaking to witnesses, authorities and experts, they attempt to explain what may be a miracle.

Bizarre cases include apparitions of the Virgin Mary in a small town in Ohio, soil with healing powers at an ancient holy site in Chimayó, New Mexico, and families that claim to communicate with loved ones lost during the terrorist attacks on 9/11 in New York.

While issues concerning God and miracles are undoubtedly sensitive, Viskontas explained there is nothing inherent that should evoke anger if one believes in God.

"If you believe that God is behind all things, then it follows that God is also behind the work that I do. Part of my job is separating false prophecies from God and otherwise. It is hard when people take offence at some of my explanations. But I am confident what I am doing is right because my goal is to help people or separate fact from fiction.

"For example, if we found that earth obtained from Roman Catholic church in Chimayó was somehow imbibed with the ability to cure cancer, we can use that knowledge to cure cancer. The only way that you can gain knowledge is by investigating and trying to learn new things," said the Canadian beauty, who has published ground-breaking work on the neural basis of memory and creativity.

The hosts face a challenge having to tell these extraordinary complex stories within 60 minutes.

Viskontas said the main point is to meet people who have experienced strange occurences and conduct research to determine if these cases are fact or fiction.

"Following that, Randall and I do our own investigations. Randall talks to other theologians or people more in tune with mysticism and the paranormal. I conduct scientific experiments or talk to experts.

"For example, if the person was in an accident, I might talk to doctors familiar with a similar case or an engineer who can help recreate the accident. We then exchange information and decide if it is a miracle," said the talented Viskontas, who is also a contemporary and classical opera singer with a Masters in music.

And since both hosts have different takes on this subject, it is not surprising they often have their fair share of arguments concerning their beliefs.

"Randall and I used to get emotional but we have learnt to have a conversation where we respect each other's opinions and beliefs. I am thankful because this experience has opened my mind to many things.

"One of the difficult aspects is we are polarised. Beliefs about religion tend to be extremely polarising, leading to wars and suffering. If we can learn to communicate despite having opposite views, we will be on the road towards world peace."

> Miracle Detectives is aired on Wednesdays (10pm) on Discovery Channel (Astro Ch 551). Repeats every Thursday (9am and 3pm), Saturday (9pm) and Sunday (midnight).

Look past the suds

Posted: 14 Sep 2011 12:54 AM PDT

The Kennedys is one entertaining soap opera which flirts with historical facts.

THE Kennedys can be summed up as the story of how one father forced his ambitions on his sons and how that affected their family down the generations.

However, just how accurate this miniseries is in depicting the history of one of America's greatest political families is a big question mark.

The miniseries, which was created by 24 co-creator Joel Surnow, stirred controversy before it was even aired. It was criticised for historical distortions by Kennedy associates and admirers, and was even dropped by the History channel in the United States before it was picked up by another cable channel.

However, taken as a family drama, this eight-part miniseries is actually quite gripping.

The story begins on the eve of John F. Kennedy's election as the 35th president of the United States of America. As John (fondly called "Jack" by his loved ones) contemplates how his life will change once he gets elected, we flashback to the past before World War II to a more subdued John, who stands in the shadow of his charismatic brother Joe. His father Joseph, an ambassador, tried to be president but failed, so Joseph Sr has all his ambitions pinned on Joe.

Every drama needs a villain, and in this one it is family patriarch Joseph, a deeply ambitious man who is willing to use his sons to achieve his goal. He bullies them into doing things his way, and his sons feebly try to fight back but often end up conceding to his demands.

Over and over again we are shown how Joseph focuses all his energies on one son, favouring the chosen one and putting the other sons in service of the favoured one.

The family dynamics created by such toxic parenting is fascinating to watch. The women of the clan are forced to ignore their unhappiness and their men's philandering ways to accommodate the family's political ambitions. The sons give up personal dreams and live their father's.

While the cast doesn't exactly shine, they are quite capable in their roles. Greg Kinnear, in particular, exudes John F. Kennedy's genteel charisma and is able to convey the man's pain and uncertainty in quieter moments.

He depicts the president as a man reluctantly living a role forced on him by his domineering father. He is a man who is uncomfortable in the limelight as the president, but who finally measures up in the Cuban missile crisis. Quite a departure from the JFK of the movies, particularly in Thirteen Days (2000), where he is a charismatic, collected and a very sure president at the wheel. I'm not sure if I like the wishy washy version here, nor am I sure if this is the real JFK. Will the real JFK please stand up?

Tom Wilkinson is a fierce presence as the Kennedy patriarch, and despite the limitations of the script that paints him as a puppeteer of human lives, is able to inject some humanity to his otherwise caricature-like character.

Katie Holmes, however, is unable to capture Jacqueline Kennedy's iconic, and royal presence, but she is adequate when it comes to her scenes with John, which often has an undercurrent of tension. After all, the two come to an unspoken and unhappy arrangement with John's womanising ways.

Jacqueline is a woman who has quietly accepted her role as the consummate politician's wife.

In one riveting scene, Jackie and Kennedy matriach Rose (Diana Hardcastle) talk about the realities of being married to the Kennedy men and how their lives should be given to their ambitions despite the pain they feel. Holmes and Hardcastle are excellent in conveying the pain, resignation and quiet acceptance of their characters' fate.

It is when the show veers away from the family dynamics to focus on the political highlights of John F. Kennedy's presidential reign that it gets into a bit of trouble.

There is a marked carelessness in portraying historical figures; they lack the three dimensionality of real people, being relegated to the roles of saviour or villain.

Singer Frank Sinatra (who is rumoured to have mafia connections) is a toad-like syncophant, while Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover is a man obsessed with power and control, and thus dislikes the Kennedys for trying to take that from him.

The Kennedys is an uneven drama. It definitely lacks the polish and painstaking authenticity of John Adams or the gritty realism of Band Of Brothers. It is actually a soap opera which flirts with historical facts, and not very well at that. So, take The Kennedys for what it is: an entertaining, unofficial and tabloid-like glimpse into one of America's most powerful families. Just don't use it as a reference to pass a history exam.

> The Kennedys premieres on Sept 19 and airs from Sept 19 till 22 on History (Astro Ch 555) at 9pm.

Giving chase

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 11:47 PM PDT

Going after Red FM's Runaway DJs can be highly rewarding.

IT'S been anything but a wild goose chase as Red FM's Runaway DJs were successfully tracked down in various locations.

Since the month-long contest started on Sept 5, the Red FM's Runaway DJs have been going out and about to secret locations every Monday to Friday. Driving a Proton Inspira, clues to their whereabouts are given out on air as well as through the station's website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

The first listener to turn up at the correct location and identify the Red FM's Runaway DJ of the day receives a key to go into the running to win a brand new Proton Inspira. Listeners also have the opportunity to win cash, iPad 2s and iPod Nanos with this contest.

Soo Ravivarman was one lucky guy. He took home cash as well as the key that would see him enter the finale to win the car. The helpdesk analyst followed the clues and tracked down Fiqrie, Red FM's weekender DJ.

It was a day made even more special as it was his one-year-old son's birthday and Fiqrie and the Red FM crew were treated to some delicious birthday cake by the beaming father.

Hew Foo Wah received a double surprise when he "caught" Mynn, the host of Red FM's Late Night Love Songs (Sundays to Fridays, 10pm-1am) in addition to Fiqrie.

With the help of his friends, they diligently followed the clues on-air and through the photos posted on Red FM's Facebook page. He tracked down Mynn and Fiqrie to Mount Kiara, Kuala Lumpur.

An elated Hew is looking forward to attending the finale as he hopes to win the car for his wife and their unborn child.

If you didn't "catch" the deejays on the loose, be on the lookout for the Red Ryders. This on-ground street team is distributing Red FM's Runaway DJs car stickers and you get a key that will take you to the finale if your car is spotted with the sticker on it.

Check out red.fm for the terms and conditions of the contest. Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page (facebook.com/redfm.my) and follow us on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates of the contest.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

> Red FM's station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1 FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6 FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4 FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9 FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6 FM; Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9 FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8 FM.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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Shooters slay ghost of Vientiene with eight-gold haul

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 06:16 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian shooters erased the nightmare of their previous visit to Vientiane two years ago with a brilliant eight-gold medal haul at the just-concluded South-east Asian Shooting Association (SEASA) Championships.

Malaysia failed to gun down a single gold medal from the Vientiene in the Laos SEA Games two years ago.

But the performances of women shooters Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim (pic) and Joseline Cheah in their respective individual disciplines in Vientiane this time augurs well for the SEA Games in Palembang in November.

The absence of top woman rifle shooter Nur Suryani Mohd Taibi, due to ill health, was hardly felt as Nur Ayuni delivered three gold and one silver medals.

The 21-year-old lass came out tops in the 50m rifle three-position individual event with a total of 675.2 points.

She also claimed two gold medals in the 10m air rifle and 50m rifle three-position team events with Muslifah Zulkifli and Haslisa Hamed.

The Malaysian trio amassed 1,166 points in the air rifle team event and triumphed in the 50m rifle three-position with 1,713 points.

Nur Ayuni's silver medal came from the 10m air rifle individual event.

Nur Ayuni, who partnered Nur Suryani to clinch gold in the women's 10m air rifle pairs at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in October last year, has yet to bag a gold at the SEA Games level.

And she aims to do just that in Palembang.

"I got silver in the team and bronze in the individual events at the last SEA Games. So I hope it will be a gold medal this time," said Nur Ayuni, who is one of four shooters in the Road to London programme.

"The SEASA meet has given me a timely boost ahead of my second SEA Games, where I expect stiffer competition." It was also a satisfying outing for Joseline, who bagged gold in her pet 10m air pistol discipline.

The Penang-born Joseline got her act right when it mattered most, shooting a total of 99.9 in the final round to snatch the gold medal by a slim margin.

Joseline finished with 475.9 to claim the gold, ahead of Vietnam's Nguyen Thu Van (475.4).

Joseline went into the final tied on second place with Commonwealth Games gold medallist Bibiana Ng on 376, trailing Nguyen by just one point.

Bibiana finished third with 474.3 but did not get the bronze as the rules state that only one shooter from each country is eligible for a medal. "I won it before in 2006 and it gives me confidence to look ahead to the SEA Games, where I hope to shoot for my first gold medal," said Joseline.

"It's harder this time as there are no team events for shooting in this year's SEA Games. But we will fight hard for it like everyone else."

The remaining gold medals for Malaysia came from the team events, where the cumulative scores of the shooters from the individual rounds are taken into account.

The SEASA meet saw the participation of all 10 member associations.

MALAYSIAN MEDAL WINNERS (8-4-1)

GOLD

Women's 10m air rifle team (Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim, Muslifah Zulkifli, Haslisa Hamed).

Women's 10m air pistol individual (Joseline Cheah).

Men's 50m rifle prone team (Mohd Hadafi Jaafar, Hisyam Adzha, Mohd Shahril Sahak).

Women's 50m rifle prone team (Haslisa Hamed, Muslifah Zulkifli, Nor Ain Ibrahim).

Women's 50m rifle three-position team (Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul, Muslifah Zulkifli, Haslisa Hamed).

Women's 50m rifle three-position individual (Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim).

Men's 25m rapid fire pistol team (Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan, Hafiz Adzha, Khalel Abdullah).

Men's 50m rifle three-position team (Nurrahimin Mohd Halim, Mohd Zubair Mohamad, Mohd Hadafi Jaafar).

SILVER

Men's 50m rifle three-position individual (Nurrahimin Mohd Halim).

Men's 50m rifle prone individual (Hisyam Adzha).

Women's 10m air rifle individual (Nur Ayuni Farhana).

Women's 25m sport pistol (Bibiana Ng).

BRONZE

Men's 25m rapid fire pistol individual (Hasli Izwan Amir Hasan).

We are sorry

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 06:14 PM PDT

Wednesday September 14, 2011

WITH reference to the story titled "
Farewell to badminton legend", which appeared on Page 61 on Tuesday (Sept 13, 2011), we used the wrong picture for the funeral of Datuk David Choong who passed away on Saturday.

We deeply regret the mistake and sincerely apologise to the family for any distress caused.

All Blacks' McCaw to join 100-cap club against Japan

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 05:48 PM PDT

HAMILTON (New Zealand): All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will become the first player to win 100 international caps for New Zealand when he runs out to play Japan in Hamilton on Friday, while team mate and "old bull" Mils Muliaina looks to avoid being put out to pasture.

Dan Carter has been named in the starting 15 for the All Blacks' World Cup Pool A match against the Brave Blossoms, despite lingering doubts over his fitness after the flyhalf sustained a back injury in the tournament opener against Tonga last Friday.

McCaw earned man-of-the-match honours in his 2001 debut against Ireland and has captained the side since Tana Umaga retired after the 2005 grand slam tour of Britain and Ireland.

The milestone was a "truly remarkable achievement", said All Blacks coach Graham Henry, gushing to a media pack in Hamilton on Wednesday after the team was released. "His steel, his bravery, his ability to lead by example, the respect the players have for him ...

"I think, more importantly, he's an inspirational person for New Zealanders, and the team, by being the person that he is and the way he plays the game," Henry said.

Fullback Mils Muliaina has been recalled to the side to win his 99th cap, as he continues his battle with Israel Dagg for the starting spot for the rest of the tournament.

Despite scoring two tries in the All Blacks' 41-10 win over Tonga in an impressive return to the side, Dagg will not even warm the bench for the game against the Pacific Nations Cup champions. Referring to the fullbacks' battle, Henry said there was still plenty to play for as Muliaina strives to avoid getting stranded on 99 tests.

"You've got the old bull and the new bull and it's a good contest," said Henry. "But if you don't give the old bull a chance, he's not going to be able to show what he can do and he's showed this country for 98 test matches what he can do.

"He's often been the number one fullback playing the game. It's just trying to get that balance right so both have an opportunity to show that they're good enough."

Henry admitted there had been some thought given to the idea of playing both players in the starting side at some point in the tournament, with Muliaina at fullback and Dagg on the wing, however, he had his doubts about such a move.

"I think, personally, that Israel is a better fullback than a wing and that's understandable. He's played most of his rugby at fullback. As everybody knows, fullbacks and wings need similar skills, so that opportunity is a possibility."

Carter, who received treatment for his back injury after the Tongan game, would not be a certainty to take the field at Waikato Stadium until closer to the game.

"He's got to get through training today, but we're quite flexible on that decision and really, it's up to Dan to let me know if he's ready or not," added Henry. "He's keen to play, obviously, but he won't play unless he's right."

Henry has named scrumhalf Andy Ellis to replace Jimmy Cowan, while shifting utility back Richard Kahui, who also scored two tries against Tonga, to left wing to allow Cory Jane to start the game on the right.

Centre Conrad Smith also returns to the side for his 50th test and recommences his combination with Ma'a Nonu, who has shifted back to his more preferred position of inside centre after he played centre at Eden Park.

The All Blacks have also welcomed back loose forward Adam Thomson back from an elbow injury he suffered in the All Blacks' 25-20 loss to Australia in the Tri-Nations decider in Brisbane on Aug. 27. He has been named at number eight.

Hooker Keven Mealamu also returns to the side in what is essentially a full-strength pack, with Sam Whitelock resuming his locking partnership with Brad Thorn after he was on the bench last week.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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MU to raise two-thirds of $1bil in S'pore through non-voting preferences shares

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 06:07 PM PDT

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) Manchester United [MNU.UL] is planning to raise up to two-thirds of a planned $1 billion initial public offering in Singapore through non-voting preferences shares, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper reported that the move would keep as much as 88 percent of voting rights in the hands of the Glazer family, its American owners.

Plans being drawn up for the IPO would see the English soccer's Premier League champions selling about a third of the equity in the club, which is valued at about $3 billion.

According to people with knowledge of the transaction cited in the article, the balance of the shares would be in the form of nonvoting perpetual preference stock without dividend guarantees or the right to sell the shares back to the club, both common features of preference share issues.

The preference shares would rank ahead of the ordinary shares in the event of an insolvency, potentially making them attractive to institutions such as Temasek [TEM.UL], the Singapore state investment agency, which is considering taking a large stake as a cornerstone investor.

The two classes of shares would be sold as a package, although the relative values have not been finalised, according to the FT.

Japan mulls 4th extra budget of 12 trln yen

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 05:55 PM PDT

TOKYO, Sept 14 (Reuters) The Japanese government is considering compiling a fourth extra budget for the fiscal year to March of about 1 to 2 trillion yen ($1326 billion) to fund additional economic steps without issuing new bonds, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The extra budget, which Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's government may start compiling as early as November, could provide funding as concerns grow over a global economic slowdown and the euro zone debt crisis, the Yomiuri said without citing sources.

The budget, which may also include funding for rebuilding following a recent storm that hit western Japan, will be funded from extra money that was set aside for bond interest payments that turned out to be lower than expected, the Yomiuri said.

The government is currently working on a third extra budget, expected to be more than 10 trillion yen in size.

It aims to submit a bill on this to the country's divided parliament in October.

Money from that budget will be used to fund projects to rebuild areas destroyed by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March and also include steps to combat the strong yen, which is clouding the outlook for Japan's exportoriented economy.

How to secure reconstruction funding is still under debate in Japan, saddled with a public debt twice the size of its $5 trillion economy.

Noda has said he first wants to cut wasteful spending and carry out expenditure and revenue reforms then hike taxes, but opinions vary in his ruling party.

A government tax panel headed by Finance Minister Jun Azumi is planning to present various options soon.

The panel plans to drop the corporate tax rate by 5 percentage points to meet a ruling party pledge, before raising that tax by 4 percentage points for a limited period of three years to fund rebuilding, the Asahi newspaper reported.

The rest will be filled in by raising other taxes, mainly income tax, and the hike period will be for five to 15 years, the Asahi reported, without citing sources. ($1 = 76.880 Japanese Yen)

Australia consumer confidence up in Sept

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 05:49 PM PDT

SYDNEY, Sept 14 (Reuters) A closelywatched measure of Australian consumer confidence rebounded strongly in September as lessening fears of a hike in interest rates and better news on the economy helped offset turmoil on global markets.

The survey of 1,200 people by Westpac Bank and the Melbourne Institute released on Wednesday showed its index of consumer sentiment jumped 8.1 percent in September to 96.9.

That followed hefty drops in August and July and still left the index down 14.4 percent on September last year.

"This is a surprisingly strong result," said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans.

He thought it likely that diminished fears of a rise in rates from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) may have helped sentiment. The central bank made it clear last week that it was best for policy to stay on hold while markets were so volatile.

Data out last week had also shown the economy grew a healthy 1.2 percent in the second quarter, though that was balanced somewhat by a disappointing report on employment.

Gains in the survey came across all questions and demographic groups.

The index reflecting economic conditions for the next 12 months surged 16.6 percent, while that for the next five years rose 4.5 percent.

The index measuring family finances compared to a year ago climbed 11.2 percent, while that for family finances over the coming 12 months increased by 9.5 percent.

In a promising sign for consumption, the measure of whether it was a good time to buy major household items also firmed by 3.2 percent.

It was notable that household spending in the second quarter, particularly on services, proved much stronger than suggested by surveys or retailers.

And there was good news for the subdued housing market as the index tracking responses on "whether now is a good time to buy a dwelling" jumped by 15.1 percent, to its highest level for two years.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Banking panic, sex classic inspire film '360'

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 03:26 AM PDT

TORONTO, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The global financial crisis and a 111-year-old play about sexual intrigue helped inspire the latest film by "The Queen" screenwriter Peter Morgan, in which characters from different global cities find themselves interlinked by good and bad choices.

"360", which had its world debut at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday and will open the London Film Festival in October, follows characters ranging from a Slovakian sex worker to a Brazilian photographer as they travel through places as diverse as Vienna and Denver.

While romance, infidelity and friendship are major themes, Morgan said the story sprang partly from seeing how the banking crisis of 2008 fed upon itself, with bad news from one lender or country having a domino effect on others.

"I really don't want this film ever to be thought of as a metaphor for the banking crisis, but there's no doubt that's what I was thinking of when I wrote it," he reporters in Toronto.

The film also drew inspiration from Arthur Schnitzler's "La Ronde", a play that scandalized Europe at the start of the 20th century with its frank depiction of characters moving from one sexual partner to another.

What interested Morgan was the way the fate of the play's characters intertwines and comes full circle, an increasingly relevant theme in an age of the Internet, air travel, flu pandemics and global commerce.

"I wanted to write something that reflected the post-Internet world, and the way in which we're all linked. And I thought the best way to do that was through romance and through individual choices," said Morgan, whose scripts for "The Queen" and "Frost/Nixon" were both nominated for Oscars.

The film stars Jude Law as a lonely British businessman seeking to meet an Eastern European prostitute, Rachel Weisz as a married woman having an affair with a younger man, and Anthony Hopkins as a recovering alcoholic on the hunt for his missing daughter.

For Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles, who received an Oscar nomination for directing "City of God", the challenge was holding on to the thread of the story with so many intertwining plots and characters.

"I always had this fear of how to make all this feel like one film ... I think it feels like a film, not like nine short films put together," he said.

Still, some early reviews, which compare "360" to films like "Babel", have said the ambitious structure may stretch itself too thin.

"With a starry international cast and multinational locations, you never take your eyes off the screen for a second. On the other hand, this is a cold and cerebral movie, where one's attachment to any particular character or story is tentative at best," the Hollywood Reporter said in its review.

"You watch the film rather than get absorbed by it."

MayDay rocks in 3D

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 01:35 AM PDT

TAIWAN rock band MayDay releases its first film, a 3D production of the boy band's 2010 live concerts interwoven with a selection of offstage episodes.

Lead singer A-Shin said that MayDay 3DNA will include the band's 12 most popular songs, such as Loving You, and All Of A Sudden Missing You.

A-Shin said the band originally thought that shooting the film would be easy "but the design work, manpower and technologies were far beyond our imagination."

In addition to the five band members, the film also features actress Rene Liu and actor Richie Jen.

They will appear in three separate stories interwoven in the script.

MayDay 3DNA opens in Malaysian cinemas on Thursday.

Roland Emmerich wins over critics with new film

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 12:52 AM PDT

TORONTO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Known for blockbuster movie hits that are often panned by critics, Roland Emmerich is winning early praise for a change with his new "Anonymous," which challenges Shakespeare's authorship of plays and poems.

The subject matter is a departure for the German-born Emmerich, who has spent the last 15 years knocking down skyscrapers and unleashing giant waves on cities in special effects-laden movies such as "Independence Day", "The Day After Tomorrow", "Godzilla", and "2012".

In "Anonymous", which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, he uses special effects to build, rather than destroy, constructing an intricate recreation of Elizabethan London as backdrop for a tale focused on the argument of so-called "Anti-Stratfordians". At a news conference, Emmerich said the script penned by "A Mighty Heart" writer John Orloff drew him to the project that he readily admitted was outside his normal comfort zone.

"My friends said 'are you really sure you want to do this?. But in the end, you have to just believe in yourself," he told reporters.

The film posits that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford,was responsible for the remarkable collection of plays and poems that have made William Shakespeare the most revered name in English-language literature.

De Vere is one of a group 16th-century figures - Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe are also popular suspects - believed by some to be the true author of Shakespeare's works.

"Anonymous" weaves in the question of Shakespeare's authorship with the story of the 1601 Essex rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I, and portrays Shakespeare as a drunken wag who can barely write his own name.

EMMERICH WINS PRAISE

The Hollywood Reporter called the film's argument "historical rubbish", but described it as easily Emmerich's best film, which "steers a coherent path through a complex bit of Tudor history while establishing a highly credible atmosphere of paranoia and intrigue."

British newspaper The Guardian looked past any assessment of historical accuracy, writing, "Emmerich's meticulously crafted and often well-acted expose of the 'real' William Shakespeare is shocking only in that it is rather good."

Members of the predominantly British cast admitted to varying degrees of skepticism about Shakespeare's legitimacy.

"I think of the thing that's fascinating still today, how such a huge diverse body of work could be written by one person," said Rafe Spall, who plays Shakespeare in the film.

Rhys Ifans, who plays the Earl of Oxford, went a step further. "I'm not necessarily convinced that Oxford is the author of these plays, but I am definitely absolutely adamant that it was not the guy called William Shakespeare from Stratford," he said.

The film, which will be released widely on Oct. 28, also stars David Thewlis and Sebastian Armesto, and features mother and daughter Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson as Queen Elizabeth at old and young ages.

For his part, Emmerich said he did not plan to abandon the summer blockbuster-type films that have made him famous.

"I'm happy I made ("Anonymous")...because I want to alternate my big movies with movies like this," he said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

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PM: GST implementation after GE

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 08:08 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The government would introduce the goods and services tax "when the time is right", Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

He said this was necessary eventhough Malaysia has a 12 million workforce and only 1.2 million paid taxes.

"I guess when the time is right, in the near future, probably after the next general election, we will introduce the GST.

"We need to explain this to the people and there is a growing acceptance that this is the way forward for Malaysia," he said in a dialogue session with Forbes Media editor-in-chief Steve Forbes.

Najib said affirmative action to help the bumiputras would remain with a shift where opportunities would be created to help them grow.

The move was different compared to the New Economic Policy introduced in the 1970s where quotas were impose or percentage of shares or certain amount of contracts be set aside for the bumiputras.

"What we are trying to do now is to shift that. Affirmative action remains but it should be more on the basis of merit where we create opportunities for them to grow than imposing quotas on others," he said.

Iranian syabu connection busted, 183kg seized

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 06:36 AM PDT

NILAI: Customs officers made the biggest seizure of syabu this year when they seized 183kg of the drug worth RM46mil smuggled in two shipments through the KL International Airport, Sepang.

A 29-year-old Iranian man, who took possession of part of the shipment, was arrested in Ampang Jaya.

Customs assistant director-general Datuk Zainul Abidin Taib said the drug seizures were made at a house in Taman Titiwangsa, Kuala Lumpur at 8.40pm Tuesday and at a house in Ampang Jaya, Selangor at 1.30pm on Aug 27.

He said the drug was concealed in 25 boxes declared as handicraft vases and glassware.

"The suspect had entered the country three times as a tourist, of which two of them were through Indonesia and stayed in the country between five and 30 days," he said.

Zainul said the suspect allegedly received the "goods" sent as air freight by an individual from Iran on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha, Qatar.

On the Ampang Jaya's seizure, Zainul said the drug in 10 boxes weighing 94kg and worth RM24mil was sent as air freight from Tehran. BERNAMA.

Banting murders: Court accepts testimony of IO

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 06:00 AM PDT

SHAH ALAM: The High Court has accepted the testimony by a police officer on evidence found at several locations based on directions of two accused persons in the murders of cosmetic millionairess Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others.

Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir made the decision after finding that T.Thilaiyalagan and R.Kathavarayan, the second and fourth accused in the case, were not forced by the police to do so.

"In this case, I did not see any element of oppression that brought to the finding of the evidence. Therefore, I allow the information given by Chief Inspector N.Govindan be tendered as evidence in court," he added.

Akhtar said this in his oral judgment in a trial-within-a-trial to determine whether there was any element of oppression or force used on the two accused which led to them to give the information leading to the discovery of the exhibits.

C/Insp Govindan, 45, the interrogating officer, had told the court that following directions given by the two accused, police found several evidence, including bone fragments, blood stains, as well as burnt wood and zinc sheets which were allegedly used to burn the victims.

Govindan was the 32nd prosecution witness called to testify in the trial of former lawyer, N.Pathmanabhan, 42, and three farm workers, Thilaiyalagan, R.Matan and Kathavarayan, who are charged with murdering Sosilawati, 47, her driver, Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 47, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abd. Karim, 32, and bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38.

More in The Star Wednesday.

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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Good reads, great prices

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 03:46 AM PDT

There will be a warehouse full of books at discounted prices up for grabs soon and we're offering even lower prices for these titles.

BOOK lovers, rejoice! The MPH Distributors Warehouse Sale is back, with its usual deep discounts for a wildly varied range of books, from children to business books, travel guides and graphic novels to cookbooks and novels.

Customers who purchase RM200 and above worth of books will receive a goodie bag of freebies. There are 200 bags to be given out daily on a first come, first served basis for the duration of the sale, from Thursday to Sunday.

And here's even better news: selected titles are available exclusively to Star2 readers at further marked down prices. Just present this original page (no photocopies) upon payment to enjoy the special prices. This offer is valid only during the MPH Distributors Warehouse Sale from Sept 15 to 18 Sept, while stocks last. It is not valid with other promotions and is not exchangeable for cash. One page is valid for up to five of the titles featured on this page.

Here's a round up of the specially discounted titles:

Altar of Eden by James Rollins (warehouse sale price: RM15 / Star2 price: RM10) – New Orleans veterinarian Dr Lorna Polk must investigate why a shipwrecked fishing trawler holds a caged group of exotic animals with disturbing deformities and frighteningly heightened intelligence.

Assorted Dale Carnegie titles, 3-in-1 bundles (two bundles; WP: RM40 / SP: RM36) – The words and wisdom of Dale Carnegie have been a blessing to many for nearly a century. His six perennial bestsellers are now available in two separate value buy bundles.

Assorted John Grisham 3-in-1 bundles (WP: RM40 / SP: RM36) – Bestselling legal thriller writer John Grisham has more than 25 books to his name, each one offering edge-of-your-seat courtroom action; several books have been turned into hit movies. You can get Grisham's titles in 10 assorted value buy bundles.

Blood Trinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon (WP: RM18 / SP: RM15) – Atlanta has become a battlefield between humans and demons. When a demon claims a young woman, Evalle becomes a suspect. But that's the least of her problems: there's the coming apocalypse to consider.

Chambers Adult Learner's Dictionary (WP: RM5 / SP: RM3) – An easy-to-use dictionary with a comprehensive coverage of words essential for adult jobs, relationships and lifestyles.

I Heart Paris by Lindsey Kelk (WP: RM15 / SP: RM10) – Angela Clark's trip to Paris with her boyfriend was supposed to be the ideal dream vacation. But then she sees Alex having a tête-à-tête with his ex, who clearly wants to be more than just friends. Is there a way for her to salvage the situation?

Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole – Pleasure Of A Dark Prince, Demon From The Dark and Dreams Of A Dark Warrior (WP: RM18 each / SP: RM15 each) – Immortal, mythical creatures have secretly existed alongside humans for centuries. There are hundreds of different kinds: Vampires, Lykae, Furies, Shifters, Fey and Valkyries. And now, they battle for supremacy in the Accession, which happens once every 500 years.

Lonely Planet's Cities Book (WP: RM25 / SP: RM20) – Explore the cities of the world in this perfect coffee table book for the armchair traveller.

Lonely Planet travel guides (old editions, assorted titles) (WP: RM12 / SP: RM8) – The indespensible guide for travellers, Lonely Planet authors give honest recommendations on the best places to stay, eat and visit.

Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw (WP: RM15 / SP: RM10) – Indonesia in the 1960s is a turbulent place. Two brothers and an American woman are indelibly marked by the past and swept up in the tides of history.

Puzzle Adventure Omnibus Vol: 1 (WP: RM29 / SP: RM25) – The kids will love these seven mystery adventure stories, packed with entertaining puzzles to solve.

Rich Dad's Success Stories by Robert Kiyosaki (WP: RM15 / SP: RM10) ­– Be inspired by the success stories of those who have applied Kiyosaki's bestselling Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Silent Truth by Sherrilyn Kenyon (WP: RM18 / SP: RM15) – When a high-profile heiress is murdered, Abbie Blanton stumbles on a conspiracy. Now, she's the next target. She joins forces with Bureau of American Defense agent Hunter Thornton-Payne to get to the root of the mystery.

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch (WP: RM18 / SP: RM15) – A man is given the chance to go back in time in one-hour increments to prevent a vicious crime from destroying his life.

The Confession by John Grisham (WP: RM19 / SP: RM15) – Only a guilty man can save an innocent man from his execution four days away. But can he convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they're about to execute an innocent man?

The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham (WP: RM20 / SP: RM15) – Fleur gatecrashes the funerals and memorial services of the wealthy, and charms her way into their lives and onto their platinum credit cards and then moves swiftly on. But then she meets Richard at his wife's memorial service. He's bowled over by her and she finds herself staying longer than she should....

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (WP: RM20 / SP: RM15) – The first book in the worldwide hit, The Millennium Trilogy, introduces us to 24-year-old genius hacker Lisbeth Salander and crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist gets entangled in murder, financial intrigue, family troubles and love.

The Lady Most Likely by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James and Connie Brockway (WP: RM15 / SP: RM10) – This is actually one novel with three romances. The sister of Hugh Dunne, the Earl of Briarly, invites a number of pretty damsels to her country house to capture her brother's heart.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (WP: RM19 / SP: RM15) – The follow-up to Dan Brown's mega hit, The Da Vinci Code has our hero Robert Langdon grappling once again with codes, secrets, and unseen truths but this time in Washington DC rather than Paris.

The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (WP: RM10 / SP: RM6) – Ghosts won't leave Chloe Saunders alone. Even at Lyle House, a "special home" for troubled teens. So, Chloe snoops around to uncover the dangerous secrets behind Lyle House – before its skeletons return to haunt her.

The Twilight Saga Journals by Stephenie Meyer (WP: RM15 / SP: RM10) – These journals, which come inside a nice collectible tin, are filled with decorative quotes from the books and classic literary works that have inspired Meyer.

The Wall Street Journal Guide To The New Rules Of Personal Finance (WP: RM15 / SP: RM10) – A guide in how to invest wisely in a world that has fundamentally changed.

This Body Of Death by Elizabeth George (WP: RM10 / SP: RM8) – On compassionate leave after the murder of his wife, Thomas Lynley is recalled to Scotland Yard when the body of a woman is found stabbed and abandoned in an isolated London cemetery.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James (WP: RM10 / SP: RM8) – Linnet Berry Thrynne is betrothed to Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, who lives in a castle in Wales and whose temper is legendary. Can she tame the beast?

Winning: The Answers by Jack & Suzy Welch (WP: RM10 / SP: RM8) – The Welches explore how an organisation can grow and thrive, from leadership and global competition to tough bosses and building teamwork. – Elizabeth Tai

The MPH Distributors Warehouse Sale will be held from 8am to 7pm, Thursday to Sunday, at Bangunan TH, No. 5, Jalan Bersatu, Section 13/4, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. For inquiries, call 03-7958 1688. 'Like' the sale on Facebook at 'MPH Distributors Warehouse Sale' for the latest updates and a chance to win books until Wednesday.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro Watch

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 04:51 AM PDT

FOOTBALL FINALS

The Tiger Street Football National Finals and Grand Finals will be held this Saturday and Sunday at the 1- Utama open air carpark (near TGIF). Saturday's event will be held from 10am till late while for Sunday, it will take place from 8am to 8pm. A host of exciting street activities performances from across the region will take place. Be sure to join in the festivity and show your support for the teams from Malaysia who will compete against international teams from Brazil, Holland, Singapore, Thailand, China and Vietnam at the Grand Finals.

GOLF TOURNAMENT

The St. Michael's Institution (SMI) Alumni Association will hold its annual charity golf tournament at the Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia in Sungai Buloh on Oct 29 to raise funds to help needy students at the school. Donation is RM300 per participant (RM250 for members of Kelab Rahman Putra). For details, call Siew Seng 012-3723326, Francis 012-3661223 or Michael 019-2225660.

SPECIAL CARNIVAL

Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Kajang Selangor (PKIK) is organising a fundraising carnival on Sept 25 from 11am to 4pm at the SJK(C) Yu Hua field, Jalan Timur, Kajang. For info call 03-8736 6385 or email: pkik@streamyx.com

BLOOD DONATION

The Weld is having a blood donation campaign today and tomorrow at its concourse area from 10am to 4pm. The public is encouraged to help.

CHARITY DINNER

The Rotary Club of Klang is having a charity dinner to raise funds for its community service projects, to be held on Sept 17, at the Premiere Hotel Klang. For details, call Gerard Lazarus at 012–6270004.

COOKING DEMO

The Women's Auxiliary of The Spastic Children's Association of Selangor and FT will be holding the monthly charity cooking demonstration on Sept 24 at the Spastic Centre, No. 14, Lorong Utara A, Off Jalan Utara, PJ at 10am. For details, call Datin Faridah Abu Bakar 019- 394 4281 / Margaret Cheng 012- 912 7203.

TRAFFIC DIVERSION

Kesas Sdn Bhd wishes to inform motorists on Lebuhraya Shah Alam of the temporary traffic diversion until Nov 30, with staggered lane closure is implemented from 10pm to 6am. Call Kesas hotline 03-5633 7188 or visit www.kesas.com.my

HEALTH TALK

Cansurvive Centre Malaysia is organising a free health talk themed 'Somatics – An Experience of Healing through Feeling' on Sept 17 at 4pm, at the Pure Life Society, Batu 6, Jalan Puchong KL. Limited to first 150 persons.

RAYA OPEN HOUSE

The Petaling Jaya City council (MBPJ) will be hosting a Hari Raya open house at the Stadium Kelana Jaya this Thursday from 3pm to 6pm. The public is invited to attend.

Yew Leong is not pulling the brakes on running

Posted: 13 Sep 2011 04:51 AM PDT

FORMER Pacesetters Athletic Club Malaysia president Wan Yew Leong is known for his tireless efforts in promoting running and increasing the base of local social runners.

Besides his passion for running, the 54-year-old former risk management and investment banking head at a financial institution is also keenly interested in discovering Chinese heritage.

Following his first visit to China in 1997, he has been travelling to China regularly and it has been an annual outing for him to visit his ancestral home in Guangzhou over the Qingming (All Souls Day) festival period since 2006.

Yew Leong said he has always been curious in finding out more about the rich Chinese culture, including folklore at a very young age.

"For a start, I had a disadvantage because I went through the English education system. I learned the language through the people's own language programme but it was only a brief course complementing the normal school syllabus. I picked up more on my own reading comics, listening to songs and watching movies," he added.

In running, he has completed four full marathons and recorded his personal best of 4'49 at Penang International Marathon in 1988.

Two years later, he turned up again at the same event in Penang and covered the 42km course in 5'40 and has not signed up for the marathon distance again.

Yew Leong recalled it was an exciting experience participating in the Kuala Lumpur Marathon in the 80s.

"I ran my first marathon in 1984 and did the same the following year. I clocked 5'30 on both occasions. Then, it was something special and a novelty to receive a simple sleeveless running vest from the organisers," he said.

During his tenure as the Pacesetters president between 2000 and 2005, the club's membership grew from 300 to 1,400 members.

"We initiated several events and added it into the race calendar for the local running community. We started with the relay in 2001 and the 15km run was introduced in 2003," said Yew Leong, who is also the Runners Malaysia support group co-founder in partnership with another avid runner Jamie Pang offering assistance to beginners to adopt a healthy lifestyle through running.

After retiring from his full-time job at the bank, Yew Leong took up the eight-month advanced sports management diploma conducted by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) under the Olympic Solidarity programme.

"It was an interesting complete package course learning how to manage an event. There were six modules in the course and we were required to do a presentation for each module. Besides that, there were assignments and a thorough case study. After earning the qualification, I have been serving as a facilitator for the course over the past two years," said Yew Leong.

At the end of last year, he suffered a slipped disc and it took him almost four months to recover.

Yew Leong said he has reduced his running sessions to from four to three times a week and allocated more time to swim up to four times a week.

Recently, Yew Leong was part of a group comprising 29 members who ran in the Genghis Khan Grassland Extreme Marathon in Xiwuqi, Inner Mongolia.

He covered the 21km open landscape course in 2'52.

Yew Leong is planning to rebrand the Runners Malaysia's weekly gathering with 4km or 6km training programme at the end of the year.

FACT FILE

Name: Wan Yew Leong

Date of Birth: Aug 17, 1957

Hometown: Kuala Lumpur

Occupation: Semi-retired

Hobbies: Watching television, travelling, managing sports

Favourites Sports Personality: Usain Bolt (Jam)

Education

- Shaw Road primary school

- Victoria Institution

- Professional accounting qualification

Sports Contributions

- Pacesetters president (2000-2005)

- Runners Malaysia beginners' programme co-founder

- Advanced Sports Management diploma facilitator

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my
 

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