Khamis, 13 September 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Argentines take to streets to protest government policies

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 07:05 PM PDT

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Argentines rallied in the streets of the country's biggest cities on Thursday to protest President Cristina Fernandez's policies, including a virtual ban on foreign currency purchases.

The rallies were organized through social media and not by any one political party. Demonstrators' mainly criticized the currency controls, crime rates and a potential bid by Fernandez to reform the constitution so she can run for a third term.

"There's inflation, crime and an abuse of power. It's time Cristina listened to us," said Roberto Madrid, an office worker who joined the protests in Buenos Aires.

Local television showed rallies in other cities, including Rosario, Cordoba and Bariloche. Similar protests were held in June, but they were not as widespread.

Thousands of people gathered in the Plaza de Mayo square, outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires. Some of them banged on pots and pans, stirring memories of the street demonstrations staged by angry savers, housewives and students during a devastating economic and political crisis in 2001-2002.

"No to the constitutional reform" and "Yes to freedom" were some of the slogans seen on signs that protesters carried through the streets.

Protester Mario Blanco complained about the increasingly onerous currency controls. "This is a violation of private property," he said. "I can do what I want with my money."

Fernandez's policies have effectively spawned multiple exchange rates, which threaten to depress investment in Latin America's No. 3 economy and exacerbate inflation that is already estimated at about 25 percent a year.

The Peronist president's bastion of support lies in the working-class outskirts of Buenos Aires. She won a landslide re-election in October, but her approval ratings have since fallen due to an economic slowdown and mounting capital and trade controls.

Under the constitution, Fernandez cannot run for a third consecutive term in 2015. But local media report her allies in Congress may try to reform the country's charter to change this. The government has not confirmed any such plan.

Fernandez has dismissed anger over the restrictions on dollar purchases, saying only a few Argentines are affected and urging them to save in the local peso currency instead.

(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Additional reporting by Jorge Otaola and Walter Bianchi; Editing by Stacey Joyce; Writing by Hilary Burke)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

China surveillance ships enter Japan waters

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 07:03 PM PDT

TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) - Six Chinese surveillance ships entered waters near disputed islands claimed by Tokyo and Beijing on Friday, raising the stakes in a long-running territorial row between Asia's two biggest economies.

A Chinese patrol ship Haijian 46 sails near the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan or Diaoyu in China, in this handout file photo taken by the Japan Coast Guard in December 2008. REUTERS/11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard/Handout/Files

A Chinese patrol ship Haijian 46 sails near the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan or Diaoyu in China, in this handout file photo taken by the Japan Coast Guard in December 2008. REUTERS/11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters-Japan Coast Guard/Handout/Files

China's foreign ministry said that the ships entered the disputed waters to carry out maritime surveillance and that for the first time China was carrying out a mission of "law enforcement over its maritime rights".

"It reflects our government's jurisdiction over the Diaoyu islands," it said in a statement. The ministry has used similar language in the past.

The islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, are near potentially huge maritime gas and oil fields.

The uninhabited islets were at the centre of a chill in 2010 after Japan arrested a Chinese trawler captain whose boat collided with Japanese Coast Guard vessels near the area.

The Japanese coast guard said it ordered the ships to leave Japan's territorial waters, but only two complied, leaving four Chinese vessels still in the disputed area.

No force had been used to remove the Chinese ships, a coast guard official said.

"We'll do our utmost in vigilance and surveillance," said Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda when asked about Japan's responses.


China warned Japan on Thursday that trade could be hurt by the flare-up in tension. China, the world's second-largest economy is Japan's biggest trading partner with mutual trade in 2011 growing 14.3 percent in value to a record $345 billion.

A Nissan Motor Co Ltd executive has said the tensions were already affecting business with China.

Tensions flared last month when Japan detained a group of Chinese activists who had landed on the islands and Japanese nationalists landed on the islands. Anti-Japanese protests rocked several Chinese cities.

Bilateral relations were frayed further on Tuesday when Japan, which controls the islands, said it had bought them from a private owner, ignoring warnings from China.

China said this was a breach of its sovereignty.

China's official Xinhua news agency on Thursday said a senior Chinese military official had urged the army to be "prepared for any possible military combat", though the report made no mention of the territorial dispute with Japan.

"Efforts should be made to ensure that the military is capable of resolutely performing its duty to safeguard the country's national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity whenever it is needed by the Party and the people," Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission, was cited as telling soldiers.

The tensions with Japan come while China's ruling Communist Party is preoccupied with a forthcoming once-in-a-decade leadership change, as well as slowing economic growth.

Japan's ruling Democrats also face an election, probably late this year, which opinion polls suggest they will lose and the government is under fire for its handling of territorial rows with China, and with South Korea over another island chain.

The United States this week urged both sides to tone down increasingly impassioned exchanges over the longstanding row.

The last time Chinese government-affiliated ships entered Japanese territorial waters near the disputed islands was in mid-July, the coast guard said. That incident ended peacefully and without any significant diplomatic fallout.

The Japanese coast guard described those vessels as fishery patrol ships. The latest ships are civilian government vessels maintained by the State Oceanic Administration to patrol waters claimed by China.

(Writing by Tomasz Janowski; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

U.N. chief appeals for calm as "hateful" film sparks violent protests

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 06:51 PM PDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday appealed for calm in North Africa and the Middle East after a film deemed insulting to Islam sparked riots across the Arab world and an attack that killed the U.S. envoy to Libya.

In a statement issued by the U.N. press office ahead of Friday prayers and further planned demonstrations in some Muslim nations, Ban reiterated his condemnation of the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americas in Benghazi on Tuesday.

"The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed by the recent violence in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East," Ban's press office said. "Nothing justifies such killings and attacks. He condemns the hateful film that appears to have been deliberately designed to sow bigotry and bloodshed."

"At this time of rising tensions, the Secretary-General calls for calm and restraint, and stresses the need for dialogue, mutual respect and understanding," it added.

The film, "Innocence of Muslims," that has outraged Muslims around the world is an amateurish production. It portrays the Prophet Mohammad as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser.

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Cavendish enjoys golden day

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 01:27 AM PDT

LONDON: Team Sky rider Mark Cavendish was victorious in a sprint finish on the fourth stage of the Tour of Great Britain in Blackpool on Wednesday, as he claimed the overall leader's gold jersey.

Having already won Tuesday's third stage from Jedburgh to Dumfries, the defending world road race champion started the day level with Australia's Leigh Howard of Orica-GreenEdge atop the standings.

Cavendish was part of the peloton that eventually closed down a small breakaway group towards the end of the 156-km ride and, after being led out by Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Luke Rowe, the Manxman crossed the line under the city's iconic tower just in front of Australia's Garmin rider Steele Van Hoff.

The time bonus for winning the stage allowed Cavendish to open up a six-second lead over Howard in the general classification.

Following his victory, Cavendish hailed Wiggins, whose knowledge of the local area played a vital role in the team's success in windy conditions.

"Bradley lives not far from Blackpool and the route included a lot of the roads he uses for training," he said.

"He told us it was very open, and very windy, and he knew the exact place we should go on the attack. It was the perfect call.

"It was a grim day but we ploughed through and waited until that moment 22km from home to split things apart.

"On those last 5km along the front we just made it so fast that nobody else could get close to us.

"We'd expected a crosswind, but in the end it felt like a tailwind, and we were flying."

The 27-year-old said that Sky had tried to help Rowe in his bid for overall glory until he saw Howard make his own bid for the line.

"Luke Rowe is going for the overall so we tried to let him get a bit of a gap like the other day, but then Leigh Howard jumped so I had to go with him, and then it was quite straightforward for me in the sprint," he said.

Rowe and Boy Van Poppel of the Netherlands are both 14 seconds off the pace heading into Thursday's fifth stage, a 147-km ride around Stoke-on-Trent.

The eight-stage race finishes in Guildford, Surrey, on Sunday. -AFP

Pacquiao eyes another Marquez fight

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 01:29 AM PDT

SYDNEY: The behaviour of some members of Australia's London Olympic men's swimming team was "childish", veteran Libby Trickett said Thursday, amid accusations of disciplinary problems and pranks.

Australia endured its worst swimming haul in decades in London, winning just one gold medal, six silver and three bronze for its lowest tally in the pool since Barcelona in 1992.

The lacklustre performance, in which Australia failed to pick up a single individual swimming gold medal for the first time since the 1976 Montreal Games, is being considered as part of an independent review of the sport.

Reports Wednesday claimed some members of the six-man freestyle relay team had an initiation ritual in the days leading up to the Games that involved taking Stilnox - a sleeping medication banned by the Australian team.

There are also claims of swimmers upsetting teammates and coaches by prank calling and knocking on their doors late at night at their camp in Manchester, two days before the team went to London.

"I did hear about the knocking on doors and prank phone calls," Trickett, a three-time Olympian, including in London, told reporters.

"I kind of look at this and think this is very childish.

"I'm all for having a good time and being light-hearted but I just think there's a time and place."

Tommaso D'Orsogna, a heat swimmer for the under-fire relay team, admitted to the Ten Network they behaved more like schoolboys than Olympians.

"That kind of behaviour shouldn't be tolerated nor should it be allowed," he said on reflection.

"I can definitely confirm that there's no way that any other Australian team that went away to the Olympics would have been mucking around and doing that stuff."

D'Orsogna refused to confirm the Stilnox allegations.

"I'm not going to be the guy that stands up here and lies to Australia but at the same time I'm just not going to comment."

Reports have also said there was a general feeling within the squad that some individual swimmers pursued their own aims, rather than those of the team, something D'Orsogna acknowledged.

"We're not there to win medals for ourselves and I think that's something that some people may have lost sight of more than anything," he said. -AFP

The "paralympic" nightmare of a Rio disabled athlete

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 01:31 AM PDT

RIO DE JANEIRO: For Viviane Macedo, Brazil's five-time wheelchair dancing champion, the Rio Paralympics won't have to wait until September 2016.

She is already trying to tango with the challenges right here and now, in this city where virtually nothing is done to meet handicapped people's needs.

At a bus stop, several buses whizzed by, ignoring her. Those that do stop are not equipped to lift her wheelchair.

For the 35-year-old Macedo, getting around this metropolis of 6.5 million people, which will host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics four years from now, is a daily nightmare.

Indeed, challenges facing the disabled here run the gamut from subway elevators breaking down a lot, to sidewalks being uncommon, and often pocked with potholes. That makes it hard for anyone in a wheelchair to get around.

Meanwhile traffic lights rarely have sound features for the blind, and taxi drivers often refuse to take clients in wheelchairs.

"It is virtually impossible for me to get on a bus in this city," said Macedo, who had to move to the Copacabana district to be able to use the subway, which only runs on two lines and covers part of the tourist area.

And she does not know whether she will be able to stay in the district much longer, given the skyrocketing real estate prices fueled by an oil boom and the approaching 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. Her rent soared 100 percent in one year.

She gets no state aid and is suing city authorities to try to get a computerized prosthesis which costs around $30,000.

Macedo forgets her misery only when she goes dancing the samba or the zouk (a popular French Caribbean dance) or when she teaches her sport to handicapped children.

Wheelchair dancing is not a paralympic sport, but she hopes that the Rio Paralympics, in which 4,200 athletes from 150 countries will compete, will leave a lasting legacy for all of Rio's disabled.

Only half of the city's bus fleet is adapted to carry the handicapped, compared with 100 percent in London, which has just staged very successful Paralympics.

Rio city officials have pledged that the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system for the 2016 Olympics will be adapted for people with reduced mobility.

But in the Barra da Tijuca district where those buses have begun operating, access ramps are too steep, said Teresa Amaral, president of the Brazilian Institute for the Rights of the Disabled.

"Blind people in Rio are risk-takers. One of my blind friends died, and was run over by a car as she was crossing the street opposite the Blind Institute, where the city's only traffic lights equipped with a sound alarm for the blind is located," she says.

On his return from London with the paralympic banner, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes vowed that things will change.

"All (Rio residents) must commit to making this city an accessible and welcoming place for the handicapped," he said.

Brazilian paralympians shone in London, winning 43 medals, the seventh biggest haul among participating nations.

"The disabled athlete often experiences a moment of glory but when he returns home, he must face a harsh reality: he has no job and his rights are not respected. After winning gold, some even go hungry," said Amaral. -AFP


The Star Online: Business

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Catcha completes iCar listing on ASX

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 06:03 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: Catcha Media Bhd has completed the listing of its unit iCar Asia Ltd, which owns automotive sales and content websites in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

iCar closed its first trading day on Tuesday at a premium of 3.5 cents, or 15%, to its offer price at 23.5 cents, with transactions totalling 360,500 shares.

The initial public offer (IPO) was for 50 million shares at 20 cents apiece. Its raised A$10mil (RM32mil), giving iCar a market capitalisation of A$32mil (RM103mil).

This valued Catcha Media's 37.66% stake or 52.5 million shares in iCar at A$12.08mil (RM39mil). Catcha Media is the largest shareholder of iCar. "The listing of our subsidiary, iCar, on the ASX is a tremendous result and a reminder of the enormous value in online businesses," Catcha Media chief executive officer Patrick Grove said in a statement.

"The Internet and new media environment is growing very rapidly and opportunities abound. With this listing, Catcha Media again proves it is at the forefront of the industry. To successfully spin off one of our subsidiaries within 15 months of Catcha Media's IPO last year says something about our ability to build substantial online companies.

"We will continue our search for new online opportunities and to bring together the best ideas with the best people. As shown by the success of the iCar IPO, the global investment community is hungry for Asian internet investment opportunities.

"We will continue to consider all options for funding for the businesses we have and intend to create, whether it be public listings and IPOs, the raising of external capital from experienced investors who can add value to a particular business, or from our own internal resources," he said.

Catcha Media also owns, a leading luxury flash sales website, and has exclusive partnerships to operate Microsoft's online properties in Malaysia and, giving the company almost 10 million Malaysian online customers and users on a monthly basis.

Star Publications (M) Bhd owns 4.99% of Catcha Media.

CIMB Research keeps Dialog as Outperform

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 06:03 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research is maintaining its Outperform on Dialog Group with a target price of RM2.91.

It said on Friday the government's efforts to develop Pengerang as a regional storage hub continues with a RM4.08bil LNG terminal project that will be undertaken by a consortium that includes Dialog.

"Already a big beneficiary of the ETP, Dialog is still scouting for more projects.

"In our SOP-based target price calculation, we continue to value Dialog's businesses at 18.6 times CY13 P/E, a 40% premium over our 13.3 times target market P/E, supported by attractive prospects relating to marginal and mature fields. Maintain Outperform," said CIMB Research.

CIMB Research sees minimal impact on CPO price from EU move

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 05:56 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research sees minimal impact on crude palm oil (CPO) price following on news that the EU may reduce the use of biofuels made from crops to 5% of total energy consumption in its transport sector in 2020, from 10%.

"This is negative as it could cut the growth potential of edible oils for biodiesel usage in the medium term," it said on Friday.

CIMB Research it believed the immediate impact on CPO price is minimal as current usage of biofuels in the EU transport sector of 4.5% is below the 5% target.

"But this could lower future demand growth potential of biodiesel from the EU. We keep our Trading Buy call on a potential short-term spike in price due to weather concerns. Top picks are Astra Agro, Sime, and Indo Agri," said the research house.


The Star Online: Nation

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EC: Code of ethics for caretaker govt almost ready

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 08:03 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The code of ethics for a caretaker government prepared by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms will likely be used for the 13th general election, said Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (pic).

He said the code, which was being finalised, contained the "do's and don'ts" which must be adhered to not only by the caretaker government, but also all political parties, candidates, politicians and election agents.

The code was largely derived from the laws enshrined in the constitution and the Election Act, he told reporters after a panel discussion on the 'Dalam Radar Khas' programme over Bernama Radio24 here Thursday.

The other panel members taking part in the discourse on the 13th general election were MCA Central Committee member Datuk Ti Lian Ker and Parti Keadilan Rakyat secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution.

Abdul Aziz said the code was also prepared after studying the conventions used in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

On postal votes for Malaysians abroad, he said the Attorney General's Chambers was still studying whether an amendment to the Election Act was needed before it could be implemented.

"It was also proposed that for a Malaysian abroad to be eligible to vote, he ought to have returned home and stayed in the country for at least one day within five years before the general election," he added.

However, he was disappointed, as only 2,400 Malaysians residing overseas had registered as voters.

At the outset, Abdul Aziz said the EC was 85 percent ready for the next general election and he hoped state assemblies would be dissolved simultaneously with the Parliament to save cost, time and manpower. - Bernama

Hardware store losses RM2mil in fire

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 07:27 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: A three-storey hardware store suffered losses of about almost RM2mil when a fire razed the building at Jalan Pahang here Thursday.

Kuala Lumpur Fire and Rescue operations assistant director Azizan Ismail said the shop owner and his four workers managed to flee out of the shop when the fire struck at about 5.30pm.

He said six fire engines and 42 firemen from Hang Tuah, Setapak, Jelatek and Wangsa Maju were rushed to the scene upon receiving a distress call about the fire at 5.33pm and they managed to control it within 30 minutes.

The initial probe revealed the fire started on the first floor and spread quickly due to highly flammable liquids such as acids, paint and oil stored there. - Bernama

Malaysia's palliative care programme gets royal nod

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 07:16 AM PDT

Photo Gallery
Video on William and Kate's arrival at the KLIA

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's palliative care programme was given a royal nod of approval Thursday as Catherine Middleton praised the "wonderful work" done here.

In her maiden speech abroad, the Duchess of Cambridge expressed admiration for the work done by Hospis Malaysia's staff in helping patients with life-limiting illnesses.

"With effective palliative care, lives can be transformed. The treatment, support, care and advice can provide a lifeline to families in times of need. This is a very special place where much has been achieved," she said in her two-minute speech.

Dressed in an elegant grey dress, the Duchess said she was thrilled by the warm welcome she and Prince William had received at Hospis Malaysia when they arrived in the afternoon.

They were greeted by the Sultanah of Johor Raja Zarith Sofia Sultan Idris Shah, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Hospis Malaysia chairman Brigadier-General (Rtd) Datuk Richard Robless and chief executive officer/medical director Dr Ednin Hamzah.

Prince William and Catherine, who arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport from Singapore at noon, also witnessed the launch of Malaysia's "National Paediatric Palliative Care Initiative" by Liow.

Hospis Malaysia also presented specially-commissioned batik pieces to William and Catherine, which portrayed phalaenopsis orchid motifs designed by Jendela KL chief executive officer Faisol Abdullah.


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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All Saints Secondary School’s sustainable farming effort sets a good example

Posted: 12 Sep 2012 06:55 PM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: Talks of green living and eating healthy food are becoming hot topics among people, especially health and figure conscious individuals.

Many are opting for sustainable farmed organic food, and lean meat instead of pesticide contaminated vegetables or hormone injected farm animals for their daily dietary supplement.

Realising the importance of cleaner food, air and environment, one teacher, Wong Foo, from the All Saints Secondary School near here have set up a horticulture club to promote sustainable farming.

The physics teacher came up with an idea of changing the school's landscape into a "gardenscape" concept early April last year, and gathered several pioneer members to assist him.

"The students and I started off small, and planted vegetables at a small piece of land behind the school without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers," he said during the launch of the horticulture club last week.

"It was hard at first because resources were limited and our manpower was small, but after a few months, our first few patches of vegetables grew magnificently and I decided to expand this initiative by starting a club (unofficially) in January this year," Wong said.

Since then, over 40 students from the Forms 4 and 5 Science classes have worked hand in hand to plant more vegetables in the school compound, with an accumulated plantation area reaching about half an acre now.

This effort had also attracted the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA) and the Environment Action Commission (EAC) to help the club members and school in their sustainable farming programmes.

In this respect, club president Ricky Wong said the sustainable farming in the school was made possible because of the support from students and teachers.

"We started with the preparatory stage, then maintaining the vegetable patch so they would grow well for harvesting, and lastly to be sold among school teachers and parents," he explained.

Ricky said the teachers have also shown support by advising them on how to go about the project and bought the vegetables when they were ready for harvest.

He said fertilizers were self-made using carbon, rice bran, chicken dung and molasses.

"The process to make these fertilizers take about two weeks, whereas vegetables which are planted on rotation basis take about one to three months to grow, depending on the type of vegetables," he said.

The types of vegetables planted include spinach, Chinese cabbage or bak choi, yam, bittergourd and baby kailan.

Wong said they also plant flowers around the vegetables so that insects and other pests would nibble on the flowers instead of the vegetables to keep them fresh and edible.

Meanwhile, Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry permanent secretary, Datuk Michael Emban who represented the minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun hopes the programme continues and spreads on to other schools.

"This is an area which the ministry is responsible, so we will definitely support these initiatives with the hope that other schools will emulate," he said.

CM praises organisation for its noble work

Posted: 12 Sep 2012 06:51 PM PDT

MALACCA: Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam met up with pastors and officials of the local evangelical churches and denominational groups and learnt about the good and noble work undertaken by AGAPECare and also dropped by its OPal (One Parent Link) division to find out on their developments.

OPal is one of six divisions under the 2007 established AGAPECare which serves single parents and their children. This division with its in-house LIFEline attends to saving unborn children while assisting women in crisis pregnancy.

Catching up with 25 singles mothers, 40 children and 20 senior citizens from various ethnic backgrounds and faith, Mohd Ali paid tribute and praise to AGAPECare board members, its full time trained staff and dedicated band of volunteers for undertaking a noble stance towards people from disadvantaged backgrounds, the poor, elderly and others sidelined by community, society and family

"Working tirelessly to nurture people sidelined by community and society and the underprivileged to progress through life with purpose, renewed vigour and meaning despite their adverse circumstances, is indeed very noble.

"Your selfless giving for the benefit of these unfortunate ones and touching their hearts and making a difference in their lives is truly commendable, " he said.

The chief minister also presented a donation of RM10,000 for the continued good work of AGAPECare and pledged to look into the housing needs of six single mothers.

Executive vice president of AGAPECare Josephine Au explained that the non-profit Christian social organisation caters to the needs of a wide cross section of the local community and society's marginalised, disadvantaged and sidelined irrespective of ethnicity, faith and gender.

Meanwhile, the AGAPECare for the Elderly (ACE) celebrated its fifth anniversary after relocating from its crammed premises in Taman Pringgit Jaya to the multi-purpose hall owned by the Gereja Presbyterian Melaka in Malim Jaya. Josephine said it was disheartening to hear about seniors who were abandoned at the old folks home.

"In the midst of this piece of distressing news, we are proud to say that we have six outfits under the AGAPECare umbrella where we care and meet the needs of senior citizens and those in their sunset golden years. The outfits include ACE Club, ACE Kpoitiam, ACE Day Care Centre, the Melaka Alzheimer's Caregivers Support Group, ACE Rehab Aids and OPal. Of the lot, ACE Club and ACE Kopitiam are proving very popular in recent years with the rest particularly OPal also chalking up enthusiastic response."

Briefly, the ACE Club and ACE Kopitiam empowers seniors to reach out and support each other through regular organised activities that include health and wellness programmes, interactive group sessions, continued learning and educational programmes, event celebrations, outstation excursions and local visits.

The ACE Day Care Centre is a drop in centre for the elderly who need care and supervision while family members are either outstation or away at work.

In recent months, AGAPECare is focusing much attention on OPal by empowering single mothers to "restore their lives" by providing them and their children support in areas such as finance, legal aid, education and household essentials and needs.

"Counselling, parenting courses and skills training opportunities also provided by local agencies on a case by case basis, said Josephine.

In some case, the centre provides practical aid and encourages financial independence through assistance in job placements and home enterprise development ventures, she added.

For details, call 013-626 5119 (Josephine).

MP gets the backing from two groups

Posted: 12 Sep 2012 06:48 PM PDT

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: As talk of the next general election looms, two groups here have come out to express support to their incumbent MP.

They openly declared their backing for Cameron Higlands MP Datuk S.K. Devamany, who is also the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Pos Titom Batin Ramli Min Hat, 46, said their village would only give their votes to Devamany and hoped the Government's would take heed of their request.

"I believe the country's leaders are aware that our community has always been supportive of the Government.

"So, give us who we want and we will deliver the votes. Otherwise, we will have to say sorry to Barisan Nasional," he said.

Recently, it was speculated that MIC president Senator Datuk Seri G. Palanivel would stand in Cameron Highlands while Devamany was to be fielded in Teluk Kemang.

The expected line-up did not go down well with some quarters who preferred Devamany to remain in the parliamentary constituency.

Pos Senderut Batin Mahathir Yok Tegos, 45, said Devamany had assisted in seeking RM30mil to upgrade the main road leading into 14 villages in the settlement.

He said some 4,000 orang asli in the villages were thankful to Devamany and had pledged their support for him.

Pos Lenjang Batin Nyatim Teman, 39, said a stretch of the 35km road would be upgraded with an allocation of RM10mil from the Government next year.

"Pos Lemoi will also be getting RM10mil to upgrade its road near Bertam Valley.

"This is due to the proposals submitted by Devamany and we are indeed grateful to him for looking after our needs and welfare," he said.

Orang asli youth leader from Pos Lenjang Angah Talib, 35, said Pos Titom, Pos Senderut, Pos Lenjang and Pos Lemoi had a combination of about 6,000 voters.

He said Devamany was a people-friendly representative and had assisted in bringing much development to the constituency.

"We urge the Government to re-nominate him so he can continue to represent us," he said.

Meanwhile, a group of Chinese voters here brought along a banner, expressing their wish to have Devamany remain as their MP.

A spokesman for the group, who declined to be named, said they were happy with the services rendered by Devamany for the past two terms.

"We will give our votes to him and no one else. We hope Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will nominate him again to stand in the coming general election.

"In addition, we will give our support to Barisan's candidates in Tanah Rata and Jelai state seats," said the spokesman.

In the 2008 general election, Devamany retained the seat with a majority of 3,117 votes against DAP's J. Apalasamy.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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French man fined for illegally downloading Rihanna songs

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 07:32 AM PDT

BESANCON, France: A French man Thursday became the first victim of a new law aimed at clamping down on film and music piracy when he was fined 150 euros ($193) for illegally downloading Rihanna songs.

The Internet piracy enforcement agency Hadopi was mandated by the government in 2009 to send warning letters to ISP subscribers found to be downloading content without authorisation.

The law forces ISPs to hand over personal details of offending IP addresses after sifting through them to hunt out those breaching piracy regulations.

Hadopi was authorised to take legal action if a third warning was ignored. It has so far sued only 14 people since the law came into force in October 2010.

A police court in the northeastern French city of Belfort fined the man for downloading songs of the Bardadian pop star Rihanna despite several warnings.

He had risked a 1,500-euro fine.

The man claimed it was his wife who had downloaded the music, Hadopi said, adding he was fined for "negligence".

French President Francois Hollande has said he would like to replace Hadopi - an initiative of his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy - with "something else". -AFP

Unlikely Korean pop star conquers the US - 'Gangnam Style'

Posted: 12 Sep 2012 08:14 PM PDT

SEOUL: A chubby thirty-something with wacky dance moves, Park Jae-Sang falls far short of the prettified, teenage ideal embodied by the stars of South Korea's phenomenally successful K-pop industry.

But Park, known as "Psy," has succeeded where the industry-manufactured girl and boy bands have tried and failed, making a huge splash on the mainstream US music scene thanks to a viral video and a rare sense of irony.

Since being posted on YouTube in July, Psy's video for "Gangnam Style" - the title song of his sixth album - has racked up more than 150 million views and spawned a host of admiring parodies.

The accompanying worldwide publicity has earned him a US contract with Justin Bieber's management agency, a guest appearance at last week's MTV awards in Los Angeles and a spot on NBC's flagship "Today" show.

Earlier this week he was given the opportunity to school US pop diva Britney Spears on his increasingly famous signature dance moves on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show".

The breakout success of "Gangnam Style" has been viewed with a mixture of pride and surprise in Psy's home country, with industry analysts scrabbling to identify the magic ingredient that made it such a phenomenal success abroad.

The Gangnam of the title is Seoul's wealthiest residential and shopping district, lined with luxury boutiques, top-end bars and restaurants frequented by celebrities and well-heeled, designer-clad socialites.

The video pokes fun at the district's lifestyle, with Psy breezing through a world of speed boats, yoga classes and exclusive clubs - all the while performing an eccentric horse-riding dance accompanied by beautiful models.

Humour, especially satirical humour, is rare in the mainstream Korean music scene, and that coupled with the 34-year-old's embrace of his anti-pop idol looks has helped set him apart.

According to Simon Stawski, the Canadian co-founder of the popular "Eat Your Kimchi" blog on K-pop and Korean culture, Psy is the "antithesis of K-pop" and its stable of preening, sexualised, fashion-conscious young stars.

"K-pop bands are exceptionally controlled by their management. Psy doesn't buy into that at all, and that's partly why he's such a breath of fresh air," Stawski told AFP.

"Above all, Psy doesn't take himself seriously and uses irony and self-deprecation that are absent from K-pop," he said.

This, Stawski adds, is what has allowed Psy to jump the English language barrier and find a wider audience for a song which, apart from its title, is almost entirely in Korean.

In South Korea, "Gangnam Style" has won Psy a new fan base by appealing to those for whom the sanitised image of K-pop bears little resemblance to their actual lives.

"His somewhat 'normal' appearance makes him feel familiar, and the comic dancing and wacky fashion style give off a friendly image, branding Psy as someone people would want to party with," the daily Munhwa Ilbo commented.

Psy himself says he invites laughter, not ridicule.

"My motto is to be funny, but not stupid," he said in an interview with the Yonhap news agency.

"I want everyone who sees my performance to feel the efforts I've made so far as a singer rather than a lucky guy who got here without anything," he said.

A relative veteran after 11 years on the Korean music scene, Psy has always had a small but loyal fan base that has stuck with him through numerous ups and downs, including an early brush with the law for smoking marijuana.

In 2007, he was forced to serve a second period of compulsory military service after it was revealed that he had continued with his showbiz interests during his first two-year stint.

His overnight leap from relative obscurity to global sensation came as a personal, if welcome, shock.

"It's all so surreal to me," he told Yonhap. "I never thought such a day would come in my life as a singer."

It remains to be seen if "Gangnam Style" will prove to be anything more than a one-hit wonder, but its success so far, especially in the United States, is likely to prompt a review of marketing strategies in the Korean music industry.

"It's not going to be a revolution, but more of a baby-steps evolution," said Esther Oh, online news editor at CJ Entertainment, the country's largest media conglomerate.

"Psy has shown you can be successful as a human, regular guy with a touch of humour. Other artists and management companies are going to look at that and maybe rethink their own styles and strategies," Oh said. - AFP

Bob Dylan says plagiarism charges made by 'wussies and pussies'

Posted: 12 Sep 2012 07:43 PM PDT

NEW YORK: Bob Dylan has angrily responded to charges he plagiarized some of his lyrics, calling critics "wussies and pussies" and saying musical appropriation is "part of the folk tradition."

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine for its Friday edition, the influential singer-songwriter made his first public comments on the accusations, saying that in folk and jazz music "quotation is a rich and enriching tradition."

"Everyone else can do it but not me," he complained. "There are different rules for me."

Rolling Stone released excerpts of the interview on Wednesday and Reuters obtained a complete transcript.

In 2003, the Wall Street Journal reported that lyrics from Dylan's 2001 record "Love and Theft" were remarkably similar to phrases in an obscure 1995 biography of a Japanese mobster.

A line from the biography, "I'm not as cool or forgiving as I might have sounded" was compared to Dylan's "I'm not quite as cool or forgiving as I sound." Twelve such similar phrasings have been identified.

In 2006, the New York Times made similar claims about a Civil War era poet's phrasings and Dylan's 2006 record "Modern Times."

"I'm working within my art form," the 71 year-old singer told Rolling Stone. "It's that simple. ... It's called songwriting. It has to do with melody and rhythm, and then after that, anything goes. You make everything yours. We all do it."

"These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me," Dylan added, referring to bitter 1960s folk fans who decried his move into electric guitar blues and famously compared the singer to the Biblical apostle who betrayed Jesus.

"Judas - the most hated name in human history!" he exclaimed. "If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil ... can rot in hell," he said. ART DIFFERENT FROM WRITING

Musical appropriation - using familiar cultural references or language in a new context - is different from non-fiction writing or journalism, said Sean Wilentz, a Princeton University professor of American history who has written extensively about Dylan.

"Of course it's legitimate," Wilentz told Reuters on Wednesday of Dylan's use of others' material. "Dylan's frame of reference is so much larger than most songwriters' - more literary, historical and philosophical."

Wilentz said crediting bits and pieces of another's work is scholarly tradition, not an artistic tradition. "Creating art is different, and always has been, especially the kind Dylan creates," he said.

Dylan, who released "Tempest," his 35th studio album this week, has been scrutinized throughout his 50-year career, at least in part because he has proven so unpredictable and defied convention at virtually every turn.

In 2006, he stunned fans when he appeared in a sensuous Victoria's Secret commercial.

In 1990, he released an album made up largely of children's nursery rhymes. In the late 1970s, the Jewish-raised Dylan embraced Christianity and sang only religious-themed music for several years. In a 50-year career, he has won 11 Grammys, an Academy Award, a Pulitzer Prize, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and numerous other awards. "I'm not like you," he told the Rolling Stone interviewer at one point. - Reuters


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