Isnin, 10 Disember 2012

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Holiday viewing

Posted: 11 Dec 2012 03:42 AM PST

Life Inspired rolls out a new range of shows for modern living.

IT'S that festive time of the year again! So folks, if you're planning to shop, eat, play and decorate, tune in to the lifestyle channel Li (Astro B.yond Ch 728) for lots of exciting shows.

Have some flamboyant fun and shock value with a show called Gaga By Gaultier. You can also take a look at some luxurious spas in the travel show Stopover: Shanghai or pick up some decorating tips from Samantha Pynn in The Mix and The Party. Check out some of the shows that await you this month.

Design Wars

(Dec 18, 11pm)

For the first time in Asia, Life Inspired proudly presents Design Wars, an all-new makeover series where three cutting-edge designers battle it out for the chance to overhaul a family's desperately drab room.

To win the coveted makeover project and bragging rights that go with it, each designer will face-off in tricky style challenges.

Ultimately, only one designer will be left standing to fix the family's problem space, and it is the family who will be making the final elimination decision.

The pressure cooker is on with plenty of demands, tears, drama and high emotion – let the war begin!

Samantha Pynn: The Mix

(Dec 23, 10pm)

Need some edgy home d├ęcor tips that will leave your guests mesmerised this festive season? Samantha Pynn: The Mix is the answer to your call.

A decorator, stylist, host, home designer and columnist, Samantha Pynn creates the perfect rooms in The Mix, drawing inspiration from incredible home tours that feature her all-time favourite styles.

The eclectic mix of styles includes "Eco Mod" (think linens and wood accessories), "Dorothy Draper Decorates" (never-before-seen colour combinations), "Belgian Farmhouse" (gold lamp bases and metallic linen), "Equestrian" (very moody colours) and "Globetrotting" (think Morocco).

On paper, these pairings seem as wrong as the The Odd Couple's Oscar, but layered together in a room, the look becomes the perfect mix.

Gaga By Gaultier

(Dec 29, 11pm)

She is one of the most talked about people on the planet. He is a fashion icon and the cult presenter of Eurotrash. She is the artiste who claims the right to be different. He is the first designer who launched non-standard models.

Lady Gaga and Jean Paul Gaultier have so much in common and admire each other but have never met. In this show, the duo will come face-to-face in an enriching and unforgettable interview at Gaultier's fabulous atelier in Paris.

Samantha Pynn: The Party

(Dec 30, 10pm)

Delighted guests, impeccable Christmas decor, turkey in the oven, fancy dresses and groovy dance moves. Hosting a Christmas party sounds easy enough, with these great holiday entertaining tips on Samantha Pynn: The Party.

This one-hour special weaves together two storylines with the warmth, happiness and celebratory nature of the holiday season. While assembling a great holiday party, Pynn visits the decorated spaces of her favourite designers to get her inspiration. The tours reveal beautiful seasonal space, clever ideas for entertaining, and great DIY projects.

Stopover: Shanghai

(Dec 31, 11.30pm)

Here is another new original production from Life Inspired entitled Stopover: Shanghai, your quintessential guide to making the most of this vibrant city within a short visit.

Hosted by Jason Godfrey, Stopover: Shanghai takes you inside luxurious accommodation in Shanghai, China, such as the Puli Hotel and The Waterhouse, and visit unique restaurants such Mr And Mrs Bund and Maison de l'Hui.

Jason's to-do-list includes visiting some of the best architecture in this bustling metropolis with Lyndon Neri from renowned architecture firm Neri & Ju Design, meeting local designers like Jenny Ji and finally, unwinding at one of the city's best spas. It is a must-watch for any luxe traveller about to hit one of Asia's most exciting cities!

Korean style

Posted: 11 Dec 2012 03:42 AM PST

TUNE into 988 this week for more news updates and goodies. Street Cases

(Monday-Friday, 8am-9am)

The world is officially caught up in Hallyu or the Korean Wave, with Psy's Gangnam Style galloping vigorously into every country with confidence. Korean dramas, movies, music, technology and culture are now embraced globally.

Is this Hallyu phenomenon a hit by chance or a clever plan delicately executed by entertainment moguls in South Korea? The Feature

(Monday-Tuesday, 9am-10am)

Mascots, thought to bring luck, are commonly employed as fictional, representative spokesperson for marketing means. They entertain people, especially children, at events – it's a job that requires a lot of energy.

We see mascots from time to time, now let's get to know the "real" people under the costumes and the challenges they face.

Street VIP

(Wednesday-Friday, 9am-10am)

In conjunction with school holidays, we've got half a dozen of astonishingly smart kids and three awesome teachers in the studio. They're going to bicker and tell you things they think should be taught in school. Music VIP

(Monday-Friday, 2pm)

Strings of family scandals cruelly put a halt to her career. After a period of absence, Angela Chang Shao Han (pic) is making a comeback. How much has Chang grown after going through all those tough challenges? And how much has she changed?

The Good Show

(Monday-Friday, 5pm-8pm)

"Heaven above, Suzhou and Hangzhou below (Shang you tian tang, xia you Su Hang)" is a popular Chinese saying that has a similar meaning to the English phrase "heaven on Earth". Such is the beauty of Hangzhou that it's often known as one of China's most scenic cities. Now, you stand a chance to win a pair of return trip to witness the historic relics, cultural heritage and natural beauty of scenic Hangzhou. Just tune in to 988! n For more information, log on to The radio station is owned and operated by The Star.


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Mali prime minister arrested as he tries to leave country

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 08:50 PM PST

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Malian soldiers arrested Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra late on Monday, accusing him of blocking efforts to stabilise a nation divided by a coup in the capital and the Islamist takeover of the desert north.

"He was arrested ... as he tried to leave for France," said Bakary Mariko, a spokesman for the group of soldiers who seized power in a March coup. The group remains powerful despite officially handing power back to civilians earlier this year.

Diarra's arrest was confirmed by a diplomat in Mali.

The move will complicate efforts to stabilise the West African nation, where soldiers and politicians remain divided since the coup in March and where the north of the country is occupied by al Qaeda-linked Islamist fighters.

Residents in Bamako said the town was quiet in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Mariko said Diarra had been taken to Kati, the military barracks town just outside the capital which still serves as the former junta's headquarters.

"The country is in crisis but he was blocking the institutions," Mariko said. "This is not a coup. The president is still in place but the prime minister was no longer working in the interests of the country."

Officials from Diarra's office were not available for comment.

There have been divisions for months between the former junta, interim President Diouncounda Traore and Diarra, a former NASA scientist and Microsoft chief for Africa.

Diarra was made prime minister in April after the military officially handed power back to civilians. As the son-in-law of Moussa Traore, a former Malian coup leader and president, he appeared to have good ties with the military.

However, tensions became particularly acute in recent weeks, with analysts saying Diarra, a relative newcomer to Malian politics after years abroad, seemed keen to establish a political base of his own ahead of any future elections.

West African leaders and Western nations have warned that Mali's north has become a safe haven for terrorism and organised crime, but they have struggled to draw up plans to help the country because of the deep divisions in the capital.

Some of Mali's politicians support the idea of a foreign-backed military operation to retake control of the north. Others, including much of the military, say they need only financial and logistical support and insist that Mali can carry out the operation itself.

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako and David Lewis in Dakar.; Writing by David Lewis; editing by Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Mexican president confident of key reforms in 2013

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 08:13 PM PST

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Monday he is confident that reforms to shake up state oil giant Pemex and the country's tax regime, key planks of his drive to accelerate economic growth, will be approved in 2013.

"Next year will be the time for all of it to happen from scratch: presenting the initiative, the necessary consensus to back it up and make them happen, and get the required approval," Pena Nieto, who took office on December 1, told Reuters in an interview.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto smiles during a ceremony to present Catholic priest Alejandro Solalinde with the National Human Rights Award on International Human Rights Day in Mexico City December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto smiles during a ceremony to present Catholic priest Alejandro Solalinde with the National Human Rights Award on International Human Rights Day in Mexico City December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

Mexico depends on income from state oil giant Pemex to fund nearly a third of the federal budget, and it has struggled for years to get major tax reforms through a divided Congress.

The country has one of the smallest tax takes in Latin America, collecting revenues worth only about 11 percent of gross domestic product, excluding oil income.

Pemex has struggled to make the most of Mexico's crude oil reserves, and Pena Nieto has pledged to open up the company to more private investment. To make it worthwhile for investors, Pena Nieto believes a constitutional change is needed.

Mexico's constitution stipulates that the right to exploit crude oil belongs to the state, and the new government must find a way of allowing private investors to help find the crude without surrendering control of its natural resources.

"I believe constitutional reform is what enables us to generate the legal certainty for the opportunities of getting Mexico more private investment to develop its energy infrastructure," Pena Nieto added.

He believes the tax and energy reforms are vital to his goal of growing the economy by around 6 percent per year.

That would be virtually triple the average growth rate Mexico saw in the years the conservative National Action Party (PAN) was in power between 2000 and 2012.

Created when Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, nationalized the oil industry in 1938, Pemex became a symbol of Mexican self-sufficiency, and many attempts to reform the company have foundered in the past.

Pena Nieto's predecessor, Felipe Calderon of the PAN, failed to win support in Congress for a major reform of Pemex, but did take the first steps towards opening the company up to outside investment, putting out contracts to private firms.

Output at Mexico's largest oil fields fell sharply between 2004 and 2009, although it has since stabilized.

(Reporting by Dave Graham, Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Kieran Murray and Eric Walsh)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Clinton cancels Middle East trip because of ill health

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 08:12 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has cancelled her trip to Morocco this week for a meeting on the future of Syria's opposition because of a stomach virus, the State Department said on Monday.

Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns will travel to the meeting in her place.

"Since she's still under the weather, we'll be staying put this week instead of heading to North Africa and the Middle East as originally planned," State Department spokesman Philippe Reines said in a statement.

"In her place, Deputy Secretary Burns will travel to Marrakech for the Friends of the Syrian People meeting. We will let you know when she shakes this bug and resumes a public schedule," he said.

Clinton had been due to join foreign ministers from allied nations in Morocco to discuss the 20-month old Syria crisis as rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad push forward on the battlefield and move to unify the political opposition.

The so-called Friends of Syria group is expected to focus on new moves to strengthen and legitimize the recently formed Syrian opposition coalition.

Clinton had planned to continue from Morocco to Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

(Reporting By Mohammad Arshad; editing by Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2012 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Asian Order of Merit title up for grabs at season-ender

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 06:58 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The battle to be Asia's best is on the cards in the season-ending Iskandar Johor Open when it gets under way at the Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club in Johor Baru on Thursday.

Thailand's Thaworn Wiratchant and Marcus Fraser of Australia will face off as the tussle for the Asian Tour's Order of Merit title reaches its climax.

But the fight could easily be a six-man affair as four others are also in with a shout if the top two falter in their challenge.

Thaworn is the man to beat as he sits atop the Merit list with earnings of US$677,606. Fraser trails by about US$25,000 despite playing in nine tournaments compared to Thaworn's 24.

The duo will have everything to play for as the Iskandar Johor Open offers a lucrative prize money of US$2mil and a winner's cheque of US$317,000.

It is enough to give Fraser the encouragement needed to make the best use of the tournament to win the Merit title.

Jbe Kruger of South Africa and Indian sensation Gaganjeet Bhullar, who are third and fourth with US$462,588 and US$430,845 respectively, are also in the hunt for the Merit crown. Japan's Masanori Kobayashi (fifth) and Prom Meesawat of Thailand (sixth) also have a mathematical chance if they win here and the other results go their way.

Besides the thrilling fight for the Merit title, fans will also get to see two world stars in action.

South African Ernie Els, the reigning British Open champion, and European Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia of Spain are also in the fray.

All eyes, however, will be on Thaworn. He is brimming with confidence, having won three events this season for a record collection of 15 Asian Tour titles.

Thaworn, who turns 46 later this month, is on a mission to become the oldest Merit champion.

He was disappointed to finish tied 36th at the just-concluded US$1mil Thailand Golf Championship following a disappointing closing round of 77.

"It is still an open race (for the Merit crown). It is going to be interesting. I struggled with my driver in the final round (in Thailand) so I hope it will work for me in Johor," said Thaworn.

"Winning the Order of Merit again is definitely going to be a big achievement as it shows that age is not a barrier to success," he added.

Fraser is also on a mission. He wants to end the season with a victory and breaking into the world's top 50, which will earn him a spot in next year's US Masters tournament. He is now ranked 59th.

Kruger, winner of the Avantha Masters in India in February, is determined to put up a fight for the overall crown.

"It's a big week ahead. To win (the Order of Merit), you have to win in Johor. I'm expecting an interesting tournament," said the South African.

But it is just not at the top half that there is a battle brewing.

Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol now sits on the bubble in 60th place after missing the halfway cut in the Thailand Golf Championship. The top 60 players will earn full playing rights next season.

He will have three other players on his heel as they try to break into the top-60 bracket.

They are Adam Groom of Australia (61st), Taiwan's Lin Wen-tang (62nd) and Peter Karmis of South Africa (63rd). The 59th-ranked Adam Blyth of Australia will also be a looking over his shoulders to see if the four players are gaining ground on him.

Thailand golf boosted by fourth Tour event

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 03:11 PM PST

BANGKOK: Thailand's reputation as a hub for golf was burnished yesterday after Asian Tour organisers said they will add the new Chiang Mai Golf Classic to the schedule next year, a fourth event for the kingdom.

The inaugural tournament will star some of Asia's best players including Thai heroes Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant – the Tour's current Order of Merit leader – the Asian Tour said in a statement.

Thongchai, the only player to win three Order of Merit crowns, hailed the Chiang Mai event as "a wonderful development for the game" showing "the growing strength of the Asian Tour".

Thailand's players have enjoyed a strong season this year with Thaworn topping the Tour money list with one event to play, Prom Meesawat in sixth and Chapchai Nirat in ninth.

There was more good news on Sunday after 20-year-old Thitiphun Chuayprakong came joint-second in the Thailand Golf Championship behind 2011 US Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and tied with this year's Augusta champion Bubba Watson.

The young golfer is the rising star of Thai golf.

"The launch of a new event is fantastic and exciting for the Asian Tour and our players.

"It will have a positive effect on the game here and inject new impetus for many more great players to emerge from the Kingdom," Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han said.

The event, which will have a US$750,000 purse, will be held between March 28-31 at the Alpine Golf Resort-Chiang Mai, joining the Queen's Cup, King's Cup and Thailand Golf Championship on the Asian Tour calendar. — AFP

Perry and O’Hair win shootout in Florida

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 03:11 PM PST

NAPLES (Florida): Kenny Perry (pic) and Sean O'Hair birdied five of the last six holes in the final-round scramble on Sunday to win the Franklin Templeton post-season golf event by one stroke.

The duo combined for a 12-under 60 to finish at 31-under 185.

O'Hair won this event for the first time, while Perry won for the third time with his third different partner and at 52 became the oldest winner in the event.

He won with John Huston in 2005 and Scott Hoch in 2008.

"All three were different players," Perry said of his Shootout victories. "John and I were pretty even partners, and then the year Scott and I won, I played fantastic that week. ... This year, my roles have been reversed, and I was complementing Sean."

O'Hair added: "I think that was kind of the best thing about this was just we had a ton of fun, just like being a kid enjoying what you're doing."

Hosted by Aussie great Greg Norman, the tournament features 24 golfers playing in two-man teams in a mixed-format of modified alternate shot, better ball, and scramble.

Perry and O'Hair, who led by two strokes going into the final round, will share US$750,000 of the US$3mil total purse.

South Africa's Rory Sabbatini and American Charles Howell threatened with a back-nine surge that included an eagle on a par-four, but even combining for a final-round 57 they came up short on 186.

"We played really well and gave ourselves a lot of opportunities," Sabbatini said. "We put a good number up there and that's all we can really do. We had a lot of fun and Charles hit the ball fantastically."

Jason Dufner and Fiji's Vijay Singh finished third at 28 under.— AFP


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

AIM-listed Biofutures takes over Platinum Nanochem in £80.8m deal

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 06:01 PM PST

Published: Tuesday December 11, 2012 MYT 10:02:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Biofutures International Plc, which is listed on Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange, is taking over Platinum Nanochem Sdn Bhd in an all-share deal valued at £80.8mil (RM391.50mil).

Biofutures is acquiring all the shares of Platinum Nanochem -- which uses nanotehnology to make speciality chemicals and materials from renewable sources -- from several shareholders and Asia BioEnergy Technologies Bhd (ABT). ABT said on Tuesday Biofutures was acquiring the entire issued share capital of Platinum Nanochem, comprising of 73.48 million shares; 4.0 million redeemable convertible cumulative preference shares of 10 sen each and 15 million redeemable convertible cumulative preference shares of RM1 for £80.81mil to satisfied by 1.154 billion new Biofutures shares.

Biofutures reported a net loss of £13.93mil for the year ended Dec 31, 2011 with net assets of £21.38mil.

Platinum Nanochem recorded net loss of RM32.02mil for the year ended Dec 31, 2011 with net assets of RM1.438mil.

Upon completion of the share sale agreement, Platinum Nanochem will be a unit of Biofutures.

ABT owns 1.56% or 1.14 million Platinum Nanochem shares of RM1 each.

Once the deal is completed, ABT shall own 14.27 million shares or 1.08% of the enmlarged share capital, valued at £999,107 (RM4.84mil).


Renesas gets a lifeline

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 05:45 PM PST

TOKYO: Japan's Renesas Electronics Corp, the world's biggest maker of micro-controller chips, was thrown a lifeline after gaining 150 billion yen (US$1.8bil) in a government-led bailout.

Slumping orders and relentless competition from South Korean rivals like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd have battered Japanese chipmakers. Renesas is trying to avoid the fate of Elpida Memory Inc, Japan's last maker of dynamic random access memory chips, which filed for bankruptcy protection this year.

The government fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan, will provide most of the aid while eight key manufacturing clients including Toyota Motor Corp and Panasonic Corp will provide roughly 12 billion yen.

Renesas also said it was requesting a further 50 billion yen in support from the government fund.

Renesas also lowered its sales forecast for the year to March to 820 billion yen from a previous outlook of 868 billion yen.

The latest bailout comes on top of 161 billion yen in syndicated loans from four Japanese banks in September, and before that a separate 97 billion yen that Renesas received from the banks and its major shareholders.

In return for the support, Renesas, has slashed more than 7,000 jobs this year and vowed to sell or shutter eight out of its 18 Japan plants within three years.

The government-led bailout was put together to counter an earlier bid by US private equity firm KKR & Co LP amid worries that the firm's technology could fall into foreign hands, media reports said.

Renesas shares ended up 3% ahead of the announcement yesterday, but have lost close to half their value since the start of April, the beginning of Japan's fiscal year. - Reuters


Japanese sign of mild recession

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 05:44 PM PST

Tuesday December 11, 2012

TOKYO: Japan's economy contracted for a second straight quarter in July-September, revised government data showed yesterday, indicating that weak global demand nudged the export-reliant economy into a mild recession.

Analysts expect another quarter of contraction in the final three months of this year due to sluggish exports to China, keeping the Bank of Japan under pressure to loosen monetary policy as early as this month.

"There have been some positive indicators out in October but there is still a good chance that Japan's economy will suffer another contraction in the October-December quarter," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute in Tokyo.

Japan's gross domestic product shrank 0.9% in July-September from the previous quarter, revised government figures showed. Reuters



The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Actor Stephen Baldwin charged with failure to file taxes

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 09:55 PM PST

REUTERS - Actor Stephen Baldwin, the younger brother of 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin, was charged with felony tax evasion in New York state on Thursday, the Rockland County District Attorney's office said.

Baldwin, 46, entered a not guilty plea to the single count of repeated failure to file personal income tax returns. The actor faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

The Usual Suspects actor told Reuters that he is working with the state to find a resolution to his alleged US$350,000 in overdue taxes and penalties.

"I didn't commit a crime," Baldwin said in a telephone interview, adding that he handed over a US$100,000 check to the state at his arraignment

Prosecutors in Rockland County, about 15 miles northwest of New York, accuse Baldwin of failing to pay state personal income taxes from 2008 to 2010.

Baldwin said that he had poor representation during the years in question. He filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.

"My ability to make the payment I did today, as a sign to the state and district attorney, that I'm working to get this resolved," Baldwin said.

The actor was later released on his own recognizance and is due in court for a hearing on February 5.

"At a time when Rockland County and New York state face severe fiscal shortfalls, we cannot afford to allow wealthy residents to break the law by cheating on their taxes," District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe said in a statement.

Baldwin, who has mostly appeared in small movie roles in the last decade, is the youngest of the four brothers in the acting family.

Here Comes The Boom

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 08:52 PM PST

A high school biology teacher looks to become a successful mixed-martial arts fighter in an effort to raise money to prevent extra-curricular activities from being axed at his cash-strapped school.

Catch the comedy of Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler and Joe Rogan in Here Comes The Boom in cinemas 25 December 2012.

Thanks to Buena Vista Columbia Tristar, we have 60 pairs of tickets to give away. All you have to do is print this page and bring it along with you to our redemption table at TGV Sunway Pyramid.

Please see details below. Please also note that tickets will be given on a first come, first served basis. Each person will be given only one pair of tickets.

Redemption Details

Date: 18 December (Tuesday)

Time: 8.30pm until all tickets are picked up

Venue: TGV Sunway Pyramid

Screening Details

Date: 18 December (Tuesday)

Time: 9.30pm

Venue: Hall 7, TGV Sunway Pyramid

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 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. This movie is rated 18. Movie ratings will strictly apply for this movie. 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 Here Comes The Boom contest.

9. For enquiries, please e-mail

New 3D cineplex in Kota Tinggi

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 06:04 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: MBO Cinemas have become the first cinema to set up a digital 3D cineplex in Kota Tinggi.

The Cinema, with four halls and a total seating capacity of 954 seats, was opened to the public at the Heritage Mall recently.

MBO in a press release said all its halls would be equipped with a digital projection system such as Solaria projectors, coupled with Dolby Digital Surround EX System, which supports Digital Surround 7.1.

"The MBO Cinemas in Kota Tinggi promises excellent sound and visuals for both 2D and 3D movies," the statement said.

Each hall is decorated with its own theme, boasting comfortable spacious seats.

A series of exclusive promotions were launched, including a week of free movie screenings, exclusive movie merchandise giveaways, an appearance by Alvin & The Chipmunks and a free signup for MBO Cinemas Membership Card with a limited edition notebook.


The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

IRB has collected RM115bil in taxes, so far, this year

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 05:52 AM PST

CYBERJAYA: The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has collected RM115bil in revenue this year, as of last week, which is the highest collection ever, chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Mohd Shukor Mahfar said on Monday.

He expressed confidence over the board achieving the target collection of RM123bil before year-end.

"Last year, the IRB managed to break the two-digit billion to three digit billion, at RM109.6bil, which was the highest in the country's history of tax collection," he said in his speech at the 'Bicara Bersama Negarawan: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad' here.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said, a failure by the government to collect tax, would not only hamper the country's development, but also lead to various problems, including corruption among civil servants.

He said this would happen because the government did not have sufficient resources to provide higher salary for its staff, hence forcing them to find other alternatives, including corruption, to earn more.

Dr Mahathir reminded IRB not to be aggressive in collecting tax because this would also result in corruption.

"Do not over-use the power, do not abuse, like taking away their account books. Use the power to collect tax, not to suppress the people," he said. - Bernama

40 motorists caught speeding by AES pay fines

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 05:44 AM PST

KAJANG: The Magistrates Court fined 40 motorists caught speeding by the Automated Enforcement System (AES), after they pleaded guilty to the offence, here on Monday.

Magistrate Abdul Jalil Salam Muhamad fined them between RM300 and RM350 or 10 days jail in default. They paid the fine.

Eight others pleaded not guilty to the same charge and their case mentions have been set for Jan 9 and 14, 2013.

All of them were charged under the Road Transport Act 1987 with exceeding the speed limit of 90 kph on the North South Highway on Sept 28.

Road Transport Department prosecuting officer Saharudin Safirol prosecuted, while the eight individuals who pleaded not guilty were represented by lawyer Mohd Fikah Sanusi. - Bernama

Lynas must remove all residue from Malaysia, say 4 cabinet ministers

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 05:40 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Lynas Advanced Materials Plant must remove from Malaysia all residue from its rare earth plant in Gebeng, Pahang, according to the terms and conditions of its temporary operating licence, or risk being shut down.

"As ministers responsible for portfolios directly associated with the Lynas project, we reiterate that public health and safety continue to be our utmost priority," said Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Datuk Seri Douglas Unggah Embas and Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai in a joint statement on Monday.

This includes all products made from the residue, they said.

The Temporary Operating Licence (TOL) was granted to the company with this specific condition, said the four in a joint ministerial statement here on Monday.

The Cabinet had also endorsed this condition, they said.

The statement was issued in response to recent "inaccurate" media reports regarding the removal of the residue generated by LAMP.

"The obligation imposed on Lynas in this matter is very clear. The Government will not compromise the health and safety of the rakyat and the environment in dealing with the issue of Lynas."

They also reiterated that if Lynas failed to comply with the condition, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) had the power under section 22 of the Atomic Energy Licensing Act 1984 (Act 304) to suspend or revoke the TOL and order Lynas to immediately cease operation. - Bernama

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No evidence that Lynas is a danger to the public, says minister
Anti-Lynas group rallies in KL after 300km march from Kuantan
Himpunan Hijau protestors say will stay overnight near Dataran Merdeka


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Mall transforms into a treasure trove of seasonal delights

Posted: 10 Dec 2012 03:52 AM PST

IF YOU are running out of ideas for Christmas shopping, drop by Bangsar Shopping Centre (BSC) and check out its "12 Magical Christmas Experience".

In line with this year's theme inspired by the Christmas carol The 12 Days of Christmas, the BSC Christmas hall on the ground floor will be decked out from now until Dec 30 providing customers with 12 zones of inspiring gift ideas.

This will include an everyday bazaar selling trinkets, gifts and Christmas tinsel.

Within the 12 zones, visitors will also find the Magic Wishes zone, where children can write a letter to Santa Claus and make a wish.

"We will pick three letters at the end of December and grant the wishes," BSC advertising and promotions executive Richard Lau said.

Upstairs on the first floor is the Toys Alive zone, where patrons can leave pre-loved toys that BSC will donate to the Lighthouse Children's Home.

"This way, the children will be doing a great thing by donating and sharing their used toys with other kids who are less fortunate," Lau said.

Another zone shoppers will like is the Wrapped in Magic zone, also on the first floor of the East Wing. Here, shoppers can bring their gift purchases and BSC will wrap them for free, with specially-designed BSC gift wrappers. There is a minimum purchase of RM100 required for the free wrapping service.

Shoppers will also find the BSC/HSBC Get Together zone, where they can redeem gifts, including a shopping tote bag with purchases of RM500 and above, anywhere in the mall. BSC is partnering with HSBC this Christmas, and all HSBC platinum/signature/premier cardholders can redeem the bag with minimum purchases of RM400.

The Hope, Love and Joy zone is a charity section where shoppers can get into the spirit of the season by pledging Gifts of Hope for underprivileged children around the world. The booth will be open every Friday to Sunday.

Mori Pin will be showcasing its trinkets, charm bracelets and elegant accessories for ladies. Other unique gifts can be found at Lacquer Couture (manicure sets and nail lacquers) and Thimble Designs. Little ones, on the other hand, will enjoy the animated toys and puppets from Windancer.

Those who are into interior decorating will love the decor items from Art & Embroidery, Ambience and Nan Thong. Besides a beautiful house, a scented home gives good vibes and one can get a whiff of scents from Lampe Berger. Bookworms will enjoy receiving gifts from Trunk, specialising in books, diaries and paper products.

If organic is your thing, then Nature Farm is loaded with all things organic and healthy while Florism de Art specialises in intricate decor items and pretty floral arrangements.

Meanwhile, the Merry Medley zone will see gift-making workshops during weekends, designed specially for shoppers to create gifts they can bring home.

There will be a host of activities lined up every weekend to usher in the holiday cheer. Special appearances by Santa and Santarina and special Christmas characters walkabout will delight the crowd as they hand out little gifts to lucky shoppers.

The Selangor Philharmonic Society will be performing at BSC on Dec 15 and 16. For more information on the activities schedule, visit

Khairul and Sarah overcome gruelling tests to win Big Challenge

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 04:54 PM PST

With the mission to raise Malaysians' awareness of the importance of healthy living, the AXA Affin Health for Life AXN Big Challenge was held recently in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and Penang.

A partnership between AXA Affin Life Insurance and AXN, this is the second Big Challenge organised so far following its successful debut in 2011.

This year, the event attracted 1,438 participants, aged between 18 and 62, all eager to test both their physical and mental fitness, and unlike its previous installment, was an open challenge for men and women to compete within their own gender groups.

A total of RM84,000 in cash were given away over the course of the challenge in three states – the first prize of RM8,000; second prize was RM4,000 and third prize RM2,000.

Twenty-six-year-old Khairul Hafiz Abu Hassan emerged first in the men's grouping for Kuala Lumpur.

Khairul Hafiz said he went all out to test his tenacity and how far he could go this year.

"I came today with the eagerness to win some prizes; I didn't expect that I could win the first prize as there were so many other awesome and physically fit competitors."

He said the tyre dashing course was the most challenging part as it really tested his agility. Khairul was the second runner-up of last year's AXA Affin AXN Big Challenge.

KL's female first prize winner Sarah Gayle Lee said both health and life were intimately interdependent as one needed to be healthy to be able to live.

"Live a healthy life and be happy, this is how I see Health for Life," added the cheerful 25-year-old.

Lim Pei Shan, who was Johor Baru's women's champion said, "The other obstacle courses could be dealt with having a strong sense of balance, coordination and stamina; whereas the net climbing part on the Final Challenge required a lot of strength and power, where only determination and willpower brought me to victory."

Other winners were Abdul Qayum Abd Jalani for Johor Baru's men's grouping. Muhammad Irwan Yusuf Abdullah was Penang's top man and Wann Iryani Arifin came first for women in the island state.

Penang's 62-year-old Lim Eng Hoe was the most senior participant this year. He didn't make it to the final challenge but he said that he was satisfied with his overall performance.

"Exercise is part of my regime, besides a healthy and controll- ed diet," said Lim, whose usual exercise regime includes treadmill, weight lifting and cycling.

"I carried on with my normal daily exercises as part of the preparation for the event."


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Fishermen’s livelihoods affected

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 06:03 PM PST

PASIR GUDANG: Fishermen from at least three villages here are crying foul that their livelihoods have been badly affected due to the developments taking place at the Tanjung Langsat Port over the past 12 years.

At least 72 families from Kampung Orang Asli Pasir Putih, Kampung Kuala Masai and Kampung Teluk Jawa had been affected since the developments started in year 2000.

Kampung Orang Asli Pasir Putih, head of the fishermen community, Kamal Entelek said the mass deforestation of the mangrove trees in the area had threatened the livelihood of about 400 people.

"Previously, we managed to earn about RM200 in catches a day but lately, we do not even make RM50 a day," he said at a press conference here, recently.

"We had requested for compensation from the developer in April and September but so far, we have yet to receive any reply from them.

"The constant deforestation is taking a toll on all of us, and we need to provide for our families," he said.

Kamal added that he had made a police report late September to address the issue and seek assistance from the authorities.

Lel Bin Jaton, 66, who has been a fisherman since young, said previously, he could catch some RM400 worth of fish and prawns but now he was only getting cockles.

"I have to travel up to an hour longer to other places including Sungai Papan. Sometimes, I may even have to stay overnight to catch enough to come back to feed my family," he said, adding that all his 10 children were also fishermen like him.

Del Bin Jaton, 52, from Kampung Teluk Jawa said sometimes the money spent on petrol for his boat was much more than the amount of fish caught.

"We are suffering. I hope the government will look into our plight and help us get some sort of compensation," he added.

All the affected fishermen sought the assistance of the Permas Pusat Aduan Rakyat (PAR).

Pusat Aduan Rakyat (PAR) Permas zone supervisor Syed Othman Syed Abdullah, said he would look into the matter by alerting the Department of Environment.

"I am planning to send an official memorandum to Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman next week as well as send a copy of the letter to the management of the Tanjong Langsat port and Persatuan Orang Asli," he said.

Meanwhile, Seri Alam OCPD Supt Roslan Zainuddin, when contacted, confirmed receiving a police report and added that the case had been referred to the Marine Department for further action.

‘German Day’ offers students a glimpse of the country

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 03:20 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: A German diplomat downplayed the present Eurozone crisis in Europe, saying that Germany's economy was still strong and stable.

German Ambassador Dr Gunter Gruber said his country was one of the largest trading partners with Malaysia.

"I am confident that Europe will survive this economic crisis and will emerge even stronger.

"Although Germany is also affected by the crisis, we will continue to remain the world's number one exporter and also the world's fourth best economy," said Dr Gruber during the launch of The German Day at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) here, recently.

When asked about the changes in Johor, he said: "Johor used to be a kampung (village) back in the 60s, and I never thought that it would have developed so rapidly."

"So it is wonderful to offer UTM students an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Germany through the International Students Exchange programme," he added.

The German Day attracted some 200 students and members of the public to learn and understand more about Germany and its collaboration with UTM.

The event, themed "Green Technology", was jointly officiated by UTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Zaini Ujang and Dr Gruber.

Prof Zaini said for this year alone, 20 students had been sent to Germany under the long-term exchange programme, all of whom were either Masters or PhD post-graduates

He added that their target was to send 1,000 UTM students under the programme in the year 2020.

"This event will expose the UTM community, both students and staff, on various aspects that are relatable between Malaysia and Germany, especially on green technology.

"Germany is keen on working with Malaysia's public universities, mainly UTM, on creating a pool of engineers to develop sustainable technologies that will help conserve natural resources and the environment," said Prof Zaini.

Eight world-class German companies showcased a unique blend on job opportunities, joint-research projects, industry partnerships and scholarships in Germany at the university.

Residents urge council to improve maintenance work

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 06:01 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: More than 400 residents in Taman Megah Ria have been suffering for the past few months due to problems with the sewerage system in the area.

This has caused the sewerage to overflow into the residents' toilets as well as the main road, here.

Housewife Norhaini A. Razak, 40, said the residents had been suffering with this problem over the past few years.

"We have to keep calling the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) so that they can send their contractors to clean up the place.

"The latest incident has been going on for at least two months," she said, adding that at the height of the problem, the residents along Jalan Kampas 7 and Jalan Kempas 6 could not use the toilets located at the lower floor as the water would not flow out.

Norhaini said to make matters worse, sewage from other places would flow into the toilet and the stench was unbearable.

Another affected resident, who wanted to be known as Neong, 44, said she had been living in the area for the past 11 years and the situation was worsening.

"I have to keep my home closed all the time due to the foul smell. My children are also falling sick regularly. I hope MBJB will do something to permenantly solve this problem," she said.

Neong added that the council should ensure its contractors carried out regular maintenance work to ensure the sewerage system in the area was in proper working condition.

"I was told by the contractor that clothes, hair and tampons were the ones clogging the system. They should clean up the system regularly to ensure everything runs smoothly," she said, adding that MBJB should also issue leaflets urging people not to throw such things into their toilets.

Another affected resident S. Balakrishnan, 63, said the stench was unbearable that he took his family to a relative's home in Kulai during Deepavali.

"The stench is so bad and it is embarrassing to invite people to our home," he said, adding that he had called MBJB several times but there was no response.

All the residents had sought the assistance of the Permas Pusat Aduan Rakyat.

Its supervisor Syed Othman Abdullah said he had already contacted the MBJB contractor but was told that the problem was repaired in October, only to recur a week later.

"The contractor also claims that this is a costly job and was waiting for additional funds," he said, adding that he had also lodged a complaint with the Public Complaints Bureau.

Meanwhile, MBJB public relations officer Mohd Firdaus Abdul Hamid said the council was aware of the matter and would try to resolve it as soon as possible.

He urged those with problems to contact the MBJB hotline at 1300-88-0146 (24 hours).


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Springsteen, Alabama Shakes top Rolling Stone's list of best music

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 10:01 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Veteran rocker Bruce Springsteen and newcomer blues-rock band Alabama Shakes landed the top awards in Rolling Stone magazine's annual list of the year's best music on Friday, which featured many of next year's leading Grammy nominees.

Springsteen's 17th studio album Wrecking Ball topped the magazine's list of best albums, with the magazine calling it "rock's most pointed response to the Great Recession."

Springsteen, 63, came in ahead of hip hop artist Frank Ocean's debut Channel Orange at No. 2 and former White Stripes frontman Jack White's debut solo effort, Blunderbuss at No. 3, in the annual list selected and compiled by Rolling Stone editors.

Springsteen, Ocean and White all landed Grammy nods, which were announced earlier this week.

The rest of the top ten albums included Bob Dylan's Tempest, Green Day's ¡Uno!, Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Psychedelic Pill, Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city and Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel Is Wiser...

Hold On by newcomer blues-rockers Alabama Shakes was named the top song of the year, beating off popular tracks by Ocean, White, Springsteen, Dylan and Kanye West in the top 10.

While both the albums and songs lists were dominated by rock and rap artists both old and new, country-pop star Taylor Swift was a surprising entry at No. 2 on the best songs list with her infectious chart-topping hit song We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.

Rolling Stone described the song, which landed a Grammy nod for record of the year, "a perfect three-minute teen tantrum about country girls getting mad at high-strung indie boys."

Pop-rockers Passion Pit's Take A Walk, Ocean's Thinkin Bout You and Young and Crazy Horse's Ramada Inn rounded out the top five songs.

New Whitney Houston book recalls singer's musical magic

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 08:38 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A new book on Whitney Houston by her early producer seeks to tell the story of the rise to stardom of the pop diva who died nine months ago.

Emmy and Grammy-winning producer Narada Michael Walden, who produced many of Houston's early hits, like How Will I Know and I Wanna Dance With Somebody, appeared at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Wednesday to discuss the book and perform some of the songs he collaborated on.

"Her death was so shocking and sudden that I wanted to create something to keep alive the beautiful aspects of her life. The media was lashing out on the addiction and ignoring her musical genius," Walden told Reuters.

Since she drowned in a bathtub on February 11 after taking cocaine, Houston's music and life have generated a TV tribute with Jennifer Hudson, Usher and others, a greatest hits CD, a coffee table book of photos and a TV reality show starring family members.

Walden's book Whitney Houston: The Voice, The Music, The Inspiration, co-written with Richard Buskin, describes how Walden first met the singer when she was 13 and accompanied her mother to the studio. Walden was working on a record with her mom, soul and gospel singer Cissy Houston.

Walden said he all but forgot the young pretty girl until he got a call from Arista records in 1984, while working on an Aretha Franklin record, and was told to "make the time" to work on Houston's debut album.

Walden said Janet Jackson's management turned down the chance to record How Will I Know and that he rewrote it to make it catchier for Houston, who with her five-octave vocal range, recorded the 1985 No.1 song in only one take.

"The first take was the keeper. Instead of laboring on it for the better part of a day or even longer, we were done in a matter of minutes," he said, noting Houston always worked fast.

Walden, who also produced for Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Barbra Streisand, collaborated with Houston on So Emotional, One Moment In Time and I'm Every Woman from the film, The Bodyguard.

Walden and Houston went in different directions by the late 1990s, but he would see her at the annual pre-Grammy party hosted by her long-time mentor, record industry mogul Clive Davis.

At the 2011 Davis party, Houston sat with her daughter, Bobbi Kristina - then 17 - who exclaimed she wanted to sing and work with Walden. "But Whitney gave me a look that said 'Slow down. I've been down that road....and I'm not sure I want to curse her with that'," he said.

Walden said he would now welcome the opportunity to work with Houston's daughter, who has become a fixture of gossip blogs and tabloids.

"If she wants to, I'd love to produce her and keep alive the professional image of her mother and focus on the positive," he said.

Mexican-American star singer killed in plane crash

Posted: 09 Dec 2012 06:24 PM PST

MONTERREY, Mexico: A small plane carrying Mexican-American star singer Jenni Rivera (pic) crashed in northern Mexico on Sunday, leaving no survivors and sparking an outpouring of grief among fans and fellow celebrities.

The wreckage of the Lear Jet, which was carrying six other people, was found by farmers in the state of Nuevo Leon hours after it had taken off from Monterrey on its way to Toluca, in the center of Mexico, authorities said.

Radio contact with the plane was lost shortly after it took off at 3:15 am. The singer had given a concert in Monterrey Saturday night and was supposed to participate in a television show in Mexico City on Sunday, local media said.

Transportation Minister Gerardo Ruiz told Milenio television the crash site was a "disastrous scene" with no survivors.

Rivera, 43, was a Caliornian of Mexican origin, best known for her music in genres known as Banda and Norteno. Her records have sold 15 million copies.

As news of the plane's disappearance and then crash came out, fans and fellow celebrities reacted with disbelief and grief on Twitter.

"This is sad. A bit in shock. Much peace to her family," Latin superstar Ricky Martin wrote in Spanish as he retweeted the news of the missing plane.

Latin rapper Pitbull wrote "I highly respected #JenniRivera 4 being a gr8 performer but more then tht being real & gr8 example 4 us all que dios la bendiga &may she RIP," using the Spanish phrase for God bless her.

Fans also posted messages of grief and support for Rivera's family, saying she was a role model for women and for the Hispanic music community.

Some speculated about a possible conspiracy behind the crash, while others held out hope that, as her body had not yet been identified at the crash site, she may still be found alive.

Rivera won several Billboard Latin Music awards, and her most recent album is featured on multiple of Billboard's charts of top hits. The album, "Joyas Prestadas," has spent 39 weeks on both the Latin Pop and the Banda charts, including a stint in the number one spots on both lists.

Her 2011 video for her song "Basta Ya" (Spanish for "Enough's Enough") has been viewed nearly five million times. -AFP


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