Rabu, 7 November 2012

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Mom of 'Modern Family' actress denies abuse claims

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 06:28 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: The mother of "Modern Family" star Ariel Winter on Wednesday denied that she abused her daughter after a judge temporarily placed the 14-year-old actress in her sister's care.

"It's all untrue, it's all untrue," Chris Workman, Winter's mother, told People magazine. "I have my doctor's letter that my daughter's never been abused."

According to court papers, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge last month put Winter, who plays the precocious teenager Alex Dunphy on the Emmy-winning TV comedy, under the temporary guardianship of her older sister, Shanelle Gray.

Celebrity website TMZ.com said Winter's mother was alleged to have slapped and emotionally abused the teen, and had been ordered to stay away from her. Ariel has left her mother's home, TMZ said.

Gray will retain guardianship of Winter at least until a November 20 hearing, a judge said.

Winter's publicist did not return calls for comment on Wednesday.

"Modern Family" portrays the lives of three zany families and has won three consecutive Emmy award as American television's best comedy series. - Reuters

Look who's talking! Kirstie Alley calls Travolta 'greatest love'

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 06:25 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Actress Kirstie Alley described on Wednesday how she fell in love more than 20 years ago with John Travolta, and rejected widespread Hollywood speculation that the "Grease" star is secretly gay.

Alley, former star of the 1980s TV comedy "Cheers," told ABC television journalist Barbara Walters that she fell for both Travolta and actor Patrick Swayze in the 1980s, although their romances never got physical.

Alley, 61, said she was attracted to Travolta while the pair were making the 1989 movie "Look Who's Talking," calling him "the greatest love of my life."

"Believe me, it took everything I had inside, outside, whatever, to not run off and marry John and be with John for the rest of my life," Alley told Walters in an interview broadcast on breakfast TV show "Good Morning America."

Asked by Walters to comment on persistent rumors about Travolta's sexuality, she said: "I know John with all my heart and soul. He's not gay."

Alley added: "I think in some weird way, in Hollywood, if someone gets big enough and famous enough, and they're not out doing drugs and they're not womanizing, what do you say about them?"

Travolta was single at the time, but Alley was on her second marriage, so she never pursued her feelings, she explained.

Travolta later married actress Kelly Preston, his wife for the past 20 years. But the actor was the target of two lawsuits earlier this year, which were quickly dropped, from two male masseurs who claimed Travolta made unwanted sexual advances.

Alley, who talks more about her love life in her new book, "The Art of Men," said she fell for Swayze while they were filming the 1985 Civil War TV miniseries "North and South."

"We did fall in love. I was more willing to break up my marriage and I wasn't willing to break up his marriage," Alley said, explaining why the relationship failed to go further.

Swayze, best known for his lead role in "Dirty Dancing," died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 at the age of 57. He was married to dancer Lisa Niemi from 1975 until his death.

Alley has been married twice. Her second marriage, to actor Parker Stevenson, ended in 1997. - Reuters

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The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Suicide attack on base in Pakistan's biggest city kills one

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 09:02 PM PST

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed at least one person when he rammed his vehicle into the gates of a military base in Pakistan's largest city on Thursday, police said, the latest in a series of audacious attacks on security forces.

Thirteen people were wounded in the explosion but the attacker was unable to penetrate into the headquarters of the Rangers paramilitary base in the port city of Karachi.

"It is a heavy blast near the Rangers office, with some casualties," said senior police official Javed Odho.

He told Pakistani television the bomber had used more than 100 kg of explosives in the attack. Karachi is Pakistan's financial hub and is home to 18 million people.

The bombing is the latest in a series of attacks on military bases in Pakistan, including a 16-hour assault on Pakistan's navy base in Karachi in 2011 that killed at least 10 people and an attack on the army headquarters in Rawalpindi in 2009.

Some of the assaults have prompted speculation the attackers had sympathizers inside the military who gave them information about the bases.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan, an uneasy U.S. ally, is fighting its own homegrown Taliban as well as other insurgents who cross its porous border with neighbouring Afghanistan.

Karachi is home to a number of sectarian groups and fighters allied to the Taliban insurgency and is also faced with an epidemic of violent crime.

(Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Randy Fabi and Paul Tait)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Wintry storm hits U.S. Northeast, slowing Sandy recovery

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 09:02 PM PST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An unseasonably early-winter storm brought snow, rain and dangerous winds to the U.S. Northeast, plunging many residents of the most populous region of the country back into darkness just as they were recovering from Superstorm Sandy.

A woman jumps over a puddle during a snow storm in New York's financial district, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

A woman jumps over a puddle during a snow storm in New York's financial district, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The storm iced roads and hit transit systems, setting the stage for a difficult Thursday morning commute and bringing fresh misery to those whose lives had been disrupted by the massive storm that smashed ashore on October 29 with historic flooding.

Sandy's death toll in the United States and Canada reached 121 after New York authorities on Wednesday reported another death linked to the storm, in the hard-hit coastal neighbourhood of Rockaway that bore the brunt of a storm surge.

More than 60,000 homes and businesses in a band stretching from the Carolinas to New York lost power, joining the more than 640,000 customers that remained in the dark after one of the biggest and costliest storms ever to hit the United States.

Freezing temperatures were a fresh worry for residents left without power. New York distributed space heaters and blankets to residents without heat or power and opened shelters to those in need of a warm place to sleep.

After enduring a week without electricity or running water in her Mendham, New Jersey, home, Kimberly Gavagan said she and her family are now staying with friends that have power.

"The idea of getting several inches of snow on top of this is unbearable," Gavagan said. "We are going to be shovelling snow and going into a cold house."

The low-pressure weather system coming from the south brought wind gusts up to 60 miles per hour (97 kph) and dropped what was expect to be 3 inches to 5 inches (8-13 cm) of snow on New York City, with up to twice that much hitting northern suburbs, the National Weather Service said.

But local utilities warned that winds and heavy, wet snow, which threatened to down trees and power lines, had hindered their efforts to restore power.

"I could see us actually moving backwards, and people who had regained power losing power again," warned New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with the governors of New York and New Jersey by telephone on Wednesday, with the discussions focused on fuel shortages in the storm-hit region and what to do about the thousands whose homes were destroyed, according to a White House official.


New York and New Jersey evacuated the most vulnerable coastal areas ahead of the storm, which was forecast to bring a high tide about 2 feet (60 cm) above normal by early Thursday.

New York City officials urged residents whose homes have been flooded by Sandy to relocate to the homes of friends or family members or to go to city shelters.

But some in the region were unwilling or unable to leave their homes. That included Christine Jones, a 73-year-old resident of coastal Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens who said that she and many of her neighbours planned to stay in their cold, dark apartments.

"They're scared they're going to be robbed," said Jones, whose evacuation options were limited since her 1999 Buick was flooded by Sandy's storm surge. "The teen-age boys ... they try to break in.

Commuter bus and train services had been disrupted by the storm, with the Long Island Rail Road briefly shutting down all operations to the city's eastern suburbs on Wednesday night.

All of the region's major airports experienced cancelled flights and delays on Wednesday due to the storm, and gasoline remained in short supply, though four companies told the United States they intended to take advantage of a rare waiver allowing them to use foreign-flagged ships to transport oil products to the storm-hit region.

Across the region, residents waited for a return of power and warmth.

Diane Reinhardt, a 64-year-old retired teacher, said she had travelled from her home in Brooklyn to the south shore of Long Island to check on her 93-year-old mother, whose home has been without power since Sandy hit more than a week ago.

"They're just at wit's end," Reinhardt said of her mother and brother. "They feel like they're never going to get power back and it's never going to get warm again."

(Additional reporting by Lisa Lambert in Washington; Writing by Scott Malone; editing by Philip Barbara)

Related Stories:
In New York's Rockaways, despair sets in as new storm hits

Nor'easter knocks out more power to U.S. east after Sandy - U.S. government

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Strong earthquake off Guatemala kills at least 48

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 08:04 PM PST

SAN MARCOS, Guatemala (Reuters) - A strong earthquake off the coast of Guatemala killed at least 48 people and trapped others under rubble on Wednesday, crushing homes and cars, destroying roads and forcing evacuations as far away as Mexico City.

People stand outside a damaged church after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in San Pedro Sacatepequez in the San Marcos region, about 250 km (120 miles) south of Guatemala City, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

People stand outside a damaged church after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in San Pedro Sacatepequez in the San Marcos region, about 250 km (120 miles) south of Guatemala City, November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Jorge Dan Lopez

Most of the dead were buried under debris in San Marcos state, a mountainous region near the Mexican border. Landslides triggered by the 7.4-magnitude quake blocked highways and complicated rescue efforts.

It was the strongest earthquake to hit the Central American nation since 1976, when a 7.5-magnitude quake killed more than 20,000 people.

President Otto Perez, who confirmed the death toll after returning to the capital Guatemala City from a lightning trip to San Marcos, said that as many as 23 people were unaccounted for, while 153 people were being housed in emergency shelters.

"It's very sad to meet people here who are waiting to find their families who are still buried," Perez said in San Marcos. "It's really a tragedy and we will do all we can to help the families that are suffering."

Rescue workers in bright yellow helmets worked through the night pulling bodies from the rubble-strewn streets of San Pedro Sacatepequez, San Marcos, as dazed locals looked on, taking stock of the damage.

"Thank God we're alive," said resident Arnulfo Portillo. "To be honest, there's quite a few families who have been hit badly, but we're a tight-knight community and we'll come out on top."

In San Cristobal Cucho, also in San Marcos, all but one of an 11-member family died, buried under rubble, volunteer fireman Ovidio Fuentes told local radio. Only the 17-year-old son survived.

Local Red Cross chief Carlos Enrique Alvarado said 75 homes were destroyed in the city of San Marcos alone and authorities said damage to the prison forced them to transfer 101 inmates to another jail.

Perez, who announced three days of mourning, said Spain and Venezuela had offered help. Authorities distributed 16,000 emergency rations and mobilized more than 2,000 soldiers to help with the rescue effort. The energy ministry said 73,000 people were left without electricity.

In Guatemala City, 100 miles (161 km) from the quake's epicentre, the streets filled with office workers forced to evacuate buildings, although most soon returned to work.

"It was really big. I felt quite nauseous," said Vanessa Castillo, 32, a secretary who was evacuated from her 10th floor office in the capital.

Building janitor Jorge Gamboa said: "I was in the bathroom. When I came out the office was empty and I thought, what's happening? They didn't even say goodbye."

The epicentre was 26 miles (42 km) below the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake was felt in El Salvador and more than 760 miles (1,223 km) away in Mexico City, where some people also fled offices and homes.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a small tsunami was registered on Guatemala's coast, although there were no reports that it caused any damage.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Wiggins in hospital after being hit by car

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 04:19 PM PST

LONDON: Tour de France champion and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins was in hospital on Wednesday after being hit by a car while riding his bike near his family home in Lancashire, north-west England, police said.

However, a police spokesman said the British cycling star's injuries were "not thought to be life-threatening".

Wiggins, 32, was thrown off his bike when hit by a car believed to have pulled out of a petrol station before colliding with him. Wiggins is known to often go for training rides on rural roads in the area.

The accident happened at approximately 6:00 pm (1800 GMT) in Wrightson, Lancashire, near Wiggins's family home in Eccleston and took place just months after he called for drivers and cyclists to "co-exist" following a fatal accident near London's Olympic Park.

The driver of the car that hit Wiggins, a local woman, was said to be unhurt.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "Police were called to the scene of a road traffic accident at Crow Orchard Road in Wrightington at about 6:00 pm this evening.

"A cyclist has been involved in a collision with a white Vauxhall Astra car. The rider of the bike, a 32-year-old local man, was taken to hospital by ambulance with injuries not thought to be life-threatening.

"His family have been told."

Wiggins rides for Team Sky and in a statement on its website the British road race outfit said: "We can confirm that on Wednesday evening Bradley Wiggins was involved in a road traffic accident whilst riding his bike near his home in Lancashire.

"He is being kept in hospital overnight for observation but the injuries he has sustained are not thought to be serious and he is expected to make a full and speedy recovery.

"We will announce more details in due course."

Accident investigators visited the scene but the road was not sealed off.

Garage attendant Yasmin Smith, who went to Wiggins's aid, told the Lancashire Evening Post: "By the time I got there he had moved to a safer place but was still on the ground and he was in a lot of pain.

"He said he thought he had broken his ribs and while a lot of police cars arrived it was about 15 minutes before the ambulance got there, by which time he was blue."

This year saw Wiggins become the first British winner in the history of the Tour de France and, barely two weeks later, he also won the time trial at London 2012 in front of his home fans for a fourth career Olympic gold medal.

On the same August 1 day that Wiggins enjoyed his latest Games triumph, a cyclist was killed following a collision with an Olympic media shuttle bus just outside London's Olympic Park.

Commenting on the accident Wiggins, who has called for a law making it compulsory for cyclists to wear protective helmets, said: "It's dangerous and London is a busy city and a lot of traffic.

"I haven't lived in London for 10 to 15 years now and it's got a lot busier since I was riding a bike as a kid round here, and I got knocked off several times.

"But I think things are improving to a degree - there are organisations out there who are attempting to make the roads safer for both parties.

"We've all got to co-exist on the roads.

"Cyclists are not ever going to go away as much as drivers moan, and as much as cyclists maybe moan about certain drivers they are never going to go away, so there's got to be a bit of give and take." - AFP

Berdych beats Tsonga to stay in hunt for semis

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 03:21 PM PST

LONDON: Tomas Berdych remains in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals after the Czech fifth seed defeated France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 at London's O2 Arena on Wednesday.

Berdych, who lost his opening Group A fixture against Andy Murray, now has to beat world number one Novak Djokovic on Friday to book his place in the last four of the prestigious season-ending event.

The former Wimbledon finalist's victory also means Djokovic isn't certain to qualify yet even though the Serb maintained his 100 percent record with a win over Murray earlier on Wednesday.

Tsonga isn't definitely eliminated but he would need to beat Murray in straight sets and hope Berdych loses by the same margin against Djokovic to advance.

"It was important to win and now I'm looking forward to the next match," Berdych said.

"I tried to just focus on myself and remind myself I had won the recent matches between us.

"I was a bit surprised with the score in the final set but not how hard I had to work for it. I played well and finished it well."

Berdych had beaten Tsonga in both of their meetings this year, including the final of the Stockholm Open, and the 27-year-old was a deserved winner again after a blistering finish.

Tsonga hasn't defeated a top-eight ranked player this year and once again the flamboyant Frenchman was too inconsistent on the big points.

Berdych had a chance to take control of the first set when he earned three break points in the seventh game, but Tsonga saved all three with a series of booming serves and powerful forehands.

Tsonga didn't make the most of his escape though as a series of wayward groundstrokes gifted Berdych the first break at 6-5 and the Czech gleefully seized the chance to serve out the set with an ace.

Berdych saved two break points at 1-2 in the second set, yet Tsonga was beginning to find some momentum and he pressured the Czech into one more mistake to move 3-1 ahead.

Tsonga briefly wobbled when he served for the set, giving Berdych a break point, but he held on to send the match to a decider.

Berdych was under pressure again in the first game of the final set, this time digging deep to save two break points, and he made the most of his reprieve with a break for a 3-1 lead.

Suddenly the tide had turned back in Berdych's favour and he sealed the win in emphatic fashion with a second break. - AFP

Defender Faiz may be small in size but he’s blessed with speed and ability

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 04:57 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Defender Faiz Helmi Jali is proof that size does not matter when he was among 18 players named for the Champions Challenge I hockey tournament in Quilmes, Argentina, from Nov 24 to Dec 2.

The 20-year-old Johor player stands at only 156cm (about 5' 2") and weighs 55kg – but he still managed to impress national coach Paul Revington in training.

The South African coach said that "Faiz may be small in size, but he has the speed and ability to defend well".

Faiz, who played as the sweeper in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca in May, said he never expected to be named for the tournament as there are other equally good and experienced defenders in the training squad.

"But I thank coach Revington for having faith in me despite my small built. I am also happy to make my debut with the national team after being called up for training the last two years," said Faiz, who is majoring in sports management at Universiti Malaya.

"I have proven to coach Revington that despite my size, I am able to tackle and play well as a defender. My ultimate test will be in the Champions Challenge I tournament.

"I will give my best in the tournament and not be intimidated by players with bigger physiques. Playing well in the tournament will also help me win a regular place in the national team."

Four former internationals – Chua Boon Huat, Ismail Abu, Jivan Mohan and Mohd Amerullah Abdul Aziz – have also been named for the tournament.

The 32-year-old Boon Huat and Ismail, 28, last donned national colours at the Champions Challenge II tournament in 2009.

Jivan, 29 last played for the country three years ago while Amerullah only had a short stint with the national team in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup four years ago.

Revington said that the four ex-internationals "are still good and can play at a high level".

"I am confident they will be able to give their best in Argentina," said Revington, who has set the team a top-four target.

Midfielder Mohd Shahrun Nabil has been named skipper for the first time.

Eight teams will feature in Champions Challenge I tournament and Malaysia are in Group A with South Korea, Canada and Poland. Argentina, South Africa, Ireland and Japan are in Group B.

Malaysia finished fifth in the tournament in South Africa last year.

The Squad

Azlan Misron, Baljit Singh Charun, Chua Boon Huat, Faiz Helmi Jali, Faizal Saari, Ismail Abu, Jivan Mohan, S. Kumar, Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib, Mohd Fitri Saari, Mohd Shahrun Nabil Abdullah (captain), Mohd Amin Rahim, Mohd Amerullah Abdul Aziz, Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil, Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor, Roslan Jamaluddin, Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Hyundai, Kia face $775m lawsuit over false fuel economy claims

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 07:08 PM PST

SEOUL: A U.S. lawsuit has been filed against Hyundai Motor Co and affiliate Kia Motors Corp, seeking $775 million in damages in one of the biggest known actions against the automakers since they admitted overstating the fuel economy of some their vehicles.

The South Korea carmakers conceded on Friday that they had overstated the fuel efficiency ratings on more than 1 million recently sold vehicles in the United States and Canada, and agreed to compensate owners for the additional fuel costs.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed in the U.S. District Court for Central California on behalf of 23 Hyundai and Kia car owners and challenges the automakers' compensation plan.

Under the plan, customers will receive a debit card that will reimburse them for the difference in fuel economy, and an extra 15 percent to the amount will be added to acknowledge the inconvenience.

The lawsuit, which like a separate one filed in the Southern District of Ohio this week, is seeking further compensation for the reduced value of their vehicles.

Hyundai Motor was also sued in July by public interest group Consumer Watchdog for allegedly misleading consumers sensitive to high gas prices that its popular 2011 and 2012 Elantra model is more fuel efficient than it actually is.

A Hyundai Motor spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Moody's Investors Service has estimated that the automakers' compensation plan for fuel costs will cost them $100 million a year until the cars are scrapped but has not estimated potential legal costs.

Hyundai shares were down 1 percent on Thursday morning, and have lost 7 percent since rumors of lawsuits first emerged late last week. Kia's stock fell 2.4 percent and has lost 5 percent since late last week.

The broader market was down 1.5 percent on Thursday. - Reuters

M’sia 3rd in FutureBrand index

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 07:07 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has jumped seven rungs to third placing in the FutureBrand's Country Brand Index's (CBI) projected top 15 powerhouse country brands of the future.

According to FutureBrand's South-East Asia CEO Sarah Reiter, the country's successful rise in the 2012-2013 CBI rankings was contributed by attribute areas of authenticity, political freedom, environmental friendliness, history and in attractions, among others. "As it stands today, Malaysia as a country brand is clearly moving in the right direction up by seven places.

It not only continues to improve its individual CBI attribute rankings across the board, being in the top 25 worldwide for environmental friendliness, job opportunities and advanced technology, but the key measure of tourism' is forging ahead, leaping five places to 16th place," Reiter said.

Biotech investment target revised

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 07:05 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Biotechnology Corp Sdn Bhd (BiotechCorp) has revised upward its 2015 investment target for the biotechnology sector to RM26bil from RM9bil, given the growth rate in Asia.

CEO Datuk Mohd Nazlee Kamal said the RM9bil target, comprising both foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic direct investment (DDI), has been surpassed this year.

"For this year, we have clinched RM12.7bil worth of investments, of which 70% is FDI," he told a press conference on the last day of the BioMalaysia 2012 Conference and Exhibition, one of the programmes under the the World Innovation Forum Kuala Lumpur.

Mohd Nazlee said next year, BiotechCorp hopes to clinch between RM4bil and RM5bil worth of investments. - Bernama

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Zaiton’s story

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 02:22 AM PST

A popular singer's tragic tale of loss and despair is being told on film.

ZAITON Sameon. The mere mention of her name brings to mind her haunting song Menaruh Harapan and the tragic accident in 1990 which changed her life.

The 1980s pop singer's story has been brought to the big screen with Zaiton: Ceritaku, which is currently screening in cinemas.

The film marks the directing debut of Esma Daniel, who took the reins when Fauziah Nawi withdrew from the project owing to unforeseen circumstances – along with lead actress Mislina Mustaffa.

Zaiton's role is now played by theatre actress Nadia Aqilah Bajuri, whose acting credits include P. Ramlee The Musical.

For the uninitiated, the film tells the life story of singer Zaiton, whose Menaruh Harapan won Best Song in the Anugerah Juara Lagu 1987. She was at the height of her popularity when tragedy struck.

The accident claimed the life of her only son Azirwan Abu Bakar and seriously injured Zaiton, putting her in a coma for three months. The recovery process was slow, and she was never able to recreate the magic of her glory days in music.

Zaiton: Ceritaku was produced by Bruang Film's Burhanuddin Radzi and Ainon Ariff, the husband-and-wife team behind the highly successful digital cartoon, Upin & Ipin. The movie also stars Fazlina Ahmad Daud Shahronizam, Karl Shafek Ibrahim, Norlia Ghani and Arash Mohamad.

Truth be told, a viewing of the film raised more questions than answers as to what really happened to Zaiton after the accident. When asked why the film does not go in-depth into her story, Burhanuddin admitted that parts of Zaiton's true story were altered owing to sensitivity.

"We have to take into account Zaiton and her family's sensitivity. We don't want to embarrass anyone with the movie ... we are not living in the Western world. We are still living in (a) conservative society with many limitations in terms of expressing our views and opinions," he said.

Burhanuddin is fully aware that some may not like his approach to the film.

"What we want to do here is to tell Zaiton's story. I personally feel that it would be better to (focus) on the positive and not the other way around. We are not making the movie to judge Zaiton," he added.

Director Esma said the aim was to tell the story from Zaiton's point of view. "Zaiton was the toast of the town then. She has gone through a long, painful journey. She inspires me, and ought to inspire us with her strength and determination," Esma added.

According to Burhanuddin, the production team spent hours interviewing Zaiton and kept in touch with her family members to verify every incident in the movie. They took eight months, including research, to work on the draft screenplay.

Burhanuddin said that at Zaiton's request, they minimised scenes of her with her family and did not use real names.

He added that hopefully after watching the movie, fans will understand her condition and accept her as she is now.

Nadia met and interviewed Zaiton several times to prepare for her role and watched videos of the singer's performances.

"I was a pre-teen during Zaiton's heyday and never expected that I'd be singing her songs and playing her," Nadia said. "Zaiton and I have a lot in common. We are passionate about music and never give up.

"She's my hero because of her determination to rebuild her life after tragedy, and for being true to herself," she gushed.

Zaiton, now 55, also makes a cameo appearance in the movie, speaking about her fans, her hopes and her journey; there is a poignant scene where she visits her son's grave.

Zaiton was delighted with the movie's portrayal of her and commended Nadia for her great job.

"I decided to have my story made into a movie to tell music lovers that I'm taking life one day at a time, counting my blessings and making the best of them," said Zaiton, who lives with her foster daughter Ika Ismail in Kuala Lumpur and sings at festive occasions.

She has a soon-to-be-released new album entitled Terimalah Aku, which features nine tracks and was produced by Shah Wahid Mohd Amin.

> Zaiton: Ceritaku is currently screening in cinemas nationwide.

Harrison Ford could return for new Star Wars film

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 06:49 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Veteran actor Harrison Ford could reprise his role as Han Solo in "Star Wars" in a new movie set for release in 2015 after Disney bought the studio behind the sci-fi saga, a report said.

The 70-year-old has previously appeared cool on the character he played in the first three "Star Wars" movies. But he has not ruled out returning for what will be the seventh movie in the series, according to Entertainment Weekly.

"Harrison is open to the idea of doing the movie and he's upbeat about it, all three of them are," a "highly-placed" source told the magazine, referring to Ford and fellow actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

Ford found fame in the first "Star Wars" movie in 1977, and played his part again in the second and third installments, which made up the initial trilogy.

He did not appear in the second trilogy, made between 1999-2005, and has been generally dismissive of his character, telling an ABC interviewer in 2010: "As a character he was not so interesting to me."

"I don't know that I understood it very well," he said of the "Star Wars" phenomenon, adding: "I'm not sure I understand it yet. I was very happy to be involved. I was pleased to be a part of an ensemble."

Entertainment Weekly said in its Monday report that Ford - who went on to big screen success including megastardom in the blockbuster "Indiana Jones" movies - will not commit to the new "Star Wars" film until a director and script are confirmed.

Either could be a deal breaker, it said.

A spokeswoman for the star declined to comment on the report.

Walt Disney Company announced last week that it was buying "Star Wars" director George Lucas's movie company for $4 billion, and plans to revive the classic sci-fi series.

"Star Wars 7" will be released in 2015, "with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future," said Disney in announcing the deal to buy Lucasfilm. - AFP

Brooke Shields' Mother Teri Dead at 79

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 04:38 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Shields' mother and former manager, Teri Shields, died on Oct. 31 at the age of 79, a spokeswoman for the actress told TheWrap. The elder Shields had been battling dementia.

Born in Newark, N.J., in August 1933, Shields divorced Brooke's father, Francis Alexander Shields, shortly after the 1965 birth of their daughter. As Brooke's career as a young model and, later, actress began to blossom, Teri developed a reputation as the ultimate stage mother, eager to occupy a corner of the the spotlight that shone on her child.

Her judgment would also be called into question as Brooke took racy assignments at a young age, such as her infamous Calvin Klein ad, when a teenage Shields told the camera, "You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing." Shields' portrayal of a prostitute in the 1978 film "Pretty Baby," which was released when Brooke was just 12, also raised eyebrows.

The elder Shields also appeared alongside her daughter in the films "Wanda Nevada," "Endless Love" and "Backstreet Dreams." Teri Shields would find herself in the center of a scandal one more time in her later years, when a tabloid reporter checked her out of a New Jersey assisted-living home and took her to a steak house.

Though police determined that there was no criminal activity involved, the 2009 incident forced Brooke to go public with the news that Teri suffered from dementia and had been placed in a nursing home. A spokesman for Brooke Shields has not yet returned TheWrap's request for comment.- TheWrap.com

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FB postings by teens lead to catfight

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 03:16 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Two teenagers, who had traded insults over each other's looks in their Facebook postings, decided to settle the score in the open with a catfight that eventually became a street brawl which also involved their family members and friends.

In typical catfight style, there was a lot of scratching, slapping, hair-pulling, shirt-shredding. slaps, punches and kicks which left the two girls and their supporters with a lot of bruises and lost pride.

It is learnt that some of them suffered minor injuries in the incident that happened at around midnight in Kepong on Monday.

It is understood the two 18-year-old girls, both from Sentul, had started their Facebook war on Sunday after commenting about each other's photo.

A flurry of derogatory remarks and name-calling followed, leading to both agreeing to fight it out in Kepong.

One of them brought along her husband and brother while the other came with her boyfriend and four male friends.

A heated quarrel followed, which led to each side using physical force on the other.

The girl who came with her husband and brother alleged that a member of the opposing side pulled out a parang and threatened to slash all three of them.

Both sides later lodged police reports but no arrests have been made so far, said city CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah.

"The incident is being investigated under the Penal Code for criminal intimidation, voluntarily causing hurt and causing mischief," he said yesterday.

Groom-to-be fancies teen’s butt

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 03:07 PM PST

A GROOM-TO-BE who claimed he was stressed out by his wedding preparations has been charged in a Singapore court for sexually harassing a teenage girl, reported Sin Chew Daily.

The 31-year-old man, Ow Xin Hai, had allegedly offered the 17-year-old girl S$200 (RM480) to sniff her buttock.

He was also alleged to have said to the girl: "How about S$300 (RM720) for me to lick your buttock?"

The girl immediately lodged a complaint with policemen who were patrolling the area.

According to the daily, the man even shoved one of the policemen during the incident.

When interviewed by the daily, the man said he was suffering from mild depression as his wedding preparations had stressed him out.


> China Press reported that a pimp had "absconded" with RM4,000 which was the "income" of a woman who had prostituted herself for the first time.

Worse still for the 33-year-old prostitute, she could not even repay a friend who had lent her RM250 to rent a hotel room.

The victim claimed she had resorted to prostitution after her brother, the sole breadwinner of the family, ran away from home leaving behind unpaid debts.

She also had to look after her sister-in-law and three children.

The woman said she first got to know the pimp through a newspaper advertisement in October.

The pimp then arranged for her to sleep with men at a four-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur but disappeared with the money.


> Nanyang Siang Pau reported that a sweeper in Hunan, China, had attacked a group of litterbugs and severed the middle finger of a woman.

Guo Nen Fang, 33, had attacked the group with a knife after they threw waste from their breakfast on the road that the sweeper had just cleaned.

The victim, known as Zhou Ting, 22, lost her middle finger when she tried to shield her husband when Guo had gone after him.

Police took Guo away.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this > sign, it denotes a separate news item.

Too costly to pray at Hindu temples

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 03:07 PM PST

HINDU temples should not impose excessive charges on devotees to offer prayers.

Perinnbam Malaysia president U. Damodharan said estate workers used to visit temples daily but now many devotees were staying away because it was very costly.

"This has resulted in fewer people going to temples," Makkal Osai quoted him as saying.

Temples claimed that they had to impose charges to help maintain the facilities.

Damodharan said the Malaysia Hindu Sangam should standardise the charges imposed by temples.

He spoke to reporters after attending a function organised by Sri Iyappa Swami Devasthanam.


> A 26-year-old software professional was arrested for creating a fake profile of her colleague on a social networking site and describing her as a call girl, reported Tamil Nesan.

Sindhuja was upset with her lover, who is also employed in the same IT company in Thorapakkam, Chennai, as he frequently spoke to a woman at their workplace.

On Tuesday the woman reported to police that she had been receiving several calls from men seeking sexual favours.

In their investigations, police found that Sindhuja, a senior systems executive, had also created blogs with the woman's phone number, including her name and home address.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this > sign, it denotes a separate news item.

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Metro Watch

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 05:58 AM PST


National University of Singapore Centre for Asian Studies director Professor Andrew Harding will be presenting a talk titled "Beyond Authoritarianism: Malaysian Constitutionalism in the Balance" on Nov 23, as part of the Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers Series. The talk will take place at Hall 3, Graduate Centre, Sunway University from 5.30pm to 7pm. Admission is free. For registration, visit sunway.edu.my/tsjc-dss/register, call 03-7491 8622 ext 8172 (Faslika) or email pr@sunway.edu.my


The Tapah and Rawang R&R stops along the North-South Highway will be closed temporarily for maintenance works tomorrow. The Tapah (south-bound) rest stop at Km 331 will be closed from 8am to 5pm, while the Rawang (north-bound) rest stop at Km 443 will be closed from 9am to 5pm. All stalls and public facilities will be closed to the public except for petrol stations. For details, call 1800-88-0000.


Dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge like Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn as the YMCA of Kuala Lumpur is conducting free dodgeball sessions by experienced coaches at the YMCA KL's volleyball court every Wednesday. The sessions run from 8-11pm and is open to the public. For details, please contact 03-2274 1439, visit www.ymcakl.com or email programmes@ymcakl.com


Titled "From Hearts to Hearts", the GPL Group is organising a charity bazaar this Nov 11 at the Newcom Club in Jalan Kelang Lama to raise funds for two Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) Foundation infant patients and the SPCA. 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) / 03-6209 9100 (Teresa Chow).


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 needcan call 012-226 5765 (Ramanathan Chinnu).


The Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) Toastmasters will be holding an introductory session on Nov 7, titled "Sounding Good In English". The session will be held at Wisma WIM, 7 Jalan Abang Haji Openg, TTDI at 7.30pm. Admission is free. For details, call 012-670 8316 (Miss Diong) / 017-878 5282 (Kenneth).


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


The Soka Gakkai Selangor Branch is currently holding a photography exhibition by David Tay Poey Cher titled "Coming of Age: Forgotten Faces of a Greying Asia" till Nov 11 at the SGM Selangor Culture Centre in Taman Klang Jaya.

Twisting and turning her way up

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 05:58 AM PST

PROMISING artistic gymnast Sarah Merican rose to the occasion in showing her promise in her debut appearance at the Federal Territories Schools Sports Council (MSSWP) Under-10 championships at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Seri Mutiara in Cheras recently.

The up-and-coming gymnast under the care of former national women's gymnast Tan Kai Ling accomplished her best effort thus far and tasted sweet success emerging as the overall champion in the girls' section decided over three disciplines — floor exercise, balance beam and vault.

After celebrating her ninth birthday a week earlier, the victory was certainly a perfect belated gift in boosting the SK Taman Tun Dr Ismail pupil's confidence.

Currently, she is joining the Total Gymnastique training programme based at the Sri Kuala Lumpur school in Subang Jaya three times a week.

In her first outing at the Federal Territories Kuala Lumpur Gymnastics Festival artistic meet earlier, Sarah only finished seventh overall in the girls' Under-12 contest comprising a total of 19 entries.

And the club's artistic chief Mike Ng said they knew that Sarah will deliver noteworthy results and stamp her mark in junior age-group competitions.

"She started learning rhythmic gymnastics under our club's co-owner and rhythmic coach Choo Kim Lian. After less than six months, she switched to artistic early last year. She indicated that she has the potential to do well based on her physical attributes and natural gift in pulling off the graceful finishing without much guidance," he added.

In the individual events at the recent MSSWP meet, Sarah complemented her win in the balance beam by finishing third in the vault and completed the floor exercise in fifth position.

Sarah said it was a fulfilling experience to finish ahead of others in the overall standings.

"I will need to perfect my moves for the floor exercise and vault. I committed a costly mistake when I missed out on an element required in floor exercise," she added.

Sarah will be gauging her strength joining the fray in the girls' Class One section at the upcoming SportExcel meet scheduled at the National Sports Council (NSC) in Bukit Jalil on Nov 10.

Meanwhile, another budding gymnast Aaron Nabil Norzaidi from SK Taman Tun Dr Ismail completed his campaign in third position overall in the boys' section.

The 10-year-old Aaron is also part of the same training camp under the tutelage of Sam Thong.

Aaron came in third in both parallel bars and vault.

However, Aaron also found it tough to match the more accomplished entries in the floor exercise and only finished in eighth spot.

"It was very competitive and the others were better in making a stronger impression in the compulsory routine for the floor exercise.

"I was very comfortable especially with the swinging actions for the parallel bars and I felt that was the highlight of the day for me. I am satisfied with my respectable effort in my first competition for the year.

"I want to continue to strive for improvement and do better in the future," said Aaron.

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Towards a safe Johor

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 07:57 PM PST

BATU PAHAT: Johor crime rate has reduced by 9.96% between January and September this year, said state deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ismail Yatim.

In Batu Pahat district alone, he said the crime rate in the district decreased 8.16% in the same period, which was beyond the 5% target under the Reducing Crime National Key Results Area (NKRA).

"A total of 1,128 cases reported in Batu Pahat district between January and September last year and the cases cut down to 1,036 the same period this year where 44.69% cases have been solved.

"It is the result from the cooperation between the police and community," he said before opening a dialogue between Batu Pahat Chinese Chamber of Commerce (CCCBP) and state police here recently.

SAC Ismail said he hope CCCBP would enhance its role as eye and ear of the police and help to enhance awareness about community policing in ensuring public safety.

He said the police were committed to protect the community regardless of one's background and race.

"We hope members of the public will continue to cooperate with the police and fight crime together," he added.

Meanwhile, CCCBP committee member and event chairman Lim Poh Teot said safety and security remains the greatest concern among the people.

"We hear various types of crime cases such as commercial crime, street crime and theft reported every day.

"Police are bearing a heavy responsibility and it is time for us to listen to them understand their role and our own," he said.

Lim added that the public always has a different perception about the police although the government had announced a decrease of crime rates.

"We hope frequent meetings between the police and members of the public will help increase better understanding and enhance public security," he added.

Shoppers prepare to usher in the Festival of Lights

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 08:00 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: The streets along Jalan Ungku Puan and Jalan Wong Ah Fook here are abuzz with colourful lights, festive music and beautiful decorations in line with the Deepavali celebrations this year.

Thousands of people visit the bazaars to purchase Deepavali cookies, latest Kollywood songs and purchase brand new clothes to usher in the Festival of Lights.

Deepavali decorations shop attendant S. Krishnadevi said that a noticeable difference this year was the increase in Chinese and Malay customers who also want to dress up and decorate their homes and offices in line with Deepavali.

"I especially noticed many Chinese customers who come in and bought a lot of decorations because they want to join in and celebrate Deepavali as well," she said when interviewed at her shop located along Jalan Wong Ah Fook here.

She added that it was nice to see visitors of different races and religions also getting keyed up about the celebrations.

An excited looking Loo Mei Kuan, 40, also said that it was common for many of her non-Indian friends to don traditional Indian attire nearing Deepavali.

"I am looking high and low for the perfect traditional attire to wear," she said adding that she had travelled to Johor Baru from Segamat for work but decided to stop by the bazaar just to check out the selection of traditional attire here.

Loo said that this was her first time shopping for traditional Indian attire and she was hoping to buy a white Punjabi Suit and surprise her friends when she visits their homes for Deepavali.

Indonesia Dahlia Hasim, 50, said that this was the second day in a row that she was visiting the bazaar.

"I have been in Johor Baru for about a week for holidays and was so taken aback by the colourful decorations and clothes at the Deepavali bazaar.

"I also love the festive atmosphere which reminds me of how we celebrate Hari Raya back home in Indonesia," she said adding that she had already bought several Indian clothes but were looking for a few more to add to her collection.

Sabahan, Helen Dula, 48, said that she always visited the Deepavali bazaar every year.

"My husband is Hindu and I always try and buy some traditional Indian wear for myself and my children in the spirit of Deepavali," she said adding that she traditionally wears Punjabi Suits for Deepavali but would love to don a saree one day.

Association plans to earn more from building reconstruction

Posted: 06 Nov 2012 07:57 PM PST

BATU PAHAT: The Hokkien Association here wants to earn more for its education and welfare fund by adding more floors to its existing building in Jalan Rahmat.

Its chairman Robert Lim said the association was raising funds for the project that would cost between RM4.5mil and RM4.8mil to construct an additional six floors atop its four floors building.

"We want a stable income from the rent for our education and welfare fund," he said at the association 79th anniversary celebration dinner here recently.

Also present at the event were MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, the association's advisor Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, Penggaram assemblyman Datuk Koh Chee Chai and local community leaders.

Lim said the project would commence once the association raised sufficient funds and have enough long-term tenants for its premises.

"We want the building to be utilised fully and not becoming a white elephant," he said.

During his speech, Dr Chua said economic growth and stability of society was inevitable to the development of a country.

He said the track record of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's administration clearly proved that his transformation efforts have managed the economic well.

"Rice bowl is more important than politicking, like it or not, we must achieve certain economic growth to ensure continuous development of all fields and to create 200,000 job places every year.

"The traditional economic model is no longer practical as it will hold the nation from becoming a high-income nation and be left behind," he said.

Dr Chua said the private sector in partnership with the government is the locomotive of an economy.

"Involvement of the private sector from local and international partnerships is important as it will create more room for growth for all levels," he said.

On the other hand, Dr Chua said the oppositions were hardly talking about social and economic development and merely criticising the Govern-ment without displaying any concrete policy or plan.

At the event, Dr Chua also announced RM100,000 allocation for road upgrading works at Chinese cemetery in Jalan Minyak Beku.

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Combo drug for rhinitis

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 02:11 AM PST

A non-sedating antihistamine and decongestant rolled into one drug has been launched to help sufferers of allergic rhinitis.

MERCK Sharp & Dohme (MSD) recently announced the launch of a drug that contains desloratadine 2.5mg and pseudoephedrine 120mg to offer relief for those suffering from allergic rhinitis (AR). The component drugs are a non-sedating antihistamine and decongestant, respectively.

The drug can be used to relieve intermittent and year-round mild, moderate and persistent allergic symptoms such as nasal congestion, itching, sneezing and tearing or watering eyes.

It is estimated that almost 1.4 billion people globally suffer from allergic disorders and the prevalence appears to be increasing, making it one of the most common chronic medical conditions worldwide. In fact, the Asia-Pacific region alone has seen a dramatic increase in the prevalence of AR within the past 10 years.

Rhinitis is a common ailment affecting about 40% of the population in Malaysia. From that figure, allergy appears to be a major cause (80%) of rhinitis in childhood and middle-aged sufferers. However, in older individuals, almost half suffer from AR and the remaining from non-allergic disorders, said consultant ear, nose, throat (ENT) surgeon Prof Dr Prepageran Narayanan, who was present at the launch event.

"There are two major classifications of AR – intermittent and persistent. Intermittent AR occurs for less than four days per week or for less than four consecutive weeks, while persistent AR occurs for more than four days per week and for more than four consecutive weeks," elaborated Prof Dr Prepageran.

The most common allergen for intermittent AR are outdoor allergens such as mould, trees, grass or weed pollens, while persistent AR is caused by indoor allergens such as pets, dust mites, cockroach droppings, animal dander or indoor mould.

"When an antigen is encountered, the immune system of an AR patient releases histamines causing the allergy symptoms to occur," Prof Dr Prepageran elaborated.

According to a survey conducted between 2009 and 2010 across eight countries in Asia-Pacific, of the 491 households in Malaysia that participated, 41% of children suffered from seasonal AR while 48% had perennial AR. This is quite significant when compared to the 37% of adults who equally suffered from seasonal and perennial AR.

"In the same survey, most of the respondents commented that AR impacted their quality of life, with impairments to their school and work performance as well as productivity, especially when symptoms of AR was at its worst," said Prof Dr Prepageran.

Productivity and quality of life may also be affected when AR patients attempt to self-medicate and end up consuming certain drugs or antihistamines that may affect their sleep.

Prof Dr Prepageran emphasised the importance of being properly diagnosed and treated. When AR is distinguished from the normal flu and effectively managed, patients can resume their daily lives with minimal interruptions.

He added: "We hope patients would not self-medicate based on a cold when they are having AR. Consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and medication to ensure that AR symptoms are kept under control and quality of life is maintained."

In addition, to address the lack of understanding about AR, MSD, together with the Malaysian Society of Allergy & Immunology (MSAI), kicked off Stop the Sneeze, Ditch the Itch Campaign. This campaign aims to create more awareness among the public on the nature and symptoms of AR as well as the need to visit their doctor to be accurately diagnosed and properly treated.

Public education and awareness are critical because AR can have a huge impact on quality of life, leading to a loss in productivity and impacting the economy negatively.

Clinics participating in this campaign will have educational and display materials such as brochures and posters to carry the message about the right treatment for AR.


1. Chervinsky P, M.D., Nayak A, M.D., et al. Efficacy and Safety of Desloratadine / Pseudoephedrine Tablet, 2.5/120mg Two Times a Day, versus Individual Components in the Treatment of Patients with Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis. Allergy and Asthma Proc. September – October 2005, Vol. 26, No.5.

2. Allergies (accessed on April 27, 2012) :


3. Rhinitis (accessed on April 27, 2012) : http://www.allergycentre.com.my/rhinitis.html

4. Grubbe RE, Lumry WR, Anolik R. Efficacy and Safety of Desloratadine / Pseudoephedrine Combination vs Its Components in Season Allergic Rhinitis. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2009; Vol. 19(2):117-124.

5. Allergic rhinitis and sinusitis (accessed on June 10, 2012) http://www.who.int/respiratory/other/Rhinitis_sinusitis/en/index.html

6. Narayanan P, Vicente G, Blaiss M, et al. Nasal allergies in the Asian-Pacific population: Results from the allergies in Asia-Pacific Survey. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy: S3-S15, 2011.

7. Rhinitis (Hay Fever) Tips to Remember (accessed on June 10, 2012) http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/rhinitis.aspx

8. Bousquet J, Reid R, Van Weel C et al. Allergic rhinitis management pocket reference 2008. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Munksgaard Allergy 2008:63:990-996.

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