Selasa, 22 November 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Ewan McGregor joins HBO's ''The Corrections''

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 06:30 PM PST

LOS ANGELES ( Ewan McGregor has joined the cast of the HBO drama pilot ''The Corrections,'' the cable outlet confirms to TheWrap. McGregor will play Chip, the younger son of an elderly Midwestern couple trying to draw all of their children home for one last Christmas together.

The pilot, based on the Jonathan Franzen novel, is written by Noah Baumbach and Franzen and produced by Scott Rudin. In the book, Chip is a writer and academic who gets mixed up with a Lithuanian crime boss.

McGregor joins a cast that already includes Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest as the parents.

Still to be cast are the roles of their older son, a suburbanite overwhelmed by his wife and children, and their daughter, who flees her marriage only to end up in an affair with a married man.

Deadline first reported the casting.

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Still much bite in 'True Blood' Season 4

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 03:59 PM PST

Season four of True Blood is as tense and blood-tinged as ever.

TIS the season where I get annoyed with Sookie Stackhouse. Why, pray tell, is everyone so in love with her? And truly, must the world – or, at least, Bon Temps – revolve around her? As vampire Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) eloquently says in one episode, "I am over Sookie and her precious fairy vagina and her unbelievably stupid name!"

Still, my Sookie irritation aside, True Blood retains its mixture of humour and gore this season as vampires bare their fangs against fairies and witches.

When we last left Bon Temps, Sookie ran towards a mysterious light and promptly disappeared.

At the start of the fourth season, we soon discover where she ends up, but the shiny, happy place isn't so happy at all, so she makes a quick exit. However, when she returns to Bon Temps, she discovers that a year has passed when it only felt like a few minutes to her!

Since her mysterious disappearance, her friends and former beau Bill have moved on. Most, however, are not in a good place. We find out what happens to Sam, who was last seen shooting his brother, and Tara, who skipped town and is now in a relationship.

Meanwhile, the new vampire-human couple Jessica and Hoyt are having the relationship blues while Lafayette is nicely settled in his relationship with the nurse, Jesus Velasquez. And Bill? Well, he is now in high places. Eric remains incorrigible, though an encounter with a witch will quickly shake things up for our Nordic vampire.

Looks like it's another tense, blood-tinged season for True Blood. Because True Blood doesn't spend too much time getting you up to speed before throwing a big bad supernatural creature at Sookie to contend with.

The villain of the season is the seemingly mild-mannered Marnie, a Wiccan and proprietor of a shop selling potions and spells. The folks at Bon Temps think that Marnie isn't really a witch – you know, the kind that can turn you into a frog – but she does have one special power: she talks to the dead. However, one day, she meets a dead witch that actually empowers her to a point where she can perform spells.

The ghost turns out to have a vendetta against vampires, so things turn really ugly and gory quickly. (Fiona Shaw, who played Harry Potter's magic-hating muggle aunt, is able to give Marnie, a meek character, the bite of a villainess who shouldn't be trifled with).

This decision to fast forward a year to the future allows the viewer, through Sookie's eyes, to re-explore the town and to see the characters in a new light. It freshens up the story and makes things interesting as you wonder how characters ended up where they were.

However, although the script is still crackingly good (Pam has some of the best lines), the acting top notch, and its ironic sense of humour firmly in place, something is lacking in season four.

In season one and two, all the characters contributed to the main story in a significant way. This season, some of the characters have stories seperate from the main story, which result in some folks not interacting with each other.

Sam's storyline is mostly apart from the vampire-witch drama, making him rather isolated from the main storyline. And he's a character that deserves a meaty, powerful tale of his own. The tepid romance story and his brother troubles are not doing his character justice.

The same thing with Arlene and Terry's problem with her new baby.

Although enjoyable on their own, the stories don't add much to the main story – they might as well have been deleted (at least for that season) to make way for a meatier exposition of the main storyline.

And, returning to the issue of Sookie – it's the same problem I have with Charlaine Harris' books (which True Blood is based on). Sookie has become too much of a "Mary Sue", or a literary character that has idealised qualities that is often a wish-fulfillment stand-in for the writer or reader. Unless someone explains to me why hot men keep being enamoured with her (fairy pheremones, perhaps), Sookie remains the weakest link in a series as entertaining and strong as True Blood.

True Blood Season Four airs Thursday nights at 10pm on HBO (Astro Ch 411).

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Turkey tells Syria's Assad: Step down!

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 03:18 PM PST

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey bluntly told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down for the sake of his people, tightening regional pressure on Damascus while the wider world condemned Syria's violent crackdown on protests in a vote at the United Nations.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara November 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

Activists said Syrian forces killed 21 civilians and five army deserters on Tuesday. Among those killed were four children shot dead by troops near a school in the central region of Houla and a 12-year-old killed at a protest in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It was not possible to independently confirm the killings as Syrian authorities, who blame the unrest on "armed terrorist groups," have barred most independent media from the country.

The United Nations says 3,500 people have been killed since the protests erupted in March, triggered by Arab uprisings which toppled the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

"Without spilling any more blood, without causing any more injustice, for the sake of peace for the people, the country and the region, finally step down," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, in his first direct call for Assad to go.

In a further sign that Turkey was stepping up pressure on Syria, Turkish media reported that Turkeys' land commander inspected troops near the border.

"Bashar al-Assad comes out and says 'I will fight to the death'. For the love of God, who are you fighting with?" asked Erdogan. "Fighting your own people until the death is not heroism. It's cowardice. If you want to see someone who fights his people to the death, look at Nazi Germany, look at Hitler, look at Mussolini," he told his ruling AK party.

"If you cannot learn a lesson from them, look at the killed Libyan leader who turned his guns on his own people and only 32 days ago used the same expressions as you."

But, echoing the stance of Arab League foreign ministers who suspended Damascus and have threatened economic and political sanctions, he said his criticism did not mean Turkey was calling for international military action.

"We do not have eyes on any country's land, we have no desire to interfere in any country's internal affairs," Erdogan said.


Highlighting Syria's growing isolation, 122 countries voted for a resolution at the U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee condemning the government crackdown. Only 13 countries voted against and 41 abstained.

The resolution says the committee "strongly condemns the continued grave and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian authorities, such as arbitrary executions, excessive use of force and the persecution and killing of protesters and human rights defenders."

It also demands an immediate end to "arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, torture and ill treatment of detainees, including children" in Syria.

Russia and China, which vetoed a European-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution last month that would have condemned Syria and threatened possible future sanctions, abstained according to an official U.N. tally, which diplomats said could indicate a shift in their positions.

Countries that voted against the resolution included Iran, North Korea, Belarus, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Vietnam. Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said the resolution, drafted by Britain, France and Germany, had no meaning for Damascus.

"Although the draft resolution is submitted primarily from three European countries it is not a secret that the United States of America is the mastermind and main instigator of the political campaign against my country," Ja'afari said.

"This draft resolution definitely has nothing to do with human rights; it is only a part of the typically hostile policy by the United States against Syria," he said.

Ja'afari held up for delegates what he said were documents naming terrorists arrested while smuggling arms into Syria. He said the documents offered clear proof of a U.S.-led plot to topple Assad.

German Ambassador Peter Wittig said it was time to move the issue back to the 15-nation Security Council, which has been deadlocked on Syria due to Russian and Chinese opposition.

"The Security Council cannot fall behind the region," he said, referring to the Arab League suspension of Syria. "We would encourage the ... council to come back to this issue."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement that the resolution "sends a signal of united condemnation of the Syrian regime's systematic human rights abuses."

"As long as the crisis in Syria continues the international pressure on the Assad regime will only intensify," he said.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice also welcomed the committee's adoption of the resolution, which will be confirmed by a new vote in a plenary meeting of the General Assembly next month.

"By overwhelmingly adopting its first-ever resolution on Syria's human rights abuses, the ... Third Committee has sent a clear message that it does not accept abuse and death as a legitimate path to retaining power," she said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman and Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Jon Hemming)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Egypt generals promise civilian rule

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 03:02 PM PST

CAIRO (Reuters) - Under fierce pressure from street protests in which 36 people have been killed, Egypt's army chief promised to hand over to a civilian president by July and made a conditional offer for an immediate end to army rule.

A protester throws a tear gas canister, which was earlier thrown by riot police during clashes along a road which leads to the Interior Ministry, near Tahrir Square in Cairo November 22, 2011. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council that has ruled Egypt since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow on February 11, told the nation the army did not seek or want power.

"The army is ready to go back to barracks immediately if the people wish that through a popular referendum, if need be," the 76-year-old said in a surprising segment of a televised speech on Tuesday.

But demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square, braving clouds of tear gas, derided the offer, calling the referendum a stalling tactic and chanting "Leave, leave." After midnight, people were still joining the thousands occupying the area.

Looking far from confident, Tantawi said parliamentary polls would begin on time, starting this coming Monday, and that a presidential vote would take place in June, far sooner than the military's previous plans that would have kept it in power until late 2012 or early 2013.

Tantawi, trying to defuse a surge of popular anger reminiscent of the movement that toppled Mubarak, also said the council had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's cabinet, which would be replaced with a national salvation government to steer Egypt to civilian rule.

A military source said Tantawi's referendum offer would come into play "if the people reject the field marshal's speech," but did not explain how the popular mood would be assessed. Tantawi may calculate that most Egyptians, unsettled by dizzying change, do not share the young protesters' appetite for breaking from the army's familiar embrace just yet.

"He is trying to say that, despite all these people in Tahrir, they don't represent the public," said 32-year-old Rasha, one of dozens huddled around a radio in the nearby Cafe Riche, a venerable Cairo landmark. "He wants to pull the rug from under them and take it to a public referendum."

The concessions, agreed in a meeting between the army and some politicians, have been wrenched from the military by five days of protests in Tahrir Square and elsewhere, amid violence that has killed 36 people and wounded more than 1,250.


The response from some protesters was crisp and dismissive, some comparing the speech to Mubarak's final, despairing attempts to save himself by offering belated concessions.

"Not enough of course," Shadi el-Ghazali Harb, a leader of the Revolutionary Youth Coalition, told Reuters.

"The military council is fully responsible for the political failure Egypt is going through now. We demand a solution that strips the military council of all its powers immediately."

It is unclear who or what institution might carry out the functions of head of state if the council were dissolved.

Anger against the generals exploded this month after a cabinet proposal to set out constitutional principles that would permanently shield the army from civilian oversight.

The demonstrators, who again braved clouds of tear gas to occupy Tahrir Square, said the army must relinquish power now.

"We demand a full purge of the system and the removal of the military council," said Fahmy Ali, one protester in Tahrir.

Protesters earlier hanged from a lamp post an effigy of Tantawi, who was Mubarak's defence minister for two decades.

In Egypt's second city of Alexandria, hundreds of protesters marched to a military base waving their shoes in disgust at Tantawi's speech, chanting: "Where is the transfer of power?"

"Tantawi's speech is just like Mubarak's. It's just to fool us," said 27-year-old Youssef Shaaban.

Clashes between police and demonstrators angry at the speech erupted in the eastern city of Ismailia, a witness said.

Protesters also took to the streets in Nile Delta cities north of Cairo, angry at the deaths and injuries in and around Tahrir, witnesses said. About 3,000 gathered in the industrial city of Mahalla al-Kubra. Some threw petrol bombs at a police building. People also demonstrated in Tanta, and some also threw petrol bombs another police building there.

The unrest has knocked Egypt's markets. The benchmark share index has fallen 11 percent since Thursday, hitting its lowest level since March 2009. The Egyptian pound fell to its weakest against the dollar since January 2005.

The United States, which gives Egypt's military $1.3 billion (831.0 million pounds) a year in aid, called for an end to the "deplorable" violence in Egypt and said elections there must go forward.

"We are deeply concerned about the violence. The violence is deplorable. We call on all sides to exercise restraint," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.


The Muslim Brotherhood, which anticipates a strong showing in the election, was among five parties at the crisis talks with the military council. Three presidential candidates were also there. Others, including Mohamed ElBaradei, stayed away.

"The revolutionary youth are not holding dialogue with the military council. The dialogue is going on in Tahrir Square, not behind closed doors with the generals," said Khaled Mardeya, a spokesman for the January 25 Revolution Coalition.

Beyond Cairo, violence has accompanied protests in some big cities but nationwide demonstrations against army rule have yet to match the vast numbers that turned out to topple Mubarak.

In Tahrir, activists tried to control access to the square. Volunteers on motorbikes ferried casualties from clashes with security forces firing tear gas near the Interior Ministry.

The mood among protesters was determined. "The real revolution begins from today," said Taymour Abu Ezz, 58. "Nobody will leave until the military council leaves power."

Political uncertainty has gripped Egypt since Mubarak's fall, while sectarian clashes, labour unrest, gas pipeline sabotage and a gaping absence of tourists have paralysed the economy and prompted a widespread yearning for stability.

Several banks in central Cairo were closed on Tuesday as a precaution against looting, the state news agency said.

In a stinging verdict on nine months of army control, rights group Amnesty International accused the military council of brutality sometimes exceeding that of Mubarak.

It said the military had made only empty promises to improve human rights. Military courts had tried thousands of civilians and emergency law had been extended. Torture had continued in army custody. Consistent reports spoke of security forces employing armed "thugs" to attack protesters.

(Reporting by Peter Apps in London, Marwa Awad, Omar Fahmy, Dina Zayed, Shaimaa Fayed, Tom Perry, Tamim Elyan, Patrick Werr and Edmund Blair in Cairo, Abdel Rahman Youssef in Alexandria and Yusri Mohamed in Ismailia; Writing by Alistair Lyon in Cairo; Editing by Alastair Macdonald in Cairo)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Libya's NTC unveils new government

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:31 PM PST

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) named a new government Tuesday with a line-up that dropped several seasoned officials in favour of appointees who will soothe rivalries between regional factions.

Incoming Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib speaks at a news conference about the capture of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in Zintan November 19, 2011. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

On a visit to Tripoli, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor conceded that the captured son of Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam, may be tried in Libya rather than in The Hague, meaning he faces the death penalty if convicted.

The NTC faced the tricky task of forming a government which would reconcile regional and ideological interests whose rivalry threatens to upset the country's fragile stability, three months after the end of Gaddafi's 42-year rule.

"All of Libya is represented," Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib told a news conference as he unveiled the line-up. "It is hard to say that any area is not represented."

Western countries, which backed the revolt against Gaddafi and have a big stake in seeing his replacements succeed, welcomed the new government, saying it would guide the oil exporting country towards democracy.

The NTC's choices to fill ministerial posts appeared to have put regional affiliation ahead of experience or a track record.

Foreign diplomats had been expecting the foreign minister's job to go to Libya's deputy envoy to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi.

A respected diplomat, he had rallied other Libyan officials to turn against Gaddafi soon after the revolt erupted against his rule.

Instead, the job was given to Ashour Bin Hayal, a little-known diplomat from the eastern city of Derna, a long-standing anti-Gaddafi stronghold.

"Until the prime minister made his announcement, every diplomat in Tripoli was expecting Dabbashi as foreign minister. It's a big surprise," said one diplomat. "We don't know him (Bin Hayal) at all. We are trying to find out where he is."

Ali Tarhouni, a U.S. academic who returned from exile to manage the oil and finance portfolios in the rebellion against Gaddafi, had no role in the new government.

Hassan Ziglam, an oil industry executive, was named as finance minister, and Abdulrahman Ben Yezza, a former executive with Italian oil major ENI, was made oil minister.

The new cabinet will include as defence minister Osama Al-Juwali, commander of the military council in the town of Zintan.

Juwali appeared to have staked his claim to the job after his forces captured Saif al-Islam at the weekend and flew him to their hometown, instead of transferring him to the capital.

A spokeswoman for the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said after the Cabinet was named that the EU was "confident that the interim leadership now in place will enable the country to embark on the political transition ahead."

In a symbolic step for Libya, a deeply conservative Muslim society, the cabinet included two women, heading the ministries of health and social affairs. El-Keib said those appointments showed women enjoyed more equality than ever before.

Absent from any strategic jobs in the government were the Islamists who were persecuted under Gaddafi but have been gaining in power since his downfall. Their rise has worried secularist Libyans, and some neighbouring countries.


A month after Muammar Gaddafi was captured and killed, Libya is wrestling with the task of building new institutions out of the wreckage of his one-man rule, when corruption was rampant and state institutions were left to decay.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the last of the former Libyan leader's sons whose whereabouts were still unknown, was captured Saturday in an ambush deep in the Sahara desert.

An NTC official called his arrest "the last chapter in the Libyan drama."

The Hague-based ICC has indicted Saif al-Islam for crimes against humanity, but chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said on a visit to Tripoli that Saif al-Islam could be tried inside Libya as long as the trial complies with ICC standards.

"Saif is captured so we are here to ensure cooperation. Now in May, we requested an arrest warrant because Libyans could not do justice in Libya. Now as Libyans are decided to do justice, they could do justice and we'll help them to do it, so that is the system," he told reporters on his arrival in Tripoli.

"Our International Criminal Court acts when the national system cannot act. They have decided to do it and that is why we are here to learn and to understand what they are doing and to cooperate."

Libyan officials have promised a fair trial but the country still has the death penalty on its books, whereas the severest punishment the ICC can impose is life imprisonment.

"The law says the primacy is for the national system. If they prosecute the case here, we will discuss with them how to inform the judges and they can do it. But our judges have to be involved," said Moreno-Ocampo.

An official in Zintan told Reuters steps were already underway for Saif al-Islam's prosecution. "A Libyan prosecutor met with Saif (on Monday) to conduct a preliminary investigation," said Ahmed Ammar.

(Additional reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in Tripoli, Alastair Macdonald in Cairo, and Oliver Holmes in Zintan; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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US third-quarter growth cut on weak inventories

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:06 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy grew more slowly than previously estimated in the third quarter, but a drawing down of stocks held by companies and firm consumer spending suggested output would pick up in late 2011.

Gross domestic product grew at a 2.0 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, the Commerce Department said in its second estimate on Tuesday, down from the previously reported 2.5 percent.

While the pace of growth was weaker than economists had expected, the composition of the report, particularly still-firm consumer spending and the first drop in businesses inventories in nearly two years, set the stage for a stronger performance in the final months of the year.

A deterioration in consumer sentiment likely had led businesses to anticipate weaker demand. With consumer spending showing resilience, analysts said they will now have to rebuild inventories, keeping factories busy.

"The mix or composition of growth improved. Inventory investment was lower so firms are more likely to produce more goods going forward. And exports rose," said Cary Leahey, a senior economist at Decision Economics in New York.

"So while you lost a half-percentage point in the revision to third-quarter growth, you might easily get it back in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next."

Data so far suggest the fourth-quarter growth pace could exceed 3 percent, which would be the fastest in 18 months.

U.S. stocks closed down for a fifth straight day as borrowing costs in Spain scaled another record high, underscoring the magnitude of the euro zone debt crisis.

Prices for long-dated U.S. Treasury debt rallied, while the dollar was little changed against a basket of currencies.


Despite the downward revision, last quarter's growth is still a step up from the April-June period's 1.3 percent pace.

The government revised third-quarter output to account for an $8.5 billion drop in business inventories, the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2009.

The drop in inventories lopped off 1.55 percentage points from GDP growth, which was partly offset by strong exports.

Excluding inventories, the economy grew at an unrevised brisk 3.6 percent pace after expanding 1.6 percent in the second quarter.

Consumer spending was taken down a notch to a 2.3 percent growth pace from 2.4 percent, but remained the quickest pace since the fourth quarter of 2010.

But weak income growth could crimp spending going forward. Taking inflation into account, disposable income fell at a steeper 2.1 percent rate instead of 1.7 percent, the report showed. It had declined 0.5 percent in the prior three months.

The failure of a congressional "super committee" to agree on a deficit reduction package of at least $1.2 trillion also clouds the outlook. It is less clear now that Congress will extend a payroll tax cut and emergency unemployment benefits due to expire next month.

That potential fiscal drag, together with the festering European debt crisis, could undermine growth early next year and prompt further monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Minutes of the U.S. central bank's November 1-2 policy meeting published on Tuesday showed a few Fed officials believed the outlook for modest growth might warrant more policy easing.

"The complete failure of Washington to make any meaningful changes to spending or taxes could further harm confidence of both consumers and businesses," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.

"So we could get a really good fourth-quarter growth rate but much more modest gains in 2012, and that will weigh on investors and keep the Fed pushing as hard as it can, even if it is a string that it is pushing."


Part of the pick-up in output during the last quarter reflected a reversal of factors that held back growth earlier in the year.

A jump in gasoline prices had weighed on spending in the first half of the year, and supply disruptions from Japan's big earthquake and tsunami in March had curbed auto production.

Business investment was revised down to a 14.8 percent rate from 16.3 percent as estimates for investment in nonresidential structures and outlays on equipment and software were lowered.

The department also said after-tax corporate profits increased at a 3.0 percent rate after rising 4.3 percent in the second quarter.

Exports grew at a stronger 4.3 percent rate instead of 4.0 percent, while imports rose at a much slower 0.5 percent rate rather than 1.9 percent.

Elsewhere, there were revisions to show modest residential construction growth and weak government spending.

The GDP report also showed inflation pressure subsiding, with a price index for personal spending rising at a 2.3 percent rate, instead of 2.4 percent. That compared to a 3.3 percent rate in the second quarter.

A core inflation measure, which strips out food and energy costs, rose at a 2.0 percent rate rather than 2.1 percent. The measure -- closely watched by the Federal Reserve -- grew at a 2.3 percent rate in the prior three months.

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Merck to pay US$950MIL to settleVioxx charge

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:03 PM PST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merck & Co will pay roughly $950 million to settle criminal and civil charges that it promoted the painkiller Vioxx for an unapproved use, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.

The fine will conclude a long-running investigation into Merck's promotion of its one-time blockbuster drug, which was withdrawn from the market in September 2004 after being linked to heart risks.

The Justice Department alleged that Merck promoted the drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis before it had been approved for that condition by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The case is one of the largest settlements by a major pharmaceutical company over marketing drugs in the United States for uses that have not been approved by the FDA, known as off-label promotion.

"We will not hesitate to pursue those who skirt the proper drug approval process and make misleading statements about the safety and efficacy of their products," said Tony West, the Justice Department's assistant attorney general for the civil division, in a statement.

Merck pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge and will pay a $321.6 million criminal fine for introducing the misbranded drug Vioxx into interstate commerce.

It also agreed to pay an additional $628.4 million civil settlement to resolve additional allegations regarding its off-label marketing of Vioxx and alleged false statements about the pill's heart safety. The U.S. government will recover $426 million of that amount, while the remainder will go to the states in the lawsuit.


The Justice Department said Merck also agreed to a corporate integrity agreement to strengthen oversight over its marketing. Merck said the settlement does not mean it admits liability or wrongdoing.

"We believe that Merck acted responsibly and in good faith in connection with the conduct at issue in these civil settlement agreements, including activities concerning the safety profile of Vioxx," said Bruce Kuhlik, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck, in a statement.

The large American drugmaker had already told investors in October 2010 it was taking a $950 million charge related to the U.S. government probe.

The civil settlement agreement is signed with the United States and individually with 43 states and the District of Columbia, but previously disclosed litigation with seven states is still unresolved, Merck said.

States have said the company misled regulators about the dangers associated with Vioxx, which has been linked in lawsuits to increasing users' risk of heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular side effects.

In 2007, Merck also agreed to pay $4.85 billion to settle lawsuits filed by thousands of former Vioxx users, who alleged the pill caused heart attacks.

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JP Morgan to buy MF Global stake in LME

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:00 PM PST

LONDON (Reuters) - J.P. Morgan will soon announce it has bought a 4.7 percent stake in the London Metal Exchange (LME) from defunct U.S. brokerage MF Global, two people familiar with the situation said, making it the exchange's largest shareholder.

The U.S. investment bank would pay 25 million ($39.1 million) pounds for the stake in the world's largest metal market, the sources said, implying a total value of around 530 million pounds for the operator.

An announcement could come as early as this week.

The sale to J.P. Morgan could shift the odds in the takeover battle for the LME, one of the few exchanges to still operate an open outcry ring, which has thrown its doors open to a potential 1 billion pound takeover.

The LME would open its books to potential bidders by December 8, a spokesperson for the exchange had said earlier. But a source close to the LME later said this now seemed ambitious, and that the date could be pushed back.

J.P. Morgan, which already holds a 6.2 percent in the LME, declined to comment. The LME also declined to comment, as did KPMG, the administrators for MF Global's UK unit.

Goldman Sachs is also a large shareholder in the LME. Two likely contenders for the 1877-founded group are the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the IntercontinentalExchange energy market, both U.S. groups.

J.P. Morgan would separately also buy the B-shares held by MF Global for 2 million pounds, one of the sources said.

These shares give the holder the right to trade on the LME and can be sold separately to other members of the exchange. J.P. Morgan is already holding B-shares, and it was unclear what would happen to the new shares it would now acquire.

Industry sources told Reuters last Wednesday that MF Global's ring dealing seat on the LME will be bought by U.S.-based broker INTL FCStone.

Selling the stake would be a boost for creditors of futures brokerage MF Global, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, and for its clients, some of whom have seen their positions frozen ever since.

The shortfall of customer funds at MF Global may be around $1.2 billion, about double initial estimates from regulators, the trustee liquidating the company said on Monday.

Regulators are investigating what happened to the money and whether MF Global may have improperly mixed customer money with its own -- a major violation of industry rules. No charges have been filed.

($1 = 0.6400 British pounds)

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The Star Online: Sports

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Boxing: Margarito cleared for NY rematch against Cotto

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:17 PM PST

Nov 22 (Reuters) - The eagerly-awaited rematch between Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico and Mexico's Antonio Margarito will go ahead as planned in New York next month after officials finally gave the go ahead for the world title fight to proceed.

The super welterwight bout, scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3, was in doubt after the New York State Athletic Commission raised questions about the health of Margarito, who suffered a serious eye injury that required surgery in his loss to Manny Pacquiao last year.

The Commission rejected Margarito's initial application to fight Cotto but agreed to let him undergo further medical examinations by an eye specialist of their choice.

On Tuesday, the Commission reviewed their decision and agreed to grant a boxing license to the Mexican.

Had the Commission refused to let the fight proceed, the promoters were considering moving it to another American state although Cotto caught them by surprise when he told reporters he wasn't going anywhere else.

"I'm not going to present myself in any other state," Cotto, the WBA super welterweight champion, said on a conference call.

"If the people from the New York commission said that Margarito is not able to fight because of his eye, then (everybody) has to respect that and any commission in the U.S. has to respect that."

Margarito, 33, defeated Cotto in their first meeting in 2008 with an 11th round knockout.

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Nadal not ready to say goodbye despite thrashing

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 03:48 PM PST

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - An hour after one of the worst beatings of his career Rafa Nadal refused to be too downhearted on Tuesday and said he was still in contention at the ATP World Tour Finals.

The Spaniard was thrashed 6-3 6-0 by great rival Roger Federer in exactly an hour and now faces a do-or-die tussle with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of a tournament he has never won.

"I have to accept it, congratulate him because he played really well," Nadal, who had won 17 of their previous 25 encounters but was comprehensively outplayed on this occasion, told reporters.

"It's not the moment to say goodbye. It's not the moment to go down. It's the moment to keep fighting. I'm still in the tournament. I still have the chance to be in the semi-finals because if I win the next match I will be in semi-finals.

"So it's the moment to keep fighting with a positive attitude and it's the moment to accept when Roger plays like this he is better than me, and that's it."

Nadal stayed with Federer for five games but once he lost the best point of the match to go down 4-2 in the first set he was blown off court by the Swiss maestro who had never had it so easy against his Mallorcan nemesis.

"I tried my best. I try my best always, no?" added Nadal, who has not won a title since claiming the French Open for a sixth time in June. "But today I didn't play bad first set.

"It's funny, but I didn't play really bad. He didn't have one mistake during all the match or two mistakes during all the match. He was playing too aggressive. I tried my best. But it seems it wasn't enough tonight."

Curiously Nadal, who had not played a match since Shanghai in October before his win over Mardy Fish on Sunday, said he had been 100 percent fit against Federer, before suggesting a shoulder problem had stopped him practising on Monday.

"I had to work a lot yesterday on the recovery on the shoulder. Seriously yesterday I didn't know if I was going to be ready to play today," he said.

"It didn't affect my match today because I felt perfect today. At the same time, for me it's a positive day today because I played without problems and I can still play and continue in the tournament and I can still have chance."

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Sublime Federer thrashes Nadal in London

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:58 PM PST

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Holder Roger Federer produced an hour of sublime quality to crush Rafa Nadal 6-3 6-0 at the ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday and clinch a place in the last four with a match to spare.

The 17,500-capacity crowd crammed into the O2 would have expected something longer from the eagerly anticipated 26th clash of the great rivals but the 60 minutes of magic Federer served up will live long in their memories.

Firing winners to all corners of the court, the Swiss 16-times grand slam champion was simply unstoppable as he recorded his most emphatic victory against the man who had beaten him in 17 of their previous encounters.

"This win ranks high because it's against my biggest rival, probably," Federer told reporters. "It was a great match for me from start to finish.

I've felt the power of Rafa in the past, so this is a great match for me, a nice win."

World number two Nadal now faces a win or bust clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday in his final Group B match after the dangerous Frenchman Tsonga produced fireworks of his own to beat American Mardy Fish 7-6 6-1 and stay in contention.

Federer's dazzling display softened the blow for the home crowd and organisers after Andy Murray withdrew from the blue-riband tournament when his superb season was cut short by a groin injury.

Murray, the world number three, announced that he was pulling out after aggravating the injury during his opening Group A defeat against Spain's David Ferrer on Monday.

Serbia's world number nine Janko Tipsarevic, the on-site alternate, will take Murray's place for the remaining matches in Group A and will get to play his compatriot Novak Djokovic.

There was something of a novelty value about that match as it was the first time the two dominant players of the last decade had met with neither at number one in the ATP rankings and the first time they had met in a round-robin match. GLUM MURRAY

Federer trailed 17-8 in their head to head record but had won all three previous meetings indoors, including last year's final at the O2, and once again the court proved perfect for his game as winners flowed from his strings like liquid gold.

There was no real hint of what was to come as the first five games went with serve, although the pace and precision of Federer's groundstrokes was ominous for Nadal. Federer, who is bidding for a record sixth title at the tournament in three different cities, took charge in the sixth game when he won a sensational 33-shot rally on break point to lead 4-2 and from that moment on never looked back.

He needed just 32 minutes to seal the first set and, try as he might, Nadal was powerless in the face of the onslaught as Federer swept to a victory every bit as ruthless as Nadal's thrashing of the Swiss in the 2008 Roland Garros final when he offered up just four games in three sets. "We've played so many times, sometimes it just derails for you, like it derailed for Rafa today and it did for me at the French Open," Federer said, offering some sympathy for the Mallorcan. "You know what good front-runners, the top guys are. Once you start rolling, it's hard to stop the player.

"Next thing you know, you're facing a debacle."

Nadal, winner of 10 majors but never the season-ending title, can still redeem himself although Tsonga will fancy his chances after a convincing display against weary debutant Fish who can no longer reach the semis.

Fish fought hard to get back into the opening set, breaking Tsonga when the powerful Frenchman served at 5-4, but the tiebreak proved crucial.

Tsonga, sporting a pair of bright red tennis shoes, took it and despite dropping serve immediately in the second set he then reeled off the next six games in swashbuckling fashion.

Federer still tipped Nadal to progress, however.

"You can never count out Rafa," he said of the match which has now become a tradtional knockout. "It's an open match to a degree but I still favour Rafa because of who he is."

Murray can only rest and start preparing for next season after a long season in which he reached the semi-finals of all four grand slams and won five titles finally caught up with him.

""It was one of those things where you kind of hope that things are going to get better, but the reality was that wasn't ever going to happen," a glum-looking Murray told reporters.

"Yesterday I was really unhappy on the court. I wasn't enjoying it at all. I couldn't give anywhere near my best."

World number one Djokovic seeks his second Group A victory on Wednesday against Ferrer, while Tomas Berdych, who lost a tight three-setter to Berdych on Monday, faces Tipsarevic who will be making his debut in the elite event.

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Keira Knightley details her hysteria in 'Dangerous Method'

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 05:19 AM PST

NEW YORK: In director David Cronenberg's new film about Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and the birth of psychoanalysis, "A Dangerous Method", Keira Knightley plays Jung's formerly hysterical patient and lover Sabina Spielrein.

The movie debuts in U.S. theaters on Wednesday, and Knightley told Reuters back in September at the Toronto film festival that she initially turned down the role due to its spanking sex scenes opposite actor Michael Fassbender, who portrays Jung.

But the 26-year-old British actress said the promise of such a dream role and working with Cronenberg, Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen (who portrays Freud) was too enticing to walk away. It also helped that Cronenberg promised the spanking scenes would be clinical, not "sexy."

Q. Before the movie, what did you know of psychoanalysis?

A. "Absolutely nothing. I mean I had obviously heard of Freud and Jung, and I knew vaguely that it was all meant to be based on sexuality and that your parents came into it somewhere. But apart from that, I really didn't know anything. So it was a question of starting from scratch."

Q. You've said you read "a stack of books."

A: "A Jung biography. And then 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' and the letters between Freud and Jung. It was Nietzsche, a little bit of papers by Freud, papers by Jung and then I found a book called 'Sabina Spielrein: A Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis.' That was Jung's notes on Sabina and then her dissertations and several papers, essays about her and then diary entries. So it was quite a stack."

Q. Did you ever think about studying psychology?

A. "No ... there are a lot of parallels in acting. You are trying to understand the world from a different point of view without judging it. Looking at it from a psychological point of view is something you do naturally as an actor anyway."

Q. Your depiction of hysteria in the film has drawn mixed criticism. How did you come up with say, your jaw movement?

A. "That's the tricky thing, when you are reading a script that says, 'has a hysterical fit, ravished by tics'. And you go, 'OK, what does that mean? And what do you mean a tic?' So really, a lot of the reading was based on trying to get descriptions of tics and trying to understand what that was.

"I wanted it to be shocking, because what was going on internally (for Sabina) was shocking. I just thought, I wanted to reflect that externally as much as possible, so I literally sat in my bathroom pulling faces at myself until I came up with this jaw thing. And I thought, 'Well that looks vaguely demonic,' and then I got on Skype with David (Cronenberg) and I had about two or three ideas and he went, 'That one.'

Q. Is this your most difficult character yet?

A. "As far as a role, every actor wants a role like this. It sounds perverse to say it's fun, but it's so interesting. Trying to understand that, to get into that point of view. Particularly if it's a filmmaker like David Cronenberg. I would have had serious reservations playing an hysteric with a director whose work I didn't admire as much has him."

Q. Every actor says sex scenes can be difficult. These seemed particularly so. Would you agree?

A. "They are always difficult and they are always exposed. This one was, sort of, something quite different...There were these two scenes, and I didn't know that I could do those two scenes. In the age of Internet and all the rest of it, I didn't know that that is what I want particularly to be out there.

"I phoned him up initially to turn it down because I thought they were incredibly important for the piece. So it wasn't a question of trying to negotiate them out of the film because I thought they were very necessary for the film. But I just thought, 'I don't think I can do that.'

"So, I phoned up David and said, 'I love you, I love your work, but I really don't think that I want to do this.' And he said, 'Well it would be a tragedy if you turned the role down because of that, so if necessary we can take them out.' And I said, 'No, because I understand why they are there'. He said, 'Well look, I don't want it to be sexy, and I don't want it to be voyeuristic. I want it to be clinical.'

"We talked for quite a long time about exactly what it was and trying to understand it psychologically. Once we discussed, I said 'Alright, fine, as long as it is not sexy. That brutal horrible aspect is kept, and it isn't a sexy spanking scene.'"

Q. Do you ever look back to learn from any performances?

A. "I don't watch any of them. I haven't seen 'Bend It Like Beckham' in nine years. It's all a learning curve. There are going to be good performances and there are going to be bad performances. There are going to be experiences where you click with people and experiences where you don't. There are performances that I know just from having been there where I haven't done well, just because I couldn't, for one reason or another. And then there are performances that I know on the day, actually that was pretty good."

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Recognition and respect for Syamsul Yusof

Posted: 21 Nov 2011 03:48 PM PST

The 24th Malaysian Film Festival saw filmmaker Syamsul Yusof coming into his own with major accolades.

Syamsul Yusof's film KL Gangster garnered a total of five awards at the 24th Malaysian Film Festival, including Best Director and Best Screenplay. But the son of legendary actor/director Yusof Haslam was most touched when his father hugged him and said five little words before Syamsul stepped onto the stage at Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) in Putrajaya last Sunday to receive the coveted Best Director award.

"My dad is the No.1 critic of my work. And that is why I need to keep pushing myself, to better myself and be the best. That's his way of showing he is proud – by challenging me. Tonight, he finally said to me 'I am proud of you.' Thank God I am not crying again, I don't think I have any tears left," said Syamsul at a post-party, while holding on tightly to his trophies (he shares another with Hisham Jupri in the Best Film Editing category).

KL Gangster revolves around two brothers – one is trying to put his violent ways aside to be a good man only to have society judging him and the other still enamoured with the life of a gangster. The film, which also stars Ridzuan Hashim and Shofi Jikan, was certified as the biggest box office film of the year with RM11.6mil in takings. It was shown at 81 cinemas nationwide.

"I am thankful the film's theme struck a chord with the audience and the jury. I believe you shouldn't judge a film just because it talks about gangsters. (In Hollywood), films that explore subjects like the Mafia in The Godfather or homosexuality in Brokeback Mountain have won many awards. If anything, I hope tonight's win will open people's mind on this topic," added Syamsul, who won the Best Director award at last year's film festival for Evolusi KL Drift 2.

Shofi, who plays a gangster in the film, received the Best Supporting Actor award for his role. Shofi, son of a soldier, also knows a thing or two about the rough life on the streets.

With a smile, he explained: "I lived this life growing up in Kampung Kayu Ara (in Selangor) where fights and violence are the norm. So research was basically reflecting on my past life."

His performance was especially lauded because of the energy he lent his character.

"For me, being active in sports is something that comes first, even before acting. For every new role – no matter how small or boring – I owe it to myself to make it challenging and exciting."

The other big winner of the night was the epic Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa, which also received five awards out of the 14 main categories, including Best Film. Prior to the Sunday night event – dubbed as the Gemilang Perdana night – Mahawangsa garnered three wins at the pre-awards Gemilang Cipta night held on Nov 16, which brings a total of eight awards for the film directed by Yusry Abdul Halim and produced by KRU Studios. Most of the wins for Mahawangsa came from the technical side of filmmaking – Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design, Best Music (song) and Best Poster and Best Cinematography. Norman Abdul Halim, the producer of the film, said: "The wins tonight will only spur us to do better in the future in the other categories like acting."

The night had its heavyweight touch when the legendary Tan Sri Dr Jins Shamsudin became the first recipient of the newly created award, Lifelong Achievement Award.

In a video clip before the veteran went on stage to receive the award, the actor revealed he went into acting all those years ago after his friend challenged him. One of his first roles was in the film Sarjan Hassan back in 1955. In the 1960s, he brought to life the Malaysian version of James Bond with the super agent Jefri Zain with three hit films.

He continued to be successful taking on the role of a director, having made classics like Esok Masih Ada, Bukit Kepong and Ali Setan, and is one of the few people to have directed Tan Sri P. Ramlee (Bukan Salah Ibu Mengandong).

The 76-year-old remains active in the film industry – although he has tapered down acting gigs – he recently served as the president for Finas (National Film Development Corporation Malaysia). It is unfortunate, however, that the organiser didn't see fit for the legend to say a word or two when he was given the award on stage.

The festival also awarded Datuk Michelle Yeoh with the Excellent Achievement Award. She is currently busy promoting the film The Lady, which sees her portraying Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate.

Although unable to attend the event, Yeoh said thank you via a recorded audio message from Paris, France, where she is based.

She said, "I have been to many film festivals but Malaysia is the best for me because it's where I was born and raised."

She ended the message by promising to return to Malaysia next year.

Meanwhile, Shaheizy Sam received the Best Actor award for his role in the comedy Kongsi. Last year, he won Best Supporting Actor for Evolusi KL Drift 2.

"I take winning awards as a bonus because I give my all in every role I play," said the 29-year-old who has been acting since age 12.

As for the Best Actress award, it went to Siti Shahreza or better known as Eja. This is the second win for Eja this year for her role in the film Janin – she received the Best Actress title in the Anugerah Skrin 2011. This also puts her in the same league as other actresses who have won two consecutive awards including Erra Fazira and Umie Aida.

The soft-spoken actress who was obviously ecstatic with the win said: "All my hard work and patience over the years have been worth it. I've always believed in myself, and have poured my heart and soul into every role I play."

Winner's list for the 24th Malaysian Film Festival

Best Film: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
Best Director: Syamsul Yusof, KL Gangster
Best Actor: Shaheizy Sam, Kongsi
Best Actress: Eja, Janin
Best Supporting Actor: Shofi Jikan, KL Gangster
Best Supporting Actress: Faezah Elai, Cun!
Best Child Actor: Mia Sara, Sekali Lagi
Most Promising Actor: Taiyuddin Bakar, Hantu Bonceng
Most Promising Actress: Nadia Nisaa
Most Promising Director: Jurey Latiff Rosli, Libas
Best Art Direction: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
Best Cinematography: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
Best Screenplay: KL Gangster
Best Story: Libas
Best Sound Editing: KL Gangster
Best Film Editing: KL Gangster
Best Costume Design: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
Best Music, Original Score: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
Best Music, Original Song: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
Best Visual Effects: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
Best Poster: Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa
Best Short Film: The Other One
Best Animated Feature: Altitude Alto
Best Non-Malay Film: Great Day

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Sister: Yasmin made movies to cheer parents up

Posted: 19 Nov 2011 06:42 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The late Yasmin Ahmad made films to make her parents happy, her sister said.

"She made Rabun to cheer our dad when he had acute diabetes in 2002.

"Later, when mum had to undergo surgery to treat her enlarged heart, Yasmin made Sepet to make her happy," said Datin Orked Ahmad, when accepting an award for the film Muallaf on behalf of her late sister at the 1Malaysia Cultural Award at the KL Convention Centre here yesterday.

It was the filmmaker's last movie to be screened before she died from brain haemorrhage in 2009. She was 51.

A tearful Orked added: "Our parents were supposed to come today, but this morning mum broke down and couldn't bring herself to attend the ceremony."

Organisers of the MCA-initiated awards, the first of its kind to recognise Malaysian artistes in promoting racial unity through their works, received 28 entries for the Chinese category and five entries under the non-Chinese category.

Music professor Prof Shen Ping Kwang took home the top award for his musical ensemble Proudly We Sing Our Songs - I Love Malaysia in the Chinese category.

The 91-year-old from Sabah thanked his conductor for sending in his work to compete for the award.

The winners received RM50,000 each while two nominees from each category, chosen by a panel of nine judges, received RM1,000 and a certificate each. MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek presented the awards.

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13 held in Sabah planned to assassinate an assemblyman

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:50 PM PST

Wednesday November 23, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: The 13 suspected Darul Islam terrorists detained in Tawau last week were part of a group that is believed to have plotted to assassinate a local assemblyman.

Counter-terrorism sources said that they were also planning to hold a police officer hostage to secure the release of their comrades.

According to them, the group had attended guerilla warfare training in Sulawesi, Indonesia, and were also taught to make bombs.

Their group leader Abdullah Omar was arrested in Indonesia in July.

"This group first surfaced in 2006 and wanted to murder an assemblyman but counter-terrorism officers thwarted its plans," one source said.

  • Full story in The Star today.

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The Rocket Man woos 6,000 in Genting

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:44 PM PST

GENTING HIGHLANDS: There's a first time for everything, and last night at Genting's Arena of Stars, more than 6,000 concert goers were entertained by the Rocket Man himself right here on Malaysian soil for the first time ever.

Despite some initial protests prior to his arrival in the country against the 64-year-old superstar musician performing here because of his gay marriage (he is married to David Furnish, with whom he has an 11-month-old son Zachary), Sir Elton John was ever the entertainer on stage, and worked the crowd non-stop with some of his most loved hits, in a three-hour show billed the "Greatest Hits Tour".

During the concert, Elton John performed a slew of his greatest hits, including heartfelt ballads Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me and Candle In The Wind, as well as the more upbeat numbers Bennie and the Jets and Crocodile Rock.

Midway through his performance, John also performed three songs from his latest album The Union, which was recorded together with American musician and songwriter Leon Russell last year.

Joining Elton John on stage were his long-time band members Davey Johnstone, Nigel Olsson, Bob Birch, Kim Bullard and John Mahon, and featuring Rose Stone of Sly And The Family Stone fame, Lisa Stone, Tata Vega and Jean Witherspoon on backing vocals.

A neat opening act was the Croatian contemporary classical cello duo 2Cellos, who played Smells Like Teen Spirit and Smooth Criminal.

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PAS Youth busy with polls, so Elton John spared

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Datin out on a stroll mauled by Rottweiler

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 02:38 PM PST

A WOMAN sustained multiple injuries after she was attacked by a Rottweiler in Seremban, reported China Press.

The 62-year-old, a Datin, suffered deep gashes on her right calf and shoulders and is currently warded at a private hospital.

She was taking a stroll around her neighbourhood at about 7pm on Friday when the dog attacked her.

She sustained injuries on her back, hips and hands.

"The dog was about to reach for her neck when a passing motorist managed to chase it away. I dread what would have happened if the dog had bitten her in the neck," said her 39-year-old son.

He added that his mother was in stable condition but still traumatised.

An enforcement team from the Seremban Municipal Council has caught the dog.

> The daily also reported that a woman in Cheras alleged that her husband tied her neck to a spinning ceiling fan with her scarf for refusing to divorce him.

The woman, in her 30s, also claimed the torture lasted about 15 minutes, adding that she also had her cheek burnt with an iron.

It all started when the woman questioned her husband who sought a divorce in the wee hours on Monday.

She managed to flee the house after the scarf was ripped off.

She immediately sought help from a relative before lodging a police report.

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