Jumaat, 31 Ogos 2012

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Roddick rolls into third round at farewell Open

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 06:21 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Andy Roddick served notice he will not go gently into retirement, blasting into the third round of the US Open on Friday by dispatching Australian teen Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in only 87 minutes.

Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion, took the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium to loud cheers from supporters a day after announcing this would be the last event of his career, then made sure he would have at least one more match to play.

"Oh man. That was so much fun. I really appreciate that," Roddick told the crowd. "I am going to try to stick around a little longer."

The 30-year-old American advanced to a third-round matchup with Italy's 59th-ranked Fabio Fognini as he hopes to make an emotional last charge at a Grand Slam crown on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.

"I didn't feel relaxed at all, not even a little bit," Roddick said, saying he kept his emotions in control until seeing a television feature about his career just before the match.

"I assume it was set to an '80s ballad," Roddick said.

"It got to me a little bit. I had to get away from that."

Defending champions Novak Djokovic and Samantha Stosur advanced in straight sets while British teen Laura Robson sent Chinese ninth seed Li Na home after earlier sending three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters into retirement.

Three former champions - Russian third seed Maria Sharapova, Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin Del Potro and Australian Lleyton Hewitt - moved on with varying degrees of difficulty.

And World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion from Belarus, was to face China's Zheng Jie in a later match.

Serbian second seed Djokovic overwhelmed Brazil's Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-2, 6-1, 6-2, never facing a break point and winning 90 percent of his first-serve points to reach the third round in 99 minutes.

"It was very windy so it was very important to stay focused, but I played great," Djokovic said.

"Even if the scoreline doesn't indicate it, it was a tough match."

Next for Djokovic will be France's 31st-seeded Julien Benneteau, who ousted Russian-born US teen Dennis Novikov, the lowest-ranked player ever in the second round of a Grand Slam event at 1,098th, by 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), 7-5.

"It's important to get a day's rest and work on some things in my game and get ready for the next challenge," Djokovic said.

Robson ousted 2011 French Open winner Li 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 for her first career triumph over a top-10 foe, booking a fourth-round showdown against Australian seventh seed Stosur.

"That's going to be really tough," Robson said. "I'm going to work hard and just do the best I can." Robson, an 18-year-old left-hander who was born in Australia but moved to Britain at age six, ended the career of three-time US Open champion Clijsters with a second-round triumph.

Robson, the youngest player in the world top 100 at 89th, became the first British woman in the fourth round of a Grand Slam since Sam Smith at Wimbledon in 1998 and the first in the Open's last 16 since Jo Durie in 1991.

Li did not reach the last eight at any Grand Slam tournament for the first season since 2008.

Stosur, who has not won a title since lifting the US Open trophy last year, took a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 victory over US 31st seed Varvara Lepchenko and looked forward to the challenge Robson presents.

"She's already had two very good wins and she's full of confidence," Stosur said. "I'm going to have to be ready to play my best game. She's got nothing to lose."

Sharapova, the 2006 US Open champion who completed a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open title in June, eliminated 252nd-ranked US collegian Mallory Burdette 6-1, 6-1.

"I'm really happy to go one round further than last year," the Russian said.

Next up for Sharapova is a fourth-round meeting with 19th-seeded comnpatriot Nadia Petrova.

Del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner, took a 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 victory over American Ryan Harrison and will play for a place in the last 16 against compatriot Leonardo Mayer.

Hewitt, the 2001 US Open winner, outlasted Luxenbourg's Gilles Muller 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-4.

Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, a 2007 US Open semi-finalist in his best Grand Slam run, moved into the third round by ousting Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (14/12).

Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova ousted Pauline Parmentier 6-4, 6-4 to reach a round-of-16 match against her third consecutive French foe, 11th seed Marion Bartoli, who downed compatriot Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-4. - AFP

Earlier report

NEW YORK: Andy Roddick extended his career by at least another match when he humbled Bernard Tomic 6-3 6-4 6-0 in the second round of the U.S. Open on Friday night.

Roddick, who announced on Friday he would retire after the tournament, took just one hour and 27 minutes to beat Tomic at Flushing Meadows.

Australian teenager Tomic never really got into his stride and made 27 unforced errors.

The 30-year-old Roddick, a former world number one and 2003 U.S. Open champion, will next play unseeded Italian Fabio Fognini. - Reuters

Sharapova continues to blaze trail at U.S. Open

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 06:11 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Maria Sharapova continued her imperious march through the draw at the U.S. Open as she crushed American college player Mallory Burdette 6-1 6-1 on Friday.

The French Open champion needed just 58 minutes to send world number 252 Burdette packing.

"I expected her to play a big, solid match," said Sharapova, the 2006 U.S. Open champion. "She came out, she has pretty huge groundstrokes, and she likes to go for it.

"She's certainly somebody who could be dangerous if you give her the time to do what she likes to do."

Burdette, a 21-year-old wild card entry into the tournament, did not have time to do much of anything as she was swept off the court in 58 minutes.

Sharapova, who has lost just seven games in her first three matches, now plays Russian compatriot Nadia Petrova, a 6-4 7-5 winner over Czech Lucie Safarova.

Despite missing the hardcourt run-up to Flushing Meadows, Sharapova is playing as well as anyone in the women's draw.

"I didn't know too much going into this event because I hadn't played on hard in a few months," she said. "That made me extra focused, and I wanted to really get going from the beginning and be aggressive.

"Took a little bit of a break after Wimbledon and went home. I kind of recharged a little bit. Certainly feel a lot more energy than I did maybe after the French (Open)."

Sharapova said Petrova has "been playing really good tennis."

"She's someone that likes the faster courts, especially in New York," said Sharapova, who owns a 8-1 lifetime mark against Petrova. "I have had some tough matches against her.

"Although I have a good record, they have always been really tough and have gone to some three‑setters, some tough two‑setters.

"She has a big game, great serve, a difficult opponent, but I'm looking forward to that challenge." - Reuters

Aggressive Jamshed drives Pakistan past Australia

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:55 PM PDT

ABU DHABI: Pakistan, led by an aggressive 97 from opening batsman Nasser Jamshed, cruised to a seven-wicket win in the second one-day international against Australia on Friday to level up the series at 1-1.

Jamshed's innings, which spanned just 98 balls and included 11 fours and two sixes, helped Misbah-ul-Haq's side make light work of what looked set to be a testing target after Australia made 248 for nine.

The 22-year-old shared partnerships of 66 with fellow opener Mohammed Hafeez (23) and 101 with Azhar Ali before miscuing a drive at Mitchell Johnson to be caught at mid-off by Mitchell Starc just three runs short of his second ODI hundred.

Australia's bowlers were handicapped by heavy dew in the second innings of a match that spanned two days and finished in the early hours of the morning local time.

"It was a good toss to lose as dew was a major factor," Misbah told reporters.

"It was good for us there was so much dew during the second innings but the way Nasser Jamshed played, he showed his class."

Australia captain Michael Clarke said on the eve of the match that he wanted bigger contributions from his batsmen but although five of them passed 20, only Mike Hussey (61) was able to reach a half-century.

He conceded, however, that it had been a mistake to bat first after winning the toss.

"It was definitely the wrong choice but we can't use it as an excuse," Clarke told reporters.

"With the late start, dew will affect both sides so it's all about finding a way of executing better than we did tonight.

"A big part of the role of our top four is to make big scores and it's disappointing we weren't able to do that again."

Australia's batsmen were once again shackled by Pakistan's spinners with off-spinner Saeed Ajmal again proving the key bowler.

Ajmal, who took 3-30 in the previous match in the previous match in Sharjah, once again tormented the Australia batsmen and finished with 4-32.

"He's our number one bowler and he's the number one in the world," said Misbah. "He is playing his role, helping us win matches but the other spinners are doing that too."

Ajmal tormented David Warner (24) and the opener laboured for 68 balls before being put out of his misery when he tried to work the spinner on the on-side and was adjudged leg before wicket.

Ajmal also removed David Hussey lbw for a duck leg as he pushed forward and then returned later in the innings to dismiss Mike Hussey and Glenn Maxwell (28), the latter stumped as he charged a doosra after a bright knock.

Mike Hussey faced 72 balls and hit a four and two sixes as he and George Bailey (39) got Australia back on track with a stand of 66 in 14 overs after coming together with their team in some disarray at 87-4.

There were two late wickets for left-arm fast bowler Junaid Khan (3-52) but at the halfway stage Australia's total looked a useful one until it became apparent that dew would be such a handicap.

Asad Shafiq (9) fell cheaply soon after Jamshed was dismissed to give Australia hope but Azhar Ali (59 not out) and Misbah (35 not out) ensured there was no late wobble, adding an unbroken 59 from nine overs to see their side home.

The deciding match of the series will take place in Sharjah on Monday, with three Twenty20 internationals to follow. - Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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Iron ore sees worst month since October 2011

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:10 PM PDT

SINGAPORE: Iron ore looks set to hit nearly three-year lows on Friday and to end August with its worst performance in 10 months as Chinese steel producers shun fresh cargoes in the face of waning demand.

Iron ore has been hardest hit among industrial commodities by China's slowdown, losing 36% this year, as falling steel prices curbed demand from the biggest consumer of the raw material.

Iron ore with 62% iron content, the industry benchmark, dropped 1.8% to US$88.70 per tonne on Thursday, the lowest since October 2009, according to data provider Steel Index.

For the month, the steelmaking component has lost more than 24%, the most since it fell 31% last October.

"This is all about destocking because I don't think we're seeing a massive collapse in end-user demand for steel. Everybody's just reducing their inventory of iron ore," said Graeme Train, analyst at Macquarie in Shanghai.

Train estimated that smaller Chinese steel mills had dropped their iron ore inventories to about 17-18 days worth of consumption, versus 27-30 days over the past year.

Train said the "absolute minimum" inventory would be 14 days, which is about the period it takes for cargo imported from, for example, Australia, to reach China.

"So there's potential for the mills to destock further, so we could see prices go down to US$75-US$80," he said.

Shanghai steel rebar futures have dropped about 17% this year, less than half the percentage loss for iron ore. Shanghai rebar is down nearly 10% this month, the steepest drop in almost a year, as losses extend to a fifth straight month.

In the face of weak steel demand, most Chinese mills have kept their iron ore inventories low, with some opting to buy small lots from port stockpiles instead of ordering fresh, big cargoes.

"I'm not getting any inquiries at all today," said a physical iron ore trader in Singapore, who thinks prices will only see support at around US$70.

Brazil's Vale, the world's top iron ore miner, said it was surprised that prices fell below US$110 a tonne which it attributed to excess supply rather than weak demand.

Jose Carlos Martins, who runs Vale's iron ore business, however, said the company's production costs were still well below current prices.

"We are one of the most efficient producers," he said. "We will be the last to leave the market." - Reuters

Procter & Gamble wins Spikes Asia Advertiser of the Year award

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:10 PM PDT

The Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity, the annual regional creative advertising and communications event for Asia-Pacific, is presenting this year's Advertiser of the Year Award to Procter & Gamble (P&G) Asia.

The Lions Festivals, which organises the event together with Campaign Asia Pacific publisher Haymarket, says in a statement that the award honours a brand that has set itself apart through the quality of its campaigns with consistently high creative communications while encouraging and nurturing innovative marketing techniques produced by their agencies across the Asia-Pacific region.

"Since the launch of the Spikes Asia Festival four years ago, P&G Asia has won an astonishing number of Spikes Asia awards five gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze trophies across different disciplines design, digital, direct, integrated, media, outdoor and promo & activation with work produced by their agencies from across the region China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and the Philippines.

"It's a testament of their commitment to engage their consumers by not only embracing but also expecting creativity in their product communications around Asia," says Terry Savage, chairman of Lions Festivals.

Freddy Bharucha, P&G chief marketing officer for Asia, will be presented the award on Sept 18 in Singapore.

Spikes Asia Festival, to be held from Sept 16 to 18 at Suntec Singapore, will feature 30 seminars as well as The Forum, a new stream of content offering attendees the chance to interact with speakers on specific themes such as The Creative Future of Media, Creativity in Mobile Advertising and Creativity in Branded Content and Entertainment.

This year's speaker line-up includes BBDO Worldwide CEO and president Andrew Robertson, GroupM Global president Dominic Proctor, McCann Worldgroup chairman and CEO Nick Brien, Ogilvy & Mather worldwide chief creative officer Tham Khai Meng, Lowe Global Creative Council president Jose Miguel Sokoloff, and Cirque du Soleil creative director Lyn Heward.

Last year's Spikes Asia was attended by more than 1,700 delegates.

The Star is the official and exclusive Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity representative for Malaysia.

Can media agencies think?

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 05:09 PM PDT

ALTHOUGH many years have passed since the birth of media agencies (agencies that plan advertisers' media strategies), the debate continues on who creative or media agencies should be the primary communications partner for advertisers.

M&C Saatchi Asia regional chief executive officer Chris Jaques last month posted in his blog a provocative commentary titled "Why Can't Media Agencies Think?" which had earlier been published in Campaign Asia Pacific in 2011.

In it, he says that he doesn't believe "media agencies in their current form are capable of providing the creative brilliance on which business success depends."

He backs his argument by pointing to the performance of media agencies at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where out of the 81 winners of Media Lions, 66 were creative agencies and only 39 were media agencies.

"So creative agencies massively outperformed media agencies in their own media awards," he notes.

While Jaques says he believes media agencies should be the creative leaders of the future, currently "they are not able to generate "great ideas that can truly ignite consumer attitudes and behaviour, ideas that can truly transform a client's business."

He cites several reasons for this, including the media agencies' past legacy and the kind of staff they attract, their primary purpose being to invest money wisely and effectively, their role within their holding companies that limits their freedom to offer expertise that is competitive to other group companies, and the way clients incentivise media agencies (mainly against measurable data and not creative originality).

Jaques' views have many supporters, including Lowe Malaysia chairman Khairudin Rahim and DraftFCB Malaysia chief executive officer T. Renganathan (both are from creative agencies).

Khairudin says Jaques voices what everyone from the creative agencies have been thinking and "the facts presented speak for themselves."

"The reason why creative agencies consistently produce more high value ideas is their bias towards intuition versus facts. Great thinking and great ideas comes from people who use their intuition more than common logic," he says.

"They look at the same thing as everyone else and then think something different. It is intuition that makes for the greatest persuasion, things that touch hearts, alter perceptions and move people.

"Creative leaders of the past, present and future will always be from those who think laterally. These type of talent will reside in organisations that value and reward imagination more than efficiency."

Renganathan says creative agencies like DraftFCB are media agnostic. "We think in terms of ideas and not medium and therefore I believe we do come up with best ideas."

He suggests turning back the clock to where the industry was before the birth of media agencies.

"It's ideas first always and not where to place the message. Media agencies can be the creative leaders if they can combine the data, tools and analytics with the creative idea and message. But currently and to a large extent, creative souls do not thrive in a numbers environment. Creativity and innovation comes from people who can think laterally and the use of intuition."

Heads of media agencies have a different view.

Omnicom Media Group managing director Andreas Vogiatzakis says the client has separated the "functions" media and creative in order to drive efficiencies. "And that is good (albeit the fact those escalating media price wars are eroding our values and this needs to be changed)," he replies in an email.

"A debate in order to propagate an us versus them' mentality is not healthy. What exactly are the motives? Our industry is going through constant change, and we are experiencing a paradigm shift on a daily basis across the world. Complaining about each other won't do us any good unless it is constructive. We need to work towards fulfilling the client's needs and make our industry the best there is.

"At OMD and PHD (the agencies under Omnicom Media), we always put the client business first this is our business! This stipulates a close working relationship with our creative agency partners, so we can both, together, bring value to our clients."

On Jaques' comment that "It's great thinking and great ideas that build great brands not great data and terrific tools," Vogiatzakis says: "It is the old, simple story ... you can do great advertising, but if you have a bad media plan/placement, no one will see your ad. Or, you can have bad creative, and a great media plan, and that will be the fastest way to kill the brand! So you must have great creative and great media. One without the other won't work."

He says it is not about domination, but about co-creation. "Critically, our goal in (advertising) life should not be about a creative idea for the sake of creativity, but a creative idea with high relevancy to the objectives of the brand. Creativity for the sake of creativity has no place here; otherwise we can all go and become artists, not advertising/marketing professionals."

IPG Mediabrands president (Asia World Markets) and CEO (Malaysia) Prashant Kumar says that great thinking requires great imagination plus great engineering.

"It needs both art and science. Data brings objectivity and scalability to marketing decisions. Tools are a way to simplify handling of data," he says. "As per Chris' reasoning, Einstein was not a great thinker. Nor was da Vinci. They both studied too much data!"

On the performance of media firms versus creative agencies at Cannes Lions, Vogiatzakis says he doesn't think this is a tally war. "Success is measured in how a campaign builds business. Success is measured when the client retains the agency due to the results it brings," he says.

He adds: "I have no issue of co-ownership on awards. We together co-create. Nothing works in isolation."

Kumar, meanwhile, notes that most submissions for Cannes Media Lions are from creative agencies. "Ideas are the main currency for creative agencies. So they run huge award machines with massive budgets for awards. Clients expect more than media ideas from media agencies. So they are less aggressive in this area. Also media agencies tend to have much fewer done-for-awards cases. While there is no doubt that media agencies can get better overall on ideation, they tend to get less credit usually than they should."

On the topic of incentivisation, Vogiatzakis expresses doubt that clients incentivise creative agencies based on "creative originality" either.

"How would you judge so unless quite subjectively? The reason most incentivisation is based on measurable data/results is precisely that: measurable and quantifiable results. In fact, many of our clients incentivise us and the creative agency based on sales data."

On Jaques' comment that media agencies should be the creative leaders of the future but they're currently not capable, Kumar says: "Creative leadership is what clients would normally expect from creative agencies today, which due to their strengths in crafting skills are better placed in general. However I believe creativity should be open-sourced. Great ideas should be allowed to originate from anywhere in the marketing ecosystem. As that happens more, media agencies will invest to deepen their skills in this area."  

Summing up, Kumar says media agencies are better at "thinking" where creative agencies are better at "feeling", though there are exceptions on both sides.

"Or to put it another way, media agencies are better at left brain thinking typically, while creative agencies typically bring right brain thinking. Together they make a whole brain team that creates great marketing ideas."

StarBizWeek emailed Jaques to get his response to the diverse views generated by his blog posting.

In his reply, he writes: "The fact is, media agencies now control more than 95% of a client's budget, and the fees paid to creative agencies are getting smaller and smaller. So media agencies are being required to provide broader-based expertise than they have had to deliver in the past.

"They may have developed the research, data and software but they haven't yet developed the talent, the culture, nor the skills necessary to fulfill the needs that clients now have of them."

He blames the holding companies. "By separating their creative agencies from their media agencies, they have created a structure that benefits their own business, at the expense of their clients' needs. It's nonsense. I've never once met a senior client who wanted their media and creative agencies to be separated. Both provide different, complementary talents, skills and perspectives. They should be working together, as one.

"The sooner someone has the guts to consolidate media and creative capabilities back into one integrated agency model, they will have clients rushing to their doors. I believe that this is the real issue, to be honest."

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

M'sians from all walks of life attend Merdeka Day Promises Fulfilled rally

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 08:04 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Tens of thousands of patriotic Malaysians gathered at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil for the Promises Fulfilled rally in conjunction with the Merdeka Day celebrations on Friday.

The multi-racial boisterous crowd stood as one as they joined in to watch some performance-packed events.

The crowd excitedly waved the Jalur Gemilang flag and cheered loudly as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah entered the stadium at 8.30pm followed by fireworks.

Najib and Rosmah led the country's leaders and Gen Y participants on a 380m 'unity walk' in the stadium before proceeding to the centre of the stadium where the main stage was located.

One of the main highlights of the event is the Tweet Up Merdeka where organizers hope to set a new world record by getting one million tweets in an hour between 8.15pm and 9.15pm via #Merdeka55.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim thanked everyone for turning up in full force to celebrate Merdeka Day in the spirit of patriotism.

Najib urges Malaysians to protect 55 years of unity

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 07:57 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians must protect the unity of the past 55 years that has helped shape the nation into a successful country, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Addressing a massive crowd at the Promises Fulfilled rally in conjunction with Merdeka day at the National Stadium, the prime minister said it was the role of today's generation of leaders and citizens to bring meaning to the country's independence.

"The first generation fought to achieve independence, followed by the next generation of leaders and citizens who fought to fill it.

"Now, we are together with the leaders and rakyat who are fighting to bring meaning to our independence," he said.

Najib said that not all countries who had gained independence were "rich, peaceful and strong".

However, he said that with the support, cooperation and contributions from leaders and citizens since gaining independence 55 years ago, Malaysia was now a successful country.

"A country that is richer, more peaceful and stronger by the day. After 55 years of building our country and setting our direction, we have to remember the base of our independence - unity.

"If we don't protect what we own, we own nothing," he said.

Najib said that Malaysia's harmonious blend of races and inclusive policies had allowed everyone to contribute in the country's successes and face any challenge. Referring to Thursday night's gathering of "Janji Demokrasi" by non-governmental association coalition Gabungan Janji, Najib said they were the minority.

"Last night was not the majority (of people). Tonight is the majority that is assembling," he declared.

More in The Star Saturday.

7.9 magnitude quake strikes east Philippines, tsunami alert lifted (Update)

Posted: 31 Aug 2012 07:49 AM PDT

PETALING JAYA: A tsunami warning has been lifted for Japan, Taiwan and a number of Pacific island countries but remained in effect for the Philippines, Indonesia and Belau following a 7.9 magnitude earthquake on Friday off the Philippines.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning center issued the updated warning, which also kept a number of areas of the Pacific on watch for a potential tsunami following the quake.

The quake hit the sea area east of the Philippines triggering the tsunami warning for the archipelago, Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan.

The US Geological Survey said the quake had a depth of 34 kilometres (21 miles) and hit at 8:47pm (1247 GMT) some 139 kilometres east of the city of Sulangan, eastern Samar.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

Khamis, 30 Ogos 2012

The Star Online: Business

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Chinese firms plan to spend $8.6 billion on Indonesia smelters

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 04:30 AM PDT

JAKARTA: Chinese firms plan to invest $8.6 billion on aluminum and iron smelter projects in Indonesia, the industry minister said on Thursday, in a bid to guarantee supplies of metals under threat from a ban on exports of mineral ores from 2014.

Indonesia, a major supplier of metal ores to top consumer China, is trying to drive investment in the metal processing sector by imposing a 20 percent tax on raw ore exports ahead of an outright ban.

China is the largest consumer and producer of aluminum and Indonesia supplied almost 80 percent of the 25 million tonnes of bauxite it bought in the first half of the year. However, imports from Indonesia slumped in June in July, after the tax was imposed.

The planned investment appears to be the biggest to date by Chinese firms in Indonesia's metal processing sector, and if realized, would a success for the government's policy.

"The projects are forward moves in the metal refining industry in Indonesia," Industry Minister Mohamad Hidayat said after a signing ceremony attended by representatives of the three Chinese firms.

Hidayat named the companies as Beijing Shuang Zhong Li Investment Management Co, Ltd, Oriental Mining and Minerals Resources Co Ltd. and Rui Tong Investment Co Ltd.

Oriental Mining is an established steel producer but Chinese industry sources said they were not familiar with the other two companies.


Hidayat said Shuang Zhong Li planned to invest $7.1 billion to build an alumina refinery with a total production capacity of 1.8 million tonnes per year and an aluminum smelter with a total production capacity of 600,000 tonnes of aluminum ingot per year and a 1,250 MW power plant in West Kalimantan or Riau.

The other two firms plan to invest $1.5 billion on a direct reduced iron (DRI) plant with a total production capacity of 6 million tonnes per year in West Java, Hidayat added.

Both projects are to be carried out in stages, with the first completed by 2015 and the last by 2020.

Under the new Indonesian regulations, firms now have to submit plans to either build smelters or to process their ore locally, before being allowed to export raw ore from Indonesia.

Analysts said the decision to build smelters in Indonesia made sense for Chinese metal producers.

"Effectively they are losing a source of bauxite imports so you can replace it either by importing alumina from Australia, boosting bauxite imports from Guinea, or you can look at building some refineries in Indonesia," said Ivan Szpakowski, a metals analyst at Credit Suisse.

Chinese imports of bauxite from Indonesia fell 93 percent in July, while imports from Australia doubled, Chinese trade data shows. Chinese imports of iron ore in July fell 68 percent from Indonesia, and more than doubled from countries such as Chile, Mongolia and New Zealand.

Heng Kun, a senior analyst at China-based brokerage Essence Securities and who has been following the aluminum sector for years, expects more Chinese alumina producers to build smelters in Indonesia.

But like other analysts, Heng was cautious about the scale of these investments, especially in the current economic climate and as China's own growth slows.

"They have agreed the investment for now," he said, referring to the recent projects. "But how much the Chinese investor will put into these projects is hard to predict. They can say that they are having problems and cut the investment."

Earlier this month, industry sources said three of China's biggest alumina producers were planning to invest into bauxite mines and refineries in Indonesia.

One of these firms, Bosai Minerals Group Co Ltd, said on Thursday it had shortlisted an Indonesian partner for a $1 billion alumina plant on Bintan island which it expects to start production of 2 million tonnes per year by the start of 2015.

"We do not rule out building a smelting facility in Indonesia in the future. This alumina plant is the first step," said a Bosai Minerals spokesman.

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce has said the country needs around 30 smelters to process various metals as part of a government drive to turn the country from an exporter of raw commodities into a manufacturing nation. - Reuters

Maxis Q2 earnings at RM464m after writing off RM125m assets

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 03:55 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Maxis Bhd reported earnings of RM464mil in the second quarter ended June 30, 2012 compared with RM551mil a year after it wrote off certain network assets of RM125mil.

It said on Thursday that revenue rose 2.7% to RM2.216bil from RM2.158bil due to its mobile services. Earnings per share were 6.20 sen compared with 7.3 sen. It rewarded shareholders with a second interim single-tier tax-exempt dividend of 8.0 sen per ordinary share.

For the first half, its earnings were RM1.036bil compared with RM1.090bil. Revenue was 3.5% higher at RM4.445bil compared with RM4.291bil.

Maxis said for the first half ended June 30, 2012, the group recorded a 4% or RM154 million increase in revenues over the preceding year mainly contributed by the higher revenue from mobile services segment.

Group EBITDA grew 2% or RM43mil on the back of higher revenue offset by higher direct expenses. Hence, margin dipped 0.8 percentage point ending the period at 50.4%.

"Despite recording a higher EBITDA, the profit for the period decreased 5% or RM53mil," it said.

Maxis said the factors were by an asset write-off of certain network assets amounting to RM125mil; increase in net financing costs largely due to the additional borrowings secured early this year as the group moves towards a more optimal capital structure.

Other factors were higher amortisation of devices as more smart devices were made available in the market; and offset by the lower taxation of RM48mil.

Maxis said the mobile services recorded a 3% or RM111mil increase in revenues compared to a year ago, mainly due to higher mobile internet usage and sale of devices coupled with higher wireless broadband revenues.

Total non-voice revenue as a percentage of total mobile revenue stood at 45.3%, an increase of 2.9%.

Mobile segment EBITDA increased 2% or RM51 million on the back of higher revenue offset by higher direct and operating expenses. The resultant margin was lower by 0.2 percentage point to 52.4%.

Its enterprise fixed services rose 4% or RM4mil as higher revenues were driven by new activations of services.

Revenues in international gateway services increased by 35% or RM27mil driven by higher hubbing activities. Despite higher revenues, EBITDA fell RM5mil due to higher direct expenses.

Its home services revenues grew RM12mil, mainly due to the home wireless Internet. However, home services EBITDA fell 48% or RM14mil on-year mainly due to higher sales and marketing and start-up expenses to drive home fibre Internet services.

Naim Holdings Q2 earnings jump 63% to RM31m

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 03:13 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Naim Holdings Bhd's earnings rose 63% to RM31.24mil in the second quarter ended June 30, 2012 from RM19.16mil a year ago, boosted by its property and construction divisions.

It said on Thursday its revenue increased by 16.5% to RM120.59mil from RM103.49mil. Earnings per share were 13.19 sen compared with 8.09 sen. It declared an interim dividend of 6.0 sen a share.

For the first half ended June 30, its earnings increased by 50.7% to RM47.32mil from RM31.39mil in the previous corresponding period.

Naim Holdings attributed it to an improvement in margin for the construction segment, especially from the substantially completed projects and also improvement in performance of associates and joint ventures.

Revenue declined by 4.3% to RM214.74mil from RM224.39mil due to lower construction revenue.

"When comparing to the immediate preceding quarter of 2012, group revenue increased from RM94.1mil to RM120.6mil. The group profit before tax improved by 60% from RM23.0mil to RM36.7mil.

"The increase was mainly attributable to the property and construction divisions, which recorded higher revenue and profit in the current quarter under review," it said.


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Armstrong says 'not afraid' of USADA report

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 06:54 PM PDT

MONTREAL: Lance Armstrong, branded a drug cheat and banned from cycling by the US Anti-Doping Agency, said Wednesday he was "not afraid" of any report USADA might make to the International Cycling Union (UCI).

"No, no, I'm absolutely not afraid," Armstrong told AFP after jogging with his fans in central Montreal.

USADA on Friday banned the 40-year-old American for life and stripped him of his record seven Tour de France titles, but the UCI has said it wanted to see USADA's full explanation for the sanctions before acting.

The US cycling icon and cancer survivor was in Montreal for the World Cancer Congress, where he introduced himself on Wednesday morning by saying: "My name is Lance Armstrong, I'm a cancer survivor ... and yes, I won the Tour de France seven times.

"And for those who don't know what I'm talking about, I love you," he added cheerily.

Armstrong's Livestrong campaign has collected nearly $500 million for cancer research and helping people cope with the disease.

He told conference delegates that there is still "too much to be done" in the fight against cancer that "we can't be distracted," again alluding to the doping scandal.

"I won't be distracted," he said.

USADA said last Friday that Armstrong would be banned for life and his results from 1998 -- including seven Tour titles from 1999-2005 - would be expunged because of "numerous anti-doping rule violations, including his involvement in trafficking and administering doping products to others".

USADA's move followed Armstrong's own announcement that he would not seek to clear his name through independent arbitration.

Armstrong, who has vehemently denied doping during his career, has questioned USADA's authority to ban him, and the UCI demanded a full account of the agency's findings.

USADA, which said it has as many as 10 witnesses prepared to testify to Armstrong's drug use, made it clear it believes the UCI and Tour de France organizers must honor its findings under the World Anti-Doping Code. - AFP

Clijsters sent into retirement by British teen

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 06:53 PM PDT

NEW YORK: British teen Laura Robson ended the singles career of three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters on Wednesday with an emotional 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5) victory in the second round of the US Open.

Clijsters, whose Grand Slam title haul also includes last year's Australian Open, had not lost at the US Open since falling to compatriot Justine Henin in the 2003 final on the same Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

"This feels like the perfect place to retire. I just wish it wasn't today," Clijsters said. "I gave it all and just wasn't good enough at the end of the match."

Robson snapped the Belgian's 22-match US Open win streak, smacking a tricky forehand winner on the line on the penultimate point and firing a service winner to claim the victory on her third match-point chance.

"I was just trying to play as hard as I could because I knew if I didn't Kim would dominate because she's such an aggressive player," Robson said. "I just went out there to keep getting the ball back and work my butt off."

Robson, who was age five when Clijsters first played here, will next face Chinese ninth seed Li Na, who dispatched Australia's Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 6-4, in 87 minutes.

"Thanks to Kim for being such a great role model to me for so many years," Robson said. "It was a great pleasure to finally get to play against you."

Clijsters, 29, made her final bow on the same court where she won her first Grand Slam title in 2005 and followed it up with crowns in 2009 and 2010. She had said she was leaving the sport for more time as a wife and mother.

"One of my biggest dreams came true in 2005 winning here," Clijsters said. "Every time I came back I was so inspired by the enegry that was out on this court and I played some of my best matches on this court.

"It has all been worth it. But I look forward to having the next part of my life coming up."

World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, this year's Australian Open champion, reached the third round while defending champion Samantha Stosur and third seed Maria Sharapova, the reigning French Open champion, advanced with ease as well.

Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, Argentine seventh seed Juan Martin Del Potro and US ninth seed John Isner won their openers on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.

The US Open has seen nine men's comeback triumphs from two sets down in the first round, matching the record from 1989, including Serbian ninth seed Janko Tipsarevic's 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Frenchman Guillaume Rufin.

And Australian Lleyton Hewitt, the 2001 US Open champion, reached the second round by dispatching Germany's Tobias Kamke 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.

British third seed Andy Murray, the reigning Olympic champion, was set to take the court in a night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium trying to become the first man into the third round.

Reigning Australian Open champion Azarenka reached the third round by defeating Belgian qualifier Kirsten Flipkens 6-2, 6-2 in only 65 minutes for her 50th match victory of the season.

"I'm proud of everything I have achieved this season," she said. "It has been a great year."

The 23-year-old from Belarus, whose 26-match win streak to begin the season was the best women's start since 1997, seeks her 13th career title and fifth trophy of the year on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.

"I would love to play for the title," Azarenka said. "It's a long way."

Azarenka, who has reached the last eight in every Grand Slam event except the US Open, will next face Chinese 28th seed Zheng Jie, who beat Slovakian qualifier Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-1.

Australian seventh seed Stosur took an hour to beat Romanian qualifier Edina Gallovits-Hall 6-3, 6-0 to reach a third-round date with US 31st seed Varvara Lepchenko.

Russian third seed Sharapova ripped Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0, 6-1 to book a third-round match against 21-year-old US wildcard Mallory Burdette, ranked 252nd, who advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Czech Lucie Hradecka.

Ferrer, who became the top seed in his quarter of the draw when compatriot Rafael Nadal pulled out with knee problems, defeated South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

"I'm happy. I played good. I tried to play solid and consistent," Ferrer said.

Ferrer, whose best Grand Slam showing was a 2007 US Open semi-final run, booked a second-round match against Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling, who beat Spain's Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

Isner, the top American hope to end a nine-year US men's Grand Slam title drought, struggled to subdue Xavier Malisse 6-3, 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 7-6 (11/9).

"I had my hands full," Isner said. "It got to the point where it was anyone's match and I'm pretty fortunate to move on."

Del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner, advanced over France's Florent Serra 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4. - AFP

Sharapova into US Open third round

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 06:51 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Third seed Maria Sharapova cruised into the US Open third round Wednesday with a 6-0, 6-1 rout of hapless Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino and next tackles a Stanford University psychology student.

Sharapova raced to victory over the 31-year-old Dominguez Lino in just 54 minutes with the Spaniard unable to hit a single winner in the brutally one-sided clash.

The 2006 champion next faces American college player Mallory Burdette, the world number 252 who studies psychology at Stanford and is making her Grand Slam debut.

"It's a big stage for her. She will have the home support behind her. She will be a difficult opponent," said Sharapova.

Sharapova has dropped just five games in her first two matches at the US Open as she looks to add the New York title to the French Open she captured in June.

The Russian fired 30 winners past the World No. 78 and accounted for 17 of her opponent's 24 points through unforced errors. - AFP

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Fireworks herald Merdeka Day

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 10:05 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Crowds at Dataran Merdeka, in front of City Hall, in KLCC park and other parts of the city joined in the countdown to the country's 55th Merdeka Day and, at the stroke of midnight, as a mini fireworks went off, they cheered with jubilation.

Some sounded horns, some threw confetti and some sang the national anthem Negaraku.

National laureate and Bersih Co-chairman Datuk A. Samad Said recited a poem titled Janji Demokrasi which he had composed.

Many Mat Rempit contributed to the occassion by revving their engines and choking Jalan Parlimen with exhaust fumes.

By 1am Friday, most people had left Dataran Merdeka.

Police had earlier Thursday advised the public to avoid a rally by a group called Janji Demokrasi at Dataran Merdeka, saying the rally was illegal as it had not obtained a permit from police or City Hall.

Clusters of police and City Hall personnel were present at Dataran Merdeka.

Meanwhile, the Merdeka March For Jalan Sultan organised by the Jalan Sultan community and Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCHA), set off on their walk from the Gospel Hall, Jalan Hang Jebat through Jalan Sultan, before reaching Dataran Merdeka after 10pm on Thursday.

Those groups are concerned about the preservation of heritage buildings jeorpadised by the MRT project.

Police stood by to prevent untoward incidents and to handle traffic to avoid congestion.

The crowd started swelling after 11pm ahead of the countdown to Merdeka Day.

Several people wearing yellow shirts or wearing yellow scarves were spotted among the crowd.

Mohamad Sabu, PAS Deputy President, was also spotted.

Meanwhile, political activist Hishamuddin Rais and others urged the crowd in front of City Hall, many chanting Janji Demokrasi, to be silent and to sit down ahead of midnight.

Most bird nest farmers agree to sign protocol with China

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 08:57 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: A majority of the 21 swiftlet bird nest farmers have agreed to support the signing of a protocol between Malaysia and China for the export of bird nest to the country.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister, Datuk Seri Noh Omar said the agreement was achieved after a five hour meeting with swiftlet bird nest association representatives on Thursday.

"The ministry will also forward several proposals submitted by the association representatives to be included in the protocol," he told reporters here.

The proposals include broader interpretation of tracking which should not only refer to the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

He said the ministry agreed with the proposals submitted but they were subjected to approval from China.

The three conditions set for swiftlet bird nest farmers to allow the delicacy to be exported to China include the use of RFID.

Noh said there were objections from farmers of raw uncleaned bird nest as the protocol only allowed for the export of raw cleaned bird nest.

The protocol is scheduled to be signed on September 20. The ministry plans to ask China to hold a seminar to clarify its policy in the protocol. - Bernama

Peaceful crowd at Dataran Merdeka

Posted: 30 Aug 2012 08:18 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A peaceful crowd has gathered in front of Royal Selangor club on the night before Merdeka Day celebrations.

Nearby, traders are selling cotton candy, decorative lights, horns and balloons.

Police had advised the public to avoid a rally by a group called Janji Demokrasi at Dataran Merdeka, saying the rally was illegal as it had not obtained a permit from police or City Hall.

Clusters of police and City Hall personnel are present at Dataran Merdeka.

Meanwhile, the Merdeka March For Jalan Sultan organised by the Jalan Sultan community and Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCHA), set off on their walk from the Gospel Hall, Jalan Hang Jebat through Jalan Sultan, before reaching Dataran Merdeka after 10pm.

Those groups are concerned about the preservation of heritage buildings jeorpadised by the MRT project.

Police are standing by to prevent untoward incidents and to handle traffic to avoid congestion.

The crowd started swelling after 11pm ahead of the countdown to Merdeka Day.

Several people wearing yellow shirts or wearing yellow scarves were spotted among the crowd.

Mohamad Sabu, PAS Deputy President, was also spotted.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Flying the Jalur Gemilang with pride

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 05:03 PM PDT

MALACCA: Patriotism is best demonstrated through creative display of the our national colours: the Jalur Gemilang.

Decorating homes and buildings with the nation's flags helps enliven the spirit of Merdeka and adds cheer to the celebrations.

Flying the Jalur Gemilang also creates a patriotic mood and at the same time – adds colour and cheer to the independence day celebration.

Kite Flyers' Melaka Chairman Wong Soo Tang said the flags are flown on buildings, offices, schools, hotels and even by the roadside.

"Miniature flags fixed on motorcylces and vehicles too are common in a bid to create the Merdeka mood."

The association's members, added Wong, had their own creative ideas to enliven the spirit of Merdeka.

Wong and his fellow kite enthusiasts Chong Chin Wah, Kam Lian Kiong (the current Kite Flyer's association Secretary) had flown a special Jalur Gemilang kite near Kota Laksamana recently.

He said the event was aimed to encourage Malaysians from all walks of life to showcase their creativity in patriotism.

The association, he added, is stepping up efforts to encourage the community to the fly the Jalur Gemilang through specially-made patriotic themed kites.

Police bust smuggling ring and capture a wanted fugitive

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 05:03 PM PDT

TANGKAK: The police busted a cigarette smuggling ring and at the same time, captured a man wanted since 2006.

The 28-year-old fugitive was arrested along with his 48-year-old friendwhen police detained a lorry laden with smuggled cigarettes along Km173.5 of the North-South Expressway near here on Tuesday.

Ledang police chief Supt Harun Idris said his team spotted the 10-tonne truck at 3.35am along the highway near the Jasin exit and decided to stop it.

"We were shocked to see the truck filled with stacks of boxes containing League-brand cigarettes.

"The truck was carrying some 9,800 cartons of League cigarettes with unpaid duties totalling about RM1mil," he added.

Supt Harun said the truck driver resides in Kuala Lumpur while his accomplice, the wanted man is from Negeri Sembilan.

Both had also tested negative for drugs.

He said the duo would be charged under Section 135(1) of the Customs Act 1967 for possessing contraband items with unpaid duty.

On a separate matter, Supt Harun said police detained two men, both aged 21, and recovered a Proton Waja car which was reported stolen in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year.

The men, one from Negri Sembilan and while the other is a resident in Skudai in Johor Baru, were arrested after a highway patrol unit chased them from the Tangkak - Jasin border to the town on July 25.

He said one of them is employed as a computer technician while the other is a truck driver with three previous criminal records.

Both would be referred to the Dang Wangi police station in Kuala Lumpur where they are expected to be charged.

The district police had also succeeded in arresting three 17-year-old youths and an Indonesian foreign worker for possession of stolen motorbikes.

"Two of the youths were arrested while riding a motorcycle which had been reported stolen in Muar while the Indonesian worker for having a motorcycle with tampered engine and chassis numbers," added Supt Harun.

Special designs for exhibitors

Posted: 29 Aug 2012 05:03 PM PDT

THE stage is set for one of the most anticipated events for this year, the Perfect Livin '12 Home & Lifestyle Exhibition that starts today.

It will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur until Sept 2.

To make the event a successful and meaningful one, the organiser is making sure that the booths and the ambiance are perfect.

The fourth installation of the Perfect Livin event will see about 1,000 booths and 300 exhibitors taking part to showcase their respective products and services.

It is the platform to meet people's renovation, refurbishment and decorating needs.

About 120,000 visitors are expected to attend the event which is one of the largest exhibitions of its kind.

Speaking on its preparations IStar Ideas Factory Sdn Bhd business development director Jason Yap said the concept for the event was inspired from a show in Milan, Italy.

"We travelled to an international show in Milan and derived ideas on many things including a media gallery, new registration counter, and a gift counter.

"We have an interior designer on board but the focus is for it (the exhibition) to be a place that inspires and gives people ideas. Even the stage is set with a kitchen, which has a design element to show people something different as they walk in.

"We had only two days to set up everything with a team of contractors and designers.

"There is the Hall of Elegance with more high-end stuff, so the layout, lighting and setting is different from the other halls.

"This year we are giving out special sling bags and aluminium bottles to visitors," he said.

Yap added that they want to ensure exhibitors and visitors are in a comfortable environment while maximising their time and experience.

Meanwhile, the man heading the preparations for the event, Group Thirty Three International Sdn Bhd deputy general manager Ken Low, said a lot of planning was involved in putting everything together.

He said the task was not easy as they had to see to all the exhibitors' needs.

"We are working around the clock, so we are the first ones in and the last people out. The signages and pathways setup will ensure visitors get to see everything, which will be beneficial to both the exhibitors and visitors.

"There are about 100 people working in the various sections. Even the booths set up are different for each exhibitor. We have very few standard-style booths here," he said.

Perfect Livin '12 Home & Lifestyle Exhibition, the one-stop centre for your home and lifestyle solutions, is open to the public from 10am to 9pm daily. Admission is free.

Malaysians can expect to be wowed by the myriad of innovations, contemporary home renovations and refurbishments as well as tailor-made solutions and professional advice from quality exhibitors on home decor.

There will also be a series of talks and seminars delivered by experienced speakers and industry experts.

Children below 12 years of age can participate in the Kiddy Colouring Contest, with the winners eligible for many prizes.

Visitors are also welcome to go to The Star booths, number 1382 and 1383 at the Tun Razak Hall One to subscribe to the Star Newspaper & ePaper bundle at the special rate of RM260.

Only at the booths would the special rate be extended until Sept 2, otherwise the promotion ends tomorrow (Aug 31).

Over RM25,000 worth of prizes and cash shopping vouchers can be redeemed with every subscription form.

The prizes and vouchers are sponsored by Focus Point, Sakae Sushi, and SP Setia Berhad.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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