Sabtu, 15 Oktober 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Syrian forces fire at mourners, battle defectors

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 09:42 PM PDT

AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian security forces shot dead three mourners and injured 20 on Saturday when they fired on a protester funeral procession in central Damascus while troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fought army defectors west of the capital, witnesses said.

Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad march through the streets after Friday prayers in Amude October 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Handout)

In his latest move to try and defuse discontent, part of a wave of popular unrest against repressive autocrats across the Arab world, Assad formed a committee to draft a new constitution within four months, the official news agency SANA said.

The move raised the possibility that a clause designating his Baath Party, which seized power in a 1963 coup, as "leader of the state and society" could be scrapped.

In a sign of growing regional pressure on Assad to undertake genuine reform after seven months of street protests, al Jazeera television said Arab foreign ministers would hold an emergency meeting on Sunday in Cairo to discuss the crisis in Syria.

Gulf Arab states had earlier called for an immediate meeting of the Arab League to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria and study ways to stop the bloodshed.

Assad has sent troops and tanks into restive cities and towns to try put down the unrest but protests have persisted, spreading to suburbs and rural regions around cities as troops have occupied main squares in urban centres.

The president blames the violence on foreign-backed "armed terrorist groups" who authorities say have killed 1,100 soldiers and police. The United Nations said the military crackdown on unrest has killed 3,000 people, including at least 187 children.

With the deployment of thousands of police and militiamen loyal to Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for 41 years, central neighbourhoods of Damascus have remained largely free of pro-democracy demonstrations.

But at Saturday's funeral for a ten-year-old boy, Ibrahim Sheiban, killed in a protest rally the day before, "passions were running high," said one of the witnesses, a private sector employee who asked not to be identified for his own protection.

"The body was wrapped in white and thousands behind it were chanting 'the people want the execution of the president' and 'we will be free despite you Bashar'," he said.

Some mourners began throwing stones at the security forces, who fired back with live ammunition, the witness told Reuters by phone from the scene in the Damascus district of Maidan.


The killings in Maidan brought to at least nine the number of people killed while protesting against Assad in the last 48 hours, according to rights activists.

A human rights organisation said Assad's forces on Saturday also shot dead a prominent activist in eastern Syria who helped organise peaceful demonstrations in the region after a military crackdown on unrest two months ago.

Ziad al-Obeidi, 42, was killed as he fled from security police who stormed his home in the provincial capital of Deir al-Zor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. There was no comment from the Syrian authorities, who do issue statements on individual killings but deny assassinating their opponents.

"Ziad was adamant that non-violence was the only way to counter the regime's bloodletting. He had three kids and barely enough money to put bread on the table, yet the authorities keep saying that this uprising is being lead by foreign-backed armed terrorists," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told Reuters by telephone from Britain.

The United Nations called on Friday for international protection for civilians from a crackdown it said could kindle civil war between Syria's majority Sunni Muslims and members of Assad's minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.

Sunnis also comprise most of the army's rank and file while the officer corps is comprised primarily of Alawites effectively under the command of Assad's younger brother, Maher.

The authorities have expelled most independent media from Syria, make it difficult to verify accounts of events.

"The onus is on all members of the international community to take protective action in a collective manner, before the continual ruthless repression and killings drive the country into a full-blown civil war," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement.

"As more members of the military refuse to attack civilians and change sides, the crisis is already showing worrying signs of descending into an armed struggle," she added.

Assad was quoted by state media this week as saying Syria had "passed the most difficult stage" of the uprising. But opposition leaders say the mounting death toll will only turn more Syrians against the 46-year old president.

In the Zabani Plain, around 35 km (22 miles) west of Damascus on the fringes of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range, army defectors fought loyalist troops for several hours on Saturday, according to local residents.

"I saw army jeeps towing two (vehicles) belonging to State Security that were riddled with bullets. Blood was practically seeping from them," said a resident of the resort town, who gave his name as Mohammad. "They ransacked houses in Zabadani overnight looking for deserters and activists."


Sticking to a strategy of dismissing the protests as a foreign plot to divide Syria while touting "reforms that safeguard Syria's sovereignty", Assad formed a committee on Saturday to draft a new constitution within four months.

"President Assad issued today decree number 33 which stipulates forming a committee to prepare for a draft constitution," the official news agency agency SANA said.

The constitution, which was changed by Assad's late father, President Hafez al-Assad, in the 1970s, discourages any political pluralism by stipulating that the ruling Baath Party is "leader of the state and society."

The Syrian opposition has called for the clause to be scrapped, along with another that says the president can only be nominated by his Baath Party as well as numerous laws passed in the last 50 years which they say allow Assad and his security apparatus to practice repression and corruption with impunity.

New laws issued by Assad in the past three months permit "parties committed to democratic principles" and established an election commission. But they also preserved quotas that retain the majority of seats for farmers and workers, whose representatives are drawn from state-controlled unions.

Syria's current parliament, a rubber stamp body, does not have a single opposition figure.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Bangkok braces but safe so far from floods

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 09:42 PM PDT

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Relief workers reinforced barriers on Sunday to help defend Thailand's capital, Bangkok, from the country's worst floods in half a century and efforts were stepped up to protect a huge industrial estate to the city's north.

An aerial view of a flooded temple in Ayutthaya province October 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Despite heavy rain in parts of Bangkok late on Saturday, areas inside the defensive system of dikes and canals have so far been spared the flooding that has devastated a third of the country, killing at least 297 people and causing about $3 billion in damage.

The north, northeast and centre of Thailand have been worst hit and Bangkok -- much of it only two metres (6.5 ft) above sea level -- is at risk as water overflows from reservoirs in the north, swelling the Chao Phraya river that winds through the densely populated and low-lying city.

The river was reported to be at a record high level of 2.15 metres (seven feet) at one point on Saturday but the embankment wall running along it in inner Bangkok is at least 2.5 metres high and has been raised along vulnerable stretches.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has sought to reassure residents they should be safe but people have still stocked up on bottled water, instant noodles, rice and canned goods, emptying shelves in some major markets.

Many have parked their cars in elevated garages and piled sandbags in front of shop-houses and homes.

Water from the north approached Bangkok over the weekend, coinciding with high estuary tides that hamper the flow of water into the sea.

"We will protect strategic areas and the heart of the economy such as industrial zones, the central part of all provinces and the Thai capital as well as Suvarnabhumi Airport, industrial estates and evacuation centres," Yingluck said on Saturday, referring to Bangkok's main international airport.

On Sunday, the focus was on Nava Nakorn industrial estate in Pathum Thani province north of Bangkok, which is standing in the way of one flow of water towards the capital.

Thai media reported that some 600 soldiers and workers from the estate, Thailand's oldest with more than 200 factories, were working round the clock to strengthen its walls and divert water.

Nation TV reported that water was just 10 cm (four4 inches) below the top of the estate's 4.5 metres high wall.

Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Nakhon Sawan provinces north of Bangkok have been devastated. Floods have swallowed up homes and swamped three huge industrial parks, including the Bang Pa-In estate on Saturday in Ayutthaya.

Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co Ltd has shut its Ayutthaya plant, which accounts for 4.7 percent of its global output, and says it will stay closed until Oct. 21.

(Additional reporting by Jutarat Skulpichetrat and Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Alan Raybould; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Libya's new rulers contend with pro-Gaddafi district

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 08:40 PM PDT

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The armed men wearing the colours of Libya's new government are everywhere, eyes darting side to side, some edgy, others excited, as they train anti-aircraft guns on Tripoli's most pro-Gaddafi neighbourhood.

Anti-Gaddafi fighters fire from a tank towards pro-Gaddafi forces in Sirte October15, 2011. (REUTERS/SAAD SHALASH)

But one local man takes a chance down a quiet side street. Pulling his car up alongside a foreign journalist, he jumps out with a message he wants to get across: "Gaddafi was better."

He is nervous and his hands are shaking. Because he speaks little English he points to his pregnant wife in the car, who has a small girl playing on her lap and another beside her.

"Gaddafi," she says with a thumbs-up. "Now no good, no water, no food for baby, nothing."

Her husband rubs her belly. "Nothing," he repeats in Arabic.

The Tripoli district of Abu Salim remains a hotbed of support for Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's ousted leader.

Abu Salim was the last area of Tripoli to fall to the forces of the now-ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) as they swept into the capital. And it was the scene on Friday of fierce gunbattles between NTC fighters and dozens of Gaddafi loyalists hiding in its tower block jungle.

Though the clashes were small and isolated, they were the first since Tripoli fell to the NTC on Aug. 23 and have left many wondering whether a pro-Gaddafi insurgency is possible.

NTC officials are keen to play that scenario down, with "just a small problem" a regular refrain.

But on Saturday, scores of NTC fighters, laden down with machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons, circled the complex of flats where the violence was centred, indicating that the incident is one the country's fledgling rulers are taking seriously.

"We didn't like the way the NTC came yesterday, shooting at everything and everyone who was moving," a 20-year-old resident who identified himself as Mohammed told Reuters.

"I support this revolution but acting like this -- one of them even tried to steal a car here yesterday -- will turn people in these areas against them."

NTC fighters conducted house-to-house searches on Saturday, clambering up the walls of the tower blocks that house some of Tripoli's poorest inhabitants, peering into water tanks looking for concealed weapons.

"Gaddafi's people came here and handed out weapons to everyone during the war," Ali, a mechanic, said. "Every weapon you can imagine that a hand could carry, they gave us."


Mohammed and his friends said the government fighters had arrested and taken away one woman because they found a green Gaddafi flag in her flat, and that they had shot a man dead for shouting pro-Gaddafi slogans last week. Neither claim could be immediately verified.

"It's expressing an opinion," Mohammed said. "Simply that. And you get killed? It's wrong."

The conduct of the armed men, many of them very young, now responsible for Libya's security is of growing concern to human rights groups, who have accused them of mistreating thousands of pro-Gaddafi detainees and urged that they distance themselves from the crimes of the previous regime.

NTC officials appeal for patience and say it will take some time to set up a functioning judiciary, that fighters will be trained as police, that the new state will be a democracy with full respect for human rights.

But some analysts fear that resentment may fester in places like Abu Salim and boil over into more bloodshed.

Still, many people around the neighbourhood on Saturday professed themselves happy that Gaddafi was gone, some saying he was the reason the area had been poor for so long.

"I work for an oil company," Mohammed said. "I know how much money there is in Libya. I know the riches. But we didn't get any of them here. I saw no riches for myself."

Other NTC supporters said that, while it was true that many in Abu Salim and in other traditionally pro-Gaddafi areas were sorry that he was gone after 42 years in power, they did not expect much more trouble from them.

"The few Gaddafi supporters who are left will see that he has run away (into hiding)," said Saleh, a shop owner. "When they see that, they will have to join the new Libya so that we have no gunbattles in future."

As he spoke, NTC fighters unleashed a volley of anti-aircraft fire, sending it over the roofs of the flats -- a warning and a show of strength for any hostile residents inside.

Some children playing nearby did not flinch at all.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich and Janet Lawrence)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Universal McCann wins KFC, Pizza Hut accounts

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 08:19 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Universal McCann (UM) has beaten three other media agencies to manage the media buying duties for fast-food brands KFC and Pizza Hut, effective Jan 1, 2012.

The other agencies that had pitched for the accounts were Mindshare, Trapper MPG, Universal McCann and Zenith Media. It is understood that incumbent agency Carat Malaysia was not invited to the pitch.

UM chief executive officer Prashant Kumar said he was looking forward to working with the two brands.

"It's both a joy and a challenge to get an opportunity to work on such brands and help bring more meaning to what they already stand for. We are looking forward to it," he told StarBizweek.

Prashant said UM was chosen as both brands "were looking for an agency that could create competitive advantage in media."

"If you look at the last five years, Malaysian consumers have changed significantly and, as consumers change, communication must change too. The fast-food category is getting highly competitive and the clutter is mind-numbing," he said, adding that he was excited about winning the contracts.

"KFC and Pizza Hut are icons of shared happiness in Malaysia," said Prashant.

According to a report based on Nielsen figures, both accounts are worth US$40mil (RM128mil), making it one of the biggest pitches in the local market.

Nielsen ranked KFC as the 10th biggest advertiser in the country last year based on official media rate cards.

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Nestle: Price-rise report not verified

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 08:19 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: News that Nestle (M) Bhd is considering a price hike for certain dairy products may have sent chills down local households but the company has clarified that the reported information is not verified.

An English daily (not The Star), quoting sources, had reported that Nestle was planning to increase prices of selected dairy products between 10% and 30% as early as next month, citing the rise in the costs of raw materials, production and logistics due to the floods in Thailand.

However, Nestle told StarBizWeek that the report was not verified and that "pricing decision for any product category is influenced by various factors (and) in the case of milk products, the global milk price is one of the main influencers in determining the prices."

In its email response, it said that it would continue to evaluate closely the development of the global milk pricing and decide on the pricing policy accordingly.

"The story which was published in (yesterday's) paper was not based on facts and we are not aware of 30% increase in any of our milk product price. Our priority is always to be competitive in the market place and, at the same time, to deliver quality products with good value to the consumers," it said.

Despite the report, industry players did not jump on the opportunity to raise their prices. F&N Dairies (M) Sdn Bhd, for one, is not raising its product prices.

When contacted, F&N Dairies general manager of corporate affairs Poh Eng Lip said the dairy products manufacturer had no plans to adjust its prices because there was no reason to.

"(We) will not raise prices of our canned milk products. The flood situation in Thailand is a cause for concern. However, it will not impact the price of our condensed and evaporated milk products in Malaysia," he said.

In fact, the local dairy arm of F&N is increasing its production by 20% which will be entirely dedicated to the Thai market.

A source from another dairy powerhouse, Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, also said that "consumers can be rest assured that Dutch Lady Malaysia will not be increasing prices for its products."

The floods will not affect its manufacturing as well because all of Dutch Lady products are produced locally.

Nestle, as a food and beverage heavyweight, has long been seen as a reference body for other food manufacturers and any price adjustments on its terrain would expectedly have a domino effect on the F&B market at large.

That said, Nestle has always maintained that it tries to avoid passing cost increases to consumers through operational efficiencies and internal cost-saving measures.

An analyst of blue chip consumer counters like Nestle and F&N said that there should be no reason for the food and beverage giant to raise its dairy-based product prices as most of the operations for such products were in Malaysia.

However, he added that if the price adjustments came into effect, Nestle would maintain good profit margin as "time and again, it is proven that people continue to buy dairy products even though prices are raised."

TA Securities Holdings Bhd consumer analyst Farhana Hamzah said that "following Nestle's track record, once its costs hit a certain percentage and it can no longer absorb the pressures, it would have to pass the price increases to consumers. Likewise, when its costs drop, it will adjust accordingly."

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Floods may affect Mudajaya’s earnings

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 08:18 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Mudajaya Group Bhd's earnings could be impacted by the floods in India which have affected its independent power producer (IPP) project, analysts said.

According to OSK Research, the floods have caused delays to Mudajaya's RM3.4bil IPP equipment procurement contract.

"While heavy rainfall during the monsoon season is common, the rain this year has been unusually intense.

"Earlier this year, Mudajaya announced that its IPP job had experienced delays because of protests by villagers at its project site but the issue was eventually resolved," it said in a report.

Overall, the protests and flooding have caused Mudajaya's project to be delayed by an estimated eight to nine months, it pointed out.

It added the contract delay involved mainly civil works, which were estimated at 10% to 15% of the contract value.

The Chhattisgarh plant in India is a coal-based power plant with four 360 MW units of modular form equipment.

"Further delays to the plant may affect the group's earnings for next year, but with the plant to be completed by 2013, the group will have a stable recurring income from the project as they also co-own it," said a local research house analyst.

It was reported that the plant, when fully operational, might provide a minimum income of between RM60mil and RM70mil to the group.

On the local front, an analyst said the group, with its expertise in power plant design and construction, has a good chance to participate in the 1,000 MW Tanjung Bin extension, which is expected to be worth RM675mil to RM900mil.

OSK Research said there was still jobs flow for Mudajaya and it was targeting some contracts from the West Coast Expressway.

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The Star Online: Sports

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Golf: Rookie Thompson sets pace in Georgia as Simpson lurks

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 05:10 PM PDT

PGA Tour rookie Michael Thompson moved one shot clear after Saturday's third round of the McGladrey Classic at St Simons Island in Georgia while fellow American Webb Simpson stayed in the hunt for his third victory of the year. Thompson fired a three-under-par 67 on another breezy day at the Sea Island Resort to overhaul second-round pacesetter Billy Horschel and post a 13-under total of 197.

American Horschel, a stroke in front of Thompson with three holes to play, doubled-bogeyed the 16th after dumping his tee shot into water on the way to a 70 as he ended the day in second place at 12 under.

Simpson, who has won twice in his last five starts and has a chance to beat world number one Luke Donald of Britain to the PGA Tour money-list title, was a further stroke back after carding a 69.

"My caddie and I had a tough time reading the greens," Simpson told reporters after mixing three birdies with two bogeys. "I gave myself plenty of opportunities but the greens, as we get late into the week, are getting tough to putt.

"The goal for today was just to give ourselves a chance to win tomorrow. We hung in there and stayed in the golf tournament. That's all you can ask."

Simpson trails money-list leader Donald by $68,971 and both are scheduled to compete in next week's season-ending Disney Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Thompson, who has recorded just one top-10 finish on the PGA Tour after 23 starts this season, was delighted to be in position to claim a breakthrough victory.

"I've just got to try to hit solid golf shots tomorrow," said the 26-year-old who lipped out with a nine-foot birdie putt at the last that would have given him a two-stroke lead.

"I was kind of struggling coming down the stretch there but tomorrow is a new day and I'm going to enjoy it."

Former U.S. Masters champion Trevor Immelman equalled the course record with a sizzling 62 to finish level with Simpson at 11 under. "That's always going to help your round," South African Immelman said after covering his last five holes in six under.

"I played real well today, drove the ball well, hit some nice iron shots and made some putts. It really was a fun day." -Reuters

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Na-yeon leads but five others still in the running for the crown

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 04:25 PM PDT

THE Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is heading for an exciting finish with at least six players in the running for the winner's cheque of US$285,000 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club today.

But South Korea's world number four Choi Na-yeon is probably the most determined golfer out there in the 72-woman field to accomplish that goal.

Yesterday, Na-yeon overcame a three-hour rain delay to shoot a third round score of four-under 67 for a 12-under 201, giving her a one shot lead going into today's final round.

American Brittany Lang, who was the overnight joint leader with Stacy Lewis, dropped to second after a 69 for a 202 total.

Azahara Munoz of Spain shot a three-under 68 to move into third place at 10-under 203 while Lewis tumbled to a one-over 72 to fall into a share of fourth place with Pak Se-ri of South Korea (65) and world number one Tseng Yani (69) of Taiwan at 205.

For Na-yeon, it is the first time this season that she is leading in an LPGA event going into the final round.

Na-yeon, who is still searching for her first win of the year, said her turning point in yesterday's round came after she birdied the ninth and 10th holes.

"My putter was really cold in the beginning. But after I got my birdie on the ninth and 10th, I started to get some momentum.

"I played very well. I'm very satisfied today. I'm very excited to be in the lead and I'm going forward to the final round," said the Korean, who felt she could have done better if not for the weather interruption.

"The delay bothered me. I know we can't control the weather, so I have to accept it," said Na-yeon.

Munoz is also looking to end her drought on the LPGA Tour. Like Na-yeon, she was also a bit unhappy with the three-hour stoppage.

"It was just a mess. Thank God we finished. I'm just happy we got the job done.

"It is a crowded leaderboard, so it should be interesting tomorrow.

"I'm really excited. I'm just going to go out there and try to enjoy it, one shot at a time and see what happens," said Munoz.

Third round scores

201: Choi Na-yeon (Kor) 66-68-67;

202: Brittany Lang (US) 66-67-69;

203: Azahara Munoz (Spa) 67-68-68;

205: Pak Se-ri (Kor) 72-68-65, Stacy Lewis (US) 68-65-72, Tseng Yani (Tpe) 69-67-69;

206: Suzann Pettersen (Nor) 68-69-69;

207: Paula Creamer (US) 71-67-69;207: Michelle Wie (US) 68-68-71;

208: Kim In-kyung (Kor) 68-68-72;

209: Sandra Gal (Ger) 72-70-67;

210: Angela Stanford (US) 71-71-68, Amanda Blumenherst (US) 70-69-71, Dewi Claire Schreefel (Ned) 66-68-76;

211: Feng Shanshan (Chn) 68-73-70, Caroline Hedwall (Swe) 72-70-69, Melissa Reid (Eng) 72-71-68, Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 79-67-65;

212: Shin Jiyai (Kor) 70-69-73, Ai Miyazato (Jpn) 72-68-72, Paige Mackenzie (US) 67-74-71, Julieta Granada (Par) 70-71-71, Christel Boeljon (Ned) 68-73-71, Natalie Gulbis (US) 71-71-70, Chella Choi (Kor) 74-70-68, Candie Kung (Tpe) 70-76-66, Amy Yang (Kor) 69-69-74;

213: Sun Youn-soo (Kor) 70-71-72, Hee Ji-eun (Kor) 72-69-72, Maria Hjorth (Swe) 66-76-71, Jenny Shin (Kor) 71-71-71, Mika Miyazato (Jpn) 74-70-69, Kim Mi-hyun (Kor) 72-70-71;

214: Momoko Ueda (Jpn) 71-72-71, Katie Futcher (US) 69-70-75, Morgan Pressel (US) 71-71-72, Jennifer Song (US) 74-67-73, Frances Bondad (Aus) 70-73-71;

215: Catriona Matthew (Sco) 70-69-76, Christina Kim (US) 75-69-71, Mina Harigae (US) 74-70-71;

216: Kang Jimin (Kor) 69-72-75, Brittany Lincicome (US) 75-68-73, Wendy Ward (US) 77-68-71, Pornanong Phatlum (Tha) 73-74-69;

217: Amy Hung (Tpe) 72-69-76, Mindy Kim (US) 69-73-75, Pat Hurst (US) 74-69-74, Meena Lee (Kor) 74-70-73, Cindy Lacrosse (US) 74-71-72, Karrie Webb (Aus) 74-72-71;

218: Laura Davies (Eng) 74-72-72, Park Hee-young (Kor) 74-71-73, Sophie Gustafson (Swe) 69-77-72;

219: Cristie Kerr (US) 72-72-75;

220: Karen Stupples (Eng) 74-73-73, Vicky Hurst (US) 76-74-70;

221: Beatriz Recari (Spa) 73-73-75, Porani Chutichai (Tha) 75-72-74, Katherine Hull (Aus) 76-72-73;

222: Kristy McPherson (US) 73-78-71;

223: Gerina Piller (US) 75-70-78;

224: Kelly Tan (a-Mas) 77-73-74;

225: Aretha Pan (a-Mas) 75-76-74;

226: Juli Inkster (US) 76-75-75;

227: Jean Chua (Mas) 76-78-73, Han Hee-won (Kor) 75-74-78;

231: Ryan O'Toole (US) 82-75-74;

233: Tanaporn Kongkiatkrai (Tha) 80-76-77, Ainil Johani Bakar (Mas) 76-80-77;

236: Tiffany Joh (US) 80-77-79.


From Tee 1

7.10am: Momoko Ueda, Frances Bondad, Morgan Pressel;

7.21am: Maria Hjorth, Hee Ji-eun, Sun Young-soo;

7.32am: Mika Miyazato, Kim Mi-hyun, Jenny Shin;

7.43am: Ai Miyazato, Shin Jiyai, Amy Yang;

7.54am: Julieta Granada, Christel Boeljon, Paige Mackenzie;

8.05am: Candie Kung, Chella Choi, Natalie Gulbis;

8.16am: Melissa Reid, Caroline Hedwall, Feng Shanshan;

8.27am: Amanda Blumenherst, Dewi Claire Schreefel;

8.38am: Kim In-kyung, Sandra Gal, Angela Stanford;

8.49am: Suzann Pettersen, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie;

9.00am: Pak Se-ri, Tseng Yani, Stacy Lewis;

9.11am: Choi Na-yeon, Brittany Lang, Azahara Munoz.

From Tee 10

7.10am: Jennifer Song, Katie Futcher, Christina Kim;

7.21am: Mina Harigae, Catriona Matthew, Pornanong Phatlum;

7.32am: Wendy Ward, Brittany Lincicome, Kang Jimin;

7.43am: Karrie Webb, Cindy Lacrosse, Meena Lee;

7.54am: Pat Hurst, Mindy Kim, Amy Hung;

8.05am: Laura Davies, Sophie Gustafson, Park Hee-young;

8.16am: Cristie Kerr, Vicky Hurst, Karen Stupples;

8.27am: Kyeong Bae, Katherine Hull, Porani Chutichai;

8.38am: Beatriz Recari, Kristy McPherson, Gerina Piller;

8.49am: Kelly Tan (am), Aretha Pan (am), Juli Inkster;

9.00am: Jean Chua, Han Hee-won, Ryan O'Toole;

9.11am: Tanaporn Kongkriatkrai, Ainil Johani Bakar, Tiffany Joh.

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Chong Wei exits local circuit after winning 10th national title

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 04:24 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: World number one Lee Chong Wei exited the local badminton circuit in style yesterday.

The 29-year-old picked up his record 10th national title, easily beating Goh Soon Huat 21-11, 21-5 in the final of the National Circuit Grand Prix Finals at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.

The 21-year-old Soon Huat, in his first final appearance of the GP Finals, seemed nervous and hardly gave Chong Wei a fight.

With the win, Chong Wei will now focus all his attention on winning the gold in next year's London Olympics. He had vowed not to play in any more local tournaments if he picked up his 10th national title.

"The Olympic preparation will be my main focus from now on. I hope that the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will understand and respect my decision," said Chong Wei.

"Having been on top for so long, I believe it is time to give the younger players such as (Liew) Daren, Mohd Arif (Abdul Latif) and (Chong) Wei Feng a chance to prove their worth," added Chong Wei, who left for Odense last night to compete in the Denmark Open.

Meanwhile in the men's doubles event, the scratch combination of Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Ong Soon Hock capitalised on their experience to beat Mohd Lufti Zaim-Vountus Indra Mawan 19-21, 21-15, 21-19 in the final.

In the women's singles, Lydia Cheah finally ended her bridesmaid's role as she scored a sensational 21-14, 21-17 victory over defending champion Tee Jing Yi for her first national crown.

It was Lydia's first win in five final appearances – the first back in 2005.

"I'm very happy to have finally won after five attempts. It is a great confidence boost for me. Hopefully, I'll be able to maintain this level of performance when I go to Jakarta for the SEA Games next month and win a medal," said Lydia.

In the women's doubles, fast-rising Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo had to battle from a game down to overcome Chin Eei Hui-Goh Liu Ying 17-21, 21-15, 21-15.

Khe Wei's bid for a second title failed to materialise. She and Tan Wee Kiong lost 15-21, 14-21 to Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying in the mixed doubles final.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Elton John set to rock Malaysia

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 06:48 AM PDT

SIR Elton John stands in a class of his own as a music legend. The 64-year-old pop superstar is set to make the biggest concert splash here this year with a show at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting on Nov 22.

As part of the "Elton And Band" tour, the flamboyant Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend is set to entertain fans with a career-spanning concert at the 6,000 capacity venue in Genting.

After a five decade long career, 250 million records sold and multiple Grammy awards, Elton's first visit to these shores is a much anticipated one - especially with the veteran showman now engaged for three years in Las Vegas and is expected to slow down his long haul tours.

Apart from Singapore and Australian/New Zealand dates next month, the British performer has added the Malaysian concert as part of his "greatest hits tour" schedule.

What better opportunity to catch Elton live on stage with 1970s classics like 'Your Song', 'Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)', 'Rocket Man', 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', 'Candle In The Wind', 'Tiny Dancer', 'Crocodile Rock' right to 1980s favourites 'I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues,' and 'Sad Songs (Say So Much)' and many more in the setlist.

Show promoters Tune Live, organisers Fat Boys, local producer Scenique and regional promoter Live Limited have indicated Elton's upcoming show in Genting will be the full international version with all the concert trimmings and visual spectacle.

Tickets go on sale on Monday through (

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Police, army in neighbourhood watch to combat crime

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 04:14 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The police and Armed Forces are joining forces to wage war against crime in a joint patrol' pilot programme at selected neighbourhoods around the country.

The programme, which was launched Saturday at Kota Damansara and Sungai Buloh, would see six army personnel joining ranks with policemen from each area to conduct collaborative patrols in the residential neighbourhoods in their respective areas.

Petaling Jaya OCPD Asst Comm Arjunaidi Mohamed said the programme was another step by the police and Government to combat crime in the country.

"The joint teams would conduct their patrols on police MPVs, motorcycles and also on foot. We hope to further expand this programme to all other parts of Petaling Jaya as soon as possible," he said after launching the programme at Kota Damansara police station Saturday.

In JOHOR BARU, the police and army personnel will also guard residents in Setia Indah.

Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Yaacob said that incorporation of army personnel into patrol duties with the police was a culmination of the Prime Minister's National Blue Ocean Strategy in combating crime.

"Under the strategy, we aim to utilise all available resources to its best potential and a collaborative effort between the police and army is one way to increase security in the country," he said during the launch of the first police and army collaborative at the Setia Indah police station here Saturday.

Zainuddin said that eight army personnel would be incorporated into the initial 16-member team, who will be on duty from 9am to 5pm.

Each team would consist of two policemen and one-army personnel, he added.

He said the state police would be looking at creating similar teams for other police stations in Johor, but would depend on the resources available.

Royal Malay Regiment's 10th Battalion commanding officer Lt Kol Hamdan Musa said his men had underwent a special course to familiarise themselves with the police system to enable them to stay in sync during the operation which would benefit the people.

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Talks linking two Russian cities and KK via direct flights in progress

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 02:58 AM PDT

SEMPORNA: Talks are underway to have direct flights from two eastern Russian cities to Kota Kinabalu by year-end.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said discussions between tourism officials from Vladivostok and Khavbarosk cities had already began.

"The state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry through Tourism Malaysia will have charter flights from these two cities to Kota Kinabalu this will happen.

"Malaysia has no direct flight from Russia. (The nearest is) Bangkok to Moscow and even Vietnam also has flights to the Russian capital," she said.

Ng said Vladivostok is only seven hours by air from the state capital, adding this will allow more tourism players to penetrate the Russian market.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Steven Seagal goes from Hollywood to border cop

Posted: 14 Oct 2011 05:57 PM PDT

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters): It's been said that what the world knows about the United States is what people see in Hollywood movies, and those perceptions could soon become reality in Texas.

Those who try to slip across the Rio Grande from Mexico into west Texas may find themselves arrested by newly sworn-in Hudspeth County Sheriff's Deputy and action film star Steven Seagal.

Seagal, currently starring in an A&E Network reality show detailing his experiences as a reserve deputy in New Orleans, contacted County Sheriff Arvin West about his interest in "patrolling the border", West said.

He was sworn in this week for the position in Hudspeth County, which runs along the Rio Grande east of El Paso, West added. Seagal, 59, could not be reached for comment.

"Mr. Seagal is not in this for the celebrity or publicity," West told Reuters. "He has a sincere passion for his country and he wants to do more to help. I think he will make a significant contribution to this office and to our community."

Seagal starred in big-budget films in the 1980s and early 1990s, earning a reputation as an action star in movies like "Above the Law" and "Under Siege."

In the last decade, he has appeared mainly in direct-to-DVD, low-budget films while working in law enforcement. His last role was as a corrupt Mexican drug lord in the Robert Rodriguez grindhouse flick "Machete."

After Seagal expressed interest in joining the Hudspeth County department, two members of the department traveled to Los Angeles to talk to the actor about his proposal and to make sure he was serious, said Rusty Fleming, a spokesman for the sheriff and one of the two who made the trip.

"We were very quick to find out that he was not doing this for publicity," Fleming said. "He wants to come down to the border and work and try to do his part."

Hudspeth County, population 3,400, is on the front lines of border issues ranging from illegal immigration to drug gangs. West once made headlines when he urged people who live in the county to buy a gun and "learn how to use it."

It was also in Hudspeth County that singer Willie Nelson was arrested on marijuana charges last fall. Two reality TV shows focusing on the border are being filmed in the county, Fleming said.

"He understands this issue that we have down here on the border," Fleming said of Seagal. "His help with his training and what he can help show our deputies and what he can show us here, I think he'll make a tremendous contribution."

West said he expected Seagal to report for duty in January and that the exact nature of his duties were still being worked out.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Creative challenges await the hip and sexy at Area27’s opening do

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 04:08 AM PDT

The street off Jalan Bukit Bintang will be turned into a gathering spot for the stylish and hip today for the launch of fashion icon Datuk Bernard Chandran's multi-label store cum gallery Area27.

There will be special performances by Shazet, games, contests for youths, graffiti art and many other interesting activities. Celebrity deejays like DJ Arnold and Zain Zaidin will take turns to spin some of the coolest music in town. Don't miss out on the "Parkour" performance, a free-running, eye-catching act with energetic daredevil stunts by 3RUNmy.

In conjunction with the launch, Area27 is running a T-shirt contest until Nov 1.

Participants are required to display the ultimate in originality in the way they don their T-shirts.

"Show us how you wear the T-shirt in your own original version. Be creative and wear it your way! Then all you need to do is strike a pose, take a full-body shot and submit it to Area27," said Chandran.

Submissions have to be based on a fashion theme and it has to contain the number "27" in it. The number need not be on the T-shirt — it can be featured anywhere in the photograph.

All entries will be judged based on creativity by Chandran. Among the prizes are items from the Puma Blackstation range designed by Alexander McQueen and Mihara Yasuhiro; a bomber jacket by Bernard Chandran and dresses from Natalija Jansone and Animal Kingdom.

In conjunction with the launch, Area27 invites all Malaysians to participate in their creative challenges and contests.

In the Walk the Area27 Trail contest, participants may be walking away with a limited edition Area27 T-shirt worth RM800. This contest is open to all and the first 20 individuals who complete the trail win! Registration is open today from 2pm onwards at Area27. All one needs to do is to take pictures of themselves with the chosen landmarks, which will be revealed today.

"Expect the unexpected," said Chandran. "Area27 is a multi-label store cum gallery that defies traditional boundaries and re-defines high-street fashion with an attitude. Area27 presents ideas, artistic values and expressions in fashion. Like pop art's take on fashion, it includes popular designs, music of different genres and personifies cult abstraction.

"Area27 is not just about fashion, it is also about personal style, the way one identifies with his/her own style," he added.

Chandran said that he had always wanted to start something inspirational for the younger generation.

It is his wish to leave a legacy apart from fashion and to inspire young Malaysians to appreciate local arts and pop culture.

Area27 also has an area for budding musicians who want to show their craft, and an area for young local artists and photographers to display their works.

"In fact, Malaysia's fashion history will never be the same again when we see youths becoming an emerging fashion voice. The fashionable new will soon knock off its predecessor off its pedestal with the arrival of the youth culture!" Chandran declared.

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City Watch

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 04:06 AM PDT


There will be several blood donation campaigns today at Dewan PJSB, Kolej Serumpun UPM (10am to 4pm), Dewan SIB Lake City Church SIBKL Lake City branch, Jalan Langkawi, Setapak, Kuala Lumpur (9am to 3pm), parking lot Carrefour Bukit Rimau Shah Alam (10am to 4pm), Dataran Mawar, Kolej Mawar, UiTM Shah Alam (9am to 3pm), Dewan, Glad Tidings Assembly Sri Damansara, Jalan Damar SD 16/1, Bandar Sri Damansara, Kuala Lumpur (11am to 3pm), Kompleks Kecemerlangan Sukan Cochrane (9am to 1pm), Bilik Murai Awana Genting Highlands Golf Country Resort (10am to 5pm), Maybank KL Sentral (10am to 2pm) and National Blood Centre (10.30am to 3pm). Those with type A blood are encouraged to donate. For enquiries, visit www.pdn or call 03-2695 5557/8.


NYLA Sdn Bhd and MPH Bookstores are organising an English essay writing competition for children "The Search for The Malaysian Junior Writer". It will be held at MPH Johor Baru City Square on Oct 22 and Gurney Plaza Penang-New Wing Atrium on Oct 29. Children aged nine to 14 years are encouraged to participate. The best three essays will be awarded prizes with the grand finals talking place at MPH Carnival in Mid Valley Exhibition Centre, Kuala Lumpur on Dec 10. For details, contact the nearest MPH bookstore or call Nyla Sdn Bhd at 03-7960 3462.


KL PJ Alzheimer's Caregivers Support Group is having a free talk on 'Caregiving, From A Caregiver's Perspective' today at 2.30pm. The talk will be by Asso Prof Dr Andrew Charles Gomez at ADFM PJ Daycare Centre, No 6, Section 11/8E, Section 11, Petaling Jaya. For more information, call 016-608 2513/ 03-7956 2008/ 03-2260 3158 or Fax 03-7960 8482.


Women's Aid Organisation and The Pixel Project is having a "Paint It Purple" Cupcake Party at 2.30pm today. It will be at the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia, Petaling Jaya. Tickets are RM40 and includes a box of four cupcakes, tea, coffee and a cupcake demo session. Proceeds will go to a campaign to raise US$1mil for WAO and the USA's National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. For details, contact Ann Nunis at WAO at 03 7957 5636 or or


The Spine & Joint Specialists is organising a series of knee pain public seminars conducted by chiropractor Hayden Pooke at 3K Complex in Subang Jaya, on Oct 26. There are two sessions from 10am to 11.30am and noon to 1.30pm. Each session is limited to 35 people. Call 03-5631 1301 for details and to book a spot.


Metro Toastmasters meets on every second and fourth Thursdays of the month at Vistana Hotel at 7pm. Toastmasters help people to improve their communication skills like thinking, hearing and speaking confidently. For more information log on to

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Company donates RM5,000 to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 03:40 AM PDT

THE Brother International (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (Brother), in support of the conservation of endangered wildlife, has donated RM5,000 to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) in Sandakan, Sabah recently.

The initiative was part of the Brother Cares corporate social responsibility programme that began in 2005, and has been a vehicle for the company to support various non-governmental organisations, non-profit bodies, causes and community programmes nationwide.

Orang utans are among the most endangered of Malaysia's wildlife species.

The SORC is among the most successful rehabilitation centres for these arboreal creatures that are immensely strong yet not strong enough to resist the relentless march of development.

The centre was established in 1964 to return orphaned apes back to the wild.

The centre is administered and managed by the Wildlife Department of Sabah.

Other than the sanctuary, the centre also provides public education on conservation, research and assistance to other endangered species such as captive breeding of endangered rhinoceros.

It is currently seeking sponsors and raising funds to buy more land to provide room for the 47 orang utans being rehabilitated there.

Brother decided to lend a hand to SORC through a financial contribution to facilitate the rehabilitation of orang utans that had been raised in captivity, orphaned, abandoned, injured and those that had been uprooted from their natural habitat.

At the same time 40 employees from the company pitched in to clean the surroundings and assist with chores around the sanctuary.

Brother managing director Yoshiaki Otsuka said the company looks for new areas and ways to express its care for the community and country that it operates in.

"The more successful we become as a company, the more we target to give back and assist," Otsuka said.

The contribution from Brother was received by SORC manager Sylvia Alsisto during a simple cheque presentation ceremony.

"Orang utan need a lot of space to support their need for food as they tend to range far and wide for the diet they prefer. Our objective is to help them function and survive without assistance from us. In the meantime, we give them shelter, treatment and training to achieve this goal," Alsisto said.

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Saturday Events

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 03:40 AM PDT


Yayasan Warisan Johor will be organising the Nusantara III Zapin Festival today and tomorrow. Members of the public can check out the zapin workshop during the festival at Stadium Bandaraya Johor Baru.


The Malaysia Online Game Tour is back at Johor Baru KSL City for three days until tomorrow. Online game fans can head to the ground floor atrium to purchase their favourite online games from 10am until 10pm. For details, call 07-288 2888.


Johor Indian Business Association (JIBA) will organise a saree-tying competition today at Johor Baru Skudai Parade from 5pm to 10pm. Members of the public can come and watch the performance at the basement stage. For details, call 07-558 8996.


Johor Indian Business Association (JIBA) will organise a henna competition today from 2pm to 5pm at Johor Baru Skudai Parade. The admission fee for the competition is RM20 per person. For details, call 07-558 8996.


There will be a machinery expo today at Johor Baru Danga City Mall from 10am until 10pm. For details, call 07-221 5008.


The International Thai festival promotion featuring food and clothing is on at Johor Baru Plaza Pelangi today. The promotion will start at 10am. For details, call 07-3403 0020.


Pantai Hospital will be organising a breast cancer awareness campaign today at The Summit Batu Pahat. An array of activities such as a colouring contest for children, health talk, free blood pressure and blood glucose tests and games will be carried out. For details, call 07-433 8811.


You will be blown away by the powerful vocals of four songbirds from Taiwan as they sing their hearts out at the Arena of Stars in Genting tonight. Winnie Hsin, Michelle Pan, Shunza and Chyi Yu will be performing live at 8pm. Don't miss the show!


Those who are interested in watching various dance performances performed by ATS Dance Academy from Johor Baru can head to Sutera Mall today. Members of the public can also take part in the performances such as ballet, jazz, hip-hop and belly dance from 6pm until 8pm. For details, call 07-558 9009.


The public, especially children, will be delighted to see baby turtles being released back into the sea at the Cherating Turtle Sanctuary and Information Centre waiting hall, every night from 8pm onwards. The centre is located next to the popular Clud Med. Admission is free but donations to the centre for turtle conservation are welcome.

Just Eating Out


For authentic Penang food and local hawker cuisine, head to Superb Food Stall at Pusat Komersial Air Putih. Feast on asam laksa, prawn mee, nasi briyani and chicken, Asam Pedas Ikan Pari with Black Pepper (served with steamed rice, acar and pineapple prawns), cucur udang and Penang cendol and ice kacang. For reservations, call 09-566 0149/567 0149.


During this hot season, how about cooling down with a bowl of cendol. Cendol Air Putih located at Jalan Air Putih, Kuantan serves cendol with a choice of red beans or glutinous rice for toppings. Also available are east coast specialities such as pulut panggang with mashed fish filling and curry puff.


Those craving for traditional dishes should visit M.S. Garden Hotel Kuantan to partake in the Selera Kampung promotion for lunch and dinner, priced at RM240++ per table of 10 and RM380++ per table of 10. For reservations, call 09-511 8888/517 7899.


Treat your loved ones and friends to Japanese cuisine at Hana MizukiB26 at Jalan Tun Ismail 1 (Behind After 7). For reservations, call 09-517 8817. Craving for Indonesian food especially from East Java and Minang cuisine? Head to Restoran Ayam Penyet-AP at ground floor of Berjaya Megamall in Kuantan.

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Paying respect to the Goddess of Mercy

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 03:40 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Thousands are expected to throng the Johor Baru Ancient Temple here today to celebrate Goddess of Mercy or better known as Guanyin's birthday.

The celebration, is set to begin at 9am and continue until midnight. Devotees will burn joss sticks and offer their prayers to the deity.

Johor Baru Tiong Hua Association manager Eric Ku said the event, which falls on the nineteenth day of the ninth month in the lunar calendar, was to honour and to thank the deity for her compassion and mercy.

"Usually, devotees and their families will bring along fresh bouquets of flowers and fruits to offer to the deity and as a sign of respect and sincerity.

"After paying their respects, devotees can feast on a buffet-style vegetarian spread prepared at the temple," he told StarMetro.

"The main highlight of the event is at 11am when the presidents of the five main dialect associations such as Hakka, Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew and Hainan will offer their respect in a mass prayer session," he said.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Elton John set to rock Malaysia

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 06:48 AM PDT

SIR Elton John stands in a class of his own as a music legend. The 64-year-old pop superstar is set to make the biggest concert splash here this year with a show at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting on Nov 22.

As part of the "Elton And Band" tour, the flamboyant Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend is set to entertain fans with a career-spanning concert at the 6,000 capacity venue in Genting.

After a five decade long career, 250 million records sold and multiple Grammy awards, Elton's first visit to these shores is a much anticipated one - especially with the veteran showman now engaged for three years in Las Vegas and is expected to slow down his long haul tours.

Apart from Singapore and Australian/New Zealand dates next month, the British performer has added the Malaysian concert as part of his "greatest hits tour" schedule.

What better opportunity to catch Elton live on stage with 1970s classics like 'Your Song', 'Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)', 'Rocket Man', 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', 'Candle In The Wind', 'Tiny Dancer', 'Crocodile Rock' right to 1980s favourites 'I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues,' and 'Sad Songs (Say So Much)' and many more in the setlist.

Show promoters Tune Live, organisers Fat Boys, local producer Scenique and regional promoter Live Limited have indicated Elton's upcoming show in Genting will be the full international version with all the concert trimmings and visual spectacle.

Tickets go on sale on Monday through (

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