Rabu, 21 September 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Lung cancer linked to risk of stroke: study

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 09:55 PM PDT

REUTERS - People recently diagnosed with lung cancer are at a higher risk of having a stroke than those without lung tumours, according to a Taiwanese study.

Researchers at China Medical University looked at data covering more than 150,000 adults and found that among those with lung cancer, 26 in every 1,000 experienced a stroke every year, compared with 17 in 1,000 who did not have cancer.

Lifestyle issues that might influence stroke risk -- such as smoking, drinking or diet -- were not factored in, said Fung-Chang Sung, senior author of the study, which was published in the journal Stroke.

Still, the risk was highest during the first three months after a lung cancer diagnosis for men and during the first four-to-six months for women.

"Lung cancer is associated with increased risk of subsequent stroke within one year after diagnosis for men and two years after diagnosis for women," Sung and colleagues wrote, adding that the risk subsequently decreased after that period of time.

The researchers also found that a less common type of stroke -- hemorrhagic stroke, caused by sudden bleeding into the brain -- occurred more often among the lung cancer patients than ischemic stroke, which is usually caused by a clot blocking blood flow to brain tissue.

Some evidence suggests that excessive bleeding and blood clots, both of which can be caused by tumours, as well as chemotherapy side effects, could partly explain the apparent link between cancer and stroke, researchers note.

"The most common type of lung cancer, adenocarcinoma, increases the body's propensity to form blood clots, even more so than other types of cancer," said Andrew Russman, a stroke specialist at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, who was not a part of the study.

More than 52,000 people with lung cancer and more than 104,000 people without lung cancer were selected from a nationwide health insurance database.

Most of the study population was blue-collar workers such as farmers, fishermen and vendors, who tended to have high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.

"There's a higher rate of high blood pressure and diabetes and pulmonary disease in patients with lung cancer," Russman said.

"I think this reflects the heavy burden of smoking and smoking-related risk factors in the population."

According to the American Lung Association, smoking is directly responsible for approximately 90 percent of lung cancer deaths, while the American Heart Association said in a report that strokes accounted for one of out eighteen deaths in the United States in 2007.

"In the U.S., smokers have twice the risk of having a stroke, regardless of lung cancer," Russman said.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/pKWV0G

(Reporting from New York by Linda Thrasybule, editing by Elaine Lies)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Poor women get more unneeded breast cancer surgery

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 08:50 PM PDT

REUTERS - Old, poor and Hispanic women are all more likely to have unnecessary breast cancer surgery despite 2005 recommendations for gentler treatment, according to a U.S. study.

Based on a California state cancer registry, researchers whose findings were published in the Archives of Surgery found that more than a third of some 18,000 women who had undergone a mastectomy for early-stage breast cancer had had lymph nodes under the armpits removed as well.

A breast cancer patient, listens to her doctor after a radiological medical examination in an Athens hospital October 29, 2008. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis/Files)

Yet for these women, their cancer had not yet spread beyond the breast.

"The women that were getting this unnecessary surgery were more likely to be of lower socioeconomic status, were older, or were Hispanic," said Sharon Lum, a breast surgeon at Loma Linda University in California, who worked on the study.

In 2005, guidelines recommended surgery that spares most of the lymph nodes, avoiding side effects such as pain, swelling and numbness later on.

In addition, since the mid-2000s, the American Society of Clinical Oncology has urged doctors to consider removing only the lymph nodes closest to the tumor to see if the cancer had spread beyond the breast.

Even if it had, a study earlier this year suggested that removing the lymph nodes does not help women live longer, as long as they are getting chemotherapy and radiation.

Lum said it was hard to figure out why the women receiving the unnecessary surgery were from those particular groups from the data. The gentler surgery isn't more expensive, but it does require more coordination between different departments, adding an extra step that some surgeons might prefer to avoid, Lum added.

"There are surgeons that choose not to do it, and there are patients that don't know it's better," she said.

"The take-home message for patients and surgeons is, you have to be educated about the downstream consequences of the surgery you choose to do."

In an editorial published along with the study, Jan Wong of East Carolina University in Greensville, North Carolina, said the study raises troubling questions.

"Do these data lend further evidence to the difficult of tranlsation evidence-based recommendations of care into clinical practice? If so, what are these reasons for this and how might this be corrected?" he wrote.

"Might these data suggest the selective management of women with early breast cancer based on the level of insurance coverage?"

He added that the study showed that health care systems need to more carefully examine the process of care and intervene with corrective action when needed. SOURCE: http://bit.ly/oJk1hK

(Reporting from New York by Frederik Joelving at Reuters Health; editing by Elaine Lies)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Libya rulers say they seize Gaddafi desert outposts

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 08:50 PM PDT

TRIPOLI/NORTH OF BANI WALID, Libya (Reuters) - Libya's interim rulers said they had captured one of Muammar Gaddafi's last strongholds deep in the Sahara desert, finding chemical weapons, and largely taken control of another.

Anti-Gaddafi fighters test a tank as it arrives at a checkpoint north of Muammar Gaddafi's bastion of Bani Walid, as part of preparations for an expected advance into the town by NTC forces, September 21, 2011.

In another boost, the National Transitional Council (NTC) had an unexpected windfall when it found $23 billion worth of assets left unspent by Gaddafi in Libya's central bank, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, citing officials in London and Tripoli.

The NTC is under pressure to assert its control over the country and also to revive Libya's economy and finance government institutions, hit by the long struggle to overthrow Gaddafi.

The NTC's military spokesmen said its forces had seized the outpost of Jufra about 700 km (435 miles) southeast of Tripoli, and most of Sabha.

"The whole of the Jufra area -- we have been told it has been liberated," spokesman Fathi Bashaagha told reporters in the city of Misrata on Wednesday. "There was a depot of chemical weapons and now it is under the control of our fighters."

His comments could not be confirmed independently. Under Gaddafi, Libya was supposed to have destroyed its stockpile of chemical weapons in early 2004 as part of a rapprochement with the West under which it also abandoned a nuclear programme.

However, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says Libya kept 9.5 tonnes of mustard gas at a secret desert location.

Gaddafi loyalists have been holding out in Jufra and Sabha along with the bigger strongholds of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli, and Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte since the fall of the capital in August.

"We control most of Sabha apart from the al-Manshiya district. This is still resisting, but it will fall," said another NTC military spokesman, Ahmed Bani.

CNN, citing a correspondent in Sabha, reported that NTC fighters had occupied its centre on Wednesday after taking the airport and a fort the day before.

NATO countries extended for three more months the air cover that helped anti-Gaddafi fighters to victory.

However, chaos prevailed among fighters besieging Gaddafi's other two remaining major strongholds. Several attempts by NTC fighters to take Bani Walid and Sirte in the past week have ended in disarray and panicked retreat.


At Bani Walid, bored militiamen fired weapons at camels and sheep while awaiting orders on Wednesday, as much a danger to themselves as to Gaddafi fighters holed up in the town.

One man shot his own head off and killed another fighter while handling a rocket-propelled grenade in full view of a Reuters team. In another incident, a fighter wounded himself and another fighter after losing control of his machinegun.

Seven NTC fighters were also killed in an ambush by pro-Gaddafi soldiers inside Bani Walid, NTC officials said.

At Bani Walid, troops from other areas have been arguing with local fighters, and there has been talk of traitors infiltrating the ranks and sabotaging the assault.

NTC official Abdullah Kenshil told Reuters that pro-Gaddafi forces in Bani Walid had killed at least 16 civilians there in the last two days after suspecting they supported the NTC.

"They were killed in cold blood. They were all civilians and they were killed execution-style," he said. His account could not be independently verified.

Sporadic fighting also continued outside Sirte, where an NTC push from the east toward Gaddafi's birthplace has been blocked for days by heavy artillery fire from loyalist soldiers.

Fighters making their way back from the front line said they were meeting fierce resistance at Khamseen, 50 km (30 miles) east of Sirte, and that they lacked the firepower to respond.

"I'm 100 percent sure that there is someone important in Sirte, either Gaddafi himself or one of his sons, because his forces have become suicidal in the Khamseen area," NTC fighter Hamed al-Hachy told Reuters.


NTC officials found $23 billion worth of assets in the Central Bank of Libya this month, boosting efforts to fund the country's recovery, the Financial Times reported.

Wafik Shater, a finance official in the NTC's stabilisation team, told reporters in Dubai the central bank had "several billion Libyan dinars". One billion Libyan dinars is worth about $820 million.

Shater said the NTC had enough money to run the country for up to six months. "We're in better shape than we anticipated initially," he added.

Libya has been pressing the international community to lift sanctions to release around $170 billion of frozen Libyan assets to the country's new leaders.

Libya's frozen assets have been held by various governments over the last half year in compliance with a U.N. sanctions regime imposed in February and March.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

On a scented trail

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 12:50 AM PDT

IF you have been too busy to keep up with the latest in the shops, let Linora (pic) check them out for you on Red FM's Top Of The Shops.

Every Monday to Friday (11am-3pm), Linora hosts the Red FM's Eleven 2 Three show and includes Top Of The Shops subsegment.

Showcasing a variety of places, products and trends to complement today's lifestyle needs, Linora also gives you the opportunity to try things out for yourself. Just listen out for the cue to enter and you could be walking away with some fantastic giveaways. Prizes which have been won so far by lucky listeners include dining vouchers, recreational sessions and beauty treatments.

On the show this week, Linora has been giving away Nourishing Body Elixirs from Sothys. The renowned professional in beauty treatments has created a new line of pampering elixirs with captivating scents. Derived from flowers and fruits, this delicate aromatic essence nourishes and protects the skin. Win a bottle for yourself and take your senses on an escapade.

Meanwhile, catch more than just a whiff of the excitement in the air that's building up as the hunt for the Red FM's Runaway DJs continues. If you have yet to win anything on Red FM, you still have the chance to win cash, gadgets or even a brand new Proton Inspira in this lucrative contest. The Red FM DJs will be going around to secret locations each day from Monday to Friday in a Proton Inspira. Clues to their whereabouts are given out on-air and online to help you track them down to their latest hideout.

Log on to red.fm for more information on 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.

"Glee" debut loses TV fans but wins over critics

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 06:44 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters): Television musical comedy "Glee" returned to smaller audiences but warm reviews after a summer of confusion over the future of its stars, a box-office flop of a concert movie and disappointment at the Emmys. The Fox show attracted just 8.9 million viewers, a 30 percent drop on last year's season two opener, according to figures on Wednesday from media research company Nielsen.

Taylor Lautner's career sees new dawn with "Abduction"

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Corporate Results in Brief

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 06:07 PM PDT

Thursday September 22, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: Results from: SapuraCrest, Aeon, TA Enterprise, Berjaya Sports Toto, Glomac, Kencana, Greenyield and Visdynamics.

For latest Bursa Malaysia indices, charts and other information click here


US Fed warns of big economic risks, ramps up aid

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 05:59 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve on Wednesday moved to counter what it said were significant risks to the U.S. economy with an effort to lower long-term borrowing costs and bolster housing.

The U.S. central bank said it would launch a $400 billion program to weight its $2.85 trillion balance sheet more heavily toward longer-term securities by selling short-term government debt to purchase longer-dated Treasuries.

It also said it would reinvest proceeds from maturing mortgage and housing agency bonds it holds back into the mortgage market, an acknowledgment of just how weak housing remains.

The Fed's action met with a mixed reception in financial markets. Apparently spooked by the central bank's dismal outlook, U.S. stocks sold off. The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed down nearly 3 percent.

Prices for long-term government debt rose, pushing yields lower -- a sign the measures were more aggressive than some investors had expected. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note dropped as low as 1.856 percent, the lowest in more than 60 years.

"Recent indicators point to continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions, and the unemployment rate remains elevated," the Fed said in a statement after a two-day meeting. "There are significant downside risks to the economic outlook, including strains in global financial markets."

The U.S. economy grew at less than a 1 percent annual rate over the first half of the year and economists have warned of a heightened risk of recession.

Analysts, however, said the Fed's move might not have a great impact, even if it does lower long-term interest rates.

"The cost of borrowing simply isn't the problem," said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics in Toronto. "Businesses don't have the confidence to invest and half of all mortgage borrowers don't have the home equity needed to refinance at lower rates."

Still, faced with a lofty 9.1 percent jobless rate and an escalating sovereign debt crisis in Europe, Fed officials felt they needed to do what they could to try to breathe more life into the sluggish U.S. recovery.

With Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reluctant to stay on the sidelines, his activism has become a punching bag for politicians as an election year nears. Top Republican lawmakers wrote to Bernanke this week urging the central bank to resist further economic interventions, echoing criticism voiced by Republican presidential candidates.

By shifting their bond holdings into longer maturities, the Fed seeks to "twist" long-term interest rates lower relative to its target for overnight lending, hopefully spurring mortgage refinancing and more borrowing by businesses and consumers.

Not all policymakers were on board with the Fed's latest action. The same three officials that had dissented against a decision in August to bolster a low interest rate pledge also opposed Wednesday's move.

Mohamed El-Erian, co-chief investment officer at PIMCO, the world's biggest bond fund, said the combination of dissents and a gloomier outlook pointed to a growing policy divide.


In its statement, the central bank said it will buy $400 billion in securities with maturities of six to 30 years by the end of June 2012, selling an equal amount of debt maturing in three years or less.

The Fed is not alone in its concerns. The Bank of England on Wednesday signaled it was ready to pump more money into the weakening British economy, while Norway's central bank signaled it might refrain from rate increases for longer than previously expected.

The Fed had already embarked far down one of the most aggressive monetary easing paths on record. It cut overnight interest rates to near zero in December 2008 and then moved to more than triple its balance sheet through a series of bond purchases.

After its last meeting on August 9, the Fed said it expected to hold rates at rock-bottom levels at least until the middle of 2013, drawing the trio of dissents.

Critics claim the monetary easing campaign has failed to produce results and warn it could actually cause damage by fueling inflation and debasing the dollar.

"We have serious concerns that further intervention by the Federal Reserve could exacerbate current problems or further harm the U.S. economy," Republican congressional leaders said in their letter to Bernanke, which they released on Tuesday.

The central bank's policies have also become a topic on the presidential campaign trail. Texas Governor Rick Perry, a leading Republican candidate, said any further Fed money printing would be almost "treasonous."

HP's board may oust CEO, hire eBay vet: source

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 05:56 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co's board convened on Wednesday to consider ousting Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker after less than a year on the job and replacing him temporarily with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, a source familiar with the matter said.

The board of directors -- facing shareholder lawsuits and intensifying criticism from investors -- is thrashing out a host of issues, including whether to name Whitman as the interim CEO, the source told Reuters,

HP is trying to contain a crisis of credibility on multiple fronts, starting with its leadership. No decisions have yet been made about leadership, the source said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

If Apotheker is let go, he would be the third CEO in a row to be ousted by the board of the largest U.S. technology company by sales.

Wall Street wasted no time in roaring its approval, sending HP shares up 6.6 percent to close at $23.96, a gain of $3 billion on the day in the company's market value.

Analysts say the odds may have been stacked against Apotheker from the beginning. Venture capitalist Ray Lane, who this year assumed chairmanship of an often-lambasted but powerful board, has argued that previous management underinvested in areas including software and services.

"He was doomed from the beginning," said Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White. "The die was cast for whoever stepped into that position."


Investors seemed to approve of Whitman, a billionaire who joined HP's board this year on an interim basis after a failed bid to become California's governor.

Apotheker, former CEO of German business software maker SAP AG, was a surprise choice to replace the popular Mark Hurd, who was ousted last year after a scandal involving expense reports and a female contractor.

Before Hurd came Carly Fiorina -- like Whitman, a candidate for California political office -- whom investors blamed for betting on a sunset PC industry by buying Compaq. She was eventually fired by the board.

HP's latest chief is facing similar investor criticism. During his tenure, Apotheker slashed sales forecasts repeatedly, backtracked on promises to integrate Palm's webOS software into devices, and struggled to halt a 50 percent plunge in the share price.

Apotheker's possible exit has been viewed by some as merely a matter of time. Chairman Lane had been taking a more visible role in the past few weeks, including accompanying the CEO to visit investors to communicate and clarify HP's strategy.

Last week, he replaced Apotheker at an industry conference to defend HP's change in strategy and clear the confusion that followed in the market.

Representatives for Whitman, whose track record at eBay came under attack during her campaign, did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for HP and the board did not respond to requests for comment.


In August, HP again frustrated investors by killing off a much-touted line of mobile devices including the TouchPad and declaring it may spin off its massive PC division. Apotheker also spearheaded a deal to buy British software maker Autonomy that many considered too costly.

HP has been faced withering criticism from Wall Street and a raft of shareholder lawsuits over its recent strategic decisions and how it communicated them.

Especially rankling to investors was its decision to fork over close to $12 billion for Autonomy, without clarifying how the niche maker of cloud-computing software would fit into or help drive a sprawling empire that spans computers, printers, software and enterprise IT solutions.

"It was unanimously agreed to," said a second source familiar with the situation, referring to the Autonomy deal. "The board was a big part of this."

The pricey Autonomy deal is hard to walk away from, even if HP wanted to, this person said, adding that he did not think the deal was an issue right now.

HP's board has been held up as a model of dysfunction since the wiretapping scandal of a few years ago, when HP counsel and board chairwoman Patricia Dunn authorized electronic eavesdropping on directors and journalists to try to plug a series of media leaks.

That scandal, forever associated with a storied company hailed as a cornerstone of Silicon Valley, forced the resignation of Dunn.

Wall Street now awaits HP's decision on future leadership.

News of Apotheker's potential ouster was first reported by Bloomberg.

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Radcliffe’s best marathon finish no longer a world record

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 03:52 PM PDT

LONDON: Paula Radcliffe's marathon record time will no longer be classed as a world record for the distance after the sport's governing body IAAF changed the criteria.

The changes, made at the recent World Athletics Championships in South Korea, specify that only times achieved in all–women competitions will be acknowledged for world record purposes with performances in mixed conditions now being referred to only as "world best".

This means that Radcliffe's 2003 mark of 2'15:25 in the London Marathon is no longer the world record, as she ran it in a mixed–race after following male pacemakers. The 37–year–old's London Marathon time of 2'17:42 from 2005 is now classed as the world record.

The World Marathon Majors (WMM) and the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) have issued a statement describing the changes as "unfair".

"There should be two world records for women's road–running performances, separately recognising those achieved in mixed competition and women's–only conditions," the statement said.

"AIMS and WMM will continue to acknowledge both types of performances as world records and will discuss this matter further with the IAAF.

"The vast majority of women's road races throughout the world are held in mixed conditions.

"The current situation where the fastest time is not now recognised as a record is confusing and unfair and does not respect the history of our sport."

AIMS represents more than 300 races worldwide, the vast majority of them road races.

Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York are WMM members. – AFP

Motocross rider Zanoni dies in racing accident

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 03:52 PM PDT

SAO PAULO: Brazilian motocross rider Swian Zanoni, who competed in this year's FIM Motocross World Championship, died in a racing accident in Brazil on Sunday. He was 23.

Zanoni sustained a severe neck injury when he crashed his motorcycle while attempting to overtake another rider in a local race in the small city of Orizania.

The Brazilian motorcycling confederation said Zanoni lost control and apparently struck a tree after trying to make the move on the last lap of the race.

"This is a huge loss," said Roberto Boettcher, the confederation's vice president, in a statement. "He had represented Brazil in the world's most important motocross championship, he was carrying the Brazilian flag." – AP

Ecclestone: Bahrain paid F1 hosting fee

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 03:52 PM PDT

LONDON: Bahrain paid the hosting fee for this year's Formula One Grand Prix even though the race was cancelled, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone was quoted as saying on Monday.

"I don't think turnover will be down this year," the 80–year–old Briton told the Independent newspaper when asked about the sport's 2011 balance sheet.

"I think it will be flat because we were paid for Bahrain. I said we will give them the money back and they said 'Don't bother'."

The hosting fee for this year had been estimated by various sources at around US$40mil.

Ecclestone had said in February that he had waived the rights fees after the season–opening race was called off due to violent civil unrest. – Reuters

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The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Pakatan agrees to join electoral reform committee

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 08:16 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat has finally agreed to join the Parliamentary Select Committee entrusted to improve the election process in the country.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the three opposition representatives in the committee would be jointly named by PAS, PKR and DAP.

Prior to this, several opposition leaders were reported to have made various excuses concerning their participation in the committee, including questioning the composition of its members, which they described as unfair.

PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali was reported as saying that the Opposition would not join the committee if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak did not fully fulfill their demands.

At a press conference here Wednesday, Anwar said the decision made by the Pakatan leadership council to join the committee was aimed at ensuring that their representatives would be able to voice out their demands to have not only a clean election, but also thorough electoral reforms.

He said, however, that Pakatan had yet to receive any official information about the formation of the committee which would be tabled at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting scheduled to begin on Oct 3.

On Aug 15, Najib announced the formation of committee in a bid to improve the election process and to strengthen the laws and regulations governing elections in the country.

The committee, which will be chaired by a Cabinet minister, will comprise five Barisan Nasional members, three opposition members and one independent member. - Bernama

M'sia extends condolences to India, Nepal over quake tragedy

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 05:59 AM PDT

Published: Wednesday September 21, 2011 MYT 8:59:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has conveyed its heartfelt condolences to the Indian and Nepal governments and their people following the tragic earthquake that have rocked both countries' borders last Sunday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost their lives in this disaster," said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman in a statement issued here Wednesday.

Anifah said although no Malaysians were affected in the tragedy, the Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi and Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu were closely monitoring the situation.

Sunday's quake, which occurred around 6.10pm local time at 60km west of Gangtok, Sikkim, near the Nepal and India border with depth about 19.7km, has so far claimed about 98 lives. - Bernama

Sodomy II: Foreign expert agrees three swabs had 'Male Y' DNA

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 05:54 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A foreign chemist agreed that "Male Y" DNA appeared in all three sample swabs taken from complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan's anus, the High Court here heard Wednesday.

Australian chemist Dr Brian McDonald said he did not deny that all loci from two high rectal and one low rectal swab taken from Mohd Saiful's anus matched the DNA profile of "Male Y".

(Loci, the plural of locus, is the specific location of a gene or DNA sequence on a chromosome.)

At the end of the prosecution's case in the ongoing sodomy trial of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, it was established that "Male Y" matched the DNA of the Opposition leader.

The fourth defence witness was being cross-examined by Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden.

Earlier, Dr McDonald denied telling the court that prosecution witness Dr Seah Lay Hong in her testimony previously said there were no degradation on all the samples.

Mohd Yusof insisted that Dr McDonald had said that.

He then extensively referred Dr Mcdonald to the notes of proceedings where Dr Seah had in various instances indicated the degradation.

"Dr Seah had said there was a degradation but it was not sufficient to destroy the DNA. The DNA was still readable," Mohd Yusof said.

Dr McDonald replied that the level of degradation of samples was different for the ones taken from the anus and from the pants.

Mohd Yusof also grilled Dr McDonald on the accreditation of the Chemistry department's DNA lab. He said that the DNA lab in the department was accredited under the American Society of Crime Laboratory Director (ASCLD) under its legacy program when the test was carried out in 2008.

This contradicted what Dr McDonald had previously told the court, that the DNA lab was not properly accredited as it was not up to international standards.

Related Stories:
Chemists did not report mixed profile DNA during analysis, says defence witness
Sodomy II: Prosecution questions DNA expert's credentials
Sodomy II: Sperm sample not taken properly, says expert

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Rajaretnam reminisces his years as a port worker

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 05:47 AM PDT

RETIRED port worker Rajaretnam Govindasamy joined Cargo Handling Corporation (CHC) Ltd, a subsidiary of Malayan Railways in 1962 as a wharf worker while in his teens.

He is the second generation member in his family to work at the port – following the footsteps of his father-in-law S. Muniandy.

Today, Rajaretnam's son Sri Muhunan is a senior manager of Port Klang Authority (PKA) and a third generation port man.

Rajaretnam's three other children are also linked to the port services.

From a winch operator, Raja-retnam ended his career as a shift foreman in Northport (Malaysia) Bhd. He retired in 2004, but had his employment extended for another two years. Now, 62, Rajaretnam said: "When I first joined CHC as a wharf worker back in 1962, I was 14.

"At that time, the port was the only major industry around Klang. Because the salary was low for the ordinary port worker (between RM75 and RM200 a month), most families could not afford to have only the father working. So they also got their eldest son to work."

He said the first 20 years of his working life was difficult especially with the low income.

Rajaretnam said the first forklift made its appearance in North Klang Straits (NKS) in 1963.

"The Northport today is a far cry from NKS in the 60s; we only had four wharves and serviced mainly British ships."

Rajaretnam said he is still living in Port Klang. He added that he has no complaints.

"I have four children, and my eldest son Sri Muhunan, 41, is a senior manager in PKA and a third generation port man, my second son Gunalan, 38, works in a shipping company, my eldest daughter Letchumy, 40, is a housewife and another daughter Yogeswary, 34, works for a freight forwarding agency at the KL International Airport," added Rajaretnam.

KPA scores a ton

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 05:44 AM PDT

THE centennial celebration of the nation's biggest seaport, Port Klang begins tomorrow with a series of events until Sunday. The Port Klang Authority (PKA) commemorates 100 years of being a maritime gateway for the country.

The celebrations begin with the launching of a special coffee table book documenting Port Klang's progress from its humble beginnings to its current status as one of the busiest seaports in South-East Asia.

Titled Port Klang – Malaysia's Maritime Marvel, the book features remembrance of the port's storied past, a photographic timeline and workers' account of the port's remarkable times.

Administered by PKA under the leadership of its chairman Datuk Dr Teh Kim Poo and acting general manager Captain David Padman, the free carnival on Saturday at Tanjung Harapan (Esplanade) Port Klang will be opened to the public.

Teh, whose father was a wharf worker at Port Klang, said it was important to recognise the milestone because the port has been providing jobs for the people in Port Klang for over 100 years.

"When I was a young boy, my father used to take me on a bicycle to the docks to show me the ships unloading their cargo. It was quite a sight and never did I imagined then that I would one day be overseeing the same port where my father had worked.

"Over 100 years ago, Port Klang community and the British Resident of Selangor Sir Frank Swettenham had the foresight to establish a port that would stimulate the country's economy and generate jobs for the local people," Teh added.

Since its inception in 1901, Port Klang has become Malaysia's principal port.

Strategically positioned within the Straits of Malacca, the busiest sea lane in the world, the port has state-of-the-art terminals capable of processing any type of cargo. On reaching its century mark, Port Klang has built up links to 600 ports covering 180 countries.

Teh said the celebration was in honour of the many stevedores, wharf workers, truck drivers, shore workers, and all other labourers whose contributions had brought about the port's growth.

"This is a chance to celebrate the past as well as to look to the future of the port," he said.

Members of the public are invited to participate in the port carnival, that include a harbour cruise to Northport and Westports, a meet-the-clients day, exhibitions, vintage motorbike parade, floats by sea, jet ski and kayak competitions and colouring contest for children.

There will also be a blood donation drive, an open-air concert, karaoke competitions, fireworks displays, career talks and many other events. The celebration will end with a charity golf game on Sunday.

Teh said: "This centennial year we invite the community to celebrate with us and to share with us their memories and recollections."

Today, Port Klang is the National Load Centre and Trading Gateway and is ranked 13th in the world. It handles an average 38% of the overall Malaysian seaborne traffic.

PKA corporate communication manager Shanti Gunaratnam said free shuttle bus services would be made available to the public to Tanjung Harapan just outside the Port Klang KTM Komuter station on an hourly basis. The bus service starts at 8am and ends at 9.30pm. Buses will be stationed at the ASA Niaga parking space across the commuter station.

"Those returning to Tanjung Harapan to the Komuter station can take the shuttle service close to the Bugis ship replica," she said.

Gunaratnam added that the tour to Northport is scheduled at a two-hour frequency – 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.

The harbour cruise to Westports and Northport by boat will feature seven half-hourly trips beginning 10am and ending at 4pm.

For details, call Shanti, 03-3168 8211 ext 2023.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Allan Wu wooing China

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 12:49 AM PDT

Shanghai is now home for actor Allan Wu and his family as he tries to break into Chinese films.

A MONTH after actor-host Allan Wu relocated to Shanghai to further his career, he has started auditioning for roles, including some in Hollywood films.

Wu, 39, his Singaporean actress wife Wong Li-Lin, 38, and their two children packed their bags and moved to the Chinese city last month, so that he could pursue acting and hosting in China.

He plans eventually to break into Chinese films. The Chinese-American actor moved to Singapore and found popularity in the island republic's entertainment scene in the past decade.

Wu who was in Singapore to host the One Fighting Championship recently, he says he and his family have a good life in Singapore but he and Wong had contemplated the move to China for more than four years.

"I knew in my heart I was getting complacent, it was getting too easy," he says. "I knew down the road that there was more to life and I needed to seek bigger challenges, too."

The catalyst for him to take the plunge was the success of the television series The Amazing Race: China Rush, which he is currently hosting.

The show, already in its second season, is airing on China Central Television, Dragon TV and International Channel Shanghai, the foreign-language cable channel of Shanghai Media Group.

"I think if I didn't already have that vehicle to give me a platform to introduce myself to the China market, then I would feel more pressured," he says.

He hopes to live in Shanghai for at least a year or two, to "see how it goes". The family is getting by on savings and income from Wu's acting and hosting jobs in Shanghai.

While there are more opportunities in China's entertainment market, he says it will take time to "gain traction and penetrate the market".

He says: "If I didn't think I have anything to prove, I would probably still sit here in Singapore and wait for my next job. But I realise I have to kick it up a couple of gears just to try and find out now because I'm not getting any younger."

Wu adds that he has started auditioning for roles in "Hollywood blockbuster" films, as Hollywood directors would head for China to scout for actors, rather than Singapore. However, he could not provide details about the films because he signed confidentiality agreements.

The move meant that Wong would be a trailing spouse. She now looks after their two children – Sage, seven, and Jonas, five – in Shanghai. He adds that she has been fully supportive. "I think she knew my dream was to always go to China and try to work there and see what happens, even if it means having to be a housewife for a little while," he says.

But he adds that she has begun auditioning for hosting jobs in Shanghai and they are looking for a nanny to take care of their kids.

The couple have enrolled their daughter Sage in YK Pao, an international school in Shanghai, while their son Jonas attends a local kindergarten there.

Adjusting to life in Shanghai has not been easy for the children, admits Wu. "I don't think they are a huge fan of Shanghai yet because it's not as clean and as convenient as Singapore. I know Sage misses her friends. It's a pretty radical move but I think the fact that Li-Lin and I are both there, the kids will find it easy to assimilate or acclimatise."

The family has kept their District 9 apartment in Singapore and Wu says they will be shuttling between China and Singapore often.

Wu says his "end plan" is to eventually head to Hollywood. But a return to Singapore is also on the cards.

If China does not work out for him, he says: "My top priority is to support my family and if I can do that doing what I love – acting and hosting – then great. If I can't, then I'll work a nine-to-five job ... maybe. I'm a survivor, I'll find something to do." – The Singapore Times/Asia News Network

'Smurfs,' 'Friends with Benefits' going UltraViolet

Posted: 20 Sep 2011 08:06 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: ''The Smurfs'' and ''Friends With Benefits'' will be the first films released by Sony on the UltraViolet platform, John Calkins, the EVP of the studio's digital division announced at TheGrill, TheWrap's second annual media conference.

UltraViolet is the cloud-based service that Hollywood hopes will help it replace the revenues being lost by a constricting DVD market.

It launches in the fourth quarter of this year. Sony has been a strong supporter of DECE, the consortium that helped create the eco-system.

At a panel on the change how cloud technology is impacting moviemaking, Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. digital distribution, said that the studio would release an UltraViolet version of ''Green Lantern'' later this year.

The idea is that by designing a system that lets consumers stream and store movies and TV shows they purchase on multiple devices, studios can encourage people to buy not just rent their products.

UltraViolet compatible Blu-ray versions of ''Friends'' and ''Smurfs'' will arrive in stores on December 2, 2011.

After a customer purchases an UltraViolet copy of the sex comedy or animated hit and creates their free cloud-based UltraViolet account, they will be able to access their movie through any UltraViolet-compatible service or device - from PCs and tablets to TVs and smart phones.

Disney, Cameron to create theme-park ''Avatar''

Posted: 20 Sep 2011 08:02 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: Moviegoers pining for a return to the lush moon of Pandora in James Cameron's film ''Avatar'' will finally get their chance - first-hand.

Walt Disney Co is teaming with the Oscar-winning director and News Corp unit Fox Filmed Entertainment, to mimic the thriving green landscape depicted in the highest-grossing movie of all time in a section of its Orlando, Florida, theme park.

Under their agreement, Disney won exclusive global theme park rights to the ''Avatar'' franchise. It will begin building from 2013 and will eventually take Avatar ''lands'' beyond Orlando's Disney World.

''Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park-goers the chance to see, hear and touch the world of 'Avatar' with an unprecedented sense of reality,'' Cameron said in a statement.

At a news conference, Cameron said that when he began talks with Disney designers, he ''quickly realized their vision for this thing was far beyond what I imagined, and I've got a pretty good imagination.''

The estimated cost for the Orlando project is about $400 million, a source familiar with the matter said. Construction should take about five years.

Planning is in the early stages, and executives gave few details on how Disney would recreate the fantasy world of ''Avatar'' and the creatures that inhabit it. The section will be located within Disney's Animal Kingdom park.

''Avatar,'' the 2009 film that chronicled the struggle of the alien Na'vi against marauding resource-ravenous humans, grossed almost $3 billion worldwide and triggered the current renaissance in 3D-film making.

Cameron is planning sequels to the blockbuster hit, which surpassed his own ''Titanic'' as the highest-grossing movie in history. The first of the ''Avatar'' sequels is set for release around Christmas 2014, Cameron said.

Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said the company planned to bring ''Avatar'' to other locations beyond the Florida park. ''We think we can clearly leverage the global interest in this property,'' Iger said.

The company is deep into several big theme park projects, including building a new park in Shanghai and adding a 12-acre section, set to open next year based on the animated ''Cars'' films, to its California resort.

Disney typically works with its own movies when developing themed sections and rides. It does have some attractions based on films from other studios, including the ''Star Wars'' and ''Indiana Jones'' franchises.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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Zang Toi at NY Fashion Week

Posted: 22 Sep 2011 12:40 AM PDT

Designer Zang Toi delivers a collection filled with thrills and surprising elements.

KNOWN for his timeless aesthetic and modern twist on sophisticated elegance, Zang Toi embarked on a journey to the African desert this season where decadence and glamour rule.

The couturier showcased his Spring 2012 collection on Sept 13 during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York and received a standing ovation for his designs.

"The inspiration of 'My Dream of North Africa' came from the memory of my stay at the La Mamounia in Marrakech 11 years ago," enthused Kelantan-born Zang in an e-mail interview. "As a creative person, I hope to bring beauty back to the world."

He added that, through his collection, he was also paying homage to the late Yves Saint Laurent and his iconic home in Marrakech.

"The rich culture, the brilliantly blue night sky and rich sands, the glamorous lifestyle – everything about this place is magical and beautifully classic. I wanted to subtly translate that feeling of timeless exotica," explained Zang.

"The gold statement was actually conceived when I started thinking about the collection seven months ago. My first reason is that gold is a favourite jewel of that region and, secondly, I wanted to make a switch from seven years ago, when I played with platinum to provide a surprise element to the new collection."

Zang's colour palate comprises deep browns, desert ebony, ivory and a brilliant sapphire blue. Fabrics include linen printed on silk gazar, silk mousseline, Loro Piana silk and cashmere, accented with French lace and even 23K gold leaf border. Tuxedo looks are strong in dark ebony, while bold sweeping A-line skirts steal the show for evening.

Since the designer opened his atelier in New York in 1989, Zang has been a constant on the international scene of haute fashion. Having dressed celebrities such as Sharon Stone, Eva Longoria and Patti Labelle, he got his longtime friend Kirstie Alley to model in his show.

Clad in a dramatic royal blue, rhinestone-adorned gown, the 60-year-old actress – who is a former Dancing With The Stars contestant – closed Zang's fashion show. (The other celebrity who participated in the show was Cory Stearns, the principle dancer from American Ballet Theatre.)

"I've known Zang since 1993," Alley was quoted as saying in an interview. "I did the cover of Redbook and I wanted something really beautiful ... he just has the most beautiful clothes, period."

As a Hollywood star, Alley has walked the red carpet numerous times. But she revealed that she still had some runway jitters.

"Will be winkin' and blinking at y'all. DONT make me laugh! Gotta keep 'model face'. Oh, who am I kidding?? Haha," she tweeted before going on the runway.

After the show, Alley tweeted: "Thank You all the REAL Models for letting me share @ZANGTOI runway with you! You all were sooo sweet and looked soooo gorgeous!"

As she had such a good experience, we can't help but wonder if she'll make an encore appearance at Zang's next show. – William K.C. Kee

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Gavin DeGraw feeling 'Sweeter' after attack

Posted: 20 Sep 2011 08:05 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Getting beaten up is never a good thing, unless maybe you're Gavin DeGraw. In which case, it could even make life "Sweeter."

The U.S. singer-songwriter isn't bitter about being thrashed by a group of men in New York and hospitalized for days in August, a month before his new album was released, telling Reuters it was, in the end, the "best case scenario."

The pop and rock singer spoke about the late-night attack, which made worldwide headlines only weeks before his fourth studio album, "Sweeter" featuring the single "Not Over You," was released on Tuesday.

Before the attack, DeGraw was best known for the 2004 single "I Don't Want To Be" which broke onto top 40 charts in Britain, Australia and The Netherlands, peaked at No. 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was widely covered by contestants in TV shows such as "American Idol."

But in early August, while on tour as a supporting act for rock bands Maroon 5 and Train, he reported being attacked by three men and then hit by a taxi cab, causing a concussion, a broken nose, canceled concerts - and wider media attention than ever before.

"It's funny enough, right?" DeGraw told Reuters on Tuesday about his twist of fate while pointing out some scars. "I guess the best case scenario would be that it (the attack) can be diverted to the positive ... Fortunately I was able to escape with a minimal amount of injuries."

He downplayed his pain and suffering as minimal, compared to what some professional athletes go through.

"I just wish I had on a helmet at the time," he said, adding "it's really not so so terrible. If you can find a way to divert the energy to the positive, then it's the best case scenario."

Police have been investigating an assault by several males but no arrests have been made. Nevertheless, DeGraw, 34, saw it as just a "bump in the road" before releasing his current album and embarking on a new U.S. tour.

"My revenge will be the success of being able to play music for the rest of my life," he said.

He calls "Sweeter" his "best work" yet. The first single "Not Over You" already is receiving wide radio airplay in the United States, and he said other songs such as "Radiation" displayed a sound that was more raw than his work on previous albums, such as his 2003 debut "Chariot" and his self-titled album follow up.

"This album has another element that I didn't have before, which I think is a lot, a lot more sexy and at the same time very masculine," he said.

As he embarks on a tour with past "American Idol" winner David Cook, DeGraw said whatever happens with his music and in his personal life - even traumatic events such as being attacked - will make him a better person. It's part of his life's philosophy.

"Everything you go through becomes a part of your character ultimately and makes you a richer person. And honestly I don't think that it was the worst thing in the world, it was a bad moment. But having that dark cloud for a moment allowed me to see the silver lining," he said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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