Isnin, 19 November 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

U.S. soldier enters no plea in 2009 Iraq shootings

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 08:40 PM PST

TACOMA, Washington (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier accused of killing five fellow servicemen at a military combat stress centre in Baghdad in 2009 entered no plea at an arraignment on Monday at a military base in Washington state.

Sergeant John Russell, 48, is accused of going on a shooting spree at Camp Liberty, near the Baghdad airport, in an assault the military said at the time could have been triggered by combat stress.

Russell, of the 54th Engineer Battalion based in Bamberg, Germany, faces five charges of premeditated murder, one charge of aggravated assault and one charge of attempted murder in connection with the May 2009 shootings. Six months ago, he was ordered to stand trial in a military court that has the power to sentence him to death, if he is convicted.

Two of the five people killed in the shooting were medical staff officers at the counselling centre for troops experiencing combat stress. The others were soldiers.

Russell, tall and broad-shouldered with a military crew-cut and glasses, was mostly silent during the 15-minute hearing, answering only "Yes, sir" and "No, sir" to the judge's questions.

Russell's attorney, James Culp, waived hearing of the charges on Russell's behalf and entered no plea for him, which is common practice in military justice procedure. No date has been set for the court-martial, but both military prosecutors and defence attorneys indicated on Monday that it could begin in March.


The arraignment, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, comes at a sensitive time for the Army, which is in the process of deciding how to prosecute Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, a soldier accused of killing Afghan villagers in cold blood earlier this year.

A two-week hearing at Lewis-McChord to establish if there is sufficient evidence to send Bales to a court-martial wrapped up last week after harrowing testimony from Afghan adults and children wounded in the attack.

Bales' civilian defence lawyers have suggested he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

On Monday, Russell's attorney outlined a defence based on his declining mental state.

Russell suffered from depression, thoughts of suicide, anxiety and stress from multiple deployments, and suffered "at least one traumatic experience involving civilian casualties" and "mass grave sites" while serving in Bosnia and Kosovo during 1998 and 1999, Culp said in presenting arguments to the judge after the arraignment.

Culp and military defense lawyers, through telephone testimony presented by forensic psychiatric experts, told the judge they planned to use a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test to prove that Russell had brain damage.

Another defense witness testified that forensic hypnosis would be needed to unlock Russell's memories of the shootings on May 11, 2009.

Government witness Dr. Ronald Schouten, a forensic psychiatrist at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital, argued against the effectiveness of either.

"If we're doing brain imaging now, it doesn't tell us what it was three years ago," Schouten said. Later, he added: "Hypnosis has long been recognized as invalid and prone to providing inaccurate information."

Dr. Robert Sadoff of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the country's top experts in forensic psychiatry, is scheduled to testify as a defense witness on Tuesday.

(Writing by Bill Rigby; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Peter Cooney and Mohammad Zargham)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Australia's hoax collar bomber jailed for 13 years

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 08:07 PM PST

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A man who strapped a fake collar bomb around the neck of a Sydney schoolgirl and then fled to the United States was jailed for 13 and a half years on Tuesday after an Australian court ruled he had instilled unimaginable fear into his victim.

The case sparked an international manhunt and led to a tense 10 hours for teenager Madeleine Pulver after the man broke into her family's luxury home last August and strapped what he said was a bomb around her neck, leaving a note demanding money.

The collar bomb turned out to be fake.

Police in the United States arrested Paul Douglas Peters, 52, in Kentucky about two weeks after the incident after he was tracked down through email accounts.

Defence lawyers said Peters had suffered depression in the months before the attack and had no memory of his actions, but prosecutors said Peters had planned to target a neighbour of the Pulver family, but broke into the wrong house.

"He would have appreciated the enormity of what he was doing and the terrible effect and consequences of his actions on the victim," Sentencing District Court Judge Peter Zahra said. "The fear instilled can only be described as unimaginable."

He sentenced Peters, who pleaded guilty to aggravated break and enter, to 13 years and six months in prison, with a minimum 10 years to be served before he can apply for parole.

Outside the court, Pulver said she was pleased Peters would not be able to reoffend, and that the court acknowledged the impact of his crime on her family.

"It was good to hear the judge acknowledge the trauma (Peters) has put my family and me through," she said.

(Reporting by James Grubel; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Denver man accused of threatening to kill Obama mentally ill, judge says

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 07:16 PM PST

DENVER (Reuters) - A 20-year-old Colorado man charged with threatening to kill President Barack Obama during a visit to the state is severely mentally ill and must remain in custody, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Mitchell Kusick was arrested this month by the U.S. Secret Service at his parents' suburban Denver home after his mental health therapist told police last month that Kusick had revealed to the therapist that he wanted to kill the president, and had been trying to keep track of his visits to the Denver area.

A U.S. Secret Service affidavit showed that Kusick also "made credible threats and took steps" toward shooting and killing children at a trick-or-treat Halloween event sponsored by a Denver-area high school.

"It's clear to the court that the defendant has a severe mental illness," U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Kristin Mix said in denying a request from Kusick's attorney to allow him to be released on bond.

Mix said Kusick had been diagnosed as having bipolar disorder and posed a "risk to the community."

Kusick's attorney, Marci Gilligan, argued that Kusick should be released under electronic monitoring pending trial and be required to live with his parents and to take medications to control his illness.

She said he had "a breakdown" on October 28 and sought help by calling his therapist for an emergency appointment.

Kusick was hospitalized for mental disorders from October 29 to November 9, when mental health providers decided he was not then a threat, Gilligan told the judge.

The Secret Service, who had interviewed Kusick in a mental ward, arrested him because "they were concerned for the community's safety," Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hosley said.

The Secret Service agent's affidavit said Kusick had told his therapist he had had daily homicidal fantasies for years. An agent testified on Monday that books about assassinations were found during a search of the home of Kusick's parents, where he had been living.

(This story corrects headline to say "man accused of threatening" instead of "man who threatened"; corrects paragraphs 1-2 to show death threat was not tied to a specific visit; removes timing of diagnosis in paragraph 5)

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

On top of their game

Posted: 20 Nov 2012 02:09 AM PST

There are good actors, but there are also those whose performances are forever etched in your mind.

ACTORS who play just about any role always intrigue me. It's one thing being able to headline a TV series or movie, as a cop or detective or ... heck, serial killer but it's quite another to get everyone rolling on the floor laughing in a sitcom. But when an actor is able to do both, he truly gets my attention.

And I'm not talking about the likes of Bruce Willis or Nathan Fillion who seem able to be everything all at once (another actor that comes to mind is Robert Downey Jr but I'll stick to TV folk for now).

While Indra and I were discussing this week's topic (in between playing 20 questions, guess the TV character I am thinking about), we stumbled onto a whole string of actors and actresses who seem to make light of switching from funny to familiar to freaky.

Take 67-year-old John Lithgow, for example. My first encounter with Lithgow was as the Reverend Shaw in Footloose. I hated the guy. Then I remember him again in the thriller, Raising Cain, where he played a twisted psychologist. But it wasn't till I saw him play Dick Solomon in sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun, that I understood Lithgow's true genius. Did you know he also is the voice of Lord Farquaad in Shrek? What a hoot. And that he, yes the very same guy, played serial killer Arthur Mitchell on Dexter? How does he do it? Movies, television, good guy, alien, axe murderer, psycho, dramatic actor, comedian, you name it and Lithgow will relish the role and probably earn a Golden Globe or Emmy nomination along the way, too.

Another glowing example of versatility is Alec Baldwin. The 54-year-old star, most well known these days for his role as Jack Donaghey on 30 Rock, is one up on Lithgow in my humble opinion because he is also pretty dishy. Baldwin's artistry hasn't gone unnoticed either, and he's received critical acclaim for his performance on the hilarious sitcom winning two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards. Wow.

Did you know that one of the first TV series he started out on was the soap Knots Landing? For real! He's also guested on Friends (as Phoebe's boyfriend) and Will & Grace.

Strangely enough, his movie career seems to be in direct contrast to his more comedic roles on TV, with Baldwin starring in films like The Hunt For Red October and Glengarry Glen Ross. But kudos to the guy, he really has outdone himself and has true staying power in a business that is quick to give you the boot if you are anything but the real deal.

Young Joseph Gordon-Levitt is another one of these chameleons, although the actor does have a sort of Bruce Willis type of charm to him. These days he has been making his mark more on the big screen than on TV, but I will always remember him as the cutie Tommy Solomon on 3rd Rock From The Sun.

As for actresses, I always was impressed with Courtney Thorne-Smith. I thought she was just oh-so hot. I'd only known her for her role as a lawyer on Ally McBeal, so when she showed up on According To Jim, and was more than able to hold her own opposite Jim Belushi, I certainly took notice.

There's also Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother) who I thought would never be able to play a serious role, but she managed to win me over on The Avengers. Still, it was hard to think of her as Agent Maria Hill. I kept thinking what's Robin doing there, and waiting for Captain America to make a joke or two about Canadians. Oh well.– AMC

VERSATILE actors? Hmmmm … I can think of a few: Katy Sagal, for example. How she went from playing Peggy Bundy on Married … With Children to playing Gemma Teller Morrow, the scheming matriarch on Sons Of Anarchy is ah-mayyy-zing. And then there is Hugh Laurie. Before he was making people cry as the grumpy doctor on House M.D., Laurie was making people laugh out loud in British sitcoms like Blackadder (with Rowan Atkinson) where he played the many incarnations of a character named George; A Bit Of Fry & Laurie and Jeeves And Wooster (both with Stephen Fry, whom he met while studying at Cambridge in Britain).

Yes, Laurie is hilarious. But my most favourite actor, in terms of versatility, has to be Woody Harrelson.

Does everyone remember the role Harrelson played in Cheers way back in the 1980s? He joined the sitcom in its fourth season to replace actor Nicholas Colasanto (who played "Coach", Sam Malone's former baseball coach-turned-bar keeper), who unfortunately died of a heart attack at the end of the show's third season.

Harrelson, then 24, was Woody Boyd (full name: Woodrow Huckleberry Tiberius Boyd), a young and naive farm boy from Indiana who dreamed of someday becoming an actor. Woody was a hoot from the get go.

Naive and unsophisticated, Woody was a straight shooter who took almost everything the other characters said literally and always told the truth. He didn't understand sarcasm or the rough jokes and comments made by the other characters. But he was always well-meaning and sincere and it didn't take long for the regulars at Cheers to welcome him into their fold.

An example of a Woody-ism? In one episode (I really can't recall the season), Woody and Sam were behind the bar when an attractive young lady walks in. Sam looks at Woody and says, "Oh, my God Woody. Is it me or is that woman gorgeous". Woody looks at Sam thoroughly and replies: "You look nice Sam but I'll have to go with the woman" (Ba-dum-bum-CHING!).

Yeah, he was a little "thick" and sure, this could be a little exasperating for the guys who hung out at the bar, but for me at home, Woody had me rolling on the floor clutching my tummy. His comic timing was spot on and I thought Harrelson was one of the funniest guys on TV at the time. (Harrelson starred in 200 episodes of Cheers, right to the finale in 1993 and walked away with an Emmy award for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy in 1989.)

The next time I saw Harrelson was a year later in the movie Natural Born Killers as Mickey, a homicidal maniac. And then, two years later, he starred as Larry Flynt, the infamous pornographer in the movie The People Vs Larry Flint. My mind was blown. Was this really the same guy who played Woody Boyd? Whoa! What an ace actor! Talk about range and versatility. Talk about talent.

Over the years, Harrelson has continued to impress me with his repertoire of performances. He's acted mostly in movies these last two decades but since he got his start in TV, I think I can still wax lyrical about him, right? I mean the man is constantly shifting gears – from playing a renegade cop in the 2011 movie Rampart to playing Tallahassee, a Twinkie-craving survivor of a zombie apocalypse in the movie Zombieland.

He's also guest starred in sitcom Will & Grace where he played Debra Messing's boyfriend, Nathan (he did seven episodes in Season Three/Four), and he was Steve Schmidt, governor Sarah Palin's senior campaign strategist in the TV drama Game Change earlier this year.

Actors take on different and challenging roles all the time but to be able to nail each role on the head, especially roles as diverse as the ones Harrelson has taken on, is astounding.

Harrelson is currently working on a new eight-part cop drama, True Detective, where he is expected to star alongside Matthew McConaughey. The duo play detectives whose lives collide during their 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. I don't know about you but I can't wait to watch it!– S.I


The Star Online: Business

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Business

Jump in profit seen for Perisai

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 06:36 PM PST


By CIMB Research


Target Price: RM11.00

GOOD growth prospects for investment banking (IB) business and Maybank's Indonesian operations underpin our unchanged outperform rating, along with its attractive dividend yields. Also unchanged is our dividend discounted model-based target price of RM11.

Maybank Investment Bank (IB) is ranked second in the Southeast Asian league table year-to-date (YTD) for equity raising with a market share of 10.3%. However, its ranking for mergers & acquisition (M&A) is lower at 11th YTD with a share of 10.3%.

Although its ranking for M&A is not high in 2012, we view it as commendable considering that it has been just over a year since it acquired Kim Eng, and that there is keen competition from international players (such as Citi, UBS and JP Morgan) and other rivals including CIMB and DBS).

We are positive on Maybank's goal to be ranked first in broking for all its main markets and in the top five in all categories in the region by 2015. However, we think that these goals are challenging given the competition from international players and other regional rivals. Maybank is the adviser for several mega M&A deals in Malaysia including the sale of tycoon T Ananda Krishnan's power assets to 1Malaysia Development (1MDB) for RM8.5bil and the RM12bil merger of SapuraCrest Petroleum and Kencana Petroleum.

Maybank IB is one of the biggest investment banks in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines but it needs to beef up its presence in Singapore and Indonesia. It sees better growth prospects in both countries next year, based on its existing deal pipelines. We think that it would easier to register faster growth in Indonesia which is an underpenetrated market compared to Singapore which remains competitive.

The transformation drive will continue next year with a focus on regionalisation of its business. For instance, the investment bank will appoint regional heads who will be driven by products, not geographical locations. The working teams will also be divided by sector, rather than country.

The group will be evolving into a model like Citigroup's, which will enable it to tap both retail and wholesale businesses. It also plans to integrate the broking business with retail banking to capitalise on cross-selling opportunities.

The positive impact of the group's transformation is reflected in its strong financial performance. Pretax profits more than doubled to RM218mil in the first nine months of financial year 2012 from RM121mil a year ago on the back of a 57.6% year-on year jump in revenue to RM1bil.

Stay invested in Maybank, our top pick for the sector, for its attractive dividend yields and good growth prospects. Apart from the push for regional expansion of its IB business, other potential catalysts are swift growth in Indonesia and benefits from economic transformation projects.


By Kenanga Research

Outperform (initiating coverage)

Target price: RM1.48

PERISAI is an oil and gas service provider with assets that cater to the exploration, development and production segments of the upstream oil and gas sector.

Its current fleet consists of a derricklay barge, eight offshore support vessels (OSVs) and a mobile offshore production unit (MOPU).

It is also awaiting the delivery of a jack-up drilling rig by mid-2014 and is negotiating for an equity stake in a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) owned by EOC Ltd.

We are projecting a three-year net profit compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 75.5% from financial year 2011 largely due to its new assets.

We like the stock for its fairly diversified asset mix, which allows it to capture opportunities from different segments of the upstream oil and gas sector.

Its link to Ezra will also give Perisai access to technological know-how and specialised assets.

Perisai asset fleet allows it to capture the relative opportunities from a majority of the upstream value chain, and minimises the risks that come with just a segment concentration.

Moreover, we believe that once Perisai achieves a certain asset scale, there will be potential for it to control resource allocations, optimise its operating costs and cross-sell its service range, much like the strategy adopted by SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd.

This will be a significant plus point f as we understand that oil and gas majors are increasingly looking to award contracts on a turnkey basis.

Singapore-listed Ezra is a major shareholder with a 16% stake.

It also has several operational involvements with the company such as Intan Offshore and charter of the Lewek Arunothai FPSO.

Perisai's management has expressed the intention to leverage on its relationship with Ezra as and when it foresees the opportunities.

We believe that further collaborations with Ezra may see the injections of specialised assets into Perisai's local operations.

We highlight that a member of Ezra's board of directors, Captain Adarash Kumar Lai Amarnath, is also currently the executive director of Perisai.

Contract replenishment risk mitigated by sizeable clientele and young fleet.

Perisai's clients (SapuraKencana, Ezra, Petronas,etc.) are market leaders and have significant order backlogs. This is an advantage for Perisai.

Perisai's fleet is also relatively young (average age of six years), which is an edge when it comes to securing contracts.

We are forecasting FY12 to FY14 net profits of RM93.2mil, RM97.3mil and RM115mil respectively.

The significant 400% earnings jump from FY11 will be mainly due to new earnings from Intan Offshore and the Rubicone MOPU while the incremental jump, in calendar year 2014, will be from the start-up of the jack-up rig operations (which we assume would be able to secure a contract once delivered).

Potential catalysts for FY13 to FY14 earnings could come from t a stake in Lewek Arunothai FPSO currently owned by EOC Ltd.

The risks to its optimistic outlook include a downturn in the oil and gas sector, which will significantly affect its earnings growth.

The target price of RM1.48 based on a target price-to-earning ratio of 13 times on calendar year 2013 earnings per share of 11.4 sen


By Affin Investment Bank

Reduce (downgrade)

Target price: RM4.84

Last Friday, Parkson Holdings Bhd's (PHB) 51.5%-owned unit Parkson Retail Group (PRG) reported a disappointing nine-month FY12 financial results. The marginal year-to-date same-store-sales (SSS) growth of 1.7% fell short of our and management's expectations due to China's weaker-than-expected operating environment.

PRG's nine-month earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin fell sharply by 8.8% points to 32.4% following its aggressive expansion plans which resulted in higher staff costs (+26% y-o-y), rental expenses (+30% y-o-y) and other operating expenses (+22.3% y-o-y).

PRG's gross merchandise margin also declined by 0.8% points to 18.3% mainly due to lower margins from the nine new stores opened in first half of FY12, and poor sales contribution from the higher margin flagship stores (Shanghai and Beijing) owing to renovation and refurbishment activities. As a result, despite gross sales proceeds (GSP) and topline revenue growing 6.4% and 4.6% year-on-year respectively, net profit slid by 20% year-on-year to RMB672mil.

Results accounted for only 64% and 62% of our and consensus full year estimates, respectively. Third quarter for FY12 core net profit fell by 30% quarter-on-quarter, and 42% year-on-year.

On a sequential basis, EBITDA margin slipped 6.3% points to 28.5% and core net profit fell 30% to RMB149mil. On a year-on-year basis, core net profit plunged by 42%, due to widening new stores losses and effects from the rental hikes on three of its lease properties for about RMB27mil.

Note that PRG had on Sept 2012 managed to extend the lease agreement until year 2024 for its Nanning, Tianjin and Harbin flagship stores.

Given the sharply weaker-than-expected year-to-date SSS growth, we are lowering our SSS growth assumption to between 2% and 4% from between 6% and 8% previously for FY12 to FY14.

This is also consistent with management's lowered guidance on its full year SSS growth to a low-to-mid single digit range, compared to previous guidance of a mid-to-high single digit range. In addition, our rental expenses growth assumption appears to be untenably low. As such, we are tweaking up our rental cost growth assumption by 2% for FY12 to FY14.

Taken together, our revenue and net profit forecast for FY12 to FY14 are cut by 6% to 8% and 7% to 9% respectively. With PRG accounting for less than 85% of PHB's earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), the cut in PRG's earnings per share (EPS) has resulted in a 11% to 13% reduction in PHB's FY12 to FY14 net profit forecast.

In tandem with the downward earnings revision, we are downgrading our rating for PHB to "reduce", with a lower revised net asset value (RNAV)-based target price of RM4.84.

Maersk to shift away from shipping operations

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 06:30 PM PST

COPENHAGEN: Danish conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk will no longer invest heavily in Maersk Line, the world's biggest container ship operator, and will instead focus on its oil, drilling rigs and ports units, it said.

"We will move away from the shipping side of things and go towards the higher profit generators and more stable businesses," chief executive Nils Andersen told the Financial Times as he announced a major shift in strategy for Maersk.

Last year, Maersk Line posted a net loss of US$540mil, while the oil division reported a profit of US$2.1bil, the drilling unit earned US$495mil and ports made US$649mil.

Maersk's container business has been affected by a slowdown in routes between Europe and Asia, where it has cut capacity this year amid a volatile outlook for the industry.

The group said earlier this month it expected global demand for seaborne containers to rise by 3% this year, which was lower than the 4% stated in the second quarter.

Maersk Line is the group's main subsidiary, which holds 16% of the global market share. It said it expected a "modest positive result" this year after freight rates rose in the second half of the year.

A.P. Moeller-Maersk more than tripled its net profit to 5.15 billion kroner (US$880mil) in the third quarter, somewhat lower than what analysts had expected. AFP

SAS fights to stay afloat

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 06:30 PM PST

COPENHAGEN: Scandinavian airline SAS has reached agreements with most unions on wage cuts and pensions, and was pushing hard in talks with two remaining labour groups as it sought to ensure the group's survival.

The airline, hit by competition from lower-price rivals, last week announced plans to cut some salaries by up to 17% , lower overall headcount to about 9,000 from 15,000 and reduce costs.

The airline had said a deal with unions, which also included changes to work hours, must be reached by Sunday but talks carried over into yesterday with a gruelling all night session.

Agreements were reached with unions representing pilots from Norway, Denmark and Sweden plus unions for cabin staff in Sweden and a smaller cabin staff group from Norway.

But talks were still going on with the main cabin staff unions from Norway and Denmark.

"It is very, very positive (progress so far), but we are still missing two of them. First when we have everything in place can we go further," said SAS spokeswoman Elisabeth Manzi.

Analysts have questioned whether the measures would secure the independence of the airline in the long-term as its structure was designed more to secure jobs and Nordic solidarity than generate profits.

It has struggled to compete with discount carriers like Ryanair and regional rival Norwegian Air Shuttle. SAS management has said that if the cost cuts are carried out, the airline has a sound base for the future.

Amid fears aired widely in Scandinavian media that lack of a deal might lead to an immediate bankruptcy application, Manzi said the airline had told crews to ensure airplanes were fully fuelled so as to be able to return home if necessary.

The airline was also giving cash to flying staff to ensure they could get access to hotels if there was a bankruptcy.

However, she declined to say how long SAS's cash would last if loans with the banks were not agreed to.

The governments and six banks have said they will lend SAS about 3.5 billion Swedish crowns (US$515mil) if the airline can secure a deal with the unions to slash costs.

SAS expected cost cuts to improve earnings by three billion crowns while asset sales would strengthen the company's balance sheet another by three billion crowns. Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Sports

Top Australian jockey Oliver banned for 10 months

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 06:46 PM PST

MELBOURNE - Champion jockey Damien Oliver was Tuesday banned from racing for 10 months after blaming his marriage breakdown for a decision to put money on a rival horse that won a race in which he was riding.

The Australian two-time Melbourne Cup winner was suspended for eight months over the betting scandal and was slapped with another two-month ban for using a mobile phone in the jockeys' room prior to the race, which is prohibited.

"I want to apologise to the racing industry. I'm deeply sorry for my actions," Oliver said in brief comments after the Racing Victoria hearing.

The betting charge related to a race two years ago at Moonee Valley in Melbourne in which Oliver, 40, breached the rules by betting Aus$10,000 (US$10,400) via a third party on eventual winner and favourite Miss Octopussy.

Oliver's horse, second favourite Europa Point, finished sixth. Jockeys are banned from betting on any horse, while betting on a horse in the same race is one of the "gravest breaches" of Australian racing laws.

During the hearing, Oliver reportedly broke down in tears as he admitted the offences, telling of psychological stress brought on by a temporary split from his wife and a battle with alcohol.

"I felt despondent and had lost my belief in my ability as a jockey," Oliver told the hearing, ABC radio reported.

"It was a highly stressful time. I feared I would lose my marriage. It was the only time I had ever placed a bet on a rival horse. I didn't consult any other jockey or trainer."

In a statement afterwards, he said he had no plans to retire.

"I look forward to continuing my career in racing in the future. I know I have to work hard to restore people's trust in me," he said.

"People must not assume that my misdeed (and) lack of judgement on that day in 2010 reflects on the jockeys and the industry broadly."

The scandal blew up in the press on the morning of the Melbourne Cup earlier this month, overshadowing the Aus$6 million showpiece event. Oliver was one of the favourites to win but finished 11th.

Oliver is one of the nation's most successful jockeys, and is one of only seven riders to win Australia racing's grand slam of the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper. - AFP

Czechs beat Spaniards to add Davis Cup to their Fed Cup triumph

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 05:13 PM PST

PRAGUE: The Czech Republic won the Davis Cup after a team led by Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat holders Spain 3-2 in the 100th final here on Sunday.

In Sunday's games, Berdych lost to David Ferrer before Stepanek stunned Nicolas Almagro in the decisive rubber.

The Czech Republic lifted their first Davis Cup since gaining independence following a 1993 split with Slovakia.

The victory has handed the Czechs a rare team double after their women lifted the Fed Cup here two weeks ago – a feat last achieved by the United States in 1990.

The former Czechoslovakia won the trophy in 1980 with a team led by then 20-year-old Ivan Lendl, who received the Davis Cup Award of Excellence before Sunday's rubbers.

As if inspired by Lendl, Stepanek, the world number 37, beat 11th-ranked Almagro 6-4, 7-6 (7-0), 3-6, 6-3 on the super-fast hardcourt of Prague's O2 Arena in front of a frantic crowd of more than 14,000 fans.

"It's amazing, we've written history here in our country," the 33-year-old Stepanek said before lifting the Davis Cup and singing the Czech anthem and 'We Are The Champions' with his team-mates.

"There are no words to say. Undescribable. This is the best thing that can be," said his team-mate Berdych.

The wild home crowd was all that Stepanek needed on Sunday to shake off the fatigue from Friday's singles and Saturday's doubles.

Combining patience with aggressivity and pulling off a series of winning volleys, Stepanek took the first two sets, the second in an impressive 7-0 tiebreak.

Almagro, 27, fought back in the third set, but Stepanek, red hot and propelled by the crowd, finished the job in just under four hours.

"I came on the court with a mindset that I have to stay calm, hungry, motivated, concentrated, and always know what I'm doing. And that's what I did," Stepanek said.

"I played very aggressive today, I didn't want to leave anything behind, I wanted to be the one who is active, who is controlling the game," he added.

Visibly upset, Almagro said he had tried his best but it simply was not enough.

"He was better than me and he's the winner," he said.

In Sunday's first match, Ferrer, the world number five, beat sixth-ranked Berdych in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, 7-5.

The 27-year-old Berdych never quite caught up with his 30-year-old rival and admitted he was "way behind" throughout the rubber.

"I played very focused, very aggressive, I started really good and maybe that was the key," said Ferrer, praising his first serve and forehand.

"It's very difficult to beat Tomas in three sets but I played one of the best matches of my career in Davis Cup," he added.

On Friday, Ferrer beat Stepanek 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and Berdych then put the Czechs level after beating Almagro 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.

In Saturday's doubles rubber, Berdych and Stepanek beat Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-3 for their 12th victory in Davis Cup doubles against a single loss.

Spain, who had won the Davis Cup three times in the past five years, were missing world number four Rafael Nadal, who is recovering from a knee injury.

They also won the Davis Cup in 2000 and 2004. — AFP

SRAM upgrade meet to promote squash at social level

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 03:29 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) will continue their efforts to promote squash at a social level by holding the Riger Centurian Squash Challenge at the Lakeview Sports Centre, Subang Jaya, from Nov 23-25.

The tournament is an upgrade on last year's inaugural Riger League and is now a team tournament with SRAM targeting a total of 32 teams from the states and clubs.

SRAM president Datuk Syed Mustafa Syed Ali, who is a firm supporter of social squash, said the event has been given a boost by the positive feedback from last year's Riger League.

"We know that there are many social players of all ages who still enjoy the game. Scores of squash lovers and followers are actually anticipating the return of this tournament," said Syed Mustafa.

"We want to give these players the opportunity to pit their skills among fellow enthusiasts and the Riger Centurian Squash Challenge will provide the opportunity.

"SRAM intend to increase the interest and participation in the game and we are also hopeful that competitions like this will attract more participants and supporters of the sport.

"Social squash has not been very active in the past decade and it's important that we revive that interest to show that squash is accessible to everyone in order to aid the bid to get the sport into the 2020 Olympics."

Syed Mustafa also lauded the Riger Corporation's sponsorship of the event as it will provide a boost in promoting the game to a wider spectrum of players.

Riger Corporation increased their sponsorship from RM50,000 to RM70,000 – which means more attractive prizes for the participating teams.

Besides the Riger Centurian Squash League, the Riger group also sponsors SRAM's other social squash activities and there are plans to involve more universities in the future.


The Star Online: Nation

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Nation

S’gor MB says he recommended Selayang Council president be moved

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 05:12 AM PST

Published: Monday November 19, 2012 MYT 7:16:00 PM
Updated: Monday November 19, 2012 MYT 9:12:18 PM

SHAH ALAM: Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim admits he recommended Selayang Municipal Council President Datuk Zainal Abidin A'ala be moved.

"I merely recommended the move but did not ask for him (Dr Zainal Abidin) to be changed to a different department because if a mayor has only a year to serve, I am not going to wait until the last minute to find a successor.

"Besides, I recommended the move way before the controversial 29-storey condominium near Batu Caves came up," he told a press conference on Monday.

Khalid was responding to a statement by the Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa who said that the termination of Zainal Abidin was made after a request from the Selangor government.

"This shows I have the power to appoint or dismiss a mayor.

"I am very happy with this. Now they know the power of appointing a mayor is in the hands of the MB," he quipped.

Dr Ali had said that the Selangor state secretary, in a letter dated Oct 15, had stated that Khalid wanted Zainal Abidin replaced by another officer.

The transfer letter for Zainal Abidin was issued on Nov 9 and said that he was being transferred to the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) effective Nov 15.

Zainal Abidin's sudden transfer sparked a storm of speculation with many linking it to the controversy over the proposed 29-storey condominium project next to Batu Caves, Selangor.

Related Stories:
PSD: Civil servants can be transferred anytime
S'gor govt asked for Selayang council president's transfer, says Chief Secretary
Another top civil servant transferred
Selayang councillors object to transfer of president
Stop speculation on condo plans until probe is over, urges Khalid
Kamalanathan wants apology from Ronnie Liu for alleging link to Batu Caves condo project approval
Selayang council ordered to issue temporary stop work order against condo near Batu Caves

Two govt agencies did not object to condo project, says Chor

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 05:09 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Two government agencies did not object to the controversial condominium project in Batu Caves, revealed Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung.

He said the Minerals and Geoscience Department initially objected to the Dolomite condominium but changed its stand after the Department of Environment (DOE) gave its go-ahead.

He explained that the DOE certified the project fit after the developer showed it was capable of building the condominiums in the area and offered engineering solutions.

Chor also explained that it was the Pakatan Rakyat state government which approved the building plan for the project near Batu Caves, on March 24, 2008, after it won Selangor following the March 8 general election that year.

"At that time, the councillors in the full board were appointed by the new Selangor government. So, Ipoh Barat (DAP-M. Kulasegaran) cannot say that Barisan gave the approval.

"Who gave the approval for the housing plan? It was when Pakatan became the state government," the minister said when winding up the debate on his ministry.

The Dolomite Park Avenue condominium project has turned into a political crisis as Batu Caves is the religious focal point of Hindus.

About 300 Hindu and non-governmental activists joined a "Save Batu Caves" rally in the Batu Caves temple complex to protest against the project on Oct 26, saying it was an environmental risk that would jeopardise the temple grounds.

Related Stories:
Donald Lim joins attack over Batu Caves condo project
S'gor govt asked for Selayang council president's transfer, says Chief Secretary
Sadasivan rejects chair of Batu Caves condo review
Najib: Return Selangor to Barisan and Batu Caves grounds will be safe

Investments in M’sia’s defence industry reach RM5bil

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 04:49 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Local and international defence industry players have been actively involved in various projects in the country with investments reaching RM5bil.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government was committed to seeing the defence industry expand in tandem with the increasing demand for such products in the Asian region.

"This is especially so following the Meeting of Asean Defence Ministers in Cambodia last month which decided to bolster cooperation in the defence industry among member states," he said after attending a meeting of the Malaysia Industry Council for Defence, Enforcement and Security (MIDES) here, Monday.

Ahmad Zahid said the cabinet had approved the building of an industrial plant, an educational centre and defence industry manufacturing facility in Perak, whereby the state government had approved the land for the project.

On the "Indodefence 2012" exhibition in Jakarta last month, he said the active participation of Malaysia's defence industry in the exhibition had attracted the interest of international companies to set up joint ventures.

Ahmad Zahid said among the products that drew the visitors' attention and encouraging orders was the Maxus Weststar Model V80 passenger van produced by Maxus Weststar.

Malaysia's defence industry continued to move forward through strategic cooperation among the government agencies like Matrade and Mida, and this helped MIDES to promote and expand business in the Asian region and the world, he said. Bernama


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Charlie Chaplin hat and cane net more than $62,000

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 12:45 AM PST

LOS ANGELES: Charlie Chaplin's iconic bowler hat and cane were auctioned off for $62,500 this weekend, as part of an auction which also includes a John Lennon nude drawing of himself and Yoko Ono.

The hat and cane, trademark of Chaplin's Little Tramp character, were in "remarkable condition" and had been estimated to go for between $40,000 and $60,000 at the sale by auction house Bonhams on Sunday. But when it went under the hammer, the sale price hit $62,500 the auctioneers said.

Legend has it that Chaplin came up with the tramp persona and wardrobe spontaneously one rainy afternoon in February 1914, seizing various wardrobe items in a communal male dressing room at a Hollywood studio.

These included baggy trousers from actor Fatty Arbuckle, size 14 shoes which he had to wear on the wrong feet to keep them from falling off, the hat belonging to Arbuckle's father-in-law, and a mustache intended for another actor.

The 32-inch (81-centimeter) bamboo cane is inscribed "CCLT 36" in black ink, a reference to the Little Tramp, Chaplin's signature character.

Other items sold Sunday include a handwritten letter by Beatle John Lennon with a nude drawing of himself and his wife Yoko Ono, sent to an avant-garde magazine publisher in connection with the controversial 1968 "Two Virgins" nude album cover. The letter went for $25,000.

Also auctioned: a collection of original photographs of Marilyn Monroe that went for $21,250, and three signed, abstract original oil paintings by crooner Frank Sinatra, the most valuable auctioned for $10,625.-AFP

Tickets to Life Of Pi

Posted: 18 Nov 2012 05:20 PM PST

Pi Patel is the precocious son of a zoo keeper. When Pi's family decides to move to Canada he has no choice but to follow. The family hitches a ride on a huge freighter but when the ship is shipwrecked Pi discovers himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger as company. How will Pi and his new friends survive each other?

Thanks to 20th Century Fox we have 45 pairs of tickets to a special screening to Life Of Pi. See redemption and screening details below.

Redemption Details

Date: 27 November (Tuesday)

Time: 9.00pm until all tickets are picked up

Venue: GSC 1 Utama (New Wing)

Screening Details

Date: 27 November (Tuesday)

Time: 9.30pm

Venue: GSC 1 Utama (New Wing)

All you have to do is print this page and bring it along with you to our redemption table at GSC 1Utama, Petaling Jaya. Please note that tickets will be given on a first come, first served basis. Each person will be given only one pair of tickets.

Rules & Regulations

1. This redemption is open to all eCentral fans.

2. Print out the contest page and redeem it at the venue given in this article.

3. Each page entitles you to two movie tickets (1 pair) only. Each person is allowed to redeem only once.

4. Tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis.

5. Queue-jumping and reserving places in line during the redemption are strictly prohibited. The organizers reserve the right to refuse tickets to anyone found doing so.

6. Tickets are not exchangeable for cash.

7. Movie ratings will strictly apply for this movie. Please refer to your ticket or your daily newspaper for ratings. The organizers reserve the right to refuse entry to the cinema hall to those not within the permitted age limit. No exceptions will be made at any time for any reason.

8. I hereby expressly consent to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all my personal data by Star Publications (M) Berhad for the purposes of the Life of Pi contest.

9. For enquiries, please e-mail


The Star Online: Metro: Central

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: Central

Metro watch

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 04:31 AM PST


The Korean Women's Association is organising a Korean charity bazaar on Nov 21 at the Taming Sari Ballroom at the Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur. The bazaar will feature Korean handicrafts, accessories, garments, cosmetics, agricultural and local products. Tickets are priced at RM10 (early bird) and RM15 (on the day of event). Tickets can be purchased at Korean supermarkets and restaurants. For details, call 016-306 4811 / 012-205 7300.


Gain knowledge on the history of the Straits shophouses in a talk themed "The Straits Shophouse: Variations on a Theme" by author and TV presenter Julian Davison. It will be held on Nov 22 at Sekeping Kong Heng, Ipoh from 8.30pm to 10pm. Donation of RM15 for admission. For details, call 012-510 8203 (Eddie) or 017-5061875 (Heng) or email


The National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) will be organising an open day from Nov 24 to 25 to commemorate the setting up of the Nasom Kiwanis PJ Autism One Stop Centre in Setia Alam, Shah Alam. There will be autism talks and other activities. For details, call 03-3359 0998 (Lau) during office hours.


Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi will be giving a free public talk on architecture at Taylor's University, Lakeside Campus in Subang Jaya on Nov 25 at 3pm. Sambuichi will share his ideas, past works and recent projects for the first time in Malaysia. For details, call 03-2284 6228.


The Philatelic Society of Malaysia is organising a stamp fair on Dec 1 and 2 at the PJ Community Library, Lot 389 Jalan Selangor, Section 3, Petaling Jaya from 9.30am to 5.30pm. There will also be a colouring competition for children and daily lucky draws. Admission is free. For details, call Maniam (012-604 3563) or Wong (012-679 7931).


Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) has extended a toll-free line for the convenience of residents to communicate with the council effectively. Residents can call 1800 884 477 for complaints and enquiries. For enquiries about the toll-free line, call 03-5510 5133 ext. 501/569/535 (MBSA).


A free diabetes and heart disease seminar organised by Total Health Concept and partner Farmasi Vitacare will be held at The Space, Citta Mall, Ara Damansara on Nov 24 from 2pm to 5pm. Free gifts for early birds and limited seats available. For reservations, call 1300 882 700.


There will be electricity disruption for Bandar Seri Damansara to give way for maintenance and improvement of the main pylon being done by Tenaga Nasional Bhd. Disruption time is from 8am to 6pm today. For details, call 15454.

Avid runners and nutritionists give tips to runners ahead of run

Posted: 19 Nov 2012 04:31 AM PST

THREE new faces have joined the training staff for the Multi-Purpose Insurans Berhad (MPIB) Run scheduled at Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 6 next year.

The guest speakers are set to inspire the beginners in their My First Run initiative after the once-a-week training sessions at the Bukit Aman carpark in Lake Gardens on Saturday morning.

Besides the duo of avid runner Frank Chong and accomplished long-distance competitor Mark Williams, nutritionist Chai Wen Jin is another newcomer in the pack for the three-month initiative leading up to the main event.

They have also retained the services of website co-founders Wan Yew Leong and Jamie Pang to guide the beginners through the paces in the weekly programme that started at the end of September.

Yew Leong said it was an emotional experience when they found out more about cancer survivor Frank's journey before he triumphed in his battle against cancer especially during the challenging years growing up as a teenager recently.

Frank was diagnosed with the rare Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer that affected the connective tissues and muscles on his left wrist before he recovered completely in 1994.

"I have known him for a couple of years but only realised his exact situation during the recent talk. He is an interesting character. Despite going through the difficult period dealing with his ordeal fighting the critical illness, he has grew in confidence and was very willing to relate his experiences with others. He has overcome the threatening health condition and found joy in running. Besides adopting a healthy lifestyle, he has attained modest achievements similar to other serious social runners over the years. He has also completed the Comrades Marathon covering a distance of almost 90km in South Africa," he added.

Several familiar faces including a cardiologist and fitness trainer also returned to educate the participants on issues related to running before wrapping up the programme with the 5km trial run around the actual race course on Dec 22.

After attracting a total of 3,700 to be part of the inaugural run this year, they could accommodate up to a maximum of 5,000 next year.

"We have surpassed the 4,000 mark and we are hopeful that another good turn out for the upcoming run," said Yew Leong.

Meanwhile, they have selected three tertiary education institutions — Tunku Abdul Rahman, Sunway and Help — in their recruitment drive to encourage students in joining the local running community as participants and volunteers.

They have also offered 10 free slots to each institution for them to form a team for the run.

The six categories for the 12km course are women's and men's above 16 years; women's veteran 35 to 45 years; men's veteran 40 to 50 years; women's senior veteran above 45 years; and men's senior veteran above 50 years.

The two separate sections for the 8km route are women's and men's above 16 years.

Besides increasing the previous 6km to 8km, they are also creating the less demanding 5km course for participants aged above 16 years to go on a more leisure stroll.

For details, visit


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

0 ulasan
Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Boon for villagers

Posted: 18 Nov 2012 06:08 PM PST

THE proud house owners in Kampung Poh Chee Leng in Skudai, Johor, have several reasons to rejoice these days.

Their property value has appreciated almost 10 times — thanks to the good location and rapid development in the surrounding areas.

The village with 219 houses is walking distance to the SJKC Pu Sze and the Johor Baru Tengah Municipal Council (MPJBT).

Some of the houses in the village could fetch almost RM200,000 per unit these days.

But money is not everything to the villagers who have called the place home for four decades.

"The environment here is good, and there are quite a lot of plants around "Our neighbours are also very friendly," said Soon Keng Ang, 34.

Born and bred in the village, Soon continues to stay in the house with his parents, brother and wife and three children.

Extended family, like that of the Soons is common in Kampung Poh Chee Leng.

Temple caretaker Koh Yeow Song who cycles to work in a temple nearby daily except on Sundays, said his family had never thought of moving out since they shifted to the village 21 years ago.

"This place is very good," he added.

The 74-year-old grandfather said he bought the house for RM20,000 more than two decades ago.

He now stays there with his wife Lew Siow Mie, 61, three daughters and two grandchildren.

Wong Hock Seng, 71, who has been staying in the village for 40 years, said he had spent about RM10,000 to build the house.

"The security in our village is very good, and its location is also strategic," he said, adding that Johor Baru city centre is just a 15-minute-drive.

Wong works as a receptionist in a hotel in Johor Jaya while his wife, Tan Kah Choo, 66, works at a plastic factory in Senai.

"I hope the authorities could improve the roads and drainage in the village," said Wong, adding that there are about 2,000 people staying in the village.

Wong's praises for the village was also echoed by his neighbour Haw Hang Soon, 73.

Haw, who retired as a construction worker in Singapore 12 years ago, counts himself and his family lucky to be able to have a house in the village since 40 years ago.

"It was very hard to get a house then and I spent RM10,000 to build the house," he recalled.

Chang Ee Sin, 49, said the living environment in the village was good, despite the villagers only got electricity supply in 1981 and water supply in 1990.

He stayed in the village since he was nine years old.

Leong Foon Min, 73, felt that it was impossible for him to get a similar house elsewhere which came with such good environment, security and neighbours. But there is certainly more than meets the eye for this serene little village.

Former Senai Member of Parliament Woon See Chin said the history of the village could be traced back to between 1972 and 1974 where a man called Poh Chee Leng, had allowed villagers to build houses over two plots of land which he co-owned with his nephew.

The total size of the land is 20 acres, he said, adding that 219 houses mushroomed soon after that.

Poh charged each house RM10 a month for land rental.

Two decades later, Poh sold the land for a total of RM1.6mil to the villagers, though an investor had offered to buy the land from him.

Woon, a lawyer by training and instrumental in helping the villagers in the deal, remembered Poh (now deceased) as a nice man who had the villagers interest at heart.

He said each household paid between RM9,500 and RM13,500 for their respective plot under the land deal.

With the sale, Wong said the entire land in the village was put under the name of four trustees in 1997.

Abdul Ghani condems those who use religious issues for political motives

Posted: 18 Nov 2012 06:10 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman has urged Muslims not to be influenced by certain quarters who use religious issues for political mileage.

He said such extreme behaviour would only bring about long lasting destruction.

Abdul Ghani said the act of terrorism in several countries worldwide are caused by certain groups who fight for their own narrow-minded agenda.

"In our country, we have faced such extreme and obsessed quarters that would do anything to support their leaders.

"These groups have even politicised religion just to gain support from the public," he said in his speech during the state level Maal Hijrah celebration here recently.

He also said that there are certain quarters that claimed to fight for equal rights without thinking the impact that it may have on communities.

Abdul Ghani also added that their approach could only bring disharmony among the multi-racial people in the country.

"Malaysia practisedemocratic Islam that have become a modern industry middle income country.

"The Government have always stressed social justice where the country's wealth are divided equally to all of the rakyat no matter their race," he said.

He pointed out that bigotry and extreme behaviour could only bring actions that would jeopardise the country's future such as street demonstrations that not only cause a rift among the rakyat but also destroy public property.

"If we allow such groups to influence our mind then our values and culture that we have built for many years to disappeared," he said.

Platform to promote Iskandar Malaysia

Posted: 18 Nov 2012 06:18 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Milf) chairman Murad Ibrahim will most likely attend the upcoming World Islamic Economic Forum (Wief).

Wief Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam said the invitation had been forwarded to them and that the organiser was awaiting their reply.

"We hope the president and the chairman would come as it will be good especially for the Bangsamoro following the peace agreement signed between Milf and the Philippines Government,'' he said.

The eighth Wief, which would be officiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will be held from Dec 4 until 6, at the Persada Johor International Convention Centre here.

The former deputy prime minister said many of the delegates would want to know from the Milf chairman himself on the opportunities that Mindanao could offer them.

He said about 1,500 delegates from 50 countries were expected.

"With the signing of the peace agreement, it will pave way for Bangsamoro to focus on developing the southern Philippines,'' said Musa.

He said Malaysian investors and companies should take the opportunity to be among the earliest investors to invest in Mindanao and assist Bangsamoro in building the nation.

Musa said leaders who had confirmed their attendance include Comoros president Ikililou Dhoinine, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim and Singapore deputy prime minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Others likely to attend are Liberian President Ellen Johson Sirleaf, chairman of the presidency Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zarzadi, Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Kazakhstan prime minister Serik Akhmetoz.

"This will also be the first time that Johor will host a number of foreign heads of government in an international event,'' he said.

Musa said it would be good for Johor to promote Iskandar Malaysia to potential investors from all over the world and the opportunities offered by the country's first economic growth corridor.


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved