Khamis, 27 September 2012

The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

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The Star Online: World Updates

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British, Chinese among 19 dead as Nepal plane crashes on takeoff

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 08:59 PM PDT

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A small plane crashed shortly after takeoff from the Nepali capital of Kathmandu on Friday, killing 19 people, including seven British and five Chinese passengers, an airline official said.

The twin-engine propeller-driven Dornier aircraft, owned by private firm Sita Air, had taken off from Kathmandu for Lukla in the Mount Everest region when it crashed in a field near Kathmandu airport, police said.

A Nepalese police officer stands in front of the wreckage of a Dornier aircraft, owned by private firm Sita Air, at the crash site in Kathmandu September 28, 2012. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A Nepalese police officer stands in front of the wreckage of a Dornier aircraft, owned by private firm Sita Air, at the crash site in Kathmandu September 28, 2012. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

The weather was clear at the time and the cause of the crash was not immediately known. Four Nepali passengers and three Nepali crew were among the dead.

Autumn is the peak tourism season in Nepal which has eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest. At least 11 people were killed in an avalanche in northwest Nepal on Sunday.

In May, 15 people were killed when their plane crashed into a hill in northwest Nepal.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Several killed after gunman opens fire in Minneapolis

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 08:50 PM PDT

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Several people including a gunman who opened fire at a sign company on a tree-lined residential Minneapolis street were killed on Thursday and at least four were wounded, police and hospital officials said.

Minneapolis Police spokesman Steve McCarty said "several" people were dead at Accent Signage Systems, including the gunman. He did not give the number of people killed. He declined to identify those killed or wounded, and said he did not know what connection the shooter may have had with the business, if any.

Three men were listed in critical condition at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and another person had injuries not thought to be life threatening, a spokeswoman said.

A representative from Accent Signage Systems could not be reached for comment.

Police cordoned off the area around the company and held residents back for at least a couple of hours.

Governor Mark Dayton said in a statement: "I deplore this senseless violence. There is no place for it anywhere in Minnesota. I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the innocent people killed or wounded."

Mayor R. T. Rybak said in remarks provided by spokesman John Stiles: "A great business in a great neighbourhood was the scene of a terrible tragedy."

Stiles described the Bryn Mawr neighbourhood as "a tight-knit and a safe neighbourhood."

The Minneapolis shooting comes a month after a work-related shooting near the Empire State Building in New York, which killed two people and wounded nine. This followed an July mass shooting in a crowded cinema in Colorado and an attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in August, which rekindled debate about gun control in the United States.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Netanyahu draws "red line" on Iran's nuclear program

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 08:22 PM PDT

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew a "red line" for Iran's nuclear program on Thursday despite a U.S. refusal to set an ultimatum, saying Tehran will be on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon in less than a year.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points to a red line he drew on the graphic of a bomb used to represent Iran's nuclear program as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points to a red line he drew on the graphic of a bomb used to represent Iran's nuclear program as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

By citing a time frame in an address to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu - who has clashed with President Barack Obama over the urgency of military action against Iran - appeared to suggest no Israeli attack was imminent before the November 6 U.S. presidential election.

Holding up a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb with a fuse, Netanyahu literally drew a red line just below a label reading "final stage" to a bomb, in which Iran was 90 percent along the path to having sufficient weapons-grade material.

Experts put that at the point that Iran has amassed enough uranium, purified to a level of 20 percent, that could quickly be enriched further and be used to produce an atomic bomb.

Netanyahu told the United Nations he believes that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down in a crisis that has sent jitters across the region and through financial markets.

"And this will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether," said the Israeli leader, who later met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for 75 minutes.

Netanyahu's remarks were the closest he or any top Israeli official has come to publicly laying out precisely which Iranian actions could trigger an Israeli military strike on Tehran's nuclear infrastructure.

But by referring to a spring or summer 2013 time frame for Iran to complete the next stage of uranium enrichment, the Israeli leader also seemed to dispel, at least for now, fears that Israel might strike Iran before the U.S. presidential election, 40 days away.

Iran's U.N. mission, responding to Netanyahu's speech, accused him of making "baseless and absurd allegations" and said the Islamic Republic "reserves its full right to retaliate with full force against any attack."

Iran called Netanyahu's visual tool "an unfounded and imaginary graph ... used to justify a threat against a founding Member of the United Nations."

Netanyahu's remarks also seemed to deliver a two-part message to the Obama White House - along with Iran's leaders, his most important audience - signalling that the hawkish prime minister wanted an end to the all-too-public war of words with Washington over Iran's suspected nuclear ambitions.

But they also showed he was not backing down from his insistence that harsher warnings must be delivered to Tehran.

A senior State Department official, making no mention of Netanyahu's ultimatum, said the Israeli leader and Clinton reaffirmed "that the United States and Israel share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."

White House spokesman Jay Carney said he expected Obama to have a follow-up phone call with Netanyahu, probably on Friday.


In his speech, Netanyahu never explicitly said that if Iran crossed his red line, Israel would launch attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities, but he did seem to imply such a threat.

"At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs. That's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear program," Netanyahu said.

Iran, Netanyahu said, was well into what he defined as the second stage of enrichment - 20 percent purification - and predicted it would complete that stage by "next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates."

According to an August report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has stockpiled 91.4 kg (201.5 pounds) of the 20 percent material.

Some experts say Iran would need 200 to 250 kg (440 to 550 pounds) of such material for a weapon. Other experts suggest less might do it. Iran could potentially reach that threshold soon by producing roughly 15 kg (33 pounds) a month, a rate that could be speeded up if it activates new enrichment centrifuges.

According to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, around 25 kg (55.1 pounds) of uranium enriched to a 90 percent purity level would be needed for a single nuclear weapon.

In his own speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama said the United States will "do what we must" to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and that time is not unlimited for diplomacy to resolve the issue.

Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China have negotiated with Iran without success in one form or another for nearly 10 years to persuade it to halt its nuclear program in exchange for political and economic incentives.

Addressing the General Assembly on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said disagreement over Iran's nuclear program had reached "a new, crucial stage," and urged a diplomatic solution.

The six nations, whose foreign ministers met at the United Nations on Thursday, have held three rounds of talks with Iran this year without visible progress. A U.S. official voiced hope for a fourth round "in the not-too-distant future."

As if to highlight Netanyahu's concerns that tougher U.N. sanctions against Iran are unlikely due to Russian and Chinese resistance, the group failed to agree on any plan for further steps against Tehran, envoys said.

Obama set no ultimatum or clear "red line" of his own, despite public urging from Netanyahu over the past several weeks that has aggravated strains between the two leaders.


Seeking re-election, Obama has faced criticism from Republican challenger Mitt Romney that the president is being too tough with Israel and not tough enough with Iran.

"I very much appreciate the president's position, as does everyone in my country. We share the goal of stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program," Netanyahu said. "Israel is in discussions with the United States over this issue, and I am confident we can chart a path forward together," he said.

He spoke a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the General Assembly. Ahmadinejad said on Monday he did not take seriously the threat that Israel could launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

He also said Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be "eliminated.

Obama has drawn criticism from Republicans for opting not to meet Netanyahu or other foreign leaders on the sidelines of the General Assembly and focus instead on his re-election campaign.

Netanyahu has faced opposition within his cabinet and from former Israeli security chiefs to any go-it-alone attack on Iran. Opinion polls show Israelis are wary of any such strike by their military, whose capability of destroying underground Iranian facilities is limited.

Israel, believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence and has expressed frustration over the failure of diplomacy and sanctions to rein in Tehran's nuclear activity.

Iran says it is enriching uranium only for peaceful energy and medical purposes, not for nuclear bombs.

(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols, Arshad Mohammed and Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Will Dunham and Todd Eastham)

Related Stories:
Israel, U.S. can chart common path on Iran -Netanyahu

U.S. shares Israeli goal on Iran, stops short of "red line"
Q+A - What is Israel's "clear red line" on Iran?
Major powers urge Iran to take urgent action on nuclear program
U.S. official sees eventual resumption of Iran nuclear talks

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

The bigger hero

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 04:38 PM PDT

One of Cartoon Network's most popular characters, Ben 10, is a teenager now.

FOR voice actor Yuri Lowenthal, one of his job perks is that he gets to be the guy that his friends brag about. It's not hard to imagine why, though, as Lowenthal voices one of the most popular (and successful) cartoon characters of today – Ben Tennyson.

"My friends like to tell their kids that they know Benny Tennyson, the main character in Ben 10. So I do a lot of birthday calls. It makes them really happy to get a phone call from Ben on their special day and it makes mum or dad look cool (laughs)," says Lowenthal in a phone interview.

Ben 10 is an animated series about a 10-year-old boy whose life changes when he came across the Omnitrix, a watch-like device that gives him the ability to turn into different alien species. Now, which kid wouldn't want that?

Of course, with great power, comes great responsibility. So, Ben uses his newfound powers to fight evil. He's got his hands full, arresting criminals, fending off villainous aliens who want to take the Omnitrix away from him, and also fighting off bullies at school.

Despite Ben's out-of-this-world powers, Lowenthal thinks there is something in the character that viewers can relate to.

"Even though Ben is fighting aliens – which is something I hope viewers will never have to do – the show is about him learning to be responsible and the repercussions of not doing the right thing. The environment is a bit strange but there are a lot of values from Ben's journey that we can apply into our lives."

Now in its seventh year, Ben 10 is set to delight fans once more with the premiere of the all-new Ben 10: Omniverse.

The fourth series in this franchise will feature a whole new world for Ben to explore, new enemies and also, a new friend.

"In this series, Ben is now a teenager (16). He is not the most grown-up teen though, and he's still got a lot to learn. We know that most 16-year-olds are not the most in control of what they do. Grandpa Max, as usual, will always be there for him," shared Lowenthal.

Joining Ben for the ride will be his new partner, Rook. Lowenthal describes the character as a very smart, logical guy who goes by the book. He thinks viewers will have a lot of fun watching Rook and Ben clash while they are on a mission.

"Rook is the polar opposite of Ben. Rook is very well-trained but he doesn't have a lot of field experience. While Ben could be a little impulsive, sometimes, he just doesn't like playing by the rules. But Rook is really good at what he does, you know he's a good cop."

The voice actor also admits to be a little jealous of Rook. "He has a cool device that aids him in his investigations. I kind of want one!"

Other than new worlds and new villains, Lowenthal also reveals that there will be returning characters but he can't say too much about it.

"Yup, there will be past enemies coming back for a rematch with Ben. I wouldn't want to spoil things for the audience, but I can say that one of my favourite villains is coming back and I'm very excited about that."

It's evident that Lowenthal has a lot of fondness for the character he voices. He speaks of the new series with so much enthusiasm and when he talks about the title character, he makes Ben sound like a real person. It's no surprise to learn that a lot of Lowenthal's persona goes into the process of bringing the character to life.

"There is something about Ben's personality that is like me. He is young, brash and he tends to joke around a lot. But in his heart, he is very much a hero and he just wants to do the right thing. That is what I feel it takes to be a hero and that aspect helps me to play Ben with care."

Lowenthal also shares his experience of working on the "set" of Ben 10. He says it's one of the nicest places ever.

"It's true! Even those who don't need to be at recording show up anyway because it's such an exciting, enriching place to be. It's one of my favourite things about this job. I feel really lucky to be a part of this group."

Lowenthal also takes pride in knowing that his voice can make any kid's day.

"I can't introduce myself as Ben because kids don't understand the idea of a person voicing their favourite character. So I'll ask them to close their eyes and I'll say (in Ben's voice) 'it's hero time!'. The look on their faces when they hear that is magical."

Ben 10: Omniverse is set to be an exciting series and Lowenthal believes viewers are going to have a good time.

"This show has grown so much and I want to thank everyone for being with us on this journey so far. I'm thrilled for the viewers because the new episodes of Ben 10 are really really cool."

> Look out for Ben 10: Omniverse on Cartoon Network (Astro ch 616), which premieres today at 6pm.

Final frenzy

Posted: 28 Sep 2012 12:32 AM PDT

Today is your absolute last chance to win cash from Sure Can Win contest.

THEY tuned in, they matched the profile, and they won their share of RM100,000 in Red FM's Sure Can Win contest. Red FM does not want anyone to feel left out, so today, on the final day of the contest, there will be a chance to win every hour between 9am and 8pm.

So far, the profiles called out have been easy to match, but Red FM is going to make it even easier. How about "You are a student"? Yes, it's that easy!

Stay tuned to Red FM all day and call 03-7728 1049 immediately when you hear the announcers calling out your profile. Who knows? They might even call out for anyone who is simply ... a girl.

All of this month on Red FM from Monday to Friday (9am-8pm), the announcers have been calling out descriptions of ordinary folk with the profile including age, gender, location, initials, profession and zodiac sign. The first caller through matching the description simply has to answer a question about Red FM.

The winners have walked away with cash, Firefly flight tickets and Ogawa products. Everyday there was a bonus hour where the prize doubled or tripled in value. But the bonus for today is that there is a chance to win every hour and it's just way too easy to match the profile called out.

Listen on Red FM's mobile app (iPhone and Android) or watch out for the next profile to be posted on Red FM's Facebook page, Twitter and website.

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.

> 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: Business

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CIMB Research: Tenaga remains Trading Buy, TP RM7.98

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 06:47 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Equities Research is maintaining Tenaga Nasional as a Trading Buy but not an outperform due to election uncertainty.

"Our earnings estimates remain unchanged, as does our target price (RM7.98), still based on 1.3 times price-to-book value (P/BV) or 35% below to Tenaga's long-run average," it said.

CIMB Research said energy reforms, lower coal prices and strong electricity demand would catalyse the stock.

"We learnt from Tenaga on the sidelines of the 4th national energy forum that Petronas did not attend a meeting with the economic council on Sept 24.

The research house said it came to understand the meeting was set up to discuss the implementation of a stabilisation fund that would enable Tenaga to be compensated for its cost of generation while keeping end-user electricity tariffs affordable.

"We gather that the stabilisation fund was agreed to in principle and it was discussed that Petronas should bear the full cost of the stabilisation fund (RM5bil).

"Prior to the meeting, we understood that the fund would be capitalised by government agencies via a bond issue. This appears to have been put on the backburner," said CIMB Research.


Fitch Ratings cuts 2012 growth forecasts for China, India

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 06:40 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Fitch Ratings has cut its 2012 growth forecasts for China to 7.8% from 8% and India to 6% from 6.5%.

"Both regional giants face a deteriorating global growth outlook with diminished willingness or capacity to respond with domestic policy loosening, compared with 2009," it said on Friday.

Below is the statement issued by the international ratings agency.

Slower exports are weighing on China's growth, but Fitch views the slowdown as also reflecting the authorities' efforts to squeeze consumer and house-price inflation out of the system after the strong credit-led stimulus of 2009-2010.

Fitch expects slowing construction activity to knock about 0.8 percentage points (pp) off China's growth in 2012. The agency expects only marginal policy loosening unless the labour market deteriorates sharply.

Fitch does not expect a "hard landing" in China given the authorities' scope for fiscal and monetary policy flexibility if they choose to use it. The resilience of the labour market seen in current data suggests growth of 7.5%-8% may be in line with the economy's potential rate.

The weak corporate profitability poses downside risk for China's economy. This could eventually incline firms to shed labour which would in turn affect consumption, currently a resilient part of the outlook.

Real estate and construction have been a source of downside risk given the authorities' restrictive policies in the sector following its rapid growth in 2009-2011.

However, the residential real estate market has shown some signs of turning the corner in summer 2012, which leans against a negative outcome. A significant deterioration in financial stability and in the ability of the banks to transmit monetary loosening is another but more remote risk to the outlook.

India's economic outlook remains challenging. Investment rose just 0.7% yoy in Q212, with higher-frequency indicators pointing to another weak outturn in Q3. Ongoing concerns over government economic and investment policy may be weighing on business confidence.

The authorities' ability to respond with looser policy is constrained by India's high inflation, fiscal deficit and public debt.

Fitch projects India's general government deficit at 8.5% of GDP in fiscal 2012, leaving little room for fiscal easing. A number of quarters of weak investment, in turn, may be starting to affect the economy's supply capacity, pointing to a weaker growth outlook.

The authorities have announced a range of reforms in September 2012 including liberalisation of FDI in multi-brand retail which may help to restore confidence and lift investment, although the volatile political environment points to implementation risk.

The growth outlook is holding up better elsewhere in emerging Asia in part because of the growing importance of domestic demand in many regional economies.

The 0.3pp reduction in Korea's forecast for 2012 to 2.5% is modest and underpins the open, trade-driven economy's resilience, a key factor behind Fitch's upgrade of the Korean sovereign to 'AA-' in September.

Growth in Malaysia and Thailand will benefit in the short run from public-sector-led investment.

Indonesia's growth forecast is unchanged at 6%, reflecting the increasing importance of domestic demand as a driver of that country's growth, notwithstanding the importance of commodity exports.

Fitch has cut its forecast for growth in the major advanced economies by 0.2pp in 2012 (to 1%) and 0.3pp in 2013 (to 1.4%).

The agency has revised down its expectations in the euro area to a 0.5% contraction in 2012 and just 0.3% growth in 2013, while the US forecast remains unchanged at +2.2%/+2.3%.

Wall Street up as Spain moves toward reforms

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 06:33 PM PDT

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 snapped a five-day string of declines in a broad-based rally on Thursday, as Spain's plans for economic reform eased some worries about one of the euro zone's most troubled countries.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose 1 percent, its biggest percentage gain since the Federal Reserve announced its plan for a third round of stimulus on September 13.

Spain announced a detailed timetable for economic reforms for the fiscally troubled nation and a tough 2013 budget based mostly on spending cuts.

"Any information that gives some understanding about what's going to happen is good for the market. It's small news, but more certainty is good," said Giri Cherukuri, head trader at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

The EU's Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said Spain's detailed timetable for economic reforms goes beyond what the European Commission has asked of Spain. Rehn said it is an ambitious step forward.

Gold stocks ranked among the day's bigger gainers in the wake of Spain's news; the PHLX gold/silver index <.XAU> jumped 3 percent.

Adding to the rally was a last-minute push by investors to reposition portfolios ahead of the quarter's end, with the S&P 500 on track for a gain of 6.2 percent in the third quarter. Friday will be the quarter's last trading day.

"What we've seen is broadly a consolidation, but also an attempt by fund managers to position properly for the rest of the year, to be in the best sectors," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Asset Management in Boston.

The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 72.46 points, or 0.54 percent, to 13,485.97 at the close.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 13.83 points, or 0.96 percent, to finish at 1,447.15.

The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 42.90 points, or 1.39 percent, to close at 3,136.60.

Volume was below average at roughly 5.74 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the Amex, compared with the year-to-date average daily closing volume of 6.53 billion.

Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a ratio of slightly more than 3 to 1,and on the Nasdaq, about three stocks rose for every one that fell.

While the Nasdaq led Thursday's gains, it also led the market's declines earlier this week - its volatility possibly reflecting investors' nervousness about the U.S. economic outlook, analysts said.

Apple, up 2.4 percent at $681.32, gave the biggest lift to the Nasdaq. The semiconductor index gained 2.3 percent, bolstering the Nasdaq 100. Intel Corp was up 1.9 percent at $23.09.

After the bell, U.S.-listed shares of Research In Motion surged 15 percent to $8.21 after the Canadian maker of the BlackBerry reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

On the deal-making front, Tempur-Pedic International Inc agreed to buy rival mattress maker Sealy Corp for about $242 million and assume about $750 million in debt. Tempur-Pedic shares jumped 14.4 percent to $30.64, while Sealy's stock rose 2.3 percent to $2.19.

In the earnings realm, Discover Financial Services reported third-quarter earnings that beat expectations - and its shares climbed 7.3 percent to $39.71.

Stocks were rising before Spain's announcement on hopes that China would take steps to spur its slowing economy.

China has severely underestimated this year's global economic slowdown, and further cuts to Chinese interest rates or bank reserve requirements will hinge on any new deterioration in the external environment, a central bank adviser said on Thursday.

U.S. economic data was mixed. A report showed initial jobless claims dropped by 23,000 to 359,000, sharply exceeding the decline of 4,000 that had been expected.

But the final read on second-quarter gross domestic product showed growth of just 1.3 percent, weaker than an expected 1.7 percent. And August durable goods orders tumbled 13.2 percent, much more than the expected drop of 5 percent. - Reuters


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Rio 2016 official downplays stolen London files

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 05:21 PM PDT

RIO DE JANEIRO: The president of the Rio 2016 Olympic organizing committee downplayed Thursday the theft of computer files by Brazilian officials relating to the organization of the 2012 London Olympics.

"The unauthorized copying of documents belonging to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games did not result in any grave security violation or compromise any personal data," Carlos Arthur Nuzman told a press conference, reading a letter sent by LOCOG head Paul Deighton.

Ten Brazilians who had been working alongside London staff during the summer Olympics and Paralympics were fired on September 21 for downloading internal documents without authorization.

Nuzman said he did "not at all" feel responsible for the incident.

"We quickly identified what happened and consider that firing (those individuals) was the necessary punishment for what they did," he said.

In his letter, Deighton said that the incident would not affect relations with the Rio 2016 team.

"All of the documents were quickly returned and there was no impact of any sort on the close relations that we have always maintained with Rio 2016," Deighton said, according to the letter that Nuzman read.

Rio 2016 officials earlier said the theft was an "isolated" incident given that some 200 of their employees were in London for the duration of the Games.

According to reports, London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe telephoned Nuzman when he discovered that the documents had been downloaded without permission, and demanded that immediate action be taken.

Brazilian sports commentator and journalist Juca Kfouri claimed on his blog that the London files included information about the International Olympic Committee's strategic planning and security. - AFP

Ryder Cup foursomes pairings

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 05:20 PM PDT

CHICAGO, Illinois: Northern Irish duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will kick off Europe's defence of the Ryder Cup on Friday when they take on Americans Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker in the first of four foursomes.

Phil Mickelson will win a US record ninth cap when he goes out in the second tie with rookie Keegan Bradley, up against Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia who are unbeaten in four previous foursomes matches.

The third tie sees rookie Jason Dufner partner Zach Johnson against Europe's most experienced campaigner Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari of Italy.

In the morning anchor match Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker resume the winning partnership they formed two years ago against the English pair of Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

World No.1 McIlroy made his Ryder Cup debut with close friend McDowell at his side at Celtic Manor, Wales two years ago and they had one win, one loss and one half.

But since then the 23-year-old from Holywood near Belfast has shot to superstardom with eight stroke triumphs at the 2011 US Open and 2012 US PGA Championship.

Up against them will be the veteran Furyk and Snedeker, who won over 11 million dollars last weekend by winning the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Mickelson had already let slip in the pre-tournament press conferences that he would be "playing a lot" with Bradley who won the US PGA title last year in what was his first major championship.

The Donald and Garcia pairing had been considered a shoo-in as neither has ever lost a foursomes match playing together or with other partners. Garcia is back in the Ryder Cup mix after a loss of form meant he was absent from Celtic Manor.

Dufner has suddenly emerged as a force in world golf at the relatively late age of 35, while Johnson is back to the kind of form that saw him win the 2007 Masters.

Westwood at 39 is considered the rockbed of the European side especially in foursomes and fourballs where he has enjoyed great success with an assortment of playing partners.

The top draw in the morning looks sure to be the anchor match with Woods, back to No.2 in the world and quiet man Stricker taking on Ryder Cup firebrand Poulter and Rose, who has risen to No.5 in the world.

The pairings for Friday morning's opening foursomes in the 39th Ryder Cup between the United States and Europe:-

(Times are local which is GMT minus five)

0720 - Jim Furyk/Brandt Snedeker (USA) v Rory McIlroy/Graeme McDowell (Europe)

0735 - Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley (USA) v Luke Donald/Sergio Garcia (Europe)

0750 - Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson (USA) v Lee Westwood/Francesco Molinari (Europe)

0805 - Steve Stricker/Tiger Woods (USA) v Ian Poulter/Justin Rose (Europe)


United States: Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson

Europe: Nicolas Colsaerts, Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer Fourballs to follow at 1205, 1220, 1235, 1250 (pairings announced after foursomes finish) - AFP

Arif is the only Malaysian in the last eight

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 05:03 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: And now it's down to just one.

Mohd Arif Abdul Latif is the sole survivor at the Indonesian Open GP Gold badminton tournament in Palembang after all the other Malaysians were sent packing in the third round yesterday.

The 23-year-old Seremban player displayed good tactical discipline and determination to end the run of tricky China player Guo Kai, winning 21-14, 21-14 to make the quarter-finals.

This is the speedy Arif's best result of the year so far and should boost his confidence as he seeks to make his first semi-final appearance of the year when he faces fourth seed Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka today.

Dionysius, a rising talent from Indonesia, was given a scare by Project 2016 squad member Iskandar Zulkarnian Zainuddin before winning 21-12,16-21, 21-17.

Two other Malaysian youngsters – Misbun Ramdan Misbun and Goh Soon Huat – also gave fighting performances before bowing out.

The 20-year-old Ramdan made heads turn when he dominated the first game against Japanese second seed Sho Sasaki.

But his inexperience proved to be his downfall as Sasaki fought back to win 16-21, 21-15, 21-18.

Soon Huat gave a credible performance against third seed TommySugiarto but still lost 16-21, 22-20, 12-21.

Reigning world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli also endured a miserable outing as he was made to wait for a breakthrough after finding Indonesian shuttler Alamsyah Yunus too hot to handle.

In the men's doubles, the newly-formed combination of Mohd Lufti Zaim-Teo Kok Siang failed to reproduce the form they showed en route to packing off second seeds Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata on Wednesday.

The Malaysian pair won the first game against local hopefuls Hafiz Faisal-Putra Eka Rhoma before buckling under pressure to lose 21-13, 16-21, 20-22.

The only remaining women's pair from the first round, Lai Pei Jing-Marylen Ng also made a quick exit after losing to South Koreans Eom Hye-won-Jang Ye-na.


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Free Passes To Killing Them Softly

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 03:31 AM PDT

Jackie Cogan is a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that went down during a mob-protected poker game.

Catch Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, ray Liotta and Sam Shepard in this Andrew Dominik movie out in cinemas 18 October.

We have tickets to give away. Just answer the questions below and if you're one of 15 winners, we'll send you a pair of tickets to the special screening of Killing Them Softly.

Answer us this:

1. Who is the actor who plays Jackie Cogan

2. Name the director of Killing Them Softly.

Email your answers with your details (name, address, IC number and contact number) to by 5 October 2012. Title the subject KILLING THEM SOFTLY.

Rules & Regulations

1.The contest is open to all Malaysian residents residing in Malaysia only.

2.To qualify for a prize, contestants must include relevant personal details (full name, address, new IC number , contact number). Email your answers to

3.Contestants may only submit one entry each. Multiple entries will be disqualified.

4.One prize is allowed per contestant only.

5.Prizes are not exchangeable for cash and the organizer reserves the right to exchange the prize with that of a similar value without prior notice.

6.Staff of The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, sponsors and their immediate families are not allowed to participate.

7.Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained. 8.Judges will be from The Star Online.

9.For enquiries, please e-mail

10. I hereby expressly consent to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all my personal data by Star Publications (M) Berhad for the purposes of the Killing Them Softly contest.

11. The special screening of Killing Them Softly will be at Cathay Cineplex e@Curve at 9.30pm on 17 October (Wednesday).

Get ready for some action

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 03:24 AM PDT

Bryan Mills is a retired CIA agent who saved his daughter Kim from Albanian kidnappers a few years ago. Now, the father of one of the kidnappers has sworn revenge and takes Bryan and his wife hostage during their family vacation in Istanbul. Escaping barely with his life, now Bryan has to enlists his daughter to help them escape.

Thanks to 20th Century Fox, we have 40 pairs of tickets to give away to Taken 2. All you have to do is print this page and bring it along with you to our redemption table in Mid Valley. Please see details below. Please note that tickets will be given on a first come, first served basis. Each person will be given only one pair of tickets.

Redemption Details

Date: 2 October (Tuesday)

Time: 8pm until all tickets are picked up

Venue: GSC Mid Valley

Screening Details

Date: 2 October (Tuesday)

Time: 9.00pm

Venue: GSC Mid Valley

Rules & Regulations

1. This redemption is open to all eCentral fans.

2. Print out the contest page and redeem it at the venue given in this article.

3. Each page entitles you to two movie tickets only. Each person is allowed to redeem only once.

4. Tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis.

5. Queue-jumping and reserving places in line during the redemption are strictly prohibited. The organizers reserve the right to refuse tickets to anyone found doing so.

6. Tickets are not exchangeable for cash.

7. Movie ratings will strictly apply for this movie. Please refer to your ticket or your daily newspaper for ratings. The organizers reserve the right to refuse entry to the cinema hall to those not within the permitted age limit. No exceptions will be made at any time for any reason.

8. I hereby expressly consent to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all my personal data by Star Publications (M) Berhad for the purposes of the Taken 2 contest.

9. For enquiries, please e-mail

Taking action to a different height

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 12:02 AM PDT

Stallone. Willis. Schwarzenegger. Statham. Van Damme. Mention these names and the first thing that comes to mind is action heroes. What about Liam Neeson? Action star, you ask? Why not? The actor has, after all, starred in quite a number of action movies namely The A-Team, The Dark Knight Rises and Unknown. But his role as the lead in the action-packed Taken and now Taken 2 has propelled him further as a full-fledge action hero.

But he's not one to call himself an action hero, "I'm an actor first and foremost who just happens to be doing some action roles at the moment," he insists. The actor, who originally hails from Northern Ireland but who has since been given naturalisation as a United States citizen and now calls New York home, was in Seoul, Korea as part of his promotional tour for Taken 2.

"I left New York about a week or so ago and went to Paris for four days. Then I traveled to Copenhagen, Berlin, London and Moscow and now I'm here and tomorrow I fly back to New York before heading to Los Angeles," he tells me during an interview.

Neeson, who towers at six-foot-four-inches, is a very humble, gracious and shy man in reality. During the press conference earlier he's apologetic for things not even in his control – "I'm sorry I didn't get to see much of Seoul," he tells a member of the Korean press saying that he only arrived the night before and was leaving the next day. "I've seen the lobby of this grand hotel," he's quick to joke.

He is also very accommodating especially when during a photocall just before the start of the press conference. "Turn here and please pose", "Can you do a gesture?", "Okay, please step off the stage for a while", "Okay, please come back," – were a few directions from the Korean master of ceremony on duty. I had to comment to a fellow journalist "I think if this was any other star he would have left the stage and not come back."

But Neeson did come back and was immediately very thankful to the press for showing up especially with the weather the capital was having. Hurricane Sanba had just moved in as the press conference started. "Thank you for being here in this terrible, terrible weather," he says taking his seat.

After a bevy of questions during the press conference that lasted half an hour, Neeson went straight into his one-to-one interviews. He decides to finish all interviews before a short break after which he gets ready for the red carpet premiere of Taken 2.

How are you feeling? It must have been a tiring day.

I'm actually doing well. I got in yesterday. I had a good night, but I did wake up thinking "Where am I?"

You said in the press conference that you are in good health and are generally fit. How do you keep fit?

I power-walk. I try to do eight to 10 miles a day. I also have a gym in my house and I do the basic thing like push-ups and sit-ups. And I use a lot of kettle bells (weights)

You were an armature boxer in your teens. Do you still box?

I do but I use a punching bag now.

How long do you think you can sustain an action hero role?

I am in pretty good shape at the moment. I guess my body will tell me when to stop.

Tell us about this movie.

Well, I don't want to give away too much but the movie starts off with a reminder that the people my character, Bryan Mills, has killed in Taken are not just objects. They are human beings who have family who are pledging revenge. I think that's a great way to start the film, with that potential revenge that's going to play out in the current film.

Your character, Bryan, seems to be less ruthless in Taken 2 than he was in Taken. Why is that?

Bryan has soften up a little, I agree. It's because he's inwardly spiritual. He's fed up with all these things that he's done in his past life. He also has a stronger relationship with his daughter, Kim, and his ex-wife Lenore. But most importantly everything he's done is really starting to eat away at him and he's tired of it.

What has happened to Bryan since we last saw him in Taken?

I think he has been trying to develop a closer relationship with Kim. I think he's too over protective when it comes to Kim. He's also been taking these "private security jobs" to pay the bills. But he's officially retired, if you know what I mean.

It's been four years since Taken. How has this character changed you in your career path?

It has changed my career somewhat. Hollywood likes to pigeonhole its performers and I seem to have been re-pigeonholed as an action figure. Since the first Taken came out and was a success Hollywood has been sending me quite a few action scripts.

Do you consider yourself an action hero?

Oh no. I don't think I am. I'm an actor who just happens to be doing action movies. That's all.

So, we won't be seeing you in an Expendables movie anytime soon?

I think there are enough of those guys, don't you? They're all great, don't get me wrong. But I just can't see myself there. No, I don't think so.

Tell us something we don't know about Taken 2.

We shot a different ending where I allowed someone to live. It was my idea actually. We shot that but for some reason it just didn't work in the film. It just didn't sit right when it was edited. What we finally did, worked.

What did you take away from filming this movie?

On a personal level, just satisfaction. It's always satisfying when you finish a film especially a film shot in different locations and more so when you know it was very physical and there was a lot of training. The satisfaction of finishing a movie like that was just terrific.

What made you want to do this sequel?

I like the story. I thought it worked and it seemed like a worthy successor to the first one.

You didn't expect the first movie to be so successful.

No we didn't and it was a shock that it was. I hope this will be as good or better.

(Taken broke Korean box office records when it took in US$16 million dollars – a million more than the total box office receipts in the United States!)

Why do you think audiences liked Taken?

I think they identified with my character – you'd do anything to save your kids. I think Pierre Morel shot a very fast paced compact European thriller that really delivers and it's satisfying. I think Olivier Megaton has done the same with Taken 2. The movie is a good length and there's' no waste in it. It's punchy; it's got a good heart and a good emotional drive to it.

What was it like working with Megaton?

I love working with him. This is my first film with him and we're trying to find another film to do together. The French crew they had on the first film with Pierre and the French crew Olivier has on this sequel is just remarkable.

How did you prepare for this role?

There was a lot of physical preparation. I worked very closely with the stunt guys, the stunt coordinator, Alain Figlarz and my stunt double, Mark Vanselow. I tend to keep pretty fit in life but these kinds of films you have to increase it a little.

There was a lot of Parkour in Taken. What style of fighting is there in Taken 2?

Alain is ex-special forces and he has a whole medley of styles from close hand-to-hand combat which you might have seen in films like Bourne Identity which he did the fight choreography for. He employs different styles from Asian to European.

Did you use Mark, your stunt double, for your close combat scenes in the bath house, for example?

No. I do my own fighting , but I do use Mark for the big stunt stuff.

What was your toughest challenge filming in Istanbul?

It was the physical challenge because the streets were very, very narrow and when we were doing those car chases it was quite dangerous. Merchants who owned the shops you see in the movie didn't close their business. It was business as usual, so there were people crossing the streets. What you see on screen are really the merchants, they're not extras.

You must have had a small team there. How did you cope in terms of security?

There was a police presence and on occasion they would have to stop traffic but we could only be on the streets for a short period so we had to finish the shoot fast.

Did the people in Istanbul not recognise you? Weren't you mobbed?

No, not really.

Shooting under such circumstances must have gotten some of you injured.

There were some minor injuries like you have in most shoots but there was nothing major. We practice these fights everyday during the filming so that when the time came to actually shoot the fight scenes, it was second nature for us.

How hard was it filming Taken especially with the subject like human trafficking?

It was emotionally straining. I'm a dad of two boys and I can just imagine the horrors I'd feel, as would any parent, if their child is taken. I'm a goodwill ambassador for UNISEF and I've seen the reports of human trafficking and how kids are sold as sex slaves. It's heinous and the prevalence of these crimes are still very extensive. UNISEF is trying to aid some of these kids but it's still there.

Do you think we'll see more of Bryan Mills? Will Taken be a franchise like Bourne?

Yeah, I think this would be the last you'll probably see of Bryan. I don't think the audience will go for another Taken movie.

What do your sons think of your movies like Taken?

They like them. They think they're "cool" is the word they use.

Are they exploring acting at all?

No. Not really.

What's the secret of your success?

There's no secret to it. I've been blessed to have been given these parts in these films. I love to work. I love getting up in the mornings and joining the film crew. It gives me immense satisfaction.

You've starred in a whole range of films from sci-fi to drama and now action. Which is your favourite?

I like doing drama but I like action movies too.

What took you so long to do action movies?

It's just as the dice rolls. I did taken when I was about 55 years old and non of us thought it would amount to anything. I think it works. Now that I'm a bit older, you know? I mean I don't think it would have worked if I was, say 20 something. I don't think it would have the same gravitas.

What do you say to purists who think you've sold out by doing commercial movies like Taken and The A-Team? Would you do more movies like The Grey?

I like to mix my movies up. I plan to do more movies like The Grey. But these action movies, you know, they do pay the bills.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Well hopefully still alive and still making films and appearing on stage and theater which is something I love doing as well.


The Star Online: Nation

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Najib surveys final preparations for Budget 2013

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 08:06 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Thursday night spent about an hour to survey final preparations for the 2013 Budget at the Finance Ministry, here.

His arrival, accompanied by wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, was received by staff and officers of the ministry who were involved in preparing the budget.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister visited the operation's rooms, and subsequently, held a closed door meeting with senior officers of the ministry.

Also present during the meeting were second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, Deputy Ministers Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin and Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai.

Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa, Treasury secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Najib is scheduled to table the 2013 Budget in parliament at 4pm tomorrow.

In his 1Malaysia blog entry, Najib said the tabling of the 2013 Budget was made from the people and for the people because it was prepared after taking into consideration the views of the people.

It is also expected to make a big impact on the national economy, other than giving a good impact to the people, he added. - Bernama

Mayor: City folks’ attitude hampering efforts to make KL world class

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 07:07 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Government efforts to make Kuala Lumpur a world-class city has been affected by the attitude of city folks who take the law lightly.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had issued 665,708 notices for offences committed from January to August and 90% were traffic violation.

Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib said DBKL collected RM881,820 from 5,038 motorists in the form of towing and storage charges for obstructing traffic.

"We also collected RM114,487 from those who litter, issued 1,613 notices to the public for spitting and collected compound amounting RM78,600" he said at the parade to mark 43rd Enforcement Day at Tasik Titiwangsa here, Thursday.

Phesal directed the Enforcement Department to overcome the problem by educating and inculcating a culture of respecting the law among city folks.

He urged enforcement officers to practice six principles namely fast, precise, integrity, increase productivity, creativity and innovation.

"Being the largest number of staff in the frontline, you are the eyes and ears of DBKL. Problems and deficiencies must be addressed fast for the satisfaction of city folks," he added.

A total of 26 enforcement officers received various medal from DBKL for their commitment and excellence.- Bernama

Complaint lodged against Selangor DAP by ex-members over alleged abuse of power

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 06:49 AM PDT

PUTRAJAYA: Five former DAP members lodged a complaint with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) Thursday against Selangor DAP for allegedly abusing its power during its convention in 2010.

One of them, Serdang Baru DAP branch ex-member Yap Kon Min, claimed he had twice complained to the ROS but action had yet to be taken.

Yap said the first complaint was over a bankrupt member, the vice-chairman of a branch, who was allowed to vote when attending the Selangor DAP Convention on Nov 28, 2010.

He said the second issue was allowing a male member to vote on behalf of the secretary for Women's Affairs of another branch in the party.

"These clearly contravened the DAP constitution, which also shows that Selangor DAP was not respecting the law they themselves drew up.

"We had also forwarded the complaint to Selangor DAP, but until today, there has been no reply. In fact, I was sacked from the party in August last year," he told reporters after handing over the complaint at the ROS office here.

Yap alleged that the voting process at the convention was invalid because it was not done according to the stipulated protocol, rules and party constitution. - Bernama


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Equal FC on the way to Vietnam

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 06:42 AM PDT

EQUAL FC, the recently crowned champions at the Tiger Street Football Malaysia National Finals, will be defending the nation's pride as they battle against the national champions from Vietnam, China, Thailand, Singapore as well as international team from Brazil this Saturday in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, as they vie for the coveted grand prize of US$30,000 at the Tiger Street Football Grand Finals.

Returning for the second consecutive year, Tiger Street Football is an up-and-coming regional street football tournament known for its edgy and dynamic games. Organised by Tiger in partnership with ESPN STAR Sports, the event is part of Tiger's football engagement platform.

From the best football viewing events through Tiger FC and the most exciting on ground football experiences with Tiger Street Football, Tiger is committed to delivering only the best football experiences to the fans.

Through Tiger Street Football, Tiger aims to elevate the status of the game and provide a platform for talented players, aspiring footballers and anyone with a passion for the game to develop and showcase their talent, exchange pointers, and learn from some of the best players in Asia and internationally.

Formed since 2009, Equal FC are in high spirits as they train for the ultimate showdown in the international arena.

"Prior to competing at the national finals, we trained twice weekly and participated in every tournament we could in order to hone our skills to perfection," said team captain Jamaludin Alias.

"Our hard work and determination paid off as our team was selected to represent Malaysia in Singapore in late July at the Adidas Ghandi Finals. In 2010, we also represented the country at the Kia Championships in south Johannesburg," he said.

"Winning this Tiger Street Football National Finals title has given us great honour to represent the country once again."

Jamaludin stressed that it was important to have good teamwork as well as the willingness to help each other out while playing street football.

"In the world of street football, possessing skills and strategies alone are not sufficient. We must also have great understanding of our teammates' strengths and weaknesses so that we can back each other up on the pitch," he added.

Apart from that, Jamaludin also shared that the team has been training harder now that they were going to be battling it out with the other national champions at the grand finals.

"We train even more regularly now, and we have been working out at the gym to build up our stamina and fitness."

Tiger Street Football ambassador and legendary Dutch street football icon, Edgar Davids said, "Equal FC undoubtedly possesses some great talents, judging from the way they performed at the national finals. I think the team stands a good chance at the grand finals. They already have the skills, so now they have to develop themselves with lots of disciplined practice and, of course, continuing to play with passion."

Tiger marketing manager Sean Koh also gave his best wishes to the Equal FC, saying, "Based on what we have seen during the national and regional finals last month in Kuala Lumpur, Equal FC definitely has what it takes to become the first Malaysian team to clinch the title of Tiger Street Football Grand Finals Champion and we wish them all roaring success."

Adam Leow, who recently witnessed the epic battle at the National Finals at The Curve, said he and his friends had been "blown away by the fast-paced action."

"My friends and I definitely had a great time watching the games, especially being able to see Edgar Davids in person too. He's phenomenal," Leow said.

Broadcast live on ESPN STAR Sports, the highlight of the grand finals is Davids himself, who will be making special appearance on the pitch. Aside from the exhilarating street football action, the Tiger Street Football Grand Finals also features a host of exciting street-themed activities and plenty of amazing performances.

To find out more about Tiger Street Football, visit or

More sponsors for marathon

Posted: 27 Sep 2012 06:42 AM PDT

PPB Group Berhad and FFM Group have come forward to join the PJ Half Marathon at the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kelana Jaya.

PPB's wholly owned subsidiary Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) are the presenting sponsors for this year's PJ Half Marathon.

Both GSC and PJ Half Marathon will celebrate their 25th anniversary this year.

PPB will be contributing a cash sponsorship towards the run, to be distributed to selected welfare homes of the physically challenged.

Besides that, FFM Group, an 80% subsidiary to PPB, will be sponsoring about 10,000 Massimo Favorito and Duetto fun buns with various cream fillings including blueberry, coffee, chocolate and corn.

For a nourishing finish to the race, 10,000 V-Soy packet drinks will be distributed to the runners after they have completed the gruelling run.

"This is a good platform for parents and children to be active and spend time together participating in a healthy activity," said GSC chief executive officer and PPB corporate affairs senior manager Koh Mei Lee.

She added the 3km fun run was an ideal category for families and would also be enjoyable for the staff of the companies under PPB to run together during the run.

About 60 staff from PPB and 140 from GSC will be taking part in the run.


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