Rabu, 23 November 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Death becomes him

Posted: 24 Nov 2011 02:59 AM PST

In the wake of the passing of Dr Death, You Don't Know Jack brings the subject of voluntary euthanasia back to life.

TWO decades ago, Dr Jack Kevorkian astonished the world as he took the end of life debate head-on with his "Mercy Machine" and performed his first assisted suicide.

In You Don't Know Jack, the true story of Kervokian's struggle is broached. The movie offers a rare look at the doctor (often dubbed by the media as "Dr Death", "Jack the Dripper" and "The Avon Lady from Hell"), the man behind the sensational headlines, starting with his initial foray into patient consultations and the media frenzy that ensued.

One of the most polarising figures in modern American history, Kevorkian and his allies – sister Margo, friend and medical supplier Neal Nicol, Hemlock Society activist Janet Good, and defense attorney Geoffrey Fieger dedicated themselves to a cause fraught with legal and ethical hurdles. The movie begins in 1989 as the 61-year-old former pathologist Kevorkian launches his crusade to provide what he considers to be a humane and dignified option for the terminally ill – assisted suicide. Kevorkian begins offering "death counselling" services to a grateful and burgeoning clientele but the wrath of the county prosecutor's office.

Enter the talented and flamboyant attorney Geoffrey Fieger who agrees to represent Kevorkian in court at no charge, and Kevorkian is repeatedly exonerated, despite the impassioned efforts of his detractors.

As the media catapults him to the forefront of national news coverage, Kevorkian continues his work, helping 130 patients end their lives.

Starring Oscar-winner Al Pacino as the late Dr Kevorkian in this film (Kevorkian died in June this year) by Oscar-winner Barry Levinson (Rain Man), You Don't Know Jack is the story of one man's obsession with challenging the rules by which we all live and die – and his stubborn insistence on breaking the law to do so.

The 2010 film also stars Oscar-winner Susan Sarandon, Danny Huston, Emmy winners Brenda Vaccaro and John Goodman.

Here, 71-year-old Pacino – whom the Internet movie database calls one of the greatest actors in all of film history – shares his thoughts about this HBO original movie, and about taking on the controversial role.

You get to pick and choose your projects. What was the biggest draw to this one?

I read the script and it was so interesting. Very rarely do you find something that makes you say: 'I want to play this.' It had a good script, a solid story, and yet, the character was elusive and different for me. I've never played anyone like this, and I knew that it would have to be an extreme character. I thought it was interesting to try to find a way to express what it is to be a true zealot. The way I believe Jack is. He's the real thing. And of course it had Barry Levinson as the director.

The film is called, You Don't Know Jack. What did you learn about Dr Kevorkian?

I didn't know that he was as committed as he was. I didn't know that he was as humorous and intelligent as he was. And I didn't know how creative and interesting a person he was. Painting, writing, music – even teaching himself Japanese while he's in a court of law. All these things are so admirable to me. I would like to be that smart. And here was an opportunity to actually play someone that smart. That's fun. That's what being an actor's about. The other thing I learned about Jack was that he wanted to be there for people. His patients and their families felt more comfortable and safer when he was administering euthanasia. They could've done it by themselves, but they would've been upset because they wouldn't know what to do if it went wrong. They were so fearful of that. He was there, because it gave them a comfort zone.

The story deals with some heavy issues, but it doesn't feel like a heavy film – why is that?

This is the trick that Barry pulled off. The story just keeps unfolding. It doesn't feel like it's taking a stand on one thing or another. It's a very eclectic kind of movie, and Barry did that. At one point I had said to him: 'You know, those biopic kind of movies can get a little tiresome.' But Barry said: 'No, I think I can do this the right way.' And he did.

Tell us about your character's relationship with Janet Good, and what it was like working with Susan Sarandon.

Susan plays Janet Good, and Jack had great admiration and love for her. She was one of the only people who could control Jack, and without her, he was rudderless. Susan plays a part that she can really understand, being a bit of a zealot herself. Not only is she a great artiste to work with, but I also worked with her first husband, Chris Sarandon, in a movie called Dog Day Afternoon. He played my lover. And she almost played my lover in this.

What was Jack's relationship with Neal Nicol (played by John Goodman)?

Jack Kevorkian and Neal Nicol go way back to the early stages. When Jack was experimenting with cadavers, he was actually taking the blood from cadavers to save lives. This is when he was doing organ transplants. Neal was right there with him and they both did it, and they both got Hepatitis because of it. But there was this desire to save life. That's a misconception about Jack, his desire to save life. He's a doctor, and he cares for patients. Jack needed his small circle, which was Janet Good, his sister and Neal and they all worked in concert. Jack had to be stalwart to continue his efforts. And Neal was right there with him.

Do you think the film is a tragedy?

When the moment comes when he's rejected finally – the final humiliation - there is a sense that he's out of his arena. He's not familiar with the whole world of law and there is a contrast of this idealist lost in the middle of court procedure. That's where the tragedy builds. I hope there's humour in it. In all drama, that's the thing you look for. I saw it in Jack. Believe it or not, in all the footage I looked at – because I didn't meet Jack – I saw his humour. As I watched all this stuff and I read his books, I got a sense of the dryness of his humour, and I was hoping it could seep through somehow. I hope it does.

You Don't Know Jack, which premiered on Monday will be screened again tonight at 10.55pm on HBO (Astro Ch 411) and HBO HD (Astro Ch 431). Be sure to catch it!

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The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Asian markets slump on euro debt worries

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 05:53 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Key Asian markets were lower in Thursday's early morning trade due to continued worries over the euro zone's debt crisis after slightly less than two-thirds of the bonds offered at a German bond auction were sold. Investors were alarmed that the euro zone's debt crisis could be taking another turn for the worse after a rise in German and French bond yields. There were also concerns over the Chinese economy as China watchers have forecasted the world's second-biggest economy to see a slowdown in its growth momentum to 8.5% next year, due to weakening external demand and rising export prices caused by increasing wages and costs.

At 9.40am today, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was down 1.47% to 8,192.90, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped 0.49% to 17,777.44 and Shanghai's A share index was 0.73% lower at 2,377.51.

Singapore's Straits Times Index dipped 0.28% to 2,669.03 while the local bourse's benchmark index was 0.31% lower at 1,428.72.

At Bursa Malaysia, losers overwhelmed gainers by 233 to 116 while 165 other counters were traded unchanged.

There were 277.44 million shares done with a total turnover of RM102.48 million.

At 9.40am today, Nymex crude oil in electronic trade was US$1.84 lower at US$96.17 per barrel.

Spot gold was quoted at US$1,692.50 per ounce while spot silver was quoted at US$31.60.

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Microsoft signs confidentiality pact with Yahoo

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:54 PM PST

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp has signed a confidentiality agreement with Yahoo Inc, allowing the software giant to take a closer look at Yahoo's business, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Microsoft joins several private equity firms that are also poring over Yahoo's books and operations, as they explore various options for striking a deal with the struggling Internet company.

Yahoo, which fired its chief executive in September, is undergoing a "strategic review," to revamp its business and its stagnant revenue growth.

Private equity firms KKR and TPG Capital have also signed confidentiality agreements with Yahoo, people familiar with the matter previously told Reuters. The firms are looking to potentially buy minority stakes in Yahoo of up to 20 percent, with an eye toward eventually taking over the whole company, the people said.

Silver Lake, another private equity firm, has also signed an nondisclosure agreement with Yahoo, according to the technology blog AllThingsD.

Some private equity firms have balked at signing Yahoo's NDA because of restrictions that would prevent them from forming consortiums, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Reuters reported last month that Microsoft, which has a cash pile of $57 billion, was considering a joint bid for Yahoo.

Microsoft's signing of a nondisclosure agreement with Yahoo occurred "recently," according to the source. The confidentiality agreement between the two companies was earlier reported by the New York Times on Wednesday.

Yahoo and Microsoft declined to comment.

Microsoft last tried buying Yahoo in 2008, offering to pay as much as $47.5 billion, or $33 per share. But Yahoo rebuffed the offer.

After that failed bid, Microsoft struck a 10-year search deal with Yahoo in 2009, that allows Microsoft's technology to power Yahoo's search results and gives Microsoft a 12 percent cut of advertising revenue on Yahoo.

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James Murdoch quits UK newspaper boards

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:52 PM PST

LONDON (Reuters) - James Murdoch has resigned from the boards of the publishing units within News Corp's British newspaper arm, which used to include the now-defunct News of the World tabloid at the centre of the phone hacking scandal, regulatory filings show.

Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert and deputy chief operating officer of News Corp, remains chairman of News International, the News Corp unit that houses its British newspapers, and a member of the Times editorial board.

The News International unit has been damaged this year by the revelation that people working for the popular Sunday tabloid hacked into the phones of thousands to generate news.

Slow-burning investigations into the matter became front-page national news when it was revealed in July that one of the victims was missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler, who appeared to have been picking up voicemails but was later found murdered.

Ex-News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks resigned as chief executive of News International the following week, and was replaced by Tom Mockridge, the former head of News Corp-owned Sky Italia, on July 15.

"Following the appointment of Tom Mockridge as CEO of News International, in September James Murdoch stepped down from the boards of a number of News International subsidiary companies including News Group Newspapers and Times Newspapers Ltd ," News International said in a statement.

Mockridge replaced Murdoch on the two company boards.

News Corp shares were down 1.6 percent at $16.14 at 1708 GMT, broadly in line with the S&P media index <.gspme>.

Harriet Harman, Britain's shadow minister for culture, media and sports from the opposition Labour party, said Murdoch should explain himself.

"James Murdoch should make clear why he has stepped down in this way. This does not lessen in any way the need for him to answer questions or take responsibility for what happened on his watch," she said in a statement.

The filings show that Murdoch resigned on September 13 from Times Newspapers Ltd and on September 19 from NGN. September 13 was the date on which he discovered he would be recalled by a British parliamentary committee to answer more questions.

NGN is the company that has been sued by many of the phone-hacking victims, including Hollywood star Jude Law and his ex-girlfriend, actress Sienna Miller.

Media lawyer Mark Stephens said he did not believe the move had any legal implications for the phone-hacking cases. "He's either liable for what happened under his watch, or he's not," he told Reuters.

James Murdoch survived a vote to remain on the News Corp board last month only thanks to support from his family and another loyal shareholder.

Next week, he faces shareholders of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB , who will have to decide whether he should remain as non-executive chairman.

Harman said: "The concerns about whether he is a fit and proper person to run BSkyB remain."

Some News Corp investors would like to see the company sell its newspapers, in which media interest is disproportionate to the small contribution they make in revenues and profits.

Ivor Gaber, professor of political journalism at London's City University, said the move could indicate that Murdoch was still worried over his own exposure to the phone hacking scandal or that News Corp was preparing to sell its UK newspaper holdings.

"The Sun is now the only thing keeping the ship afloat, in commercial terms," he told Reuters.

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The Star Online: Sports

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Djokovic floored by Ferrer, Berdych hangs on

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 03:58 PM PST

LONDON (Reuters): David Ferrer, the lesser known Spaniard in the ATP World Tour Finals, burst out of Rafa Nadal's shadow to reach the last four of the ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday with a demolition job on world number one Novak Djokovic at the O2 Arena.

While Nadal's place in the semi-finals is still in doubt after his thrashing at the hands of Roger Federer on Tuesday, world number five Ferrer made sure he will be around at the weekend with a 6-3 6-1 defeat of the year's outstanding player.

In the day's other match, Czech Tomas Berdych saved a match point against Djokovic's fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic to seal a 2-6 6-3 7-6 victory which means the calculators may be needed to decide who finishes runner-up in Group A on Friday.

The complications mean Djokovic could beat Davis Cup team mate Tipsarevic, a stand-in for injured Briton Andy Murray, and still fail to go through while a defeat, providing Ferrer beats Berdych, would see him survive.

Whatever the maths, Djokovic said he would need to play "50 percent" better in his next match.

"I have no words to explain this match," Djokovic, who went on a 41-match winning rampage at the start of the year and claimed three of the year's four majors, told reporters.

"Nothing was going well. I don't play at least 50 percent better than I did tonight, I don't think I'll have any chance. You always hope that tomorrow will bring something better."

In front of another sell-out crowd in the 17,500-capacity arena, Djokovic began solidly enough as the first six games of the match went with serve.

However, when the terrier-like Ferrer raced across court on break point to whip a forehand down the line that caught his opponent flat-footed at the net, the match ceased to become a real contest as the 29-year-old from Valencia ran way with it.

He broke the Djokovic serve again to win the opening set and he needed nothing spectacular in the second set as Djokovic offered little resistance. The Serb's mounting unforced error tally spoke volumes.

"I'm embarrassed to look at the stats," Djokovic, who made 33 unforced errors, said. "All credit to my opponent, he played a great match but, you know, I wasn't there."


World number nine Tipsarevic, one of the year's most improved players, can no longer reach the semi-finals after his defeat by Berdych although he can content himself with his $70,000 fee for being an alternate and the $120,000 participation fee after replacing the injured Andy Murray.

He should also have banked another $120,000 (77,300 pounds) for a round-robin victory but a skewed volley on match point in the deciding set tiebreaker proved extremely costly.

Berdych looked set for a second consecutive defeat, after his three-set loss to Djokovic on Monday, when Tipsarevic turned the breaker round to lead 6-5 on serve.

He struck lucky though as Tipsarevic let him off the hook.

First the bearded Serb's backhand volley went inches wide of the sideline on match point.

He followed that with a crazy double fault and the match ended painfully when he stumbled over trying to return a Berdych serve. In trying to get to his feet he fell again and ended up in a heap as a relieved Berdych played the ball away into an empty court.

Tipsarevic hobbled off after whacking his knee on the court although he said he would be okay to play Djokovic.

"If I have gotten the chance one more time, I would still take that ball early and go to the net and play the volley," said the Serb who began the year ranked 49th in the world.

"I am not honestly at all disappointed because of the way I played on the match point.

"My feeling now is that I will be ready for practice tomorrow afternoon."

Berdych was just happy to still be in with a shout.

"I was a bit unlucky on Monday but I got luckier here," he said. "There is still a good chance to qualify and go through. So we will see."

In Group B Federer has already guaranteed a top-two place and he will be joined in the semis by the winner of Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who face off on Thursday evening.

Frenchman Tsonga is expecting a backlash from Nadal after his humiliating 6-3 6-0 defeat by Federer.

"Rafa is a champion, he has pride," Tsonga told Reuters. "Such a defeat will be stuck in his throat. He's hit but not sunk. It's like when you hunt. If you miss the boar, you just run away."

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Koo–Tan brace for another meeting with Korean nemesis

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 03:33 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's top doubles shuttlers Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have been under the observation of Malaysia's South Korean coach Yoo Yong-sung for the last two weeks.

He did not train them but he has sent them off to Shanghai with some valuable pointers to end their losing streak against South Korea's second best pair Ko Sung-hyun-Yoo Yeon-seong in the China Open, which started yesterday.

Yesterday, Kien Keat-Boon Heong and Sung-hyun-Yeon-seong won their respective first round matches in convincing fashions to keep alive a possible meeting in the quarter-finals.

World No. 5 Kien Keat-Boon Heong blew away India's Rupesh Kumar-Sanave Thomas 21-12, 21-14 while the Koreans accomplished their job with a convincing 21-10, 21-17 win over compatriots Kim Ki-jung-Shin Baek-cheol.

A meeting between these two pairs is possible if they beat Germany's Ingo Kindervater-Johannes Schoettler and Taiwan's Chen Hung-ling-Lin Yu-lang respectively today.

These two pairs have played five times with the Koreans winning all. In fact, during their last encounter in the quarter-finals of the World Championships in Wembley in August, Kien Keat-Boon Heong ran out of steam against the Koreans after a brilliant start.

Meanwhile, in the men's singles, world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei easily cleared his opening round hurdle with a 21-11, 21-8 win over Poland's Wacha Prezemyslaw.

He will be out to keep his winning streak against Japanese Kenichi Tago when they cross swords in the second round today.

Malaysia's mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying did well to make the second round with a 21-17, 21-16 win over Chris Adcok-Imogen Bankier of England and Scotland.

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Rashid takes a three-stroke lead after firing seven birdies

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 03:33 PM PST

SEREMBAN: Mohamed Rashid Ismail, winner of the PGM Johor Classic, made seven birdies and two bogeys to finish five-under 67 and take over the lead after the third round of the PGM Seremban Classic at Seremban International Golf Course yesterday.

Rashid now leads with 11-under 205 for the tournament, three ahead of joint overnight leader Shaaban Hussin, who only carded a one-under 71 for a three-day total of eight-under 208.

Rashid said: "I am putting well again.

"My backache is also gone, I am swinging and putting well now. I made seven birdies but was spoilt by bogeys at the par-3 second and par-4 14th.

"I must keep my cool. Three shots advantage is not big."

"I am not too happy today because I had another out-of-bound at the par-5 third, luckily I managed to recover for a bogey, then I had a double bogey at par-4 16th.

"Still I am still in contention. I won't change anything, I will just play my normal game," said Shaaban.

Third placed M. Sasidaran, whose putter had gone cold a little bit yesterday, also carded a one-under 71 and is six-under 210 as he heads into the final day of the tournament with the title still in his sights.

Sharing third place with Sasidaran is Jeremiah Kim, who was red hot during the first two days and even shared the lead with Shaaban after two rounds.

Yesterday, Jeremiah's birdies were cancelled by dropped shots on the back nine to return a one-over 73 and six-under 210 for the tournament.

Jeremiah said: "On the back nine I felt a little tired. So far I have played 13 rounds of golf non-stop.

"Before coming here I played in the Penang and Malacca amateur Opens.

"I had three consecutive birdies in the front nine but they were cancelled out by three bogeys at the par-4 6th, par-4 10th, par-3 15th and par-4 16th," he added.

Meanwhile, the only lady professional to tee off in this event, Ainil Johani Bakar, who made the halfway cut, had a two-over 74 for an 11-over 227.

Ainil said overall she was happy with her game as she hit most the fairways and greens.

"Due to the wet ground the ball didn't run much so I lost some distance.

"Anyway I hope I can maintain the momentum for one more day," said Ainil, who played alongside Abdul Samat Abu and Al Malik Faisal.

The RM125,000 PGM Seremban Classic is the penultimate event in the PGM Tour 2011 calendar.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

British Indie Film Awards honour Fiennes, Branagh

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:45 AM PST

LONDON (Reuters) - British actor-directors Ralph Fiennes and Kenneth Branagh will be honoured at the British Independent Film Awards next month for their contribution to movies.

Fiennes, who recently directed his first feature ''Coriolanus'' in which he also stars, will receive the Richard Harris Award for contribution to British film by an actor.

He is best known for Oscar-nominated performances in ''Schindler's List'' and ''The English Patient,'' and most recently as the evil Lord Voldemort in the blockbuster Harry Potter franchise.

Previous recipients of the prize have included John Hurt, David Thewlis, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, Daniel Day-Lewis and Helena Bonham Carter, who won in 2010.

Branagh, a renowned Shakespearean actor on stage and the big screen, will pick up the Variety Award for focusing the international spotlight on British cinema.

He enjoyed commercial success as director of this year's ''Thor'' and also appeared in the Potter series.

The Variety Award was previously won by Michael Caine, author J.K. Rowling, Helen Mirren, Richard Curtis, Michael Sheen and Keira Knightley among others.

The British Independent Film Awards, sponsored by Moet & Chandon champagne, will be held in London on Dec. 4.

Three films lead the nominations with seven apiece - ''Shame'' about a sex-obsessed bachelor in New York, ''Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'' based on the Cold War spy classic and ''Tyrannosaur,'' Paddy Considine's directorial debut.

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New 'Twilight' film takes $283.5 mln global bite

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:44 AM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new ''Twilight'' vampire movie opened with a massive $283.5 million in worldwide ticket sales over the weekend as passionate fans filled theaters for the beginning of a two-part finale for the hugely popular supernatural love story.

''The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 1'' captured an estimated $139.5 million in the United States and Canada, distributor Summit Entertainment said Sunday. That ranked as the fifth biggest domestic opening of all time.

The movie's performance beat studio forecasts for the film, which shows young lovestruck human Bella wedding vampire Edward and becoming pregnant. Summit had predicted as much as $125 million domestically while other box-office analysts had estimated $140 million.

Internationally, ''Breaking Dawn'' added $144 million in 54 countries over the weekend.

The movie cost about $110 million to make.

The domestic opening ranked as the year's second-highest, behind only the ''Harry Potter'' finale over the summer. ''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2'' pulled in a record $169 million during its debut weekend in July.

But ''Breaking Dawn,'' the fourth movie in the series, failed to top the previous domestic opening-weekend record for a ''Twilight'' film. ''New Moon'' debuted to $142.8 million in 2009.

Eighty percent of the film's audience was female, the core fan base for the story based on novels from Stephanie Meyer. Diehard fans of the books have embraced the screen adaptations including the latest movie, said Richie Fay, Summit's president of domestic distribution.

''We delivered to the audience ... exactly what they wanted to see,'' Fay said. He said the movie's success ''bodes well for Breaking Dawn - Part 2,'' which hits theaters in 2012.

''Breaking Dawn'' brought in an average of $34,351 at more than 4,000 screens in North America (U.S. and Canada) from midnight showings early Friday through Sunday.

The ''Twilight'' series is one of Hollywood's most lucrative franchises. To date, the franchise has rung up more than $2 billion from box offices worldwide, according to Hollywood.com Box Office.

The series stars Kristen Stewart as human Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as her blood-sucking vampire love, Edward Cullen. Taylor Lautner plays Jacob Black, a werewolf who competes for Bella's affection.

Critics generally disliked ''Breaking Dawn,'' with just 27 percent giving a favorable review on aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences were far more upbeat, scoring the movie a B+ on average, according to survey firm CinemaScore. Females gave the movie an A-.

The ''Twilight'' phenomenon overshadowed all other movies over the weekend. Dancing penguin sequel ''Happy Feet Two'' earned $22.0 million, below studio forecasts for the 3D animated film.

''It was a very difficult weekend. Twilight certainly controlled the marketplace, especially the female audience,'' said Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. Fellman said he had hoped for an opening around $30 million but expected the movie would gain ground during next week's Thanksgiving holiday and throughout the holiday season.

Action movie ''Immortals,'' last weekend's box-office leader, finished in third place with $12.3 million. Comedy ''Jack and Jill,'' starring Adam Sandler playing a brother and sister, earned $12.0 million to take fourth place for the weekend.

Fifth place belonged to animated family movie ''Puss in Boots,'' a spinoff from the blockbuster ''Shrek'' series. ''Puss'' pulled in $10.7 million domestically over the weekend.

Also this weekend, ''The Descendants'' starring George Clooney as a father reconnecting with his daughters opened in a small number of theaters. Touted as an Oscar contender, the film brought in $1.2 million from 29 locations, or $42,150 per theater. Distributor Fox Searchlight, a unit of News Corp, will bring the movie to more than 400 theaters next weekend.

''Breaking Dawn'' was released by independent studio Summit Entertainment. Time Warner Inc unit Warner Bros. released ''Happy Feet Two.'' Privately held Relativity Media released ''Immortals.'' ''Puss in Boots'' was produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom.

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Win Twilight Merchandise

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 03:00 AM PST

Bella and Edward, plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child … which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black.

Catch The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 in cinemas this month. eCentral and Nusantara Edaran Filem have Twilight merchandise to give away. To take part, answer the questions below.

1. In the movie, after Edward and Bella marry, they head of to their honeymoon. Where do they go?

a) California

b) London

c) Rome

d) Rio de Janeiro

2. What is the name of Edward's and Bella's child?

Email your answers with your details (name, address, IC number and contact number) to ecentralcontest@gmail.com by 30 November 2011. Title the subject BREAKING DAWN PT 1.

Movie Prizes

Twilight t-shirts X 8

Twilight caps X 4

Magnet frames X 4

Twilight coasters X 8

Souvenir cups X 2

Laptop Skins X 3

Rules & Regulations

1.The contest is open to all Malaysian residents residing in Malaysia only.

2.To qualify for a prize, contestants must include relevant personal details (full name, address, new IC number , contact number). Email your answers to ecentralcontest@gmail.com.

3.Contestants may only submit one entry each. Multiple entries will be disqualified.

4.One prize is allowed per contestant only.

5.Prizes are not exchangeable for cash and the organizer reserves the right to exchange the prize with that of a similar value without prior notice.

6.Staff of The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, sponsors and their immediate families are not allowed to participate.

7.Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.

8.Judges will be from The Star Online.

9.For enquiries, please e-mail ecentralmy@gmail.com

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The Star Online: Nation

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Govt to consider RM100 aid for Form Six students

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:32 AM PST

Published: Wednesday November 23, 2011 MYT 8:30:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday November 23, 2011 MYT 8:32:56 PM

MACHANG: The Government will study whether the RM100 allowance given to students up to Form Five should be extended to sixth formers as well, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

"We will see whether it is justified," he said, acknowledging that Form Six and pre-university students were getting a RM200 book voucher.

Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, was speaking at a media conference after a session with the people at SK Machang Dua here Wednesday.

He also urged private religious schools to register with the Education Department's Islamic education unit to enable their students to also receive the RM100 allowance.

The RM100 aid was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he tabled Budget 2012 on Oct 7.

He said it was given to help ease the burden of parents. - Bernama

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Health Ministry: KR1M milk powder safe; oyster sauce to be recalled

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:25 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Claims by the Opposition of excessive vitamin A in Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) baby growth milk powder have been proven to be unfounded, said the Health Ministry.

However, the KR1M oyster sauce did not pass the ministry's test and would be taken off the shelves, minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said at a press conference in the Parliament lobby here Wednesday.

"The analysis of (milk powder) samples from the manufacturers by the ministry showed that the content of vitamin A did not exceed the maximum the 5,000 IU as stated in the Food Regulations Act 1985," Liow added.

He also chided DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua for misleading the public.

"I would thank him if he had come to us and asked the ministry to verify the quality of the product.

"However, he chose to do it for his own political mileage," he said.

He also noted that Pua was confused with the rulings in the Food Regulations Act.

"The milk powder is categorised as a growing up milk powder, which is under rule 395 while he had compared it with the ruling of a follow up milk.

"Our findings shows that the KR1M growing up powder milk has 3240 I.U/100g. It does not exceed the maximum level of vitamin A," Liow said.

He also said samples of the oyster sauce showed it was below the standard under the Food Regulations Act.

"We have instructed the Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperative Ministry to take action," he added.

"We are looking at looking all the allegations made by Pua and urge the public to come forward if they find any food not safe. We will take immediate action," he said.

Pua had recently claimed that the KR1M milk powder did not contain at least 15 of the legally required essential fatty acids, vitamins and mineral while its vitamin A content was 802% above the permissible level.

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27 samples taken from KR1M stores for testing
Liow: Health officers checking on inferior goods claim
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Ismail: No truth KR1M prices higher than in hypermarkets

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Dr Mahathir voices support for Peaceful Assembly Bill

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 02:40 AM PST

Published: Wednesday November 23, 2011 MYT 6:40:00 PM

JITRA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has voiced his support for the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 which was tabled in Parliament Tuesday.

The former prime minister said the new act was important to ensure that public assemblies would be free from violence or actions that could cause losses to others.

"The act has good intentions...besides preventing certain quarters from taking advantage of a situation, so that violence does not become a problem to the country," he said here Wednesday, when asked to comment on the bill, which will become an act if passed and gazetted.

The bill tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, is a transformation of the existing legal framework relating to the rights of citizens to assemble peacefully, as provided in the Federal Constitution.

"While people have the right to hold demonstrations, the rights of others will have to be protected by the government," said Dr Mahathir.

He said holding a demonstration close to Hari Raya, for instance, would adversely affect the business of traders, with the small ones already struggling to make a living. - Bernama

Related Stories:
It's a progressive start for reforms, say BN reps
First steps to legalise assemblies
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The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro Watch

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:02 AM PST


Construction work for the proposed development of KLIA 2 and associated work at the KL International Airport in Sepang would require traffic diversion, road closure and contra flow at both bounds of the KLIA Extension Highway near KLIA Petronas petrol station for the launching of the bridge. This traffic management scheme will be carried out between midnight and 6am tomorrow. Road users are urged to drive carefully and follow all traffic warning signs. For details, call the hotline at 03-6203 3819 or 019-332 6500.


The National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) will be having an empowerment programme based on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for cancer survivors tomorrow from 9.30am to 4.30pm. Participants will be able to learn from Anne Munro-Kua on how to release their anxiety and fears, reduce physical tension and pain, and influence their mood body chemistry when dealing with cancer. The programme will be held at the Resources and Wellness Centre of NCSM, 66, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, Kuala Lumpur. Limited to 20 seats. Participants are required to bring a mat, pillow or cover. For details, call 03-2698 7300 (Adeline) or e-mail adeline@cancer.org.my.


The Selangor Kuala Lumpur Orchestra and Choir (SKOC) will hold a Music of Hope Charity Concert on Saturday at the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall from 7.30pm to 9.30pm to help raise funds for the construction of a new building for the Pusat Penjagaan Kanak-Kanak Cacat Taman Megah in Petaling Jaya. The concert will feature classics by SKOC as well as a choir performance by children from the home. There will also be a special solo performance by one of the home's talented wards, Aqina Ng, 16, who is blind. Tickets are available at RM100, RM50 and RM30. For details, call 012-326 2005 (Simon) or 012-391 3344 (Herries).


Premises owners in the Subang Jaya municipality can renew their 2012 licences from now till Dec 31 at the MPSJ headquarters in USJ 5 (or MPSJ branch offices at Bandar Puteri Puchong and Serdang from Dec 1 onwards). Payment can be made by cash, cheque or my@mpsj with credit card. MPSJ will take stern action on those who fail to renew their licences. For details, call the Licensing Department at 03-8026 3176/ 3177/ 4321 or visit www.mpsj.gov.my.


G13 Gallery is hosting a group art exhibition entitled Dialogue from now till Dec 4. The show, which features paintings by eight Malaysian and Indonesian artists, tells of the gallery's endeavours to be a hub for Southeast Asian art exchange. It is located at GL13, Ground Floor, Block B, Kelana Square, Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Jaya. Opening hours are 11am to 5pm, daily. For details, call 03-7880 0991 or 019-211 4697 (Kenny Teng) or visit www.g13gallery.com.

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Roads leading into Bukit OUG in deplorable condition

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:02 AM PST

I AM writing this complaint with regards to the horrible condition of the roads in Jalan Puchong, and particularly, the whole stretch of the road leading into Bukit OUG where some major developments seem to be taking place.

However, the concerned parties have, for some reason, seriously disregarded the damage caused to these roads.

Extremely large potholes clearly visible to the road users are just left unrepaired, possibly waiting for a serious road mishap to take place.

This is further worsened when those potholes are covered with water during rain, thus making them 'invisible'.

How can the relevant parties leave the roads that are used by hundreds of vehicles daily unrepaired and in such deplorable condition from the damage caused by heavy vehicles such as lorries, tractors and cement mixers.

The conditions are further made worse by the recent rainy weather in Kuala Lumpur.

Hundreds of road users such as myself have to continuously navigate our vehicles around those innumerable gigantic potholes every day, causing unnecessary wear and tear to our vehicles.

Cars require continuous wheel alignment and balancing that will not even last a couple of days through these bumps and potholes.

We don't have much of a choice as those roads are the only access roads in and out for us.

The overall condition of the roads in OUG (for example Jalan Awan Jawa, Jalan Awan Dandan) is also seriously unacceptable to taxpayers such as myself and the hundreds of Malaysians that use those roads. It's like navigating your car on the 'moon's surface'.

The relevant authorities and the responsible parties should start looking into this fast, especially with regards to the road in front of the Bukit OUG Condominiums and not to mention the main road Jalan Puchong itself.

The local authorities should ensure that developers comply with the necessary development guidelines.

Severely Irritated Road User

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Rolling Stone names Hendrix best guitarist ever

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 10:19 PM PST

REUTERS - Legendary musician Jimi Hendrix was named the greatest guitar player in history on Wednesday by Rolling Stone magazine in a list compiled by a panel of music experts and top guitar players.

"Jimi Hendrix exploded our idea of what rock music could be: He manipulated the guitar, the whammy bar, the studio and the stage," said Grammy-winning guitarist Tom Morello in the magazine, citing Hendrix's "Purple Haze" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" as key tracks.

Hendrix is joined by the likes of Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend among the top 10, in a list laden with rock 'n' roll icons spanning decades.

The panel of experts recruited to vote for their favorite guitar players included musicians such as Lenny Kravitz, Eddie Van Halen (who was voted No. 8), Brian May and Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys, along with a selection of Rolling Stone's senior writers and editors.

The experts also weighed in on their favorites, with Pearl Jam's Mike McCready calling Eddie Van Halen "a master of riffs" and Joe Perry praising Jimmy Page's "vision of how to transcend the stereotypes of what the guitar can do."

The full list will be featured in a special issue with four special covers of Van Halen, Clapton, Hendrix and Page, and will be on newsstands and online at www.rollingstone.com on Friday. Rolling Stone's top 10 greatest guitarists follow:

1. Jimi Hendrix

2. Eric Clapton

3. Jimmy Page

4. Keith Richards

5. Jeff Beck

6. B.B. King

7. Chuck Berry

8. Eddie Van Halen

9. Duane Allman

10. Pete Townshend

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Rihanna's "Talk The Talk" release tops iTunes

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 04:10 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Grammy-winning singer Rihanna may soon be headed to the top of the album charts after her latest record, "Talk That Talk" reached No. 1 on iTunes on Tuesday, one day after its release.

The singer released early teasers online as much as a week in advance, helping push the album into the top 10 on iTunes. Fans took to Twitter and Facebook to call the album Rihanna's best yet. Critical reviews, however, were mixed.

"Talk That Talk" is the sixth studio album from the 23-year-old Barbadian singer, following CDs like "Rated R" and "Loud," which have seen her steadily evolve from teen pop star to adult performer since her 2005 debut. She has earned international success over the years with singles like "Umbrella," "Rude Boy" and "What's My Name."

The 11-track "Talk That Talk" features themes of love and sexuality with a mixture of up-tempo dance tracks and reggae beats on "Where Have You Been," "Birthday Cake" and "You Da One," along with ballads "We All Want Love" and "Farewell."

Rihanna also collaborated with rapper Jay-Z -- whose Roc Nation label manages her -- on the single "Talk That Talk" and Scottish producer Calvin Harris on chart-topping dance anthem "We Found Love." The record also features a sample of British indie rock group The xx's "Intro" on single "Drunk On Love."

The singer's fans were upbeat on Twitter.

@OhMy_Kayla said, "This TALK THAT TALK album by @rihanna is by far the best one yet!!!!,, I FREAKING LOVE HER," and @gabixballa tweeted, "I've only been listening to Talk That Talk since yesterday. Lowkey @rihanna's best album ever."

Despite the positive fan reception, critics delivered mostly mixed reviews, acknowledging the singer's move toward dance music but criticizing the lyrics.

New York Times' Jon Caramanica called the record "the blithest Rihanna album" and criticized the singer's voice for being "certifiably blank." Randall Roberts at the Los Angeles Times gave the album two out of four stars, saying it "contains little sweat, slobber or fluids and a lot of plasticized, inflatable insinuation."

British music magazine NME scored the album a five out of ten, and called it "annoyingly safe with just glimpses of what it might have been."

But not all critics were put off. TheWrap.com's Chris Willman called the record "less dark and more high-spirited" than her last two records, adding "the album is at its musical best when it sticks to dance music."

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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Greens for life

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 02:29 AM PST

As World Meatless Day falls on Friday, it's appropriate that we review our eating habits, and reconsider the role of vegetables in our diet.

IN the booklet, Why Vegetarian? A Beginner's Guide, produced by the Malaysian Vegetarian Society in the late 90s, the society's first president, Sona Zakariya, voiced her hope that one day, instead of people asking, "Why are you a vegetarian?", the question would instead be, "So how do you become a vegetarian?"

We often are bombarded by messages and advice telling us to "quit smoking", "lessen sugar intake" and "cut down on fatty foods". Some habits die hard, others die even harder. But habits can be broken, what more in human beings who are the most adaptable creatures on the planet.

According to Dr P. Vythilingam, current president of the Malaysian Vegetarian Society, there are more than one billion vegetarians in the world today, with about one million in Malaysia. And the numbers continue to grow, which should be proof enough that human beings can and do survive on a non-meat diet.

Today's world provides even more reasons for one to switch to a vegetarian diet. If not for environmental or animal welfare reasons, then the very fact that humans are not anatomically equipped to handle the consumption of meat should be enough of a catalyst.

According to Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the term "omnivore" is dubious, as anthropologists and biologists have studied our evolutionary history and concluded that we are quite simply herbivores. Our stomach acidity and intestinal length all show that we cannot fully digest meat. And because we do not fully process the meat, we end up with excessive fat and cholesterol, something that does not occur in carnivores.

The Malaysian Vegetarian Society states that research has shown that vegetarians are less at risk of heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cancers, bowel disorders, gall and kidney stones and osteoporosis.

Dr William Castelli, former director of the Framingham Heart Study, once said: "Vegetarians have the best diet. They have the lowest rates of coronary disease of any group in the country (US) ... Some people scoff at vegetarians, but they have a fraction of our heart attack rate and they have only 40% of our cancer rate. On the average, they outlive other men by about six years now."

Dr Vythilingam pointed to industrial farming practices that indirectly leads to the health problems faced by non-vegetarians – how the animals are bred and slaughtered, and the meat produced.

"There are a lot of antibiotics pumped into the animals (to keep them healthy in otherwise harsh living conditions)," he said. "There are the pesticides and DDT sprayed on the corn used for feeding livestock. And chickens, to make them grow faster, they are injected with hormones. This is why some people have hormone-related cancers."

And whenever a cow is taken for slaughter, it becomes stressed and this increases the adrenaline inside its body, and this, in turn, affects the person who consumes the meat.

Further stress is inflicted on the animals in the form of the cutting of a pig's tail (to prevent them biting each other in crowded pens), or the "debeaking" of a chick, all done without anaesthesia.

"They say the amount of DDT that is in livestock feed is 13 times more than the DDT on vegetables," said Dr Vythilingam. "That's a very dangerous level."

Non-vegetarians usually argue that vegetables are also full of chemicals, so there is really no avoiding the danger.

But Dr Vythilingam said: "You can wash away the chemicals on the vegetables, but you cannot do the same with meat, because it is already inside the meat. If you put your vegetables under running water, most of it will be washed away. You can't be washing every fibre in a piece of meat."

He said organically-grown vegetables are, of course, preferable, but just washing your vegetables properly before cooking would also be enough.

There are a lot of myths and false beliefs surrounding vegetarianism, with many believing that a vegetarian diet lacks certain nutrients and vitamins needed for balance and health. But Dr Vythilingam said a vegetarian diet contains everything you would need and a vegetarian meal actually provides more calories than a non-vegetarian one. However, a non-vegetarian diet contains more fats and cholesterol. In fact, because the stomach has to work harder to digest meat, people often feel tired after a non-vegetarian meal.

A vegetarian meal that contains grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables will ensure a balanced diet. Iron and calcium can be found in leafy greens. Almonds, chickpeas and soyabeans also contain calcium, while grains provide protein and fibre. Vitamin B12 is only needed in microscopic amounts, and most breads today are fortified with it.

A non-vegetarian diet however, leads to an overdose of protein. And that's not all. Because our digestive system is ill-equipped for meat consumption, some of the meat remain in our bodies and rot.

"There are not enough enzymes to digest the meat fast enough," said Dr Vythilingam. "Which means you're putting all this dead meat in your stomach; it is like a graveyard. It is all rotting. And you do not know how fresh the meat is. To make the meat look red and fresh immediately after slaughtering, they put in nitrites and nitrates (carcinogens). But you can't see that it's rotting inside."

"And look at animal diseases – mad cow disease, Japanese encephalitis, bird flu – all these are from animals. There are no such things in vegetables," he added.

Another false belief is that vegetarians are all lean and thin, but few know that obese vegans and vegetarians do exist.

"This is because they consume more carbohydrates, more rice, and less of other things," said Dr Vythilingam. "Again, you have to look at how the food is prepared. If they always consume deep-fried food, that will also increase the risk of diseases. We always advise vegetarians to be cautious."

And vegetarians too can suffer from cancer if they consume too much saturated fat and deep-fried foods. But comparative studies have shown that the number of cancer sufferers among vegetarians is lower than among non-vegetarians.

Prof Nick Day of the University Of Cambridge and the European Prospective Study Into Cancer stated that there are 40% fewer cancers among vegetarians compared to the general population.

"It's never too late to start a vegetarian diet," advised Dr Vythilingam. "Human beings are the only ones on earth who can adapt to anything. You can't give a cow a piece of chicken and condition the cow to eat it. And you don't give grass to a tiger. But human beings can be 'conditioned'."

World Meatless Day falls on Nov 25. The Malaysian Meatless Day campaign invites individuals and organisations to make a pledge to go meatless on that day. You can e-mail your pledge to penangmeatless@yahoo.com or fax it to 04-261 0126. All you have to say is "I hereby pledge to go meatless on Nov 25". Name is required, but phone number and address are optional.

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Dr Ongkili: Prawn and swiftlet farming to benefit Kota Marudu

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:03 AM PST

KOTA KINABALU: Prawn rearing and swiftlet farming will hasten the transformation of Kota Marudu into a prime agricultural centre.

The two high-yield industries — identified as strategic activities for the district under the National Key Economic Areas — would also see Kota Marudu turned into an economic hub, said Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He added that both lucrative activities would further complement other modern agricultural activities undertaken in the district, which included stevia (sweet herb) and vanilla cultivation.

"Efforts have been made to promote swiftlet farming as the district is conducive for the birds whose nests can fetch a very high price in the market.

"At the moment, 30 swiftlet hostels have been developed for commercial purposes while 43 projects have been carried out under the e-Kasih list of hardcore poor to generate income for poor rural folks.

"With these activities, we hope Kota Marudu's economic growth will be accelerated, aside from bringing the desirable outcomes of generating income and employment for the people," said Dr Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu MP.

Dr Ongkili commented on this at the launch of the district's annual Pesta Jagung (Maize festival) recently.

Also present were Tandek assemblyman Anita Baranting and Banggi assemblyman Datuk Abdul Mijul Unaini.

The festival, in its 10th year now, is held annually to promote maize as one of the main crops in Kota Marudu and areas surrounding the district.

It serves as an avenue to promote various modern technologies to enhance the cultivation of maize as well as other agricultural produce.

Various activities carried out in conjunction with the two-day festival included the Ratu Jagung (Maize Queen) contest, stall exhibition by government and private agencies, and telematches like the tug–of–war for visitors.

Mosti is also taking part in the exhibition to showcase technologies developed by its agencies that could be useful for farmers.

One such technology was the corn thrasher machine developed by Technology Park Malaysia.

Dr Ongkili, who was also Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia chairman, also presented 20 units of Idola laptops to the Kota Marudu Girl Guides Association.

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Modular courses at Community Colleges a hit with youths

Posted: 23 Nov 2011 04:03 AM PST

PASIR GUDANG: The National Modular Skills Curriculum offered at Community Colleges nationwide has managed to attract more than 17,000 students since it was launched last year.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the short skill training courses were a hit among the youth especially those who were weak in their studies or those who did not like to study for long periods of time.

"The courses last from two to six months and this is the main difference from skill training courses offered at other institutions," he said after launching the Pasir Gudang Community College Carnival here recently.

Mohamed Khaled said some of the most popular courses include business studies, beauty, culinary and fashion-related courses.

"I urge community colleges to come up with more modular programmes as it has the potential to help youth develop the required skills before entering the workforce," he said.

He added that the short courses which include about 77 different modules of choice was also an attractive option for those who were already in the workforce.

"Community colleges nationwide should focus on developing these modular courses as it is also in line with the government's aim of providing lifelong education for all," he said adding that currently most people who join the workforce only possess their SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) qualifications.

Mohamed Khaled said those who enrolled with the programme would only be charged a nominal fee of RM10 a month and would also receive studying allowance of RM250 a month.

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Hands-on youth programme

Posted: 22 Nov 2011 04:12 PM PST

MALACCA: Disabled youth Daniel Kan was all smiles as he bustled around serving food at the Wings Malacca Centre for Developmental Disabilities.

It was class time for him, but this learning experience was certainly different and fun for the 19-year-old who was diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Kan is a student in the centre's Young Adults Programme (YAP) and part of his training involves preparation to enter the job market.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Kan would be busy waiting tables at the YAP cafe.

Centre director Dr Lim Boon Hock said YAP's goal was to enable its students to live the life of a typical young adult.

"If a student has the potential, we want to provide him the skills to move into open employment.

"Kan, for instance, can learn to work in a food stall or even a restaurant if the employer is supportive," added Dr Lim.

Wings Malacca was set up in 1998 by a group of parents with children who had special needs.

The centre, located in Shellabear Hall, off Jalan Tengkera is also providing an Early Intervention Programme for children below six years old as well as a 'School Age Programme' for 12 year olds and above.

For details, call 06-286 2926 or visit www.wingsmelaka.com.my

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