Rabu, 19 Oktober 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Dave Coulier plots web series with 'Full House' co-star

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 10:36 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: Joey Gladstone and Stephanie Tanner, together again. ''Full House'' star and stand-up comedian Dave Coulier tells TheWrap that he and his sitcom co-star, Jodie Sweetin, are reuniting to star in a new web series that will find the real-life friends at odds.

Co-stars include Dennis ''Mr. Belding'' Haskins from ''Saved by the Bell'' and infamous O.J. Simpson houseguest Kato Kaelin.

The show's called ''Can't Get Arrested,'' and, a la ''Curb Your Enthusiasm,'' features Coulier and Sweetin playing themselves - or versions of themselves - who encounter an unexpected chance to spark up new opportunities for their careers.

''Jodie and I...we're sitting at dinner and the paparazzi takes a picture of us, and they purposely Photoshop a nip slip onto her, and it hits the press,'' said Coulier, describing the series' premise. ''So she's outraged, but I think it's a real opportunity.

''And at the urging of my manager, played by me - his name is Irv Steenstein, and he's a throwback, like, you know, a 75-year-old, semi-washed-up manager. And I play this character, Irv, with some technical video effects, and it kind of makes my face look completely different. So Irv is old-school, and Irv kind of says to me, 'Hey, look, this nipple slip, we need to ride this wave.' And I get on board with that, and I tell Jodie, 'Hey, look, this is a real opportunity. I think we should surf this wave.'''

The faux-reality Web series plot works so well that Coulier encourages other stars to join in the scam, including Haskins and Kaelin.

For example, Coulier tells Haskins to show up at a restaurant where Kaelin's dining and provoke a fight that ends with tabloid pics of the two wrestling in the middle of a dining room.

''And there are a couple of mishaps along the way where the media attention backfires on some of our stars,'' Coulier says. ''I won't give too much away, but there is kind of a clash with Jodie and I by the end of the series, and it's all because I get some press for (fellow ''Full House'' alum) Candace Cameron, and Candace is able to get a job that Jodie was up for. By the end, Jodie and I decide that we don't want to even be friends anymore.''

The web series is scheduled to premiere at the end of the month and run for five episodes. One new installment will debut each week at the show's website, Can'tGetArrestedShow.com, which launches next week.

Coulier, who also continues to tour as a stand-up comedian, says a teaser at the end of the first five shows leaves the door open for additional episodes.

And, yes, he says, there is always the chance that other ''Full House'' cast members could pop in.

Coulier, who's tweeting about the show, also hopes a famous fan of ''Full House'' and ''Saved by the Bell'' might be interested in a little collaboration on ''Can't Get Arrested.''

''(We've been) talking about Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy has done several things about 'Full House' on his show, and he's also tried to reunite the cast of 'Saved by the Bell,''' Coulier says. ''So I thought this would be really great for Jimmy to kind of have all of that under one roof and reunite all of us in some way with this series. So we're going to reach out to him and just see what his thoughts are on this.''

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The Star Online: Sports

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Former world champ Hayden seeking a first top-three finish in Sepang

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 04:07 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A pair of red lions pranced around to greet the arrival of Ducati rider Nicky Hayden at the Dainese grand opening in Taman Tun Dr Ismail yesterday.

Hayden was captivated by the lion dance spectacle, especially after being told that the dance was for good luck, which is what he will need as he seeks his first-ever podium finish in the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit this weekend.

Hayden, the world champion in 2006, is riding for Ducati this year alongside the legendary Valentino Rossi but has yet to step onto the rostrum at Sepang, where he has had the best results of finishing fourth on five previous occasions.

Rossi, who counts the track among his favourites, already has six wins and three podiums from previous outings here.

"I have never finished in the top three but I have always been very consistent, with five fourth-placed finishes in my career, along with one fifth and a sixth from all my visits. I hope to step up this time," said the American, who felt that it would be a different challenge here altogether compared to the Australian Grand Prix last week.

"The conditions in Malaysia are typically hot and steamy, very different from what we had at Phillip Island last Sunday.

"The Sepang Circuit has a good mix of everything, so you need the bike to do everything well. There are some long straights, where you need a fast bike that brakes well, and some fast corners.

"There are also some slow little hairpins ... so it's a good mix of everything that really challenges the rider and his bike.

"It will be interesting to get back on this track after spending a lot of time here in February (winter testing)," added the 30-year-old from Kentucky.

Hayden needs to do well here if he hopes to finish better than his illustrious team-mate Rossi.

Hayden is just behind Rossi in eighth spot on 132 points. Rossi has 139 points with the field heading for the final round of the championship in Valencia in two weeks' time.

Hayden was a special guest at the grand opening of international bike apparel and accessories brand Dainese, which specialises in protective wear for motorcycling and downhill skiing.

It has also developed an innovative suit that has an airbag integrated into the one-piece leather suit, which inflates when the internal microprocessor detects a crash.

Hayden was appreciative and he will be among the riders using it in the MotoGP this year.

"At the speed we are going, we are bound to crash as everyone is pushing the barriers. Health is important for me as it is an 18-round championship. It is comfortable and I don't feel it when I'm wearing it," said Hayden.

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Rookie rider Muhd Farid ready to take on the big guns of 125cc

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 04:07 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: After three days of intensive testing at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) last week, local wildcard pick Muhd Farid Badrul Hisam (pic) is ready to face the biggest challenge of his career by qualifying for the 125cc grid at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycling Grand Prix this weekend.

Farid, who admitted that he was still getting used to the Derbi RSW machine, is confident that all the problems will be ironed out before tomorrow's practice which will give him a taste of what to expect during Saturday's qualifying session.

"I am still getting used to the bike after three days of intensive testing last weekend. There is still some work to be done on the set-up before Friday," said the 16-year-old Farid, who is the son of former top motocross rider Badrul Hisam Mohd Zin.

"Other than that, I am confident of doing well in the free practice sessions, which will really give me a taste of what to expect during qualifying.

"I did okay during testing and I feel that I can go five seconds faster if the conditions favours me during qualifying."

Besides Farid, all eyes will also be on local riding sensation Muhd Zulfahmi Khairuddin as he looks to give himself a belated birthday present on Sunday with a point-scoring performance in front of his home fans.

Zulfahmi turns 20 today and is currently 18th in the standings with 21 points.

With only one day to go before the start of the Malaysian MotoGP, the organisers SIC announced that all tickets for K2 Hillstand and K1 packages had been sold out while tickets for the K1 Grandstand was selling fast.

Tickets for the F Grandstand and B Hillstand were sold out last week.

SIC chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said they were targeting 65,000 spectators for race day.

"We expect more fans to come during race day, knowing that Malaysians like to leave it to the last minute to buy tickets," he said.

"Although the MotoGP title has been decided, with Casey Stoner emerging champion at Phillip Island last week, the Moto2 title is still up for grabs as only three points separate championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) and Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol).

"The battle for the 125cc class is also expected to go down to the wire in Sepang as Nicolas Terol (Bankia Aspar Team) is not yet certain of the championship title with Johann Zarco (Air Asia-Avant-Ajo) trailing by 25 points.

"Besides, we will also be witnessing four Malaysians on the grid for the first time with Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah and Mohd Zamri Baba in Moto2."

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Wildcard Zamri has higher expectations for second outing

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 04:07 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Mohd Zamri Baba still has the jitters as he gears up for a second appearance in the Moto2 event of the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycling Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit here this weekend.

Zamri finished 22nd out of 39 riders in his debut outing last year and he knows that expectations will be higher this time.

"Last year, my target was just to finish the race. I managed to secure 31st position on the grid but crossed the finish line in a position that far exceeded expectations. With more preparation this year, I am well aware of the higher expectations," said the 28-year old rider.

"But I will put my best feet forward as this opportunity doesn't come along every year. I've worked very hard for this wildcard slot and I'm really glad to get the chance to represent Team Petronas Malaysia."

Zamri, who just returned from participating in Round 5 of the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship in China, said that "the level of competition in Moto2 is getting higher and higher".

"I know it won't be any easier the second time around. This is because all the riders have been constantly improving," he said.

"In my first outing last year, I was nervous and I was not familiar with the machine. But now I am in a comfortable position. From the two testing sessions I've gone through, I know how far I can push (the machine) ... I am more confident handling the Moriwaki machine."

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The Star Online: Business

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Amazon's tablet may be hottest holiday gadget

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 05:52 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Kindle Fire tablet may be the hottest selling gadget this holiday, pressuring Amazon.com Inc's profit margins but giving the world's largest Internet retailer potentially millions of new high-spending customers.

Since Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos unveiled the tablet at a lower-than-expected price of $199 on September 28, some analysts have increased their sales estimates for the device.

Amazon got 95,000 Fire pre-orders on its first day and has been averaging about 20,000 a day since then, email-monitoring firm eDataSource estimated. The device ships November 15.

Technology blog AllThingsD reported on October 6 that Amazon is selling over 25,000 Fires a day, citing unidentified sources close to the company.

"The rumored numbers out on the Web are far too low," said Mark Gerber, an analyst at Detwiler Fenton & Co. "Really strong pre-orders and the surprising $199 price means they will easily do five million units this quarter."

Gerber previously expected Amazon to sell three to four million Fire tablets in the fourth quarter.

Amazon declined to comment. But Gerber and other analysts will be watching closely for clues on tablet orders when the company reports results on October 25.

The company is expected to make a third-quarter profit of 24 cents a share on revenue of $10.93 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.


Peter Rojas, head of gdgt.com and co-founder of gadget websites Gizmodo and Engadget, expects the Kindle Fire to be the hottest holiday product this season, ahead of Roku Internet TV boxes and Canon's new PowerShot S100 camera.

The Fire's $199 price means people who already own Apple Inc's more expensive iPad will buy the device as a second tablet for their family, Rojas said.

"A lot of people started to have more than one computer in the home in recent years and cheaper netbooks fulfilled that need perfectly," Rojas told Reuters. "The Kindle Fire could meet the demand for a second tablet."

Other buyers will be people who dislike Apple or passed on buying an iPad because it was too expensive, Rojas noted.

"They have been waiting for that iPad alternative to emerge and it never did," Rojas said. "Amazon played it smart -- there's just enough dissatisfaction out there with iPad alternatives."


Apple's iPad created a new segment of the personal computer market and now Amazon has created a new segment of the tablet market, according to Dominic Field, a partner at The Boston Consulting Group and author of a recent report on the tablet market.

"Our research suggests that $199 is the price point that mass market America was looking for in a tablet," Field said. "This is the point at which it moves from being a very successful phenomenon for early adopters to the mass consumer market."

Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, recently raised his Fire sales estimate to five million units in the fourth quarter, from an earlier forecast of three million.

There was initially a problem with the supply of displays for the device, but this has been fixed, Kumar said.

"They are priming the supply chain for this to be a blockbuster product under a lot of people's Christmas trees this season," he added.

Colin Sebastian, an analyst at RW Baird, has published a fourth-quarter sales estimate of three million Fire tablets, but he said five million units are possible if Amazon avoids production, shipping and other bottlenecks.


Initially, Kindle Fire sales will dent Amazon's profitability, partly because the company is selling the device close to cost or even at a slight loss.

Dan Geiman, an analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen, expects Amazon's operating profit margin to fall to 1.5 percent in the third quarter from 3.5 percent a year earlier.

However, getting the tablet into as many hands as possible may drive higher sales and profit at Amazon in coming years, Geiman and others said.

The Kindle Fire comes with one month of Amazon Prime for free and the device is expected to encourage more customers to sign up for the service.

The Prime service costs $79 a year in the United States and includes free two-day shipping on eligible Amazon purchases. It also gives members free access to instant streaming of more than 12,000 movies and TV shows.

Amazon has over 12 million Prime customers and they buy at least three times more products after they sign up for the service, according to estimates from ChannelAdvisor, a software provider that helps retailers sell online.

UBS analysts Brian Pitz and Brian Fitzgerald estimate that Prime members increase purchases by five to eight times, a year or more after joining.

ChannelAdvisor expects Amazon to sell more than five million Fire tablets in the fourth quarter and more than 20 million next year.

The UBS analysts have more conservative sales estimates. But if half of Kindle Fire users sign up for Prime, Amazon could end 2012 with more than 20 million "heavy-spending" Prime subscribers, they said.

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Citigroup to pay $285 million to settle fraud case

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 05:51 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc will pay $285 million to settle charges that it defrauded investors who bought toxic housing-related debt that the bank bet would fail, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Wednesday.

The SEC said the bank's Citigroup Global Markets unit misled investors about a $1 billion collateralized debt obligation by failing to reveal it had "significant influence" over the selection of $500 million of underlying assets, and that it took a short position against those assets.

It said one experienced CDO trader called the portfolio "possibly the best short EVER!" while an experienced collateral manager said "the portfolio is horrible."

In a statement, Citigroup said the SEC did not charge the unit with any "intentional or reckless misconduct" and that the settlement "resolves all outstanding SEC inquiries into those activities."

The settlement is the third by the SEC against a major bank it accused of marketing a CDO without disclosing it was betting against it or allowing others to do so.

The SEC has also settled cases against Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.

The agency and criminal prosecutors are under pressure from lawmakers and the public to bring cases that hold Wall Street figures accountable for their role in the 2007-2009 financial crisis that triggered a deep recession.

According to the SEC's case against Citigroup, the CDO, Class V Funding III, defaulted in November 2007, fewer than nine months after it closed, leaving investors with losses even as Citigroup made $160 million of fees and profits.

On the other side of the deal was Ambac Credit Products, which agreed to sell insurance on the $500 million in assets Citigroup had selected.

"The securities laws demand that investors receive more care and candor than Citigroup provided," SEC enforcement chief Robert Khuzami said in a statement.

The sanctions will go to the investors who lost money on the deal, the SEC said.

Citigroup settled with the SEC without admitting wrongdoing. The SEC also filed charges against Brian Stoker, who it said was the Citigroup employee primarily responsible for structuring the transaction.

A lawyer for Stoker said there was "no basis" for the SEC's allegations against him. "He was not responsible for any alleged wrongdoing -- he did not control or trade the position, did not prepare the disclosures and did not select the assets," said Fraser Hunter, Jr., with Wilmer Hale.

In marketing materials outlining the deal, the SEC said Citigroup represented that the collateral manager of the CDO, a unit at Credit Suisse Group AG, had independently selected the assets. In reality, it said, many had been selected by Citigroup, with the intention of taking the short position.

The SEC settled separate charges against Credit Suisse's asset management unit as well as Samir Bhatt, the Credit Suisse portfolio manager mainly responsible for it.

Credit Suisse will pay $2.5 million to settle, while Bhatt agreed to a six-month suspension from associating with an investment adviser, the SEC said. Neither admitted wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for Credit Suisse and a lawyer for Bhatt declined comment.

The SEC has been conducting a broad probe into mortgage-bond deals, with several settlements this year. "This is not the last one," an SEC official said in an interview. "I think we are likely see a couple more."

In June, JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed to a $153.6 million settlement over the Squared CDO 2007-1, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc in July 2010 accepted a $550 million accord over the Abacus 2007-AC1 CDO.

As part of the settlement, Citigroup will give up the $160 million of alleged improper fees and profits plus $30 million of interest, and pay a $95 million fine.

The settlement requires court approval. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan, who chastised the SEC and ultimately rejected its proposed $33 million settlement in 2009 with Bank of America Corp over that bank's purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. He later grudgingly approved a revised $150 million accord.

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Underlying inflation pressures in US ease

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 05:49 PM PDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices outside food and energy rose at their slowest pace in six months in September, a sign broad inflation pressures remained contained.

The core Consumer Price Index edged up just 0.1 percent, a Labor Department report showed on Wednesday, as the cost of apparel and used vehicles fell, new car prices held steady and rental-related costs rose only modestly.

While overall consumer prices rose a relatively steep 0.3 percent, taking the year-on-year rate to a three-year high of 3.9 percent, economists expect inflation to subside in the months ahead.

"With households facing weak wage growth and tight budgets, it is difficult to see a sustained broad-based increase in prices." said Neil Dutta, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York.

Dutta and other economists said the report bolstered the Federal Reserve's view that inflation pressures will moderate as temporary factors such as high gasoline prices and disruptions to motor vehicle production fade.

Even though the core inflation has risen 2 percent over the past 12 months, economists said the Fed still has some wiggle room to ease monetary policy further if the recovery falters.

The U.S. central bank is searching for more ways to boost growth and lower an unemployment rate that has stubbornly remained above 9 percent. It has already cut overnight lending rates to near zero and pumped $2.3 trillion into the economy.

"The Fed is unlikely to publicly crow about this CPI print, as headline inflation is still frustratingly high, but the easing in core inflation does validate the inflation forecast underpinning their recent policy moves," said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan in New York.


Recent economic data have suggested the U.S. economy fared much better in the third quarter than it did in the first half of the year, lessening the pressure for more monetary stimulus.

That positive tone on the economy was reinforced by a report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday that showed housing starts rose 15 percent to an annual rate of 658,000 units in September, well above economists' expectations for a 590,000-unit pace.

But that jump reflected a big surge in groundbreaking for multifamily dwellings. Single-family home construction -- which accounts for a larger share of the market -- rose just 1.7 percent and permits for future building fell 5 percent, a sign the housing market remains far from recovery.

Another report showed applications for U.S. home mortgages tumbled 14.9 percent last week as demand for both refinancing and purchases fizzled. For details, see

Financial markets largely shrugged off the data. U.S. stocks were mostly higher in late morning, while prices for longer-dated Treasury debt were marginally lower. The dollar was down against a basket of currencies.


Core consumer prices last month were restrained by new motor vehicle costs, which were unchanged for a third straight month. This likely reflects a normalization in supplies after the March earthquake in Japan disrupted production.

A rolling three-month average suggests core inflation peaked earlier this year.

Prices for used cars and trucks fell 0.6 percent in September after months of gains. Apparel prices dropped 1.1 percent, the largest decline since September 1998.

"There is high slack in the economy and consumers are price sensitive," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics in West Chester Pennsylvania. "Given that the unemployment rate is 9.1 percent and wages are barely keeping up with inflation, businesses will have to swallow some of those (increased production) costs."

Shelter costs edged up 0.1 percent in September, the smallest rise since April, with owners' equivalent rent -- or OER -- rising 0.1 percent after a 0.2 percent in August.

But economists expect OER to rise in coming month as rental vacancies fall. OER gauges what homeowners would pay to rent their property or what they would earn from renting it.

While the Labor Department said a 2.9 percent increase in the price of gasoline pushed overall consumer prices last month, prices at the pump actually declined September and remain relatively steady.

The rise reported in the inflation report probably has to do with the way the department adjusts the data try to smooth seasonal volatility, economists said.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Police investigating don for remarks on Selangor Sultan's decree

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 08:13 AM PDT

Published: Wednesday October 19, 2011 MYT 9:32:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday October 19, 2011 MYT 11:13:33 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Law expert Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, who expressed his views over the decree made by Selangor Sultan over the Damansara Utama Methodist Church "visit" by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), is to be investigated under the Sedition Act.

The International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) lecturer is expected to give his statement to police Wednesday.

The media quoted him as saying the Sultan's action of intervening in the issue was "unconventional".

The Sultan had issued a statement last week that there were attempts to proselytise Muslims, but that no group would be prosecuted over the controversial church search in August.

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DPM: First report on education system review by year-end

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 06:20 AM PDT

Published: Wednesday October 19, 2011 MYT 9:20:00 PM

PUTRAJAYA: The first report on the review process of Malaysia's existing education system is expected to be ready by year-end, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the report will be submitted to the Cabinet, which will study and endorse a special team to look into the whole process, including implementation of the country's education policies.

"We will look at what we have been doing so far in terms of implementing our education policies and what needs to be done looking forward for the next 10 to 20 years. But this will take time," Muhyiddin said.

He was speaking at a press conference after the 23rd Implementation Council Meeting and 14th MSC Malaysia International Advisory Panel, here Wednesday. Both meetings were chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Education was among the focus areas under the Digital Transformation Programme or called Digital Malaysia, which will be led by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).

Among the initiatives of the Digital Malaysia is to inject greater creativity and promote thinking skills throughout the education system. - Bernama

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School principal says Guan Eng's son transferred out on his own

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 06:13 AM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: A school principal here has expressed surprised over allegations which surfaced online involving Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's 16-year-old son and a female student in the same school.

SMK Heng Ee principal Goh Boon Poh said he needed to clarify the issue to preserve his school's reputation, after the allegations, including photographs, went viral on the Internet.

Goh said Lim's son had transferred out of the school on Jan 3, this year.

"It was the boy's choice. There was no pressure or disciplinary issue here. He was a prefect who also performed well in his PMR examination at our school. He just wanted to be in another school."

The boy had enrolled in the school in 2009 when he was in Form One, Goh said Wednesday.

The principal also noted there had been no allegations involving the boy at the school.

"I am surprised by the allegations made. I am not taking sides but I need to protect my school and its students. I have no intention to hurt anybody here."

Goh also stressed that the photographs of two persons uploaded on certain blog sites, indicating both perpetrator and victim, were not of students of the school.

Lim had refuted the allegations Tuesday, issuing a strongly-worded statement on the issue, describing it as a form of "gutter politics."

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Lim: Finish me off, but leave my children out of this

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Suspenseful intrusion

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 12:14 AM PDT

A new Trespass in Joel Schumacher's film career.

  IN present-day Hollywood dominated by bland business executives and political correctness, the outspoken director Joel Schumacher stands as a refreshing throwback to an era when "show" shared equal footing with business in "showbiz".

Schumacher started out as a costume designer for Woody Allen, then helped create The Brat Pack with such seminal hit films as The Lost Boys and St. Elmo's Fire, before going on to direct Batman Forever, The Client and Phone Booth. Schumacher's latest film Trespass, is a tense, twisting thriller starring Oscar winners Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman as a wealthy couple facing the nightmare of a home invasion robbery.

The 72 year-old director spoke about making the film, his long career and his own nightmares on set.

You obviously love making thrillers like this: Phone Booth, 8mm and The Number 23. What's the secret to making a great one?

First, you need a great premise, and this has the primal fear we all have of someone breaking into your home in the middle of the night. Then you ratchet up the tension and hopefully keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

But I also like to make films with lots of layers, even if they're not readily apparent. So this is also about class warfare and the sorry state of the American dream today.

In fact, I saw Nic Cage's character and the gang's leader as being two sides of the same coin.

They've both over-reached for that dream and been foolish and landed in big trouble. It's what's happened in this country today. People had to have the big house, the jewellery, the paintings, and many were encouraged by our corrupt financial system, but simply couldn't afford it.

You also like making films about flawed characters.

That's true. I've worked in a lot of genres, but I do like to take flawed people and then heap stress on them and see if it'll make 'em or break 'em.

You've worked with both your stars before, Nic in 8mm, Nicole in Batman Forever. What did they bring to this film?

I've known Nicole since right after she did Dead Calm in 1989, and I've been in love with her since then.

She came to my house and was very shy but just stunning, and we became good friends. Same with Nic.

I've know him since he was a teenager, and like Jim Carrey, he was always too special and quirky to put in my ensemble movies. They both do the thing they do better than anyone else, and they add a lot to their characters in the rehearsals and rewrites.

And this is the kind of movie, like Phone Booth, you can't script it out. You get seven stressed-out people in a room and (things are) going to happen!

No one's going to just stand there and recite their lines in turn. It doesn't work that way. There's a lot of overlapping dialogue, like a Robert Altman film.

I was very influenced by him back in my heavy drug days in the late 60s. His approach was so revolutionary back then, and his use of ensemble casts.

How do you look back on your career?

Hollywood was very different back then. It was a much smaller industry, and I knew all the studio heads by name even though I was the poorest person in the room.

I started off making US$200 a week doing costumes, and I was coming off my intravenous drug days, and I'd have worked for even US$5.

I grew up in Queens behind a movie theatre, and I was always in love with movies and actors.

I think I'm a very cast-dependent director, and I think I've had the career I've had because of my casts. I may not be a genius director, but I'll put my casts up against anyone's!

What did you learn from Woody Allen?

The big lesson was, you must write in order to direct. So I did, and sold a lot of scripts like Car Wash, which they wouldn't let me direct. But it was a huge hit, and then I got a break and was offered my first feature, The Incredible Shrinking Woman.

You've made two dozen films. Any favourites?

No, they're like children – all different, and you love them all equally. Sometimes the nightmare ones are the ones you learn most from. Looking back, I think I was the wrong director for Dying Young with Julia Roberts. I'd just done Flatliners with her and was mad about her. Still am. But I don't think I'm the greatest love story director, and it was also a very veiled movie about AIDS. We talked about that a lot. It was a difficult project.

What about difficult stars. Ever had a nightmare experience?

There's a couple I'd never work with again. Val Kilmer, though he was a fabulous Batman – sexy, dark, great. His reputation preceded him. And I wasn't alone. Even Ron Howard came out about him, which really surprised me as he's much more of a gentleman than I am!

I haven't really seen Val since back then, and don't know what's happened to his life since then. I hope I've grown, I hope he's grown. That's another great thing Woody Allen taught me.

He said to me back in 1973: "Success gives people permission to be exactly who they were always supposed to be; the good get better, and the worst get worser."

I've never forgotten that, and it's so true! – Reuters

> Trespass opens in Malaysian cinemas tomorrow.

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The Latin experience

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 04:27 PM PDT

As in years past, this year's Latin American Film Festival offers you a taste of something different.

Viva México! Viva Ecuador! Viva Venezuela! Viva Chile! Viva the other six countries that are contributing to this year's Latin American Film Festival at three GSC cinemas in the Klang Valley! Viva, you may have guessed, is how we say our celebratory "Long live!" in Spanish. And the correct response is to echo Viva! in response.

See, now you know something awesome about Latin American culture. Come to the Latin American Film Festival (LAFF) for more.

Film festivals are a glorious yearly event and here is one that has been around for a while. It also stands apart for two reasons. One is personal – this reviewer deeply loves Latin America, its countries, its peoples and its cultures. The second is in the choice of films.

While the trend with some festivals has been to show more modern and crowd-pleasing selections, this festival will be a delight to traditionalists. Instead of trying to accommodate the viewers' tastes, these films invite you to sample new flavours.

It's the difference between a few days in a five-star hotel and a couple weeks in a homestay. Perhaps not for everyone, but very special to those who give it a go.

Unfortunately there is a limited time to sample this bufetdelicioso – only four days in which to watch 12 films from 10 countries, but do try to get at least one bite. And for aficionados, the challenge is great but, say it with me: Sípodemos! (Yes, we can!)

Some select films to get you in the groove:

A Paper Tiger (Colombia)

Winner of the Colombian National Award for Documentary, Luis Ospina investigates the life and work of legendary Colombian collage artist Pedro Manrique Figuerora from 1934 to his mysterious disappearance in 1981. The artist's elusive and contradictory story serves as a pretext for a documentary about the 1960s and 70s, a period so often idealised and mystified, which examines the relationship between art and politics, between truth and lies, and between documentary and fiction.

The Old House (Cuba)

Based on the classic Cuban play The Old House by Abelardo Estorino, it does its own asking and answering of that age-old question: Can you ever go back home again? Esteban, who left 14 years ago, returns when he learns that his father is dying and finds that little has changed. The family's joy at seeing him again cannot cover for long the bitterness and resentment over Esteban's long absence. Trapped together in the family's old house, grudges, misunderstandings and intolerance bubble to the surface.

Welcome To Your Family (Ecuador)

At the age of 14, Yandri has already spent half of her life away from her father who immigrated to Spain in hopes of finding a better future for his family. Jessica emigrates too, leaving her children to be raised by their loving grandmother. Jorge's youngest daughter was only nine months old when he emigrated, so she has no memory of him. Welcome To Your Family is a documentary that follows the lives of three families trying to reunite after hard decisions and long separation.

Open Air (Venezuela)

As the 18th century turns into the 19th, two young European naturalists, Alexandre Von Humboldt and Aime Bonpland go through the heart of the jungle in search of the mythical Casiquiare River. Full of progressive convictions, these democratic humanists face a brutal and beautiful reality. Their travels shall mark them forever and will lead them to discover death, life and eternal friendship.

This wonderful adventure movie is also a philosophical and ecological story with surrealistic touches, a beautiful story of friendship and brotherhood which transgress cultural clashes, and a spectacular historical fresco.

Dog In The Manger (Peru)

A comedy about, of all things, encroaching development. Brus is an indigenous artist who struggles to organise his community to protect their culture and ancestral land in the rainforest of Peru. To protect this land, one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world, Brus joins a local NGO and finds himself in the surreal world of foreign researchers, volunteers and development experts, but ultimately discovers his own way of empowering his community.

Moon Of Avellaneda (Argentina)

Román Maldonado was born in the midst of a carnival fair held at "Luna de Avellaneda," a sports and social club, and for this he is made a member for life. The decades pass and membership dwindles from thousands to only 300 and the club is in danger of being demolished and replaced with a bingo parlour. Although Román is also undergoing marital problems, he and his friends know they must fight for Luna's survival.

> Films for the Latin American Film Festival 2011 are showing at GSC Mid Valley, GSC 1-Utama and GSC Pavillion from Oct 20 to 23. Tickets are RM5 a piece, except for the Brazilan films which are free of charge. For more information, please visit latinfilmfest.org.my or gsc.com.my.

A Brazilian bonus

BRAZIL invites Malaysian audiences to watch its two festival films for free. Honestly, I would highly recommend both even without the added incentive. The two documentaries will have you scurrying home to spend an hour or so on Google, eager to learn more about their topics. And if you have a list of Things To Do Before You Die, it will likely get just a little longer.

You can print the coupons for free passes on the LAFF pages of gsc.com.my.

The Mystery Of Samba

Samba does not come from the city or from the slums. It comes from the heart." By the time these words are spoken, you could have probably said them yourself. Documentary-maker Lula Buarque de Hollanda has taken you to Portela, a Brazilian Samba school that by the end of the film will invoke the same feeling of longing as Xanadu. Or New Orleans.

The people Buarque de Hollanda speaks to about Samba are (or should be) legends, men and women to whom song is the most natural way of expressing love, pain, loneliness, joy or even news. Such a common way of life that until recently, no one thought of writing them down or preserving them but recently the effort has been made to record and share some of these wonderful songs.

The stories are wonderful to hear. There was one man who as a child fell in love with the cavaquinho (a musical instrument that looks like a small guitar) but could not afford the instrument. What the little boy did next and how this meant that the first time he actually picked up a cavaquinho he could play like a virtuoso is unforgettable.

As is the music. Like me, three days after watching the film your heart will still be singing Portela.

Oscar Niemeyer: Life is But A Breath

If you have any interest whatsoever in architecture, you absolutely cannot miss this film. Oscar Niemeyer is man who created a whole new school of architecture. His buildings are all over the world and designs inspired or influenced by his work (not only buildings, as you will see in the film) are likely within walking distance of wherever you are right now.

I did this after watching the film, but you go ahead and Google images under his name if you need any further convincing. Then go watch and learn from the master how these strange and magnificent buildings came to be.

A self-proclaimed pessimist, Neimeyer believes that optimism ill-prepares us for reality while pessimism makes it possible to ride out any problems, even the difficulties he has faced. Now still living at the ripe old age of 103, Niemeyer dislikes right angles, straight lines and capitalism. His designs flow like the "curves of a woman." Poor people have nothing, but beautiful buildings gives them something to look at.

For a fascinating look at a fascinating man, don't miss this film.

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Malaysia Lysosomal Diseases Association aims to help LSD patients

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 05:34 AM PDT

COMPRISING parents and families of patients, the newly-formed Malaysia Lysosomal Diseases Association (MLDA) aims to bring public attention to Lysosomal Storage Diseases (LSD).

"The launch marks an important milestone in the struggle to bring public awareness and attention to this debilitating disease," said MLDA president Lee Yee Seng in his opening remarks.

He made a moving appeal to the public to acknowledge the right of every child to have equal access to treatment no matter what their medical condition.

He also highlighted the despair and desperate circumstances families with LSD sufferers faced.

Currently, treatment costs between RM300,000 and RM1mil.

"The association hopes to be able to partner the government, the corporate sector and the community to create a much more caring health and medical environment.

"All LSD patients should be able to benefit from the latest medical treatment," said Lee.

Also speaking at the launch was the Taiwan MPS Society founder and president Virginia Tsai. MPS is one of the many types of LSD.

She too spoke of the importance of partnerships and how by working together, LSD advocacy groups would be able to accomplish much more.

She reiterated Lee's call for early diagnosis as it enabled a more comprehensive and effective treatment.

However, the launch truly belonged to the LSD children who courageously took the stage to tell their stories and share their hopes and dreams.

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Scoliosis patient goes on to become professional golfer

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 05:32 AM PDT

SHE is no ordinary golfer. Stacy Lewis, 26, is a professional golfer and a star on the LPGA Tour and has an incredible record of achievement and has done it after overcoming the effects of progressive scoliosis.

Lewis, who was in town for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia recently, had taken time off her game and met Scoliosis patients, especially children, to share her experiences.

Her words of encouragement and an insight into the condition was an inspiration to the children and their parents.

At the age of 11, during a school screening exam, it was discovered that Lewis had a deformity. Following visits to a paediatric spine deformity specialist and the ensuing x-rays confirmed the diagnosis of scoliosis, an excessive rotational deformity of the spine.

● Full story read Star Metro Central today.

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School head calls it a day

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 02:54 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: It looked like a scene straight out of television when hundreds of students waved goodbye to SMK Taman Daya principal Azizah Mohd Zaki on her retirement day as she was sent off in a horse-drawn carriage.

The 56 year-old principal was smiling from ear-to-ear as she waved to her former students and ex-colleagues as the carriage made its way out of the school.

In her speech at the farewell ceremony, Azizah was overcome with emotion while addressing the school.

"My fondest memory at the school was when I taught cooking classes to the Pendidikan Khas students.

"We cooked nasi briyani and baked cakes together. It was such a simple yet sweet memory that I will hold with me for as long as I live," said Azizah, who comes from Batu Pahat.

The mother of three, who is fond of travelling, joked that her next step after retirement is to fully resume her role as a loving wife, mother and grandmother to her two grandchildren.

"I always advise my students and teachers to always be innovative and creative to avoid from losing out in a competitive world.

SMK Taman Daya's head prefect Afiqah Hazwani Md Nordin said Azizah was like a mother to them, because she was strict and a loving headmistress. "She always put her students first, before anything else and we love her very much," she said.

Azizah was also treated to birthday wishes as everyone at the school sang Happy Birthday to celebrate her birthday on Oct 11, which was a day before her retirement.

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Strong winds cause havoc across village and nearby areas

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 02:56 AM PDT

MALACCA: A severe thunderstorm swept across Kampung Krubong Tengah and nearby areas here on Monday, severely damaging 10 houses.

Tiles and tables were blown away, roofs were ripped off and trees uprooted when the massive thunderstorm hit the area at 3.45pm.

While no injuries were reported, many villagers said they were shocked to see the effects of the strong, tornado-like winds generated by the storm.

Traffic in the area came to a standstill when electrical and telephone cables were severed causing several traffic lights at busy junctions to malfunction.

Police officers and fire officers from state Fire And Rescue Department were summoned to the area to control the traffic and to carry out clearance work.

Grandmother Zainab Mohd Amin, 79, was among those who witnessed the storm's wrath.

Zainab, said she was awakened by the loud noises caused by the wind and asked her grandson to seek shelter.

"The storm was followed by a heavy downpour. This is the first time I witnessed such a storm after having lived here for the past 60 years," she said.

Zainab said she looked outside and saw the tiles from her neighbour's porch being carried away by the wind before a plastic table from one of the nearby houses flew into her compound.

Another villager, Zakaria Che Lin, 46, said the wind was violent and it only took a few minutes for the thunderstorm to tear off roofs.

"This is the first time such an incident has happened in the area and is was a scary event for all of us," Zakaria said.

In one area, huge trees were uprooted and the street lamps were torn off and scattered everywhere.

Retiree Mat Manis Ismial, 49, said he was watching television with his wife when part of the roof of his house was suddenly torn off.

"Thank God we were not injured, one of my daughters was sleeping in her room, so I immediately woke her and we went to the back of the house for shelter," he said.

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Passengers left in the lurch

Posted: 19 Oct 2011 02:52 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: The cancellation of flights for the Johor Baru-Kuching and Johor Baru-Kota Kinabalu routes by community airline Firefly has caused a lot of inconvenience for both travel agents and passengers.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Johor chapter chairman Kenny Ngi said that more than 10,000 passengers who had purchased flight tickets from 241 travel agents were still unhappy over the matter.

"We were only given short notice on the matter as Firefly announced the cancellation of the routes from Sept 15, on Aug 25.

"A lot of customers have called to tick off the travel agents on the short notice as many had bought holiday packages, took leave and paid for hotel bookings," he told a press conference at the MATTA office here recently.

Ngi said that although Firefly offered full refunds to customers, they are still unhappy as the cancellation of the routes disrupted their plans.

"Firefly should have given customers a longer period of time to plan and amend their plans before cancelling the routes.

"Travel agents and operators also suffer in terms of business as the public thinks the cancellations were due to the agents' poor planning," said Ngi.

He added that the matter has affected their reputations and customers also feel dissatisfied over the inconveniences caused.

"We as travel agents also feel at a loss as we have not been given a clear reason or explanation for those who are looking to travel to Kota Kinabalu or Kuching.

"I hope that the state government or Firefly will come up with a solution soon as I feel that the Senai Airport will be under-utilised after the flights are cancelled," he said.

In an unrelated matter, Ngi wanted to clarify to the public that the upcoming MITM travel fair is not organised by MATTA but organised Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association (MCTA).

"I feel that the public is confused by the matter as we have received numerous calls from a lot of customers and travel agents asking us about the fair," he said.

When contacted, Firefly declined to comment on the cancellation of the routes.

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Be cancer aware

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 08:08 PM PDT

FOR many Pink Octobers, breast cancer awareness campaigns to educate women on the commonest cancer among them have been an annual affair at the Assunta Hospital in Petaling Jaya.

But since four years ago, they have been able to bring their message beyond hospital walls with the support of partners Asia Assistance, Jaya One, and PJ Live Arts. The project Passionately Pink, was launched on a wider platform to bring women of all ages closer to the ways they can protect themselves against breast cancer.

In 2009, the project evolved again as the campaign organisers embarked on the Passionately You campaign to take on another challenge: cervical cancer awareness.

This year, the Passionately You campaign is back to raise awareness about breast cancer and cervical cancer with a rallying call, "Don't Duck It".

A campaign website, www.dontduckit.com, has also been set up to educate its visitors about breast cancer and cervical cancer, and provide them the opportunity to pledge their support for the cause before the finale of the campaign this coming Saturday.

The finale, which is the "Don't Duck It" party, will be held at the Jaya One neighbourhood commercial hub from noon to 10.30pm on Oct 22.

Women will be able to get their breasts checked for free, and those who are interested in getting their HPV vaccinations will also have the opportunity to do so on that day. Visitors can also participate in a raffle draw and enjoy various performances that are scheduled throughout the day.

> For more information, please visit the campaign website www.dontduckit.com.

Related Story:
Debunking cancer myths

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Debunking cancer myths

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 08:07 PM PDT

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about breast and cervical cancer. Here are some of them.

AS a society, we have somewhat moved past the flawed belief that cancer happens to people who "have been bad" or "is being punished for the sinful thing he did". We now know that cancer can happen to anyone.

However, some of the common myths of cancer remain, particularly on the types of food or lifestyle habits that could "cause cancer" or "prevent cancer".

This week, we explore the realities of some common myths about breast cancer and cervical cancer that are sourced from consultant clinical oncologist and radiotherapist Dr Manivannan A. B., consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Liew Fah Onn, the United States National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc, and the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, US.

Breast cancer

Myth: Only women with a family history of breast cancer are at risk.

Reality: While having a family history of breast cancer may put you at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, most women (over 85%) diagnosed with breast cancer do not have a family history of it.

Your risk may increase as you age, or if your periods start early (below 12 years old) or stops late (more than 55 years old). It is also higher if you have a personal history of cancerous changes in your breast.

That said, even when breast cancer affects mostly women, it can also affect a very small number of men (less than 2% according to Malaysian statistics).

Myth: Wearing an underwire bra increases your risk of getting breast cancer.

Reality: Wearing a tight underwire bra may sometimes restrict your ability to breathe properly, but there is no sufficient evidence to support the claim that it will increase your risk of developing cancer. The same goes for claims about deodorants and antiperspirants, and drinking from a plastic water bottle left in a hot car.

Even if you do not practise any of the above, or are not categorised in the high risk group, you should not take your breast health for granted.

Myth: Breast cancer always comes in the form of a lump in the breast.

Reality: The early signs of breast cancer can differ between individuals. Although a lump or lumps in the breast are more common, other signs such as swelling, skin dimpling (a dimple in the breast), an inverted nipple and nipple discharge can also occur.

In the earliest stages, breast cancer may also develop without any signs or symptoms. This is when a mammogram is useful in detecting any early changes.

Myth: Herbal remedies and dietary supplements can help treat breast cancer.

Reality: So far, there are no herbal remedies or dietary supplements that have been scientifically proven to treat breast cancer, says Dr Manivannan. It is important for women to consult a medical doctor for the diagnosis or treatment of breast cancer. Those who are interested in starting alternative therapies when they are on treatment should consult their doctors before doing so.

Cervical cancer

Myth: Cervical cancer, like many other cancers, cannot be prevented.

Reality: Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers because some of its risk factors and causes have already been identified. Studies have suggested that the most common cause of cervical cancer is the repeated and persistent infection of certain strains of the HPV virus (mostly HPV-16 and HPV-18). Therefore, HPV vaccination against these two strains can help reduce your chances of getting infected.

That said, it is still possible to develop cervical cancer due to other strains of HPV that can cause malignant changes in the cervix. This is why even those who are vaccinated should still continue to go for regular Pap smears so that early changes in cells in the cervix can be detected, says Dr Liew.

The earliest signs of cervical cancer is unusual bleeding, especially in between periods or after sexual intercourse. So, you should consult your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Myth: I'm too young to have cervical cancer. After all, cervical cancer does not run in my family and only promiscuous women get cervical cancer.

Reality: The incidence of cervical cancer increases with age, but even women in their 20's can develop cervical cancer.

Unlike breast cancer, cervical cancer is not hereditary. Therefore, if none of your family members have the disease, it does not mean you are at a lower risk of developing it.

While sexual promiscuity is a major risk factor for cervical cancer, especially when it starts at a young age, women who are in monogamous relationships can still develop cervical cancer.

Myth: If I am diagnosed with cervical cancer, I must have my uterus removed. Even if I don't have to, I won't be able to have children after treatment.

Reality: Again, the treatment of cervical cancer depends on the stage of the cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. If the cancer is detected in the early stages within the cervix, cancerous growths or areas can be removed by minor surgery.

However, if it is detected in later stages, or if the cancer has spread to surrounding structures, radiotherapy and a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be needed. Women who have undergone both these procedures will not be able to conceive after treatment.

Related Story:
Be cancer aware

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Denim workers in Bangladesh subjected to health hazards

Posted: 18 Oct 2011 04:20 PM PDT

Sandblasting jeans comes under fire in Bangladesh for posing health risks to garment workers.

SUMAN Howlader was thrilled to land a job in a Bangladeshi factory sandblasting new jeans to make them look old, but he now believes the diktats of fashion have exacted a heavy toll on his health.

After working for three years, he started vomiting blood, coughing badly and struggling to breathe before being admitted to a specialist respiratory hospital in Dhaka.

Workers' groups say Howlader and many others like him have been misdiagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis because of ignorance about silicosis – an incurable disease caused by inhalation of silica particles.

The minute, fast-moving particles are released during sandblasting, a process used to give new jeans the "worn" look that has been popular for many years around the world.

Sandblasting has long been banned in Europe and the United States, but Bangladesh's cheap labour garment factories still use it to condition jeans for top Western brands.

Gucci, Levi's, H&M and Gap have all vowed to stop selling sandblasted products, while Dolce & Gabbana has been targeted in an Internet campaign to take a similar stance.

"One day, when I was working, blood started gushing out of my mouth and nose," said Howlader from his hospital bed.

"They told me the work was safe. But the constant sandblasting made the room fill up with dust and sand. You end up swallowing and inhaling a lot of it."

Howlader fired high-pressure sand at denim jeans with just a cloth mask for protection, treating 200 to 300 pairs in a 10-hour day.               

"Sandblasting is booming here," said Kalpana Akhter, general secretary of the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity, which records many silicosis-like symptoms among workers in the sector.

"Doctors are not looking out for silicosis, so cases get diagnosed as tuberculosis instead," she said.

As most Bangladeshi companies have no health insurance, many of those who become sick simply quit their jobs and return to their villages in dreadful health, she added.

Tens of thousands of Bangladeshi workers are involved, and at least 500 factories use sandblasting, said Khorshed Alam, who runs a labour rights group.

"Workers hardly have any protective gear to prevent (silica) dust from entering their system," he said.

According to Alam, many large factories are aware of the health risks of sandblasting and, to avoid potential liability, they often subcontract out the work to small, standalone factories.

"We used home-made compressors and sand-guns, which are 20 times cheaper than the ones used by big jeans plants," said Delwar Hossain, supervisor at the small Meridian unit in Dhaka.        

Because of the high pay – 7,500 taka (RM300) a month, or double the minimum wage – they have no shortage of workers like Mohammad Ilias.

With only a thin cloth wrapped around his face, the 21-year-old from a village in the country's remote north was blasting sand with a homemade pressure-gun onto a pair of new jeans.

"In some factories, they use masks and other gear to keep sand off. But here we use cloth ... there is no escape from sand. But we've got used to it," he said.

"I swallow so much sand doing this work but enough water and a banana a day sort out the health problems. I don't mind inhaling sand as long as the wages are good," he said.

The labour rights group, Clean Clothes Campaign, has run a successful campaign to shame famous brand names into using other, safer, techniques but, in Bangladesh, it remains profitable and, therefore, common.

Gap said that it halted all sandblasting at its Bangladeshi suppliers in August following a review last year, though for many local factory owners there is an acceptance that the needs of fashion overrule health concerns.

"We are still a LDC ('least developed country'). Please don't think that we are Switzerland," said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, head of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association, explaining that a national ban was unlikely.

Such attitudes mean that a full-scale tragedy among Bangladeshi sandblasters may be going undetected, believes Ineke Zeldenrust, a spokeswoman for the Clean Clothes Campaign.

"We worry that we will see a similar scenario in Bangladesh as in Turkey," she said, where dozens of workers – some teenagers – developed acute silicosis and died, prompting public outcry before a ban was enacted in 2009.

But workers such as Asma, who is also being treated in the Dhaka chest hospital, say they have no choice but to continue sandblasting.

"The disease has eaten all my savings. If I don't work, I can't eat," said a gaunt and skinny Asma, 25, before discharging herself from hospital and going back to work. – AFP

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