Rabu, 21 November 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Pakistani Shi'ites receive death threat text messages

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 09:23 PM PST

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani Shi'ites, targeted in three explosions which killed 16 people on Wednesday, are now receiving death threat text messages on cellphones ahead of a key event in their religious calendar that has been tainted by violence in the past.

"Kill, Kill, Shi'ites," say the text warnings to members of the minority sect.

Hardline Sunni militant groups linked to al Qaeda have in recent months stepped up attacks against Pakistan's Shi'ites, whom they regard as non-Muslims.

Pakistan's Taliban claimed responsibility for Wednesday's violence and said it would stage more attacks on Shi'ites over the next few days.

More than 300 Shi'ites have been killed in Pakistan so far this year in sectarian conflict, according to human rights groups.

"Genocide against Shi'ites is already taking place in Pakistan so the text messages don't really matter that much," said Jalal Haider, who received a text threat.

Hardline Sunnis are expected to strike again this weekend, the climax of the Shi'ite mourning month of Muharram. Radical Sunni groups have staged high-profile suicide bombings against processions on that occasion before.

Muharram marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala where the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and his family members were killed.

About 50,000 people are expected to march through the streets of Islamabad on Saturday and thousands of security personnel are expected to be deployed in a bid to avoid attacks.

Any large-scale sectarian violence could hurt Pakistan's efforts to show it has improved security as it hosts the leaders of eight developing countries at a summit in Islamabad.

Pakistani intelligence officials say extremist groups, led by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, or LeJ, have escalated their bombings and shootings of Shi'ites to trigger violence that would pave the way for a Sunni theocracy in U.S.-allied Pakistan.

The schism between Sunnis and Shi'ites developed after the Prophet Muhammad died in 632 when his followers could not agree on a successor.

Sunnis recognise the first four caliphs as his rightful successors. The Shi'ites believe the prophet named his son-in-law Ali. Emotions over the issue are highly potent in modern times, pushing some countries, including Iraq five years ago, to the brink of civil war.

Pakistan is nowhere near that stage but officials worry that LeJ and other groups have succeeded in dramatically ratcheting up tensions and provoking revenge attacks in their bid to destabilise the nuclear-armed country.

(Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Michael Perry)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Sudan makes arrests after foiled "sabotage attempt" - report

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 07:27 PM PST

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan's security services thwarted a "sabotage attempt" led by opposition forces and arrested a number of civilian and military figures in connection with the incident early on Thursday, state-linked media reported.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw tanks and armoured vehicles moving down a major street in central Khartoum, the capital, around midnight. A Reuters reporter said security in the area appeared normal in the early morning.

Sudan, ruled by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir since he seized power in a 1989 coup, has avoided the massive political upheaval that has convulsed other Arab countries over the last two years.

But the secession of oil-producing South Sudan last year and an ensuing economic crisis emboldened some opposition activists to call for protests and, analysts say, exacerbated divisions in the government.

Small demonstrations against cuts in fuel subsidies and other austerity measures broke out across the country in June but petered out after a security crackdown and the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

Sudan's security and intelligence agency "foiled a sabotage plot this morning aimed at bringing about security disturbances in the country led by figures from the opposition forces," the Sudanese Media Centre reported on Thursday.

Quoting a security source, the media centre said authorities had arrested "military and civilian figures" in connection with the plot. It did not identify them.

Officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the report. The Sudanese Media Centre earlier reported in a text message to mobile phones that the security and intelligence services had "frustrated a sabotage attempt".

Witnesses said they had seen military vehicles in a main street in central Khartoum during the night.

"We saw something unusual in Khartoum before midnight yesterday. Four armoured vehicles and two tanks on Abeid Khatim Street heading in the direction of downtown," one witness said, asking not to be named.

Security at the defence ministry, intelligence headquarters and other buildings associated with military and security authorities appeared normal early in the morning, a Reuters witness said.

Sudan has been plagued by political conflicts and crises for most of its history since independence from Britain in 1956.

Decades of civil war between the north and south culminated with South Sudan's independence in July last year under a 2005 peace deal.

Tensions have remained high since then. The two countries accused one another of incursions in disputed border zones on Wednesday, a setback to recent security and border deals.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Paul Simao and Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Sudan makes arrests after foiled "sabotage attempt" - state-linked media

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 06:49 PM PST

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan's security services thwarted a "sabotage attempt" led by opposition forces and arrested a number of civilian and military figures in connection with the incident early on Thursday morning, state-linked media reported.

Witnesses told Reuters they saw tanks and armoured vehicles moving down a major street in central Khartoum, the capital, around midnight. A Reuters reporter said security in the area appeared normal early in the morning.

Sudan's security and intelligence agency "foiled a sabotage plot this morning aimed at bringing about security disturbances in the country led by figures from the opposition forces," the Sudanese Media Centre (SMC) reported.

Quoting a security source, SMC said authorities had arrested "military and civilian figures" in connection with the plot. It did not identify them.

Officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the report. SMC earlier reported in a text message to mobile phones that the security and intelligence services had "frustrated a sabotage attempt".

Witnesses said they had seen military vehicles in a main street in central Khartoum during the night.

"We saw something unusual in Khartoum before midnight yesterday. Four armoured vehicles and two tanks on Abeid Khatim street heading in the direction of downtown," one witness said, asking not to be named.

Security at the defence ministry, intelligence headquarters and other buildings associated with military and security authorities appeared normal early in the morning, a Reuters witness said.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Paul Simao)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

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The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

It’s back to business for Chong Wei

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 03:34 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei did not suffer from any wedding hangover as he breezed past Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana to check into the second round of the Hong Kong Open in Kowloon yesterday.

Chong Wei, playing in his first tournament since winning the Denmark Open last month and after his wedding to Wong Mew Choo earlier this month, downed Boonsak 21-15, 21-15.

He faces India's Ajay Jayaram after the world No. 27 stunned China Open finalist Wang Zhengming 22-20, 23-21.

But it's game over for Chong Wei Feng, whose slim hopes of qualifying for the Super Series Finals in Shenzhen next month vanished after an uninspiring first round loss to Japan's Kenichi Tago.

The 25-year-old Wei Feng, who achieved a personal best by making the semi-finals of the China Open last week, failed to raise his game this time and lost 18-21, 9-21.

India's P. Kashyap also scored a big upset when he defeated world No. 10 and seventh seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark 24-22, 20-22, 22-20.

In the men's doubles, Malaysia's second-ranked pair Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong stayed on track for a trip to Shenzhen despite struggling to beat unheralded Taiwanese pair Chen Hung Ling-Lu Chia Bin.

The world No. 18 Thien How-Wee Kiong, who need to reach at least the quarter-finals here to consolidate their eighth spot in the Super Series standings, struggled with their focus before prevailing 21-16, 17-21, 21-19.

Only the top eight pairs in the standings will qualify for the Finals and each country may send two pairs if both are in the top eight.

Thien How-Wee Kiong have an easier shot at making the last eight as they'll be up against Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki-Hendra Gunawan after the Indonesians toppled seventh seeds Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata in three games. Top seeds Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong also avoided an early pitfall with a comfortable win over Thailand's Patiphat Chalardchaleam-Nipitphon Puangpuapech, but the professional duo of Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock bit the dust.

Ong Jian Guo-Woon Khe Wei continued their recent impressive form by coming back from a game down to edge Patiphat-Savitree Amitapai 18-21, 21-14, 21-17 in the mixed doubles.

Top Malaysian mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying also cleared the first hurdle by avenging their first round loss in the French Open to Tao Jiaming-Tang Jinhua. This time the Malaysians won 22-20, 19-21, 21-15.

The third seeds will face Russia's Sergey Lunev-Evgenia Dimova for a place in the quarter-finals.

Wee Kiong-Lim Yin Loo made it a triple delight for Malaysia in the mixed doubles when they beat South Korea's Kim Ki-jung-Kim So-young 21-19, 21-18.


First round

> Men's singles: Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 21-15, 21-15; Ajay Jayaram (Ind) bt Wang Zhengming (Chn) 22-20, 23-21; Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) bt Ng Ka Long (Hkg) 21-13, 21-18; Mohd Arif Abdul Latif (Mas) bt Vladmir Ivanov (Rus) 21-18, 21-8; Kenichi Tago (Jpn) bt Chong Wei Feng (Mas) 21-18, 21-9; Takuma Ueda (Jpn) bt Taufik Hidayat (Ina) 19-21, 23-21, 21-16; P. Kashyap (Ind) bt Jan O Jorgensen (Den) 24-22, 20-22, 22-20; Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Den) bt Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Ina) 21-10, 21-14; Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Chan Yan Kit (Hkg) 21-18, 21-15; Chen Long (Chn) bt Andre Kurniawan Tedjono (Ina) 21-10, 21-13;

Sho Sasaki (Jpn) bt Rajiv Ouseph (Eng) 21-13, 21-16; Liew Daren (Mas) bt Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka (Ina) 23-21, 24-22; Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) bt Wong Wing Ki (Hkg) 21-12, 10-21, 21-15.

> Men's doubles: Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (Mas) bt Patiphat Chalardchaleam-Nipitphon Puangpuapech (Tha) 21-15, 21-17; Chris Adcock-Andrew Ellis (Eng) bt Tarun Kona-Arun Vishnu (Ind) 21-18, 21-14; Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra (Ina) bt Baptiste Careme-Gaetan Mittelheisser (Fra) 21-14, 21-14; Ko Sung-hyun-Lee Yong-dae (Kor) bt Vladmir Ivanow-Ivan Sozonov (Rus) 21-13, 21-15; Lee Sheng Mu-Tsai Chia Hsin (Tpe) bt Bodin Isaara-Maneepong Jongjit (Tha) 21-18, 21-10; Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (Jpn) bt Christian John Skovgaard-Mads Pieler Kolding (Den) 21-19, 21-16; Bona Septano-Afiat Yuris Wirawan (Ina) bt Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock (Mas) 21-18, 21-17; Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas) bt Chen Hung Ling-Lu Chia Bin (Tpe) 21-16, 17-21, 21-19; Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki-Hendra Gunawan (Ina) bt Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata (Jpn) 15-21, 21-16, 21-19; Chen Chung Jen-Lin Yen Jui (Tpe) bt Phillip Chew-Sattawat Pongnairat (Tha) 21-12, 21-19; Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiwan (Ina) bt Ingo Kindervater-Johannes Schoettler (Ger) 18-21, 21-14, 21-14; Alvent Yulianto-Markis Kido (Ina) bt Manu Attri-B.Summeth Reddy (Ind) 11-21, 21-11, 21-15; Pranaav Jerry Chopra-Akshay Dewalkar (Ind) bt Hafiz Faisal-Putra Eka Rhoma (Ina) 21-16, 21-23, 21-17;

Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (Chn) bt Ong Jian Guo-Goh V Shem (Mas) 21-17, 21-16; Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan (Chn) bt Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang (Kor) 17-21, 21-10, 21-18; Shin Baek-cheol-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor) bt Hong Wei-Shen Ye (Chn) 21-12, 13-21, 21-10.

Other results involving Malaysians

n Women's doubles: Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei (Mas) bt Choi Hye-in-Kim So-young (Kor) 21-19, 21-18.

n Mixed doubles: Tan Wee Kiong-Lim Yin Loo (Mas) bt Kim Ki-jung-Kim So-young (Kor) 21-17, 16-21, 21-12; Ong Jian Guo-Woon Khe Wei (Mas) bt Patiphat Chalardchaleam-Savitree Amitapai (Tha) 18-21, 21-14, 21-17; Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Mas) bt Tao Jiaming-Tang Jinhua (Chn) 22-20, 19-21, 21-15; Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn) bt Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing (Mas) 21-12, 21-12.

Azlan aims to end winless streak in Qatar

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 03:29 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Newly-crowned cub prix champion Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman will head for the final round of the Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) in Qatar bent on ending his winless streak in the SuperSports 600cc category.

After dropping out of the title chase last month, Azlan believes that only a win at the Losail International Circuit, when the race begins today, will help him secure a top three overall finish.

The Musashi Boon Siew Honda Racing rider is fourth in the standings with 136 points – 66 behind leader and defending champion Katsuaki Fujiwara of the Manual Tech Beet Kawasaki Racing.

Huang Qiang confident juniors can shine in absence of top guns

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 03:30 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Medals will be hard to come by in the absence of the seniors but coach Huang Qiang is hoping that the second echelon of divers will be able to hold their head high when the diving competition of the Asian Swimming Championships begins in Dubai today.

The trio of Olympic bronze medallist Pandelela Rinong, Leong Mun Yee and Bryan Nickson Lomas, who have been the stalwarts of the national diving squad for the last three years, are not competing in the Asian meet this time.

Pandelela has been given time to recover from a left ankle injury while Mun Yee and Bryan have opted out to focus on their university examinations.

This leaves a depleted five-member squad, headed by SEA Games springboard gold medallist Cheong Jun Hoong, with little chance to fight for multiple medals against the likes of China and Japan.

At best, Malaysia's medal hope lies in the 3m individual springboard, which sees Jun Hoong and Wendy Ng Yan Yee in the fray.

Huang Qiang has been entrusted with handling the squad for the Asian meet as head coach Yang Zhuliang has stayed back to work with the back-up divers.

Malaysia bagged two silvers and four bronze medals in the last Asian meet in Foshan in 2009 but Huang Qiang does not expect a repeat.

"Jun Hoong should make the springboard final and fight for a medal. But her problem is inconsistency – as is Wendy's," said Huang Qiang.

Fifteen-year-old Loh Zhiayi is the third Malaysian woman in the fray. She will make her debut in the 10m platform individual today and a medal is unlikely.

It will be a great achievement if she can make the final as this is only her second senior level competition and her degree of difficulties is lower than her opponents'.

Ooi Tze Liang will compete in the men's individual platform while Chew Yiwei will also make his debut in the individual springboard.

"It will be hard for them to fight for medals as the individual events for men are much more competitive. Our divers are still not consistent," said Huang Qiang.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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UOB Kay Hian maintains Sell on Bumi Armada

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 06:47 PM PST

Published: Thursday November 22, 2012 MYT 10:48:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: UOB Kay Hian Malaysia Research is maintaining its Sell recommendation on Bumi Armada on the basis of its valuations.

"Despite a healthy balance sheet and good management, current valuation of 21 times price-to-earnings (PE) remains too rich," it said on Thursday, with a target price of RM2.91.

UOB Kay Hian Malaysia Research said Bumi Armada reported third quarter, 2012 (Q3, 2012) profit after tax and minority interest (PATMI) of RM95mil (up 3.4% on-quarter, +2.7% on-year). The nione-months PATMI of RM276.7mil (up 17.8% on-year) made up 63% of full-year forecast.

The improvement in revenue (up 20% on-quarter) was due to the addition of two new floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) contracts secured last year coupled with better charter rates from the offshore support vessel (OSV) segment.

"We expect Q4, 2012 results to be stronger as historically, Bumi showed stronger earnings towards the end of the year," said the research house.


Maybank KE Research maintains Buy on Perisai, TP RM1.40

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 06:22 PM PST

Published: Thursday November 22, 2012 MYT 10:23:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank KE Research is maintaining a Buy recommendation on Perisai Petroleum Teknologi with a target price of RM1.40.

It said on Thursday, Perisai's results were tracking expectations as the nine-month earnings accounted for 75% of its and street full-year forecasts.

"Perisai's negotiations with EOC for a stake in FPSO Arunothai for Hess' North Malay basin charter should be finalised soon, prompting a potential 25%-33% upgrade to our earnings forecasts.

"Our TP is pegged to 11 times FY14 EPS, comparable to peers with a sub-RM1bil market cap," it said.

Maybank KE Research said Perisai's Q3,12 net profit of RM21mil (-8% on-quarter) took 9M12 earnings to RM68mil (6.0 times on-year), 75% of its and consensus full-year forecasts.

Strong on-year growth in 9M12 was driven mainly by MOPU contributions, whereby this division already makes up 60% of net profit, though it made its maiden contribution only in Q1, 2012.

Perisai's pipelay vessel charter contributed 21% of 9M12 net profit and the eight OSVs under 51%-owned Intan Offshore made up the balance.


RHB Research upgrades AirAsia to Outperform, FV RM3.61

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 06:15 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Research Institute has upgraded AirAsia Bhd to an Outperform from Trading Buy with a fair value of RM3.61.

It said on Thursday the low-cost carrier's nine-months core profit before tax (PBT) came in within its forecast but below market expectations.

For the nine-months ended Sept 30, 2012, earnings surged 256.5% to RM1.527bil from RM428.49mil in the previous corresponding period. Revenue increased by 11.5% to RM3.587bil from RM3.216bil.

RHB Research said AirAsia reiterated that low cost was its "key weapon".

It said that there was certain "over-reaction" by the market to the Malindo news, of which to a certain extent, has also been "blown out of proportion" by the media.

"While both low-cost air travel markets in Asia and Europe are bracing for more players and hence competition, Asia is still experiencing tremendous growth vis-vis Europe that is mature and saturated.

"For that reason, AirAsia believes that its overall yields and hence margins may not necessarily drop with the entrance of Malindo," it said.

The research house pointed out that AirAsia has just decided to deploy 10 new aircraft to Malaysia for FY12/13 vis-vis only five according to its original plan as it expects robust demand growth in Malaysia thanks largely to international traffic brought into Malaysia by AirAsia X.

"We are now beginning to find AirAsia's valuations fundamentally attractive. Upgrade to Outperform from Trading Buy. Fair value is RM3.61," it said.

To recap, AirAsia's net profit rose 3.6% to RM157.81mil from RM152.29mil a year ago. It posted a record revenue of RM1.24bil, up 14.4% from the RM1.081bil. Earnings per share were 5.70 sen compared with 5.50 sen.


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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Blind pianist beats odds to become Taiwan movie star

Posted: 20 Nov 2012 07:41 PM PST

TAIPEI: Huang Yu-siang was born with a gift and a devastating disability. He has a huge talent for music, but he is blind. His story has become a movie that has captivated audiences in his native Taiwan.

The film, "Touch of the Light", marks a double triumph for the 25-year-old. First he overcame awe-inspiring odds by becoming a successful pianist in real life. Then he beat the odds once more by playing himself on the big screen.

"I was surprised by the warm reactions at home and abroad. Many people told me they were encouraged by the film to persist in their dreams," Huang told AFP in an interview.

Huang's musical gift was discovered at the age of two when he could play on the piano songs he had heard only once. He went on to win many competitions and became the first blind person to obtain a bachelor's degree in music majoring in piano in Taiwan.

His story was made into a short film in 2008 by Taiwanese director Chang Jung-chi, which attracted the attention of acclaimed Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, who encouraged Chang to build it into a full-length feature.

It has become a top-grossing movie in Taiwan since its September release, winning over fans including President Ma Ying-jeou, who praised its "subtle character portrayals" on his Facebook page.

The film has also been welcomed by civil groups that hope it will sharpen the focus on the plight of the island's blind.

While attitudes towards those with disabilities have improved in recent years, support groups and charities say Taiwanese society still has some way to go when it comes to equality.

Taiwan prides itself on its facilities for the physically impaired - wheelchair ramps abound in the cities - but the fact remains that blind people face drastically limited opportunities.

"The visually-impaired are a minority among the minorities, as employers are more willing to hire the physically or hearing-impaired," said Chiang Pei-fen, a spokeswoman for Taiwan Foundation for the Blind.

"The majority of the visually-impaired are still limited to working as masseurs or in tele-marketing, and even though general workplace acceptance is improving, there is still a big gap between the number of job seekers and employers willing to hire them."

Despite his gift, Huang himself has not avoided discrimination. He said he was mocked by fellow students at school and was rejected by a junior high school music programme because he could not see the scores.

The real shock came when Huang left home to attend university, where he struggled to cope, with some classmates reluctant to accommodate him.

"It was a difficult time adjusting to a new environment but I came to realise that I could not always sit back and wait for other people to come to me. I had to take the initiative to make friends," he said.

His adjustment process and the friendships he eventually developed form the bulk of the plot in "Touch of the Light".

The experience has transformed Huang from a "shy, introverted" boy who dared not respond to people greeting him, he said, to a celebrity musician and actor who mingled with fans and travelled abroad to promote his work.

"Acting makes me feel more confident and I have become more outgoing and more active, reaching out to other people," said Huang, who is now a household name in Taiwan and often approached in the street by fans.

Even though the movie is based on Huang's experiences, director Chang stressed that it is really about "pursuing dreams and breaking stereotypes."

"In the movie the character's friends are not overly protective or treat him like an 'endangered species' as I want to break the sentimental pitying or worrying for the blind or other minority groups."

Huang has been nominated for the Outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker category that encompassed actors, directors and other aspects of film at this month's Golden Horse Film awards, regarded as the Chinese-language Academy Awards.

Chang is vying for best new director.

But the jury is still out on whether the film's success will translate into greater acceptance of the blind into Taiwan society.

"It draws attention to the challenges visually-impaired people face but it remains to be seen how much can be translated into actual support for them," said Chiang of the Taiwan Foundation for the Blind. - AFP

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The Star Online: Nation

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Temple caretaker held over rape allegations

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 07:19 AM PST

Published: Wednesday November 21, 2012 MYT 11:18:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday November 21, 2012 MYT 11:19:08 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The caretaker of a temple in Damansara who claims to be a medium has been detained following rape reports against him.

Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah said the 50-year-old man was arrested Monday after a woman in her 20s lodged a report claiming to have been raped by him last September.

"Two more victims have come forward to report that they were raped in April and last week, respectively," he told reporters here Wednesday.

He said the man's modus operandi entailed luring the victims to the house or a hotel before giving them a spiked drink.

According to him, the suspect tested positive for methamphetamine and had been arrested twice previously to help in investigations involving drugs. - Bernama

Australia rejects Anwar's plea for election help

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 05:47 AM PST

MELBOURNE: Australian Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr has said that Australia cannot and will not influence how Malaysia's elections are run despite a personal plea for help from Malaysian Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar had reportedly written to Senator Carr asking for Australia to help ensure that the next Malaysian general election, most likely to be held early next year, was free of fraud and corruption.

Anwar had reportedly told Carr he had uncovered evidence of fraudulent voter registration and other anomalies in the run-up to the polls.

He had also questioned the independence of the electoral commission and claimed that the Opposition was being excluded from the media.

But Senator Carr said the Malaysian elections were a matter for the Malaysian people.

"It's very hard for Australia to do anything about how they're run, as hard as it would be for Malaysia or another government to have a say in how Australian elections are run," he told ABC radio.

"We're not the election authority for Malaysia."

Carr said Australia wanted to see free and fair elections in every country.

He said Anwar personally raised the concerns directly with him during a recent visit to Malaysia.

Carr also poured cold water on the specific proposal of Australia sending election monitors to Malaysia, saying the Malaysian government would have to ask for the measure.

He dismissed the suggestion that Canberra was reluctant to act because it wanted to maintain good relations with Najib's government, with which it was still negotiating an asylum seeker swap deal.

In an interview with ABC Radio on Wednesday, Anwar said he was concerned the election, which must be held by next June, would be rigged, and would have a large number of people eligible to vote but who would not be allowed to vote.

Others far too young to vote, between age two and 12, were also on the rolls, he claimed.

Anwar also claimed that the Opposition had been denied access to the mainstream media.

Anwar had discussed his concerns with former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and sent a note to Carr seeking Australian assistance, saying Australia supported free and fair elections in Iraq, Afghanistan and Myanmar, and yet it was silent on Malaysia. - Bernama

Ho resigns as Star group MD

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 05:36 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director Ho Kay Tat has resigned from the company and will be joining another company, according to a filing with Bursa Malaysia Wednesday.

Ho, 52, has been in the field of journalism and the media industry for the past 27 years, serving several newspapers including the New Straits Times, The Malay Mail, The Business Times Singapore, The Sun, The Edge, The Edge Financial Daily and Reuters Wire Services.

He was executive director for Nexnews Bhd in June 2000 and was subsequently appointed as its group managing director in May 2005.

Ho also served as editor-in-chief and managing director of The Edge and The Sun before joining Star Publications as chief operating officer in July 2010.

Subsequently, he was appointed as executive director and group managing director on Jan 3, 2011 and July, 1 2011 respectively.

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On the lookout MLM members appeal to authorities for help

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 03:31 AM PST

MEMBERS of a multi-level marketing company are urging its top managers to come out and explain what happened to their investment.

The company's founder allegedly siphoned off more than RM600mil, leaving more than 2,000 members and investors in a financial lurch.

Speaking at a press conference organised by Kelana Jaya MCA at Subang Jaya yesterday, a victim of the scheme Robert Chan said he had sought help from the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry as well as the police to trace the top managers of the company who had vanished after they opted for involuntary liquidation of the company.

"I have asked for the authorities' help to use their counterparts in the Asean region to bring justice so no one will be tricked by them again," he said.

Established in 2005, the company hit its first crisis in January this year when it was shut down by the ministry because its licence was not approved for renewal which resulted in a domino effect of lost sales.

Chan added that two of the company's founders urged top leaders to continue to generate more sales for the company despite the lack of approval for its licence.

"However, it has been detected that a large portion of the purchases made in February did not make it into the accounts although withdrawals of RM10mil in February together with a large amount of cash collected were taken out of the company's account," he said.

Chan said one of the founders had announced the Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) on Feb 28.

"He personally termed at the time as a 'self-liquidation' and left Malaysia and has not returned or been contactable ever since."

He urged others who were victims of the scheme to lodge a police report, adding that he had accumulated about 500 police reports so far.

Kelana Jaya parliamentary coordinator Ong Chong Swen said she would seek the assistance of police to look for the company's founders.

Special workshop for performing arts enthusiasts

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 03:30 AM PST

LAST year, 41 students between the ages of eight and 19 spent three weekends together discovering the delights of musical theatre.

This year, from Nov 24, for three fun and creative filled weekends, the holiday workshop returns with exciting new offerings, including being open to adults.

In addition to the usual performance training modules in singing, acting and dance, the workshop will also be giving its participants a taste of Enfiniti Academy's newest product, which will be launched in full next year, called Theatre 360.

The training is almost entirely vocational and practical and our students are introduced to what happens behind-the-scenes in a stage production.

"We are very fortunate to have Michael Masterson, a visiting musical theatre professional who is also Broadway-trained. In addition, other trainers include Pat Ibrahim and Michael Voon," said Joanna Bessey, who is the course director of the academy.

Enfiniti Academy of Musical Theatre & Performing Arts (Enact) is the brainchild of Tiara Jacquelina, who is also the group president of Enfiniti Vision Media.

"Our school break programme is for children to keep active in learning all kinds of social skills including speaking and presenting classroom projects.

"The young adults will benefit from being exposed to the arts — it helps their self confidence and public speaking skills, regardless of whether they will choose a career in the performing arts.

"We also have a number of mothers and daughters who sign up for different courses such as drama and writing, that's such a wonderful way to spend quality time together," said Tiara.

At the end of the workshop, students will perform in a presentation for family and friends on Dec 9.

The workshop which will be conducted on Nov 24 and 25 and Dec 1, 2, 8 and 9 (10am-5pm).

It is open to those aged between eight and 12 years, 13 and 18 while the fee is RM1,200 per person.

Lunch and snacks will be provided. For details, call 03-6142 8115, email enact@enfiniti.com.my or visit www.facebook.com/enfinitiacademy.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

A pillar of strength in his wife's cancer journey

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 05:21 AM PST

One writer shares how he cared for his wife through her cancer journey.

THREE months after experiencing the joy of fatherhood for the first time with the birth of my daughter Lily, I learned my wife, Heather, had mesothelioma, a rare and very deadly form of cancer. I had expected to spend the next few years caring for an infant and toddler; I never dreamed I would become my wife's caregiver during her difficult time.

I will never forget the helpless feeling of sitting in the doctor's office while my wife cried at the news we'd just been given.

Despite the terrible emotional blow, we still had to pull ourselves together and start making important decisions that literally could mean the difference between her life and death.

The gravity of these decisions brought me back to reality.

Lily and my wife gave me strength in the time just after the diagnosis. At first, I was overwhelmed with rage, anger, and especially fear, but eventually, I learned how to process those feelings better without lashing out at others.

I needed to be calm in the centre of this storm.

The last thing my wife needed at that time was to know just how scared I really was.

It wasn't easy, though. I had to take on all the responsibilities. My wife had to focus on getting well, so I looked after our house, Lily, and our pets as well as taking care of travel and working.

It was a crash course in organisation and planning. Even with the help of our incredibly generous friends and family, I was overwhelmed at times, and my wife had no idea what I was going through.

For two months, I was separated from my wife and Lily, and that was the most difficult time of all. My wife had a surgery called an extrapleural pneumonectomy in Boston, and during that time Lily went to stay with her grandparents in South Dakota.

Following the operation, Heather went to stay with her parents in South Dakota as well for recovery, while I remained at home to work.

Heather needed time to recuperate and recover before embarking on another gruelling round of mesothelioma treatment, and these unfortunate circumstances forced us to be apart.

I only got to see them once during the entire two months she was there. I left work on a Friday and drove for 11 hours to see them. It snowed all night long, and at one point, I had to stop and sleep in the car in the hopes that the roads would be clear in a few hours. I spent an exhausted 24 hours with them and Sunday morning was back on the road again so I wouldn't miss work.

I had to keep working, though, so I couldn't take care of the two of them. The separation was necessary despite it being so hard on all of us.

I try not to regret any of the choices that we made during my wife's treatment. I think they were the best choices we could have made at the time.

Looking back, I still feel they were good choices. We all had to learn to accept many conditions that were not ideal during that time.

I did learn some important lessons from this experience. I learned that it's important to let others help me and that we were lucky to have options in the first place.

After six years, my wife is thriving and cancer-free, and I hope that telling my story inspires others who are in similar situations.

> Cameron Von St James is a survivor advocate for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance (mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/cameron/). He works as a network analyst for a bank and is passionate about bringing awareness to mesothelioma and the danger of asbestos exposure. It is his hope that sharing his story will help others those battling cancer and their caregivers who provide them care and guidance in their journey.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Bagworm infestation in district causing palm oil production to drop

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 01:08 AM PST

YONG PENG: The Government, through the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) hopes to address the bagworm infestation in the district with a three-pronged strategy as the pest had incurred huge losses to oil palm planters.

The measures include aerial spraying of biological microbes, installation of pheromone traps to the worms from breeding on the oil palm leaves and planting alternative crops to attract the bagworms.

Yong Peng assemblyman Lim Kee Moi said the infestation caused palm oil production in Yong Peng (one of the largest produce in Johor) to drop by 40%.

Bagworms or genus metisa plana are leaf-eating insects that spins a silk nest embedded with pieces of dried leaf. It causes damage to crops by defoliating its leaves.

"This is a huge loss to some 1,000 small holders whose livelihood depends on oil palm here," she said.

The Government and the MPOB, added Lim, are serious about dealing with the infestation.

To make things even worse, hot weather had impacted the bagworm's manifestation and also heavy use of pesticides.

"We experienced this problem since last year. What we have done is to carry out aerial spraying using biological microbes to kill the bagworms early this year.

"However despite spraying about 3,100ha, we found out that the problem still persisted as there were too many plantations which were scattered all over the place."

The microbes used are not harmful to people or livestock.

To address the issue, Lim said the smallholders decided to form a cooperative to group them together.

"This way when MPOB decides to carry out aerial spraying, they will be able to pin point the exact location of each oil palm plantation based on coordinates from the Global Positioning System (GPS)."

At least 11 zones were identified as the infected areas here and efforts were underway to register the small holders by Dec 1.

"To register we only need copies of the land owner name together with the land grants and contact details," she said the launch the cooperative here.

The worst hit areas, said Lim, are Kg Ngamarto, Kg Sawah Padi, Kg Haji Mean, Kg Sungai Lenek, Kg Haji Musa, Desa Temu Jodoh, Sg Purun, Batu 3 Jalan Labis, Bukit Jintan, Batu 5 Jalan Labis (LamLee) and Jalan Paloh.

Besides aerial spraying, the MPOB also gave out special pheromone traps to be put up in the oil palm plantations to trap the moths before they were able to lay their larvae on the leaves.

"We are also encouraging farmers to plant beneficial plants such as Cassia and Turnera near their oil palm trees to attract the bagworms to target and eat them instead of the oil palm leaves," she added.

On other issues affecting oil palm farmers such as abolishing a RM20 levy charged for each tonne of fresh fruits by collectors as storage fees and the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry (MPIC) to implement a downward revision of the CPO export duty immediately instead of January 2013.

Lim said the farmers had argued that the Government would have to act quickly to resolve the issues as the price of palm oil had dropped recently.

She added that Indonesia had also revised its tax rates to make it more attractive.

To address the matters, Lim had urged smallholders in the area to register as members of the cooperative or contact her service centre at 07-4671009 or fax 07-4671039.

Juita gives Deepavali hampers, cash to 100 Indian families

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 01:03 AM PST

KLUANG: It was a pleasant surprise for about 100 underprivileged Indian families who received Deepavali goodies including cash, a hamper during a function organised by the State Respresentative Wives Association (Juita) here recently.

Widow, L.Kamala Saraswathy, 55, said that she was so grateful for the hamper and Deepavali goodies handed out.

"I had taken a bus and travelled for 45 minutes from Kahang just to attend this event and I am just so happy today," she said.

She added that any help or contribution for Deepavali was a blessing because it helped lighten her burden especially during the Festival of Lights.

Former factory worker, M.Saravanan, 33, was all smiles after receiving the goodies and said that he could now look forward to celebrating Deepavali with his family.

"I was injured about a year ago and was forced to use crutches.

"I also lost my job because of my disability and it is wonderful to receive this small gift which is such a blessing to me and my family," he said.

The underprivileged families were handed RM200 each, a hamper from MIC Johor, a saree, a piece of batik cloth and a fruit cake each.

The event was also aided by representatives from MIC Kluang, MIC Sembrong and MIC Simpang Renggam.

Meanwhile, Juita president, Datin Paduka Prof Dr Jamilah Ariffin, who handed out the goodies, urged the community to always visit the houses of their neighbours and friends during festivities to encourage the 1 Malaysia spirit.

"During my school days, I used to go house to house to visit my friends of different races during festivals and this practice needs to be inculcated in our community today," she said.

Pertaining to a separate matter, Dr Jamilah also encourage more single mothers from the Indian community to take up free tailoring, reflexology and gardening classes offered by Juita to help them earn a living and be independent.

"Research shows that a large portion of single mothers in the country are from the Indian community therefore there needs to be more participation from single mother's from this group," she said.

Other than handing out goodies, the underpriviledged families were also entertained with various dances by students from SJKT Haji Manan during the event.

Bomb scare sends shoppers scurrying

Posted: 21 Nov 2012 01:04 AM PST

JOHOR BARU: A bomb hoax had scared thousands of shoppers from Plaza Angsana here leaving traders facing huge financial losses.

The shoppers together with traders had to empty the five-storey complex after the management of the building received a call from an anonymous caller informing that a bomb had been placed inside the building.

Boutique shop owner Mohd Kamaruzaman Ismail, 44, said that the incident is the first time that such a thing had happen in the shopping complex.

"I open my shop at around 10am and some half an hour later the building management told me to close down as there was a bomb," he said adding that he lost thousands of ringgit due to the hoax bomb.

Plaza Angsana, opened some 15 years ago, is one of the most favourite shopping destinations here among locals and Singaporeans alike.

The building, which is currently under renovation works, normally attracts thousands of people either on the weekends or public holidays.

Meanwhile Plaza Angsana technical and operations assistant manager Asfalela Abdul Kadir said that they received the call at around 10.30am and immediately contacted the police.

"With the help of the police and our security personnel we managed to empty the building within 20 minutes.

"The management would leave the investigation to the police and increase our security at the same time to avoid repeated incident," she said adding that there are currently 300 traders in the building.

When contacted, Johor Baru (North) OCPD Asst Comm Ruslan Hassan said that no bomb was found inside the building.

"A bomb disposal unit together with forensic unit was sent to the scene immediately to find the bomb however after a careful two hour check we did not find anything at each level of the building.

"The action of the caller is irresponsible as the person wants to create chaos," he said adding that the police are investigating the prank call.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

Adam Lambert, B.O.B. at Asian Music Awards

Posted: 20 Nov 2012 07:54 PM PST

HONG KONG: American pop artists Adam Lambert and B.O.B have joined the star-studded list of Mnet's year-end music festival, which will take place in Hong Kong next week.

The channel announced Tuesday that the two male artists are set to heat up the stage of the 2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards [MAMA] opening its curtain at Hong Kong's Convention & Exhibition Centre on November 30.

"We're ready to combine Hong Kong and Asian culture into the show. And there will be a couple performances by the two men," the show's producer Ahn So-young hinted the anticipated show.

Asian music fans have been excited as the music company made public the names of performers including K-pop artists PSY, Super Junior, Big Bang, SISTAR and Taiwan pop star Wang Leehom.

Lambert garnered much attention after grabbing the second place on FOX's popular audition show American Idol 8 in 2009. Considered as male version of sensational singer Lady GaGa, the Trespassing singer has kept his overwhelming popularity around the world with his glamorous looks and fashion.

B.O.B shot to stardom with his 2010 Billboard No. 1 single Nothin' On You which brought him international fame with the tune's enormous popularity. The hip-hop artist also landed his debut album on the top status of Billboard album chart and cemented himself as influential figure on the global hip-hop music scene.

MAMA, one of the biggest music events in Asia, has brought a string of named K-pop artists such as Girls' Generation, 2NE1, Super Junior and BEAST, since its establishment in 2009. American musicians Will.i.am, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg also joined last year's show hosted in Singapore.

Fiona Apple cancels tour dates for sick dog

Posted: 20 Nov 2012 07:42 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Grammy award-winning singer Fiona Apple said in a handwritten letter posted on her website on Tuesday that she has canceled upcoming tour dates in North and South America to be with her ailing dog.

Apple, who vowed to make up the concerts, called off three shows in Brazil between November 27 and 30, a Buenos Aires festival appearance on December 1-2 and a December 9 performance in Mexico City, according to her record label, Epic.

The Criminal singer and pianist said her 13-year-old pit bull Janet has been suffering from a tumor in her chest among other ailments and appears to be dying.

"She's my best friend and my mother and my daughter, my benefactor and she's the one who taught me what love is," Apple wrote in the four-page letter she penned last week but did not release until Tuesday. "I can't come to South America. Not now."

Apple, 35, said that she wants to appreciate the final days with her dog. "I will not be the woman who puts her career ahead of love and friendship," Apple wrote.

The singer-songwriter, who is touring in support of The Idler Wheel ... album, was arrested in September in Texas and charged with felony drug possession for having four grams of hashish, a form of cannabis.

Princes of pop

Posted: 20 Nov 2012 03:26 PM PST

Since starting out as a duo, TVXQ has been making its mark in the Korean music scene and the princes of K-pop are back with a new album Catch Me.

TVXQ duo U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin showed up for the interview in casual attire – U-Know in a black sweat shirt and silver pants and Max in a red knit sweater and shorts. They were relaxed, yet, they exuded professionalism.

"When we perform overseas, we feel responsible for what we do and we do feel lonely at times. We are now overjoyed with the release of our new album Catch Me in Korea," said U-Know.

"It has been 21 months since our last album, but we weren't doing nothing. We were not just resting. I think we have sang Keep Your Head Down for more than 100 times," said 24-year-old Max.

TVXQ has been busy indeed, touring Paris and New York as part of SMTown Live Concert in 2011 and drew a record audience of 550,000 to its Tone concerts that covered 11 cities in Japan earlier this year.

At the same time, the duo was working on its sixth album. "We've been doing what we do best in our previous albums. Catch Me is more like a 'key' to finding a new direction," said U-Know, 26.

The album is relatively easy listening as TVXQ wanted to take a step closer to the public. "We are aware that songs such as Keep Your Head Down has projected a strong and tough image of us, and if we stick to that, the image remains," said Max. "We thought communicating and being appealing to the audience is equally important so we tried to come to a point where we can be ourselves and produce popular music at the same time."

When the music video of Catch Me was released online on Sept 24, TVXQ maintained its position as the best in choreography.

The song is based on Dutch electronic sound, backed by dubstep and is put together to generate a catchy tune performed in a remarkable dancing style. The video received more than 4.8 million hits within a week of its posting online.

Choreographed by Tony Testa, who's had stints with the late Michael Jackson and Kylie Minogue, the dance is a classical portrayal of an inside-out nature of a man.

"The video depicts the story of a man exploding with anger and calming down," said U-Know.

"It's like Max and I are each other's mirror, reflecting each other. The emotion of this man is expressed through us and our dances."

Whilst the movements may appear extremely difficult because of the need to maintain perfect harmony with the dancers, through the arm-linking twists and turns, TVXQ executed it well. Indeed, with such amazing skills and charisma, it is easy to understand why they are the top act.

The performance is a result of great effort. "It is difficult to simultaneously sing and dance on stage, but our approach towards such shows is a mindset that literally compares to a case of our lives being at stake, We are that serious. "We could go easy, but we prefer to reach the limit. We feel a sense of achievement once we accomplish that," said U-Know.

Catch Me is TVXQ's second album as a duo, since Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun and Xiah Jun Su left the group in 2009.

"What we can show as a five-member group is certainly different from what we can do as a duo. When one is singing, the other must be dancing," said U-know.

The boys have certainly made progress through hardwork and practice. "At first, we wondered whether the two of us could sing some 30 songs in a concert. We lived up to such an expectation although opinions may differ."

Following their current world tour with concerts in Seoul, they plan to perform in England and France as well.

TVXQ turns 10 next year and their journey as one of the groups leading the Hallyu wave will continue.

Max was careful in defining the music of TVXQ. "I think it is conceited for us to define the nature of our music," said Max. "We are still experimenting, trying to discover what we can do best."

"For Catch Me, we tried to break out of our mould. If the listeners realised that we tried something new, we would be happy," said U-Know. – The Korea Times

> For more, visit enewsworld.com.

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