Isnin, 17 September 2012

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'General Hospital' star John Ingle dies at 84

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 05:57 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: John Ingle, who played the ruthless patriarch Edward Quartermaine for two decades on daytime soap opera "General Hospital," has died at age 84.

The actor died on Sunday "surrounded by his family in California... after a courageous battle with cancer," according to a statement by television network ABC.

He filmed his last episode of "General Hospital" on Aug 24.

"With great sadness, I share the news of John Ingle's passing. We love him and will miss him. John will always be a part of the #GH family," the show's executive producer Frank Valentini tweeted on Monday.

Ingle was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1928, and his family moved throughout the Midwest before settling in California when Ingle was a teenager.

He attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and went on to teach drama at Beverly Hills High School and Hollywood High School for a combined 30 years.

His students included Richard Dreyfuss, Barbara Hershey, David Schwimmer and Nicolas Cage. Ingle pursued an acting career after retiring from teaching in 1985.

In addition to his longstanding role on "General Hospital", Ingle's television credits include "Cheers," "The Drew Carey Show," "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Dallas."

Ingle married actress and singer Grace-Lynne Martin in 1954 , and they were married for 57 years until her death earlier this year from natural causes. Together they had five daughters and nine grandchildren. - Reuters

Back in time

Posted: 18 Sep 2012 03:41 AM PDT

Check out Retro Fridays on The Red Breakfast Show.

IT is always nice to relive the good old days when things were simpler and everything seemed to be a bit more enjoyable. Whether it's reminiscing with friends or looking at pictures, the novelty of going back in time never fades. This is why the The Red Breakfast Show has brought Retro Fridays to life. Every Friday, on the all new The Red Breakfast Show with Sarimah and Lil Kev (pic), listeners can look forward to songs like Runaway Train and Snap's I've Got The Power.

"So far, the show has done really, really well! Listeners are tweeting, texting, Facebooking and even calling us to tell us how much they are enjoying Retro Fridays," says Sarimah, who admits her favourite song to take her back is Duran Duran's Ordinary World.

Lil Kev's favourite song from the past is Montell Jordon's Something For The Honeys. He says that Red FM listeners can soon look forward to that retro favourite added to the playlist as well.

Staying true to the retro theme, the Breakfast team will take in requests and suggestions via phone, fax or smoke signals, quips Lil Kev. "But in all seriousness, we want to take our listeners to a simpler time, so just call in and let us know what your favourite retro song is. We will try and get it on the show," says Lil Kev, who admits he is a big fan of the segment.

Last Friday, The Red Breakfast Show featured an all-English Retro Chart Show. It was a blast from the past with legendary British artistes such as Elton John and Alison Moyet. The British salute was in conjunction with the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and wife Kate. The Red Breakfast Show crew was abuzz with excitement with the invitation to meet them that day.

A long time listener and big fan of the station, Julian Timothy, says: "It was a really nice change from the regular playlist on Red FM, it definitely put a great big smile on my face and I was singing along to most of the songs."

Don't miss it, go retro with Red FM this Friday and check out what the The Red Breakfast Show has in store for you. You'll never know what they'll come up with next.

For more information, log on to Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page on and follow us on Twitter @iloveredfm.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

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


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Afghan militants say suicide blast revenge for film

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 09:07 PM PDT

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan insurgent group Hezb-e-Islami claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a minibus that killed 12 people, including nine foreigners, near Kabul airport on Tuesday and said it was launched in retaliation for a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad.

Afghan security personnel investigate at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul September 18, 2012. A suicide bomber blew up a mini-bus carrying foreign and local contract workers near Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Tuesday, with at least nine bodies lying near the wreckage, a Reuters witness at the scene said. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

Afghan security personnel investigate at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul September 18, 2012. A suicide bomber blew up a mini-bus carrying foreign and local contract workers near Kabul airport in Afghanistan on Tuesday, with at least nine bodies lying near the wreckage, a Reuters witness at the scene said. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

"A woman wearing a suicide vest blew herself up in response to the anti-Islam video," said Zubair Sediqqi, a spokesman for the militant faction, which does not usually carry out such attacks.

The attack underscored growing anger in Afghanistan over the film, which has enraged much of the Muslim world and led to the killing last week of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

Thousands of protesters clashed with police in the Afghan capital on Monday, burning cars and hurling rocks at security forces in the worst outbreak of violence since February rioting over the inadvertent burning of Korans by U.S. soldiers.

The suicide attack was the first in Kabul involving a woman and the foreigners killed were mostly Russian and South African pilots working for an international courier company, senior police sources said.

The toll was the highest on foreigners in the city since last April when an Afghan air force pilot gunned down eight U.S. military flight instructors and an American civilian adviser after an argument at Kabul International Airport.

Hezb-e-Islami, which means Islamic Party, is a radical militant group which shares some of the Taliban's anti-foreigner, anti-government aims.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Writing by Rob Taylor; Editing by Paul Tait and Robert Birsel)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

More than 130 escape from Mexican prison on U.S. border

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 08:58 PM PDT

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - More than 130 inmates escaped through a tunnel from a Mexican prison on the border with the United States in one of the worst jailbreaks the country's beleaguered penal system has suffered in recent years.

Homero Ramos, attorney general of the northern state of Coahuila, said 132 inmates of the prison in the city of Piedras Negras had got out through the tunnel in an old carpentry workshop, then cut the wire surrounding the complex.

Corrupt prison officials may have helped the inmates escape, said Jorge Luis Moran, chief of public security in Coahuila, adding that U.S. authorities had been alerted to help capture the fugitives if they try to cross the border.

The jailbreak is a reminder of the challenges that await Enrique Pena Nieto, the incoming president, who has pledged to reduce crime in the country after six years of increased gang-related violence under President Felipe Calderon.

Many of Mexico's prisons are overcrowded and struggle to counter the influence of criminal gangs that can use their financial muscle to corrupt those in charge.

Ramos said that the state government of Coahuila was offering a reward of 200,000 pesos ($15,700) for information leading to the capture of each fugitive.

The Piedras Negras complex housed a total of 734 inmates, and the tunnel through which the prisoners escaped was about 1.2 meters (four feet) wide, 2.9 meters (9-1/2 feet) deep and seven meters (23 feet) long, Ramos said.


There have been numerous mass breakouts in the last few years from Mexico's penal system, and prison officials are frequently accused of complicity with drug cartels.

At the end of 2010, more than 140 inmates escaped a prison in the border city of Nuevo Laredo. This February, at least 44 people died in a fight between rival gangs at an overcrowded prison in northern Mexico.

Pena Nieto has pledged to reform the prisons, though experts say he will struggle to make an impact unless he combines this with root-and-branch reform of the justice system.

Pena Nieto, 46, of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), will take office in December. The PRI was widely accused of corruption during its long rule between 1929-2000, and he has promised to break with that checkered past.

Northern Mexico has been hit particularly hard by violence stemming from brutal turf wars between drug gangs that have overshadowed Calderon's conservative administration.

Calderon has used the military to try and crack down on the gangs, and has captured or killed many of the top drug lords.

But his efforts have come at a price.

Gang-related violence has surged on Calderon's watch, and fighting between cartels and their clashes with security forces have claimed more than 55,000 lives over the past six years.

Last week the Mexican Navy captured one of the biggest kingpins active near the U.S.-Mexican border, the leader of the Gulf Cartel, Jorge Costilla, known as "El Coss.

Analysts forecast this would lead to an increase in criminal activity in northern Mexico as rival gangs fought for control of lucrative smuggling routes in the area.

(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Armando Tovar; Writing by Dave Graham; Editing by Eric Walsh and Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Fanning furore, U.S. Justice Scalia says appeals court judge lied

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 08:53 PM PDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday escalated a war of words with a prominent appeals court judge, saying the judge lied in a recent criticism of Scalia's judicial philosophy.

Scalia, 76, the longest-serving justice and a leading conservative on the court, said Judge Richard Posner, of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lied in a review in August of a book co-authored by Scalia.

In the review, Posner accused Scalia of deviating from his own strict, text-based approach to interpreting law when he struck down a District of Columbia handgun ban in 2008 by considering the legislative history behind the law.

"To say that I used legislative history is simply, to put it bluntly, a lie," Scalia said in an interview with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler.

Scalia and legal scholar Bryan Garner were discussing their new book, "Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts," published by West, a unit of Thomson Reuters.

The 567-page book sets out the legal philosophy, called "textual originalism," which says judges should adhere strictly to the text of laws and give them the meaning understood by the people who adopted them. Laws do not change in meaning over time, they contend.

The book has sparked a heated debate in legal circles after Posner accused the authors of making flawed arguments based on sloppy research. Posner said numerous cases that the authors held up as models of text-based decisions were influenced by other factors, including judges' personal views.

Scalia fanned that debate on Monday, saying Posner was only able to make such an assertion because he was writing in a non-legal publication, The New Republic. "You can get away with it in The New Republic, I suppose, but not to a legal audience."

Posner declined to comment on Monday night.

As an example of originalism, Scalia said the death penalty was not covered by the U.S. Constitution's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. At the time that clause was adopted, he said, the death penalty was a standard punishment for a felony. If people want to ban it, they must amend the Constitution or vote to abolish it at the state level, he said.

When asked what happens when linguistic analysis of a law conflicts with existing court decisions, Scalia said that judges cannot reinvent the wheel, particularly if precedent has been in place for a long time.

"We are textualists. We are originalists. We are not nuts," he said.

One prominent exception to that is Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. He does not consider that binding precedent, he said, because it was wrong, remains controversial and is an issue better left to legislators than judges.

What's more, the court's subsequent decisions on abortion are based on the judge-made theory of "substantive due process," which guarantees certain fundamental rights like privacy. It's "utterly idiotic," Scalia said.

Scalia said he accepts being frequently on the losing side of Supreme Court decisions, because that's what it takes to follow his philosophy of sticking to the letter of the law.

And he said he was happy to be out of the running for the role of chief justice, with its pressures of having to build a consensus among the nine justices. Former Chief Justice William Rehnquist had to temper his approach after being promoted to chief, he said.

"He was a shin kicker. He was very, very opinionated," Scalia said. "He changed when he became chief. I didn't have to worry about that."

Scalia emphasized that taking a principled approach, rooted in the original meaning of the text of laws, does not necessarily lead to socially and politically conservative results, as some have argued.

"I should be the pinup of the criminal defense bar," Scalia said, pointing out originalist opinions have strengthened defendants' right to a trial by jury and to confront opposing witnesses.

Scalia acknowledged that today's court can be divided more easily along political lines than in the past. But he bristled at hearing the court described as political.

"It really enrages me to hear people refer to it as a politicized court," he said. His colleagues were appointed because of who they are, and that informs how they vote, he said.

In its biggest decision of the past term, the Supreme Court on June 28 ruled to uphold President Barack Obama's healthcare law, handing the president and fellow Democrats an election-year victory.

In that decision, Chief Justice John Roberts surprisingly joined the court's four liberal members to uphold the law's key provision, which requires that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a tax. Scalia joined in a sharply worded dissent. Subsequent media reports suggested that tempers had flared between Scalia and Roberts, reports that Scalia has rejected.

On Monday, Scalia largely steered clear of discussing the healthcare deliberations and ruling. He did, however, respond to an audience member who asked about a 1798 law requiring merchant seamen to obtain health insurance. The federal government has powers over admiralty and shipping that it does not have over the average citizen, Scalia responded.

When asked about whether television cameras should be allowed in the courtroom during oral arguments, Scalia said his views on the subject had evolved. When he first went onto the bench, he thought televising courtroom proceedings would help educate the American public. Now, he thinks the opposite.

The vast majority of the court's time is spent grappling with the intricacies of laws like the Internal Revenue Code and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, not "contemplating our navel" about the right to abortion, he said. But people will see a 30-second clip on the nightly news that will give them a misimpression of the court.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

World Twenty20 to get under way in Sri Lanka

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 04:29 PM PDT

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka - Hosts Sri Lanka open cricket's World Twenty20 against Zimbabwe Tuesday, kicking off the country's biggest ever sports event - and just three years after the end of a bloody civil war.

Mahela Jayawardene's men will take the field in Hambantota, the southeastern home town of President Mahinda Rajapakse, with hopes high they can end a 16-year wait for their second global title in front of their cricket-obsessed fans.

The match, at 7:30 pm (1400 GMT), starts a three-week cricket fiesta involving 12 teams in coastal Hambantota, hill town Pallekele and the capital Colombo, where the fourth World Twenty20 champions will be crowned on October 7.

The tournament offers the "Teardrop Island" the chance to showcase its lush landscapes, beaches and temples, and turn the page on the 37-year ethnic conflict that claimed up to 100,000 lives.

In 2009, Rajapakse's government declared victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels, a group notorious for suicide bombings. The brutal final offensive prompted a UN Human Rights Council resolution against Sri Lanka earlier this year.

"The T20 World Cup programme will provide an excellent platform to endorse the new Sri Lanka brand during the next three weeks," said Nivard Cabraal, the central bank governor.

"I am confident that this trend will continue in the future, and those so-called international calls for (war crimes) investigation will fade away," he told AFP.

Sri Lanka start the tournament as marginal favourites, although predictions are notoriously difficult in cricket's shortest format, which has revolutionised the sport and divided opinion since its introduction in 2003.

Home advantage will help the hosts, who have a well-balanced side including the newly crowned cricketer of the year, wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara.

Sri Lanka won the 50-over World Cup in 1996 and have reached the tournament's two most recent finals, along with the 2009 World Twenty20 title match which they lost to Pakistan.

"Lots of people have asked us why we have choked in the finals," skipper Jayawardene said. "I'd rather be in that situation than being knocked out in earlier rounds."

Defending champions England arrive with a youthful squad shorn of star batsman Kevin Pietersen, who is in international exile after a sequence of bust-ups with team management.

South Africa, the number one Test team, are seeking their first ever limited-overs world title, while the powerful West Indies would be a popular winner. The World Twenty20 is the one major trophy to elude Australia.

India, schooled in Twenty20 cricket in the lucrative Indian Premier League, won the inaugural event in 2007, while mercurial Pakistan will hope to reprise their 2009 title run.

The teams have been divided into four pools of three for the preliminary league, with the top two from each advancing to the Super Eights round.

If the seedings go to plan, fans can expect exciting cricket in the Super Eights - a week-long race to the semis and final.

England, the West Indies, Sri Lanka and New Zealand are seeded to meet in group one of the Super Eights, with the top two teams making it to the semi-finals.

Group two is already being billed as the "Group of Death", with arch-rivals India and Pakistan seeded to face Australia and South Africa. - AFP

Kwong Beng stays with Rashid and is out of two tournaments

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 04:50 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Back-up men's singles shuttler Chan Kwong Beng's request to train under Hendrawan in a bid to revive his flagging career has been shot down.

And to add insult to injury, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have dropped Kwong Beng from two Grand Prix Gold tournaments in Indonesia and Taiwan for speaking up. The tournament in Indonesia is from Sept 25-30 while the one in Taiwan is from Oct 2-7.

Prior to the BAM's coaching and training (CNT) committee meeting on Sept 7, Kwong Beng had spoken of his aspiration to come out of the rut, hoping that a change of coach would do the trick.

He had discussed the matter with national singles coach Rashid Sidek and Hendrawan and both had agreed to the switch. However, the proposal was shot down at the CNT.

Yesterday, Rashid said BAM had retained Kwong Beng despite his drop in form over the last two years. In fact, at last week's China Masters, he lost 14-21, 14-21 to China's Chen Yuekun in the second round of the qualifying tournament.

Rashid said that the 24-year-old Kwong Beng, who has yet to win even a Satellite title since 2005, had been given another chance to revive his career.

"He will continue to be under my care with Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng. They will continue to train with Lee Chong Wei. I will be sending Kwong Beng for the Super Series in Denmark and France," said Rashid. "I have reminded him that the change should start from within. I hope to see better commitment from him in training from now on."

While Rashid and Tey Seu Bock are expected to handle the elite team, the heavy responsibility of producing the future stars will fall on Hendrawan under the Project 2016 squad.

Hendrawan will be answerable to a project manager.

Tomorrow, the BAM exco will announce the project managers for the 2016 and 2020 programmes and former international Kwan Yoke Meng and Wong Ah Jit of the National Sports Institute (NSI) are tipped for the jobs.

Jazeman enters triathlon to keep track of fitness before British F3 final

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 04:41 PM PDT

PETALING JAYA: The word 'rest' does not exist in Jazeman Jaafar's (pic) lexicon as he counts down the days to the season finale of the British F3 International Series in Donington Park at the end of this month.

The 19-year-old, who currently leads the championship standings, entered a triathlon race over the weekend just to check his fitness level and was pleased with how things turned out.

"The race (HSBC Triahtlon) was held at Eton Dorney, the site of the rowing events for the London Olympics last month, and attracted hundreds of participants.

"I finished eighth in my age-group. The open water swim was a bit cold and I struggled with a headwind in the cycling event. Overall, it was a tough but good outing," said Jazeman, who is based in London.

It may still be two weeks before the final round but Jazeman said the need to keep in shape is the reason why he takes up outdoor sports like the triathlon.

"I swim, play badminton and cycle besides going to the gym. I did my first triathlon last year and it certainly is a humbling experience," he said.

"My training regime, which is about the same for any athlete, is almost brutal, I have to watch what I eat and drink. But you need to have an edge when you're racing against others who are just as dedicated to winning," said Jazeman, who regained the British F3 championship lead with a win and two second placings at the historic Silverstone Circuit a week ago.

Jazeman is now three races away from becoming the first Asian to win the title with the final round at Donington Park on Sept 29-30.

He has 282 points while Fortec driver Felix Serraless of Puerto Rico is second with 276. Jazeman's Carlin team-mate Jack Harvey is third (259).

The Malaysian ace is hoping everything will favour him during the race weekend.

"I have to step up to the challenge for the last three races. I'm confident of my chances if we set up the car well," he said.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Malaysia-Market factors to watch today(Tuesday)

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 06:17 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Following is a list of events in Malaysia as well as news company-related and market news which could have an influence on the local market.

GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks, euro dip; oil falls in volatile trading

SE Asia Stocks-End off highs; commodities outperform after Fed stimulus


>Bank Negara hosts 3rd Global Islamic Finance Forum (GIFF) at Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia at 0900 (0100). (Sept 18-20).

>Press advisory case management of Civil Suit by the Government against Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee at NCVC 1, High Court, Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur at 1430pm (0630)

MARKET NEWS > Japan's Nikkei dips as China-related firms fall > Wall St closes lower after rally as oil prices drop > Prices rebound from Friday's sharp sell-off > Dollar hovers near multimonth lows despite drop in crude > Gold down but outperforms crude in commods sell-off > Oil plunges in rapid afternoon selloff, CFTC looking into trades > Rising stocks to drag on palm oil futures

MALAYSIA IN THE NEWS: > Turkmens says building of new oil refinery to start 2015 > Malaysia charts faster sukuk growth in first half of 2012 > Malaysia's Sept 1-15 palm oil exports up 12.1 pct -ITS > Malaysia sees little El Nino risk so far to palm oil > Maybank prices US$800m notes at 3.25 pct > "Momentum" but no deadline in Trans-Pacific trade talks-US - Reuters

VEGOILS-Market factors to watch today(Tuesday)

KUALA LUMPUR: The following factors are likely to influence Malaysian palm oil futures and other vegetable oil markets on Tuesday.

FUNDAMENTALS * Malaysian palm oil futures rose on Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve kicked off a third round of quantitative easing to stimulate its economy and as investors took up positions ahead of a long weekend.

* U.S. soybean futures tumbled the daily trading limit on Monday, posting their biggest percentage drop in nearly a year on selling sparked by anecdotal accounts of better-than-expected harvest yields in the Midwest farm belt.

* Oil fell nearly $3 on Monday in a wild session that saw Brent plunge more than $5 a barrel in a wave of late, high-volume selling before paring losses as markets sought an explanation for the sudden crash.

MARKET NEWS * Stocks in the United States and Europe on Monday gave back some of last week's huge gains as investors began to question whether recent action by both the European Central Bank and Federal Reserve would be enough to revive global economic growth.

* Commodity markets tumbled on Monday, as investors worried about the demand outlook for oil, metals and grains after weeks of rising prices built on optimism over economic stimulus in the United States and Europe.

RELATED NEWS > Hedge funds plow into commodities just before QE3 -CFTC > Malaysia's Sept 1-15 palm oil exports up 12.1 pct -ITS > US sets 1.28 bln gal biodiesel mandate, a "moderate" increase - Reuters

DIARY - Malaysia



KUALA LUMPUR - Bank Negara hosts 3rd Global Islamic Finance Forum (GIFF) at Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia. (Sept 18-20).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Launch of programme Kenali Anak Kita Petronas at Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre, Menara Matrade, Jalan Khidmat Usaha, Off Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur at 0915am (0115).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Proposed interview with Kamel Hajri, Head of Islamic Finance Business Development, Bloomberg at Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur at 0930am (0130).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Press advisory case management of Civil Suit by the Government against Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee at NCVC 1, High Court, Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur at 1430pm (0630).


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Aug 2012 Consumer Price Index at 1700pm (0900).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Perdana leadership foundation CEO forum 2012- "Malaysia in the New Global Contex-Realising Malaysia's True Potential" at Berjaya Times Square Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur at 0830am (0030).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd launches 'Al-Awfar Million Ringgit Campaign" at Menara Bank Islam, Jalan Perak, Kuala Lumpur at 1000am (0200).

* PETALING JAYA - Poh Kong holds media briefing on Gold Demand and Trends at Poh Kong Headquarters, Jalan 52/4, Petaling Jaya New Town at 1015am (0215).

* KUALA LUMPUR - Mah Sing Group Bhd holds EGM at Wisma Mah Sing, Jalan Sungai Besu, Kuala Lumpur at 1500pm (0700).


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 14 Sep 2012


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Aug 2012 Money Supply data


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 28 Sep 2012 and Aug 2012 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Aug 2012 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and Aug 2012 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Sep 2012 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 15 Oct 2012


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Aidil Adha.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Sep 2012 Money Supply data


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 31 Oct 2012


KUALA LUMPUR - Monetary Policy Statement and release of Sep 2012 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and Sep 2012 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Sep 2012 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Deepavali


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Moslem New Year.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of 3rd Quarter 2012 GDP.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Oct 2012 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 14 Nov 2012


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Oct 2012 Money Supply data


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 30 Nov 2012 and Oct 2012 External Trade data.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Oct 2012 Index of Industrial Production (IPI) and Oct 2012 Manufacturing Sales.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Nov 2012 Consumer Price Index.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of International Reserves as at 14 Dec 2012.


KUALA LUMPUR - Market and Public Holiday - Christmas Day.


KUALA LUMPUR - Release of Nov 2012 Money Supply data.

NOTE: The inclusion of diary items does not necessarily mean that Reuters will file a story based on the event. - Reuters

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KLCI opens higher, boost from Maybank, Maxis

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 06:16 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The FBM KLCI opened higher in early trade on Tuesday, underpinned by some buying of bank stocks including Maybank and Maxis.

At 9.02am, the KLCI was up 3.14 points to 1,646.09. Turnover was 30.11 million shares valued at RM48.55. There were 95 gainers, 47 losers and 91 stocks unchanged.

Tradewinds was the top gainer, up 17 sen to RM1.03. It had received a privatisation offer via a selective capital reduction and repayment exercise involving a cash amount of RM1.10 per share.

Maybank rose 15 sen to RM9.55, UMW advanced 12 sen to RM10.18, Lafarge added 10 sen to 83 sen while Mah Sing gained eight sen to RM2.30.

Petronas Gas gained eight sen to RM19.04 while Maxis and Petronas Chemical advanced seven sen to RM6.87 and RM6.60.


Taking a stand in advertising

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 06:07 PM PDT

SINGAPORE: Brand managers should not be seduced by new technologies and networks instead of focusing first on the brand story, said Diageo Asia-Pacific chief marketing officer James Thompson.

"We can get seduced by the media and not the story.

"But the most important thing is to find out the most interesting story and then find the most interesting way of telling it," he advised during a seminar at Spikes Asia Festival of Creativity yesterday.

The three-day Spikes Asia, which ends today, is a regional creative advertising and communications festival.

The Star is the festival's official and exclusive representative in Malaysia.

Besides being confused by technologies and networks, Thompson said, marketers also got confused by which stories to tell about their brands.

"Most brands have got lots of stories.

"And most brand managers try to tell so many stories at once that there's no clarity (in the communication)," he said.

Thompson, whose company is one of the world's leading premium drinks companies, said one of the first questions that Diageo asked now when creative work was presented to it was: "Is it authentic?"

"That is the question we ask before we ask whether people like it.

"Quite often, I am more than prepared to run work that I know some people won't like," he said.

As an example, he cited a Johnnie Walker brand campaign that Diageo ran in China last year which used 12 documentary-style films on subjects like setting up an orphanage for children with HIV and AIDS.

A lot of the work in China was controversial and people didn't like it, he said.

"Brands that are going to be respected as well as loved, tell stories which are authentic and real as well as entertaining.

"Taking a point of view in the world and being true to yourself is the starting point of stories, even in marketing," he said.

Acclaimed writer and director Todd Solondz ("Welcome to the Dollhouse" and "Happiness"), another panellist during the same session, said the audience he had to please first and foremost was himself.

"In some sense, it even applies to a successful advertising campaign.

"You have to fall in love with the story that you're telling and the point of view that you have conveyed.

"If you don't fully engage on that level, I don't think it will be fully convincing or successful for others," he said.

Later, a session on "Creating Change - How Brave Are You?" discussed courage in effecting social change.

Jose Miguel Sokoloff, Lowe's global creative council president, recounted a multi-award-winning marketing campaign done by his agency to demobilise one of the world's oldest guerrilla groups - those in the Colombian jungle.

This led to Operation Christmas in December 2010, whereby Colombian soldiers decorated a 25-metre tree in the jungle with 2,000 Christmas lights. Via motion sensor, the lights were turned on when someone walked by.

A banner on the tree said: "If Christmas can come to the jungle, you too can come home. Demobilize.

"At Christmas, everything is possible."

Later more trees were decorated.

The campaign helped to boost the number of guerrillas demobilising by some 30% year-on-year.

"When we started doing this work, which we did very openly, there was a danger of getting a bomb put at our agency or something; but that never happened and we never contemplated that," Sokoloff said.

The campaign did, however, become in a way a victim of its own success. Reintegrating the thousands of ex-guerrillas into regular society was difficult; employers were reluctant to hire them as they had no academic qualifications and there was a stigma attached.

Hence Lowe came up with a follow-up strategy by launching a fashion label called Chance by Colombia, which employs ex-guerrillas in positions like designer.

Sokoloff said Lowe was utilising its various skills to make the brand a success. "If this brand is successful - and I think it will be - it will give a lot of work for a lot of these former guerrillas," he said.

Sokoloff said there were always good causes knocking on agency's doors.

"Sometimes you do it (work for the causes) because it's an opportunity to get a (creative) award and sometimes you do it because you believe in it.

"It'll be really great if you do it both because you believe in it and it's an opportunity to get an award.

"That's a perfect world."


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'Sex doctor' nabbed while trying to make out with patient

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 05:24 AM PDT

SEREMBAN: A man who claimed to be an Islamic medicine practitioner has been arrested while trying to perform sex on his patient at her house in Kampung LBJ here.

Officers from the state Islamic Religious Affairs Department nabbed the 48-year-old man at 12.30pm Monday while he was trying to have sex with the 24-year-old woman, purportedly as part of the treatment.

Enforcement division principal assistant director Ahmad Husaini Mustafa said the suspect, from Kuala Lumpur, had earlier contacted the victim to treat her for difficulty in conceiving.

"Upon arriving at the victim's house, he recited some Quranic verses to treat her and perform 'nikah batin' (spiritual marriage) with her which was contrary to Islamic teachings.

"The man then tried to take advantage of the woman by performing sex on her, but his attempt was foiled by the raiding team," he told a news conference.

Ahmad Husaini said the raid was conducted following public information and complaints.

"We believe the suspect, who is married with children, is not knowledgeable in Islam but was using Quranic verses to dupe the victim in order to take advantage of her."

He said a number of items, including a Quran and a religious booklet believed to be used in the treatment, were seized during the raid.

Ahmad Husaini said the suspect was believed to have been involved in the activity for quite some time, and their intial investigation showed that he had "treated" three women.

The case is being investigated under Section 49 of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment for misusing Quranic verses, Section 50 of the same Enactment for insulting Islam and Section 77 for seducing a woman. - Bernama

Guard dies after four cars run over him

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 05:05 AM PDT

SETIU: A security guard was killed in a horrific accident in which he was run over by four cars after he fell off his motorcycle.

The incident happened at the 69th kilometre of the Kampung Raja-Kuala Terengganu road near Kampung Saujana here on Sunday night.

OCPD Deputy Supt Rohaizat Abd Ani said the guard, Mohd Rafizuddin Razali, 21, died on the spot due to serious injuries on the head and body.

He said only the driver of a Proton Saga from Besut had lodged a police report so far.

The victim was going from his house to a shop about 50m away in Kampung Beris Tok Ku here when the accident happened at 9.46pm, DSP Rohaizat said.

Eyewitness Fathul Ammar Amsyar Hasbullah, 17, said he was in a car with two friends behind Mohd Rafizuddin when they saw Mohd Rafizuddin's motorcycle knock into another motorcycle parked by the roadside.

"I saw him fall onto the road. I stopped the car to help but just then two cars, a Perodua Viva and a Proton Saga from the direction of Besut, rammed into him and dragged him for about 10m.

"Then, two other cars from the opposite direction ran over him," he said.

Fathul Ammar said he and his friends ran towards Mohd Rafizuddin, but he was already dead.

The body was sent to Setiu Hospital. - Bernama

MAS commences Haj flights for 2012

Posted: 17 Sep 2012 02:59 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: MAS on Monday commenced its 2012 Haj flights from KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.

The airline is operating 33 scheduled Haj charter flights between six cities in Malaysia and Jeddah and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

The first flight, MH8000, departed from KLIA at 1.05pm MOnday with 447 pilgrims and scheduled to arrive in Medina at 5.05pm local time. Officials from MAS, Tabung Haji and Malaysia Airports Berhad were on hand to send off the passengers on the first flight, said the national carrier in a statement here today.

For its first phase of Haj operations, from Sept 17 to Oct 19, MAS is operating 17 flights from KLIA, five from Penang, two from Kuala Terengganu, five from Johor Bahru and two each from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

For the second phase flights from Saudi Arabia to Malaysia, it will be will from Nov 1-29.

The airline will use two 747-400 passenger aircraft from its fleet for the Haj flight.

Malaysia Airlines said a special menu for passengers on the haj flights had been prepared with the approval of Tabung Haji.

Apart from the main meals, passengers would also be given snack packs for consumption while awaiting statutory clearance on arrival in Jeddah.

"In addition, there will be increased supply of mineral water and juices in-flight to ensure passengers do not experience dehydration during the air travel," it added.

Malaysia Airlines has also mobilised experienced staff for the ground handling of the Haj operations in Tabung Haji Complex/Kelana Jaya, KLIA and in the two Saudi Arabian airports, Jeddah and Medina. - Bernama


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Universal Hires Justin Haythe to Adapt FBI Tale '90 Church'

Posted: 15 Sep 2012 09:05 PM PDT

LOS ANGELES: Justin Haythe is coming on board to adapt "90 Church: The True Story of The Narcotics Squad From Hell" for Universal Pictures, a person familiar with the deal told TheWrap on Friday.

Universal acquired the rights to Dean Unkefer's book of the same name last month for Rupert Sanders to direct. The story follows a green recruit whose eyes are opened by working in the corrupt Federal Narcotics Bureau in New York City in the 1960s.

The name of the book/project refers to the address of the federal bureau when it was formed in New York City in the mid-1960s and 30 agents did battle with the mafia and drug cartels. "Church" is due to be published in May 2013 by Random House in the U.S. and by Virgin Books in Europe.

Haythe's other writing credits include the upcoming Western "The Lone Ranger," starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, and "Snitch," which will be released in 2013 with Dwayne Johnson attached to star. Haythe's previous credits include "Revolutionary Road," which was directed by Sam Mendes, and "The Clearing" with Robert Redford.

Joe Roth and Palak Patel are producing with Deborah Giarratana.

Mika sheds pop 'shackles' with 'Origin of Love'

Posted: 15 Sep 2012 08:59 PM PDT

PARIS: Catapulted to fame by "Life in Cartoon Motion," which sold over five million copies, English-Lebanese pop sensation Mika changes tack with a new album about growing up the hard way, and falling in love.

Part sunny pop, part R'n'B, part hip-hop, "The Origin of Love" is released just a month after the 29-year-old - who until then had called himself bisexual - said he was gay in an interview with an American magazine.

Mika's coming out has upped the buzz surrounding the album, which hits shelves worldwide on September 17, and in Britain on October 8, but the work was born of a far more radical shake-up in his life.

"The starting point was stagnation," Mika - real name Michael Penniman - told AFP, dressed in beige and white and flicking back and forth from English to French as he sipped sweet, milky coffee in a Paris luxury hotel.

"I had been on the road for a year and a half and I didn't have any reason to write, because I wasn't in love, I wasn't angry, I wasn't anything. I was just a performer who's been on the road non stop. "So I stopped and then everything went crazy."

In October 2010, Mika's sister Paloma was critically injured after falling from a fourth-floor window in London and impaling herself on a railing.

"I suddenly realised that you can lose everything within 30 seconds, and it gave me this kind of injection of fearlessness. If you can lose everything so quickly, you'd better do what you really want and you'd better do what you really believe in and not be afraid.

"And so once my sister was in a better place, I threw caution to the wind, I said that's it - I'm going and I'm not coming back."

So Mika headed to Montreal, where he teamed up with the Australian music producer Nick Littlemore - who provided just the right environment for him to get his creative juices flowing again.

"I landed in Montreal and went straight into the studio from the hotel, and an hour later I had 'The Origin of Love'," the album's title track, he recalled.

"I walked in and a person was on bass, he was making a beat, a loop to give me a groove and I just wrote," he said. "Suddenly I had tools to play with. I wasn't alone at the piano."

"Admittedly, it did help that I had fallen in love the week before," he smiled. "I decided to catch that moment, and write a whole album about the process of falling in love and all its different mutations.

"Love songs are not piano ballads from the 1980s and 1990s, there's another way to do a love song. That's what I was trying to explore. So I didn't go home for six months and I just wrote."

He sings of love unrequited, overrated, or dangerous love, love as an addiction, and the foolishness of young love - and finally, in "Step with Me" of the life-long variety, "delicious, like home-cooked dishes".

While his first two albums dwelled heavily on childhood and the teenage years, this one - while the feel-good pop beats are still there - feels decidedly more grown-up.

"I hate the phrase 'coming of age' because what do we do? Come of age from what? Never in your life do you think you're naive when you live your present moment," Mika said.

"But there is definitely a sense of affirmation on this record where it's like 'I'm gonna talk about myself in the way that I like to, and with no complexes.'"

It is also the album where he talks most openly about himself - though at no point does he refer explicitly to his sexuality.

"Yeah, definitely, I hide less behind cartoon characters," Mika agreed. "On my first record it was laden with real life but it was done through this comic book technique. It made me feel more secure.

Mika is defiant about the blend of genres on the record: "I don't put things in boxes, I come from no fashion, no scene, no genre. I am just the product of creating music in my own bubble. He expects his new direction to puzzle fans of his earlier, sun-splashed pop - but that doesn't bother him.

"I think it will kind of polarise people, but I think it's a good enough record that it will engage and re-engage with people who I may have lost a few years ago," Mika said.

Of the planetary success of his early work, starting with breakthrough single "Grace Kelly" in 2007, he is trenchant: "You think you're getting approval but really you're getting shackles."

"I make music which is a bit of a contradiction, because it's pop but at the same time it's artist-driven pop music. Does that make sense? "I had to do something that just made me happy. So it was very much an instinctive record. But it's still very recognisably me. - AFP


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The holistic aproach

Posted: 15 Sep 2012 05:54 PM PDT

Looking at holistic healing for breast cancer.

BREAST cancer continues to plague us relentlessly. Despite the enormous amount of research done, modern medicine still cannot save many of those unlucky enough to have this modern-day disease, although some progress has been made. Now those with Stage 1 breast cancer can hope for over 90% chance of cure.

I am a proponent of holistic integrative medicine (combining the best of modern, natural and complementary medicine) and I believe the prevention and management of breast cancer can benefit much from this approach.

So what are the natural means that can help mitigate the problem? Let us explore several simple but important modifiable factors that can help make a difference.

The importance of adequate sleep

A recent study on 412 post-menopausal women with breast cancer showed that lack of sleep (six hours or less a night) is linked to more aggressive breast cancers, and higher risk of recurrence (reported in August 2012 issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment).

The conclusion could also be read as having adequate sleep (more than six hours) gives better prognosis.

Although this study was on postmenopausal women, it still underlines the possible important role of having adequate sleep for all women with breast cancer, and extrapolating it further, the possible impact on other cancers as well as in cancer prevention. Let us hope that studies on other cancers are also carried out.

The authors concluded that: "Effective intervention to increase duration of sleep and improve quality of sleep could be an under-appreciated avenue for reducing the risk of developing more aggressive breast cancers and recurrence."

In 2010, based on experimental and epidemiological work, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that work schedules that disturbed the circadian rhythm probably increase cancer risk.

The circadian rhythm regulates our wakefulness and sleep, controls numerous biological functions, and is disturbed in people who work at night or who have irregular working hours.

One hypothesis is that exposure to light during the night eliminates the nocturnal melatonin surge, disturbing the functioning of the biological clock genes that control cell proliferation, and/or the immune system.

Researchers in France had examined the effect of night work on the health of 3,000 women in a major study carried out between 2005 and 2008. They found that the risk of developing breast cancer was 30% higher in women who had worked nights compared to women who had never worked nights.

This increased risk was particularly marked in women who had worked nights for over four years, or in women whose working rhythm was less than three nights per week, because this led to more frequent disturbances between night and day rhythms.

The risk was highest for women who had worked at night prior to their first pregnancies. This has serious implications to our nurses and other female night-shift workers.

We already know that insufficient sleep is a risk factor for obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Sleep is the time that the body rests, recovers and repairs from the day's hectic work.

Each day, the body has to ensure thousands of metabolic processes run efficiently in the many organ systems. Much work is required to keep the body alive and healthy. With our unhealthy lifestyles, unhealthy diet and unhealthy environment, the body has much more work to do to keep the system going.

For example, each cell is bombarded by over 10,000 free radicals daily. There are toxic by-products of normal metabolism, as well as external toxins (including cigarettes and prescription drugs) which the body has to cope with.

Then there are the invading viruses, bacteria and parasites which are everywhere. Imagine how busy our defence/immune system must be.

During sleep, when there is no physical activity and eating (which consume most energy and produce most toxic by-products), the body's organ systems are able to recuperate and prepare for the following day's work. The only organs that do not rest as much are the heart and lungs, which have to continue working, although at slightly slower rates.

For some of us who dream often, the brain also remains active during sleep!

Now imagine if you are chronically deprived of adequate sleep. Even if each night, your deficit is only 5% in terms of total replenishment and recuperation of your defence/immune system, over months and years, the cumulative deficit will take a toll on your body.

If you understand the power of compound interest, then you will understand my warning.

I had a first-hand experience of the importance of adequate sleep about 20 years ago. I had just recovered from a bad bout of "flu" and was asked to lead the Muslim night prayers (qiyamulail). I only slept for two hours and was up preparing for, and leading the prayers from 2am onwards till morning. By 6am, I had the full-blown "flu" again.

So the next time you catch the "flu", make sure you have adequate sleep, drink plenty of water, and gets lots of tneder loving care!

Maintaining normal weight

Another study reported that women who are overweight or obese with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer (which means two-thirds of all breast cancers) have a higher risk of recurrence even though they received the best available cancer treatment.

Obesity is associated with about a 30% higher risk of recurrence and a nearly 50% higher risk of death despite the best cancer treatments.

The authors suggest that the extra fat tissues cause hormonal changes and inflammation that induce the higher recurrence despite adequate medical therapy (reported in CANCER journal of the American Cancer Society). The study was done across the US and was supported by the US National Cancer Institute.

Those who are overweight/obese are already known to face a higher risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, lung disease, joint disease, and many types of cancer (oesophagus, breast, uterine endometrium, colon, rectum, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder, and possibly other cancer types).

However, in my opinion, the risk for cancer (and possibly other diseases too) is highly misunderstood and underestimated.

For breast cancer, the evidence now shows that obesity only increases the risk in post-menopausal women, but the offending weight gain could have started when the women were younger. Since cancer is a slow-growing phenomenon (by the time the earliest stage of cancer is detected, it has probably undergone many years of mutations and abnormal cell divisions), we only see the results of what began many years before.

Thus, although the added risk (due to obesity) is seen only after menopause (80% of breast cancers occur in post-menopausal women), the prevention should start much earlier.

Women should maintain normal weight when they are young to reduce breast cancer risk, and to improve their survival should they be unlucky to get breast cancer (the risk in Malaysia is one in 19).

Adequate exercise

A study of over 3,000 women (ages between 20-98) engaged in at least 10 hours of exercise per week showed they had about 30% lower risk of developing breast cancer. The benefit was strongest among postmenopausal women.

Other studies had shown that weight loss through regular exercise increases the benefit further, but weight gain can nullify some of the benefits obtained through exercise.

Physically active women who gain more than 5kg after menopause are still at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, though it is lower than for those who gain a similar amount of weight but do not exercise.

Obese women who exercise have about the same risk as normal weight women who do not exercise at all. The best is to maintain normal weight and do lots of exercise.

Healthy diet

Red meat and high-fat diets increase the risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several types of cancers (eg colon and prostate), but the link to breast cancer has not been proven.

Several studies have shown that breast cancer is less common in countries where the typical diet is low in total fat. However, studies in the US have not shown that eating a high fat diet increases the risk, nor eating less fat reduces it.

Although the benefits of a high fruits and veggies intake have not been established for breast cancer, studies have shown that such a diet is beneficial for cancers in general, and for many other health benefits.

Thus it is still recommended that we take a nutrient-dense diet rich in fruits and veggies, and limit red meats and unhealthy fats.

A recent study found that women with early stage breast cancer who were vitamin D deficient were more likely to have recurrence, and had a poorer prognosis.

Conference on holistic healing

If you want to know more about holistic healing for breast cancer, do attend this free conference to be held on Saturday, September 15, at the Sime Darby Convention Centre KL.

Speakers include medical doctors and other experts. It is organised by Cansurvive (, a non-profit organisation that provides information, guidance and compassionate support for cancer patients, their families and friends.

For info and registration, please sms your name and email address to 012-3297566 or 0178812287; or email your name and mobile phone number to

Dr Amir Farid Isahak is a medical specialist who practises holistic, aesthetic and anti-ageing medicine. He is a qigong master and founder of SuperQigong. For further information, e-mail The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

A septic state

Posted: 15 Sep 2012 05:53 PM PDT

World Sepsis Day 2012 (Sept 13) is an attempt to raise awareness of this very deadly condition.

SEPSIS is one of the most common, least recognised illnesses in both the developed and developing world. Globally, 20 to 30 million patients are estimated to be affected every year.

In the developing world, sepsis accounts for 60 to 80% of lives lost per year in childhood, killing more than six million neonates and children yearly and is responsible for more than 100,000 cases of maternal sepsis.

Every hour, about 1,000 people die from sepsis worldwide.

Sepsis remains the primary cause of death from infection despite advances in modern medicine, including vaccines, antibiotics, and intensive care, with hospital mortality rates between 30 and 60%.

Sepsis, which is often misunderstood by the public as "blood-poisoning", is one of the leading causes of death around the world.

Sepsis occurs when the body's response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It may lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and death, especially if not recognised early and treated promptly. Between one third and one half of patients with sepsis die.

Sepsis causes more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined. Experts in the field believe it is actually responsible for the majority of the mortality associated with HIV/AIDS, malaria, pneumonia and other infections acquired in the community, in healthcare settings, and by traumatic injury.

Patients surviving sepsis have double the risk of death in the following five years compared with hospitalised controls, and suffer from physical, cognitive and affective health problems.

The incidence of sepsis is increasing dramatically despite the advantages of modern medicine. The reasons for this are diverse, but include an ageing population, increasing use of high-risk interventions in all age groups, and the development of drug-resistant and more virulent varieties of infections.

Hospitalisations for sepsis have more than doubled over the last 10 years and have overtaken those for myocardial infarction in the US. International and national surveys indicate that 20 to 40% of septic patients who require treatment in the intensive care unit developed sepsis outside the hospital.

Delayed diagnosis

Sepsis is often diagnosed too late because the clinical symptoms and laboratory signs that are currently used for the diagnosis of sepsis, like raised temperature, increased pulse or breathing rate, or white blood cell count, are unspecific.

In children, the signs and symptoms may be subtle, and deterioration may be rapid. Sepsis is under-recognised and poorly understood due to confusion about its definition among patients and healthcare providers, inadequate diagnostic tools, inconsistent application of standardised clinical guidelines to treat sepsis, and lack of documentation of sepsis as a cause of death on death certificates.

Despite the fact that a patient with sepsis is around five times more likely to die than a patient who has suffered a heart attack or stroke, the disease is still not recognised or afforded the same sense of urgency as these critical care conditions.

If a patient were to stumble into an emergency room clutching the chest and barely able to walk, he or she would be treated immediately. Yet symptoms of sepsis are less widely appreciated and therefore present a more deadly threat.

In the midst of a global, economic crisis that sees governments introducing spending cuts and harsh austerity measures, ignoring one of the most deadly diseases will lead to continued, huge and avoidable healthcare costs.

A medical emergency

If diagnosed and treated in the first hour following presentation, a patient has more than an 80% survival rate. After the sixth hour, the patient only has a 30% survival rate.

It is crucially important that the early symptoms of sepsis are recognised by both the public and the healthcare sector and treatment accessed, where possible, within the first hour – the "Golden Hour". If it is, then the risk of death from sepsis is halved.

The challenge is ensuring that the signs and symptoms of sepsis are recognised from the outset. These include rapid heart rate, difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing, low blood pressure, change in behaviour (confusion, drowsiness), fever or hypothermia and changes in skin colour, amongst others.

Similarly, the recognition of these warning signs should not only occur amongst in-hospital staff, but also amongst all healthcare professionals the patient may encounter beforehand, such as general practitioners, family doctors, community nurses and paramedics.

Rapid initiation of simple, timely interventions including antimicrobials, intravenous fluids and targeted treatment to restore the circulation can halve the risk of dying.

Patients with suspected sepsis should be referred immediately to an appropriate facility. Early sepsis treatment is cost effective and hospital and intensive care bed days can be reduced.

Awareness is the number one cure for sepsis

Raising recognition of the disease and increasing the number of patients treated in the "Golden Hour" is the single biggest attempt we can make to save lives.

The Global Sepsis Alliance (GSA) and its members that include the World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine (WFSICCM), the World Federation of Intensive and Critical Care Societies (WFPICCS), the World Federation of Critical Care Nurses (WFCCN), the International Federation for Emergency Medicine (IFEM), the International Sepsis Forum (ISF) and the Sepsis Alliance (SA) have joined together to issue a call of action to bring the tragedy of sepsis mortality to the attention of health policymakers at a national, regional and global level.

In order to do this, they are asking everyone to support the first World Sepsis Day, which took place on September 13, 2012.

Treating sepsis in the "Golden Hour" is a real opportunity to reduce the drastic numbers of people who are still dying or are seriously affected by sepsis.

However, the key to treatment within this crucial time period comes through awareness. Only a global approach to tackling sepsis and reinforcing recognition at every level will drive the initiative to reduce the amount of deaths in every country.

n Adapted from 'Sepsis Factsheet and Saving Lives: Treating Sepsis in the Golden Hour' by World Federation of Societies of Intensive and Critical Care Medicine (WFSICCM).

A target to aim for

Posted: 15 Sep 2012 05:51 PM PDT

Exploring the paradigm shift in the treatment of lung cancer.

WORLDWIDE, lung cancer is the most common and deadly form of cancer; it accounts for 1.6 million new cancer cases annually.

Approximately 1.38 million people die from lung cancer, and it is a gargantuan myth that it is a smokers-only disease, confined to men.

Evidence reveals that more and more non-smokers are included in this morbid statistic. And women are more susceptible to developing lung cancer.

In Malaysia, more than 80% of women who developed adenocarcinoma (the most common lung cancer subtype) are never smokers.

There are no conclusive indications why this is so, but it is strongly suspected that genetics and environment play a large role.

The current prevalence of lung cancer in Malaysia is around 18 per 100,000 of the population. With almost 3,000 new patients diagnosed each year, there is a possibility that lung cancer is still on the rise.

Screening for lung cancer

According to Datuk Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Wahid, consultant clinical oncologist and president of the Malaysian Oncological Society and the Asian & Pacific Federation of Organisation for Cancer Research and Control, cancer cells can progress rapidly, even in the early stages. As such, early diagnosis is the key to treatment.

"Right now, there are no proper methods to screen for lung cancer. There are blood tests which test for lung cancer tumour markers, but these are primarily used as a guide for patients who have cancer; after giving treatment, if the markers go down, doctors knows that the treatment is working. But if it goes up instead, doctors will know that something has gone wrong," remarked Dr Ibrahim.

"One of the biggest problems with tumour markers is that they can give a lot of false positives, and can lead to unnecessary stress and worry."

He added: "It's not just the false positives that these test kits can generate, there are also a lot of false negatives; that is why they should never be used as a screening tool."

Similarly, genetic screening or genetic profiling is not a viable method of screening for lung cancer. What it does is show whether you are at risk, but this does not mean that you will develop lung cancer.

Early detection

Catching lung cancer in the early stages means a higher chance for doctors to save the patient. The biggest problem with lung cancer is that the only way to detect it is with CT or PET scans. There are low dose CT scan alternatives, but as a screening tool, it is not acceptable as it also exposes the patient to radiation, and it's not cheap.

"One of the ways of diagnosing lung cancer is to look at the history of the patient and examine the patient. This should be followed by a CT scan and bronchoscopy. If the tumour is in a deeper part of the lung, then doctors may need to do a CT-guided bronchoscopy.

"It is not enough to check from the CT scan, as a biopsy is needed to confirm the type of tumour, and also to find if it is primary or secondary cancer. Lung cancer means it originates from the lungs, but if the cancer is from other parts of the body and has spread to the lungs, then the doctor planning treatment will need to take this into account," explained Dr Ibrahim.

Under the radar

Consultant oncologist Dr Kevin Hew noted that lung cancer has a tendency to stay hidden until the very last minute.

"For many patients, the lack of symptoms is often why they do not realise that they have lung cancer, and by the time symptoms start appearing, the cancer is already in its advanced stages.

"Lung cancer is basically divided into non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC consists of several other types, of which adenocarcinoma has the highest number of patients compared to other NSCLC types," he added.

Dr Hew opined that part of the reason is because of the improved filters used by cigarette companies.

"Smokers need to inhale more deeply in order to get the same 'kick', and this deeper inhalation leads to carcinogens in cigarette smoke being introduced into the deeper parts of the lungs.

"Previously, most lung cancers presented in the upper airways, which trigger coughing or breathing difficulties in patients who then get treatment earlier (earlier diagnosis of lung cancer). But with adenocarcinoma, it is usually diagnosed late because it is 'silent' in the earlier stages of the cancer," he explained.

Treatment in stages

For the earlier stages of cancer, the treatment of choice is often surgery. This option is usually open for patients with Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3A cancer. Patients are not given other targeted therapy drugs in case of cancer recurrence; there is a possibility that the cancer may become immune to the effects of the drug, thus rendering it useless for future use with the same patient.

Of course, it is not as straightforward as simple surgery. Depending on the size and location of the tumour, some patients may need to undergo a few cycles of chemotherapy prior to surgery.

But when it comes to late stage cancer, whatever treatment given is not so much to cure the cancer, but more towards controlling it. This typically means that the treatment given is to delay progression.

The issue in treatment is: should they get standard chemotherapy and then immediately get targeted therapy? Should they get targeted therapy with chemotherapy?

Compared to targeted therapy, chemotherapy usually works on a broader spectrum. Where targeted therapy only addresses specific molecules in cancer cells, chemotherapy has a much broader approach; while it can be effective, it does tend to cause unwanted side-effects.

Since chemotherapy is designed to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells, it frequently damages healthy cells. This often leads to side effects like nausea, vomiting, and hair loss.

These side effects are usually not permanent and your body can recover once the chemotherapy is stopped.

Because of the physically demanding aspect of chemotherapy, it cannot be given continuously over a long period of time. At best, it is given for around seven to eight cycles, as it will affect the patient's bone marrow (which takes a long time to recover).

Of course, this is not to say that standard chemotherapy is being phased out. Instead, it is also evolving with time. In the past, the use of a one-size-fits-all approach was the only available means to fight cancer. Sadly, this was highly inefficient, but many improvements have been made through the years.

Targeted therapy

Things are beginning to change for the better; targeted therapy is slowly changing the way cancers are treated. In lung cancer, it gives patients with advanced Stage 3B and Stage 4 NSCLC a chance of a better quality of life.

This methodology relies on new breakthroughs in the understanding of cell biology at the genetic and molecular level.

Cancer cells radically alter the signalling networks of normal cells that regulate cellular activities controlling cell division and survival. Targeted therapy represents a means to interrupt this signalling network.

It is becoming the choice for first-line treatment as it is highly effective and have minimal side effects.

This is crucial, especially for the treatment of advanced Stage 3B and Stage 4 NSCLC, where patients are often not capable of enduring the stress placed on their bodies by chemotherapy.

"The discovery of the EGFR mutation was of great import. When the class of oral drugs known as EGFR-TKI was used four years ago in EGFR mutation positive patients, the results were very encouraging," Dr Hew said.

"The advantage of using EGFR-TKIs is that it is effective, with manageable side effects. The patient can endure long term usage of the drug. This effectively converts lung cancer from a disease with a very short life span into a chronic illness where the patient lives with the disease for a longer period of time.

"For patients who develop lung cancer because of EGFR mutation, the effective method of treatment is the use of EGFR-TKIs to block or inhibit the signals used by the cancer cells; this deprives the cancer cells of their means of proliferation, thus causing it to die off. These drugs are mainly used for advanced stages of NSCLC (Stage 3B or Stage 4).

"It is important to note that in the advanced stages of lung cancer, any treatment options that are available are meant to manage or control the cancer, and not cure it," stressed Dr Hew.

Dr Ibrahim was quick to stress that targeted therapy is not recommended for use in the earlier stages of cancer. This is due to the possibility of the cancer recurring, and if this happens, there is the possibility that the cancer may develop immunity towards the drugs used against it during the earlier stage.

"Patients with EGFR mutation positive Stage 3B and Stage 4 NSCLC who are in the advanced and inoperable stages could have the choice of selecting targeted therapy as first-line treatment. Currently, this option is only available for patients who are EGFR mutation positive."

The beauty of this treatment is that it allows lung cancer patients to sustain a reasonably good quality of life throughout the time that they are receiving the drug as they do not need to suffer the rigours of chemotherapy.

"At this point, looking at averages, we have moved the survival rate from three months to around one year. This means that while there are patients who only survive a few months, there are also some who survive for a few years. It is currently still beyond the capability of modern medicine to cure. The best that can be done is to control the cancer or its symptoms and improve the quality of life for the patient," shared Dr Ibrahim.

Like many targeted therapies, EGFR-TKIs come at a price. But it is worth noting that this oral treatment brings hope to advanced NSCLC patients. Survival rates have improved, and equally important, the quality of life for patients has also improved.

Both Dr Ibrahim and Dr Hew noted that this is a fantastic development, and sees this as a delivery on the promise of targeted therapy and advanced medicine.

"Most patients with EGFR mutation who received EGFR-TKIs have had some benefit. It is effective in controlling the cancer from progression. By testing for EGFR mutation, doctors will be able to make a more informed treatment choice for the patients.

"Conversely, if a patient is EGFR mutation negative, then EGFR-TKIs are not likely to demonstrate any efficacy. This spares the patients from wasting time and resources for taking a drug that is not going to help them."


The Star Online

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