Khamis, 11 Oktober 2012

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio


Pang Brothers enjoy scaring audiences

Posted: 12 Oct 2012 07:21 AM PDT

Hong Kong blockbuster makers, the Pang Brothers, share their love for horror.

BLAME it on Hollywood, but October has always been known as the month of macabre movies, because Halloween supposedly makes it the scariest time of the year.

Since the Pang Brothers have been synonymous with horror in Asia, Celestial Movies is celebrating the month of horror with a collection of freaky flicks such as the multiple award-winning The Child's Eye (2010), Sleepwalker (2011) and The Detective 2 (2011).

Dubbed genre specialists, the Hong Kong-born twin brothers Oxide and Danny won international acclaim for early works like crime thriller Bangkok Dangerous (1999) and horror hit The Eye (2002) and have since made some 30 films between them.

In an e-mail interview with Oxide, we find out why the Pangs enjoy giving audiences a good scare.

But, first, why do they both like filming horror movies?

"Come to think of it, we both don't really know why. We have neither seen ghosts nor killed anyone. Maybe because of that, we try to do things we normally can't through movies."

Acknowledging that horror movies may not be everyone's cup of tea, older twin, Oxide, said: "I think horror movies are like roller coasters, only people who like them would enjoy the ride. People who like watching horror movies do so as they enjoy the scary feeling. They love to watch them with friends so that they can share the excitement and scream together.

"In contrast, those who are afraid of horror movies would never watch them, no matter how much money is spent on the production and the special effects, nor do they care how great the cast is. Basically, there is definitely a group of fans that loves horror movies, yet, the downside is there are those who won't even give it a try."

Oxide also noted that the horror genre reveals a human being's fear. "We fear being alone, we are fearful of nature's mysteries. In the world of movies, the main character usually encounters spirits when they are alone. Once, I went to an amusement park with my friends in the United States. We entered 'the haunted house' and at first I thought it was nothing special. But when I got separated from my friends inside the house, I began to feel scared. The feeling of being alone sent chills down my spine. It's like falling into another universe. So, if you're alone, you will get scared even by something as simple as walking across a dim-lit alley."

Having explored ghost stories, slasher flicks, psychological thrillers and stereoscopic horror features for different markets, Oxide opined: "The greatest difference is the culture. For example, western thrillers are mostly about devils. Voodoos and magic spells are very common in Thai thrillers while Hong Kong fare is mainly of spirit possession due to injustice. Hong Kong has fewer films about devils.

"Despite various themes and features from around the world, the key message stays the same. Horror movies emphasise the theme of good against evil but they are interpreted differently through culture."

Commenting on the oft-used plot device of karma and retribution, the 47-year-old filmmaker says most horror movies naturally employ this kind of message.

"Every story needs to have an ending and retribution would be the simplest theme that an audience can appreciate. A few years ago, I made a film called Re-cycle (2006). It's a horror movie which is related to environmental protection but the message is interpreted in a different way. Most importantly, as a director, we care about how the audience perceive our message."

Although the scary movies they made were based on real events or rumours shared by others, Oxide is quick to add that they have never encountered anything abnormal during production. However, there are certain conventions to follow when filming the horror genre.

"Let's say we need to film R-rated movies, there are ways to create scenes which can arouse the audience's feelings. As for horror movies, there are a set of rules to frighten the audience.

"Usually, horror movies rely mainly on visual and sound effects to create terrifying moments. While the methods of scaring an audience remain very much the same, we do spend a lot of time in designing 'the scare factor'. The scary moment has to be related to the story so the audience will respond to it. A good thriller is to have moments of fear which send chills down the viewer's spine even when they know that moment is about to come."

Of all the movies he has made, Oxide picked The Detective series as the one leaving the strongest impression in his portfolio.

"Every movie is memorable in a certain way. Recently, The Detective series gives a strong impression as it's the first time I produced a series of movies. This series is really important to me. I can't wait to have The Detective series box set released because this will complete my dream as a director."

When asked about his upcoming third project of The Detective trilogy, Oxide happily shared: "The Detective 3 is basically the finale of the whole story. For those who haven't watched The Detective series (2007 and 2011) before, it is about detective Tam (portrayed by Aaron Kwok) who tries to investigate the reason behind his parents' death. This time he seeks help from a Malaysian detective (Nick Cheung).

"The whole series is like a process of Tam turning into a well-established detective," explained the filmmaker who is married to Malaysian actress Lee Sinje.

Oxide also spoke of his next movie, Inferno 3D.

"I will be working with my brother on this new disaster film. The target audience for the movie will be from mainland China. It is mainly about firefighters in Guangzhou. There will be a lot of realistic firefighting scenes.

"We want to portray the victims' fear of death during a disaster. Also, as the movie is in 3D, we hope to engage the audience in the inferno scenes so they can feel the fear," he said.

Celestial Movies (Astro Ch 322) and Celestial Movies HD (Astro Ch 309) air Sleepwalker (Oct 13), The Detective 2 (Oct 20) and The Child's Eye (Oct 27) at 9.30pm.

More sporting action on HyppTV

Posted: 12 Oct 2012 07:23 AM PDT

MALAYSIA'S Internet protocol television service HyppTV has announced that the network is offering two new live sports channel for its subscribers.

HyppSports HD Channel (Ch 174) has already been available for viewing on HyppTV since Sept 15, while the Fox Football Channel (Ch 173) recently premiered on Oct 1. Both channels are available for free previews throughout this month.

Telekom Malaysia Berhad executive vice president of new media Jeremy Kung said the company is pleased to introduce its first edition of live sports-dedicated channels.

"We have been listening to our subscribers' demands for a sports channel on HyppTV. We sincerely hope that this will be the first of many more sports content offerings that HyppTV will bring to its viewers in the years to come," said Kung at the launch of the new channels in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, last weekend.

HyppSports HD Channel showcases adrenaline-fuelled American sporting action in high definition. Viewers get the chance to catch professional American football matches, professional ice hockey matches, as well as collegiate sports events. There's also the Nascar racing series to choose from.

On top of that, viewers can also add Cage Fighting Championship, TNA Wrestling and the Australian Football League (AFL) into their must-watch list.

Kung said that viewers can also enjoy exclusive European football matches live in HD.

"The live football coverage is one of the hottest items on our subscribers' wish list. We are proud to announce that for the first time on Malaysian pay-TV, our local viewers are able to watch up to four simultaneous UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League live matches," he said.

And there is more action thanks to the all-new Fox Football Channel. HyppTV is the first pay-TV network to launch the Fox Football Channel in this region.

The channel features exhilarating footbal action from the Spain La Liga BBVA, the Netherlands Eredevesie, the Russian Premier League and even Argentina's Primera Division.

English Premier League football fans are not left out as the channel will also feature exclusive programmes from ChelseaTV and current reigning champions Manchester City's CityTV.

ESPN Star Sports executive vice president and head of sales (South-East Asia) Adam Zecha said that they are delighted to bring in the best for Malaysian football fans.

"We look forward to broadcasting more than 500 matches from the 2012-2013 season on Fox Football Channel, and provide comprehensive coverage with compelling support programming and news updates around the games," he said.

Channels are available for subscription at RM15 per channel or bundled at a price of RM25 per month.

HyppTV is powered by UniFi and is available to viewers through its VIP package, an offering that combines the triple-play feature of voice, video and data. TM UniFi is currently being offered via three residential packages priced at RM149 per month (VIP5), RM199 per month (VIP10) and RM 249 per month (VIP20).

For more info, log on to tm.com.my/hypptv.

Shop, exercise with Linora on Red Hub

Posted: 12 Oct 2012 07:25 AM PDT

Happy shopping and exercising with Linora on her show.

THE Red Hub (Monday to Friday, 1pm-4pm) on Red FM is your hub of activity to keep you buzzed, to give you that kick right out of that after-lunch slump.

Linora (pic) serves up dessert in the form of the latest information on a range of topics covering fitness tips to where to score the latest deals. The lovely host of The Red Hub keeps listeners entertained and in the know in The Red Steal and The Red Bootcamp segments.

The Red Steal provides you the latest and greatest bargains around the country and cyberspace. Linora explores far and wide to keep you informed on the hottest dining spots and the best deals.

The Red Bootcamp, on the other hand, gives tips on how to look and feel great. As with all well-rounded individuals, Linora prides herself on keeping on top of her game by having a healthy and fit body. So join her as she shares the latest findings on health and fitness.

Along with insightful facts, Linora offers giveaways and prizes to give listeners a chance to try out what have been reviewed on the show. From running with Linora at the PJ Half Marathon to learning how to scuba dive at Pulau Tioman and indulging in kimchi in Seoul, South Korea, you can enjoy them with the bubbly host.

All next week, from Oct 15 to 19, there will be a The Body Shop set worth more than RM250 to be won daily. In conjunction with the relaunch of the White Musk range, The Body Shop is working with Red FM to give listeners a chance to experience the products.

On Friday, Linora will be joined by The Body Shop Malaysia's managing director Datin Mina Cheah-Foong, who will share what makes this range different from the previous one and also share the key points that make The Body Shop standout from the rest of the beauty brands available in the market.

One of Linora's favourite taglines is "sharing is caring", so should you know of any deal happening at your favourite branded stores, update her at hub@red.fm or tweet her at twitter.com/linoralow with the hashtag #redsteal.

Tune in to The Red Hub and be like Linora, share with your friends details of the show.

For more information, log on to red.fm. Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page on facebook.com/redfm.my and follow it 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.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates


Biden comes out swinging at debate, clashes with Ryan

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 07:48 PM PDT

DANVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and rival Republican Paul Ryan battled fiercely over foreign policy and the economy in a lively debate on Thursday, with Biden aggressively defending the administration's policies and dismissing Ryan's criticism.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) listens as Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan speaks during the U.S. vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky, October 11, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) listens as Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan speaks during the U.S. vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky, October 11, 2012. REUTERS/John Gress

Seeking to win back the momentum for the Democrats' campaign after a poor debate performance by President Barack Obama last week, Biden frequently went on the attack.

"With all due respect, that is a bunch of malarkey," Biden said when Ryan accused the White House of projecting an image of American weakness to the world.

But Wisconsin congressman Ryan, almost 30 years younger than his vastly experienced opponent, held his own in a series of testy exchanges.

The Republican joked that the gaffe-prone Biden should understand that "sometimes the words don't always come out the right way."

Biden took the offensive early, providing the emotion and passion that Obama was criticized for lacking in last week's debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Ryan stood his ground, and the vice presidential candidates for the November 6 election frequently interrupted each other and talked at the same time.

In body language that might not go down well with undecided voters, Biden smiled and laughed sarcastically at points during the 90-minute debate in an apparent effort to dismiss Ryan comments.

Ryan said Americans were seeing the "unravelling" of Obama's foreign policy, and Biden attacked Romney as "not presidential" for holding a news conference on Libya just after a U.S. diplomatic compound was attacked and the ambassador killed.

Democrats were counting on a forceful performance from Biden to reclaim the momentum in the race for the White House after Obama's poor showing led to Romney taking the lead in polls with less than four weeks before the November 6 election.

"Mr. Vice President, I know you're under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground, but I think people would be better served if we don't keep interrupting each other," Ryan said at one point.

"Well, don't take all the four minutes then," Biden responded. He later added: "I don't know what world this guy's living in."

Ryan said the Obama administration had given confusing information about the killing last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

"It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack," the Wisconsin congressman said.

Biden vowed the administration would find the perpetrators of the attack and rectify mistakes in security at the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

HEAVY CONFLICT

The two candidates sat across from each other at a table but the proximity did not lessen the conflict, as they aggressively went after each other.

Ryan defended Romney's secretly recorded video condemning the "47 percent" of the electorate that he said was dependent on government and considered themselves victims, calling it a mistake.

The 42-year-old Ryan, a seven-term congressman and chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, is popular with conservatives for a budget plan that would slash government spending and creating a "voucher" system for the popular Medicare healthcare program for seniors. Democrats say it would leave some retirees paying more of their medical costs.

"We will not be part of any voucher plan, or the privatization of Social Security," Biden said.

Biden, 69, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees, clearly was ready to point out the lack of international experience on the Romney-Ryan ticket.

Obama set an aggressive tone before the Biden-Ryan debate, accusing Romney of shifting toward the political centre despite touting conservative credentials during the long Republican nomination contest.

But he also has a reputation for gaffes, including a recent remark that the middle class has been "buried for the last four years" - almost the span of Obama's presidency - by a bad economy.

(Editing by Alistair Bell and Christopher Wilson)


Related Stories:
Factbox - Key quotes from U.S. vice presidential debate

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Biden and Ryan clash sharply on foreign policy, economy in debate

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 07:09 PM PDT

DANVILLE, Kentucky (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden and rival Republican Paul Ryan clashed sharply over foreign policy in a high-stakes debate on Thursday, with Biden aggressively defending the Obama administration's policies and dismissing Ryan's criticism as "malarkey."

A poster advertising the vice presidential debate sits in the window of a political-themed shop on a street in Danville, Kentucky October 11, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

A poster advertising the vice presidential debate sits in the window of a political-themed shop on a street in Danville, Kentucky October 11, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Biden took the offensive early, providing the emotion and passion that President Barack Obama was criticized for lacking in last week's debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Ryan accused the Obama administration of projecting an image of American weakness to the world.

"With all due respect, that is a bunch of malarkey," Biden retorted, attacking Romney as "not presidential" for holding a news conference on Libya just after a U.S. diplomatic compound was attacked and the ambassador killed.

Democrats were counting on an aggressive performance from Biden to reclaim the momentum in the race for the White House after Obama's poor showing led to Romney taking the lead in polls with less than four weeks before the November 6 election.

Ryan said the Obama administration had given confusing information about the killing last month of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

"It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack," the Wisconsin congressman said.

Biden vowed the administration would find the perpetrators of the attack and rectify mistakes in security at the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

The two candidates sat across from each other at a table but the proximity did not lessen the conflict, as both candidates aggressively went after each other.

SMIRKING, INTERRUPTIONS

The atmosphere was tense.

Biden interrupted his opponent frequently and laughed at many of Ryan's answers, while the Republican smirked as Biden spoke.

Ryan defended Romney's secretly recorded video condemning the "47 percent" of the electorate that he said was dependent on government and considered themselves victims, calling it a mistake.

He said the gaffe-prone Biden should understand that "sometimes the words don't always come out the right way."

Biden smiled but shot back: "I always say what I mean."

The 42-year-old Ryan, a seven-term congressman and chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, is popular with conservatives for a budget plan that would slash government spending and creating a "voucher" system for the popular Medicare healthcare program for seniors. Democrats say it would leave some retirees paying more of their medical costs.

"We will not be part of any voucher plan, or the privatization of Social Security," Biden said.

Biden, 69, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees, clearly was ready to point out the lack of international experience on the Romney-Ryan ticket.

Obama set an aggressive tone before the Biden-Ryan debate, accusing Romney of shifting toward the political centre despite touting conservative credentials during the long Republican nomination contest.

Biden was a strong performer in the Democratic primary debates during his failed 2008 run for the White House and fared well against Republican Sarah Palin in that year's vice presidential debate.

But he also has a reputation for gaffes, including a recent remark that the middle class has been "buried for the last four years" - almost the span of Obama's presidency - by a bad economy.

(Editing by Alistair Bell and Christopher Wilson)


Related Stories:
Factbox - Key quotes from U.S. vice presidential debate

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

U.S. border agent who died likely mistook colleague for smuggler

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 06:51 PM PDT

PHOENIX (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol agent killed in an apparent friendly fire incident in Arizona may have shot and wounded a colleague after mistaking him for a drug smuggler in the dark, sparking return fire, a lawyer for the wounded agent said on Thursday.

Nicholas Ivie, 30, was killed last week while responding to a tripped ground sensor in a well-known smuggling corridor near the U.S. border with Mexico. A second agent was wounded in the incident and a third was unharmed.

The FBI has said there were strong preliminary indications that Ivie's death was the result of friendly fire in an accidental shooting in which only Border Patrol agents were involved. It has released scant details on the circumstances.

A Tucson attorney who said he was representing the wounded agent, who has not been publicly identified, said his client returned fire only after being hit first in the ankle and buttocks.

"What probably happened is that Ivie confused my client for being a drug smuggler and fired on him," the attorney, Sean Chapman, said. "My client could only see a muzzle flash because it was dark. He did not return fire until he was struck in the ankle and the flank."

Chapman, who said he did not know if the return fire was responsible for Ivie's death, also raised the possibility that there were others on the scene in addition to the border agents.

He cited "strong evidence" there were drug smugglers in the area at the time and said people were heard speaking Spanish after the shots were fired. He declined to elaborate.

Chapman said he did not expect the agent, now on leave recovering from wounds, to face disciplinary measures.

BURIAL IN UTAH

Ivie, who was buried on Thursday in Utah, was the fourth Border Patrol agent to die in violent circumstances in less than two years in Arizona. His death heightened concern about border security in a state at the forefront of the national immigration debate in a presidential election year.

George McCubbin, president of the 17,000-member National Border Patrol Council told Reuters Ivie had been approaching the area where the trip-wire was triggered from the north as two other agents approached from the south.

"At 1 or 2 in the morning the visibility is bad. You add that brush and it makes it really difficult to see," he said, adding that it was not clear if anyone else had fired at Ivie, causing him to react with deadly force.

"The bottom line is that is that this is a very unfortunate incident. It's just horrible," he said.

There was no mention of the investigation during emotional funeral and graveside services in Utah, where Ivie's brother and fellow border patrol agent, Joel Ivie, remembered him as a man dedicated to his job and family.

Ivie loved his job on the horse patrol and proudly rode a feisty mustang named Mouse, whose ears were rounded from frostbite suffered while living in the wild, Joel Ivie said.

Ivie's toddler daughters, wearing matching black and white dresses and sucking on pacifiers, stayed close to their mother, Christy, as border agents paid tribute at Ivie's grave about 55 miles south of Salt Lake City.

His youngest, 22-month-old Presley, burst into tears with the blast of a 21-gun salute and Christy Ivie clutched a folded American flag and dissolved into tears as agent Ted Stanley led a riderless Mouse behind Nicholas Ivie's casket.

(Additional reporting by Jennifer Dobner in Utah; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

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The Star Online: Business

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Europe uneasy in IMF spotlight as Tokyo meetings start

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 07:08 PM PDT

TOKYO: Greece, Spain and the euro zone's slow progress toward debt reform take centre stage at IMF meetings on Friday despite Europe's best effort to remove itself from the spotlight.

The International Monetary Fund recommended that some of Europe's debt-burdened countries take a bit more time to reduce budget deficits, arguing that moving too fast is counter-productive because it hurts the economy.

But Germany, Europe's largest creditor country and the key to any lasting fiscal reforms, pushed back against that advice and said reversing course on promised deficit reductions would only weaken credibility.

"The euro zone does not lack the financial wherewithal to stem the crisis. What it lacks is the political will," former IMF official Eswar Prasad, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, wrote in the International Herald Tribune.

While the IMF has advocated a slower approach to debt reduction, it urged swifter policy action, both in Europe and the United States, to remove economic uncertainty and help lift anaemic global economic growth.

"We expect action, courageous and cooperative action on the part of our members," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said, spelling out her expectations for the twice-yearly meetings that start on Friday.

In Europe, the IMF wants to see more progress toward promised reforms that would create a tighter fiscal and banking union. In the United States, the IMF has sounded the alarm over the "fiscal cliff" of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that take effect early next year unless Congress acts.

European officials insist they are on track to deliver reforms, and want to see closer scrutiny of the U.S. fiscal issues instead. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Washington has a window of opportunity to address the fiscal cliff after the November 6 presidential election.

Both topics will be on the agenda, along with the IMF's own internal reform efforts, which have stalled.

The Fund was supposed to have completed by the Tokyo meetings a set of voting reforms that would give fast-growing emerging markets greater say in the international lender and vault China to the No. 3 spot.

But U.S. presidential politics got in the way. The Obama administration is reluctant to seek congressional approval for additional IMF funding when the budget deficit is such a hot-button election issue. Without U.S. support, the IMF reforms lack sufficient votes to pass. - Reuters

Harrisons falls over RM91.75m duties payment concerns

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 07:06 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Harrisons Holdings (Malaysia) Bhd fell on Friday as the deadline for it to pay RM91.75mil to the Customs Department loomed.

At 9.52am, it was down six sen to Rm2.83. Turnover was 1,600 shares.

The FBM KLCI was unchanged at 1,655.47. Turnover was 141.73 million shares valued at RM85.58mil. There were 152 gainers, 120 losers and 202 counters unchanged.

On Wednesday, the company said the Customs Department rejected its unit Harrisons Trading (Sabah) Sdn Bhd's (HTSB) request for an extension of three weeks over payment for RM91.75mil.

The Customs had advised HTSB to settle the RM91.75mil on an urgent basis.

To recap, on Sept 20, the Customs Department ordered HTSB to pay RM91.75mil for duties and sales tax not paid for allegedly breaching the Customs Act 1967. HTSB was given 14 days to pay, failing which the department would propose civil and criminal action be taken against HTSB.

HTSB had then maintained its stand that it was not liable to pay the amount demanded nor had it breached any provisions of the Customs Act 1967 nor and by extension, a provision of the Anti-Money Laundering And Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001(AMLA) as alleged or at all.

CIMB, Axiata dip in early trade

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 06:54 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of CIMB and Axiata dipped in thin trade on Friday in the absence of strong domestic corporate news to attract fresh buying interest while the weaker economic data also weighed on sentiment.

At 9.36am, the FBM KLCI fell 2.39 points to 1,653.08. Turnover was 111.53 million shares valued at RM59.18mil. There were 130 gainers, 93 losers and 174 counters unchanged.

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index heading for its first advance in five days, after U.S. jobless claims fell, boosting the earnings outlook for the region's exporters, according to Bloomberg. Another news reported said the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits slid last week to the lowest level in more than four and a half years.

CIMB fell six sen to RM7.66, RHB Cap five sen to RM7.30 and Public Bank four sen to RM14.52.

Axiata fell six sen to RM6.52 but CIMB Equities Research advised investors to stay invested in Axiata, where India contributes only 6% of its target price versus 18% for SingTel.

The research house said on Friday it does not expect cash calls by SingTel and Axiata's associates Bharti and Idea from India's proposed imposition of a one-time fee for their existing 2G spectrum.

Pharmaniaga fell five sen to RM8.25 after the recent rebound following a positive analyst report.

Harrisons fell five sen to RM2.84 after the Customs Department rejected its unit's request for an extension of three weeks over payment for RM91.75mil.

Dutch Lady was the top gainer, up 80 sen to RM49.30, Apex Healthcare jumped 21 sen to RM3.52.

United Plantations rose 30 sen to RM25.30 and KL Kepong 20 sen to RM21.52 while Scientex added 15 sen to RM2.85.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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New Zealand confirms Mike Tyson visa ban

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 06:43 PM PDT

WELLINGTON: The New Zealand government on Friday blocked former heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson from entering the country for a second time in as many weeks.

A visa allowing Tyson to attend a charity event in November was cancelled earlier this month after the show's sponsor, the Life Education Trust, withdrew its support for the ex-fighter's visit.

Another charitable group, the Manukau Urban Maori Authority, then backed Tyson and lodged a second visa application. But Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson said Friday that the bid had been unsuccessful.

"This new application was not enough to get the application over the line and, as such, I have declined to grant Mr Tyson a new visa," she said in a statement.

Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison in 1992 for raping an 18-year-old woman. Under New Zealand law anyone sentenced to more than five years in jail is denied a visa, although this can be waived in certain circumstances.

Anti-sexual violence group Stop Demand hailed the decision.

"New Zealand might be a small country but today it has spoken with a loud voice, in standing against sexual violence and denigration of women," founder Denise Ritchie said.

Australia this week granted Tyson a visa but warned him he must behave while in the country on a speaking tour. - AFP

Ainil and Aretha Malaysia’s best finishers after first round

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 06:58 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: Local professional Ainil Johani and amateur Aretha Pan scored identical two-over 73s to be tied in 54th place with three others in the opening round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia yesterday.

They are the best Malaysian finishers as the other two – Jean Chua and Sarfina Vinotha – are in joint 62nd and 70th positions respectively.

The Malaysians were among the lucky ones who managed to finish their game before rain halted play at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) in the afternoon.

Ainil and Aretha are tied with England's Jodi Ewart, South Korea's Meena Lee and Australia's Angela Stanford.

A double bogey on the par-four second hole, followed by another bogey at the next one saw Ainil fall three behind early in the front nine.

But birdies on the sixth and seventh helped steady her game.

The back nine saw her carding a birdie on the 8th hole before two more bogeys – at the 11th and 14th – resulted in her finishing at two-over 73.

Aretha, who hopes to join the professional ranks soon, also had a mixed day, with two birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey at the 14th hole.

"It was a bad shot at the 14th ... I shot to the left and the ball landed in the water. That earned me a double bogey. My putting was all right ... I have to hit the fairways more," said Aretha.

"Overall, my game was good and I need to improve on some aspects tomorrow."

Jean, meanwhile, was disappointed with her game.

"It was a reasonable front nine as I had birdies on the fourth and eighth. That sort of cancelled out the bogeys on the second and sixth holes," said Jean, who is tied with American Michelle Wie and Taiwan's Cheng Ssu-chia.

"Then I double bogeyed at the ninth and fell back two strokes. The back nine was okay with just two bogeys at the 16th and 17th.

"I was nervous at the start and felt a bit of the pressure. I will continue to play my game."

For 16-year old Sarfina, tied with Mariajo Uribe of Colombia, the chance to play with the best more than makes up for finishing at the bottom of the pile.

"I'm very happy to play here. It's a chance to learn from the top stars. My game was not that good as I had trouble with the fairways and putting," she said.

Sarfina signed off the day with an 81 – with 10 bogeys and no birdies.

"Phew, there was no double bogey for me.

"That's a relief," she said.

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Aussie legend turns back the clock to share lead with Na-yeon

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 06:57 PM PDT

Australian legend Karrie Webb (pic, above) turned back the clock to share the lead with defending champion Choi Na-yeon as world No. 1 Tseng Yani made a disastrous start in a weather-disrupted first round of the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia yesterday.

Karrie, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, maintained her composure to stay bogey-free for a six-under 65 despite enduring a three-hour wait after rain halted play in the afternoon at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

The 37-year-old Karrie returned to finish the three remaining holes when play resumed at 4.30pm at the par-71 course and had another birdie on the 17th to move to the top before Na-yeon joined her.

World No. 4 Na-yeon, who won the US$1.9mil event last year, had a chance to be the outright leader but failed to convert a birdie chance on the final hole.

Na-yeon, who won the US Open this year, could only save par instead to share the lead with Webb.

Na-yeon was already five-under through 12 holes before the interruption.

Karrie and Na-yeon enjoy a one-stroke lead over Taiwanese amateur Min Lee, Mika Miyazato of Japan and Sun Young-yoo of South Korea, who are tied for second on 66.

Two other South Koreans – Han Hee-won and Park Hee-young – were one stroke back on four-under 67.

Webb won consecutive events early last year in Singapore and Phoenix for the last of her 38 LPGA Tour victories – more than anyone else.

"I played here but I was a bit tired last year and did not have a good attitude in my mindset.

"I'm in a different frame of mind this time and feeling refeshed after a two-and-half week break where I spent time to celebrate my mum's 60th birthday.

"Six birdies and no bogeys, I'm pleased with that," said Webb, who was happy to stay calm despite the long wait.

"It's always hard to stay focused after you have to sit it out for more than three hours.

"Instead of wanting to finish it off quickly without making mistakes, I was trying to hit some quality shots and that made the difference."

Na-yeon, who has six LPGA Tour career wins, was happy with her putting and pleased to have stayed bogey-free as well.

"I know this course very well that it makes you obligated to play well. My strategy was to hit the fairway well first, if I do it well, I know I will have a good chance for birdies," she said.

On the pressure of being the defending champion, she said: "I put extra pressure on myself too as a lot of people expect me to win here. But I like it ... it makes you more nervous and encourage you to play better."

Yani had three uncharacteristic double bogeys on the 11th, 12th and 15th to eventually slump to the bottom of the field with a seven-over 78.

It was certainly a far cry from the player who has been perched at the top of the world rankings since early 2011 and finished second in the tournament last year, a stroke behind Na-yeon.

American world No. 2 Stacy Lewis, who together with Yani are the only players to have won three times on the Tour this year, opened with a 70.

Fellow American Michelle Wie, who turned 23 yesterday, had a 74. She had an eagle and three birdies, but lost eight shots with a triple bogey, a double bogey and three bogeys.

There is no half-way cut in the tournament.

Related Stories:
Ainil and Aretha Malaysia's best finishers after first round
Thailand's Ariya eyes top 10 finish before turning pro
Unheralded teen Min Lee steals the show as Yani struggles
Pressel's great cause outside the course

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Daughter hopes freed dad will be home in time for her wedding

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 07:58 AM PDT

MELBOURNE: The daughter of the Malaysian who killed renowned heart transplant surgeon Victor Chang hopes her father will be home in time for her wedding on Oct 20.

A New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court dismissed an appeal on Thursday to delay the parole of Liew Chiew Seng, who shot dead Dr Chang in 1991 in Sydney in a failed extortion bid.

He could be deported to Malaysia as early as Monday.

According to the Australian Associated Press (AAP), the Liew family in Malaysia were ecstatic at the news, saying they are planning a family reunion and hope the frail 69-year-old can take up his duties as father to the bride.

"We hope he can be released as fast as possible because I'm going to get married next Saturday (Oct 20)," daughter Liew Kwei Fei told AAP from Malaysia.

"I hope he can be at my side when I get married."

Kwei Fei offered an apology to Victor Chang's family.

"We live in a shadow," she said. "We hope that Victor Chang's family can forgive us."

Liew's son, Chin Yuan, thanked "the people of Australia" upon hearing the news.

"It's time to have the complete family together again," he said.

Liew was granted parole last month with an order that he be released no later than Wednesday, but NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith applied to the NSW Supreme Court for a review.

On Wednesday, Paul Menzies, QC, counsel for the attorney-general, acknowledged that Liew suffers from Parkinson's disease, the early onset of dementia, and is considered very frail for his age.

Menzies argued that the State Parole Authority (SPA) failed to link that information to its decision but Justice Robert Beech-Jones disagreed.

"I consider that a fair reading of the authority's decision was that Mr Liew's release was justified because he was no longer any risk to the public," the judge stated in his judgment on Thursday.

Smith has yet to decide if he will launch a further appeal.

Justice Beech-Jones put a temporary stay on the order to release Liew, which expires at 5 pm on Monday.

It is expected that once Liew is released from the medical facility at Long Bay Correctional Centre, in Sydney's east, immigration officials will immediately deport him to Malaysia. - Bernama

Related Stories:
Malaysian who killed Aussie surgeon to be deported soon
NSW to challenge decision to parole Chang's killer
New South Wales govt to challenge parole for Malaysian killer of Aussie surgeon

Datuk, two others arrested for allegedly cheating developer of RM1.6mil

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 07:05 AM PDT

SHAH ALAM: A Datuk and two others have been arrested for cheating a housing developer of RM1.6mil by offering him "licences" to open 4D outlets here.

The three were operating a syndicate, which also allegedly offered to assist people in procuring "Datukships" and Approved Permits (AP) for cars.

They would charm their victims by driving luxury cars, while one of the other suspects posed as a Datuk who worked in the Prime Minister's Department.

The Selangor CID got wind of the syndicate after the 35-year-old victim, also a Datuk, lodged a police report in June.

Since then, police have identified four others who where duped by the syndicate.

Selangor CID chief Asst Comm Chong Mun Phing said the housing developer was introduced to the syndicate, as he was interested in opening number forecast outlets.

"The Datuk and his accomplice brought the victim to a Government building at Putrajaya where a bogus Datuk claiming to work in the Prime Ministers Department acknowledged the application," she told a press conference at Selangor police headquarters Thursday.

She said the victim then made seven payments amounting to RM1.6mil and was given a "licence" by the bogus Datuk.

"The syndicate advised him to wait for the other permits before setting up the outlets," she said adding that the victim, suspecting something was amiss, visited the Prime Minister's Department and was told that the permit was a fake.

ACP Chong said the man then lodged a police report on the matter and police monitored the movements of the three suspects before arresting them early this month.

"We arrested the 45-year-old Datuk and his 29-year-old bodyguard following a raid in Kuchai Lama on Oct 2," he said adding that three days later, a 52-year-old man was also arrested at his home in Shah Alam.

She said investigations revealed that the third man arrested was not a real Datuk and did not work with any Government agency.

"Investigations also led us to the recovery of various documents which the syndicate hid at two safe-boxes in Masjid Jamek and KL Sentral," she said adding that from the documents police have contacted four other people who were duped by the syndicate.

ACP Chong urged anyone who believed they were victims of the same scam to contact the Selangor police hotline at 03-2025 9999 or visit the CCID office at the Selangor police headquarters.

DPM: Immense contribution by Hopo, Hakka and other clans

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 06:23 AM PDT

MIRI: Malaysia acknowledges the pivotal role played by the Hopo and Hakka community, and other Chinese clans, in nation-building and appreciates the fact that they still contribute immensely to the country's progress.

In saying this, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin told international delegates at the World Hopo Convention hosted by Miri City that the selfless contribution and determination of the Chinese had enabled Malaysia to become a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous nation.

"As we all know, the Hopo and Hakka communities and all other races love this country that we call home.

"You have participated actively in the country's economy, education, culture and politics and contributed immensely to the country's growth and development.

"Your contribution is duly recognised and acknowledged. I believe with your selfless contribution and strong determination, Malaysia will continue to progress in peace and harmony ," he told over 1,000 Hopos from around the world.

Muhyiddin hoped that the Hopo and Hakka would use their resourcefulness and international links to help improve the investment inflows into Malaysia.

"Members of your community in Malaysia can be our ambassadors to promote the country as an attractive destination for foreign investments.

"The Hopo community can help promote and intensify tourism for Malaysia," he said.

"This convention is the right forum for the Hopo and Hakka communities from across the world to further enhance collaboration," he added.

Federation of Hopo Association Malaysia president Voon Sheo Fah, in her address, said the convention would find more ways for the Hopos to expand their worldwide trade and business links.

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Star-struck for good luck

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 04:29 AM PDT

South Korean director Choi Dong Hoon says he was fortunate to work with 10 A-list stars in The Thieves.

HANDLING the ego of one star can already be a challenge, so juggling 10 top actors from across Asia can only be a masochist's delight.

In the Korean crime caper The Thieves, writer-director Choi Dong Hoon set himself the challenge of working with, among others, South Korea's Kim Yun Seok (The Big Swindle, 2004), Lee Jung Jae (Il Mare, 2000), Gianna Jun (My Sassy Girl, 2001), Kim Soo-hyun (The Moon That Embraces The Sun, 2012) and Kim Hye Soo (Tazza: The High Rollers, 2006), Hong Kong's Simon Yam (Echoes Of The Rainbow, 2010) and Malaysia's Lee Sinje (Sleepwalker, 2011). The film is about 10 thieves who are after a priceless necklace.

Choi, 41, tells via e-mail: "Although many people think that the shoot was difficult because of all the A-list actors, it was the opposite. The experience they had allowed them to be more considerate of others. I was lucky as the director."

He is also well aware that the idea of a large group of professional thieves working together to pull off a heist might sound familiar.

"I knew that there was a possibility of the film being compared to Ocean's Eleven," acknowledges the film-maker, referring to the 2001 Hollywood movie starring a pack of stars such as George Clooney and Brad Pitt. "But The Thieves is a drama of betrayal, which makes it essentially different from Ocean's."

In fact, it was Choi himself who was the source of the "biggest problem" on set as he is not fluent in English. But ultimately, with everyone focusing on making the film together, "there were no problems regarding communications".

While women usually get short shrift in heist films, The Thieves features several strong female characters who are "both charming and dangerous".

To write convincingly from a female point of view, he would carefully observe women and "their most attractive moments". And when he could not understand something, he would talk with the actresses.

Presumably, he could also have turned to his wife Ahn Soo Hyun, 41, as she produced the film. This marks their first collaboration as director and producer, as well as the first film from their production company, Caper Film.

Choi jokes: "Maybe it was because of the fact that she was my wife that allowed me to exploit her without feeling sorry. On the other hand, she thinks she exploited me, so we had a fair deal. The important thing was that as director and producer, we were open and honest with each other."

Their production company is aptly named as Choi has made a name for himself as the king of the crime caper with films such as The Big Swindle and gambling flick Tazza: The High Rollers.

There is a universality to crime stories and he points out: "People basically have great curiosity in crimes. Whether it's on the news or just something they heard about, they need to hear more details. They don't want it to happen to themselves."

The graduate of the prestigious Korean Academy of Film Arts names the Italian noir The Sicilian Clan (1969) as his favourite crime film and gushes about "the solitude that Jean Gabin and Alain Delon emit".

Made on a budget of US$12mil (RM36mil), The Thieves has been a runaway success at home and continues his winning streak at the box office. With more than 12.3 million tickets sold since it opened in South Korea on July 25, it trails, among local releases, only Bong Joon Ho's creature-feature thriller The Host (2006), which had more than 13 million admissions.

There is a simple reason for the film's success. As Choi puts it: "It's because it's fun. The happiest moment for me was when I heard people say that the characters in the film remain inside their heads long after they return home."

A sequel seems likely but there is just one tiny problem. He says: "I don't know where and what to steal next. But many people are introducing potential targets to me. Guess everyone is becoming a thief." – The Straits Times Singapore/Asia News Network

The Thieves opens in Malaysian cinemas today.

Indian acting legend Bachchan celebrates turning 70

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 01:53 AM PDT

MUMBAI: India's favourite film star Amitabh Bachchan turned 70 on Thursday, marking his birthday with a lavish celebrity party and drawing hundreds of fans to cheer their hero outside his home.

Bachchan, the elder statesman of Bollywood, hit the red carpet with his family on Wednesday night for celebrations in the entertainment capital Mumbai, where he was joined by a star-studded list of 800 guests.

Outside his residence in the city, fans gathered on Thursday to present flowers and chant "Long Live Amitabh!" but the birthday boy struck a modest note.

"Birthdays are special for all... mine is no different... but (it) would never be the same without your love and affection," he said to his more than 3.5 million Twitter followers.

Among the film, business and political bigwigs at the party was fellow acting superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who tweeted that he had "too much fun" dancing with Bachchan and his wife Jaya, who organised the bash.

On Thursday Bachchan was due to open a mobile diabetes van at a Mumbai hospital.

Known universally as "The Big B", Bachchan made his name as the "angry young man" of Hindi cinema. He starred in more than 150 films including the 1970s hits "Sholay" (Embers), "Deewaar" (The Wall) and "Don".

Still acting in several films a year, he was voted "actor of the millennium" in a BBC online poll in 1999 and became the first Indian actor to gain a lookalike at London's Madame Tussauds waxworks museum.

"I just feel that so long as I have life and I have breath inside me, I should continue to work," he told the DNA newspaper in an interview marking his birthday.

Bachchan's legions of admirers monitor his health closely: he was discharged from a Mumbai hospital late in February after undergoing surgery twice for an abdominal problem.

He also nearly died following an accident on the set of the 1982 film "Coolie" where he ruptured his spleen during a fight scene.

Fans at the time prayed for his recovery, holding vigils outside his hospital and making offerings at temples and mosques.

The veteran actor is a ubiquitous figure in Indian life, hosting the local version of quiz show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?", supporting charity causes such as protecting tigers, and featuring in countless advertisements.

He is set to make his Hollywood debut with a fleeting appearance in the new adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel "The Great Gatsby", starring Leonardo DiCaprio and due for release next year. - AFP

Hearttrob Suriya plays conjoined twins in Maatraan

Posted: 10 Oct 2012 05:10 PM PDT

WHEN it comes to big names in the Tamil film industry, it is safe to say Suriya is right up there with the best of them. As one of the most bankable actors today, the handsome star has been consistently churning out hits, with practically all his films in the last decade or so raking in the big bucks.

The 37-year-old actor is also known for selecting roles that challenge him as an actor, whether it is playing a tough-as-nails cop in Kaakha Kaakha, a man with short-term memory loss in Ghajini or essaying the various stages in a person's life in Vaaranam Aayiram. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the role in his upcoming release, Maatran, appealed to him, as it gave him the unique opportunity to play conjoined twins.

Directed by K.V. Anand, the movie revolves around Vimalan and Akhilan (both played by Suriya), who, despite being born conjoined twins, have strikingly different personalities. While they have learnt to live with their physical condition, conflict arises when they meet Anjali (Kajal Aggarwal). The brothers find themselves having to deal with the fact that they each have different goals and dreams, and how they resolve this makes up the story of the film.

Speaking to the Deccan Chronicle, Suriya, previously seen in last year's 7aam Arivu, shared that one of the toughest aspects of the roles was having to do every scene twice.

"(However), the journey with Maatraan has been phenomenal. I am at a crucial stage in my career where each and every decision I make really matters.

"This is one film that I selected after utmost scrutiny, and I felt I had a winner in my hands. I was speechless when I (read) the script, it will open a new chapter in my career," said the actor, who has thus far won three Tamil Nadu State Film Awards and three Filmfare Awards South.

Anand, who has made a name for himself in the Tamil film industry with critically-acclaimed successes like Kana Kandaen, Ayan and Ko, told Indian film portal SuperGoodMovies.com that Maatraan came about almost accidentally.

"I read about conjoined twins and their way of life while on a flight. After discussing it with my assistants, I came up with a screenplay with a beautiful twist.

"I casually mentioned the story to Suriya (and then) forgot all about it. A year ago, he called me and asked to work on the script." he said.

The director went on to say the movie proved quite a challenge to make, telling IndiaGlitz.com that it was like working on two films simultaneously, since almost every scene had to be shot twice.

The movie, which will also be dubbed in Telugu as Brothers, features music and background score by Harris Jeyaraj, with songs like Theeyae Theeyae and Rettai Kathirae already becoming big hits. The film co-stars Sachin Khedekar, Vivek and Tara.

Maatraan opens in selected cinemas nationwide tomorrow.

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Rocky road ahead, but Jacinta and Steven bent on helping needy children

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 07:39 AM PDT

JACINTA Steven, 56, had never dreamed of running a welfare home for children.

But after 'inadvertently' starting one with her husband more than seven years ago, she has not looked back since.

"The thought of what life would be if my husband and I had not done this crosses my mind occasionally. A life without the children just seems so boring. This is my passion and I cannot imagine myself doing anything else," she said, adding that there was always something new happening in the house every day.

The Lighthouse Children Welfare Home Association Kuala Lumpur and Selangor's official story started in 2005 but Jacinta and her husband, Steven Silvaraju, 59, had been helping out children from troubled homes way before that.

It started off when their church recommended a few children to their care. As they were deciding on the matter, they asked their children for their input.

"We asked if it was all right with them to share their home and parents with some less fortunate children. They said yes and that gave us the encouragement we needed to accept the children," she said.

Jacinta said currently they have 35 children between the age of three to 17 years old living with them.

"They are from abusive or impoverished homes. Many come with their own baggage and harbour feelings of rejection. The first two to three weeks were the hardest as they were getting used to us and likewise," she said.

Some of the children have never been to school and in some cases, they have not even been taught how to properly use a toilet.

However, along with help from family members and a few full-time staff, they learnt how to live normal lives.

"The most important thing they will learn here is how to function as a family. Here, we encourage the children to think of us as a big family. When they grow up and start families of their own, they will not be lost and end up starting another broken home," she said.

Education is also very important within the household with most of the children going to school close to the home.

Some however, are home-schooled, as they are unable to cope at an ordinary school.

"These children are those who have education levels much lower than others their age. Putting them directly into a classroom would not be beneficial to them so we arrange home-schooling for them under an American programme," Jacinta said.

She said that those who come are encouraged to stay on until they are able to lead stable lives of their own.

"For instance, we had two children who grew up here, went to work in Singapore and became successful. They then returned to take their four younger siblings, who were still living here, and their mother under their care," she said.

The home requires between RM20,000 and RM25,000 a month to operate which can go up to RM30,000 during December and January when they need to purchase new schooling necessities.

"Sometimes, we incur unusual expenses, for instance when some of the children contracted chicken pox, recently. As it is a contagious disease, the children caught it in batches and it lasted for four months. We had high medical bills during that time," Jacinta said.

Lately, a dark pall has descended upon the home as they are facing eviction by the end of the year due to mounting complaints against them by neighbours.

"We have been very careful so far to make sure whatever we do does not inconvenience others. When my daughter had her wedding here within the house compound, we ended our celebrations by 10pm even though it was allowed to go on until later. Any visits, even by the children's parents, are done by appointment and they are able to park their cars inside," she said.

Jacinta hoped the authorities could help them find a place within the same area to move to.

"The children are settled in the schools here. Many are doing very well and scoring straight As in their exams. We do not want to uproot them if necessary," Jacinta explained.

For those who want to lend a helping hand, visit lighthousewelfare.org or call 016-310 8518 (Steven) or 016-314 1789 (Jacinta).

True gastronomic appreciation rooted in sound cooking know-how

Posted: 11 Oct 2012 05:43 AM PDT

IN CONJUNCTION with Malaysia's first Week of Taste, Flavours magazine is organising a series of cooking workshops to acquaint Malaysians with the art of cooking and pleasures of dining.

The Week of Taste began in France 22 years ago, and has since spread around the world.

This year marks the first official Malaysian celebration of the Week of Taste, held from Oct 15 to 21.

It is under the patronage of the Embassy of France, the Malaysian French Chamber of Commerce (MFCCI), French Foreign Trade Advisors (CCE), Alliance Fran├žaise and the Lycee Francais de Kuala Lumpur.

"We should know what we eat, and eat as well as we can afford," said KL-based French Culinary School in Asia principal Jean Michel Fraisse.

"It all starts with preparing food yourself and falling in love with it," said Fraisse, who has developed a wide range of cooking classes over the two weekends spanning the Week of Taste.

The classes will be conducted by chefs at The French Culinary School in Asia as well as the Jaya Grocer outlet in Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya.

At Jaya Grocer, the workshops will take participants to three of Europe's foremost culinary capitals — Spain, Italy and France.

Spanish chef Pedro Avila of El Rincon will be demonstrating four dishes, including a classic paella, Spanish omelette and peach custard.

Chef Alexandre Beaulieu of fine food provider Gourmandines, will revisit Italian kitchens with lessons on how to make pasta from scratch and sauces like aglio olio with grilled artichokes or mushrooms and truffle sauce, while chef Mickael Cornutrait of La Vie En Rose restaurant will take participants through the intricacies of baking baguettes and sandwich loaves, and making sweet and savoury French crepes.

Jaya Grocer will also be hosting two free cooking classes on quick and easy Asian cooking on Oct 15.

The main cooking action will take place at The French Culinary School in Asia, where Fraisse will dish out cooking techniques and fun, at the Steak and Sauces class (Oct 13, 10am-1pm), or a hearty, homely Sunday Family Roast.

The Sunday Family Roast (Oct 14, 10am) class features classic colonial offering of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, Moroccan spiced lamb, and roast chicken with a honey mustard crust, devil sauce and roasted vegetables.

Other options include pizza-making (Oct 21, 2.30pm), Italian breads (Oct 14, 2.30pm), classic soups (Oct 20, 2.30pm), and fresh pasta (Oct 21, 10am), with sauces like Carbonara, Pesto and Marinara.

One of the chef's best classes will be the special duck class (Oct 19, 2.30pm), where every part of the duck will be used to make delicious dishes — from slow-cooked rillettes to pate, tea-smoked duck and duck confit.

There will be a class that pursues the dark pleasures of chocolate (Oct 19, 10am-1pm), and also sweet and savoury French cakes (Oct 20, 10am-1pm). The organisers will reward participants — sign up for any workshop (RM200) to receive a six-month subscription to Flavours magazine and either a RM100 voucher to spend at Gourmandines (for classes at The French Culinary School in Asia) or a Jaya Grocer gourmet hamper worth RM150 (for classes at Jaya Grocer, Empire Shopping Gallery).

For the list of classes and information about the Week of Taste, visit http://professional.htcinasia.com, www.theweekoftaste.com.my and the official Facebook page for The Week of Taste Malaysia 2012.

To book a class, call 03-2078 7969, 03-2026 9188 or 012-290 5342 (Vicki) or email info@gourmandines.com.

The French Culinary School in Asia is on the 8th floor, Annexed Block, Menara IMC, No. 8, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Jaya Grocer, Empire Shopping Gallery is at Ground Floor, Jalan SS16/1, Subang Jaya, Selangor.

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