Isnin, 19 September 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

'Random' Egypt arrests after Israel embassy attack

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:57 PM PDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian rights groups have accused Egyptian authorities of carrying out random arrests after this month's attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo, citing it as another example of a return to the ways of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters shout slogans against Egypt's military council at Tahrir Square in Cairo September 16, 2011. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Security forces detained around 200 people after protesters stormed the embassy building on Sept. 9 and clashed with police. Three people died and more than 1,000 were injured.

The arrests have stoked fears of a return to police tactics used under Mubarak. Those in custody could be tried in special security courts under emergency laws still in place despite Mubarak's ouster.

Rights officials said many of those detained were bystanders or passersby.

"We are getting reports that many of those detained were not related to the attacks and just happened to be in the area," said Gamal Eid, head of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, describing the government response as "hysterical".

"Security officials during Mubarak's time simply used to detain every one who was around and now the same thing has happened in the attacks on the Israeli embassy," Eid said.

Heavy handed security policies are widely seen as one of the factors that led to the protests that forced Mubarak from office in February. A military council took control and appointed a government to steer the country towards elections.

A security source denied any random arrests, saying: "The police and military police have only arrested those who were causing destruction at the embassy." A prosecution source said investigations were ongoing and no one had been sent to court.

The ruling council has struggled to contain public anger against Israel after Egyptian soldiers were killed while Israeli soldiers chased militants who had fled across the border after they ambushed and killed eight Israelis in Eilat. A protest just days after the killing in August also turned violent.

"The security forces treatment of the embassy situation was extreme. It reminds us of the old regime's harsh techniques that were meant to sow terror in people," said Amir Salem, a rights lawyer who defended victims of torture under Mubarak.

"The detentions were done in a haphazard manner," he said.

A military source said the army had no role in the arrests. "Those detained will not be prosecuted in front of a military court and we are not involved with them," he said.


After the embassy attack, the military council reactivated emergency laws in what they said a bid to restore public order. Activists said the army was trying to revive Mubarak's tactics.

Hundreds of Egyptians marched from Tahrir Square on Monday to the cabinet headquarters to protest the move.

"Why emergency law again? Is Hosni Mubarak coming back?" they chanted. "No to emergency law. Yes to the rule of law."

"The revolution demanded freedom, but they are imposing emergency laws," said Ahmed el-Bahrawy, 20-year old student. "It is clear the regime is still in place," he added.

Most political groups disowned the violence at the embassy.

Olfat Sarhan said her brother Tawfik, a 23-year-old student, was arrested after reporting a fire in a nearby police station, although she said he was not involved in the protest.

"Some army officers told him to come and sit with them to be safe, then he was detained by police officers in civilian clothes. Now he is in Torah prison," she said, adding he was questioned by military and state security prosecutors.

Friends of another detainee, cinema student Fady El Sawi, have set up a Facebook page to campaign for his release. They say he was arrested randomly by military police in the area.

"Fady works with a news agency in a street nearby, he had nothing to do with the incident," Mus'ad Foda, head of the cinema industry professional syndicate, said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Tamim Elyan; Editing by Andrew Hammond)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Libyan forces say they captured part of Sabha

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:26 PM PDT

BANI WALID/SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) - Libya's interim government said its forces seized the airport and fort in Sabha, one of the last strongholds of forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi which also controls the main route south out of Libya.

Anti-Gaddafi fighters advance to bomb an area where they exchange fire with Gaddafi loyalists near Herawa, 52 km east of Sirte, September 18, 2011. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

"Our forces are there in the airport and in the castle ... Our flags are flying there," Ahmed Bani, a military spokesman for the National Transitional Council (NTC), told a news conference in Tripoli on Monday. It was not possible to get independent confirmation.

Sabha, 770 km south of Tripoli and overlooked by an old fort built by Libya's former Italian colonial rulers, controls the main trail south to neighbouring Niger, an escape route used by members of Gaddafi's entourage.

Any advance on the town would be an important boost for government forces who have struggled to contain disunity in their ranks and faced stark reversals on other parts of the battlefield.

Nearly a month after Gaddafi was driven from power, his loyalist holdouts have beaten back repeated assaults by NTC forces at Bani Walid and Sirte, Gaddafi's birthplace. NTC fighters have been sent fleeing in disarray after failing to storm Gaddafi bastions.

NTC forces with huge rocket launchers and artillery gathered outside Sirte on Monday, saying they were preparing for a fresh assault, as hundreds of families fled the town.

NTC fighter Mohamed Ahmed told Reuters the troops were advancing slowly, but holding back their heavy weaponry until civilians were clear.

Rockets fired by Gaddafi loyalists fell near NTC lines, throwing up clouds of dust.

For graphic on rebel leadership click

For graphics on Libya/Middle East click

Humanitarian groups have voiced alarm at reported conditions in Sirte.

"There's no electricity, no phone coverage. Nothing," resident Ibrahim Ramadan said, standing by a car packed with his family at a checkpoint.

Residents said homes had been destroyed and cars smashed to pieces as disorder spread through the city.

"People are fed up. There are explosions going off everywhere and you don't know where the bullets will come from next," said Abubakr, a resident making his way out of the city.

"Look at this," he said, pointing to a bullet hole in his windshield. "Bullets are coming down from above. People are just firing randomly."


NTC spokesman Bani denied an assertion by Gaddafi's spokesman that Gaddafi's forces had captured 17 mercenaries, some of them British and French, in the fight for Bani Walid. "There are no British or French prisoners" in the town, Bani said.

The report by Gaddafi's spokesman Moussa Ibrahim could not be verified and no immediate proof was presented.

"A group was captured in Bani Walid consisting of 17 mercenaries. They are technical experts and they include consultative officers," Ibrahim said on Syria-based Arrai television, which has backed Gaddafi.

"Most of them are French, one of them is from an Asian country that has not been identified, two English people and one Qatari."

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said there were "no French mercenaries in Libya", while the British foreign office said it had no information about whether the report was true. Qatar's foreign ministry was not available for comment. NATO, which is staging air strikes on Gaddafi loyalist positions, says it has no troops on the ground in Libya.

Western nations have sent special forces in the past, and media have reported that private security firms have aided anti-Gaddafi forces in training, targeting and with leadership.

Bani said NTC forces on Monday arrested pro-Gaddafi mercenary leader Belqasem Al-Abaaj, who had been operating in the south of the country.


The NTC, still based in the eastern city of Benghazi, has faced questions about whether it can unify a country divided on tribal and local lines. A long-promised attempt to set up a more inclusive interim government fell apart overnight.

On Monday, NTC forces were unable to approach the northern gate of Bani Walid, 150 km southeast of Tripoli, to attack the town because of heavy gunfire from Gaddafi loyalists.

"There is a lack of organisation so far. Infantrymen are running in all directions," said Zakaria Tuham, a senior fighter with a Tripoli-based unit.

Many fighters spoke of tension between units drawn from Bani Walid itself and those from other parts of the country.

Some fighters openly disobeyed orders. In one incident, an officer from Bani Walid was heckled by troops from Tripoli after he tried to order them to stop shooting in the air.

In Benghazi, interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril failed to name a new cabinet on Sunday when his proposals did not receive full backing from all current members.

Sources familiar with the negotiations said Jibril's own role had been a sticking point. There was also disagreement about whether it was right to form a transitional government before declaring Libya "liberated", which NTC officials say can only happen when all Gaddafi loyalists are defeated.

The political infighting reveals some of the fractures in an alliance that was united in civil war by hatred of Gaddafi but remains split among pro-Western liberals, underground Islamist guerrillas and defectors from Gaddafi's government.

The NTC has its roots in Libya's east, but most of the militiamen who finally succeeded in driving Gaddafi out of Tripoli are from towns in the west.

(Additional reporting by John Irish in New York, William MacLean and Joseph Logan in Tripoli, Sherine El Madany east of Sirte, Ahmed Al-Shemi in Benghazi and Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck in Brussels; Writing by Peter Graff and Andrew Heavens)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

"Rage" against Wall Street power clogs sidewalks

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 06:56 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Protesters complaining about the power of the financial industry staged noisy demonstrations that slowed pedestrian traffic on Wall Street for a third day on Monday, vowing to continue "for as long as it takes" to achieve vague demands.

Protesters demonstrate against banks and corporations in front of a restaurant near Wall Street in New York September 17, 2011. (REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

Up to 150 protesters near the New York Stock Exchange held up signs saying "we must end corporate tyranny and corruption" and "debt is slavery". The protesters claimed up to 350 demonstrators had come and gone throughout the morning.

Police reported eight arrests -- two for attempting to enter a Bank of America office on Saturday, when larger crowds amassed for a protest billed as a "Day of Rage," and six more on Monday. At least four on Monday were held for wearing masks, which is illegal for groups of two or more, police said.

"The elite corporate power have hijacked democracy," said Alexander Penley, an international lawyer from New York. "The economic depression we are experiencing today has something to do with how Wall Street is run."

Demonstrators have displayed other signs including "commodity inflation causes starvation" and "I can't afford a lobbyist," indicating wide-ranging frustration with what they say is the financial industry's lack of accountability for the 2008 financial crisis and persistently high unemployment.

Police maintained an intense presence in the Financial District, partitioning off areas of the sidewalk and slowing pedestrian traffic in a neighbourhood that in recent years has become more a tourist attraction than a centre of financial trades.

The demonstrators have vowed to stay for months, though it was unclear what message Wall Street employees would hear.

"The truth is I was only half paying attention to what they were saying," said Ken Polcari, managing director of ICAP Equities.

"It just seemed like it was people walking around with nasty signs up talking about the financial community, about Wall Street being the devil and all that," Polcari said.

(Reporting by Paula Rogo; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Cynthia Johnston, Martin Howell)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Getting into a spin

Posted: 20 Sep 2011 02:48 AM PDT

Win passes to one of the best club parties in town.

IT'S never too early to start planning your weekend as you get access to one of the hottest dance parties in town with Red FM's Remix Club Tour.

Spinning off from the Red FM Remix show (Saturdays, 11pm-1am), DJ Razz hooks you up with the top club songs, electronic dance tracks and dance anthem remixes in town. It's an addictive blend of hip hop to house vibes as DJ Razz spins alongside guest DVJ G-Mix.

A veteran player in the local club scene, DVJ G-Mix's unique skills of "visualising sounds" with hypnotic, head turning visuals has made him a sought-after deejay by major clubs. Get ready to party hard and have a stellar experience with DJ Razz and guest DVJ G-Mix at Supernova located in Avenue K, Kuala Lumpur, this Saturday as they will not be holding back on spinning the best.

Pick up passes by listening out for the cue to enter on Red FM's Eleven 2 Three with Linora (Weekdays, 11am-3pm) and Red FM's Evenings with Arnold (Weekdays, 7pm-10pm).

In the meantime, the Red FM's Runaway DJs are also getting listeners into a spin on weekdays as they are on the loose. Leaving a trail of clues on air and online, be the first person to track down the deejays at secret locations to win cash, gadgets or a brand new Proton Inspira. Identify the Red FM's Runaway DJ of the day at the correct location and walk away with a key that will take you to the finale to win a car.

There's still a boot load of goodies to win before the contest ends on Sept 29, so don't miss your chance to catch the deejays. There are also prizes up for grabs online, just check out and join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page ( You can also follow them 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.

Pop culture: Some things shouldn’t be missed

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:09 PM PDT

Heidi Klum says in reality series Project Runway: "One day you're in and the next you're out." Likewise, in pop culture, what's in or cool today is yesterday's news tomorrow.

In recent years, people may have been talking about flash mobs, netbooks and Lost the TV series but they have since moved on to new obsessions like planking, tablet computers and Glee.

And so the cover story of the latest issue of Galaxie magazine brings readers up to speed on what they need to know about pop culture today, from A for Angry Birds to Z for Zombies and everything in between, including Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Hallyu (also known as the Korean wave).

Also in the Sept 16 to 30 issue, Galaxie gets Adam Levine to give the lowdown on his new hit reality TV show The Voice and Neon Trees talk about taking a more soulful approach to their music for their next album.

A 10-page special songwords pullout also awaits music lovers in this issue, featuring all the words to hit songs like Cheers (Drink To That), Love You Like A Love Song, Stereo Hearts, Lighters and Pumped Up Kicks.

What's more, there's a chance to win Westlife concert tickets, Il Volo autographed CDs and Apollo 18 tool kits in the same issue. All this plus the juiciest goss from the East and the West, Seven awesome posters (including a Breaking Dawn centrefold) and the essential details on the newest movie and music releases, makes this a not-to-be-missed magazine!

Galaxie, which is owned by Star Publications (M) Bhd, also has a presence online at, which is packed with celebrity news and views. For even more updates on the magazine, its blog and the entertainment world, follow Galaxie on Twitter (@galaxiemag) and visit its Facebook page ( – Evelyn Teo

'Mad Men' 'Modern Family' win again at Emmy Awards

Posted: 18 Sep 2011 09:50 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters): ''Mad Men'' and ''Modern Family'' won television's top drama and comedy prizes again Sunday but elsewhere it was out with the old and in with the new at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

On a night of surprises that brought a slew of newcomers to the Emmy podium, ''Mad Men'' won best drama series for a fourth straight year but the waiting got tense as the 1960s advertising drama lost out in all the acting, writing and directing races.

''I did not think that was going to happen,'' creator Matthew Weiner said, accepting the best drama series trophy. ''Mad Men'' went home with just two Emmys - including one from last week's creative arts ceremony - even though it came into the awards show with 19 nominations.

''We were shut out, but then we also won this (best drama) award so it balances out. To me this is the prize that says people love what we are doing,'' Weiner said backstage.

The story was different for ''Modern Family.'' Along with its best comedy win, the ABC mockumentary about three assorted couples and their children brought first-time wins for Julie Bowen and her screen husband Ty Burrell in the supporting acting slots, and Emmys for directing and writing.

Creator Steve Levitan called the wins ''an embarrassment of riches'' while actor Ed O'Neill said ''it was better than the first time. To repeat is difficult. I am relieved.''

''Welcome back to the 'Modern Family' awards!'' Emmy ceremony host Jane Lynch quipped early in the evening.

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet won her first Emmy for her lead role in the HBO miniseries ''Mildred Pierce.'' But the British period show ''Downton Abbey,'' shown on PBS, was the miniseries winner, giving it a total of six Emmys overall.

''I didn't think we were going to win anything!'' Winslet said. DEFYING PREDICTIONS

Elsewhere, a host of new faces took home Emmys in a night that defied most predictions.

The little-seen but critically admired football drama ''Friday Night Lights'' won for best writing and its star Kyle Chandler beat favorites Jon Hamm and Steve Buscemi for best dramatic actor.

Melissa McCarthy won lead comedy actress at her first shot for the CBS romantic comedy ''Mike & Molly,'' in which she plays an overweight teacher.

Emmy rookie Peter Dinklage won for his turn as the clever but rude Tyrion in HBO's popular medieval fantasy series ''Game of Thrones,'' while Margo Martindale was an emotional first-time winner for her supporting actress role in FX drama ''Justified,'' which came to the veteran actress after more than 20 years in the business.

Julianna Margulies, star of ''The Good Wife'' on CBS, won the race for best dramatic actress. Jim Parsons was a rare repeat winner for comedy ''The Big Bang Theory'' in a category that most pundits had thought would finally go to departing ''The Office'' star Steve Carell.

''I am really flabbergasted. I am more shocked this year,'' Parsons told reporters backstage.

Jaw-dropping moments were not only reserved for the winners. Fox musical comedy ''Glee'' - one of the most talked about shows of the last two years - won just two Emmys, both in creative arts categories, while HBO's lavish ''Boardwalk Empire'' won seven of its eight total Emmys in last week's technical awards section. Its only win on Sunday night went to director Martin Scorsese.

HBO was the biggest network winner with 19 Emmys, followed by 14 for PBS, 11 for CBS, nine for Fox, eight for ABC and six for NBC.

Among the show's highlights was a smiling and apparently sincere Charlie Sheen, on the comeback trail after months of erratic behavior that resulted in his firing from CBS hit ''Two and A Half Men.'' He was a last minute addition as a presenter.

''From the bottom of my heart, I wish you nothing but the best for this upcoming season,'' Sheen said of his former program that previously this year he had sharply criticized.

''American Idol'' - the most-watched show on U.S. television for the past seven years - was left empty-handed again in the reality competition show race, which was won by long-running Emmy favorite ''The Amazing Race.''


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

FBM KLCI down in early trade

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:39 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI was down 3.08 points, or 0.22% at 1,410.04 in early trade on Tuesday, dragged down by selling pressure in blue-chip stocks as investors took the cue from regional markets and having factored in the downgrade in Italy's sovereign credit rating.

Turnover was 163.61 million shares done valued at RM235.96 million. There were 144 gainers, 232 losers and 220 stocks unchanged.

HwangDBS Vickers Research said in a report issued today that negative vibes from the west would continue to dog investors' sentiment across Asia today.

"Major U.S. equity indices fell between 0.4% and 1.0% last night. Also, the Dec month Dow Jones Industrial Average futures contract extended its losses hovering at a 140-point discount to the spot rate this morning following a downgrade in Italy's sovereign credit rating (by Standard & Poor's)," it said.

Therefore, more selling pressures can be expected on the local bourse today. The benchmark FBM KLCI could pull back further, possibly heading towards the psychological mark of 1,400 ahead.

Hoping to buck the bearish market forces is Bandar Raya Developments, which has proposed to distribute a net cash dividend per share of 80 sen following a divestment exercise of investment properties to its major shareholder.

Meanwhile, most regional peers were down in early trade with Shanghai SE Composite losing 0.14% to 2,434.31, Nikkei 225 shedding 1.40% to 8,739.74 and the Hang Seng index down 0.79% to 18,768.27. Singapore's STI bucked the overall regional market trend, by inching up 0.12% to 2,760.52

The ringgit against the US dollar was quoted at 3.1372 against yesterday's close at 3.1157.

Samsung considers legal action over Apple's new iPhone

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 05:59 PM PDT

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co is considering legal action to ban sales of Apple's new iPhone, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, in what could be its strongest step to defend against claims by the U.S. firm that the South Korean firm had copied its product designs.

The source declined to elaborate further on where Samsung planned to take legal actions and the Maeil Business Newspaper reported that the South Korean firm may seek injunction request on Apple's new iPhone in Europe.

Samsung said it would not comment on ongoing legal issues.

The two technology firms have been locked in intensifying legal battles in nine countries over their flagship smartphone and tablet products.

The move comes after Apple successfully blocked Samsung from selling its latest tablets in Germany and some smartphone models in the Netherlands and forced its rival to indefinite delay launching new tablets in Australia.

After Apple's latest legal victory in Germany earlier this month, Samsung said it would take all available legal options.

Apple has not produced a new version of its best-selling iPhone for more than a year. The product is crucial for the world's No.1 smartphone maker to keep its strong sales momentum as Samsung is quickly closing on the gap with its Galaxy line of products.

Apple sold 20.3 million iPhones in the second quarter and Samsung shipped just one million units less than that.

Media reports have said Apple's product will go one sale in October.

Apple first sued Samsung in April, claiming its strongest competitor had "slavishly" copied its product designs, and Samsung had since counter-sued, arguing Apple infringed on its mobile technologies.

Samsung is also a major supplier of chips and displays for Apple's smartphones and tablet products.

UBS faces dual attack in parliament after trading loss

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 05:56 PM PDT

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss parliament piled pressure on the nation's biggest banks on Monday in the wake of UBS AG's $2.3 billion loss from rogue trading, as a center-left party pushed for a ban on risky investment banking and a plan to raise capital requirements passed the lower house.

Social Democrat lawmaker Susanne Leutenegger Oberholzer narrowly failed to get enough support for her proposal to reopen debate on tough new capital measures for UBS and Credit Suisse so that a ban on investment banking could be added.

The plan to force the banks to hold more capital than under global rules so that they can be shielded from future crises was passed, and the Social Democrats have the option of bringing a separate piece of legislation on the proposed ban.

"What the latest debacle of UBS in London shows is that regulation must go further as fast as possible. Investment banking must be banned for systemically-important banks and proprietary trading must be massively limited," the party said in a statement.

UBS has kicked off an internal investigation into the catastrophic failure of its risk systems that led to the equity trading loss, which was discovered last week.

UBS said its board of directors had set up a committee chaired by independent director David Sidwell, former chief financial officer at Morgan Stanley, to conduct a probe into the trades and the bank's control systems.

"External expectations are that the investigation should take weeks and not months," a UBS insider told Reuters. "The internal investigation will be coordinating with the regulators on their probe."

London trader Kweku Adoboli was charged on Friday with fraud and false accounting dating back to 2008.


UBS said on Sunday it remains one of the world's best capitalized banks, even though the $2.3 billion loss had set it back in its efforts to build up its capital to meet new regulatory requirements.

In Britain, where similar reforms to separate risky investment banking from commercial banking are in the works, Business Secretary Vince Cable said the UBS scandal illustrated the need for change.

"If there were any doubts about the need for radical reform, the UBS rogue trader has dispelled them," Cable told delegates at his Liberal Democrat party's conference.

The Swiss parliament rejected the bid to reopen the debate so that an investment banking ban could be discussed by 55 to 42 with six abstentions.

The loss is a heavy blow to the reputation of Switzerland's biggest bank, which had just started to recover after its near collapse during the financial crisis and a damaging U.S. investigation into its aiding wealthy Americans to dodge taxes.

Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel, brought out of retirement in 2009 to turn the bank around, said the alleged fraud would have consequences for strategy and possibly also for himself.

The UBS source said there was no indication that others were involved in the affair, and the global synthetic equities team in which Adoboli worked was still operating, but added that members of the team would have to stop trading while answering questions as part of the investigation.

UBS shares closed down 1.9 percent at 10.07 francs, but still outperformed a 3.4 percent slide on the European banking stocks index, as traders noted the stock had already fallen sharply after last week's news.


UBS is now widely expected by analysts to speed up an overhaul of its investment bank that had been planned for announcement on November 17, though big shareholders have signaled they could wait until that date while the bank completes its internal investigation, according to the inside source.

An investment manager whose company holds shares in UBS said he had detected anger within UBS's private banking operations at the turn of events. "I talked to several senior private bankers, and one told me how he spent last week with compliance arguing about a 1,500-franc accounting difference ... And then some junior investment banking trader loses 2 billion.

"It creates serious ill will among their clients. So internally there will be some momentum to resize IB."

Along with Gruebel, Carsten Kengeter, head of the investment banking unit, may be in the firing line. "We estimate that the investment banking chief Carsten Kengeter ... will be sacrificed after this scandal," said analyst Dirk Becker at broker Kepler.


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Conventional quarter-final match–ups shaken up after Irish shock win

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:05 PM PDT

RUGBY'S big powers sized up their likely World Cup quarter–finals yesterday as the knockout round began to take shape after the second weekend of action.

Ireland's shock upset of in–form Australia looked to have blown the draw wide open with the odds now on northern and southern hemisphere teams being separated until the final on Oct 23.

Teams refused to look too far ahead with about half the pool stage yet to be played. But Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards said Ireland had struck a blow for the northern sides.

"I thought Ireland sensed an opportunity... and they showed that we can also play rugby a little bit in the northern hemisphere, not just in the southern hemisphere," he said.

Rugby's heavyweights are understandably wary after a series of strong performances by the sport's lesser teams, including Canada's fighting loss to France on Sunday.

Edwards hoped that Ireland's win, coupled with the new challenge posed by the minnow teams, would make for a more open and watchable World Cup.

"Let's hope so because openness creates more and more interest," he said.

"It's not much fun watching a competition where you know who's going to win it.

"That's what will put people in front of their TV screens and get them turning up in their thousands (at games). I hope it's right because that creates more interest."

The seven–week tournament took a one–day break before Italy play Russia today, Tonga face Japan tomorrow, South Africa take on Namibia on Thursday and Australia are against USA on Friday.

After this weekend's action, the likeliest quarter–finals see Ireland against Wales, England against France, New Zealand against Argentina and Australia against defending champions South Africa.

All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith said Ireland had set the blueprint for the tournament with their high intensity, physical approach which muscled Australia out of the game.

"The physicality of their game was way up compared to what we've experienced so we've got to get that really quickly," Smith said.

"They've issued a blueprint for rugby in showing that nothing changes. If you win up front and you win the gain line and you win the collisions, then you're probably going to win the game."

Meanwhile, All Blacks winger Zac Guildford admitted he had a problem with alcohol and apologised for drinking "excessively" after last month's Tri-Nations defeat to Australia.

A chastened Guildford told a press conference, organised to head off rumours about him, that he "had let myself down and let the team down... in making a few bad decisions off-field.

"I'm taking positive steps to make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.

The All Blacks denied Guildford's drinking was behind his non–appearance at the World Cup so far, while centres Richard Kahui and Sonny Bill Williams have both been used on the wings. – AFP

16–year–old American becomes youngest ever champion in LPGA Tour

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:04 PM PDT

PRATTVILLE (Alabama): American Lexi Thompson became the youngest champion in the LPGA's 61–year history, the 16–year–old prodigy firing a two–under 70 on Sunday to capture the Navistar Classic by five strokes.

Thompson, who is seven months and eight days beyond her 16th birthday, finished 72 holes on 17–under 271 at the US$1.3mil event to defeat compatriot Tiffany Joh by five shots and American Angela Stanford by six.

"I knew I was going for the record but I was focusing on the golf course and doing my best," Thompson said. "I was nervous on the first tee but I had a lot of fun out here."

American Marlene Hagge won the 18–hole Sarasota Open in 1952 just two weeks past her 18th birthday to become what had been the youngest LPGA champion.

Paula Creamer, another American, was nine months and 17 days past her 18th birthday when she won the 2005 Sybase Classic to become the youngest winner of a typical multi–round event until Thompson's triumph.

Thompson, who turned pro in June of last year, birdied the par–3 second and suddenly only playing partner Meena Lee of South Korea was within eight strokes of the lead, and Lee was six adrift.

A birdie at the par–5 eighth gave Thompson a personal–record 20th birdie of the week. Lee birdied the ninth to stay within six but began the back nine with a bogey to leave Thompson seven clear of the field at 17–under.

Thompson, who made only three bogeys in the first three rounds, stumbled with back–to–back bogeys at 11 and 12, missing six–foot par putts on both holes as her lead shrank to five shots with six holes to play.

Lee birdied the par–3 13th to move within four shots but faded as Joh charged into contention with a run of four birdies in a row through the 15th hole to pull within three of Thompson, including a chip–in at 14.

"She got on a roll, chipped in, got a birdie – she could have birdied all the way in," Thompson said. "I was just focusing on my own game."

Thompson had led after 54 holes earlier this year at Mobile, Alabama, and squandered the lead with a last round nightmare to finish in a share of 19th.

But Thompson made it clear that another collapse was not in the offing this time. After Joh had a short birdie miss at the par–3 16th, Thompson tapped in for a birdie and sank another from 20 feet at the 17th hole.

"That was a big shot," Thompson said. "I knew I was playing pretty good lately. I had a few struggles but I came through here. I was just trying to make good shots and smart plays.

"Coming up the 18th was like all the pressure was let off. I could wave at the fans."

After tapping in for par at 18, Thompson raised her hands in victory and her father Scott, who also serves as her caddie, embraced her.

"The feeling is unbelievable. I wanted to cry but I held back. It's awesome," Scott Thompson said. "I couldn't be more proud. We have been working really hard. The last month she has been hitting the ball pretty well.

"This is the most nerve-wracking thing I have ever done. It's harder on me than her. I just give her the number."

Thompson successfully petitioned for a place in this year's LPGA qualifying tournament.

A victory would allow the prodigy to seek LPGA membership but because she is under 18, the move would have to be approved by Tour officials.

Joh said: "If I can say I was a speed bump on her run to history that was good enough for me." – AFP

Divers Bryan and Ken Nee our best bets to stop China in Asia Cup meet

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:03 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The spotlight will be on men divers Bryan Nickson Lomas and Yeoh Ken Nee to outshine China's back-up team when they compete in the Asia Cup at the National Aquatics Centre in Bukit Jalil from Sept 25-27.

China have sent a 12-member strong team to make a clean sweep of all the four Olympic Games tickets on offer at the meet.

FINA, the world governing body for aquatics, have given the nod for the Asia Cup to be an Olympic qualifier for Asia. Prior to this, only the World Championships and World Cup were marked as the qualifying events for the Olympics.

Bryan, who has already qualified for the Olympic Games in the 3m springboard event, is now primed to win another ticket in the platform event.

As for the seasoned campaigner Ken Nee, hopes are high on him to make a breakthrough performance to compete in the Olympics for the first time next year.

The 28-year-old Ken Nee plans to quit the sport next year and is desperately looking to qualify for the Olympic Games.

At the recent Olympic qualifier in Shanghai in July, all that Ken Nee needed to do was to finish among the top 12 finalists in the 3m springboard event – but he plunged to a miserable 25th placing.

Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) secretary Edwin Chong confirmed yesterday China's interest to participate in the tournament.

"They are sending 12 divers from the back-up team but these athletes can be as good as their first team. All of them are eying the four Olympic Games tickets. China will be the favourites," said Edwin.

Besides the 21-year-old Bryan, Malaysia have also booked a ticket to the London Games through woman diver Pandelela Rinong.

"Despite a strong challenge from China, we hope that our divers will take this opportunity to check into the Olympics. This is a good chance for us to have a bigger representation at the Games," said Edwin.

"Bryan has qualified for the Olympic Games ... now we are banking on Bryan to ensure that we will have a representation in the platform event too.

"This is also a good chance for Ken Nee to make amends (after the world meet disappointment) and win a ticket for the London Games."

In the absence of Pandelela, who is skipping the tournament to give others an opportunity to win a berth, Malaysia will be represented by Leong Mun Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Wendy Ng Yan Yee and Elizabeth Jimie.


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Jealous tomboy kills woman over 'love triangle'

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 08:01 AM PDT

SUNGAI PETANI: A woman was stabbed to death by her tomboy lover over a 'love triangle'.

Suriani Md Saad, 29, died shortly after being stabbed repeatedly at their rented house at Lorong 6, Taman Semarak Fasa 1, here at about 5.30pm Monday.

Kedah CID chief ACP Zakaria Ahmad said Suriani, from Yan, was in the house with her 25-year-old lover when the incident occurred.

"They were believed to have argued and the situation turned aggressive when her tomboy lover took out a knife and stabbed the woman repeatedly on the chest and abdomen, causing severe injuries.

"Suriani was said to have tried to flee but collapsed in front of her neighbour's house nearby," he said.

He said members of the public sent the tomboy, who was injured as a result of a scuffle with Suriani, to Hospital Sultan Abdul Halim (HSAH), here for treatment.

He said preliminary investigation revealed that jealousy was the motive for the incident and several knives, believed to have been used as weapons in the killing, were found at the scene. BERNAMA

Aminulrasyid case: Kpl Jenain appeals against 5-yr jail

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:52 AM PDT

Published: Monday September 19, 2011 MYT 5:04:00 PM
Updated: Monday September 19, 2011 MYT 10:52:31 PM

SHAH ALAM: Kpl Jenain Subi, who was found guilty by the Sessions Court of causing the death of 15-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah, has filed for an appeal against his conviction.

The appeal was filed through his lawyers Salim Bashir and Halim Ashgar at the High Court registry here Monday.

Kpl Jenain was present at the filing.

More in The Star Tuesday

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17 stolen cars worth RM1.4mil seized at North Port

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 07:51 AM PDT

KLANG: The Customs Department has seized six containers loaded with 17 cars worth RM1.4mil at North Port, Klang.

Assistant director-general (Enforcement) Datuk Zainul Abidin Taib said that his men were alerted to the consignment after a tipoff on Sept 14.

"Investigations revealed that the containers had been declared as furniture and were bound for Thailand," he told a press conference.

Three Toyota Camry, 13 Toyota Hilux and a Toyota Fortuner were among the stolen vehicles seized.

More in The Star Tuesday


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China's box office to grow to $2bil this year

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 05:38 AM PDT

HONG KONG (Reuters): China's box office is expected to rise by nearly a third to hit 13 billion yuan ($2 billion) this year as consumers are more willing to buy tickets for the rising number of domestically made movies, the chief of film distributor Bona Film said.

Bona Film Group Ltd, a private film distributor in China that is Nasdaq-listed, has also invested in film production and also operates over 10 cinemas in China.

Bona, which competes with Shenzhen-listed Huayi Brothers, has distributed Chinese language blockbusters such as Overheard 2, A Simple Life whose actress Deanie Yip won the best actress award at the Venice film festival, and Red Cliff, starring Jet Li.

''China's movie industry will see sharp growth over the next so-called golden decade as we're producing many more movies now,'' Yu Dong, chairman and CEO of Bona Film, told Reuters in an interview.

''China is now the world's second-largest market in terms of the number of movies produced this year, which roughly matches the U.S., and just behind India.''

Bona, which now has about 10 percent market share in China's box office, plans to open around 5 more new cinemas by the end of the year, with the total number of movie theatres hitting around 40 over the next few years, Yu said.

Bona's shares have lost almost 30 percent since it was listed in New York last December, mainly due to worries over the U.S. economy and accounting irregularities at some U.S.-listed Chinese companies.

On Friday, Bona's shares ended 0.6 percent lower, underperforming the Dow's 0.66 percent rise.

New dimension to the spy genre

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 12:44 AM PDT

The British Military Intelligence agents are not what you'd presume them to be ... especially at the movies.

AS far as arriving in style for a world premiere goes, pulling up in front of crowds of cheering fans in an elegant one-of-a kind Rolls Royce Phantom while a boisterous marching band plays on is certainly hard to beat. Under bright sunshine and picture perfect blue skies, Brit comedy legend Rowan Atkinson made this show-stealing entrance when he turned up to walk the red carpet in Sydney recently for the world premiere of his latest film, Johnny English Reborn.

Joining him in the beautiful harbour city for the occasion were co-stars Rosamund Pike, The X-Files star Gillian Anderson and the film's director Oliver Parker. Not forgetting the beautiful blue Rolls – fitted out with a powerful 9 litre, V-16 engine and flown in especially for the occasion from Britain – which actually plays a pivotal role in the film.

An avid car enthusiast, Atkinson proclaimed the car's new engine "fantastically powerful".

"A monumental amount of torque really," he said. "At one point, it actually comes to the rescue of Johnny English in a pretty important way."

Speaking to regional journalists, Pike revealed that Sydney was chosen for the world premiere of the British film because of Atkinson's sizable Australian fanbase.

"I think the first one did very well out here, so I think we wanted to open somewhere where we'd be guaranteed a warm reception," she said, making a reference not only to the loudly enthusiastic crowd which had gathered at Sydney's Entertainment Quarter to cheer the stars on, but also the lovely spring weather that graced the event.

Born again

In the sequel to the 2002 spy-comedy Johnny English, Atkinson reprises his role as the inept secret service agent who is called in to stop a group of international assassins from taking down the Chinese premier.

The years since MI7's top spy disappeared off the grid found him honing his unique skills in a remote region of Asia. But when his agency superiors learn of an attempt against the Chinese premier's life, they are compelled to seek out the highly unorthodox agent.

With the world in peril, Johnny English is again called back into action. And with one last shot at redemption, English must employ the latest in hi-tech gadgets to unravel a web of conspiracy that runs throughout the KGB, CIA and even MI7.

Cue comedic high jinks and action-packed slapstick comedy as one doggedly determined but slightly clueless agent employs every trick in his arsenal to save the day. As the catchy tagline for the movie goes: "For Johnny English, disaster may be an option, but failure never is."

Waiting eight years to bring out a sequel obviously makes no commercial sense at all, so one has to wonder what compelled the filmmakers to contemplate having another go at bringing Johnny English to life on the big screen again.

After all, as Atkinson rightly reasoned during a roundtable interview at Sydney's plush Intercontinental Hotel a day after the premiere, if this were Austin Powers, there would have been three movies already, with a fourth in the works.

"We've been very slow and I can be quite lazy between projects. Also, what happened was that we got distracted because we thought we could make another Mr Bean movie (2007's Mr Bean's Holiday) and that took three years," he explained.

"The first script meeting for Johnny English Reborn we had in 2004 and we worked on it for 18 months, so we really came back to it only two-and-a-half years ago."

For the sequel, the character of Johnny English has been redesigned. While the character from the first movie was closer to Mr Bean, the latest sees him moving closer to its original prototype of Richard Latham, the role Atkinson originated for a series of popular British TV commercials for Barclaycard back in the early to mid-nineties.

"I always got a bit annoyed at the first film being described as Bean meets Bond," said Atkinson.

"My personal belief is that Johnny English is a slightly more sophisticated character than Mr Bean. He's obviously more verbal, more vocal and I think he's more likable. I never regarded Mr Bean as a likable character. He's fun to watch but I would never want to have dinner with him, whereas I'd be happy to dine with Johnny English."

Atkinson mused that while the character may be somewhat full of himself, he believes Johnny English to be one of the good guys.

"He's a man of integrity and he tries hard to succeed. He's a little bit smug and not quite as good as he thinks he is – that's the critical problem with Johnny English – but still, he'll give it a go, even if he's not qualified to."

Commercial considerations aside, Atkinson said he jumped on board for a sequel because he felt that there was a different and better film to be made using the character Johnny English.

"I was also keen to acknowledge that the actor (playing Johnny English) was getting older and that therefore by default, the character is getting older. I was keen to have some jokes in the movie about the fact that he is older than he was and this sort of        spiritual lesson that with age comes wisdom, the idea that as you get older, you don't need to confront problems head on, you can just go around them," he said, laughing.

International appeal

Calling the shots behind the director's chair for Johnny English Reborn is Brit filmmaker Oliver Parker (2009's Dorian Gray) who came aboard the project with the idea to make it more of an international movie than the first.

"We've had Bond with Daniel Craig and we've had Jason Bourne and these guys have injected a new kind of energy and life (into the spy film genre) which gave us more meat to play with," said Parker. "One of the appeals of this project was to try and flesh out the character of Johnny English and make him distinct from Mr Bean. So what I enjoyed in the script and what we tried to do with the film was to give him more heroic potential, so that he's not a klutz," he added.

Filming began last year, taking in Hertford-shire, Hampshire, as well as exotic location shoots in Macau and Hong Kong. But the real coup of the production was managing to convince the authorities to allow the crew to close The Mall outside Buckingham Palace in order to shoot an audacious chase scene which sees Atkinson racing past the iconic London attraction in a motorised wheelchair.

"I think somebody up there really likes Rowan's work," quipped Parker.

Leading ladies

Modifed luxury cars and cool gadgets are all well and good, but it's not attractive unless there are attractive women present to spice up proceedings.

So, in keeping with well-worn motion picture tradition, Johnny English Reborn arrives with two stunning beauties in leading roles.

Playing Kate Sumner, MI7's gorgeous behavioural psychologist, is former Bond girl Rosamund Pike. While it's understandably difficult to make a love interest for Johnny English simply because clowns are not necessarily romantic, Pike's character comes with the veneer of believability essential to the plot.

"The fun thing about having Rosamund Pike in the movie is that she really is fascinated by eccentricities and weaknesses. So there was something very real for me in that she enjoyed that he was a field day, if you like, for psychoanalysts," smiled Parker.

The way Pike – looking every inch the quintessential radiant Bond girl in real life – tells it, the quality of the script was so good that it was easy to say "yes" to the role of love interest for an awkward character like Johhny English.

"I realised that it was a really good script, the idea of being something like a homage to a Bond film, but with added humour. I thought this was very cool because it's written and conceived by people who clearly love the Bond films. There are all these set pieces – the golf scene; the car chases, except it's with a wheel chair; the villains ...

"It's like copying but with this comic undercurrent, so I think it's brilliant. The plot is on an international scale and it's worthy of a Bond plot," she said.

Weighing in with another deadly serious government role, albeit in a much transformed MI7, is Gillian Anderson, instantly recognisable as Agent Scully from the ever popular TV series The X-Files.

Playing MI7 head "Pegasus" Pamela Head, complete with impeccable English accent, Anderson is in her element as the straight authority figure to Johnny English's madcap maverick.

"Was it hard to keep a straight face? Well, comedy is a serious business in itself and Rowan is a very technical actor so before we got into any of the comedy, the seriousness of it played very much into who my character was," she explained.

"Anyway, I'm used to it, especially in The X-Files where Scully always had to keep a straight face when all sorts was going on."

And having "worked" in the FBI and now MI7, how do they compare?

Anderson laughed and said: "Actually I worked in MI5 in something else that I did, but no, they are completely different. It's interesting to have an opportunity to do things that could potentially be similar but try and make them as different as possible. I find that challenge interesting."

And finally, the last word on Johnny English from the man resurrecting the movie for one more shot. After eight years, will the wait for a new instalment be worth it?

"I hope people enjoy it," smiled Atkinson. "I think it's a slightly better film, from an objective point of view, than the first one. I think it's got a better story and better characters. I think you are more interested in what happens next rather than waiting for the next jokes. I hope people kind of want to know how the story works out at the end."

Johnny English Reborn is now playing in cinemas nationwide.

Deanie triumphs

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 12:43 AM PDT

ANDY Lau's birthday wish came true when his co-star Deanie Ip took the Best Actress prize at the Venice film festival last month.

"Hong Kong films have again triumphed overseas. The wish I made when I received my first birthday cake this year has come true," said the Hong Kong actor. He turns 50 on Sept 27.

Lau had left for home on Sept 10 when Ip's win, for her role as a maid in the Ann Hui-directed A Simple Life, was announced. In the movie, based on producer Roger Lee's real-life story, Ip plays a Ma Jie or amah who serves her employer's family for 60 years before retiring to a nursing home, while Lau plays her master who cares for her.

A jubilant Hui, 64, said: "I had thought that if the film wins in Venice, I could retire. But, with the win, I now will have many films to make. So I'm happy yet conflicted."

In 1992, Gong Li was the first Chinese to win Best Actress at the same event for The Story Of Qiu Ju.

Ip, 63, received four Best Supporting Actress titles at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Golden Horse Awards in the 1980s and 1990s. She and Lau, her godson, starred in movies together before she stopped acting in 2000. It was Lau who invested in A Simple Life and invited her to star in it.

"I will put the trophy in Andy's office," said Ip, before arriving home last Monday, where she was greeted by hordes of reporters at Hong Kong airport. She said she had hoped the movie would win as Lau "had the heart and courage to invest in an art film. He should be encouraged". But she told reporters she would not let success go to her head. "I must distance myself from it. One can't be smug." – The Singapore Times/Asia News Network


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Metro watch

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 03:53 AM PDT


PROPERTY owners of the Bukit Gasing and Taman Medan constituencies, especially those from Section 1 to 4 whose leases are due to expire within the next three to four year, can visit the registration centre at the MBPJ Arena Sports Centre, Jalan Selangor, Petaling Jaya on Sept 21 and 22, 10am to 4pm. Applicants should bring along original land title, official search (if not holding original title); two pieces of location plan verified by a Petaling District Office Surveyor; copies of IC, recent quit rent receipt and assessment receipt; permission letter from bank or individual (if title has charge/caveat); relevant fees; and application form to extradite and reapply for land.


BUDDHIST Education Mission is conducting a series of 3 workshops with the emphasis on 'Successful Living' by Dr H S Tan at Nalanda Centre, 3357 Jalan 18/31, Taman Sri Serdang Seri Kembangan on Oct 8, 15 and 22 from 3pm to 6pm. Please write to to register or call Lim Kah Hong @ 019- 3889888 for further details.


A textile forum entitled "Sacred Ikat: From heirloom to trade" will be held on Tuesday, Sept 20, at 3pm at Galeri Saindera, Level 1, National Textile Museum. The speakers are Edric Ong, Marie Christine Tseng & Judi Knight Achjadi. Call Syahrul or Nor Asmah at 03-2694 3457/03-2694 3461 to register.


UNIVERSITI Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) is offering Thai Language short course at its Centre for Extension Education (CEE) PJ Campus. The course will begin this Thursday, Sept 22, from 7 to 9pm. For details, call 03-7957 2818 / 016-2233 563 (Eileen/Swee Leng) or email: or facebook:


PERSATUAN Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Kajang Selangor (PKIK) is organising a carnival this Sunday, Sept 25, from 11am to 4pm at the SJK (C) Yu Hua field, Jalan Timur Kajang. Funds collected from sales of tickets will be channelled to its building construction. Each booklet is RM10. For details contact 03-87366385 or


THE ex-pupils' Association (GES) Kluang (Sekolah Tinggi Kluang) will be holding its 51st Annual Anniversary Dinner at Prime City Hotel on Oct 8. For details call Fam Swee Poh (019-7600995) or Choi Yit Ming (012-7472018) or email Chia Choo Kuang (


THE High Commission of India, Kuala Lumpur is showcasing an photo exhibition on Sikh Heritage in India by Shri Sondeep Shankar at the Gurdwara Sahib Sentul, Jalan Haji Salleh, Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition will be on till Sept 29 from 11am to 8pm.


THERE will be a free public forum on "To breast or not to breast" & "Skin to skin" this Saturday, Sept 24, from 10am to 12.30pm at Dewan Pantai, Ground Floor – Block C, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur 8, Jalan Bukit Pantai, Kuala Lumpur. Please call 03-2296 0773 or 22960610 to register.

Demo on horseback archery during horse show

Posted: 19 Sep 2011 03:53 AM PDT

A HORSEBACK archery demonstration will be held during the 1Malaysia National Horse Show at the Selangor Turf Club Equestrian and Sports Centre in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur from Sept 23 to 25.

Two Malaysians — Azharul Amani Abdul Aziz and Marshal Ajail — will display their horseback archery skills.

Adruja Horseback Archery Club president Sheikh Fuad Sheikh Mahmud said the duo, both members of the Malaysian Armed Forces Equestrian Club (MAFEC), have been given the task to perform during the National Horse Show.

Sheikh Fuad, an accomplished horseback archer, said he would not be able to perform at the horse show due to prior commitments.

But the 47-year-old went through a training session at the Selangor Turf Club recently.

Clad in traditional attire, as required by rules of the World Horseback Archery Federation (WHAF), Sheikh Fuad displayed his skills for about 30 minutes.

"Horseback archery requires the use of a traditional bow and involves 80% to 90% riding skills. A horseback archer will have to depend on his riding skills more. He has to hold the bow and arrows and balance himself on the horse.

"The horse will be moving at high speed. The rider cannot afford to take any chances or he will fall,'' said Sheikh Fuad.

Besides the horseback archery demonstration, the STF have also lined up a host of exciting events covering the major disciplines of equestrian competition — dressage, combined driving, endurance riding and show jumping.

A 20km endurance ride, to raise funds for charity, will be held on Sept 24. Winners will be donating the prize money to charitable causes.

The expo village will have an equine-related products and services, international farriery competition, pony and carriage rides and carriages from different eras.

Admission to the horse show, open from 10am to 6pm daily, is free. Log on to for more information.


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