Sabtu, 19 November 2011

The Star Online: World Updates

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China rebuffs U.S., Asia pressure in sea dispute

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 09:32 PM PST

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - China pushed back on Saturday against a week of U.S. pressure to resolve a rancorous dispute over territorial claims in the South China Sea, a crucial, mineral-rich commercial shipping lane at the heart of growing tensions among Asian leaders.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with China's Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, November 19, 2011. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao chastised President Barack Obama for raising the issue during an Asia-Pacific leaders summit, hours after Obama told Wen the United States wants the sea lanes kept open and peaceful, capping two weeks of Sino-U.S. tensions.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all have claims to parts of the sea lanes, while China claims large parts of the region, which might hold rich deposits of oil and gas.

Obama ended a nine-day trip with a meeting with Wen where, according to U.S. officials, he raised U.S. concerns over festering economic issues such as China's currency policy, after huddling with Asian leaders in a concerted effort to court the world's fastest-growing region.

U.S. lawmakers have long argued Beijing keeps the value of the yuan down to help drive the country's exports engine, a stance they say costs American jobs.

Wen defended Beijing's currency stance, stressing that from late September to early November, offshore foreign exchange markets showed "expectations of a depreciation in the renminbi exchange rate" and that China will also strengthen the renminbi's trading flexibility in either direction, without elaborating.

But it was Obama's comments on the South China Sea, a possible flashpoint in Asia, that drew Beijing's ire.

Wen said the South China Sea issue should be resolved directly among related sovereign countries "through friendly consultation and negotiation," state-owned news agency Xinhua reported, a comment that suggests U.S. exclusion from the dispute.

He added that the East Asia Summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, where Obama met with 17 Asia-Pacific leaders in three days of talks, was not "a proper occasion" to discuss the issue.

Still, a briefing by a U.S. official said 16 leaders present at the summit addressed maritime security. Indeed, the bulk of the discussions were a "very robust" conversation on maritime security and the South China Sea, the official said.

"The Chinese will come away from the meeting believing that a heavy-handed approach on the south china sea will backfire badly," said the official.

But Xinhua, in an English language commentary, warned that "any attempt by outside forces to internationalise the issue will only make it more complicated and undermine peace and stability in the region," in a veiled reference to the United States.

Tensions flared earlier this year with often tense maritime stand-offs in the sea that carries some $5 trillion a year in world trade. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this week warned claimants against using intimidation to back their claims, an indirect reference to China.

An Australian think tank warned in June that risk-taking behaviour of the Chinese military, the resource needs of the fast-growing economy and its greater assertiveness raised tensions and could spark a conflict that could draw in the United States and other powers.

China wants to hold bilateral talks with other countries that claim parts of the South China Sea as their territory, but the Southeast Asian claimants, the United States and Japan are pushing for a multilateral approach.

The United States had been "quite direct with the Chinese about our strategy," said Tom Donilon, Obama's top national security adviser.

Beijing understood that Washington was serious about sustaining a more active presence in the region to help its stability and peace, he said.

"Our partners and allies look to us for that reassurance. They want to know that the United States is going to play the role it has played with respect to security and reassurance and balancing and stability here," he said.

Still, he said Washington was pursuing deep engagement with China to manage a range of U.S.-Chinese issues.

"We have a very complicated and quite substantial relationship with China across the board," he said, adding that while the United States does have "economic issues" with Beijing, "our relationship with China has in the main been productive and constructive."


The summit capped two weeks of a hard diplomatic push by Obama to reassert America's footprint in the Asia Pacific, which will fuel China's fear of being encircled, or contained by the United States and its allies.

However, Obama on Thursday acknowledged China's unease, pledging to seek greater cooperation with Beijing. And Clinton told America's ABC television: "It's not about countering anybody else's power. It's about asserting our own position as a Pacific power."

On Thursday, Obama said in Australia that the U.S. military would expand its Asia-Pacific role, declaring America was "here to stay" as a Pacific power.

Days earlier, as host of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-Operation forum in Hawaii, Obama had voiced growing frustration at China's trade practices. He declared "enough is enough" as he pushed for a new Asia-Pacific trade deal with some of Beijing's neighbours.

However, China has adopted a largely restrained response to the expansive moves by Washington.

"The U.S. has been an important player in Asia ever since the Second World War. We are looking forward to cooperating with them, with the U.S., in the region," China's Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters in Bali.

Obama also announced on Friday that he would send Clinton to Myanmar next month, which has drawn closer to China in reaction to Western sanctions.

It will be the first such trip to the isolated country in half a century and will add to Beijing's fears of encirclement.

(Writing by Neil Fullick; Editing by Paul Tait)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Insight - Tibetans in China seek fiery way out of despair

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 09:32 PM PST

DAOFU, China (Reuters) - The Ganden Jangchup Choeling Nunnery stands hidden from view on an isolated mountain-top in southwestern China, accessible only by a twisting, rocky road. It was here, in a mud-brick hut, that Palden Choetso lived.

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama attends a news conference in Mexico City September 9, 2011. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

The 35-year-old Tibetan Buddhist nun burnt herself to death on a public street an hour's drive away earlier this month, the latest in a string of self-immolations to protest against Chinese religious controls over Tibet.

Palden was a quiet woman who had been with the nunnery in the Ganzi prefecture in Sichuan province for more than a decade, her friends said. A bright nun who studied Tibetan Buddhism, she was well-versed in reciting spiritual texts and was an ardent follower of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama.

No one suspected, however, that Palden would sacrifice herself, writhing in flames on a dusty road lined with shops in downtown Daofu, or Tawu in Tibetan.

"I want the Dalai Lama to return to China, I want freedom for Tibet!" she is said to have shouted as fire engulfed her body.

"She had drunk several jin of gasoline," a senior religious figure at the nunnery told Reuters, referring to a traditional weight of measure that is about half a kilogramme. "We got a call that she had set herself on fire, and a few of us went down to try to save her. But it was too late."

In China, eleven Tibetan monks and nuns -- some former clergy -- have resorted to the extreme protest since March this year. At least six have been fatal.

The similarities are striking: All called for the return of the 76-year-old Dalai Lama, who fled to exile in India in 1959, and for freedom for Tibet.

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Grenades hit Baath Party building in Damascus - report

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 09:32 PM PST

AMMAN (Reuters) - At least two rocket-propelled grenades hit a main ruling Baath Party building in Damascus Sunday, residents said, in the first insurgent attack reported inside the Syrian capital since an eight-month uprising began against President Bashar al-Assad.

"Security police blocked off the square where the Baath's Damascus branch is located. But I saw smoke rising from the building and fire trucks around it," said one witness, who declined to be named.

Demonstrators against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad display a banner during a march after Friday prayers in Kafranbel near Adlb November 18, 2011. Picture taken November 18, 2011. REUTERS/Handout

"The attack was just before dawn and the building was mostly empty. It seems to have been intended as a message to the regime," he said.

(Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Amman newsroom; Editing by Ralph Gowling)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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Nigeria's central bank: naira at desired stability

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 04:39 PM PST

TANGIER, Morocco (Reuters) - Nigeria's central bank has reached the desired degree of stability for the country's naira currency and does not have a cause to be concerned over inflation due mostly to recent stability in its core components, Governor Lamido Sanusi said on Saturday.

Speaking before the bank's monetary policy committee meets next week, Sanusi told Reuters that the bank may reduce its exposure to the euro and buy renminbi.

"When the naira reached 167 (to the U.S. dollar in October), every currency was going through a crisis ... Now, we have retraced that. We have created the stability that we needed. We have stopped the panic," Sanusi said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference in the Moroccan city Tangier.

Asked if the central bank has reached the desired degree of stability for the naira, Sanusi said: "I think we have and I think that within the next few days you might hear an announcement on what the sense is."

Inflation rose to 10.5 percent in October from 10.3 percent in September, but Sanusi said a breakdown of month-on-month numbers shows that "inflation has come down on all three components: headline, core and food inflation".

"Year-on-year, core (inflation) hasn't increased which has not been the increasing trend seen in the past," he said. "Month-to-month (inflation) has been moderating and core (inflation) is also not increasing (which) would suggest that as far as non-structural components are concerned at this moment ... we don't have a cause for concern."

Sanusi also said the central bank of Africa's biggest oil exporter may reduce its exposure to the euro currency.

"We have not increased (exposure to the euro) since the crisis started in Europe. We have held more and more U.S. dollars. We have missed the train on the Swiss franc, I wish we had gone in earlier. I think we missed the train on the gold, I wish we had gone in earlier.

"But we are trying to move some into renminbi and while we move some dollars we will probably move more euro, more out of the euro," he said. Asked if this meant arbitrage deals to the detriment of the euro, Sanusi said: "Most likely."

Sanusi is not as concerned about the euro currency as he is about the fortunes of European economies.

"If they go into a deep recession it is likely to affect commodity prices and with that the price of oil and then it will come with difficulty for us in terms of the fiscal position of the government, the reserves positions and the exchange rate," he said.

The bulk of Nigeria's oil exports go to the United States, Sanusi said. "The United States and Europe together account for about 80 percent or more. What we export to China and African countries is probably about 20 percent".

Sanusi reckoned that any crash in oil prices from a potential recession in Europe would not be as acute as it was in 2008.

"The (oil) market is a little bit tight at the moment. Libya will take time to get back on stream, Iraq is back on stream ... The market seems to be driven by fundamentals. So the crash in the oil price, in the event of a recession, is not likely to be as steep as it was in 2008 for example.

"There would be a decline in demand but the supply condition is also tight ... I think there would be a collapse if there is a recession but it will not be anywhere near what we have seen in 2008," he said.

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Former Procter & Gamble CEO John Smale dies at 84

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 04:38 PM PST

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Former Procter & Gamble chief executive John G. Smale, credited with transforming the two major international companies he led during his career, died on Saturday at age 84.

Smale served as chief executive officer of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble from 1981 to 1990. Under his watch, the company doubled sales to more than $24 billion and earnings to $1.6 billion, and expanded into 15 new product categories and 23 new countries.

Smale, who also served as chairman, started with the company in 1952 working in dental products. He was credited with persuading the American Dental Association to endorse Crest, then a new product.

Crest went on to become one of the company's best-selling brands, helping catapult Smale into the limelight, according to Procter & Gamble's website.

In addition to his lauded business sense, those who worked with Smale inside the company and out remembered him as a kind, unpretentious man.

"The man's character was defined by all the things character is defined by: his wisdom, his courage, his persistent commitment to doing what's right for the longer term -- absolutely right down the line. Never compromising," said John Pepper, Procter & Gamble's CEO from 1995 to 1999.

"John was the single most inspiring leader I have ever known. Period," Pepper told Reuters.

After Smale retired from Procter & Gamble, General Motors' board picked him to lead that struggling company, and he helped get the automobile manufacturer profitable within two years, Pepper said.

Smale served as chairman of the General Motors board from 1992 to 1995, according to that company's website. He continued to serve on the GM board until 2002.

Born in Ontario, Canada, he graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, near Cincinnati, and later returned to his adopted hometown of Cincinnati to become one of its most respected business and civic leaders.

"He was one of the most decent people," said Charlie Luken, former Cincinnati mayor. "When his city asked him to, he stepped up."

In 1987, Luken asked Smale to chair a committee examining problems with the city's aging infrastructure. The resulting plan was so comprehensive and successful that it became known as the Smale Commission and continues to have a lasting effect.

"He loved his city and was he was always there," Luken said. "Any time I would ask him to do something he would say, 'Is there anything else I can do?'"

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The Star Online: Sports

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Edwards takes pole for NASCAR decider

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 04:07 PM PST

HOMESTEAD, Florida, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Championship leader Carl Edwards grabbed pole position for the title-deciding final race of the NASCAR season after posting the fastest qualifying time on Saturday.

Edwards, who produced a quickest lap of 30.78 seconds, headed into the last event of the year with a three point lead over two-time champion Tony Stewart, the only man in the field who could possibly overtake him for the title.

Stewart was 15th fastest with a time of 31.15 on the 1.5 mile oval circuit, while Martin Treux Jr and Kasey Kahne were second and third quickest after a session held in gusty winds.

"If anything, this is good for our morale to go sleep easy tonight, but we have to run this race and everything can happen," Edwards told reporters.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver only needed to finish ahead of Stewart on Sunday to secure his first NASCAR title.

The Homestead-Miami Speedway's design lends itself to plenty of passing but securing pole position gave Edwards another important advantage, the first stall in pit lane, which should enable him to avoid any traffic problems whenever he exits.

"The biggest thing is that pit stall selection. That's gonna be a big help the whole race. That's something that's hard to put a value on," said Edwards.

"We didn't need to qualify poorly, get a poor pit stall and have some little thorn in our side the whole race, so this will hopefully help us for the whole race.

"We know we are gonna have a good day on pit road, know we'll hopefully be able to run out front and not got caught in anything."

Stewart conceded that winning pole position gave Edwards a slight edge but said he was no less hopeful about his chances in the highly-anticipated showdown.

"Obviously having that first pit box is a huge advantage in this sport, they did a good job qualifying but that pit selection does not guarantee anything," he said.

"I have had 13 poles in 13 years and won 43 races. We have proven that you don't have to do it from the pole. It's definitely a luxury but don't start etching his name on the trophy just yet."

While Edwards posted the fastest single lap, Stewart believed the practice session times indicated he had problems maintaining his speed and he hoped his own strategy of putting in more race-style sessions in practice would pay off.

"He put up a fast lap but his lap times fell off pretty hard in the one long run that he did," Stewart said.

"That's why I am really confident that what we did was the right thing. Our times do not fall off as hard as his did."

The last five NASCAR titles have been won by Jimmie Johnson with an unprecedented run of victories but he risked missing out on a top five finish for the first time since he joined the series fulltime in 2002.

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MHF to hold final council meeting before disbanding

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 03:18 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will hold their last council meeting today before the federation is dissolved.

After that Malaysian hockey will come under the umbrella of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).

The meeting today will set the date for the Emergency Extra-ordinary general meeting where the disbandment will take place next month. At that meeting the delegates will also decide on the transfer of the MHF funds to MHC and its assets.

The Malaysian Women's Hockey Association (MWHA) are also expected to follow the deadline which is to dissolve their association by Dec 31.

MHF secretary Maninderjit Singh said yesterday that their statutes and constitution has already been approved by the delegates at an earlier meeting and this was accepted by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

"The FIH sent us a letter on Nov 17 to congratulate us on our move and have approved the constitution as well. The MHC will officially run hockey in Malaysia from January. This is a done deal at this stage and all it remains is to carry out the remainder of the proposals over the next one month," said Maninderjit.

Now all states' men and women hockey associations will come under roof and under the new constitution the MHC will have 16 affiliates including the Armed Forces and Police.

The MHF affiliates today will also receive a small grant today before the disbandment takes place. The MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will hand over RM10,000 for each affiliate.

At today's meeting the 2012 calendar will also be discussed as the MHF need to confirm the programme for the national team quickly.

Meanwhile the MHF president is also expected to reward the players of Project 2013 team who recently won the Sultan of Johor Cup. Each player is expected to receive RM5,500.

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Iskandar Johor Open reduced to 54 holes after rain halts play

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 06:30 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Sweden's Daniel Chopra will defend a two-shot advantage over 17 holes after organisers reduced the weather-hit Iskandar Johor Open to a 54-hole affair yesterday.

Chopra, a two-time PGA Tour winner, was 13-under after playing the first hole before play was suspended at 3pm due to a downpour at the US$2mil event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

Title holder Padraig Harrington of Ireland, James Morrison of England and Frenchman Gregory Bourdy are on 11-under after one hole at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club.

No player finished their round, meaning a total of 72 players will return at 7:20am today to complete the third and final round.

Chopra, who won his first professional title at the 1993 Johor Open, predicts an exciting finale with a strong cast of players including three-time Major champion Harrington still in with a chance of winning.

"It will make it more exciting. It is going to be a bit more like a shootout because there are a number of people still in it with a chance to have a good round. It will be fun," said Chopra, who grew up in India.

"Obviously, I would have loved to play. I did some work early in the morning and I felt good. I hit a couple of good shots starting of the round and then the rain came. It kills a bit of momentum but we can't control the weather. I was mentally prepared for the weather delays," the Swede added.

Jose-Maria Zamora, the Euro­pean Tour tournament director of the Iskandar Johor Open, said the course was deemed unplayable after heavy rain.

"With that in mind, we had no choice but to suspend play for the day and, due to the disruptions we have already suffered, we have also taken the decision to reduce the tournament to 54 holes," he said. — AFP

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf


Posted: 20 Nov 2011 05:49 AM PST

FOR the week ending Nov 13, 2011:


1. Steve Jobs: A Biography by Walter Isaacson

2. Chicken Soup For The Soul: Think Positive – 101 Inspirational Stories About Counting Your Blessings And Having A Positive Attitude by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen & Amy Newmark

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

4. The 3rd Alternative: Solving Life's Most Difficult Problems by Stephen R. Covey

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

6.  Guinness World Records 2012 by Guinness World Records Limited

7. Liespotting: Proven Techniques To Detect Deception by Pamela Meyer

8. People Who Changed The World by Igloo Books Ltd

9. The Night The Angels Came by Cathy Glass

10. 10 Conversations You Need To Have With Yourself: A Powerful Plan For Spiritual Growth And Self-improvement by Shmuley Boteach


1.  The Time Of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

2.  Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

3.  The Litigators by John Grisham

4.  A Desirable Residence by Madeleine Wickham

5.  The Sixth Man by David Baldacci

6.  Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

7.  The Best Of Me by Nicholas Sparks

8.  Aleph by Paulo Coelho

9.  The Best Little Book Club In Town ( Supporting Breast Cancer Care) by Various

10. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

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

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Arresting images

Posted: 20 Nov 2011 05:46 AM PST

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Kids’ treasure trove

Posted: 20 Nov 2011 05:45 AM PST

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The Star Online: Nation

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Media banned from publishing photos of former Kelantan Sultan

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 03:43 AM PST

Published: Saturday November 19, 2011 MYT 7:43:00 PM

KOTA BARU: All media are prohibited from publishing any photograph of the ailing former Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Ismail Petra, with immediate effect, it was announced here Saturday.

The prohibition was put in place by the Monitoring, Privileges and Security Committee, said Kelantan State Secretary Datuk Dr Zainuddin Ibrahim who chairs the committee.

He said the committee felt that it was inappropriate at this time for the media, including television, newspapers and other publications, and the virtual media, to publish any image of the former sultan.

"The directive has been consented to by the Sultan of Kelantan, Sultan Muhammad V," he told a news conference also attended by Kelantan police chief Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital director Datuk Dr Ghazali Hasni Md Hassan, Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM) Kubang Kerian Hospital specialist Datuk Prof Dr Wan Mohamad Wan Bebakar and Kelantan palace comptroller Datuk Ahmad Mahmood.

Dr Zainuddin said the prohibition did not cover news on the former sultan that is assumed to have a positive impact and does not violate the ethics of journalism. Bernama learnt that several newspapers had published photographs of the ailing Sultan Ismail Petra attending a banquet held in conjunction with the birthday of the Sultan of Kelantan here on Nov 11.

Dr Zainuddin said the committee was informed that the former sultan was still receiving treatment and there had been some improvement in his health.

The committee, which was set up several years ago, also comprises Kelantan Health Director Datuk Dr Nordianah Hassan, Kelantan Police deputy chief Datuk Mazlan Lazim and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Kubang Kerian Health Campus Director Prof Datuk Dr Mafauzy Mohamed. - Bernama

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New flood prediction system in a year

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 03:10 AM PST

KUCHING: The country is currently implementing a new system to predict the occurrence of flood.

Called the atmospheric flood warning system, it will enable the authority to predict flood in advance.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said the system was being installed in four states, including Sarawak, Johor and Pahang.

"This is a new technology yet to be tested, but from the system we hope to know if floods will occur at least one or two days in advance," he said.

Uggah, who earlier handed over the prizes to the winners of the Commonwealth Journalist Association (CJA) photography contest, said the system was expected to be ready in a year.

He said these projects were implemented mainly at major river basins.

"As for Sarawak, we are implementing it at the Sarawak River basin first.

He said currently flood prediction was made based on the water level, adding that only after the level had increased will the system tell whether there would be floods or not.

"With the new system, we can calculate based on the atmospheric conditions, which means we will consider the cloud content and air direction.

"We will use the system to predict where the rain will fall and the amount of rain that can fall.

"From there we hope to know whether the area will be flooded or not," he said.

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Mirzan Mahathir named in Indian port probe

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 02:21 AM PST

NEW DELHI: Malaysian businessman Mirzan Mahathir has been named in an Indian court affidavit related to investigations into the Kakinada Port development in Andhra Pradesh.

Mirzan, 51, had secured the project during the tenure of the state's former chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu.

The 2,424-paged document revealed that a Mirzan-led international shipping consortium won the deep-water seaport expansion venture in 1999.

The affidavit was filed by the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy's (YSR) wife, Y. S. Vijayalakshmi last month in the state's High Court.

YSR, an influential politician, was killed in a helicopter crash in 2009.

The petition revealed that the project was awarded on Develop-Operate-Transfer basis and the consortium was given 18 months to build two more berths in Kakinada Port, the second largest port in Andhra Pradesh.

"But the consortium failed to fulfill its commitment and the construction work of another berth only started five years later in 2004," said the affidavit.

Due to the delay, the state exchequer was alleged to have lost about RM33mil between 1999 and 2007.

Based on the court documents filed, the High Court has now directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe all allegations against Naidu and his associates.

Naidu, president of the Telugu Desam Party, was chief minister of Andhra Pradesh from 1994 to 2004.

He wrested the party from his late father-in-law, N. T. Rama Rao, once an iconic Telugu film actor.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Wagner not a suspect in Natalie Wood's death: Police

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 08:40 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Homicide detectives who have reopened an investigation into the death of Natalie Wood after three decades said on Friday that the film star's husband, actor Robert Wagner, was not considered a suspect.

The new inquiry into Wood's mysterious drowning off the California coast in 1981 comes amid new attention to the case on its 30th anniversary. The captain of the yacht she was on before her death now says that he lied to police at the time and holds Wagner responsible for her death.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. John Corina told reporters at a news conference on Friday that two homicide detectives had been assigned to reexamine new tips.

"Recently we have received information which we felt was substantial enough to make us take another look," Corina said. He declined to elaborate on the new information.

Asked by reporters if the now-81-year-old Wagner, one of three people on board the "Splendour" with Wood that night, was a suspect, Corina responded: "No."

Wood's body was found floating in a Catalina Island cove on the morning of November 29, 1981. The 43-year-old actress was dressed for bed in a long nightgown and socks, but wearing a red down jacket over her nightclothes.

The Los Angeles County Coroner at the time ruled the "West Side Story" star's death an accidental drowning, but questions have lingered for 30 years.

Corina said her death remained classified an accidental drowning, but added: "If our investigation at the end of it points to something else, then we'll address that."

Sheriff's officials have asked that anyone with knowledge about the case contact homicide investigators.


In an interview with NBC's "Today" show on Friday, "Splendour" captain Dennis Davern said Wagner fought with Wood in the hours before she went missing and showed little interest in trying to find her.

Davern, who co-wrote a 2010 book, "Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour," about Wood's drowning, told the show that he made "terrible decisions, terrible mistakes" at the time and lied on a police report.

Asked by an interviewer if he considered Wagner responsible for her death, he said: "Yes, I would say so. Yes."

Wood, who had spent the night before her death dining and drinking with Davern, Wagner and her "Brainstorm" co-star Christopher Walken, was said to have a lifelong fear of drowning and dark water.

A spokesman for Wagner has said in a statement that the actor's family had not been contacted by the sheriff's officials but "fully supports" the department's efforts.

The family members trust that the sheriff's department "will evaluate whether any new information relating to the death of Natalie Wood Wagner is valid and that it comes from a credible source or sources, other than those simply trying to profit from the 30-year anniversary of her tragic death," spokesman Alan Nierob said in the statement.

The opening of the new investigation coincides with a TV special airing Saturday on the CBS-TV news show "48 Hours," which in conjunction with Vanity Fair magazine purports to have new findings which "make it clear that there was reason to reopen the case," Vanity Fair said in a statement.

The TV special, called "Vanity Fair: Hollywood Scandal" is based on revelations first reported in a 2000 article in the magazine that is being republished this week in a special edition. Vanity fair said "everything seemed to come together at once."

Wood, who was born Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko to Russian immigrant parents in San Francisco, appeared as a child in such films as the Christmas classic "Miracle on 34th Street" and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir."

She was nominated for a best supporting actress Academy Award as a teenager for her role opposite screen legend James Dean in the classic 1955 film "Rebel Without a Cause."

Wood was also nominated twice for best actress Oscars, for parts in the 1961 film "Splendor in the Grass" and "Love with the Proper Stranger" two years later. She never won the award.

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Peter Dinklage jumps from 'Thrones' to indie film comedy

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 05:44 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With a leading role in a hit television series and an Emmy under his belt, actor Peter Dinklage returns to his indie movie roots in the dark comedy "Pete Smalls Is Dead."

Pairing up with director and good friend Alexandre Rockwell, Dinklage plays the role of K.C., a former screenwriter led into the seedier side of the Hollywood film industry as he tries to save his kidnapped dog.

Dinklage, 42, was initially drawn to the optimist character of Jack, eventually played by Mark Boone. It was Rockwell who persuaded Dinklage to play the jaded K.C. "He knew me better than I knew myself creatively," laughed Dinklage, adding, "I'm glad I ended up doing K.C. because it was much more of a challenge for me as an actor."

"Pete Smalls is Dead", now playing in U.S. theaters, is a quirky comedy that follows friends Jack and K.C. as they try to find K.C.'s kidnapped dog and attend the funeral of their friend and Hollywood director Pete Smalls, only to find that there's more to his death.

Dinklage is a regular on the off-Broadway theater scene and has appeared in numerous films including Christmas comedy "Elf," "Lassie" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian."

Due to his height, 4 ft. 5 in. (1.35 meter), Dinklage is often typecast into dwarf roles, but the actor is keen to work outside stereotypical roles.

"I've definitely done projects that I shouldn't have, but I've always been very protective of my fragile self," said the actor. "I just want to be happy with my choices at the end of the day and have no regrets."

Dinklage recently gained wider recognition after being cast as the cunningly witty Tyrion Lannister in HBO's hit fantasy series "Game of Thrones," a role that he believed broke the mold, and for which he won a supporting actor Emmy award this year.

"I love the idea that for someone of my size, it was very different to what we've seen before," said Dinklage of Tyrion, adding. "My shoes didn't curl up into little points at the end and I didn't have to have a long beard. I don't know what it is about dwarves having long beards."

LA Weekly film critic F.X. Feeny called Dinklage "one of the subtlest and most magnetic actors now working."


"Pete Smalls Is Dead" takes a journey through the underside of Los Angeles and Dinklage, a New Jersey native, was keen to portray a different view of Hollywood.

"I could relate to the cynicism of the Hollywood system, and how the indie film world has gotten a little bit stale, and the writer isn't celebrated as he or she used to be," said Dinklage.

The "Game of Thrones" actor stepped into a producer role for the film, with the intention of protecting Rockwell's artistic vision.

"I really wanted to protect him and make sure he was able to make the movie he wanted to make, "said Dinklage.

While the producing role taught Dinklage lessons in patience and curbing his time expectations, the actor found pleasure in meeting "pockets of great neighborhood characters," and exploring the quieter parts of Los Angeles.

"There's a beauty to the underbelly of Los Angeles," said Dinklage. "Ugly can be beautiful. Those areas outside of Beverly Hills, the ones with the alleyways, they can be quite lovely."

Along with season two of "Game of Thrones," the actor will also be seen in upcoming romance "A Little Bit of Heaven" with Kate Hudson, and comedy horror film "Knights of Badassdom," a genre that Dinklage was excited about.

"I don't ever want to bore or repeat myself," said the actor. "Great writing is great writing, no matter what the genre is, and I just like working with great, challenging scripts."

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central


Posted: 19 Nov 2011 05:06 AM PST


The Methodist Afternoon School Old Boys Association (Masoba) will celebrate its 51st annual reunion on Nov 26 with a dinner at the Tsun Jin High School hall on Jalan Loke Yew by remembering old friends and avid supporters like Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tan Sri Mohd Khir Johari. Committee members will be paying their respects at Khir Johari's grave at Masjid Negara today. For enquiries, call president Peter Chua on 016-330 7323.


Tourism Ministry and the Malaysia Selangor and Federal Territory Ku Su Shin Choong Hung Restaurant Association are jointly organising the "Fabulous Food 1Malaysia Restaurant Food Festival and Cooking Competition" which will be held today and tomorrow at PWTC Tun Razak Hall 2. The major highlight of the Fabulous Food 1Malaysia Restaurant Food Festival is the Malaysia International Smart Chef Cooking Competition and Malaysia International Halal Food Cooking Competition sponsored by Lee Kum Kee. Sixty master chefs from all over the world will be showing off their talents to compete for the highest honour of Lee Kum Kee Trophy. Apart from the competitions for the professionals, there is also a Housewives Cooking competition that has drawn more than 100 participants from all around Malaysia. The 20 finalists will compete in a cook-off tomorrow. In conjunction with the 1Malaysia Restaurant Food Festival, there are also exciting redemptions for the public. For the first redemption, collect four of The Star's mastheads dated from Nov 14 to 20 to redeem trolley bags worth RM60 each. The second redemption requires the public to collect three of The Star's mastheads, dated from Nov 14 to 20 to redeem goodie bags worth RM30 each. Lastly, for the third redemption, collect two of The Star's mastheads from Nov 14 to 20 to redeem RM5 food vouchers. The redemptions are to be collected today and tomorrow at PWTC's Hall 2. Available on first-come, first-served basis (while stocks last), redemptions are limited to one per person. It is only open to those aged 12 and above. Numbers will be given out at 10.30am every day and redemption starts after noon.


The KL-PJ Alzheimer's Caregivers Support Group is having a sharing session and talk entitled 'Can Alzheimer's Disease Be Prevented?' today at 2pm at ADFM PJ Daycare Centre, No. 6 Lorong 11/8E, Section 11, Petaling Jaya. Admission is free. To register, call Jenny at 03-7956 2008/ 03-7958 3008, SMS 016-608 2513 or email


One Community Worldwide and Nanyang Tumor Hospital, Guangzhou, will jointly organise a Cancer Prevention Talk today from 5.15pm to 8.15pm at One Commu-nity Worldwide, LG Floor, Menara Weld, Jalan Raja Chulan, KL. Entry is free. The talk will be conducted in Mandarin with English translation. For enquiries, call 03-2164 8899.


In conjunction with World Diabetes Day, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur is organising a public forum on causes and preventive measures to combat diabetes at Dewan Pantai, Block C, Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur today from 9.30am to 1pm. First 100 participants to register will receive a complimentary glucose test as part of the hospital's commitment to raise awareness on this issue. Admission is free. For enquiries, call 03-2296 0773.


The Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) will be conducting a crow shooting programme within its administrative area starting at 6.30am today until 7pm tomorrow. The council has urged the public to not be alarmed upon hearing shots during the programme duration.


Watch eight students of Adonis first Academy of Cosmetology compete in Adonis first make-up show competition at the Concourse Level of Sungai Wang Plaza at 3pm today. The students will be showcasing their make-up skills with different themes. For enquiries, call 03-2142 2090.


Fitness with Anna ( is holding an open day from 10am to noon today at its Shah Alam studio. There will be a free introductory 20-minute session for men from 10.20am to 10.40am and for women from 11am to 11.20am. The studio is at No. 20 Jalan Saksama (25/39), Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam. All are welcome.


Focus Point Caring Hearts Charity Foundation is organising a blood donation drive in partnership with The Curve shopping mall and the National Blood Bank tomorrow at 10am until 5pm at The Curve (near Anakku and MPH). For enquiries, call 03-7880 5520.


The main road between The Curve and IKANO Power Centre, Jalan PJU 7/2, will be temporarily closed until midnight tomorrow to accommodate 'Crime Awareness Day', a public event being organised by IPD Selangor. Detour signage and traffic police will be available to help redirect traffic today. For enquiries, call The Curve's Customers Care officers on 03-7710 6868.


There will be a free two-day empowerment workshop to equip you with the necessary information and knowledge to empower you as a Malaysian citizen today from 8.30am to 4.15pm and tomorrow from 10am to 5.30pm at 66 Lorong Setiabistari 1, Bukit Damansara, KL, initiated by Citizen Empowerment School (Malaysia). For enquiries, call 03-7982 7101.


Manjushri Kadampa Buddhist Centre is offering half-day courses on 'How to Meditate' today and Dec 18 (Sunday), from 10am to 1pm at MKBC, 33A-2, Block C, Zenith Corporate Park, Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Jaya, PJ (along LDP, opposite Giant, behind Shell station). These courses will have an introduction to meditation and include guided meditations and practical advice on how meditation helps us in our daily lives. Register online at, or call Chee Kin on 012-3058892 or Doreen 012-2229201 or email


PuppetShoulder Music and Danceworks is presenting a charity concert today to raise funds for a new orphanage home in Semenyih by H.E.A.R.T. Foundation at KDU University College Campus in Damansara Jaya at 5pm. Tickets are priced at RM40 and RM60. Be dazzled by a series of performance from tap dancing to jazz and ballroom by 165 students ranging from toddlers to adults. There will also be a special performance by the 'Joyful' choir from the Malaysian Association of The Blind. For enquiries, call 03-4252 2073 or 03-4252 0073.

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Marcus slogs for victory

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 04:50 AM PST

PROMISING junior golfer Marcus Lim Pang Chuen of Tentera Udara overcame a real test in extending his domination in the combined Under-Nine section of the fourth leg of the SportExcel open junior circuit at the Monterez Golf and Country Club recently.

Having emerged as the winner in the earlier three legs at the A'Famosa Golf Resort in Malacca, Monterez and Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort, Marcus did not have it easy in chalking up his fourth triumph in the series.

The nine-year-old SJKC Puay Chai pupil needed two holes of sudden-death playoff before prevailing over visitor Rachel Maswi from Singapore at the par-four 18th hole.

In the playoff, both registered a par each in the first attempt. Marcus repeated a similar par effort while Rachel blew her chance and settled for second with a double-bogey.

Marcus praised his opponent for piling up the pressure with a respectable start in the first hole playoff.

"She started off well. I was just playing the catch-up game. I was very lucky to save the situation and stayed in contention. Although it was a tight contest, I tried to focus on getting it right in the next attempt for another win," he said.

Rachel stretched the tussle for the top spot in the age-group down to the wire returning with identical score of 13-over 85 over two-round of nine holes to share the lead and force the decider.

Marcus admitted he had a poor opening round of nine-over 45 before carding an improved four-over 40 on the following day.

"I struggled with my chipping and putting on the first day," said Marcus.

Although Marcus led the charge with a narrow one stroke advantage over Rachel on the first day, Rachel levelled the score with a better second day outing of three-over 39.

Marcus is looking forward to continuing his good run featuring in the SportExcel junior golf series over the year-end school holiday.

Besides six remaining legs including the grand finals in the junior open series, there is one leg of Premier-Elite before the circuit's grand finals on the competition calendar.

Meanwhile, Aaerishna Shahshty of Royal Johor displayed his consistency to emerge as the boys' Under-12 champion with a one-under 141 (70-71) to finish ahead of Monterez's Galven Kendall Green (70-73) by two strokes while Lucas Yee of Clearwater Sanctuary Golf Resort came in third (70-75).

In contrast, it was smooth sailing for Saujana Golf and Country Club's Paul San in bagging the boys' Under-15 title.

En route to the untroubled victory, the more experienced Paul carded three-over 145 and won with a healthy 13 strokes advantage over his closest challenger and runner-up Muhammad Asyraf Azman (80-78) from Port Klang.

More than 100 junior competitors featured in six categories at the recent two-day meet.



- Under-Nine: 85 (sudden-death): Marcus Lim Pang Chuen (Tentera Udara) 45-40; 85: Rachel Maswi (MGK Singapore) 46-39; 86: Darren Tiu (Kota Permai) 41-45


- Under-12: 141: Aaerishna Shahshty (Royal Johor) 70-71; 143: Galven Kendall Green (Monterez) 70-73; 145: Lucas Yee (Clearwater) 70-75

- Under-15: 145: Paul San (Saujana) 74-71; 158: Muhammad Asyraf Azman (Port Klang) 80-78; 160: Danial Mohd Sidek (MSN Terengganu) 77-83

- Under-20: 154: Muhammad Afzal Mohd Zubir (Tentera Udara) 79-75; 155: Yong Fatt Hon (Saujana) 74-81; 160: Luvesh Surendran (Kota Permai) 79-81


- Under-12: 163: Siti Zulaikhaa Shaari (Tentera Udara) 80-83; 172: Qistina Balqis Azhar (Johor Junior) 86-86; 177: Junie Khaw Wen Jun (Tentera Udara) 90-87

- Under-15: 157: Jolene Kam Jo Ling (Kota Permai) 75-82; 166: Chong Yong (Kluang) 84-82; 167: Ong Shi Qing (Rahman Putra) 81-86

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Run creates environs awareness

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 06:53 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Around 100 people participated in the Rakan Alam Sekitar carnival, which was held recently at the Central Johor Baru Municipal Council (MPJBT) Park here.

The event was organised by the state Environmental Department in conjunction with the environmental week.

One of the participants M.Ravichandran, 46, who participated with his family, said that the program had exposed his three children 6 to 11 to green efforts.

"I brought my family to take part in the event as it also encourages us to take part in healthy activities such as running.

"My children were all excited to take part in this activity, moreover the programme was held in a park and that lifted up their spirits," said the 46-year-old executive.

Student Yusriza Yakob, 22, said that similar events should be held more often as many people were still not aware of the importance of keeping the environment clean.

"Besides that, the organizers should also add more activities that would enable participants to learn about the keeping the environment clean," she said.

She also added that there should also be more awareness about such programs so that more people could join in.

Another student Muhamad Aisamuddin Azizan, 23, said that participating in such events enabled him to mingle with more people.

"The programs allows participants to mingle with people of different races, cultures and traditions," he said adding that this would also promote the 1 Malaysia spirit among participants.

He also hoped that the program would be carried out more often and not only during the environmental week.

Meanwhile, State Energy, Water, Communication and Environment committee chairman Tan Kok Hong who officiated the carnival said that members of the community should take small steps to keeping the environment green and clean.

" Members of the public should be environmentally friendly and avoid open burning and increase the usage of public transport.

"Everyone plays a role in keeping our environment clean and green," he said hoping that the participants who took part in the programme would have gotten a better view about the importance of keeping the environment.

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RM200,000 worth of beer seized

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 03:43 PM PST

KOTA KINABALU: State Customs officers seized a shipment of contraband beer worth RM200,000 from two business premises in Tamparuli town, about 40km from here recently.

Following a tip-off, a team rushed over to the town and found 1,270 cartons of beer in the raid.

State Customs deputy director (enforcement and compliance) Hamzah Sundang said two men, in their 40s, were also detained to facilitate investigations.

He said the case will be probed under Section 135 (1) (d) of the Customs Act 1967, which carries a maximum fine of 10 times the value of the seized items or three years' jail on conviction.

Hamzah thanked the public for providing the information and urged for more such assistance in future.

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Sabah’s top tourism players to be honoured

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 03:43 PM PST

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah's top tourism players will be honoured at the seventh edition of the Sabah Tourism Awards today.

The event celebrates the industry's achievements and acknowledges outstanding individuals and organisations which have contributed towards the growth of the tourism industry in the state.

This year's theme will be reminiscent of all the glitz and glamour of this very vibrant and versatile industry.

The Sabah Tourism Awards, held biennially, was inaugurated in 1997 and is a prestigious platform that continues to inspire growth and stability in terms of economic returns.

State tourism, culture and environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun will present awards to winners in 12 categories, including Best Food Outlet, Best Night Spot, Best Tourism Article & Documentary on Sabah, Best Tourism Attraction and Best Tour Operator. – Bernama.

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