Rabu, 12 Oktober 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Many cancer survivors struggle with trauma stress: study

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 08:11 PM PDT

REUTERS - A cancer diagnosis can leave lasting psychological scars akin to those inflicted by war, with the impact in some cases lasting for years, U.S. researchers found in a study.

More than a decade after being told they had the disease, nearly four out of 10 cancer survivors said they were still plagued by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, said lead researcher Sophia Smith from the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, North Carolina.

Those symptoms included being extra jumpy, having disturbing thoughts about the cancer and its treatment, or feeling emotionally numb towards friends and family.

One in 10 patients also said they avoided thinking about their cancer and one in 20 said they steered clear of situations or activities that reminded them of the disease, a situation that could potentially become a medical problem.

"You worry if the patient is avoiding medical care, you worry they might not be getting follow-ups," Smith told Reuters Health.

"We don't have data to support that, but we worry about it."

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is based on a survey of 566 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a relatively common kind of cancer.

Smith's team had surveyed these patients for PTSD symptoms once before, estimating that about one in 12 had full-blown PTSD. The diagnosis involved a trio of symptoms, including avoidance, arousal and flashbacks.

Many more had one or more PTSD symptoms, however. The newest survey also showed they often persist.

Overall, half of the patients had no PTSD symptoms 13 years after their diagnosis. The problems had disappeared in 12 percent, but had remained or worsened in 37 percent.

"This study found that people seemed to have worse PTSD later on," said Bonnie Green, a trauma expert at Georgetown University who pioneered the study of PTSD in breast cancer survivors, but was not linked to the latest study.

"It's just very stressful for people to be told that they have cancer. You can't just assume that they feel bad now, but it will go away."

She stressed that it's only a minority of patients who develop full-blown PTSD, but added that depression is common after a cancer diagnosis.

The new survey shows that low-income people are extra vulnerable to the psychological impact of living with cancer.

"I am particularly concerned about the patients who are poor or have less resources, said Smith, adding that doctors have to be better at recognizing distress in patients.

"Each time they come in you are asking not only if they're having pain, but also if they are having stress."

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/n1pJMg

(Reporting from New York by Frederik Joelving at Reuters Health; Editing by Elaine Lies and Robert Birsel)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Hurricane Jova hits key Mexican port, kills four

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 07:08 PM PDT

MANZANILLO/PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (Reuters) - Hurricane Jova flooded the streets of Mexico's main Pacific port with torrential rain on Wednesday, inundating popular beach resorts and killing at least four people in mudslides.

A boy crosses a flooded street caused by heavy rains in Jose Maria Morelos south of Puerto Vallarta October 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Carlos Jasso)

While Jova ravaged the coast, a tropical depression to the southeast prompted thousands of evacuations in Mexico as well as flooding and mudslides that have killed 18 in Central America since the start of the week.

Streets in the port of Manzanillo were underwater, coastal communities flooded and roads blocked due to fallen trees and washouts after Jova, now a tropical depression, hit the coast as a Category 2 hurricane late on Tuesday.

Manzanillo, Mexico's busiest port for cargo, remained closed to traffic despite the storm easing. Some streets in the city were under 3 feet (1 metre) of water.

"The streets of Manzanillo are impassable, as are the highways connecting Manzanillo with the south of Jalisco," national Red Cross coordinator Isaac Oxenhaut said.

Highways leading northwest from Manzanillo along the coast were closed and the beach towns of Cihuatlan, Melaque and Barra de Navidad were swamped with floodwaters, the Red Cross said.

Two people died in Cihuatlan in Jalisco state when their house collapsed in a mudslide.

In the village of Jose Maria Morelos northwest of the port, a woman and her son died when a deluge of mud hit their home.

"I think they asphyxiated," Alfredo Juan de Dios, 65, said of his sister-in-law Marisol and her young son Juan Pablo after the mud brought down a wall of their house, trapping them. "I have never seen rain like this. It's caused mayhem," he added.

Outside his shattered home, Marisol's husband wept as rescue workers covered his son's body with a white sheet.

The force of the winds flipped metal roofs off homes and cut power supplies to 107,000 users in the area.

In Melaque, musician Roberto Orozco said he was forced to abandon his home for higher ground. "I got back to find my stove and my fridge swimming," said Orozco, 52. "We're really sad. We lost everything."

With winds that reached 35 mph (55 kph), Jova was about 20 miles (35 km) east-south east of Tepic at 2 p.m. PDT (2100 GMT), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The Miami-based hurricane center aid the center of Jova hit the coast near the town of Chamela in the state of Jalisco, on a stretch dotted with beaches south of tourist resort Puerto Vallarta. Mexico has no major oil installations in the Pacific.


Puerto Vallarta, which suffered flooding when Hurricane Kenna hit in 2002, was spared from the storm overnight.

On Tuesday, workers filled and stacked sandbags to protect the professional beach volleyball courts on Puerto Vallarta's coast, where events from the Pan American Games are scheduled to be staged this week.

The hurricane center downgraded Jova to a tropical depression and Mexico lifted bad weather warnings south of Manzanillo. The storm will likely dissipate entirely by Friday, but could still cause life-threatening mudslides and floods, the hurricane center said.

Jova could produce up to 12 inches (30.5 cm) of rainfall over four western Mexican states, with isolated rainfall of up to 20 inches (51 cm), forecasters said.

Manzanillo has been closed since late on Sunday and about 13 container ships are stuck in the port.

The port handles about 750 containers of cargo a month and ships goods including cars, car parts, cattle, minerals and tequila to Asian and North American markets.

Farther south, tropical depression Twelve E struck southwest Mexico and Central America, causing flooding and mudslides that have killed 13 people in Guatemala, four in Nicaragua and one in El Salvador since Monday.

Rising river levels in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco prompted the evacuation of 75,000 people.

(Additional reporting by Alberto Fajardo; Writing by Krista Hughes and Dave Graham; Editing by Will Dunham and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Eight dead, 1 wounded in California salon shooting

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 07:08 PM PDT

SEAL BEACH, Calif. (Reuters) - A gunman opened fire at a busy hair salon in the Southern California coastal town of Seal Beach on Wednesday, killing eight people and critically wounding another, police said.

Police officers guard the entrance to Salon Meritage following a shooting in Seal Beach, California October 12, 2011. (REUTERS/Alex Gallardo)

The suspect, who was not immediately identified, fled the scene in a vehicle and was arrested moments later about a half mile away, Seal Beach police Sergeant Steve Bowles told reporters nearly two hours after the shooting.

"We feel very confident at this point that we do have the single and only suspect in custody," Bowles said. "He appeared cooperative and did not resist our officers at all when he was detained."

"For the city of Seal Beach, this could be one of our greatest tragedies," Bowles said of the town about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Los Angeles.

Circumstances of the shooting remained murky, and Bowles said detectives were trying to establish a motive for the violence and any link between the gunman and the establishment, called the Salon Meritage.

He said the type of weapon or weapons used by the gunman was not immediately known.

Former salon employee Lidia Sosa, who went to the crime scene when she heard the news, told reporters the gunman shot and killed his ex-wife, with whom he was embroiled in a custody dispute. The owner of the shopping center, Henry Morales, said he was told by salon employees that the gunman was the former husband of a hair stylist there.

A longtime customer who identified herself only as Karen said she heard about the shooting and called her stylist, who answered the phone in a state of panic.

"He was screaming, and the phone went dead. He was hysterical," she said.

Of the nine people struck by gunfire, six were declared dead at the scene and three others were taken to Long Beach Memorial Hospital with critical injuries, Bowles said. Two of those hospitalized died later of their wounds, he said.

Bowles said he did not know how many of the victims were employees or patrons. Most of the victims were believed to have been shot inside the salon. One man initially listed as wounded was found in the parking lot, but it was not clear where he was shot, he said.

"There are survivors from inside the salon that escaped without harm," Bowles said.

(Additional reporting Mary Slosson; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Peter Cooney and Sandra Maler)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

How it works

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 07:03 PM PDT

THE 66-episode MasterChef Malaysia, in Bahasa Malaysia, premieres next Saturday on Oct 22 on Astro Ria (Ch 104). The series is being recorded at a specially-built studio kitchen at Bukit Rimau, Shah Alam in Selangor. A consultant from Shine International, distributors of MasterChef, has been overseeing the recording of the programme here.

The format of the show is similar to MasterChef Australia where contestants have to undergo a series of different challenges every week. In the segment Mystery Box & Invention Test, contestants are given the same box of ingredients and must create a dish using only those ingredients. In Pressure Test, the bottom three from the previous night's challenge are given a recipe for a particular dish they are to emulate within an allocated time.

In Celebrity Chef Challenge, the winner of Mystery Box & Invention Test must prepare a local celebrity chef's signature dish. In Offsite Challenge, contestants are divided into two groups and assigned to different tasks ranging from preparing for a banquet to a wedding dinner. In Elimination, the weakest contestant from the losing team of Offsite Challenge will be eliminated. In Masterclass, judges run a culinary class for the remaining contestants, which usually relates to some of the previous weeks challenges. The judges show how some other dishes could have been made, or work again on one of the contestants' dishes and incorporate tips on how to improve it.

Astro Vice President Khairul Anwar Salleh said: "This joint effort is a great collaboration in promoting this programme to Malaysian viewers who come from different backgrounds. After watching foreign culinary talents from the United States, Britain and Australia, it is time to feature Malaysians and their culinary prowess."

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All systems go

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 07:03 PM PDT

Astro rolls out its line-up of judges for reality TV cooking programme MasterChef Malaysia.

WITH barely two weeks left to the premiere of Astro Ria's MasterChef Malaysia, viewers get to find out more about the panel of judges, the format and the 40 finalists of the local version of the popular reality TV programme. The competitive cooking reality show, based on MasterChef US, MasterChef Australia and Junior MasterChef Australia, will feature five judges – Chef Johari Edrus, 55; Chef Priya Menon, 53; Chef Yahaya Hassan, 49; Chef Zubir Md Zain, 45; and Chef Mohd Nadzri Redzuawan, 29. Besides playing hosts, the judges will evaluate participants' capabilities and progress throughout the competition.

Those familiar with the MasterChef series may find this a little odd – why so many judges?

Although they are five judges in total, only three will be featured in each episode.

Astro Vice President (Malay language business) Khairul Anwar Salleh said this addition was a conscious decision. "We started off with three judges but added two more to spice up to the show. The judges will be rotated weekly as each judge has different strengths. Some judges make excellent coaches but are camera shy. It is difficult to find a chef who excels in hosting, teaching and judging a reality TV cooking competition! With five chefs to take turns, there's a certain amount of flexibility and we can showcase the best of their talents."

Fans of the series should also know that a few homegrown chefs will also appear as celebrity judges ... but no clues were given as to who they may be.

Khairul did, however, explain that the panel of judges was selected through an audition process, based on their credentials and experience.

Chef Johari has over 35 years experience in the culinary field and is the former president of Chef Association of Malaysia. He is Universiti Utara Malaysia's Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality's fellow adjunct and culinary advisor at UiTM, Taylor's College and Kolej Damansara Utama (KDU) University College.

Chef Priya holds an advanced diploma in law! The former Indian chef at Carcosa Seri Negara is author of several books including Health Travel Malaysia, Medical Travel Malaysia, Fun With Food and My Kitchen To Yours. She also contributes write-ups for The Star's food portal kuali.com.

Chef Yahya's credentials include being a chef at MAS's flight catering and KL-based Equatorial Hotel and Singgahsana Hotel. He has lectured in colleges such as KDU University College, Sunway College and Flamingo College.

Chef Zubir earned his diploma in Chef Training in 1988 and has worked as executive sous chef at KL's Le Meridien Hotel. The former UiTM lecturer trained under renowned Swiss chef Anton Mosimann in London.

Chef Mohd Nadzri, is the son of famous Chef Wan. He holds a degree in Culinary Arts and Hotel Catering and has worked at Ristorante Babbo in New York. Chef Nadzri, fondly known as Chef Riz, owns contemporary world cuisine restaurant On The Table, World Cuisine at Solaris Dutamas in KL.

Khairul said: "Their presence will have a positive impact on the show. Finalists will be able to take this opportunity to gain as much culinary knowledge and learn new techniques to improve their cooking skills."

MasterChef Malaysia hopes to inspire and provide training to both experienced and new chefs alike. It also offers budding chefs opportunities to step up their careers and achieve new aspirations. The grand prize winner will walk away with RM100,000 and an opportunity to publish a recipe book.

There is no denying that Chef Johari and his team feel some pressure to live up to the expectations of top-rated shows MasterChef US and MasterChef Australia. Viewers will surely compare them to respected Australian judges Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris.

Besides having those big shoes to fill, Chef Johari's biggest concern is how he will appear on screen. "I am a chef by training and not an extrovert. It can be a challenge to host a show. It might take some time for me to warm up in front of the camera and interact with finalists," said the soft spoken Chef Johari, who is more at home in front of a stove than on the set of a TV show.

After conducting a month-long nationwide search in May, 40 participants were selected based on their potential and passion in the kitchen.

The contestants come from a wide mix, including actors, dentists, fashion designers, university students and a rubber tapper!

They will be whittled down to the Top 24 and at the end of the season, only one will be crowned MasterChef.

When asked about the finalists, Chef Johari said: "Our expectations are high but not too stringent because these contestants are amateurs. There is also the responsibility of bringing these amateur cooks to a higher level, of polishing them into gems who can succeed. As for the judging, we are looking for candidates who have a flair for cooking techniques and presentation plus the willingness to learn."

MasterChef Malaysia premieres on Oct 22 at 9pm over Astro Ria (Ch 104). Masterclass will be aired on Star World (Astro Ch 711) from Oct 27 (9pm) with a repeat on Astro Ria beginning Nov 4 (9pm).

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The Star Online: Business

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Achieving Budget 2012 goals

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 06:20 PM PDT

BUDGET 2012 aims to reduce the budget deficit from the estimated 5.4% of GDP for 2011 to 4.7% for 2012. The deficit reduction will represent a big step towards a balanced budget, and bring Malaysia closer to the pre-2008 deficit levels (2008 budget deficit was 4.8%).

This will have a positive effect on the perception of Malaysia, which is especially important in view of the uncertain global economic outlook for 2012.

The budget has been termed an "election budget," and in some ways that is true with a little something for everyone. While there was a lot of discussion before the budget about the imminence of the good and service tax (GST), no new taxes were announced. Neither was there a significant increase in any of the existing taxes, be it income tax, duties, sales tax, excise, service tax or stamp duty.

The exception was the proposed increase in real property gains tax (RPGT) rate from 5% to 10% for gains on disposals of real property interests held for two years or less. However, this was less a revenue-generating measure than it was a tool to help curb speculation for properties, noting that RPGT revenue for 2011 is expected to amount to a modest sum of RM369mil.

In order to achieve the goal of a 4.7% deficit, without new taxes and direct measures to increase taxes, there will be a tendency to focus a lot more on how to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the current tax administration; how to make the most of the existing tax regime.

To quote the Prime Minister: " an effective and efficient tax administrative system is a precondition to widen the tax base and increase compliance by tax payers. Apart from strengthening the ICT systems of revenue collection agencies, enforcement measures will be enhanced through the implementation of integrated operations with other relevant agencies."

This points towards a greater focus on strategic tax enforcement with:

Greater use of ICT to elicit more systematic and targeted analysis of taxpayer profiles and history to better identify potential non-compliance; and

More cooperation and sharing of information between regulators to increase the efficiency tax audits.

There are also several proposed legislative changes to the tax legislation which enhance the powers for tax enforcement, including:

To provide the director general of Inland Revenue (DGIR) the power to disregard any information which is provided late, past the time specified in the DGIR's notice demanding such information. Such information will also be barred from being used to appeal against a tax assessment, before the special commissioners of income tax or court. Presumably this proposal is to ensure a more speedy finalisation of taxes, but the implementation of this proposal needs to be even-handed and reasonable, lest taxpayers' basic rights are unfairly eroded.

To extend the DGIR's powers of access to computerised data taxpayers must provide information such as the password, encryption code, decryption code, software or hardware and any other means required to enable comprehension of the computerised data.

To require specified information on payments made to agents, dealers and distributors, to be disclosed in a prescribed form and provided to the payees for tax purposes. One reason for this is to facilitate better monitoring of income reporting.

To permit the DGIR to impose tax payments where a taxpayer has failed to furnish a tax return or where the DGIR has reason to believe that a return is incorrect. The scheme is novel in that the DGIR will have the power to collect taxes even before a tax assessment is issued.

These measures are consistent with the trend observed in the last decade where the Inland Revenue Board's powers of access, enforcement and collections are enhanced. The challenge is to ensure the right balance is struck in the exercise of these powers by the relevant authorities.

It would not be complete to mention several positive developments for taxpayers in the area of tax administration including:-

Compensation of 2% on the amount of tax refunded late by the IRB, from year of assessment (YA) 2013; and

Reduction in the time for tax audits from six years to five years, from YA 2013.

This is an inclusive budget and has the interests of many needy sections of our society. The achievement of the goals would partly rely on an efficient tax administration, and it is hoped that more details on how these proposals will be implemented, in the interest of transparency and greater certainty for taxpayers.

Yeo Eng Ping is the national tax leader of Ernst & Young Tax Consul-tants Sdn Bhd.

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UMW Toyota Motor’s new facility in Bukit Raja part of RM1bil investment

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 06:05 PM PDT

KLANG: UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd has allocated more than RM200mil to develop its new integrated quality hub (IQH) facility in Bukit Raja, Klang.

The cost of the 35-ha IQH facility, aimed at improving the delivery lead time of vehicles to customers, is part of the company's RM1bil three-year investment plan until 2013.

The IQH consists of a centralised vehicle stockyard, accessory centre, a 2.1-km test track, body and paint centre and a production parts warehouse.

The centralised vehicle stockyard, which receives and delivers a total of 420 cars per day, has a capacity to stock 9,500 vehicles at any one time.

The test track allows vehicles to be tested at speeds up to 140km per hour, and evaluation includes performance and handling, hill climbing and different road conditions.

The accessory centre can fit 142 combination accessory items such as navigation and audio systems, and aerokits which are installed based on customers' requests.

The centre allows customers to confirm their desired accessories five days prior to the delivery of vehicles to the respective outlets in Peninsular Malaysia.

Final inspection of the vehicles is also performed at the IQH facility to ensure the Toyota quality standards are met.

Much of the IQH facility has been completed, while the body and paint centre is due to commence operations by the first half of 2012.

The IQH facility will be equipped with 57 work bays and state-of-the-art equipment.

A production parts warehouse is expected to start operations by the second half of 2012.

"We are confident that with this new facility, the improved processes and highly skilled staff would benefit our customers as well as improve customers' satisfaction.

"We are also committed with the company's theme for this year, One Team - Customers First and will continue to produce high quality products and services in the future.

"This will further strengthen our position as the top-selling non-national brand in the country," said UMW Toyota Motor chairman Tan Sri Asmat Kamaludin during a recent opening ceremony of the IQH.

Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, his deputy Datuk Muhkriz Mahathir and Japanese ambassador Shigeru Nakamura.

"The new facility creates additional job opportunities for 430 new team members," added Asmat. He pointed out that all the operations at the IQH facility were designed with the Toyota Production System in mind.

The company also plans to launch a locally assembled Toyota Camry by mid-2012.

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French bank BNP Paribas sets up ops in Malaysia

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 06:05 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: French banking group BNP Paribas has set up its locally incorporated bank in Malaysia.

BNP Paribas Malaysia Bhd was one of the five foreign banks awarded full commercial banking licence to operate in Malaysia, and became fully operational on June 1.

"Our clients today are highly sophisticated and they want the freedom to conduct their business anywhere in the world.

"We are proud of the unique nature of our bank where we can offer a global network to our local markets with diversified and best-in-class solutions," BNP Paribas group executive committee member Jacques d'Estais said in a statement.

Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, BNP Paribas Malaysia will focus on both domestic and multinational corporate and financial institutions to provide the full suite of banking products and services.

It also intends to support its Malaysian clients in their overseas expansion by leveraging on BNP Paribas' presence in more than 80 countries.

The bank was launched by Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz. The event was attended by its local and multinational clients, officials and senior management.

BNP Paribas Malaysia chief executive officer Krishna Chetti said with the new banking licence, the bank aimed to become one of the best foreign banks in Malaysia.

"We have recruited a very experienced team. The domestic experience, coupled with BNP Paribas' recognised product capabilities and global reach, make a compelling combination," he said.

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The Star Online: Sports

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Nation assured that All Blacks' captain will play

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 06:49 PM PDT

AUCKLAND: A nation obsessing over Richie McCaw's injured right foot was assured on Thursday that the All Blacks captain will play in Sunday's rugby World Cup semi-final against Australia.

McCaw is regarded as the best openside flanker in New Zealand history and his absence, after the departure of the equally accomplished Daniel Carter, would be a potentially crippling blow for the All Blacks.

Speculation about McCaw's fitness was fueled on Wednesday when another openside flanker Matt Todd trained with the All Blacks and on Thursday Zealand assistant coach Steve Hansen pre-empted the expected barrage of questions at a morning news conference when he announced: "Richie McCaw's foot is fine."

"Matt Todd is in Auckland and it just made common sense to have him here," Hansen added. "Now that doesn't mean to say that Richie's foot is any worse than it was, it doesn't mean that Richie is not playing on Sunday.

"It just means that Matt Todd was in Auckland and that we wanted to use him for training as opposition.

"Matt Todd is part of our wider training group and trained with us in Christchurch as did other players down there. We've had wider training group players come in for training at all the venues."

Hansen said McCaw had not trained on the pitch last week and would probably not train again on the pitch this week until Friday.

The 30-year-old loose forward missed two months of this year's Super 15 competition after a screw was inserted in the fifth metatarsal of his right foot.

He sat out New Zealand's final group match against Canada after missing the Japan match with a back injury but played against Argentina in last week's quarter-finals.

"I think he played pretty well last week. It was a tough game last week for loose forwards, I thought, because the Pumas were outstanding defensively and got a lot of numbers in the breakdown. It was a tough game and I thought he played well," Hansen said.

"We're very happy where we are with our loose forwards. Our loose forwards have got niggles but I'd suggest the other three sides, they'd all have niggles. That's what tournament rugby is about, the fittest stay the strongest and longest."

The All Blacks will annnounce their team for Sunday's match against their trans-Tasman rivals Australia on Friday morning and are likely to retain the halfback combination which served them well against Argentina.

In Carter's absence with a groin injury sustained during kicking practice, scrumhalf Piri Weepu assumed the kicking duties. Weepu succeeded with seven penalties from as many attempts, failing with a conversion only.

Aaron Cruden, New Zealand's third choice at flyhalf, played impressively after Carter's understudy Colin Slade left the field with a groin injury.

Hansen said reserve loose forward Adam Thomson, who was scheduled to have a fitness test on an injured ankle, was the only injury concern.

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France poised to hand kicking duties to Parra

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 06:47 PM PDT

AUCKLAND: France would appear ready to hand kicking duties to Morgan Parra for their rugby World Cup semi-final against Wales, as Dimitri Yachvili struggles to regain fitness.

Scrumhalf Yachvili took a knock on his thigh in the quarter-final win over England and is still not 100 percent.

It seems unlikely France will risk aggravating his injury by allowing him to kick on Saturday.

"We have been trying to rest him this week," French kicking coach Gonzalo Quesada told reporters on Thursday. "He needs to be 100 percent - that is the objective.

"Without going into too much detail, he is still in a certain amount of pain and the muscle affected is the one he would use to kick.

"It certainly didn't help that he was kicking last week against England after he had injured his thigh."

Yachvili had said on Wednesday that there was a risk he would not kick, and on Thursday team mate Parra said he was ready to step up.

"Kicking is an extra pressure in itself but I am already used to it at club level," the Clermont Auvergne player told a news conference in a central Auckland hotel.

"I have done it during this tournament and so if I have to kick I will.

"I started practising my kicking again this week to back Dimitri up in case he cannot.

"We have experienced issues like this in the past ... really it is up to him - he'll have to decide whether or not he wants to kick."

France face Wales in the first semi-final on Saturday at Eden Park. On Sunday hosts New Zealand take on Australia.

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It's not just about the biff for the Wallabies

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 06:46 PM PDT

AUCKLAND: Australia need to rediscover their attacking verve to complement the physical aggression they displayed in their victory over South Africa to beat New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final this week, coaching coordinator David Nucifora said on Thursday.

Australia put in a Herculean defensive effort to tackle their way to a dramatic victory over the 2007 champions in Wellington last weekend and set up Sunday's date with the number one side in the world at Eden Park.

The Wallabies came into the World Cup with the reputation of being one of the world's best attacking sides and Nucifora said the players were aware they would need to rediscover that part of their game if they were to upset the hosts.

"I don't think they took any reminding of the fact that this is going to go up a number of levels," he told reporters at the team hotel.

"Obviously it was a great defensive effort and the work around the contact areas was very good. But, yeah, there were areas in our game - our attack and our lineout - a couple of things that needed to improve."

All Blacks loose forward Kieran Read said earlier this week that New Zealand would be looking to dominate the Wallabies at the breakdown, but Nucifora thinks the match will not be decided by brute force alone. "It's certainly not just physical aggression that's going to win the game," he said.

"You saw that last weekend in our match against the Springboks. There was a lot of skill and thought and you need to be accurate in what you're doing.

"People just biffing their bodies around won't necessarily give you the outcome you're looking for."

One result of last week's physical encounter against the Springboks was the hamstring injury to fullback Kurtley Beale and Nucifora said the team were still unsure whether he would be fit for the weekend.

"He's progressing," he said. "We don't really have a totally clear idea just yet on whether he's going to make it for Sunday.

"We'll look at him again tomorrow when we train and obviously we'll be a bit closer to making a decision whether he's going to be fit or not."

Australia have taken every opportunity this week to talk up the pressure on the host nation and Nucifora took his chance when he was asked to recall how the country had reacted to their quarter-final exit from the last World Cup. "It was glum," said Nucifora, who was coach of the Auckland Blues at the time. "It means a heck of a lot to New Zealanders, the game of rugby, so I think that just puts a lot of pressure on their team.

"The players know and the players understand the expectation that sits on their shoulders to win a World Cup. How they deal with that will be really important.

"You only have to walk the streets, it's everywhere around you at the moment. The pressure is mounting, the expectation is there, it's been a long time and people want to win it."

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The Star Online: Nation

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Indonesian group's protest outside M'sian embassy in Jakarta turns unruly

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 07:09 AM PDT

JAKARTA: Issues concerning the Malaysia-Indonesia border in West Kalimantan which were played up by the Indonesian media, caused a group of Indonesians to stage a demonstration outside the Malaysian embassy here Wednesday.

However, the protest went out of control resulting in a glass panel at the guard post at the entrance to the embassy to be damaged while nine Indonesian policemen, who were part of a team for crowd control and guarding the embassy, were injured.

The group, calling itself Forum Betawi Rempug (FBR) and numbering a few hundred people, hurled hard objects at the guard post, perimeter lighting and the policemen.

They began gathering there at about 1pm local time and dispersed about an hour later after venting their anger over news reports that Malaysia had seized 1,000 acres of land belonging to Indonesia along the Malaysia-Indonesia border in West Kalimantan.

On Tuesday, Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and his Indonesian counterpart Dr Marty Natalegawa, after the 11th Joint Commission for Bilateral Commission Cooperation Meeting between the two countries in Kuala Lumpur, said at a joint press conference that the removal of markers at the border, either by mischievious individuals or natural disasters, could easily be replaced by their joint survey team.

They added that the coordinates had been established during colonial times.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Syed Munshe Afdzaruddin Syed Hassan said the embassy would be sending a diplomatic note to the Indonesian government over the incident.

He said in the note, the embassy would also be asking the Indonesian government as to how it could help the embassy avoid such incidents from recurring. - Bernama

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Sabah to ban shark hunting from next year

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 04:21 AM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: Shark hunting is expected to be illegal in Sabah by early next year, state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said.

He said his ministry was ready with the appropriate paperwork to seek a total ban on all forms of shark hunting in the state.

"Our request is simple. We are not insisting that it (the ban) should cover the whole country, but only in Sabah.

"We would like the Fisheries Act to incorporate a provision, whereby all forms of shark hunting or shark finning are prohibited in Sabah."

He was speaking reporters after witnessing all chapters of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Malaysia commit to the 'Say No To Shark's Fin Soup' awareness campaign, here, Wednesday.

Masidi said his ministry had also taken into consideration the parties, such as restaurants serving shark's fin soup, that might be affected once the ban was imposed and felt that the situation was manageable.

He said sharks were mainly found in the waters off Tawau, Semporna and Kudat and attracted divers from all over the world, earning Sabah RM192.5mil from the diving industry last year. - Bernama

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DAP, PAS 'agree to disagree' on hudud issue

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 03:54 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: DAP and PAS have agreed to disagree on the hudud issue, following a high-level meeting between Pakatan Rakyat allies Monday.

"Hudud is not the common agenda of Pakatan Rakyat for the forthcoming general election," DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said, adding it would not be a common policy even after the next general election.

He said "the meeting concluded with both DAP and PAS agreeing to disagree on the hudud law."

It was the second such meeting held within a span of two weeks to end the deadlock.

Among the Pakatan top guns present at the meeting were Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Azmin Ali, Dr Mohd Nur Manuty, Mohamad Sabu, and Datuk Mustafa Ali.

Stressing that hudud was not part of Pakatan Rakyat's policy, Lim said it was neither included in the Common Policy Framework nor in Buku Jungga.

Lim said the Pakatan government would only implement policies agreed upon by the three component parties.

More in The Star Thursday

Related Stories:
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Lawyer: PAS cannot go hudud
PAS willing to discuss hudud
Pakatan dared to include hudud in manifesto
Take a stand on hudud, Pakatan told
PAS to continue to champion hudud law, says president
Constitution does not allow for hudud, says Bar Council

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Love You You features Malaysia's pristine beaches

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 12:41 AM PDT

AFTER the success of his 2000 romantic comedy Summer Holiday, Hong Kong filmmaker Jingle Ma had always wanted to make another movie showcasing the pristine beaches of Malaysia.

Summer Holiday grossed HKD21mil (RM8.46mil), became the second best-selling film after Needing You in Hong Kong and was nominated in four categories at the 20th Hong Kong Film Awards.

However, Ma's dream only materialised some 11 years later and it is in the form of his latest release Love You You.

Considered a sequel of sorts to Summer Holiday, Love You You retains some of the elements that made its predecessor an enduring success.

While its predecessor was in Cantonese and starred Hong Kong pop diva Sammi Cheng and Hong Kong-based Taiwanese Mandopop heartthrob Richie Ren, Love You You is in Mandarin and features Taiwanese heartthrob Eddie Peng, 29, and Hong Kong-based Angelababy, 22, (also known as Yeung Wing).

The story revolves around pretty Xia Mi (Angelababy) and hunky You Lele (Peng), who fall for each other despite initial misgivings.

Xia Mi hates the sea because there's where she lost her parents. But the law firm where she works assigns her to investigate island resort operator You for alleged fraud and other illegal practices. Watch the sparks fly between the two as they uncover each other's secrets.

"The story is more touching this time. The beach is just as breathtaking and the scenery just as magnificent. I like this movie a little bit more. It's more cinematic and the plot is thicker. Personally, I like movies that move me so this one works better for me," said Ma in a phone interview from Hong Kong.

Love You You's leading lady Angelababy added: "Moreover, the response has been very encouraging and the feedback we've received online has been quite positive, too."

Notably, the romantic comedy showcases the clear waters and sandy beaches of the tropical islands off Malaysia's beautiful east coast. The movie was shot entirely at Lang Tengah Island, located between Redang Island (where Summer Holiday was filmed) and Perhentian Island off Terengganu.

Filming in Malaysia was almost like a beach vacation for Peng, who "loved the wonderful weather".

"What I loved most were the azure skies and emerald waters. You can swim in the sea all day and there's no one to bother you. And, the water is especially clean and clear."

Angelababy also gushed about how she really liked the place. "You can see the oceanbed, near the harbour. I even saw a marine turtle. And the sky was full of stars at night. It was so beautiful.

"One day, we were returning to the main island where we were staying from another island. And, we looked up at the sky and saw that it was covered with stars that were so close together. It was as pretty as wallpaper. We also saw the Big Dipper. City dwellers like us have never seen such a lovely sky. At that moment, I felt so fortunate and content with my life," shared Angelababy.

"And, that moment came right after a crying scene. So, I felt it was all worth it. As a newcomer like myself, crying scenes are actually very difficult. I've to feel a lot of pain inside in order to cry. But, director Ma was very helpful and gave me a lot of guidance.

"In one scene, where I had to sit in front of the computer and cry, director Ma was right beside me telling me stories until tears rolled down my cheeks."

Praising his young leads, Ma said: "They're the golden pairing of the new generation. These days, it's not easy to get good actors in their 20s, so these two are a good bet. They're the future of Chinese cinema so my expectations are very high."

Angelababy said she enjoyed working with Peng, whom she described as a very humorous fellow.

"On the set, Eddie is extremely popular with the ladies. Many of the make-up and costume crew would find all sorts of excuses to try and get close to him. As an actor, he's very diligent and works hard preparing each scene."

Peng too enjoyed teaming up with the actress who is easy-going.

"It's fun working with Baby as she is a bubbly girl with a boyish personality.

"This movie's a romantic comedy and my character's a rugged and rebellious chap with a kind heart. He's definitely a very appealing character. I hope I can be as dashing and care-free," offered Peng, who has been nominated for Best Actor at the upcoming 48th Golden Horse Award for his role as a gymnast in Taiwanese sports movie Jump Ashin!.

Like Summer Holiday, which features homegrown Mandopop stars like Michael Wong and Aniu as guitar-strumming beach boys, Love You You also includes local actors Steve Yap (as You's scheming half-brother), Alvin Wong (You's spineless sidekick) and Bernard Hew a dishonest agent).

The movie soundtrack features the smooth vocals of Singaporean Mandopop singer-songwriter JJ Lin. – Seto Kit Yan

Love You You opens in local cinemas tomorrow.

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The Oscar debate

Posted: 11 Oct 2011 11:42 PM PDT

A look at the fine lines of motion-capture animation films.

SHOULD a film made using the motion-capture technique qualify as an animated movie at the Oscars, or is it something else?

Does the answer to that last question change if Steven Spielberg is the guy making the movie?

Those are two of the questions facing the Academy at a time when the expanding use of performance capture has the potential to wreak havoc in the Best Animated Feature category.

And it's also confusing the acting category, where voters have to figure out if a performance can be awards-worthy even if the actor's face is never seen onscreen.

"I think there still needs to be a lot of education, because there's still a reasonable amount of fear,'' said actor Andy Serkis, who's delivered several of the most compelling performance-capture performances and who appears in two of the films in the thick of this year's discussion, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and The Adventures Of Tintin.

The performance-capture process, in which a performer's movements and facial expressions are recorded and then translated by computer into the movements and expression of an onscreen character, has been used to great effect in the Lord Of The Rings' films, in Avatar, and more recently in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.

It has also given rise to a whole genre of films that skirt a middle ground between live-action and animation, from Robert Zemeckis's The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol to the Oscar-winning Happy Feet.

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch has been grappling for years with the question of whether films based in motion capture are truly animated.

In 2010 the branch added specific language covering motion capture to its rules for qualifying for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

The rules point out that motion capture "by itself is not an animation technique'' and stipulate that "a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75% of the picture's running time", requiring that "movement and characters' performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique". '

Three films that could potentially qualify this year are affected by this rule: Simon Wells's March release Mars Needs Moms, George Miller's upcoming Happy Feet Two and Spielberg's The Adventures Of Tintin.

The makers of all three films have been asked by the branch to supply explanations of their intent.

The studios behind Tintin and Happy Feet, meanwhile, are adamant that those films are animated and should be in contention for the award.

(Jon Bloom, a governor in the short films and feature animation branch, declined to comment any further on the process.)

The consensus among those who closely watch the animation category is that the branch will either rule that all three films qualify or that all three don't – and virtually everyone interviewed is expecting them to qualify.

One reason: Happy Feet Two is the sequel to a 2006 film that won the Oscar for Animated Feature; to say that it isn't animated would be to cast retroactive doubt on a previous winner.

(Not that the use of motion capture in Happy Feet wasn't noticed: Pixar's Oscar-winning Ratatouille took a sly shot at Miller's movie in end credits that read, "100% Genuine Animation! No motion capture or any other performance shortcuts were used in the production of this film".)

Tintin, meanwhile, comes from one of the most powerful directors in Hollywood – someone the committee could be disinclined to cross.

"Spielberg is going to say what he needs to say – and my question is, who on that committee is going to call him a liar if they don't believe him?'' asked one animation insider.

The third motion-capture film, Mars Needs Moms, is a tricker (but perhaps more inconsequential) case.

Zemeckis, its producer, has made a string of films using the technology but in the past has sometimes resisted entering his films in the Animated Feature race.

"To call performance capture animation is a disservice to the great animators,'' Zemeckis said in 2007, before his motion-capture version of Beowulf was originally ruled ineligible by the Academy. But AMPAS later changed its mind about Beowulf (which wasn't nominated), and Zemeckis has allowed his films to be entered in the category.

Still, Mars Needs Moms was such a commercial and critical flop that it'll likely serve only to pad out the category, without any real chance of landing a nomination.

Padding out the category could prove to be crucial: if the three performance-capture films are deemed eligible, that appears to bring the number of competing films to 15. One more entrant is all that'd be needed to bump the number of nominees in the category from four to five.

On the acting side, the problem isn't eligibility, it's that actors are typically disinclined to view performance capture as being worthy of a nomination,

"You don't physically appear on screen as yourself, and I guess some actors would probably object to that,'' Serkis, who portrayed the ape Caesar in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, told TheWrap in August. "Because they feel that their greatest tool is their face, and that's that.''

In fact, he added, performance-capture acting is "incredibly subtle and very pure'' – and no more diluted by outside factors than any other kind of acting. "Every single actor's on-screen performance is enhanced to some degree by what you wear, by the makeup team that works on your face, by the shot size, by the way the director moves the camera around what you're doing.

There is not a single actor's performance on-screen that is not enhanced by other things.''

James Cameron made some of the same points two years ago when Avatar came out, insisting that the actor who played the alien Na'vi characters were not animated, and that the actors deserved full consideration for acting awards.

None were nominated – and, indeed, no actor in a performance-capture film has ever been nominated by the Academy.

"I'd like to think it could happen,'' said Serkis. "I'd like to think it could be understood as being no more than acting. I don't think there should be any kind of special category or anything. The visual effects side of it is the visual side of it, and the performance is acting.

"And if some directors want to enhance or slightly animate, that's moving into something else.''

In other words, this is a world in which fine lines are everywhere: the lines between acting, enhancement and animation, between a motion-capture film and an animated one.

Good luck, Academy. – Reuters

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Actress, director Penny Marshall to write memoir

Posted: 11 Oct 2011 10:53 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters): Actress and filmmaker Penny Marshall, who transitioned from her role as tough-talking Laverne in hit TV show "Laverne and Shirley" to become a pioneering female director, is releasing a memoir about her rise in Hollywood, her agent said on Tuesday.

Marshall, 68, has sold the rights to her autobiography, called "My Mother Was Nuts," directly to Amazon.com Inc, her agent Dan Strone said. The book will discuss her former 10-year marriage to fellow director Rob Reiner, her friendships with John Belushi and Art Garfunkel, and her battle with brain and lung cancer in 2009.

"People have always asked me how I got from the Bronx to Hollywood, so I thought it was time to tell how it all happened. I have had many lives (not in the Shirley MacLaine sense) and you will hear about them all ... Just don't expect any recipes ... I don't cook," Marshall said in the statement.

After playing Laverne De Fazio in the hit show "Laverne and Shirley," which was co-created by her brother, producer and director Garry Marshall, the actress went on to direct such film hits as "Big," "A League of Their Own," and "Awakenings."

The memoir will discuss her humble roots growing up in the Bronx, New York, to her relationship with her brother Garry to her turn behind the camera and dealings with actors such as Robert De Niro and Tom Hanks. It will be published in print and e-book form in the fall of 2012.

The decision by Marshall's agent to sell the book to Amazon Publishing reflects the online retailer's push to expand its operations and compete directly with other book publishers.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Consider upgrading village road

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 07:30 AM PDT

IT is time the JKR upgraded Jalan Welfare in Kampung Baru, Sungai Buloh into a four- lane road in view of the heavy congestion on this main access road to the village.

One sees survey after survey being done along the road but nothing has materialised thus far.

Additionally, the JKR should consider re-opening the Jalan Baru–Jalan Subang junction for the use of heavy vehicles headed for the industrial sector.

A new sub-district police station has come up and it is time to ease the congestion on the roads.

The Selangor Government and the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) need to do more for the village.

More improvements in terms of drainage, infrastructure, street lighting, amenities and re-development need to be done.

The village needs to be included in the clean zone project of the Selangor government to improve sanitary conditions.

The market and food court need to be upgraded and the football field has to be spruced up and fenced.

The stalls selling breakfast items by the side of the market are in a woeful condition and the MBSA should replace them quickly.

It would be better if Ean Yong Hian Wah, the Selangor executive councillor for new villages could visit and assess the village and find out its needs for comprehensive improvement and development.

Concerned Resident
Sungai Buloh

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Heavy vehicles continue to ply the roads during peak hours

Posted: 12 Oct 2011 07:29 AM PDT

SALES executive Clara Yip cheated death after several stones the size of a tennis ball slipped out of a tarpaulin covered truck and shattered her car windscreen.

This happened while she was driving along the Federal Highway at about 7.15am — in the second lane, just after the Batu Tiga toll plaza.

She swerved to the fast lane to avoid a shower of more stones, that she almost crashed into the road barrier.

Yip was badly shaken. Showered with shards of glass, she watched as the truck driver drove off.

"Traffic was heavy at that time. I could have been killed, it was really harrowing. All these would not have happened if the Road Transport Department (RTD) had enforced the ban on heavy vehicles from travelling on highways during peak hours in the morning," she added.

Most car drivers like Yip, 33, are of the view that trucks, cement lorries, heavy vehicles and cargo trailers cause traffic congestion and accidents as they jostle with those rushing to work.

StarMetro went on a two-day surveillance at the Sungai Rasau toll plaza at about 7.45am and found that several heavy lorries were just driving past RTD enforcement officers who chose to stop private cars and taxis instead of taking action against the lorry drivers.

A car workshop (windscreen outlet) manager Simon Lim, said on an average he received 18 cases of shattered or cracked windscreens a week due to stones falling off from lorries.

Selangor RTD senior public relations officer Ahmad Awang said drivers of heavy vehicles often chose not to heed the regulation banning them from using three highway stretches in the Klang Valley during morning peak hours.

"We are worried by the trend that can cause road collisions and deaths. Selangor RTD is in charge of the stretch from Sungai Rasau to Batu Tiga toll plaza while the other routes come under the traffic police," he said.

Since Aug 2 last year, the Government had decided that heavy vehicles (Class 2 and Class 3), laden weighing 10,000kg and above or unladen weighing 10,000kg and above, be banned along certain routes of the PLUS highway from 6.30am to 9.30am from Monday to Friday except on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Ahmad added that the routes where heavy vehicles were banned in the morning peak periods included the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) between Shah Alam and Jalan Duta, the North South expressway (NSE) between Sungai Buloh and Bukit Lanjan as well as the Federal Highway Route 2 between Subang and Sungai Rasau.

It is in line with the existing ban on heavy vehicles from entering Kuala Lumpur during the morning peak hours to ease congestion due to breakdowns or accidents.

"We know that when a heavy vehicle is involved in a road collision, it can cause a massive jam.

"These trailers can weigh up to 65 tonnes with cargo, and when they collide with a car, you know who is going to get hurt. Our enforcement lacks manpower and from the Sungai Rasau to Batu Tiga stretch, we have 17 junctions that stream traffic to the Federal Highway. At this moment we are unable to cover all exits but we station our men at both toll plazas," he said.

Ahmad added that before the ban, RTD used to order the heavy vehicles to stop on the road sides. "Before the ban, from August 2010 to July this year, some 700 heavy vehicles were stopped but no summons were issued as it was during the awareness period. In August this year 74 summonses issued, while in September we issued 84 summonses and in the first week of this month alone, 58 summonses were issued," he said.

Ahmad said the department was going hard on the errant drivers.

"The department will not entertain any appeal. If the offender fails to settle the fine within 60-days, than he can be charged in court and can end up with a RM1,000 fine."

Heavy vehicle operators are advised to make use of the parking facilities provided at the respective rest and service areas along the highway during the peak period before continuing their journey.

Suggested rest and service areas include the Sungai Buloh overhead bridge restaurant, Sungai Buloh lay-by, Rawang lay-by, Ulu Bernam RSA, USJ overhead bridge restaurant, Dengkil RSA, Seremban RSA, Serdang lay-by and Nilai lay-by.

Ahmad said his department would step up enforcement measures to ensure a smoother drive minus the heavy vehicles during the peak hours in the morning.

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