Sabtu, 10 November 2012

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Scandal-hit BBC rocked by fresh sex abuse row

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 02:46 AM PST

LONDON: The BBC was reeling on Saturday as it suspended all investigations by its flagship current affairs programme Newsnight after a politician was wrongly named on the Internet as a paedophile.

The British public broadcaster apologised "unreservedly" late Friday for having aired a Newsnight investigation alleging that a senior Conservative Party figure repeatedly abused a teenage resident of a children's home in the 1970s.

Although the BBC did not identify the politician in last week's report, former Conservative treasurer Alistair McAlpine was widely named on social networking sites as the alleged perpetrator.

He publicly denied the claims on Friday - and hours later his accuser Steve Messham, a former resident of the Bryn Estyn children's home in Wales, said McAlpine was not his abuser and had been a victim of mistaken identity.

"Mr Messham has tonight made a statement that makes clear he wrongly identified his abuser and has apologised," the BBC said in a statement.

"We also apologise unreservedly for having broadcast this report."

It added that BBC Director-General George Entwistle had ordered Newsnight to air a full apology on Friday and to enact "an immediate pause in all Newsnight investigations to assess editorial robustness and supervision".

Closing Friday's edition of Newsnight, anchor Eddie Mair summed up the grim mood with the sign-off: "Newsnight will be back on Monday. Probably."

The BBC has faced a barrage of criticism in recent weeks over allegations that the late presenter Jimmy Savile, one of its biggest stars, sexually abused as many as 300 children over a 40-year period.

Newsnight itself has come under fire after it emerged that its editor shelved an investigation by the programme into the Savile allegations in December.

The BBC has launched three inquiries into the scandal - one into how Savile was able to get away with the abuse, a second into why Newsnight dropped its investigation, and a third into wider allegations of sexual harassment.

The broadcaster said on Friday that it was suspending all co-productions with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, with whom it worked on the Bryn Estyn investigation, and ordered an urgent report into what happened.

McAlpine's lawyers say they are pursuing legal action against "all media who have defamed Lord McAlpine's reputation and published defamatory statements".

The politician, who blasted the claims as "wholly false and seriously defamatory", said he was forced to publicly deny them after he was named directly on the Internet and "by innuendo" in the written and broadcast media.

He said he had never been to any children's home, let alone the Bryn Estyn facility in Wrexham, north Wales.

"I have never stayed in a hotel in or near Wrexham, I did not own a Rolls Royce, have never had a 'Gold card' or 'Harrods card' and never wear aftershave, all of which have been alleged," McAlpine said in a statement.

"I did not sexually abuse Mr Messham or any other residents of the children's home in Wrexham."

Messham has offered his "sincere and humble" apologies to McAlpine, who served under former premier Margaret Thatcher, and suggested that it was the police who wrongly identified the politician as his alleged abuser.

In a statement published by the BBC, Messham said: "After seeing a picture in the past hour of the individual concerned, this (is) not the person I identified by photograph presented to me by the police in the early 1990s, who told me the man in the photograph was Lord McAlpine.

"I want to offer my sincere and humble apologies to him and his family."

The British press described the BBC's current situation as "chaos".

"The latest error could not be much more serious for the BBC's journalistic reputation," wrote one commentator for The Guardian newspaper.

Prime Minister David Cameron warned Thursday against a "witch-hunt" after he was ambushed with a list of rumoured paedophiles on live television.

On the ITV daytime television show "This Morning", presenter Philip Schofield handed Cameron a list of names compiled from Internet gossip.

Schofield later apologised after it emerged that viewers may have been able to see some of the names for a split second due to a "misjudged camera angle." - AFP


The Star Online: World Updates

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Arab Spring economies to recover slowly in 2013 - IMF

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 09:04 PM PST

DUBAI (Reuters) - Most economies hit by the Arab Spring uprisings will recover slowly next year, grappling with high inflation and rising unemployment due to poor global conditions, the International Monetary Fund predicted in a report on Sunday.

In its twice-yearly outlook for the Middle East and North Africa, the global lender said a partial return of political stability could permit somewhat faster growth in the combined output of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen during 2013.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen during a news conference in Bucharest March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen during a news conference in Bucharest March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

But weak demand in Europe and other regions will weigh on the Arab Spring states, it said. In many of those countries, exports are shrinking and have not yet bottomed out, it added.

"Growth is expected to remain below long-term trends, and unemployment is expected to increase owing to continued anaemic external demand, high food and fuel commodity prices, regional tensions and policy uncertainty."

The IMF forecast gross domestic product in the six countries combined would expand by 3.6 percent next year, accelerating from an estimated 2.0 percent this year and 1.2 percent in 2011. In 2010, the year before the uprisings, GDP grew 4.7 percent.

Because of sluggish global demand, the group's current account balance of trade in goods and services will improve only marginally next year, to a deficit of 4.6 percent of GDP from this year's 5.4 percent deficit, the IMF predicted.

It suggested some countries should consider allowing greater flexibility in their exchange rates - code for permitting their currencies to depreciate - in order to stimulate exports, but did not specify which countries.

Weaker currencies could fuel inflation, which the IMF forecast would rise to 8.6 percent for the group next year, the highest level since 2008, from 7.8 percent this year.

Inflation is expected to rise in Egypt and Morocco as they try to curb their large budget deficits by scaling back food and fuel subsidies, the IMF said.


Libya, which ousted its dictator Muammar Gaddafi last year, is a spectacular exception to the pattern of slow recovery because of its oil wealth. Oil output is returning to its pre-civil war level faster than expected.

The country's GDP shrank 60 percent last year but is expected to rise 122 percent this year, 17 percent in 2013 and 7 percent annually on average between 2014 and 2017, assuming the domestic security situation improves, the IMF predicted.

It forecast Libya would run a huge state budget surplus of 19 percent of GDP in 2012, and a current account surplus of 22 percent.

Inflation shot up to 16 percent last year because of the civil war's damage to factories and transport systems, but it is likely to fall to 10 percent this year as business becomes more normal and drop to just 1 percent in 2013, the IMF said.

(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Todd Eastham)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Strong quake hits central Myanmar, one reported dead

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 08:54 PM PST

YANGON (Reuters) - A major earthquake hit central Myanmar on Sunday near Mandalay, its second-biggest city, but early information suggested damage was limited and initial reports mentioned only one person dead, although several construction workers were missing.

The 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck around 60 km (37 miles) northwest of Mandalay, the U.S. Geological Survey said. It was quite shallow at around 10 km (6 miles) deep.

"I've never felt such a strong tremor. I also heard some loud noises and the light went out. No idea about the damage," one Mandalay resident said by telephone.

Several very strong aftershocks also hit the region but there were no reports of serious damage in Mandalay.

Residents in Bangkok, the capital of neighbouring Thailand, also felt the quake.

An official at Mandalay Meteorological Department said the epicentre was near the town of Shwebo and struck at 7:41 a.m. (1:11 a.m. British time).

Local media said a half-built bridge over the Irrawaddy River near Shwebo and Kyauk Myaung had collapsed and there may have been casualties.

A police officer in Shwebo said one woman had died and 10 people had been injured in Kyauk Myaung.

"A house collapsed in Kyauk Myaung. The Radana Thinga Bridge, still under construction, over the river was badly damaged. A huge steel beam fell into the river and five workers went missing," he told Reuters.

A resident of Singgu, opposite Kyauk Myaung on the east side of the Irrawaddy, said some people were injured in the town and a few were killed at the river bank but this could not be confirmed with official sources.

State television, the usual mouthpiece for government statements in Myanmar along with state-run newspapers, gave a report on the quake that did not mention casualties or damage.

Local media reported minor damage in several areas around Mandalay, including Amarapura, a town popular with tourists because of its monasteries and the longest teak bridge in the world. Pagodas had been damaged there, media said.

Myanmar is among Asia's poorest countries.

A quasi-civilian government has opened up the country since taking over in March 2011 from the military, which had ruled for nearly 50 years.

The military regime was condemned by humanitarian agencies in 2008 for initially refusing international help to cope with Cyclone Nargis, which killed more than 130,000 people.

President Barack Obama is set to become the first U.S. leader to visit Myanmar this month, the strongest international endorsement of the country's fragile democratic transition.

Obama will travel to Myanmar during a November 17-20 tour of Southeast Asia that will also take in Thailand and Cambodia. It will be his first international trip since winning a second term last week.

(Additional reporting by Thin Lei Win in Bangkok; Writing by Alan Raybould; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Korean Air resumes regular flights to Saudi Arabia

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 08:25 PM PST

SEOUL (Reuters) - Korean Air Lines Co Ltd has reopened a direct air route to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 15 years, a company statement said on Sunday, reflecting growing economic ties between the two nations.

The South Korean national flag carrier, which operates brand-new A330-200 aircraft, will launch three flights per week, linking South Korea's Incheon International Airport with the Saudi capital Riyadh and the port city of Jeddah.

Korean Air Lines suspended regular Riyadh-bound flights in 1997 when the so-called "Middle East boom" for South Korean construction firms ended.

The resumption of regular flights was attributed mainly to Saudi Arabia's emerging as South Korea's fourth-largest trading partner after China, the United States and Japan.

Seoul has recently signed many contracts from Riyadh in the energy, construction, civil engineering and other infrastructure sectors.

(Reporting by Sung-won Shim; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Trio fail to get elected to

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 01:22 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Andrew Pegge, Low Nyap Heng and a shareholder Lo Kok Kee failed to get elected to the board of Bhd at its packed AGM on Saturday.

At the six-hour meeting, which started at 9am, shareholders overwhelmingly threw their support behind its fund manager and founder Tan Teng Boo.

Some 87% of shareholders voted against the resolutions seeking board representations for Pegge, Low and Lo on Malaysia's only listed closed-end fund.

Although voting was conducted by poll, the outcome was not a surprise as the chairman had earlier asked for a show of hands to gauge the level of support.

At the AGM earlier, Colin Kingsnorth, a co-founder of European hedge fund Laxey Partners, requested for a poll.

Kingsnorth was representing Pegge, also a co-founder and MD of Laxey, who could not attend for personal reasons.

Shareholders who spoke to StarBiz said the mood in the room had clearly favoured Tan, with claps throughout whenever he spoke and even a request to give him a standing ovation.

"Without Tan Teng Boo, is nothing!" one shareholder proclaimed during the meeting.

When asked by journalists whether Tan had anticipated the results, he replied: "We prayed very hard."

Earlier, Kingsnorth told journalists outside the AGM at a hotel here that Laxey, which owns 6.9% of, had accomplished what it set out to do.

"The debate (about the discount between's share price and net asset value) is good. The company is better for this.

"We are still the largest shareholder and will continue to express our views," he said.

Laxey, which has a track record of buying into funds that trade at a discount to their NAV, sent a letter to shareholders of earlier this week urging them to vote against the appointment of the board save for Pegge, Lo and Low as it had "lost confidence" in the ability of the present board to narrow what it argued was a growing discount between its share price and NAV.

Lo, who had stated he is not a nominee of Laxey Partners, had ealier pointed out he was acting as a "minority shareholder rights activist".

He also refuted allegations that he was part of a hostile takeover of

China Commerce Minister: pick-up in exports suggests economy stabilising

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 10:49 PM PST

Published: Saturday November 10, 2012 MYT 2:50:00 PM

BEIJING: The acceleration in growth of China's exports in the last two months shows the world's second-largest economy is starting to stabilise, Commerce Minister Chen Deming told reporters on Saturday.

However, it will still be difficult for China to meet its target of full-year growth in exports of 10 percent, Chen said in a briefing on the sidelines of the Communist Party's five-yearly congress.

Chinese trade data released on Saturday showed exports grew 11.6 percent in October from a year earlier, beating market expectations for a rise of 9 percent and stronger than the 9.9 percent increase recorded in September.

That was significantly quicker than export growth in July and August, which came in at 1.0 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. - Reuters

Citigroup to pay former executives $15.5 million each

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 10:46 PM PST

NEW YORK: Citigroup said it will pay $15.5 million to Vikram Pandit, its former chief executive who resigned from company last month, as well as to his top deputy.

The bank said on Friday the payments to Pandit and former Chief Operating Officer John Havens reflect the progress the bank made in 2012 and work they did in some earlier years.

The statement came less than a month after board members led by Chairman Michael O'Neill told Pandit privately that his work was not satisfactory, sources said at the time.

Michael Corbat, head of Europe, Middle East, and Africa for Citigroup, was named the new chief executive.

The payments are the final chapter in the reign of Pandit, who was named chief executive just as the financial crisis started and shepherded the bank through three government rescues and a series of subsequent miscues.

O'Neill lost confidence in Pandit after missteps that included the bank's failure to win regulatory approval to return capital to shareholders this year, sources had said.

Payments to departing officers are a thorny matter for corporate boards because investors question the benefit the company gets from handing money over to executives that no longer work there.

Citigroup said it was paying the men what it had to. "While Citi will also honor all past awards that they are legally entitled to, there are no severance payments. Awards to which they are not legally entitled have been forfeited," O'Neill said in the statement from the company.

Before and during the financial crisis, outgoing executives often received much more money. In 2007, for example, Merrill Lynch Chief Executive Stan O'Neal left his company with a severance package of $161.5 million.

Pandit initially agreed to take one dollar a year for being CEO. At the time the company was struggling to pay back government bailout money. Pandit and Havens had previously sold their hedge fund to Citigroup in a deal that ultimately paid each man $79.7 million.

The company later adopted a new compensation plan and Pandit was paid $14.8 million in 2011. The pay plan raised the ire of investors and was denounced by a majority vote of shareholders in a referendum at Citigroup's annual meeting in April.

The pay plan did not closely link executive compensation to performance, critics said.

U.S. median household income was $50,054 in 2011.

The plan was also criticized for granting large retention awards to keep executives from leaving.

At that same meeting, O'Neill became chairman of the board, marking the beginning of the end for Pandit's career at Citigroup.

Citigroup directors, after losing the advisory vote on pay, vowed to meet with shareholders. The company is expected to unveil a new executive compensation plan before the next annual meeting.

In the meantime, Pandit and Havens by leaving are forfeiting some of their retention awards, according to the statement from the company. For Pandit, that means leaving behind $24.2 million and for Havens $18.9 million, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified.

The final pay agreements were signed on Friday and set November 30 as the official termination dates for the two men, according to the bank's statement in a regulatory filing. - Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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Kallis, Amla boost South Africa

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 06:57 PM PST

BRISBANE, Australia: South Africa tightened their grip on the first Test against Australia Sunday, reaching 357-3 on the third day with century-maker Hashim Amla the only man dismissed in an extended morning session.

The home side were looking for quick wickets with the second new ball after Saturday's washout but instead the Proteas strengthened their position, adding 102 runs to their overnight score.

At lunch Jacques Kallis was unbeaten on 137 and AB de Villiers was not out 32.

Australia's bowlers were largely unthreatening under sunny skies and the home team is facing an uphill task at a ground where they have not been defeated in 24 years.

Amla reached his third century in four innings against Australia and his 17th overall with a slashed cut over the slips for four.

The top-ranked batsman in Test cricket was given out lbw to Peter Siddle for 104 but was struck high and TV replays suggested the ball was going over the stumps. Surprisingly, he did not refer Asad Rauf's decision to the third umpire.

Amla, who became South Africa's first triple centurion with an unbeaten 311 against England at The Oval in July, put on 165 runs for the third wicket with Kallis.

Kallis reached his 44th Test century just minutes after Amla's departure. It was his fifth against Australia. The all-rounder is second on the list of all-time century makers, behind only India's Sachin Tendulkar.

His unconquered 137 is the highest score by a South African in a Brisbane Test since Eddie Barlow's 114 in 1963.- AFP

Golf: South Korea's Park takes Ochoa LPGA lead

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 06:57 PM PST

GUADALAJARA, Mexico: Inbee Park, seeking a third victory of the year and trying to catch Stacy Lewis in the LPGA Player of the Year race, seized a two-shot lead at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational on Saturday.

South Korea's Park had six birdies - three on the front nine and three on the back - in her six-under 66 for a 54-hole total of 15-under par 201 at the Guadalajara Country Club.

"I had a really solid day today," Park said, adding that back-to-back birdies to open the round "makes the day really easy".

She was two shots in front of American Cristie Kerr, who carded a 67 for 203. South Korea's So Yeon Ryu also posted a 67 for 204 and American Angela Stanford, who held a one-shot lead over Park going into the third round, posted a 72 for 205. Next came France's Karine Icher after a 69 for 207.

Lewis, ranked second in the world and coming off an LPGA-leading fourth title of the year in Japan last week, was tied for sixth on eight-under 208, alongside American Michelle Wie, Taiwan's Candie Kung and South Korean Hee Kyung Seo.

Lewis, who is trying to become the first US golfer to win the points-based Player of the Year award since Beth Daniel in 1994, carded a 71.

Park, who won the Evian Masters in France in July and the LPGA Malaysia last month would have to win this week and at next week's season finale even to have a chance to pass Lewis for Player of the Year honors.

Park said she was trying to focus only on her game, and not on her chances of overtaking Lewis in the race for Player of the Year, which remain slim even if she wins.

"I mean, I can't expect Stacy to play bad two events in a row," she said. "So I mean, even if I don't win Player of the Year, I've had a really great season and I'm really satisfied with myself."

Park currently leads the money list, as well as the race for the Vare Trophy for the player with the lowest scoring average.

"That would be two big achievements this season," she said. "If I win three (awards), I don't have anything else to do next season so it's kind of good to have one, maybe, or two and take it one step at a time.

"I'm not going to play golf this year, then quit," she added. "I have a lot of years in front of me." - AFP

Klitschko sees off Wach to retain world titles

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 03:54 PM PST

HAMBURG: World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko successfully defended his IBF, WBA and WBO titles on Saturday with a unanimous points victory over Polish challenger Mariusz Wach.

The 36-year-old Klitschko was awarded the fight 120-107, 120-107, 119-109 to win his 22nd world title bout and boost his record to 50 knock-outs and 58 wins in 61 bouts.

"It was great to have Rocky here, thank you for your support," said Klitschko with Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone ringside in Hamburg to see the fight against Wach, dubbed 'The Viking'.

"He really is 'The Viking' he took a few shots, but kept fighting on, so respect to him."

For the first time in his career, Klitschko faced a taller opponent, giving away four centimetres to the 2.02m tall Wach, who tipped the scales at 113.8 kilos (251 pounds), compared to Klitschko's 112kgs (247).

This was Klitschko's first fight since the death of his coach Emanuel Steward, who passed away at the end of October in his home town of Detriot after surgery for cancer.

"After my last fight in July, we all sang 'Happy Birthday' to Emanuel, but now he is gone and I want to pay tribute to him," added Klitschko.

"He was a great man and we will never forget him."

After a quiet start, the fight burst into life with a sharp right from the Polish fighter at the end of the fifth as Wach pinned the champion on the ropes and unleashed a fierce volley of punches which rattled Klitschko.

Klitschko followed his corner's advice to keep moving in the sixth and used his superior fitness to start landing some telling right-hand shots.

The champion finished the seventh round with a good combination and kept up the punishment with several crashing rights to pin Wach to the ropes with the challenger barely defending himself.

Having taken so many shots, it seemed a matter of time before referee Eddie Cotton ended the fight, but Wach soaked up the punishment and Klitschko slowed his pace in the ninth and tenth round, landing only the occasional hard right.

Klitschko started the 11th with a flurry of punches and a good combination, but Wach held on to take the fight into the 12th and final round, when a crashing right rocked him back, but the Polish giant would not fall.

"That was the hardest fight of my life, he's a tough fighter," said an emotional Wach, who suffered the first defeat of his career having previously had 15 knock-outs in 27 wins.

"This was the biggest fight of my life and I am just so sorry that I couldn't win it."- AFP


The Star Online: Nation

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Crowds flock before image of Virgin Mary on hospital window

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 07:43 AM PST

SUBANG JAYA: An image of what seems to be the Blessed Virgin Mary on a window at the Sime Darby Medical Centre (SDMC) here is drawing crowds.

A large group of people, mostly Catholics, gathered below the area at the new wing of the hospital on Saturday, lighting candles, singing hymns and reciting prayers.

Traffic was heavy around the vicinity, with even tourist buses pulling up by the roadside. Photographs of the image, which is believed to have appeared several days ago, have gone viral on Facebook.

Access to the window from inside the building has been restricted by the hospital.

A hospital official declined to comment on the matter.

Catholic newsletter The Herald editor Rev Father Lawrence Andrew said the Catholic Church would withhold official comment until the image had been tested and verified by theologians and church authorities.

Catholics believe that Mary, as mother of Jesus Christ, is the Mother of God.

‘Implementation of SJ Kubota Power project followed procedure’

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 04:43 AM PST

KOTA KINABALU: The proposal for the construction of the Kubota Power Plant project is in compliance with procedures and project implementation requirements as stipulated.

Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) senior general manager (Asset Development) Abd Nasser Abd Wahid said in a statement the project included all development projects implemented by SESB statewide and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

"Prior written disclosures were sent to related agencies to get approval for the project in the proposed location," he said.

Abd Nasser said approval for the development plan for the project was obtained in November last year and site preparation was only started after a written approval was received from all the related agencies.

Prior to this, a local newspaper recently quoted a statement from a non-government organisation, here, which claimed that the RM70mil power plant project would negatively affect the area around the project.

Besides that, he said specific sound and smoke impact studies on the construction of the station to the surrounding areas, were also carried out prior to this, and they were in accordance with project requirement.

He said the report on the result of the study indicated that direct impact from the project, namely, impact of sound and smoke, adhered to conditions stipulated by the Department of Environment (DOE).

"The study was conducted by registered experts who were recognised by DOE and experienced in the field as required, before the approval for the implementation of the project is given," he said. - Bernama

Tourists spend RM9.4bil on food, says Yen Yen

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 04:40 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The food and beverage sector has contributed 17.5 per cent or almost RM9.4bil of the total revenue generated by the country' tourism industry last year, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

"Last year, tourists spent RM58.3bil in our country and from that, 17.5 per cent or almost RM9.4bil, was on food.

"This amount go straight to the hawkers...this is the average number of how much tourists spend on food in Malaysia and we hope that the number will increase in the future," she told reporters after opening the 1Malaysia Fabulous Food Fest 2012 at the Putra World Trade Centre here Saturday.

Ng said the festival was aimed at making Malaysia a leading food-tourism destination in the world by exhibiting delicious and unique dishes available in the country.

Ng said the festival, which began Friday and end Sunday, was also focusing on halal and Nyonya-Baba food.

Various programmes had also been lined up during the festival, including cooking demonstrations, lucky draws, quiz and a kopi tarik-making competition.

Chef Wan or his real name, Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, who was appointed as the Malaysian Food Tourism Ambassador, will also put up cooking demonstrations during the festival, together with 200 chefs from China and Taiwan. - Bernama


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Places to wine and dine

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 04:47 AM PST

Deepavali High Tea

Aseana at Dynasty Hotel Kuala Lumpur celebrates the Festival of Lights with delightful Indian favourites, expertly rendered for this fascinating festival on Nov 13. Spice up the Deepavali mood and relish the wide range of tantalising dishes comprising Chickpea Salad, Curry Fried Cauliflower Salad, Northern Fish Head Curry, Chicken Tandoori, Squid Okra Masala, Chicken Boxing, Indian Spicy Mutton, Vegetarian Samosa, Vegspring Roll and many more. Also check out the wide selection of Indian desserts such as suji halwa, kheer, payasam, kesari, laddu, jilabi, muruku, Deepavali cake and other delightful sweets. Priced at only RM39++ per adult and RM 19.50++ per child under 12 years old, this bountiful spread will be available from 11.30 am to 4pm. For reservations, call 03-4043 7777 ext 3320.

Delightful treats

Celebrate Deepavali, the Festivals of Lights with loved ones and friends at Sunway Putra Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The Coffee House chefs have prepared an array of international and local delights, with the addition of Indian specialties, for your dining pleasure. Available for high tea and buffet dinner on Nov 13, the dining experience is priced at RM60++ and RM80++, respectively. For high tea, there are dishes such as Chickpea Salad, Mulligatawny Vegetable Soup, Garlic Muruku, Chicken Varuval, Fish Tikka, an assortment of Indian breads, Masala Lamb Pizza, BBQ Tandoori Fish and Kolaputtu. For dinner, Vegetable and Bean Curd Pakoras with Mint Yogurt Dip, Indian Tomato Soup, Seafood Tandoori, Roasted Whole Lamb, Prawns Vindaloo, Goa Fish Curry and Lamb Rogan Josh are among the offerings. Gulab jamun, Pistachio and Melon Kulfi, kesari, halwa, palkova and other irresistible sweetmeats are on the dessert section. For reservations, call 03-4042 9888 ext 9032.

Festival of lights

This festive season, Armada Petaling Jaya shines brightly with divine flames of Deepavali by reminiscing the festival's all-time favourites at Utara Coffee House's high tea. Begin your culinary journey with a variety of appetisers including mixed achar, papadam, fresh garden salads with a variety of dressing and many more. Your journey of pure opulence continues with the heart-warming Tametuer Soup and rasam that will fuel the appetite for a more sumptuous meal. For the main courses, enjoy Jeera Pulao, Vegetable Pakoras, Indian Fish Curry, Palak Paneer, Chana Daal, Mutton Goshi and Chicken Varuval, putu mayam and roti canai. Savour for dessert, delectable morsels of sugi halwa, kesari, laddu, jilabi, muruku and other sweet cakes. Priced at RM55++ per person, the Deepavali High Tea is available on Nov 13 from noon to 4pm. For reservations, call 03-7954 6888 ext 4557.

CHINA WOK, A3-G1-3A, Solaris Dutamas (Mont Kiara),1 Jalan Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur (Tel:03-6207 9598). Business hours: Daily, 11am-9pm. Non-halal. Homemade delicious recipes including Fish Head Noodles, Charcoal Roasted Duck & Char Siew, Award Winning Chicken Rice, Curry Fish Head and Claypot LaLa Pepper Soup. SOUTH SEA SEAFOOD RESTAURANT, 229, Jalan Dua A, Kampung Baru Subang. (Tel: 03-7846 1401/7846 5813) Business hours: Daily, 11am to 11pm. The restaurant boasts exotic seafood such as geoduck, Australian lobster, estuary tiger garoupa, Sri Lankan crab, Japanese escargot, fresh abalone, mantis prawn and Empurau fish.

GREEN GREEN ORGANIC KITCHEN, 40-4, Jalan Metro Pudu, Fraser Business Park, off Jalan Yew, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-9221 0133) Business hours: Daily, noon-10pm. Closed on Mondays. The chef here is a nutritionist and dietician and knows exactly what he is talking about. Look out for Nasi Ulam, Hakka Chicken Chop, homemade dumplings, nasi lemak and rojak at this organic restaurant.

VIN'S, No 6, Lorong Datuk Sulaiman 1, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-7725 9053) Business hours: 4pm to 2am, daily. A contemporary restaurant that serves up a selection of delicious appetizers, pizzas, pastas and main courses. There are also local favourites like Lamb Fried Rice, mee mamak, lamb masala and mutton varuvel, just to name a few.

TAPPERS CAFFE, 5-G, Block D, Palm Square, Jaya One, 72A, Jalan Universiti, Petaling Jaya. (Tel: 03-7958 3198/2241 2963 — Bangsar South). Business hours: Mon to Fri, 8am-10pm; 10am-10pm (weekends & public holidays). Pork-free. Dishes here are affordably price and caters to all walks of life. Chicken Parmigiana, Spaghetti Carbonara with Chicken Bacon and Mushrooms, Hainanese Chicken Chop, Sweet and Sour Fish Rice and Tappers Baked Soya Chicken Rice are some of the favourites.

MARCHE, The Curve, Lot G87, Ground Floor, Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya. (Tel: 03-7727 8461). Business hours: 11am-11pm, daily. Offers diners a true-to-life Swiss dining experience. Among the items to look forward to are deep-fried calamari, prawns and vegetables, featuring Marche's very own unique batter recipe as well as crisp salads, tasty rösti and drinking freshly-pressed juices. THE SHIP JALAN SULTAN ISMAIL, 40-1 & 40-2 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur (Tel: 03-2141 8805) Business hours: Sun-Thurs, noon to midnight. Friday & Saturday, closes at 1pm. Still a hit among locals and foreigners. Serves escargots, Chinatown Shark's Fin with Crabmeat, steaks in 18 different styles. Wait staff dress according to rank of sailors on a ship. TONY ROMA'S, LL1.43, Lower Level One, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya (Tel: 03-7492 1188). Business hours: Daily, 11am-10pm. The people at Tony Roma's are passionate about their food, adhering to standards set by the Orlando training centre. Expect hefty portions and enjoy the selection of margaritas, wines, martinis and liqueur coffees. SENTIDOS TAPAS, Feast Village, Starhill Gallery, 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur (Tel: 03-2145 3385). Business hours: Daily, noon-1am. Pork-free. Offers a relaxed atmosphere with a tantalising selection of hot and cold tapas. There is an extensive wine list and a range of imported beers.

HOMST RESTAURANT, 48, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail. (03-7728 0760) Business hours: 11am-10pm, daily. 4.30pm-10.30pm (Friday). A family styled Chinese Muslim restaurant that is known for its sumptuous Malaysian-Chinese fare. Popular dishes include Butter Prawn, Black Pepper Beef, Wet Butter Chicken, Cantonese Kuey Teow, Hokkien Mee, Sambal Prawn Petai and various other dishes.

THE SULTANI RESTAURANT, Level 5, Hotel Flamingo, Tasik Ampang, Jalan Hulu Kelang, Ampang. (Tel : 03-4251 7360/012-295 9060) Busi-ness hours: Daily, 11am to 11pm. The Sultani is a fine dining restaurant serving Royal Mughali and Iranian cuisine. Taste the rich food filled with exotic spices served with the style and splendor of these old Kingdoms. Our Specialties include Butter Chicken, Palak Paneer and Rani Akhbari. Our Iranian cuisine is famous for its Joojeh Kebab and Koobidah Kebab. You can enjoy the food of royalty with the view of the Lake or Inside within our Arabian tent decor.

SAFFRON, 5, Jalan Sri Hartamas 7, Taman Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-6201 1375). Business hours: noon-2.30pm, 6.15pm-10pm. Closed on Sundays. This family run restaurant serves up home cooked Punjabi dishes that has wooed many tastebuds. Among the favourite dishes here are Saag, Aloo Pratha, Sweet Spinach Capati, Fish Kofta, Fried Spiced Chicken, Achari Chicken, Bhoona Ghost and Saag Gosht. JOGOYA, T3, Relish Floor, Starhill Gallery, 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2142 1268). Business hours: Daily, 11am-midnight. A Taiwanese chain specialising in brunch, lunch, dinner and supper buffets, priced at RM78++ and RM88++ with a wide spread of seafood, Japanese, Western and Chinese dishes.

THE OLIVE, F-0-6/F-1-6, Plaza Damas, 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-6203 5832) Business hours: noon-3pm, 6pm- 11pm. Closed on Tuesday. A delightful serving of Italian food awaits such as Funghi Padella, Carpaccio The Olive and lovely pizzas such as Pizza Alla The Olive, Pizza Quarto Stagioni, Pizza Napoletana, Pizza Salmone Affumicato and Pizza Pepperone, just to name a few.

GONBEI, T2, Relish Floor, Starhill Gallery, 181 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur (Tel: 03-2782 3801). Business hours: Daily, noon-3pm, 6.30-11pm. Halal. Uniquely Japanese, food, design and ambience-wise. It has a sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki, robatayaki and tempura display cooking islands. Reputed to have the biggest collection of premium sake. To submit food listings and food-related queries, please email to or call 03-7967 1322.

College students toil to add glitter to peacock gown

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 04:44 AM PST

PEACOCKS take centre stage this year at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with the Deepavali celebration.

The highlight is an elegant thousand-feathered gown made from 1,500 peacock feathers set across 12m of silk in emerald green. This time around, Pavilion has partnered with Raffles College of Higher Education to inject a new twist to their creative decor.

The gown, which was handstitched by 10 students over 60 hours, features a long train of peacock feathers as well as intricate details of a peacock.

Pavilion KL marketing director Kung Suan Ai unveiled the masterpiece during a grand launch held at its Galleria Concept Store Fashion Avenue, complete with traditional performance and activities like simple workshops on making kolam, drawing henna art and stringing jasmine flowers.

Many women were also seen getting their hands adorned with henna art by professionals.

"This year, we combined the best in fashion, arts and culture to bring visitors an altogether different experience. As an epicentre of all things fashionable and trendy, it is only apt that we celebrate Deepavali at Fashion Avenue while providing the best experience in a stylish convergence of fashion, culture and lifestyle," she said.

Besides the gown, a gigantic striking kolam called "The Rising Mayur" welcomes guests at the main entrance.

The colourful kolam with hues of green, crimson, royal blue and yellow measures 676sq ft and is made of 586kg of hand-dyed crushed rice with a little touch of spices and dried avarampoo (a type of flower).

The team leader for this huge kolam, Caroline Chia said a total of 35 students took four days to complete the work of art.

"The Rising Mayur was designed by two of the top visual communication students — Tan Ming Chyun and Quek Zhi Wei. We had also invited tourists to try their hands at making the kolam during the launch, just to give them a feel of how much patience and detailed attention were needed to make one.

"There are also two other peacock kolam creations inside the mall," she said.

Neighbouring mall, Fahrenheit88 had put up a kolam with an infusion of spices such as black pepper seeds and star anise at the entrance, accompanied by two mannequins dressed in traditional Indian attire to welcome shoppers.

Drawing inspiration from the Indian culture, the "Fiery Spice Kolam" also incorporates curry powder and turmeric powder.


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Village heads urged to be proactive in local matters

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 07:21 PM PST

LIPIS: Village heads who are familiar and well versed with local problems have to play active roles by bringing up the matter to the highest authorities for further action.

Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said these village heads who are close to the local problems faced by villagers should make it as their core business by taking up the issues and submitting reports to the authorities at high level.

Adnan said it would be a good idea for the Government to set a key performance index on the reports of the villagers' problems reported by the local leaders including village heads.

He said he only came to know about the probelms via his visits whereas he was not informed on the matter earlier.

"I would not know of their problems if I was not notified.

"I only come to know about the problems faced by the locals when I make visits to villagers. Among the problems include their needs for better development of the villages, upgrading of suraus, repairing of bridges and others.

"We have allocations in providing aid, however, because we were not informed of such problems, no action was taken and we get the blame," Adnan said after attending a Korban Perdana programme organised by Pahang State Development Corporation in Felcra Sungai Temau here recently.

Adnan said the people could not expect him to carry out frequent visits to villages to find out their problems.

"I have limited time. However, I will try my best as I have other responsiblities which need my attention.

"If I come to know of any problems, action would be taken to mitigate the people's sufferings," he said.

Adnan said the failure to provide prompt services pertaining to people's grouses would provide an opportunity for the Opposition to condemn the government and label them as irresponsible.

He said there were some cases in which the government was given inaccurate or wrong information, resulting in a delay in giving out aids.

"The people can give me information personally via short messaging services, letters or phone calls," he said, adding that his doors were always open for the people to channel their grouses and feedback.

Early check-ups crucial to prevent illness

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 07:22 PM PST

TEMERLOH: Breast cancer is among one of the major causes of deaths involving Malaysian women. Mentakab assemblyman Datuk Chuah Boon Seong said based on statistics, out of 100,000 women population, 29 of them were found to be suffering from the terminal illness.

"This is a high figure and women folk should go for yearly check-up as a precautionary measure. "If detected early, there is a good chance of recovery with proper treatments and monitoring," he said after launching the breast cancer walk programme at Temerloh Mall near here recently.

The programme was jointly organised by the breast cancer support group of the Sultan Ahmad Shah Hospital, the hospital's general operations department and Rotary Club of Temerloh.

Chuah said for the first 10 months of this year, there were 78 patients seeking treatment at the hospital.

He said last year, 95 patients were detected while there were 75 and 103 patients in 2010 and 2009, respectively.

"Statistics from the Health Ministry showed there were five main category of cancer affecting the people for the whole of last year.

"The five are breast, intestine, lungs, nasopharynx and cervical," he said.

On the programme themed "Early Detection, Prevention Is Better Than Cure," he said it was a good initiative to create awareness among the people.

Chuah said the programme targeted residents in three housing areas nearby namely Taman Dahlia, Taman Damai Court and Taman Setia.

"Besides providing the latest information, it could help to inculcate a healthy lifestyle and foster closer rapport.

"I hope more people will take part in these activities for mutual benefit," he said.

A total of 430 people participated in the walk including 20 former patients, medical personnel, sponsors, rotarians and members of the public.

Other side activities held include a blood donation, exhibitions, distribution of cancer information leaflets to the public and a lucky draw.

Tree planting, a good innitiative by company

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 02:59 PM PST

KOTA TINGGI: Kulim (M) Bhd hopes its tree planting programme will create better awareness on protecting the environment and promote biodiversity.

Managing director Ahamad Mohamad said the event also helped to promote volunteerism among its employees by doing something good and positive to the society.

"Efforts in protecting the environment should come from all of us regardless of our backgrounds or ideologies,'' he said at this year's event held at the Siang Estate near here.

The event was jointly organised by the Kulim Wildlife Defenders and Kulim Nursery Sdn Bhd with participation from state agencies and non-governmental organisations.

They include among other the Wildlife Department, Johor National Park Corp, Wildlife Conservation Society and JCorp Football Club.

Ahamad said the tree planting programme was started in 2008, where 200 trees of 10 different species were planted at its Labis Bahru Estate.

In 2010, 650 trees of 24 species were planted around the lake at the Siang Estate and 300 trees comprising 31 species were planted in this year's event at the estate.

"We hope by planting of indigenous jungle species and fruits trees will attract monkeys, birds, squirrels, bees and other wildlife to our estates,'' he said.

Ahamad said under the programme, the jungle and fruit tree species were selected based on the suitability of the surrounding areas for tree growth.


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'Grrr!': Rolling Stones release greatest hits

Posted: 10 Nov 2012 05:12 AM PST

PARIS: The Rolling Stones on Monday release a greatest hits album titled "Grrr!" featuring two new tracks recorded over the summer in Paris, as fans count down to a string of 50th-anniversary concerts.

The first new single, "Doom and Gloom" was released online last month, and is available to stream from the band's official website,, while the second, "One More Shot", was put online on Thursday.

"Dirty, swaggering and perfectly Stonesy," is how the Daily Telegraph's reviewer described the latest track. The songs are the Stones's first new recordings together in seven years.

"Grrr!" will be released in several formats, including 50- and 80-track box sets, featuring such classics as "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", "Jumpin' Jack Flash" or "Honky Tonk Women".

Celebrating a half-century in rock and roll this year, the Stones played their first concerts in five years at two small venues in Paris late last month.

They have announced four major concerts in Britain and the United States to mark the anniversary.

But they have run into criticism from fans over the ticket prices, with London seats costing hundreds of pounds (euros/dollars) on the official website, and tickets appearing on re-sale websites for more than 13,000 each.

The Rolling Stones play London's O2 Arena on November 25 and 29, followed by gigs at New Jersey's Newark Prudential Center, just outside New York, on December 13 and 15.

Currently rehearsing in Paris, the band have hinted there could be more shows to come. - AFP

Taylor Swift to headline 'New Year's Rockin' Eve'

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 09:22 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Country-pop star Taylor Swift will ring in the New Year in the United States as the headline act on TV special "New Year's Rockin' Eve," which will feature a two-hour tribute to late host Dick Clark, organizers said on Friday.

Swift, whose new album "Red" racked up more than 1 million copies in first week U.S. sales, will perform live in New York's Times Square on Dec. 31, just before the ball drops to bring in 2013.

The New Year's Eve music special for ABC television was hosted for four decades by legendary TV and music producer Clark before his death in April at age 82.

This year the show will be helmed again by Clark's recent co-host - "American Idol" host and radio DJ Ryan Seacrest - under the title "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest," ABC and dick clark productions said.

The evening will kick off with a two-hour tribute to the host of TV dance show "American Bandstand" that will feature clips of Clark's long career, and remembrances by musicians and industry celebrities.

The 5-1/2 hour show will also feature other musical guests, yet to be announced, and report on New Year celebrations around the globe.-Reuters

Mick Jagger's love letters to singer Marsha Hunt up for auction

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 04:47 PM PST

Love letters written by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger to American singer Marsha Hunt, discussing poetry and his personal turmoil, will hit the auction block next month.

Hunt, with whom Jagger had his first child, Karis, told Britain's Guardian newspaper she was selling the letters, written in July and August 1969, because she had been unable to pay her bills. "I'm broke," Hunt, who lives in France, told the newspaper. The Guardian said on Friday the 10 letters would be sold by Sotheby's on Dec. 12.

The auction house values the letters from between 70,000 and 100,000 pounds ($111,000-$160,000). Jagger wrote them to Hunt while filming the Tony Richardson movie "Ned Kelly" in Australia.

They are described as showing a sensitive side of the then-young singer, who wrote about the poetry of Emily Dickinson, meeting author Christopher Isherwood and an unrealized multimedia project.

Jagger's relationship with Hunt, who is African-American, was kept under wraps until 1972. "The sale is important," Hunt told The Guardian. "Someone, I hope, will buy those letters as our generation is dying and with us will go the reality of who we were and what life was." Hunt has said she was the inspiration for the Rolling Stones' song "Brown Sugar," which Jagger wrote while in Australia.

The rock star also cites in the letters the disintegration of his relationship with singer Marianne Faithful, whom he was also dating at the time, and the death of Rolling Stones' guitarist Brian Jones.


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