Isnin, 21 Januari 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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Confident Obama lays out battle plan as he launches second term

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 07:16 PM PST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A confident President Barack Obama kicked off his second term on Monday with an impassioned call for a more inclusive America that rejects partisan rancour and embraces immigration reform, gay rights and the fight against climate change.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Commander in Chief's Ball during presidential inauguration ceremonies in Washington, January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Commander in Chief's Ball during presidential inauguration ceremonies in Washington, January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Obama's ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol was filled with traditional pomp and pageantry, but it was a scaled-back inauguration compared with the historic start of his presidency in 2009 when he swept into office on a mantle of hope and change as America's first black president.

Despite expectations tempered by lingering economic weakness and a politically divided Washington, Obama delivered a preview of the priorities he intends to pursue - essentially a reaffirmation of core liberal Democratic causes - declaring Americans "are made for this moment" and must "seize it together."

His hair visibly gray after four years in office, Obama called for an end to the partisanship that marked much of his first term in the White House in bitter fights over the economy with Republicans.

"We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate," Obama said from atop the Capitol steps overlooking the National Mall.

Looking out on a sea of flags, Obama addressed a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people that was smaller than the record 1.8 million who assembled on the mall four years ago.

Speaking in more specific terms than is customary in an inaugural address, he promised "hard choices" to reduce the federal deficit without shredding the social safety net and called for a revamping of the tax code and a remaking of government.

The Democrat arrived at his second inauguration on solid footing, with his poll numbers up, Republicans on the defensive and his first-term record boasting accomplishments such as a U.S. healthcare overhaul, financial regulatory reforms, the end of the war in Iraq and the killing of Osama bin Laden.

But fights are looming over budgets, gun control and immigration. Obama, however, has sounded more emboldened because he never again needs to run for election.


When Obama raised his right hand and was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, it was his second time taking the oath in 24 hours - but this time with tens of millions of people watching on television. As he spoke, the president beamed as chants of "Obama, Obama!" rang out from the crowd.

Obama had a formal swearing-in on Sunday at the White House because of a constitutional requirement that the president take the oath on January 20. Rather than stage the full inauguration on a Sunday, the main public events were put off until Monday.

It was another political milestone for Obama, 51, the Hawaiian-born son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas.

During a triumphant parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, the president and first lady Michelle Obama thrilled cheering onlookers by twice getting out of their armoured limousine and walking part of the way on foot, as they had done four years ago. Secret Service agents kept close watch.

In the evening, the couple visited the two formal inaugural balls - down from 10 in 2009 - to celebrate with supporters. At both, Obama and the first lady danced to Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," performed by singer Jennifer Hudson.

In his 20-minute inaugural speech, Obama sought to reassure Americans at the midpoint of his presidency and encourage them to help him take care of unfinished business. "Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action," he said.

The crowds on the National Mall were enthusiastic, but the euphoria of 2009 was gone.

"Four years ago, it was the first black president," said local resident Greg Pearson, 42. "It doesn't have the same energy. It's more subdued. It's not quite the party it was four years ago. Our expectations are pretty low (this time): let's not default on the national debt, keep the government running."

Organizers had given various estimates of the number of people they expected would jam the mall for the ceremony. An inauguration official estimated the crowd at about 1 million.

Touching on volatile issues in the speech, Obama ticked off a series of liberal policies he plans to push in his second term.

Most surprising was a relatively long reference to the need to address climate change, which he was unable to do in his first four years. "We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," the president said.

On gay rights, Obama insisted, "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law."

In a nod to the fast-growing Hispanic population that helped catapult him to re-election in November, he said there was a need to "find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity."

U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who declared in 2010 that his top goal was to deny Obama re-election, congratulated the president and expressed a willingness to work together, saying a second term "represents a fresh start."

But some Republicans responded sceptically. "It was a very, very progressive speech, to put it in the best possible light," said Republican strategist Rich Galen. "He's not running for election anymore."


Obama, who won a second term by defeating Republican Mitt Romney after a bitter campaign, will now face many of the same problems that dogged his first four years: persistently high unemployment, crushing government debt and a deep partisan divide. The war in Afghanistan, which Obama is winding down, has dragged on for over a decade.

He won an end-of-year fiscal battle against Republicans, whose poll numbers have continued to sag, and appears to have gotten them to back down, at least temporarily, from resisting an increase in the national debt ceiling.

Obama faces a less dire outlook than he did when he took office in 2009 at the height of a deep U.S. recession and world economic crisis. The economy is growing again, although slowly.

But he still faces a daunting array of challenges.

Among them is a fierce gun-control debate inspired by a school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, last month, a tragedy he invoked in his speech.

He said America must not rest until "all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm."

Obama's appeals for bipartisan cooperation will remind many Americans of his own failure to meet a key promise when he came to power - to act as a transformational leader who would fix a dysfunctional Washington.

His speech was light on foreign policy, with no mention of the West's nuclear standoff with Iran, the civil war in Syria, dealings with an increasingly powerful China or confronting al Qaeda's continued threat as exemplified by the recent deadly hostage crisis in Algeria.

Obama's ceremonial swearing-in fell on the same day as the national holiday honouring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. - and the president embraced the symbolism. He took the oath with his hand on two Bibles - one from President Abraham Lincoln, who ended slavery, and the other from King.

Once back at the White House, Obama watched the parade featuring more than 100 marching bands, groups and floats from a bulletproof VIP viewing stand in front of the White House. He flashed the Hawaiian "shaka" sign of friendship to the band from his high school alma mater, the Punahou School in Honolulu.

Afterward, the Obamas joined thousands of supporters at the inaugural balls, where entertainers included Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Brad Paisley and Smokey Robinson.

At the ball honouring the military, he spoke by satellite videoconference with troops serving in Afghanistan and thanked them for their service.

"When you get back home, you are going to be greeted by a grateful nation," Obama told them. "You will be on our minds tonight and every single night until our mission in Afghanistan is completed."

(Additional reporting by Margaret Chadbourn, Anna Yukhananov, Roberta Rampton, Alina Selyukh, Mark Felsenthal, Steve Holland and Patrick Rucker; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)

Related Stories:
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Obama lauds progress on gay civil rights in inaugural address
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Obama places civil rights at centre of inauguration

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

"Laughing" Chavez gives orders from Cuba - Venezuelan minister

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 06:41 PM PST

CARACAS (Reuters) - Hugo Chavez is joking and giving instructions again, an ally said on Monday, in the latest positive comment from an official six weeks after the Venezuelan president's disappearance from public sight for cancer surgery in Cuba.

Rumours earlier this month that Chavez was on life support have given way in the last few days to speculation that he may soon return to Venezuela. The more positive talk has been fuelled by comments from officials that Chavez has been gradually improving from a grave post-operation situation.

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua speaks during a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez at Cuba's foreign ministry in Havana January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Elias Jaua speaks during a meeting with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez at Cuba's foreign ministry in Havana January 21, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa

"Comrades, I'm coming out of the meeting with our commander-president, Hugo Chavez," recently appointed Foreign Minister Elias Jaua tweeted from Havana after a visit with Chavez.

"We shared jokes and laughed."

Chavez took decisions over Venezuela's participation in a forthcoming Latin American summit in Chile, added Jaua, the latest of a parade of officials to visit the president, who is presumed to be convalescing in Havana's Cimeq hospital.

Though Venezuelan officials appear more upbeat, the usually garrulous and attention-seeking Chavez, 58, remains unseen and not been heard from in public since the December 11 operation, his fourth for a cancer first detected in mid-2011 in the pelvic area.

Opponents remain sceptical, asking why Chavez cannot speak to the nation if it is true that he can chat with ministers.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro is running Venezuela's government in Maduro's absence, but said at the weekend he was hopeful that Chavez may be home soon. Rumours are rife that a military hospital in Caracas is being prepared to receive him.

Opposition leaders are demanding to know if the socialist president remains fit to continue his 14-year rule.

If declared incapacitated, under Venezuela's constitution, a caretaker president should be named and an election held within 30 days in the South American OPEC nation.

(Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; editing by Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Mexican president vows to end hunger for millions

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 06:16 PM PST

LAS MARGARITAS, Mexico (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto launched a campaign against hunger on Monday, pledging to transform the lives of nearly 7.5 million of the country's poorest, though he gave few details, prompting criticism that the plan was a "rehash" of old policies.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a speech during the II Extraodinary Session of the National Council of Public Security in Mexico City December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto delivers a speech during the II Extraodinary Session of the National Council of Public Security in Mexico City December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

Tackling the poverty that blights Mexico has been a priority for many presidents of Latin America's second-biggest economy, and it was one of the first pledges Pena Nieto made when he launched his election campaign at the end of March.

The 46-year-old president outlined a four-point plan to tackle hunger in 400 of Mexico's roughly 2,500 municipalities, urging community action, local government responsibility and pledging to strengthen agricultural production in afflicted areas.

However, he did not detail the cost of the plan.

"It's painful and saddening that there are still Mexicans suffering with hunger here in Chiapas, and, it has to be said, in every corner of Mexico," said Pena Nieto, who took office on December 1.

"This is not a handout program; it's not just about giving out food to those that need it," he added.

Pena Nieto was speaking in Las Margaritas in the poor southern state of Chiapas, a town that was a hotbed of resistance to the federal government in the 1990s.

Las Margaritas was also a stronghold of the Zapatistas, a leftist revolutionary movement that rose up against the government in 1994, partly in protest against Mexico's signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States and Canada.

Pena Nieto has won praise for pushing hard on a variety of reforms since taking office, but analysts were not convinced on Monday, saying the anti-hunger plan was vague and seemed much like existing policies.

"I would say it's a disappointment because it's very thin on details," said Susan Parker, an economist at Mexico City's CIDE university, adding that it failed to address what would happen to older poverty-fighting programs.

"It's a rehash," said Jorge Villasenor, an economist at the University of Guadalajara. "He's just dusted off policies that have been around since the mid-90s."

Pena Nieto pushed the 2013 budget through Congress barely a week after taking office and gained broad support for a landmark education bill, having convinced political rivals to sign a pact to work with him on a wide-reaching reform agenda.

Former President Felipe Calderon presided over a sharp rise in poverty, and nearly 60 million Mexicans - or around half the population - are now considered poor. That is roughly the same percentage as in the 1980s.

Pena Nieto has praised former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's successful social policies, which lifted around 20 million people out of poverty between 2003 and 2009.

(Additional reporting and writing by Gabriel Stargardter. Editing by Christopher Wilson)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Sports

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Tennis: Li floors Radwanska to reach Open semis

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 06:36 PM PST

MELBOURNE:China's Li Na stormed into the Australian Open semi-finals Tuesday with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, who suffered her first defeat of the year.

Li became the first player to take a set off Radwanska this season when she edged a tight first set which saw seven breaks of serve, but she then lost the first two games of the second set to love.

However, Li then rattled off five straight games and saw off two break points when she served for the match at 5-3 to claim her sixth win in 10 meetings with Radwanska.

Radwanska had been on a run of 13 straight wins, including 26 sets unbeaten, after claiming tournament wins in Auckland and Sydney. Li will face the winner of Tuesday's all-Russian quarter-final between world number two Maria Sharapova and Ekaterina Makarova in the last four.

Li, a 2011 Australian Open finalist, is now into her first Grand Slam semi-final since she won the French Open in 2011.

The world number six, formerly coached by her husband Jiang Shan, praised the input of her new coach Carlos Rodriguez.

"I think it was pretty good for me and my husband. It is much easier for our life, we don't have to shout at each other on the court and also off the court," she joked.-AFP

Shabery: Athletes should not use marriage as excuse for inept show

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 04:15 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Athletes should not use marriage as an excuse for below-par performances or be an obstacle to success.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said athletes should instead use marriage as a motivation or inspiration to perform better in their respective events.

"World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and national goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat are the two athletes who excel in their respective fields despite being married.

"Chong Wei did not use marriage as an excuse but rather showed that he is still able to perform at the highest level and win. Just look at his performances at the recent Korean Open and just concluded Malaysian Open.

"After winning the Korean Open, he won the Malaysian Open for a record nine times and nothing seems to have doused his desire or determination to win," he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a sponsorship deal between the National Sports Council (NSC) and 100PLUS here yesterday. – Bernama

Chong Wei’s reign set to continue as youngsters fail to impress

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 04:22 PM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]KUALA LUMPUR: No one can take the credit away from world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei for winning a record ninth Malaysian Open title on Sunday although badminton giants China did not send their best line-up.

The Star Online: Business

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Petronas Chemicals down on cautious market, BASF deal

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 07:01 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Petronas Chemicals Bhd fell on Tuesday in line with the cautious market sentiment, following the sell-off by retail investors, and after the termination of a deal with Germany's BASF.

At 10.47am, it was down 15 sen to RM6.07. There were 902,300 shares done at prices ranging from RM6.04 to RM6.20.

The FBM KLCI fell 19.83 points to 1,615.80. Turnover was 383.93 million shares valued at RM503.68mil. There were 79 gainers, 564 losers and 219 counters unchanged.

On Monday, PetChem announced it had terminated the heads of agreement (HOA) with BASF, which was signed on March 5, 2012.

The HOA was for a joint specialty chemicals venture within Petronas' Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang.

"We understand that both parties decided to terminate the HOA as they could not come to an agreement on the terms and conditions for the implementation of the project. Both parties will continue their existing long-term partnership at the BASF Petronas Chemicals plant in Gebeng Industrial Zone in Pahang," it said.

RHB Research Institute said despite BASF's exit, it understood that PetChem was in discussions with other potential partners as the development of specialty chemical products portfolio remains part of its longer-term strategy.

"Our fair value remains unchanged at RM5.99, based on 12 times FY13 EPS. PetChem is currently trading at 12 times to 13 times FY13 EPS, which we note is a discount to the current sector average of 15 times to 16 times FY13 EPS.

"However, we believe that the market would continue to value PetChem at a discount to the sector, given that PetChem's FY13 earnings outlook remains cloudy underpinned by rising feedstock prices and declining selling prices.

Furthermore, we believe this latest announcement dampens PChem's longer-term earnings outlook. We downgrade our call on PetChem to Sell (from Neutral previously)," the research house said.

Malaysia to host ‘Product of the Year’ in 2014

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 07:00 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will host the "Product of the Year" awards for the first time on Jan 23 next year, following the publisher of Marketing magazine securing the hosting rights for Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia recently.

Marketing magazine said in a statement that "Product of the Year" - the world's largest consumer-voted programme and the only award that recognises innovation in consumer packaged goods - was hosted in over 32 countries. It was founded in 1987 in France by former L'Oreal executive Christian Le Bret. "It is a coveted stamp on the best new household products that meet the rigours of the market's leading consumer survey," it said.

Harmandar Singh (pic), the regional publisher of Marketing magazine, told StarBiz yesterday that he planned to host the award show in Indonesia in 2015 and in Singapore the following year.

The Paris show was held last week at Salle Gaveau, a 1,000-seat concert hall designed by architect Jacques Hermant in 1905. Winners included top brands like Nivea, Aquafresh, Pantene, Garnier, Nestlé, Unlilever, P&G, Glaxo SmithKline, Colgate-Palmolive, ICI, Philips and Sensodyne.

"At a time when our market is overloaded with award shows and every brand is hungering for any kind of fame, we decided to stand back and ask ourselves what really mattered.

"And our vision became clear − the marketing industry needs to overcome a talent shortage and we need to guide consumers to the best products in the market while acknowledging manufacturers for quality and innovation. Anyone who supports this strategy is welcome to join our cause," Harmandar said.

Palm oil exports drop in first 20 days of month

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 06:54 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Palm oil shipments from Malaysia fell 17% in the first 20 days of this month, according to Intertek, with the pace of decline slowing as buyers adjust to new rules in China and taxes in India, the biggest consumers.

Exports fell to 830,830 tonnes from 1 million tonnes in the same period in December, Intertek said.

That compares with a 25% drop in the first 10-day period of this month and a 21% fall over 15 days. Shipments in the first 20 days dropped 20% to 813,778 tonnes, an estimate from Societe Generale de Surveillance showed.

India will impose a tax of 2.5% on crude palm and soybean oil imports, the Agriculture Ministry said on Jan. 17. China's quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, toughened inspections on imports from Jan 1 to improve food safety. Malaysia, the largest producer after Indonesia, dropped its export tax to zero for this month to combat record stockpiles that have hurt prices.

"We're still looking to see how the impact will be from the China side, on their new rules on imports, as well as India's new import tax," Ker Chung Yang, an analyst at Phillip Futures Pte Ltd in Singapore, said by phone. "A lot depends on what's going on in India and China."

Palm oil for April delivery climbed 0.8% to close at RM2,420 (US$797) a tonne on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange.

While futures gained 1.4% last week, the first such advance in three weeks, they've declined 24% over the past year.


The Star Online: Nation

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MCA helps in search for William

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 06:59 AM PST

Published: Monday January 21, 2013 MYT 4:08:00 PM
Updated: Monday January 21, 2013 MYT 10:59:27 PM

PETALING JAYA: MCA kicked off its search for missing six-year-old William Yau Zhen Zhong at SS2's commercial area by distributing flyers of the boy.

Members of the 1PJ Service Team combed the streets this afternoon and gave out 500 A4-sized posters with the youngster picture and information to commercial outlet owners, the public and police.

They also urged the public to contact the authorities if they had any information of the boy.

The public expressed sympathies for William's plight and hopes that he would return home soon.

"I have three younger siblings aged between 8 and 12 years and I am worried about their safety all the time. I hope his parents will get good news soon," said fast food delivery rider Ridzuan Bohari.

Petaling Jaya Utara MCA division deputy chief Datuk C.K. Lim hoped William will return in time to celebrate Chinese New Year with his parents.

William went missing last Wednesday after he was left with his two siblings in the car by their parents who had gone to an electrical appliances store at Putra Heights.

To date, there is still no strong lead on William's whereabouts.

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Help find William (Update)
Where is our little William?

Najib to introduce the ‘Malaysian model’ for development to Egypt

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 05:36 AM PST

CAIRO: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is scheduled to arrive in Cairo Monday night for a three-day working visit, is bringing with him a formula for development which the Egyptians often refer to as the "Malaysian model".

The visit to Egypt will focus on the future direction of Malaysia-Egypt bilateral ties, its working mechanism, and also substantive issues including investment, trade financial cooperation as well as economic and education issues.

Najib will make a courtesy call on Egyptian president Mohamed Morsy Tuesday with both leaders expected to witness the signing of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) between the two countries.

Malaysia's ambassador to Egypt Datuk Dr Mohd Fakhruddin Abdul Mukhti said Malaysia was very well known among Egyptians as a model for economic progress.

"We are also well-known as we have many students studying in Egypt and even during elections here we find some of the candidates and parties campaigning by promising to develop Egypt so that it can be on par with Malaysia.

"They call this the Malaysian model of economic progress and developmemt," said Fakhruddin.

There are currently close to 11,000 Malaysians in Egypt, most of them students.

Fakhruddin said bilateral trade between the two countries stands at about RM4bil annually, mostly in the palm oil and gas sectors with Petronas a major foreign investor in Egypt.

Najib will be accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

Also in the Prime Minister's delegation are Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, the Prime Minister's Religious Adviser Datuk Abdullah Md Zin, and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Najib will also meet with Egyptian Prime Minister Dr Hesham Qandil during his stay in Cairo and will depart Wednesday for Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum.

Woman dumps newborn in dustbin

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 05:14 AM PST

KUANTAN: A woman who gave birth out of wedlock was believed to have thrown her baby into a dustbin at the Sultan Haji Ahmad Hospital(HOSHAH) here while being sent there for treatment.

Temerloh district police chief, ACP Aziz Salleh, said the woman from Pasir Puteh, Kelantan believed to be working at a supermarket in Temerloh, was sent to the hospital by her friends when she complained of stomach ache at about 12.30am last Saturday.

"During treatment, she felt the need to go to the toilet and instead gave birth to the baby while sitting on the toilet bowl.

"She saw the baby dropped into the toilet bowl and believing that the baby was dead, took a plastic sheet to wrap the baby and then threw it in the dustbin," he told reporters here Monday.

He said the birth was realised when a doctor examined the woman and found her abdomen flat.

"The doctor called a nurse and told her to check the toilet. The nurse saw some blood stain near a dustbin and when she opened it, found the dead baby," he added.

Following which, he said, the doctor contacted the police. - Bernama


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Free Parker Tickets

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 10:44 PM PST

A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew's latest heist.

Parker stars action hero Jason Statham and hottie Jennifer Lopez. The movie opens in cinemas nationwide this month. Thanks to GSC Movies we have 40 pairs of tickets to give away.

All you have to do is print this page and bring it along with you to our redemption table at GSC 1 Utama. Please see details below. Please also note that tickets will be given on a first come, first served basis. Each person will be given only one pair of tickets. This movie is rated 18.

Redemption Details

Date: 23 January 2013 (Wednesday)

Time: 8.30pm until all tickets are picked up

Venue: GSC 1 Utama

Screening Details

Date: 23 January 2013 (Wednesday)

Time: 9.00pm

Venue: GSC 1 Utama

Rules & Regulations

1. This redemption is open to all eCentral fans.

2. Print out the contest page and redeem it at the venue given in this article.

3. Each page entitles you to two movie tickets. Each person is allowed to redeem only once.

4. Tickets are given out on a first come, first served basis.

5. Queue-jumping and reserving places in line during the redemption are strictly prohibited. The organizers reserve the right to refuse tickets to anyone found doing so.

6. Tickets are not exchangeable for cash.

7. Movie ratings will strictly apply for this movie. This movie is rated 18. The organizers reserve the right to refuse entry to the cinema hall to those not within the permitted age limit. No exceptions will be made at any time for any reason.

8. I hereby expressly consent to the collection, collation, use and/or disclosure of all my personal data by Star Publications (M) Berhad for the purposes of the Parker contest.

9. For enquiries, please e-mail

'Mama' screams to top of N. America box office

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 10:31 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Newly released horror film "Mama" pushed the Oscar-tipped bin Laden manhunt movie "Zero Dark Thirty" out of the top slot at the North American weekend box office, industry estimates showed Sunday.

"Mama," in which a shadowy being trails two young children who were rescued after being lost in the woods when their parents died, screamed into first place with $28.1 million in ticket sales on its opening weekend.

It stars Jessica Chastain, who last week won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of a CIA officer in the acclaimed but controversial "Zero Dark Thirty." That film took in $17.6 million in its second weekend on national release, according to box office tracker Exhibitor Relations.

The dark romantic comedy "Silver Linings Playbook," coming off a best comedy actress Globe win for star Jennifer Lawrence, zoomed to third place from tenth last week, raking in $11.4 million at the weekend box office.

In fourth place was the Sean Penn action flick "Gangster Squad," with $9.1 million, just barely ahead of newcomer "Broken City," a crime drama starring Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe, which earned $9.0 million.

They were trailed by the comedy "A Haunted House," and Quentin Tarantino's blood-soaked spaghetti Western tribute "Django Unchained," with $8.3 million and $8.2 million respectively.

Musical adaptation "Les Miserables" took eighth place, taking in $7.8 million, beating out "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the long-awaited first part of Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" prequel trilogy.

"The Hobbit," earned $6.5 million, for a total of $287 million.

And rounding out the top 10 was Arnold Schwarzenegger's new action flick "The Last Stand," which earned $6.3 million in its debut weekend. - AFP

'Man On The Edge' scoops up 2nd win at Korean box office

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 07:55 PM PST

Korean comedy Man On The Edge has pulled in a second win on weekend box office chart, fending off new Hollywood entrant Jack Reacher.

The film about a gangster-turned-shaman held onto the No. 1 spot after earning 876,591 moviegoers during the weekend between 18 and 20 January, Korean Box Office information System [KOBIS] showed Monday.

Actor Park Shin-yang's portrayal of a shaman during the daytime and a gangster leader by night succeeded in cracking up many local moviegoers, attracting over 2.5 million audiences in 12 days of its opening on 9 January.

The new Hollywood action flick Jack Reacher, starring iconic action star Tom Cruise, sat at number two with 389,023 moviegoers in the same time frame.

Helmed by scriptwriter-turned-director Christopher McQuarrie, Cruise' first movie opening in Korea in 2013 is about Jack Reacher, an investigator brought in to solve a shooting accident.

With a small gap between No. 2, American animated picture Hotel Transylvania, debuted at the third spot after grabbing 335,718 admissions.

While a new Spanish-American disaster film The Impossible, about a family's real-life drama in the 2004 Thai tsunami, landed the No. 4 spot with 277,541 moviegoers. Hollywood epic Les Miserables rounded off the top five with 271,897 audience.

Other popular films in the top 10 were Korean disaster fiction The Tower, Ang Lee's version of a bestseller novel Life Of Pi, American-Korean animation The Reef 2 : High Tide, Wachowski siblings' SF drama Cloud Atlas and Korean melodrama Love 911.



The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro Watch

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 04:21 AM PST


A stretch of the left-most lane on the Cheras–Kajang Highway (Grand Saga) will be closed from today to Jan 28, from 10pm to 5am, to facilitate MRT works. The closure will be from Km15 to Km14.9 (near Bandar Tun Hussein Onn interchange — KL-bound).


There will be a blood donation campaign today at the main lobby of the National Heart Institute, Jalan Tun Razak, in Kuala Lumpur from 8.30am to 4.30pm.


Hulu Langat will experience water disruption on Jan 30 due to pipe removal works by Syabas at Jambatan Baru, from Jalan Bangi Lama to University Islam Selangor College, for the Public Works Department. For details, contact Customer Service Centre (PUSPEL) via toll free 1800-88-5252 or SMS; by typing PUSPEL , and send to 39222. Also log on to


Former Universiti Sains Malaysia student T. Balasubramaniam is organising a get-together for USM's 75 students and friends from all faculties in the 1970s. It will be held on Feb 3 at Kelab PJ at noon. For details, call 03-7877 8714 (Narane) or 012-208 9544 (Bala).


Various activities await at the National Museum's ongoing "World Masks Exhibition: 1,001 Expression" until March 20. Activities include information on uses of clay and the uniqueness of mask motifs which would add to the visitors' knowledge on a country's history. For details, call 03-2267 1111 ext 321.


Fairview International School, KL is organising a floral design workshop at the school from 10am to 11am on Jan 23. Entrance fee is RM10 per person and all proceeds will be donated to Unicef. For details, call 03-4142 0888 or email to or visit


Louisiana State University 1960s-1990s graduates are invited to the reunion held at MAEPS, Mardi, Serdang on Feb 16 from 3pm to 6pm. For details, call 012-624 3777 (Prof Dr Zaitun Yassin), 019-249 7037 (Hishamudin) or 019-384 1948 (Jusri Aziz).


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


G13 Gallery is organising a group exhibition, entitled "20@13", featuring paintings, sculptures and other innovative forms of expression by 20 of today's upcoming contemporary and mid-career visual artists. The event will be held at Block B, Jalan SS7/26, Kelana Square, Kelana Jaya, from 11am to 5pm daily, except public holiday, from today to Feb 9. For details, call 03-7880 0991.

Top seed Danish upstages Raif in Under-10 final

Posted: 21 Jan 2013 04:21 AM PST

SIBLINGS Adam Danish and Adam Raif Iman engaged in a family affair as they tussled for the top two positions in the combined Under-10 foil contest at the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Fencing Club (KLFC) internal championships at the club's newly set-up training centre in Petaling Jaya at the end of last year.

In the preliminary stages, both the SK Taman Tun Dr Ismail 1 pupils claimed the top spot in their respective groups to enter the direct elimination rounds as the top two ranked entries.

And the 10-year-old Danish lived up to his billing as the top seed, with a 10-7 victory over the nine-year-old Raif in the final.

Danish said it had been great fun learning fencing and competing at club level locally and abroad over the past two years.

"It has been wonderful joining various junior competitions including tournaments in Singapore. I am eager to improve my skills to subdue my opponents in competitions. I am always excited about the opportunities to take part in tournaments," he said.

The combined Under-10 category drew a total of 10 competitors while only four fencers took part in the combined Under-16 foil section, where the sole girl Brittni Tye joined the trio of Tristan Cheng, Hans Yoong and Anders Yoong.

Favourite Tristan faced an untroubled run in the group encounters with three wins and went on to defeat Hans 15-8 in the final.

KLFC chief coach Mohd Zainal Abidin admitted they struggled in getting their trainees to feature in the recent one-day tournament.

"Most of them went away for their year-end holidays. We hosted the tournament as part of our programme before the official launch," he said.

Zainal, a two-time Malaysia Games men's individual foil gold medallist, took charge of the KLFC training camp in its efforts to offer a conducive training environment for youngsters learning the art of sword fighting in mid-October.

Currently, they have a group of 30 students training under the programme.

Following the club's official launch earlier this month, they are hoping to attain steady growth by attracting more newcomers to explore fencing.


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Annual dance event brings out the best in youngsters dancing skills

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 03:00 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Some 750 people, mainly students, showed off their dancing skills during the annual National Chinese dance competition here.

Visitors were entertained to about 50 different shows during the three-day competition at the Southern College Datuk Seri Joseph Chong's hall recently.

The youngest performers at the event were primary one pupils while adults also showcased their dance moves in three different categories namely primary and secondary schools and open category.

Lawyer Zahariah Mohd Alim, 39 said she attended the competition to show support for her two nieces participating in the event.

"I was mesmerised by the performances especially by the little ones," she said adding that the organisers should in future try to make announcements in dual-language as she and her family did not understand Mandarin.

She added that the competition was a fun way to boost children's self-confidence and sociability, as they had to interact with other dancers to ensure the dance flow.

Businesswomen Janet Tan Soh Khin, 40, who came from Selangor with her family said that the dancers displayed originality and creativity in their dance routines.

"Although most of them were students, they showed flexibility in their dance moves as if they were all professionals," she added.

The 24th National Chinese dance competition was organised by Johor Baru Tiong Hua association in conjunction with its 90th anniversary.

The event's organising chairman Oh Chee Kiong said the performers came from all over Malaysia including Johor, Kedah, Penang, Sabah as well as Sarawak and were mostly champions and runners-up of their respective states.

"We received great response from the local Chinese schools and communities across the country as we have 750 participants this year and are looking forward to increase that number next year in Terengganu for the 25th dance competition," he said when met at the competition.

Johor Jaya assemblyman Tan Cher Puk who officiated the event praised the association for diligently organising the event annually.

"The performers in the competition are of high standard even though many of them are relatively young and dancing is a good way of expressing oneself," he said.

The competition was divided into three categories, which included the participation of 19 Chinese primary schools, 16 Chinese secondary schools and 15 groups in the Open category.

Abdul Ghani: Important for Indian community to support ruling party

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 03:51 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: There will be many plans to further develop the Indian community and create inclusive policies that will help the community in future.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said that it was important for the Indian community to continue supporting the ruling Government as many problems faced by them are slowly being solved.

"So far the Government has helped in the development of Hindu temples, Tamil schools and more job opportunities for the Indian community especially in Governmental organisations," he said.

He was speaking during a special dinner with the Indian community held at the Dewan Raya Bandar Putra in Kulai here recently.

The dinner which was attended by more than 3,000 people was also attended by MIC deputy president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, Johor state MIC chairman Datuk K.S. Balakrishnan and other state representatives and officials.

Abdul Ghani said efforts were also being made to enhance business opportunities for the Indian community and this was aimed at bettering the community as a whole.

"The state government will continue aiding the Indian community here but we need the support of the people to do it," he said.

Abdul Ghani also reminded the people to not easily believe the false promises of the Opposition.

"Pakatan Rakyat will not be able to take care of this country. Barisan Nasional however has a strong base and good constructive policies that will help the country grow in the coming years," he said.

He added that the people should think rasionally and should weigh the odds before making a decision for change.

"Some people just want a change because BN has been leading for so many years but the people need to understand that taking a chance with the Opposition could lead to disaster," he said.

During the dinner, the guests were entertained with a wide array of performances including traditional dances, modern dances and songs sung by guests performers.

Increase in dengue cases in Johor

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 03:52 PM PST

NUSAJAYA: The public has been warned to take precautions against the spread of dengue following an increase in the number of cases this year, which has even resulted in at least one death.

State Women, Family, Health and Community Development Committee chairman Dr Robiah Kosai said since the beginning of this year, a total of 45 cases have been reported statewide compared with 37 cases the same period last year.

"All the cases occurred in Johor Baru, Kulaijaya, Kluang and Muar," she said, adding that so far there were no cases in the other districts.

On the fatality, she said that it involved a woman in her 50s who had fever for several days.

Dr Robia said among the hotspots in Johor Baru include Taman Gembira, Taman Kota Putri, Perumahan Iskandar, Taman Sri Tebrau, Bandar Baru Uda (Padi Ria), Bandar Sri Alam (Jalan Gunung) and Bandar Sri Alam (Jalan Tasek).

She added that last year there were a total of 1,650 cases statewide with at least three deaths.

Dr Robiah urged members of the public to take precautions including keeping their neighbourhood clean and also carry out gotong royong to keep their areas clean.

"I also hope that schools will also ensure that their surrounding areas are free from mosquito breeding grounds," she said, urging those suffering from continuous fever to immediately seek treatment.

Meanwhile, on another issue, Dr Robiah said single mothers in the state enjoyed enrolling in sewing classes, cooking and holistic therapy classes to increase their income.

She said presently the state had 6,572 registered single mothers with 852 attending at least 43 different courses organised by the family development foundation last year.

"The state government allocates RM200,000 annually to help these women stand on their own feet and also to support their family," she said, adding that most of them were single mothers due to divorce or their husbands passing away.

"The government also helps to provide equipment such a sewing machines, ovens, washing machines and freezers to help them venture into business," she said, urging single mothers to come forward and register to enjoy these benefits.


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'Les Miserables' soundtrack tops UK albums chart

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 07:41 PM PST

LONDON (Reuters) - The soundtrack of the Oscar-nominated movie Les Miserables climbed to the top spot in the UK albums chart, the first film cast recording to do so since Madonna's Evita in 1997, the Official Charts Company said on Sunday.

A film version of a hugely successful stage musical based on a novel by 19th century French writer Victor Hugo, Les Miserables has already picked up a Golden Globe award for best movie musical, and is nominated for a best picture Oscar.

The recording of songs performed by the actors in the movie, including Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman, had entered the UK albums chart in fifth position a week ago. It knocked Emeli Sande's Our Version Of Events off the top spot.

Hathaway, who plays a character called Fantine, also had the 22nd spot in the singles chart with her performance of I Dreamed A Dream, one of the most popular songs from the musical.

At the very top of the singles chart, U.S. producer's collaboration with Britney Spears, Scream & Shout, held onto the number one ranking, fending off stiff competition from new entrants 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake.

U.S. rapper 50 Cent's new release, My Life, featuring Eminem and Maroon 5's Adam Levine, came in at number two while Timberlake, the former 'N Sync star, nabbed the number three spot with his Suit And Tie featuring Jay-Z.

Super Junior-M dominates Billboard world album chart

Posted: 20 Jan 2013 07:37 PM PST

Super Junior-M, a sub-unit group of K-pop idol band Super Junior, has secured the top seed on the coveted Billboard World Album Chart.

BREAK DOWN, their second studio album released on 7 January, claimed its first win on the World Album Chart, according to the Billboard's website on 18 January.

The eight-member group held off Irish musical ensemble Celtic Woman of Believe and female K-pop band Girls' Generation of I Got A Boy, which nabbed the No. 2 and No. 4 title on the chart during the same period respectively.

Many see it as an unexpected event for a Chinese-language album to top the Billboard World Album Chart, officials from SM Entertainment said.

Super Junior-M -- original members Siwon, Donghae, Ryeowook, Kyuhyun, Eunhyuk, Sungmin and Chinese members Henry and Zhou Mi -- debuted in April 2008 with their first studio album Me.

Meanwhile, the Mandopop boy group successfully hosted the 2013 Super Junior-M Fan Party Break Down in Nanjing on 19 January at the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center in China.



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