Khamis, 3 November 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Selena Gomez stalker pleads not guilty

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 08:50 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: An Illinois man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to stalking teenage actress Selena Gomez, best known for her role in Disney television show "Wizards of Waverly Place".

Thomas Brodnicki, 46, also was ordered to stay away from the actress for three years. He told a psychiatrist that he traveled to Los Angeles to see the star and had conversations with God about killing her, according to court documents.

In October, the 19-year-old Gomez obtained a temporary stay away order against Brodnicki. She said she was in "extreme fear" of Brodnicki in a statement filed with the court.

Along with her role on "Wizards of Waverly Place," the actress is known for her part in this year's film "Monte Carlo" and she is the girlfriend of singer Justin Bieber.

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Hitting the high notes

Posted: 04 Nov 2011 02:09 AM PDT

STRIKING a chord with audiences, the listenership for Red FM continues to grow for the fourth year in a row as the second Nielsen Radio Audience Measurement survey of 2011 released its latest results.

Marking four years of continuous growth, Red FM's listenership gained a year-on-year increase of 36% in total cume.

Recording an exceptional rise in year-on-year performance were three shows – Red FM's Eleven 2 Three Show With Linora (Mondays to Fridays, 11am-30pm) at 68%, Red FM's Drive Show With Terry (Mondays to Fridays, 3pm-7pm) at 21% and Red FM's Evening Show With Arnold (Mondays to Fridays, 7pm-10pm) at 27%.

As these encouraging results resonate through Red FM, the station would like to thank listeners as it grows from strength to strength.

Red FM chief operating officer Azrullah Mohd Nor said: "We would like to extend our thanks to all our listeners for being with us on this journey.

"Your constant support and feedback have helped us to build this station into one that meets your music and entertainment needs.

"We remain as committed as ever in developing more exciting and enjoyable content as well as on-ground activities for our listeners."

Join Red FM on this exhilarating ride as the station continues to bring listeners a variety of features and contests. With a range of prizes available, you could win anything from CDs to movie tickets, dining vouchers and beauty treatments.

This year's contests have seen listeners winning a car, trips to overseas destinations as well as tickets to some of the hottest concerts in Malaysia and aboard. If you missed out on these lucrative prizes, you still stand a chance to win a generous cash prize with Red FM's Blankety Blank and Red FM's What's The Movie.

For more details on the contests, log on to Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page ( and follow us on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

Red FM's station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1 FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6 FM; Ipoh: 106.4 FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9 FM; Kuantan: 91.6 FM; Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9 FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8 FM.

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Remembering Steve Jobs

Posted: 04 Nov 2011 02:10 AM PDT

Join Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman who host a retrospective look and celebration of the life of Steve Jobs in iGenius: How Steve Jobs Changed The World.

LOVE him or loathe him, Steve Jobs' recent demise at the age of 56 meant the world had lost a technological visionary whose eye for innovation and design literally changed the world.

As co-founder and CEO of Apple, Jobs paved the way for technological advancements such as the Apple II (which ushered in the era of personal home computing), the iPod (which changed the way we listened to music), and the iPhone (which gave us the coolest and most wanted phone ever made). In short, he was probably one of the greatest innovators of our generation.

Therefore, who better to host a show about Jobs than the champions of innovation themselves, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, best known for their popular long-running documentary Mythbusters?

iGenius: How Steve Jobs Changed The World is a Discovery Channel documentary that explores Jobs' life and the impact he had on the world through his numerous innovations and creations.

Savage, who admits to being an "Apple addict", has been an avid follower of Jobs, the company and their products since 1992.

"I think he's one of the most important innovators of the 20th century and I don't think that's an exaggeration," he said in an interview transcript, adding that one of the things that comes across most clearly in iGenius is how Jobs' approach was what changed everything, and not any of the specific products he produced.

"The products themselves are each a sort of a symptom of the overall cause, which is to make things simpler and make them more elegant," he added.

Hyneman concurred, describing Jobs as having created a "new style of life". "I think it's one of the largest contributions he made. It's not just technology, it's the fact that he marketed it at the right time, in the right place and the right way – he had a very large impact on society," he said.

iGenius explores the impact Jobs had on the world by speaking to some of the individuals whose lives and livelihoods were forever changed by his innovations.

Among the people Savage and Hyneman interviewed for the show are those who were with Jobs on the front lines during the birth of personal computing, as well as former Apple employees and executives. These include Lee Felsentein (founding member of the Homebrew Computer Club), and John Draper, the engineer who gave Jobs his start. Other interviewees include journalists, authors and critics who covered Jobs and his innovations, scientists, educator, filmmakers, designers and musicians such as Stevie Wonder and Pete Wentz.

Although he is best known for his tenure at Apple, Jobs was also the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, which is not only the most successful animation studio ever – producing movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and WALL-E – but also pioneered the use of computers in film animation, and contributed greatly to the technological advancements in computer-generated special effects in films.

"The fact that I was most surprised to find out about was that after Steve left Apple in 1985 and formed Pixar, he believed in Pixar so much that he put I think US$60mil or US$70mil of his own money into it before Toy Story came out," Savage said, adding that this storytelling aspect of Jobs is what the documentary tries to portray the most. "In the show, we talked about him as being a storyteller. He cared mostly about the story."

The story of Jobs' life and career is certainly a compelling one. Although he is largely revered for all the good stuff, Jobs was also not without shortcomings. He was generally criticised for his often ruthless work ethics, his perfectionism and also for being notoriously hard to work with.

According to Hyneman, iGenius does touch on the subject to some degree. "I think it's very important to remember the type of impact he had on the industry – the effect of a single man as the mastermind of a large corporation was very powerful," he said.

Savage reckons Jobs' best attribute was also his greatest weakness. "The very thing that made him successful is also a weakness. Apple didn't do any product testing, it was just Steve. His ability to hold a product and see what was right and wrong about it instantly is a tremendous gift, but a lot of what he did was also very risky," he said.

"By being so self-driven and holding on to his ideas because he knew they were good, he was able to forge new paths and create wonderful new things, but at the same time, sometimes, there was no guarantee that his ideas would work."

Hyneman also thinks that Jobs' life and career teaches everyone a very important lesson about perseverance and failure.

"The number one lesson we can all learn from Steve Jobs is to follow your instinct, and follow your vision," he said.

"Jobs stuck by his ideas and saw them through even when they were not necessarily popular. Even though he had a lot of failures as a result of those decisions, he prevailed in the long run and was able to have the tremendous impact that he did." – Michael Cheang

iGenius: How Steve Jobs Changed The World airs on Discovery Channel (Astro Ch 551) on Sunday at 10pm, and will be simulcast on Discovery HD World (Astro Ch 571).

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The Star Online: World Updates

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Greek prime minister faces knife-edge survival vote


ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a knife-edge confidence vote on Friday after his plan for a referendum on a bailout -- supposed to save both Greece and the euro zone from disaster -- backfired disastrously.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou delivers a speech during a debate prior to a vote of confidence in the parliament in Athens November 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis)

But even if his socialist government survives the parliamentary vote, Papandreou's days as Greek leader looked numbered after a deal with his cabinet under which, government sources said, he agreed to stand down after negotiating a coalition with the conservative opposition.

Much of Greece and many European leaders reacted with horror after Papandreou abruptly announced on Monday that he would put the 130-billion-euro ($180-billion) rescue plan, agreed at a euro zone summit only last week, to the Greek people.

Papandreou came out fighting, rejecting opposition demands, in public at least, that he make way for a caretaker administration with just two tasks: forcing the bailout through parliament without a referendum and calling of snap elections.

However, analysts said Papandreou may not be around much longer to fight such battles.

"The prime minister's position is very difficult, since he chose not to respond to the opposition's proposal for a transitional coalition government. Therefore I believe that it is unlikely that he will win the vote," said head of ALCO pollsters, Costas Panagopoulos.

Through waves of austerity policies demanded by the nation's international lenders, Papandreou has carried the parliamentary group of his PASOK party with him, despite much grumbling within the ranks.

But a steady trickle of defections has reduced his majority to the point that one or two waverers could inflict a defeat in the confidence vote, expected as late as midnight (2200 GMT).

PASOK has 152 deputies in the 300-member parliament. But lawmaker Eva Kaili said that while she would stay in the party, she would refuse to support the government in the confidence vote, meaning Papandreou could count at most on the support of 151 deputies.

Only one more defection would strip the government of its majority and probably trigger early elections.


Greeks have fought tooth and nail against policies which have brought spending cuts, tax rises and job losses, pushing the nation into three years of recession, and they have staged a series of strikes and protests, some of which turned violent.

This made a "no" vote in any referendum highly likely, even though this would cut off Greece's last international financial lifeline and risked spreading its debt crisis to much bigger euro zone economies, such as Italy and Spain.

But after a tumultuous day in Greek politics, the chances of the referendum being held dwindled to almost nothing on Thursday. Papandreou offered to drop the idea anyway if the conservative opposition backed the bailout in parliament.

Over the day, he talked about negotiating with the conservative New Democracy party, saying the national interest ranked well above his personal ambitions. "I'm not tied to my post. I'm not interested either in being re-elected, I'm only interested in saving the country," he told parliament.

Papandreou also called on his PASOK party to rally behind him in the confidence vote. But his public bravado appeared to mask an acceptance that his term may come to an end soon.

Government sources said Papandreou had struck a deal at a cabinet meeting on Thursday under which he would stand down after he had negotiated a coalition agreement with the conservative opposition -- provided he survives Friday's vote.

Ministers involved in striking the deal with Papandreou, led by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos, said he should go for the sake of their PASOK party, said the sources, who had knowledge of Thursday's meeting of the cabinet.

"He was told that he must leave calmly in order to save his party," one source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "He agreed to step down. It was very civilised, with no acrimony."

Papandreou admitted he had made a mistake in calling on Monday for the referendum on a bailout, the sources said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy summoned Papandreou and Venizelos to Cannes on Wednesday where they made clear Greece would receive no EU aid if the nation failed to stick to the deal.

(Additional reporting by Reuters Athens bureau; Writing by David Stamp; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Greek PM ready to go, dump referendum, for euro deal


ATHENS/CANNES, France (Reuters) - Intense European pressure forced debt-stricken Greece to seek political consensus on a new bailout plan instead of holding a referendum after EU leaders raised the prospect of a Greek exit from the euro to preserve the single currency.

Aides, security officers and journalists watch as Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou arrives at an urgent cabinet meeting in the Greek parliament in Athens November 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis)

Fast-moving events in Athens overshadowed the first day of a summit of the Group of 20 major economies on the French Riviera on Thursday, with anxious world leaders urging Europe to act to stop contagion from its sovereign debt crisis.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou bowed to cabinet rebels and agreed to step down and make way for a negotiated coalition government if his Socialists back him in a confidence vote on Friday, government sources told Reuters.

"He was told that he must leave calmly in order to save his (PASOK) party," one source said on condition of anonymity. "He agreed to step down. It was very civilised, with no acrimony."

Papandreou, son and grandson of left-wing prime ministers, hinted he was ready to quit for the sake of national unity, telling parliament he was not wedded to his job.

G20 leaders meeting in Cannes discussed increasing the International Monetary Fund's resources and building a financial firewall to protect vulnerable euro zone economies Italy and Spain from a possible Greek default.

Papandreou said his call this week for a referendum, which sparked panic on global financial markets and infuriated European partners, "was never a purpose in itself", and he would be happy if the vote were not held.

Papandreou told PASOK lawmakers he had agreed to talks with the centre-right opposition on a transitional government to implement a new EU/IMF bailout programme agreed last week, and pave the way for early elections.

At a bruising meeting in Cannes on Wednesday night, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned him that Athens would not receive a cent more in aid until it met its commitments to the euro zone.

Greece was due to get a vital 8 billion euro instalment this month and says it will run out of money in mid-December if it does not get the loan.

Despite the turmoil in Athens and uncertainty over the euro zone, European stock markets and the euro rallied in volatile trading as the likelihood grew that Greece would not hold the highly risky referendum.

The European Central Bank also provided a surprise boost by cutting interest rates by 25 points to 1.25 percent and saying its policy of buying euro zone government bonds would continue for now with limited scope to support its monetary policy.

The leaders of China, Russia and the United States pressed the Europeans to move more swiftly to contain the debt crisis, with Washington urging Germany to relent and let the ECB play a greater role in financial firefighting, G20 sources said.

"Europe should aid itself. The European Union has everything for that today -- the political authority, the financial resources and the backing of many countries," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the leaders had discussed contingency plans if Greece were to leave the euro zone, "but my expectation is that cooler heads will prevail and the package will be accepted (by Greece)".


Italy was next in the euro zone firing line, facing fierce pressure to make good on long delayed economic reforms.

European G20 leaders along with U.S. President Barack Obama, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and new ECB President Mario Draghi met on the sidelines to press Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for a timetable for key labour market, pension and privatisation measures, EU sources said.

Berlusconi failed to win agreement from his divided centre-right cabinet for the reforms just before flying to Cannes.

A draft plan agreed with the G20 on Thursday includes a commitment by Italy to get its budget deficit "near balance" by 2013 and to rapidly reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio, sources told Reuters. That is less ambitious than Italy's promise only last month to balance its budget in 2013.

EU leaders are concerned that if Italy cannot get its finances in order, the economy -- the eurozone's third largest -- could go the way of Greece, Ireland and Portugal in needing a bailout from the EU.


In Athens, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos led the revolt against Papandreou, saying Greece's euro membership was a historic achievement and "cannot depend on a referendum".

Dissident PASOK lawmakers called for a temporary national unity government, which some suggested could be led by former ECB vice-president Lucas Papademos.

Signalling for the first time a will to compromise, opposition leader Antonis Samaras called for a transitional government to lead Greece to early elections within weeks and said parliament should first ratify last week's 130 billion euro ($178 billion) bailout deal.

European Union leaders have long called for national unity in support of painful austerity measures required to cut the country's crippling debt, expected to reach 160 percent of gross domestic product this year.

Sarkozy told a news conference the tough message delivered by France and Germany to Greece's political class was starting to bear fruit. "Things are progressing," he said, welcoming Samaras' support for the bailout plan.

Euro area leaders talked openly of a possible Greek exit from the 17-nation currency area, seeking to maximise pressure on Athens and preserve the euro in case of a "no" vote.

Merkel repeated that the stability of the euro had priority for Germany over Greece's euro membership, touching a popular nerve at home.

Germany's best selling Bild newspaper railed against Greece and demanded it be ejected from the euro. A telephone poll found 86 percent of Germans want Greece out of the currency.

The chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, said policymakers were working on possible scenarios for a Greek exit.

The spectre of a possible hard Greek default and euro exit hung over the G20 summit, highlighting Europe's frailty and divisions just when Sarkozy had hoped to showcase his leadership of the world's major economies.

The summit had been meant to focus on reforms of the global monetary system and steps to rein in speculative capital flows and regulate commodities markets, but the shockwaves from Greece upended the talks.

Obama said Europe had taken some important steps towards a comprehensive solution to its debt crisis but now needed to flesh out and implement the plan quickly.

A disorderly Greek default would reverberate across the euro zone, engulfing big economies like Italy and Spain, and potentially plunging the global economy into a recession.


Euro zone finance ministers are working to accelerate implementation of an anti-crisis package agreed on Oct. 27.

That plan, which includes debt relief for Greece, a recapitalisation of European banks and a leveraging of the bloc's rescue fund, was meant to stem the two-year old crisis before Papandreou's referendum call cast the bloc into turmoil.

Officials said the meeting focused on speeding up the creation of a firewall to protect other vulnerable euro zone states from the fallout from Greece.

The risk premium on Italian bonds over safe-haven German Bunds has hit euro-lifetime highs this week, despite European Central Bank buying of its bonds. Spain had to pay its highest yield since 2008 at a bond auction on Thursday.

The G20 is considering an IMF proposal to create a new short-term line of credit to help countries that are facing economic shocks beyond their control, a G20 official familiar with the talks said.

British finance minister George Osborne said leaders discussed increasing the global lender's resources, which China strongly backed, and he had heard no dissenting voices.

(Additional reporting by Lefteris Papadimas in Athens, David Ljungren, Abhijit Neogy, Giselda Vagnoni, Catherine Bremer, Gernot Heller, Daniel Flynn, Luke Baker, Gui Qing Koh and Alexei Anischuk in Cannes; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Janet McBride)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Palestinians won't accept less than full UN seat - FM


RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - The Palestinians will not accept anything less than full U.N. membership and do not want an upgrade to an observer state in the world body, their foreign minister said on Thursday.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki speaks during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah November 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)

Riyad al-Malki's remarks suggested the Palestinians would not seek such an upgrade once their bid for full state membership meets its widely expected fate -- failure due to opposition from the United States and other governments.

Malki told journalists in Ramallah the Palestinians could have won observer state status long ago and were not interested in it now. They currently hold the status of observer entity.

"We do not want, after all of these struggles, sacrifices, and efforts by the entire Palestinian people, to accept an observer state in the United Nations. We will not accept less than we deserve: a full member state," he said.

Analysts said if the Palestinian leadership does not seek enhanced status after failing to gain full membership it would mark a retreat. But they said Malki's remarks may not reflect the path President Mahmoud Abbas may take.

"This reads like a tactical move," said George Giacaman, a political analyst. "It could be directed towards the Americans, the Israelis, to show flexibility, but I would not view it as a final position."

The Palestinian bid for statehood recognition in the U.N. system has drawn fierce criticism and sanctions from the United States and from Israel, which in 1967 captured territory the Palestinians now seek for an independent country.

The U.S. Congress has frozen some $200 million in economic aid to the Palestinian Authority over its statehood quest. Israel this week froze duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in response to its admission to the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO.

But one U.S. lawmaker who had held up an additional $150 million in security aid for the Palestinians, Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, lifted her hold on the money, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Ros-Lehtinen remains a sharp critic of the Palestinian push for statehood status at the U.N. But she agreed to unlock the money for training Palestinian security forces after the State Department sent her 1,000 pages of information she requested about the uses and purposes of the aid, her spokesman said.

Malki said for now the Palestinians would not seek to join more U.N. agencies as a full member. "At this moment, we are not concerned with applying for membership for Palestine in the rest of the international organizations," he said.

UNESCO's vote in favor of Palestinian membership triggered an automatic cutoff in U.S. funding to the agency under U.S. law. The idea of the Palestinians joining more international agencies had raised the prospect of bodies such as the World Health Organization also losing their U.S. funding.

"The official Palestinian position is to concentrate only on the request for membership which we presented to the United Nations," Malki said.


Abbas applied for full U.N. membership for the state of Palestine on Sept. 23. The request is now being considered by the Security Council, but the United States has already pledged veto it in the 15-nation body if it is brought to a vote.

The Palestinians would score a moral victory and force Washington to cast its veto if they can muster nine votes to support them in the council. A council resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes to pass.

Many U.N. diplomats believe the Palestinians would get only eight votes, and a meeting of council ambassadors on Thursday to review the issue produced no surprises, envoys said.

They said Russia, China, Brazil, India, Lebanon and South Africa supported the Palestinian bid, the United States opposed it, and Britain, France and Colombia said they would abstain if there were a vote. Gabon and Nigeria, expected to support the Palestinians, and Germany and Portugal, expected to abstain, did not spell out their positions and Bosnia did not speak.

Bosnia is also thought likely to abstain because its Muslim, Serb and Croat collective presidency cannot agree.

Palestinian U.N. representative Riyad Mansour told reporters nations were still deciding positions. He declined to say whether the Palestinians would push for a vote.

The Palestinians will have to make that decision after the council concludes its review of the application next week with a report expected to say it cannot reach consensus.

Both the United States and Israel say the Palestinian push in the United Nations is unilateral and an attempt to bypass peace talks, whose resumption Abbas has conditioned on an Israeli freeze of settlement activity in occupied territory.

The Palestinians say those negotiations have failed to bring them closer to the independent state they seek in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. They say it is time to try a different approach.

The last round of peace talks collapsed last year.

An upgrade to "non-member state" -- an idea also favored by French President Nicolas Sarkozy -- could be won through a resolution in the General Assembly, where the Palestinians would likely glean the support that got them into UNESCO.

They would then enjoy status equal to the Vatican and secure the all-important title of a state.

Addressing what would happen if they fail in their bid for full U.N. membership, Malki said: "We will repeat this experiment a second time, a third time and a fourth time until we reach that membership."

(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell in Washington and Patrick Worsnip at the United Nations; Editing by Sophie Hares)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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F1 team name changes approved

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 06:28 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters): Formula One stakeholders approved name changes for the Renault, Team Lotus and Virgin Racing teams at a commission meeting in Geneva on Thursday.

While none of the teams concerned would comment on the matter, which has still to be ratified by the governing FIA's world motor sport council next month, several Formula One sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the three requests had been accepted.

The decision will end the confusing situation of having two Malaysian-backed Renault-powered Lotus teams on the starting grid and also of a Renault team no longer owned by the French car maker.

Renault will become Lotus, the team's current title sponsor, next season while Team Lotus are changing their name to Caterham, the niche British sportscar maker they recently acquired.

The latter change will be the team's third name in as many years after entering Formula One in 2010 as Lotus Racing and then becoming Team Lotus for this season.

Virgin Racing had asked to be called Marussia, the Russian sportscar maker that is their major shareholder and title sponsor.

The requests had to be approved by 18 of the 26 members of the Formula One commission, of which International Automobile Federation president Jean Todt is one.

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Keitany favorite to win NYC Marathon

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 04:55 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters): Mary Keitany of Kenya came to Manhattan last year as a marathon debutant but returns as the favorite for Sunday's New York City Marathon through the five boroughs of the Big Apple.

Keitany faded at the finish to place third in last year's race but has gone on to win the London Marathon and set a half-marathon world record this year to set the stage for a triumphant return to New York.

"I'm not the same as last year," 29-year-old Keitany told Reuters on Thursday. "I think I'm believing in myself since I won in London. I know myself better, that I can do it."

The women's race includes six women with times under two hours 24 minutes including Keitany, Boston Marathon champion Caroline Kilel of Kenya, Russians Inga Abitova and Galina Bogomolova, Isabellah Andersson of Sweden and Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia, setting up the prospects of a fast race on the hilly course.

Abitova, 29, finished second in London last year and along with Bogomolova is in a battle to impress selectors of the Russian Olympic team.

Fastest in the field in 29-year-old Keitany, who won London in 2hr 19.19mins, the sixth fastest time by a woman marathoner, and set the half-marathon world record this year.

"What I remember from last year was that it was my first marathon," said Keitany. "I think the last mile I was pretty tired. I think now I'm really more prepared than last year. I believe in myself for Sunday."

Another intriguing competitor is Briton Jo Pavey, who at age 38 is campaigning for one of three British spots in the marathon for the 2012 Olympics.

Pavey, a long-established track performer in distances from 1,500 to 10,000 meters, ran 2:28.24 in her maiden marathon in London. Though she met the Olympic qualifying time, competition is stiff for selection.

"It would be absolutely amazing to run in the London Olympics marathon," Pavey told Reuters. "It would be absolutely lovely to run in the streets of London in a home Olympics.

"I've run the 1,500, the 5,000, and the 10,000 in the Olympics, it would be quite fun to do the marathon."

Pavey, who finished fourth in the 10,000m at the 2007 world championships in Osaka, said she has been inspired to take up the marathon by the achievements of world record holder Paula Radcliffe, against whom she first competed as a school girl in 1988.

"As a distance runner I think you always want to see what you can do for the marathon. It was a new challenge at this stage of my career," said Pavey. "There's so many women running well at this age now.

"Even the winner of the Olympics in Beijing was 38 (Constantina Tomescu of Romania), and Paula has hopes to do really well in the Olympics and she's the same age as me. I think the boundaries have been totally changed."

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Nicol in Hall of Fame

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 05:59 PM PDT

ROTTERDAM: Nicol David will receive the ultimate recognition when she is inducted into the World Squash Federation (WSF) Hall of Fame here tomorrow.

The 28-year-old from Penang, who is going for a record sixth crown at the World Open this week, will be inducted by Tunku Imran Tuanku Jaafar (pic), the WSF Patron and IOC member who is himself a former national squash champion.

Nicol rules supreme in the women's game and has already achieved legendary status. After becoming the first ever double winner of the biennial world junior title in 2001, she went on to begin an unbroken reign at the top of the world rankings from August, 2006. She is now the second longest-standing world number one of all-time behind Australia's Susan Devoy, who reigned for 105 months.

Nicol already has 55 Women's International Squash Players Association (Wispa) titles and equalled the five world titles won by her mentor Sarah Fitz-Gerald.

She has almost single-handedly put Malaysia on the world squash map through her achievements and, earlier this year, won a record eighth national sportswoman of the year award.

Nicol captured the first of her three Asian Games gold medals in 1998, aged just 15, and, in April this year, claimed her eighth successive Asian Championship in Penang.

"It's great to be recognised in this way while I am still a player and have my achievements compared with the best players the game has seen," said Nicol. "It's truly fantastic and I am really honoured.

"But this does not mean I am ready to ride off into the sunset. I am far from finished even though I have been playing the professional circuit for over 10 years."

Nicol intends to prove just that by bagging her sixth world crown on Sunday.

Related Story:
Nicol tames Egyptian qualifier to reach last eight

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The Star Online: Business

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AIG loses US$4 billion on planes, weak markets

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 05:37 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Insurer American International Group lost more than $4 billion in the third quarter, as its aircraft leasing unit took an impairment charge on a portion of its fleet and the fair value of the company's one-third stake in Asian insurer AIA fell.

It was the 10th time in the last 15 quarters, dating to 2008, that AIG lost at least $1 billion.

Shares fell 3.2 percent in after-hours trading after the company announced its financial results, then rebounded a bit after AIG said it would launch a $1 billion share buyback.

AIG's core insurance businesses were profitable on an operating basis, and its mortgage insurance unit both raised prices and gained market share amid difficulties in that industry.

But those results were not enough to overcome the charges, which were partially driven by declining equity and debt markets during the quarter.

AIG reported a loss of $4.11 billion, or $2.16 per share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $2.52 billion, or $18.53 per share. In the year-earlier period AIG took a number of charges on asset sales; it also had a smaller share count.

On an operating basis AIG lost $3.04 billion, or $1.60 per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had on average expected a loss of 63 cents per share in the quarter, though the range of estimates was wide, from a loss of 22 cents to a loss of 99 cents.


AIG said that ILFC, its plane leasing business, took a $1.5 billion impairment on 95 planes as customers' appetites shifted toward newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Last February, Chief Executive Bob Benmosche said he did not expect any further large charges for the business this year, after it took roughly $1 billion in write-downs in the last six months of 2010.

AIG said it lost $2.3 billion on the declining fair value of its stake in AIA during the third quarter. AIG took AIA public late last year in Hong Kong. It recently became eligible to start selling AIA shares after the IPO lockup expired.

AIG has also filed to take ILFC public.

Proceeds from the sale of AIA shares and from any ILFC IPO are already earmarked to pay back some of the U.S. Treasury's remaining $50 billion interest in the company.

The government rescued AIG from the brink of bankruptcy in September 2008, at a price tag that exceeded $182 billion. The Treasury still owns a 77 percent stake in what was once the world's largest insurance company.

In the third quarter, AIG also had substantial catastrophe losses totaling $574 million, mostly because of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

Beyond the charges, though, AIG said its insurance units had posted nearly $900 million in pretax operating income.

Property insurer Chartis saw net premiums written rise nearly 1 percent, though the gain was attributable to foreign exchange benefits. Pricing improved in its U.S. commercial business, echoing similar results from other insurers as the market rebounded.

SunAmerica's life insurance sales rose 14 percent, while assets under management also rose.

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MF Global's Corzine sued by investor over collapse

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 05:36 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In what could herald many such investor lawsuits, MF Global Holdings Ltd Chief Executive Jon Corzine and three other company executives were sued by a shareholder over the futures brokerage's collapse, leading to an October 31 bankruptcy filing.

The complaint filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court by shareholder Joseph DeAngelis accused the executives of having "continuously touted" MF Global's financial controls and liquidity, despite knowing their statements were false and misleading at the time they were made.

It said that as problems became known, MF Global's share price plunged, wiping out $585 million of market value in a single week.

The complaint seeks class-action status on behalf of purchasers of MF Global common stock from May 20 to October 28.

Other defendants are Chief Financial Officer Henri Steenkamp, Chief Operating Officer Bradley Abelow and Chief Risk Officer Michael Stockman, according to the complaint. MF Global was not named as a defendant.

U.S. regulators are conducting a broad review of MF Global business practices as they try to track down more than $600 million of missing customer money. MF Global filed for Chapter 11 protection after its bets on European sovereign debt scared away clients, counterparties and investors.

The case is DeAngelis v. Corzine et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-07866.

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G20 mulls boosting global liquidity through IMF

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 05:33 PM PDT

CANNES, France (Reuters) - The Group of 20 is considering injecting billions of dollars into the world economy through the International Monetary Fund to increase global liquidity, G20 sources said on Thursday.

The idea being discussed is to replicate a 2009 decision by G20 leaders that agreed to a special allocation of $250 billion of IMF Special Drawing Rights, the IMF's internal unit of account, to its 187 member countries.

G20 European sources said that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was pushing to include a reference to the SDR allocation in a final G20 communique on Friday.

Some members could choose to sell part or all of their new SDR allocations to other members in exchange for hard currency, for example to meet balance of payments needs, while other members could buy more SDRs as a means of reallocating their reserves.

G20 sources said euro zone countries, worried about the sovereign debt crisis, were talking about the possibility of pooling their SDR allocations in some way.

One source from a large emerging market country said that if euro zone countries combined their SDR allocations, it could make available roughly $200 billion to Europe.

The IMF created SDRs in 1969 as a way to support its member countries. They are allocated according to members' IMF quotas, which are broadly based on a country's relative size in the world economy and which determines its voting power.

The idea of a special SDR allocation was raised during G20 discussions on increasing IMF resources to boost the institution's firepower to tackle future crises.

One European source said a figure of $1 trillion was mentioned as a potential target for the increase in IMF lending resources, although the person emphasized there was no formal number.

There is growing concern that Greece could face a disorderly default, with potentially powerful repercussions for other highly indebted countries such as Italy.

"There is a realization the fund can play a role, and it needs to be adequately resourced and have the right facilities to play that role," one G20 official said. "That sense is in every delegation."

"The G20 will be specific in their determination to increase resources, but it is unclear how specific they will be," another G20 source said.

The G20 is expected to endorse a new IMF credit line to help countries facing economic shocks beyond their control, a G20 official familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The new Precautionary and Liquidity Line would be built into an existing credit facility for good performing countries facing balance of payment needs caused by exogenous shocks.

The official said IMF member countries would have to request the line the credit, which would be made available over a period of six months without IMF conditions. The amount of financing would be capped at about 500 percent of each members' IMF quota, or subscription.

The IMF board is set to discuss the proposal next week, although approval by the G20 would lend political momentum.

Asked whether such a line of credit would be available to countries such as Italy or Spain, which are facing market pressures from the debt crisis in Greece, the official said: "It would not be a good characterization."

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Daniel Craig bounces back in new Bond film 'Skyfall'

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 06:09 AM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - Daniel Craig returns as British secret agent James Bond in ''Skyfall'' the 23rd instalment in one of the world's longest-running and most successful film franchises.

Director Sam Mendes assured fans that Bond's latest adventure would adhere to the high octane formula that has made the films an enduring genre since Sean Connery first played the suave agent licensed to kill nearly 50 years ago in ''Dr. No.''

''It, I think, has all the elements of a classic Bond movie, including, to quell any rumours, a lot of action,'' Mendes told reporters at the launch of the film in London on Thursday.

Spanish actor Javier Bardem will play the villain and Judi Dench returns as Bond's stern boss ''M'' in a cast that will also include Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, French actress Berenice Marlohe and Britain's Naomie Harris.

In keeping with Bond's globe-trotting legacy, the film has been shot in London, Shanghai, Istanbul and Scotland.

Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp, will distribute the film, which is set to hit British theatres on Oct. 26, 2012 and U.S. cinemas on Nov. 9 after a studio bankruptcy put production on hold for months and the last movie earned mixed reviews.

Next year is the 50th anniversary of the series, which began in 1962 with Sean Connery on Her Majesty's secret service in ''Dr. No.''

Debt-laden Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc, known for its roaring lion logo and behind some of Hollywood's most fabled films including ''The Wizard of Oz,'' filed for bankruptcy in November last year.

Two months later it confirmed Bond 23 would hit theatres in November, 2012, and in April MGM and Sony announced they would co-finance and distribute the next two Bond movies.

The studios previously partnered on ''Quantum of Solace'' and Craig's 2006 Bond debut ''Casino Royale.''

The films are expensive to make and market, with Quantum of Solace estimated to have cost around $200 million.

But they have a good record commercially, and according to movie tracking website, Casino Royale earned $594 million in global ticket sales and Quantum of Solace $586 million.

Craig's first appearance as Bond was hailed as a refreshing change in direction towards a tougher, more serious 007, and reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

Quantum of Solace fared less well with the critics, although positive reviews still outweighed the negative.

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James Bond aims to bounce back with new film launch

Posted: 02 Nov 2011 11:59 PM PDT

LONDON (Reuters) - James Bond returns on Thursday with the launch of the 23rd instalment in the famous film franchise, and aims to bounce back after a studio bankruptcy put production on hold for months and the last movie earned mixed reviews.

As ever ahead of a major Bond announcement, unconfirmed rumours have been flying across cyberspace.

What can be said with certainty is that Daniel Craig returns for his third outing as the suave secret agent, and Sam Mendes, Oscar winner with "American Beauty" who worked with Craig on "Road to Perdition", will direct.

Spanish actor Javier Bardem and Britain's Ralph Fiennes are expected to join the cast, and Judi Dench is set to return as Bond's stern boss "M".

Other stars reported to be involved include Albert Finney, who would be making his first Bond appearance aged 75, and Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny.

Locations and plotline are largely unknown to the outside world, although some media have said scenes shot on a train in India are likely to feature.

A spokeswoman for Sony Pictures declined to give details about Thursday's event beyond what appeared on a press invitation - that producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli would present Mendes and "key" cast members.

Sony Pictures, a unit of Sony Corp, will distribute the film, which is set to hit British theatres on Oct. 26, 2012 and U.S. cinemas on Nov. 9.

Next year is the 50th anniversary of the series, which began in 1962 with Sean Connery on Her Majesty's secret service in "Dr. No".

Debt-laden Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc, known for its roaring lion logo and behind some of Hollywood's most fabled films including "The Wizard of Oz", filed for bankruptcy in November last year.

Two months later it confirmed Bond 23 would hit theatres in November, 2012, and in April MGM and Sony announced they would co-finance and distribute the next two Bond movies.

The studios previously partnered on "Quantum of Solace" and Craig's 2006 Bond debut "Casino Royale."

The high-octane, action-heavy films are expensive to make and market, with Quantum of Solace estimated to have cost around $200 million.

But they have a good record commercially, and according to movie tracking website, Casino Royale earned $594 million in global ticket sales and Quantum of Solace $586 million.

Craig's first appearance as Bond was hailed as a refreshing change in direction towards a tougher, more serious 007, and reviews were overwhelmingly positive.

Quantum of Solace fared less well with the critics, although positive reviews still outweighed the negative.

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Join the fight of the Immortals

Posted: 02 Nov 2011 07:53 PM PDT

Eons after the Gods won their mythic struggle against the Titans, a new evil threatens the land. Mad with power, King Hyperion has declared war against humanity. Amassing a bloodthirsty army of soldiers disfigured by his own hand, Hyperion has scorched Greece in search of the legendary Epirus Bow, a weapon of unimaginable power forged in the heavens by Ares.

Only he who possesses this bow can unleash the Titans, who have been imprisoned deep within the walls of Mount Tartaros since the dawn of time and thirst for revenge. In the king's hands, the bow would rain destruction upon mankind and annihilate the Gods. But ancient law dictates the Gods must not intervene in man's conflict. They remain powerless to stop Hyperion…until a peasant named Theseus comes forth as their only hope.

Secretly chosen by Zeus, Theseus must save his people from Hyperion and his hordes. Rallying a band of fellow outsiders – including visionary priestess Phaedra and cunning slave Stavros – one hero will lead the uprising, or watch his homeland fall into ruin and his Gods vanish into legend.

Immortals hits cinemas this month. and Nusantara Edaran Filem are giving away tickets to a special screening of Immortals starring Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Isabel Lucas and Freida Pinto.

We have 40 pairs of tickets to give away, to get a free pair of tickets, print this page and exchange it for the tickets. See details of redemption and screening below.

Redemption Details

Date: 8 November 2011 (Tuesday)

Time: 11am to 1pm

Venue: Lobby of Menara Star, Star Publications, 15 Jln 16/11, Section 16, 46350 Petaling Jaya

Screening Details

Date: 9 November 2011 (Wednesday)

Time: 9.00pm

Venue: GSC Mid Valley

Rules & Regulations

1. This redemption is open to all eCentral fans.

2. Print out the contest page and redeem it at the venue given in this article.

3. Each page entitles you to two movie tickets only. Each person is allowed to redeem only once.

4. Tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis.

5. Queue-jumping and reserving places in line during the redemption are strictly prohibited. The organizers reserve the right to refuse tickets to anyone found doing so.

6. Tickets are not exchangeable for cash.

7. Movie ratings will strictly apply for this movie. Please refer to your ticket or your daily newspaper for ratings. The organizers reserve the right to refuse entry to the cinema hall to those not within the permitted age limit. No exceptions will be made at any time for any reason.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Ex-assemblyman, aide found guilty of making false claims

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 05:01 AM PDT

SHAH ALAM: Former Gerakan Teratai assemblyman Yap Soo Sun was sentenced to two years in jail after he was found guilty by the Sessions Court of seven counts of making claims amounting to RM70,000 for an event that did not take place.

Yap, 45, who held the position from 2004 to 2008, was also fined RM350,000 or 35 months jail in default.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah also passed the same sentence to Yap's special assistant, Mohd Firdaus Abu Zarin, 43, for abetting him in committing the offences.

Yap was charged with making seven claims for Program Mesra Rakyat for Chinese New Year and Thaipusam celebration at Taman Putra, Taman Pandan Perdana, Taman Bukit Teratai and Taman Bukit Cheras Hartamas.

He was found guilty of committing the offences at the Hulu Langat district office near here on March 10, 2008.

Mohd Firdaus was charged with abetting Yap for all seven counts at the same place and time.

Lawyer Afifuddin Mohd Afifi, who represented both men, asked for a stay of execution on the jail term and fine pending appeal.

Mat Ghani allowed the application and increased Yap's bail from RM25,000 to RM50,000 and Mohd Firdaus' bail from RM8,000 to RM20,000 with one surety each.

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Man killed in front of wife, daughter

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 04:13 AM PDT

Thursday November 3, 2011

JOHOR BARU: Three armed men slashed a contractor to death in front of his wife and daughter at their home in Taman Rinting here.

The intruders, wearing ski masks and armed with parangs, pounced on M. Rajandran, 50, after entering his house at Jalan Balau at about 8.25pm Wednesday.

Rajandran suffered cuts to his face and left shoulder. He died at the scene.

The assailants fled without taking anything from the house.

Seri Alam OCPD Supt Roslan Zainuddin said they have classified the case as murder.

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PM: My daughter was not in Perth during CHOGM

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 04:08 AM PDT

Published: Thursday November 3, 2011 MYT 7:04:00 PM
Updated: Thursday November 3, 2011 MYT 7:08:26 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has clarified that his daughter was not in Australia while he was attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in Perth recently.

He said people should not fall for or indulge in spreading lies.

"Don't believe and spread lies. My daughter was not even in Australia and my wife (Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor) did not buy any jewellery," Najib said in his Twitter update.

His comments came on the heels of the publication of an article in an Australian newspaper which alleged that his daughter had spent A$60,000 at a shopping centre in Perth, the venue of the CHOGM gathering.

The report also mentioned about "one first lady known to have bought A$150,000 worth of WA (Western Australian) pearls".

However, it did not name the person in question.

Najib and Rosmah are currently performing the haj in Saudi Arabia. - Bernama

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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On the right track

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 02:41 AM PDT

With its range of wearable, fashion-forward outfits, Raoul is set for global domination.

FRESH after its menswear Fall/Winter 2011 presentation at Singapore's inaugural Men's Fashion Week early this year, cyber chatter was effusive of praise for Raoul's stylistic leanings.

When the brand's womenswear had their turn at the Audi Fashion Festival recently, it was no longer mere talk. There was no doubt now – as I watched outfit after outfit march down the runway, wishing they all belonged in my wardrobe – that the nine-year-old Singaporean label meant business when it came to the fashion stakes.

For the uninitiated who think that this brand is still synonymous with their corporate friendly shirts, we say it's time to get with the programme.

The decidedly fashion-forward switch of its seasonal collections since 2010 hasn't gone unnoticed by fashion observers. The creative directors of the label, husband and wife team Douglas and Odile Benjamin attribute it to serendipity.

"Two years ago in Milan, we met a prominent brand consultant who saw something in Raoul. She and her team came in, helped us change some things around, and the following collection that we showed in Paris in February last year was a watershed moment," remarks Douglas.

The catalyst in mention, of course, was Joy Yaffe, a Milan-based fashion talent scout who is most known for launching the careers of designers Sophia Kokosalaki, Antonio Berardi and Veronique Branquinho. This collaboration with international talents continues to lend credence to Raoul's determination to be a truly international label, as shown in their Fall/Winter 2011 campaign.

Famed New York-based photographer Marcelo Krasilcic and creative director Haidee Findlay-Levin descended on Sao Paolo with their team, where Brazil's iconic architecture provided a synergistic backdrop to the collection's modernist and minimalist aesthetics.

Global domination notwithstanding, Douglas believes that their strength still lies in their roots. "Whenever I speak or introduce the brand, we make it clear that being Asian is in our DNA, and in Europe, people are always amazed when we tell them we're Singaporean,' he smiles.

"The beauty of it is that the identity of being Singaporean is still being defined and we can help shape it and that is very appealing. As you know, Asians tend to attach a stigma to being a local brand, but along with other labels like Malaysia's Farah Khan and Singapore's alldressedup, we are selling internationally, doing an amazing job and helping pave the way in changing the perception that Asian brands can be of exceptional quality at the right prices."

And Raoul's retail efforts should be rightly applauded, with 70 points-of-sales globally, ranging from its regional neighbours of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to Australia, Italy, Russia and prestigious retailers like Harrods in London as well as Saks and Henri Bendel in the United States.

"We are trying to open stores in all the capital cities of the world but we are always looking at maintaining a balance because there is a sense of exclusivity to Raoul, we don't want to be overly accessible and flood the market with stores because we are aiming to be more than a flash in the pan," explains Douglas.

And it is a strategy we cannot fault, after Raoul scored capsule collections with the highly popular online shopping site as well as two collaborative collections for Fall/Winter 2010 and Spring/Summer 2011 with talented American knitwear designer Tom Scott.

"Tom was amazing, I wish we could import him to Singapore," laughs Douglas. "He really added value to Raoul in helping us create a product, knitwear, that we didn't do well or at all. He gave us cachet as he is really well known in the United States and in turn he truly enjoyed working with us."

Lest you think that Raoul's great leap into serious style is only driven by external talents, we would have you know that Douglas and Odile (who are F J Benjamin's CEO and divisional director respectively) are the real powerhouses behind its creative direction.

"We really do a lot of research!" smiles Odile, who primarily heads the ladies' collections. "There is no real pattern in inspiration but we do a lot of vintage research and shopping. Sometimes when we buy a piece, it's not only for the design, but it could be the technique, or the hardware, like an interesting closure."

It sure looks like all their homework paid off, as both the men and women's Fall/Winter 2011 collections are succinct expressions of the 70s swagger of Pan Am flight attendants. Structured and simplified, the clean lines allow the precise tailoring to come through, and monotony is driven away by clever colour blocking, sharp textural contrasts in fabric, and a certain detached cool that the global cult of Phoebe Philo worship at.

It's hardly surprising that the only criticism levelled at Raoul's new direction has been its homage to Celine, given that Douglas and Odile are frequent front-row attendees at the French house's showings.

Yet one could argue that Philo's success at the helm of Celine is due to the fact that she makes clothes that people actually want to wear. And as I eye a floaty chiffon gown in a soft tied neckline, an amazing half-tweed wool coat, almost all the bags, plus quite a few pairs of to-die-for shoes, Raoul's similarity in making gorgeous, wearable clothes is only plain old common, if not fashion, sense.

  • Raoul's Fall/Winter collection is priced from RM199. Raoul boutiques are located at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Suria KLCC and 1 Utama in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
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What makes Anya Hindmarch's bags sell

Posted: 02 Nov 2011 06:57 PM PDT

Anya Hindmarch reveals the secrets behind her best-selling bags.

DESPITE the incredible success that she enjoys, Anya Hindmarch certainly knows not to take herself too seriously.

"I can't stand people who take themselves too seriously. I hope that through my work, I have demonstrated a sense of perspective. I don't like to linger on nice things but I hope I'm never seen as unkind or unfair," she said in response to a question on what she thought would be said about her if there was a testimonial being held in her honour today.

In fact, Hindmarch has no qualms about being self-deprecating about her origins. She hails from Essex, Britain, an area more known for its contribution to British humour, such as the Essex Girl jokes − the English equivalent of dumb blonde jokes. Though one must note, Hindmarch is not from the working class neighbourhood of Essex which gave rise to that off-colour "humour".

"I've got those ribald jokes out of the way. I can say I have the last laugh with the bags," joked Hindmarch.

She was referring to one of the stereotypes of Essex Girls dancing around their handbags. It may be a derogatory joke but not only is Hindmarch spoilt for choice when it comes to bags, they are actually her bags. And these are bags that A-list celebrities and socialites all over the world are pictured carrying.

The 43-year-old started her business at 19 and has today graduated to more than 54 stores worldwide. She was in Kuala Lumpur late last month to open a new flagship store at Suria KLCC.

She spent about an hour with Star2 sharing some of her musings, which included her thoughts on the many awards bestowed upon her and the brand.

"Of course it's always exciting to win awards. My first, the Accessories Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2001 was a real big deal to me. It's much like your first boyfriend, you remember it. I'm doing something I love to do and it wins awards, how great is that," said Hindmarch interspersed with her fetching laughter.

She's not just loved by women (and some men) all over the world for the "gift" of her bags but also courted by other fashion companies. Hindmarch collaborated with American budget store Target in 2008 on a limited edition handbag collection that was sold out within minutes of going on sale.

In April last year, together with British heritage brand Barbour, she fashioned an outerwear collection comprising clothes. The range artfully features the trademark pockets found on her bags.

Obviously, Hindmarch has come a long way from importing duffel bags from Italy after finishing school. As Hindmarch noted, one needs to dream big.

"You need a greater visualisation of where you're going to be. If you do not see where you are going, how do you get there? I've always wanted to have shops and my own products, I just didn't have any idea how many shops. I was thinking New York one day and it materialised."

Hindmarch clarified that once a goal is reached, you need fresh visualisation every two or three years.

One more thing to tick off on her list is a doctorate. Hindmarch is now an honorary Doctor of Arts, courtesy of the Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford. That will go well with her Member of the Order of the British Empire appointment in 2009.

"Now I can stick it to my children who are real brainy that 'Hey I am more qualified than you'. Education was never my strong point and my turning point was actually getting trained by a leather master craftsman in Italy. But it was great seeing so many fresh and eager faces who will be out there following their dreams like I did," said Hindmarch of the conferment day.

Hindmarch could easily be a role model for dreams coming true. When it came to the world of fashion, she was in turn inspired by pioneers like Coco Chanel and Cristóbal Balanciaga. But it's not just fashion icons that inspire her.

"Fashion for me is both art and science. These people were originals. But I'm inspired by architecture, art and travel. Travel, for instance, feeds your brain."

She cited American visionary mid-century architect John Lautner as an inspiration. Hindmarch has also worked with artists and museums; she is a trustee of the Royal Academy of Arts.

One artist she took on was graffiti artist Ben Eine, who worked with her on a tote collection last year.

British Prime Minister David Cameron sought her advice on what to give the Obamas on his first official visit to the United States in July last year. Her answer? A print from Eine. "I've always been a fan of graphics and love the huge letters that Ben Eine paints." Since then, Eine has garnered international attention; so much so that his back collection is much in demand.

While Hindmarch is now probably blase at seeing big names sporting her designs, it was one of her first clients that made her go "OMG!" It was the late Princess Diana.

"Many of her bags were from us. She liked the Maud clutch, we called it her 'cleavage bag'. She used the bag often to cover up her cleavage at public appearances."

Hindmarch's "trick" in fashioning must-have bags is to imagine what she wants. She said she has no muses, not even herself.

"I'm my own harshest critic. I'm very fussy. Do the bags feel great? Does it work? We have a subconscious relationship to a product. I'm a woman and I know what I want. So it starts with what I want."

As she is quite methodical, all of her bags have compartments and pouches for things such as notes of different currencies, make-up items, receipts and bills.

Of course, she only uses her own bags and has three or four on the ready, depending on the function and the colour of her outfit.

"Sometimes I go back to one of my favourite bags. There's one bag I recently went back to that I first used 18 years ago."

This mother of five was reluctant to name her favourite bags. "It's like asking me to choose between children." Nevertheless, she rattled off names such as the Carker, the Belvedere, the Lacing and the Nevis.

And is Tia, 20, the only girl among her five children, as taken with bags as she is?

"She's mad about surfing now which is so far from bags. So my daughter tries hard to pretend not to be interested but you can see her excitement when talk turns to bags."

Husband James Seymour is the company's financial director who was a widower with three kids when they first met. The couple have two children together.

While much of this information on Hindmarch is out there on the big information sieve called the Internet, she says she is still very much a private person. Still, would she let us take a peek inside her bag?

"A Leica camera because I love taking pictures. A mobile phone. Lip salve. Night cream. Sore throat lozenges. I don't carry lots of stuff. My other bag would have a rotating pencil, for sketching and a two-way diary, one side for sketches and the other for my schedule," listed Hindmarch with a laugh.

And husband Seymour would be carrying a Dylan Jones bag, the only bag for men designed by Anya Hindmarch. It was fashioned in collaboration with the editor of British GQ whose name it carries.

"Inside the bag, I embossed 'Dylan who? Love your wife.' Inside his bag would be fountain pens, several pairs of sunglasses. Stacks of bills. An unsmoked cigar and an iPad."

As we concluded the interview, I asked Hindmarch if anyone ever remarked on her resemblance to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling?

"That's really interesting, someone said the same thing last night. I'm very flattered, of course, to be compared to her. And my children would be thrilled. They are huge fans of hers."

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Functional luxury

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Functional luxury

Posted: 02 Nov 2011 05:14 PM PDT

THE fine detailing of menswear inspired Anya Hindmarch's latest collection. Or to be more specific, how menswear is put together and the feel and movement of the fabric.

This led to the pulling apart and simplification of construction, the creation of clean lines with attention to detail being most important.

It continues the confident hand and steadfast conviction of the previous collection's luxurious functionality. This time, it is upped a notch to include exquisite craftsmanship and detailing.

According to Hindmarch, her latest collection is all about soft luxurious leather bags and oversized detailing like iconic tassels and zips, and lots of fringing.

"It's also about comfort and ease of use. When it comes to colour, there are lots of lovely muted ones like the greys. Key pieces include the Huxley with sugary tassels, the Carker hand-held bags and the Raw Nevis," said Hindmarch, who was in Kuala Lumpur for the launch of the new Suria KLCC store.

The Huxley embodies the spirit of the collection where simple lines are embellished with intricate detailing, handstitching, oversized maxi zip and shagreen tassel.

Tote bags come in two sizes complemented by an oversized clutch with chain handle. There is an array of colours and skins on offer including nude with contrasting black shagreen tassel, khaki mock croc stamped calf with tone-on-tone tassel and natural python.

Then there's the Alban with its strong and graphic style. Details include an enamel twist lock, pale gold hardware with both a shoulder and a cross body strap. The shoulder style bag is accompanied by a modern satchel and elegant tote. There is the nude with black contrast and khaki high shine with khaki brushed calf.

The Nevis is a classic Anya style previously produced in canvas and nylon. It's now reworked into a luxe leather tote, finished with raw laser-cut edges creating a strong silhouette.

Handstitching on the handles is finished with a subtle pale gold Anya bow. Orange is now added alongside chic nude and classic black.

The Maxi Zip is carried over from the previous season. Alongside the satchel, there is now an oversized tote with two maxi zips and a shoulder bag. They come in the season's colours of orange, black and slate grey in both battered and high shine leather.

All the Anya stamps like signature tassels, subtle pale gold hardware and the nastro strap are there. The bags can be worn either on the shoulder or slung across the body. The tote and shoulder styles are slouchy, soft and spacious.

To celebrate the new Suria KLCC store, Hindmarch has created a limited edition version of the iconic Belvedere tote.

"The Belvedere is one of my favourites and I added some bling to it," explained Hindmarch. "It's actually a suede bag, and we put leather gold mirror strips on it. So it has the softness of suede but has more durability because of the leather. And I just love metallic gold when it becomes older, there is this quality about it."

The butter calf leather handles are complemented by understated pale gold hardware and accessorised with a tan leather tag embossed with the initials of the customer.

Each Belvedere Special arrives in its own unique box with a limited edition code and retails for RM6,300.

n Anya Hindmarch is available at its stand-alone store in Suria KLCC and outlets in Parkson (Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and One Utama, Petaling Jaya) and Isetan (The Gardens). Prices start from RM680.

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