Isnin, 14 Januari 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Obama digs in heels, refuses to negotiate debt ceiling

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 08:05 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Monday rejected any negotiations with Republicans over raising the U.S. borrowing limit, accusing his opponents of trying to extract a ransom for not ruining the economy in the latest fiscal fight.

U.S. President Barack Obama takes questions from reporters during a news conference at the White House in Washington, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama takes questions from reporters during a news conference at the White House in Washington, January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

At a White House news conference called to promote his position on the budget, Obama vowed not to trade cuts in government spending sought by Republicans in exchange for raising the borrowing limit.

"What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people," he said.

With an agreement to prevent the economy falling over a "fiscal cliff" barely two weeks old, Washington has already begun skirmishing over a new fiscal issue: the debt ceiling, which fixes a limit on how much the government can borrow.

The United States could default on its debt if Congress does not increase the borrowing limit, a prospect Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned against in separate comments on Monday.

Obama has tangled repeatedly with Congress over budget and spending issues, and on Monday he said Republicans would bear the responsibility for the consequences of a default.

"They can act responsibly, and pay America's bills or they can act irresponsibly, and put America through another economic crisis," he said. "But they will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy."

Republicans want Obama to cut some spending to rein in the deficit before they agree to raise the debt limit again.

Obama must get "serious about spending and the debt limit is the perfect time for it," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said. "The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time," said Republican John Boehner, the House of Representatives speaker.

The last debt ceiling fight, in 2011, upset world financial markets. Obama cast the borrowing issue as one that will affect many Americans and sensitive industries.

"If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America's bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops, or honour our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear material wouldn't get their pay checks," he said.

Obama reminded Republicans that he won the November election partly on his approach to fiscal issues.

The debt limit is one of a trio of deadlines looming around the end of February, including automatic deep spending cuts that were temporarily put off in the "fiscal cliff" deal, and the end of a stopgap government funding measure.

A number of Republicans have said they would be willing to allow a U.S. debt default or a government shutdown to force the Obama administration to accept deeper spending cuts than the White House would like.

Obama's unexpected news conference could have been a pre-emptive strike aimed at influencing strategy sessions among Republican lawmakers scheduled for later this week.

The Treasury Department warned on Monday that the United States will run out of ways to prevent a default in mid-February or early March if the $16.4 trillion ceiling on borrowing is not raised.


Obama said he would agree to talk about steps to trim the U.S. budget deficit, but made clear he wants to keep that discussion separate from the debt ceiling increase.

"The issue here is whether or not America pays its bills," he said. "We are not a deadbeat nation. And so there's a very simple solution to this: Congress authorizes us to pay our bills."

He held to his position that deficit reduction should include measures to raise revenue and not come from spending cuts alone.

Republicans have rejected that approach, saying the "fiscal cliff" deal, which raised taxes for the wealthy while maintaining low tax rates for most Americans, should have put to rest any more discussion over tax increases.

Fiscal issues loomed large during what was the final news conference of Obama's first term, which came a week before an inauguration ceremony that will launch his next four years.

Fights with Congress over taxes and spending have overshadowed much of his domestic agenda during most of the last two years, with the president facing legislative gridlock that shows little sign of abating.

Obama raised the spectre of a severe setback to the U.S. economy if congressional Republicans persist with the threat of a debt default.

"It would be a self-inflicted wound on the economy," he said. "Even entertaining the idea of this happening, of the United States of America not paying its bills, is irresponsible. It's absurd."

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, top White House economic adviser Gene Sperling and Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett later held a conference call with three dozen business leaders to discuss the president's fiscal plans and insist that Congress must raise the debt limit "without drama or delay," a White House official said.

Participants included Honeywell International Inc CEO David Cote, Evercore Partners chairman Roger Altman, Goldman Sachs Group Inc chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, Marriott International Inc chief executive Arne Sorenson, AT&T Inc CEO Randall Stephenson, Xerox Corp chief Executive Ursula Burns, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Deloitte LLP's U.S. chief executive, Joe Echevarria.

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick, Jeff Mason and Steve Holland, Editing by Alistair Bell and Christopher Wilson)

Related Stories:
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Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Pakistani forces fire in air at Islamabad protests

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 08:01 PM PST

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani security forces fired in the air and used tear gas in the capital Islamabad on Tuesday to try and control protests led by an anti-government cleric who is believed to be backed by the military.

Live television coverage showed forces firing in the air - a serious escalation in attempts to control crowds - while supporters of Sufi cleric Muhammad Tahirul Qadri hurled stones at them.

Supporters of Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, leader of Mihaj-ul-Quran wave Pakistani flags during a protest in Islamabad January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Supporters of Muhammad Tahirul Qadri, leader of Mihaj-ul-Quran wave Pakistani flags during a protest in Islamabad January 14, 2013. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

Qadri's spokesman told Reuters the crowds had prevented government forces from arresting the cleric. He said six supporters of the cleric were wounded.

Qadri's call has divided Pakistanis. Some hold him up as a champion of reform, others see him as a possible stooge of the powerful military, which has a history of coups and interfering in elections.

The populist cleric, who says elections scheduled for this spring should be delayed indefinitely until Pakistan's endemic corruption is rooted out, may not pose any immediate threat to the U.S.-backed civilian government.

But his calls for sweeping reforms have weakened the ruling Pakistan Peoples' Party, which has failed to tackle a staggering array of problems - from a Taliban insurgency to crippling power cuts to widespread poverty.

Few believe Pakistan's military has the appetite for another coup, especially since the Supreme Court has been standing up to the generals.

But the army would be happy to see figures like Qadri highlight the government's flaws, and perhaps play a behind-the-scenes role supporting him, analysts say. The military denies backing Qadri.

(Reporting by Mubasher Bukhari; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Train carrying army recruits derails in Egypt, 19 killed

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 07:14 PM PST

CAIRO (Reuters) - A military train carrying young recruits to an army camp derailed in a Cairo suburb on Tuesday, killing 19 people and injuring 107, Egypt's health ministry spokesman said.

The train was travelling from Upper Egypt to Cairo when it derailed in the Giza neighbourhood of Badrashin, a security source said, adding that the train was a military vehicle carrying conscripted youth on their way to an army camp.

People walk around the wreckage of a military train crash in the Giza neighbourhood of Badrashin, about 40 km (25 miles) west of Cairo January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

People walk around the wreckage of a military train crash in the Giza neighbourhood of Badrashin, about 40 km (25 miles) west of Cairo January 15, 2013. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

The injured passengers were taken to hospitals, Ahmed Omar, the health ministry spokesman, told the state news agency MENA.

There was no further information available about the identities of the 17 dead except the names of the hospitals to which their corpses were sent, published on MENA.

"The Egyptian Ambulance Authority has sent 66 ambulance cars to the site of the accident to move the bodies of the injured and the corpses of the victims to hospitals," Omar told MENA.

Egypt's roads and railways have a poor safety record, and Egyptians have long complained that successive governments have failed to enforce even basic safeguards, leading to a string of deadly crashes.

In November, at least 50 people, mostly children, were killed when a train slammed into a school bus at a rail crossing south of Cairo, further inflaming public anger at Egypt's shoddy transport network.

(Reporting by Shaimaa Fayed; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

ATP boss Drewett to step down over ill health

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 05:58 PM PST

MELBOURNE - Men's tennis boss Brad Drewett Tuesday said he was stepping down from the post after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

The 54-year-old Australian said he will continue as executive chairman and president of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) until a replacement is appointed.

"It has been a privilege to serve as executive chairman and president of the ATP, an organisation that I've been a part of for more than 35 years since I became a professional tennis player," Drewett said in a statement.

"I hold the ATP very close to my heart and it's with sadness that I make the decision to enter this transition period due to my ill health."

The sudden announcement, on day two of the Australian Open, prompted a flood of expressions of sympathy from well-wishers including Roger Federer, who called it "very sad news". - AFP

China coach Yongbo backs Malaysian for BWF president post

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 06:17 PM PST

CHINA head coach Li Yongbo has given the thumbs up for Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh to be the president of the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

Yesterday, the 50-year-old Yongbo, who is here for the Maybank Malaysian Open, said Nadzmi could make a difference to the sport with his experience and passion for the game.

Nadzmi, who is the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president, is contemplating going for the BWF job during the world body's election in May. President Dr Kang Young-joong of South Korea has decided not to contest for the post.

"Nadzmi is a good choice. He has the clout and credentials to increase the popularity of the sport to a wider base. I believe he can also improve the hectic schedule in world badminton.

"He has been in the badminton circle for many years and is supportive of the game," said Yongbo, after playing a round of golf at the Tropicana Golf and Country Resort here yesterday.

"Our sport has the potential to be popular beyond the Asian and European region and we need to aggressively promote it."

Yongbo said he had a bone of contention over the hectic tournament calendar and hoped to see the new president change the structure.

"There are just too many tournaments. We need to cut it down. I would suggest that we limit the number of competitions and increase the prize money. Better income will surely widen the participation of the players and motivate them even more," he said.

The former Chinese maestro said the busy calendar was a major cause to early retirements and withdrawals involving Chinese players.

In the season opener, the South Korean Open in Seoul that ended on Sunday, Chen Long (men's singles), Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (men's doubles) and Wang Yihan, Li Xuerui (women's singles) retired because of injuries. In the women's doubles match, Cheng Shu-Zhao Yunlei conceded a walkover to top seeds Yu Yang-Wang Xiaoli and it sparked rumours of match-fixing.

"We do not have any agenda behind our players' retirements or withdrawals. They are sick and sometimes they carry injuries. In Super Series Premier events, all the top 10 players have to compete and most of our players are in the top 10. They have to travel and compete on a regular basis in so many tournaments," said Yongbo.

"Sometimes, we pull them out even if there is a slight pain because we know if they push themselves, they can aggravate the injury. What can we do if the players do not feel comfortable to play? Most of the times, our action is misunderstood.

"Unless the tournament calendar is reviewed or changed, this cycle will only continue."

When asked why he did not throw in his hat for BWF president post with his years of experience as a player, coach and administrator for almost three decades, Yongbo said: "I still enjoy spending time with the China team. They still need my services and there is still a lot to be done. I may consider it when I retire from the post as head coach. But then, one does not have to be a president to contribute. I will do my best to promote the game through the China team."

National cyclists confident of shining in LTdL with new kit

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 04:12 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The national road cycling team have ditched the tiger stripes on their jersey starting with the Le Tour de Langkawi (LTdL) from Feb 21-March 2.

But the team are still hoping to compete in the prestigious race with the same bravado like they did wearing the tiger-striped jersey.

The team will wear the new jersey, courtesy of homegrown company Ciclista, in all International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned races across Asia.

National time trial champion Mohd Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi, Mohd Nor Rizuan Zainal, Mohd Rauf Nur Misbah, Ahmad Fakhrullah Alias, Mohd Ekbar Zaman Huri and London Olympian Amir Mustafa Rusli make up the team for the LTdL this year.

Donning the colourful jersey, which harks back to glory days of M. Kumaresan and Nor Effandy Rosli in the 1990s, the national team are hoping to finish the gruelling race in the top three among the Asian teams.

"And if we work hard enough, we can look to finish in the top 10 in the team general classification this year," said team coach Aminuddin Sulaiman after the unveiling of the new team kit at the LTdL headquarters in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Last year, the team had a tough time. They finished sixth among the Asian teams and 16th overall.

"The cyclists have been clocking up the mileage diligently after our the original plan to send them to Kunming, China, for training in December was cancelled," said Aminuddin.

Team leader Fauzan is looking forward to a good outing after wrapping up the National Cycling Grand Prix time trial title in Malacca in December.

"It will be a tough Tour as there are five Pro Tour teams. And some of them are bringing in the big guns. But we will focus on the task at hand and tackle it day by day," said the 27-year-old.

The five Pro Tour sides are Garmin-Sharp, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Blanco, Astana and Orica-GreenEdge.

The LTdL will visit its home in Langkawi on Feb 20 for team presentation before the race proper starts in Kangar. The race will once again end in Kuala Terengganu.


The Star Online: Business

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Perodua records highest ever sales of 189,000 cars in 2012

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 06:48 PM PST

Published: Tuesday January 15, 2013 MYT 10:48:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd achieved its highest ever sales of 189,000 units in 2012, or an estimated 30.2% market share, since it started operations in 1994.

Perodua managing director Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh said on Tuesday the sales achieved were slightly higher than its target of 188,000 units.

He said the record sales were due to aggressive promotional campaign coupled with a healthy demand for vehicles.

Perodua will commit RM2.32bil to expand its manufacturing and sales business over the next four years.


HL Cap, Maybank, plantations drive KLCI higher

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 05:50 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Hong Leong Capital took the lead in early trade on Tuesday, with banks and plantations also advancing on extended fund buying, with the FBM KLCI seen breaking past the 1,690 level.

At 9.29am, the KLCI was up 4.72 points to 1,689.35. Turnover was 140.39 million shares valued at RM75mil. Advancing counters led decliners nearly two to one, with 137 gainers to 73 losers.

However, Maybank IB Research, in its technical outlook said due to the US markets' mixed tone, it expects the local index to be weaker and volatile on Tuesday on liquidation activities.

On Monday, foreigner were net buyers at RM239.60mil of local equities while retailers were net buyer at RM6.8mil but local institutions were net sellers at RM246.40mil.

At Bursa, HL Cap was the top gainer, rising 29 sen to RM1.71 with 2.47 million shares done. The takeover offer from HLFG was RM1.71. However, HLFG fell two sen to RM14.40. HL Bank was 24 sen lower at RM14.74 on profit taking.

Maybank rose six sen to RM9.09.

Among plantations, IOI Corp rose 10 sen to RM5.16, PPB six sen to RM13.06 and Sime Darby five sen to RM9.61. KL Kepong lost eight sen to RM22.38

Patimas was the most active with 17.15 million shares done, up one sen to 17 sen.


Maybank Research neutral on Hong Leong Capital privatisation

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 05:33 PM PST

Published: Tuesday January 15, 2013 MYT 9:33:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank Investment Bank Research is neutral on the privatisation of Hong Leong Capital (HL Cap), which will streamline the group but has little impact financially on Hong Leong Financial Group (HLFG).

"We maintain our Buy on HLFG with a marginally higher sum-of-parts derived target price of RM15.70 (RM15.60 previously), on pegging HL Cap's valuation to its book value," it said on Tuesday. To recap, HLFG plans to take private HL Cap via a cash offer at RM1.71 a share, which is one sen above its book value of RM1.70 a share end-September 2012. The offer is also a 20% premium to its closing price of RM1.42 a share.

"The offer is fair, in our view. Given the lack of liquidity and interest, HL Cap has historically traded at a discount to book value and this would be an opportunity for HL Cap shareholders to cash out at a decent price. HLFG does not intend to maintain the listing status of HL Cap and there will be the compulsory acquisition of shares once HFG secures an acceptance of at least 90%," the research house said.

Maybank Research said the cost would be minimal to HLFG. HLFG holds a 79.09% stake in HL Cap (83.2% excluding shares held by HL Cap for ESOS). The acquisition of the remaining stake would entail the purchase of an additional 51.6m shares at a total cost of RM88mil.

The financial impact to the group is immaterial. HL Cap reported a pretax profit of MYR50m in FY12, accounting for 2% of HLFG's group earnings.

"Our sum-of-parts (SOP) valuation for HLFG is raised marginally by 10 sen to RM15.70 to incorporate HL Capital at book value rather than at market price.

"We value 64%-owned HL Bank at a P/BV of 2.1x. 70%-owned HL Assurance and 30%-owned MSIG are pegged to a P/BV of 2.2 times and 1.5 times respectively. Our SOP incorporates a holding discount of 20%," said Maybank Research.



The Star Online: Nation

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Felda pays RM102.12mil in bonus to qualified settlers

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 07:11 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) has paid out RM102.12mil in Settlers Productivity Incentive Bonus (BIPP) for the year 2012 to qualified settlers nationwide.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan said the payment was completed in the third week of December last year for 94,839 of 112,635 settlers as a sign of appreciation for their support to the oil palm and rubber industry development.

"The payment was based on two factors, namely loyalty towards the replanting programme and productivity based on harvest sent to Felda's mills," he told reporters after attending the Felda Transformation Seminar here, Monday.

He said settlers, who abided by the replanting programme undertaken by Felda received a maximum payment of RM1,200 each, while those who worked their own land were evaluated based on harvest sold to Felda.

For oil palm settlers, a minimum bonus entitlement was RM400 was paid for delivering between 9.01 and 12 tonnes per ha of their harvest while a maximum payment of RM1,200 was given to those who supplied more than 20 tonnes per ha.

For rubber settlers, a minimum payment of RM400 was given to those who supplied between 550.01 and 750 kg per ha of their harvest while those who supplied at least 1,300kg per ha received a maximum bonus of RM1,200.

Ahmad said the BIPP payment for 2012, which was higher compared to RM101.87mil to 94,317 settlers the previous year, reflected an increase in the number of settlers sending their harvest to Felda mills, thus denying uncalled for claims before Felda's listing.

Earlier, Ahmad presented a paper entitled the 'Government Transformation Programme: National Aspiration, the People's Hopes' at the seminar, which was attended by 636 Felda senior management personnel. - Bernama

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Water supply disruption in five areas in Selangor

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 07:08 AM PST

Published: Monday January 14, 2013 MYT 10:54:00 PM
Updated: Monday January 14, 2013 MYT 11:08:56 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) said five areas in Selangor would face water disruption due to the closure of the Semenyih water treatment plant.

Its chief operating officer Datuk Lee Miang Koi said the affected areas are Petaling involving 118,000 accounts, Hulu Langat (125,000), Sepang (65,000), Klang (19,000) and Kuala Langat (22,000).

"The Semenyih water treatment plant managed by Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd had to be closed at 1.30pm Monday as the Semenyih River is feared to have been contaminated with palm oil.

"At the moment Syabas is identifying areas that are expected to experience water disruption as a result of the plant's closure," he said in a statement here Monday.

Lee said Syabas had sent a letter to the Selangor government requesting for cooperation to provide water to consumers through tankers and static tanks, as the Semenyih treatment plant was under the state's management.

He said the public could contact Syabas' 24-hour toll-free number at 1800-88-5252 or send an SMS by typing 'PUSPEL' complaint/query to 39222. - Bernama

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Liow: Health Ministry to monitor sales of e-cigarettes

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 04:50 AM PST

BANGI: The Health Ministry will closely monitor the sale of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, said its minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai Monday.

He noted that e-cigarettes containing liquid nicotine in various concentrations were being sold in the market.

"Consumers must be aware that nicotine-laced e-cigarettes are harmful to health and can increase smoking addiction," he told reporters after launching the 'First 1,000 Days of Life Towards Building a Healthy Generation' campaign at Bandar Seri Putra health clinic, here, Monday.

Liow was asked to comment on Sarawak health director, Datuk Dr Zulkifli Jantan's statement that selling, distributing or storing e-cigarettes was an offence under the Poisons Act 1952 and Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984.

E-cigarettes, which use liquid nicotine to produce the required vapour are believed to be sold rampantly and a hit with smokers.

Liow said there was currently no control over the sale of e-cigarettes in the country as they were actually meant to reduce smoking addiction.

However, he said liquid nicotine was listed under the Poisons Act 1952 and it could only be sold through licensed pharmacists and registered medical practitioners.

Liow said a detailed study would be carried out to determine the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in reducing smoking addiction. - Bernama


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

'Argo' wins best drama film Golden Globe

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 11:00 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Ben Affleck's Iran hostage drama "Argo" and musical "Les Miserables" were the big winners Sunday at the Golden Globes, while Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" went home with a disappointing sole award.

Affleck won both best dramatic film and director for his movie about a CIA mission to rescue diplomats in Tehran in 1979, while "Les Miserables" won best film, actor and supporting actress in the musical/comedy category.

As expected Daniel Day-Lewis won best drama actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln, but that was the only top award for Spielberg's film, which had topped the nominations tally with seven at the 70th annual Globe awards.

And favorite Jessica Chastain meanwhile won best drama actress as a relentless CIA agent tracking down Osama bin Laden in Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," while Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" won two key prizes.

But the night, to the surprise of some, belonged to Affleck, who took the top two prizes.

The actor-director, who plays a CIA agent who rescues six US diplomats from the Canadian ambassador's residence in Tehran in 1979, paid tribute to real-life agents and diplomats, including the actual character he played.

"Really this award is about Tony Mendez. You saw him. He's an American hero. He represents the (US) foreign service making sacrifices every day for Americans. Our troops overseas. I want to thank them very much," he said.

The movie has been accused of taking liberties with history, notably by exaggerating the role of the CIA in getting the US diplomats out, at the expense of the Canadian envoy in Tehran at the time.

But it was a vindication of sorts for Affleck, who was snubbed in the Oscar nominations announced last week, failing to win a best director nod.

Speaking backstage, George Clooney, a producer on "Argo," admitted he was "disappointed," and that Affleck "should have been nominated" for the February 24 Oscars show. "It's disappointing, but we're not dead yet," he added.

Meanwhile "Les Miserables," a musical adapted from the Victor Hugo book, won best musical/comedy movie, and Australian Hugh Jackman won best actor for his all-singing role, and co-star Anne Hathaway won best supporting actress.

Hathaway won for her portrayal of the young mother and prostitute Fantine, beating fellow nominees Amy Adams in "The Master," Sally Field in "Lincoln," Helen Hunt in "The Sessions" and Nicole Kidman in "The Paperboy."

Day-Lewis, who had been widely expected to win for his turn in "Lincoln," had to make do with being the only big winner for Spielberg's movie - which has also topped nominations for next month's Oscars.

Former president Bill Clinton provided one of the biggest surprises of the night, taking the stage to pay tribute to Spielberg's movie and to the iconic 16th US president.

"A tough fight to push a bill through a bitterly divided House of Representatives - winning it required the president to make a lot of unsavory deals ... I wouldn't know anything about that," he quipped.

Tarantino's blood-soaked spaghetti Western tribute "Django Unchained" meanwhile won two Globes: best supporting actor for Austrian Christoph Waltz, and best screenplay for the "Pulp Fiction" director himself.

"This is a damn surprise, and I'm happy to be surprised," said Tarantino, whose film tells the story of a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who teams up with a dentist-turned-bounty-hunter a few years before the American Civil War.

British songstress Adele, making her first red carpet appearance since giving birth in October, won best song for the theme tune from James Bond blockbuster "Skyfall."

"Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence won best musical/comedy actress for rom-com "Silver Linings Playbook," while best original score went to Ang Lee's "Life of Pi." Scottish-themed "Brave" won best animated feature.

Best foreign language film went to Austrian Michael Haneke's "Amour," which won the Cannes Palme d'Or last year.

On the small screen, terrorism-themed thriller "Homeland" and the quirky Brooklyn hipster comedy "Girls" took top television honors.

"Homeland," which wrapped its second season on the Showtime cable channel last month, won for best dramatic series, as well as best actress and best actor for its two stars, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.

One of the most intriguing moments of the night came from Jodie Foster.

Receiving a special award, the "Silence of the Lambs" star teased the Globes, hailing her female ex-partner as "one of the deepest loves of my life" - but then denying she was confirming longstanding rumors that she is lesbian.

"Seriously, I hope that you're not disappointed that there won't be a big coming-out speech tonight, because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age."

Early story

LOS ANGELES: Ben Affleck's Iran hostage crisis thriller "Argo" won the Golden Globe for best drama film on Sunday, at the climax of Hollywood's biggest pre-Oscars awards show.

Affleck had already won the best director Globe for the movie, about a CIA mission to free six US diplomats who took refuge in the Canadian ambassador's residence in Tehran during the 1979 crisis.- AFP

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Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor Globe for 'Lincoln' (Update)
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Ben Affleck wins best director Globe for "Argo" (Update)
'Django' wins early Globes, but Spielberg eyes gold
Anne Hathaway wins best supporting actress Globe (Update)
Austria's 'Amour' wins best foreign language Globe
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Daniel Day-Lewis wins best actor Globe for 'Lincoln' (Update)

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 08:18 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor Golden Globe on Sunday for his title role in Steven Spielberg's presidential drama "Lincoln."

The British-Irish star beat fellow nominees Richard Gere in "Arbitrage," John Hawkes in "The Sessions," Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master" and Denzel Washington in "Flight."

"My fellow nominees, boys and girls, such beautiful performances this year. I'm very proud to be one amongst you," said Day-Lewis, paying tribute to Spielberg as a "humble master with a quicksilver imagination" and a friend.

"You have given me an experience that I will treasure until the end of my life," the actor said.

Earlier story

LOS ANGELES: Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor Golden Globe on Sunday for his title role in Steven Spielberg's presidential drama "Lincoln."

The British-Irish star beat fellow nominees Richard Gere in "Arbitrage," John Hawkes in "The Sessions," Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master" and Denzel Washington in "Flight." -AFP

List of 2013 Golden Globe film winners

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 08:18 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Here is a list of the winners in all movie categories for the 2013 Golden Globe awards, handed out Sunday at the Beverly Hilton hotel:

Best drama film: "Argo"

Best comedy or musical film: "Les Miserables"

Best director: Ben Affleck for "Argo"

Best actor, drama: Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"

Best actress, drama: Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best actor, musical or comedy: Hugh Jackman in "Les Miserables"

Best actress, musical or comedy: Jennifer Lawrence in "Silver Linings Playbook"

Best supporting actor: Christoph Waltz in "Django Unchained"

Best supporting actress: Anne Hathaway in "Les Miserables"

Best foreign language film: "Amour"

Best screenplay: "Django Unchained"

Best original score: "Life of Pi"

Best animated feature: "Brave"


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Inua Ellams - A poet by design

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 05:40 AM PST

A poet and spoken word artist shares how he uses words to paint images.

"…on long bus rides

I close my eyes and try to hear drumbeats

from Nigeria- the mother land calling.

I be like "yes mum, I'm hearing ya"

It's like some ciphered world

with armies of sounds

and underground cultures

with talon-less vultures

trying to pierce my skin

and place talking drums within." – Inua Ellams

Meeting Inua Ellams after watching him perform can be a surprising experience. Onstage, the poet and spoken word artist has a commanding presence, his thrumming voice and hypnotic syllables practically demanding that you pay attention. In person, however, Ellams seems younger than his 28 years of age, given to quick, shy smiles and sudden giggle fits.

It is precisely this contrast, though, that makes him so easy to warm up to, as I discovered during a recent interview, when Ellams was brought down to Kuala Lumpur by British Council Malaysia to perform at the Urbanscapes festival in Petaling Jaya, Selangor and conduct a poetry workshop.

While his prowess with poetry can initially intimidate you, a few minutes of conversation is all it takes to induce you to chat away like old friends.

Even in conversation though, you never forget that within this affable young man resides the soul of a poet, thanks to his lyrical turns of phrases, the lilting cadences of his speech, and his sudden unusual observations of everyday matters.

Born in Nigeria and growing up predominantly in London, Ellams came by poetry almost by accident in 2003. His first passion, which he continues to indulge in today, was graphic design and art. Poverty, he says bluntly, ushered him towards poetry.

"I was too broke to buy paint," he shares. "I had massive immigration problems, so I wasn't allowed to work officially, and I couldn't go to university. So I read a lot, books like the Malcolm X biography, and became an 'angry black man' in South London.

"And then someone gave me Amethyst Rock Star by (American musician and poet) Saul Williams, and I thought, if that was poetry, I could get onboard with it. I had spent my whole life wanting to be in design, to create art. So I thought, I could paint a picture with words. That's how my poetry started, and that's how I write poetry, with lots of imagery."

From these humble beginnings, Ellams has risen to being hailed as one of Britain's exciting young creatives, and has had his works commissioned by organisations as diverse as London's National Theatre, the British Museum, and the Royal Opera House, not to mention performed at countless festivals and spoken word events around the world.

Ellams' works, featuring evocative titles like Candy Coated Unicorns And Converse All Stars and 13 Fairy Negro Tales, use pop culture, city life and cultural backgrounds to explore many different facets of life, but all have one underlying theme.

"The one fundamental recurring theme in all my works is that I don't believe we're different from anyone else. We're all different versions of the same people. So when I write, culture and tradition sit at the top of the framework, but below is universal human emotion," he explains.

His style, however, has evolved since his early days.

"When I first started, it was extremely wild and imaginative, with far too many similes and metaphors, and as much rhythm packed into it as possible," he shares. "Then I met the poet Kwame Dawes, who critiqued my poems and put the fear of poetry in me.

"I didn't write again for six months, but when I did, my writing was much more controlled."

While he first gained recognition as a spoken word (performance poetry) artist, over the years, Ellams has gradually come to identify himself more as a poet. And yes, he says, there is a difference.

"Spoken word is written for the voice of the performer, it has a lot of their personality roped into it. And when you write for the stage, the audience is only going to digest the piece in that one setting.

"Things that need to be dissected only work when they're written down. Poetry can be read and appreciated on the page. Poetry should simply be delicious in the mouth, no matter who is reading it," he says.

He sees spoken word, he says, as a bar brawler – "it can sometimes be all about style and bombast" – while poetry is an old martial arts master.

"I don't think one is necessarily better than the other, but I have my sights set on being a master," he adds.

Ellams shares that he no longer writes spoken word pieces, preferring instead to focus on poetry and plays. He points out though, that the inherent musicality and rhythm of his writing work well when it is read out.

"I'm aware of the decline of spoken word; these days, anyone with a decent grasp of performance style can say they're a spoken word artist. I still want spoken word to be a brand of poetry, instead of just speaking with style. I'm trying to bring more poetry to spoken word."

And if he had to pick between being a poet and a graphic designer?

"I'd probably pick poetry. Most nights, I go to bed and wake up thinking of poetry."

Inua Ellams' poetry can be seen on YouTube, or visit his website at:


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Teen fencer slogs to defeat team-mate Imran

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 04:53 AM PST

LANKY fencer Megat Zuhril Megat Zariman nailed his first victory of the season in the boys' junior foil contest at the Prince of Wales International School fencing meet in Penang recently.

The 16-year-old student of Alice Smith School was forced to slog for a hard-earned victory over his Touche Fencing Club teammate Imran Seth before he prevailed with a slim 6-5 win in the final.

It was a low-scoring confrontation as both finalists produced a total of 11 hits in three periods of two-minute each.

And the southpaw Zuhril said he felt the fatigue taking part in two tournaments, including the recent Malaysian Fencing Federation (MFF) President's Cup championships at the National Sports Council (NSC) in Bukit Jalil.

"Both of us took part in the boys' cadet (Under-17) foil category at the President's Cup earlier before we went up to Penang.

"Imran also felt the exhaustion. He had a tougher semi-final bout before he came through with a narrow 14-13 win over his opponent. It was a very taxing exercise to compete in three events over three days. Although it was not a major competition, it was great to secure a win to complete the season on a high note. I am looking forward to doing better in the new season," he added.

Following the fruitful outing in Penang, Zuhril, representing Penang, returned to compete in the junior (Under-20) category of the President's Cup.

After settling for second in the cadet section, Zuhril was the losing semi-finalist in the junior category.

On both occasions, he went down to a more experienced southpaw contender Andrew Mok of Kuala Lumpur.

Zuhril said he still lacks the endurance in matching Andrew in the 15-point scoring system of the full regulation duration of three periods of two-minute each.

"I created an upset edging Andrew with a narrow 5-4 win in the pool match-up to top the group standings and advanced to the elimination round as the second seed of the cadet. But, I lost tamely (4-15) to Andrew in the final of the cadet section followed by another defeat (6-15) in the semi-final of the junior category. I will need to put in the extra effort in narrowing the gap. I am fortunate because Andrew is willing to share and spar during training sessions at the club," he added.

The Klang Valley-based Touche training camp had a strong representation on the podium with Imran, who is also representing Penang, finishing third in the boys' cadet foil section.

The eventual cadet champion Andrew ended the top ranked Imran's campaign at the top half of the draw with an untroubled 15-4 win.

However, Andrew failed in his bid to clinch a double when he went down 6-15 to Perak's Izzul Shawal Shamsudin in the boys' junior foil final.

Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur's Tyanne Fong also provided the joy for the club with her victory in bagging the top spot in the girls' cadet foil and finished joint third in the junior section.

In addition, Daevina Summugam from Kuala Lumpur complemented her runner-up finish in the girls' junior foil by finishing in joint third position of the cadet section.

Besides Danton Prem Weil emerging as the runner-up in the boys' cadet epee, another of the club's trainee Athirah Che Azizuddin also picked up a bronze in the girls' junior epee.

Philips and NCSM raise awareness about breast cancer

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 04:53 AM PST

AS PART of the Philips global breast cancer awareness campaign, Royal Philips Electronics is collaborating with the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM) to raise awareness and educate communities about breast cancer.

The Best Breast Cancer Screening and Awareness Competition also aims to focus on prevention through lifestyle modifications and will involve the underprivileged.

Breast cancer, one of the four most prominent non-communicable diseases (NCDs), continues to be the most common type of ailment among women.

The latest Health Ministry report, with statistics until 2007, said 29 out of every 100,000 Malaysian women had breast cancer, making it the leading cause of mortality among them.

Over 3,700 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, with the Chinese community being the worst affected followed by Malays and Indians. In addition, one in every 20 women is at risk of suffering breast cancer in her lifetime.

Non-communicable diseases are the biggest cause of death worldwide, with more than 36 million deaths in 2008 .

In effect, two of every three deaths in the world are due to NCDs, rightly described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general as a slow motion disaster.

South-East Asia also faces an NCD epidemic, with 2.5 million deaths annually and is responsible for 60% of deaths in the region. As the impact of NCDs increases, annual NCD deaths are projected to continue to rise worldwide.

As observed in many advanced developing countries, Malaysia is beginning to observe an epidemiological shift from communicable diseases to those related to lifestyle, particularly cancers and cardiovascular diseases (commonly known as non-communicable diseases).

Over the past two decades, Malaysia has seen a steady increase in the number of deaths attributed to cancer, and approximately 30,000 new cancer cases occur each year.

Encouraged by the global push for prevention and control of NCD, the Health Ministry has taken aggressive measures to further develop and increase the capacity of NGOs to play a more pro-active role, particularly in community-based NCD risk factor interventions.

The ministry has also looked into both primary and secondary prevention of breast cancer in the planning for breast cancer prevention programmes.

The primary prevention includes increasing breast health awareness and promoting healthy lifestyle and lifestyle modification while secondary prevention includes early diagnosis and early treatment to prevent from complications.

Philips and NSCM recognise the scale of the challenge as Malaysia prepares to meet the new reality of a rapidly increasing number of breast cancer patients.

Most recently, Philips' inaugural Asean Healthcare Consultation brought together policy makers, patient groups, academics and healthcare providers in Malaysia to collaborate and find answers to key modern-day healthcare challenges in an aligned, international and sustained approach and take a holistic view of the challenges posed by NCD.

The session also considered the diverse drivers of their continued growth in the region and the challenges this growth poses to national health systems.

To find out more about the Best Breast Cancer Screening and Awareness Competition, contact coordinating agency Fleishman-Hilllard at 03-2094 0760.

All submissions must reach Fleishman-Hilllard by March 13.


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Big plans for South Johor

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 07:56 PM PST

PONTIAN: Johor is now a leading growth centre in the country with many exciting developments taking place in the recent years, especially within Iskandar Malaysia.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Mustapa Mohamed told the media Iskandar Malaysia attracted domestic and foreign investors to invest in nine key sectors.

The sectors are electrical and electronics, petrochemical and oleochemical, food and agro-processing, logistics and related services, tourism, health, educational, financial services and ICT and creative industry.

"The Government is pleased with the progress made so far in Iskandar," he said at the opening of RM1bil oil storage terminal in Tanjung Bin here on Thursday.

The oil storage terminal operated by ATT Tanjung Bin Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of VITI BV, has a total capacity of 890,000 cu metre and is the country's largest oil storage terminal.

Also present at the event were ATB chief executive officer Eric Arnold and VITI chairman Datuk Kho Hui Meng.

Mustapa said the opening of the oil storage terminal was significant for Johor in its quest to transform and develop south Johor.

"Johor has all the right ingredients to emerge as leading oil and gas hub within the next five to seven years."

Mustapa said Johor's close proximity with Singapore and south Johor's location along one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world augur well for the oil and gas related activities.

The development covers Pengerang areas in the Kota Tinggi district in southeast Johor, Tanjung Langsat in Pasir Gudang and Tanjung Bin in the Pontian district.

Launched on Nov 4, 2006 – Iskandar is located in the southernmost part of Johor spanning 2,217 sq km and three times bigger than Singapore and two time the sizes of Hong Kong as of December 2012, has attracted RM105bil in cumulative committed investments.

Iskandar is divided into five flagship development zones – the JB City Centre, Nusajaya, Western Gate Development Zone, Eastern Gate Development Zone and Senai-Kulai.

Similarly, Mustapa said the Government has approved multi-billion ringgit investments from five new investors in the oil and gas industry to invest at the Pengerang Integrated Petroleum Complex.

Pirate DVD peddler’s dirty little secret

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 04:46 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Some 500,000 pirated and pornographic DVDs worth RM3.5mil were seized by the Home Ministry from seven shops at a market in Pandan here.

During the operation, the ministry's Film Censorship Control and Enforcement Division also found two shops, which hid the DVDs inside "secret" rooms.

Division secretary Razak Drahman said his enforcement officers had to break into the two separate rooms.

He added that the division also detained seven men in their 20's believe to be DVD peddlers to assist in the investigations.

"We conducted surveillance at this market for two weeks before raiding the seven premises.

"The two shops stored their DVDs in their hidden vault that were mostly pornographic DVDs to evade them from getting caught," he said, adding that the shop owners were not present during the raid.

All seven shops were previously raided by other relevant agencies.

Initial checks showed that the premises sold most of the discs without the 'B' certificate while others are believed to be using fake certificates.

"We are investigating the case under Section 18 of the Film Censorship Act 2002.

Action would be taken against the DVD peddlers for selling pornographic DVDs under Section 5(2) of the same Act which carries a fine of between RM10,000 and RM50,000 or maximum jail term of five years or both.

Razak also urged the public to call the Home Ministry's hotline at 1-800-227 676 to report on the sale of pirated DVDs.

Bumper zakat collection

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 07:57 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Islamic Religious Council (JAIJ) has collected RM171.60mil in zakat collections (tithes) for 2012 surpassing its earlier target of RM150mil.

Its deputy-director (operations) Ramly Jusoh attributed the increase to better awareness on the duty of paying zakat among Muslim employees and business owners statewide.

He said the money collected from zakat contributors would be disbursed to the eight asnaf (eligible recipients).

"We hope well-off Muslims and business owners in Johor will come forward to perform their religious duty by paying their tithes to help the needy," said Ramly.

He said this after presenting a one-off cash payment of RM100 to 30 recipients from Kampung Sungai Danga held at Masjid Kampung Sungai Danga here recently.

The money was collected by the council from the fidyah (penalty imposed on Muslims who were not able to fast during Ramadan due to chronic illnesses or reasons deemed appropriate from Islamic laws) and the dues must be settled before the next Ramadan.

Ramly said presently there were 8,000 eligible recipients from all over Johor who received their monthly financial assistance amounting to RM2mil monthly which was collected from the zakat payments.

"We want to assure our contributors in Johor that their money goes to the deserving parties and all payments are done in a transparent manner,'' he said.

Ramly said off the 10 districts in Johor, the Johor Baru district recorded the highest zakat collection and last year it managed to collect RM70mil and has 1,800 asnafs who received their monthly financial assistance.

He said on the average, they received 1,500 new applications monthly from Muslims who are seeking monthly financial assistance from the council.

Ramly said JAIJ officials would conduct investigation including checking the background of the applicants and their financial capabilities to ensure that only deserving Muslims received the financial assistance.


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