Khamis, 10 Januari 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Britney Spears leaves 'X Factor' after a season

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 07:59 PM PST

REUTERS - Britney Spears is leaving Fox singing contest The X Factor, a source close to the show said on Thursday, having failed to turn her star power into ratings success in one season as a judge.

"I can confirm (the news)," said the source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, when asked about media reports of Spears' exit.

Celebrity and television news outlets gave differing reasons for the decision to quit.

People magazine quoted an unnamed source as saying that the 31-year-old wanted to concentrate on her music, while TV Guide's sources said Spears understood she was about to be axed.

Her departure leaves fellow judge and executive producer Simon Cowell searching for a big name and personality to lift the U.S. version of The X Factor past its NBC rival, The Voice, in the ratings.

Spears (pic) was recruited to The X Factor with a reported $15 million salary after a 14-year singing career that made her one of the biggest pop stars of the 2000s. Reports say she has begun working on her eighth studio album.

Cowell now has to remake half of the panel for the second time in two years, after judge L.A. Reid announced before December's finale that he would be returning full time to his job as the head of Epic Records.

The X Factor is due to return for a third season in September 2013.

Cowell banked on Spears' huge fan base and a strong curiosity factor to give his show a second chance with audiences after a disappointing first season in 2011 that ended with the firing of two judges as well as host Steve Jones.

Spears took The X Factor gig with singer Demi Lovato, 20, in May to fill the judges' seats left by Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, who were both fired by Cowell.

But TV critics said Spears often came across as bland and boring in her role as a judge and mentor to the aspiring pop-star contestants, and the show lost some three million viewers compared to its first season.

Red FM launches new website and mobile app

Posted: 11 Jan 2013 01:52 AM PST

KEEPING up with the times is always a good thing. Red FM is constantly working towards creating a more immersive listening experience for listeners who are constantly on the go. With this in mind, Red FM is rolling out a more convenient platform to gain access to the station.

Red FM has relaunched its website, with a completely refreshed look, delivering engaging content to encourage more interactivity from listeners.

Visually the website is fresh and bold with no clutter. It is designed to offer a more user-friendly experience.

Packed with entertainment content, it also gives access to competitions running on-air. The key feature of the relaunched website is social media integration with both the Facebook ( and Twitter platforms available on the site.

Along with the new website, Red FM has launched an upgraded app for Android and iPhone users. This brand new app has a Menu Selector that makes your experience effortless. The new app also offers better audio quality with more entertainment updates. With a tap of the finger, you will be able to like a song being played thus allowing the station to know which songs you would like to hear more of. The app is for download now with great features coming your way soon.

To round it all up, Red FM is now available on TV through Hypp TV.

Hypp TV is Telecom Malaysia Bhd's (TM) offering via its Internet over Protocol TV (IPTV) service. Red FM is available on Channel 955.

So Red FM is now available via radio, web, mobile and Hypp TV. Talk about a trusted companion throughout the day! For more info, log on to ( Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page on and follow us on Twitter @iloveredfm.

Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.

> Red FM's Station Frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis & Pulau Langkawi: 98.1FM; Georgetown & Seberang Perai: 107.6 FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4 FM; Klang Valley, Negeri Sembilan & Tapah: 104.9FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6 FM; Batu Pahat and Melaka: 98.9FM; Johor Bahru and Singapore: 92.8FM


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Accused Colorado movie theatre gunman ordered to stand trial

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 08:11 PM PST

DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado judge ordered accused movie theatre gunman James Holmes on Thursday to stand trial on charges he killed 12 people and wounded dozens more in a shooting rampage at a midnight screening of a Batman movie last summer.

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes (L) sits with public defender Tamara Brady during his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012. REUTERS/RJ Sangosti/Pool

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes (L) sits with public defender Tamara Brady during his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012. REUTERS/RJ Sangosti/Pool

The ruling followed three days of emotionally wrenching prosecution testimony about the shooting, its bloody aftermath and the elaborate preparations that Holmes is accused of making for the attack.

Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester ruled that evidence presented during the preliminary hearing had established probable cause to believe that Holmes, 25, committed the crimes, and ordered him bound for trial on all counts.

He said Holmes, who has been described by his own lawyers as suffering from an unspecified mental illness, should continue to be held without bail.

Some legal experts say this week's proceedings left Holmes' lawyers with little choice but to mount an insanity defence for their client.

"The defence team has nowhere else to go given the obvious premeditation and overwhelming evidence against Holmes," said Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor now in private practice as a trial attorney.

The former neuroscience doctoral student is charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 140 counts of attempted murder stemming from the July 20 rampage at the opening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in the Denver suburb of Aurora.

In addition to the 12 people who died, 58 others were wounded by gunfire and a dozen more suffered other injuries.

Prosecutors essentially charged Holmes twice for each victim, once for committing a crime "after deliberation" and again for "malice manifesting extreme indifference to human life."

The movie house rampage stands as one of the most lethal mass shootings in U.S. history and one that ranked briefly as the deadliest in 2012 - until 20 children and six adults were killed last month at a Connecticut elementary school.


Assuming Holmes enters a plea of not guilty, the prosecution will then have 60 days to decide whether to seek the death penalty. But defence attorneys who will return to court on Friday were expected to ask that the arraignment be postponed.

In documents filed on Thursday opposing a media request to allow cameras in the courtroom - as Colorado judges can permit for arraignments - Holmes' team said they were not prepared to enter a plea in the sensational case.

Holmes is accused of entering Theatre 9 of the Century 16 multiplex with a ticket he bought 12 days in advance, then leaving through a rear exit minutes into the movie and re-entering moments later wearing body armour and a gas mask.

Armed with a shotgun, pistol and semi-automatic rifle, authorities say, Holmes lobbed a tear gas canister into the auditorium and sprayed moviegoers with bullets until one of his guns jammed, then surrendered to police without a struggle in the parking lot behind the theatre.

Police testified that Holmes began assembling his collection of guns and ammunition two months before the shooting, scouted out the multiplex weeks ahead of time, and took photos of his arsenal and of himself posed with weapons and body armour.

Holmes had also booby-trapped his apartment near the theatre with explosives, which police said he intended as a diversion to draw authorities away from the movie house while he was carrying out his assault. The bombs were later defused safely.

Officers called to the theatre that night recounted a scene of shooting victims sprawled across a darkened, blood-soaked auditorium as the movie continued to play on the screen and emergency strobe lights flashed.

Holmes' lawyers made no attempt during the preliminary hearing to challenge the case laid out by the prosecution and declined to present evidence or witnesses of their own.

What few points defence lawyers did make through cross-examination appeared to be aimed at calling attention to the erratic behaviour of their client.

A homicide detective acknowledged under defence questioning that Holmes tried to insert a staple into an electrical outlet while being interrogated at police headquarters.

During that interview, in which Holmes had plastic bags placed over his hands to preserve any traces of gunpowder residue, Holmes also gestured with one of the bags as if it were a talking hand puppet, the detective testified.

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Mali asks for help after Islamists capture strategic town

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 07:35 PM PST

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Mali asked for military help from France after residents of the strategic northern town of Konna said Islamist rebels drove out the Malian army on Thursday, the fiercest fighting since militants took control of the country's north nine months ago.

Women hold banners urging national talks to end the political paralysis in the south of Mali, in the capital Bamako January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

Women hold banners urging national talks to end the political paralysis in the south of Mali, in the capital Bamako January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Rihouay

The fall of Konna, about 600 km (375 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako, was a major setback to government forces, which said earlier on Thursday they were making headway against the alliance of al Qaeda-linked rebels.

The U.N. Security Council convened emergency consultations in New York and agreed on a statement in which the members "express their grave concern over the reported military movements and attacks by terrorist and extremist groups in the north of Mali, in particular their capture of the city of Konna.

"This serious deterioration of the situation threatens even more the stability and integrity of Mali, and constitutes a direct threat to international peace and security," the council said after the meeting, which was requested by France.

It also repeated calls for restoration of democracy in Mali and urged U.N. members "to provide assistance to the Malian Defence and Security Forces in order to reduce the threat posed by terrorist organizations and associated groups."

French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud confirmed receipt of a request from the Malian government for military assistance and said the "nature of the response to the letter will be announced in Paris tomorrow."

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice described the request for help from Mali, which was sent to the Security Council: "It wasn't specific, but it basically said, 'Help, France.'"

Western and regional governments are keen to dislodge the Islamists from a desert zone of northern Mali larger than France, which they captured in April, amid concerns they may use it as a launch pad to stage attacks.

Konna was the last buffer between the rebels and Mopti, about 50 km (30 miles) south, which is the main town in the region and is seen as the gateway to the country's north.

After hours of gun battles, heavily armed Islamist fighters paraded in triumph through Konna's centre, saying they would push on to take Mopti and its neighbouring town of Sevare, residents said.

"We took the barracks and we control all of the town of Konna," MUJWA rebel group spokesman Oumar Ould Hamaha told Reuters. "The soldiers fled, abandoning their heavy weapons and armoured vehicles."


News of the fall of Konna sowed panic in Mopti and Sevare, the latter the site of a large military barracks and airport. The towns lie at the crossroads between Mali's desert north and the greener, more populous south.

"We have received the order to evacuate," said the local head of a U.S. aid agency. "We have already pulled all our personnel and material out of Mopti."

Local residents and a Malian soldier based in Sevare told Reuters that military aircraft, including two cargo planes and four helicopters carrying Western-looking soldiers and equipment, had landed at Sevare airport on Thursday night.

The French Defense Ministry declined to comment on the reports, and Mali government and military officials were not immediately available to comment.

While a U.N.-sanctioned intervention by African troops is unlikely before September, due to logistical constraints, world powers could decide to act sooner, a U.N. diplomat said.

"If the offensive continues, I think there will be an emergency decision by the international community," U.N. Special Envoy to the Sahel, Romano Prodi, said during a visit to Bamako on Thursday, without elaborating.

Former colonial power France has been among the most outspoken advocates of an African-led military intervention. Many in Mali's military have also been keen to launch a campaign to reverse their rout by the militants in April.

The U.N. Security Council has approved in principle the idea of an international military intervention in the north, though it has urged African nations to step up detailed planning in consultation with the United Nations.

An army official had earlier said that soldiers had retaken Douentza, a town about 120 km east of Konna, which has been in the hands of Islamists since September.

But residents and a rebel spokesman said Islamists had held their positions inside Douentza, exchanging fire with government troops stationed just outside.

The renewed fighting could derail hopes of a breakthrough at peace talks between the Malian government, the rebels and separatist Tuaregs, which were scheduled to start in Burkina Faso on Thursday, but have been postponed until January 21.

Djibril Bassole, Burkina Faso's foreign minister and regional mediator in the crisis, on Thursday called on the parties to respect a ceasefire deal agreed on December 4 and said the fighting posed a threat to talks.

"The climate of confidence has been greatly degraded, and I am very worried that these talks will not bear fruit," he told reporters in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou.

Ansar Dine, one of the main rebel factions, last week ended its ceasefire because of the plan for military intervention.

Once an example of democracy and development in turbulent West Africa, Mali was plunged into crisis by a March 2012 coup that allowed Tuareg rebels to seize the north, demanding an independent homeland. Their rebellion was hijacked by Islamists.

Bickering among Mali's political elite over a roadmap to end the post-coup transition is causing paralysis and damaging efforts to unite the country with elections to choose a replacement for a caretaker government.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Bamako on Wednesday calling for an end to the political crisis, blocking the city's two main bridges. The government responded on Thursday by shutting down schools in Bamako and Kati until further notice.

(Additional reporting by Adama Diarra, Bate Felix, Cheick Diouara, Louis Charbonneau, and Mathieu Bonkoungou; Writing by Bate Felix, Daniel Flynn, and Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Peter Millership, Pravin Char and Stacey Joyce)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

U.S., Afghanistan discuss "last chapter" in war aims - Panetta

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 07:27 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and Afghan President Hamid Karzai discussed on Thursday the "last chapter" in building a sovereign Afghanistan that can provide its own security, including the nature of U.S. involvement after combat troops withdraw in 2014.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) and President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (L) smile at a remark by Karzai before their meeting at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (R) and President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai (L) smile at a remark by Karzai before their meeting at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, January 10, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Panetta said he and Karzai made "very good progress" on the issues they discussed, but he declined to say whether they had agreed on the size of any residual U.S. force that would remain in Afghanistan to do counterterrorism operations and training once combat troops withdraw.

Panetta said both sides were committed to the goals approved at the NATO summit in Chicago in May, which calls for a continuing effort by members of the alliance to train, advise and assist Afghan forces. Karzai is scheduled to meet President Barack Obama on Friday for more talks on the remaining issues.

The Obama administration has been considering a residual force of between 3,000 and 9,000 troops in Afghanistan to conduct counterterrorism operations while providing training and assistance for Afghan forces. But the administration said this week it did not rule out a complete withdrawal after 2014.

While Karzai has been critical of U.S. troop activity in Afghanistan, it is unclear how Afghan forces would perform without U.S. helicopters, medical facilities, intelligence and other military support, of which Afghanistan has very little.

"After a long and difficult past, we finally are, I believe, at the last chapter of establishing ... a sovereign Afghanistan that can govern and secure itself for the future," Panetta told Karzai after a welcoming ceremony at the Pentagon that included an honour guard and 21-gun salute.

Panetta said 2013 would mark an important step in the war, with Afghans due to take over the lead role for security across the country.

"We've come a long way towards a shared goal of establishing a nation that you and we can be proud of, one that never again becomes a safe haven for terrorism," Panetta said. "Our partnership, forged ... through almost 11 years of shared sacrifice, is a key to our ability to achieve the final mission."


Karzai's three-day visit to Washington follows a year of growing strains on the U.S.-Afghan partnership, including incidents in which Afghan soldiers or police attacked and killed U.S. or coalition troops. U.S. forces also were involved in a series of incidents that enraged Afghans, including burning Korans, which touched off days of rioting.

In addition to discussing the U.S. troop presence after 2014, the two countries are negotiating long-term support for the Afghan military. Afghan officials came with a list of military equipment, including aircraft, they hoped to obtain.

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he and Afghan Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi discussed the equipment issue and agreed to start with a broader review of Afghanistan's threats and military needs.

"What we talked about yesterday was ... let's move beyond a wish list of equipment and start by discussing what is your vision for the future of the Afghan military against threats and requirements," Dempsey said.

"He was very open, very eager to enter into that kind of comprehensive strategic review, and from that will come ... a view of how to move from where they are today, which is clearly focused on counterinsurgency, to something they may wish to become in the future," he said.

Karzai, in remarks in Panetta's office, said he was confident that the two sides during his trip would "work out a modality for a bilateral security agreement" in the interests of both countries.

The United States is insisting on immunity for any U.S. troops that remain in Afghanistan. That question also may come up at Karzai's talks with Obama on Friday.

(Editing by Paul Simao and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Del Potro beats Baghdatis to reach Kooyong final

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 07:34 PM PST

MELBOURNE: Argentine Juan Martin del Potro crushed Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-1 to reach the final of the Kooyong Classic Friday, taking barely an hour to complete the demolition job.

Cypriot Baghdatis, the Australian Open finalist from 2006, was left flat-footed on a windy day at the former home of the Open as he went down with more than 20 unforced errors in his abbreviated appearance.

Del Potro, the 2009 US Open winner who has twice reached the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, kept his mistakes to fewer than 10 in the rout at the tune-up event prior to Monday's start of the first major of the season.

Del Potro will test himself on Saturday against Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who won the Kooyong title in his first appearance in 2011.

The 24-year-old Argentine will need to put his emotions aside as he takes on his favourite player from childhood.

"Hewitt is my idol," said the South American, who has won two of the three matches he has played against the 31-year-old Australian, a former world number one and two time Grand Slam winner.

"It will be an interesting match for me. He was always my favourite player. he's a good example for me, a great champion."

Once del Potro got his big serve uncranked and found his feet in the blowing, hot conditions, there was little hope for Baghdatis, who commands a huge fan base in multi-ethnic Melbourne due to his Cypriot nationality.

Del Potro dominated in the closing stages, winning eight of the last nine games as he uncoiled his arsenal in the one-way second set.

"It's a nice court to play on, and this week is very good preparation for the Open, It's important to be winning matches," he said.

"I improved a bit today but I need to do that even more for next week if I want to have a chance to win.

Baghdatis plays his Australian Open first round against Albert Ramos of Spain while del Potro, the 16th seed, faces a qualifier. - AFP

Azarenka may face Serena in Australian Open semi-final

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 07:33 PM PST

MELBOURNE: World number one Victoria Azarenka and 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams were Friday pitted in the same half of the women's singles draw for next week's Australian Open.

Azarenka, who broke through for her first major title in beating Maria Sharapova in last year's Melbourne final, faces a tough task to defend her crown with a potential semi-final against the American great.

Second seed Sharapova has Polish world number four Agnieszka Radwanska in her bottom half of the draw.

The Belarusian Azarenka will open her title defence against Romania's Monica Niculescu while five-time Australian Open champion Williams takes on another Romanian, Edina Gallovits-Hall, first up.

Sharapova, who pulled out of the lead-in Brisbane International tournament with a collarbone problem, gets her campaign underway against fellow Russian Olga Puchkova.

Radwanska, who is on a winning streak of eight matches this year and will go into the Australian Open having already played in two finals in Auckland and Sydney in 2013, faces Australian Bojana Bobusic in the opening round.

China's sixth seed Li Na faces a potential quarter-final with Radwanska, whom she lost to in the Sydney semis on Thursday.

In other prominent first round pairings, former world number one and 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki starts against German Sabine Lisicki and 2010 French Open champion and unseeded Francesca Schiavone plays 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur will look to get her home Grand Slam off to a winning start against Taiwan's Kai-Chen Chang, and could face China's Zheng Jie, who beat her this week in Sydney, if she makes the second round.

Quarter-final projections based on seeding: Victoria Azarenka v Sara Errani, Serena Williams v Petra Kvitova, Li Na v Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber v Maria Sharapova. - AFP

Djokovic, Murray drawn to meet in Australian final

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 07:34 PM PST

MELBOURNE: World number one Novak Djokovic and his US Open conqueror Andy Murray have been put in separate halves of the men's singles draw at the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on Monday.

In the official draw made Friday, Djokovic faces a potential semi-final against Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, while 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer could face world number three Murray in the last four.

Djokovic, bidding for a hat-trick of Australian Open victories after downing Rafael Nadal in a titanic five-set final last year, will start his defence against Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round.

Second seed Federer, bidding for his fifth Australian title, begins his Melbourne campaign against Frenchman Benoit Paire, while Murray takes on Dutchman Robin Haase first up.

Eleven-time Grand Slam winner Nadal will miss the year-opening slam with a stomach virus.

In other prominent first-round pairings, former world number one Lleyton Hewitt, unseeded this year, takes on Serbian eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic, while in-form fellow Australian Bernard Tomic faces Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.

Leading Asian ranked player Kei Nishikori of Japan takes on Romanian Victor Hanescu first up and has been drawn in the second quarter with Ferrer.

Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a finalist here in 2008 and seeded seven, opens against fellow countryman Michael Llodra.

Quarter-final projections based on seedings: Novak Djokovic v Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer v Janko Tipsarevic, Juan Martin Del Potro v Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Roger Federer. - AFP


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Maybank Research keeps Buy on Hock Seng Lee

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 06:26 PM PST

Published: Friday January 11, 2013 MYT 10:26:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Investment Bank Research is maintaining its Buy call on Hock Seng Lee after the Sarawak-based company secured a RM49mil contract.

"We continue to rate the stock a BUY with an unchanged target price of RM2.25, pegged to 12 times FY13 earnings," it said on Friday.

Maybank Research said the RM49mil contract from Lembaga Kemajuan Bintulu for the infrastructure works at Samalaju Industrial Park in Bintulu was a good replenishment.

It said assuming 18% gross margin for the job, it estimated RM6.6mil net profit contribution into FY14. This worked out to be 1.1 sen earnings per share to be recognised in the current and next year.

The research house said this contract would add about 4% to its outstanding order book of RM1.1bil as at September 2012.

Last year, it secured about RM525mil in new contracts, while this year's job win value should at least match last year's.

"Total contract values at hand should be about RM1.9bil," it said.

DRB-Hicom slips after privatisation denial

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 06:02 PM PST

Published: Friday January 11, 2013 MYT 10:03:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: DRB-Hicom Bhd's share price fell to a low of RM2.65 on Friday after it said it was unaware of plans by the major shareholder to take it private.

At 9.47am, it was down two sen to RM2.68. There 1.08 million shares done at prices ranging from RM2.65 to RM2.69.

The FBM KLCI was up 4.93 points to 1,689.50. Turnover was 164.49 million shares valued at RM88.69mil. Advancers beat decliners 194 to 103 while 200 shares were unchanged.

On Thursday, DRB-Hicom reiterated that it had not been approached on any privatisation plan. Its management also revealed that it was considering a possible listing of the Proton distribution business, the proposal was still at a preliminary stage.

In a separate media article, DRB-Hicom's group managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil said, "I believe that DRB-Hicom is in no position to be privatised. We are still in the state of rationalising Proton and some of our businesses as well."

Ford doubles dividend to highest in seven years

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 05:49 PM PST

Ford Motor Co doubled its quarterly dividend on Thursday to 10 cents per share, its highest in seven years, betting it can boost earnings even as it tries to staunch losses in Europe and deal with flagging market share in the United States.

The automaker's move, which could attract yield-hungry investors, reflects Ford's belief that it has the firepower to overhaul its European unit. Ford expects to lose at least $3 billion in Europe over the next two years.

"The doubling of the dividend illustrates Ford's internal confidence in the amount of cash that will be required to execute its European restructuring plan," said Jefferies analyst Peter Nesvold in a research note.

Ford's shares rose 37 cents, or 2.8 percent to $13.84 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The first-quarter payout to common shareholders will cost the No. 2 U.S. automaker more than $370 million. The Ford family, which holds a separate group of shares that hold more voting power, will receive $7 million a quarter.

Ford last paid a 10-cent dividend in June 2006. Shortly after that, the company reduced and later suspended its quarterly payout as it scrambled to avoid bankruptcy during the height of the recession.

"Ford's plan is to grow its dividend, consistent with earnings and liquidity growth, to a level that is sustainable through all business cycles," Ford said on Thursday.

The larger-than-expected increase was announced earlier than analysts predicted. Nesvold, who expected the move to occur in late 2013, boosted his price target on the stock by $2 to $16.

Ford shares, which gained 20 percent in 2012, jumped as much as 3.5 percent to $13.94 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of rival General Motors rose 42 percent last year.

At the Detroit auto show next week, Ford will unveil a compact crossover under its luxury brand, Lincoln, as well as an early look of its upcoming F-150 pickup truck, the top-selling vehicle in the United States.

Ford is struggling to keep up with consumer demand in the United States, where its market share fell to 15.5 percent in 2012 from 16.8 percent in 2011.

Automotive consulting firm Polk forecasts Ford's U.S. market share will fall further, to 15 percent this year and 14.5 percent in 2014.

Analysts said the dividend increase bodes well for fourth-quarter earnings, due this month. Ford's U.S. sales crossed 2 million cars last year. In the third quarter, Ford posted record 12-percent margins in North America.

The increased dividend is payable on March 1 to shareholders of record on January 30. RBC Capital Markets analyst Joseph Spak predicted that Ford would continually grow the dividend as the company's earnings and liquidity improves. - Reuters


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Movies coming soon

Posted: 11 Jan 2013 01:53 AM PST

Story file not found.

Tom Cruise stars in action adventure flick Oblivion

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 02:44 PM PST


AN action-adventure drama based on the graphic novel by Joseph Kosinski, who also happens to be the director of this film (he also made Tron: Legacy). Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Melissa Leo head the cast. Apparently, the film was shot in digital 4K resolution on locations across the United States and Iceland).

It's the future, and Earth doesn't look anything like it does today. The planet has pretty much become uninhabitable after decades of war with an enemy known as the Scavs.

Jack Harper (Cruise) works as a repairman stationed on the planet as part of an operation to extract resources. One day a spacecraft comes crashing down from the sky and his perspective of everything is changed forever (must be the sight of Morgan Freeman in those funky shades).

The initial trailer promises wild flight and fight sequences and striking scenes of a significantly different planet Earth. Oh, and there seems to be some kind of big misconception about the nature of the war, too.

Oblivion is set for wide release in the United States on April 19 (the IMAX version hits theatres a week earlier). No Malaysian release date yet, but hopefully we'll get it around that time, too.

'The Hunger Games' leads at People's Choice awards

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 03:29 AM PST

LOS ANGELES: Post-apocalyptic action film "The Hunger Games" was the big winner at the People's Choice Awards on Thursday, picking up five awards including favourite movie of the year, while singer Katy Perry again led in the music categories.

Hosted by "The Big Bang Theory" actress Kaley Cuoco, the People's Choice Awards named winners in more than 40 categories across film, television and music. About 475 million fans voted through the People's Choice website.

"The Hunger Games," based on the trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, beat out "The Avengers," "The Amazing Spider-Man," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Snow White and the Huntsman" for the coveted favourite movie accolade.

Jennifer Lawrence, who plays "Hunger Games" heroine Katniss Everdeen, won the favourite movie actress award over Mila Kunis, Emma Stone, Anne Hathaway and Scarlett Johansson.

"Thank you for loving movies as much as I do, and loving this movie and voting," Lawrence said.

"The Hunger Games" was also named favourite action film and favourite movie franchise, while its stars Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth won favourite on-screen chemistry.

The People's Choice is the first of Hollywood's annual awards shows, but unlike the Oscars or the Golden Globes, the winners are determined by fans, so it provides few insights into likely winners of the movie industry's top honors in February.

"The Avengers," which was nominated in eight categories, didn't go home empty-handed. Robert Downey Jr. was named favourite movie actor for his role as Iron Man in the superhero ensemble box office hit.

"You've chosen wisely," the actor joked on stage.

Adam Sandler picked up the fan favourite award for comedic actor, while former "Friends" star Jennifer Aniston picked up the favourite comedic movie actress award, beating out Mila Kunis, Reese Witherspoon, Emily Blunt and Cameron Diaz.

"I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to be honored with this, after supporting me for almost 20 years," Aniston said.

Emma Watson of "Harry Potter" fame picked up the favourite dramatic actress accolade for her role in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower."

"Perks" was also named favorite dramatic movie, while "Ted," the raunchy R-rated comedy from "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, was named favourite comedy film.


Katy Perry took home four trophies this year, including favourite female artist and a surprise win for favourite pop artist over Justin Bieber.

Fan favourite Taylor Swift beat out Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood for favourite country artist.

"You guys have blown my mind with what you've done with this album 'Red.' I want to thank you for caring about my music and me," the singer said in her acceptance speech.

Her chart-topping album "Red," which the singer based on her experiences, was one of 2012's top-sellers. The singer attended the awards alone following a widely reported split from boyfriend Harry Styles of U.K. boy band One Direction.

Maroon 5 picked up the favourite band award. The band's popularity skyrocketed in 2012 after lead singer Adam Levine served as a judge on television talent show "The Voice."

British boy band The Wanted won favourite breakout artist.

In the television categories, CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory" was named favourite network comedy, while ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" picked up favourite network drama.

Ellen Pompeo of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Castle" actor Nathan Fillion won the favourite TV dramatic actress and actor awards, while "Glee" stars Lea Michele and Chris Colfer picked up the favourite TV comedic actress and actor awards.

Sandra Bullock was named favourite humanitarian for her efforts in helping victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. - Reuters


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Chin: Intended takeover of Syabas violates water concession agreement

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 07:51 AM PST

PUTRAJAYA: The Selangor government cannot take over Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) for it violates the conditions stipulated in the water concession agreement, said Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui.

He said the company was appointed to manage and administer water supply in Selangor in 2004 and the state government would be liable if it were to terminate the contract.

Commenting on Selangor's demand to take over water operations from Syabas to resolve water woes in the Klang Valley, he said the state government should instead hold talks with Syabas for the acquisition could only materialise if Syabas agree to it.

"Let me tell Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim that the federal government had never stopped the state from taking over the company because we do not have any equity in the company except for a golden share for the purpose of monitoring," he told reporters.

Khalid had asserted that Syabas' failure to fulfil its responsibilities under the concession agreement with the state in providing services to consumers has made it imperative for the state to step in.

He said this in the wake of the water crisis in 90 areas in Gombak and Ampang allegedly due to the Wangsa Maju water pump house operating at excess capacity, affecting nearly 500,000 users.

Urging the state government to stop blaming Syabas for the water crisis, Chin said: "This is not a takeover issue, instead all quarters, namely the state government, Syabas and the federal government should sit down and find a solution to ensure that this problem does not recur for water is the basic need of the people.

"The federal government is ever willing to help in any way it can and plan future water needs." - Bernama

Related Stories:
S'gor MB Khalid: Water supply disruptions prove Syabas not carrying out duties
Syabas: Water crisis in Ampang and Cheras to continue till CNY

5.7 magnitude quake hits northern Sumatra

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 07:49 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: A moderate earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale hit northern Sumatra in Indonesia at 9.47pm Thursday.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department said the location of the quake was 101km southwest of Banda Aceh in Indonesia and 554km southwest of Langkawi, Kedah.

The quake did not pose any tsunami threat, the statement added. - Bernama

By-pass pipe to be ready Sunday to bring some relief to Klang Valley water crisis

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 06:21 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Work to install a by-pass pipe to channel water via the gravity method from the Dusun Kubong water retention pond to AU3 Baru and AU3 Lama suction tanks is scheduled to be completed by Sunday.

National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chief executive officer Datuk Teo Yen Hua said when completed, water supply to the two tanks need not go through the Wangsa Maju pump house.

"The water disruption in the Klang Valley was caused by the reduction of pumping rate of 30 million litres per day (MLD) of water supply from the Wangsa Maju pump house.

"At this time, the Wangsa Maju pumping system is operating at a restricted flow of 180MLD compared to the previous rate of 210 MLD.

"This is to prevent recurrence of pump failure due to overloading," he said in a statement on Thursday.

He said 30MLD of water that would be available to the two suction tanks would be channelled to areas most in need.

Teo said AU3 Baru supplied water to areas AU1 to AU5, Keramat, Ulu Klang Free Trade Zone and surrounding areas encompassing 16,215 accounts.

AU3 Lama serviced Wangsa Melawati, Taman Permata, Taman Setapak Jaya and surrounding areas with accounts numbering 14,758, he said. Installation of the by-pass pipe, proposed by Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), began on Tuesday after receiving the nod from SPAN.

Teo also said SPAN, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry, Pengurusan Aset Air Berhad (PAAB) and the Selangor governmnet were expediting several mitigation projects to increase supply capacity in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

"In view of the reserve margin of water supply in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya being at a low level currently, consumers are urged to use water sparingly," he said.

About half a million residents in Gombak, Ampang and Pandan in the Klang Valley have been facing intermittent water supply since Dec 29 after the Wangsa Maju pump house experienced malfunctions. - Bernama


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Metro watch

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 03:51 AM PST


Seremban Rest and Service Area (northbound) will be closed from 8.30am-5.30pm today for maintenance works. For details, call 1-800-88-0000.


Roadworks to move the U-turn along Jalan Sungai Besi will be carried out from now till April 1. Motorists are advised to follow the safety sign boards and speed limit. For details, call 017-622 1621 (Ti-Indawati)/ 019-265 2143 (Hasziala).


D'Happy Club is organising a free talk on "Fire Safety & Prevention" on Jan 25 at 10am at 124, Jalan SS2/6, Petaling Jaya. To register, call 012-323 0560 or visit


Klinik Damai Utama and Rukun Tetangga Damai Utama will be organising a free medical check-up, as well as blood and organ donation drive on Jan 12 at the clinic located at 10, Jalan Damai Utama 2, Taman Damai Utama, Puchong from 9.30am-4pm. For details, call 03-8075 2339.


The All Women's Action Society will be hosting a convention on "Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women" and a leadership workshop for university students on Jan 21 (9am to 5pm) and Jan 22 (9am to 2pm) at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. Registration closes on Jan 16. To register, call 03-7877 4221 or email


University of Malaya Malaysian Centre of Regulatory Studies is having a free public talk on "Personal Data Protection Act" at its Law Faculty on Jan 22, from 10am to 11am. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. RSVP before Jan 18. For details, visit


Chempaka Buddhist Lodge is having a free talk on "Kamma", the law of cause and effect on Jan 14 from 8.30pm to 10pm. For details, call 03-7880 3936 or email


Sri Kota Specialist Medical Centre Klang (SKSMC) will be organising a free public forum on "Elderly Health Issues" at the centre on Jan 19 from 8.30am to 1pm. Refreshments will be provided. Admission is free but seats are limited. For details, call 03-3373 3636 ext 7313/ 7335 /7356.


The National Blood Bank is having blood donation drives at TNB Bangsar (9.30am-4pm), Kajang Silk Highway Sungai Balak Toll Plaza (10am-4pm) and Kolej Sains Kesihatan Bersekutu Sungai Buloh (9am-4pm). For details, visit


The cast of Auspiciously Beautiful Year of 2013 will make an appearance at the concourse level of Sungai Wang Plaza from 3.30pm onwards on Jan 12 to promote their latest CNY album. For details, call 03-2148 6109/ visit or be a fan of

Memorable season for two junior golfers

Posted: 10 Jan 2013 03:51 AM PST

THE duo of Feirish Nor Feizal Nor and Kelie Kan Kah Yan ended their previous season on a high note at the SportExcel Premier-Elite golf circuit grand finals at the Monterez Golf and Country Club in Shah Alam recently.

Besides emerging as winners, both captured the top spot in the final overall standings of their respective age-groups.

However, young Feirish of Glenmarie Golf and Country Club had to engage in a tight contest before he overcame his closest challenger Sarah Madzri from Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam (KGPA) at the grand finals.

The 11-handicapper Feirish chalked up a total of 11-over 224 to prevail with a slim one-stroke advantage victory after three rounds of 18 holes.

Despite a praiseworthy one-under 70 effort on the opening day, Feirish found it tough and returned with a score of 79 on the following day before he wrapped up his final day stint with an improved effort of 75.

Sarah also carded a one-under effort in the decisive final round with her steady performances but it was not enough to force the encounter down to the wire.

In contrast, the plucky Kelie from Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort faced a less complicated run for a more comfortable victory in the girls' Under-15 section.

The 12-handicapper Kelie carded a total of 10-over 223 (75-70-78) to finish four strokes ahead of runner-up Chong Yong from Kluang while Rahman Putra's Ong Shi Qing came in third (230).

Meanwhile, it was a keen head-to-head finish for the top two performers in both the boys' and girls' Under-20 categories.

Joshua Gibbons of Rahman Putra edged Paul San from Saujana with two strokes with a total score of one-under 212 (70-70-72) for the victory in the boys' Under-20 category.

Following a modest one-over 72 the first day, Paul fired an impressive three-under 68 but he blew his chances with a two-over 74 in the final 18-hole.

In the girls' Under-20 category, Nur Durriyah Damian from Kundang Lakes won by a solitary stroke over Darul Ehsan's Jung Jin Min with her accumulated effort of 14-over 227.

The recent three-day meet drew a total of 70 junior golfers in seven separate age-groups.

The partners for the last season's Premier-Elite series were CIMB Foundation, National Sports Council and Milo.

RESULTS (Grand Finals)


- Under-Nine

224: Feirish Nor Feizal Nor (Glenmarie) 70-79-75

225: Sarah Madzri (KGPA) 80-75-70

230: Roshan Elayppen (Monterez) 78-78-74


- Under-12

202: Daeng Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz (Johor Junior) 69-71-62

213: Khavish Varman Varadan (Bukit Jalil) 71-74-68

222: K. Rhaasrikanesh (Bukit Jalil) 76-75-71

- Under-15

216: Lucas Yee (Clearwater) 71-74-71

224: Park Chang Uk (Darul Ehsan) 78-74-72

224: Galven Kendall Green (Monterez) 72-76-76

- Under-20

212: Joshua Gibbons (Rahman Putra) 70-70-72

214: Paul San (Saujana) 72-68-74

219: Nick Ang Xia Ee (Danau) 76-72-71


- Under-12

234: Ashley Lau (Bintulu) 80-80-74

245: Geraldine Wong (Bukit Jalil) 89-79-77

248: Winnie Ng Yu Xuan (Bukit Jalil) 86-83-79

- Under-15

223: Kelie Kan Kah Yan (Bukit Jalil) 75-70-78

227: Chong Yong (Kluang) 76-77-74

230: Ong Shi Qing (Rahman Putra) 73-76-81

- Under-20

227: Nur Durriyah Damian (Kundang Lakes) 76-74-77

228: Jung Jin Min (Darul Ehsan) 77-76-75

239: Genevieve Ling I-Rynn (KRTU) 78-80-81


- Under-Nine: 1. Feirish Nor Feizal Nor (Glenmarie) 372 pts; 2. Sarah Madzri (KGPA) 300 pts; 3. Jeneath Wong (Kidz@Golf) 261 pts


- Under-12: 1. Khavish Varman Varadan (Bukit Jalil) 380 pts; 2. K. Rhaasrikanesh (Bukit Jalil) 252 pts; 3. Victor Ng Yu Kai (Bukit Jalil) 184 pts

- Under-15: 1. Aaerishna Shahshty Balakrishnan (Johor) 345 pts; 2. Park Chang Uk (Darul Ehsan) 280 pts; 3. Lucas Yee (Clearwater) 253 pts

- Under-20: 1. Muhammad Asyraf Rosli (Danau) 343 pts; 2. Joshua Gibbons (Rahman Putra) 272 pts; 3. Kim Myong Kon (Darul Ehsan) 228 pts


- Under-12: 1. Winnie Ng Yu Xuan (Bukit Jalil) 281 pts; 2. Geraldine Wong (Bukit Jalil) 262 pts; 3. Siti Sarah Feizal Nor (Glenmarie) 255 pts

- Under-15: 1. Kelie Kan Kah Yan (Bukit Jalil) 390 pts; 2. Siti Zulaikha Shaari (KRTU) 343 pts; 3. Ong Shi Qing (Rahman Putra) 299 pts

- Under-20: 1. Siti Khadijah Amir Mahmood (Glenmarie) 196 pts; 2. Ho Cai Yin (Rahman Putra) 192 pts; 3. Asha Lakshme Balakrishnan (Johor) 190 pts


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Country’s largest urban bus operator picks up the slack and services Kuantan

Posted: 09 Jan 2013 03:48 PM PST

KUANTAN: Eight-day old Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd acted swiftly to answer the request of the Pahang government by providing 15 busses to service the routes left unnatended in Kuantan after Bee Huat Omnibus Company and Seng Heng Bus Company ceased operations earlier this month.

"In the interest of the people of Kuantan, we needed to act swiftly. Hence, we have sent another 15 buses, taken from our Shah Alam Depot to serve the people in Kuantan to serve our new routes. And, yes, making adjustment and redeployment of resources from one division to another are much easier under one company," said Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Zohari Sulaiman.

Prasarana announced last Thursday of its major restructuring exercise with the creation of four new strategic business units – Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd for bus operations; Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd to manage its LRT and monorail services, Prasarana Integrated Management and Engineering Services Sdn Bhd (PRIME); and Prasarana Integrated Development Sdn Bhd, or PRIDE, which will manage its commercial and property development business.

Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd runs the bus services of RapidKL for Klang Valley and Selangor, RapidPenang for Penang and Seberang Prai; and RapidKuantan for operations in Kuantan and the state of Pahang.

According to Zohari, with the additional 15 buses, RapidKuantan, which commenced operations on Dec 1, last year, now has 47 buses in total to serve seven routes including four new ones, which it began servicing from Jan 7.

The four new routes are Route 400 between Kuantan and Pekan, which was formerly serviced by Bee Huat Omnibus Company; Route 500 between Kuantan and Sungai Lembing, which was formerly serviced by Seng Heng Bus Company, Route 101 between Terminal Makmur and Taman Indera Sempurna and Route 301 between Terminal Makmur and Bukit Sagu.

"For Route 400, we have allocated six buses, Route 500 with six buses and Route 101 with five buses. For Route 301 between Terminal Makmur and Bukit Sagu, we are temporarily working with a single bus. Naturally, we would be adding the buses in a near future.

"Again, the biggest challenge for us is the availability of the drivers as the industry as a whole is facing a shortage of bus drivers," Zohari said, adding that despite the additional responsibility born on RapidKuantan, services for its original three routes are keeping to its schedule.

"For the additional buses for operations, we have to recruit another 30 drivers. Under Phase 1, we have recruited 64 drivers," he said, adding that other new routes that are currently being considered included Tanjung Lumpur, Beserah and city services.

Since its operations on December 1, RapidKuantan is providing a free service, which will continue until April 30. Fare collection will start from May 1.

Malacca temple gives back to the community by helping needy children

Posted: 09 Jan 2013 03:53 PM PST

MALACCA: In conjunction with its annual dinner, Lwi Kiat Tian Taoist temple recently donated a sum of RM1,000 to the underprivileged pupils of Pay Hwa Chinese Primary School in Paya Rumput.

According to the organising chairman for the annual dinner, Koh Mui Ann, the donation was aimed at assisting the needy pupils.

"We just wanted to help out and show them we care deeply about every child getting a good education with all the correct tools for the classroom and their homework," Koh said.

Koh added the temple was driven to help because it has become part and parcel of the Paya Rumput community over the past 32 years.

The dinner was officially launched by Paya Rumput MCA representative, Lim Ban Hong who represented Malacca executive councillor, Datuk Seet Har Cheow.

Lim urged a packed hall of about 1,000 people to evaluate what they heard from certain quarters who had the tendency to downgrade the country for their own self-interest.

"We are free today to practice our rich culture and celebrations without hindrance," he said.

Pay Hwa Primary School old boys and Parent-Teacher Association chairman, Datuk Lau Puan Long and Vincent Low, and chairman of the Temple, Teo Ah Chai were among those present at the dinner.

During the dinnerthere was also an auction of religious and prosperity paraphernalia to help raise funds for the maintenance of the temple.

Residents in fear as burglars prey on their homes in the early morning hours

Posted: 09 Jan 2013 03:51 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Residents in Taman Ungku Aminah have yet one more thing to worry about in the morning as they rise early for work.

So far, ten houses along Jalan Perwira 12 have been broken intoincluding the home of Kindergarten teacher Hew Kooi Foon, 44.

Hew explained that when she returned home from work on Jan 3, she was surprised to find her front gates ajar.

"My daughter, who reached home about 10 minutes before me, said she did not dare enter the house when she saw the front gates removed with the fan and lights on inside the house," she told reporters recently.

The mother-of-two said the burglars made away with about RM2,000 in cash, two smartphones, a branded watch and a spare key for her car.

Hew added that she also had to fork out RM2,200 to replace her car's lock system as she was afraid that the burglars might return to steal her car.

Housewife Tan Choy Choo, 52, said her pregnant daughter-in-law was alone at home when a man broke into her house on Dec 22, last year, by removing the windowpanes and sawing the grilles.

"The burglar wanted to hit her with a metal rod when she was about to scream for help but she told him not to harm her as she was pregnant.

"The man then told her to go into her room and she immediately locked herself inside while the burglar took off with SGD$400 (RM992) and RM500, two gold rings and a pair of earrings," she said, adding that both her sons worked in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Skudai assemblyman Dr Boo Cheng Hau said that victims of attempted robberies said they preferred not to lodge a police report because of the tedious procedure.

When contacted, Johor Baru north acting OCPD Supt Beh Eng Lai advised residents to lodge a police report immediately even if there were no losses so that the police are aware of the situation.

"We will beef up patrol but there is no point complaining about the crimes without lodging a police report," he added.


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