Khamis, 27 Disember 2012

The Star Online: World Updates

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Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. commander in Gulf War, dies at 78

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 07:45 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., the hard-charging U.S. Army general whose forces smashed the Iraqi army in the 1991 Gulf War, has died at the age of 78, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

Retired U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr, listens to questions at a news conference introducing the expansion of the Starbright Foundation's web site at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in this December 13, 2000 file photograph. Schwarzkopf Jr, who headed coalition forces that drove Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm, has died, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush said in a statement on December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich/Files

Retired U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr, listens to questions at a news conference introducing the expansion of the Starbright Foundation's web site at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in this December 13, 2000 file photograph. Schwarzkopf Jr, who headed coalition forces that drove Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm, has died, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush said in a statement on December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich/Files

The highly decorated four-star general died at 2:22 p.m. EST (1922 GMT) at his home in Tampa, Florida, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Schwarzkopf, a burly Vietnam War veteran known to his troops as Stormin' Norman, commanded more than 540,000 U.S. troops and 200,000 allied forces in a six-week war that routed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's army from Kuwait in 1991, capping his 34-year military career.

Some experts hailed Schwarzkopf's plan to trick and outflank Hussein's forces with a sweeping armoured movement as one of the great accomplishments in military history. The manoeuvre ended the ground war in only 100 hours.

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who built the international coalition against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait, said he and his wife "mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation," according to a statement released by his spokesman.

Bush has been hospitalized in Houston since late November.

In a statement, the White House called Schwarzkopf "an American original" whose "legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service."

PHYSICAL PRESENCE

Schwarzkopf was a familiar sight on international television during the war, clad in camouflage fatigues and a cap. He conducted fast-paced briefings and reviewed his troops with a purposeful stride and a physical presence of the sort that clears bar rooms.

Little known before Iraqi forces invaded neighbouring Kuwait, Schwarzkopf made a splash with quotable comments. At one briefing he addressed Saddam's military reputation.

"As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist," he said, "he is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he's a great military man, I want you to know that."

Schwarzkopf returned from the war a hero and there was talk of him running for public office. Instead, he wrote an autobiography - "It Doesn't Take a Hero" - and served as a military analyst.

He also acted as a spokesman for the fight against prostate cancer, with which he was diagnosed in 1993.

Schwarzkopf was born August 22, 1934, in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf Sr., the head of the New Jersey State Police. At the time, the older Schwarzkopf was leading the investigation of the kidnapping and murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh's infant son, one of the most infamous crimes of the 20th century.

The younger Schwarzkopf graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1956. He earned a masters degree in guided-missile engineering from the University of Southern California and later taught engineering at West Point.

Schwarzkopf saw combat twice - in Vietnam and Grenada - in a career that included command of units from platoon to theatre size, training as a paratrooper and stints at Army staff colleges.

CHESTFUL OF MEDALS

He led his men in firefights in two tours of Vietnam and commanded all U.S. ground forces in the 1983 Grenada invasion. His chestful of medals included three Silver and three Bronze Stars for valour and two Purple Hearts for Vietnam wounds.

In Vietnam, he won a reputation as an officer who would put his life on the line to protect his troops. In one particularly deadly fight on the Batangan Peninsula, Schwarzkopf led his men through a minefield, in part by having the mines marked with shaving cream.

In 1988, Schwarzkopf was put in charge of the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, with responsibility for the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In that role, he prepared a plan to protect the Gulf's oil fields from a hypothetical invasion by Iraq. Within months, the plan was in use.

A soldier's soldier in an era of polished, politically conscious military technocrats, Schwarzkopf's mouth sometimes got him in trouble. In one interview, he said he had recommended to Bush that allied forces destroy Iraq's military instead of stopping the war after a clear victory.

Schwarzkopf later apologized after both Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney fired back that there was no contradiction among military leaders to Bush's decision to leave some of Saddam's military intact.

After retirement, Schwarzkopf spoke his mind on military matters. In 2003, when the United States was on the verge of invading Iraq under President George W. Bush, Schwarzkopf said he was unsure whether there was sufficient evidence that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

He also criticized Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense at the time, telling the Washington Post that during war-time television appearances "he almost sometimes seems to be enjoying it."

Schwarzkopf and his wife, Brenda, who he married in 1968, had two daughters and one son.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised Schwarzkopf as "one of the great military giants of the 20th century."

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he "embodied the warrior spirit," and called the victory over Hussein's forces the hallmark of his career.

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. commander in Gulf War, dies at 78

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 06:31 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., the hard-charging U.S. Army general whose forces smashed the Iraqi army in the 1991 Gulf War, has died at the age of 78, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

Retired U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr, listens to questions at a news conference introducing the expansion of the Starbright Foundation's web site at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in this December 13, 2000 file photograph. Schwarzkopf Jr, who headed coalition forces that drove Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm, has died, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush said in a statement on December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich/Files

Retired U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr, listens to questions at a news conference introducing the expansion of the Starbright Foundation's web site at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in this December 13, 2000 file photograph. Schwarzkopf Jr, who headed coalition forces that drove Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm, has died, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush said in a statement on December 27, 2012. REUTERS/Sam Mircovich/Files

The highly decorated four-star general died at 2:22 p.m. EST (1922 GMT) at his home in Tampa, Florida, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Schwarzkopf, a burly Vietnam War veteran known as Stormin' Norman, commanded more than 540,000 U.S. troops and 200,000 allied forces in a six-week war that routed Hussein's army from Kuwait in 1991, capping his 34-year military career.

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who built the international coalition against Iraq, said he and his wife "mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation," according to a statement released by Bush's spokesman.

Bush has been hospitalized in Houston since late November.

Some experts hailed Schwarzkopf's plan to trick and outflank Hussein's forces with a sweeping armoured movement as one of the great accomplishments in military history. The manoeuvre ended the ground war in only 100 hours.

Schwarzkopf was a familiar sight on international television during the war, clad in camouflage fatigues and a cap. He conducted fast-paced briefings and toured the lines with a purposeful stride and a physical presence of the sort that clears barrooms.

Little known before Iraqi forces invaded neighbouring Kuwait, Schwarzkopf made a splash with quotable comments. At one briefing he addressed Saddam's military reputation.

"As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist," he said, "he is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he's a great military man, I want you to know that."

Schwarzkopf returned from the war as a hero and there was talk of him running for public office. Instead he wrote an autobiography titled "It Doesn't Take a Hero" and served as a military analyst.

He also acted as a spokesman for the fight against prostate cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 1993.

SERVED IN VIETNAM

Schwarzkopf was born August 22, 1934, in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf Sr., the head of the New Jersey State Police. At the time, the older Schwarzkopf was leading the investigation of the kidnapping and murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh's infant son, one of the most infamous crimes of the 20th century.

The younger Schwarzkopf graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1956. He also earned a masters degree in guided-missile engineering from the University of Southern California and later taught engineering at West Point.

Schwarzkopf saw combat twice - in Vietnam and Grenada - in a career that included command of units from platoon to theatre size, training as a paratrooper and stints at all the blue-ribbon Army staff colleges.

He led his men in firefights in two Vietnam tours and commanded all U.S. ground forces in the 1983 Grenada invasion. His chestful of medals included three Silver and three Bronze Stars for valour and two Purple Hearts for Vietnam wounds.

In Vietnam, he won a reputation as an officer who would put his life on the line to protect his troops. In one particularly deadly fight on the Batangan Peninsula, Schwarzkopf led his men through a minefield, in part by having the mines marked by shaving cream.

In 1988, Schwarzkopf was put in charge of the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, with responsibility for the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. In that role, he prepared a plan to protect the Gulf's oil fields from a hypothetical invasion by Iraq. Within months, the plan was in use.

A soldier's soldier in an era of polished, politically conscious military technocrats, Schwarzkopf's mouth sometimes got him in trouble. In one interview, he said he had recommended to Bush that allied forces destroy Iraq's military instead of stopping the war after a clear victory.

Schwarzkopf later apologized after both Bush and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney fired back that there was no contradiction among military leaders to Bush's decision to leave some of Saddam's military intact.

After retirement, Schwarzkopf spoke his mind on military matters. In 2003, when the United States was on the verge of invading Iraq under President George W. Bush, Schwarzkopf said he was unsure if there was sufficient evidence that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

He also criticized Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense at the time, telling the Washington Post that during war-time television appearances "he almost sometimes seems to be enjoying it."

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

CAR appeals for French help against rebels, Paris balks

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 06:03 PM PST

BANGUI (Reuters) - The president of the Central African Republic appealed on Thursday for France and the United States to help push back rebels threatening his government and the capital, but Paris said its troops were only ready to protect French nationals.

France's President Francois Hollande speaks at a news conference at the end of the first session of a two-day European Union (EU) leaders summit in Brussels October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

France's President Francois Hollande speaks at a news conference at the end of the first session of a two-day European Union (EU) leaders summit in Brussels October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The exchanges came as regional African leaders tried to broker a ceasefire deal and as rebels said they had temporarily halted their advance on Bangui, the capital, to allow talks to take place.

Insurgents on motorbikes and in pickup trucks have driven to within 75 km (47 miles) of Bangui after weeks of fighting, threatening to end President Francois Bozize's nearly 10-year-stint in charge of the turbulent, resource-rich country.

French nuclear energy group Areva mines the Bakouma uranium deposit in the CAR's south - France's biggest commercial interest in its former colony.

The rebel advance has highlighted the instability of a country that has remained poor since independence from Paris in 1960 despite rich deposits of uranium, gold and diamonds. Average income is barely over $2 a day.

Bozize on Thursday appealed for French and U.S. military support to stop the SELEKA rebel coalition, which has promised to overthrow him unless he implements a previous peace deal in full.

He told a crowd of anti-rebel protesters in the riverside capital that he had asked Paris and Washington to help move the rebels away from the capital to clear the way for peace talks which regional leaders say could be held soon in Libreville, Gabon.

"We are asking our cousins the French and the United States, which are major powers, to help us push back the rebels to their initial positions in a way that will permit talks in Libreville to resolve this crisis," Bozize said.

France has 250 soldiers in its landlocked former colony as part of a peacekeeping mission and Paris in the past has ousted or propped up governments - including by using air strikes to defend Bozize against rebels in 2006.

But French President Francois Hollande poured cold water on the latest request for help.

"If we have a presence, it's not to protect a regime, it's to protect our nationals and our interests and in no way to intervene in the internal business of a country, in this case the Central African Republic," Hollande said on the sidelines of a visit to a wholesale food market outside Paris.

"Those days are over," he said.

Some 1,200 French nationals live in the CAR, mostly in the capital, according to the French Foreign Ministry, where they typically work for mining firms or aid groups.

CEASEFIRE TALKS

The U.N. Security Council issued a statement saying its members "condemn the continued attacks on several towns perpetrated by the 'SELEKA' coalition of armed groups which gravely undermine the Libreville Comprehensive Peace Agreement and threaten the civilian population."

U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the U.S. embassy had temporarily suspended operations and the U.S. ambassador and other embassy personnel had left the country.

Officials from around central Africa are due to meet in Bangui later on Thursday to open initial talks with the government and rebels.

A rebel spokesman said fighters had temporarily halted their advance to allow dialogue.

"We will not enter Bangui," Colonel Djouma Narkoyo, the rebel spokesman, told Reuters by telephone.

Previous rebel promises to stop advancing have been broken, and a diplomatic source said rebels had taken up positions around Bangui on Thursday, effectively surrounding it.

The atmosphere remained tense in the city the day after anti-rebel protests broke out, and residents were stocking up on food and water.

Government soldiers deployed at strategic sites and French troops reinforced security at the French embassy after protesters threw rocks at the building on Wednesday.

In Paris, the French Foreign Ministry said protecting foreigners and embassies was the responsibility of the CAR authorities.

"This message will once again be stressed to the CAR's charge d'affaires in Paris, who has been summoned this afternoon," a ministry spokesman said.

He also said France condemned the rebels for pursuing hostilities and urged all sides to commit to talks.

Bozize came to power in a 2003 rebellion that overthrew President Ange-Felix Patasse.

However, France is increasingly reluctant to directly intervene in conflicts in its former colonies. Since coming to power in May, Hollande has promised to end its shadowy relations with former colonies and put ties on a healthier footing.

A military source and an aid worker said the rebels had got as far as Damara, 75 km (47 miles) from Bangui, by late afternoon on Wednesday, having skirted Sibut, where some 150 Chadian soldiers had earlier been deployed to try and block a push south by a rebel coalition.

With a government that holds little sway outside the capital, some parts of the country have long endured the consequences of conflicts in troubled neighbours Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo spilling over.

The Central African Republic is one of a number of nations in the region where U.S. Special Forces are helping local forces try to track down the Lords Resistance Army, a rebel group responsible for killing thousands of civilians across four African nations.

(Additional reporting by Leigh Thomas and Louis Charbonneau; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Paul Simao)


Related Stories:
Central African Republic president urges U.S., France to help fight rebels

Copyright © 2012 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio


Year-end offerings by 988

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 01:26 AM PST

HERE are five top reasons to tune in to 988 next week:

Street Cases (Monday-Friday, 8am-9am)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases around. People who suffer from it have difficulty breathing. Worldwide, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death. It kills more people than cancer and as many as those afflicted by HIV/AIDS. Learn more about how you can prevent it.

The Feature (Monday-Tuesday, 9am-10am)

As we begin the countdown to 2013, let's gaze into the crystal ball to see what the new year holds for Malaysia. Next year is election year. Stability in politics, improvement in the economy and advancement in education are some of our top concerns. Will we achieve all that? But more importantly, how will we achieve it?

Street VIP (Wednesday-Friday, 9am-10am)

You would have seen him in magazines, newspapers and in TV shows. He's no stranger to many, with his memorable ponytail. From hairdresser to a famous fortune teller and Chinese geomancy expert, So Man Fung believes in fate. Tune in for some candid insight from him.

Music VIP (Monday-Friday, 2pm)

Harlem Yu may be a hotshot television host now, but he will always be known as the artiste who first introduced rap to mainstream Chinese music in the 1980s.

Nowadays, he's widely dubbed as one of Taiwan's most eligible bachelors. His close friends are eager to match make him. Yu has always preferred to keep a low profile, but in this interview, he reveals a bit more about himself.

K-Pop Chuego (Monday-Friday, 3.30pm) and Let's KPop (Saturday, 3pm-4pm)

Expect a delicious surprise from Girls' Generation's upcoming album I Got A Boy, set to be released on Jan 1. The first single from the album is a new style for the group as it contains many different genres and tempos.

For more information, log on to www.988.com.my.

Red FM to hold New Year's eve celebration

Posted: 28 Dec 2012 05:37 AM PST

ONE of the biggest parties of the year is only two days away! Prepare your best party gear for Red FM's New Year's eve celebration which will be hosted with Hard Rock Hotel, Penang on Dec 31.

Red FM's Red Beatz NYE Pool Party this year features Thailand DJs Aye and Roxy, who will be entertaining partygoers throughout the night with good music.

This is the third year that the station is organising the party.

Last year's event saw about 200 people joining in the celebrations at Hard Rock Hotel, Penang.

If you have nothing planned for Dec 31, join the New year countdown with the Red FM team!

Today is your last chance to win invites to this event, so tune in to The Red Hub (Mondays to Fridays, 1pm-4pm) with Linora, and The Edge On Red (Mondays to Fridays, 7pm-10pm) with Fiqrie to grab the remaining eight passes.

Red FM wishes everyone a Happy 2013, reminding folks to stay safe on the roads as you journey to and from parties.

For more information, log on to www.red.fm.

You can also join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page on www.facebook.com/redfm.my, and follow the, on Twitter (@iloveredfm).

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

Red FM station frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1 FM, George Town and Seberang Prai, Penang: 107.6 FM, Ipoh, Perak: 106.4 FM, Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9 FM, Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6 FM, Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9 FM, Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8 FM.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports


Belgian runner Bekele escapes doping ban

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 04:51 PM PST

BRUSSELS - Belgian runner Atelaw Bekele, the 2011 European cross-country champion, has escaped a doping suspension despite missing three drugs tests, the country's anti-doping body (VDT) said.

Bekele risked a two-year ban after missing the third test on February 8 in Ethiopia, but the VDT decided against punishment "because it was not wilful neglicence".

The VDT also took into consideration that when Bekele returned to Belgium, two days after the missed test, there was no trace of banned substances in his urine.

Bekele, 25, arrived in Belgium in 2004 as a political refugee, obtaining Belgian nationality four years later. - AFP

Wild Oats XI wins Sydney to Hobart in record time

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 04:50 PM PST

HOBART, Australia - Supermaxi Wild Oats XI smashed its own record time by nearly 17 minutes in Australia's classic Sydney to Hobart ocean yacht race, taking line honours Friday ahead of Ragamuffin-Loyal.

Thousands of onlookers cheered at Hobart's Constitution Dock as the favourite came home in one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds for its sixth victory over the prestigious 628 nautical mile bluewater course. Wild Oats XI also won every year from 2005 to 2008 and in 2010.

"It was close, we only just made it but it's a great result for the whole team," skipper Mark Richards told Channel Seven minutes after crossing the finish line.

"This boat is a great machine and we're very proud of it. Getting the record is a big thing and it's very satisfying."

Ragamuffin-Loyal, which beat Wild Oats by just three minutes last year and is skippered by 85-year-old Syd Fischer, was still 50 nautical miles adrift in second when its arch-rival finished.

And its time could be affected by an international jury hearing due to meet later Friday after jumping the start in Sydney.

Lahana was running third, Black Jack fourth and Loki fifth. Jazz leads the handicap standings, which takes into account the dimensions of each boat in the fleet, ahead of Calm and Secret Men's Business.

The previous record was one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds, set in 2005, and Richards had his 100-foot yacht well ahead of that pace late Thursday as they powered down Tasmania's east coast.

But a northeasterly tailwind gave way to a weaker westerly that dramatically slowed it down.

Wild Oats' crew had all but given up on breaking the record after rounding Tasman Island in the middle of the night and it was touch and go as they sailed up Hobart's Derwent River.

But the unfurling of a bigger headsail ultimately made the difference to tack home surrounded by a flotilla of smaller vessels.

"It was a very tricky night, the breeze died on us. It was very testing and we had to make a lot of sail changes, but it's all part of the Sydney-Hobart," said Richards.

"The crew have been together a long time and when the going gets tough they just get tougher."

Wild Oats XI led the 76-vessel fleet from the starting gun in Sydney Harbour on Wednesday in a famously unforgiving race which takes crews across the notorious Bass Strait.

As well as dealing with the tough conditions, the boat hit an unknown object that damaged a daggerboard beneath the hull.

Catastrophic conditions claimed six lives and sank five yachts in 1998, and vessels are routinely unable to complete the race.

However, there have so far only been two retirements this year - Living Doll and Primitive Cool.

The 2013 event was marred by the controversial expulsion of supermaxi Wild Thing, the 2003 line honours winner, which was among the top three race favourites.

Officials banned it just three hours before the start, citing incomplete documentation of major modifications which extended the vessel to 100 feet, with skipper Grant Wharington continuing to protest Friday.

He claimed the man who banned his yacht, race director Tim Cox, did not know enough about boat-building and had "egg on his face".

Cox rejected the criticism and told Wharington to "lay off the personal insults," according to Sydney's Daily Telegraph. - AFP

Nicol poised to start new year by bagging World Series title

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 03:30 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Seven-time world champion Nicol David is poised to start the new year in style – by winning the World Series Finals at The Queen's Club, London, from Jan 2-6.

However, reigning men's world champion Ramy Ashour of Egypt has pulled out of the tournament due to a hamstring injury suffered in the Men's World Open in Doha, Qatar, earlier this month.

While the men's competition will be an open affair following Ashour's withdrawal, the spotlight will be on the other top women players as they attempt to get the better of world No. 1 Nicol.

The Penangite began this year on a high as well, winning the World Series and going on to clinch eight out of the 10 tournaments she has participated in, including a sizzling performance en route to capturing a record seventh world title in Cayman Islands last week.

The only blip Nicol suffered this year was an uncharacteristic back-to-back defeat in the Malaysian Open and Carol Weymuller Open in September – losing to Egypt's Raneem El Weleily and England's Laura Massaro respectively.

But she has since rebounded in fine style that it's hard to see anyone getting the better of her now.

Nicol, who is back in Amsterdam for the festive break, is in Group A alongside Hong Kong's Annie Au, Holland's Natalie Grinham and Massaro – the opponent she beat in the World Open final.

Group B has the talented Egyptians – world No. 2 Weleily and reigning world junior champion Nour El Sherbini – as well as England's Jenny Duncalf and Frenchwoman Camille Serme.

Nicol should breeze through the group stages without much resistance and should face her real test in the final against Weleily.

National No. 2 and world No. 7 Low Wee Wern just missed the cut by one spot but it could be a blessing in disguise as it'll give her more time to recover from her hamstring injury.

Only the top eight players in the World Series standings qualify for the event. Meanwhile, Germany's No. 1 Simon Rosner will take the place of Ashour in the men's event.

"I'm so happy to be in the World Series Finals – something no one from Germany has achieved before," said the world No. 15 on
www.squash365.com
.

"But I hope Ramy is not injured too badly and will be back for the next tournament."

Rosner is in Group A with Englishmen Nick Matthew and Peter Barker as well as World Open runner-up Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt.

Group B comprises dethroned world No. 1 James Wilstrop, France's Gregory Gaultier and Egyptians Amr Shabana and Karim Darwish.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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Malaysian NGV, Jeffa Holdings to fund RM6b regasification plant

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 06:21 PM PST

Published: Friday December 28, 2012 MYT 10:22:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Natural gas provider, Malaysian NGV Sdn Bhd, and its investor, Jeffa Holdings Sdn Bhd, will fund a mega green infrastructure distribution channel called 1Gas Clean Energy For All.

The project would see a total investment of RM6bil, of which, RM3.6bil will be used to fund a regasification plant and storage plant in Tanjung Langsat in Pasir Gudang, Johor.

The remaining RM2.4 billion will be set aside for phase one of the construction of a network of 1GasStation outlets.

Malaysian NGV president and chief executive officer Rahmat Ahmad said the regasification plant project in Tanjung Langsat would have a capacity of three million tonnes per annum to support the initial 200 1GasStation outlets nationwide as well as other industrial off-takers. - Bernama

RHB Research lowers VS Industry fair value to RM1.56

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 06:06 PM PST

Published: Friday December 28, 2012 MYT 10:07:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Research Institute is maintaining its Market Perform call on VS Industry but lowered the fair value to RM1.56 from RM1.65.

It said on Friday the lower fair value was based on a target price-to-earnings ratio (PER) of 9.0 times (previously 8.0 times) on its CY13 earnings.

"While we believe VSI will face margin compression and increased competition, its relatively attractive dividend yield should provide support to its share price," it said.

RHB Research said the company's net profit of RM7.70mil for the first quarter ended Oct 30, 2012 (down 33.9% on-year or down 20.3% on-year on continuing operations basis) accounted for only 21.0% of its full-year estimate.

"Net profit for the quarter was below our expectations mainly due to weaker-than-expected gross margin of 10.4% (1QFY12: 12.8%, 4QFY12: 11.8%); and higher losses of RM2.9mil (1QFY12: losses of RM2.1mil) from its China-based associates," it said.

China factory profit growth quickens in November

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 05:37 PM PST

BEIJING: Annual growth of China's industrial profits quickened to 22.8% in November from October's 20.5%, official data showed, reinforcing signs of a steady economic recovery thanks to pro-growth policies.

Chinese industrial firms made 638.5 billion yuan (US$102.4bil), China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement published on its website.

A second month of strong double-digit profit growth reinforces the view of analysts that China's economy has gathered momentum in the fourth quarter.

Factory profits rose only 7.8% in September from a year earlier.

Industrial profits in the first 11 months of 2012 totalled 4.66 trillion yuan, up 3% from a year earlier, the bureau said.

For the January-October period, profits had been up only 0.5% from a year earlier.

Among 41 sectors surveyed by the bureau, 30 reported rising profits in the first 11 months, led by a 62.9% jump for power generation firms, a 16.6% rise for food processing firms and 11.5% for telecommunications equipment makers.

But some sectors are still struggling, with profits of ferrous metal smelting firms tumbling 47.9% while earnings of chemical companies falling 10.1%.

In the first 11 months of this year, losses among oil processing, coking and nuclear fuel processing firms were more than four times larger than what they lost a year earlier.

China's economy is strengthening in the fourth quarter, following seven straight quarters of slower growth, thanks to new pro-growth policies rolled out by the government in recent months, including approvals for US$157bil worth of infrastructure projects.

According to a Reuters poll, China is on course to achieve growth of 7.7% in 2012, the slowest full year of expansion since 1999.

Chinese leaders have promised to maintain a "prudent" monetary policy and proactive fiscal policy next year, leaving room for manoeuvre in the face of global economic risks while deepening reforms to support long-term growth. - Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation


Floods in Terengganu claim six lives

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 05:58 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The floods that hit Terengganu since three days ago have so far claimed six lives, three in Kemaman district, two in Setiu and one in Kuala Terengganu.

Setiu police chief, DSP Ab Rahman Raja Mohamad said a six-year-old boy, Nik Mohd Alfahmi Zailani, drowned while fixing a fishing net with his father at a canal near Kampung Kederang, Permaisuri, Wednesday.

"Nik Mohd Alfahmi's body was found at 1am Thursday about 200 metres away from where he was reported missing, by villagers who mounted a search and rescue operation," he told Bernama.

The boy's body was sent to Setiu Hospital before it was claimed by his family for burial in Pasir Putih, Kelantan.

Another flood victim, Mohd Badrul Amin, 14, had slipped into a canal while washing a motorcycle in Kampung Kebor Besar, Manir, here, Wednesday .

Terengganu Fire and Rescue Department public relations officer Rozizah Ibni Hajar said in the incident at about 2.30pm, the victim and six friends were washing their motorcycles when he fell into the canal.

Rozizah said Mohd Badrul's body was found at 5.15pm Wednesday, not far from the scene of the incident.

In Kemaman, the floods claimed the lives of Muhammad Hafiz Mohd Nasir, 14, and Mohd Ezani Hakim Mohammad, 15, who are believed to have drowned while playing in the floodwaters near their homes in Kampung Hilir Pasir Gajah.

Kemaman district police chief, Supt Che Suza Che Hitam said the bodies of the two students of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Dadong were found at about 10.30pm Wednesday by villagers with the help of police and firemen.

He said the floods in the district also claimed the life of Mohd Hamidi Abdul Hamid, 15, at the Bukit Mentok housing area Wednesday.

The first flood victim in Terengganu was Samhanim Ramli, 36, who drowned while fixing a fishing net at Sungai Lanjut, Setiu on Tuessday.

The flood situation in Terengganu and Kelantan, which had turned for the better in the morning, however, nose-dived in the afternoon with a drastic increase in the number of evacuees, from 14,930 victims to 21,800 this afternoon.

This morning some 4,000 people had been allowed to return to their homes in the flood-hit east coast states of Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang after the floods started to ebb.

The Drainage and Irrigation Department's said Sungai Golok at Rantau Panjang, Kelantan and Sungai Dungun at Jambatan Jerangau, Terengganu again breached the danger level at 5pm Thursday.

However, there was improvement in Pahang with the number of flood evacuees dropping to 435 people Thursday afternoon as compared to 994 in the morning whereas in Johor no new evacuees were reported and only 13 people remained in shelters.

In Terengganu, the number of victims sheltered at relief centres nearly doubled to 14,894 people as of 5pm as compared to 8,173 in the morning.

According to the state government's flood portal, five new flood relief centres (FRCs) were opened bringing the total number of FRCs in Terengganu to 76 now.

In Kemaman the number of victims sheltered at FRCs now stands at 9,601, Dungun (4,026) , Kuala Terengganu (935), Setiu (185), Hulu Terengganu (104), Besut (31) and Marang (12).

Meanwhile, Malaysian Armed Forces chief General Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin, who accompanied Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on a visit to flood victims sheltered at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bukit Mentok near Kemaman, said he had issued instructions to mobilise more armed forces personnel to complement relief efforts in the flood-stricken states.

In Kelantan, according to the state government's flood portal, the number evacuees rose to about 7,000 people involving 2,197 families Thursday afternoon as compared to 6,757 victims in the morning.

They are being sheltered at 28 FRCs.

Pasir Mas is still the worst hit district in the state with 4,279 evacuees followed by Tumpat (2,329), Kota Baru (247) and Pasir Puteh (145).

The FRCs in Machang, Tanah Merah and Kuala Krai have ceased operations and all roads in Kelantan are reported to be passable to all traffic.

In Pahang, a spokesman at the flood operations room at the state police headquarters in Kuantan said 391 victims from 92 families still remained at four FRCs in the state capital while 44 people from nine families had yet to be allowed to return to their homes in Pekan.

He added that all major roads in the state were also now passable to all vehicles. - Bernama

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Decision on Anwar vs Utusan over BBC interview on Jan 21

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 05:43 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here Thursday set Jan 21 to decide on a defamation suit filed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim against Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd and its chief editor, Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak, for publishing two articles on his comments to BBC during an interview on homosexual laws.

Justice Datuk V T Singham set the date after hearing clarification on several matters by lawyers of both parties.

Lawyer Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, representing Utusan Melayu, said the society had the right to know what was said by Dr Hasan Ali about Anwar and that the articles were published by Utusan because the matter was of public interest.

He said Anwar should have sued Dr Hasan, instead of Utusan Melayu, if he was not satisfied with the articles.

Meanwhile, lawyer N. Surendran, representing Anwar, said the articles were published with malicious intent and that Utusan Melayu did not take the initiative to contact Anwar for clarification before doing so.

He said Abdul Aziz was also not confident when testifying during cross-examination.

On Jan 10 2012, Anwar filed a defamation suit seeking RM50mil in damages on an allegation that the defendants had published the two articles on the front page and page 10 of the Utusan Malaysia newspaper, dated Jan 17, 2012, in relation to his BBC interview. - Bernama

Related Stories:
Anwar denies saying he would legalise homosexuality

Deepak Jaikishan withdraws lawsuit against Govt over land

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 05:23 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan has withdrawn his lawsuit against the Government over an alleged breach of agreement over a parcel of land in Bukit Raja, Shah Alam.

A court official confirmed that Deepak had, through his lawyer, withdrawn his suit without costs.

In the suit, Deepak, who is the director of Astacanggih Sdn Bhd, also named Syarikat Tanah dan Harta Sdn Bhd, Awan Megah (M) Sdn Bhd and its nominee company Cebur Megah Development Sdn Bhd, for allegedly breaching the agreement.

Defence lawyer for Awan Megah (M) Sdn Bhd, Datuk Saseedharan Menon, declined to comment, beyond saying that written submissions had been tendered to the court.

Both parties discussed the matter before High Court judge Justice Mohd Zabariah Yusof in chambers on Thursday.

In the statement of claim, Astacanggih claimed that Awan Megah agreed with the company that the Government and Syarikat Tanah dan Harta had agreed to transfer the Bukit Raja land to Cebur Megah.

It said the transfer would be effected within a month after Astacanggih submitted the land bond to the Government.

In its counter-claim, Awan Megah is seeking a declaration that Astacanggih had repudiated the letter of agreement.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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MBSA has unresolved issues over assessment rate hike

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 05:56 AM PST

IT CERTAINLY has not been all rosy for Shah Alam as the local council started off 2012 with complaint after complaint of uncollected rubbish.

A week after, mayor Datuk Mohd Jaafar Mohd Atan knew something was not right as desperate calls to clear the rubbish became the talk of the town.

Residential areas in Bukit Jelutong, Setia Alam, Taman Seri Muda, Bukit Rahman Putra, Kota Kemuning, Sections 16, 17, 7 and 26 suffered as their domestic waste was left uncollected for more than a week.

It reached a point where Mohd Jaafar himself was seen visiting the residents to explain the situation, which was said to have emerged after former contractors left in short notice and the council had to find new ones to replace them.

Several contractors whose contracts were only extended for two months from the previous year, threatened to harm those who replaced them.

The rowdy contractors had prevented the new ones from entering a neighbourhood.

The rubbish collection "drama" eventually ended in March with contracts awarded to those with a clean track record.

In October, the council was once again in the news with the collapse of a bungalow undergoing renovation in Section 7.

The owner did not have a permit to renovate his house and a concrete slab that collapsed during the incident was also not part of its original structure.

Besides the ill-fated collapse, two others on the same street were found to be illegally carrying out renovation works as well, which leaves many questioning the lack of enforcement by the council.

If anyone is looking to end the year on a happy note, it should be MBSA as their troubles have yet to see an end.

Last week, the mayor was busy explaining to more than 1,500 landowners in Kampung Subang and Kampung Baru Sungai Buloh the rationale behind the hike in assessment rates for the area.

Although Mohd Jaafar defended the decision, he said the rates were lower compared with other councils within Selangor.

But the issue has yet to be resolved, prompting the state government to set up a task force to look into it.

"MBSA is only increasing the assessment rate by between 7% and 7.5% for industrial land use, while the Petaling Jaya City Council is already at 8.8%," he said.

The 10-fold increase has prompted many disgruntled landowners to voice their grouses over the issue, calling it to be reduced while others felt the local council did not provide proper infrastructure to justify the new assessment rates.

Selangor Barisan Nasional coordinator Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed said Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and his exco members were responsible for all matters concerning local councils.

Mohd Zin said he was compiling details to study if those unhappy with the hike in assessment rates could challenge the local council bylaws.

Metro Watch

Posted: 27 Dec 2012 04:20 AM PST

NEW YEAR IN SUBANG

Subang Jaya residents are organising a Christmas cum New Year Eve countdown party on Dec 31 at the Subang Jaya Community Fire and Rescue Department in SS17, from 9.30pm. There will be fireworks, Christmas carolling and performances as well as surprise items for lucky draws with prizes like a Momopad worth RM600, computer accessories, digital photo frame worth RM300 and hypermarket cash vouchers worth RM1,450. For details, call 013-212 2646 (Rozana).

NEW YEAR IN MONT KIARA

There will be a New Year's Eve celebration at Streets of SohoKL, Solaris Mont'Kiara on Dec 31 from 7pm till 1am. Enjoy live and entertaining musical performances from K-Pop to Latin to the Middle East and watch display of fireworks at the stroke of midnight. Prizes worth RM20,000 will be given away during lucky draws and games session. It is open to public. Admission is free and seating on the streets are on first come first served basis. For details, email lynn@sohokl.com, visit www.sohokl.com or www.facebook.com/sohokl.

STREET PARTY

Mutiara Damansara Commercial Centre's annual street party on New Year's eve will feature All-4-one. There will also be performances by Reshmonu, Atilia, Shawn Lee, Elecoldxhot followed by a firework display at midnight. The main road between the Curve and IPC, Jalan PJU 7/2 will be temporarily closed from 11pm on Dec 29 to 8am on Jan 1. For alternative routes, visit www.facebook.com/theCurveShoppingMall, www.facebook.com/eCurveMall and www.facebook.com/IPC.com.my. For details, call 03-7710 6868 (the Curve), 03-7720 7333 (IPC Shopping Centre) and 03-7725 0277 (eCurve).

ALBUM LAUNCH

Christian Schwanz aka CEE will launch his ambient album, Gustav and Hannes at Palate Palette 21, Jalan Mesui, KL on Jan 6 from 5pm to 7pm to raise funds for Institut Jantung Negara Foundation, specifically for infant heart surgeries. An online version of artwork, copy and music can be found at http://gustavandhannes.bandcamp.com/.

FUNDRAISING FOR PETS

Vision International Properties is having a fundraising community campaign, Dogs and Cats Lunch Gathering on Jan 19 at Bandar Utama Central Park, from 9am until 1pm to raise funds for Second Chance Animal Shelter which needs upgrading for the comfort of helpless dogs and cats. Lunch tickets are RM50 per person. For details, call 016-228 9233.

PEM FAMILY DAY

Persatuan Epilepsi Malaysia will be organising a Family Day on Jan 13 at Taman Tasik Permaisuri, Cheras, next to Santai CafĂ©, opposite SMK Sains, from 7.30am to 11am. It aims to create public awareness on epilepsy and to share ideas. Admission for patients is free while there is a fee of RM10 per caregiver or family member. Confirm attendance by Dec 29 by calling 012–358 2715 (Rosalind), 019-255 0455 (Linda) or 012–241 5206 (Magrett).

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Christmas gala dinner in resort a big hit with all

Posted: 26 Dec 2012 07:06 PM PST

BENTONG: Some 600 hotel guests and walk-in diners enjoyed themselves in a fairytale castle near here in conjunction with the Yuletide season.

The Christmas gala dinner held at the French-themed Colmar Tropicale resort in Berjaya Hills saw the guests frolicking from the start till the end.

True to the spirit of 1Malaysia, the guests comprised not just those of the Christian faith but others as well as they joined in to celebrate the joyous occasion.

The programme kicked off with a group of youths performing festive music to entertain the guests as they registered for their seats.

Santa Claus and Santarina kept the children occupied by posing photographs with them and offering them candies.

The master of ceremony then invited staff of Berjaya Hills to perform a Christmas Carol shortly before dinner commenced.

As the guests tucked in to a sumptuous buffet spread comprising a host of Christmas delicacies and the must-have stuffed turkey, guest dancers La Rouche from Ukraine took to the stage.

They did not disappoint as the quintet delivered splendid performances including some Indian folklore dances to the delight of the crowd.

Next was the powerful and solid performance from the band who called themselves The Strollers, belting out hits from today and yesteryears.

The children too showed off their talents as they took to the stage with a "Gangnam Style" dance and given prizes.

The lucky draw segments saw some of the diners winning meal vouchers, hotel stay and other gifts.

Berjaya Hills Resort chief executive officer Teh Ming Wah said the programme was an annual event mooted by the management to foster closer ties with their guests and the public.

Teh said at the same time, they would like to provide their guests with some beautiful memories to bring home with their families.

"We want them to enjoy our hospitality in a unique French-themed building structures, good food and a cooling atmosphere.

"Our months of preparations and rehearsals were worth the efforts," she said, adding that a street party would be held at the same venue on Dec 31 to usher in the new year.

Later, she presented prizes to the lucky draw winners accompanied by resident manager Steven Ong and public relations and communications manager Loke Kah Peng before joining the crowd to paint the castle red.

It was a truly memorable affair as everyone present joined the dancers on the floor to the swing of the music.

Hospital eases the burden of the needy

Posted: 26 Dec 2012 07:08 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Former mechanic Roslan Ibrahim, 37, is in a vegetative state after a brain infection cause by a high fever five years ago.

Roslan was 32 years old and a father of two children when the tragedy struck him. Since then his family struggled to make ends meet.

His father Ibrahim Jamil, 58, said Roslan had been in the ICU for three years.

"Although his medical charges were subsidised by governmental associations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the situation still took a toll on our family.

"Roslan had become immobile and blind because of the high fever that damaged his brain in 2007," said Ibrahim when met at his house in Taman Universiti here recently.

Ibrahim added that his son could still hear his loved ones but he could not give any response.

He was among the families who received financial aid and basic items from KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital.

Another recipient, single mother Aminah Abd Rahim, 65, said her 61-year-old husband, who passed away two months ago, used to work for a factory that did not provide him with Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

"My family depended on a measly amount of RM300 monthly from Tabung Baitumal and I am worried about my daughter's education," she said, adding that Nurahyra Afifah, her foster child is studying in Form Six at SMK Sri Skudai.

"I am thankful for the monetary aid provided by the hospital, as my family is struggling to make ends meet," she said.

Another single mother, kindergarten teacher Ramlah Kasbulah, 38, said she was still grieving for her 41-year-old husband who passed away less than a month ago.

"He used to work in a lab before he died of liver cancer last month. We are still in shock as it all happened so sudden," she said, adding that she and her two children, Mohd Zahin Aiman, 13, and Saiyidah Nafiqah, 10 were still in a state of shockover the loss of their father.

Nusajaya assemblyman Datuk Abdul Aziz Sapian, visited the families to hand out the goodies.

BN grassroots leaders to meet public during handing out of flyers to voters

Posted: 26 Dec 2012 07:07 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Members of the public would now have an opportunity to personally ask questions with Barisan Nasional (BN) grassroots leaders and members during their flyers and posters distribution sessions.

A restaurant owner, who only wanted to be known as Wai, said it was good that the party and its components came forward to hand out the flyers to voters.

"It showed that the party members were willing to come out to meet and talk to the people. This showed their their concern on the problems faced by the public," he said.

Johor Baru BN Youth chairman Khalid Mohamed said the purpose of personally disturbing the flyers was not only to update the public of the achievements of BN this year but was also to inform them on the party's plans for the coming year.

"We are aiming to reach out to at least 1,000 people per session," he said adding that they wanted to reach out more to the younger generation here.

Some 40 BN members including those from UMNO, MCA and MIC gathered at Taman Sentosa here on Dec 23 to distribute flyers on the updates of BN this year.

The members divided themselves into three group and went to nearby shopping complexes and shoplots to meet and interact with members of the public.

"So far we have distributed flyers in three other places in the city centre," Khalid said adding that they were looking forward to distribute flyers around Stulang here in January next year.

He also added that the public's feedback was positive, as they did not face any trouble when they were handing the flyers out.

"It's good that the people accepted our flyers and posters, and it's even better when they ask us questions as our mission is to clear their doubts if they had any," he said.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Lady Gaga Announces Documentary About Her Life and Upcoming Album

Posted: 26 Dec 2012 05:51 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: In an apparent Christmas gift for all her "Little Monsters," Lady Gaga took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that fashion photographer Terry Richardson is making a documentary about her life and the creation of her next album, "ARTPOP."

"Merry Christmas little monsters," she tweeted."Terry Richardson is making a #LadyGagaMOVIE documenting my life, the creation of 'ARTPOP' + you!" Thanks to the singer's nearly 32.5 million followers, the hashtag briefly became the top trend on the social media site. She previously worked with Richardson to create the New York Times best-selling photo book "Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson."

She calls the upcoming film a "dream come true!" "I love you @Terry_World thank you for believing in me and my fans," Gaga continued.

"I have looked up to you and your work for so long, its a dream come true!" No specific release date has been set for her latest album or the forthcoming film, but Gaga told fans over the summer that they can anticipate the follow up to "Born This Way" before the spring of 2013.

Lady Gaga's reps did not immediately respond to TheWrap's request for comment.- TheWrap.com

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