Selasa, 6 November 2012

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

High on talent

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 02:13 AM PST

Actress Kate Tsui, known for playing police roles on TV, enjoys comedies more than anything else.

WITH her honey brown tresses swept back in a pony-tail, Kate Tsui appeared in stunning form, clad in her tight-fitting rose pink bandage dress that shows off her slender legs.

The Hong Kong actress, who is the brand ambassador for Methode Swiss thermal oxygen soothing eye cream, was in Kuala Lumpur recently to officiate the product launch.

Seeing how her job keeps her on the go, Tsui admitted that she was often plagued by lack of sleep and thus felt much relieved for such a convenient eye care range to help maintain her "glamorous shining eyes".

Later, she also joined fellow TVB artistes Pierre Ngo and Sharon Chan at another press conference to promote their series airing on 8TV and Ntv7.

Tsui can now be seen playing traffic police officer Ko Lai Sam in When Lanes Merge (2010) on 8TV.

Tsui also has much to be excited about as she is nominated in three categories – My Favourite Actress In A Leading Role, My Favourite On Screen Couple With Raymond Lam and My Favourite Top 15 Drama – for her portrayal of "Drug Queen" Chan Ka Pik in Highs And Lows in the Astro On Demand Awards 2012. The event will be taking place on Dec 2 at Sunway Convention Centre, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Commenting on her tragedy-struck character Ka Pik, Tsui opined: "It's quite a breakthrough for me. Television rarely presents an opportunity for edgy characters that are so extreme.

"Since I've only got one television drama this year, I hope viewers will take notice of my efforts and vote for me. So far, I've heard lots of positive comments so I'm glad for that," Tsui said.

When asked about the recent complaint by Hong Kong TV viewers that her "one-second gang-rape scene" in Highs And Lows was too brief, Tsui responded with a smile: "I've done what the director required and the rest is technical and all about editing to suit the plot.

"The idea is to hint at what had happened, without making it too graphic. I feel that it's better to leave the rest to imagination. After all, it is a TV show and kids may be watching it.

"Moreover, the show is actually trying to convey an anti-drug message, and the character is meant to highlight all the evils that will befall those who are involved in drugs," Tsui, 33, explained.

Tsui, who was named Best New Performer at the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards for playing a rookie police constable in crime thriller Eye In The Sky (2007), has a dozen films and twice as many drama series under her belt.

The lanky actress revealed that she will once again be playing a police officer in a new TVB series that will be filmed next month.

"I'll be playing a member of the SDU (Special Duties Unit).

"It's the seventh time I am playing a police woman and I've portrayed officers from every department, so much so that I feel like I've already joined the Hong Kong police force. I'm anticipating another round of training for more action scenes," shared Tsui about the new drama series, which will star Michael Tse, Kathy Chow and Eddie Cheung.

Apart from the 30-episode Highs And Lows, the pretty lass also featured in action comedy film Buddy Cops that was released in Hong Kong last month and made an appearance in the 25-episode Muay Thai boxing drama Gloves Come Off.

Upcoming projects include a Chinese New Year comedy by Eric Tsang.

Given a choice, Tsui says she would rather star in comedies.

"I'd like to play more fun roles just like the one in Buddy Cops. Though I had to make myself look hideous, I really enjoyed it as the atmosphere on the set was so much fun.

"We were laughing all the time, and thinking up such cute ideas. If we get to have fun on the set and viewers also enjoy watching the movie, then it's a win-win situation for everyone.

"I've had my fill of tragic characters. After all, isn't Ka Pik tragic enough? How is it possible for anybody to have such a tough life? After playing such a miserable character, comedy would be nice for a change.

"I'm open to all sorts of roles, but I'd really love to have more happy roles come my way," Tsui concluded.

The real McCoy

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 02:15 AM PST

On Freddie Roach stands out for giving viewers a raw, unadulterated look at the life of a boxing trainer.

IT is three hours to the fight between world boxing champions Amir Khan and Zab Judah. Khan's trainer Freddie Roach is alone in the prep room.

It is pin drop silence here, save for the sound of an adhesive tape being peeled from its roll. Roach tears off a piece of the tape and sticks one end of it to the side of a table. He fights the tremors in his hands before tearing off another piece. His glassy eyes make sure it is almost the same length and sticks it beside the first piece.

He repeats the process several times, performing the task as steadily as he could, until a row of tapes are dangling from the table.

At that moment, I realised a stream of tears had rolled down my cheeks.

Here is a man who has devoted his entire life to winning fights, and after having stepped out of the ring, he faces the toughest fight of his life yet, one that he may never win – Parkinson's disease.

Here is a man who is holding on to even the most simple of tasks, for fear that even these might be taken away from him one day.

At that moment, I also realised how powerful "real" reality shows could be. For once, there is no catfighting, hair-pulling, finger-wagging drama.

There is no "he said, she said", blown-out-of-proportion situations. And there is definitely no one dressed to the nines just for a visit to the grocery store or has a face slathered with make-up just to work out at the gym. Instead, the scene is intimate, it is still, it is quiet.

The beauty of HBO's latest six-part reality series On Freddie Roach lies in its subtleties – the way it recognises simple yet meaningful moments such as these and captures them; in its ability to let Roach's life speak for itself.

In his heyday, Frederick Steven "Freddie" Roach was a lightweight quick-moving, heavy-hitting boxing dynamite. The man won 40 out of 53 professional fights, but retired in 1986 at just 26 after showing symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Today, the 52-year-old Roach is one of the world's top boxing trainers, winning five Trainer Of The Year Awards from the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Roach is responsible for the success of many of today's most prominent boxing faces, including former middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and boxer Lucia Rijker (dubbed "The Most Dangerous Woman In The World"), besides two-time world champion lightweight boxer Amir Khan.

But he is perhaps best known for training the world's first eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (he jokes that he is the third most famous person in the Philippines after Pacquiao himself and the president).

I felt rather apprehensive when I first got to know about On Freddie Roach.

It seemed like the kind of series that was made for the typical alpha male, chest hair-baring, boxing-loving viewers (excuse my overt stereotyping). Naturally, as I knew little and had minimal interest in boxing, I put off watching it.

When I finally got to it, well, true enough, the series focuses a lot on Roach's role in training the boxers, from running with them on the racetrack to sparring with them in the ring and even giving them some good old pep talk before a fight.

But the show took me by surprise when after the lights went out at the testosterone-filled Wild Card Boxing Club (Roach's boxing gym), I saw – not a world-class, highly-regarded Hall Of Fame boxing trainer – but an ordinary, vulnerable man who opens up about his struggle with Parkinson's disease and confesses that the worst part about it is "feeling embarrassed by it".

The disease is linked to incidents of repeated head injuries and concussions and is fairly common among boxers (Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson, to name a few).

Roach's speech is slurred, and though his hands do not shake violently, it is noticeably contrived.

In another scene, he contemplates on whether he should have chosen a "safer" career path and settled down and started a family instead.

He admits that it gets very lonely at times, having to live out of a suitcase and travel all over the world to train these boxers.

But just before you start to think this former professional boxer has turned into a softie, Roach blurts out a bunch of expletives when his secretary (and ex-girlfriend) Marie Spivey refuses to put her BlackBerry down and finish her meal.

At other times, Roach also shows he can be quite a cool sport when it comes to being at the receiving end of a prank (one of the managers prank calls him and passes off as an airport staff, asking if he had left behind his luggage).

In the world of reality television programming where the "reality" component is often augmented, it's nice to find candid, unpretentious moments like these. Moments that seem as though they were captured on tape by chance, moments that are by no means picturesque at times, moments that are painfully real.

> On Freddie Roach airs every Monday, 11pm on HBO (Astro Ch 411).


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

South Korea to investigate all reactors for problem parts

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 08:53 PM PST

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said on Wednesday a private and public investigation team will inspect all 23 of the country's nuclear reactors to see if they were supplied with parts with forged certificates.

"The team will inspect all 23 reactors, which will take some times as you can imagine," a spokeswoman of the commission supervising nuclear safety under the presidential office told Reuters by telephone.

The investigation team will be set up on Wednesday.

South Korea closed two nuclear reactors on Monday to replace parts which were supplied with forged quality certificates, and the commission has been inspecting a total of five reactors including the two closed ones.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Networks project Obama re-elected as U.S. president

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 08:40 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama won re-election to a second term in the White House on Tuesday, television networks projected, beating Republican challenger Mitt Romney after a long and bitter campaign.

Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama cheer the news of the president's apparent re-election during his election night rally in Chicago, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Supporters of U.S. President Barack Obama cheer the news of the president's apparent re-election during his election night rally in Chicago, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Obama defeated Romney in a series of key swing states despite a weak economic recovery and persistent high unemployment as U.S. voters decided between two starkly different visions for the country.

Obama's victory in the hotly contested swing state of Ohio - as projected by TV networks - put him over the top in the fight for the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the White House and ended Romney's hopes of pulling off a string of swing-state upsets.

Obama scored narrow wins in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire - all states that Romney had contested - while the only swing state captured by Romney was North Carolina, according to network projections.

There was no immediate word from the Romney camp on the reported results.

At least 120 million American voters had been expected to cast votes in the race between the Democratic incumbent and Romney after a campaign focused on how to repair the ailing U.S. economy.

Obama enters his second four-year term faced with a difficult task of tackling $1 trillion annual deficits, reducing a $16 trillion national debt, overhauling expensive social programs and dealing with a gridlocked U.S. Congress that looked likely to maintain the same partisan makeup.

Obama's projected victory would set the country's course for the next four years on spending, taxes, healthcare, the role of government and foreign policy challenges such as the rise of China and Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Each man offered different policies to cure what ails America's weak economy, with Obama pledging to raise taxes on the wealthy and Romney offering across-the-board tax cuts as a way to ignite strong economic growth.

Inside Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters, staffers erupted into cheers and high fives as state after state was called for the president.

Obama watched the returns on television at his Chicago home. Senior campaign strategist David Axelrod said via email that he was feeling "great."

Romney made last-minute visits to Ohio and Pennsylvania on Tuesday to try to drive up turnout in those states, while Vice President Joe Biden was dispatched to Ohio. Obama remained in his hometown of Chicago.

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Copyright © 2012 Reuters

U.S. soldier's testimony on Afghan rampage at odds with prosecution

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 07:50 PM PST

TACOMA, Washington (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier's testimony appeared to cast doubt on Tuesday upon the U.S. government's case that a decorated colleague acted entirely alone during a killing spree that left 16 villagers dead near a remote Army base in Afghanistan earlier this year.

Military prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, accusing him of killing the villagers - mostly women and children - when he ventured out of his camp on two revenge-fuelled forays over a five-hour period in March.

Testifying at a pre-trial hearing to determine whether Bales can be sent to a court martial, Private First Class Derek Guinn said he was told by Afghan guards that two U.S. soldiers were seen entering the compound in the early hours of March 11, and one was seen leaving again.

But Guinn, who spoke to the guards through an interpreter, said he personally did not see anyone leaving or entering Camp Belambay.

His testimony was at odds with the U.S. Army prosecutors' case - supported by several witnesses on Monday - that Bales, 39, left and entered twice on his own, and was solely responsible for the Afghans' deaths.

Bales, a veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, faces 16 counts of premeditated murder and six counts of attempted murder as well as charges of assault and wrongfully possessing and using steroids and alcohol while deployed.

The shootings in Afghanistan's Kandahar province marked the worst case of civilian slaughter blamed on an individual U.S. soldier since the Vietnam War and eroded already strained U.S.-Afghan ties after more than a decade of conflict in the country.


The apparently contradictory testimony may give Bales' defence team, which declined to make an opening statement at the start of proceedings Monday, a chance to fault the prosecution's case and advance a theory that Bales did not act alone. Lawyers representing Bales have not said what their defence will be.

But lead civilian defence attorney John Henry Browne has suggested over the past few months that Bales may not have acted alone and may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Witnesses from the Afghan villages where the alleged killing spree took place are set to testify on Friday via video link to the hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state, which was expected to last two weeks. Some villagers have said that more than one U.S. soldier was present during the attacks.

Private Guinn told the hearing he heard shots coming from the direction of the village where Bales is accused of committing his first shootings, somewhere between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. local time. He said sporadic gunfire, which sounded like single shots in clusters rather than machine gun fire, lasted about 35 minutes.

In answering questions from prosecution and defence lawyers, Guinn said it was the first time he had heard shots while on guard, but was not panicked as they did not appear to be aimed at the base. He said he and a fellow soldier shot a flare to illuminate the area where the shots were heard, but he could not see anything unusual.

Guinn's testimony was the first notable discrepancy from the version of events laid out by military prosecutors on Monday.

In the first session of the hearing, lead prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Jay Morse said Bales alone was responsible for the deaths, in two premeditated attacks. He showed the court a video taken from a surveillance balloon apparently of Bales returning to the base for a second time, just before 5 a.m.

Further U.S. servicemen will testify at the hearing over the next two days, with Afghan witnesses scheduled to be heard from Friday and the following week.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Nestle, Dutch Lady reverse gains

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 07:11 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Nestle and Dutch Lady, which had come under some selling after rallying for several months, saw their share prices reversing their gains in late morning on Wednesday.

At 10.55am, Nestle was down 80 sen to RM65.20. There were 3,100 shares done at prices ranging from RM65.20 to RM67.10.

Dutch Lady fell 30 sen to RM46.50. There were 7,400 shares transacted at betweem RM46.50 and RM47.40.

The FBM KLCI was up 2.44 points to 1,648.07. Turnover was 376.20 million shares valued at RM314.53mil. There were 212 gainers, 212 losers and 299 counters unchanged.

Analysts said consumer dividend stocks were trading at very high valuations and had expected some profit taking.

Maybank KE Research is maintaining its Sell call on Nestle with an unchanged discounted cashflow-based TP of RM58.60.

It said in a report on Wednesday that some key takeaways from Nestle's recent analyst briefing include the significance of out-of-home business contribution; lower capex guidance of RM150mil for 2012 and) potentially slower consumer spending post-13th general elections.

Markets react to the US election

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 06:58 PM PST

NEW YORK: Results are coming in for the U.S. Presidential election between Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. S&P 500 futures have dipped since polling results started to come in, and are now down 9.7 points.

President Obama is projected by U.S. television networks to have won in both Wisconsin, a Midwest swing state, and Pennsylvania, where Romney made a late play to try to grab the state.



"China equities trading down as are U.S. equities. Curious. China pricing in a Romney win and U.S. pricing in an Obama win. Still too close to call. Don't know what bond futures are doing. That's the key. Florida and Ohio still not in yet but Pennsylvania just called for Obama. This election has the potential for three or more Floridas."


"Futures are selling off right now because there's a feeling we may not have an absolute winner as we go through the night. We don't want Florida to be the decision maker again, and right now it looks like we may be going back to what we had between Bush and Gore in 2000.

"It's like, here we go again. One of the issues is that Florida has an automatic recount if the margin is 1 percent or less between the two candidates. We don't want to have to wait several days for a result. What we hate on Wall Street is uncertainty. We rallied today (Tuesday's session) because we thought this mess would be put behind us.

"I'm paying some attention to the legislative races, but we would've needed to see a change in the control of the Senate in order for Obamacare to have any chance of being overruled, that's even if Romney wins. It doesn't look like that will happen, and if both houses stay under the same leadership, that suggests we will see continued gridlock."


"I expect a short-term reaction no matter who ends up winning. If Romney wins, the reaction will probably be positive, and if Obama wins it might be slightly negative, but no matter what, it will be short-lived. Soon investors will start focusing on the fiscal cliff and what progress will be made there.

"The next day or so should wash out the impact of the election, but we'll be in a state of limbo until we know the results. We've seen some volatile trading lately, but I'm not concerned about legal challenges to state results.

"That would really leave markets in a bind, but I don't think this is such a close race that we're counting ballots by hand. It doesn't look like Romney will win Ohio, and if he loses Florida early on, it probably won't be a late night.

"Almost as important is what happens in terms of the make-up of the congress. If we have a divided government like we do now, that will be viewed as a modest disappointment since that configuration has resulted in gridlock and there's no clear path towards unlocking that.

"Though this is a long-shot, if the Republicans do really well in state races and they control both houses, they might just veto everything over the next four years. That wouldn't be constructive at all. So the composition of congress is extremely important in all this, and it holds implications for how quickly we resolve the fiscal cliff issue, or whether it gets resolved at all." - Reuters

Axiata extends decline, lowest since August (Update)

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 06:05 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Axiata Group Bhd extended their decline early Wednesday in active trade, falling to the lowest since mid-August on fund selling of telcos.

At 9.26am, it was down five sen to RM5.90 with 2.39 million shares done.

However, the FBM KLCI was up 1.8 points to 1,647.43. Turnover was 123.37 million shares valued at RM68.22mil. There were 150 gainers, 76 losers and 181 counters unchanged.

UOB Kay Hian Malaysia Research said Axiata, in its quest to be a regional telco champion, was focusing on minute details and executing its processes very well.

"Higher margins can be extracted from raising utilisation rates and infrastructure sharing. While the long-term outlook remains healthy, the shares lack catalyst and may continue to come under selling pressure. Maintain HOLD. Target price: RM6.60. Entry price: RM5.70," it said.

Bloomberg data showed that at its last price of RM5.89, it was trading at a price-to-earnings (P/E) of 21.19 times.

Meanwhile, DiGi at RM5.97 was trading at a P/E of 21.50 times. Maxis, at RM6.75 (P/E of 20.42 times) and Telekom Malaysia at RM5.70 (P/E of 13.61 times).

Kenanga Research has a market perform on Axiata with a target price (TP) of RM6.33, while RHB Research has an Outperform (TP RM7.15). Nomura has a Buy (TP RM7.10) and CIMB Research Outperform (TP: RM7.49).


The Star Online: Sports

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Chong Wei’s wedding break may see him struggle at HK Open

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 03:08 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei will resume action in the Hong Kong Open badminton tournament in Kowloon from Nov 20-25 after his wedding, but the short break could cost him the title as several young guns are out for his blood.

Top seed Chong Wei has been drawn in the same half as China's Du Pengyu (pic) in the last stop of the 12-leg Super Series Tour.

The 24-year-old Pengyu had taken the Malaysian all the way in the final of the Denmark Open in Odense two weeks ago. He came within a whisker of winning before Chong Wei turned on the power to take the title. The duo will meet in the semi-finals if there are no upsets.

In Chong Wei's quarter are Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand, Wang Zhengming of China, Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam and Taiwan's Hao Hsu-jen - all whom are capable of stretching the Malaysian.

In Pengyu's quarter are Kenichi Tago of Japan, Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia and the fast fading Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia. Based on the China player's form in Denmark, he should make it to the semi-finals without any problems.

In the lower half of the draw are second seed Chen Long of China, Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark, China's Chen Jin, Japan's Sho Sasaki and Malaysia's Liew Daren.

Daren, fresh from his first senior international title at the French Open, is expected to meet Chen Long in the second round. It will be interesting to see how Daren measures up. A year ago, Daren bowed out tamely to Chen Long in the second round of the French Open.

In the absence of the world's top four pairs, including all the Koreans, Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have been seeded No. 1 in the men's doubles but it will not be easy for them. If they do make it to the final, they are likely to meet China's second seeds and four-time world champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng.

In the mixed doubles, third seeds Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying's first real challenge will probably be in the quarter-finals against Mohd Rijal-Debby Susanto of Indonesia.

If they win, they will probably come against top seeds Xu Chen-Ma Jin of China in the semi-finals.

Chong Wei is skipping next week's China Open because of his marriage to Wong Mew Choo on Nov 10-11.

Shuttlers will get their state-of-the-art excellence centre

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 04:02 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: It's taken four years but the RM50mil state-of-the-art centre of excellence for badminton will finally be built at Stadium Juara in Bukit Kiara.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the centre will not be just an exclusive home for elite athletes but also serve as a regional training hub for Asian countries.

"The Prime Minister has given the green light for the centre to be built at the badminton players' existing training ground in Bukit Kiara. It will take massive renovation to transform the place into a state-of-the-art training hub," said Ahmad Shabery.

"It will have the best facilities and attract other Asian countries to use it as their training base. It will generate additional income for BAM."

This is the third proposed venue offered by the government to the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) to fulfil their dream of having their own training centre equipped with all latest facilities and research units.

In 2008, the government earmarked land at Taman Maluri and a RM24mil budget, but it fell through. Last year, the government offered land at Awan Besar, off Kesas Highway, with a RM30mil budget but that turned out to be a flood-prone area.

All the players currently train at Stadium Juara but use the gymnasium at Bukit Jalil. The seniors are housed at the Rakan Muda building adjacent to the training ground while the juniors are based in Bukit Jalil.

Once the new centre comes up, all the shuttlers will stay under one roof – with all facilities within the vicinity. Ahmad Shabery expects the centre to be ready within two years although BAM are hoping that it will be completed sooner so that the players can concentrate on the 2016 Road to Rio programme.

"It will take some time because we need to solve a few tricky and delicate issues. The premise is currently co-shared by netball and lawn bowls. We are in the process of negotiating with them," he said.

"There's no doubt that the centre will be a symbol of pride for the country. Malaysians are passionate about badminton and it's time we had our own state-of-the-art training centre and academy."

Ahmad Shabery later launched the Badminton Asia Confederation's (BAC) new website and headquarters. The BAC have moved to the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association (KLBA) Hall, which has a bigger compound, in Cheras.

BAM president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, who was also present at the ceremony, hopes that work on the proposed centre can be expedited.

"We want it built as fast as possible. We have waited for a long time. Due to the delay, our operating cost has ballooned from RM30mil to RM50mil. We have plans to make it a regional centre so we can generate income," Nadzmi said.

Meanwhile, BAC president Katsuto Momii has promised to raise the profile of the sport in the Asian region in line with their tagline – "Serve and Beyond". He said members can look forward to more high-octane tournaments and competitions.

The prize money for their biggest event – the Asian Badminton Championships – may well hit the million ringgit mark.

Australia dangle US$1mil in prize money for Premier bid

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 03:08 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Badminton's new kids on the block, Australia, are courting the big time.

P. Ganga Rao, a top administrator of the sport in Malaysia before moving Down Under, confirmed yesterday that the Aussies have made an official bid to host one of the five Premier Super Series events for the 2014-2017 season – dangling US$1mil in prize money to show they mean business.

Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Denmark, Singapore and England are also bidding to host a Premier event which is limited to five legs.

The World Badminton Federation (BWF) council will decide on the five legs next month. China, Indonesia, Denmark and England are certainties, leaving Australia, Singapore and Malaysia to battle it out for the remaining last slot.

South Korea, who boosted the profile of the sport with a US$1.2mil Premier event last year, have backed out. Australia, if selected, will host the richest tournament in the calendar.

The Melbourne-based Ganga, who had served as the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) honorary secretary and Badminton World Federation (BWF) chief operating officer before being ousted in 2010, is now a consultant with Badminton Australia.

"We have put in a strong proposal. Australia can showcase the event in a big way as it has the expertise. After hosting the Australian Grand Prix Gold for four years, it is only natural for us to look at a bigger event," he said.

As to challenge Australia posed to Malaysia, Ganga said: "I know Malaysia can be fantastic hosts and I want them to get in as well. It would be best if BWF allow more than five Premier events to be hosted."


The Star Online: Nation

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Socso issues 30 compounds against errant employers

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 07:31 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: The Social Security Organisation (Socso) On Tuesday issued 30 compounds totalling RM43,500 against errant employers, via 'Ops Kesan' (Operation Detect) 2012.

The compounds were issued during the two-hour operation which began at 10.30am.

The operation involved 140 Socso personnel from Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Kajang, Rawang, Klang and Kuala Lumpur.

Socso deputy chief executive Samihah Md Razi said, 'Ops Kesan' inspected 253 premises here and in Shah Alam.

She said 26 compounds amounting to RM40,000 were issued against owners for not registering their businesses while four employers were compounded a total of RM3,500 for failing to register their workers," she told reporters here.

All 46 Socso offices nationwide have been conducting similar operations since Nov 1. - Bernama

Sultan of Selangor regrets statement by Nurul Izzah

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 06:29 AM PST

SHAH ALAM: The Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah has expressed regret and suprise at the statement made by Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar last Saturday that Muslim Malays are free to choose their religion under the religious freedom factor.

The chairman of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) Datuk Setia Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa said the Sultan totally rejected any view that Malay Muslims were free to choose other religion and renounce Islam.

"As the adviser to the Sultan of Selangor, Mais will continue to be firm in assisting him to be cautious, sensitive and firm on anyone who directly or indirectly challenges the sanctity of Islam whether in terms of ideology or practice, particularly in Selangor," he said in a statement, here on Tuesday.

He said this when commenting on the report by an opposition news portal that Nurul Izzah, at the forum 'Islamic State: Which Version; Who Is Responsible', in Subang Jaya last Saturday, had said that every citizen in this country should not be forced to practice any particular religion.

However, on Monday, after being criticised by various quarters, Nurul Izzah had issued a statement in her 'Facebook' denying that she supported apostasy. - Bernama

Banting murders: Second accused was a bright student, says DPP

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 05:13 AM PST

SHAH ALAM: The second accused in the murders of cosmetics millionairess Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others was a bright student and obtained good results in his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.

However, poverty had forced T. Thilaiyalagan to abandon his dream of pursuing his studies, said deputy public prosecutor Idham Abd Ghani when cross-examining Thilaiyalagan, 21, in the High Court here Tuesday.

Idham : You were not able to go to college because you could not afford and it was because of that you worked with Ravi (fourth accused R. Khatavarayan) and N.Pathmanabhan (the first accused).

Thilaiyalagan : Agreed

Idham : I suggest you study in prison.

Thilaiyalagan : Yes, last year. Computer class. Questioned by Idham why he went for the computer class, Thilaiyalagan said it was because it was offered to him.

He also said he was able to understand the Malay Language because he went to a national school instead of a Tamil national-type school.

When Idham put it to him that he lied in court for saying he did not understand the language, Thilaiyalagan said he was able to understand Malay, but not fully.

Thilaiyalagan was ordered to enter his defence, together with former lawyer Pathmanabhan, 43, and farm workers R. Matan, 22, and Kathavarayan, 32, on a charge of murdering Sosilawati, 47, bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim and Sosilawati's driver, Kamaruddin Shamsuddin.

They are charged with committing the offence at Ladang Gadong, Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjong Layang, Tanjung Sepat in Banting between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30, 2010.

The charge, under Section 302 of the Penal Code, carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

To a suggestion by Idham that he did what was ordered by Khatavarayan and Pathmanabhan because he was indebted to them, Thilaiyalagan said it was not so.

He also agreed with Idham who said that Pathmanabhan contacted him of Sept 9, 2010 before he (Thilaiyalagan) was arrested by the police.

Following which, Idham produced a call detail record of a call made from Pathmanaban's handphone to that of Thilaiyalagan's handphone at 5.39pm on that day.

The hearing before judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir continues Wednesday. - Bernama


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Japanese at heart

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 01:45 AM PST

A British author unveils the wonders of writing about the Japanese, and how she has fallen in love with a culture not her own.

HER first novel tells of the forbidden love between the Japanese shogun's last concubine and a rebel warrior. Her second takes place in the exotic pleasure quarters of Japan, where a woman forced to become a courtesan finds refuge in the heart of a battered swordsman. Her third and latest publication, Across A Bridge Of Dreams, unveils a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance between childhood sweethearts that can never be, set in – you guessed it – Japan.

British author Lesley Downer has set all three of her books' narratives in the late 19th century in Japan. She also has three non-fiction publications that have been translated into Japanese.

In London, her birthplace and current residency, the author is seen as a sort of Japanese subject-matter expert – she is often approached by the media to comment on matters to do with that country.

What's interesting, though, is that the 53-year-old isn't even Japanese to begin with. Born to a Chinese-Canadian mother and Canadian father who taught Chinese at London University, Downer grew up surrounded by shelves of Chinese books and the company of her parents' multinational Asian friends.

And so it was not long before she discovered a special affinity for the land of the rising sun. The year was 1978, and Downer, influenced by her father's many travels to Asia, had enrolled in a programme to teach English in Japan.

"I wanted to see the world, to travel like my father did. I became fascinated with Japan at a time when I was teaching English at a language school in Oxford. I started learning Japanese from one of my Japanese students. Then, I heard there were jobs being advertised to teach English in Japan. I applied and to my amazement, was successful," she says.

Before long, she found herself in the heart of central Japan, where she worked as an English sensei (teacher) at the Gifu Women's University in the city.

"When I first arrived, as far as I knew, there were no other Westerners. Most Japanese spoke no English, or only very stilted English. All the signs were in Japanese, including the sign on the front of the bus that took me to the university where I taught. So I had to learn fast, relying on books and tapes.

"In Gifu, I taught a class of women. We called it the 'housewives' class'. We met for lunch in one another's homes and went on trips together to try out restaurants. I travelled a great deal, and people would invite me to their home to stay the night. That was one way I learnt Japanese, by meeting and staying with the locals."

Having read Penguin Books' Anthology Of Japanese Literature, Downer was initially immersed in the romance of old Japan.

"In Oxford, my Japanese teacher warned me that 'behind every temple, there is a factory'. He was right, of course, and initially, I was shocked by how industrialised Japan was. But in the end, I found that the Japan of my imaginings was there to be discovered, though it took not just searching but also a different way of seeing," she observes.

After five years, Downer returned to Britain, only to discover that her peers did not share her passionate views of Japan.

"People who had never been there talked about World War II, complained that the Japanese ate whale meat and said that Japan was expensive; a land of super polite, inscrutable businessmen who said 'Yes' when they meant 'No'. In fact, the Japanese are a lot more outgoing than British people, quite Mediterranean in temperament. This inspired me to write about Japan, to communicate something of its long history, fascinating culture and variety of people," she says.

Downer's first book unveiled her journey in the footsteps of the renowned 17th century haiku poet, Basho, through the remote north of Japan.

On The Narrow Road To The Deep North was shortlisted for the Somerset Maugham Travel Book of the Year award in 1988 and subsequently filmed by New York-based WNET and Britain's Channel 4 TV in 1991 under the title Journey To A Lost Japan.

"Following in Basho's footsteps was a great way to see a part of Japan I hadn't seen, and which few people visited: the north, including the area that suffered last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami. I also wanted to write about rural Japan, a Japan I knew well.

"On my travels, I stayed in small country villages for weeks at a time, with people who came to be like family. Even the most humble farmers were familiar with Basho's haiku and often quoted him. I went mushroom hunting, ate grasshoppers and wrote poetry with local poets, then climbed the three sacred mountains of Dewa with a group of pilgrims led by a conch-blowing mountain priest."

Following this, Downer wrote The Brothers, based on the wealthy and powerful Tsutsumi family in Japan. The book was chosen as a New York Times Book of the Year in 1995. In between, Downer wrote and presented A Taste Of Japan, a six-part series on Japanese cooking that aired on BBC2 in 1991, and anchored another documentary made by Japan's NHK on her journey in Basho's footsteps.

Research for her next venture, Geisha: The Secret History Of A Vanishing World, had her living for six months among the geisha, where she found herself "slowly but surely being transformed into one of them".

"It was very difficult to break into the geisha world. I soon learnt that it didn't work to behave like a pushy Western journalist. One elderly geisha told me sternly that at my first meeting with a geisha, I should ask no questions at all, simply request another meeting. At the second meeting, I might ask a few questions, but not many. I had to play a part, to act in a humble and demure way, as geishas do.

"Geisha are tough women who survive by their own skills; one of those is knowing how to wrap others around their graceful little fingers. As a woman, I was treated as a beginner, badly in need of geisha training. I came to admire the geisha adage: 'A clever woman never lets a man know how clever she is'. I realised I was learning to be circumspect, persuasive; less of a strident Westerner but instead, more soft and feminine."

Despite Downer's fond impressions of Japan, lurking in the shadows were the challenges of writing about a culture not her own.

"When I was following Basho's journey, a Japanese man said to me: 'You're a foreigner, you can't understand Basho. I said: 'Can you understand Shakespeare?' 'Yes, of course,' he said. 'It's easy.'

In my opinion, I can understand Basho as well or as badly as any Japanese. Part of the point of following Basho's journey was because I thought I might understand his haiku better if I saw the places where he wrote them.

"I'm steeped in Japanese culture. I lived in Japan for 15 years altogether, have travelled most of the country and read many books on Japan – non-fiction, contemporary fiction and classical Japanese literature. My novels are a way to share that knowledge."

> Across A Bridge Of Dreams is currently available in major bookstores nationwide.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Life in Latin

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 01:49 AM PST

Catch Latin movies for free during the 11th Latin-American Film Festival.

The Latin American Film Festival is back for its 11th year, happening from today to Nov 11 at Indicine Box, Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (Sentul Park, Jalan Strachan, KL) at 8.30pm; there are matinee shows on Saturday and Sunday. Jointly organised by the embassies of Latin American and Caribbean countries, the film festival – entrance is free, by the way – stands to showcase Latin culture through films.

For the 11th year, Malaysians will get to see acclaimed movies from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Here's a list of films showing:

A Useful Life (Uruguay, Nov 6) – Jorge has had a humdrum life, living with his parents and working at a film archive for 25 years. He, however, has no choice but to make a change when he is let go from his job one fine day.

Samuel (Venezuela, Nov 7) – Samuel leads an uninterrupted life with his wife in the mountains. Wanting to enrich their lives with children, the couple comes down from the mountains to find a way to get pregnant. In the process, Samuel discovers something about himself.

The Candidate And Her (Mexico, Nov 8) – Luis Fernando and Lorena are a happily married couple with three children and a life filled with achievements. Wanting more, Luis decides to run for the Mexican presidency and, naturally, everything changes for the couple.

Fat, Bald And Short Man (Colombia, Nov 10, 3pm) – Antonio Farfan has gone through his life blaming his unattractive looks for all the failures he has had over the years. He realises his grave mistake when he is introduced to a new colleague – someone who is fatter, balder and shorter, but seems to be extremely successful and loved by everyone. Álvaro Bayona heads the cast.

City Of Men (Brazil, Nov 10, 5pm) – This 2007 feature directed by Paulo Morelli explores the lives of two boys who grew up in a favela (slums) in Rio de Janeiro together. They are about to turn 18, only to face the difficulties of adulthood and a possibility of shattering their friendship by getting caught in a war between rival drug gangs.

The Life Of Fish (Chile, Nov 10, 8.30pm) – Andres (Santiago Cabrera) goes home to Chile after 10 years of living and working abroad, with the intention of closing that chapter of his life for good. Nonetheless, life has other plans for him when he goes to a party to encounter a familiar face from his past. This 2010 film won the Best Spanish Language Foreign Film at 2011 Goya Awards.

Habanastation (Cuba, Nov 11, 3pm) – Experience a slice of Cuban life through the eyes of Mayito, a young student and the child of a wealthy jazz musician, who gets lost during a May Day Celebration and discovers a new and exciting world. Ernesto Escalona plays the lead character.

Brother And Sister (Argentina, Nov 11, 5pm) – An educated and delicate goldsmith finds his freedom after the death of his protective mother. The only problem is that he is now 64 years old and is dogged by a financial problem within the family. The only other person who understands his situation is his sister, whom he doesn't really get along with.

> For information, visit and

Disney's 'Wreck-It Ralph' scores big in N. America

Posted: 05 Nov 2012 05:35 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Disney's animated romp "Wreck-It Ralph" rang up a huge weekend at North American box offices, taking in $49 million - almost double the total of the number two film, industry data showed Monday.

The premiere of Disney's movie, which sees a video game villain try to become a hero, easily outpaced another hot premiere - "Flight," starring Denzel Washington as a troubled pilot.

It brought in $24.9 million, according to box officer tracker Exhibitor Relations.

In third place was "Argo," based on a true story about six Americans spirited out of Iran during the 1979-80 hostage crisis; the film directed by and starring Ben Affleck earned $10.2 million.

Another new movie debuted in the number four spot: "The Man with the Iron Fists." The action film starring Russell Crowe, and set in feudal China, brought in $7.9 million.

Action film "Taken 2" - Liam Neeson's return as ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills - came in fifth with earnings of $5.9 million.

And the number-six spot went to the genre-busting, time-traveling "Cloud Atlas," in which Tom Hanks and Halle Berry each play six different roles set across a 500-year span - it took in $5.4 million.

"Hotel Transylvania" about an overprotective vampire dad intent on guarding his adolescent daughter against a budding romance with a human boy, was number seven, earning $4.4 million.

"Paranormal Activity 4," the eighth place film, is the fourth installment in the found-footage fright franchise; it raked in $4.3 million.

"Here Comes the Boom," a comedy starring Kevin James as a high school teacher intent on becoming a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money for his school, was in ninth place with $3.5 million.

The 10th spot went to the latest in the franchise of "Silent Hill" horror movies, "Silent Hill: Revelation," which earned $3.3 million in ticket sales the weekend after Halloween. - AFP


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Metro watch

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 04:41 AM PST


Golden Horses Health Sanctuary will be hosting a health awareness campaign this Saturday at Theatrette Room, Palace of the Golden Horses, Seri Kembangan, at 2pm. Gastroenterologist Dr Loong Yik Yee will speak on prevention of stomach and colon cancer, while celebrity TV host and health enthusiast Jojo Struys will give a talk titled "De-stress through Yoga". Admission is free, on a first come first served basis. Participants will also enjoy a free basic health check. For details and reservations, call 03-8941 5833 by Nov 7.


Titled "From Hearts to Hearts", the GPL Group is organising a charity bazaar this Nov 11 at the Newcom Club along Jalan Kelang Lama to raise funds for two IJN (Institut Jantung Negara) Foundation infant patients and the SPCA. Besides the usual bazaar sales and fun activities, an IJN team will be on site to help check visitors' BMI, cholesterol and blood glucose levels. For details, call 03-2617 8315 (Ritzzawati Rosli Mohd Rosli) or 03-6209 9100 (Teresa Chow).


A temporary road closure along Jalan Kuching and Jalan Duta will be implemented by DBKL to facilitate construction of three-tier extruded kerbs. Works on Jalan Kuching is ongoing until May 14, from 9.30am to 4pm (first stage) and 9pm to 5am (second stage) while works on Jalan Duta is ongoing until June 19, from 9.30am to 4pm (first stage) and 9pm to 5am (second stage). Motorists are advised to be careful and observe traffic signage at the site.


The Nalanda Buddhist Society invites devotees to offer robes, other necessary items or food to Buddhist monastics on Nov 11 from 9am to 12pm. The event will take place at the Nalanda Centre, 3357, Jalan 18/31, Taman Sri Serdang. For details, call 012-295 5245 (Buddhini) or 012-227 9349 (Santi).


Persatuan Kemajuan dan Kebajikan Masyarakat Kawasan Batu, a Kuala Lumpur-based NGO, carries out charity and community activities for the urban poor in the city. Anyone who wishes to help or donate clothes and groceries to families in need may contact Ramanathan Chinnu at 012-226 5765.


 The Metro Toastmasters meet every second and fourth Thursdays of the month in Vistana hotel at 7pm. For details, call 016-332 2973 (Mohammad Shukur).

Company launches MenCare to educate men on breast cancer

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 04:06 AM PST

GENERAL ELECTRIC (GE) recently announced its support for MenCare, an initiative founded by Pfizer Malaysia and the National Council of Women's Organisations (NCWO) Malaysia.

MenCare is an initiative that aims to garner men's support to be actively involved in the breast-health care of their spouses and female family members. MenCare activities aim to educate men on breast cancer and how it ultimately affects the family.

The objective of MenCare is to educate men on breast cancer, one of the leading forms of cancer that affect women, and seeks to rally their support to encourage women to go for regular check-ups for early detection.

The initiative also seeks to influence existing policies in order to facilitate men's support for their wives or female family members who have been diagnosed with the disease.

"GE is committed to raising awareness and fostering hope in the fight against breast cancer while working to accelerate cancer innovation.

"Through Mencare, GE hopes to play a role in raising awareness on the importance of early detection by encouraging men to be involved in supporting their loved ones," said Asean strategic account director GE Healthcare Jitinder Magoon.

The collaboration was announced during a gala dinner in conjunction with GE's Women's Network Summit 2012.

Deputy president NCWO Datuk Ramani Gurusamy, country manager Pfizer Malaysia and Brunei Angel Choi, and MenCare Ambassador and international celebrity photographer Kid Chan were among the VIPs who attended the event to show their support for the campaign, encouraging the women in attendance to help the men in their lives better understand the disease.

"MenCare is an example of Pfizer's commitment towards working together for a healthier world and we look to collaborating with various partners to make this a reality. The initiative is an example of how we work with partners such as NCWO.

"We applaud our latest partner, GE, for supporting MenCare" said Choi

The GE's Women's Network Summit gala dinner kickstarts a month-long fundraising campaign by GE, where money raised would go towards a joint fund to support educational programmes run by MenCare.

GE has also embarked on a series of awareness workshops to train employees to advocate for the support of awareness on breast -health care.

In conjunction with Pink October, GE employees also took part in a Healthymagi-nation Walk to help raise awareness of breast cancer.

Healthymagination is a GE initiative committed towards sustainable healthcare aimed at significantly reducing the cost of procedures and processes, increasing access to services, technologies and health education and essentially improving quality of care for patients.

The GE Cancer Commitment under the healthymagination initiative also allocated US$1bil in its dedicated cancer-related research and development in addition to helping clinicians deliver care to 10 million patients by 2020.

GE hopes to reach these goals by enabling more accurate diagnoses and better treatment through faster, more effective technologies.


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