Ahad, 30 September 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates


Japan PM names lawmaker Jojima as finance minister

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 09:21 PM PDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda appointed Koriki Jojima, a senior lawmaker in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), as the country's new finance minister in a cabinet shakeup on Monday.

Jojima, 65, who previously served as the party's parliamentary affairs chief, replaces Jun Azumi as the minister in charge of fiscal, tax and currency policies.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Michael Watson)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Expectations game in full swing for U.S. presidential debate

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 07:49 PM PDT

WASHINGTON/LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Three days before the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign, allies of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sought to influence expectations on Sunday, with the president describing his debating skills as "just OK."

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he departs for travel to Nevada and Colorado, from the White House in Washington, September 30, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he departs for travel to Nevada and Colorado, from the White House in Washington, September 30, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Democratic incumbent and the Republican former governor of Massachusetts face off in Denver, Colorado, on Wednesday for their first of three televised debates.

Advisers to both men have tried to lower expectations for their respective candidates, and Obama got into the action during a rally in Nevada.

"Gov. Romney ... he's a good debater. I'm just OK," the president told a crowd of about 11,000 outside a local high school.

"What I'm most concerned about is having a serious discussion about what we need to do to keep the country growing and restore security for hard-working Americans. That's what people are going to be listening for," he said.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie predicted fellow Republican Romney's performance would alter the course of the campaign. Polls show Obama with a slight edge nationally and in critical swing states that will decide the November 6 election.

"This whole race is going to turn upside down come Thursday morning," Christie told CBS' "Face the Nation."

His comments strayed from the script of both campaigns, which have tried to play down their own candidate's chances and talk up their opponent's, thus making it easier to claim victory or explain a defeat after the face-off.

"I think what we need is a big and bold performance on Wednesday night, and that's what he's going to give us," Christie said of Romney on ABC's "This Week."

Romney comes into the debate still trying to recover from a leaked video where the former private equity executive described nearly half of Americans as dependent upon government and who view themselves as victims.

"We've had some missteps, but at the end of the day, the choice is really clear," Romney's vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan told "Fox News Sunday."

Ryan tried to lower the stakes for Romney's debate performance. "I don't think any one event is going to make or break this campaign," he said.

Ryan said Romney would give a major foreign policy speech in the days after the debate.

ZINGERS, COMPLACENCY

Obama's advisers said the president was not focused on scoring points or coming up with zingers to use against his rival.

"He wants to speak directly to the families - the people who are on their couches at home, having snacks, drinking a beer, drinking soda, whatever it is, and tuning in for the first time - and that's who he's speaking directly to," campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters on Air Force One.

Obama, who is in Nevada for intense debate preparation, was accompanied by White House adviser David Plouffe, campaign strategist David Axelrod, chief of staff Jack Lew, economic adviser Gene Sperling and speechwriter Jon Favreau.

The White House and Obama's campaign are guarding against complacency, despite their strength in the polls.

"We're not going to win battleground states by 10 or 12 points. This race is going to tighten," Plouffe said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Romney remained in Boston for private meetings, including debate preparation, at his campaign headquarters.

Not all of Romney's hours have been devoted to studying and sparring with his debate partner, U.S. Senator Rob Portman.

Romney attended a party Saturday evening at the Wellesley, Massachusetts, home of his finance chairman, Spencer Zwick.

With a stretched Hummer limousine blaring party music and several school buses parked outside the home, chants of "Mitt!" could be heard from within. Romney departs for Denver on Monday.

His wife, Ann, will campaign in Nevada and Ryan will embark on a bus tour of eastern Iowa on Monday.

Both are swing states where victories would be critical for the path to the presidency.

(Additional reporting by Sam Youngman in Boston, Susan Cornwell and Bill Trott in Washington; editing by Alistair Bell)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Two Americans killed in confused Afghan shootout

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 05:46 PM PDT

KABUL (Reuters) - Two Americans were killed in Afghanistan during an exchange of fire between NATO-led forces and the Afghan army that may have been the result of a misunderstanding, as the death toll of U.S. military and civilian personnel passed 2,000.

A U.S. official, who asked not to be identified, said on Sunday that an American soldier and a civilian contractor had been killed in the incident in eastern Afghanistan, the circumstances of which remain unclear.

The coalition initially said the incident may have been the result of an "insider attack" and another example of a member of the Afghan national security force turning on coalition troops in a war that began in 2001.

But it later said that nearby insurgent gunfire may have led to a misunderstanding.

"The circumstances were somewhat confused ... There was a report of insurgent firing taking place in this incident which we believe may have been a factor," Lt. General Adrian Bradshaw, deputy commander of the NATO-led coalition, said.

It was the latest setback for the coalition after the United States said joint operations with Afghan forces were returning to normal.

Joint operations were halted two weeks ago after a surge of attacks on the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) by its Afghan allies. At least 52 ISAF service members have been killed this year in so-called "green-on-blue" attacks.

The suspension of joint operations was a blow for NATO which wants to train the 350,000 members of the Afghan security forces so that they can try to ensure stability after coalition forces withdraw.

Pentagon data listing the number of U.S. troops and U.S. contractors killed in Afghanistan since combat began 11 years ago showed the two new deaths pushed the total combined number of U.S. personnel killed past the 2,000 mark.

The attack took place in the Sayed Abad district of the Wardak province, according to local police sources, who said a gun battle had broken out between coalition soldiers and Afghans when an Afghan National Army member opened fire on American troops.

Three members of the Afghan National Army were also killed in the firefight, while three other U.S. citizens and one Afghan were wounded, police spokesman Wali Mohammad said on Sunday.

"We appreciate the sacrifice of our fallen heroes, every death is tragic and important - none more than any other," ISAF said in a statement after the incident on Saturday.

Tension between coalition forces and their Afghan allies has been rising due to an escalation of so-called "insider" attacks, but Bradshaw denied the incident was a reflection of growing mistrust between Afghan and coalition forces.

"There is a very strong relationship between ISAF (the International Security Assistance Force) and our Afghan colleagues," Bradshaw told a press conference late on Sunday.

Separately on Saturday, police in eastern Kunar province said they had found the beheaded bodies of three male civilians in a forest.

The Taliban had kidnapped the men three days ago for allegedly spying for the government and NATO forces, Kunar police chief Shirwah Sameen told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni in Kabul, Mustafa Andalib in Ghazni and Phillip Stewart in Washington; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio


Round-the-clock delights

Posted: 01 Oct 2012 12:19 AM PDT

There is much more to look forward to as the channel that aims to inspire – Li – is now a 24-hour channel.

AFTER three years of providing some of the best Asian lifestyle programming through its original productions, such as Quest For Stars, The Maverick Chef and EdVentures In Asia, Li now provides viewers with non-stop entertainment. Li is a 24-hour channel broadcasting on Astro Ch 728, effective today.

For this month, there is much to look forward to as well. Witness the extraordinary culinary showdowns in Yes Chef S2 and There's No Taste Like Home; learn the joy of building a relationship and home in Marriage Under Construction S4; journey to the world's most exotic places in Designer Travel S2, Landmark Story, Most Intriguing Safari Destinations and Stopover: Seoul. Also, don't forget to check out the rich and famous in Kings And Queens Of New York for some style inspirations.

Stopover: Seoul (Today, 11.30pm): A chic travel show that guides viewers on how to shop, eat and relax in the urban city of Seoul in South Korea. Follow host Serina Hwang as she shares the best places to indulge and relax in the capital city. Discover the best of dining, fashion, arts and culture as she brings viewers around the city and the interesting places in the Main Palace Area, Apgujeong, Cheongdam, Garosugil and Myeongdong.

Mari Winsor's Cardio Pilates (Oct 6, 8am): Dreaming of having a toned body, but hardcore workouts at the gym is not really your thing? Well, try Pilates instead. Mari Winsor is here to teach you traditional Pilates mat work programmes plus Pilates-inspired cardio workout in Mari Winsor's Cardio Pilates. You'll build a lean, dancer-style body with mat work, and of course burn off those calories with the aerobic programme. Now you can kick, squat and lunge your way to that long, lean Pilates body.

Marriage Under Construction S4 (Oct 6, 9pm): Marriage Under Construction has come all the way to Season 4. This 13-episode series follows the stress and drama as newlyweds buy, renovate and decorate their first home on a limited budget. It's more than just a home renovation – it is a personal, physical and mental journey to building a relationship and a home, one nail at a time. This season, Matt and Kate will put their relationship to the ultimate test. The couple buy their first home together (they were staying at Kate's parents' house previously) and decide to renovate it themselves. They are happy to be finally on their own, but how long will that last amidst the rubble of a costly renovation?

Kings And Queens Of New York (Oct 6, 11pm): Perhaps the most influential city in the world, New York created cultures and values that the whole world adores. The documentary depicts a week in the hectic lives of a few members of New York's high society, and takes the form of interwoven portraits of the city's most influential and powerful personalities, in fashion, politics, film, literature, music and more. Be inspired by the insights shared by these famous New Yorkers such as Jay McIerney, Benjamin Millepied, Vito Schnabel, Diane von Furstenberg, Daniel Boulud and Elisa Sednaoui.

There's No Taste Like Home (Oct 7, 10pm): Are you staying away from home? Getting sick of take-out foods? Well, let's go for home-cooked food with the popular Italian chef, Gino D'Acampo. Gino D'Acampo goes on a hunt across Britain to celebrate home cooks, and their incredible family heritage dishes. Unsung family heroes and their recipes – passed down the generations – are taken out of the home and put into a professional kitchen.

Most Intriguing Safari Destinations (Oct 8, 11.30pm): Explore the never-before-seen sides of Southern Africa in this nine-episode series that brings you to the most fascinating travel destinations in Southern Africa. It introduces the most decadent of safari lodges, the finest of African wines, Michelin quality fine dining and the most unforgettable experiences.

My Workout (Oct 13, 7.30am): This energised fitness programme features Hollywood's top three mega-star trainers, Yumi Lee (celebrity clients include Brad Pitt, Demi Moore and Pink), Ron Matthews (Jennifer Garner and Eva Mendez) and Jeanette Jenkins (Queen Latifah). These trainers have worked the bodies of the rich and famous and know all the tricks of the trade. Besides providing an assortment of fitness programmes, My Workout will also share some essential nutrition tips with the viewers to create maximum results.

Landmark Story (Oct 13, 9pm): Explore two latest landmarks in Seoul – Ferrum Tower and NHN Green Factory – which are well known for their excellence in design, architecture and functionality. Located at the heart of Seoul City, Ferrum Tower is near to many of the city's attractions such as Namsan Tower and the Royal Places. The Korea Herald highlights the 28-storey building as a "foodie Mecca" for its excellent and diverse shops, offering cuisines from all over the world. Meanwhile, NHN Green Factory is the headquarters of NHN Corporation, a Korean Internet service provider. The steel and glass fa├žade houses adjustable vertical louvers that restrict or allow sunlight to enter the building. During the night, the facade displays different messages, shapes or the NHN logo as internal light is selectively blocked by a nocturnal automated louver system.

Yes Chef S2 (Oct 16, 9pm): Following the successful debut of EdVentures In Asia, celebrity chef Edward Kwon is back in an all-new season of Yes Chef. Hosted and judged by Chef Edward, this reality cooking competition aims to seek the next culinary master who can elevate Korean cuisine to the global stage.

In this reality series, 12 contestants are selected during the first challenge and will go through a weekly elimination process based on their performance. Join the 12 contestants for a gripping gastronomic battle to become the next superstar chef, with the winner taking home 100mil won (RM276,000) and the opportunity to work at a renowned restaurant.

Designer Travel S2 (Oct 25, midnight): Using the "creative DNA" of a destination, Designer Travel S2 gives an insider's perspective into dynamic cities, bypassing all things chain, bland and mass market. Hosted by Daon Broni and Amy Devers, this travel series features leading designers, including architects, interior, graphic and fashion designers who take us on an urban excursion through the cities in which they live, work and play. Designer Travel Season 2 provides a chic and entertaining snapshot of the world's premier creative hubs and desirable destinations, including Zurich, Seoul, Helsinki, Genoa, Seattle and Istanbul. – Siti Azhariah Kamin

Mystery of the unseen

Posted: 01 Oct 2012 12:19 AM PDT

Venture into The Paranormal Zone, if you dare.

ARE you a caulbearer or one of those whom people say were born with a veil? Can you see things others cannot? If otherwise, then are you curious about all the supernatural phenomena that are seemingly impossible to explain, and yet dare not check them out yourself?

Enter The Paranormal Zone, a local documentary series that explores all that is unseen, unheard and unknown to most ordinary folks. Produced by Kechara In Motion, the 13-episode half-hour programme is helmed by Phng Li Kim, who is the CEO of Kechara Media & Publications.

A motivational speaker and publisher of spiritual books by profession, Phng and her team investigate places in the country that are known to be haunted and features spiritualists, metaphysicians, paranormal researchers and other related personalities on the show.

Following Ntv7's success with popular paranormal series like Singapore's Incredible Tales (hosted by Thai-American VJ Utt in English), Hong Kong's The Unbelievable or Guai Tan (hosted by Hong Kong celebrity Spencer Leung in Cantonese), and our own Seekers in Malay, The Paranormal Zone impresses upon viewers its tagline "what we see may not be real, what is real we may not see" and aims to educate rather than scare viewers.

"We provide information, with both academic and spiritual perspectives, to the story," Phng said in an interview recently.

Making her hosting debut with The Paranormal Zone, Phng admitted that she has seen on the infra-red camera what others describe as white mists and glowing orbs, perceived to be beings that most people cannot see. "It was extremely exciting," exclaimed the mother of three boys.

Besides seeing things, she was also hearing things in another episode.

"I heard sounds when we were in a cemetery. It wasn't in words or a dialogue, but sounds acknowledging a conversation I was having with somebody else. It was very consistent. Whenever I brought up that subject matter, there was that sound," shared Phng, 41, who revealed that each episode took two to three weeks to complete.

Phng also spoke of how she was being taught a lesson of patience in an episode which saw her sitting alone in a haunted house up north. "I had to sit there with seven cameras waiting for more than two hours and the spirits only appeared in the last half-hour. That was challenging.

"There is also a drop in temperature whenever there is paranormal activity," continued the host, who interviewed jazz queen Datuk Sheila Majid in one of the episodes.

The spooky six-minute trailer that links from our iSnap feature shows some chilling excerpts from three different episodes: The Curse Of The Ghost Child, Nature Spirits and Talking To The Dead.

The pilot, The Curse Of The Ghost Child, was screened at the launch of the show. It is about the Chinese gwai jai (meaning ghost child in Cantonese) and the Malay equivalent of toyol.

Compelled by the Chinese sifu (paranormal consultant) to put her finger into the mouth of a foetus, the plucky host did so and described a light nibbling on her finger as well as the coldness of the body.

"Only the sifu and myself could see it. The cameras could not capture it, and the others could only see the box and the redness of the cloth," she shared about the paranormal activity surrounding the foetus, which apparently had been "kept" by someone for two years.

In the episode Nature Spirits, Phng sits alone in the wilderness on top of a hill in the middle of the night, while the rest of the paranormal team waits some distance away as she makes recordings of the unseen.

Meanwhile, the one titled Talking To The Dead shows how people try to communicate with the deceased via devices like the Ouija Board and Psychic Circle.

During the course of producing the series, the team did not experience any untoward incidents.

Their secret, if you can call it that, is that they start their investigations with compassion in their hearts. "We go in and we explain why we are there. We have a very clear motivation. We enter with respect, and we leave with respect. We don't offend. We don't provoke. So, there is no reason for them to harm us."

With the success of Season One, the team has already started researching for the next season which will take them to places outside the country.

The Paranormal Zone airs on Ntv7 every Monday at 9pm starting today.

Looking pretty

Posted: 01 Oct 2012 12:19 AM PDT

Find out more about plastic surgery and ghosts and ghouls on 988.

CURIOUS about going under the knife to look pretty? If you are, then tune in to 988 bright and early.

There are also lots of interesting interviews and the latest music to keep you entertained throughout the week.

The Feature

Monday and Tuesday, 9am-10am

It is common to secretly go abroad for cosmetic surgery. To understand the industry throughly, 988 DJ Sam (pic) went to Hong Kong to interview a practising surgeon. Also, local singer Vic Teo shares his experience of the medical procedure.

Street VIP

Wednesday-Friday, 9am-10am

"In the past, a songstress was known as a showgirl. Only the poor became one, said Yao Lee a.k.a. The Silver Voice, a famous songstress in the 1930s and 40s. The perennial appeal of her songs such as Rose, Rose I Love You and The Spring Wind Kisses My Face affirmed the singer's legendary status in the Mandarin music scene.

Music VIP

Monday-Friday, 2pm

Taiwanese singer William Wei Li An is finally coming to Kuala Lumpur. The news sent a group of 988 female DJs squealing with delight and anticipation. Newly wed DJ May is one of them.

The Good Show

Monday-Friday, 5pm-8pm

If you're already looking forward to Halloween, you'll be in good company with the trio of The Good Show. They're all ready to fill your drive time with hilariously frightful fun and the spookiest stories. Trick or treat?

Night Chat

Monday-Friday, 10pm-midnight

Steve Jobs, the late Apple Computer co-founder, has not only showed the world a new approach to technology, but also given people a new way of life.

Let's reminisce Jobs' passion and creativity that have touched the hearts of millions from all over the world.

For more information, log on to 988.com.my. 988 is owned and operated by The Star.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business


KLCI opens lower, Tenaga, Genting weigh

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 06:12 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips started the fourth quarter on a weaker note on Monday, with Tenaga, Genting and Sime Darby among the major decliners, mirroring the decline in Asian markets on uncertainty about Spain's bailout.

At 9am, it was down 1.28 points to 1,635.38. Turnover was 13.36 million shares valued at RM10.54mil. There were 53 gainers, 26 losers and 61 counters unchanged.

Reuters reported the euro and oil prices fell on Monday as uncertainty about Spain's bailout and concerns over slumping demand due to a slowdown in global growth weighed on investor sentiment.

Several Asian markets are closed for holidays on Monday, including China, Hong Kong and South Korea, keeping activity subdued, it reported.

At Bursa Malaysia, Tenaga fell eight sen to RM6.74, Genting and KL Kepong six sen each to RM8.65 and RM22 while Ambank lost three sen to RM6.33 and Sime Darby two sen lower at RM9.78.

Etihad projects US$5il revenues this year

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 06:02 PM PDT

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi's carrier Etihad Airways is projecting US$5bil in revenues in 2012, up from US$4.1bil last year, and hopes to sustain profitability, its chief executive said.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) flag carrier, owned by the rich emirate of Abu Dhabi, was "projecting US$5bil in revenues in 2012", Etihad chief executive officer James Hogan told participants in the World Route Development Strategy Summit in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

He also said the carrier was looking to keep "sustainable profitability in place" after posting US$14mil in net profit last year, in its first-ever registered profit since it began operations in 2003.

Hogan said the fast-growing airline made US$281mil in revenues in the first half of 2012 from partnerships and code-sharing with other carriers.

Etihad has equities in Ireland's Aer Lingus, airberlin, Air Seychelles and Virgin Australia. It operates a fleet of 67 aircraft with an average age of 4.9 years, and has many on order. - AFP

Adding drama to corporate training

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 05:59 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Corporate training has taken on a new dimension with the launch of a programme that promises to add drama to the way executives are trained.

Enfiniti Academy, in a press statement, said its latest product, PLAY!, is experiential, hands-on, interactive and uses the tools and techniques that Enfiniti is best known for - drama.

According to Enfiniti Vision Media group president Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina, PLAY! has been designed as a fun, relaxed but highly effective personal and group training method, conducted by professional trainers from Enfiniti Academy who have extensive experience in both corporate training, as well as theatre.

"At every level of management, there is a need to perform, whether it's a presentation to the board or to prospective clients, a speech, public speaking, a sales pitch or interaction with customers, colleagues and employees," she said.

Enfiniti Vision Media CEO Ashraff Dewal, who has spent 16 years of his career in multinational conglomerates, said the fresh approach would hopefully enable the participants to constantly use the principles in everyday life.

Joanna Bessey, the course director of Enfiniti Academy, will be bringing her well-known theatre skills to the programme."We're really excited about our new theatre-based corporate training, because not only is it a fun learning experience compared with the rote power-point presentation based training, it's also imparting creative thinking and soft-skills in a unique manner which is applicable to all persons, no matter where they are on the corporate ladder," she said.

The master trainer for the programme is Amsalan Doraisingam, who has a rich international background in both corporate training and the performing arts.

Among the modules that PLAY! will highlight are improving team performance under pressure, cross rung communication skills, conflict resolution, team building and communication to improve selling skills.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports


Ryder Cup: Love's game plan fizzles on final day

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 06:10 PM PDT

CHICAGO (Illinois): A sombre US skipper Davis Love was reeling from Europe's shock upset Sunday at the 39th Ryder Cup saying his team may have suffered from a case of overconfidence.

"We're all kind of stunned," Love said. "We know what it feels like now from the '99 Ryder Cup.

"It's a little bit shocking. We were playing so well. Everybody on our team was playing so well, we just figured it didn't matter how we sent them out there.

"But we put who we thought was our hot players up front and we put who we thought was our steady players in the back that would get us points."

Love's game plan started to unravel from the start of Sunday's singles.

Europe came out with plenty of fire and went on to win eight of 12 singles matches for a 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 total to equal the greatest final-day comeback in Ryder Cup history.

Europe was able to turn the tables on the Americans who recorded a similar comeback in 1999 in Brookline, Massachusetts by overcoming a 6-10 deficit. But this one stings because it happened on US soil.

"Anytime you lose a segment that badly, it is going to cost you the Ryder Cup," Love said. "It's exactly the same, same score. They came back and won.

"Give them a lot of credit; they played very, very well.

"They had a couple hot streaks the first two days that kept them in it. Ian's (Poulter) hot streak at the end there yesterday gave them some confidence, and I know they built on that."

Love was given the captain's job after winning six caps and serving as one of Corey Pavin's assistants two years ago.

He faced European captain Jose Maria Olazabal and the late Seve Ballesteros in his first three Ryder Cup games.

Love said they didn't get the start they had hoped for Sunday from their big guns, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, who all lost their singles matches.

"Guys that started hot the first couple days did not start hot today," Love said.

"We all thought it would come down to Jason Dufner, and he played very, very well. We just got a couple matches flipped there in the middle that cost us."

Love, who played in six Ryder Cups, knows he will be second guessed for some of his decisions this week, including benching the red-hot duo of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in the Saturday afternoon fourballs.

"We all went to plan. We were four ahead. The plan worked the first two days, it just didn't work today," said Love, who played in the 1999 Ryder Cup. "I wouldn't have done anything different." - AFP

Pedrosa wins on his birthday weekend in front of home crowd

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 04:52 PM PDT

ALCANIZ (Spain): Dani Pedrosa gave himself a timely birthday present with a dazzling victory in the Aragon Grand Prix MotoGP race here on Sunday.

The Spanish Honda rider, who turned 27 on Saturday, came home clear of compatriot and overall series leader Jorge Lorenzo, on a Yamaha, while Andrea Dovizioso was third on a Yamaha a whisker ahead of team-mate Cal Crutchlow.

Pedrosa, who was winning his third race in the last four MotoGPs, narrowed the gap on Lorenzo in the standings to 33 points with four races to go and made up for his disastrous outing at San Marino a fortnight ago where he went out on the first lap.

Pedrosa admitted that the cloud of the San Marino race was still affecting him entering the weekend.

"It was a tough weekend because of the cold conditions and rain yesterday and I had all the things in my head from the last race," said Pedrosa, a former 125cc and two-time 250cc world champion.

"It was hard to keep calm in the weekend but today it was good for me and a good race.

"Immediately I could see I could go faster and then open a gap.

"I am very happy to win in front of my fans and family and on my birthday weekend."

Lorenzo, who has still not won here, said that he realised soon after Pedrosa overtook him that he would not catch him and he played safe.

"I make a mistake on the first corner after he overtook me and I almost crashed and then realised I couldn't go at the same pace as I had done on the first few laps.

"It was impossible to follow Pedrosa so I raced for the championship after that. No risks."

Dovizioso said that it was great to get back on the podium.

"I wanted to stay in front of Ben (Spies) and Cal even though I wasn't so fast," said the 26-year-old.

"I was so slow in some pIaces. I knew Cal would try and overtake me and I tried to shut the door. Cal is really aggressive but really clean in the battle. It was a good battle with him and very important to get onto the podium again."

Crutchlow wasn't too disappointed as he was able to extend his lead in his points battle with Italian superstar Valentino Rossi.

"Its nice for Dovi and myself and the team," said the 26-year-old Briton. — AFP

Results

MotoGP: 1. Dani Pedrosa (Spa) Honda 42:10.444; 2. Jorge Lorenzo (Spa) Yamaha 6.472 secs behind; 3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ita) Yamaha 11.047; 4. Cal Crutchlow (Bri) Yamaha 11.184; 5. Ben Spies (US) Yamaha 13.786; 6. Alvaro Bautista (Spa) Honda 28.166; 7. Jonathan Rea (Bri) Honda 32.290; 8. Valentino Rossi (Ita) Ducati 44.432; 9. Karel Abraham (Cze) Ducati 57.417; 10. Aleix Espargaro (Spa) ART 58.525.

Overall standing (After 14 of 18 races): 1. Lorenzo 290 points; 2. Pedrosa 257; 3. Casey Stoner (Aus) Honda 186; 4. Dovizioso 179; 5. Crutchlow 135; 6. Rossi 128; 7. Bautista 128; 8. Stefan Bradl (Ger) Honda 115; 9. Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati 93; 10. Spies 88.

Moto2: 1. Pol Espargaro (Spa) Kalex 40:25.260; 2. Marc Marquez (Spa) Suter 1.447 secs behind; 3. Scott Redding (Bri) Kalex 1.743; 4. Andrea Iannone (Ita) Speed Up 1.825; 5. Bradley Smith (Bri) Tech 3 2.193.

Overall standings: 1. Marquez 258; 2. Espargaro 210; 3. Iannone 178; 4. Thomas Luthi (Swi) Suter 166; 5. Redding 131.

Moto3: 1. Luis Salom (Spa) Kalex KTM 40:56.391; 2. Sandro Cortese (Ger) KTM 0.155 secs behind; 3. Jonas Folger (Ger) Kalex KTM 0.362; 4. Danny Kent (Bri) KTM 1.115; 5. Efren Vazquez (Spa) FTR Honda 1.160.

Overall standings: 1. Cortese 245; 2. Salom 194; 3. Maverick Vinales (Spa) FTR Honda 179; 4. Romano Fenati (Ita) FTR Honda 120; 5. Alex Rins (Spa) Suter Honda 106.

Ryder Cup glory comeback for Europe

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 04:20 PM PDT

CHICAGO (Illinois): Europe produced the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history to reel in the United States and retain the trophy at Medinah Country Club on Sunday.

Trailing by 10-6 going into the closing 12 singles, Jose Maria Olazabal's men thrillingly won the first five matches out and went on to make sure of victory when Martin Kaymer defeated Steve Stricker 1 up in the penultimate match.

He clinched it with a six-foot putt at the last, 21 years after his fellow German Bernard Langer missed from a similar distance to hand victory to the United States at Kiawah Island.

That gave the Europeans the 14 points they needed to make sure of keeping the small, golden trophy for another two years, and then minutes later Tiger Woods missed a four-footer at 18 against Francesco Molinari to hand overall victory to Europe 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

"This is indescribable," Kaymar said. "I was so nervous in the last two or three holes. Olazabal came up to me on the 16th and told me we needed my point to win the Ryder Cup. I loved that feeling. Loved it.

"You cannot compare the pressure of winning this to winning my major. I won that for myself. But today I could hear my team and hear all the people. My season hasn't been good but today I made a huge step for my confidence."

The Americans had started the 12 closing singles 10-6 ahead and needing just 4 1/2 points to win the cup for just the second time in the last decade, the other time being at Valhalla, Kentucky four years ago.

They got to that position by dominating the foursomes and fourballs play on Friday and Saturday, taking two sessions 3-1 and splitting the two others 2-2.

Jose Maria Olazabal's team were left with the mammoth task of winning eight out of the 12 singles to put the overall match score at 14-14, thus ensuring Europe retained the cup as holders.

No European side had ever managed to comeback from 6-10 down in the Ryder Cup and no US team had ever lost more than a two-point advantage on the final day since the competition began in 1927.

Olazabal loaded his top guns at the start of the singles slate and there was some early momentum as Luke Donald quickly went 2 up on Bubba Watson in the lead match and Europe were ahead in three of the first five matchups with one all-square.

But gradually the US team settled in with some strong middle-order players and it became increasingly clear how huge the task on hand was for the Europeans.

First point home was a blue one as Donald led from start to finish to see off crowd-pleaser Bubba Watson 2 and 1.

The Englishman was four up with five to play, but missed a four-footer to win on the 14th. Watson took the 15th and then chipped in to nick the 16th before Donald clinched it with a superb bunker shot at 17.

Then Paul Lawrie, Europe's oldest player, pulled off an upset by trouncing Tour Championship winner Brandt Snedeker 5 and 3.

And when world No.1 Rory McIlroy, who nearly missed his tee-time due to a mixup over time zones, completed a 2 and 1 win over the previously unbeaten Keegan Bradley, and Ian Poulter finished a perfect 4-0 by defeating Webb Simpson 2 up, the overall match was tied at 10-10.

Dustin Johnson beat Nicolas Colsaerts 3 and 2 to put the Americans back ahead only for Justin Rose to win the last two holes with monster putts to defeat Phil Mickelson 1 up.

Zach Johnson edged Graeme McDowell 2 and 1, but Sergio Garcia won the last two holes to stun Jim Furyk and Lee Westwood completed a 3 and 2 win over Matt Kuchar to make it Europe 13 United States 12.

Jason Dufner defeated Peter Hanson 2 up and it was level at 13-13. It all came down to the last two matches and they were both all square.

Woods moved one up on Molinari, but Kaymer took the 17th against Steve Stricker and he sunk the nerve-jangling six footer at the last to ensure Europe had the 14 points they needed.

By the time Woods flopped at the last, Europe had taken the singles by an unthinkable 8 1/2 to 3 1/2.

An emotional Olazabal paid tribute to the late Severiano Ballesteros, his great friend and Ryder Cup playing partner, who died from a brain tumour last year.

"Seve will always be present with this team," he said. "He was a big factor for this event, for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did."

Love said that he would not have done anything different in his tactics or selections.

"They played great," he said. "We had a couple of matches that got flipped there at the end that made it a little bit easier on them. This is a great team and we had a great week." - AFP

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Lorry driver awakened by gunshots

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 05:49 AM PDT

KLANG: Two gunmen on a motorcycle fired several shots in the direction of a lorry driver's house in Taman Sri Andalas Sunday.

The incident occurred at 6.15am, when lorry driver P. Muthusamy, 55, was asleep in the house in Jalan Tun Razak.

Klang (South) police chief ACP Mohamad Mat Yusop said Muthusamy was initially awakened by the sound of gunshots in front of the house.

He said the lorry driver told the police that when he opened the main door two gunmen on a black Yamaha RXZ motorcycle fired two more shots at the house before escaping.

A police team found two bullet holes on the front door where two glass frames were broken.

The police also found six spent bullets outside the perimeter fence of the house. - Bernama

MCMC urged to appoint 3G phone agents for youths

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 05:42 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Mobile Phone Owners Association urged the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to appoint selected agents for the sale of original 3G smart phones to youths receiving the RM200 rebate.

The Association's president, Mohd Ali Ibrahim said here Sunday, that supply may be disrupted with an estimated 1.5 million users and distributors may take advantage of the situation by selling imitations and raising prices indiscriminately.

Welcoming the rebate, which was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the 2013 Budget on Friday, he also suggested that MCMC and telecommunication companies should offer special 3G packages for the youths in order to control their monthly spending. - Bernama

Suspect in police shooting case shot dead

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 05:09 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A suspect in the shooting of two policemen in Kuchai Lama here on Wednesday was shot dead early Sunday.

City CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah said in the 3am incident, the suspect, who was driving a Proton Waja car, had refused to stop at the police roadblock near the Mid Valley mega mall.

The man sped off towards Taman Desa Water Park and the police to gave chase. Upon arriving at the park's parking lot, the suspect's car skidded.

"When the policemen approached the car, the suspect started to open fire. The policemen were forced to return fire in self-defence, killing him in the spot," Ku told a press conference here.

Ku said initial investigation found that the driver of the car was the suspect in the police shooting case near Kuchai Lama.

He said the car used by the suspect was also reported missing in Kelana Jaya last month.

Police found a semi-automatic pistol with one bullet in the chamber, a magazine of 9mm Luger live ammunition and an axe in the suspect's car.

Police are still tracking down two other individuals - Wan Fadrulzaman Wan Mohamad Fadil, 30, from Lanchang Mentakab, Pahang and Mohamad Fitri Abdul Aziz, 17 - to facilitate further investigation into the case.

In the incident on Sept 26, two police corporals were injured after being shot by four criminals at the Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya Expresway near Kuchai Lama.

Related Stories:
Cops: We'll get the shooters
Two police officers seriously wounded by unknown gunmen
Five witnesses helping police in shooting of two cops

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France's Ozon takes top honours at Spanish film festival

Posted: 29 Sep 2012 07:53 PM PDT

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain - French director Francois Ozon won the top prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival on Saturday for his psychological thriller "Dans la maison" (In the House).

Ozon's film tells the story of the relationship between a world-weary French teacher and a disturbingly gifted student.

It is based on the play "El chico de la ultima fila" (The Guy in the Back Row) by Spanish playwright Juan Mayorga. In addition to the Golden Shell for best film, Ozon also picked up the best screenplay prize.

Warm applause greeted the announcement of his wins at the awards ceremony.

The prize for best director went to Spain's Fernando Trueba for "El artista y la modelo" (The Artist and the Model), a drama set in Nazi-occupied France during WWII. Shot in black and white, it tells the story of the relationship between an aging French sculptor and a Spanish girl fleeing Franco's Spain. The international cast includes Italy's Claudia Cardinale and France's Jean Rochefort.

In speeches at the festival, both Ozon and Trueba denounced the Spanish government's budget cuts to the national film industry.

The special jury prize went to Spanish director Pablo Berger's "Blancanieves" (Snow White).

This latest reworking of the classic fairy tale moves the setting to 1920s Spain. A silent movie with a flamenco soundtrack, it unfolds in the world of bullfighting in Seville and evokes the European cinema of that period.

Spanish actress Macarena Garcia won the Silver Shell for best actress for her performance in the film, which has also been selected as Spain's candidate for best foreign-language picture at the Oscars.

Garcia shared the best actress honours with Katie Coseni for her performance in the Franco-Canadian production "Foxfire," by French director Laurent Cantet.

The film, based on a novel by Joyce Carol Oates, tells the story of five teenage girls in 1950s New York who form a gang to strike back against their enemies.

The best actor award went to veteran Spanish actor Jose Sacristan for his performance in "El muerto y ser feliz" (The Dead Man and Being Happy) by Spanish writer-director Javier Rebollo, a road movie set in Argentina.

Sacristan plays an aging hitman stricken with cancer who is coming to terms with his own impending death.

The prize for best cinematography went to Iran's Touraj Aslani for his work in the Turkish film "Fasle Kargadan" (Rhino Season).

And the jury's special mention went to "The Attack" by Lebanese-born director Ziad Doueiri.

It tells the story of an Israeli surgeon of Palestinian origin whose life is shattered after his wife turns out to have been the suicide bomber in a devastating attack on a restaurant.

This year's festival attracted its share of Hollywood star power, with visits by Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon to promote their financial thriller "Arbitrage".

The festival also presented special awards to leading figures in the industry, including US actors John Travolta, Tommy Lee Jones and Scottish actor Ewan McGregor.

Dustin Hoffman also attended to present his first film as director and received a lifetime achievement award for his acting career.

His film, "Quartet", set in a home for retired opera singers, features a strong cast of British talent including Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay and Trevor Peacock.

The San Sebastian Film Festival is the oldest and most prestigious event of its kind in the Spanish-speaking world. - AFP

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Fun return to form

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 02:28 AM PDT

Does James Patterson live up to his 'world's bestselling thriller writer' label with this latest book?

Guilty Wives
Authors: James Patterson and David Ellis
Publisher: Century, 448 pages

I MUST confess that I (along with a whole bunch of fans, I'm sure) was beginning to think that James Patterson had lost his mojo – his recent books have been pretty whack, to be honest. But I'm happy to announce to my fellow followers of the thriller writer that he's found it again, and that it is pretty evident in Guilty Wives.

The book, cowritten with David Ellis, offers almost everything that a fan looks for in a Patterson novel: drama, suspense, a slight hint of comedy – and the best part is that it is super concise. Unlike some authors who love to tease their readers and force them to endure entire chapters of unnecessary words (well, I'm sure they're necessary for the storyline, but seriously, it's really annoying when you just want to find out the who, what, where and why), this book, like most of Patterson's previous works, just gets to the darn point.

Guilty Wives tells the tale of four married gal pals in desperate need of a vacation that doesn't involve pleasing their husbands or picking up after their noisy and boisterous kids. All these ladies want is a nice trip to somewhere far away from their families so they can spend a few days full of massages, pool time and lots of alcohol.

And that is exactly what they get when 30-somethings Abbie Elliot, Bryah Gordon, Winnie Brooks go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Monte Carlo courtesy of another of their clique, Serena Schofield, who married into a rich family. The story is told from Abbie's point of view, and according to her take on her friends, Bryah is in an abusive relationship, Winnie is an exotic British diva, and Serena is one heck of a lucky woman.

Thanks to Serena sharing that luck, Abbie and gang get to arrive in style in Monte Carlo in a private helicopter, and they are then ushered into the luxurious presidential suite in a lavish hotel that overlooks the scenic millionaire's playground. The girls are more than ready to surrender themselves to a weekend during which they will be free to live someone else's life, and bask in the sun and attention from the gorgeous men surrounding them.

But their magical vacation turns into a nightmare when, after an alcohol-charged night in the company of some new men friends, the women are arrested for a world-shaking act of terrorism. Unable to prove their innocence, or even give a coherent account of their crazy night of passion with men other than their husbands, the women are thrown into a maximum security facility in France after a quickie, lip-service trial.

Of the group, Abbie is the only one who is absolutely sure of their innocence and is determined to fight the French judiciary system that seems hell bent on seeing the women suffer for the act they supposedly committed. Isolated from her friends, unable to see her family, Abbie endures physical and sexual abuse from the prison guards and is even threatened with death during her struggle. And as she gets closer to uncovering the truth, those threats become full blown assassination attempts.

Patterson and Ellis do an awesome job in setting up the scenes in the book but they do make a few mistakes here and there. The big revelation on why Abbie and her girlfriends get into this situation, for instance, falls kind of flat and asks for a little too much suspension of belief, in my opinion. Patterson seems to have slipped back into a bad habit here and underestimated the intelligence of his readers, assuming that we won't be able to catch on to the clues and solve the mystery before he does in the end.

But it is fun solving that mystery, and Guilty Wives does have almost everything we have come to love in a Patterson novel. While it's not an Alex Cross winner (like Cat And Mouse or Pop Goes The Weasel), it is a definite return to form for a writer who has been called the world's bestselling thriller writer. This will do until he gets even more of his mojo back.

Brilliance to be found here

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 02:23 AM PDT

Mrs Ali's Road To Happiness
Author: Farahad Zama
Publisher: Abacus, 307 pages

THE road to happiness is never straight, less so in Vizag, a small town in India where Muslims, Christians, and Hindus live intertwined lives.

In this sweet little book that continues Farahad Zama's series featuring his birthplace, we follow Mrs Ali who finds her quiet retired life under threat during the holy month of Ramadan. The Alis are torn between religious convention and freedom and troubled by a myriad of other problems unique in their own Indian way but not uncommon in many parts of the world: corruption, political skulduggery, and social disparity.

A young and enthusiastic new imam blows into town, bringing along a strict piousness that poises to cause an upheaval in the close-knit community and within Mrs Ali's extended family (introduced in Zama's debut in 2009, The Marriage Bureau For Rich People).

"The entire community has a responsibility towards individuals who stray," the fiery imam gazes at Mrs Ali and her niece Pari who is determined to raise her adopted Hindu son in a Hindu manner. "You son will be brought up as a Muslim or you and your family will be thrown out of the mosque." Which gets the Hindu temple involved when the priests decide to take up Pari's case – in rather cowboy style.

But the religious conflict, thankfully, is not overblown. Farahad Zama is an author who prefers comedy to violence, and chooses to highlight, instead of terrorism, the absurdities of fundamentalism. The whole conflict becomes a whimsical satire, and in the end, as someone asks in the book, "How can anyone imply that someone is somehow unworthy just because of their religion? People are good or bad by their thoughts and deeds, not by their faiths."

Tough, though at times a worrywart, Mrs Ali wants nothing more than contentment and peace for her family. Faced with quotidian problems, she remains composed even as she struggles internally. Who wouldn't faced with all this: A road-widening has threatened the loss of her much-loved garden, the sudden termination of the electricity supply to her home has disrupted her family business, and a well that is slowly drying up distresses her, as access to clean water is, as the world knows, notoriously inconvenient and sometimes downright implausible in many parts of India.

As Mrs Ali watches her worries bubble to the surface and settle seemingly permanently around her, we observe an Indian matriarch keeping a family intact and preventing its values from leaching away.

There is brilliance to be found in the book, amidst the seemingly daily pettiness. "Hindu, Muslims – what's the difference, sir?" a villager asks the head of the Hindu temple. Unfortunately, as is often times true in real life, those playing political games are the ones exploiting history and nationalism and disregarding harmony. The Partition, when India and Pakistan was created, is a prime example of this, of course. It is a wound that has long been poked and prodded by many Indian writers but Zama attempts to heal it with tactful digression.

It is indeed about time India moves on and pays attention to the more immediate and urgent needs of ordinary folk: better housing, a clean water supply, adequate sanitation, access to education and, most importantly, a way to ameliorate the often deadly disputes that arise due to religious intolerance and that bane of modern life, the caste system.

Mrs Ali has always been the central figure of Zama's novels; apart from his debut mentioned above, these include The Many Conditions Of Love (2009), and The Wedding Wallah (2011), all set in Vizag.

In her world, love rules; it is a world filled with a cast of recurring characters whose flamboyance is offset by their sensibility and generosity. In each character, Zama nimbly paints contrasting colours, rendering each of them distinctive and unique.

In this latest book of his, neither ornate in style nor prolix in dialogue as most Indian novels tend to be, Zama tells a tale he envisions still taking place in his hometown or many parts of India. That simplicity humbles him and that humility in turn makes the book's lack of climax excusable.

"Stand up for the prayers," the imam summons for the last time before leaving Vizag. We stand up instead to applaud Zama for having written a charming and affectionate reflection of India with its race to modernity and its cut-throat economic prosperity largely sidelined.

Tudor tour de force

Posted: 30 Sep 2012 02:21 AM PDT

This is the work of a writer at the height of her powers.

Bring Up The Bodies
Author: Hilary Mantel
Publisher: Fourth Estate, 432 pages

WHEN Hilary Mantel started out on her project to write a book about the Tudor-era British statesman Thomas Cromwell, she little thought that it would develop into a trilogy.

Speaking at the Hay Festival in June in Britain (an annual literary and arts event), she explained, "When I got a little over half way through Wolf Hall, I saw – not gradually, but in a flash of insight – that one book would not tell this story. The battle for England's soul was underway." And then when writing Bring Up the Bodies, "I made another sudden and alarming discovery ... I had in fact written a second book and with the arrest of Anne (Boleyn) it was almost complete".

And so a single novel became a trilogy, the first part of which, Wolf Hall, won the Booker Prize in 2009 and the second, Bring Up The Bodies is tipped by some to achieve an unprecedented double this year.

You could say that the British are obsessed with the Tudors and those turbulent years between 1509 and 1547 when Henry VIII married six times and divorced England from Rome and papal authority, declaring himself head of the Church of England. This is one of those periods of British history that has been endlessly taught in schools and continues to be picked over by historians. But the fascination clearly does not end with Britain's shores, as the recent and very successful American, Golden Globe-nominated TV series The Tudors clearly shows. The fascination is understandable: there is nothing that the history of the Tudors does not have – politics, sex, violence, bloodshed, intrigue, high drama and political in-fighting – so it's a heaven-made script.

Mantel's take on all this is distinctly different from the very unsubtle (but, I must confess, gripping and highly entertaining) TV series. Her focus is on Thomas Cromwell, a man to whom history has not been kind yet one of the clearest examples of a self-made man we have from this period. Born into poverty and violence, he became, first under the guidance of Cardinal Wolsey and then on his own merits, the most powerful man in England, charged with the break from Rome, the dissolution of the monasteries and the downfall of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife. If, as I say, history has been unkind to Cromwell it is in part because the famous portrait of him by the German painter Holbein makes him look "like a murderer". But then he was. In a sense.

It is this "in a sense" that makes him, and Mantel's depiction of him, fascinating. The truth, of course, is complex and largely unknowable. Her Cromwell is by turns brutal, devious, loyal and tender. His purpose in life is to serve the king and what the king wants is neither pleasant nor often wise. But Cromwell is his servant and if he is not to meet the same fate as his much loved master, Cardinal Wolsey (who was, historically, accused of treason just before he died), he will deliver what the king wants whether he is inclined that way or not. Man of conviction or of expedience? Both.

We are similarly confused about Anne Boleyn. Accused of high treason, adultery and incest, she was beheaded with a single stroke of a sword in the French manner. Was she guilty as charged? In an author's note, Mantel warns us: "The evidence is complex and sometimes contradictory; the sources are often dubious, tainted and after-the-fact. There is no official transcript of her trial and we can reconstruct her last days only in fragments, with the help of contemporaries who may be inaccurate, biased, forgetful, elsewhere at the time or hiding under a pseudonym." But whatever the truth, we know she was executed, and with her died five men, none of whom were Cromwell's friends.

Bring Up The Bodies is beautifully written. Mantel has long been an admired writer and in this magnum opus of Thomas Cromwell she has clearly found her world. A small example: Thinking of his dead wife and daughter, Mantel has him blur the two in his mind – "This is what death does to you, it takes and takes, so that all that is left of your memories is a faint tracing of spilled ash." Time and again I was impressed by the precision and the eloquence of Mantel's prose. This is the work of a writer at the height of her powers.

There is, of course, a mass of historical material to handle and my only reservation about this fine book is that at times the reader (and perhaps the author?) becomes bogged down in extraneous details. Historians will, of course, quibble with her interpretation, suggesting that Mantel's revisionist view of a national villain defies the facts. But "I am making the reader a proposal, an offer," she writes, an offer about how these events may have looked through Cromwell's eyes.

And her own view of her protagonist? "Sometimes people ask me what I think now of Thomas Cromwell. Nothing is the answer. I don't think anything. He is a work in progress. I am not in the habit of writing character references for people I only half know ... I am not claiming that my picture of him has the force of truth. I know it is one line in a line of representations, one more copy of a copy. All I can offer is a suggestion."

It is a formidable one.

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