Khamis, 6 Oktober 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Drought-hit Pacific island nation down to last few days of water

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 09:27 PM PDT

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A drought-stricken Pacific island nation is down to its last few days of water, prompting a mercy dash by New Zealand and Australia with water-making equipment.

Tuvalu, the world's fourth-smallest nation sitting just below the Equator, has declared a state of emergency and is rationing water.

Tuvalu has a collective land mass of just 25 sq km (10 square miles) with its highest point five metres above sea level and is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change and rising oceans.

Air force planes from New Zealand and Australia were combining on Friday to move a large desalination plant to Tuvalu, a group of small islands around 3,180 km northeast of New Zealand.

"The advice is that more capacity is needed to relieve the acute water shortage and replenish stocks," said New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully in a statement.

"The large army desalination equipment...will help ease the critical shortage and should provide a sufficient buffer if the dry period continues as expected."

Residents in the capital Funafuti have been rationed to two buckets of fresh water a day. The country has a population of fewer than 11,000 on nine low lying atolls.

Emergency water supplies have also been shipped to the Tokelau island group, where 1,300 people are down to a few days water because of drought.

Rain, which supplies much of the water for the two nations, has been well below average for the past six months because of a severe La Nina weather pattern.

That has increased the strength of eastern trade winds across the Pacific, pushing rainfall to the west and away from the islands.

(Writing by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Romney says would exert U.S. leadership globally

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 09:27 PM PDT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will vow on Friday to exert U.S. leadership worldwide with military power and diplomacy in a speech aimed at showing he has foreign policy mettle.

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a town hall meeting at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire September 28, 2011. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Romney will say that if elected in November 2012, he will promise a series of actions over his first 100 days in office to demonstrate American might.

"I will not surrender America's role in the world. This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president," Romney will say, according to excerpts released by his campaign.

Romney, a former businessman who was also Massachusetts governor, has little foreign policy experience. In his speech, he seeks to demonstrate to Americans he would be able to handle crises abroad and exert U.S. leadership in an unsettled world.

He also attempts to portray Democratic President Barack Obama, whom he wants to replace, as weak despite some clear foreign policy successes by the president, such as the killing last May of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and well-received efforts to wind down the U.S. troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Romney would step up pressure on Iran over its nuclear program by ordering the regular presence of an aircraft carrier task force in both the eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf region and begin discussions with Israel to increase military and intelligence coordination.


Stressing the need to maintain U.S. military supremacy, Romney will pledge to prevent any massive cuts in defense spending. He has denounced an August agreement between Obama and Congress that could permit deep cuts in the U.S. defense budget as part of an effort to tackle record budget deficits.

Romney would order the U.S. Navy built up by increasing the shipbuilding rate to about 15 a year from nine in order to bolster the American presence on the high seas.

"The United States should always retain military supremacy to deter would-be aggressors and to defend our allies and ourselves," he will say.

He would work to bolster relations with Israel that some critics say have been damaged by what they feel was Obama's favoring of the Palestinians over Israel.

Romney would also strengthen the U.S.-British "special relationship" and begin talks with Mexico on border violence due to the drug trade.

"America must lead the world, or someone else will," Romney will say.

Romney is hoping South Carolina will give him a second chance in 2012.

Consigned to a humbling fourth-place finish in the South Carolina Republican primary in 2008, Romney has some convincing to do to persuade the state's conservatives to back him this time over rivals such as Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Romney on Thursday spent the first of two days in the Charleston area trying to appeal to U.S. military veterans who live in the state and are an influential voting bloc.

He leads in national opinion polls over Perry and businessman Herman Cain three months before Republican primary voting begins, but is attempting to break out of the pack.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

Wall St protests spread, Fed official sympathizes

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:54 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Protests against the U.S. financial system and economic inequality spread across America on Thursday and found unlikely sympathy from a top official of one of the main targets of scorn -- the Federal Reserve.

An Occupy Wall Street demonstrator sits with his dog as authorities begin to remove all camping materials outside the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, California October 6, 2011. (REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

The Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York last month with a few people expanded to protests in more than a dozen cities.

They included Tampa, Florida; Trenton and Jersey City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Norfolk, Virginia, in the East; Chicago and St. Louis in the Midwest; Houston, San Antonio and Austin in Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Portland, Oregon, Seattle and Los Angeles in the West.

Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher surprised a business group in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday when he said, "I am somewhat sympathetic -- that will shock you."

The Fed played a key role in one of the protest targets, the 2008 Wall Street bailout that critics say let banks enjoy huge profits while average Americans suffered high unemployment and job insecurity.

"We have too many people out of work," Fisher said. "We have a very uneven distribution of income. We have too many people out of work for too long. We have a very frustrated people, and I can understand their frustration."

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden also acknowledged the frustration and anger of the protesters on Thursday.

"People are frustrated and, you know, the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works," Obama said at a news conference in Washington.

Biden, speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum, likened the protest movement to the Tea Party, which sprang to life in 2009 after Obama's election and has become a powerful conservative grass-roots force helping elect dozens of Republicans to office.

"The American people do not think the system is fair," Biden said.


With support from unions boosting the protesters' ranks, organizers predicted the momentum would build across the country.

"This is the beginning," said John Preston in Philadelphia, business manager for Teamsters Local 929. "Teamsters will support the movement city to city."

In Philadelphia, up to 1,000 protesters chanted and waved placards reading: "I did not think 'By the People, For the People' meant 1 percent," a reference to their argument the country's top few have too much wealth and political power.

In Los Angeles, more than 100 protesters crowded outside a Bank of America branch downtown, while a smaller group dressed in business attire slipped inside and pitched a tent. Eleven were arrested when they refused to remove the tent.

In Washington, protesters carried signs that read: "Human Needs, Not Corporate Greed" and "Stop the War on Workers."

"I believe the American dream is truly in jeopardy," said protester Darrell Bouldin, 25, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. "There are so many people like me in Tennessee who are fed up with the Wall Street gangsters."

On Wednesday, about 5,000 people marched on New York's financial district, the biggest rally so far, swelled by nurses, transit workers and other union members. Dozens of people were arrested and police used pepper spray on some protesters.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he understood the anger being felt by the protesters but had to balance that with the economic importance of Wall Street to the state. Wall Street is the pillar of the New York state economy, making up 13 percent of tax contributions.

The head of General Electric Co finance arm, Michael Neal, said he was sympathetic to the cause.

"People are really angry, and I get it. If I were unemployed now, I'd be really angry too," Neal told Reuters in Columbus, Ohio, after a GE event.

(Additional reporting by Corrie MacLaggan in Austin, Bruce Olson in St. Louis, Jim Forsyth in San Antonio, Ian Simpson in Washington, Dave Warner in Philadelphia and Chris Baltimore in Houston; Writing by Michelle Nichols and Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Jerry Norton, Ellen Wulfhorst and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Right on target

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 11:36 PM PDT

One Red FM listener finally got the mystery clip right and was richer for it.

UNLIKE the name of the movie, the contest turned out to be anything but "Cursed" when one contestant guessed the answer to Red FM's What's The Movie mystery clip and walked away with RM11,900.

In one of the most lucrative contests on air, Terry plays a line from a movie on Red FM's Drive show (Monday to Friday, 3pm-7pm) and listeners will have to guess which movie the line comes from.

The prize money snowballs each time an incorrect answer is given. This challenging yet rewarding contest tests listeners' knowledge of the movies with just a short sound clip.

As the prize money went up for one particular clip, listeners made numerous attempts to find out which movie the line came from.

However, it was by a stroke of luck that saw Melvin Teh Chin Yu winning the snowballed prize money.

Teh chanced upon the line in the movie when he watched it on his brother's recommendation. With a hunch that it was the same clip that was being played on Red FM's What's The Movie, he browsed through the station's website as all the wrong answers were put up to assist listeners in increasing their chances of winning.

When he found out that Cursed was not among the movies listed on the website, he made just one phone call to Terry and that was enough for him to win all of the prize money.

Apart from celebrating the win with his family over a nice meal, the money will also go towards Teh's new home.

Having just moved from Penang to Kuala Lumpur to start a new job, the money came in handy for this medical sales representative.

It was a merry affair when Terry met Teh to congratulate him as both were equally excited at the generous giveaway.

In the meantime, the contest continues on air with another mystery clip.

With the prize money on the up if there are no correct answers, it's anybody's guess just how high it can go. Keep an ear out for it and you could be the next big winner.

For more details on the contest, check out and join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page ( You can also follow them on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates of all contests.

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.

David Cassidy sues for 'Partridge Family' merchandise

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 02:14 AM PDT

LOS ANGELES: David Cassidy refuses to come on, and get happy, until he's paid what he feels he's owed.

The former ''Partridge Family'' heartthrob filed suit against Screen Gems, CRT Holdings, Sony Pictures Television and Sony Pictures Entertainment in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, claiming that he's been bilked out of a small fortune stemming from his '70 hit "The Partridge Family."

According to the suit - which alleges fraud, breach of contract, negligent representation and other charges - the show, which ran from 1970 to 1974, generated almost US$500 million in merchandise revenues from products including board games, magazines, posters, toy guitars and lunch boxes.

And while the contract that Cassidy re-negotiated in 1971 called for him to receive 15 percent of the net proceeds using his image, name and likeness, along with 7.5 percent of the net proceeds from the exhibition of the show, according to the suit he's been deprived of his due for decades.

"For nearly 40 years, Defendants have swindled Mr. Cassidy out of his rightful share of proceeds from 'The Partridge Family.' And, when Mr. Cassidy has inquired into the matter, [Defendants] have lied to him so as to continue to conceal their deception and continue to avoid their obligation to pay Mr. Cassidy his fair share of those moneys owed him pursuant to the 1971 Contract," the suit reads.

Cassidy, 61, is seeking "in excess of millions of dollars, in amount to be determined at trial." Cassidy told CNN that he was forced to sue due to Sony's alleged foot-dragging.

"It's just a matter of being fair, and doing the right thing," Cassidy told the network. '"I have no other alternative if Sony is not going to be reasonable."

Sony, naturally, begs to differ. A Sony spokesperson tells TheWrap, ''We have dealt with Mr. Cassidy in a completely lawful and appropriate way, and are confident that we will prevail in any proceeding.''


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

China seeks profit, shuns politics, in Afghanistan

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:13 PM PDT

KABUL, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The Chinese passengers boarding the weekly Ariana Flight 332 from the remote western city of Urumqi to Kabul speak volumes about ties between a rising China, the world's number two economy, and its desperately poor and unstable neighbour, Afghanistan.

Of at least nine Chinese, six were heading for a China-funded copper mine, two were working for a Chinese telecom equipment maker and one was the boss of a Chinese restaurant, struggling to check in several boxes of illicit supplies, from alcohol to frozen pork.

"The situation is not as bad as news reports suggest, and I am hoping to make money," said Li Xiaofeng, the restaurant owner, who is from the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang and opened his restaurant in Kabul last year.

He is contributing to a tiny but growing trade flow between China and Afghanistan, which many in Kabul hope could be the country's financial salvation as Western troops head home.

Bilateral trade between China and Afghanistan is currently just a fraction of trade with other "stans" - the turnover of $114.9 million in the year through July was 2 percent of Sino-Pakistan trade.

But the rich mineral reserves lying untapped in Afghanistan after decades of war are a tempting and potentially lucrative lure for resource-hungry China, whose companies have already shown an ability to operate profitably in hostile environments.

A Chinese consortium in 2008 won Afghanistan's first major mining contract, a deal to develop the Aynak copper deposits.

The state-owned parent company of Metallurgical Corp of China Ltd (MCC) and China's largest copper producer, Jiangxi Copper , are developing the mine, estimated to hold up to nine million tonnes.

The project is the biggest component of plans to wean Afghanistan off foreign aid that currently makes up most of the government budget. But progress has been slower than expected.

"Officials in Kabul always said yes, but on the site, there are always a lot of problems to handle," one MCC official, who asked for anonymity, told Reuters.

MCC said in a statement that construction workers were currently idle as archaeological preservation works on a Buddhist monastery were under way.


The slow development may actually suit some officials back in Beijing, who are anxious to avoid a military or security role in the central Asian country.

China wants to stay out of the diplomatic spotlight in Afghanistan, said He Ming, deputy dean at East China Normal University's international studies college, who recently held an academic conference on Afghanistan.

"It's quite dangerous for China to play an active role in Afghanistan," he said, referring to the expense and controversy that followed most foreign intervention in Afghanistan in recent decades - whether Soviet or Western-led.

"It's okay for Chinese companies to start up projects there, but if you are talking about political influence ... I don't think China has the necessary conditions and abilities."

Beijing's ambiguous attitude to Kabul shows in official hesitance to open the border with Afghanistan. The frontier lies on a remote 76-km (47-mile) stretch of land at the end of the narrow valleys of the Wakhan Corridor.

But a dirt road leading up near China's side of a high pass - reputedly used by Marco Polo - is not matched on the Afghan side, where farmers and herders still live much as they did centuries ago.

China fears the spread of Islamic militancy from Afghanistan into its restive Western Xinjiang region, home to millions of Uighur Muslims, and instability in Afghanistan.

So it has an interest in Afghanistan's future, but has also watched the Soviet Union and the United States flounder there. As a result, Beijing plans to steer well clear of serious political or military engagement.

"China hopes there will be peace in Afghanistan, but as for what conditions there should be for peace, China has no seat on the negotiating table," said Ye Hailin, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

He added that Pakistan, rather than Afghanistan, was always Beijing's top choice for exerting influence in the region.

"In China, the phrase 'Af-Pak' does not exist," he said, referring to a term often used by Western diplomats and policy-makers, who consider the neighbours and their problems so closely linked they should be tackled together.

"Pakistan is a big Muslim sovereign nation; Afghanistan is a war-torn country eagerly awaiting reconstruction."


But the wait-and-see stance of Beijing when it comes to politics and security has not deterred Chinese firms' hunt for precious resources and profit.

In September, the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), China's state-owned oil giant, was chosen as a preferred bidder for an oil field in northern Afghanistan.

"China has no choice, it has to go out to find resources to ensure energy security," said Lin Boqiang, director of think-tank the Center for Chinese Energy Economics Research.

"For China's state oil giants, they know clearly that they must take the risks, including risks in Afghanistan."

Chinese firms already have a stake in nearly 40 projects in Afghanistan, with contracts worth nearly $500 million at the end of June, according to Wu Gangchen, the commercial counselor at the Chinese Embassy.

"Reconstruction means markets, reconstruction means opportunity," Wu was quoted as saying in a recent interview with Beijing-based newspaper the International Business Daily.

He urged Chinese investors to keep their eyes open for possible deals in Afghanistan, particularly in the sectors of "energy, infrastructure, trade, service and processing."

CNPC appears to agree, and if it can finalise its intended oil deal with Kabul as expected in mid-October, it would be a good news for national airline Ariana as well. On the sunny Thursday flight, only about a third of the seats were taken.

Sony near buying Ericsson out of phone venture

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:08 PM PDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp is nearing a deal to buy Telefon AB LM Ericsson's half of their smartphone venture, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, signaling a possible fresh push by Japan's No. 1 electronics brand to regain ground lost to rivals Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

Sony and Ericsson have been talking for weeks about the future of the venture because the companies must decide this month whether to renew their 10-year-old pact, two industry sources told Reuters.

The Wall Street Journal said the talks were ongoing and could break apart at any time, citing people familiar with the matter.

Ericsson and Sony declined to comment on the reported talks. "We have a long-term commitment to our joint ventures," said an Ericsson spokesman.

"The talks are not something that have been announced by Sony. We are declining to comment," said Mami Imada, a Sony spokeswoman in Tokyo.

Many analysts say Japan's Sony needs to assert control over Sony Ericsson if the venture is to recoup market share in the cut-throat world of smartphones.

Sony's shareholders, however, appeared wary of any deal that would burden the company's finances. Its stock dipped as much as 1.8 percent to 1,444 yen in early trading compared with a 1.2 percent gain in the benchmark Nikkei 225.

The joint venture, formed in 2001, thrived after its breakthrough with Walkman music phones and Cybershot cameraphones, both of which leveraged Sony's brands.

But it lost out to bigger rivals Nokia and Samsung Electronics at the cheaper end of the market, and was late to react to Apple's entrance into the high-end of the market.

It has refocused its business to make smartphones using Google's Android platform, but it has dropped to No. 9 in global cellphone rankings from No. 4 just a few years ago.

It is making some progress and turned a net profit of 90 million euros last year after booking a loss of 836 million euros in 2009. But it reported another loss for the April-June quarter.

The venture is due to report its September quarter results on Oct 14.


"A buyout would make a lot of sense for Ericsson as I believe their share in the joint venture is worth to them between zero and minus 1 billion euros," said Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu.

"Whatever price they agree on, it would be a positive for Ericsson."

Shares in Sweden's Ericsson gained on the report and closed 6 percent higher at 69.20 crowns on Thursday.

A full takeover of the venture would boost Sony's overall offering, which includes content, gaming devices, consumer electronics and even tablet computers. But the company still lacks its own smartphones.

"The buyout allows Sony to move development in-house and better integrate other products like gaming into newer phones," said Steven Nathasingh from U.S. technology research firm Vaxa Inc.

Last month at the IFA trade fair in Berlin, Sony Ericsson's phones were presented inside the Sony hall, mixed with Sony's TV sets and new tablets.

CEOs say U.S. unlikely to slip back into recession

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 05:52 PM PDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - Corporate America's chiefs do not expect the nation to slip back into recession, but say political gridlock in the United States and Europe could make for a long, slow recovery.

Top chief executives including General Electric Co's Jeff Immelt and ExxonMobil Corp's Rex Tillerson said on Thursday that the U.S. economy could remain sluggish but will likely avoid an outright double-dip downturn.

"Recovery is underway, but it's a long, slow recovery. Slower than we'd like," the head of GE told a group of about 500 executives from mid-sized U.S. companies.

While conditions are making executives nervous, the situation does not seem nearly as dire as it did during the credit crunch during the last recession.

"This is a lot different than 2008," said Immelt, chief executive of the largest U.S. conglomerate. "There's liquidity; there's pockets of growth."

The head of FedEx Corp , the world's second-largest package delivery company also offered a cautious view.

"We don't see a contraction; we don't see a recession," said FedEx founder Smith. "It's steady as you go, slow growth."

Tillerson, who heads the world's largest publicly traded oil company, sounded a similar note.

"I am not as optimistic as I was six months ago. It will continue, I am afraid, to be a sluggish (U.S.) economy, and globally the economy will not perform as well as we expected," Tillerson told the Washington Ideas Forum.

"We will have positive growth (but) it is not going to be as positive as we hoped.


Data released on Thursday backed up their guarded confidence, showing a pick-up in consumer spending and modest improvement in employment -- critical given that stubbornly high joblessness has been the main roadblock to the nation's economic recovery.

New unemployment claims rose slightly to 401,000 last week, near a level that is associated with modest improvement in the jobs market.

And major U.S. retailers including Kohl's Corp and Nordstrom Inc reported stronger-than-expected sales in September, on average up 5.1 percent at stores open at least a year. A 4.6 percent gain had been expected.

Those reports and news that the European Central Bank was taking new measures to help the continent's banks weather the euro zone debt crisis boosted U.S. shares, with the broad Standard & Poor's 500 index <.spx> up 1.1 percent, for a third straight day of gains.

But even with that rise, the index is down about 8 percent for the year, reflecting deep unease among over the direction of the U.S. and European economies.

Immelt and Smith spoke at an event where GE Capital and Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business unveiled research on the "middle market" sector of U.S. business, companies with $10 million to $1 billion in annual revenue.

The study found that tier of business is an underappreciated jobs engine for the U.S. economy that accounts for about one-third of employment and continued to add workers through the recession, while big U.S. companies were shedding people.


Executives said political logjams in Washington and Brussels have made businesses more reluctant to invest and hire.

"The world has problems and classic institutions have not been able to solve these problems -- that creates volatility," Immelt said. "I'd like to think that a fully functioning integrated financial system in Europe could have stopped the Greece crisis quickly. That hasn't taken place."

Concerns that Greece could default on its debt have rattled European and U.S. banks over the past couple of weeks.

The logjams are not limited to Europe. Immelt cited this summer's standoff in Washington over whether to raise the debt ceiling or allow the United States to slip into default.

"Congress just doing one bipartisan thing, however small, would be conducive to the market. It would be a positive to investors," Immelt said.

Immelt, a lifelong Republican, currently serves as a top adviser to the Obama administration on jobs and the economy.

However, not all the blame lies with politicians, Smith said. He suggested that CEOs, who command considerable public attention in their own right, could do more to tamp down the partisan bickering that has flared in the United States.

In part, he said, CEOs can afford to be more candid in commenting on when they agree or disagree with policymakers than can officials who face election.

"If one person on the right said, 'You know President Obama did a hell of a job on that bin Laden thing,' the next time he ran for anything it would be on the TV and his opponent would say, 'Obama supporter, I'm a better Republican,'" Smith said.

"Those of us in the business community who don't need to run for anything probably need to be a bit more candid."


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Henry hands Muliaina 100th All Black cap

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 04:39 PM PDT

AUCKLAND, Oct 7 (Reuters) - New Zealand's Mils Muliaina will win his 100th cap in Sunday's World Cup quarter-final against Argentina at Eden Park.

Two weeks after captain Richie McCaw became the first All Black to reach the milestone, a thigh injury to in-form fullback Israel Dagg has given Muliaina the chance to match him.

"He has been a great servant to New Zealand rugby, he's a world class fullback, he has been a very key member of this side for a very long time and he deserves the honour," coach Graham Henry told reporters after naming his team on Friday.

Colin Slade, as expected, was handed the role of flyhalf in place of Dan Carter, whose tournament-ending groin injury sparked an outbreak of jitters in the host nation.

"My job hasn't changed that much, my job is to direct the team and perhaps starting the game will make that easier," said Slade, who has won nine caps to Carter's 84. "I'm going out there to be myself, I'm not trying to be DC."

Sonny Bill Williams and Cory Jane come into the side on the wings after hamstring injuries ruled out Richard Kahui and Zac Guildford.

Piri Weepu, who provides a back-up place-kicking option for Slade, has won the battle for the scrumhalf spot while Henry has restored first-choice centres Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith to play the Argentines.

Williams got his first opportunities in rugby union at centre but Henry, perhaps only half joking, said he thought the former rugby league player could even be an option as a flanker.

"He can play on the wing, he can play in the midfield and I think he can play in the loose forwards but this is about making sensible decisions based on his experience so far," said the coach.

"There's a midfield combination which is well-established and is playing particularly well which makes it difficult for him, so he's taken his chances elsewhere."

Argentina finished third at the World Cup and, although the 2011 Puma team has not been of quite the same vintage, Henry said the disappointments of the last five World Cups meant the All Blacks would not take any knockout game lightly. "We're expecting a big game," he said. "If you don't win, you're dead. There's a huge amount of pressure to perform in finals football, and we know all about that over the years." THOMSON OUT

Back rower Adam Thomson was originally selected for the team but ruled out through injury, Henry said.

McCaw returns at openside flanker despite the "niggly" foot problem which has seen him pull out of two of their four World Cup matches so far.

"I think Richie's got a challenge on, he hasn't played for a while and he's not preparing as he normally does, so I think it's going to be a mental challenge for him," said Henry.

Muliaina said it was an "honour and privilege" to match his captain's feat by winning a century of caps.

"It's a pretty special achievement ," he said. "I'm just going to get out there and make sure I do my job."

Team - 15-Mils Muliaina, 14-Cory Jane, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Ma'a Nonu, 11-Sonny Bill Williams, 10-Colin Slade, 9-Piri Weepu, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Richie McCaw (captain), 6-Jerome Kaino, 5-Brad Thorn, 4-Sam Whitelock, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Keven Mealamu, 1-Tony Woodcock

Replacements: 16-Andrew Hore, 17-Ben Franks, 18-Ali Williams, 19-Victor Vito, 20-Jimmy Cowan, 21-Aaron Cruden, 22-Isaia Toeava.

Steele and Baird set early pace as Woods struggles

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 04:38 PM PDT

SAN MARTIN, California, Oct 6 (Reuters) - PGA Tour rookie Brendan Steele and journeyman Briny Baird stole the limelight from Tiger Woods as they charged into a share of the early lead in Thursday's opening round at the Open.

While Woods struggled at a wet and cold CordeValle Golf Club in his first tournament appearance in almost two months, Steele and Baird fired four-under-par 67s to set the pace.

Steele, who won his maiden PGA Tour title at the Texas Open in April, covered the back nine in a sizzling five-under 31 to join fellow American Baird at the top of the leaderboard.

"It was a little cold and rainy this morning, and the ball wasn't carrying very far," the 28-year-old Steele told reporters after recording five birdies and a lone bogey.

"It was a little tough to get going early on but, once I made the turn, things started to click. I caught some nice weather on the back nine."

Australians Steve Bowditch and Matt Jones, plus American Troy Matteson, were a further stroke back after carding 68s while three-times major winner Ernie Els was among a group of nine players knotted on 69.

However Woods, who has not competed since he missed the cut at the PGA Championship in August, was three over for the round with four holes to play. After making an encouraging start under overcast skies with a birdie at the par-four first, he bogeyed the second and third to reach the turn in one-over 36.


Woods squandered a golden opportunity at the par-three 11th where his birdie putt from four feet slid past the right edge of the cup before he made a total mess of the par-five 12th.

As the rain began to intensify, he double-bogeyed the hole after driving into the left rough and pulling his second shot into a hazard before taking a penalty drop.

Though Woods has struggled for form for most of this year while battling leg injuries and working on the fourth swing change of his professional career, he came into this week's Fall Series event with high hopes.

The biggest difference for the 14-times champion since he last competed on the U.S. circuit was his return to full fitness, allowing him to practise unhindered.

"I'm happy with how everything has progressed from tee to green," the former world number one said before Thursday's opening round. "I've had a chance to practise and work on everything.

"That's something that I hadn't been able to do for a while, so I have to say I'm very pleased with every facet of my game."

Asked how he would measure success this week in his first tournament since the PGA Championship in August, Woods replied: "Getting a 'W' (a win)."

KLHC put party on hold until they have title in the bag

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 04:34 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) are putting the champagne on hold although they have virtually won the Premier Division ahead of their penultimate match in the Malaysia Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

They play Nur Insafi and a win will virtually seal the title. But coach R. Vivekanandan said they should not take the title for granted until it is in the bag.

"We are two points ahead of Tenaga Nasional and with a game in hand. But Sapura, whom we play last (on Sunday), is still the main rival. They can gain the same number of points as us if they beat us on Sunday. So at the end of the day, goal difference will play a part.

"So it is not over and I do not want the players to think so at this stage," said Vive­kanandan.

KLHC are in the driver's seat simply because they have a big goal difference. They have a plus 26 goal difference as opposed to 13 for Sapura.

"I do not want to worry about Sunday's game just yet. It is Nur Insafi that we have to beat first. If we drop points here, the whole equation changes. So there is no way we can afford to take it easy. Against UniKL we won 6-1 but the goals were nothing to shout about.

"Most of them were due to our opponents' mistakes and not because of any great play on our part. I want the players to understand that we are still not playing to our potential and we have been lucky in some of the matches," he added.

Tenaga Nasional are currently second with 16 points and will play their last match today against Maybank.

They have the chance to finish second but that will depend largely on Sapura's match with Yayasan NS and KLHC.

Tenaga can finish with 19 points while Sapura, who have 15 points, can finish with a maximum of 21 or if they lose one match, they will end up with 18 points.

But Sapura know that the defeat to Tenaga on Wednesday has put them in a difficult situation. The loss has not only put their title run at stake but they may also lose second place in the standings.

The quarter-final list is almost complete with just the Division One champions to be decided. And that will be settled today when SSTMI play Unimap. SSTMI will take the last quarter-final berth if they win the match otherwise it will be decided on Sunday with Ipoh City Council in with a chance.

The other seven teams in the Premier Division have already secured their berths. Besides the top three, the other four are Yayasan NS, Maybank, UniKL and Nur Insafi.


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Employment Bill passed after 5 hours of debate

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 08:27 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011, which received strong resistance from opposition members of Parliament, was passed after undergoing more than five hours of debate in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.

In tabling the second reading of the bill, Minister of Human Resources Datuk S. Subramaniam said the amended act was to enable a more systematic monitoring and control of labour supply agencies especially in isolated areas.

Apart from that, the ministry would also have a comprehensive record of workers to facilitate monitoring.

In winding up the debate on the bill, Subramaniam said the registration of sub-contractors with the ministry would also ensure outsourcing was not a culture of the employment sector.

The issue of labour supply agency registration was hotly debated by opposition members who wanted the bill to be repealed and the recruitment of workers as well as their welfare to be managed directly by the employer.

Among those who objected to the bill were Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (PKR-Kuala Langat), M.Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) and Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj (PSM-Sungai Siput).

"The Malaysian Trades Union Congress is also not in favour of the bill and they held a picket outside the Parliament on Monday," said Abdullah Sani.

Debating for the bill were Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) and Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (BN-Rembau). The Dewan sits again Friday. - Bernama

Socso paid out RM1.6bil compensation last year

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:47 AM PDT

KUALA KRAI: The Social Security Organisation (Socso) paid out RM1.6bil in compensation to 52,639 workers who were involved in accidents at the workplace and while travelling to and from work last year, Socso deputy chief executive (operations) Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said Thursday.

He also said that in Kelantan alone, Socso paid out RM1.6mil in benefits to 1,300 people who were involved in accidents at the workplace.

However, he expressed regret that there were employers who did not make Socso contributions for their workers because it was important for their welfare.

Dr Mohammed Azman said Socso took the proactive measure of going down to the ground to trace contributors who had been involved in accidents even before being notified by their employers.

He spoke to reporters during the presentation today of a cheque for RM3,000 as funeral aid to the three children of a married couple who were killed in a road accident in Kampung Che Wa near here on Oct 1.

The couple, Ismail Yaacob, 50, and Ruzainah Mustapha, 37, were killed when the motorcycle they were riding was knocked down by a car near the Ikatan Jaguh sawmill where they had worked in Telekong near here.

Dr Mohammed Azman said the three children Siti Norhafizah Ismail, 16, Siti Khairunnisa, 14, and Siti Rasha Aleeya, six, would receive Socso benefits until they were 18, besides being eligible for Socso educational loans of up to RM100,000 for tertiary education.

They would also receive a monthly payment of RM250 under the Dependent Persons Benefit beginning next month, he added.

The children are now staying with their uncle, Azman Mustapha, 45, in the village. - Bernama

CID to monitor 125 released Restricted Residence Act detainees

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 06:29 AM PDT

KUCHING: The Criminal Investigation Department of Royal Malaysian Police has been directed to monitor all 125 Restricted Residence Act detainees released Thursday.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said this would ensure that the detainees did not conduct activities that could threaten public order.

"We hope that they will not do commit anything criminal, especially gambling," he told reporters after launching the book "Crimson Over Borneo - Untold Police Stories and Communist Cessation of the Sarawak Communist Insurgency" by Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, here Thursday.

Ismail was confident that the released detainees could change their ways and contribute to national development.

All detainees under the act were released today following the announcement of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when tabling the motion to repeal it in parliament Wednesday. - Bernama


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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41 feature films to compete in FFM24 next month

Posted: 05 Oct 2011 04:09 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: It's time again for the local film industry and its fraternity to honour the best of the best at the 24th instalment of the Malaysian Film Festival (FFM24) next month.

Beginning on Nov 16, the festival runs for four days, and will see 41 feature films competing for a total of 32 awards.

Organised by the Federation of Malaysian Film Associations (Gafim), with the assistance of the National Film Develop­ment Corporation (Finas), the launch of FFM24 will be held at Panggung Anniversary in Taman Tasik Perdana in Kuala Lumpur.

This year's award ceremony is divided into two categories, Anugerah Gemilang Perdana and Anugerah Gemilang Cipta.

Anugerah Gemilang Perdana will see 14 trophies up for grabs – Best Original Music Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Costume, Best Editor, Best Special Effect, Best Original Story, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Film Director, with the most coveted award being Best Film.

In Anugerah Gemilang Cipta, 11 awards will be presented, including Best Short Film, Best Animation, Best Documentary, Best Non-Malay Feature Film, Best Poster, Best Child Actor/Actress, Most Promising Actress, Most Promising Actor, Most Promising Director and Best Theme Song.

The competing movies comprise Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, Khurafat, Aku Tak Bodoh, Kongsi, Senjakala, Hantu Bonceng, Janin, Nur Kasih The Movie, Damping Malam, Cun, Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah, KL Gangster, Tolong Awekku Pontianak, Ngangkung, Seru, Dilarang Masuk, Al-Hijab, Flat 3A and Karak.

Seven non-Malay feature films will also be competing for the awards, which include Nasi Lemak 2.0, Garuda, Great Day, Loan Shark, Apallam and Homecoming.

"The judging will commence on Oct 21 and there will be different groups of judges for different categories," Nancie Foo (pic), the FFM24's judging committee chairman, said at a press conference held on Wednesday.

She added that for FFM24, there will be three Anugerah Perdana Khas trophies presented for outstanding achievement award, lifetime achievement award and viewer's choice (film) and another four special jury (awards).

At a glance, last year's best director, Syamsul Yusof, has two films competing this time around (Khurafat and KL Gangster) and faces stiff competition from Osman Ali's Cun and Kabir Bhatia's Nur Kasih The Movie.

For the best actress award, the main contenders are Maya Karin for Cun, Lisa Surihani for Sekali Lagi, Liyana Jasmay for Senjakala, Tiz Zaqyah for Nur Kasih The Movie and Amy Mastura for Damping Malam.

Meanwhile, actor Shaheizy Sam (Sekali Lagi) will face off with Zahiril Adzim (Senjakala), Syamsul Yusof (Khurafat) and Remy Ishak for Nur Kasih The Movie for the best actor award.

Film buffs can expect a host of interesting activities throughout the festival. Details will be announced at a later date.

The closing night will be held at the Putrajaya Convention Centre (PICC) in Putrajaya, on Nov 19.


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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Struggling couturiers get help

Posted: 05 Oct 2011 05:05 PM PDT

Struggling fashion designers get help from an industry expert in a new TV series.

ARMED with his little black book of industry insiders and fashion powerhouse friends, Joe Zee is the man you'd want as an ally. Especially if you're a fashion designer who wants a shot at success.

Zee, 42, is an American stylist and creative director of Elle magazine. He appears on Li's new TV series All On The Line in which he dispenses advice to struggling couturiers.

Renowned as one of fashion's friendliest ambassadors, Zee – who was a recurring character on reality series The City – has earned an impressive number of accolades.

He has been described in a New York Times profile as a leader in the mass market and digital transformation of fashion: "A chatty and approachable ambassador of fashion who has aggressively thrust himself in front of hoi polloi using Twitter, blogs and – most visibly – television."

With an illustrious list of celebrity clients and trendsetting transformations – he is responsible for Justin Timberlake's makeover which elevated him from an awkward boyband member to a sharp-suited, sexy solo star, prompting the Frank Sinatra-style comeback – and high-profile collaborations with photographers such as Annie Leibovitz and Mario Testino, Zee is regarded as one of the world's top stylists.

Zee was born in Hong Kong but his family moved to Toronto when he was just a year old. He stepped into the world of fashion in 1990 at the age of 22 and ended up moving to New York to enrol at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Zee wears several hats at once – equal parts style guru, therapist, fabric sourcer, counsellor and business manager – to provide a practical, market-savvy perspective that both allows the designer's aesthetic ambitions to flourish while ringing up the revenue.

In All On The Line, Zee helps talented designers rescue their businesses from the brink of bankruptcy, completely redesign their lacklustre lines and present their revitalised collections to leading retailers.

But as expected, when passionate personalities go head-to-head with real risks at stake, fashion bootcamp can get fiery. Real life also comes with the caveat of no guaranteed happy endings – if designers abandon Zee's advice and fail to adopt an approach that combines the best of art and commerce, there can be rocky results.

Can Zee help designers create lines that buyers will love? Can he show them how to sell their creations without selling out?

"Some designers completely made it, but some completely lost it," says Zee. "And I can tell you: you need a thick skin to survive. Yes, I was expecting drama – but I wasn't expecting the drama I saw!"

In an e-mail interview, Zee touches on his nice-guy reputation and reveals juicy titbits about the show.

You've been touted as "fashion's friendliest ambassador", proving that nice guys don't finish last! How do you manage to dole out honest fashion advice while preserving the peace with the designers on your show? And where do you get the patience to deal with flare-ups from the very people you're trying to help?

I think my goal with doing All On The Line has always been to be "me". I have never tried to play a character but really bring out the best in every designer. I won't appease you just to be kind. I think that does a disservice. These designers need me to be as honest as possible and if I'm tough, it's because I know their potential is far greater than what they're showing me.

On an episode of All On The Line, you told Kara Janx (a previous contestant on Project Runway) that "this isn't Project Runway." How different is All On The Line from other designer-focused shows?

All On The Line is not a competition or game show. It's about real life, real businesses, real problems. These designers have invested everything they have in order to make their businesses work and somewhere along the way, they've hit a roadblock. I do my best to help them overcome that by working with them on their problems and their product, and hopefully by the end, I can have a major retailer buy their collection. There is no grand prize. The ultimate prize is the success of their business.

They say that one should never believe their own hype. What are some of the warning signs of a failing line, and how do designers prevent a further downward spiral?

I think first of all, every designer needs to have a look at their collection from an objective point of view. You can't live in the bubble of what you do and not be conscious of everything else happening in the world of fashion. Are you relevant? Does your collection make sense in the grand scheme of things? I think that's what I provide for many of the designers – that objective third party point of view.

How do designers truly access their level of success, from both a commercial and creative perspective?

I think that ultimate success for any designer is financial stability and being able to sell their collection. If a major store chooses to buy your collection, it's real validation that what you are doing is relevant.

What advice would you give to designers who want to create stylish, sellable clothing without selling out on their design aesthetic?

Always have a strong point of view. Being commercial doesn't mean being boring, and you can see how it worked for one but not the other. Many times designers think "commercial" is a dirty word but how dirty can success be?

You juggle many roles – creative director at Elle, a helping hand for struggling designers, fashion's man about town. What drives your distinct dedication to the fashion industry and all things stylish?

I love the fashion industry because it changes constantly and that's what keeps it exciting. What other industry can say that?

If you could feature any Asian designers from these countries on your show, whose brands would you like to bring to the next level?

I am not very familiar with too many Asian brands but I would love to work with them on All On The Line! Maybe we will do an Asia special!

Your philosophy isn't just about the clothes on the shoot, but how all the elements – the hair and make-up, the model, the idea – have to come together to make it great. Can you tell us the basic cornerstones that everyone needs to pull together their own great looks?

I think style is about a total package. It isn't just about clothes. Clothes should be part of the canvas of style, with hair, make-up and attitude, and personality should play a major role. Fashion and personal style should tell a story.

Your first fashion job started with a Club Monaco store in Toronto. What tips do you have for anyone trying to break into the fast, furious, and sometimes fickle, fashion scene?

Perseverence. I think I have been very lucky with all my opportunities but at the same time, I have worked very hard. Stick with it, even when it seems difficult, in order to tap into your best potential.

You've worked with an endless list of luminaries – Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz, Patrick Demarchelier, to name a few. Do you have any favourites that you'd love to collaborate with more in the future?

I love working with every photographer because they bring completely different points of view to what we are doing. My first job was with Richard Avedon which is beyond incredible, but Carter Smith is someone who's been a close friend for the past 20 years and we've collaborated in so many different ways.

A typical day sees you doing a million things all at once. What do you do in your spare time to unwind and relax?

I love pop culture. So I love reading, going to the movies, even checking out the latest art exhibitions. I'm also a big fan of dance and you can often find me in dance classes, and finally, I love cooking big dinner parties for all my friends.

You are very social media-friendly. What is the most memorable thing that a fan or follower has ever tweeted you?

A sweet girl from Georgia that I met on the street in Savannah, wrote me a rap and recorded it and put it up on YouTube. And she's just 14!

You're always sharply suited. Do you have any personal style icons?

Personal style icons for me are people that are stylish, break boundaries, dictate ideas but without trying, like John F. Kennedy Jr, Kurt Cobain or even Kate Middleton.

What are your thoughts on the Asian style scene? Do you read any street style blogs or fashion chronicles from the region?

I am obsessed with the Asian style scene. I was in Asia a few times last year, and I love Tokyo and Hong Kong, where the styles are so metropolitan but mixed up in a very unique way.

If you could style any famous figure from the past, who would it be and why?

I would love to style Marilyn Monroe. How amazing would that be to lay claim to that? Plus she is such an inspiration for so many of my style images.

As a pop culture junkie, who do you feel most defines the current look of today? Is there any particular fashionista whose different looks you look forward to every time?

Kate Moss has been incredibly definitive of today's times. She's always unpredictable but incredibly chic in everything she wears – from her own wedding dress to something at the Glastonbury Music Festival.

With the Asian region possessing some of the most exciting style scenes today – such as Jakarta's vibrancy – would you consider expanding the reach of All On The Line to include revamping designer lines from the region?

I would Love to do All On The Line: Hong Kong! I was born there and it would be great to go back and work with design talent. Let's make it happen!

All On The Line premieres this Sunday at 10pm on Li (Astro B.yond channel 706).


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Essence of Chinatown captured on film

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 04:36 AM PDT

A NUMBER of readers have shared with StarMetro their fondness for Chinatown through their interesting old and new snapshots.

The hustle and bustle of the area has yet again proven to be of endless inspiration to shutterbugs.

The unique culture created by a rich history, vintage architecture and bustling trades makes its way into the photographs, some presented in an artistic manner while others with a sense of nostalgia.

The area holds sentimental value for not only those who were born and bred there but others who visited regularly for the authentic food, affordable merchandise and vibrant atmosphere.

We express our gratitute to Oh Chin Eng, Shahril Afendy Bakhtiar, JasonW, Calvin Hoh, Steven Lee and Jalan Sultan traders for the photographs.

Jalan Sultan mural

The Star's 'Preserve Our Heritage' Campaign hopes to raise awareness and to garner public support to safeguard our heritage.

In the wake of intended acquisition and possible demolition of century-old buildings in Jalan Sultan for the MRT project, The Star, in partnership with Dulux, is joining forces with a group of 50 artists on an art installation to lend our support to the local community.

With Jalan Sultan as the inspiration, the artists will collaborate in the painting of a wall on Oct 15 as their collective expression of the importance of heritage preservation.

NSSU show sparkling display to beat Tampin Seniors in hockey final

Posted: 06 Oct 2011 04:24 AM PDT

NEGRI Sembilan Sikh Union (NSSU) were crowned the Negri Sembilan Hockey Association hockey league overall champions when they edged Tampin Seniors 3-2 in the final at the Seremban Turf 2 recently.

NSSU took a comfortable 3-0 lead in the first half courtesy of Gurvinder Singh who scored two goals in the ninth and 23rd minutes while Harmesh Singh was on target in the 15th minute.

However, Tampin Seniors came back strongly in the second half and replied through Muhd Ikhwan Ishak in the 59th minute. Eight minutes later, Mohamad Irsyaduddin was on target for Tampin Seniors.

The closing stages of the match was an exciting affair with both sides playing an attacking game.

But NSSU held on to their lead till the final whistle and were crowned champions.

NSSU, who finished third in the league, had defeated Division Two runners-up Gemencheh B Hockey Club 1-0 to earn a place in the semi-finals.

In the semi-finals, NSSU overcame Tampin Elite 2-1 while Tampin Seniors outclassed SMK Datuk Mohd Taha (SMKDMT) 8-1.

Tampin Elite defeated SMKDMT 3-0 to finish third.

As the champions, NSSU received RM2,500 while Tampin Seniors took home RM1,500. For their third placing, Tampin Elite received RM1,000 and SMKDMT settled for RM750.

Fourteen teams took part in the league. The NSHA had also given a cash incentive of RM500 to each participating team.

Roll of Honour

Overall champions: NSSU (RM2,500)

Runners-up: Tampin Seniors (RM1,500)

Third: Tampin Elite (RM1,000)

Fourth: SMKDMT (RM750)

Top Scorer: Mohd Shafiq Amirul (SMK Datuk Mohd Taha)

Best goalkeeper: Mohd Nazarul Kamaruddin (Tampin Elite)

Most promising player: Mohd Fazli Md Zain (Tampin Project Squad)

Player of the tournament: G.Vijayan (NSSU)

Man of the match (final): Harcharan Singh (NSSU)

Fairplay trophy: SMK Datuk Mohd Taha


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