Selasa, 5 Februari 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Kuwait jails former MPs for criticising emir

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 05:05 AM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]KUWAIT (Reuters) - A Kuwaiti court sentenced three former opposition lawmakers to three years in jail on Tuesday for comments deemed offensive towards the ruling emir, the second such conviction in three days.

Lufthansa halts Libya flights due to security worries

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 05:00 AM PST

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Lufthansa and its subsidiary Austrian Airlines have halted flights to Tripoli due to insecurity in Libya, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Lufthansa, which flew three times a week to Tripoli, resumed flights to the Libyan capital in February 2012 after rebels ousted former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Austrian, bought by Lufthansa in 2009, flew to Tripoli twice a week.

"We have taken the decision given the developments in Tripoli and the tense situation in the region," the Lufthansa spokeswoman said.

It was the second time this year that flights to a Libyan city have been cancelled due to security concerns.

Air Malta said it had cancelled flights to Benghazi last month after Britain said it was aware of a "specific and imminent" threat to Westerners in the eastern Libyan city. The company resumed its flights to the city four days later.

Libyans are calling for demonstrations to commemorate the second anniversary of the start of the uprising that overthrew Gaddafi's government and security has been stepped up at international embassies and companies.

Protests planned for February 15 will be a test for Libyan authorities which have failed to rein in a myriad of heavily armed militias which have refused to join the police and army after end of the war.

(Additional reporting by Hadeel Al Shalchi in Tripoli; Editing by Jon Hemming)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Second party to quit crumbling Slovenia government

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 04:55 AM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Another junior partner will leave Slovenia's minority government this month over a corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Janez Jansa that has engulfed his cabinet.


The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports

Pedrosa top in Sepang testing

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 03:57 AM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]SEPANG - Spaniard Dani Pedrosa of Honda led a close-fought first day in pre-season MotoGP testing at Malaysia's Sepang circuit on Tuesday, with the three-time championship runner-up still looking for his first world crown.

Nicol David into Cleveland Classic final

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 10:32 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian squash queen and world number one Datuk Nicol David (pic) is just a step away from winning the Cleveland Classic title after marching into the final on Monday.

According to the website,, the 29-year old player was given a tough fight by eighth seed, Madeline Perry of Ireland before registering a 11-6, 11-7, 4-11 and 11-7 win in the semi-final, held at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Ohio, the United States.

Nicol is expected to face a stiff fight against second seed and world number two, Raneem El Weleily of Egypt, in the final.

The 24-year old Egyptian booked a place in the final spot after defeating third seed, Alison Water of England 11-9, 11-9 and 11-5 in another semi-final match.

Meanwhile, Nicol, in her Facebook, said she was happy to cruise into the final for the second year in a row.

"Feels great to get through to the final after beating Madeline in a close 3-1 match," she said.

Nicol also thanked the World Squash Association (WSA) for honouring her with the Heather McKay Player of the Year award for her excellent run of performance last year. - Bernama

Boxing chief: Cuba close to historic decision

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 09:47 PM PST

PARIS: Amateur boxing supremo Dr Ching-Kuo Wu told AFP he is confident that Cuba are about to make an historic decision and agree to field a team in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) which would see them given the chance to earn money.

Earning money from sport has been previously strictly forbidden because the government and the sports authorities believe it to be contrary to their Communist ideology.

The 65-year-old Taiwanese - who was elected as president of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) in 2006 - said he had held very positive talks with Cuban boxing authorities and more importantly the country's sports authority last week in Cuba.

Cuba prides itself on its sporting prowess especially when it comes to baseball and boxing, with the latter producing some of the legends of the amateur version including the late Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon, both of whom won three Olympic gold medals.

However, since 1962 Cuba imposed a ban on sports stars playing or fighting for money abroad leaving them to earn fame solely in the Olympics or the world championships.

Wu, though, believes having been to Cuba and explained the details of the WSB - which is made up of 12 franchises from as as far afield as Algeria to Argentina - the way is clear for them to enter a team for the start of the fourth edition beginning in November.

He is also enthusiastic about the prospects of them entering boxers in the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) - due to be launched in autumn this year - which provides amateurs with a professional career on a three year contract - where they can win purse money - after an Olympics and yet still be able to compete in future Games.

"I think the only thing to come is the final decision from the Cuban sports authorities," he told AFP in a telephone interview.

"I met with them and it looked like they fully understood the details about the WSB and were very positive.

"This was my third trip to Cuba but the first where I openly discussed the issue and it allowed them to raise questions and their doubts and for me to clarify them which I did. It was very fruitful.

"I am confident they will come in because the main purpose of the WSB and the APB is to protect the boxer's career.

"Before it was a case of - where do the boxers go - because in Cuba they have so many boxers, many of them young, who have to battle past the generation above them of champions.

"Then it was only a possibility of competing in the Olympics and the world championships.

"Now there are with the WSB and the APB other options without losing one's amateur status and with it the possibility of competing at the Olympics.

"We have extended the career age limit to 40. Now our boxers can compete from the age of 19 to 40. Everything is very clear to the Cubans and they like it."

Wu, who has introduced a whole range of reforms and innovations since being elected with his introduction of women's boxing to the Olympics last year perceived as a huge success, said the Cubans entry would be mutually beneficial.

"I would say it would be very important the Cubans competing," said Wu, an architect by profession.

"For the Cubans have a great history in amateur boxing with so many medals. Thus for the Cubans and the tournaments them being involved would be very important."

Wu, a former basketball player himself, said that he had no concerns that the Cubans would not be able to adapt from the amateur bouts of three rounds to the five rounds in the WSB and the 10-12 rounds of the APB.

"We just finished a coaches workshop in Italy which included five top Cuban coaches and they said that in any case in training their boxers do more than three rounds," he said. -AFP


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Danainfra Holdings exchange traded bonds, sukuk to list on Friday

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 06:54 PM PST

Published: Wednesday February 6, 2013 MYT 10:55:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Danainfra Holdings Bhd's exchange traded bonds and sukuk (ETBS) to list this Friday.

A Bursa Malaysia Securities circular said on Wednesday the tick size would be one sen. The reference price is RM1. The upper limit is equal to or above RM1 is 10% while the lower limit price below RM1 is 10 sen.

To recap, the retail sukuk was issued to fund the construction of the country's Sungai Buloh-Kajang mass rapid transit (SBK Line). It was oversubscribed by 0.61 times.

This is the country's first retail sukuk offering to facilitate the funding of the country's biggest infrastructure development, the Sungai Buloh-Kajang mass rapid transit (SBK Line) project, with a total estimated cost of RM23bil.

The oversubscription represented RM484.3mil in value from a total of 1,424 applications for the RM300mil retail sukuk offering.


UMW down in line with weaker market sentiment

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 06:30 PM PST

Published: Wednesday February 6, 2013 MYT 10:30:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of UMW Holdings Bhd fell in mid-morning on Wednesday, in line with the weaker market sentiment despite analysts' positive outlook for the oil-gas and automobile company.

At 10.17am, UMW was down 16 sen to RM12.02. There were 283,600 shares done.

The FBM KLCI fell 14.35 points to 1,619. Turnover was 283.93 million shares valued at RM269.86mil. Losers beat gainers 304 to 80 while 229 counters were unchanged.

CIMB Equities Research is maintaining its Outperform on UMW and raised its revised net asset value-based target price by 10% to RM14.45.

It said the higher target price was mainly due to the impact of the weakening US dollar and yen on the group's auto business.

On Tuesday, UMW's O&G unit secured a US$140mil contract from Sabah Shell.


Sunway REIT fixes placement units at RM1.49 each

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 05:51 PM PST

Published: Wednesday February 6, 2013 MYT 9:51:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) has fixed the issue price for the placement units at RM1.49 under its corporate exercise to raise RM320mil.

It said on Wednesday the price was fixed after the bookbuilding process for the 214.76 million units.

Sunway REIT said the board has fixed the issue price at RM1.49 per unit, which was a 2.9% discount to the five-day volume weighted average price of RM1.535 as of Monday

RHB Investment Bank, Credit Suisse (Singapore) Ltd, Credit Suisse (Securities) Malaysia Sdn Bhd, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd, Singapore Branch, and Maybank Investment Bank Bhd acted as placement agents.

"The proceeds from the placement will be utilised to fully repay bank borrowings drawn from Sunway REIT's existing debt financing facilities which was used to satisfy the purchase consideration for the acquisition of the SunMed Property and to defray related expenses," it said.



The Star Online: Nation

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PLUS issues travel time advisory for CNY

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 07:07 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: PLUS Expressways Berhad has issued a travel time to ensure smooth traffic flow during the Chinese New Year holiday for 30 percent more vehicles are expected to hit the road.

Its managing director, Datuk Noorizah Abd Hamid said about 1.4 million vehicles were expected to use the North-South Expressway (NSE) daily during the festive period compared to the normal 1.1 million vehicles.

PLUS has asked motorists travelling from the Klang Valley to their destinations on Friday and Sunday to observe the proposed time travel advisory:

* Kedah, Perlis and Penang (via Juru) before noon;

* Johor (via Skudai, Senai Utara, Ayer Hitam, Yong Peng and Tangkak) before noon;

* Kuala Kangsar and Changkat Jering (between noon and 3 pm);

* Malacca (via Ayer Keroh) between noon and 3 pm;

* Ipoh, Simpang Pulai and Gopeng (between 3 pm and 6 pm);

* Tampin and Alor Gajah (via Simpang Ampat) between 3 pm and 6 pm;

* Tapah, Bidor, Sungkai, Slim River and Tanjung Malim (after 6 pm); and

* Senawang, Port Dickson and Seremban (after 6 pm).

For the return journey to the capital from Feb 12 to Feb 17, motorists have been asked to start their journey according to the proposed time travel advisory: * From north and south of the peninsular to the Klang Valley (before noon or after 8 pm); and

* From other parts of the peninsular (but not through the Klang Valley)between noon and 8pm.

Noorizah said PLUS also maintained the time advisory on the Causeway, the Second Link and the Penang Bridge.

"Vehicles with odd number plates are advised to use the bridges at odd hours, for example 9am, 1pm or 7pm either way.

"For vehicles with even number plates, should travel on the bridges at even hours for example 10am, 2pm or 8pm either way," she added.

Motorists using the electronic payment system will enjoy a 20 percent rebate on Feb 7 and Feb 15, and a 30 percent rebate on Feb 10.

Noorizah said PLUS would open nearly 1,000 toll counters and add 3,100 or 30 percent more employees for the Chinese New Year holiday.

She said 213 Plusronda teams would be monitoring certain stretches with the help of 650 RELA members round the clock.

For enquiries and further information, the public can contact PLUSLine at 1-800-88-0000 or visit or - Bernama

Malaysia to implement prisoner transfer programme with Thailand

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 06:29 AM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will implement the International Transfer of Prisoners programme with Thailand this March, the first country of origin prisoner exchange programme between the two countries.

Floods: 153 evacuated in Rompin, 38 evacuated in Segamat

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 05:22 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: Floods in Rompin, Pahang, forced 138 people to be evacuated from their himes.

They were taken to two shelters.

Meanwhile, two areas in Segamat, Johor, have been hit by floods, forcing 38 victims to be evacuated to two relief centres.

A National Security Council spokesman said that continued rain in Gemerah 3 and Kampung Paya Dalam in Segamat since late Tuesday afternoon had flooded the areas.

So far, there have been no reports of injuries or casualties and no road closures.

"We expect the water to recede by tomorrow," he said.


The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Robert De Niro cements place in Hollywood movies

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 11:18 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Double Oscar winner Robert De Niro cemented his place in acting history on Monday by placing his hands and feet in concrete in front of Hollywood's historic Chinese Theatre.

De Niro, 69, gave a short thank you speech with a few punchlines of his own. "(Actor) Joe Pesci always said I'd end up with my feet in cement. I don't think this is what he had in mind," said De Niro, referring to the many gangster movies he has filmed over his 40-year career.

"They say everyone in the film industry has three homes - the home where they live, the home where their first wife lives, and Hollywood.

I love New York, and I'm proud to be a citizen of Hollywood. Thank you for this honor and thank you for making me feel at home here," he said.

De Niro, who founded the Tribeca Film Festival in 2002 in a bid to revive lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, is in the running for a third Oscar this month for his supporting role in comedy "Silver Linings Playbook." Billy Crystal, who played therapist to De Niro's insecure mob boss in the 1999 film "Analyze This," praised the New York actor for his ability to bridge comedies like "Meet the Parents" and dramas such as "GoodFellas" and "Taxi Driver." "Even in his darkest performances, even in 'Raging Bull' ... he could make you laugh, and that he did in spades in 'Analyze This.' ... I'm not used to playing straight for anybody, but it was a thrill of a lifetime to be on the opposite side of that genius," Crystal said. "Silver Linings Playbook" director David O.

Russell praised De Niro's sensitivity in taking on the role of the father of a bipolar son in the movie.

"When we first read the script together he cried because he has known people who struggled with PTSD or bipolar disorder. ... Many families are no stranger to these challenges and they have to find the magic and the love that Bob brought in his soul, and he did bring his soul to this movie," Russell said. De Niro won Oscars for his lead role in "Raging Bull" and his supporting turn in "The Godfather: Part II."

His handprints and footprints in the courtyard of the Chinese Theatre are near those of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Brad Pitt and George Clooney. - Reuters

Why Bruce Willis will blow up the box office when Stallone and Schwarzenegger could not

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 08:06 PM PST

LOS ANGELES: Moviegoers are not going where the action is, at least so far this year. Sylvester Stallone's Bullet to the Head is the latest slam-bang misfire, taking in just $4.5 million over the weekend for Warner Bros.

That was even worse than Arnold Schwarzenegger's The Last Stand, which managed just $7.2 million in its debut earlier this month, and Jason Statham's Parker, which opened to $7 million two weeks ago.

It's only three movies, but that's a nasty trend for three action films with well-established stars, though Schwarzenegger, 65, and Stallone, 66, may be creaking a little. With their two films opening three weeks apart - and Parker in between them - there may have been just too much material in the marketplace that skewed to older males.

All three were rated R as well, and while none was expected to do gangbusters business, all were expected to do better than they did.

"The mistake that Arnold and Sly made was in thinking they had their fans back after Expendables and that they'd follow them anywhere," vice-president and senior analyst Phil Contrino told TheWrap Monday.

"That's not the case and fans sent that message loud and clear."

It's possible the success of the Expendables movies - the first made $274 million worldwide in 2010, the second just crossed $300 million - may have unrealistically raised expectations for the solo projects. Contrino thinks both of them should have waited for more established projects,.

"If Arnold had waited for a Terminator, or a Conan or even a Kindergarten Cop we'd be having a whole different conversation now," Contrino said.

"Those are the kind of films that would tap into what audiences are looking for from these guys now, which is a rush of nostalgia, and to be reminded of characters they loved."

The two will be paired in The Tomb, the Lionsgate prison thriller set for September.

"That film has a great concept, and the sum of Arnold and Sly has us bullish," Lionsgate's executive vice-president and general sales manager David Spitz told TheWrap.

It has been bad projects, rather than action fatigue that's resulted in the box-office dip, said Contrino. He's convinced that the genre malaise is nothing that Good Day to Die Hard, the Bruce Willis film from Fox that opens on Feb. 14, won't cure.

"It's tracking very strongly and we have it opening to around $45 million over the four days,' he said..

"It's also looking very strong overseas, and we see it doing $300 million globally."

And it's a healthy franchise. Starting with the original film in 1988, which made $148 million worldwide, each successive movie has made more money at the global box office.

The last one, Live Free Or Die Hard, made $383 million in 2007. In all, the "Die Hard" franchise has taken in $1.13 billion. Willis is 57, but his age isn't the only thing that's putting him in a different realm than his Expendables 2 pals Stallone and Schwarzenegger.

"He's seen as more versatile," Contrino said, "and cooler. Looper was a really interesting project and exposed him to younger audiences."

Looper, a $30 million sci-fi thriller co-starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt that was shot in Shanghai, made $160 million worldwide for Sony since its release last year. It made more than $20 million in China, and Good Day to Die Hard is expected to pack a punch there, too. It's not set in stone, but the latest Die Hard film has a March 16 opening date in the works in China.

Film officials there, anxious to protect their domestic films at the box office, are considering putting it up against Disney's Oz: The Great and Powerful, which opens March 8 domestically.

It might not be the box-office throw down that the Chinese orchestrated in August, when they paired Dark Knight and The Amazing Spider-Man, but Bruce Willis vs. the Wizard of Oz should be a pretty good match-up, too.


The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Metro watch

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 04:25 AM PST


THERE will be a temporary night closure from 9pm to 6am of the right lane of Sprint Highway between the Kiara interchange and Maarof interchange (Kuala Lumpur bound) from now until April 4. This is to facilitate utility piloting and construction works for the MRT piers. Traffic personnel will be on-site to ensure traffic flow is monitored while road users and pedestrians are advised to follow the traffic signage as safety precautions. For details, visit or call the MRT Hotline at 1-800-82-6868.


THERE will be blood donation drives today at Aeon Shopping Centre in Taman Maluri, Cheras (10am - 5pm), Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Yaacob Latif, Cheras (9am - 4.30pm), Wisma UOA Pantai, Jalan Pantai Jaya, Kuala Lumpur (10am - 4pm), Grand Millenium Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bukit Bintang (10am - 4pm) and Astro All Asia Broadcast Centre hall, Technology Park, Bukit Jalil (9am - 5pm). For enquiries, visit or call 03-2695 5557/8.


THE Sri Kota Specialist Medical Centre Klang (SKSMC) will be organising an Antenatal Workshop on Feb 23 from 2pm to 5.30pm at its second floor conference room. All mothers-to-be are encouraged to participate. The event will feature talks by several consultants and an antenatal exercise session. Admission is free and advance booking is recommended. For inquiries, call 03-3373 3636 ext 7313/7335/7356.


THE Selangor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) will give away 200 free spay/neuter coupons worth RM150 each in conjunction with World Spay Day. To get a coupon, go to the SPCA Facebook page to submit a photograph of you and your pet and complete a slogan. Terms and conditions are listed on the page. Coupon redemption is on Feb 24 at Jaya One, Petaling Jaya from 11am to 4pm.


REGISTRATION is now open for the Africa Asia Destitute Relief Foundation (ADRF) 5th Volunteerism Training happening on Feb 23 at No. 20, Jalan 20/18, Paramount Garden, Petaling Jaya from 10.30am to 1pm. This free event will also feature a self-defence lesson by renowned NLP Interventionist. To book a seat, call Asya (03-7865 3648) or Dr Sharon (012-210 2404).


IEM Toastmasters will host Area E2 International Speech and Table Topics Contests this Thursday, 7.30pm at 3rd Floor, Wisma IEM (MKM), 21 Jalan Selangor, Petaling Jaya (opposite Pizza Hut, near MBPJ). Witness six clubs' champion speakers deliver speeches and improve your communication skill. Admission is free. For queries, call Terk Yiang (012-706 1399) or Alex (012-283 7621).

Promising gymnasts training hard to perfect their moves for upcoming meet

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 04:25 AM PST

THE SMK Damansara Jaya duo of Tee Wei Wen and Ng Minn-E will have a lot of time to prepare for their upcoming outing at the Selangor Schools Sports Council (MSSS) rhythmic gymnastics championships scheduled in early March.

Having earned direct entries into the MSSS meet without competing at the district competitions, both the Form One students are focusing their attention on perfecting their routines to compete in the Junior section decided over four individual disciplines — ball, clubs, hoop and ribbon.

Currently, the promising Wei Wen and fast-improving Minn-E are going through their paces three times a week under the care of coach Sarah Sarraj at the Klang Valley-based Total Gymnastique training camp.

The centre's co-owner Choo Kim Lian said her charges would need to adapt quickly to the newly-introduced scoring system in the performances, including major changes to the movements and handling of apparatus for the new season.

"We have been studying the changes since October last year. We are still improving on our understanding of the new format. It is more demanding because the competitors will need to be flawless in their execution.

"Besides striving for precision in the fundamental movements and body difficulties, they are also required to complement their performances with dance steps.

"We have been incorporating the dance training in our current programme. Our trainees will not have any difficulty in tackling the dance element.

"They have been gaining regular exposure in that area," she said.

Considering that former club trainee Georgia Wong joined the national junior training programme recently, Wei Wen will be out to prove herself and stamp her mark at the national junior level.

"For a start, I want to do well at the MSSS to secure my place for MSSM. My aim is to be among the medal contenders in the ball, hoop and ribbon at the MSSM," said Wei Wen.

This season, Kuala Lumpur will host the MSSM meet from March 25 to 28.

However, Kim Lian said Wei Wen would have to bounce back strongly with a convincing routine in the clubs.

"The setbacks with the minor fumbles at the previous two competitions affected her self-confidence in handling the clubs. She needs to regain her touch," Kim Lian added.

Wei Wen was part of Selangor's victorious side in the Pre-Junior (Under-12) team event at the national schools meet (MSSM) in 2011.

Kim Lian also praised Minn-E for showing encouraging progress over the past six months.

"She is very determined, based on her praiseworthy work rate in training. She will also be attempting to earn her place in the MSSS squad at the MSSM," she said.

Besides the SMK Damansara Jaya line-up, the trainees from the centre will also form a combined side in the Junior group exercise comprising the clubs and hoop apparatus at the MSSS.

Meanwhile, a group of trainees from the Total Gymnastique centre started their campaign at the two-day MSSS Petaling Utama district championships earlier.


The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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Zoo tickets to go up by 50%

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 04:58 PM PST

MALACCA: Entrance fee to the the Malacca Zoo here is expected to be increased almost 50% once the facelift of the menagerie has been completed following its privatisation on Jan 1.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the ticket prices are likely to be increase within this year when the upgrading works at the zoo have been completed.

"We are trying to unveil an outlook to complement the facility in Singapore, hence, the ticket prices would commensurate the fresh image of the Malacca Zoo," he said.

On Friday, the Chief Minister launched the new logo for Malacca Zoo after a private company took over the management of the zoo earlier this year from National Park and Wildlife Department.

Mohd Ali said some RM8mil has been allocated for the facelift and the upgrading works would be executed in stages, stretching for two years.

"The increase in ticket prices is unavoidable for the private management to continue injecting more attractions at the zoo," he said.

Currently the ticket cost RM15 for adults while RM6 for children.

Mohd Ali said the Malacca Zoo was re-branded Zoo and Night Safari under its new management - Konsortium KKW Sdn Bhd.

He said the zoo is expected to attract more than one million visitors this year with a projected revenue of RM8mil - a far cry from 750,000 visitors and ticket sales of RM3.5 million in 2012.

He also added that the expansion programme would see the consortium, comprising Koperasi Hang Tuah Jaya, Koperasi Bela Masyarakat (KOBEMAS) and Wildlife Sdn Bhd unfurling a slew of programmes to attract visitors including animal show, guided safari tour, night train and treasure hunt.

Thousands throng hall to get BR1M 2.0 vouchers

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 05:01 PM PST

KUANTAN: There was a hive of activities at the Sultan Ahmad Shah silver jubilee hall here recently as 3,482 people filled the premises for a common objective.

They gathered at the hall to receive the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) 2.0 vouchers of RM500 each.

Many of them came in chaffeured cars while others in buses, taxis and some by foot.

Scores of volunteers from political parties assisted the recipients to register their names before they were given a seat and some light refreshments.

Teruntum assemblyman Datuk Chang Hong Seong, his wife Datin Koo Mui Ling and Kuantan MCA division chief Datuk Ti Lian Ker were present to give out the vouchers.

In his speech, Chang said special arrangements were made with Bank Simpanan Nasional which set up counters to facilitate recipients in cashing out the voucher on the spot.

He said those who were not in need of urgent cash could do so later at three other authorised banks namely Public Bank, CIMB and Maybank.

"The BR1M 2.0 was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during the tabling of the budget last September.

"The payment of RM500 is aimed at reducing the financial burden of the people especially the low income groups.

"The Government has again fulfilled its pledges with the presentation ceremony today," he said to the applause of the people.

Chang urged the people to continue giving their support to Barisan Nasional and the Prime Minister to ensure continuous growth and progress.

He said the Government's long-term target was to eradicate hardcore poverty and increase the income of the people.

"The people should spend the money wisely to purchase basic necessities, for their children studies or save it for the rainy day.

"We hope the people would appreciate the efforts of the Government," he said.

Chang said the country was expected to achieve between 4.5% and 5.5% economic growth this year.

He said the financial position of the country remained strong and allegations that the country was going bankrupt was not true.

Fireworks smuggling foiled

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 05:02 PM PST

KUANTAN: An attempt to smuggle fireworks worth RM224,000 was thwarted by Customs officers during a high-speed chase which ended at a dead end in an orang asli settlement near Chini.

The driver managed to evade arrest but not before abandoning the consignment of illegal items in the three-tonne lorry.

Customs Department assistant director-general (enforcement) Datuk Zainul Abidin Taib said acting on a tip-off, a team of Customs officers spotted the lorry along Jalan Muadzam Shah-Kuantan last week and tried to flag it down for inspection.

Zainul Abidin said however, the driver refused to stop instead sped off, triggering a high-speed chase which ended in the settlement.

"Initial investigations showed the illegal consignment was smuggled into the country to be sold in Kuantan due to the festive season.

"The fireworks were worth RM146,000 in unpaid taxes," he told a press conference at Wisma Kastam here.

Also present was Pahang Customs director Datuk Sarip Ismail.

Zainul Abidin commended Pahang Customs officers for carrying out another 10 successful raids for the month of January which saw other seizures including contraband cigarettes and making six arrests.

He said the value of the total 11 cases for January was about RM731,000 with unpaid taxes amounting to RM2.31mil.

"We would like to thank the public for providing information to help us eradicate smuggling activities in the country.

"For every success, we would consider offering incentives in cash for informers whose identities would be kept confidential," he said.

Zainul Abidin said for the whole of last year, Pahang Customs achieved success in 112 cases with seizure worth RM2.82mil and unpaid taxes of RM2.856mil.

He said last year, seven suspects were taken to court and in various stages of prosecution.

"For this year, four suspects have been charged including one for drug trafficking under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

"Our target is to nab more offenders red-handed and charge them in court to serve as a deterrent," he said.

Zainul Abidin also reminded the people not to have any dealings with illegal items as it was an offence under the law.

He also urged the public not to believe in auction activities involving cars, motorcycles or cellphones purportedly organised by the department.

"We have received some complaints on this matter and are investigating.

"Normally, we would put up in our website to inform the public of any auction and allow them to view the products," he said, adding that those interested should go to the nearest Customs offices personally to verify the information.

Alternatively, they can visit its website at or contact 03-8882 2100 or 03-8882 2300.

Those with information on any smuggling activities can contact the toll free line at 1-800-88-8855.


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Loading up your day’s essentials with goodness from nature

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 04:42 PM PST

Protein is found in every single cell in the body. An important building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood, high quality protein provides all of the essential amino acids needed by healthy adults and growing children. People who don't get enough of this important macronutrient will lack energy, and they will see their muscles and immune systems weaken.

To help people meet their daily protein needs, leading direct selling company Amway is introducing NUTRILITE™ All Plant Protein Powder which helps to load up your day's essentials by unlocking more goodness from nature. The unique tri-blend of soy, wheat and pea provides the right combination of proteins and amino acids to keep you feeling healthy and energetic, without animal products or dairy side effects.

"As one of the macronutrient foundations of a balanced diet, protein needs to be consumed each day to maintain health," says Gene Maly, Senior NUTRILITE Research Scientist. "Most people have difficulty consuming the recommended amount of protein in their diet, which is why adding a high quality protein source, like NUTRILITE All Plant Protein Powder, helps people give their bodies the fuel to power their cells, provide energy to their bodies, and with the recommended amount of 25 grams of soy protein per day, also helps to reduce cholesterol."

But most people associate protein with meat, poultry, eggs and dairy. In today's world, that isn't always what people want to hear. Many people want to incorporate as many plant-based options as they can into their diets.

A simple observation Many of the essential amino acids found in NUTRILITE's previous version of Protein Powder came from dairy, essentially from cows.

In the history of NUTRILITE, observing the diet of cows signified an "ah-ha" moment for its founder, Carl Rehnborg. After a return from China in the early nineteen hundreds he made a simple observation that the healthiest cows ate a diet of alfalfa and water -- they had shinier coats, they produced the most milk, and they gained the most weight. He realized that for cows to thrive, they needed the essential nutrients found in plants like alfalfa.

Today, NUTRILITE scientists have taken Carl Rehnborg's observation one step further by going back to the natural source, creating a plant-based protein powder that provides all of the essential amino acids people need in their diets to maintain cellular health throughout their body. This simple idea has resulted in NUTRILITE All Plant Protein Powder.

Protein keeps us feeling healthy by acting as a cell repair nutrient, it provides energy by producing hemoglobin – the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout our bodies, it builds lean muscle, and it supports the immune system by manufacturing antibodies, the substances that fight off illness.

- This article is brought to you by Amway


The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Music

A songbird’s dream

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 01:28 AM PST

Korean star Kim A-joong makes her own rules in her movie and music career.

Yoon-jung, Kim A-joong's character in movie Whatcha Wearing?, is a woman reflecting many guys' favourite fantasy. The female lead is beautiful but romantically challenged. Yoon-jung is so devoted to her boyfriend that she even accepts his excessive demand to quit her job. The character, who hosts a special event to change her boyfriend`s mind, is attractive enough to satisfy any man.

So, it seems only natural that Kim A-joong, with her flawless figure and exotic looks, was offered the role of Yoon-jung. In movie 200 Pounds Beauty, she was the talk of the town, or at least, the topic of many men-only talk. She played a beautiful forensic doctor working day and night in the SBS drama Sign. However, it is not just her appearance which makes her character Yoon-jung come to life.

"I can't act a character until I have totally understood her. So I envy some actors who follow their own instincts. Whenever I don't get the feelings of my character, I would recall my own experience. But it becomes so difficult when I can't find any hint there."

Kim says: "Yoon-jung is an interesting because she doesn't feel shy saying erotic words, so unlike the usual female leads in Korean R-rated comedies." On the other hand, the actress needed to persuade herself when it came to some other parts of Yoon-jung. There were some aspects that Kim just could not understand as a fellow woman.

So Kim wrote a biography of her character and gave it to the director. She also tried to express Yoon-jung from a woman's point of view, not just as a figment of a male fantasy. Thanks to all her efforts, Yoon-jung could become a "normal woman".

She gets stressed by her boyfriend not proposing marriage to her and worries about a new crush.

Surely, few women sing as well as Kim. She has a gorgeous singing voice yet the actress sings a song by moaning in Whatcha Wearing?. She shot to fame with the song Maria from 200 Pounds Beauty, and Kim is currently drawing attention with Sexy Jingle Bell in Whatcha Wearing?.

Kim started preparing for her singing debut when she was 18 and has heard about several criticisms about her appearance, which are hard to avoid as an actress. Now, she can laugh off headlines such as "Kim A-joong's Face Is Always Changing".

"I don't want to be attacked but, at the same time, I know I can also help myself. I'd rather work to satisfy myself. I try not to be intimidated by people's talk. Yes, it's not easy. But I always try to think positively about myself. It's more important for me to concentrate on what I like, not to show only the good side of me to the public, and to keep my emotions in balance. I used to show only my good image in my 20s. I should not have done things that way. It's natural to make mistakes when you are young. I could become a better actress in my 30s if I challenge myself more and show myself more honestly. So now, I will unveil my many sides and try not to worry about what might happen in the future." – Reuters

Party solution

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 12:35 AM PST

Future Music Festival Asia 2013 lines up a diverse cast of acts to attract the masses.

CLASSIC hip hop gets a big nod at the Future Music Festival Asia 2013 (FMFA) at the Sepang International Circuit in Kuala Lumpur on March 16.

The announcement of legendary hip hop groups De La Soul and Naughty By Nature as additional highlights for FMFA 2013 is set to raise the party temperature at this outdoor festival.

Both groups, which were huge in the late 1980s and early 1990s, made their commercial impact while signed to the legendary Tommy Boy label.

Other add-ons, which were announced last Thursday, include British indie darlings Ladytron (deejay set), dance deejays Sidney Samson, Andy Moor and regional electronica favourite Angger Dimas.

Homegrown acts were also finalished with Goldfish & Blink, Kyoto Protocol, LapSap, They Will Kill Us All, Brains & The Eye (B.A.T.E), H3 featuring Arabyrd, Dangerdisko, Eva T, Deer Society, Darren Ashley, Bud Culture, OMP DJs, Mr Fluff, Twilight Actiongirl, Mister Ariffin, FONO, DJ Fuzz, Jakeman & Skeletor, Nadira, Johan Nasir, Mr. Nasty and GuruGuru on board.

From electro to dub reggae and hip hop to indie rock, the Malaysian content at FMFA 2013 is as diverse as it gets.

Asian names also feature prominently in the line-up with South Korean acts Idiotape and Shut Da Mouth set to thrill.

Last November, the first wave of acts were announced for FMFA 2013 with South Korean rapper Psy as one of the main crowd-pullers, while British dance pop star Rita Ora, indie rock outfit Bloc Party, veteran dance act The Prodigy, US pop act Fun, Australian indie band Temper Trap and other contemporary electronica/dance acts (Zed's Dead, Timmy Trumpet, Tenzin, Feed Me, Kill The Noise, DJ Fresh and Stafforf Brothers) firmed up to bring this multi-stage outdoor festival to life.

At press time, 48 acts have been confirmed for FMFA 2013.

Elsewhere, trance music superstar Armin Van Buuren also brings his "A State of Trance 600: The Expedition Tour" to Sepang International Circuit on March 15. This sister event is part of the FMFA 2013 bandwagon.

Organised by Future Entertainment Australia and Livescape Asia, FMFA 2013 marks the second time the massive Australian-based music festival will be held in Malaysia.

It is supported by MyCEB as part of an initiative to kickstart the promotional campaign of Visit Malaysia Year 2014 with a bang.

Organisers are expecting an influx of over 10,000 fans from abroad for this year's festival. To date, it has sold over 16,000 tickets.

> Browse for ticket information, festival programme and more. Tickets are also on sale at all Rock Corner, Victoria Music, TicketPro and AirAsia Red Tix outlets. The festival is strictly an above-18 event.

The Upfront treats

Posted: 05 Feb 2013 12:34 AM PST

THE Bee @ Publika's Upfront Series heats up next month with two more eye-catching gigs.

How To Dress Well, hailing from Brooklyn, New York, starts the live action at the venue on March 1. The indie act is the stage name of songwriter/producer Tom Krell. Combining a gorgeous falsetto with fractured R&B-influenced beats, an instinctive ear for subtly devastating melody and elements of noise, sound collage and avant-garde composition, Krell has gained an enthusiastic following worldwide. He released his second album, Total Loss, last September, which made Stereogum's list of top 50 albums of 2012 at No.33. Tickets for How To Dress Well's gig on March 1 costs RM78.

Elsewhere, avant-pop act Grimes, or Claire Boucher as she's probably known to her relatives, is a name to watch when she plays the Kuala Lumpur venue on March 12. The young Canadian, who has attracted the masses with her skewed synth-pop sounds, couldn't have chosen a more accurate name for her third album Visions, which has been regarded as one of the best albums of 2012. Tickets for the Grimes gig cost RM108 (early bird) and RM128 (regular). Tickets for both shows at The Bee @ Publika (32B, Level G2, Publika, Solaris Dutamas Jalan Dutamas 1, KL) are available at the venue. For more information, call 03-6201 8577 or visit


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