Ahad, 16 Oktober 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Eight killed, Yemenis hope for UN pressure on Saleh

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 11:40 AM PDT

SANAA (Reuters) - Eight Yemenis, including five protesters, were killed in a new upsurge in violence in the capital on Sunday, hospital officials and witnesses said, and President Ali Abudllah Saleh said he expected China and Russia to block U.N. moves to end his rule.

The two countries joined forces to veto a European-sponsored resolution against Syria earlier this month but were not expected to block the resolution on Saleh which is due to go to the Security Council this week, diplomats in New York have said.

Anti-government protesters march during a demonstration to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa October 16, 2011. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Yemeni security forces fired on protesters, killing at least five people in the capital Sanaa on Sunday, hospital officials said, in violence which took the death toll in two days to at least 20.

Two brothers and a nephew died in a separate incident in Sanaa when a shell fell on their house in al-Qaa neighbourhood, witnesses said. They said the shell exploded during clashes between security forces and anti-government fighters.

Witnesses said security forces attacked the protesters when they tried to enter Zubayri Street, which lies between areas controlled by government forces and dissident general Ali Mohsen.

Residents said the authorities feared protesters could block off the street, a major throughway for traffic.

"Until now, we have four martyrs and 13 injured by bullets," said Dr. Muhammad al-Qubati, head of a field hospital set up by protesters on Sixty Street in the capital Sanaa, where thousands have camped out for months demanding Saleh end his 33 years in office.

Security forces also killed a 52-year-old woman during protests in the southern city of Taiz, medical officials said.


Violence in Yemen, strategically located at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, has surged over the last two days, with security forces killing at least 12 on Saturday while al Qaeda insurgents blew up a gas pipeline, halting the impoverished nation's gas exports.

U.N. Security Council members are considering a resolution expected to urge Saleh to hand over power under a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) peace plan.

Saleh says he is ready to step down but wants to ensure that control of the country is put in safe hands.

"Some friendly states, permanent members of the (Security Council) such as China and Russia, will not take a hardline position like some other permanent members," Saleh said in comments broadcast on Yemeni state television.

Speaking at a meeting of his security and military chiefs in Sanaa, he said Western permanent members of the Security Council based their decisions on information gathered solely from the opposition.

"They consider the opposition as being aggrieved and that it should be supported," he said.

Britain has been drafting the resolution in consultation with France and the United States and intends to circulate it to the full 15-nation Security Council shortly after a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.

Yemeni officials have said the attack on the pipeline on Saturday was in retaliation for the killing of the head of the media department of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in an air raid on militant outposts in Yemen last week.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which shares a border with Yemen, fear al Qaeda is trying to take advantage of the country's political vacuum to expand its territory in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, near a strategic shipping strait used by tankers carrying some 3 million barrels of oil a day.

(Reporting By Mohammed Sudam; writing by Nour Merza; editing by Sami Aboudi and Philippa Fletcher)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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U.S. lawmakers say alleged Iran plot was "very real"

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 11:40 AM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The heads of the intelligence committees in the U.S. Congress said on Sunday an alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador should be taken very seriously, with one warning that the United States and Iran could be on a "collision course."

Pushing back against questions about whether the plot was a serious effort endorsed by top Iranian officials, House of Representatives Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said it appeared amateurish only because the United States was able to thwart it so early in the planning stages.

Manssor Arbabsiar is shown in this courtroom sketch during an appearance in a Manhattan courtroom in New York, New York on October 11, 2011. (REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg)

"We were very fortunate," Rogers said on ABC's "This Week" program. "We got to see this, we the U.S. government got to see this unfold from the beginning."

Rogers and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said the United States should respond aggressively but stopped short of calling for military action against Iran, instead pushing for tougher economic sanctions.

Feinstein said she was initially skeptical when she was first briefed about the alleged plot in early September but now believed "it's very real."

U.S. authorities said on Tuesday they had broken up a plan by two men linked to Iran's security agencies to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington. One of the suspects was arrested last month and the other is at large.

President Barack Obama said on Thursday that Iran -- already at odds with Western governments over its nuclear program -- would face the toughest possible sanctions and the United States would not take any options off the table.

"Our country should not be looking to go to war," Feinstein told the "Fox News Sunday" program. "We should be looking to stop bad behavior, short of war."

Feinstein and Rogers said the United States should push Russia and China to get behind sanctions, arguing the two powers have scuttled past efforts to crack down on Iran over its nuclear ambitions.

"Put pressure on the Chinese and the Russians and say, listen, you're either going to stand with the nation that is engaged in nation-state terrorism or you're going to stand with the rest of the international community," Rogers said.

Asked whether there should be a military response, Rogers said the option should not be taken "off the table."

"I think there are a lot of things that we should do to make sure that they understand this is unacceptable," he said.

Feinstein said Iran is "escalating" its nuclear development programs and the assassination plot is one more reason to act now to make clear Tehran must change its policies.

"Absent that at one time or another, if you project out a number of years, we are on a collision course," she said.

(Reporting by Dave Clarke; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Global "Day of Rage" mostly peaceful, Rome clears up

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 11:09 AM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - The global "Day of Rage" against the world's financial system won some limited sympathy from political and economic leaders on Sunday, after protests that were peaceful everywhere but Italy.

An Occupy Boston protestor dances with a hula hoop at their encampment in Boston, Massachusetts October 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Cities from east Asia to Europe and north America saw rallies on Saturday denouncing capitalism, inequality and economic crisis, but riot police were busy only in Rome.

The city cleared up on Sunday, a day after masked "Black Bloc" protesters torched cars, attacked banks and hurled rocks.

"They must be condemned by everyone without reservation," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.

"Yesterday we once again showed the world the anomaly of Italy and today, again, we have to feel shame," La Stampa newspaper said. Mayor Gianni Alemanno said the capital would long suffer the "moral damage" of the rampage.

Many Italians asked why police had managed to arrest only 12 of the violent demonstrators.

Tens of thousands of other "indignant ones" had marched peacefully against the government of deeply indebted Italy.

On Sunday a small group of peaceful protesters gathered by a church near where some of the violence took place to continue a sit-in. "We are the real indignant ones," one said. "They stole our day".

Berlusconi's Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa said the leftist opposition shared blame for the mayhem because its rhetoric implied "everything is justifiable as long as we get rid of Berlusconi, the 'evil of Italy'".

Lisbon and Madrid also saw tens of thousands march on Saturday. Spanish outrage has been fuelled by multi-million-euro payouts for top staff at failed regional banks, amid high unemployment and harsh spending cuts.

But most turnouts worldwide were lower. "People don't want to get involved. They'd rather watch on TV," said Troy Simmons, 47, protesting in New York, where the Occupy Wall Street movement that inspired the global day of unrest began.

In New York a few dozen were arrested for minor offences. Chicago police said they arrested about 175 protesters in a downtown plaza where some had set up tents and sleeping bags.

Other cities across the United States and Canada saw modestly sized and peaceful demonstrations.

"I am going to start my life as an adult in debt and that's not fair," student Nathaniel Brown said in Washington.

"Millions of teenagers across the country are going to start their futures in debt, while all of these corporations are getting money fed all the time and none of us can get any."


The wave of protest was not quite all over on Sunday. Around 250 protesters set up camp outside St Paul's Cathedral on the edge of London's financial district, promising to occupy the site indefinitely to show their anger over the global economic crisis.

The group had tried to take over the area in front of the nearby London Stock Exchange on Saturday. After being thwarted by police, the group moved to the cathedral and put up 70 tents. Some said they would stay there as long as possible.

"People are saying enough is enough, we want a real democracy, not one that is based on the interests of big business and the banking system," said protester Jane McIntyre.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he had some sympathy.

"It is true that a lot of things have to be faced up to in the Western world and there have been too many debts built up by states, and clearly in the banking system a lot has gone wrong," he told BBC TV.

"However, protest won't be the answer to that. The answer is (for) governments to control their debts and deficits. I'm afraid protesting the streets is not going to solve the problem."

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said the financial system could not be left in such a fragile state.

"It is our task to make the world financial system much more solid ... that is how I interpret part of the message that comes from this movement," Trichet said in an interview.

But he said authorities should not "demolish" the banks, as they financed three-quarters of the economy.

Trichet said the European Union's treaty should be changed to prevent one member state from destabilising the rest of the bloc, and urged stronger euro zone governance.

A dozen tents housing around 40 protesters also appeared in front of Trichet's ECB headquarters in Frankfurt.


The rallies tracked the sun from the Asia-Pacific region westwards on Saturday, but the first demonstrations in the east made ripples rather than waves.

Protesters gathered in their hundreds in Japan and across Southeast Asia. Wealthy Singapore didn't even manage that.

The pro-government Sunday Times appeared to take pride in the non-turnout after a call to gather in the financial centre failed to materialise.

"What's missing in this picture?" it asked above a picture of three policemen patrolling an almost empty Raffles Place.

In a region where many countries are still booming, protesters' grievances were less to do with economics than in Europe and north America.

"Anti-capitalism is not my cause but anti-authoritarianism is definitely my cause and as citizens ... we came here to stand up for our rights," said lecturer Wong Chin Huat, 38, at a small protest in Kuala Lumpur.

In Tokyo, many gathered to complain about radiation leaks from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, seven months after an earthquake and tsunami.

Some analysts say the world faces a systemic rise in anger, protest and volatility that could last decades, and that rich-world unrest shares some roots with the Arab Spring.

"One word: accountability," Professor Hayat Alvi of the United States Naval War Collegen said.

"This is the season of demanding accountability and the application of the rule of law, especially targeting the ruling political elites and the economic elites as well."

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

NYMEXOil up Monday on hopes of Europe's debtcrisis resolution

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 06:04 PM PDT

SINGAPORE, Oct 17 (Reuters) Crude futures rose in early Asian trade on Monday, extending the sharp gains made in the previous session on hopes policymakers' would reach an agreement to tackle the euro zone's debt crisis and stem any slide in oil consumption.

Brent crude rose 64 cents to $112.87 a barrel at 2322 GMT, while U.S. crude gained 72 cents to $87.52. On Friday, Brent for December rose $3.03 to settle at $112.23.

The November contract, which expired on Friday, surged$3.57 to settle at $114.68 a barrel, the highest close since Sept. 15. U.S. November rose $2.57 to settle at $86.80 a barrel, the highest settlement since Sept. 20.


* China's apparent oil demand growth slowed further in the third quarter, largely in line with economic growth in the world's secondlargest economy amid domestic policy constraints and global uncertainties.

* The world's leading economies pressed Europe to act decisively within eight days to resolve the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis which is endangering the world economy.

* Greece's debt crisis cannot be solved without larger write downs on Greek debt and governments are trying to persuade banks to accept this, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said, just days ahead of a key EU summit.

* Arab foreign ministers stopped short of suspending Syria from their regional organisation on Sunday over its military crackdown on dissent, instead urging the government and opposition to negotiate an end to the violence.

* Libyan government fighters battled on Sunday to subdue pockets of resistance by proGaddafi fighters, whose refusal to abandon the ousted leader's hometown of Sirte is delaying Libya's move to democracy.

* Eight Yemenis, including five protesters, were killed in a new upsurge in violence in the capital on Sunday, hospital officials and witnesses said, and President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he expected China and Russia to block U.N. moves to end his rule.

* Iran demanded consular access on Sunday to a man held in the United States over a suspected plot to kill the Saudi ambassador and vowed to respond robustly to any "inappropriate measure" by the West.

* Residents returning to Sirte are accusing Libyan interim government fighters of demolishing and looting homes, shops and public buildings in Muammar Gaddafi's home town to take revenge for its support of the fugitive leader.


* The euro headed for its best week in nine months against the dollar on Friday on optimism that European leaders would take bold steps to tackle the debt crisis, but a lack of concrete actions could limit further gains.

* U.S. stocks scored their first backtoback weekly gains since early July on Friday, on strong Google earnings and as investors kept riding the optimism for a solution to the euro zone's debt crisis.

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MUFG, M.Stanley Japan JV to cut up to 1,300 jobs source

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 06:01 PM PDT

Published: Monday October 17, 2011 MYT 9:01:00 AM

TOKYO, Oct 17 (Reuters) A Japanese brokerage joint venture between Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Morgan Stanley is planning to cut 1,200 to 1,300 jobs, or about 20 percent of the total workforce, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

A spokesman at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley said his firm made a call for early retirements earlier this month but declined to say how many workers responded.

A previous call for early retirements in February cut about 270 jobs. The company had about 6,600 employees at the end of March.

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China's Sany seeks shareholder approval for HK offer delay

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 05:58 PM PDT

Published: Monday October 17, 2011 MYT 8:58:00 AM

SHANGHAI, Oct 17 (Reuters) China's Sany Heavy Industry Co Ltd said on Monday that it would seek shareholder approval to extend a deadline for its share float in Hong Kong.

Sany, China's largest construction machinery maker, in September postponed a maximum US$3.3 billion Hong Kong share offering due to tumbling global markets.

Sany's board of directors agreed at a meeting on Friday to extend the deadline for the company's Hong Kong share offer by 18 months, pending shareholder approval, it said in a statement published in the official Shanghai Securities News.

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Crane seals victory in playoff for McGladrey Classic (update)

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 05:44 PM PDT

Oct 16 (Reuters) - Ben Crane came from seven shots behind before clinching his fourth PGA Tour title with a stunning playoff victory over fellow American Webb Simpson for the McGladrey Classic at St Simons Island in Georgia on Sunday.

Crane narrowly missed a 22-foot birdie putt at the second extra hole, the par-three 17th, but moments later he sealed the win when Simpson lipped out with his par putt from inside four feet.

The duo had finished the 72 regulation holes at 15-under-par 265, Simpson closing with a four-under 66 and Crane firing a sizzling eight-birdie 63.

"This week I had a great sense of perspective and peace out there," a beaming Crane, whose wife Heather is expecting their third child on Monday, told reporters.

"The hole opened up for me and it was a great day," he added, referring to his late run of birdies. "I'm just thrilled."

Simpson's runner-up finish was good enough for him to overtake British world number one Luke Donald at the top of the 2011 PGA Tour money list with just one event remaining.

He leads Donald by $363,029 and both are scheduled to compete in next week's season-ending Disney Classic at Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Crane had the most to celebrate at the breezy Seaside Course on Sunday, though, as he came from seven shots behind with 11 holes remaining in the final round.


Wielding a red-hot putter, the 35-year-old birdied the eighth and ninth to reach the turn in two-under 33 and picked up further shots at the 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th, sinking a 20-footer, to draw level at the top.

"I was just riding a hot putter, making putts there at 10, 11, and then making birdies at 14 and 15," said Crane. "I looked up on the 16th green and I'm like, 'Wow, I'm two back.'

"I had an opportunity to make birdie there and ran one in. The adrenalin went through me here on 17 green when I made it in regulation for birdie. It was a fun day."

Simpson, who trailed Donald by $68,971 in the money list at the start of the week, had been bidding for his third PGA Tour victory in just six starts.

"It's unfortunate the way it ended but it was a good week overall," he said. "I learned a lot. I'm just really happy for my good friend Ben. He played so well all day."

Overnight leader and PGA Tour rookie Michael Thompson, who had led by three shots with nine holes to play, bogeyed the last for a 69 and had to settle for third place at 14-under.

South African Louis Oosthuizen, who romped to a seven-stroke victory in last year's British Open, was a further stroke back after closing with a 66.

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British driver Wheldon dies after crash (update)

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 05:03 PM PDT

Oct 16 (Reuters) - British IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon died from injuries sustained in an horrific crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, race organisers said.

The 33-year-old Englishman, who lived in St. Petersburg Florida, was involved in a multi-car accident 13 laps into the Las Vegas Indy 300 which sent his vehicle flying.

Wheldon was flown by helicopter to University Medical Center in Las Vegas for treatment before his death was announced two hours later.

"IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries," IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute," Bernard added.

Wheldon was the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion and he won the Indy500 race that year and also in 2011.

The drivers returned to the track on Sunday for an emotional five-lap tribute with Wheldon's fellow British driver, Scotsman Dario Franchitti, sobbing uncontrollably as he was strapped back into his car.


Crews lined up along the pit lane and fans in the stands stood silently as the drivers paid tribute to the popular Wheldon.

The cancelling of the race meant that Franchitti won his third straight series title.

After winning eight British national titles in karting and then finishing third in the 1998 Formula Ford championship in Britain, Wheldon moved to the U.S. in pursuit of better opportunities.

He clinched the F2000 Championship Series in 1999 with six victories and then moved into IndyCar where he won rookie of the year honours in 2003.

Wheldon claimed the 2005 series thanks to six wins for Andretti Green Racing.

The Englishman later raced for Panther Racing and his final team Bryan Herta Autosport.

Wheldon leaves his wife Susie and their two young sons.

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South African Joubert to referee World Cup final

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 05:01 PM PDT

AUCKLAND, Oct 17 (Reuters) - South Africa's Craig Joubert has been named to referee the rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and France on Oct. 23 at Eden Park, tournament officials said on Monday.

Joubert was in charge of the All Blacks' 20-6 victory over Australia in the semi-final on Sunday.

It will be his first final and he becomes the second South African, after Andre Watson, to take charge of the final match of the global showcase.

"It is an enormous honour to get the final and I would like to thank (International Rugby Board referees manager) Paddy (O'Brien) and the committee for giving me the opportunity," Joubert said in a statement. "I am now really looking forward to getting out there and enjoying the occasion."

England's Wayne Barnes will referee the playoff for third place between Australia and Wales on Friday.

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The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Peter Chin to contest SUPP presidency

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 08:41 AM PDT

Story file not found (fo).

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Tuanku Mizan receives Indonesia’s highest award

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 04:28 AM PDT

JAKARTA: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin received Indonesia's highest award on Sunday in recognition of his role and contribution in strengthening relations and cooperation between Malaysia and Indonesia.

The presentation of the Bintang Republik Indonesia Adipurna by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Tuanku Mizan took place at the Bilateral Hall of Istana Merdeka here.

The ceremony was witnessed by the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah, Indonesian First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, Indonesia's cabinet ministers and the Malaysian delegation accompanying Tuanku Mizan on his visit to the republic.

Tuanku Mizan, who arrived here Sunday morning for a two-day official visit, was given an official welcome by the Indonesian government at Istana Merdeka later in the afternoon. - Bernama

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Tan explains why she asked Koh to step aside

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 04:11 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Wanita Gerakan chief Datuk Tan Lian Hoe explained Sunday that she was not seeking cheap publicity when she asked party president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon not to contest in the next general election.

Instead, the call was made with the intention to raise the party's dignity and to spur the members to change and be bolder, she said.

"In all sincerity, I had no intention of asking the leadership to resign but to urge leaders at the central, state and grassroots levels to make decisions for the party's survival," she said during her winding up speech at Gerakan's 40th national delegates conference at Menara PGRM here.

She added that it was necessary for the party to change immediately before it was changed by the people.

"We must walk the talk, and not talk and talk. We must walk down to the ground, we must have the fighting spirit, courage and confidence. Imagine a fire in front of us and to our left and right. Are we going to sit still and be burnt to ashes?" she asked.

Tan also expressed her undivided support for all decisions made by the party leadership.

"I will always be with and support the president (Dr Koh) and I will remain with and be loyal to Gerakan," she said.

Tan said she believed that the party can bounce back and win more seats in the next general election.

After her speech, Tan shook hands with Dr Koh and all the other leaders seated on the main stage as she was applauded by the delegates.

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


Posted: 16 Oct 2011 12:30 AM PDT

FOR the week ending Oct 9, 2011:


1. I Moved Your Cheese: For Those Who Refuse To Live As Mice In Someone Else's Maze by Deepak Malhotra

2. A Doctor In The House: The Memoirs Of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

3. Quantum Leaps: 100 Scientist Who Changed The World by Jon Balchin

4. Power Of X: Enter The 10 Gods by Joey Yap

5. The You Code: What Your Habits Say About You by Judi James and James Moore

6. Life Is What You Make It by Peter Buffett

7. Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

8. Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths To Keep Singapore Going by Han Fook Kwang, et al

9. The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking

10. Wonders Of The World: 100 Incredible And Inspiring Places On Earth by Igloo Books Ltd


1. Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

2. Aleph by Paulo Coelho

3. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

4. Letter From A Stranger by Barbara Taylor Bradford

5. Viscount Breckenridge To The Rescue by Stephanie Laurens

6. One Day (movie tie-in) by David Nicholls

7. Empire Of Silver by Conn Iggulden

8. A Game Of Thrones: A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R. R. Martin

9. Room by Emma Donoghue

10. Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson

Weekly list compiled by MPH Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur; mphonline.com.

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Let there be hope

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 12:29 AM PDT

I'M doing a meme called 30-Day Book Challenge that involves answering a question a day about the books in your life. It doesn't sound very challenging, but if you are a voracious reader, it's not easy to choose from the many books you've enjoyed when asked to identify "a book you've read more than three times" or "your favourite series", or "a book that you wish more people would read".

(For those who don't know what meme means: it's an idea that spreads like a virus, through blogs, e-mails, networking sites, etc.)

I'm now at Day 6 of the meme. Yesterday (Day 5), I picked a book that makes me happy (Tales From The End Cottage by Eileen Bell), and today ("a book that makes you sad") I've chosen A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Both are books for children and, looking at the other questions, I think children's titles will figure a lot in my answers. It's not just because I read a lot of children's fiction (I do, but I read as much fiction written with adult readers in mind); I think it's because it's in children's stories that I'm more likely to find what I'm looking for in a book.

"A book that makes me happy" says it all. I read to feel good and while I may have liked doom and gloom in my 20s, I don't any more. A week or two ago, I started reading Lynda La Plante's Anna Travis mysteries, but after two books I decided to pack it in. Murder mysteries are exciting, but they have become increasingly violent and bloody, with the crimes often sexual in nature.

Give me instead crime fiction by Ellis Peters, Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers. The murders in those books might be most foul but the reader is spared graphic descriptions of the acts and the victims. Plus, I think I've had enough of surly sleuths wrestling with their inner demons. I much prefer debonair detectives with "shoulders tailored to swooning point", or even eccentric Europeans obsessed with the symmetry of their moustaches.

I think one of the things that distinguishes children's books from those written for adults is the positive nature of the stories they tell. This does not mean that they never deal with the more unpleasant aspects of life, or explore serious issues and ask difficult questions, but the conclusions and resolutions reached are typically hopeful, life-affirming ones.

A children's book might be sad, but I have yet to come across one that was utterly miserable and did not offer some light at the end of the tunnel, or changed the protagonist in some positive way. A Monster Calls is about suffering and death, but it's also about acceptance and peace. Children are murdered and lose all they have in Morris Gleitzman's Once And Then but the books are also about the strength of the human spirit and the power of forgiveness.

The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams), The Miraculous Journey Of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo), Ways To Live Forever (Sally Nicholls), The Sad Book (Michael Rosen), The Summer Of My German Soldier (Bette Greene), Baby (Patricia MacLachlan), The Selfish Giant And The Happy Prince (Oscar Wilde), Bridge To Terabithia (Katherine Patterson), Black Beauty (Anna Sewell) and many more children's books make me weep, but they all also raise smiles, or at very least, make me feel oddly heartened, unlike, say, any of critically-acclaimed Chinese author Su Tong's novels. Those are just full of misery, despair and injustice, with no promise at all of a better future.

Some might say that it's unrealistic to always offer hope or depict hopefulness in books, but I think that hope is an emotion that can be found in the most dire of situations, and it has been shown, time and time again, to be the key to man's triumph over great adversity. I believe that children's literature should not shy away from revealing life's truths no matter how painful, but I also believe that it should inspire not discourage. So, while there need not always be a happily-ever-after ending, things should never be totally bleak. Even the smallest glimmer of hope would be enough to make the reader smile.

Daphne Lee reads to wonder and wander, be amazed and amused, horrified and heartened and inspired and comforted. She wishes more people will try it too. Send e-mails to the above address and check out her blog at daphne.blogs.com/books.

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Still a great Catch

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 12:26 AM PDT

Half a century on, and this book still resonates.

HYPER-cynical anti-war novel Catch-22 is 50 this month, and Joseph Heller must be chortling in his grave over how apropos the phrase he coined remains today – applying to everything from the US jobs crisis to a bottomless war in Afghanistan.

In addition to a fresh edition of the novel, publishers have rolled out new books to coincide with the anniversary, including a major Heller biography and a memoir by his daughter.

The absurdist, often cartoonish, story about a hard-to-kill World War II pilot trapped in a perverse bureaucratic cycle, has sold more than 10 million copies and introduced to the English lexicon one of the most penetrating new phrases of the 20th century. Released at the dawn of the 1960s, Catch-22 seemed to foretell the ghastly American war in Vietnam, and prophesied a counter-culture spirit that would dominate the last half of that decade.

Despite its slow pacing and repetitiveness, "remarkably, college students are still reading it," says Tracy Daugherty, a professor of English at Oregon State University in America and author of this year's Just One Catch, a major new biography of Heller.

"But the basic situation – an average person caught in a maddening bureaucratic nightmare – still resonates, maybe more than ever as our institutions have only grown more bloated," he points out.

The novel's catch – "anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy" – has rattled militaries worldwide for decades.

Daugherty says it is the people seeking to enter the US workforce who instantly relate to one of today's obvious logical impossibilities: to get a job, you need experience, but to get experience you need a job – "They live with that paradox every day."

With America's longest-ever war dragging into its 11th year in Afghanistan, officials sometimes get sucked into the pretzel logic about a conflict that from afar may look like an infinite loop.

On Sept 16, 2009, ex-soldier and former diplomat Rory Stewart, who walked across Afghanistan in early 2002, just months after the US invasion, laid out what might well be the primary military catch-22 scenario of the 21st century:

"You need to defeat the Taliban to build a state and you need to build a state to defeat the Taliban," Stewart told a US Senate hearing.

The novel's protagonist Captain Yossarian may or may not be insane, but one thing is clear: the novel's anti-hero bombardier wants out of a war routine that he is convinced will ultimately take his life.

"They're trying to kill me," Yossarian explains to his friend Clevinger.

"No one's trying to kill you," Clevinger responds.

"Then why are they shooting at me?"

"They're shooting at everyone," Clevinger says. "They're trying to kill everyone."

The black-humour exchange set the novel's cynical tone, which author and cultural observer Morris Dickstein says "rapidly became the default mindset" of American youth, inspiring movies like Dr Strangelove.

Heller, who died in 1999 at age 76, had tapped his own World War II experience flying 60 missions as a B-25 bombardier. At first they were largely uneventful, but by the 37th mission, things turned bloody. "There was a gunner with a big, big wound in his thigh, and I realised then, maybe for the first time, they were really trying to kill me," Heller said. After that, "I was scared stiff."

Heller's catch phrase almost never came to be, though. He had first called his book "Catch-18", but Leon Uris was releasing his novel Mila 18 that year, and a numeric clash was to be avoided.

Heller penned more novels but none came close to matching the influence of his debut.

Daugherty wrote that when Heller was asked "How come you've never written a book as good as Catch-22?" the author shot back: "Who has?" – AFP

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Brit spirit

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 01:24 AM PDT

An exhibition of luxury goods demonstrates a uniquely British sense of art and design.

WILLIAM Asprey is the first to admit that having items from his luxury emporium on display in an art gallery seems incongruous. More than promoting products, however, the William & Son, The Best Of British Brand And Design exhibition is about celebrating design, particularly the uniqueness of British design and workmanship.

Encompassing everything from watches, jewellery, sterling silverware, leather bags and even lovingly handcrafted leather board games, the exhibition, currently on in Kuala Lumpur, gives a glimpse of the diversity of goods produced by William & Son. More than that, it provides an interesting example of how art can be incorporated into otherwise functional objects to create something quite special.

William, 45, is no stranger to the world of British luxury goods and objets d'art. As a seventh-generation member of the Asprey family, renowned founders of the jewellery and luxury goods retailers on Bond Street, London, he has been thoroughly immersed in it since childhood.

To him, being involved in the business is not just about selling products, but educating his clients too, on design as well as the importance of fine workmanship when it comes to luxury goods.

It is undeniably an ethos William learnt from his years with Asprey, and despite parting ways with the company about a decade ago – the Asprey brand is no longer owned by the family, and William lost the legal right to trade under the name – he still carries those lessons with him.

"I very much see myself as carrying on my family traditions. But what we are doing is taking those traditional values, like customer service and emphasis on quality, and putting a modern twist to them," he says.

It is an approach that has obviously served William & Son well. In the 12 years since it began at London's Mount Street, the brand has established itself as one of the go-to places for quality objects of wear and decor. In 2009, it received its first Royal Warrant for Goldsmiths and Silversmiths from Queen Elizabeth II.

For William, who serves as company chairman, art is an inseparable aspect of his business.

"When it comes to quality luxury goods, the line between art and functionality is often blurred," he adds during an interview in KL early this week.

"The way people live now has also definitely gone the way of wanting that artistic element in their objects. We at William & Son want to be seen as producing wonderful things that are a little quirky, thereby making it art."

British design, he explains, can be characterised by its attention to detail and a desire to add an unusual twist to something familiar.

"British designers have always been wonderful engineers, but their eccentricities help too. Look at the people we think of as prominent British designers, like Alexander McQueen or John Galliano. They were always thinking of these mad things!"

Such whimsy is abundantly on display at the exhibition, such as an eye-catching set of handmade silverware with bubble detailing on the exterior, or the elegantly-tooled leather backgammon sets. Also on display are a series of gorgeous bags made of unusual skins such as crocodile or ostrich, in vibrant shades like mustard and orange.

The exquisitely handcrafted jewellery, on the other hand, features creative yet wearable designs set with precious and semi-precious stones in an array of hues, while cufflinks in a multitude of styles feature everything from elegant metals and stones to quirky motifs.

Despite being in the retail business, William & Son is not so much concerned with appearing trendy as being eager to please its clients.

"We're fashionable rather than fashion. We make things to last, and we don't overly brand our products. We want the quality and design of our objects to speak for themselves, not shout our name," William says.

With three in-house designers, as well as longstanding relationships with suppliers and craftsmen, the company is able to maintain its extremely high standards.

Working as far as possible with local craftsmen who have been plying their trade for generations, particularly with silver, leather and jewellery, the brand maintains that intrinsically British quality.

"One of the jewellery firms we work with, the current owner's father and grandfather worked with my father and grandfather!" William says.

He points out that employing such companies allows him to be much more involved in the manufacturing process. Furthermore, a long-term relationship with craftsmen is what enables William & Son's world-renowned bespoke service.

"We create what the client wants. It's about listening to your customers rather than telling them what to have. We'll come up with designs to give them choices and ideas, but at the end of the day, we want them to walk away feeling delighted with what we've made for them," he adds.

William & Son, The Best Of British Brand And Design is on at Shalini Ganendra Fine Art @ Gallery Residence (No. 8, Lorong 16/7B, Petaling Jaya, Selangor) until Oct 31. Viewing from 11am to 7pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

For more information, 03-7960 4740 or go to shaliniganendra.com.

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Photo surreal

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 01:21 AM PDT

Artfully abstract images find unexpected ways to celebrate the ordinary and everyday elements of life.

THE field of photography in Malaysia has been expanding rapidly over the years with new technology becoming affordable and more spaces springing up to showcase works.

Despite the advent of sophisticated digital technology and tools, though, British photographer Paul Gadd is resolute about his emphasis on film photography and dark room technology. In July this year, Gadd opened The Print Room in a spacious bungalow along a quiet lane in Section 16, Petaling Jaya, an upmarket residential area in Selangor.

The Print Room serves as Gadd's centre for visual arts especially in classical fine art photography. This is where he also conducts classes in such photography with a studio and darkroom where students can develop film processing and printing the good old fashioned, manual way.

"Photography is an art form," Gadd says firmly. "The original photographs were fine art. Nowadays this form of art is being killed by digital photography, which tends to make photographers lazy.

"People snap hundreds and delete most of them instead of thinking, planning, focusing and composing the perfect shot at the moment. Film makes you think about the moment and the composition, and you make significant choices before you press the shutter.

"We passionately believe that only with a foundation in classical photography techniques can the photographer begin to approach photography as a fine art.

"Our specific emphasis and pride is to offer students an opportunity to learn to handle a traditional manual film camera, to process film, and to print photographs in the classical way. My students are sent out with just one roll of 25mm film and they have one hour to shoot."

Gadd's first exhibition at The Print Room coincided with the launch in July of his book, People Of Malaysia: Five Minutes, which features 150 images of Malaysians throughout the country. The gallery's latest exhibition is 10 – Abstract Works Of 10 Photographers, showcasing examples of abstract photography by both professionals and amateurs.

The Print Room called for submissions online and received responses from around Asia and from as far afield as Britain and Australia.

The final 10 selected to show their work alongside Gadd's were Britons Richard Kaye and Roger Dean; Malaysians Alex Lee, Chan Kin Wah, Shahrizuan Shaharuddin, Yong Yen-Nie and Yoong Khean; South Korean Chris Sang-hwan Jung; and Welshman Aled Rhys Hughes.

The images feature what are otherwise everyday subjects captured in surreal and dramatic views. The images "appeal to our primal sense of colour, curves, forms and textures".

They can be both confusing and delightful at the same time, and subjects are isolated or exaggerated; vague shadows fall across a wall, or a vast ocean conveys both peace and isolation at the same time. The images elicit varying responses like this, as each appeals in unique ways, another common trait in abstract photography.

"The pictures were formed from multiple exposures, camera movements, collage of images, compositions construed from multiple negatives, surreal juxtaposition of subjects, visual manipulation of perspective or scale....

"There are also examples of figurative works that take on abstract meaning simply from compositional framing or play of light and shadow all created through the eye of the photographer to achieve his artistic agenda," explains Gadd.

"After my earlier Five Minutes, we decided that the next phase was to involve other film photographers. Five Minutes was more on portraits and people don't really want a portrait of strangers on their walls looking down on them at home.

"Abstracts allow the photographer to explore his creativity where each image is an opportunity to express an emotion or an idea."

10 – Abstract Works Of 10 Photographers is on till Nov 13 at The Print Room, No. 49, Lorong 16/9E, Section 16, Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Enquiries, % 03-7931 2227 or visit theprintroomkl.com.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Bound by the beat

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 12:36 AM PDT

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This is love

Posted: 16 Oct 2011 12:32 AM PDT

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Seeing isn’t always believing

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 08:03 PM PDT

CONSIDERING that the majority of human beings have had Helicobacter pylori living in their stomachs most of their lives, it is hardly surprising that this spiral-shaped bacteria has been spotted by scientists long before Australian pathologist and Nobel laureate Prof Emeritus Dr Robin Warren first noticed them in gastric biopsies of patients with gastritis in 1979.

Among the first to report seeing the bacteria in sections of the stomach was noted German-Swiss pathologist Edwin Klebs, who also identified the bacteria that causes diphtheria, and has the bacteria genus Klebsiella named after him.

He reported seeing "bacilli-like organisms" in the lumen of the gastric glands, along with inflammation of the gastric mucosa, as far back as 1881.

Eight years later, Polish gastroenterologist Prof Walery Jaworski isolated and described spiral-shaped bacteria in the sediment of washings from human stomach contents, which he called Vibrio rugula.

More significantly, he speculated that these bacteria might be responsible for stomach ulcers, gastric cancer and achylia (the absence of gastric juices; the absence of hydrochloric acid from gastric juices is one of the signs of acute H. pylori infection).

However, as these findings were published in a Polish book, the title of which translates as Handbook of Gastric Diseases, they went largely unnoticed by the wider scientific community.

The spiral-shaped bacteria, or spirochaetes, were also spotted in the stomachs of dogs, cats and mice. The first scientist to report finding them in the stomach of dogs was Italian doctor Guilio Bizzozero, who published his findings in the German journal Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie in 1893.

Meanwhile, in 1906, German physician Dr Walter Krienitz published a paper in the journal Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift, describing a spiral-shaped bacteria in the stomach of a patient with gastric cancer.

Following that, Japanese scientists Rokuzo Kobayashi and Katsuya Kasai concluded in their 1919 Journal of Parasitology paper that certain cases of haemorrhagic gastroenteritis were caused by the spirochaetes they, and others before them, had observed in certain mammals.

Most significantly, they had also eliminated these bacteria with the antibiotic salsarvan, thereby being the first to prove the treatment of H. pylori with antibiotics.

And in 1925, American Dr Albert Hoffmann managed to induce gastric and duodenal ulcers in a guinea pig, using a sample from a patient with peptic ulcer disease. He also described the organism in his paper in the American Journal of Medical Sciences.

However, their work went little noticed among the scientific community.

Then, in 1940, Harvard Medical School scientist Dr A. Stone Freedberg and his colleague Dr Louis Barron observed in a study looking at surgically-obtained gastric samples that spirochaetes were present in 53% of the samples with ulceration, but in only 14% without ulceration.

But when other scientists could not confirm Dr Freedberg's suspicions that the spirochaetes were causing the ulcers, and he was unable to culture the bacteria, he was urged to give up on the line of enquiry and turn his attention to other research areas.

In a 2005 interview in The New York Times, Nobel laureate Prof Dr Barry Marshall acknowledged that he and Prof Emeritus Warren would not have won the Nobel Prize for identifying H. pylori and proving its link to peptic ulcer disease if Dr Freedberg had continued his ulcer research.

He was quoted as saying: "If Dr Freedberg's team had been able to culture H. pylori, they would have seen that bismuth kills the bacteria and they could have developed a treatment in a few years.

"They would have won the Nobel Prize about 1951 as I was getting born. So it was just a bit of bad luck for a lot of people."

In the book Helicobacter Pioneers, Prof Emeritus Warren wrote that Dr Freedberg had written to him and Prof Marshall in 1983 after they published their initial findings, thanking them for proving he had been right all along.

There have also been many other scientists who have observed H. pylori since Klebs in 1881, but they either came to the wrong conclusions about the bacteria — for example, that they were contaminants or commensals, or could not link the bacteria to any disease process.

Fortunately, treatments for peptic ulcer disease were discovered much earlier than the cause, even though no one knew why they were effective.

For example, bismuth has been used as a treatment for gastritis and peptic ulcers since 1868.

However, no one knew that the real reason it worked was because of its anti-bacterial properties, which were only discovered much later.

Nowadays, peptic ulcer disease is usually treated with the first-line triple therapy regiment of two antibiotics and a proton-pump inhibitor to suppress acid production by the stomach.

Related Story:
A Nobel discovery

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Reducing harm

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 08:00 PM PDT

The shift towards the policy of 'harm reduction' in controlling drug addiction problems may be more effective in curbing the drug problem.

MALAYSIAN drug policy has been, and still is, predominantly enforcement-based, and is loosely related to the moral "social evils" model. This means that our approach so far has been to ostracise and incarcerate persons who use drugs.

However, in the past 10 years, there has been a policy shift towards a concept called "harm reduction" due to high levels of HIV infections, predominantly among injecting drug users.

Harm reduction is an ideology that seeks to mitigate the harm done to individuals who consume drugs, their families, and society at large. Via harm reduction, certain actions are taken to ensure that HIV does not spread, and drug users are given a chance to reintegrate into society without resorting to acquisitive crimes, and are not removed from positive influences in society.

Harm reduction is the principle opposite of prohibition and punitive sanctions for drug use – more popularly known as the War on Drugs. In their 2002 book, Alex Wodak and Timothy Moore address the failure of prohibition and describe it as being an "expensive way of making a bad problem worse". They also say: " ... a modern drug policy for the 21st century requires that mood-altering drugs are considered to be primarily health and social issues rather than a problem to be solved predominantly by law enforcement".

A colleague in Australia once told me that harm reduction is not a practice solely confined to drugs. Harm reduction is practised regularly throughout our lives, in relation to many things. That colleague told me of the day his son told him that he wanted to buy a motorcycle.

"You can't stop the kid, Fifa, he's going to ride the motorbike anyway." Subsequently, my colleague knew he had to buy his son the very best protective gear to reduce the harm that could possibly be inflicted upon his son. So he bought the helmet, the leather riding suit, and the best protective boots.

Sure enough, his son got into an accident, and because of the harm reduction measures practised by my colleague, his son was safe, and heartbreak to his family was avoided.

Decades of punitive law enforcement has done nothing to reduce drug use, or the supply and demand of drugs. In fact, statistics from the Royal Malaysian Police show that arrests for consumption of drugs alone under Section 15(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 rose from 42,304 arrests in 2009 to 56,725 arrests in 2010.

The time has come when we must accept that no matter how much we prohibit and jail people, the problem will probably persist, and it is prudent for us to take action to reduce as much harm as possible resulting from drug use. These harms may include HIV infection, co-morbid psychiatric and substance dependency, increase in petty crimes, broken families, and last but not least, broken hearts.

One such specific harm reduction measure is the needle-and-syringe exchange programme (NSEP). Needle-and-syringe exchange programmes involve the drug user bringing his or her contaminated syringes to NSEP sites in exchange for sterile needles and syringes.

As a result, when clean needles are available, the sharing of contaminated needles is greatly reduced, and this helps reduce HIV infection.

Malaysia first introduced needle-and-syringe exchange programmes in 2006 as a response to high infection rates among intravenous drug users. In 2007, it was seen that there were 2,601 new cases of HIV infection, reduced from 3,127 infections in the previous year in the injecting drug user population.

This reduction may also have been complemented by an increasing openness towards treatment-based solutions for drug users.

"Gentler" measures have been proven to reduce HIV infection. In fact, drug policies in Portugal have been proven to reduce not only HIV infections, but also drug-related crimes, addiction and recidivism. This is because law enforcement officials make less arrests, and drug users come into increased contact with social workers, health professionals, and other positive influences.

Portuguese drug policy understands that all incarceration does is increase the risk of transmission of HIV, remove positive influences from the drug user's social circle, increase the chances of the drug user getting a psychiatric co-morbidity, and stigmatises them by permanently branding them as criminals.

As a result of this, persons who have been incarcerated as a result of their drug use find it difficult to get normal jobs once they leave prison. Eventually, these persons are forced to turn to petty crime.

Furthermore, prison does not address the chemical dependency that the person has on drugs. Chemical dependency is something that MUST be solved via medical treatment and behavioural therapy, NOT incarceration.

Next week, we will describe policies in Portugal, Germany, Switzerland and other countries, explore how they have reduced dangers associated with drug use, and also examine the viability of adopting such policies in Malaysia. The writers are from the Malaysian AIDS Council. The views expressed are those of the writer. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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Sex drive killers

Posted: 15 Oct 2011 08:00 PM PDT

The libido can be easily affected by various elements in our lives.

IN the previous article for this column, I talked about several causes of low libido in women. I feel that it is important to give coverage to this issue, as women still find it difficult to openly confront this problem.

The libido is a fragile, fickle thing, and can so easily be lost due to physical and psychological factors in our lives.

If we do not identify the causes of low libido, we will be constantly wondering why we do not enjoy or desire sex, and may even heap blame on ourselves and damage our relationships.

In this article, I will continue with the list of common sex drive killers in women, and ways to address these.

Poor body image

Beauty and attraction are intertwined with feelings of sexuality and desire. Yet, it is often not our looks or body that is the issue, but our perception of them.

It is hard to feel comfortable with your body, or feel sexy when you have poor body image. Some women think that they are too fat, others think that they are not curvy enough. Some want bigger breasts, others want longer legs.

These characteristics don't really have anything to do with sexual performance, yet some women obsess about it until they lose their desire to have sex because they feel ashamed to bare their bodies.

This problem has to be first resolved within yourself – nobody can make you feel sexy until you feel good about yourself.

You should also talk to your partner and ask him what he finds desirable about you. You might be surprised to learn that he has no issues with the parts of you that you so dislike! Do not let anyone make you feel bad about yourself.

If you feel that you should lose weight, make sure that you do so healthily and properly. Do not crash diet or starve yourself. Follow a suitable exercise programme – working out will give you an energy boost, tones your body, and increases your sex drive.


Sex after menopause? Why not? But first, women have to overcome the tendencies of menopause to reduce sexual desire.

The hormonal changes brought on by menopause not only affect libido, but also some of the important sexual functions. As testosterone production drops, the sex drive becomes lower, the clitoris becomes less sensitive, and the body is less able to respond sexually.

The low levels of oestrogen, meanwhile, cause vaginal dryness and makes penetration painful.

While menopausal changes are inevitable, there are ways that you can overcome some of the symptoms. If you have vaginal dryness, your doctor can prescribe topical oestrogen therapy, or you can use a water-based lubricant.

Besides these physical factors, menopausal women should also consider the state of their relationship (have they become too comfortable, entered a boring routine?), their body image, and self esteem (are they shy about their ageing bodies?), as well as their state of health (are they taking other medications or suffering from other conditions that could affect libido?).

Monotony and routine

Complacency can set in to any relationship. Sex is part of a package that includes intimacy, connection, communication and affection. If sex becomes routine in a relationship – on a fixed day, at a fixed time, with fixed moves – the fun and sizzle will quickly dry out.

For women, in particular, intimacy and affection are very important. Your partner needs to understand that talking, snuggling and touching can do a lot to revive your sex drive.

It's somewhat ironic that birth control pills not only stop you from getting pregnant, but they also stop you from wanting sex.

Oral contraceptives work by stopping your ovaries from producing hormones, which affects your body's sexual functions. The Pill also causes your body to produce a protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which binds itself to testosterone and renders it useless.

If you feel that oral contraceptives are interfering with your sex drive, consider using an alternative form of contraception, with your doctor's advice.

Medical conditions

If you have health problems like thyroid disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or autoimmune disorders, you may find yourself losing interest in sex.

This is because these conditions affect your hormone levels, blood flow and nerve signals in the body, all of which play a role in sexual desire.

If these conditions are well-managed and under control, you should find your libido returning to normal. However, be aware that certain medications, such as high blood pressure drugs, can also affect libido, so discuss it with your doctor, if this is a concern.

If you think that one or several of these libido killers relates to you, talk to your doctor about what you can do to change the situation.

Sometimes, you will not even need drastic changes. You'd be surprised at how much good lifestyle changes can do – just exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and taking time out to relax.

If you take care of yourself, your libido will take care of itself too!

Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar is a consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist (FRCOG, UK). For further information, visit www.primanora.com. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader's own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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