Khamis, 22 Disember 2011

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'American Horror Story' finale hits season high

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 04:20 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The season finale of ''American Horror Story'' really killed it in more ways than one.

Wednesday's Season One swan song drew 3.22 million total viewers - a high for the series, which premiered Oct. 5. It was also cable's top-rated program among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, drawing 2.19 viewers in that demo.

While impressive, the performance doesn't mark a dramatic improvement over ''AHS'''s maiden episode. The series' maiden episode drew 3.2 million total viewers, with 2 million in the demo.

Overall, the season has averaged 4.4 million total viewers when Live+7 data is factored in. When video-on-demand and online views are added, the Ryan Murphy/Brad Falchuk series is averaging 8.6 million total viewers, going by data from the first five weeks.

''American Horror Story'' has yielded the highest-rated first season in FX history, besting ''Justified'' by 29 percent in total viewers and Murphy and Falchuk's earlier FX offering, ''Nip/Tuck,'' by 50 percent in the adults 18-49 demo.

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Adopted motherland

Posted: 23 Dec 2011 12:04 AM PST

Hokkien immigrants from China make Malaya their Home.

WE have our fair share of locally produced Mandarin and Cantonese drama series, but what about a Hokkien drama series?

Forget about the Taiwanese Min Nan dramas that are ruling the local TV channels now. Here we are talking about a made-in-Malaysia Hokkien drama series with a storyline that's close to our hearts.

After four years of entertaining the local Hokkien population, Astro's Hokkien channel Hua Hee Dai (Channel 333) is ready to roll out its first Hokkien drama series.

Home, hailed by Astro as the first Hokkien drama series in the South-East Asia, traces back to the late 1930s, when Hokkiens from Kinmen (a part of Fujian Province, China) arrived on Penang island and braved the hardships and cultural differences to start their new lives there.

Expect to see Hua Hee Dai personalities like Jentzen Lim and Allysa Law flexing their acting muscles opposite well-known local artistes like Yeo Yann Yann and Steve Yap.

While we can't wait to see that, we are curious how newcomers Kevin Soo and Kay Kwok hold their own against the seasoned performers as the leads in the series.

For starters, the dialect itself proved to be quite a challenge, even for a Hokkien like Kwok, who explained: "The script is written in Chinese so we had to translate it into Hokkien before we memorised it."

Soo, who is a Hakka, relied on a vocal coach to perfect his delivery of the dialect.

"The Kinmenese dialect is different from the Hokkien we speak here. And with the 1930s backdrop, we had to be careful not to use modern expressions like 'ok' and 'yay'," he said.

The former model said he was cast in Home because his personality fits the role like a glove.

"The directors told me that I'm Boon Leong in real life," he said, referring to his character who is an honest and innocent man.

Even though he's almost playing himself, the pressure of being a first-time lead was enough to make the 28-year-old sweat – and faint.

"I was shooting the last scene – the 10th in the day – at around 11am and I suddenly got dizzy and had to take a break," he recalled.

His first starring role proved to be physically challenging, requiring him to complete more than 370 scenes within four months and do up to 12 scenes a day sometimes.

"As a beginner, everything is new to me. I had to do a lot of preparation and it took me two weeks to get used to working on the set," he revealed.

He admitted that his performance was not up to par at first, recalling that one of the directors, Chew Huat Yeow, was so frustrated that he snapped two pens in two on the spot.

Soo recalled: "I was very down and I started doubting my own ability, but I kept telling myself that I could do it."

His co-star attested to his nervousness on the set, with Kwok, 25, describing him as "very tense" at the beginning.

"When we're shooting our first scene together, he could barely eat and his hands were shaking so badly. He ended up doing 20 takes. I thought the four-month shooting will be extended to six months (laughs)!" she quipped.

Meanwhile, Kwok, who launched her showbiz career when she won the third season of Project Superstar Malaysia back in 2008, got to do things that she normally would not have the chance to do.

"I play a girl who is totally different from myself. She is daring and does crazy things like jumping into the sea, using a gun or breaking the car window," she said.

Many wondered whether the gentle-looking Kwok could pull it off. The singer-turned-actress admitted that she was "very scared deep down".

"I had to scold other characters in the series. The director told me to just do it with all my might. My whole body went numb after that," she said.

Another greater challenge came in portraying the intense emotions one felt during the Japanese occupation of Malaya.

"I'd never done this before and was worried that I couldn't do it well," she said.

For this, she turned to No Regrets, a Cantonese World War II drama series that won Best Drama Series at last year's TVB Anniversary Awards in Hong Kong. It also helped that much of the filming took place in real settings, such as a jungle or the seaside, rather than in the studio.

This sense of authenticity came with a price though, with many among the cast and crew getting bitten by leeches as well as vicious mosquitoes of which the bite marks last for months.

Apart from getting their hands dirty – literally – the stars had to deal with action scenes, which were abundant in the series.

"Sometimes I felt like I was filming an action flick!" said Kwok with a laugh. "I had to use a hammer, a stick, a gun and a glass bottle, which could be quite dangerous."

Real explosives were used in some scenes, according to her.

"We rehearsed many times prior to shooting these scenes and the director made sure that we wet our backs before each explosion scene (to avoid being scorched). However, the impact (of the explosion) was so great that I felt my back dried instantly after each explosion!" she said.

Despite being cautious, the petite lass still injured herself at times.

"One of my co-stars accidentally hit my head with his knee in a scene. According to those who were present, my face immediately turned pale and I could hear ringing in my ears.

"The pain was back a week later when we filmed a scene in which Kevin held me close to his chest as he ran. My head kept bumping against his shoulder!

"Now, whenever I am tired, I feel the pain," she said.

With its premise, Home sounds like a tearjerker loaded with emotional scenes. Unlike Taiwanese Min Nan series that dwell on heartbreaks and drama, Home is fast-paced and action-packed. For one, the story spans from the late 1930s to the 50s in just 32 episodes.

"At the beginning of shooting, the directors told us to forget everything we know about Hokkien drama series," said Kwok.

Soo echoed: "There're plenty of action compared to the usual Min Nan fare. Moreover, it showcases the different types of Hokkien spoken by the Chinese in various parts of Malaysia."

However, what sets Home apart is its subject matter that will most likely strike a chord with the local viewers, said Astro's vice president of Chinese Customer Business Choo Chi Han.

He offered: "We are talking about a truly Malaysian story that is produced in Malaysia and for Malaysians. It's about what happened when the first migrants came here. We believe many people would be very interested to know that."

Home is only the start of more Hokkien drama series from the channel, said Choo, adding that they are "developing some new Hua Hee angles" for the coming year.

"Even though there're quite a lot of Hokkiens here, there're not many relevant Hokkien entertainment around. And Malaysian Hokkiens are different from Hokkiens from say, Taiwan (the biggest exporter of the Hokkien entertainment shows).

"It's Astro's philosophy, as a multi-channel TV operator, to try out new things. We did and have been pretty successful," he said, referring to the channel's hugely popular shows like Hua Hee Together, Hua Hee Karaoke, Hua Hee Makan and the latest sitcom Hua Hee Everyday.

"From how we put things together to how we come up with our own productions, the channel is designed to be locally relevant. Four years after we launched Hua Hee Dai, we are becoming kind of an expert in Hokkien offerings.

"One of the biggest satisfactions is when Hokkien elders thank us and say, 'If not for you guys, my grandchildren may not be speaking Hokkien anymore.' " he said.

Home premieres on Astro Hua Hee Dai (Channel 333) today and is aired weekdays at 9.30pm. Fans can meet the cast of Home in Batu Pahat in Johor, Klang and Bukit Mertajam in Penang, from tomorrow till Monday. For more info, log on to or

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Soaring dragon

Posted: 23 Dec 2011 12:09 AM PST

The Year Of The Dragon is fast approaching and it is time to ring out the old and bring in the new.

TO celebrate the exciting Year Of The Dragon, local Chinese radio station 988 is continuing its tradition of Chinese New Year album releases (since 2009) with its latest DVD titled 988 Fei Long Zai Tian Guo Xin Nian (988 Soaring Into The Great Year Of The Dragon, pic) through cross-media collaboration with Chinese women's magazine Feminine Magazine. The DVD is presented by Panasonic ECONAVI Air Conditioner and distributed along with the magazine.

In eastern philosophy, the dragon, which the only mythological creature in the Chinese zodiac, is said to be the deliverer of good fortune, vitality and a master of authority. 988 believes 2012 is a transformational year which promotes many possibilities for good fortune.

The 988 CNY DVD contains the music videos of two Chinese New Year songs, one in Mandarin and the other in Cantonese – Fei Long Zai Tian Guo Xin Nian and Long Nin Yau Hei (Blessed Year Of Dragon) – featuring 15 of the station's deejays: Biao Ming, Xiao Ma, Yin Yin, Nick, Hui Min, Luke, Ji Yi, Cheryl, KK, May, Sam, Anson, Yi Hui, Kean and Xiang Juin.

On top of that, Malaysia's renowned feng shui master Jane Hor gives out tips for the new year. Good luck in wealth, health, romance, studies, business as well as astrological advice on how to avoid bad luck are now conveniently available on this DVD so you can always rewatch anything you happen to miss out on.

Subsequent to the release of the DVD, 988 deejays will begin a nationwide promo tour next month.

Then, for the first time ever, 988 will be organising a Chinese New Year Eve Countdown Show at the famous Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur to usher in the lunar new year with the public.

While many are cynical about the outlook for 2012, the radio station believes in making your own opportunities in the midst of difficulties. And there is always an opportunity for everyone, big or small, to make a difference in their lives.

In the soaring spirit of the dragon, 988 aspires to initiate and create a great 2012.

To start the ball rolling, it is organising a tribute gala reunion dinner to commend the contributions of outstanding NGOs and corporations in the country.

Hoping to start a chain reaction to promote goodness and social responsibility, the reunion dinner will be held on Feb 3.

For more information, stay tuned to 988, operated by The Star, or visit

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The Star Online: World Updates

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Riot police fire teargas to disperse protesters in China

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 08:04 PM PST

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese riot police fired teargas to disperse a throng of protesters in a small town in southern China on Friday, the fourth day of demonstrations against the construction of a power station.

Footage from Hong Kong's Cable TV showed police firing several rounds of teargas in Haimen town, in the southern boom province of Guangdong, sending hundreds of people scuttling away.

Locals look at riot police standing in a line as they block the entrance from the main highway to the town of Haimen, Guangdong province December 22, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray

The protests in Haimen intensified this week just as people about 130 km further along the coast, in Wukan village, called off a 10-day blockade of their village in a protest against what they said was a land grab by officials.

Protests in China have become relatively common over issues such as corruption, pollution, wages, and land grabs that local-level officials justify in the name of development.

Chinese experts put the number of "mass incidents," as such protests are known, at about 90,000 a year in recent years.

While Communist Party rule is not directly threatened by such incidents of unrest, officials fear they could coalesce into broader, more organised challenges to their power.

Residents of Haimen, a coastal town of about 120,000 people, took to the streets on Tuesday to protest against plans to build a coal-fired power plant after what they complain has been years of heavy air and water pollution from existing power plants in the town.

They rejected an offer to suspend the project late on Wednesday, demanding it be scrapped altogether, and Hong Kong's Mingpao newspaper reported on Friday that they pledged to keep up their action if police did not release detained protesters.

China's state news agency Xinhua had reported that police had detained five people for vandalism on Wednesday evening.

People in China are increasingly unwilling to accept the relentless speed of urbanisation and industrialisation and the impact on the environment and health.

(Reporting By Sisi Tang; Writing by Tan Ee Lyn; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Egypt activists call mass rally against army rule

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 07:22 PM PST

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian activists have called a mass rally in Cairo on Friday against the army's handling of protests that killed 17 people and drew international criticism of the ruling generals.

A view shows traffic at Tahrir Square in Cairo December 22, 2011. Activists plan a million-man march to Tahrir Square on Friday to protest against army rule and the latest violence. REUTERS/Stringer

Protesters who fought soldiers and police in the capital for five days until calm was restored this week want the ruling military council to cede power more swiftly than planned.

Some Egyptians, sceptical of the military's avowed commitment to democratic change, want a presidential vote as early as January 25, the first anniversary of the start of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, or at least much earlier than the mid-2012 handover now scheduled.

Students have called for Egyptians to join Friday's protest with a march from Cairo's Ain Shams university, two of whose students were among the 17 killed.

Those two deaths prompted sit-ins on Ain Shams campus, in front of the Defence Ministry and at other universities.

"The current predicament we have reached is a result of the army council's reluctance to play its role, its intentional foot-dragging, breaking its obligations and failing over the economy and security, putting the whole country on the edge of a huge crisis," said a statement signed by two dozen parties, youth movements and others calling for Friday's protest.

The April 6 movement, which played a lead role in galvanising Egyptians to rise up against Mubarak, said the army's handling of the latest street protests showed it was seeking to "protect the previous regime."


The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), leading in Egypt's staggered parliamentary election and wary of derailing the vote that will secure its place in mainstream politics, said it would not join in.

The ultraconservative Salafist al-Nour Party said on its Facebook page however that it would take part.

Many activists accuse the Brotherhood and other Islamists of betraying the protest movement in order to secure their own positions in the emerging new power structure.

The FJP said on its Facebook page it would not participate although it said it was "the right of the Egyptian people to protest and demonstrate peacefully."

"The party emphasises the need for the handover of power to civilians according to the will of the Egyptian people through free and fair elections ... in a stable environment," said Mohamed al-Katatni, a senior member of the FJP.

The comments indicated the Brotherhood was sticking to the army's timetable to hold a presidential vote in June. The Brotherhood has said bringing the vote forward could "create chaos."

The Brotherhood may want to shape the new constitution before a presidential poll, seeking greater powers for parliament and avoiding giving the president too many powers, analysts say.

They add that an earlier presidential election would not necessarily eliminate the military's dominance in a new civilian-governed state.

The military has survived Egypt's political upheaval intact and has vast economic and other interests, so any new president would need its support to maintain order.

"This is a transitional period where one party hands power to another. A deal must be struck. This is politics," a source close to the military said.

(Editing by Andrew Roche)

Related Stories:
In provinces, Egyptians focus on vote not protests
U.N.'s Bachelet deplores Egyptian attacks on women

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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Quakes rattle NZ's tremor-plagued Christchurch

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 07:18 PM PST

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A series of strong earthquakes hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, sending goods toppling from shelves, causing rockfalls and driving terrified residents from buildings 10 months after a quake killed almost 200 people in the city.

Dust rises from rocks were falling from a cliff in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner moments after an earthquake struck December 23, 2011. REUTERS/Christine Brooks

Christchurch police said there were no reports of casualties or widespread damage, although one person had been reported hurt at a shopping mall and taken to hospital.

An initial 5.8 magnitude earthquake was centred 20 km northeast of the city at a very shallow depth of 8 km, according to New Zealand's civil defence. It was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, one of a 5.3 magnitude but no tsunami warning was issued.

The tremors struck as shoppers thronged malls in the lead-up to Christmas and prompted many residents to flee the city, clogging roads.

"It was incredibly violent," one caller told Radio New Zealand.

"All the water in my birdbath slopped out and I could hear everything falling over inside. When I walked inside, the cat streaked out the door, ornaments were all over the floor, contents of the pantry were lying on the floor, a little bit of smashed glass and picture frames lying over."

Christchurch, the largest city in New Zealand's South Island, is still recovering from a quake measuring 6.3 which killed 182 people in February and caused up to NZ$20 billion (9.8 billion pounds) in damage. A strong but less damaging quake struck Christchurch in September last year.


Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the series of shakes had shattered the nerves of people who had been slowly getting their lives back to normal.

"It has been a long hard road, 15 months ... and people had dared to hope that the aftershocks were over," said Parker.

"I think there will be more damage to buildings, nothing significant, no major collapses just little bits of more debris."

"It's terrible timing, you can't underestimate the impact of this on people on the psychological level, they've been exposed to so much and it felt like it was getting better, and it just puts the work back, the repairs back, the rebuild back."

Ambulance services said they treated 18 people for panic attacks and anxiety.

Large areas of Christchurch's central business district are still off-limits after the February quake, which toppled the city's famous cathedral, as well as shops, homes and office buildings.

About 6,000 homes in the city were condemned after the February quake.

The latest quake caused some large rock falls in the hills around the city but none had fallen onto houses or roads around the nearby port town of Lyttelton which was extensively damaged in the February quake.

"There's not a heck of a lot of buildings left to wreck, to bring down in an earthquake, to be perfectly honest," said the town's chief fire officer, Mark Buckley.

Four people had to be rescued after becoming trapped at a beach by a rockfall, police reported. Two buildings damaged in the previous quakes had collapsed, they added.

Aerial footage showed clouds of dust rising from seaside suburbs under sunny summer skies.

The region's main power supplier said up to 15,000 customers were without power, mostly after circuit breakers were tripped.

Christchurch International Airport was evacuated as a precautionary measure while the terminal and runways were checked.

The New Zealand dollar briefly dipped to $0.7725 from $0.7740 in thin trading after news of the quake, before recovering. New Zealand stocks cut pared gains to trade up 0.14 percent.

New Zealand straddles the boundaries of the Indo-Australian and the Pacific tectonic plates and is hit by about 14,000 quakes every year, of which only a small number usually top a magnitude of 5.

Scientists had warned after the February quake that there would be further shakes, probably as large as magnitude 6.

"In coming days the most likely scenario is that there'll be a series of aftershocks in a similar location and they'll gradually drop off," Ken Gledhill a seismologist with GNS Science told TVNZ.

"This is just a reminder that this area is more active than it was in September 2010."

($1 = 1.2914 New Zealand dollars)

(Additional reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Copyright © 2011 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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Cavendish scoops BBC Sports Personality of the Year award

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 04:14 PM PST

LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Rider Mark Cavendish was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Thursday to cap a memorable 12 months in which the Briton won the road race world title and the Tour de France green jersey.

The 26-year-old Manxman topped the poll, voted for by the public, beating off competition from golfer Darren Clarke, who came second and athlete Mo Farah in third.

"This award is a landmark for cycling," he said on the BBC. "For cycling to be recognised in a non-Olympic year is unheard of."

Cavendish won five stages at this year's Tour de France in July to clinch the green jersey, awarded to the race's best sprinter, before taking gold at the world championships in Copenhagen in September.

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, who won three grand slams in 2011, won Overseas Sports Personality of the Year, while the England cricket team scooped the award for Team of the Year.

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Venus coming to Australian Open - tournament chief

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 04:13 PM PST

MELBOURNE(Reuters) - Seven-times grand slam champion Venus Williams will still play the Australian Open despite withdrawing from her scheduled warm-up tournament in New Zealand for health reasons, according to tournament director Craig Tiley.

American Williams, who has been receiving treatment for Sjogren's syndrome, an auto-immune disease, pulled out of the Jan. 2-7 Auckland Classic, organisers said earlier this week.

Tiley said he had spoken to Williams's agent to check her availability after news of the withdrawal.

"I wanted to touch base but there's no change for her. She's coming," Tiley said in comments published by the Australian newspaper on Friday.

Williams withdrew from September's U.S. Open with Sjogren's, a chronic disease where white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands causing fatigue and joint soreness.

The five-times Wimbledon champion has since slipped to a world ranking of 102, but said last month that she hoped to return to the tour full-time in 2012 and to climb back up to top of the rankings.

She will play in a mixed doubles exhibition match with her younger sister and fellow former world number one Serena in Florida on Friday to help raise funds for a youth education charity.

The Australian Open starts on Jan. 16.

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Scratch pair Liu Ying-Yin Loo stun fancied Indians in Lucknow

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 05:29 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: The scratch women's doubles pair of Goh Liu Ying-Lim Yin Loo made heads turn when they sensationally beat third seeds and home favourites Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa in the second round of the India Open GP Gold in Lucknow yesterday.

Playing together in an international tournament for the first time, Liu Ying-Yin Loo quickly found themselves a game down against the world No.13 Indian pair.

Nevertheless, they bounced back quickly and showed good combination to silence the home crowd with a 18-21, 21-14, 21-16 win.

The reward for their tenacious play will be a quarter-final meeting against either Singaporeans Shinta Mulia Sari-Yao Lei or Dutch duo Lotte Jonathans-Paulien Van Dooremalen.

It will also be the diminutive Liu Ying's second quarter-final appearance in this tournament after she combined well with Chan Peng Soon to reach the last eight of the mixed doubles.

It was a good day for Malaysia in women's doubles, as the upcoming duo of Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo shrugged off their recent inconsistencies to score an upset victory over fourth seeds Duanganong Aroonkesorn-Kunchala Voravichit-chaikul of Thailand.

Khe Wei-Vivian were in smashing form, winning 21-12, 21-16, leaving the Thai duo no chance of a fightback.

Chin Ee Hui-Wong Pei Tty are also through to the next round when they brushed aside team-mates Lai Pei Jing-Marylen Ng 21-13, 21-13.

In the men's singles, national backup shuttler Misbun Ramdan Misbun qualified for the quarter-finals without having to lift his racquet.

The 20-year-old son of former national coach, Misbun Sidek, was drawn to play Indonesian No. 1 Simon Santoso in the third round.

However, the top seeded Simon, withdrew from the competition due to an injury, to hand Ramdan a free ride into the last eight where he will face Thailand's Suppanyu Avihingsanon.

It was, however, the end of the road for Chong Wei Feng as he failed to hold onto his advantage against Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong.

Wei Feng won the first game 21-12 and was leading 14-10 in the second but lost his focus to allow the fifth seeded Wing Ki to storm back and take the match 12-21, 21-17, 21-12.

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The Star Online: Business

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Deutsche Boerse, NYSE US$9bil deal wins U.S. approval

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 05:19 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Deutsche Boerse won U.S. antitrust approval to buy NYSE Euronext in a $9 billion deal to create the world's No. 1 exchange operator, but the transaction still faces serious regulatory headwinds in Europe.

The Justice Department said on Thursday that the deal, which was announced in February, won U.S. approval on condition that a Deutsche Boerse subsidiary, the International Securities Exchange, divest its 31.5 percent interest in Direct Edge.

There have been few critics of the deal in the United States, despite the NYSE's symbolism as a bastion of American capitalism. The exchange was founded in 1792 when share trading began on a block now designated as Wall Street.

Deutsche Boerse and NYSE must also continue to provide some services, under the Justice Department approval, to Direct Edge, the fourth-largest U.S. stock exchange operator, behind NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq OMX and BATS Exchange.

Direct Edge is run by a consortium that includes hedge fund Citadel and investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc .

"We are very pleased to have received the approval of the DOJ, an important milestone on our path to completing our compelling Trans-Atlantic combination," Duncan Niederauer, chief executive of NYSE Euronext, said in an emailed statement.

NYSE Euronext shareholders have already approved the deal.

Richard Repetto, an analyst at Sandler O'Neil, called the U.S. approval "irrelevant."

"The big issue is over in Europe, and whether the European competition commission is going to approve the deal. They expected this. They knew they would likely have to divest the ownership in Direct Edge," he said.

Potential buyers of the stake include BATS, he said. " I don't know whether they'd allow Nasdaq to own it because there'd be a lot of concentration again," he added.


In Europe, there have been weeks of negotiations with antitrust regulators, in which staff made clear their reservations about approving a combination of Deutsche Boerse's Eurex and NYSE Euronext's Liffe on concerns that the merged entity would have a monopoly over European listed derivatives trading.

Both Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext have said they would not pursue the merger if they were asked to divest either Eurex or Liffe. A formal decision by the European Commission is not expected until January or early February.

In a bid to soothe regulatory concerns, Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext have offered to cap fees on trading in their European derivatives contracts for three years, and to sell the entire single-stock equity derivatives business of NYSE Euronext's Liffe unit.

The EU Commission has said it would make a decision on the deal by February 9.

In Germany, Deutsche Boerse's home regulator is insisting on concessions to win European approval, potentially further complicating the path to completing the deal.

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What will Santa leave in Wall Street's stocking?

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 05:16 PM PST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street may not be on Santa Claus's list for presents this year.

The "Santa Claus rally" refers to the seasonal tendency for equities to gain in the final five trading days of the year and first two trading days of the new year.

Since 1969, the S&P 500 has gained on average about 1.6 percent during those seven trading days, according to the Stock Traders Almanac.

This year, the period runs from Friday, Dec 23. through Wednesday, January 4.

Some traders, however, are betting on a lump of coal in their Christmas stockings this year, suspecting that any malaise will be due to debt-stricken Europe, the source of so many disappointments this year.

"I don't buy into the whole Santa Claus thing this year. There were some bulls setting up for it but there is just too much news, too many headlines that can throw you off, " said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

"I think you should be on guard all the time because we could be getting anything, like a downgrade on sovereign banks, any moment," he said. "If you are playing (the Santa Claus rally), it's a dangerous game to play."

Warnings from major credit rating agencies on a potential downgrade of several European nations has kept investors on edge. After Standard & Poor's back in August surprised financial markets with a downgrade of the United States' triple-A credit rating on a Friday evening, investors worry a similar move could come at any time - even between Christmas and New Year's.

The correlation between U.S. stocks and European sovereign bond yields remains high, so a negative headline out of Europe could hit the U.S. market.

Brown Brothers Harriman data to 1928 shows that stocks have traded higher 78 percent of the time during the year-end period, with an average gain of 1.8 percent. That compares with an average gain of 0.2 percent during any seven-day period since 1928, and a 56 percent chance of being higher.

When the market slips, however, the market suffers for months.

"In the 12 times the S&P 500 fell at least 1 percent during the Santa Claus rally, the index subsequently averaged a 1.9 percent loss during the first quarter of the new year," said Ari Wald, equity strategy researcher at BBH.

It could also be argued that the Santa rally came and went a bit early this year, with the one-day, 3 percent rally on the 20th accounting for all of what was to come.

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Jobless claims i US drop, signals economic momentum

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 05:11 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits hit a 3-1/2 year low last week, bolstering views the economy was gaining momentum, even though third-quarter growth was revised down.

Other data on Thursday underscored the firming tone in the economy, with consumer sentiment scaling a six-month high in December and a barometer of future activity rising for a seventh straight month in November.

While the economy is wrapping up 2011 with a spring in its step, bickering over budget policy in Washington and the debt crisis in Europe have cast a cloud over its prospects next year.

A payroll tax cut and benefits for the long-term unemployed, both of which are due to expire at year end, have become tangled in partisan politics and it is unclear whether they will be renewed.

There were signs on Thursday the impasse had been broken, with House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner informing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid he will set a vote on a Senate-passed two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, according to a Democratic leadership aide.

"The economy is carrying some clear momentum into 2012," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania. "If Congress doesn't kill that by failing to extend the tax breaks, we can look forward to a better year ahead."

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 4,000 to 364,000, the Labor Department said. That was the lowest level since April 2008 and just a month after the collapse of Bear Stearns.

The claims data, which covered the survey period for the December nonfarm payrolls report, helped to take the sting out of a separate report showing the economy expanded at only a 1.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter.

Growth, which had previously been reported to have expanded at a 2 percent pace, was held back by a sharp drop in healthcare spending, the Commerce Department said. A month ago, it had said healthcare spending had risen.

The revision to healthcare spending estimates reflected new source data, which showed losses at nonprofit hospitals.

However, spending on long-lasting goods was stronger than previously estimated, indicating consumer demand remained healthy.

Prospects for spending were boosted by the rise in consumer confidence. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's sentiment index rose to 69.9 from 64.1 in November as measures of both current conditions and future expectations increased.


The data helped stocks on Wall Street to post their third straight day of gains. The U.S. government bond market largely ignored the data, while the dollar was flat against a basket of currencies.

Even as much of the rest of the world is slowing down, with a mild recession forecast for Europe next year, the U.S. economy remains resilient.

The labor market is improving, households are spending, home building is picking up and factory output is expanding, putting the economy on course for at least a 3 percent growth pace in the fourth quarter. That would be the fastest pace in 18 months.

An index from the private sector Conference Board that seeks to predict the strength of future economic activity rose for a seven straight month in November, suggesting the economy could pick up even more speed by spring.

While claims for first-time unemployment benefits tend to be volatile this time of the year, they have dropped for three straight weeks. A four-week moving average, a better measure of trends, is now at its lowest level since June 2008.

"One unexpectedly low number can easily be a fluke; two are interesting; three are telling us something real is happening in the labor market," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York.

"The drop in claims in recent weeks, if sustained, is consistent with private payrolls growth ramping up to about 200,000 per month."

Nonfarm employment growth has grown by an average of 131,636 jobs per month so far this year, but not enough to significantly lower the jobless rate which is currently at 8.6 percent.


Last quarter's growth was still a step up from the April-June period's 1.3 percent pace. Part of the pick-up in output reflected a reversal of factors that held back growth earlier in the year.

The drop in healthcare consumption caused consumer spending growth to fall to a 1.7 percent rate from 2.3 percent. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.

Business inventories fell, but not as sharply as previously reported. Restocking by businesses is expected to support growth in the fourth quarter, helping to keep factories busy.

In addition, businesses showed little signs of cutting back on spending and profits continued to grow at a healthy clip.

Excluding inventories, the economy grew at a 3.2 percent rate, revised down from a 3.6 percent pace.

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SPAD to introduce operator licence next month

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 05:46 AM PST

MALACCA: The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is to introduce the operator licence next month for all operators of land public transport and goods vehicles.

SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said Thursday the operator licence was a replacement of the current vehicle licensing based on the need for each vehicle to be licensed.

"Up to now, there have been many licences (a licence for each vehicle), but now (starting January) only one licence is required for many vehicles, even if it is 100 cars, 100 buses or 100 lorries. This is the operator licence," he told Bernama after a meeting with operators of commercial vehicles, here.

Syed Hamid said the new measure would benefit the operators in that they can use any vehicle for all the determined routes, besides the insurance benefit.

He also said that it would make law enforcement more efficient and effective, as action will be taken against the licencee and not the vehicle.

On the RM400mil provided by the government to rescue stage bus services facing financial difficulty, Syed Hamid said the relevant operators can apply for the funds beginning next month.

He said the commission would advertise in the local newspapers on Sunday and Monday the relevant information and eligibility requirements pertaining to the application for funds.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on Dec 19 the RM400mil allocation to help cash-strapped stage bus operators nationwide in the effort to protect the interests of public transport commuters. - Bernama

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Railwaymen want KTMB to be turned into statutory body

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 02:58 AM PST

Published: Thursday December 22, 2011 MYT 6:58:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to turn Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) into a statutory body that provides services to the people.

Railwaymen's Union of Malaya (RUM) president Abdul Razak Md Hassan said this would not only help improve KTMB's services but also the welfare of 5,500 employees.

"It will also enable KTMB to lower its charges and fares to clients and passengers, especially low-income earners," he told a news conference here on Thursday to register the union's objection to the proposed acquisition of KTMB by MMC Corporation Bhd.

MMC on Monday confirmed that it had submitted a proposal to the Minister of Finance Incorporated to take over KTMB.

Abdul Razak said RUM was worried about the future of KTMB employees if the acquisition were to take place.

"KTMB is not making profit but it is serving the needs of the people. When a private company takes over, KTMB will be turned into a profit-driven outfit which could lead to retrenchment and reduction of employee benefits to cut cost in order to make money," he said.

Abdul Razak said RUM would send an appeal letter against the acquisition to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. - Bernama

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PAS’ Mustafa Ali denies Hasan Ali’s claim

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 02:54 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali denied party's Gombak assemblyman Datuk Dr Hasan Ali's claim that PAS was losing grassroots support because it had deviated from its original struggle of championing Islam.

However, he did not deny the possibility that fence sitters might have doubts as to where PAS was heading.

Speaking to reporters here Thursday, Mustafa said PAS' main policy of championing Islam remained intact and that its members understood this.

"Islam is PAS' main struggle and this has never changed. It is only the strategies and approach that have changed. PAS' collaboration with other parties is not wrong, the policy remains the same but the approach is different," he said.

On Tuesday, Hasan, who is also a Selangor state executive councillor, had said that he had proof that die-hard PAS supporters were beginning to question the party's struggle and planned to stop backing PAS because it had deviated from its original struggle.

In KOTA BARU, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who is also PAS' spiritual leader, also denied that the "welfare state" concept now championed by PAS deviated from Islam.

Hasan had also claimed PAS was deviating from championing Islam by introducing the welfare state concept.

Nik Aziz said the concept only served to further reinforce its Islamic struggle. - Bernama

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The wandering swordsman

Posted: 23 Dec 2011 01:07 AM PST

Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark ventures into 3D territory in his latest film Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate.

HONG Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark embraces 3D technology with his long-anticipated wuxia film Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate.

The 3D kung fu blockbuster reunites Tsui with Jet Li some 14 years after their last film Once Upon Time In China And America (1997).

"I believe 3D is the way to go as it adds a touch of realism and we are just at the beginning of developing filmmaking technology that will evolve and grow with market demands. With China being a fast-growing market, we hope to be leaders instead of followers.

"Even now, most Hollywood blockbusters are available in 3D. In fact, we would be quite surprised if they were not."

Tsui, 61, told a media conference on Monday when he was in Kuala Lumpur to promote his latest film.

The iconic director, whose previous kung fu film Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame (2010) won him best director at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards, also conducted an hour-long filmmaking workshop with local students after the press conference.

Touted to be the first wuxia film to be presented in IMAX 3D format, Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate is said to be a re-imagining of Dragon Gate Inn (1966) and Tsui's own new Dragon Gate Inn (1992), with new faces and a fresh storyline.

"It may be an action movie, but the story is more about the characters and their relationships," offered Tsui, who was named Asian Filmmaker of the Year at South Korea's 16th Busan International Film Festival in October.

The movie also stars other mainland Chinese actors Chen Kun, Zhou Xun and Li Yuchun; Taiwanese actors Kwai Lun Mei and Mavis Fan; and Hong Kong's Louis Fan and Gordon Liu.

Jet Li plays Zhou Huaian, a Ming dynasty general who became a wandering swordsman. He has to combat the evil eunuchs, including one portrayed by Chen, at the fabled Dragon Inn. In the movie, Chen also plays a flighty treasure hunter.

Questions were aplenty for Tsui, who was only too happy to address them. Why did he cast inexperienced actors and non-fighters in the action movie? Why did the movie not feature Hong Kong actors in the major roles but mainland Chinese and Taiwanese actors?

"That did not occur to me during casting. I never consider where they come from. What matters to me is whether they are suited for the role," he replied.

Commenting on casting newcomers, Tsui offered: "After working with Kwai Lun Mei in All About Women (2008), I knew she would be just the one to play the tribal princess. Similarly, Li Yuchun is a natural as the tough-talking Gu Shaotang. As for Mavis, I was more demanding as her character has a more complex story arc."

At US$35mil (RM105mil), Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate is also China's most expensive 3D kung fu film to-date and marks an important milestone in Chinese cinema.

With Chuck Comisky (the visual-effects supervisor for James Cameron's Avatar) on board as the 3D special effects director for the movie, Tsui conjured up an all-new stereoscopic view of the ancient jianghu (martial arts world) with action choreographer Yuen Bun and production designer Yee Chung Man.

Tsui was so concerned about the 3D effects in Malaysian cinema that he dispatched two South Korean technical consultants to KL to ensure that everything was in line.

Having mastered 3D technology ("the Avatar team took eight years while we did it in one!"), Tsui looks forward to shooting his upcoming movie in 3D. He already has several scripts in mind but has not decided which one to take on next.

The characters

Tsui Hark's movies are always populated by interesting characters with quirky facial features and complex personalities, which quickly establish each as a unique individual.

This writer met up with the main cast members during a press conference with regional media in Macau last week, in conjunction with the red carpet gala launch of the movie and the opening of the spanking new UA Galaxy Cinemas in Macau.

Jet Li

Teaming up with Tsui again after 14 years, Beijing-born action star Jet Li said he was excited about working on his first 3D project after making movies for so many years.

"When it comes to 3D, I'm just a greenhorn. So, I've got to thank director Tsui Hark for giving this greenhorn a chance to try something new."

In the movie, he plays a general-turned-wandering swordsman named Zhou Huaian, who challenges the evil eunuchs of the East and West Bureaus of the imperial court to free his people from their oppressive rule.

Is it more difficult to film action movies in 3D? "If you had asked me this question when I first started then I'd say yes. But, for someone who has been making action movies for 30 years, I'd say it's normal for any action movie to be challenging," the 48-year-old actor philosophised.

"Since, for this particular movie, even all the non-fighters are fighting from beginning to end, it is not a problem for people who can fight a little (referring to his humble self) to be taking on some of the action. Wouldn't it be strange if you hired Jet Li and got him to send pizza instead?" he teased, eliciting a round of laughter.

"The tough part here is filming in the desert with sand and smoke getting into your eyes, nose and mouth. But this is all a normal part of our work. At the end of the day, you don't even remember how tough it was," said Li, who disclosed that he would next be seen in Hollywood sequel The Expendables 2.

Chen Kun

Dashing Chinese actor Chen Kun shared that his joy at receiving the script for Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate quickly turned to concern when he saw that he had to play two very different characters, doing things that he was totally unfamiliar with.

One is the West Bureau Chief eunuch Yu Huatian, whose kung fu skills were so superior that he did not even have to resort to hand-to-hand combat with lesser opponents, while the other is the flighty treasure hunter Wind Blade Bu Cangzhou, who seemed to enjoy frivolous relationships with the ladies.

As a non-fighter, the Chongqing-born actor felt sufficiently concerned to ask director Tsui Hark whether it was alright for him to portray a villain whose kung fu was superior to Jet Li's heroic character. "But the director did not see any problem there, so given his confidence, I went all out to do my best."

Most questions directed at the 35-year-old actor revolved around his fights with co-star Li, who unlike him is a bona fide kung fu exponent. "Actually, it is not so much about me fighting with Jet Li. That's why I am so thankful that Tsui Hark has created this amazing martial arts world for us. In essence, I am actually fighting Zhou Huaian (Jet Li's swordsman character) as Yu Huatian (the powerful eunuch Chen plays)."

Chen dmitted that it was inevitable that he would feel pressure battling Li, and since Yu's skill is supposed to be better than Zhou's, Chen also had to convince himself into believing that.

"I'd tell myself that I was the best martial artist in our jianghu," said the affable actor whose other movies this year were Love On Credit and The Founding Of A Party.

Zhou Xun

After doing more than 40 takes for a fight sequence in the movie, Chinese actress Zhou Xun said she was quite disheartened until co-star Jet Li reassured her that it was normal.

"I was quite concerned that it took so many takes but when I asked Jet, he replied that it was quite normal for action scenes and that made me feel somewhat relieved, so I went about filming like normal again," shared Zhou, 35, who plays cross-dressing swordswoman Ling Yanqiu who is in love with Jet Li's Zhou Huaian.

"Honestly, I was quite anxious about the role, since Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate is my very first swordplay movie. Although Painted Skin was technically my first wuxia movie, I never actually had to engage in swordplay in that one so it doesn't really count."

Although they had to undergo some intense training for the film, the Zhejiang-born actress said it was actually quite an enjoyable exercise. "We'd train in hand-to-hand combat and swordplay from 9am till noon. Then, it was time-out and we'd drop everything for lunch and then everyone would enjoy a relaxing afternoon snooze. After a good rest, we'd continue for the rest of the day.

"It felt just like going to school. Moreover, it was very healthy since we all had a good sweat after our daily workouts and it was summer so no worries about catching a cold."

Li Yuchun

Of all the injuries and accidents on the movie set, Chinese singer-actress Chris Li Yuchun's takes the cake. "I crashed into a horse. And, I couldn't do much as I was suspended on a wire then. So, I quickly rolled myself into a ball to minimise injury," shared Chris whose legs still hurt and had to take a break to recover.

Yet, the champion in the singing competition Super Girl (2005) counts herself lucky for being given the opportunity to star in a 3D movie in what is only the second movie in her fledgling film career.

"Everybody knows that I'm first and foremost a singer. This is only my second movie role and I'm still learning," said the 27-year-old Chengdu native, whose first film was Peter Chan's historical blockbuster Bodyguards And Assassins (2009). She played a self-sacrificing bodyguard for which she garnered nominations for best newcomer and best supporting actress at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards.

In this movie, she plays a tough-as-nails bandit leader Gu Shaotang, who travels with her ex-lover Wind Blade Bu Cangzhou. Coming up next, she is set to play a Qing Dynasty warrior in her third movie, which is a martial arts flick titled The Guillotines, directed by Andrew Lau and produced by Peter Chan.

Asked if she would venture into modern roles for her future projects, Chris said she does not put too much pressure on herself. "Each film represents a breakthrough of sorts for me. Every character I played had been quite different. I prefer to let things develop naturally so I don't intentionally seek out particular characters to play," shared the singer who has four studio albums and two extended play albums to her name.

Kwai Lun Mei

Make-up alone took three hours for Taiwanese actress Kwai Lun Mei who literally had to sharpen her claws to flesh out her tribal princess Bu Ludu character. Travelling with a band of rowdy Tartar barbarians, the tattooed warrior princess propositions the handsome treasure hunter Wind Blade Bu Cangzhou while taking on the West Bureau eunuchs.

"I felt that my character was more like a wildcat. Once she set her eyes on the handsome fellow played by Chen Kun, she just pounced on him and wrapped herself around him without hesitation."

The usually delicate-looking 27-year-old continued: "It's totally different from what I envisioned of a girl in an ancient costume flick. I'd imagined her to be almost angelic in flowing robes like the characters in A Chinese Ghost Story.

"Nevertheless, I was excited to work with Tsui Hark because I knew he had a knack of bringing out a side of us that we've never seen. But, I was rather concerned when he told me I had to speak a non-existent language."

After some deliberation, a script was written transcribing putonghua into pinyin, then stringing together the third or fourth words to conjure up a new language that nobody had ever heard before. Kwai added that voiceover was a main concern, for the movements of speech had to match syllable for syllable.

"There were times when I'd practise and learn the words by heart, then he would change the script and shake things up again. Then he would tell me, 'I'd written in the script that I need five syllables for this scene, why are there only three?' "

Other major characters in the movie include Taiwanese pop singer Mavis, Hong Kong action film stalwarts Louis and Liu as well as mainlanders Viann Zhang, Sheng Jian and Du Yiheng.

Mavis plays a mysterious girl named Su Huirong, supposedly a pregnant palace maid who ran away to escape certain death at the hands of evil concubines and eunuchs.

Zhang is the evil imperial concubine Wan Zhener, while Liu plays East Bureau Chief Wan Yulou. Louis, Sheng and Du play the assassins from West Bureau eunuchs.

Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate is now playing in local cinemas.

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Eerily funny

Posted: 23 Dec 2011 12:08 AM PST

Ernie Chen makes his feature directorial debut in Satu Malam Kubur Berasap that has its share of laughs, thrills and suspense.

IT is his love for comedy that prompted director-producer Ernie Chen to try his hand in producing the feature length film, Satu Malam Kubur Berasap (SMKB). Hence, he is understandably nervous to see how moviegoers will react to his horror comedy.

By the way, don't let his relatively unknown name fool you as Chen of OutLOUD Studio Sdn Bhd has been in the advertising industry for many years – 20, to be exact.

If directing commercial videos is his bread and butter in the past two decades, Chen has also been moonlighting as an actor in TV series Kopitiam, Show Me The Money, Each Other and Table For Two and stage play A Flight Delayed.

Hence, it is natural for him to start directing and producing feature-length movies.

When asked why he chose horror-comedy as his first foray into movie-making, Chen said that he loves to laugh and making people laugh along with him. Horror-comedy is one of his favourite (movie) genres.

"Through my personal observation, comedy has a big market among the local cinemagoers. Personally, I love watching comedy," said Chen, 38, citing Adam Sandler as one of his favourite actors.

According to Chen, SMKB, which was budgeted at RM1.3mil, is set in a remote village and revolves around the lives of buddies Atan, Bun, Pet and Mie, a newcomer from the city.

Atan (Angah Raja Lawak) is a straight-laced and kind-hearted guy who works as a grave digger and loves to help his neighbours. His friend Bun (Along Raja Lawak), on the other hand, is a Mat Rempit, while Pet (Azrul Raja Lawak) is a lorry driver who normally works late at night transporting poultry produce around the area.

Then came Mie (Zack X-Factor), a good looking guy from the city, who befriends the trio after his car broke down and he got stranded in the village. However, soon after, many strange incidents start to happen. Before long, Atan is being haunted by a spirit, "Hantu Cempaka", especially when he's out with his friends. Their horror story begins when they end up in a stranger's house and are treated like kings – little do they know that they were actually having a feast in a graveyard!

The production crew took 18 days in March to film the movie at several locations in the Klang Valley.

Chen also said that he decided to feature relatively new faces such as Nurul Ain Nordin, Angah and Along Raja Lawak.

"Apart from established actors such as Ruminah Sidek, Zami Ismail and Accapan, SMKB also features five talents from reality TV series Raja Lawak – Angah, Along, Azrul, Wira and Faiz – and I seriously believe, given the right guidance, these young talents will make it big in the film industry.

"Angah, Along and Azrul are good friends in real life but that's not the reason I roped them in. They came for auditions and to see them have such a warm camaraderie on screen was just unbelievable," gushed Chen, whose directorial credits are mainly for commercials and corporate videos for Ricoh, Hitachi, Perodua, Canon and Bank Negara Malaysia.

Now that the movie is being screened, Chen is also aware that some viewers may compare SMKB with other horror-comedy films which have graced the local cinemas in recent years.

"I can't stop people from comparing but we are not here to imitate other people's work. What we try to do here is make people laugh with a bit of thrills and suspense thrown in," said Chen.

Satu Malam Kubur Berasap is screening in cinemas nationwide.

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The Dark Knight Rises

Posted: 23 Dec 2011 12:07 AM PST

ONE is filled with a sense of dread, excitement and a touch of sadness watching the new trailer for Christopher Nolan's film. The dread comes from seeing the mayhem-related scenes – probably thanks to the new villain in town, Bane (Tom Hardy): in one scene, a football field crumbles quite methodically as one player runs across the field. Somewhere during the 130-second trailer, Bane makes this promise/threat: "When Gotham is in ashes, you have my permission to die." Yikes. Sounds like we need a hero, Batman. But Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is in troubled land – is that him in prison? Meanwhile, Selina/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) forecasts harsh weather ahead. She says: "There is a storm coming." How does one not get excited watching all these sequences, especially when they're accompanied by the persistent chanting of the word "rise" in a language that is not English. The sadness comes from being reminded that this is the last Batman series with the Nolan stamp when near the end of the trailer, it says: The Legend ... Ends. July 19, 2012 – come quickly.

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