Khamis, 21 Februari 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

HBO Asia reaches milestone with Dead Mine

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 02:47 PM PST

HBO Asia reels in its first original movie, Dead Mine.

AFTER over two decades of being in the entertainment business, HBO Asia has reached a milestone with the release of its first feature film – an action-horror – in Asia.

Dead Mine, the title of the English language movie, is jointly produced with Singapore-based creative services company Infinite Studios. It is directed by Steven Sheil, who gained widespread recognition for his work in a grisly yet comedic horror, Mum And Dad (2008).

The film tells the story of an amateur treasure hunter, who assembles an expert group of hunters to investigate a possible location for the legendary Yamashita's Gold – lost treasure looted from across Asia by Japanese forces during World War II.

Venturing deep into the jungles of a remote Indonesian island, the group finds itself under attack and forced into an apparently abandoned mine, only to become trapped underground in a Japanese Imperial Army bunker. The team soon realises that it is not alone, and is forced to decide between escaping and fighting to survive.

The film features an international amalgam of actors, creative and technical talents. Britons Sam Hazeldine and Les Loveday take on the roles of former soldier Stanley and the pampered lead character, Pryce, respectively.

Malaysian actress Carmen Soo plays Su Ling, Pryce's girlfriend. Also in the cast are Japanese action star Miki Mizuno, Singapore-based Japanese actor Jimmy T and Indonesian actors Ario Bayu, Bang Tigor, Joe Taslim and Mike Lewis.

For Sheil, it has been an immeasurable experience working with cast members who were committed and highly professional.

"I was initially apprehensive of having an international cast from different countries and cultures coming together. But thankfully, the cast members have been phenomenal. They have worked really hard and trained themselves to slip into their respective roles. They have been fantastic and I could not have wished for a better cast," said the British director in a phone interview from Batam, Indonesia,

For Soo, it was an irresistible offer due to the movie's interesting script, a talented cast and the chance to play a mean-spirited character.

"It's always more fun to play a character who's cold, driven, ambitious and unlikeable (laughs). In the movie, I play Pryce's snobbish girlfriend who is determined to unearth the hidden treasures in the mine. The exposure was really great and it enabled me to further explore my talents," said the award-winning actress who shot to fame after starring in homegrown movies like The Hunter, Baik Punya Cilok and the Filipino film Tenement 2.

The petite beauty added it was a blessing to work with Sheil who was extremely patient and encouraging.

"Steven constantly motivated us to add different dimensions to our character. Besides regular rehearsals, he took extra efforts to discuss various ways to understand our character and give our fullest potential," said Soo, who also stars in upcoming movies The Borneo Incident, Ghost Child and Double.

Shot entirely in Batam, Indonesia at Infinite Studios' brand new studio facilities, comprising two sound stages (30,000 sq ft and 15,000 sq ft) and a one-hectare back lot facility, as well as supporting offices and workshops, the strong production team worked together to create a realistic backdrop which contributed to the realistic context of the film.

All the interior scenes were shot in the bigger sound stage, while the external scenes feature the picturesque sights of Batam.

HBO Asia decided to narrow in on the horror genre as it is rated highly among Asian viewers, said HBO's vice president of programming Erika North.

"Action horror touches the right buttons with our viewers. The fact that the movie has an international cast and elements of Asian mythology seemed like the perfect fit for our first feature film," explained North.

North hopes the film would serve as the start of more original content from Asia.

"The experience of working with Infinite Studios on this production has been a first step and wonderful experiment. HBO United States, HBO Central Europe and HBO Latin America have been successful in creating productions and the time has come for HBO Asia to follow suit.

"The Asian film industry is in a healthy state and there are a lot of talents from Asia. To produce our own content is therefore a natural progression for us. Dead Mine is a first step and we are keen to produce more in future," North added.

Dead Mine also boasts good production values from the involvement of key creative talents such as in-house production designer Ian Bailie, who served as supervising art director on the films Atonement and Pride And Prejudice. Furthermore, award-winning Australian cinematographer John Radel has worked on feature films like Gillian Armstrong's docu-drama Unfolding Florence and The Philosophers.

Dead Mine premieres on Saturday at 10.30pm on HBO/HD (Astro Ch 411/431). For details, go to or


The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Russia leases planes to Cuba, writes off Soviet debt

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 07:25 PM PST

HAVANA (Reuters) - Russia will lease eight jets worth $650 million (426 million pounds) to its Cold War- era ally Cuba and will partially write off the country's multi-billion-dollar, Soviet-era debt under agreements signed during Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Havana on Thursday.

Moscow will write off part of the $30 billion debt and will offer a 10-year refinancing plan for the remaining amount, according to the preliminary agreement, Russia's industry and trade minister Denis Manturov told reporters on the sidelines of the talks.

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev looks on during a meeting with Brazil's Vice President Michel Temer (not pictured) at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev looks on during a meeting with Brazil's Vice President Michel Temer (not pictured) at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

"There was an accumulated debt on loans allocated by the Soviet Union and we have now prepared an agreement that should undergo all the necessary procedures," he said.

Manturov said the final decision on debt settlement will be signed by the end of the year.

Russia will also lease three Ilyushin-96-400 long-haul jets, three AN-158 regional planes and two TU-204SM mid-range aircraft to Cuba under the agreements inked in the presence of Medvedev and Cuban leader Raul Castro.

Moscow will provide sovereign guarantees to a syndicate of Russian banks financing the deal, Manturov said.

Medvedev and Castro were seen chatting informally and broadly smiling during the ceremony. The Cuban leader greeted reporters in Russian.

Russia and Cuba enjoyed close relations during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and Washington.

The volume of trade between the two countries last year was roughly $200 million. Oil companies from Russia, the world's largest energy exporter, are drilling into Cuba's offshore oil deposits.

(Reporting By Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Stacey Joyce)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Venezuela's Chavez still suffers breathing trouble

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 07:23 PM PST

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's cancer-stricken president, Hugo Chavez, is still suffering respiratory problems after surgery in Cuba two months ago, the government said on Thursday in a sombre first communiqué since his homecoming this week.

A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds pictures of Jesus Christ and Chavez outside the military hospital after his surprise return to Caracas February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds pictures of Jesus Christ and Chavez outside the military hospital after his surprise return to Caracas February 18, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Struggling to talk and breathing through a tracheal tube, the 58-year-old socialist leader is being treated at a Caracas military hospital after returning unseen before dawn on Monday.

Long accustomed to the drama and speculation over Chavez's health since cancer was first detected in June 2011, Venezuelans are now debating if he can recover and return to active rule, or may resign and try to ensure his vice president wins a vote.

Some think he may have simply come home to die.

"The breathing insufficiency that emerged post-operation persists, and the tendency has not been favourable, so it is still being treated," read the communiqué, in gloomy news for Chavez's millions of passionate supporters.

The short statement, read by Information Minister Ernesto Villegas, said, however, that treatment for Chavez's "base illness" - presumably the cancer first diagnosed in his pelvic area - continued without "significant adverse effects for now."


Little detailed medical information has been made public on Chavez's condition, meaning the government's occasional short statements are pored over by Venezuelans for clues about the future for him and the nation he has dominated since 1999.

Chavez is believed to be seeing only close family at the hospital and a few senior officials, including Vice President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly head Diosdado Cabello.

"The patient remains in communication with relatives and the government political group in close collaboration with the medical team," the statement added.

"The president holds firm to Christ, with absolute will to live and maximum discipline in the treatment of his health."

Apart from a few photos of him lying in a Havana hospital bed that were released by the government last week, Chavez has not been seen or heard from in public since his December 11 operation, his fourth surgery for cancer in just 18 months.

He returned home at 2:30 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on Monday without any of the fanfare or media attention that accompanied previous homecomings after treatment in Cuba.

A source at the military hospital said there was tight security surrounding Chavez's ninth-floor suite, and that the only doctors treating the president there were Cubans.

Staircases were sealed off with bars, the source said, and the area was covered by armed patrols and surveillance cameras.

Chavez originally chose to be treated in Cuba - where he has spent more than five months in total since mid-2011 - due to his friendship with leaders Fidel and Raul Castro, plus the discretion guaranteed on the tightly controlled island.

But in recent weeks, officials said, he had been pining to come home and listening to music from the his boyhood home in the "llanos" or plains in central Venezuela.

Vigils are being held across the nation, while politicians are quietly gearing up for a possible new presidential election.

Should Chavez leave power, a vote would have to be held within 30 days. His No. 2, Maduro, would likely run against opposition leader and state governor Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chavez in last year's presidential election.

(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Three die in shooting, fiery crash on Las Vegas Strip

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 06:45 PM PST

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Three people died in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip early on Thursday when one or more gunmen in a Range Rover sport utility vehicle opened fire on a Maserati, killing the driver and touching off a fiery multi-car crash.

Wrecked cars are seen on Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Avenue as Las Vegas Metro Police investigate a shooting and multi-car accident that left three people dead and three injured on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada in the early morning February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

Wrecked cars are seen on Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Avenue as Las Vegas Metro Police investigate a shooting and multi-car accident that left three people dead and three injured on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada in the early morning February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

The driver of the Maserati died in the pre-dawn shooting, and his car veered out of control and smashed into a taxi carrying two people, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Officer Jose Hernandez said.

The cab exploded into flames in the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, a popular tourist area in front of several casino resorts, killing the driver and a passenger.

"There was a loud bang and I hear two other booms. I looked out my window at Caesars Palace ... and could see the fireball," witness John Lamb was quoted as saying on the website of Las Vegas KLAS-TV's 8News Now.

The gunfire and collision in the busy intersection near the Bellagio and Caesars Palace hotels triggered another crash involving four other vehicles. At least four people were hurt including a passenger in the Maserati, and the Range Rover sped from the scene, Hernandez said.

Authorities declined to identify any of the victims but the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper and KLAS-TV identified the driver of the Maserati as aspiring rapper Kenneth Cherry Jr. YouTube videos of his music show him rapping from a silver Maserati while cruising the Las Vegas Strip.

Attorney Vicki Greco, who has represented Cherry for what she described as minor traffic issues and in a civil case, told Reuters she had been in touch with his family and friends and that they were "devastated" by the news that he had been killed.

"I have not been to the coroner ... From what I have heard, Yes, I can confirm. But I haven't been officially notified," Greco said, adding she believed it was him from news photos that showed the car.


Police said the shooting was believed to have stemmed from a fight in the valet area of the Aria Resort and Casino on the Strip, but investigators had not established a motive.

Representatives for MGM Resorts International, which owns the Aria, declined to comment on specifics of the incident but said it was working closely with police on the investigation.

A hospital spokeswoman said three people had been treated and released at University Medical Centre after the incident but declined to provide information about a fourth person.

Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie told a news conference that police had few leads on the Range Rover or its occupants, who were considered "armed and dangerous," but had launched a multi-state search and were seeking help from the public.

The sheriff bristled at suggestions that the outburst of gun violence could call into question the safety of the Strip, which attracts millions of visitors every year.

"I have been asked by many of you this morning, ‘Is the Las Vegas Strip safe?'" Gillespie said. "Yes it is."

"Las Vegas is a valley of 2 million people. Forty million tourists visit here a year. We have 153,000 hotel rooms. In order for my police organization and other law enforcement organizations in the valley to keep this community safe, we have to work very closely not only with the community but the resort corridor as well," he said.

The incident occurred near to where rapper Tupac Shakur was shot on September 7, 1996, while riding in a BMW with Death Row Records co-founder Marion "Suge" Knight after the two men had attended a Mike Tyson boxing match.

Shakur, 25, was hit by gunfire from at least one assailant in a Cadillac while sitting in Knight's car at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane and died six days later at University Medical Centre. The crime remains unsolved.

(Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Eric Walsh; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters


The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

HLCap surges, new shareholder emerges

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 07:13 PM PST

Friday February 22, 2013

PETALING JAYA: Hong Leong Capital Bhd (HLCap) surged 11 sen yesterday to close at RM1.96, its highest since a privatisation proposal for the company was announced last month.

Meanwhile, a new substantial shareholder has surfaced in HLCap Datuk Dr Yu Kuan Chon, the chairman and executive director of publicly-listed and family-run YNH Property Bhd.

Yu, a low-profile former medical officer for the Government, rapidly increased his stake in HLCap to 17.24 million shares or 6.98% as at Wednesday from 14.67 million shares or 5.94% on Monday.

It is not known if Yu is a friendly party to Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, the patriarch of the Hong Leong group, who is taking HLCap private via his flagship Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (HLFG) for RM1.71 per share.

Separate filings to the stock exchange yesterday also showed that Quek's indirect interest in HLCap, the Hong Leong group's stockbroking, investment banking and asset management arm, had risen to 195.59 million shares, or 83.37%, as his deemed interest in the company through acceptances of HLFG's take-over offer.

The said privatisation offer has become unconditional since Feb 18 as the offeror, HLFG, had already received an approval from Bank Negara in relation to this proposal.

Companies being taken private usually trade on par with or below their offer prices, but HLCap has seen its shares hit levels not seen in over a decade.

Dealers have speculated that parties friendly to the offeror could have bought HLCap shares from the open market to ensure HLFG secures a high percentage of shares from acceptances of the general offer, which would help make the case for the delisting of HLCap.


MMHE Q4 income improves 116%

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 07:10 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Marine And Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd (MMHE) saw its net profit increase 116% in the final quarter of last year to RM100.36mil from RM46.36mil a year ago, with most of its segments reporting improved earnings.

The oil and gas services provider said revenue rose 19.6% to RM857.01mil against RM716.15mil in the same period in 2011. Its earnings per share (EPS) for the three months to December stood at 6.5 sen compared to 2.9 sen previously.

The company also declared a dividend of 10 sen.

Its offshore division posted a better turnover and profit for the fourth quarter due to the higher project progress achieved from existing projects, it said in the notes to its financial statements.

"Currently, some of the group's projects in hand are at the advanced stages of completion and the group is actively finalising the relevant change orders with respective clients for additional and changed scope of work to enhance value creation," it said.

MMHE's marine arm also saw its results improve due to the higher value and volume of repair works across all repair segments, particularly for liquefied natural gas (LNG) ships.

During the quarter, four LNG vessels were being repaired as opposed to three in the comparable period in 2011.

For fiscal 2012, the firm, a 66.5%-owned unit of MISC Bhd, posted a 27.6% decrease in net earnings to RM242mil from RM334.24mil year-on-year, which it attributed to lower operating profit from its offshore segment and the share of losses arising from the jointly-controlled entity's performance.

However, revenue rose 8.8% to RM3.33bil against the RM3.06bil recorded earlier. EPS dipped to 15.1 sen versus 20.9 sen in 2011.

While its offshore division saw revenue improve last year, operating profit was dented by provisions it made for higher expected expenses for some ongoing projects.

But income from its marine business improved by almost eight times to RM68.7mil, as it undertook more projects in the LNG segment.

"In addition to these activities, the engineering, procurement, construction and commisioning contract of the repair, life extension and conversion of an existing LNG vessel in floating storage unit Lekas, which was successfully completed and delivered during the current period, also contributed to the improved performance," the company said.

On its outlook, MMHE said domestic exploration and production and enhanced oil recovery activities were "still buoyant", with a number of new discoveries being announced in the past one year.


Global semicon equipment sales hit US$1.09b in January

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 06:40 PM PST

Published: Friday February 22, 2013 MYT 10:40:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Semiconductor equipment orders, which are leading indicators for the industry, saw North America based manufacturers recording US$1.09bil in orders in January 2013.

The Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturers Industry (SEMI) said on Friday the three-month average of worldwide bookings in January 2013 was US$1.09bil, up 17.2% from the final December 2012 level of US$927.4mil.However, it was down 8.5% from January 2012's order level of US$1.19bil.

The January Book-to-Bill Report showed the book-to-bill ratio was 1.14 times, which meant there were US$114 worth of orders for every US$100 of product billed for the month.

SEMI said the three-month average of global billings in January 2013 was US$952.1mil.

"The billings figure is 5.4% lower than the final December 2012 level of $1.01bil, and is 23.2% less than the January 2012 billings level of US$1.24bil," it said.



The Star Online: Sports

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Kuchar, Day finish off wins at snow-hit Match Play

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 05:19 PM PST

MARANA, Arizona: Matt Kuchar, Jason Day and Bo Van Pelt polished off first-round victories Thursday as the WGC Match Play Championship at last got underway after a lengthy snow delay.

Kuchar had held a 3-up advantage over Japan's Hiroyui Fujita when play was suspended on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday he parred the 15th and 16th holes to complete a 3 and 2 victory.

He was to play the winner of the first-round match between Sergio Garcia and Thongchai Jaidee, which had been extended to extra holes.

Australian Jason Day also booked his second-round berth, with a 6 and 5 win over Zach Johnson. Van Pelt defeated Australian John Senden 6 and 5, needing just one hole after Thursday's restart to end his match with a par at the par-five 13th. Senden bogeyed the hole after a tee shot into desert native area.

Play on Thursday was delayed by more than four hours as officials and golfers waited for the snow that struck on Wednesday to melt.

All but nine of the 32 matches were on the golf course Wednesday when the freak storm dropped almost two inches of snow on the Ritz Carlton Golf Club course at Dove Mountain.

World number one Rory McIlroy and 14-time major champion Tiger Woods were among those who didn't get a chance to tee off on Wednesday.

McIlroy was to take on Ireland's Shane Lowry in the first round while Woods, a three-time winner of the World Golf Championships event, took on Charles Howell. -AFP

Play suspended after ‘crazy’ weather hits Arizona desert

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 03:27 PM PST

MARANA (Arizona): Rory McIlroy has golfed in driving rain and umbrella-snapping winds, but Wednesday marked the first time the Northern Irishman ever had a tournament round postponed because of a snowstorm.

Snow halted the opening round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship before McIlroy and Tiger Woods could tee off and before any match-up was completed.

Play was suspended in the late morning and by the time play was called for the day, about four centimetres had accumulated on the ground.

"I have never seen anything like that at a golf tournament," said the top-seeded McIlroy. "I've seen snow on the course when I was a kid, but nothing like that on any of the tours. It was crazy."

Mark Russell, the PGA Tour's vice president of rules and competition, remembered seeing snow at a PGA Tour event in nearby Tucson, Arizona during the late 1990s before this tournament became part of the World Golf Championships.

"We got this freak snow storm," Russell said. "It was predicted, though. We just couldn't play."

Spain's Sergio Garcia was the nearest to victory, leading Thongchai Jaidee 2-up and looking at a 12-foot birdie putt at the 15th hole, while the Thai player is 96 feet from the cup.

Only 10 of the 64 first-round matches had not teed off when the snowstorm struck at the Dove Mountain course, but those matches included World No. 1 McIlroy going against Irishman Shane Lowry.

Australia's Jason Day, who would be enjoying warm summer temperatures if he were back home in Brisbane, said this was a first for him.

"This is crazy. I never played golf where you had to stop because of snow," Day said.

There was still snow on the course as the sun was setting on Wednesday and cool temperatures were expected to keep it there overnight. Weather forecasters were also predicting a second storm to hit the area.

Woods, who was set to open against US compatriot and friend Charlie Howell, and England's Luke Donald, a top seed set to face Marcel Siem of Germany, also were awaiting their starts when the storm struck to stop play for the day.

Garcia, playing in the bracket whose top seed is South African Louis Oosthuizen, has never trailed against Thongchai, who stumbled with a bogey at the par-five second and another at the 15th to fall two-down.

American Matt Kuchar, who could face Garcia in round two, was three-up on Hiroyuki Fujita after 14 holes, having won three holes in a row starting at the ninth to seize command.

That bracket also saw England's Justin Rose two-up on South Korean KJ Choi after nine holes, helping by a 54-foot birdie putt to win the opening holes that launched him to four-up through five holes before Choi rallied.

England's Ian Poulter was three-up through 12 on Scotsman Stephen Gallacher and Day was six-up after 10 on American Zach Johnson.

Defending champion Hunter Mahan was four-up on Italy's Matteo Manassero after nine holes, never trailing after the European found the desert right off the first tee and struggled from there. — AFP

Dellacqua makes a return at Malaysian Open

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 03:19 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Australia's Casey Dellacqua will return to compete in the US$235,000 BMW Malaysian Open tennis championships at the Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC) from Feb 25-March 3.

Besides Dellacqua, Taiwan's Chang Kai-chen, Japan's Misaki Doi and Kurumi Nara, Australia's Ashleigh Barty and Olivia Rogowska have also confirmed their participation.

Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Hsieh Su-wei and Japan's top player Ayumi Morita had earlier confirmed their participation.

Dellacqua proved to be a revelation at the Australian Open in January.

She partnered Barty to reach the women's doubles final.

However they lost to Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy in the final.

Aslina Chua, S. Theiviya and Yus Syazlin Nabila will represent Malaysia after being awarded wild cards.


The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Bookshelf

Cops, spies and health

Posted: 22 Feb 2013 01:28 AM PST

From Notting Hill To New York ... Actually

Author: Ali McNamara

Publisher: Sphere, 425 pages

THE sequel to From Notting Hill With Love finds movie fanatic Scarlett O'Brien dreaming of visiting the bright city lights of New York. With boyfriend Sean constantly away on business trips, she is left with little choice but to travel with best friend Oscar to the Big Apple for a holiday of a lifetime.

Amidst the fun in New York, she is smitten by charming TV reporter Jamie, who shares her passion for movies. Things become complicated when Sean decides to make a surprise visit to New York.

Moonlight Masquerade

Author: Jude Deveraux

Publisher: Pocket Books, 385 pages

JUDE Deveraux, author of over 40 New York Times bestsellers, dishes out another romance in Moonlight Masquerade under the Edilean series of romance books. The writer, who is known for her storylines centred around strong and capable heroines, pens down her thoughts on recently jilted Sophie Kincaid who flees to Edilean, a small town in the American state of Virginia, to heal her wounded heart.

However, her first taste of county life is far from heavenly after her car breaks down and she is almost run over by a speeding sports car driven by notoriously bitter Dr Reede Aldredge.

Close To The Bone

Author: Stuart Macbride

Publisher: HarperCollins, 511 pages

THE sequel to Shatter The Bones returns with the adventures of Detective Sergeant Logan McRae, a dedicated police officer based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

In the third consecutive bestselling crime novel of the DS Logan McRae series, a body is found strangled and stabbed, with a burning tyre around its neck. Is this a gangland execution or something much darker? At the same time, Logan worries about other pressing issues including rival drug gangs, two teenage lovers who are missing and issues concerning Asian immigrants.

Are You The One For Me?

Author: Barbara De Angelis

Publisher: Harper Element, 353 pages

PSYCHOLOGIST Barbara De Angelis (Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know and The Real Rules) enlightens readers on compatibility and how to create fulfilling relationships. Catering to singles, people who are divorced or those in love, this book shares information on making the right choices, how childhood memories can affect your love life, and ways to spot fatal flaws in a partner.

Divided into 12 chapters, the book aims to provide readers with a better understanding of love choices, sexual chemistry and compatibility.

Teach Your Children To Learn And Play

Author: James Windell

Publisher: Advantage Quest Publications, 303 pages

EVER wondered why young children throw tantrums or whether a surly teenager is just acting her age or having a mood disorder?

This book offers a comprehensive resource on how children think, learn and play – from the final months leading up to birth to their adolescent years.

Find out about brain development in children, cognitive and behavioural stages, and the impact family history can have on emotional development.

How To Do Everything And Be Happy

Author: Peter Jones

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, 231 pages

THIS step-by-step, straight to the point guide provides an avenue to create happiness in life. It teaches readers how to redress work-life imbalances, regain control and take action to make life much fuller and happier.

Besides ways to work on your bucket list, this self-help book enlightens readers on ways to turn wishes into goals.

It also offers real-life examples from the author's personal experience and how these can be used effectively to transform your life.

The Panther

Author: Nelson DeMille

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 625 pages

JOHN Corey, an anti-terrorist task force agent, and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, have been posted overseas to Yemen – one of the most dangerous battle grounds in the Middle East.

The couple is assigned to hunt down a high ranking Al Qaeda operative known as the Panther, supposedly one of the masterminds behind the USS Cole bombing.

As latecomers to a deadly game, John and Kate soon realise that the hunters have become the prey.

Naturally Pain Free

Author: Letha Hadady,

Publisher: Advantage Quest Publications, 308 pages

IF you have health problems ranging from sports injuries and indigestion to headaches, this could be the remedy for your concerns.

Letha Hadady, a natural remedies expert, guides readers on how to use a variety of all-natural herbs and extracts to ease and control the source of suffering.

Short story by Yasunari Kawabata uncovered

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 02:45 PM PST

A PREVIOUSLY unknown short story by Japan's first Nobel Prize-winning author Yasunari Kawabata (pic), best-known for the novel Snow Country, has been uncovered by researchers decades after his death.

Written early in his career, Utsukushii! (Beautiful!) appeared in April and May 1927 in a newspaper in Fukuoka, western Japan, Takumi Ishikawa of Rikkyo University and his fellow researchers found, Ishikawa reported on Monday.

Ishikawa and Hiroshi Sakaguchi, publisher and director at a literary museum in Fukuoka, discovered the unrecorded work while looking back through the paper's archives. It was verified as a genuine article by the Kawabata Foundation, he said.

The Kawabata Foundation is a body dedicated to preserving the late author's work, and annually awards a prize named after him.

Utsukushii! is the story of an industrialist who buries a young girl in his disabled son's grave after she suffers an accident while visiting the tomb. On the common gravestone, the father inscribes: "A beautiful young boy and beautiful young girl sleep together".

Loneliness and empathy for the weak are strong themes in the story, which was first published when Kawabata was 27, immediately after the release of another work, The Dancing Girl of Izu, Ishikawa said.

"It was during the period when many prominent authors sought outlets for their literary products in local papers after major Japanese publishers and newspapers based in Tokyo suffered devastating damage from the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923," he said.

"The story also has a lot in common with his other story that was published in 1954 under the title Utsukushiki Haka (Beautiful Grave)," he added.

Loneliness is a common theme in other stories by Kawabata, whose parents died early in his life, and whose sole carer – his grandfather – passed away when he was just 15.

In the rediscovered story, "you can see the 'sprouting' of the worldview that is evident in Kawabata's later works," Ishikawa said.

Kawabata's works in his later years include Snow Country, The Sound Of The Mountain and The Old Capital and have been translated into English.

Kawabata was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1968, the first Japanese to be recognised in the field by the committee.

He committed suicide in 1972, at the age of 72. – AFP Relaxnews

A 'yellow' outlook on life

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 02:45 PM PST

The Yellow World: Trust Your Dreams and They'll Come True
Author: Albert Espinosa
Publisher: Particular Books,
212 pages

EVERYONE who has battled cancer directly or indirectly carries a story of courage, resilience and inspiration.

There is Terry Fox who left a lasting memory in the way he defied the consequences of cancer and spread cancer awareness in an unbelievably powerful way. There are enduring memories of great intellectuals like Randy Pausch, who, at the precipice of death, turned around for one Last Lecture. There is Steve Jobs, who shaped the socio-cultural trends of an entire generation with his legacy of art and technology while battling cancer.

And then there is Albert Espinosa, whose peculiar outlook on life and idiosyncratic ideologies add an eccentric dimension to the variety that left this reader of his book a little bemused.

In The Yellow World, Espinosa shares the discoveries he made while battling cancer for 10 years between the ages of 14 and 24, losing one arm and one lung in the process.

From those years, he developed the idea of a "Yellow World", where "yellows" live in pursuit of happiness through "yellow discoveries". The book, he claims, is not about surviving cancer. It is about living your life in this new world where there are no rules.

The writer comes off as whimsical and strained in his attempt to smother the reader with platitudinous wisdom. The 23 discoveries that make up the core of the book are a collection of anecdotes from his life that are at times interesting but mostly over-the-top fanciful.

Some of these chapters are named after exhausted clichés like "Losses Are Positive" and "The Word Pain Doesn't Exist". However, one can also find in there some fascinating ideas, such as the chapter entitled "Start Counting At Six". Here, the author discusses average brain capacities of human beings and about not accepting the "factory setting" of our brains and improving its usage.

That the author frequently emphasises that there are no rules in the Yellow World is ironic, to say the least, as the book in itself can be considered a rule book for "yellow" initiation. For example, there is the ill-defined fixation on the number 23; there are 23 discoveries that make the basis for the yellow world and every person only has 23 fellow "yellows", no more, no less.

The whole yellow agenda seems laboured and reads like an idea grappling for acceptance.

Like this reader, some readers may find Espinosa way off the rails when going through the chapters on the do's and dont's of the Yellow World.

For instance, his declaration that two of the primary activities of yellows are to hug and stroke each other and that "one of the great mistakes we make (is to) not stroke each other more often..." comes off as not just radical but brash and imprudent. Furthermore, the book does not flow smoothly, with seemingly no real intention for one chapter to lead to the next. As much as Espinosa is interested in lists (nearly every chapter ends with a list of steps to follow), the sophistication of his lists and the thought put into each one are limited, if at all present. He recognises this, one too many times warning the reader that they are not in any particular order.

There are, however, fascinating chapters that fill the heart with tender, warm feelings. The egghead (the cancer patients in this book nickname themselves eggheads) adventures chronicling the author's little escapades with the other patients during his time in the cancer ward are well narrated and has inspired him to create the TV series Polseres Vermelles which means "red bracelets" in Catalan. The English language rights for the series has reportedly been bought by Steven Spielberg and is entitled The Red Band Society, named after the tags around the wrists of these in-patients.

The Yellow World never really got around to defining yellow or the need for this new world order. There is a fine line between insanity and genius, and Albert Espinosa travels recklessly between the two throughout this book.

Do we need a new relationship defined somewhere in between friends and lovers? Do we not have enough happiness (and problems) with existing relationships? Am I expected to hug, stroke, sleep with and watch these new yellow friends of mine wake up, as part of the Yellow World rules? I think I'll pass.


The Star Online: Nation

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The Star Online: Nation

Najib: Chinese community has gained much from BN govt's inclusive policies

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 07:41 AM PST

KUCHING: The Barisan Nasional government has been inclusive in whatever it does as it wants to engage the Chinese community.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it was due to this inclusiveness that the Chinese community had gained much from government policies.

"The Chinese community is doing well because of its hard work and entrepreneurial skills.

"It is also because of the Barisan policies that created opportunities for the economy to grow," he said when addressing more than 10,000 people at the Chinese New Year gathering here Thursday night.

In his speech drumming up support for Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP), Najib said the Barisan government had also been liberal in its education policies where it had allowed the existence of Chinese schools.

He said the upcoming 13th general election would be a litmus test for Barisan and SUPP.

"Your choice will affect the destiny and determine the future of Malaysia.

"Do you want the transformation agenda which has shown results and recognised worldwide to continue? This will be at stake in the coming GE13," he said.

He pointed out that the Chinese community would need a meaningful representation at both the federal and state governments in order for them to play a significant role in the formulation of government policies and the economic transformation agenda.

Taking a swipe at the Opposition, Najib said Pakatan Rakyat comprised people who had been pulling themselves in different directions with different fundamentals and ideologies.

"The question is, are you willing to gamble and destroy the future of our children (by voting the Opposition) in the coming GE?"

Acknowledging that the Barisan government had its shortcomings, he said if it was as bad as the Opposition had painted, then the country would not have posted an economic growth of 6.4% for the last quarter as well as attracted huge investments.

"The Opposition will continue to demonise and paint a bad picture of the Barisan.

"However, I assure you that we will deliver to make our country a fully developed nation by 2020.

"This is my commitment as we are going for a fair, equitable and inclusive development," he said.

He said the federal Barisan government would continue working closely with the state Barisan government to ensure the state continued to enjoy a better and brighter future.

Earlier, Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud urged the people to give Najib a strong mandate to lead the nation again.

He said this was important to put the country on a firmer track towards the realisation of its vision of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

Pulling his weight behind SUPP, Taib also called on the younger generation to support the party in the party's efforts to rejuvenate itself through the changing of guard.

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is new Health D-G

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 06:10 AM PST

Published: Thursday February 21, 2013 MYT 9:48:00 PM
Updated: Thursday February 21, 2013 MYT 10:10:00 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Health Ministry deputy director-general (medical) Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has been appointed director-general, effective March 1.

His appointment to replace Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman was announced Thursday by Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa.

In a statement, Dr Ali said Dr Noor Hisham's appointment, which was approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, was based on his experience and knowledge in the medical field.

Having held the post of deputy director-general since Feb 1, 2008, he was also the Putrajaya Hospital surgical department head and consultant breast and endocrine surgeon in 2007, Putrajaya Hospital general surgery medical officer in 2004 and general surgeon in 1994.

Dr Noor Hisham, 50, who has a masters in surgery and medical doctorate degree from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, joined the civil service as a medical officer in August 1988.

"I believe his experience, knowledge, expertise and credibility can ensure the country's health agenda and goals are executed, and the people get the best medical service," said Dr Ali.

The post felt vacant following the demotion of Dr Hasan Rahman last year.

Dr Hasan was demoted by one grade following his khalwat case in November. - Bernama

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Boo wants tiff with Jui Meng to be resolved amicably

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 05:24 AM PST

Published: Thursday February 21, 2013 MYT 9:20:00 PM
Updated: Thursday February 21, 2013 MYT 9:24:29 PM

JOHOR BARU: State DAP chairman Dr Boo Cheng Hau wants to put the feud with state PKR chairman Datuk Chua Jui Meng behind him.

He added that since his criticism of Chua, numerous party leaders, supporters and friends had given him their support.

"I hope that our feud will be resolved amicably and create solidarity within Pakatan Rakyat," he said in a press conference Thursday that was also attended by DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang.

Pressed whether DAP was willing to give up the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat, Dr Boo declined to comment and said it was up to his party and the Pakatan central leadership to sought it out.

Earlier in the week, Dr Boo accused Chua of being behind "vicious attacks" against Johor DAP.

In a two-and-half-page long statement, he said Chua should be removed as state PKR chief, claiming the latter refused to accept opinions or compromise on seat allocations for the state.

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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Movies Coming Soon

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 02:50 PM PST

Stoker – After India Stoker's father passes away, her distant uncle comes to live with India and her mother. She initially question his motives but later becomes infatuated with him.

This British-American psychological thriller/horror was directed by Park Chan-wook and written by Ted Foulke, also known as actor Wentworth Miller.

It stars Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Alden Ehrenreich, Dermot Mulroney and Jacki Weaver.

Jack The Giant Slayer – An action-adventure based on the fairytale Jack And The Beanstalk, directed by Bryan Singer.

In this fantastic setting, Jack is a young man who gets a beanstalk for his horse, and "accidentally" grows it.

But here's the twist – the young man must now rescue a kidnapped princess from giants who live in the clouds and are looking to reclaim what was once lost to them.

Starring Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane and Bill Nighy.

Christian Bale and Tom Hardy compete to scale 'Everest'

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 02:07 AM PST

Christian Bale and Tom Hardy, who both starred in latest Batman installment The Dark Knight Rises, may each star in a movie about Mount Everest.

According to, Christian Bale (pic) is considering signing up for Everest, a codename for a project by Universal Pictures and Working Title. The movie will tell of the debacle of an expedition to scale the Himalayan peak.

The subject of the film in which Tom Hardy is starring is quite similar and is also called Everest, although the two concurrent movies will be set in different time periods. Christian Bale's Everest will take place in 1996. Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur (Jar City) will direct this loose adaptation of Into Thin Air: A Personal Account Of The Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote Into The Wild, which was adapted for the cinema by Sean Penn.

The movie will focus on several teams of mountain climbers trapped on the slopes of Everest by a storm. According to the book, which denounced the mercantile methods of local agencies at the expense of safety, eight people died.

The project led by Tom Hardy will be set in 1924. Doug Liman will direct this Sony Pictures film about George Mallory. The British mountain climber disappeared during his third attempt to reach the top of Mount Everest.

is body was only found in 1999 and it is unknown whether he fulfilled his ambition or not.

When mountain climbing pioneer and legend Mallory was asked "Why climb Mount Everest?" he famously answered "Because it's there." Since then, the answer has become a slogan for mountain climbing enthusiasts everywhere.


'Birth of the Dragon' to focus on Bruce Lee 'origin story'

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 02:07 AM PST

QED International and Groundswell Productions have announced that a movie entitled Birth Of The Dragon will tell the story of Bruce Lee when he first got to the United States.

Twenty years after Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Hollywood will once again retrace the steps of the martial arts specialist who became an action movie star.

Birth Of The Dragon will focus on the event that made him popular in the United States in 1965: a fight against Wong Jack Man, a traditional rival master who, like him, also came from the Chinese quarter of San Francisco. Bruce Lee's victory helped him toward being spotted by Hollywood.

The movie will also explore what the star did to stop the Triads, the Chinese mafia, from settling in Chinatown. Stephen Rivele and Christopher

Wilkinson will be in charge of the screenplay. These two biopic specialists worked on Oliver Stone's Nixon and Michael Mann's Ali.



The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Star gazing

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 02:13 AM PST

WHO is the celebrity to spot this Oscar season? Here's what our local fashion mavens say.

Claudia Low, editor of Tongue In Chic

"Emma Stone brings youth and fun to the red carpet. She has a quirky style that's very hard to come by these days, and it shows in her choice of dresses. She always wears classic gowns with a modern spin – like a bold colour pop or a geometric element. It's all in the details with her, and that's why she's my girl to watch this year."

Wirda Adnan, editor-in-chief for WW magazine

"You know, I really don't get why they joke about Angeline Jolie's leg at the Oscars last year; I think she looks fabulous. The fact that she has the ability to wear any dress – even a not-so-expensive one – and put her own individual stamp on it makes her a style icon for regular women. I can't wait to see what she turns up in this year!"

Tan Siok Hoon, editor for Female magazine

"I am really looking forward to see what Jennifer Lawrence will be wearing. She is young, beautiful and gutsy, and her red carpet style is still evolving so it's pretty much a guessing game as to what she will choose to wear on the big night. That element of surprise is what makes it so exciting for me."

Shaiful Mukhelas, fashion blogger

"The celebrity I am most excited to see is Jennifer Lopez. Not to say that I'm a fan, but she is a real risk taker and all of the dresses she wore in the past were quite risqué, such as that gittery halterneck Marchesa piece.

"Yet, as risqué as they seemed, she actually wore the gowns instead of letting them wear her, unlike other celebs. So for the Oscars, I'm praying hard that she would show up in that controversial plunging neckline palm print Versace dress – the one that she wore for the Grammys when she was with P. Diddy. Trust me, she's the only one who can pull off that dress!"

Roshan Valiram, Valiram Group

"I can't wait to see what Zooey Deschanel will be wearing. She is not afraid to wear funky designs and bold colours. I love that how she dresses is a reflection of her quirky personality. Fashion is supposed to be fun and it should always represent one's individuality."

Melvin Chan, creative director for August Man and Jessica

"Marion Cottilard would be one of the stars whose presence and fashion statement is worth noting. I still remember that she wore a mermaid-inspired gown by Jean Paul Gaultier that got so much attention from the media. She received critical acclaim and won several awards, including Academy Award for Best Actress and was chosen as the face for Dior's campaign. Even Garance Dore, one of the biggest fashion bloggers, is going haywire for her!" – Louisa Lim

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Designers in demand

Designers in demand

Posted: 20 Feb 2013 10:09 PM PST

For awards season, who are the celebrities' go-to couturiers?

OVER the past couple of months, Tinseltown stars have been hitting the awards circuit dressed in their evening best.

But which of the designer brands are their favourite? Major names that continue to crop up are Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Dior, Vivienne Westwood, Tom Ford and Givenchy.

Starting with the Golden Globes Awards on Jan 13, much attention has been paid to what the celebrities wore. Even the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards – which is on a smaller scale and hence less "glamorous" than the Oscars – saw the stars in sync with recent haute couture shows.

Most of the focus will inevitably shift to the high-profile, telegenic (and award-nominated) actresses.

Oft-nominated Anne Hathaway (of Les Miserables) looked far from miserable in Chanel haute couture at the Globes. For her appearance at the SAG, she wore a black tulle gown with black beaded underpinnings from Giambattista Valli's spring couture runway.

Hathaway – together with Jennifer Lawrence (nominated for her role in Silver Linings Playbook) – are easily the top red carpet favourites for the awards season.

Lawrence's go-to designer for SAG was Dior Couture; she wore a navy silk taffeta dress just shown the week before at the French brand's spring couture runway.

When she ascended the stairs to accept her SAG award, a bit of skin showed through the skirt of her gown, leading to some speculation that it had ripped.

But Dior said it wasn't so; the design house explained that Lawrence's gown was designed by Raf Simons "with different levels of tulle and satin." That was what viewers saw on TV when she lifted her gown to walk upstairs.

Another renowned fashion house, Giorgio Armani made a strong showing at the Globes. The Italian designer dressed Jodie Foster in a navy blue beaded halter gown with tile-like paillettes on the straps, and Olivia Munn in a strapless column with turquoise herringbone beading on the bodice.

Meanwhile, Naomi Watts (The Impossible) was simple yet stunning in a backless cranberry-coloured Zac Posen gown.

At SAG, Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy) was glamorous in in wispy black Vivienne Westwood, while Claire Danes (Homeland) had on a custom-made Givenchy one-shoulder gown.

Julianne Moore (Game Change) stuck with a flower-embellished dress from Chanel's 2011 couture range.

The brand's designer Karl Lagerfeld – always a fave with Hollywood leading ladies – offers some sleek shapes from his latest couture collection inspired by midnight gardens.

Even the men have been dressing up.

Tom Ford is the must-have couturier for Hollywood studs. Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) and presenter Justin Timberlake looked dapper in Ford's designs at SAG; the former's blue eyes were a striking contrast to his black and navy suit.

At the recent Grammy Awards, the most in-demand designer was Roberto Cavalli, who dolled up Miranda Lambert, Carly Rae Jepsen and Carrie Underwood.

Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez – despite TV station CBS' warning to celebrities not to show too much skin – stole the thunder. She pushed the dress code to the edge with a daring black gown by Anthony Vaccarello that covered most – but not all – of her. Katy Perry also didn't get the memo as she strutted her stuff in a skin-tight cleavage-baring mint green Gucci dress.

However, both were listed by The Huffington Post as the worst-dressed at the Grammys.

So which designers will the stars turn to for the Academy Awards on Feb 24, touted as the biggest night in showbiz?

We don't blame couturiers for keeping their fingers crossed, hoping that Hathaway or Lawrence will ultimately deem their creation worthy to wear.

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Best and worst dressed celebrities at the Oscars

Posted: 20 Feb 2013 08:08 PM PST

There was a time when the Oscars wasn't just about floor-sweeping gowns. We take a look at how — and why — it's evolved over the years.

THE late fashion designer Patty Fox didn't call it "the greatest and biggest fashion show in the world" for no reason.

We're talking about the annual Academy Awards – not Fashion Week – and Fox's experience as a fashion adviser to the stars has taught her that Oscar night isn't just about who wins the little, gold statuette called Oscar, it's about who hits jackpot in the style department.

"I like to think of the red carpet as being all about fashion and, once you're inside the theatre, it's all about film," she said in a 2008 interview with BBC.

It's no surprise that that designers scramble to be part of the Oscar action each year – the crème de la crème of Hollywood command attention and, according to Fox News, an average of one billion people watch the Oscars, meaning that more eyeballs will be on a star's gown than on the movie she was nominated for.

According to Merle Ginsberg, entertainment editor of Women's Wear Daily and W magazine, Oscar fashion could increase a celebrity's bankability and even spark trends.

"Last year, Nicole Kidman wore a very, very pink dress. Suddenly that became a huge colour in fashion," she said in 2003. "If Nicole Kidman wore a Chanel dress, do people buy more Chanel perfume? Yes."

As such, a celebrity's half-hour walk down the red carpet may take months and months of preparation.

It all begins as designers and stylists negotiate to broker a breathtaking ensemble. Subsequently, it takes a small village to pull the entire look together: to make stars like Halle Berry, Faye Dunaway and fashion model Iman look Hollywood-worthy. Celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch told Fox that he has to work with a team of assistants, tailors, make-up artists and hair stylists.

"It's countless amounts of phone calls, and phone tag, phone tag, phone tag," he said. "Calling clothes in, returning them, fittings, and flying back and forth a lot."

But it hasn't always been like this. ABC News stated that, at the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1928, Janet Gaynor accepted best actress in a very casual outfit. Actress Ingrid Bergman also did something that would be a huge fashion faux pas today: she wore the same dress twice.

Television cameras only came to the Oscars in the 50s, bringing the red carpet to every American home, so everyone could "ooh" and "ahhh". Fox, who has authored a book on the history of Oscar style, told ABC this was a time when style-savvy stars like Vicki Dougan had a major influence on what people wore.

"She is the epitome of the A-list Hollywood star," Fox said. "She set styles also. She is one of the few people that owned all of her own jewels. So consequently, her gowns were designed around the jewel.

The jewel was the first thing and the gown was made as a beautiful frame."

It wasn't until the 80s that designers started cashing in on the free publicity. And then, claimed Fox, the "designer race" started in the 90s after Giorgio Armani began designing high fashion for nominees.

These days, a celebrity's gown may cost five figures and up.

But for some, this will prove to be a costly mistake – after all, who can forget Bjork's swan dress or Celine Dion's reversed white tux jacket? Certainly not Fashion Police's Joan Rivers.

In conjunction with the 85th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles this Sunday (Malaysian time 9.30am, Feb 25), we reminisce about fashion's most memorable moments on the red carpet.

The triumphs

Jennifer Garner, 2004

Said Valentino of the gown he designed for Garner: "Fifteen yards of taffeta – I lost count of the amount of silk chiffon! The skirt alone has two layers and that train goes on forever, darling. It took four couturiers more than 300 hours to create it." The end result couldn't be more spectacular.

Cate Blanchett, 2007

Apparently, nothing looks better on alabaster skin than a liquid platinum Giorgio Armani Privé gown. Made from taffeta silk and crystal mesh, the end result skims over Blanchett's curves and makes her shine brighter than she ever has. Halle Berry, 2002

It's not easy to do classy and sexy, but Halle Berry pulls it off effortlessly with this peek-a-boo embroidered gown by Elie Saab. We can't decide if she became the first black woman ever to win a Best Actress Oscar because of her acting chops or that amazing dress.

Michelle Williams, 2006

You know what they say: no guts, no glory. This is true on the red carpet too, as Williams jettisoned the customary solid, red, silver or black frock in favour of this mustard-hued, vintage-inspired gown by Vera Wang. We can't help but drool.

Mila Kunis, 2011

Pretty and feminine, this gorgeous chiffon gown with tiered lace detailing and a grosgrain ribbon waist is another Elie Saab creation. The lovely lavender hue is offset by Kunis' raven updo, making it a sight to behold.

Gwyneth Paltrow, 2012

Who says capes are only meant for superheroes? Paltrow stunned everyone when she turned up in a striking Tom Ford cape dress, looking every bit like a wonder woman. With a chock-full of that favourite staple – old-fashioned Hollywood glamour – this is one dress that we will never forget, for all the good reasons.

The flops

Uma Thurman, 2004

Shiver me timbers! How did this strange Christian Lacroix ensemble manage to find its way from a pirate ship and into this wench's wardrobe? We have no idea. In any case, Thurman did not just kill Bill, she also killed fashion. Jada Pinkett Smith, 2004

Talk about awkward. The ruffles, the print, the sheer side, the fishtail hem ... we don't know what to make of Smith's dress, but it sure looks like it was recycled from several dresses (and a curtain). Here's some advice: fire the stylist.

Whoopi Goldberg, 1993

Looking at the aubergine psychedelic satin frock coat and brocade trousers combo, we can only deduce that this funny lady has decided to pay homage to Halloween, eight months too early. But we guarantee even ghouls would flee at the sight of her get-up.

Helena Bonham Carter, 1987

Oh, lookie here, it's Mrs Tim Burton channelling Corpse Bride in an over-the-top tulle ensemble and a frizzy updo to match. But then again, that's an insult, as corpses have better fashion sense!

Juliette Binoche, 1997

Wait a minute, aren't the French known for their style? Well, we suppose Binoche is an anomaly. Of the many outfits available, she chose this: a velvet gown, with a velvet coat and a gigantic vampire-like collar. In dark red. Well, at the very least, Count Dracula would be proud.

Cher, 1986

Wearing a showgirl-worthy beaded black two-piece with a towering two-foot headpiece made of rooster feathers will certainly get you attention, but for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps Cher hasn't moved past the days of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. Unfortunately, the series expired in the 70s, along with her sense of style.

> The 85th Annual Academy Awards will be shown live on Astro's Fox Movies Premium at 9.30am on Feb 25.

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