Khamis, 8 November 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Obama to make landmark visit to Myanmar this month

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 08:13 PM PST

WASHINGTON/YANGON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama later this month will become the first U.S. leader to visit Myanmar, marking the strongest international endorsement so far of the fragile democratic transition in the once-isolated Southeast Asian country after decades of military rule.

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses supporters during his election night rally in Chicago, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses supporters during his election night rally in Chicago, November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Obama will travel to Myanmar as part of a November 17-20 tour of Southeast Asia that will include stops in Thailand and Cambodia, the White House said on Thursday as it confirmed his first international trip since he won a second term in Tuesday's election.

He is going ahead with the trip despite recent sectarian violence in western Myanmar, which has drawn concern from the United States and European Union.

U.N. human rights investigators have criticized the quasi-civilian government's handling of the strife between Buddhists and minority Muslims, and some Myanmar exiles see Obama's trip as premature before political reforms have been consolidated.

The visit to Myanmar, the first by a sitting U.S. president, will give Obama a chance to meet President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to encourage the "ongoing democratic transition," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Suu Kyi spent years in detention under the military as the symbol of the pro-democracy movement and was elected to parliament in April.

Obama's presence in Myanmar, also known as Burma, will highlight what his administration sees as a first-term foreign policy achievement and a development that could help counter China's influence in a strategically important region.

Washington takes some credit for a carrot-and-stick approach that pushed Myanmar's generals toward democratic change and led to Thein Sein taking office as reformist president in 2011.

Obama will be in Myanmar on November 19, according to a senior government source in Yangon.

While marking a milestone in U.S. efforts to promote reform in Myanmar, he also risks criticism for rewarding the new government too soon, especially after security forces failed to prevent bloody ethnic violence in the west of the country.

Some 89 people were killed in clashes between Buddhist Rakhines and minority Muslim Rohingyas, according to the latest official toll covering the last 10 days of October. Many thousands more have been displaced by the violence.

The U.S. Campaign for Burma, an exile group, said Obama's trip could "undermine the democracy activists and ethnic minorities," but that if the president was intent on going, he should broaden his agenda to include meetings with the still-powerful military and an address to parliament.

A senior administration official said Obama, who will also speak to civil society groups, was "acutely aware" of concerns about human rights, ethnic violence and political prisoners in Myanmar and would address those issues during his visit.


The United States eased sanctions on Myanmar this year in recognition of the political and economic changes under way, and many U.S. companies are looking at starting operations in the country, located between China and India, which has abundant resources and low-cost labour.

In November 2011, Hillary Clinton became the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Myanmar in more than 50 years.

Obama has sought to consolidate ties and reinforce U.S. influence across Asia in what has been dubbed a policy "pivot" toward the region as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down.

Myanmar grew close to China during decades of isolation, reinforced by Western sanctions over its poor human rights record, but it now seeking to expand relations with the West.

Obama met Suu Kyi, a fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, on her visit to the United States in September. Thein Sein was also in the United States to attend the opening of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, but the two leaders did not meet.

U.S. Democratic Representative Joe Crowley, who is active on Myanmar issues, said Obama's trip could be "the most significant step" in support of democracy there.

But he said: "There is still much more to be done. Too many political prisoners remain locked up, ethnic violence must be stopped, and not all necessary political reforms have been put in place."

Obama will also be in Southeast Asia to attend meetings in Cambodia centred on an annual summit of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, which is usually extended to take in leaders of partner countries.

Preliminary details for this year show the event will run from November 15 to November 20. The Cambodian government has said Obama will be in the capital, Phnom Penh, on November 18. The White House has yet to release a detailed itinerary.

The heads of government of China, Japan, Russia and other countries are also expected in Cambodia for the meetings.

Obama will also visit Thailand while in Asia, the White House said.

(Writing by Matt Spetalnick and Alan Raybould; Editing by Robert Birsel and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Australia to sign up to new Kyoto climate commitment, New Zealand out

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 08:08 PM PST

CANBERRA/WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Australia will sign up to the second round of Kyoto climate commitments, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said on Friday, but the push for global emissions cuts remained divided with New Zealand joining major countries to opt out of the Kyoto scheme.

With new U.N. climate negotiations due to start in Qatar this month, Australia joins Europe and a handful of other nations engaged in the second phase of emissions reductions. The first Kyoto period is due to end on December 31, with the new commitment period starting on January 1, 2013.

Neighbouring New Zealand said it would not sign up for the next phase and would instead join a separate convention, including large greenhouse gas emitters such as the United States and China.

Negotiations in Doha will start working out new targets for the Kyoto process, culminating in an agreement by 2015.

"Joining a second commitment period will ensure Australian businesses have access to international credits under the Clean Development Mechanism, helping Australia reduce emissions at the lowest cost to the economy," Combet said.

Australia accounts for around 1.5 percent of global emissions, but is the developed world's highest emitter per person, due to a heavy reliance on burning coal for electricity.

Data released last week shows Australia on track to honour its original Kyoto commitment to limit carbon emissions, blamed for global warming, to 108 percent of 1990 levels by 2012.

Emerging countries such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa seek stronger targets for rich countries. Under the first Kyoto period, emerging economies had no mandatory cuts.

Australia has a target to cut emissions by 5 percent of year 2000 levels by 2020, but Combet said that could be raised to up to 25 percent if there was a stronger global commitment.

Australia in July introduced a A$23 ($24) per tonne carbon tax on top polluters, which will move into an emissions trading scheme from mid 2015. Australia and the European Union have agreed to link their trading schemes by 2018.

New Zealand's abandonment of Kyoto 2 followed changes to its emissions trading scheme (ETS), which allowed unlimited use of carbon credits to meet targets at near-record low carbon prices.

The changes also kept out the agriculture sector, which accounts for around half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, from the ETS.

New Zealand Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said a new target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions through to 2020 would be set once technical issues had been settled.

In the meantime, experts said the government's commitment to emissions reductions remained unclear.

"Now that it is out of Kyoto, New Zealand has to announce a serious 2020 target - one that involves it actually reducing emissions and not relying on short-term forest credits if New Zealand wants to be taken seriously on climate action," said Simon Terry of the Sustainability Council of New Zealand.

Wellington had made a conditional offer to cut emissions by 10-20 percent below 1990 levels, subject to global progress.

($1 = 0.9601 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by James Grubel in Canberra and Gyles Beckford in Wellington; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Earthquake hits northern Japan, no tsunami warning issued

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 08:07 PM PST

TOKYO (Reuters) - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.5 shook northern Japan on Friday, public broadcaster NHK said.

No tsunami warning was issued, and there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

(Reporting by Mayumi Negishi; Editing by Ken Wills)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

'Dancing With The Stars' co-host has cancer

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 08:57 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dancing With The Stars co-host Brooke Burke said on Thursday that she has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and will need surgery.

The television presenter and model said in a three-minute video posted on the website that she will need her thyroid removed.

"I need to have thyroid surgery and a thyroidectomy, which means I'm going to have a nice, big scar right here on neck," Burke said, drawing a finger across her throat.

Burke, a former winner of ABC's celebrity ballroom dancing competition, said she had a biopsy in July, but it had taken her months to go public with the results.

There was no word on when the surgery would take place, but Burke's publicist said her work schedule for Dancing With The Stars would not be affected.

Burke, 47, said in July that her doctor suggested she undergo a thyroid ultrasound after he felt a lump in her neck during a routine physical.

The thyroid is a gland in the neck that produces hormones that regulate vital body functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure.

Burke's co-host Tom Bergeron said on Thursday during an appearance on the CBS chat show The Talk that he had known about her condition for several months. "We are all there with her," he said.

"I've known about this for a few months ... I have had experience with this in my family. You never want to hear the word cancer. But thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable cancers. It has an incredibly high success rate," he said.

Favourite choice

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 01:42 AM PST

The station more people are waking up to is Red FM.

THE alarm rings, you wake up, turn on the radio and it's tuned to Red FM. Yes, more people in Malaysia are choosing to wake up to Red FM, and recent Nielsen survey results have proven this. Let's check out the appeal of The Red Breakfast Show (Mondays to Fridays, 6am-10am).         The show hosted by Lil' Kev and Sarimah offers a whole load of exciting segments, providing you with conversation starters for your busy day ahead.

The newest addition to the show is Redopedia. Everyday, the hosts give you a fact that may or may not be useful. For example, did you know that a cow can walk up the stairs but it can't walk down on its own?        

With Word Outta, the Red FM breakfast team teaches you a new word daily.

Sarimah first gives Lil' Kev the word of the day and he makes a sentence using the word without knowing its meaning.

She then explains what the word means and gives its Bahasa Malaysia equivalent as well.

Also, from 9am each day, both the hosts will be vying for your vote in the segment Last Call. Each of them picks a song he/she wants played on air.

The banter they offer to make you pick their selection is priceless and may, or may, not include low blows. As they continue to vie for your vote, Lil' Kev and Sarimah give you The Dirt on the latest gossip and entertainment news. At the end of the hour, the winner gets his/her song played.

Need an ice breaker?

Share the Daily 5 that sometimes stays on the safe side with The Top 5 Denzel Washington movies or strays to be more risqué with The Top 5 Annoying Things Girls Do.

Relive hit songs from the 1990s and early 2000s with Retro Fridays where the programme entertains with tunes from your school days that you can sing along to.

Be it retro, R'n'B or classic rock, there is a song for everyone to relate to.

For more information, log on to Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page on and follow them on Twitter @iloveredfm.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

> Red FM's Station Frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6FM, Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8FM


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Alliance Research keeps Buy on RHB Cap, unch TP RM8.89

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 07:13 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Alliance Research is maintaining a Buy recommendation on RHB Capital with an unchanged target price of RM8.89.

"RHB Cap remains our top pick for exposure to the domestic banking sector," it said on Friday.

Alliance Research said RHB Cap had completed the acquisition of OSK Investment Bank after issuing 245 million new ordinary shares.

"With the completion of the exercise, we believe that the removal of implied cap price of RM7.95 will serve as a key re-rating catalyst for RHB Cap," it said. The research house was also positive on the management's initiative to provide guidance on the quantified synergistic benefits at the upcoming analyst briefing could lead to further re-rating going forward.

"The 245 million new ordinary shares issued by RHB Cap will effectively be kept in the books of OSK Holdings Bhd (OSKH).

"We understand that some investors may be concern about the potential share overhang in the market should OSKH decide to either dispose the RHBC's shares in the market and pay out special dividend to existing OSKH shareholders, and/or, distribute dividend-in-specie by returning new RHB Cap shares to existing OSKH shareholders," it said.

Alliance Research said the concern was largely unfounded, referring to OSKH founder and majority shareholder Tan Sri Ong Leong Huat's recent indication there was no such plan and OSKH would hold the RHB Cap shares as a long term investment.

"As such, we opine that the new RHB Cap shares will be 'locked up' in OSKH book and there will not be RHB Cap's share overhang in the near future," said the research house. Alliance Research said despite the recent relative outperformance of RHB Cap's share price versus its peers, the group was still trading at an unjustifiably low forward price-to-earnings of 8.8 times and price-to-book value of 1.2 times.

"We wish to highlight that our forecasts of forward earnings and book values only take into account of RHB Cap's standalone earnings and present share capital, since we are awaiting for management guidance of the potential quantified synergistic benefits at the upcoming analyst briefing before revising our earnings and book value forecasts," it said.

It said RHB Cap was still trading at an unjustifiably low forward P/E of 9.7 times.

This was on the assumption of a steep 10% earnings dilution from the acquisition exercise, which was conservative as it was effectively assuming there were no synergistic benefits and virtually no earnings contributions from OSK to the enlarged entity.


KLCI weakens, consumer stocks fall

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 06:59 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips gave up their early gains and slipped into the red on Friday, with consumer stocks among the major decliners.

At 10.41am, the FBM KLCI fell 3.95 points to 1,637.12. Turnover was 190.40 million shares valued at RM173.49mil. There were 143 gainers, 233 losers and 259 counters unchanged.

Asian stocks fell, with the regional benchmark index headed for the biggest two-day loss in more than three months, amid concern Greece's bailout may be delayed and as Australia's central bank cut its growth forecast, Bloomberg reported.

Maybank KE Research said the KLCI -- which shed 0.10 point to close at 1,645.53 on Thursday -- expected its resistance level at 1,645 and 1,669 to cap market gains, whilst weaker support areas were at 1,621 and 1,638.

"The KLCI made an all-time high of 1,679.37 on Oct 29, 2012. With last Friday's and this week's negative price action, the index formed a Bearish Engulfing Pattern for its weekly chart with further downside confirmation.

"As such, all rebound rallies should be sold. That 1,679.37 high looks extremely ominous for now. With the Dow's plunge, expect a volatile day to the downside locally," said Maybank KE Research.

At Bursa Malaysia, BAT fell the most, down 74 sen to RM58.36, Nestle lost 70 sen to RM64.30, Dutch Lady 36 sen to RM45.14 and GAB 14 sen to RM16.20.

PetDag lost 32 sen to RM21.50 and PetGas 14 sen to RM19.26. Among the plantations, TAHPS tumbled 22 sen to RM5.33 and KL Kepong 14 sen to RM20.86.


Aussie employment beats forecasts for 2nd straight month

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 05:41 PM PST

SYDNEY: Australian employment rose by more than expected for a second straight month in October, helping keep the jobless rate steady and forcing the market to lengthen the odds of a cut in interest rates before year end.

The Australian dollar rose a quarter of a cent after government data showed employment increased 10,700 in October, beating forecasts of a flat outcome. The jobless rate held at 5.4%, when analysts had expected a tick up to 5.5%. Full-time jobs also rose a solid 18,700.

The better data seemed to diminish the chance of an easing in December after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) surprised some by not cutting the 3.25% cash rate at its policy meeting this week.

"The full-time component has been up for four consecutive months now. We're a bit surprised by that in particular," said SuLin Ong, a senior economist at RBC Capital Markets.

"It probably falls on the side of the ledger of the RBA staying on the sidelines for a bit longer. It's going to sit with their view that the labour market is softer but still in reasonable shape. We have them moving again in Q1 of next year."

Interbank future slipped to show a 48% chance of a move next month, compared with 60% before yesterday's figures. The Australian dollar firmed to US$1.0415, while short-term government bond yields nudged up to 2.66%.

The market had already been on edge after New Zealand reported a 7.3% jump in its unemployment rate, the highest in 13 years. — Reuters



The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Wi takes one-shot PGA Tour lead at Disney

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 05:31 PM PST

LAKE BUENA VISTA (Florida): Charlie Wi got off to a quick start Thursday and will try to make his one-stroke, first-round lead stand up in the US PGA Tour's season-ending event at Walt Disney World Resort.

South Korea's Wi had an eagle and eight birdies in an eight-under 64 on Disney's par-72 Palm Course, the easier of two lay-outs in use for the tournament called the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

Wi, who took the first-round lead for the third time this season, closed his round with back-to-back birdies to gain a one-shot edge on Colombian Camilo Villegas and Tommy Gainey.

While interest this week is focused on players trying to gain or preserve full playing privileges for next season by finishing in the top 125 on the money list, Wi has aims of his own: securing a first victory in his 184th career start on the US tour and thereby moving into the top 30 on the money list to book a first trip to the Masters.

"Top 30 is definitely a goal," Wi said. "I'm not just showing up to play. You've got to have goals. I at least want to give myself a chance."

Gainey nabbed his first career victory three weeks ago at Sea Island, where he closed with a superb 60.

However, he was so far down the money list that even a win this week wouldn't get him into the Masters.

The American would still like to build on the momentum of his first title and close the season on a high note.

Villegas, whose US career has stalled since he won consecutive FedEx Cup layoff events and reached seventh in the world back in 2008, finds himself among those fighting to retain his tour card.

He didn't qualify for any of the majors this season and has dropped to 214 in the world rankings. He came into the week at 150 on the US money list. If he falls below 150, he will have to go through the second stage of qualifying school.

Villegas said an attitude adjustment has helped his game, as he has determined to enjoy his job and stop allowing frustration with his game to fester.

"The game comes and kind of bites us, and the last year and a half hasn't been pretty, I can tell you that," he said.

"Even though I kept putting in the hours, sometimes it doesn't matter. You put those hours in and if you're not having fun, you're not going to get much out of it. So I've definitely changed a little bit the attitude. And, yes, I've been playing a lot better."

Brian Harman, Scott Stallings and Scotland's Russell Knox were tied on 66, with another half-dozen players on 67.

Sweden's Henrik Stenson and Charles Howell were among five players whose 68 was the best score at Magnolia, the tougher course that will be used by all players for the last two rounds. - AFP

Wie shares LPGA lead with Kung, Stanford

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 05:29 PM PST

GUADALAJARA (Mexico): Michelle Wie had six birdies in a six-under 66 on Thursday to seize a share of the first round lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational alongside Candie Kung and Angela Stanford.

Wie, whose 2009 triumph here was the first of her two LPGA tour victories to date, opened with back-to-back birdies at Guadalajara Country Club, and strung together four successive birdies from the 10th through the 13th.

It was a great start for a player who has struggled to just two top-20 finishes this season and needed a sponsor invitation to get into the 36-player field after failing to qualify.

Taiwan's Kung and American player Stanford both had seven birdies and one bogey in their six-under efforts.

World No. 2 Stacy Lewis, who won her fourth title of the season last week in Japan, was one shot off the pace on 67, tied with Evian Masters winner Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu of South Korea, France's Karine Icher and Cristie Kerr.

Lewis has a 58-point lead over Park with two events left in the LPGA Player of the Year points race.

She is bidding to wrap up the honor this week and become the first US golfer to win the award since Beth Daniel in 1994.

Tournament host Lorena Ochoa, the Mexican superstar who won 27 LPGA Tour titles before retiring in 2010, opened with a 71.

This time last year Ochoa, 28, was expecting the birth of her son Pedro, who was born in December. - AFP

ATP Tour Finals: Del Potro crushes Tipsarevic to stay in semis race

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 04:02 PM PST

LONDON: Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro crushed Serbian eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic 6-0, 6-4 on Thursday to keep alive his hopes of securing a place in the semi-finals of the ATP Tour Finals.

After both players lost their opening Group B matches, this clash at London's O2 Arena had become a must-win encounter and it was former US Open champion del Potro who seized his chance to avoid an early exit with a brutal display of power hitting.

Del Potro, seeded sixth, has lost just twice indoors in 2012 and he blew Tipsarevic off the court in just one hour and 16 minutes.

The Argentine still needs a win against Roger Federer in his final group match on Saturday to reach the last four and even that may not be enough depending on the result of David Ferrer's meeting with Tipsarevic.

At least del Potro still has a chance, unlike Tipsarevic who is destined to crash out after losing both his matches without even winning a set.

"I'm so glad to be part of this amazing tournament. I'm trying to play my best tennis," Del Potro said.

"It's not easy to win a set 6-0. Janko was fighting. He's a very good player.

"I have a high step up against Federer on Saturday but I will try to beat him.

"I have worked a lot every day to be here after my injury problems. I'm back in the top 10 and I really want to enjoy this week."

Only Federer, Novak Djokovic and Ferrer have amassed more than del Potro's career-high total of 65 match wins this year and, with recent titles in Basle and Vienna on his CV, he is clearly determined to finish the year on a high.

Del Potro, who was Tour Finals runner-up in 2009, had won all three of his previous encounters with Tipsarevic and the result was never in doubt after he made the perfect start with a break in the opening game.

The Argentine saved a break point on his own serve before seizing control of the set with a second break, secured with a forehand bludgeoned with ferocious power.

Leading 3-0, del Potro refused to take his foot off the gas and he broke again in the fifth game before closing out the set.

Tipsarevic had been struggling with a virus before the start of the tournament and he looked short of energy and inspiration here.

He finally stopped the rot by holding serve at the start of the second set, but del Potro was striking the ball too well to be denied for long and he landed the decisive break in the fifth game. - AFP


The Star Online: Nation

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Toll discounts for motorists next week

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 07:52 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Motorists will enjoy discounts on 24 highways in conjunction with the Deepavali celebration this coming Tuesday, while five highways will slash toll rates for Awal Muharram on Thursday.

The Malaysian Highway Authority (MHA) said all highways had agreed to offer this incentive to support the Government in encouraging social corporate responsibility (CSR) programmes among concessionaires.

The North-South Expressway (PLUS), North-South Expressway Central Link (Elite), Seremban-Port Dickson Highway (SPDH), Kulim-Butterworth Highway (KLBK) and Malaysia-Singapore Second Link Expressway (Linkedua) would offer rebates of 20% on Deepavali and 10% on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a statement issued by MHA here Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH), Shah Alam-Kuang Highway (Guthrie), Kemuning-Shah Alam Highway (LKSA) and SMART Highway will give 20% off on all toll rates for cash and Electronic Transfer Card (ETC) from 6am on Tuesday until 6am on Wednesday.

The New North Klang Straits Bypass (NNKSB) will give a 10% discount from 11am on Monday until 8am on Tuesday, while the Cheras-Kajang Highway (Grandsaga), KL-Putrajaya Highway (KLP), Senai Desaru Expressway (SDE), New Pantai Expressway (NPE), Sungai Besi Expressway (Besraya) Kajang-Seremban Highway (LEKAS), Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (DUKE), Shah Alam Highway (KESAS), KL-Karak Highway (KLK), East Coast Highway Phase 1 (LPT 1) and the KL-Kuala Selangor Highway (LATAR) offer motorists 10% off on Tuesday (12am to 11.59pm).

The MHA estimates four million vehicles to enter the highways during the festive season. - Bernama

Bukit Aman team heads for Lebanon to seek info from M'sian duo detained over terror links

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 07:03 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Federal police despatched a team of officers to Lebanon Thursday morning to obtain information from two Malaysians arrested in Beirut on Oct 18 for suspected involvement with the Al-Qaeda terrorist group.

The team is expected to meet with Malaysian Embassy officials in Lebanon to be briefed on the charges against Razif Mohamad Ariffin, 28, and Mohamad Razin Shahar Mustapha Kamal, 21.

"After obtaining information from the embassy, we will meet with Lebanese security officials for an in-depth briefing on the arrest of our citizens," said Bukit Aman Special Task Force (Operations and Counter Terrorism) director Datuk Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

Razif and Mohamad Razin, currently held in Beirut's Roumieh Jail, are awaiting a decision from the Military Tribunal after they were detained at a hotel in Lebanon's capital city last month.

The tribunal will determine whether the two should be charged in court or released.

Mohamad Fuzi said after meeting with security officials there, the team would meet with Razif and Mohamad Razin to get more information on their alleged militant activities.

"Going there (Lebanon), we cannot interrogate them because they were arrested, according to that country's laws. We can only see them to get information," he said.

He added that the team would be there for several days, pending completion of its duties. - Bernama

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Accused in Sosilawati case denies celebrating murder on Merdeka eve

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 06:51 AM PST

SHAH ALAM: The third accused in the murder case of cosmetics millionairess Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three other individuals denied celebrating their murder on Merdeka eve two years ago.

"I put it to you that you were not celebrating Merdeka on the night of Aug 30, 2010, but were actually celebrating the murder of the four individuals," Deputy Public Prosecutor Idham Abd Ghani Idham suggested to R. Matan in his cross-examination at the defence trial Thursday, to which the accused disagreed.

Matan, 22, with former lawyer Pathmanabhan, 43, T. Thilaiyalagan, 21, and R. Kathavarayan, 32, are accused of murdering Sosilawati, 47, bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and Sosilawati's driver, Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44.

They allegedly committed the offence at a farm, Ladang Gadong, Lot 2001, Jalan Tanjong Layang, Tanjung Sepat in Banting, between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on Aug 30, 2010.

Earlier in his testimony, Matan said he, Thilaiyalagan, Kathavarayan, U. Suresh and K. Sarawanan (the latter two are prosecution witnesses) celebrated Merdeka Day at the farm by raising the Malaysian and Selangor flags on the night of Aug 30, 2010.

He had also told the court that he was not aware that Pathmanabhan was the owner of the farm until after the latter was arrested by police.

"You said you were not aware that Pathmanabhan was the owner of Ladang Gadong but you had seen him 10 to 15 times at the farm, yet you did not enquire from Kathavarayan?" asked Idham, to which the witness replied in the affirmative.

"You were not interested to know who Pathmanabhan was even though he had asked how you were while you were working at the farm?" asked Idham.

"Yes, not interested," replied Matan.

"When you saw Ravi (Kathavarayan)'s sister and family at the farm, you could have asked Thilaiyalagan who they were but you did not ask who the individual (Patahmanabhan) was; I put it to you that you are lying to the court," said Idham, to which Matan disagreed.

The trial continues Friday before Justice Datuk Akhtar Tahir. - Bernama


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Taking a risk

Posted: 08 Nov 2012 02:43 AM PST

Musical comedy Pitch Perfect tells the story of a group of college students taking part in an a cappella competition.

There is a reason why television is currently saturated with singing shows – people just can't get enough of it.

The film Pitch Perfect offers a story about misfits and underdogs with great talent coming together for a singing competition. Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wislon, Anna Camp, Skylar Astin and Brittany Snow, the film explores the world of college a cappella competitions (which are real events in the United States), focusing on an all-female vocal group as it tries to survive the cut-throat contest world.

Pitch Perfect kicks off its story with Kendrick's character, Beca, arriving at Barden University where she reluctantly ends up as a member of The Bellas. This particular group has just had a bad year at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs) and is in dire need of new recruits to give it a breath of fresh air. As it turns, Beca is the key.

In an interview transcript provided by the film distributor UIP Malaysia, Kendrick said: "Beca arrives at college and kind of thinks she is too cool for it. When she is asked to join this singing group, she initially doesn't want to be involved because she sees them as dorky. She thinks she's kind of a bad***, but she really isn't."

Kendrick, who received an Oscar nomination for her role in Up In The Air, found the process of singing and dancing in the movie quite scary yet fun. Although she has done theatre from a young age and was in a choir group during high school – which led to her going for vocal lessons – she felt that was enough. To prepare for the role, though, she and the other cast members had a month-long rehearsal period in an a cappella "boot camp" where they sang and danced for 10 hours a day to ensure they achieved a harmonious musical sound.

As it turns out, Kendrick knows a thing or two about these heated singing competitions as she got dragged to them by a friend when she first moved to Los Angeles.

She shared: "I assumed it was going to be really painful, but by the end of the evening, I was on my feet and really invested in it. That's when I understood that something can seem dorky and underground, like college a cappella competitions, but which could actually be infectious and make you feel the stakes are really high. I think (scriptwriter) Kay Cannon really captured that in the script."

According to director Jason Moore, he met Kendrick almost a year before shooting began for the movie , and thought that the 27-year-old actress would be perfect to play a grounded character like Beca. He said: "Anna Kendrick has wit, warmth, a fantastic singing voice and she is a great dancer as well. She was the right centre for the movie and helped attract other good actors to complete the cast."

Moore is also quoted in the production notes as saying: "When we were casting the movie, I knew that I wanted the actors to all do their own singing. The story is about everyone bringing their own special voice, the way that they sound and the way they perform, into the movie, so I needed genuine performances. What's interesting about this genre is that there are no drums and there's no piano to cover up the mistakes, so everybody has to be able to carry the musical tune and do what it takes to make the overall sound work."

Nonetheless, Moore faced the challenge of choosing the right songs and getting them translated into a cappella numbers. Some of the more popular ones in The Bellas' songlist are The Sign (Ace Of Base), Turn The Beat Around (Gloria Estefan), S&M (Rihanna), No Diggity (Blackstreet) and Party In The USA (Miley Cyrus), and mash-ups of Just the Way You Are (Bruno Mars) and Just A Dream (Nelly).

When asked what she took away from the whole experience of Pitch Perfect, Kendrick answered: "I just had such a nice experience getting to know these girls. To be honest, the unsung heroes of this film are all the people that didn't have lines and are in these singing groups. Their energy, work ethic and excitement were so contagious that whenever I felt like throwing in the towel, all I had to do was look at them to be inspired." – By Mumtaj Begum

> Pitch Perfect opens in cinemas nationwide on Nov 15.


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Work on flyover worsens congestion

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 09:49 PM PST

CONSTRUCTION work on a flyover near the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) Rawang toll plaza has worsened traffic congestion along Jalan Rawang-Batu Arang.

Motorists are unhappy because now they can only use one lane.

The monsoon season has worsened the problem as there are more potholes caused by heavy vehicles, forcing traffic to slow down.

Rawang coordinator Soong Beng Khoon said last Sunday, his daughter was stuck in the traffic jam for about three hours.

"My daughter was heading home to Bandar Country Homes from Rawang town, a distance of about 10 kms.

"Being a weekend, many motorists were also heading in the same direction to get to Bandar Tasik Puteri, Kampung Sungai Bakau and the surrounding area also faced traffic congestion.

"Even more devastating, motorists had to avoid huge potholes along the stretch," said Soong, who visited the site with Selayang MCA Youth chief Lee Li Yew and other Barisan Nasional component party members recently.

Lee added that the contractor had resurfaced the road recently.

"This road is the main artery for Rawang folk, so the contractor should keep it well-maintained.

"The authorities must ensure safety of motorists by repairing the damaged roads to ensure smooth flowing traffic," he said.

Work on Pudu Underpass project at halfway mark

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 08:17 PM PST

MOTORISTS travelling along Jalan Pudu are in for good news as the Pudu Underpass Project by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is ahead of schedule and is expected to be completed by end of 2013.

DBKL Civil Engineering and Drainage Department director Tan Keng Chok said the work progress was at 54% as of Oct 31. It meant that the project was 86 days ahead from the actual scheduled timelime.

The construction work has taken up two of the six lanes, causing Cheras-bound traffic along Jalan Pudu to squeeze into two lanes from the previous three, further aggravating traffic congestion in the area.

"The project was supposed to be completed on Sept 18, 2011 but was delayed due to underlying utility cables at the said construction site.

"In addition, the contractors appointed by Telekom Malaysia (TM) did not perform their tasks as required," Tan told StarMetro during an interview at Menara DBKL 1 in Jalan Raja Laut, Kuala Lumpur recently.

"Construction of underpasses in Kuala Lumpur is difficult as there are many underlying cables which can obstruct any kind of construction work.

"To relocate the cables would cost RM70mil and another two years to complete. To resolve this, DBKL came up with a solution to dig in deeper (10.4m) from road surface," said Tan.

He added that the work also involved the relocation of other utility cables and pipes belonging to telco, Gas Malaysia and Intergrated Transport Information System (ITIS) lines in various stages.

The Pudu Underpass Project entails the construction of three underpasses (Underpass 1, Underpass 2 and 3 carried out simulaneously), upgrading of Jalan Galloway, Jalan Hang Tuah, Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah and the construction of two footbridges in Jalan Pudu and Jalan Hang Tuah, among others.

Tan said Underpass 1 caters for vehicles from Jalan Bukit Bintang to Jalan Pudu, Underpass 2 caters for motorists from Jalan Pudu heading towards Cheras, while Underpass 3 serves motorists from Jalan Pudu to Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah.

The consultant for the RM129mil project is Khairi Consult Sdn Bhd, while the contractors are Pertama Makmur Sdn Bhd and A S Masa Sdn Bhd.

The estimated length from Underpass 1 to Underpass 3 is approximately 800m.

The initial cost was RM83mil when the project commenced in March 2009.

He said effective Dec 15, motorists from Jalan Bukit Bintang would not be allowed to turn right to Jalan Pudu, as works on Underpass 1 was scheduled to begin.

Simultaneously, motorists from Jalan Pudu will also be barred from turning left to Jalan Bukit Bintang.

Tan explained that the construction work on Underpass 1 involved diversion of traffic to Lorong Pudu 10 (which is currently undergoing upgrades as the road was previously occupied by 11 hawker stalls).

"These hawkers were relocated on Oct 18 and are now temporarily placed opposite Corona Inn in Jalan Tong Shin. Once this work is completed by end of this month, we will proceed to partially close Jalan Bukit Bintang/Jalan Pudu.

"Traffic will then be diverted to the new junction at Jalan Pudu and Lorong Pudu 10, whereby motorists are allowed to turn right from Lorong Pudu 10 to Jalan Pudu (Pudu-Sentral bound) and also turn left from Jalan Pudu to Lorong Pudu 10," said Tan.

He assured motorists that adequate signage would be put up to ensure a smooth flow and effective traffic management.

"There will definitely be a slight confusion when traffic diversion takes place, but we hope that motorists will be patient as we are trying our best to speed up work," Tan added.

Meanwhile, Tan said the construction work on Underpass 3 in Jalan Changkat Thambi Dollah was also in progress, although the work also entailed the relocation of telco cables.

When asked to comment on the traffic light system in the area as some motorists had complained that the green time was too short for Cheras-bound traffic along Jalan Pudu and at the Jalan Imbi-Jalan Pudu intersection, Tan said this was managed by DBKL's traffic light control centre with the assistance of the police.

"There will be police personnel to monitor the traffic situation in the area during peak hours.

"When the traffic flow is bad, the police will inform the control centre, who will then reset the timing accordingly," he said, adding that at times the police would manage the traffic flow on their own.

Apart from managing the traffic flow at the construction site, the challenging tasks faced by DBKL and the contractors include managing the traffic flow during construction, protection and relocation of underground utilities such as 132kV high-tension, 33kV and 11kV Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), TM and telco cables, as well as Syabas water mains and Gas Malaysia pipes.

"We also had to protect existing structures and buildings such as monorail columns, apart from mobilising and demobilising heavy machineries to the work site in the busy city centre.

"However, the most difficult task is conducting excavation work at the busy intersection of Jalan Pudu, Jalan Imbi and Jalan Hang Tuah whereby the contractors had to construct proper strutting (to retain the excavated trench wall from collapsing) and temporary structures for depth exceeding 10m," he said.

He added that relocation of TM cables had to be done in stages due to the heavy traffic at the intersection and closure of roads could only be done at night.

Tan said the relocation of 11 hawker stalls from Jalan Pudu 10 to Jalan Tong Shin was also an intricate task as they had been doing business in the area since 1995.

DBKL had to turn to MPs to urge the hawkers to move to a temporary location.

Related Story:
Flyover construction narrows main road to single lane


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Locals urged to acquire skills to reduce Government’s dependence on foreign labour

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 06:08 PM PST

MUADZAM SHAH: The Government's target of 3.3 million skilled labour among locals by the year 2020 will reduce some 70% of the country's dependence on foreign labour.

However, deputy Human Resources Minister Senator Datuk Maznah Mazlan said, it would depend on how serious locals are in acquiring high skills in whatever field as only quality and competent labour will have the opportunities of securing jobs.

Maznah said various skills training institutions of both government and private colleges are available to provide the opportunities for Malaysians.

"However, whether they are fully skilled or otherwise after attending the courses would still depend on the individual," she said.

Maznah added that both local and foreign companies would definitely hire highly-skilled and competent workers for productivity and good return of investment.

"They are not to be blamed if locals failed to meet the criteria and open the job markets to foreign workers. Currently, there are 380 government skills training institutions while some 580 others are run privately which are authorised to provide skills training in colleges throughout the country.

"However, only serious participants or students will gain high-skilled knowledge but those without would find themselves difficult to be employed," Maznah said after presenting 1Malaysia netbooks to some 800 students in Muadzam Shah constituency here recently.

She said there were complaints of some students who were given jobs not according to their scope of skills that they have gained from the courses attended. This has resulted in them losing interest and neglecting their jobs and finally they quit to look for jobs more suited to the skills that they have acquired.

Maznah said these groups should forward their complaints to the relevant authorities so that the government could investigate on why they were not employed according to their skills.

"We cannot blame the related companies on this matter because the students involved may not have performed or their skills are not needed in that particular companies.

"However, we can check on the actual situation once the complaints reach us for further action," she said.

Maznah said currently out of 138,000 jobs being offered through various government and companies, some 40,000 of those employed are graduates.

"Graduates could increase their knowledge in skills by attending courses in skill training institutions to be more competent and productive," Maznah said.

Three illegal gambling outlets shut down

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 06:09 PM PST

TEMERLOH: Police scored another success in their on-going war against illegal gambling with the closing down of three more outlets in Mentakab.

Acting on tip-off and own surveillance, a team led by Asst Supt Shaharudin Abdul Wahab raided the outlets in Jalan Mok Hee Kiang and Jalan Besar one after the other.

Acting Temerloh OCPD Supt Zundin Mahmood said three caretakers and 12 customers, aged between 20 and 50, who were engrossed in gambling activities were detained for questioning.

Supt Zundin said a total of 38 computer sets were seized, in addition to three modems, other paraphernalias and RM614 in cash.

"We believe the outlets were operating as gambling dens under the guise of cyber cafes.

"The suspects have been released on police bail after having their statements recorded," he said.

Supt Zundin said the case would be investigated under Section 4B(a) of the Common House Gambling Act 1953, which carries a minimum fine of RM10,000 for each machine seized or up to five years in prison.

He said investigations would also be carried out under Section 4(1)(b) of the Entertainment Enactment 1993 against owners of the premises.

"We take a serious view of such illegal activities as it would result in a host of social ills including family, moral decadence and addiction.

"I urge the public to continue providing us with information so that more raids would be carried out to cripple such syndicates and operators," he said.

Supt Zundin said since Sept 1, his officers had carried out 43 raids in the district which saw the arrests of 44 caretakers and 196 customers including women.

He said total worth of seizures amounted to RM197,825, including 626 computer sets and RM10,025 in cash.

Encouraging Internet usage

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 06:09 PM PST

MARAN: Parents too can benefit from the 1Malaysia netbook for students as their children can teach them on the Internet communications services.

Maran Member of Parliament Datuk Ismail Abd Muttalib said there are parents who run the small scale businesses and they could benefit from the Internet services by marketing their products via the services.

Ismail said while their children were provided with the netbooks from the Government's initiative of increasing the communication technology development among them, they too could guide their parents on the netbook usages.

He said the parents who live in remote areas or in villages while earning a living by selling items such as keropok lekor, ikan pekasam or tempoyak and others perhaps have limited marketing networking.

"It is just like killing two birds with one stone by both parties – parents and children.

"Their children have the netbooks, learn on surfing the Internet at schools and develop the knowledge from time to time.

"At the same time they could teach their parents on the Internet communications technology and parents who run small scale businesses could sell their products via the Internet which they had learned from their children," Ismail said after presenting 370 netbooks to students in the Maran Parliament constituency.

Ismail said both parties who are to benefit from the netbooks will also find out that the computers would not necessarily be harming the users as long as it is correctly used.

"We could not control the way of making use of the netbooks by the students.

"By now they should already know how to use it in positive ways and one of the methods of monitoring them is by roping in parents to use their children's netbooks for learning purposes and the same time have their own computers for their business purposes.

"By making it as the tool to check on their children's activities via Internet or netbooks, the parents could develop their business networking," Ismail said.

He said the positive manner of handling the computers for whatever purposes should be at all times guided by parents and the children's moral values and thinking.


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A little bit country, a little bit pop

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 10:55 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (MCT): During the 13 months that Taylor Swift canvassed the globe on her 2011-12 Speak Now tour, she was joined onstage by a steady parade of celebrity musician friends and admirers: Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber in L.A., Usher in Atlanta, Brooks & Dunn's Ronnie Dunn in her home base of Nashville, Selena Gomez and James Taylor at Madison Square Garden in New York.

On the surface, the guest appearances were simply a bonus for fans -- a little something to generate extra sparks, Twitter and water cooler buzz about those shows.

But the move seems to have had an unanticipated side effect on the star -- and her new album, Red.

"I reached a moment in making this album where I just wanted to get into the studio with people who do things differently than I do and see how they do it," said Swift, 22, during a recent break in rehearsals in North Hollywood. "It was really more of an experience decision. I really never want to get stuck making the same album more than once."

Red, Swift's fourth album, is an unapologetically big pop record that opens new sonic vistas for her thanks to collaborations with pop-world heavyweights including Max Martin and his frequent songwriting and production partner Shellback, Ed Sheeran, Jeff Bhasker and Semisonic singer Dan Wilson.

The new alliances manifest in the big-beat pop chorus of the album's first single, We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together, which she wrote with Martin and Shellback, who produced it. The title track, her essay on a best-of-times, worst-of-times relationship, opens over a simple banjo accompaniment but quickly kicks into rock overdrive with pounding drums and a throbbing bass line.

The song 22 applies a strong dose of Auto-Tune to mechanize her vocal over what sounds like programmed electronic drums. And she's gained considerable attention for the peppery syncopated rhythms in I Knew You Were Trouble and the hints of dubstep she, Martin and Shellback weaved into her tale of yet another star-crossed romance.

With only the most fleeting traces of the country music with which she launched her career, the album creatively too takes her deeper into the pop world than Speak Now, for which she proudly wrote all 14 songs single-handedly. It became the first album in more than five years to sell more than 1 million copies in its first week of release when it came out two years ago. It has since sold more than four million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

On the floor of the rehearsal studio, Swift displays the same fire in the belly and intense drive that she exhibited at 17, shortly after the release of her 2006 debut album, Taylor Swift. But there's a new authority in her voice, perhaps culled from her transition over the last half decade from a wide-eyed ingenue to one of the biggest pop stars of the new millennium.

More obvious to the outside world than all of that is the increasingly sophisticated -- and refined -- fashion sense she's developed as a top-rank model and cover girl. During the rehearsal she wore a casual knit long-sleeve sweater mini-dress with black and horizontal white pinstripes, tan and brown stylized saddle shoes. The delicate gold chain around her left wrist was offset by girlish, turquoise blue nail polish. Her once curly blond hair was straight and pulled into an efficient, unfussy ponytail. The bangs scattered across her forehead framed her delicate blue eyes.

"One of the things I'm proudest of is that I feel like every one of the three albums I've put out so far stand alone in one way or another," she said, sitting on a couch in a small room off the rehearsal hall. She'd been working with her seven-piece band and half a dozen dancers ahead of their VMA show performance of We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together, the first single off Red that recently brought Swift her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard 100 pop singles chart.

"This album does that too," she said. "The reason being that, with Speak Now, it was really important for me to write every song on it myself. ... And for this album, it was really important for me to collaborate."

"I think the 24 guests she had on the Speak Now tour really opened her mind to a lot of things," said Scott Borchetta, head of Big Machine Records, the fledgling label he launched in 2006 and turned into one of the music business' rare 21st century success stories largely on the shoulders of a 15-year-old singer-songwriter he had signed named Taylor Swift. "It really opened her mind musically and sonically."

Swift might be only 23 years old, but she's spent half her life writing songs, and the last eight of those doing it professionally, having landed a songwriting contract with Sony/ ATV Music when she was just 14. With Speak Now, she set a record for the most songs by one artiste to debut in the Billboard 100 pop singles chart in the same week: 10, all of which she wrote herself.

She was just 20 when she was honored for her songwriting by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the publishing rights organization, with its Hal David Starlight Award.

Despite all the attention on the six collaborative tracks on Red, including the single, 10 remain Swift solo compositions. Thematically, We Are Never, Ever ..., Trouble, Treacherous and Everything Has Changed are aligned with the songs about misfiring romances that she's been writing since she was a doe-eyed teenager desperately seeking a happily-ever-after story ending.

In Holy Ground and Begin Again, however, she's exploring the more nuanced relationship issues she's encountering as an adult: in the former, recognizing her vulnerability when she's not the one being pursued ("for the first time I had something to lose"); in the latter, she looks back with clarity on the value of a fling that didn't work out, coming to the realization that it's OK to be alone.

Everything Has Changed, which she and duet partner Sheeran wrote -- while sitting on a trampoline in the backyard of her house in Los Angeles, she noted -- conveys the swept-away feeling of young love, about her current relationship with Kennedy clan scion Conor Kennedy? A more likely candidate is Starlight, in which Swift, who still considers Nashville her home base, sings of her 17-year-old date and telling "how we snuck into a yacht club party pretending to be a duchess and a prince."

"For me, when people make speculations, I hope that they're making speculations because they read the lyrics," she said. "I really want people to read lyrics; I want people to care about lyrics. I think it's important that a song is more than just a thing you can tap your foot to in the car or dance to in a club. So if them speculating about who the song is about means they're reading my lyrics, it's less of an irritating thing."

Because she scored her first hit record -- the savvy, country-superstar-name-checking single Tim McGraw -- and a platinum-selling debut album while she was in high school, Swift has foregone a formal college education.

But there are the real-life credits she's earned from creating a debut album that's sold more than 5.2 million copies, and its successor, Fearless, the biggest-selling album of 2008 in any genre, which has racked up sales of more than 6.6 million copies in the U.S.

In that sense, Red may constitute her master's thesis in pop music production, because she has worked and studied intensely, one on one, with experts in the field. "I wanted to know how Jeff Bhasker makes those drum sounds," she said, fixing her eyes intently on a visitor while describing her thought process that kicked in after she'd been working for about a year on the follow-up to Speak Now, initially once again just using her own songs.

"I wanted to watch Max Martin conceptualize a pre-chorus that gets stuck in your head as much as the chorus. I wanted to see him suggest a post-hook, or a bridge that sounds like another chorus. I wanted to see how all that unfolds. ... I loved watching everybody have their own process. I think moving forward that just gives me more colors to paint with."

This is the same voracious thirst for knowledge she exhibited early on, and that persuaded her parents, Scott and Andrea Swift, to move from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, to Nashville with their ambitious 14-year-old daughter and her younger brother, Austin, who's now enrolled at Vanderbilt University in the country music capital.

Consequently, her aim on Red was to genuinely collaborate rather than simply add musical window dressing to what she'd been doing all along.

Case in point: We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together reaching No. 1, for two weeks, on the Billboard 100 pop chart, one of the few commercial peaks she hadn't yet conquered. It's also become a bona-fide hit in England, a sign of the solidifying international appeal she's been building for several years, a rarity for Nashville-based musicians.

Meanwhile, Swift continues to be a lightning rod for attention, positive and negative. For every award she collects, such as her six Grammys including the album of the year for Fearless and multiple entertainer of the year accolades from the Country Music Assn. and the Academy of Country Music, she weathers withering blows from listeners and music critics who dis her vocal abilities, even her enthusiasm whenever good news comes her way.

"I never have the moment where I feel like it's too much," she said. "But there's definitely the moment where I get sad that I feel like sometimes people don't believe in anything being genuine anymore. That no matter what, there's someone questioning everything that I say or do."

She makes no apologies for her pursuit of happiness or for her ubiquitous and oft-criticized expressions of wide-eyed, opened-mouth surprise each time she is on the receiving end of an award. "The No. 1 piece of advice other artistes have given me," she said, "is 'Live in the moment. Really, really understand that this is amazing.' Some of them have said, 'I let it pass me by; I didn't realize how great it was till after. And I acted really cool when it was all happening, and then afterward I realized I'd let it pass by.'

"If you really take that advice to heart, you freak out when you win an award. If you're really living in the moment, you're not bored that you won an award. I got a Grammy this year, and I really tried hard not to be as excited -- not to act so excited when I won. But," she said, breaking into laughter, "I get so excited and I just was; I was really, really happy about it."

For more on Taylor Swift, check out:

Taylor Swift reigns over Billboard 200

To win a copy of Red, click here.

Check out Taylor Swift's latest CD

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 10:41 PM PST

Rolling Stone calls her "one of the few genuine rock stars we've got these days, with a flawless ear for what makes a song click". She's won six Grammy awards and among others, the Billboard's Woman of the Year nod. She's Taylor Swift.

The 22-year-old singer is one of the youngest winner in history of the music industry's highest honour, the Grammy Award for Album of the Year for her release, Fearless, released in 2008.

This year Taylor Swift releases her latest album, Red. This is her fourth studio album which she co-wrote with pop's biggest names, Max Martin and Shellback. The album, just released in October is already making waves on the charts by climbing to the top of the Billboard 200 album chart recently. The album has sold over 344,000 copies so far.

Thanks to Universal Music we have 12 copies of Taylor's album plus premiums to give away. To win yourself a special Taylor Swift gift, just answer these simple questions.

1. What is the name of Taylor Swift's fourth studio album?

2. What is the name of Taylor Swift's fist single from this latest album?

Email your answers with your details (name, address, IC number and contact number) to by 13 November 2012. Title the subject TAYLOR SWIFT.

Prizes to win:

Grand Prize

Taylor Swift t-shirt

Taylor Swift calendar

Red album

Taylor Swift official folder

2nd Prize

Taylor Swift t-shirt

Red album

Official folder

10 X Consolation

Red album

Official folder

Rules & Regulations

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

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

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

4.One prize is allowed per contestant only. 5.Prizes are not exchangeable for cash and the organizer reserves the right to exchange the prize with that of a similar value without prior notice.

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

7.Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.

8.Judges will be from The Star Online.

9.For enquiries, please e-mail

10. I hereby expressly consent to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all my personal data by Star Publications (M) Berhand for the purposes of the Taylor Swift Contest.

Psy still top for seventh week

Posted: 07 Nov 2012 08:11 PM PST

Korean rapper PSY remained at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a seventh straight week.

PSY was again held off by Maroon 5's One More Night on the website's main chart this week despite being on the front cover of the weekly U.S. music magazine Billboard on November 3.

The 36-year-old world star made a pledge in September that he will perform shirtless if he tops the Billboard Hot 100, but he carried out the vow anyway in appreciation for fans at the October 4 free concert.

The famous Gangnam Style video has scored over 670 million views as of Thursday morning and is currently the second most-watched video on YouTube after teenage pop star Justin Bieber's Baby.

To continue the red hot K-pop fever, PSY is planning his world debut single next March made in half-Korean and half-English.

Before the release, the rapper will host an exclusive concert at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on January 26.


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