Khamis, 25 Oktober 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Chinese premier's family has massive wealth - NYT report

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 08:42 PM PDT

(Reuters) - The family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, a leader known for his humble roots and compassion for ordinary Chinese, has accumulated massive wealth during his time in power, the New York Times reported on Friday.

"A review of corporate and regulatory records indicates that the prime minister's relatives, some of whom have a knack for aggressive deal-making, including his wife, have controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion," it said.

China's Premier Wen Jiabao makes a speech during the European Union-China summit at the Egmont Palace in Brussels September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule

China's Premier Wen Jiabao makes a speech during the European Union-China summit at the Egmont Palace in Brussels September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule

The Times' websites in English and Chinese were blocked in China on Friday morning, and searches for the New York Times as well as the names of Wen's children and wife were blocked on China's main Twitter-like microblog service.

Wen's mother, siblings and children have amassed the majority of the wealth since Wen was named vice premier in 1998, the Times reported. Wen was promoted to the premiership in 2003.

Giving one example, the Times said partnerships controlled by Wen's relatives and their friends and colleagues held up to $2.2 billion in stock in Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd in 2007, the last year those stock holdings were disclosed in public documents.

Wen's 90-year-old mother had one investment in Ping An that was worth $120 million five years ago, the newspaper added.

The Times said it presented its findings to the Chinese government for comment. The Foreign Ministry declined to respond. Members of Wen's family also declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment, the Times said.

The Foreign Ministry and State Council - China's cabinet, of which Wen is nominally the head - did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

The private lives of Chinese leaders as well as their assets are kept under wraps, with personal details considered state secrets.

Still, cases against lower-level officials, often exposed by Chinese media, and reports on senior officials by western and Hong Kong news organisations, underscore the extent to which those with power profit from their standing.

Occasionally, top officials are caught and prosecuted.

In the biggest political scandal in China in decades, now-disgraced senior party leader Bo Xilai, whose wife was convicted of corruption and murder in August, has been expelled from the party and stands accused of corruption, bribery and sexual promiscuity.

Bo was expelled from China's parliament on Friday and is expected to stand trial in the near future.

The extended family of Xi Jinping, China's current vice president who is expected to be named head of China's Communist Party next month and president of the country in March, has also amassed great wealth, according to an earlier news report.

Xi's relatives have investments in companies with assets of $375 million, and an 18 percent indirect stake in a company with $1.7 billion in assets, Bloomberg news reported in June.

Bloomberg's website has been blocked in China since that report was published, underscoring the sensitivity of the Party and government towards such revelations about top leaders.

In the case of Wen and his relatives, the names of family members "have been hidden behind layers of partnerships and investment vehicles involving friends, work colleagues and business partners," the New York Times said.

It said Wen's family's holdings include a villa development project in Beijing, a tire factory in northern China, a company involved in building some of the venues for Beijing's 2008 Olympics including the "Bird's Nest" main stadium, and Ping An Insurance, one of the world's largest financial services companies.

Wen's younger brother has a company that was awarded more than $30 million in government contracts and subsidies for waste water treatment and medical waste disposal in some of China's biggest cities, and controls $200 million in assets in a number of companies, the Times said, basing its estimate on government records.

The Chinese public has a fondness for Wen, who is often referred to as "Grandpa Wen" in the media, for his common touch with ordinary Chinese, and his penchant for rushing to console victims of disasters, such as earthquakes and major accidents.

(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones and Sabrina Mao in BEIJING; Editing by Michael Urquhart and Dean Yates)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Obama votes, picks up Powell endorsement amid swing state push

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 08:39 PM PDT

CHICAGO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama won the endorsement of retired General Colin Powell, a moderate Republican, on Thursday as he and Republican rival Mitt Romney engaged in frantic campaigning in battleground states to try to turn a razor-close race their way.

U.S. President Barack Obama holds his early voting ballot receipt after casting his vote at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago, Illinois October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama holds his early voting ballot receipt after casting his vote at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago, Illinois October 25, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Hoping to encourage supporters to vote ahead of the November 6 election, Obama cast his ballot early in his home town of Chicago.

Romney portrayed himself as an agent of change during a day campaigning in Ohio with 12 days to go until the election.

There was little movement in the overall state of the race - which is essentially tied. Romney was clinging to a one percentage point lead over Obama in Thursday's Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll, up 47 percent to 46 percent for Obama.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll showed how Romney has made up ground since defeating Obama in the first of their three presidential debates on October 3. The poll had Romney up by 50 percent to 47 percent among likely voters.

Romney charged that electing Obama would return Washington to a "status-quo path," a path that "doesn't have an answer about how to get the economy going."

"The path we're on does not have new answers," said Romney, whose campaign has been centred around ways to create jobs in the sputtering economy.

Powell's endorsement was a milestone for the president in his re-election bid but since he had backed Obama four years ago, it did not have the same impact this time around.

Powell was a secretary of state during the presidency of Obama's Republican predecessor, George W. Bush. He told CBS he is sticking with Obama because the economy is improving.

"The unemployment rate is too high. People are still hurting in housing. But I see that we are starting to rise up," he said.


Showing off his own momentum, Romney appeared at a rally in Defiance, Ohio Thursday night where a campaign-estimated 12,000 people turned out to hear Romney after a concert by Big and Rich, Meat Loaf and Randy Owen of country music group Alabama.

"We need to take America back, and I need Ohio," Romney said. "And Ohio's going to set the course for the nation."

Obama has generated large crowds during a two-day, eight-state tour that is taking him to Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Ohio, California, Illinois and Virginia.

Some 8,500 people showed up for an early morning rally in Tampa, Florida on Thursday and some 15,000 came out for the president in Richmond, Virginia.

The president has sought to rev up enthusiasm and momentum in those crowds by talking about his cross-country trip.

"We are right in the middle of our 48-hour fly-around campaign extravaganza," he said to applause in Florida. "We pulled an all-nighter last night!"

The election will likely be decided in a handful of swing states where the candidates are spending just about all of their time, with none of them more important than Ohio.

The two campaigns squabbled over who has the upper hand in Ohio, where the race is close. Democrats believe they have the edge with an early voting and turn-out operation, but Republicans disagree.

"A steady upward trajectory among key voting blocs indicates a close race, but one that is unmistakably moving in Mitt Romney's direction," said Romney national political director Rich Beeson in an e-mailed memo.

The Romney campaign made clear it would have enough money to fund television advertising in the swing states by announcing his campaign had brought in more than $111 million from October 1 to October 17. The Romney campaign and its Republican allies reported having $169 million cash on hand for the final push.

(Writing by Steve Holland; Editing by Alistair Bell; and Todd Eastham)

Related Stories:
Obama is first president to vote early - after showing his photo ID

Touting momentum, Romney tries to look like a winner
No bombshells in Romney Staples testimony - court papers
Romney raises more cash than Obama in early weeks of October
Billionaire Adelson, wife give new $10 million to Romney "Super PAC"
California sues over $11 million campaign donation from Arizona group

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Wrecked ship's owners plead guilty, fined in New Zealand

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 08:03 PM PDT

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The owners of a ship which smashed into a reef off a popular New Zealand holiday spot, causing the country's worst environmental disaster in decades, pleaded guilty to causing marine pollution and were fined on Friday.

Daina Shipping, a unit of Greece's Costamare Inc., pleaded guilty to a charge of releasing harmful substances into the sea after its 47,230-tonne Liberian-flagged Rena grounded on a reef a year ago.

The bow section of the stricken container ship Rena remains above water after the stern broke off and sank about 14 nautical miles (22 km) from Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island January 11, 2012. REUTERS/Svitzer/Handout

The bow section of the stricken container ship Rena remains above water after the stern broke off and sank about 14 nautical miles (22 km) from Tauranga on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island January 11, 2012. REUTERS/Svitzer/Handout

The company was fined NZ$300,000 ($246,000), half the maximum penalty it could have paid.

"The guilty plea by the owners has led to this case being resolved in a timely fashion and that is to be welcomed," Maritime New Zealand Director Keith Manch said.

Earlier this month the company agreed to pay NZ$27.6 million ($22.6 million) to the government's costs of cleaning up the pollution and wreckage spread over coastal waters and coastline.

The 236-metre (775-foot) vessel struck a reef about 20 km (12 miles) off Tauranga, New Zealand's biggest export port, in October last year, spewing around 300 tonnes of toxic fuel oil into the ocean, killing thousands of sea birds and fouling beaches up to 100 km (60 miles) from the reef.

The ship's captain and navigation officer, both Filipino nationals, were jailed in May for seven months for operating the ship in a dangerous manner, releasing toxic substances, and altering the ship's documents.

They had admitted to taking short cuts to ensure the ship did not arrive late at Tauranga.

The ship carried more than 1,300 containers and the cargo included a variety of chemicals, in addition to food, timber, and general cargo.

The ship has broken in half. The rear section has fallen off the reef and salvage operators have been cutting up the bow section, which is still aground.

(Reporting by Gyles Beckford)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Reward for movie buff

Posted: 26 Oct 2012 02:16 AM PDT

Coming up with the right movie title can be a rewarding experience.

RED FM's What's The Movie's prize money of RM6,500 has finally been won by Muhammad Adip Sarmin.

What's The Movie is a contest that runs daily on The Red Fix (4pm to 7pm). Show hosts Terry and Azura play a clip from a movie and listeners are required to guess the movie title. If the answer is incorrect, the prize money of RM100 daily will snowball. The only tip the lively hosts offer is a list of the wrong answers on

It took 13 long weeks for Adip, a 3D artist, to come up with the right answer – Poetic Justice. Adib is ecstatic to walk away with the prize money as he and his wife did a lot of research to get the right answer.

"We are big fans of American movies so we could eliminate the latest movies as we knew the clip being played wasn't from a new release. We first worked on guessing the actor's voice. At first our guess was Will Smith so we watched his movies. Everyday we kept track of the wrong answers listed on Red FM's website, which was very helpful in our research. We noticed a lot of people kept repeating the wrong answers so we wanted to make sure we put more effort into finding the right one."

Adib and his wife are not fans of Poetic Justice as they prefer action and thriller movies, but are still happy that they won the RM6,500 prize money.

Terry and Azura have this to say: "We are very happy for Adip but we gave the prize away with mixed feelings as we were aiming for the pot of money to grow to at least RM10,000. We thought this would be possible with a movie like Poetic Justice, which is not very popular. However, we can promise listeners that the new clip is very easy to identify so have a listen and call us!"

So, if you want to be like Adib and earn yourself some cash, tune in to The Red Fix on weekdays (4pm-7pm) and join in the fun of What's The Movie.

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: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Local Danny hits bogey-free round to tie with Woods and five others

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 06:38 PM PDT

MALAYSIA'S Danny Chia turned in a near-flawless round of five-under 66 to be tied in seventh place with five others – including world No. 2 Tiger Woods – in the first round of the CIMB Classic at the Mines Resort and Golf Club.

The others include Greg Chalmers, Ricky Barnes, Joe Kruger and J.B. Holmes.

After a bogey-free start, Danny will surely fancy his chances.

Danny parred the first four holes before birdieing the fifth and sixth par-fours.

He ended the front nine with another birdie on the eighth to be three-under.

He then carded two more birdies on the back nine at the 11th and 15th holes.

"You know, when I drove past the entrance, I felt like the pressure was building up. The closer I got to the clubhouse, I felt like a rabbit was jumping inside me," said Danny.

"Fortunately, I managed to calm myself down the minute I teed off.

"I didn't try any silly shots. I just did what I had to do. I was pretty calm, didn't really try to surprise myself or make myself get excited. I holed a few good putts."

Danny is also one of only five players with a bogey-free first round. The others are leader Troy Matteson (63), Jeff Overton (64), Kevin Na (67) and Kevin Stadler (67).

Danny, who finished joint 13th last year, will be paired with Chalmers for the second round today.

Malaysia's other entry, Shaaban Hussin, ended up in 46th position after blowing up in the front nine for a three-over 74.

Shaaban found himself five-over after the front nine with bogeys in the second, third and fifth holes and a double bogey in the ninth.

An eagle in the 15th and birdies in the 11th and 16th helped limit the damage, although two successive bogeys in the 12th and 13th holes saw him finish with a three-over.

He is paired with Bangladesh's Sidikkur Rahman for the second round.

63: Troy Matteson (US); 64: Jeff Overton (US), Brian Harman (US), Robert Garrigus (US); 65: Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind), Tom Gillis (US); 66: Danny Chia (Mas), Greg Chalmers (Aus), Ricky Barnes (US), J.B. Holmes (US), Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Tiger Woods (US); 67: Kevin Stadler (US), Kevin Na (US), Pat Perez (US); 68: Ben Crane (US), Brendon de Jonge (Zim), David Lipsky (US), Martin Laird (Sco), Jason Dufner (US); 69: Kyle Stanley (US), Masanori Kobayashi (Jpn), Bob Estes (US), Sean O'Hair (US), Jimmy Walker (US), Charlie Wi (Kor), Ryan Palmer (US), Carl Pettersson (Swe), Chris Kirk (US); 70: John Huh (US), Bill Haas (US), Johnson Wagner (US), Prom Meesawat (Tha), William McGirt (US), Bo Van Pelt (US), Scott Hend (Aus), Marcus Fraser (US); 71: Noh Seung-yul (Kor), Nick Watney (US), Cameron Tringale (US), Anirban Lahiri (Ind); 72: John Senden (Aus), Thaworn Wiratchant (Tha), Trevor Immelman (Rsa); 73: Siddikur Rahman (Ban); 74: Shaaban Hussin (Mas); 75: Scott Piercy (US), Marc Leishman (Aus).


7.10am: Marc Leishman, Scott Piercy;

7.20am: Siddikur Rahman, Shaaban Hussin;

7.30am: John Senden, Thaworn Wiratchant;

7.40am: Nick Watney, Trevor Immelman;

7.50am: Cameron Tringale, Anirban Lahiri;

8.00am: Marcus Fraser, Noh Seung-yul;

8.10am: Prom Meesawat, Bo Van Pelt;

8.20am: Scott Hend, John Huh;

8.30am: Johnson Wagner, Bill Haas;

8.40am: Masanori Kobayashi, William McGirt;

8.50am: Kyle Stanley, Carl Pettersson;

9.00am: Jimmy Walker, Sean O'hair;

9.10am: Bob Estes, Charlie Wi;

9.20am: Ryan Palmer, Chris Kirk;

9.30am: David Lipsky, Jason Dufner;

9.40am: Martin Laird, Ben Crane;

9.50am: Kevin Stadler, Brendon de Jonge;

10.00am: Kevin Na, Pat Perez;

10.10am: Jbe Kruger, Tiger Woods;

10.20am: Danny Chia, Greg Chalmers;

10.30am: J. B. Holmes, Ricky Barnes;

10.40am: Tom Gillis, Gaganjeet Bhullar;

10.50am: Jeff Overton, Robert Garrigus;

11.00am: Troy Matteson, Brian Harman.

Garrigus soars on an eagle

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 06:39 PM PDT

CIMB Classic debutant Robert Garrigus posted a bogey-free 30 on the front nine before adding an eagle on the par-five 11th en route to a seven-under 64 in the opening round at the Mines Resort and Golf Club.

Greg Chalmers was the only other golfer to card a nine-hole score of 30 in first round.

Garrigus is joint second with Brian Harman and Jeff Overton – three strokes behind leader Troy Matteson.

Garrigus is looking to cap off a strong year, which has seen him posting seven top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour – including a runner-up finish at the Transitions Championship where he lost to Luke Donald in a playoff and joint second in the RBC Canadian Open.

"I've had a great year ... best of my career. It's kind of where I've felt I needed to be the past few years. I just hadn't put in the hard work ... so this year I put in the work and I'm getting the results," he said.

"I'm looking forward to the next few weeks ... just to end the season on a good note, have fun and spend some time with the family in the off‑season. That'll be nice."

Garrigus, a winner on the PGA Tour – the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Florida in 2010 – was excited with his eagle three on the 11th hole when his four iron approach from 258 yards landed three feet away from the hole.

"Gosh, that was probably one of the prettiest four irons I've ever hit in my life," he said.

"I just smoked the four iron, hit it to three feet, made eagle, then made a great par save on the next hole. I think those three holes really kept the round going, then birdied a couple coming in."

Garrigus will pair up with Overton in today's second round. They are in the second last flight of the day – ahead of Matteson and Harman.

Gaganjeet is Asia’s best in the opening round

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 03:58 PM PDT

India's Gaganjeet Bhullar fired a six-under 65 to be tied in fifth place with American Tom Gillis and earn the honour of being the best Asian Tour player in the first round of the CIMB Classic.

Bhullar, making his debut in the CIMB Classic, was pleased with opening round effort after being paired off with Robert Garrigus, who ended the day in joint second with two others.

The in-form Bhullar sank an eagle and five birdies to trail leader Troy Matteson of the US by two strokes in the US$6.1mil tournament that is sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGA Tour.

Bhullar arrived here in top form, winning twice on the Asian Tour in the past two months.

"You know, this is my first visit to the CIMB (Classic) ... I've been wanting to play in this event. It's my pleasure to be a part of the field with Tiger Woods," he said.

"We just enjoyed our 18 holes. He (Garrigus) shot a good round today and I also played well. I'm looking forward to the next three days."

Bhular made three birdies through eight holes before dropping his lone bogey of the day on the ninth.

On the inward stretch, he struck a purple patch from the 14th hole onwards – nailing two birdies before rolling in a 15-foot eagle putt on the 17th.

"Trust me, that was a killer putt. That's probably the best putt of this season. I never expected it to break so much from the right. When I first hit it, I thought I might be missing from the right. But it just died out in the hole," he said.

With fellow Asian Tour colleagues Danny Chia of Malaysia and South African Jbe Kruger also starting after shooting 66s, Bhullar is not ruling out an Asian winner at the CIMB Classic.

Americans Ben Crane and Bo Van Pelt won the first two editions.

Current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand scrambled to a 72 in a round that included four birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey.


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

World's top technology firm Samsung posts US$7.4bil profit on strong Galaxy sales

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 06:48 PM PDT

SEOUL: Samsung Electronics Co, the world's top technology firm by revenue, reported record quarterly profit of US$7.4 b i llion on Friday, with strong sales of its Galaxy range of phones masking sharply lower memory chip sales.

The South Korean firm said July-September operating profit almost doubled from a year ago to 8.12 trillion won, in line with its earlier estimate.

Samsung, reporting its results just hours after main rival Apple Inc, did not detail its third-quarter smartphone shipments, though these are estimated to have soared to 58 million. Apple said it shipped 26.9 million iPhones in July-September. It launched its latest iPhone 5 on September 21.

Profits from Samsung's mobile division more than doubled to 5.63 trillion won - more than two-thirds of the group's total - as sales of the Galaxy S III, introduced in late May, powered ahead of the iPhone 5 launch. Samsung is estimated to have shipped 18-20 million S IIIs in July-September.

Earnings from the chip division, where Samsung competes against Toshiba Corp <6502.T> and SK Hynix Inc <000660.KS>, dropped 28 percent to 1.15 trillion won as prices of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips sagged, though a recovery in NAND flash chips, widely used in mobile devices, helped offset the weakness.

The company said it expected DRAM oversupply to run on into the current quarter, but sees a tight NAND flash memory market.

Samsung's run of four straight record quarters is likely to end in December, with profit growth slowing even more next year as TV markets stagnate and growth in the high-end smartphone market eases from the recent breakneck speed. Profit growth is expected to slow to 16 percent next year from this year's forecast 73 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Samsung competes against Sony Corp <6758.T> and LG Electronics Inc <066570.KS> in televisions, and LG Display <034220.KS> in screens.

Shares in Samsung have climbed 24 percent so far this year, easily outpacing the benchmark KOSPI's <.KS11> 5 percent gain, but only half the gains made by Apple.

Report: Dirty money cost China US$3.8 trillion 2000-2011

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 06:45 PM PDT

WASHINGTON: China has lost US$3.79 trillion over the past decade in money smuggled out of the country, a massive amount that could weaken its economy and create instability, according to a new report.

And the outflow - much of it from corruption, crime or tax evasion - is accelerating. China lost $472 billion in 2011, equivalent to 8.3 percent of its gross domestic product, up from $204.7 billion in 2000, Global Financial Integrity, a research and advocacy group that campaigns to limit illegal flows, said in a report on Thursday.

"The magnitude of illicit money flowing out of China is astonishing," said GFI director Raymond Baker. "There is no other developing or emerging country that comes even close to suffering as much in illicit financial flows."

The lost funds between 2000 and 2011 significantly exceeded the amount of money flowing into China as foreign direct investment. The International Monetary Fund calculated FDI inflows at roughly $310 billion between 1998 and 2011.

Illicit capital flows rob a government of tax revenues and potential investment funds. Capital flight on this scale can be politically destabilizing by allowing the rich to get richer through tax evasion, GFI said.

China has a low level of tax collection given the size of its economy, according to the IMF. Beijing has recognized that corruption and bribery is a significant problem, an issue brought into sharp focus recently by the Bo Xilai scandal. The country has announced a major crackdown as it prepares for its once in a decade leadership transition.

GFI calculates how much money leaks out of a country unchecked by analyzing discrepancies in data filed with the IMF on import and export prices between trade partners and calculating discrepancies in a country's balance sheet.

The developing world overall lost $903 billion in illicit outflows in 2009, with China, Mexico, Russia and Saudi Arabia in that order showing the largest losses, it said.

Trade mispricing was the major method of smuggling money out of China, accounting for 86.2 percent of lost funds, the GFI report found. This scheme involves importers reporting inflated prices for goods or services purchased. The payments are transferred out and the excess amounts are deposited into overseas bank accounts.

Trade mispricing is most common for nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and electrical equipment, the report said.

The bulk of the money ends up in tax havens - on average, 52.4 percent between 2005 and 2011. Much of this money eventually makes its way back to China as foreign direct investment for a double hit to the economy.

FDI benefits from special tax breaks and subsidies, essentially setting up an elaborate form of money laundering for Chinese businesses, GFI added. - Reuters

IMF's Lagarde urges action on unfinished financial reforms

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 06:41 PM PDT

TORONTO: Unfinished financial reforms are holding back a recovery in key parts of the global economy, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Thursday.

In a speech in Toronto, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde urged world leaders to "do whatever it takes" to rebuild the world's financial system, which is still recovering from the 2007-09 financial crisis and has been further weakened by the euro zone debt crisis.

The financial crisis prompted a new order of financial regulation in every part of the financial system from over-the-counter derivatives to bank capital requirements.

But Lagarde said the global financial system was still not functioning well and there were powerful industry groups working against the implementation of the new rules.

"There are many vested interests working against change and push-back is intensifying," Lagarde told the Canadian International Council, according to prepared remarks.

"It is interesting how some banks say the new regulations will be too burdensome, but then spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying to kill them," she added.

Lagarde said progress was needed for financial institutions that are viewed as too big to fail and regulators should coordinate and align their rules.

"Most countries have committed to adopt some or all of the new regulations, and some have moved further ahead with their own national policies," she said. "The challenge now is to proceed to the end of the reform path all together." - Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Tom Cruise sues US magazine over daughter story

Posted: 24 Oct 2012 09:20 PM PDT

Troubled Hollywood actor Tom Cruise is suing the publishers of US magazine Life and Style for $50 million over a cover claiming he had abandoned his daughter Suri, his lawyer said Wednesday.

The weekly's July 30 issue splashed with the headline "Suri in tears, abandoned by her dad," over a picture of the sobbing 6-year-old, living with her mother Katie Holmes since her shock divorce announcement weeks earlier.

Cruise's lawyer Bert Fields called the magazine's publishers "sleaze peddlers," and said he filed a defamation lawsuit Wednesday in the US District Court in Los Angeles, seeking damages of $50 million.

"Tom is a caring father who dearly loves Suri. She's a vital part of his life and always will be. To say he has 'abandoned' her is a vicious lie," Fields said in a statement.

"To say it in lurid headlines with a tearful picture of Suri is reprehensible," he added.

In the lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by celebrity news website TMZ, Cruise's lawyers note that the story inside the magazine does not repeat the "abandonment" claims set out in the cover headline.

The story explains that, in the photo used on the cover, Suri was in tears after being unable to take a puppy home from a pet store, not due to being abandoned by her father.

But the full story "would not be seen by the vast majority of people who saw the cover," typically on display at supermarket check-outs, it noted.

Holmes announced on June 28 that she was filing for divorce to end her five-year marriage to Cruise, who was reportedly taken completely by surprise by the bombshell.

The couple - who wed in November 2006 after a whirlwind romance and a proposal beneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris - struck a divorce settlement less than two weeks later.

Under its terms, Suri lives in New York with her mother while Cruise gets extensive rights to visit and spend time with her.

The actor's lawyer denied that Cruise wanted to make money from the lawsuit, saying he just wants to clear his name.

"Tom doesn't go round suing people. He's not a litigious guy. But when these sleaze peddlers try to make money with disgusting lies about his relationship with his child, you bet he's going to sue," he said.

He added: "These serial defamers are foreign-owned companies with their global headquarters in Hamburg. They take money from unsuspecting Americans by selling their malicious garbage.

"Having to pay a libel judgment may slow them down. Tom will undoubtedly give the money to charity. He always has," he added. - AFP


The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Faulty runway lights cause standstill at KK airport (Updated)

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 08:56 AM PDT

KOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu International Airport here came to a standstill Thursday evening after the runway lights blacked out, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded and many local and international flights diverted to nearby airports.

Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB) officials, who declined to be named, said they were servicing the runway lights and hoped to get them back on as soon as possible.

The lights went out at about 6.20pm, resulting in many flights out being unable to take off while incoming flights were diverted to nearby airports such as Labuan.

As at midnight, the fault had yet to be rectified.

MAB officials were not able to give exact number of flights and passengers affected but confirmed.

"I have been sitting inside the plane for the last three hours, I boarded about 6.30pm and only an hour later were we told by the captain that we cannot take off because of the runway lights were faulty. Since then, we have been waiting," said a passenger bound for Kuala Lumpur in a text message to The Star.

KKIA's runway has been undergoing extension but the project has been riddled with delays and has yet to be completed.

According to officials, there were no work being carried out at the time the lights went off.

By 11.30pm, both Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia were informing their passengers that their flights were cancelled and asked them to register for new flights at both the international and low-cost terminals at the airport.

"The situation is chaotic, they are unable to explain exactly what the problem is, only saying there are technical problems at the runway. I see many vehicles going up and down the runway, they seem to be working on it," said passenger James La, who was bound for Sibu on a MAS flight.

He said MAS staff had informed them that their flight was cancelled and they were given the option of checking into the hotel or taking a taxi back to their house.

"They said they would pay for it and inform us about the next available flight out of Kota Kinabalu," he added.

Air Asia also cancelled its scheduled flights out of Kota Kinabalu and asked passengers to check in for new flights.

There was visible tension between passengers and airport staff at Terminal 2.

Some officials suspected that power supply to the runway lights might have been affected but were unable to locate the cause.

"There are many backups for the lights, but none seem to be working, looks like they cannot find the source of the problem. It may take time and they might need assistance from Kuala Lumpur," an official said.

MAB officials remained tight-lipped over the rectification works at the airport.

Forwarding agent charged with Porsche theft

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 08:14 AM PDT

Published: Thursday October 25, 2012 MYT 12:54:00 PM
Updated: Thursday October 25, 2012 MYT 11:14:14 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: A forwarding agent has been charged with stealing a RM870,000 Porsche Panamera 4 car from the Porsche Centre here two weeks ago.

Mohd Azri Mohd Kassim (pic), 31, claimed trial to the charge before magistrate Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin on Thursday.

He allegedly committed the offence at the centre in Jalan Bukit Bintang at about 9.29am on Oct 11. The car is not registered.

Mohd Azri was allowed bail at RM15,000 in one surety pending mention on Dec 3.

It was reported that a well-dressed man walked into the office of the showroom, picked up the envelope with the car key, got into the car and drove off.

Police nabbed the man who said he was paid RM30,000 to steal the car. The car was recovered in Seri Kembangan days later.

Police believed the car along with other luxury cars were destined for buyers in Thailand, Indonesia and countries in the Middle East.

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Trial closure of Sprint highway’s slow lane on Monday

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 07:47 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR: The left-most lane of the SPRINT Highway, from the Bukit Kiara junction to Jalan Maarof junction (Kuala Lumpur bound), will undergo a trial closure from 9am to 4pm on Monday.

In a statement Thursday, Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRT Corp) said the closure covering 0.8 km was to allow the company and its contractors to study the impact of the closure on traffic flow in the area.

"We're aware that this is a very busy area, but due to the limited work space available, this trial is necessary to enable us to plan for contingencies," said MRT Corp director of strategic communications, Amir Mahmood Razak. - Bernama


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Flyover flood caused by clogged drains

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 06:54 AM PDT

I WOULD like to refer to the story "Flyover users face pool hazard" in on page 6 of The Star on Oct 18 regarding the downpour on the the Subang-Kelana Link flyover.

We would like to inform the public that the Subang-Kelana Link project was completed in June 2009 and subsequently opened to traffic.

As required by the construction contract, the contractor, Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd, is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the completed project during the defect liability period of two years, including the repair and making good of any defect that may occur during that period.

Most of the remedial works required have been carried out and the few remaining works are expected to be completed by the middle of next month.

The responsibility for the maintenance of the project still remains with the contractor and it will only be completely handed over to the Public Works Department (PWD) upon completion of the said repair works.

As for the water stagnating on the bridge, initial investigations showed that the steel gratings for the drainage pipes were choked with bits of rubbish such as plastic water bottles, plastic sheets, paper, earth and sand.

According to calculations, the number of drainage pipes are sufficient but water is prevented from flowing down the pipes by the presence of these discarded materials. It has also been noted that rubbish is frequently thrown out on to the bridge deck from passing vehicles.

As an immediate measure, the contractor has removed the accumulated debris from the steel gratings at the affected areas and the stagnant water has been drained away. The contractor has also been instructed to carry out more frequent cleaning and to be more alert in view of the current rainy season.

PWD would like to request the public not to throw rubbish on to the road. PWD also wishes to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Public Relations Officer,
Corporate Communication Affairs,
Public Works Department.

Motorists caught unawares by new scheme at PJS Interchange

Posted: 25 Oct 2012 04:54 AM PDT

THE change in traffic scheme at the PJS Interchange of the NPE-LDP expressways has brought relief for local residents. However, it has caused major confusion among motorists who are unfamiliar with the new system.

The new scheme saw the PJS Interchange being turned to a two-phase system from its previous four-phase, and introduction of a new traffic management system.

The scheme implemented by New Pantai Expressway Sdn Bhd (NPESB) came into effect on Oct 21.

A source from NPESB said the objective of the system was to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion in the area, particularly during peak hours.

With the new scheme, motorists will only be able to make a right turn at the PJS Interchange, or use the slip road before the traffic lights to make a left turn.

For example, motorists coming from Puchong can only make a right turn at the PJS Interchange to head to the NPE Expressway or keep left to go to Sunway Pyramid or Subang Jaya; they cannot drive straight on to Sunway Mentari.

Motorists coming from PJS7 and Sunway Mentari are among the most affected as those from PJS7 will not be able to go straight after the traffic lights to head to Sunway Pyramid or Subang Jaya, nor will those from Sunway Mentari be able to utilise the interchange to access Kampung Lindungan or NPE Expressway.

During a check at the PJS Interchange, StarMetro observed that a number of motorists were caught unaware about the new system, which was either due to lack of awareness or insufficient signage.

PJS9 Rukun Tetangga chairman Goh Hai Thun and Bandar Sunway Residents Association (BSRA) chairman R. Manivasagan said the new traffic scheme was supported by the PJS9 Rukun Tetangga, BSRA and Zone 2 Residents Committee (JKP) as it serves as a solution to a long-standing problem.

"We have been appealing for the change in traffic scheme for the past few years.

"The junction is inefficient if it were to be retained as a four-phase system," said Goh.

"Motorists previously had to put up with long waiting time. They had to wait for at least 10 minutes just to clear the traffic lights."

Goh said there is now a smoother traffic flow at the PJS Interchange, although some residents and motorists would have to take a longer route to head to their destinations.

"However, the relevant authorities need to move the traffic lights further into the intersection to minimise the confusion, and cut the road kerbs for a smoother turn," he said.

Manivasagan said he received calls from residents who were caught unawares during the initial days of the new scheme.

"Most residents accepted my explanation when I advised them to be patient and to adjust to the change. NPESB did put up the necessary banners and signboards more than a week before implementing the new scheme," he said.

"The relevant authorities could do more to create greater awareness and smoother traffic flow at the interchange, such as deploying personnel or traffic police to direct the traffic flow."

Goh expressed concern that the local councils and planning authorities should control the rate of development in suburban areas such as Subang Jaya.

"When the development is planned, the authorities have to take the plot ratio (which is 1:4 in the Bandar Sunway vicinity) and existing infrastructure into consideration," he said.

"If the plot ratio is increased, the existing infrastructure may not be able to cope with the additional volume in traffic. Even the change in traffic scheme may not be effective."

Not all residents are supportive of the new scheme as they feel it is unfair and creates more inconvenience.

"It takes me a much longer time to get out of my home to go to Subang Jaya. It is much more of a hassle now for me to send my children to their school," said Sandra, a PJS7 resident of more than 15 years.

"This system appears to be implemented at a cost to long-time residents like us, and only benefits those using the NPE and LDP Express-ways."

While she noticed the banners, Sandra said she was unaware as to how the new traffic flow would be.

The source from NPESB said the new traffic scheme will run on a trial basis for three months, and be implemented permanently based on the trial results.

"We will be monitoring the figures on motorists and types of user complaints during this period," he said.

For enquiries, call 1300-88-1010.

Proposed alternative routes

From PJS7 to Subang Jaya

Option 1: U-turn at PJS9 Interchange > turn left to Jalan PJS 6/4 > turn right to Jalan PJS 6/2 > turn left to Old Klang Road > turn left onto LDP Expressway > turn right at PJS9 Interchange

Option 2: LDP Expressway > Uturn in front of Taylor's Lakeside Campus > turn right to Jalan Lagoon Timur (Jalan PJS 9/1) > turn left onto NPE Expressway

Option 3: Jalan PJS 7/23 > head onto NPE Expressway

Option 4: LDP Expressway > turn left to Jalan PJS 8/8 > turn left to Jalan PJS 8/9 > turn left onto NPE Expressway > U-turn at PJS9 Interchange

From Sunway Mentari to Petaling Jaya/Bangsar

Option 1: Jalan PJS 8/14 > cut through Jalan PJS 10/30 or Jalan PJS 10/34 > turn left to Jalan PJS 10/11 > turn left onto NPE Expressway

Option 2: Right turn at PJS9 Interchange > follow LDP Expressway > turn left to Jalan PJS 7/8 > turn left to Jalan PJS 7/13 > U-turn at PJS9 Interchange


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The joy of achievement in photography

Posted: 24 Oct 2012 04:57 PM PDT

PHOTOGRAPHY project Moments Of Smart Luxury Captured By Gc aims to celebrate moments of luxury around the world, and to infuse emotion into the brand.

Well-known Brazilian photographer Pino Gomes is given the artistic freedom to interpret and capture moments of "smart luxury" in his pictures. These moments reflect individual expressions of joy, emotional moments of achievement or personal success.

The project, a two-year worldwide initiative, focuses on promoting emerging creative personalities who are finding success in their respective fields. They embody the characteristics of the Gc brand: ambitious, dynamic, self-assured and proud of their success.

A Swiss-made timepiece brand, Gc combines the best of Swiss quality and precision with European design. Watches from Gc are priced from RM800 to RM15,000.

The story of Gc starts with Paul Marciano, founder of the GUESS fashion and lifestyle empire. Not surprisingly, the Gc brand values reflect Marciano's personal attitude and lifestyle. He founded Gc with the aim of creating a brand for people like himself who aspire to a sophisticated standard of living.

"My own personal luxury comes from doing what I love every day, constantly creating new things and pushing the boundary of what is possible. Watches are one of my great passions and I wanted to create a statement of luxury that would be an extension of who I am," enthused Marciano in a press release. "Gc timepieces embody the 'Smart Luxury' concept – fabulous design, excellent quality, attention to detail and all at a remarkable price point – that makes me feel good when I wear them. Gc expresses a part of me and makes a statement about my personality."

In Malaysia, fans of Gc include actor Remy Ishak, who has captured the hearts of many Malaysians through the award-winning drama Nur Kasih. These days, 30-year-old Remy, whose real name is Mohammad Zalimei Ishak, is riding high in the local movie scene. The Malacca-born thespian's latest movie is 29 Februari, touted as Malaysia's first 3D movie.

Crowned Best Film Actor at Screen Awards 2011, Remy has gone through much disappointment and rejection in his showbiz career, but never considered quitting. Instead, he has taken his acting career to a new level, thanks to local director Osman Ali who truly believed in his talent.

Remy, along with three personalities from different walks of life – designer Khoon Hooi, fashion entrepreneur Izrin Iz and musical director-composer Lee Sze Wan – are recognised by Gc through striking photographs, to be displayed in an exhibition featuring selected images from around the world.

Locally, the exhibition will be launched on Nov 8 at the ground floor of The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur. There will also be a roadshow at the same venue from Nov 9 to 11.

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Stylish snapshots from Pino Gomes

Stylish snapshots from Pino Gomes

Posted: 24 Oct 2012 04:55 PM PDT

Shutterbug Pino Gomes is passionate about his craft, and it shows in his pictures.

THE grate of a burr grinder at Artisan Roast, a cosy coffee place in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, was to become the orchestrated backdrop for photographer Pino Gomes.

The 38-year-old Brazilian was in KL recently on assignment for the Smart Luxury Moments campaign by timepiece brand Gc. The international shutterbug and father of one, whose work is currently on exhibition in nine countries, has an air of eagerness about him, like a child brimming with anticipation.

Sure enough, a request to view his portfolio sees him opening his iPad with lightning swiftness; the rich, nutty aroma of coffee mixing with the surreal visions of his mind's eye, brought to reality with a mere flick of his trigger finger. Among the pictures in his portfolio were of Gwen Lu, a top Malaysian model now based in New York.

Where Gomez is concerned, fashion is everywhere and in everything. He takes Lu as an example. Having worked in New York, Paris, Milan, Spain, Greece, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, Lu has allowed the experience gained from her travels to spur her interest in photography. With just plastic cameras and a 35mm SLR, she has documented plenty of extraordinary sights which Gomes is sure will serve as inspiration for her future projects.

In New York, where he had set up base, Gomes admits that people can be pretentious. But he reckons that at the end of the day, anyone can be nice or mean, depending on the situation.

"You will find unpleasant people everywhere you go, but I try to keep focused and don't give space to dysfunctional people. My friend, Frances Hathaway, a make-up artist, told me once that the key ingredient to succeed in New York is a kind of innocence, the type that will deliver pure work that will shine regardless of the odds," he muses.

For all those aspiring to be in the fashion industry, Gomes points out that one does not necessarily have to go to the Big Apple.

"You can be big wherever you are, if you are authentic, hardworking and talented. 'New York' could be anywhere, even in your backyard if you want. Here (New York) is just a place with a bigger window for the world ... and filled with more competition, too," says Gomes.

To deal with the competition, he has begun working with Deirdre Sullivan of JUMP Management in New York to expand his clientele spectrum, expertise and portfolio. Interestingly, Sullivan was responsible for getting manicurist Myrdith Leon McCormack to work with magazines such as Elle, Italian Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Today, McCormack has a book and is founder of her own nail colour line, M2M.

It helps a great deal if you also love your work. Earlier, over lunch, Gomes had asked some of his companions (whichever country he goes to, he has a coterie of minders who inadvertently become like family at the end of every assignment) if they truly liked what they did. Most answered that they were in it for the money.

"To be stuck in a job you hate, I think, is the most wasteful thing in life."

The jovial and exuberant Gomes, who lists popcorn and massages in his "like department", began his career at the age of 18, starting as a photographer's assistant. He then went on to taking head shots for actors and dancers, as well as fashion pictures for aspiring models.

A former theatre actor and make-up artist, Gomes landed the Gc watch project when Cindy Livingstone, the brand's CEO, came to sit for her own portraits at his studio in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2010. She then discovered just how intimately he could capture his subjects in his photographs. The conclusion of that sitting now sees Gomes travelling to snap pictures of personalities from different countries. The imagery collected will be used for art exhibitions and international advertorials, and they make up the contents for a book.

Unlike fashion shoots of yesteryear, Gomes' work is like a breath of fresh air in contrast to the "posey" shots of the past era.

"Most of the personalities admit they have never seen this side of themselves before. In the end, the secret lies in being able to capture people who do what they love and their expressions when they are doing it," he says.

He adds that the ability to capture good photographs lies not only in technical know-how, but in putting the subject at ease, like placing an animal in the most comfortable setting.

Gomes also addresses the "shake" technique which has helped to give his images an ethereal effect.

"I discovered this by accident during a fashion shoot for Vogue Brazil in 2010. I was getting bored after doing a series of perfect images and thought of experimenting with the camera. The images were very well-received so I started to apply it more and more," says Gomes.

For those eager to try it out, Gomes' rule of thumb is to have plenty of light and use a low speed. But as every shot will take place in a different environment, it all boils down to experiment.

"Fashion, art and beauty are exciting things to think about but hard to work with. Everyone has a gift in life and, despite the difficulties, you will find realisation if you are loyal to the heart. I am still learning how to deal with the business part of the business," concludes Gomes.


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