Isnin, 7 Januari 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Mariah Carey increases security in feud with Nicki Minaj

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 08:35 PM PST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pop diva Mariah Carey said she hired increased security following what she described as threats reportedly made against her by fellow American Idol judge Nicki Minaj, according to an interview on ABC News.

Carey, 42, one of three new judges to join the American Idol panel for the hit talent show's new season on January 16, told Barbara Walters in an interview airing on Monday, "it felt like an unsafe work environment."

"Anytime anybody's reeling threats at somebody, you know, it's not appropriate," Carey (pic) said.

"I'm a professional. I'm not used to that type of environment," she said, adding that she hired extra security.

The diva was alluding to widely reported tension between her and Minaj, who were seen arguing with one another in a video from the show's audition phase.

Walters has reported that, according to Carey, others on the Idol set heard Minaj go further and say, off-camera, "If I had a gun, I would shoot that bitch."

Minaj, a Trinidadian-born singer and songwriter, previously denied making any remarks about firearms, but Carey told Walters that beefing up her security "was the appropriate thing to do."

"Sitting there on the road with two babies, I'm not going to take any chances," she said, referring to her 20-month old twins with husband Nick Cannon.

But in a sign of media savvy, she noted that "for all the drama, I hope it helps the show."

Walters also asked Carey about reports she is being paid US$18 million for each Idol season.

"I think we're in the ballpark, (but) I can't even talk about those things," the singer replied.

'Downton Abbey' sets PBS record

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 07:50 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British period drama Downton Abbey scored rave reviews and a record 7.9 million viewers for public broadcasting channel PBS as viewers tuned in to watch a wedding and financial calamity during the award-winning show's third season U.S. premiere on Sunday.

Fans witnessed the wedding of Matthew and Lady Mary Crawley, after two seasons in which viewers were kept wondering if they would ever tie the knot.

According to PBS, the ratings for season 3 quadrupled the average viewings for PBS primetime shows, which usually is 2 million viewers, and nearly doubled the premiere of the second season, which kicked off with 4.2 million viewers in January 2012.

The joy over the wedding was offset by news that Lord Grantham, the owner of the grand estate, had lost his fortune to bad investments.

American actress Shirley MacLaine debuted in the role of the feisty Martha Levinson, the mother of Lord Grantham's American wife Cora. She entertained viewers with her witty exchanges with Downton matriarch Violet Crawley, played by Maggie Smith.

Downton Abbey, created by British screenwriter Julian Fellowes, has become both a critical success and a cult favorite among its many U.S. fans.

It has won seven Emmy awards and will be going into Sunday's Golden Globe awards with three nominations in major television categories including best drama series.

Vanity Fair, which live-tweets humorous comments during the show, leads a strong online following of fans who discuss aspects of the show ranging from dresses and dances to the dramatic twists.

"The Subcommittee on Preventing Edith's Happiness resolves to kill off her boyfriend, put thumbtacks in her evening shoes," the magazine tweeted, referring to the unlucky-in-love Lady Edith Crawley.

PBS said that the show garnered nearly 100,000 tweets during its Sunday premiere.

Glimmer of hope at the 27th Anugerah Juara Lagu

Posted: 08 Jan 2013 01:20 AM PST

It was all about powerful vocals and fancy performances in the Anugerah Juara Lagu on Sunday.

LAST week, the biggest news in the local music scene was not that Los Angeles-based singer Yunalis Zarai had been signed under the international label, Verve Music Group (which is headed by US music maker David Foster), but rather that she was unable to return to Malaysia for a much-anticipated live performance in the 27th edition of the annual Anugerah Juara Lagu (AJL27).

Held on Sunday at the Putra Indoor Stadium of the Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur, AJL27 was a grand event with a simple stage that changed into dramatic sets to complement each nominee's performance.

More than that, though, AJL27 saw 12 talented contenders – Bedroom Sanctuary, Black and RJ, Shila Hamzah, Stacy, Hafiz Suip and Adira, Amir Jahari, Mojo, Hazama and Amy Search, Jimmy Palikat and One Nation Emcees, Yuna (who was represented by Aizat Amdan) and Hafiz – giving impressive performances throughout the night. While most of the nominees showed off powerful vocals and heartfelt performances, others decided to be a lot more relaxed and playful with their sets, focusing instead on entertaining the audience.

And what an audience! The stadium (which has a capacity of about 9,000 people) was filled to the brim, a strong indication of Muzik Muzik's unwavering popularity even after more than two decades of being on air. To those unfamiliar with the awards, AJL is an annual music event which honours Malaysia's top artistes and songwriters. The finalists are chosen based on their weekly placements on Muzik Muzik – as voted by judges and viewers.

AJL winners are also chosen based on a panel of judges and viewer votes. There are only three categories in contention in AJL: Best song, best vocals and best performance.

This year, Yuna's mellow Terukir Di Bintang won the coveted prize of best song (which got her RM35,000), even though singer Aizat really did not do justice to the song. The only thing memorable about his Parisian-themed performance on Sunday was, as one twitterer commented, the red mug he held throughout the set.

In second place (RM15,000) was Idola, a song composed by Audi Mok with lyrics by Azlan of Azlan & The Typewriter, which performed the track.

Meanwhile, popular singer-songwriter Ajai's Ku Akui, sung by Hafiz, won the third spot which carried a RM12,000 prize.

In the best performance category (RM10,000), which is based on an artiste's performance on awards night, it was Black and RJ's Teman Pengganti (written by Malique) that captured everyone's attention. The inclusion of a rotating divider in the middle of the stage, with Black sitting and singing on one side and RJ rapping on the other was a clever way of amping up their act. Still, it was Black's powerful vocals and the song's stirring lyrics that truly made Teman Pengganti one of the top favourites of 2012.

Another strong vocalist, Hafiz Suip, managed a hattrick by again winning in the best vocals category (RM10,000) with Ku Akui. Here is a young singer (he's 22) from Kuching, Sarawak, who has put his music training that bagan from the reality-based show Akademi Fantasia to good use, and who has been consistent with the standards of his work.

Other songs that were in the finals included Lagu (Bedroom Sanctuary), Patah Seribu (Shila), Pelangi Senja (Stacy), Ombak Rindu (Hafiz and Adira), Tanpamu (Amir), Andaiku Bercinta Lagi (Mojo), Simetri (Hazama and Amy) and Anak Kampung (Palikat and One Nation Emcees).

AJL27 also saw some wonderful performances by Ziana Zain, Misha Omar and Royal FT Force, as well as a special rock-heavy segment that featured rock legends Rahmat (of Mega), Aris Ariwatan, Joey (Bumiputera Rockers) and Ramli Sarip alongside guitarists Rodi (Kristal), AG Coco, Edrie Hashim and Man Kidal. Some of the songs presented in the segment – which was a nod to Malaysia's famous "rock kapak" genre – were Bayangan Gurauan, Lamunan Terhenti, Seribu Tahun Takkan Mungkin and Kamelia.

Judging from the vocal performances as well as the quality of songs in competition that were showcased two nights ago, one could see just how far the country's music scene has gone. Power and rock ballads no longer dominate the charts (though they are both still wildly popular genres) with more indie, folk, alternative rock and hip hop tunes making waves and garnering more faithful followers each year.

Also, a new generation of songwriters and composers have cropped up, giving us hope that the industry – however bleak it may seem on the surface sometimes – will not only survive but grow substantially, too.


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Shell Alaska oil rig refloated, towing to begin

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 08:20 PM PST

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A recovery team has refloated a Shell that grounded last week near an Alaska island and stood ready to start towing it on Monday, weather permitting.

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles (64 kms) southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska in this U.S. Coast Guard handout photo taken January 3, 2012. REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter/Handout

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles (64 kms) southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska in this U.S. Coast Guard handout photo taken January 3, 2012. REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter/Handout

A tow line was attached to the Kulluk drillship on Sunday at about 4 p.m. (0100 GMT) and all elements were in place for towing operations to proceed on Monday, a statement from the joint command centre for the Kulluk responders said.

Yet weather in the area remains a challenge, with the National Weather Service issuing a weather warning through Sunday night and forecasting rain, snow and winds of between 15 and 30 miles an hour.

The fortunes of the Kulluk, which started drilling a well in the Beaufort Sea late last year, face particular scrutiny because it was a key part of Shell's controversial and error-prone 2012 Arctic drilling program.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Royal Dutch Shell Plc hope the rig can be towed from its grounding site on the coast of tiny Sitkalidak Island to a sheltered bay nearby, so experts can make a better assessment of its sea worthiness.

Sean Churchfield, Shell's Alaska ventures manager, has said salvage teams found no signs of breaches to any of the Kulluk's fuel tanks and only one area where seawater leaked onboard. The tow plan has been approved by government regulators.

Coast Guard Captain Paul Mehler had said the right combination of tides and weather, as well as the arrival of certain equipment, was required to begin towing.

The Kulluk went aground in a storm on December 31 after the ship towing it lost power and its tow connection in the Kodiak archipelago, far from where it began its well in September and October.

The rig had been headed for winter maintenance near Seattle.


The removal plan is to pull the Kulluk about 30 miles to Kiliuda Bay, a site previously designated as a refuge for disabled vessels. Whether it continues on for its maintenance work will be determined after the assessment, Churchfield said.

The rig has about 155,000 gallons of diesel fuel and other petroleum products aboard, none of which have spilled, state environmental regulators said.

The Aiviq, the vessel that lost power and its tow connection to the Kulluk a week ago, is the ship designated to tow it to safe refuge. An investigation into its failures is not yet complete, Churchfield said.

Alaska environmentalist Rick Steiner questioned Shell's reliance on the Aiviq and said he believed the problems with the Kulluk and its other contracted drillship, the Noble Corp -owned Discoverer, would preclude any drilling this year. "The 2013 season is on the rocks in Kodiak with the Kulluk," he said.

Shell officials in Alaska have so far declined to comment on the upcoming Arctic drilling season.

Prior to the Kulluk accident, Shell's main problem in Alaska was the Discoverer, which had been assigned to Chukchi Sea work but failed to meet federal air standards, prompting Shell in June to ask the Environmental Protection Agency for a permit with looser limits for air pollution.

In September, the ship dragged its anchor in the Aleutian port of Dutch Harbour and nearly grounded on the beach there.

After completing a truncated 2012 drill season in the Chukchi, the Discoverer was temporarily detained by the Coast Guard in the port of Seward, Alaska. The Coast Guard cited numerous safety and environmental-systems deficiencies, which Shell and Noble vowed to fix before the summer season began.

(Additional reporting by Sarah Young in London; Editing by Braden Reddall and David Holmes)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

South Korea to expand nuclear energy despite growing safety fears

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 07:37 PM PST

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has no option but to expand its nuclear power plant programme despite growing public concern over safety in the wake of Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011 and a series of scares that closed two reactors last year.

The proportion of South Koreans who considered nuclear power safe fell to 34.8 percent in a survey conducted in November and published on Tuesday, down from 40 percent in April 2011 and 71 percent in January 2010, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said.

The ministry has been sharply criticised for its role as regulator and operator of the country's nuclear power plants, and one of its subsidiaries was accused of suppressing negative public opinion after the Fukushima disaster by not publishing polls.

A fake parts scandal closed two reactors last year and the industry suppressed details of the closure of the Kori No.1 reactor early in 2012.

"It is an urgent priority to recover people's trust and the safety of reactors just as it is unavoidable to maintain nuclear at a certain percentage of the total power supply, considering the power supply and demand situation," the ministry said.

The two troubled reactors were fully restarted last week, easing fears over winter power shortages.

Three others are offline for maintenance and operational approval, but power supplies remain a concern amid peak winter demand expected until the end of next month.

Asia's fourth-largest economy, which depends heavily on oil and gas imports, plans to add 11 reactors by 2024 on top of its existing 23 reactors which supply a third of the country's total power.

An earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011 killed nearly 20,000 people and triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years when the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant was destroyed, leaking radiation into the sea and air.

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Stricken Alaska oil rig refloated, towed to safe harbour

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 07:23 PM PST

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A Shell oil drilling rig that ran aground last week reached a safe harbour on Monday, where it will be examined to assess its seaworthiness.

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles (64 kms) southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska in this U.S. Coast Guard handout photo taken January 3, 2012. REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter/Handout

The conical drilling unit Kulluk sits grounded 40 miles (64 kms) southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska in this U.S. Coast Guard handout photo taken January 3, 2012. REUTERS/U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Painter/Handout

A rescue team towed the Kulluk drillship 30 miles (48 km) to shelter in Kiliuda Bay, Royal Dutch Shell's emergency response coordinator said.

The fortunes of the saucer-shaped Kulluk, which started drilling in the Beaufort Sea late last year, face particular scrutiny because it was a major part of Shell's controversial and error-prone 2012 Arctic drilling program.

Last week, stormy weather wrestled the rig from the ships towing it, and tossed it to the shore of Sitkalidak Island. On Sunday night, the rig was refloated.

"The tow has gone pretty much as expected," Sean Churchfield, Shell's Alaska ventures manager, said at a Monday news conference in Anchorage.

Kiliuda Bay was previously designated a refuge for disabled vessels. Churchfield said it has not yet been determined whether the Kulluk will be fixed there or somewhere else, and whether it will continue on for planned winter maintenance near Seattle.

The extent of damage had yet to be determined, although the salvage teams found no signs of breaches to its fuel tanks and only one area where seawater leaked onboard.

"We were not able to have that detailed assessment where it was aground," Churchfield said. "It would be speculation to say what's going to happen next because, until we have that damage assessment, we really will not be able to develop that plan."


The Kulluk went aground in a storm on December 31 after the ship towing it, the Aiviq, lost power and its tow connection in the Kodiak archipelago, far from where it began its well in September and October.

On Monday, the Aiviq towed it to Kiliuda Bay even though an investigation into its failures is not yet complete.

Alaska environmentalist Rick Steiner questioned Shell's reliance on the Aiviq and said he believed the problems with the Kulluk and its other contracted drillship, Noble Corp's Discoverer, would preclude any drilling this year.

Shell officials in Alaska have so far declined to comment on the upcoming Arctic drilling season, but the whole response team will for now be relieved to have the Kulluk in safer waters.

"I think everybody on site and at the command centre was overjoyed, yelling and screaming and happy," said Steve Russell of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the state's response coordinator.

Coast Guard Captain Paul Mehler recognized it as a major milestone, but stressed there was still a lot of work to do. "We are not letting our guard down," he said.

Prior to the Kulluk accident, Shell's main problem in Alaska was the Discoverer, which had been assigned to Chukchi Sea work but failed to meet federal air standards, prompting Shell in June to ask the Environmental Protection Agency for a permit with looser limits for air pollution.

In September, the ship dragged its anchor in the Aleutian port of Dutch Harbour and nearly grounded on the beach there.

After drilling stopped, the Discoverer was cited by the Coast Guard for safety and environmental-systems deficiencies, which Shell and Noble vowed to fix before this summer's season.

And another ship deemed necessary for drilling was so beset with problems that it never even made it to Alaska in 2012.

The Arctic Challenger, an oil-containment barge built specifically for Shell's Arctic drilling, failed to win Coast Guard approval for seaworthiness in time to allow any drilling to oil-bearing depths. Shell was permitted to drill only "top-hole" wells, to depths of about 1,400 feet (430 meters) below the seafloor surface.

As for the Kulluk, as of Sunday more than 630 people were deployed in response, along with a large fleet of vessels and aircraft, according to the incident command team. Shell will be paying for it all, though the cost to date is unknown.

(Additional reporting by Sarah Young and Andrew Callus in London; Writing by Braden Reddall; Editing by David Holmes, Louise Heavens and David Gregorio)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

50 halal firms to benefit from project

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 05:55 PM PST

SUBANG JAYA: Fifty companies from the halal industry are expected to benefit from a special pilot project spearheaded by the Department of Standards Malaysia to help them understand and better implement halal requirements.

Helping local players to be self-sufficient, Standards Malaysia has initiated a series of activities for businesses to ride on the waves of the expanding halal industry, said its director general Fadilah Baharin at the preview of Malaysia's first in-depth research report on the halal industry.

According to her, the halal industry grew 75% between 2010 and 2011 and expected it to grow further.

Globally, the halal market is estimated to be RM6.3 trillion annually while in the first half of 2012, RM16bil worth of halal products and services were exported from the country.

"Malaysian businesses can tap on the extensive opportunities in the industry to increase the amount of exports," she said.

Through workshops and an in-depth research, which involved 650 consumers and 350 industry players, industry players are expected to benefit from the insights provided, she added.

Findings of the research will be published in the Malaysia Halal Industry Market Report 2012.

One of the key insights of the research indicated that the interpretation of halal' was currently limited to pork and alcohol-free processes.

However, there was a lack of understanding on Halalan Toyyiban', which sets criteria on safety, hygiene and cleanliness, she said.

Global economy likely to perform better this year

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 05:55 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The global economy in 2013 would be better than 2012 despite the challenges in the United States and the "mess" in Europe, said an economist.

"This year, will grow faster than 2012. We expect 2.8% global growth this year versus 2.2% achieved last year," Standard Chartered Bank global head of macro research Marios Maratheftis told participants at a briefing.

He opined that growth in the United States is set to pick up in the second half of the year, as the tightening effects of the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling would be felt most acutely during the first six months.

"Things would have been much worse without an agreement on the fiscal cliff, but even with the agreement, we are not getting what we need for the US economy.

"It is simply less bad than it would have been without the agreement," he said.

He added: "It is time for new ideas. Historically, policymakers relied on interest rates to manage growth and inflation, with a rate hike used to curb overheating and easing to spur growth."

"This time around, it is not enough," Maratheftis said, asserting that the Federal Reserve has done everything at its disposal to promote growth.

"Now, it has to come from the Government. If quantitative easing and monetary easing are inadequate, then the Government must increase its spending.

"Is that going to happen? No, because the fiscal cliff agreement involves fiscal tightening, which means the US government will be spending less this year than 2012."

Maratheftis noted that although the bank remained positive about the United States, the world's largest economy had yet to grow sufficiently to compensate for the jobs lost during the 2008-2009 recession.

"The second half will be an improvement over the first half, though growth will be unexciting, given the lack of stimulus measures," he said.

On the risk of capital outflows back to the United States, Maratheftis explained that the repatriation of funds was more common in bad times than good.

"However, manufacturing in Asia could experience rebalancing, as the region becomes more expensive," he said.

StanChart economist sees growth in investment inflows into Malaysia in 2013

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 05:55 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is in a sweet spot, buttressed by a high level of confidence, accommodative policies and domestic growth drivers, according to a Standard Chartered Bank economist.

And private investment inflows, despite coming off a high base of 20% last year, could still see growth in the "high teens" this year, the bank's head of regional research for South-East Asia Edward Lee told reporters after an economics briefing yesterday.

"Both public and private investments have been flowing in nicely, that's comforting. As a share of total investment, private investment is currently higher than government spending," he said, naming the construction, financial services and real estate sectors as potential winners in Malaysia's domestic-led growth.

"Construction is only 3% to 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) but it has a high multiplier effect," he said.

Lee noted that Malaysia's share of the foreign direct investment into Asean is about 10%, adding that while this figure did not appear substantial, the region was extremely competitive.

The overall positive sentiment in the domestic economy could, in fact, be a prelude to an interest rate hike in the latter part of the year, Lee explained.

"Given how the economy has expanded, we should expect some tightening. For now, we forecast that the overnight policy rate may rise by 25 basis points in late-2013," he said, pointing out that demand-side factors, such as a wage increase and wealth effects, and the planned subsidy rationalisation, may add to inflationary pressure.

But price rises should remain stable at below 3%, he noted.

"We are also hearing positive noises about the Economic Transformation Programme, as they are starting to realise the investments," he said.

On the downside risks, Lee cited Malaysia's trade exposure, which accounts for 150% of GDP.

Manufacturing and trade-related activities, he said, were likely to continue to be soft on the back of stuttering growth in Europe and the United States.

Asked about the upcoming polls, Lee said the outcome was "hard to predict". "The important thing is clarity and good economic policies, regardless of the politics. I went to Myanmar recently and the key takeaway was that regardless of politics, the economy must grow," he said.


The Star Online: Sports

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Shuttler will no longer fool around following punishment by BAM

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 05:44 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Being a champion is great – more so if you show the right attitude on court.

That's the lesson men's singles shuttler Liew Daren will take to heart this year after being banned from competing in the Korean Open, which starts in Seoul tomorrow, following his lackadaisical attitude at the National Grand Prix Finals in Alor Setar last month.

The reigning French Open champion was banned by the coaching and training committee (CNT) for the apathetic approach that led to his defeat by eventual champion Misbun Ramdan Misbun in the group stage.

World No. 16 Daren, currently the national No. 2 behind Lee Chong Wei, said that the ban would spur him to get his act right – starting with the Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium from Jan 16-20.

"I was very tired towards the end of last year – especially after winning the French Open. It must shown in my game during the National GP Finals ... but I did give my best," said Daren.

"I was disappointed with the decision as I was looking forward to the Korean Open. The incident has taught me a good lesson. I'll take local tournaments seriously and be more determined on court no matter what.

"I don't want to be banned from any tournament again ... this is certainly not the way I wanted to start the New Year."

Daren, who is hoping to make the top 10 by the end of this year, is hoping to put the unfortunate episode behind him by achieving his best result in the Malaysian Open – at least a semi-final spot.

"Since I won't be going to the Korean Open, I'll have one extra week to brush up my game at home. My best outing in the Malaysian Open is a quarter-final finish (in 2009) .. I hope to go one step better this time," he said.

"The crucial part will be in the second round and, hopefully, I can step it up."

Daren faces Ajay Jayaram of India in the opening round either Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat and Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh for a place in the last eight.

He is in the same half as top seed Chong Wei and they could meet in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, with Daren banned, Malaysia's hopes in the men's singles event of the Korean Open will rest on defending champion Chong Wei and Chong Wei Feng.

Chong Wei will take on China's former world junior champion Wang Zhengming in the first round. The others in his half are Wei Feng, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Chen Jin of China, Taufik and Hong Kong's Hu Yun.

Those in the lower half with Chen Long are compatriot Du Pengyu, Japan's Kenichi Tago, Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana and Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen.

For the record, the Korean Open and Malaysian Open are the first two legs of the Super Series Tour this season.

PBSI hire Rexy but BAM still dithering

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 03:50 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Perhaps the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) can learn something from the All-Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) when it comes to taking decisive action.

While BAM are still dithering over the appointment of a national coaching director, the PBSI have got their man – appointing the popular Rexy Mainaky as the supremo.

The move could see the re-emergence of Indonesia as badminton powerhouses and serve as a warning to Malaysia, and even China.

The PBSI have somehow weaved their magic wand to coax Rexy out of his lucrative job as the national coaching director in the Philippines.

The former Olympic Games champion, who left Malaysia to join the Philippines early last year, began work in Indonesia on Jan 1.

Indonesia have also engaged former world champion Susi Susanti to coach their women's singles shuttlers.

With mastermind Christian Hadinata as their advisor, Indonesia are clearly on the right path as they seek to restore their nation's battered pride.

The revamps comes in the wake of Indonesia's worst-ever year. Last year, none of their players won an Olympic medal in London for the first time and they also failed to make the semi-finals of the Thomas Cup Finals for the very first time.

Malaysia's national doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her expects Rexy's return to boost Indonesia's bid to find able replacements for their aging men's singles and doubles stars – Taufik Hidayat and Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan.

"Rexy's coaching expeiences in England and Malaysia will stand him in good stead as he assesses Indonesia's situation from a different perspective. It's a good move for Rexy and Indonesia," said Kim Her.

"These changes should motivate us to strive harder. We must redouble our effort and work as a team."

And what about BAM's search for a national coaching director?

According to BAM general manager Kenny Goh there's been no progress since their failure to hire South Korean legend Park Joo-bong.

"For now, Kim Her and Rashid Sidek have full mandate to manage the singles and doubles departments while we continue our search," said Kenny.

Coach Dharmaraj blasts Dangerous for pulling out again

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 05:46 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Coach K. Dharmaraj is furious with forward Dangerous Lee for pulling out of the Project 2013 hockey squad for the third time in three years.

The Sarawak-born player first withdrew from the team in 2010 after featuring in the Surjit Singh Memorial Cup in India. He felt that he didn't stand a chance of being selected.

In 2011, the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) player decided to play for the team again and Dharmaraj took him back. But Lee pulled the same trick again early last year, citing his pre-university studies in BJSS.

The 21-year-old then wrote to Dharmaraj last October asking to be given a third chance. Dharmaraj obliged.

Lee, who featured in the All India Ubaidullah Khan Gold Cup in Bhopal last month, then dropped the third bombshell on Sunday – sending a text message to Dharmaraj.

It read: "Coach I will not attend training tomorrow (Monday) morning. I am pulling out of the team. I believe that I don't stand a chance against the other players. I am sorry coach. I hope you can understand."

And Dharmaraj has had enough.

"I almost blew my top when I read the text message on Sunday," he said.

"He has made me look like a fool by taking him back three times. I don't need players like him in the team. I'm really disappointed with him."

The Project 2013 squad resumed their next phase of training yesterday. They are preparing for the Junior World Cup in Chandigarh, India, from Dec 5-16.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Texas Chainsaw' makes a killing at box office

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 12:54 AM PST

HOLLYWOOD (Reuters) - The return of the bloody Texas Chainsaw franchise sliced up movie box office rivals with a surprise win over the weekend, grabbing an estimated US$23 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales.

The new Texas Chainsaw 3D pulled past Quentin Tarantino Western Django Unchained, the second place film from Friday through Sunday with US$20 million. No. 3 movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey grabbed US$17.5 million.

Going into the weekend, box office forecasters did not think the revival of the 40-year-old Texas Chainsaw franchise had enough buzz to top the holiday releases that are adding to their tallies during the month of January, a typically slow time for moviegoing.

Marketing efforts for Texas Chainsaw paid off for distributor Lions Gate Entertainment, the studio behind the horror franchise.

Lions Gate ran a social media campaign aimed at its core horror fan base - mostly young men and women - and ran promotions during AMC Networks' TV zombie hit The Walking Dead. The studio aimed for a broader audience with promotions during college football bowl games and other sports programs after Christmas.

"The numbers were a little bit more than expected," said Richie Fay, the president of domestic distribution for Lions Gate Entertainment.

"It is great to be No. 1. I think we held our own," he added.

Lions Gate spent about $20 million to promote the movie, which was produced by Millennium Films.

The movie revives a franchise that started four decades ago with the 1974 film about a serial killer named Leatherface. Since then, the seven Texas Chainsaw movies have pulled in US$175 million at North American (U.S. and Canadian) theaters, according to website Box Office Mojo. The films have generated US$416 million domestically.

The new movie follows a woman who inherits a family home in the town of Newt, Texas, showing all of the blood and gore in 3D. The story picked up where the original left off and included cameos from original cast members.

Texas Chainsaw was the only new nationwide release in North America (United States and Canada) over the weekend. The Hobbit, the first of three movies based on the fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, brought its total domestic sales to US$263.8 million since its December 14 debut. Django Unchained, released on Christmas Day, reached US$106.3 million.

In fourth place for the weekend, musical Les Miserables earned US$16.1 million, bringing its domestic sales to US$103.6 million since its Christmas Day release. The No. 5 slot belonged to family comedy Parental Guidance, which grossed US$10.1 million.

The Hobbit was distributed by Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. studio. The Weinstein Co. released Django Unchained. Universal Studios, a unit of Comcast Corp distributed Les Miserables. Parental Guidance was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.

Schwarzenegger is back, Hollywood hopes he's still a star

Posted: 06 Jan 2013 10:36 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - As he famously droned on-screen in his signature Terminator movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back.

A year after leaving the California governor's office and becoming tabloid fodder for fathering a boy with his family's housekeeper and splitting with his wife, Maria Shriver, the 65-year old former bodybuilder will star in no less than three Hollywood movies over the next 12 months.

None are likely to win Schwarzenegger an Oscar. Indeed, the movies, and Schwarzenegger's own fee, are low-budget compared with his global blockbusters of yore. But studio executives are betting that overseas fans especially will once again respond to a personality whose 24 films generated worldwide ticket sales of US$3.9 billion, according to

"He is still a worldwide star who resonates with action audiences around the world," said Rob Friedman, the co-chairman of the Lionsgate motion picture group, which is scheduled to release his next two films. The Last Stand will open on January 18 in the United States, and The Tomb in September.

Ten, the third film, is scheduled for release in January 2014 by Open Road Films, a joint venture of the AMC and Regal Theater chains.

"When you have left the movie business for seven years, it's kind of a scary thing to come back because you don't know if you're accepted or not," Schwarzenegger said at a Saturday press event for The Last Stand.

"There could be a whole new generation of action stars that come up in the meantime."

The actor said he was "very pleasantly surprised" by what he called a "great reaction" to his cameo in the 2010 action film The Expendables, which featured fellow action stars Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham. The film grossed US$103.1 million in U.S. ticket sales and US$274.5 million worldwide.

Since then, Schwarzenegger appeared in a second Expendables and says he will join a fifth installment of the Terminator if it is made.

Comcast's Universal Pictures wants to "do a bunch" of new films based on the 30-year-old Conan The Barbarian movie, said Schwarzenegger, in which he would reprise his role as a barbarian.

He added that Universal, after 10 years of prodding by Schwarzenegger, also wants to do a sequel to the 1988 comedy Twins, in which he and Danny DeVito played mismatched twins, to be called Triplets.

Schwarzenegger no longer commands the US$25 million paychecks he cashed in his heyday and will get between US$8 and US$10 million for each of his next three films, according to two people with knowledge of his salary but who were not authorized to speak publicly about it. He also gets a percentage of the profits, according to one of the people.

The new Schwarzenegger calculus banks on his films doing outsized business overseas while operating within budgets that are a fraction of the US$200 million cost of his last action film, the 2003 Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. The budget for The Last Stand is estimated at US$50 million, according to movie resource site

"He has significant value outside the United States and Canada, where he is still revered by people who have grown up with him throughout the years," said Jere Hausfater, chief operating officer of film production company Aldamisa International, which hopes to do a film with Schwarzenegger in the future.

What audiences will see is a aging star who isn't afraid of showing his drooping muscles and widening paunch, or of making fun of being past his prime. In the The Last Stand, a less than rock hard Schwarzenegger plays a retired Los Angeles policeman who becomes the sheriff of a small border town and is then called on to stop a violent drug lord from crossing.

In Ten he plays an aging drug agent, and in The Tomb an older prison inmate.

"We all go through the same dramas, we look at the mirror and say, what happened? You once had muscles and slowly they are deteriorating," said Schwarzenegger at The Last Stand press event.

"The great thing in the movie is that they we're not trying to play me as the 35-year-old action hero but the one who is about to retire, and all of a sudden there is this challenge where he really needs to get his act together."

The one-time muscle man compares his career metamorphosis to that of his friend Clint Eastwood, who transitioned from his Dirty Harry days to a wiser person whose not afraid to make fun of his slipping abilities in recent films like Trouble With The Curve.

"That's called evolution," said Sylvester Stallone, who stars with Schwarzenegger as aging inmates in The Tomb. "There are no more wooly mammoths. Things change, but the one thing you cannot replace is charisma. Certain people have it, and will have it until the day they die."

Schwarzenegger's infamy in fathering a son outside of his high-profile marriage to Shriver initially seemed to hurt his popular appeal. Within weeks of the disclosure, The Governator, a comic book that would feature his likeness, was canceled.

Ultimately, though, moviegoers will be less interested in Schwarzenegger's political adventures and personal scandals than in what he puts on the screen, says Peter Sealey, founder of The Sausalito Group and a former Columbia Pictures president of marketing and distribution.

"The movie-going audience really don't care about things like infidelity, DUIs," added publicist Howard Bragman, vice-chairman of the firm called Reputation. " T hey overlook a lot. Ultimately, it remains, how are the movies? Is he credible? Is he going to be a joke?"

The Last Stand movie premiums and tickets

Posted: 06 Jan 2013 08:11 PM PST

The leader of a drug cartel busts out of a courthouse and speeds to the Mexican border, where the only thing in his path is one Sheriff Ray Owens. Sommerton Junction is a sleepy border town where nothing really exciting happens, so when one of the FBI's most wanted drug kingpin escapes and heads towards Sommerton Junction, Sheriff Owen is tasked with stopping him.

Catch The Last Stand starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jaimie Alexander, Rodrigo Santoro, Forest Whitaker and Johnny Knoxville in cinemas this 18 January 2013.

Thanks to Nusantara Ederan Filem, we have movie premiums and tickets to give away. All you have to do is answer the questions below and follow the instructions given.

1. Name the actor who plays Sheriff Ray Owens.

2. In the movie, Sheriff Ray Owens used to work as a cop in this world-famous police department. What is it?

a. The NYPD

b. The LAPD

c. The FBI

d. The CIA

Email your answers with your details (name, address, IC number and contact number) to by 10 January 2013. Title the subject THE LAST STAND. Winners will be notified by email.

Prizes to win:

1 X The Last Stand jacket + 1 pair of tickets

3 X The Last Stand female t-shirt + 1 pair of tickets

3 X The Last Stand male t-shirt + 1 pair of tickets

3 X The Last Stand travel bag + 1 pair of tickets

3 X The Last Stand travel adapter + 1 pair of tickets

Rules & Regulations

1.The contest is open to all Malaysian residents residing in Malaysia only.

2.To qualify for a prize, contestants must include relevant personal details (full name, address, new IC number , contact number). Email your answers to

3.Contestants may only submit one entry each. Multiple entries will be disqualified.

4.One prize is allowed per contestant only.

5.Prizes are not exchangeable for cash and the organizer reserves the right to exchange the prize with that of a similar value without prior notice.

6.Staff of The Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad, sponsors and their immediate families are not allowed to participate.

7.Judges decision is final and no correspondence will be entertained.

8.Judges will be from The Star Online.

9.For enquiries, please e-mail

10. I hereby expressly consent to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all my personal data by Star Publications (M) Berhand for the purposes of The Last Stand Contest.

11. Special screening for this movie will be on 16 January 2013 (Wednesday) at TGV 1 Utama at 8.45pm

12. Winners will have to pick up their prizes as well as the tickets at our redemption table on the day of the screening.

13. Winners will be notified by email.


The Star Online: Nation

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KL mayor: Bukit Setiawangsa homeowners to request compensation from developer

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 06:59 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Bukit Setiawangsa homeowners have been asked to forward their requests for compensation to I&P Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib said.

He said the Government had made a stand that the developer should be held responsible where compensation is concerned.

"I&P has agreed to complete the present works by the end of this month, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

"Once works are completed, homeowners and occupants of shophouses will be permitted to go back to their places," Ahmad Phesal told a press conference on Monday, adding that the instrumentation installed to monitor soil movement at the site indicates that it is stable.

Ahmad Phesal had earlier chaired a closed-door meeting with Ikram, I&P Sdn Bhd and their consultants, the police, National Security Council, Public Works Department and various departments from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

"As a permanent solution, I&P has appointed two consultants EEC Consultant and Dr Asbi & Associates - to come up with a design in accordance to the 2010 Hillslope Development Guidelines and taking into consideration of the soil investigation results.

"The proposed design will then be evaluated by a special technical committee comprising of PWD (slope engineering division), Ikram and Mineral and Geo-science Department, before it is approved by DBKL," Ahmad Phesal said.

On Dec 28, residents of Bukit Setiawangsa were shocked when land erosion caused most parts of a 43m concrete embankment in the area to collapse.

The incident caused a retaining wall to partially collapse, destroying one of the bungalows.

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New traffic management plan at Maarof Interchange from Jan 9 to June 9

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 06:11 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: New Traffic Management Plan at the Maarof Interchange of the Sprint Highway will start from Jan 9 to June 9 due to the realignment of lanes to facilitate construction of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) piers for the Pusat Bandar Damansara station.

The traffic management plan for Maarof Interchange will be done in stages affecting routes from Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur coming into Jalan Maarof, and from Jalan Maarof towards Petaling Jaya and Pusat Bandar Damansara.

MRT Corp Director of Strategic Communications and Public Relation Amir Mahmood Razak said in order to ensure smooth flow of traffic during the construction period, they have sought assistance from the Kuala Lumpur Traffic Police.

"The Traffic Police will be at two traffic lights along the north end of Jalan Maarof, which is located in front of Menara Bangsar and Bangsar Shopping Centre during peak hours (7am till 9am; 12pm till 1pm; 5pm till 7pm) from Monday to Friday," he said in a statement, Monday.

Amir Mahmood said several rounds of discussions were held with Sprint, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Malaysian Highway Authority and Kuala Lumpur Traffic Police to ensure the traffic management plan for Maarof Interchange has minimal disruption to road users before implementation.

"MRT Corp wishes to assure road users that traffic flow will be closely monitored at this junction when the new traffic management plan is in effect.

"If the observation showed significant negative impact, there will be fine-tuning of the plan, and this will be done in consultation with the Traffic Police and DBKL," he said.

He said there will be times when traffic flow will be heavy on the Sprint highway.

"Safety barriers, traffic cones and traffic flagman will be at the work site to ensure road users are pre-warned of on-going works.

"A 24-hour MRT Ronda will be patrolling the route to attend to any emergencies," he said. For more information, the public can visit - Bernama

PAS to seek judicial review to stop Petronas project in Pengerang

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 04:33 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS will seek a judicial review at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Wednesday to temporarily halt the Petronas Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (Rapid) project at Pengerang.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said the project should be put on hold so that the Government could review the project as it had affected the locals.

The relocation of remains at certain Muslim graves was not done according to the Islamic procedures, adding that they were put away under a tree as well as in a van, he claimed during a press conference at the party's headquarters here on Monday.

Gabungan NGO Pengerang chairman Anis Afida Mohd Azli said the Johor Islamic Religious Council had released a licence to the contractor, which she claimed to be Johor Islamic Corporation, for the relocation of graves but procedures were not followed.

"The remains should have been respectfully placed into coffins but instead they were just piled up," she said.

She added that 249 graves were dug up even though only 198 graves were supposed to have been relocated.

Salahuddin claimed a proper notice was not given to family members before the graves were dug up.

He stressed that PAS was not against any development as long as it did not displace villagers from their villages, did not touch burial grounds and adhered to environmental regulations.


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Young gymnast emerges all-round winner in pre-junior category

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 04:05 AM PST

BUDDING rhythmic gymnast Georgia Wong sprang a surprise to emerge as the all-round individual winner of the Pre-Junior category at the Ramkhamhaeng University International Rhythmic Gymnastics meet in Bangkok, Thailand recently.

It was a memorable outing for Georgia, who upstaged her teammate Tee Wei Wen in the overall standings for the first time in the season.

Despite bagging the top spot in both the individual freehand and hoop, Wei Wen suffered a setback in her routine for clubs in the Pre-Junior competition decided over three events.

In contrast, Georgia was more consistent to accumulate a total score of 58.44 points to finish ahead of Wei Wen (58.37) as the visiting side from Malaysia went on to complete a one-two finish for the club.

En route to victory, Georgia also settled for second in the freehand.

The Klang Valley-based centre's co-owner Choo Kim Lian said they did not expect the eventual outcome based on Wei Wen's encouraging performances this season.

"Wei Wen is definitely a promising talent. It was a learning curve for her to cope with the disappointment of committing a minor fumble in the clubs. On a more positive note, we were delighted that Georgia stepped up in leading the challenge for another satisfying outing," she added.

Besides local competitions, the plucky Wei Wen has also been stamping her mark and making an impact at international junior meets in New Zealand, Japan and China over the past two years.

Another Total Gymnastique entry, Chiam Szi Siu, was the club's top performer, finishing third overall with a total score of 57.84 points in the Junior section contested over three disciplines — ball, hoop and clubs.

Szi Siu was the champion in the ball and also finished as the runner-up in the hoop.

Meanwhile, Szi Siu and Georgia teamed up with Chloe Wong to form Total Gymnastique's second-ranked side.

The victorious trio provided some cheer for their side and secured the top spot in the team event with a combined effort of 171.00 points.

Singapore Gymnastics came in second (168.18) while Malaysia's Serdang Rhythmic Angels were third (165.98)

Kim Lian admitted their top-ranked side with the services of Wei Wen along with the duo of Lau Min Wei and Ng Minn-E struggled and completed their campaign in fifth position (163.53).

"Our leading side were stronger on paper but Min Wei and Minn-E were not at their best. They were ill and could not perform to their true potential," said Kim Lian.

In addition, Total Gymnastique's rhythmic gymnastics training camp with 17 competitors joining the occasion also bagged a double in the more relaxed gym dance contests.

They flexed their domination by winning both the Pre-Junior and Junior categories.

In the Pre-Junior section, they scored 18.07 points for the victory ahead of runners-up Valeri Gymnastics Club (17.27 points) of Thailand while Malaysia's Sri Kuala Lumpur registered 17.00 points to finish third.

They also showed their command to emerge as the champions of the Junior category with a score of 17.30 points.

Thailand's Senachai Gymnastics Club and Power Dance Club were second (16.07) and third (15.97) respectively.

Bootcamp for 24 finalists

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 04:05 AM PST

THE search for the 2012/13 Bizzy Body Ambassador is on.

Since its inception in 2007, Bizzy Body Ambassador search campaign has changed the lives of many Malaysian women.

This year marks the seventh year running that organiser, Wyann International, is holding the event for Bizzy Body's clients.

Not only does it motivate them to shed their extra kilos, it is also a platform for these women to gain confidence that was once lost due to weight issues.

To kick-off this year's journey, 24 finalists had the opportunity to join a bootcamp at Golden Palm Tree Resort, Sepang Goldcoast.

The bootcamp was filled with fun activities such as make-up and styling class by the make-up academy Celeb Image, hairdo class by Secolo Hair Dressing, body tips by Bizzy Body, face tips by Facial First The Skin Professional, and catwalk and posing lessons by Simones Models.

There was also a photoshoot in which ambassadors were photographed in dresses selected for them.

This year's competition, themed "Making Your Dreams a Reality", will take place on Jan 20 at Sunway Pyramid.

It will see the crowning of Bizzy Body Ambassador 2012/13 with special guest appearance by Hong Kong superstar Jessica Hsuan, who is also Bizzy Body and Facial First spokesperson.

"Choosing the right ambassador to represent Bizzy Body is definitely not just from the aspect of physical beauty but also total weight loss.

"Some of our ambassadors have said how their new body has transformed their lives.

"They feel so much more confident in the workplace and in going about their social life. Most importantly, they must be healthy and beautiful on the inside and out," said Wyann International chief marketing officer Danny Hoh.

Bizzy Body will be hosting a series of fun and exciting activities in conjunction with the campaign which will be held at the Orange Concourse, Sunway Pyramid from Jan 16 to 20.

Among the highlights are Guess Your BMI contest, Subsidiary Titles Night, Calories Challenge and Ambassadors Gallery.

Members of the audience stand a chance to win exciting prizes by voting for their favourite ambassadors and guessing the top three winners.

There will also be an I'm Gorgeous Photo Contest whereby customers with the most votes for the most elegant or confident photo will stand a chance to win RM3,000 worth of Bizzy Body products and services.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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Salamiah stays strong and positive after surviving breast cancer

Posted: 06 Jan 2013 03:18 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Petite 80s singer Salamiah Hassan is a happy grandmother but few Malaysians know that she is also a cancer survivor.

At the height of her singing career 30 years ago, Salamiah was diagnosed with breast cancer.

But the singer famous for the song Gelombang kept it a secret, even from her own family members as she did not want people to feel pity for her.

She contracted breast cancer in 1981 when she was 30.

"I just kept quiet as I did not want others to sympathise with me. My family initially did not know anything about it until one day, they suspected that something was wrong.

"That day, after my chemotherapy session, I went home and vomited in my room," she said.

"I pretended that everything was fine, but I was scared and sad."

She decided to read more about the illness, saying that the knowledge she gained from her "research" gave her strength to move forward.

Salamiah, who took part in the Bakat TV competition held by Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) in 1971, also held a positive attitude.

She was strong and ready to combat cancer.

"Do not give up. We have to be positive and strong-spirited, especially when we are undergoing treatment," she said.

According to Salamiah, she realised that something was wrong when she noticed a lump on her armpit. The lump started spreading and her arm become numb. She then had high fever.

"At that time, I was not sure about what was happening to me," she said, adding that she underwent a medical examination immediately after reading about possible diseases related to the symptoms.

She said the cancer treatment had caused her to vomit. She suffered hair loss while sores appeared in her mouth.

"However, I was glad to note that I was in the first stage of cancer. So, I was hopeful that I would survive," said Salamiah, 61.

She encouraged women to stay strong. According to her, there is no need to be fearful and embarrassed. It is important to get an early examination done.

She said tests like mammography were important and women should go for early examinations to fight cancer in the early stages.

"Go for an early medical check-up. If you find lumps on your body, seek medical treatment immediately," said Salamiah.

Today, Salamiah goes for regular medical examinations, at least once a year, to ensure that she is always healthy. — Bernama


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