Jumaat, 18 November 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Oprah Winfrey returns to chat in her next TV chapter

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 08:27 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey is moving on to her next chapter, going out of the TV studio to meet and chat with celebrities on their own turf.

Less than a year after she ended "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May after 25 years, Winfrey will launch "Oprah's Next Chapter" in January on her fledgling cable TV channel OWN.

The two-hour debut episode on January 1 will feature Winfrey talking with Aerosmith frontman and "American Idol" judge Steven Tyler at his family home in New Hampshire.

Tyler, 63, will talk about his drug addiction, his love life and his new-found fame on "American Idol", OWN said on Friday.

Tyler found new fans after signing up for the TV talent show with Jennifer Lopez last year, helping to boost audiences.

In future weeks, Oprah will go to Haiti with actor Senn Penn to look at recovery efforts from the 2010 earthquake, tour Skywalker Ranch with "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, and "celebrate the power of God and community" with televangelist Joel Osteen.

"After 25 years I got myself out of the studio chairs. I moved into the next chapter, and I am having more fun than ever -- moving around the country and the world talking to people I'm really interested in getting to know and I think viewers will be, too," Winfrey said in a statement.

Winfrey, regarded as the most influential woman on television, launched the Oprah Winfrey Network in January 2011 with an uplifting menu of lifestyle, documentaries and advice programming.

After disappointing viewing figures, she took over as chief executive officer in July to refocus the channel's direction and put more of herself on screen.

"Oprah's Next Chapter" follows the launch in October of "Oprah's Lifeclass" in which Winfrey shared insights, life lessons and old clips from her 25-year run on U.S. television.

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Elisabeth Shue to replace Marg Helgenberger on 'CSI'

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 05:45 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - In a long and varied film and television career, Elisabeth Shue has played a stripper with a heart of gold, a babysitter lost in the big city and Marty McFly's love interest.

But she's never nailed a serial killer using DNA evidence while The Who blared on the soundtrack - until now.

Cue up ''Who Are You,'' the Oscar nominee is joining the cast of ''CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,'' CBS announced Friday.

The ''Leaving Las Vegas'' star replaces Marg Helgenberger, who is exiting the show after playing a blood splatter analyst for 12 seasons.

Shue will first appear on the series on Feb. 15.

Shue will play the newest CSI, fresh off an anger management course, amid rumors that D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) fired her when she worked for him in Seattle. Danson is himself a recent transplant to the Las Vegas crime lab. The ''Cheers'' star replaced Laurence Fishburne as top investigator this season.

Shue's film credits include ''Adventures in Babysitting,'' ''Back to the Future Part II,'' ''Mysterious Skin,'' ''Hollow Man,'' ''The Karate Kid.'' She next stars in the upcoming film ''House at the End of the Street'' opposite Jennifer Lawrence and is currently filming ''Of Men And Mavericks,'' directed by Curtis Hanson.

Her television credits include ''Call to Glory,'' and guest starring roles on ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' and ''Dream On.''

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New 'Arrested Development' episodes coming to Netflix

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 05:43 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - The Bluths are back. For the first time since ''Arrested Development'' was canceled ii 2006, the dysfunctional and ethically challenged Southern California clan will return for all new episodes.

The show will be available exclusively to Netflix members beginning in 2013.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Twentieth Century Fox Television and Imagine Television will produce the show.

The move is a huge boost to Netflix, which has been trying to establish a presence in the original content world. Last summer, the subscription service beat out the likes of HBO for the rights to the David Fincher and Kevin Spacey political series ''House of Cards.''

The cult hit aired for three seasons, 2003-2006, on Fox and won an Emmy for ''Best Comedy.'' Showtime had reportedly been pursuing rights to air the show, as well.

In a releasing announcing the shows, Netflix made no mention about whether the entire cast, which includes Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, David Cross, and Michael Cera, will return for another round. However, Cross, Bateman and Arnett have spoken enthusiastically about a reunion.

''Netflix's bold entrance into original programming presents an exciting new opportunity for our two companies'' Peter Levinsohn, Fox Filmed Entertainment's President of New Media & Digital Distribution, said in a statement. ''Bringing a classic show back to production on new episodes exclusively for Netflix customers is a game changer, and illustrates the incredible potential the new digital landscape affords great content providers like Twentieth Century Fox Television and Imagine.''

News that ''Arrested Development'' was getting a revival, broke after co-creator and executive producer Mitch Hurwitz announced at a New Yorker Festival reunion in October that he planned to bring back the show for an abbreviated season to lead into a long-awaited ''Arrested Development'' movie.

At the time, Hurwitz said that the show would catch up viewers on what the members of the deeply disturbed Bluth family have done since the series ended, and would run for nine to ten episodes.

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The Star Online: World Updates

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Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach dies in crash

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 07:32 PM PST

(Reuters) - Oklahoma State University's women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna died Thursday night in a plane crash in Arkansas, the university said in a statement on its website on Friday.

The pilot and one other person who was not affiliated with the university also were killed, the school said.

Oklahoma State University guard Andrea Riley (L) gets instructions form head coach Kurt Budke while taking on Louisiana State University during the first half of their NCAA Women's New Orleans Regional basketball game in New Orleans, Louisiana March 29, 2008. REUTERS/Sean Gardner

The coaches were on a recruiting trip when the plane crashed in Perry County, Arkansas.

"The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy," said OSU President Burns Hargis. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims."

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jerry Norton)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Tunisia coalition reaches deal on top posts - sources

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 07:32 PM PST

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party and its two coalition partners have reached agreement in principle to share out the top three government posts between them, senior sources from two coalition parties told Reuters on Friday.

Under the deal, the most powerful post, of prime minister, will go to Hamadi Jbeli, secretary-general of the Islamist Ennahda party which won last month's election, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Moncef Marzouki, leader of the secularist Congress for the Republic, a junior coalition partner, is to be named Tunisian president, and Mustafa Ben Jaafar, leader of third coalition partner Ettakatol, will be speaker of the constitutional assembly, the sources said.

The three parties have "an agreement in principle but it is not official yet," said one of the sources. The other source said an announcement would be made in the next few days.

Tunisia became the birth-place of the "Arab Spring" uprisings earlier this year after vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in an act of protest that swelled into a revolution and ousted the president.

In its first democratic election last month, Tunisia handed victory to the moderate Ennahda party, the first time Islamists had won power in the Arab world since the Hamas faction won an election in the Palestinian Territories in 2006.

Tunisia's sometimes bumpy transition to democracy is being watched closely by Egypt and Libya, where "Arab Spring" revolts pushed out entrenched leaders and where once-outlawed Islamists are also challenging for power.

Last month's election was for an assembly which will sit for a year to draft a new constitution.

Once that is done, it will be dissolved and new elections will be called for a legislature and possibly a president, depending on what new system of government the assembly chooses.

There is no formal role for Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi. Some observers say he may have his eye on the president's job when new elections come around.

Ennahda emerged from last month's election as the biggest party but short of a majority in the assembly, forcing it to form a coalition.

Ennahda coming to power has worried many Tunisian secularists who believe their liberal lifestyles are under threat.

Ghannouchi has offered assurances that he will not impose a Muslim moral code, that he will respect women's rights and not ban the sale of alcohol or try to stop women wearing bikinis on the country's Mediterranean beaches.

Some secularists said Ennahda's hidden agenda had been unmasked this week when footage emerged of Jbeli at a meeting with supporters invoking an Islamic state. But Ennahda said their opponents were deliberately distorting Jbeli's words.

(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Matthew Jones)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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EU, IMF to press Greek parties on reform promises

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 07:32 PM PST

ATHENS (Reuters) - International lenders will press

Greece's Prime Minister Lucas Papademos (L) and Governor of the Bank of Greece George Provopoulos pose for a photograph in Athens November 18, 2011. REUTERS/Yiorgos Karahalis

Greece's fractious political parties Saturday to give written guarantees that they will back austerity measures under a bailout deal aimed at saving the country from financial ruin.

The leader of conservative New Democracy -- one of three parties in the new national unity government of technocrat Prime Minister Lucas Papademos -- has stirred dismay in the EU by refusing to sign any pledge, saying his word is enough.

New Democracy chief Antonis Samaras has said his support for the interim coalition is conditional and temporary, and has begun jockeying for position before an election tentatively slated for February 19 in which he wants to win a big majority.

Representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- the "troika" which monitors Greek compliance with its rescue deals -- were expected to meet Samaras in Athens Saturday.

They will also hold talks with the other coalition parties, the Socialist PASOK and the small far-right LAOS, to measure their commitment to implementing a wave of spending cuts and tax increases needed to unlock more loans.

Underscoring the pressure on Athens, Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager said Friday the parties had "to make a clear and unequivocal choice in writing" by signing a pledge.

"Are they with us or not? We don't have the luxury of patience any longer," he said.

EU leaders, weary of Greece's failure to deliver on fiscal targets, fear its politicians will try to wriggle out of their commitments as the early election looms, especially if Athens gets an 8 billion euro instalment under an old bailout deal.

The new bailout, approved last month, is worth an additional 130 billion euros (111 billion pounds) and is meant to keep the country of 11 million people financed until 2014.


Greece's debt troubles over the past two years have turned into a major European crisis that threatens the survival of the euro and the stability of the global economy.

As Greek politicians bickered this week, borrowing costs for much larger euro zone countries such as Italy and Spain were in the danger zone while even France's rose.

Support for both PASOK and New Democracy, which have dominated Greek politics for decades, has eroded over the past week, opinion polls show.

However, more than two thirds of voters back Papademos, a former central banker who is the sole technocrat in a coalition otherwise made up of party politicians.

New Democracy repeated an oft-made call Friday to scrap the austerity measures prescribed under the bailout -- known as the "Memorandum" in Greece -- in favour of pro-growth policies.

"The Memorandum needs to be renegotiated. A recipe that doesn't work needs to be changed," it said in a statement.

It is not clear whether the EU and IMF will demand more financial pain from Greeks.

Papademos's cabinet submitted a draft 2012 budget to parliament Friday that foresees no new austerity measures next year, provided that reforms are enacted.

The draft, expected to be approved in the next few weeks, predicts a fifth year of recession but says a plan to convince Greece's private creditors to take a 50 percent loss on bond holdings could cut the budget deficit by more than a third.

The document forecasts that Greece's 220 billion euro economy will shrink 2.8 percent in 2012 after a 5.5 percent contraction this year.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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Cup holders United States charge ahead after dominating

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 06:41 PM PST

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The United States struck a decisive blow in their Presidents Cup defence early on Saturday, making light of wet conditions at Royal Melbourne Golf Club to win four of the final five foursomes matches against the Internationals.

Leading 7-5 overnight, the U.S. charged to 11-6 in persistent rain to take a stranglehold of the biennial trophy with the final four-ball matches still to be played on Saturday.

Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson showed themselves to be equally adept in the wet as they were in Friday's heat and wind, marching to a 3&2 victory over the all-Australian pairing of Robert Allenby and Geoff Ogilvy.

The win, their third from three matches in the tournament, continued their dream Cup debut as the Australians' intimate knowledge of the Royal Melbourne layout was rendered redundant by struggles on the greens.

"They are two unbelievable kids," U.S. captain Fred Couples told reporters. "I'm very, very proud of them and happy for them ... They just are very good together and it's kind of fun to watch."

The pair have a chance to match Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker's record 4-0 partnership from the 2009 Cup in San Francisco against Retief Goosen and Charl Schwartzel in the four-ball matches later on Saturday.

The South Africans, who won their four-ball match on Friday, were thrashed 5&4 in the foursomes by Hunter Mahan and David Toms.

Ryo Ishikawa provided a rare bright patch on a gloomy morning for the Internationals with some brilliant clutch putting late in his match with Ernie Els to salvage a point against Bill Haas and Matt Kuchar.

The 20-year-old Japanese calmly rolled in a four-foot par putt on the 16th to put he and Els one-up, then sparked raucous cheers from spectators as he drained a 14-footer to protect the lead on the 17th.

He finished off nervelessly sinking a five-footer to seal the win and give he and Els' a breakthrough victory after two straight losses to Watson and Simpson in their opening matches.

"The man's got so much heart, I could see it even in our first two matches," South African Els said in a greenside interview. "I could see Ryo was finding his feet on the golf course ... Today he played unbelievable.

"His putting reminds me a little of myself back in the day ... I'm so glad to have played with him."

Despite finding some form, Ishikawa's reward will be to sit out the final four-ball matches after the pairings were decided by Norman and his assistants before his hot putting streak.

Woods broke his winning drought at this tournament by teaming up with Dustin Johnson to down Adam Scott and KJ Choi 3&2, before Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk closed out their third successive win with a 2&1 victory over Aaron Baddeley and Jason Day.

Mickelson, whose putting has plagued him throughout the event, drained a monster putt on the 17th to seal the win.

Despite his winning form, Mickelson, along with fellow old-timer Toms, will be rested for the final four-ball matches.

"Phil wanted to sit (out) from the beginning and he wanted to be fresh from tomorrow," Couples said. "Yesterday was a grind."

A disappointed Norman had planned for his team to pick up at least half a point on the Americans after the morning foursomes but was left staring at the brink of defeat in his second successive Cup as captain.

"The guys have got get out and play a little bit looser than they have this morning," the Australian said.

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Petrov apologises for Renault outburst

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 04:29 PM PST

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Russian Formula One driver Vitaly Petrov has apologised to his Renault team for a television outburst where he criticised their tactics and pitstops. His manager Oksana Kossatchenko told Reuters on Friday that Petrov gave an interview to Russia 2 in the heat of the moment after finishing 13th in Sunday's race in Abu Dhabi but immediately regretted his comments.

"It was an emotional interview," she said. "It was an exception and he apologised afterwards to the team.

"It will never happen again. We are really sorry and the management has discussed it with Vitaly already."

Petrov had said that although his contract barred him from saying anything bad about the team, he had to speak out.

"I haven't criticised the team despite what we have lost so many times. How much have we missed at pitstops? With strategy?," he asked in widely reported comments.

"We have lost positions in about 10 races or even more. Even without a fast car we could have gained good points, we could have finished with points if we had had a good strategy," added Petrov.

"But I couldn't say in interviews we lost it with the pitstops and I cannot talk about that now either. But I can't keep silent any more - it is over. I can't keep everything inside any more."


Team principal Eric Boullier smoothed over the incident in an interview on Renault's website (www.lotusrenaultgp.com).

"Drivers are not robots, they're human beings," he said.

"Like every driver Vitaly is a competitor. Had he been on the podium in Abu Dhabi he would have complained about not winning the race. We take this incident as exactly this - an incident.

"Vitaly has apologised to the team and sent an email to all the staff at Enstone. As far as we are concerned the matter is closed," added Boullier.

Russia's first Formula One driver has a contract for next year although there has been media speculation about his future.

Sunday's outburst triggered fresh speculation about his relations with the team who are changing their name to Lotus for 2012 after their main Malaysian backer.

Petrov started the season by finishing third in Australia but he has won just five points in the last 11 races.

His team mates have done no better, with Germany's Nick Heidfeld replaced in August and Brazilian Bruno Senna managing to score only two points since then.

Petrov said the car was good for the first few races but the team had then failed to develop it.

"When the windtunnel developments came, the new parts, because of the front exhausts, they didn't work. We worked on the front wing, the rear wing, the diffusers, the floor - but whatever we changed it was useless," he said.

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Cricket: Steyn lauds South Africa fightback

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 04:26 PM PST

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Eliminating the inconsistent bowling South Africa produced while Australia openers Shane Watson and Phil Hughes were batting was the key to their fightback in the second and final test, paceman Dale Steyn said on Friday.

Watson and Hughes, who both made 88, shared a quickfire stand of 174 at the start of the second day but South Africa rallied to dismiss the visitors for 296 in reply to the home team's 266 all out.

"We were staring down the barrel," Steyn told a news conference after picking up four for 64. "We had bowled well in parts but after three good balls we'd concede a boundary, bowl two more good balls and then get hit for four again.

"Every time we bowled a bad ball it seemed to go for four and we had to get it in the correct areas which we didn't do enough in the first session.

"We had a chat at lunch and we managed to slow the run-rate down and pull the game back. The bowlers did a great job, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander started it and we created more pressure," added Steyn.

South Africa were 0-0 in their second innings, after facing just four balls, when bad light ended play for the day.

Steyn said his team had not yet discussed what sort of target they wanted to set Australia.

"I'm not sure what a good lead will be," said the fast bowler. "We want to knock off the 30-run deficit without any damage and then assess from there.

"It's hot, the pitch is pretty flat and you have to work really hard for wickets out there."

Hughes said Australia, who lost the opening test, needed to bowl well to avoid losing a series in South Africa for the first time since 1970.

"South Africa bowled some very good lines and found their areas more consistently after lunch and that made it tough to score," said the opener.

"We need to go in with that attitude tomorrow with the ball, we need to bowl like we did in the first innings. The ball swung all day and we need to start well with the ball and hold our catches.

"It was a good partnership with Shane ... but it was disappointing we both failed to cash in and score big 150s," added Hughes

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The Star Online: Business

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Central bank governors of OIC countries tackle issues during challenging times

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 05:35 PM PST

THE recent Meeting of Central Banks and Monetary Authorities of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries was quite a challenging one.

This was because the meeting , which was held at Sasana Kijang, was held at a time when the world was in financial dire straits coupled with the eurozone's worsening debt crisis.

Sasana Kijang is Bank Negara's newly-established centre for excellence in knowledge and learning in central banking and financial services as well as for the promotion of regional and international collaboration.

The governors of the central banks of the OIC member countries had to deal with various financial issues and tackle solutions that could mitigate the threat of the global financial crisis.

Various aspects of Islamic finance was discussed and how it could be adopted by central bankers' in maintaining the stability of their financial system and avert another round of financial meltdown since the last one sparked by the subprime mortgage crisis.

Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz said the gathering of practitioners from the international financial community was timely in light of the continued growth of Islamic finance in the current highly challenging international financial environment.

She added that Islamic finance continued to expand, facilitating greater economic and financial linkages between Asia, the Middle East and other emerging economies. Zeti said this at the fifth annual Islamic Financial Intelligence Summit organised by The Banker Magazine and Financial Times. The event was one of the series of OIC events held in conjunction with the meeting.

The global Islamic finance industry continued to chart double-digit growth of 21%, with the syariah compliant assets now breaching the US$1 trillion mark.

The other events comprised the annual Experts' Group Workshop and the Governors' Meeting of Central Banks and Monetary Authorities.

Organised in collaboration with the Statistical, Economic, Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (Sesric), the OIC series was held for four days from Nov 14-17 and was attended by top dignitaries and central bankers.

Among the dignitaries who attended the OIC Central Banks and Monetary Authorities meeting were Central Bank of Bahrain governor Rasheed Mohammaed Al Maraj, Central Bank of Turkey governor Dr Erdem Basci, Central Bank of UAE governor Sultan bin Nasser Al-Suwaidi, State Bank of Pakistan governor Yaseen Anwar, Sesric director-general Dr Savas Alpay and OIC Secretariat director of economic affairs department Gholam Hossein Darzi.

The theme of the meeting this year was Central Banking and Financial Sector Development, which covered the framework for central bank and sound financial sector development that would support and catalyse sustainable economic growth in developing economies.

In her keynote address entitled "The New Islamic Finance Landscape", Zeti said a central aspect of the new Islamic financial landscape was the increased focus on financial stability, adding that this would enhance its potential as a form of financial intermediation amid an increasingly more challenging environment.

Zeti said the increased focus on financial stability had several implications for the new financial landscape, of which, the most significant would be the fundamental changes in the regulatory environment.

She said much progress had already been made by the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) in promulgating an extensive set of prudential standards for the Islamic financial services industry since its establishment in 2002.

The IFSB, she said, had already introduced standards for capital adequacy, risk management, corporate governance and syariah governance which were significant in promoting international uniformity of the regulatory framework and international best practices for the Islamic financial system in different jurisdictions.

At the meeting, the central bank governors and head of delegations agreed that emerging economies would continue to contribute towards driving global economic recovery and growth as well as the potential role of Islamic finance in supporting this endeavour be given special attention.

They also affirmed to leverage on individual strengths and cooperate in building capacities, including the training programmes organised by Sesric for central banks of the OIC member countries.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the council of the IFSB has announced the appointment of the central bank governor of Bahrain Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj as its council chairman effective January 2012 and Qatar central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani would be deputy chairman.

Catholic University of Argentina professor of international economics Martin Redrado, who was also former governor of the central bank of Argentina, spoke on capital flow into emerging markets.

He said the treasury and central banks in these markets should coordinate the intervention mechanisms and resources to deal with capital flows in order to minimise volatility in the domestic financial markets and avoid threats to financial stability.

"Building liquidity buffers, including foreign reserve accumulation and the development of a highly liquid and solvent financial system is an effective tool for emerging markets to withstand the increased volatility of capital flows,'' he said.

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Politicians rule on Forbes list

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 05:33 PM PST

Forbes announced its annual ranking of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women on Aug 24, and the one who came out tops is the lady that's been in the thick of the action trying to iron out the eurozone debt problem with her European comrades.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Brazillian President Dilma Rousseff took the top three spots on the list this year.

While politicians take the lead in this year's ranking, others that made it to the list came from diversified fields including business, media, entertainment and non-profit organisations.

Coming in at fourth and fifth are PepsiCo Inc chief executive Indra Nooyi and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Collectively, all 100 women control US$30 trillion. These influential women are on average 54 years old with 29 of them being chief executives and eight are heads of state. Seventy-four in the list are returnees.

Among the 26 newcomers, US entartainer Lady Gaga is the youngest at age 25. Queen Elizabeth II is the oldest woman in the list at 85.

Christine Lagarde moved into the Top 10 for the first time. The International Monetary Fund managing director has been on the list since 2004.

"Our list reflects the diverse and dynamic paths to power for women today whether leading a nation or setting the agenda on critical issues of our time," said Forbes Woman president and publisher, Moira Forbes.

"Across their multiple spheres of influence, these women have achieved power through connectivity the ability to build community around the organisations they oversee, the countries they lead, the causes they champion, and their personal brands."

From the Top 15, StarBizWeek features three pioneering women who have gained international recognition on their own merits.

They have not only created an image of resilience and fortitude for themselves, but also proved that women can make it on turf traditionally associated with men.

Angela Merkel German Chancellor

Born: July 17, 1954 in Hamburg, Germany

Current earnings: US$303,800

THE first female to lead Germany since it became a modern nation in 1871, Merkel entered the political scene in 1990 and was quickly appointed the minister for women and youth.

She was named secretary-general of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in 1998 and two years later, became the party leader. She narrowly defeated Chancellor Gerhard Schroder for the top position in 2005, winning by only three seats.

After the CDU agreed to a coalition deal with the Social Democrats, she was declared Germany's first female chancellor. Merkel is also the first former citizen of the German Democratic Republic to lead the reunited Germany.

Born to a Lutheran pastor and teacher, she grew up in the rural area north of Berlin and graduated with a doctorate in physics at the University of Leipzig. Before politics, she had career as a chemist at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences.

She is married to a chemistry professor from Berlin, Joachim Sauer. She does not have any children.

Although initially perceived as dowdy, she has managed to gain the confidence of the Germans to win a second-term of chancellorship in 2009.

When BBC News profiled her, it quoted the head of the Liberal Institute in Potsdam, Detmar Doering as saying that Merkel did not need to rely on charisma to win voters because she is a pragmatic politician who inspires confidence.

"Some people said Angela Merkel was boring and provincial, but they under-estimated her," he said, "German voters aren't stupid - they don't want a Britney Spears as the chancellor of Germany, they want a serious leader whom they can trust. Merkel knows what she's doing."

Despite torrents of criticisms, she managed to steer Germany onto safe grounds during the 2008 financial crisis thus proving her mettle.

On matters of integrity, Merkel decisively distanced herself from the man who brought her into his cabinet in 1990 the moment a fund scandal involving him broke out. She showed pragmatism and took a conscientious stand by writing a front-page article inciting the resignation of Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

As the current crisis unfolds in the eurozone, all eyes are on Merkel and her counterparts. Whatever the outcome, Merkel could further prove that it is indeed important to include women in decision-making spheres.

Hillary Clinton US Secretary of State

Born: October 26, 1947 in Chicago

Current earnings: US$191,300

GRADUATED from Yale Law School, Clinton was the first former First Lady to serve in a president's cabinet and the first woman to run for US presidency.

In 2007, she announced that she wanted to run for presidency but when it became apparent that nominee Barack Obama held the majority of the delegate votes, she conceded her nomination.

Clinton was nominated the secretary of state for Obama's 2009 cabinet after he won the US presidential election.

She had always showed strong interest in politics and was actively involved in Republican groups as a young woman. During college, she participated in student politics and was elected senior class president before she graduated from Wellesley College.

In 1998, Clinton weathered through a rough patch of her life when the Monica Lewinski sex scandal erupted. Although she publicly supported her then president husband, it was reported that she had considered leaving him.

When her husband Bill was impeached from the Oval Office, she decided she would seek the US Senate seat from New York, making her the first wife of a president to seek and win national office and the first woman to be elected to the US Senate from New York in 2000. She also won re-election in 2006.

Clinton was the hand that pulled New York through some of its darkest hours when terrorists attacked and brought down the World Trade Centre on Sept 11, 2001. She developed a plan to rebuild that part of the city.

Christine Lagarde IMF managing director

Born: Jan 1, 1956 in Paris

Current earnings: US$467,940

LAGARDE has been in the news lately, because people wanted to hear what she has to say about the persisting financial issues affecting the world. It is after all, a very challenging time for the head of the International Monetary Fund.

"At finance meetings all over the world, she is treated practically like a rock star," says former IMF chief economist Kenneth Rogoff of her. "She is enormously impressive, politically astute and has a strong personality."

Before IMF, Lagarde was involved in France politics.

She was appointed trade minister in 2005 which resulted in French exports soaring to record levels.

Two years later, she became the first female to assume the finance minister position.

This was not only a first for France but for any of the G8 major industrial countries.

Interestingly, BBC News reported that she blamed the 2008 global financial crisis partly on the "male-dominated, testoterone-fuelled culture at global banks".

During her political career, she won international respect for promoting France's negotiating power in key forums like the G-20 and approving a bail-out mechanism to aid struggling members of the eurozone.

Despite Asia and South America openly questioning her bid to lead IMF in the initial stages, she has proved to be a worthy person for the role by taking the current eurozone crisis by its horns and weathering it out alongside country leaders. When she was 17, she travelled to study in the United States for a year where she learned to speak English fluently. Lagarde graduated from a law school in Paris and obtained a masters' degree from the Political Science Institute in Aix en Provence.

In 1981, she returned to the United States to join international law firm Baker & McKenzie as an associate, specialising in labour, anti-trust and mergers and acquisitions.

She went on to become the first female chairman of that firm 18 years on.

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Grooming more women for the board

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RHB Cap set for another good year

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 05:32 PM PST

RHB Capital Bhd, which has been enjoying record net profit for the past five years, is set for another year of good performance, says its managing director Kellee Kam.

"Among the key growth drivers is loans growth which is running at 18%," he tells StarBizWeek.

"We are still looking at a lower to mid double-digit loans growth next year."

Arising from the government's Economic Transformation Programme projects, there will be ample opportunities for wholesale and bridging loans as well as capital market transactions.

Retail banking, commercial properties financing and hire purchase in certain segments can still be profitable while posing decent risk.

However, the overall outlook for next year will be cautious. "One cannot ignore the state of the western economies," says Kam. There's been a fair amount of weakness in Europe; every week, a new chapter emerges from Greece to Italy to Portugal to Spain and now, even the French are not able to escape from the economic uncertainties.

"We will be more cautious on loans growth and ensure that we are going into very prudent areas," says Kam, pointing out that this part of the Asean region was still experiencing decent growth of 4% to 5%.

For future earnings momentum, RHB Cap is eyeing basically three engines of growth commercial and corporate banking, regional investment banking and Islamic finance.

"As a financial services group, we will have multiple engines moving at the same time. Over the next three to five years, we will have a good source of sustainable income and achieve a competitive position if we can get these three pieces (of the puzzle) right," says Kam.

Second engine of growth

Now that RHB Cap has built up the pace as a group, it wants to aspire to the next level of growth.

The commercial bank is the largest driver of the group's business while the investment bank contributes 5% to 6% of group pre-tax profit.

"Although the investment bank has done well, we believe that we should take it up a notch," says Kam. "One interesting prospect is to create an institution that not only has a leadership position in Malaysia but will also build the foundation for regional growth."

A merger with OSK Holdings Bhd, for which talks are ongoing, will create an investment bank with the largest asset size in Malaysia; from a market share perspective, it will be the largest stockbroker in Malaysia; from an investment banking perspective, it will continue to keep the group in the top three to four position, both in terms of volume and value.

"The proposed merger brings together a good balance in terms of number and size of deals, also gives us full clientele coverage," says Kam.

Today, RHB Cap is doing well at the top end of ladder with the large caps and corporates and the OSK franchise, which is strong in retail, small and mid caps, will help the group to complete its service capability.

OSK is the largest retail group and a specialist in mid to small caps. Backed by a banking platform, there should be a fair amount of cross sell synergies in the retail and commercial business space.

RHB Cap has been expanding the Malaysian franchise. "When our clients grow, they will start looking outside of Malaysia," says Kam. In the past, apart from Singapore and Thailand, RHB could not follow them.

OSK has done a good job in having built up an investment banking franchise outside of Malaysia into Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Hong Kong. OSK has two offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen.

Meanwhile, RHB has its own joint venture stockbroking company in Vietnam.

"Between OSK and ourselves, we would have covered the Asean region," says Kam. "We have a significant amount of complementary and no large overlaps where we would have to worry about our workforce.

"Onshore, we operate within the different segments that we serve while offshore, we are looking to build. RHB does not have a large network outside Malaysia, which OSK has." he adds.

RHB has the balance sheet and the banking platform to back an investment banking franchise; that gives the group a headstart in recruiting experienced people.

"We are trying to recruit people with the correct experience, attitude and track record. That is getting more and more difficult because competition is everywhere _ in Singapore, Hong Kong and we also have other competitors in Malaysia.

"If we do this correctly, we will hopefully have access to a whole new set of talent and create one of Malaysia's leading investment banks which will also be a credible regional investment banking platform," says Kam.

Competition in investment banking

How does RHB view the competition heating up among banking groups to establish similar regional investment banking outfits?

"It is healthy to have this level of competition; it gives us motivation to move faster," says Kam. "The pace of growth that we had to undergo was partly due to the fact that the rest of the competition was moving so quickly."

"When some of the larger banking groups started developing their regional investment banking platform, it became important for us to look for an avenue to either develop that ourselves or through a transaction like the one with OSK. This is to ensure that we are not disadvantaged when we go head to head with these groups.

"The country is developing a very strong set of financial institutions; customers will benefit from the multiple institutions that can take them across the region," he adds.

Why the present timing?

"There are strategic business opportunities in the downturn as we build businesses over the long term," he says.

As the Asean region gets more integrated, customers start moving around and exchanges develop and get more closely linked, there are opportunities for an investment bank that has the ability to service Asean markets.

Gaining traction

Singapore and Malaysia have a developed exchange; the others are growing rapidly like those in Indonesia and Thailand. Cambodia's exchange is slated to open by next year while Vietnam has the potential to grow and become one of the larger capital market players.

"There is thus a pipeline for investment banks as different economies develop over the next five to 10 years. If one is able to place oneself as a credible investment bank, one will be able to tap more than a fair share of the opportunities," he says.

Under Basel III, banks also have to start diversifying their sources of revenue and tap on more fee income type of businesses; they cannot just rely on capital intensive sources of revenue.

"We wanted to build up the management bandwidth," says Kam, adding that a CEO was also being sought for the investment bank.

"The concept is not to serve our customers by how we are structured, rather it should be on how they would like to be served.

Customers don't really care which division the officer is from but how he can serve them best," he notes.

The necessary talent was brought in to become the strong management team that would mobilise all those lines in retail, corporate and investment banking as well as Islamic finance.

"With the Employees Provident Fund as the major shareholder, we have benefited with a fair amount of opportunities, new capital and stability in direction and leadership," says Kam.

Between 2008 and 2010, the total electronic network was doubled from 800 to 1,700 machines while over last 12 months, the group experienced almost 100% growth in Internet banking customer base.

Last year, RHB was top in mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in Malaysia. Today, it is still top four in the debt and equity capital markets; it was top in M&A until June, and within the top three as of September.

"Hopefully, we will bring that back up again," he says.

The picture at RHB was very different back in 2006, when the group was competitively challenged, progressively losing market share, short of capital, and had no clear focus and strategic direction.

"We put together a transformation programme to address the financial and capital structure of the group; internally, we realised that even if we had got ourselves to be financially stable, we needed also to get ourselves to be competitive operationally," Kam recalls.

The management and changes put in place then with emphasis on efficiency saw the cost to income ratio dropping from 45% to 41%, and probably closing around 43% this year.

Institution building

One of the group's key goals is to build a successful institution.

Some of the established financial institutions in the world change or rotate CEOs every few years but they are still very stable.

"We want to provide opportunities for our talents without saying that if he or she leaves, the organisation cannot function.

"You have to ensure that the place runs like an institution with proper succession plans, to ensure stability and continuity.

"I hope that we have shown over the last three to four years, RHB is a bank that has changed management at various levels, to a certain extent more frequently than others, but we have kept improving and business momentum has been maintained.

"This is testament to the fact that RHB is an institutionalised banking group, and also credit to those who have built up the necessary infrastructure and succession to ensure that group continues on its growth path," says Kam.

RHBCAP : [Stock Watch] [News]

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The need to act

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 05:43 AM PST

Local filmmakers envision the extreme end of a radioactive future, albeit, with a twisted sense of humour in the Survival Guide Untuk Kampong Radioaktif Project.

WHAT happens when you chuck together a group of award-winning Malaysian film directors, notoriously zany performing artists and the hot topic of radioactive waste?

Three hilarious skits: featuring freakish vegetables, six legged monsters, and an innovative but wholly inconvenient approach to tackling the perils of a (fictionally) radioactive atmosphere.

Love Dish, Welcome To Kampong Radioaktif and Orang Minyak XX are filled with wacky visions of the future, where whole villages must adapt to an exaggerated hypothesis of life after radioactive contamination.

New methods of preparation are deployed as chefs prepare dishes of splotchy blue carrots chopped up and chucked into a mutant chimeric fish-squid broth.

Even the mythical orang minyak (oily, supernatural serial rapists, visible only to virgins – a staple in Malay ghost-lore), must adapt to the villagers' newfound superpowers.

The locals in turn, of course, have their own problems to deal with, not least the complex logistical challenges posed by fitting an entire family clad in radioactive-repellent bubble wrap into one car when it's time to go home for Hari Raya.

The three comedic short films may have you on the floor in fits of giggles, but these cheeky visions of the future come from a serious place.

To be released consecutively on the Kampongradioaktif YouTube channel every Sunday at 10pm, the shorts tie in with a series of one-minute teasers released every Wednesday, meant to keep you going from one instalment to the next.

Fictional anchorman Lee Ah Seng is the star of Tiger TV, and hosts the series of teaser parodies, which, though full of comedic value, provides a link into the fourth, and final instalment, Lai Kwan's Love.

Having watched the first three sketches, one might be forgiven for initially thinking this documentary short is yet another comedy in bad taste. It isn't. Far from it, in fact.

Two minutes in, it becomes clear that the footage of an over-sized boy caged by makeshift barriers in his home, clinging and tugging with unnatural persistence on the blouse of an elderly woman who is trying hard to concentrate on being interviewed, is not an actor.

He is Cheah Kok Leong – the 29-year-old son of Lai Kwan, 69.

"Have you heard of Bukit Merah?" asks the documentary's director, Tan Chui Mui, who also started the entire Survival Guide Untuk Kampong Radioaktif Project. "It is an extraordinary place because it is where, for the first time, a community here (in Malaysia) actually sued a company over an environmental issue," she says.

In 1985, the residents of Bukit Merah sued Asian Rare Earth, a company under Mitsubishi Chemical, which operated the rare earth refinery where Lai Kwan, at the time, was working.

The impoverished resident had been pregnant with her eighth son, Cheah, who was later born with severe mental and physical disabilities.

The refinery was eventually shut down due to concerns about its production and storage of radioactive waste.

The documentary is a moving contrast and chilling juxtaposition to the light-hearted hilarity of the first three skits.

In it, Lai Kwan talks about how the task of looking after her son has virtually kept her house-bound for the past 29 years.

The film is intended to be cautionary; it spells out a message that the potential impacts of heavy industry should not be taken lightly, and it is our civic duty to educate ourselves about what is going on in our own backyard.

Despite statements that radioactive waste produced by a new rare earth processing plant under construction in Gebeng, Pahang, will be at far lower levels than the waste produced at Bukit Merah, Tan, 32, is concerned.

Two years ago, she was just like many other Malaysians. She had heard about Australian mining company Lynas's plans to build the facility 4km away from her hometown in Sungai Ular, but feeling only mild trepidation, she never really took it seriously.

She didn't think people would let it happen. "I just assumed someone else would do something about it." Reality hit in August when she flew back for a one-week holiday from Beijing, China where she now works. It was a teh tarik session that changed her.

After meeting up with a hometown friend who had been following the plant's developments closely from the ground, she decided that if she, a local, didn't do something to help the situation, how could she expect anyone else to?

At the last minute, she decided to forgo her flight back to China and began a journey that would lead to the Survival Guide Untuk Kampong Radioaktif Project.

She gathered a few friends to help, and they travelled back and forth between Kuantan and KL, trying to figure out how they could best contribute to making sure the voices of local people – many of whom were accusing the project of lacking transparency – were heard.

"Initially, we thought we would help the locals hold press conferences about their concerns, but in the end, we thought the best thing we could do would be to make a short film."

So, Tan Chui Mui, who has won awards for her 2007 feature debut, Love Conquers All, roped in Yeo Joon Han (Sell Out!), Woo Ming Jin (The Elephant And The Sea) and Liew Seng Tat (Flower In My Pocket) for the project.

The point of the venture, she says, is to get people talking. It is meant as a catalyst for people to educate themselves further about the pertinent question of radioactive waste disposal.

"There are two very extreme conflicting views about this matter," offers Yeo, who directed Orang Minyak XX. "One set of people are saying it's absolutely safe and the other group is saying it's not.

"I've tried to read as much as I can, but it's pretty confusing. As someone looking it up on Google and reading everyone's postings, I can't make up my mind. But maybe the question is, if there is a risk at all, is it a risk worth taking?"

These are exactly the kinds of questions they aim for people watching videos on both Facebook and YouTube to ask.

"The videos are there to be used ... share them, get people to comment and start a discussion. If it attracts people with opposing views, that's fine, at least it's a discussion!"

Simply taking part in the project has been a lesson for cast and crew, which features a colourful collection of actors, including first timers Kuantan MP (an adviser to the Stop Lynas Coalition) Fuziah Salleh and Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah.

They are joined by director/actor/writer Ayam Fared and a host of other, talented performers, including Anne James, Alan Cheong, Loh Wai Tong, Bella Rahim, Zaidi Rock and Jerrica Lai.

Among others, being part of the project has left an impression on Lai, who plays a zealous villager in pursuit of the mythical creature in Orang Minyak XX.

"I think it is our responsibility to keeping pushing for it (awareness and discussions on issues surrounding the Gebeng rare earth plant).

"And not because we want people to protest against the plant, but because it's important for people to know more about what's going on within their own country, even if we don't live in Kuantan because it's part of our home."

As far as innovation goes, the project scores top marks when it comes to pushing the issue forward.

Whether it gets people doing more research on the issue (if Malaysia is ready to supervise the processing, storage and disposal of radioactive waste), it has certainly got its cast and crew to acquire some knowledge.

"The purpose is first for people to be entertained, and then hopefully, they will ask why the people behind the project are going on and on about Kampong Radioaktif!" says Yeoh.

To catch the Survival Guide Untuk Kampong Radioaktif Project skits, teasers and documentary, log onto to the group's facebook page at facebook.com/kampong radioaktif or tune into them on YouTube at youtube.com/user/Kampongradioaktif.

The first video of the series, Love Dish by Woo, was released last Sunday, and will be followed by Welcome To Kampong Radioaktif, Orang Minyak XX and Lai Kwan's Love in the coming weeks.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Bank Negara issues guidelines on responsible lending

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 04:25 AM PST

Published: Friday November 18, 2011 MYT 8:26:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Bank Negara Malaysia issued on Friday guidelines to financial institutions aimed at promoting prudent, responsible and transparent retail financing practices.

The central bank said the guidelines, effective Jan 1, would complement other measures that promote better protection for financial consumers and a sustainable credit market that contributes towards preserving financial and macro-economic stability.

The guidelines require financial institutions to make assessments of a borrower's ability to afford financing facilities based on a prudent debt service ratio as inputs to their credit decisions.

Financial institutions must make appropriate enquiries into a prospective borrower's income after statutory deductions for tax and EPF, and consider all debt obligations, in assessing affordability, it said in a statement.

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Khairy not involved, says Kalimullah

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 03:50 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here was told Friday that the decision by the Board of Directors of ECM Libra Berhad to value the company (ECM Libra) at RM330mil had no connection with Member of Parliament for Rembau Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar.

ECM Libra Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan said Khairy was not involved with ECM Libra at that stage and "it's not because Khairy is the son-in-law of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi".

Kalimullah, who filed a RM50mil defamation suit against lawyer Matthias Chang Wen Chieh, said Khairy joined ECM Libra Bhd in 2004, as a director.

"He was a relatively junior staff when he started to work with us. He joined as a director," he said.

Kalimullah, former New Straits Times Press Bhd (NSTP) deputy chairman also denied that after ECM Libra was sold to South Peninsular Industries (SPI), preparations were made to bring Khairy into the company as a shareholder on the basis of his relationship with Abdullah, who was also Finance Minister at that time.

"People have connection with businessmen and politicians... the more the relationship the more easy for business to be done. It is good to have someone who has good connections," he said.

On June 29, 2006, Kalimullah filed a defamation suit after Chang had allegedly made statements against him on June 13 the same year at a press conference, a report of which was published in the Singapore Straits Times through its Malaysian correspondent, Leslie Lau.

He is asking for RM50mil in damages, costs, interests and an injunction to restrain Chang from publishing similar words.

He said the words in the article meant that he was dishonest and had no credibility, was unreliable, tainted, rotten, faint-hearted, manipulative, and a betrayer of Malaysians.

Chang, previously a political secretary to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had also filed a counter-claim against Kalimullah on July 14, 2006, among others, seeking RM150mil in damages.

When cross-examined by lawyer Datuk R K Nathan whether that relationship was corrupt practice, Kalimullah said: "So, does it mean every investment banking in town is corrupt?"

The hearing before Judge Datuk Asmabi Mohamad continues on Jan 10. - Bernama

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Hisham: Deportation for Indonesians caught for militant activities

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 03:42 AM PST

Published: Friday November 18, 2011 MYT 7:42:00 PM

PUTRAJAYA: The six Indonesian nationals who were detained for involvement in militant activities will be deported to their country of origin, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on Friday.

As for the seven local men who were detained with the Indonesians, he said, they would be charged in court after investigations were completed.

He said all of them were found to have undergone military training and were involved in weapon smuggling.

"They are currently detained under the Internal Security Act because the law is still applicable to curb terrorist activities until a new law is formulated in March next year," he told reporters after the post-cabinet meeting here Friday.

The arrest of the 13 men came following information that the militants were using Tawau as their transit point for the gathering of weapons from the Philippines. - Bernama

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