Khamis, 8 Disember 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Family Olympics

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 11:57 PM PST

The Biggest Game Show In The World was filmed in Kuala Lumpur last month — and almost went unnoticed.

SOMETIME early last month, Bukit Kiara Skate Park in Kuala Lumpur turned into a battlefield of sorts. More than 100 people from four countries competed over five consecutive days to find out who among them was the best. While there were no gold medals or any sort of formal recognition, the contestants were gauged on how much fun they could create within an allocated time. They earned some bruises in the process as well.

The Bukit Kiara Skate Park has become the base for the filming of the TV show called The Biggest Game Show In The World: Asia.

Apart from the 120 contestants from Indonesia, the Philip­pines, Thailand and Vietnam battling it out, there was also an additional 60 contestants from different parts of Australia. They flew in a week later to film the Australian version of the show called It's A Knockout. What's more, plans are underway to bring in teams from other regions in the near future.

David Searl, the managing director Asia for ice-TV (an Asian-based production company co-producing The Biggest Game Show In The World), explained: "The intention is to build this as the production hub for this region. Next year, we have interest from India to come out and do its 13 one-hour episodes of the show. We also have interests from the Middle East, which means the contestants from the Middle East will be flown here. New Zealand as well and some other countries are still in discussion.

"Although this is a small beginning, we might have four or five countries coming over next year, so it'd be huge."

According to Simon Lockyer, the managing director (Singapore) for the ice-TV, Malaysia was chosen because "the skill sets are here in terms of production and in terms of producing TV commercials and TV shows. These exist everywhere but have been refined in Malaysia over the years. We've got over 100 local production crew on this."

Although the game has just arrived at our shores, ironically, it still hasn't gotten a local broadcaster yet. This means it's yet to be aired in Malaysia as negotiations are still underway with local broadcasters. It also means there is no Malaysian team as the mechanics of choosing the contestants are handled by the local broadcaster.

Nonetheless, the concept of the game has been around for a very long time. Believe it or not, the show is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.

The game originated from France. In its earliest version, it saw different towns in France competing against one another. Soon, the concept travelled to other parts of Europe like Britain, Spain, Portugal and Romania. Ten years ago, it arrived in China.

The concept – still under the copyright of French company Mistral – comes here with a large amount of experience backing it.

"It has a universal entertainment appeal that is language-independent almost," said Lockyer.

"It has different teams competing in a highly visual, colourful, energetic, positive game show. Someone coined the phrase 'family Olympics' to describe it. I think that's a nice way to put it. You don't have to be a top athlete to compete and you don't have to be athletic to watch it. I think that transcends cultural barriers. There is competition but it's done with an element of fun."

Searl added: "And everybody likes people falling over. The contestants wear silly costumes like those of a kangaroo and a giraffe when participating in some games, and everybody laughs at that. Usually the control room is very quiet but, last night, at one point everybody was in a fit of laughter, which is great."

Make what you will of games that are called Human Ocean, Noughts & Crosses, Head Spinner, Baby Bull Arches, Ostrich Races With Bicycle and The Champion's Wall. Some of the challenges include running on a conveyer belt above a makeshift swimming pool, standing on a gigantic turntable shooting hoops and wearing wild costumes to do some really normal stuff like cycling.

There is no real criteria other than being able-bodied, above 18 and reasonably fit. Just about anyone who wants to take part can make it here.

For Rizki Tri Wahyuni, a 20-year-old Indonesian doing her tertiary studies to become a PE teacher, it was a chance for a physical activity of a different kind. "I wanted to see if I could handle challenges away from the track and field," she said.

For her friend, Ekosantoso, it was the simplest reason of having the opportunity to travel abroad.

Each episode features six games, in which 30 contestants per country are divided into a 10-person team for each challenge. Out of the six games, only one remains consistent and that is the Champion's Wall. This is a challenge that requires both strength and skills, and is said to be very, very tough. For that particular game, the Indonesian team enlisted the help of a stuntman simply known as Eka.

Looking at him, there is no doubt that the 27-year-old from the city of Depok is tough, having been a fall guy in the Indonesian entertainment industry for seven years. "They asked me to come along so our team could win, so I did," he explained with a ready smile. "I've already gone up the wall once and won."

The set is something else. It is impressive – for the filming, some props were brought in from France this season, with additional pieces done by local manufacturers. Months of preparation went into the show.

Searl stated: "This was the biggest TV show ever produced in Asia, let alone KL. We had over 150 Malaysians working on the show in different capacities — from producers to support teams. All the Malaysian team members commented that none of them had ever worked on a production of international scale like this before.

"We now have six containers of props, sets and wardrobe being stored in KL, ready for Season Two when we hope to bring in teams from India, the Middle East and Latin America to produce their own local versions, as well as a bigger Pan-Asian Season Two with at least two other Asian countries participating."

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Paired to sizzle

Posted: 09 Dec 2011 12:11 AM PST

South Korean stars Kim Sun-ah and Lee Dong-wook not only heat up the screen, but also drew in the crowds during their first visit to Kuala Lumpur.

WHEN Kim Sun-ah and Lee Dong-wook waltzed into Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday to promote their hit series Scent Of A Woman, they never expected the enthusiastic crowds that trailed them from the airport to the hotel.

The overwhelming turnout took organisers by surprise, as the press conference, apart from being fully-attended by local media, was teeming with bloggers and gatecrashed by diehard fans of the duo who outnumbered (and out-jostled!) press photographers during the photocall.

In fact, the fans even helped Kim and Dong-wook answer questions during the press conference! While the two pondered over the most memorable scenes in the series, fans in the audience screamed, "The tango scenes!" And, when they referred to the scene as being in the eighth episode, fans even corrected them, saying, "No, it was in the ninth episode."

It was the first trip to Malaysia for both the leads of the 16-episode Korean TV series, who also visited Singapore as part of their two-day, two-city whirlwind tour. Apart from their porcelain skin, the two South Korean celebrities were as different as can be.

Kim, 36, was perhaps the most entertaining South Korean star I've ever encountered; the pretty lass was delightfully animated with such adorable gestures.

Apart from her native Korean, she also spoke in English and Mandarin during the interview and turned out to be even more amusing than the characters she's played, such as a chubby baker in My Name Is Kim Sam Soon and a secretary-turned-mayor in City Hall.

After spending the morning signing autographs, the ever-smiling actress expressed her thanks for such passionate support from local fans, "I'm glad you all like the drama so much."

Her dashing co-star Dong-wook, 30, looked somewhat tired as he had a packed schedule and had to rush back to the set of his new drama Wild Romance.

Dong-wook also sported a moustache for his role as professional baseball player Park Mu Yeol, who is paired with his bodyguard Yoon Eun Jae, played by Lee Si Young. Commenting on his new image, Dong-wook said: "It does make me look more mature. Don't you think so?"

In Scent Of A Woman, Kim plays a thirty-something single girl named Lee Yeon-jae who is forced to re-examine her priorities after being diagnosed with cancer and told that she has only six months to live. The thrifty lass decides to live each day like it were her last and starts by quitting her thankless job at a travel agency before drawing up a bucket list of 20 things to do before she dies.

On the other hand, Dong-wook plays Kang Ji-wook, the wealthy yet cynical son of her former boss who has everything given to him but is not interested in anything at all. The two meet and fall in love as they embark on a series of bittersweet adventures.

Supporting characters include Uhm Ki-joon, who plays Yeon-jae's dashing but insensitive doctor friend Chae Eun Suk; and Seo Hye Rim, who portrays Ji-wook's accomplished yet insufferable fiancé Im Se-kyung.

Broaching the subject of relationships involving an older woman and younger man, Kim – whose other popular series has also seen her paired with younger leading men like Hyun Bin (My Name Is Kim Sam Soon, 2005) and Lee Dong-gun (When It's Night, 2008) – was asked what she thought of May-December romances.

"Age is just a number. Most important is how you feel for each other and the connection you have," Kim replied.

Well-known for her commitment to putting on weight (for My Name Is Kim Sam Soon) and losing weight (for Scent Of A Woman), Kim offered, "I like to immerse myself in a role and give it a personal touch. Honestly, there is only so much that make-up can do for you."

Since Kim's character in the series is a dying cancer patient, she had to lose a lot of weight – fast! So, she resorted to very extreme measures to shed the kilos, using a method she certainly wasn't very proud of.

"I had to forgo food and sleep. It was very difficult, not to mention unhealthy; especially since lack of rest gave me a perpetual headache." But she was quick to caution others against taking her lead, saying her methods were not advisable and recommended others to adopt healthier ways, instead.

Admitting that she was a very romantic person, Kim even gave an impromptu demonstration of how she would act aegyo (cutesy in Korean) to soften a tough or serious fellow.

Scent Of A Woman being Dong-wook's first TV drama after his discharge from mandatory military duties in June, also gave him the opportunity to show off his hot bod in sizzling shower scenes.

When teased about those scenes, the serious-looking chap offered: "The series was released in Korea during summer. And during this season, if the male lead strips, the ratings will automatically shoot up!

"Moreover, I prefer to go shirtless while outdoors in summer as I dislike getting unsightly tan lines.

"But before shooting commenced, I'd already cut carbs and sugar and put in two hours of gym workouts daily. So, the outcome of these scenes were even better than we expected."

The series also featured lots of kissing scenes to which Dong-wook explained, "They've been through so much hardship to be together, it's a fitting expression of their love for each other."

When asked to pick the most memorable one, Kim settled for the one which started with them cycling and ended up with them falling ... into a kiss.

Though it looked cute on the screen, Dong-wook felt otherwise. "That scene was actually Sun-ah's idea. And, it's really quite dangerous, so I'd advise against it."

Scent Of A Woman airs on ONE HD (Astro Ch 393) at 9.05pm every Wednesday and Thursday.

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Top guide

Posted: 09 Dec 2011 12:07 AM PST

GET the guide to what's up, what's hot and what's the latest to hit town with Linora, the bubbly host of Red FM's Top of the Shops.

Appearing on Red FM's Eleven 2 Three (Monday to Friday, 11am-1pm), this sub segment highlights a different place, product or trend each week. From restaurants, accessories and gadgets to beauty treatments and more, Linora will check out the essentials to enhance your lifestyle. You could also win the opportunity to try it out for yourself when you tune in.

This week, Linora has been giving out Japanese buffet dining vouchers at Sunway Putra Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The hotel is located above Sunway Putra Mall, a shopping haven with 200 retail outlets.

Formerly known as The Legend Hotel, this five-star hotel offers an indulgent stay with its elegantly furnished rooms and a variety of dining outlets.

Next week, listen out for the cue to enter and you could win a stay at the hotel, courtesy of, Malaysia's favourite discount website, where you can find exciting lifestyle deals.

As Red FM's Top of the Shops strives to add that touch of pleasure and spice to your life, log on to Linora's blog on to get a glimpse of what's to come.

This avid blogger not only offers her personal experience and a unique perspective on some of the giveaways; in addition, you can also pick up tips on how to win the prize of the week.

Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page (www.face and follow us on Twitter (@iloveredfm) for the latest updates of all contests.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

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

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Pakistan army believes NATO attack planned - reports

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 08:25 PM PST

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A senior Pakistani military officer said a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani troops on the border with Afghanistan last month was pre-planned, newspapers reported on Friday, in comments likely to fuel tensions with the United States.

Major General Ashfaq Nadeem, director general of military operations, also said Pakistan, a strategic U.S. ally, would deploy an air defence system along the border to prevent such attacks, the newspapers said.

The newspapers said he made the remarks to a Senate committee on defence on Thursday. Military officials were not immediately available to confirm he had made the comments.

The Daily Times said Nadeem described the attack as a plot while another newspaper quoted him as saying it was a "pre-planned conspiracy" against Pakistan.

"We can expect more attacks from our supposed allies," Nadeem was quoted as saying during his briefing, The Express Tribune reported.

U.S. and Pakistani officials have offered differing initial accounts of what happened in the attack.

Pakistan said it was unprovoked, with officials calling it an act of blatant aggression -- an accusation the United States has rejected.

Two U.S. officials have told Reuters that preliminary information from the ongoing investigation indicated Pakistani officials at a border coordination centre had cleared the air strike, unaware they had troops in the area.

Nadeem ruled out the possibility that NATO forces may have thought they were firing on militants, who often move across the porous frontier and attack Western troops.

One newspaper reported that he told the Senate committee that militants do not leave themselves exposed on mountain tops, like the ones where the Pakistani border posts were located.

The United States, which sees Pakistan as critical to its efforts to stabilise Afghanistan ahead of a combat troop pullout in 2014, has tried to sooth fury over the NATO incident.

President Barack Obama has called Pakistan's president to offer condolences over the strike that provoked a crisis in relations between the two countries. He stopped short of a formal apology.

Pakistan boycotted an international conference in Germany on the future of Afghanistan because of the NATO attack.

U.S.-Pakistani ties were already frayed after the secret U.S. raid in May that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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China unrest spreads to bamboo furniture factory

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 07:28 PM PST

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Hundreds of Chinese workers at a bankrupt furniture factory staged a mass rally on Thursday, facing off with riot police in the latest flare-up of industrial unrest.

Workers at the bamboo and wood furniture factory in Anji in the eastern province of Zhejiang took to the streets to demand back wages after the plant went bankrupt, Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily said on Friday.

Chinese microblogging sites showed large numbers of riot police surrounding workers at the scene and postings said some workers had been beaten.

A rash of highly organised and potent strikes have hit the factories of a number of global brands including PepsiCo Inc, Japanese watchmaker Citizen Holdings Co Ltd, and shoemaking giant Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) Ltd.

While the reasons for the strikes have varied from factory to factory, workers have often complained that jobs and wages are under pressure as manufacturers and exporters look to cut costs in response to slowing Western orders, especially from debt-ridden Europe.

At least two strikes were still simmering at the Singapore-owned Hi-P International Ltd factory, which makes electronics for clients including Apple Inc, with workers demanding compensation for a factory relocation they fear could lead to layoffs.

About 100 Hi-P workers gathered outside a Shanghai government office on Thursday to petition the authorities for help, but dispersed without incident after police arrived.

In the Pearl River Delta plant of Hitachi Ltd-owned Hailiang Storage Products, nearly 800 workers continued to strike, staging a peaceful sit-in in front of the factory on Thursday, labour advocacy group China Labor Watch reported.

Workers were angered that their seniority and benefits may be eroded once a takeover of the factory by Western Digital Corp goes through in March next year.

The group urged "both factories to address their workers' problems with their opaque and unfair management styles and bring their workers into the decision-making process."

(Reporting by James Pomfret in HONG KONG and Royston Chan in SHANGHAI; Editing by Chris Lewis and Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Fukushima nuclear plant scraps plan to dump water into sea

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 07:21 PM PST

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant said Friday it has scrapped a plan to dump water it treated for radiation contamination into the sea following fierce protests from fishing groups.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the utility operating Fukushima's Daiichi plant, had said Thursday it was considering discharging some treated water into the sea because it was running out of storage space.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)'s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant No. 2 reactor building is seen in this handout photo taken September 15, 2011. REUTERS/Tokyo Electric Power Co/Handout

That caused an uproar among Japanese fishing cooperatives.

"Treated" means once-high radioactive content has been reduced considerably, but not completely.

The Fukushima plant was struck by a devastating quake and tsunami in March and has released radiation into the atmosphere, carried by winds, rain and snow, ever since.

"The decision not to include the plan was made after talks Thursday with the federation of fishing cooperatives and opposition from the government's Fisheries Agency," a Tepco spokeswoman said.

Tepco general manager Junichi Matsumoto told reporters on Friday that the company would try to build more tanks and recycle more of the treated water for cooling purposes.

Tens of thousands of tonnes of water contaminated with radiation have accumulated at the plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, after Tepco, early in the crisis, tried to cool reactors that suffered nuclear fuel meltdowns by pouring in water, much of it from the sea.

Tepco estimates that the amount of treated water requiring storage is increasing by 200 to 500 tonnes every day. It says the plant is likely to reach its storage capacity of about 155,000 tonnes around March.

The utility released more than 10,000 tonnes of water tainted with low levels of radiation in April to free up space for water with much higher levels of radioactivity, drawing sharp criticism from neighbors such as South Korea and China.

(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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NBA: Players and owners approve new labour deal

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 04:50 PM PST

NEW YORK: National Basketball Association (NBA) players and owners ratified a new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday, formally ending a five-month lockout and ensuring the season will start on Christmas Day.

Both sides voted in favour of a 10-year-deal that will allow a shortened 66-game season to start Dec. 25 with five games. Free agency and training camps will open on Friday.

"I am pleased to announce that we have concluded the collective bargaining process and have reached an agreement that addresses many significant issues that were challenges to our league," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in a statement.

"This collective bargaining agreement will help us move toward a better business model, a more competitive league and better alignment between compensation and performance."

The NBA season was in jeopardy after talks between the two sides collapsed in June, triggering the lockout and tit-for-tat anti-trust legal action.

The pre-season and first six weeks of the NBA's regular season, in which teams normally play 82 games, were cancelled before owners and players agreed last month to a compromise deal after both sides lost millions of dollars.

The players began voting on the deal Wednesday, even though some of the final details were not sorted out until just before Thursday's vote by owners.

Although the new deal was for 10 years, the league and the players' union retained an option to opt out after six years.

Under the terms of the deal, players and owners agreed to a 50-50 split of basketball related income, one of the major sticking points of the dispute.

The NBA board of governors said the new revenue sharing plan would quadruple the funds previously shared among NBA teams.

"The board realized that it was imperative that our revenue sharing programme be improved," Stern said. "We have found a solution that should provide our league with better competitive balance."

The sides also agreed to new tax rates and to set the salary cap for the 2011-12 season at $58 million.

The maximum length of player contracts was reduced by one year to five years for a team's own players, while salaries for new player contracts may increase by up to 7.5 per cent per year.

They also reached an agreement to bolster the doping program with the introduction of offseason testing, increased penalties for violations involving performance-enhancing drugs, and blood testing for human growth hormone once a test was validated.

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Hendrawan to get tough with his charges in a bid to transform them into champions

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 05:23 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: The men's singles second stringers have had less than a stellar year but national badminton coach Hendrawan is not perturbed.

The soft-spoken Hendrawan intends to crack the whip next year to transform his players into champions.

Under his guidance, Mohd Arif Abdul Latif, Goh Soon Huat, Misbun Ramdan Misbun and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin have shown some improvement but they still lag far behind world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.

They will be drilled even harder in training to make the quantum leap to succeed at the top. Hendrawan is also contemplating sending some his charges for exposure in Europe.

All his plans are, however, subject to approval by the BAM coaching and training committee who meet on Dec 16.

"It has been far from a satisfactory year. There have been improvements but they are minor ones. There are weaknesses which need working on," said Hendrawan.

"I'm far from satisfied. As coach, I know I can do better with the players I have. There has been a change in attitude in training but I expect much more from them.

"We will redouble our efforts and everyone will be pushed to the limit. My year of teaching them the basics is over. It's now time to push them hard."

While Arif and Soon Huat have been giving some of the seniors like Liew Daren, Chong Wei Feng, Chan Kwong Beng a run for their money, they have failed to shine on the international stage.

Hendrawan will have a tough time naming his squad for next year's Thomas Cup Finals as all his players are pretty mediocre, at best. This is most disconcerting as no one looks good enough to fill the second and third singles spots in the team.

Arif and Soon Huat were named for the last month's SEA Games but the former did not live up to expectations while reserve Soon Huat did not play.

Cracking the whip alone may not be enough as there clearly is a dearth of real talent. So unless Hendrawan has a magic formula to transform his players, Malaysia may have a hard time getting past the Thomas Cup qualifiers, nevermind the Finals.

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Wei Feng out to end losing streak against former world champ Chen Jin

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 03:22 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will be banking on Chong Wei Feng to halt China's Chen Jin's march to make the Olympic Games when they cross swords in the quarter-finals of the South Korea Grand Prix Gold in Hwasun-gun today.

World No. 77 Wei Feng breezed into the men's singles quarter-finals with a 21-14, 21-11 win over Lee Cheol-woo of South Korea yesterday.

He will take on top seed and former world champion Chen Jin, who overcame a sluggish start to beat Soo Hwang-jong of South Korea in another third round match.

Wei Feng is determined to end a three-year losing streak against Chen Jin.

"I remember beating him in the India Open Grand Prix in 2008. It was my biggest win but I have failed to get the better of him since," said Wei Feng in a telephone interview.

"My condition is quite good and I will not give in easily against Chen Jin."

If Wei Feng wins, it will stall Chen Jin's plans to rake in some extra Olympic ranking points before the year ends.

The Chinese is currently ranked fifth in the world. His two compatriots – Lin Dan and Chen Jin – are second and third respectively.

A country can have a maximum of three if all of them are ranked in the top four when the qualifying period ends in May.

A win in the South Korea Open will strengthen Chen Jin's plan to overtake Denmark's Peter-Gade Christensen, who is holding strong to his world No. 4 spot.

It was also a good day for Liew Daren and Mohd Arif Abdul Latif who set up an all-Malaysian quarter-final to ensure one place in the semi-finals.

The other two quarter-final match-ups will be between reigning Macau Open winner Lee Hyun-il of South Korea and Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto, and Koreans Shon Wan-ho and Hong Ji-hoon.

Malaysia's challenge ended in all the other events with the exits of men's doubles pair Mohd Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid-Vountus Indra Mawan and women shuttlers Tee Jing Yi, Sannatasah Saniru and Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei in the singles and doubles respectively.


(Matches involving Malaysians only)

Men's singles

Second round: Chan Kwong Beng bt Chun Shih-kueh (Tpe) 22-20, 19-21, 21-12; Mohd Arif Abdul Latif bt Choi Ho-jin (Kor) 15-21, 21-14, 21-16; Liew Daren bt Christian Boesiger (Sui) 21-14, 21-15; Chong Wei Feng bt Im Jin-hwan (Kor) 21-15, 21-17.

Third round: Shon Wan-ho (Kor) bt Chan Kwong Beng 21-18, 21-8; Liew Daren bt Choi Young-woo (Kor) 21-18, 19-21, 21-13; Chong Wei Feng bt Lee Cheol-woo (Kor) 21-14, 21-11; Mohd Arif Abdul Latif bt Jung Hoon-min (Kor) 23-25, 21-13, 21-12.

Men's doubles

Second round: Hong Wei-Shen Ye (Chn) bt Mohd Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid-Vountu Indra Mawan 21-11, 21-18.

Women's singles

Second round: Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) bt Tee Jing Yi 21-13, 21-19; Miki Takagi (Jpn) bt Sannatasah Saniru 21-14, 21-18.

Women's doubles

Second round: Luo Ying-Luo Yu (Chn) bt Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei 21-18, 21-9.

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The Star Online: Nation

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Tony denies leaving AirAsia soon

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 07:04 AM PST

Published: Thursday December 8, 2011 MYT 8:08:00 PM
Updated: Thursday December 8, 2011 MYT 11:04:39 PM

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia chief executive officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, has denied he will resign as the head of the budget airline.

He tweeted on Thursday evening on the micro-blogging site to dismiss an earlier news report that he was going soon.

"All I said is next 10 years we must prepare for new leadership and my time is coming up soon.

"First a CEO for Malaysia and I focus on group functions as group CEO. Good leadership is to prepare for succession. Not going anytime soon though."

Bernama had earlier reported that Fernandes hinted that he might leave soon at the airline's 10th anniversary celebrations.

The report also quoted him as saying that he has yet to identify his successor but hinted that it would be an internal change.

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Hardcore drug addict sisters held in police operation

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 04:22 AM PST

KAJANG: Three sisters hooked on drugs since their school days were among six people picked up during a sting operation in several parts of Kajang here.

The suspects, aged 22, 26 and 30, were detained together with another drug addict friend, aged 47, at a house in Hulu Langat at about 2.30am Wednesday.

Police also seized about 40gm of heroin from the suspects, believed to be for their own consumption.

OCPD Asst Comm Abdul Rashid Abdul Wahab said all the four suspects were high on drugs when police barged in.

"In a follow-up operation in Kampung Dusun Dua, we arrested a 39-year-old drug pusher and seized 647gm of heroin.

"The suspect then led us to another drug pusher, also aged 39, at a restaurant in Bukit Dukung.

"We found various drugs weighing about 30gm there. We later raided his house in Putra Kajang and found another 277gm of heroin and RM39,500," he said.

He said initial investigations showed the drug pushers had been supplying various addicts around Kajang for several years.

"All the suspects are being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction," he said.

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Liow: No danger on food products from Japan

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 03:51 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians need not worry about radioactive contamination in food products from Japan, Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said.

Liow was responding to media reports that manufacturer Meiji Holdings Co had recalled 400,000 tins of Meiji Step baby formula from Japanese markets after it was found to be contaminated by radioactive material.

Meiji is based in Saitama prefecture, Japan. Its factory is located about 200km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where damaged reactors experienced a meltdown following the March 11 quake and tsunami.

According to reports, the contaminated milk powder contained 22-31 becquerel (bq) of the radioactive materials Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 per kg.

"The Health Ministry wants to make clear that the (Meiji Step) baby formula has not been imported into Malaysia," Liow said.

According to Liow, this was based on information he had received from the Food Safety Information System of Malaysia (FoSim).

He added that all food imported from areas in Japan that were at risk from radioactive contamination, including Saitama prefecture, underwent Pemeriksaan Tahap 5 (Tahan, Uji & Lepas) as part of FoSim's procedure.

"Through this examination process," Liow said, "samples from the food consignments are analysed for radioactive contamination. The consignment is cleared only if the sample complies with safety standards."

He added that if members of the public still had doubts about the safety of any food product, they could make a report to the Health Ministry at their nearest district health office (PKD) or state health department (JKN).

Alternatively, they could do so online at the ministry's website.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Cruise faced 'moment of truth' in M. Impossible 4

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 02:05 AM PST

DUBAI (Reuters) - Tom Cruise hit the red carpet on Wednesday for the world premiere of the fourth ''Mission Impossible'' film which had the American facing 'a moment of truth' jumping off the world's tallest building.

Paramount Pictures chose the the Dubai International Film Festival for the unveiling of the latest episode of a franchise that has grossed over $2 billion worldwide.

''Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol'' is shot mainly in Dubai, making use of its high-rise buildings including Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower at 828 metres (2,716 ft).

In one scene, Cruise, whose spy team is accused of blowing up the Kremlin, undertakes high-adrenalin acrobatics around the summit of the building.

Cruise spent four months training on a set before coming to Dubai to shoot the real thing. But he said it was still a challenge translating director Brad Bird's vision into reality.

''It's one thing seeing it and another thing trying to accomplish that... The first moment, you know I have one little pick here and one little rope. I remember just being there saying 'this is a moment of truth','' Cruise, 49, who is known for doing his own stunts, told reporters.

''I had to figure out how to fly. I had to figure out how to use my feet as a rudder because you have crosswinds up there. It took a while to work out how not to come slamming into the building head first,'' he said.

''I was very excited because I thought it would be very entertaining for an audience and very challenging, and so that's why I did it.''

Cruise's last film, action comedy ''Knight and Day'' co-starring Cameron Diaz, got mixed reviews but the ''Mission Impossible'' franchise has been a safe bet with audiences and critics alike.

Cruise chose to give the film a first, limited showing to fans in Tokyo last week before its official unveiling in Dubai.

''Mission Impossible 4'' has Cruise's character Ethan Hunt moving from Budapest to Moscow to Mumbai, showcasing glossy locations around the world in classic spy genre style.

Bird, who comes to the franchise after critically acclaimed turns directing animated Oscar winners ''The Incredibles'' and ''Ratatouille,'' said he tried to keep a step ahead of audience expectations with the action film.

''One of the challenges of any sequel, particularly a third sequel, is you have a lot of audience expectation, going in,'' he said on the red carpet.

''But I think you can run straight at those expectations and play with them, and zig when the audience are expecting you to zag, and I think that's what we did in this movie.''

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Daniel Radcliffe is EW's Entertainer of the Year

Posted: 07 Dec 2011 09:21 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe was named Entertainment Weekly's "Entertainer of the Year" on Wednesday, capping a successful 2011 for the young actor.

Radcliffe, 22, took his final turn as the boy wizard in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2," the last installment of the film franchise, earlier this year.

The film crossed the $1 billion threshold at the global box office as fans rushed to see their favourite wizard battle evil for the last time.

The "Harry Potter" star also broke out of his magical role to take on Broadway in the musical "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying," stepping into the shoes of stage veterans Robert Morse and Matthew Broderick and receiving positive critical reviews for his performance.

Radcliffe was joined on Entertainment Weekly's list by British singer Adele and "X-Men" actor Hugh Jackman. The full list will be available on newsstands on Dec. 9.

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Surprise win for twins

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 04:12 AM PST

TWIN brothers Chew Lok Kin and Lok Hong provided the joy for the hosts at the third edition of Hooi Yee Sport Junior Badminton Championships at their training centre based at Sports Affairs' 15-court badminton hall in Taman Segar Perdana, Cheras recently.

The duo, under the tutelage of former national women's doubles and mixed doubles shuttler Chor Hooi Yee, emerged as the surprise winners of the boys' Under-12 doubles contest.

It was not smooth sailing for Lok Kin-Lok Hong as they came from a game down against Kedah's Abdul Jalil-Chua Soo Jeff before prevailing 13-21, 21-19, 21-12 in the final.

Hooi Yee said Lok Kin-Lok Hong were lucky to force the championship match down to the wire.

"Going into the final, their opponents (Abdul Jalil-Chua Soo Jeff) were considered as the stronger pair on paper. For the brothers, they have not been training regularly throughout the year as they also had to focus on their studies and other activities.

"They only resumed training seriously a month before the recent tournament. It was a sweet return for them to secure the victory. After overcoming their opponents in a tight second game, they found their rhythm and won the decider convincingly," she added.

The recent tournament drew almost 500 competitors in the 12 categories of the three-day meet.

The boys competed in both singles and doubles in four age-groups — Under-10, Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16 — while the four sections for the girls were Under-10 singles, Under-13 singles, Under-13 doubles and Under-16 singles.

Besides the entries from the Klang Valley, junior shuttlers from Kedah, Penang, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor also joined the occasion.

Hooi Yee admitted the stronger northern contenders, including entries from Penang and Kedah, added excitement and offered tougher competition in the three-day meet.

The visitors, representing several different training camps in Penang, registered a fruitful outing and went home with five titles.

It was double joy for Penang's Lim Ming Chuen in the boys' Under-16 category winning singles as well as pairing up with Ong Wei Khoon for the victory in the doubles.

The Penangites made a strong impression and captured the boys' Under-10 singles and doubles as well as the girls' Under-13 doubles.

For the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association (KLBA) Junior Closed championships scheduled at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium in Cheras until today, Hooi Yee said they would be fielding six hopefuls in gauging their strength against their peers from Kuala Lumpur in all singles events.

The six promising talents are Koh Sian Hern (boys' Under-11); Lok Kin, Lok Hong, Tai Min Nan and Chang Hong Jack (boys' Under-13); and Tai Jing Ying (girls' Under-13).

Results (All finals)


- Under-10 Singles: Lee Shun Yang bt Loo Bing Kun 21-12, 21-13

- Under-10 Doubles: Loo Bing Kun-Ting Hock Yu bt Koh Sian Hern-Ching Kai Feng 21-18, 21-15

- Under-12 Singles: Abdul Jalil bt Low Eu Cong 21-10, 21-6

- Under-12 Doubles: Chew Lok Kin-Chew Lok Hong bt Abdul Jalil-Chua Soo Jeff 13-21, 21-19, 21-12

- Under-14 Singles: Yeoh Seng Zoe bt Choy Chong Hau 21-15, 19-21, 21-18

- Under-14 Doubles: Low Guan Liang-Rickson Tan bt Muhd Najmi-Mohd Iskandar 21-15, 21-13

- Under-16 Singles: Lim Ming Chuen bt Bolriffin 21-11, 14-21, 16-4 (rtd)

- Under-16 Doubles: Lim Ming Chuen-Ong Wei Khoon bt Muhd Sharul Nazim-Muhd Sharul Nizam 21-16, 21-15


- Under-10 Singles: Hng Wen Gee bt Erica Hoh Ji Ling 21-11, 18-21, 21-15

- Under-13 Singles: Loh Bao Ying bt Chuah Xin Er 21-6, 21-19

- Under-13 Doubles: Chuah Xin Er-Lee Shun Mei bt Chen Yi Teng-Nur Johanna Addyana 18-21, 21-13, 21-8

- Under-16 Singles: Jacqueline Ong bt Bhirentha 21-19, 21-16

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Dhiban out to impress in prepatory event for London Olympics

Posted: 08 Dec 2011 04:08 AM PST

T. DHIBAN Raj is looking forward to the 12-Hour Walk at the St Paul Hill in Malacca on Saturday.

The youngster, training under the watchful eyes of former international R. Mogan, is keen to gauge his time for the 50km distance in the event.

Mogan, who won the gold medal in the Chiangmai SEA Games in 1995, said a 50km walk was an event in the London Olympics next year.

"I would like see Dhiban's time in the 50km during the 12-Hour walk. Except for the Olympics, there are no major competitions for Dhiban next year, So I felt it would be appropriate for him to go for the 50km walk,'' said Mogan after a training session at the National Sports Council (NSC) training centre in Bukit Jalil recently.

Dhiban, who won a silver medal in the 20km walk in the Malaysian Open this year, was not considered for the recent SEA Games in Jakarta. The Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union (MAAU) had picked In Teoh Boon Lim and Lo Choon Sieng for the SEA Games.

Choon Sieng won the gold medal in the 20km walk but Boon Lim, who was the defending champion, finished fourth.

Dhiban, who has a personal best of 1'34.00 in the 20km, said he has been training diligently has been concentrating on his endurance for the 12-hour walk.

"I have been consistently covering 40km daily. I have clocked around 3'40:00 and I should be able to complete the 50km within five hours.

"If I can clock that time, then I am on the right track to London,'' said Dhiban, who has teammate B. Anipoobharathi for company in the 12-Hour Walk.

The 19-year-old Anipoobharathi has been impressive in local competitions. In the 2010 Malaysia Games in Malacca, he was sixth in the 20,000m walk. In this year's Malaysian Open, Anipoobharathi was placed sixth in the 20km walk.

Mogan said Anipoobharathi had the potential to excel in the walks events.

"Both Anipoobharathi and Dhiban will be able to support each other during the 12-Hour Walk. While clocking an impressive in the 50km will be Dhiba's priority, Anipoobharathi will be keen to cover a good distance in 12 hours,'' said Mogan.

Former international C. Sathasivam, a former national 5,000m and 10,000m champion, also joined Mogan to support the walkers.

"I am impressed witb Mogan's commitment in coaching the youngsters. I am also prepared to help him in guiding the youngsters,'' said Sathasivam.

The 12-Hour Walk is organised by Race Walkers Association of Malaysia (RWAM) and will start at 8pm on Saturday and end at 8am the following day. About 800 participants, including foreigners, have registered for the event.

Meanwhile Dhiban, who won the 20,000m walk in the 2010 Malaysia Games in Malacca, was the overall winner in the third and final leg of the RWAM junior development walk circuit in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Dhiban clocked 50:04 to win the gold medal in the 10,000m in the men's Open category.



Open (10,000m) : 1. T. Dhiban Raj 50:04; 2. Muhammad Khairk Harith Harun 50:14; 3. Mohd Azizi Anuar 52:36.


Under-18 (3,000m): 1. R. Eswaran 16:42; 2. Zubair Siddique Akhbar Santhran 16:55; 3. Muhamad Akram Ismail 18:33.

Under-15 (2,000m): 1. R. Premkumaar 10:06; 2. Teh Wai Kit 10:22; 3. K. Yesotharan Raaj 10:41

Under-12 (1,200m): 1. V. Dewin Roy 7:32; 2. Rahmad Budiman Irja 8:20; 3. Gamal Arif Fikri 8:26.


Open (3,000m): 1. Norliana Muhd Rusni 16:00; 2. Song Sie Chee 16:28; 3. Lee Shiew Keng 18:50.


Under-18 (3,000m): 1. A. Premila 18:33; 2. N. Nantini 19:39; 3. Yap Hui Shan 20:41.

Under-15 (2,000m): 1. Aina Fadlin Syahmina Abas 10:49; 2. Syazana Afifa Abdul Rahman 13:26.

Under-12: 1,200m): 1. Celeste Ho Wing Sum 7:52; 2. Nur Fadihilah Nasrul 8:05; 3. Syharifah Asiyah Syed Sahim 8:35.

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Pahang luring investors

Posted: 07 Dec 2011 04:17 PM PST

KUANTAN: Continuous efforts are being made by the Pahang government to create a conducive investment climate to attract more foreign investors to the state, as well as to encourage domestic investment.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said, among the efforts made by the state government are providing infrastructure and basic facilities for investors, especially in industrial areas.

He said measures have also been put in place to enhance the role of the Pahang State Development Corp's One-Stop Agency by providing more effective service for investors through its website,

"The website enable investors to obtain information and make enquiries online," he said in response to a question by Wan Salman Wan Ismail (BN-Jengka during the State Assembly sitting recently..

Adnan said, based on information obtained from the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida), a total of 593 manufacturing projects, involving investments of RM28.7 billion, were approved in Pahang between 1987 and July 2011.

In another development, State Human Resource and Consumer Affairs Committee Chairman Datuk Fong Koong Fuee told the state assembly that 292 employers were issued compound notices by the Social Security Organisation for failing to register their employees between January and September this year.

He said Kuantan recorded the highest number of employers, at 182, followed by Temerloh (46), Bentong (37), Rompin (10), Maran (9) and Muadzam Shah (8) — Bernama.

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Muslims urged to strengthen unity

Posted: 07 Dec 2011 04:17 PM PST

MUAR: Muslims in the state have been urged to strengthen their unity in celebrating the Islamic new year of Maal Hajirah 1433.

State Women, Family, Health and Community Development Committee chairman Dr Robia Kosai said they should not allow outside influences to disrupt their harmony.

She said the Muslims in the state would be a minority group if they allowed any type of political ideology to divide and split them.

"We can support or believe in any ideology, but we should not allow ourselves to be divided as we are all Muslims.

"We want Muslims to continue to share the same mosques, pray together and live in the same community," she said before presenting financial aid and gifts to 30 orphan pupils of SK Pekan Baru and SK Parit Yusof here on Tuesday.

Dr Robia said it was sad to see Muslims in certain countries split because of different ideologies, with some even fighting wars against one another.

On the financial aid to the orphan pupils, she said it was a requirement in Islam to help the needy, the poor and also orphan children.

She said she had given out similar aid to other orphans in Sungai Balang several months ago, but missed out on the two schools as she did not receive their lists.

"I only received the lists recently and I decided to give out the cash aid. "Besides orphan pupils, financial aid and gifts have also been given out to single mothers and elderly women in Sungai Balang," she added.

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Additional allocations for repair works to prevent floods

Posted: 07 Dec 2011 06:11 PM PST

LABIS: More than RM200,000 has been spent since 2008 to build a retention wall along the Labis River near Taman Labis Jaya to prevent erosion along the riverbanks.

Labis MP Chua Tee Yong said the Government spent an additional RM70,000 this year to maintain and repair part of the wall that had been damaged due to a flood early this year.

"The repair works were completed in September.

"The river was also deepened to help prevent flooding," he said during a Deepavali celebration at Sri Athi Parasakthi temple in Taman Labis.

Chua said the temple used to face the danger of erosion as it was located by the river.

In another development, Chua said he also set aside RM35,000 allocation under his constituency to repair and level the earth roads in several rubber and oil palm plantations in Labis.

"The roads are upgraded for easier access and for the safety of the plantation workers and residents," he said after a visit to Kebun MCA Labis recently.

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