Rabu, 27 Februari 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

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The Star Online: Entertainment: TV & Radio

Tina Fey says no to hosting Oscars

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 08:13 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Despite getting the thums up from Star Trek actor William Shatner in a sketch at the Academy Awards show, comic actress Tina Fey says there is "no way" she would host the Oscars ceremony next year.

The creator and star of TV comedy 30 Rock told the Huffington Post website that she did not see herself as fronting the Oscars telecast.

"I just feel that gig is so hard. Especially for, like, a woman - the amount of months that would be spent trying on dresses alone...no way," she joked, during an interview with the Huffington Post posted on the website on Tuesday.

Asked if there was at least a one in a million chance, Fey replied, "I wish I could tell you there was."

Fey and Baby Mama actress Amy Poehler both received rave reviews for hosting the Golden Globes awards for the first time in January.

In a sketch on Sunday with Seth MacFarlane, Shatner appeared from the future as Star Trek Captain James T. Kirk in a running joke about the edgy Family Guy creator's suitability as host of the most coveted honors in the movie business.

"Why couldn't they get Tina and Amy to host?" Shatner asked, to laughs from the audience packed with Hollywood stars.

TV critics panned the song-and-dance-heavy show and MacFarlane said on Tuesday that he would not consider hosting the Oscars a second time.

The Oscar host - considered both the highest honor and riskiest job in Hollywood - is usually chosen by the producers of the Academy Awards show and is generally announced about five or six months before the February ceremony.

Mean girl

Posted: 28 Feb 2013 02:52 AM PST

After finding fame in Heroes, actress Hayden Panettiere is back on TV as a catty country singer.

American actress Hayden Panettiere may have borrowed a guitar from country pop star Taylor Swift but inspiration for her latest role was borrowed from country music singer and American Idol winner Carrie Underwood.

Panettiere, 23, plays Juliette Barnes, a rising young, ambitious star, in new musical drama series Nashville, and she has previously said Juliette "is not based on anybody". Nashville, Tennessee, is home to stars such as Swift, and country music.

"But when it comes to the stage presence, I watched a lot of Carrie Underwood because Carrie has that energy about her, not super choreographed on stage, but she can just go up there and own it and just take over."

This is her first major project since sci-fi drama Heroes, where she played the indestructible cheerleader Claire Bennet for four years.

"I played her for four years, and I knew that playing a role so specific, the all-American cheerleader, it was going to be an uphill battle for me after that to be seen as any other character," says Panettiere in a phone interview from Los Angeles recently.

It took her so long to return to TV because she was choosy with her work.

"I was just being very picky with the projects I wanted to do, and this came along and I honestly could not have written it better. I love singing. I love country music. I always have and I love this character."

As Juliette, who scoffs at fading country music queen Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton), Panettiere's role brings her career full circle back to music.

At one point, the actress, who started out in commercials as a baby, was groomed to be a pop singer. She "worked on recording an album for about five years when (she) was younger" but decided to focus on acting instead.

She says wistfully: "I knew that I loved country music but I thought that people would not be able to make the connection since I'm from New York and they would think that I was trying to be somebody that I wasn't."

Her role in Nashville – created by Callie Khouri, Academy Award-winning writer of 1991's Thelma & Louise – which requires her to sing, has her pondering over a possible future as a singer again.

She says: "I love that this show is opening doors for me and giving me the opportunity to sing. I love it. My favourite is to sing country music, and I would love to be able to get up there one day and do an album of my own."

What was it like working with Connie Britton, whom you are really mean to in Nashville?

The first scene we had with each other was where I walk in, meet her for the first time in the dressing room and I'm incredibly passive aggressive. It was very uncomfortable because I'd just met her and she didn't know me.

As you know, girls can be very, very catty and so, after every scene, after they yell "cut", I'd be apologising. I would go, "I'm so sorry. I hope you don't take any of this personally", and she was like, "You're crazy. Are you kidding? It's acting. I totally understand it".

Do you prefer playing the good girl or the villain?

I'd like to have both. And in this character, I feel like I do have both where I can be the bad character, but then, behind closed doors, we get to see that she does have a heart and she can be a good person.

The grass is always greener on the other side, right? I spent four years playing the good girl, so I was always desperate to play the bad.

How well do you know country music?

I've grown up listening to country music and Faith Hill is one of my favourites. Miranda Lambert, the Pistol Annies, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, all of them. They're all so amazing.

Is there something else that stopped you from becoming a full-fledged singer?

I think my New Year's resolution is to get over my stage fright. I've had stage fright for a long time. I love singing and I love being on stage, and I feel like I just need to get over that hump and enjoy it.

I know that once I get on the stage and get rid of the stage fright that I am going to enjoy it, you're never going to be able to get me off the stage ... ever.

Having been in show business at such an early age, having started out in soap opera One Life To Live from 1994 to 1997, what was it like growing up?

I do feel like I got as balanced a childhood as I could have in this situation.

I went to proms and homecomings. I went to sporting events, had great friends and got to be around, so I do feel like I got the best of both worlds.

But there were many years when I was being taken out of school early to go to auditions in the city, and instead of playing with friends, I had to memorise lines. It definitely was something that included sacrifice, but I wouldn't change it for anything.

How have you changed in dealing with fame since starring in Heroes?

It was totally new to me and I definitely made some mistakes. Luckily, none of them were detrimental enough to not be able to dig myself out of the hole, and you just have to figure out how to stay calm and be happy within yourself because it can get very stressful, very hostile and cruel.

I mean, I avoid reading things about myself, especially nasty things. I always try to keep that to a dull roar. But I seriously don't know how you handle it. There really is no equation.

It's most important just to be happy with yourself and find what works for you. And I feel like I've finally found that. – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

Nashville airs every Wednesday and Thursday on beTV (Astro Ch 720) at 8.30pm.

Psy, watch out for the Malaysian-style Halim Shake

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 06:53 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Move over, Gangnam Style. The latest craze has hit town and The Harlem Shake has everyone gyrating to its infectious groove.

Suria FM disc jockey Halim Othman, who did his own sprightly version of the routine at Menara Star yesterday, has cheekily dubbed it Halim Shake.

The crowd which gathered at Menara Star's foyer to witness the disc jockey strutting his stuff included The Star's executive deputy chairman Datuk Vincent Lee.

Halim was coerced into the dance routine by Red FM disc jockeys Lil Kev and JJ, who both produced and uploaded the minute-long sketch on YouTube recently.

"One fine day, they put a camera in front of me and asked me to move along to Tan Sri S.M. Salim's Apa Dah Jadi. So, I just did my thing," said the DJ.

Halim confessed that his routine was very simple and was only made more difficult because "he's no dancer".

"I have two left feet. They just threw me in the deep end and I had to do something. All I can say is – 'Watch out, Psy'," he said.

Lil Kev revealed that his goddaughter was the one who provided the inspiration for the choreography of the Halim Shake video.

"She sent me a link of a similar video and we took it from there. You could say we gave birth to Halim Shake," he said.

JJ feels that Halim Shake would be more acceptable for parents, given its content, which was more local in flavour.

"This is 100% Malaysian. Halim is an icon and with him doing it, it will be readily received," he said.

The dance troupe comprised staff of the The Star's radio group, including Suria FM, Red FM, 98.8 FM and Capital FM.

Among the dancers were Azura and Terry from The Red Fix, and Adam Carruthers from The Red Rush, the drive-time radio show on Red FM.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: World Updates

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Japan PM Abe cites Thatcher reflections on Falklands war

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 08:25 PM PST

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is embroiled in a row with China over tiny islands, on Thursday quoted former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's reflections on the 1982 Falklands war with Argentina to stress the importance of the rule of law at sea.

"Our national interests have been immutable. They lie in making the seas, which are the foundation of our nation's existence, completely open, free and peaceful," Abe said in a prepared policy speech to parliament covering a wide range of issues.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows as he prepares to leave the upper house of the parliament hall after the parliament enacted a supplementary budget for fiscal 2012, in Tokyo February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows as he prepares to leave the upper house of the parliament hall after the parliament enacted a supplementary budget for fiscal 2012, in Tokyo February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Abe went on to quote a remark from Thatcher's memoirs, reflecting on the Falklands war, in which she said Britain was defending the fundamental principle that international law should prevail over the use of force.

The war over the remote South Atlantic archepelago began when Argentine troops landed on the Falkland islands on April 2, 1982, and ended 74 days later with their surrender. The conflict killed about 650 Argentine and 255 British troops.

Continuing in his own words, Abe said: "The rule of law at sea. I want to appeal to international society that in modern times changes to the status quo by the use of force will justify nothing."

Tokyo's ties with Beijing chilled sharply after the Japanese government last September bought the rocky islands in the East China Sea, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China, from a private owner, sparking violent protests in China.

A flare-up in tensions in the territorial row has raised fears of an unintended military incident near the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. The United States says the islets fall under a U.S.-Japan security pact, but Washington is keen to avoid a clash in the economically vital region.

The hawkish Abe, who took office in December after his conservative party's big election win, reiterated in his speech that the islands are Japanese territory, and urged Beijing not to escalate tensions.

He added, however, that Sino-Japanese relations were vital for Japan and said his door was always open to dialogue.

Abe also stressed the importance of the U.S.-Japan security alliance days after his summit with President Barack Obama.

Calling the U.S. alliance the axis of Japan's diplomacy and security policies, Abe said: "It is only logical that, in the open oceans, the United States, which is the world's largest marine state, and Japan, Asia's largest maritime democracy, form a partnership, and to fortify this constantly is necessary."

(Reporting by Linda Sieg, Tetsushi Kajimoto and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Ken Wills)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Mexican union boss arrest sounds warning to reform foes

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 08:18 PM PST

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The arrest of Mexico's best-known trade union leader on fraud charges has thrown down the gauntlet to powerful interests standing between President Enrique Pena Nieto and his plans to shake up Latin America's second-biggest economy.

Policemen in riot gear keep watch at the entrance of the Santa Martha Acatitla prison, where Elba Esther Gordillo, leader of Mexico's teacher's union, is imprisoned, in Mexico City February 27, 2013. The arrest of Mexico's best-known trade union leader on fraud charges has thrown down the gauntlet to powerful interests standing between President Enrique Pena Nieto and his plans to shake up Latin America's second-biggest economy. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

Policemen in riot gear keep watch at the entrance of the Santa Martha Acatitla prison, where Elba Esther Gordillo, leader of Mexico's teacher's union, is imprisoned, in Mexico City February 27, 2013. The arrest of Mexico's best-known trade union leader on fraud charges has thrown down the gauntlet to powerful interests standing between President Enrique Pena Nieto and his plans to shake up Latin America's second-biggest economy. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo

For a generation, even presidents shied away from taking on teachers' union boss Elba Esther Gordillo, making her Mexico's most prominent female politician and a formidable enemy to those who accused her of fostering corruption rather than education.

Pena Nieto, who has been in office for less than three months, crossed that line on Tuesday when police arrested Gordillo and three other people with her at Toluca airport near Mexico City.

Mexican television showed Gordillo, 68, wearing a prison uniform and standing behind bars as a state prosecutor formally charged her with embezzling around $200 million from union coffers and using the money to pay for U.S. property, luxury goods, designer clothes, works of art and plastic surgery.

She is not allowed to apply for bail under the charges.

Gordillo, who deferred comment to her lawyers, faces a maximum jail sentence of 30 years, though prisoners can apply to be moved to house arrest at age 70.

"It is clearly a criminal case," Attorney General Jesus Murillo said in a television interview. "The case is very solid."

A former grandee of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, Gordillo has denied accusations of corruption.

She was snared a day after Pena Nieto signed a law aimed at improving education standards that she had opposed because it would weaken her union's clout.

Pena Nieto said on Wednesday that he would work with the teachers' union to improve the education system and promised not to interfere in the investigation of Gordillo.

"This probe must be seen through to the end in strict adherence to the law at all times," he said in a televised address.

The Mexican president is preparing to launch a series of ambitious measures that aim to overhaul taxes, open up state oil giant Pemex to more private capital and ease tycoon Carlos Slim's tight grip on Mexico's telecommunications industry.

"The fundamental point is that resistance by the de facto powers to reform will be confronted with energy and determination," Federico Berrueto, director general of Mexican polling firm GCE, said after Gordillo's arrest.

In Mexico, the "de facto powers" refer to various entrenched interests that include Slim's business empire and dominant broadcaster Televisa, run by Emilio Azcarraga.

Both have repeatedly fought off regulatory efforts to loosen the control they wield over their respective markets.

The government is due to unveil a major telecommunications proposal in the next few days, while separate initiatives on overhauling Pemex and boosting Mexico's weak tax take are expected to go to Congress during the second half of 2013.

The education law signed by Pena Nieto on Monday still faces a fight from Gordillo's union because it requires a secondary law to be implemented.

Changes to the energy sector could face resistance from the Pemex union so Gordillo's arrest was also interpreted as a government warning to other labour bosses that they too might face close scrutiny.


Although Gordillo is unpopular in Mexico, her arrest has also stirred fears that Pena Nieto could be leaning toward the authoritarian past of the centrist PRI, which ruled Mexico continuously from 1929 to 2000.

Brasil Acosta, a PRI congressman from Pena Nieto's home turf, the State of Mexico, said the party had to be careful that the case against Gordillo was not brought for the wrong reasons.

"If it isn't legally proven, we'll be looking at an act of political repression, which would be dangerous," he said.

Carlos Salinas, who was president from 1988 to 1994, removed two troublesome union leaders as he embarked on his own historic reform drive, but his administration ended mired in allegations of graft.

Appointed by Salinas in 1989, Gordillo became one of the most controversial figures in Mexico.

She has been widely criticized for her lavish lifestyle and she became more vulnerable after splitting with the PRI ahead of the 2006 presidential election, when the party suffered its biggest-ever defeat.

"I imagine he (Pena Nieto) was looking to land a decisive blow against someone, and she was the easiest target," political analyst Denise Dresser told Mexican television.

Gordillo was taken to Santa Martha Acatitla women's prison on the edge of Mexico City on Tuesday night.


The PRI, reviled by many Mexicans as corrupt and heavy-handed by the time it lost power in 2000, pledged to mend its ways after Pena Nieto recovered the presidency last year.

The former State of Mexico governor vowed to usher in greater accountability and transparency, and his allies are portraying the investigation into Gordillo as part of the new PRI's broader efforts to clean up Mexico.

"They send a clear message. We're not playing games when it comes to governing," said Alejandra Del Moral, a 29-year-old PRI congresswoman.

Gordillo has long been a symbol of the PRI's cosy relationship with trade unions and established interests, which critics blame for fomenting inefficiency and helping to keep the economy lagging behind its emerging market peers.

Opposition lawmakers quickly argued that to realize lasting change Pena Nieto must go further than just arresting Gordillo.

"Today we're going to demand that Pena Nieto carries on with the others in the way he started with Elba Esther," said Armando Rios Piter, a senator for the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD. "There are hundreds and perhaps thousands who represent this model of corruption."

Among these, he said, is Carlos Romero Deschamps, head of the oil workers' union at Pemex and also a PRI senator.

Revamping the state-run Pemex is one of the toughest tasks facing Pena Nieto. Created when the PRI nationalized the oil industry in 1938, the company became a symbol of Mexican self-reliance and his party has been very reluctant to touch it.

Romero Deschamps has denied taking part in corruption and fought off such allegations in the past, and both the PRD and the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, called for an investigation into his wealth after Gordillo's arrest.

With no outright majority in Congress, Pena Nieto needs support from opposition parties for any major reform of Pemex. They are likely to seek concessions in exchange for votes.

(Additional reporting by Gabriel Stargardter and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Kieran Murray, Simon Gardner and Xavier Briand)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Thailand agrees to talks with southern Muslim rebels

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 07:29 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 Reuters) - Thailand's government agreed on Thursday to start talks with a major Muslim rebel group, marking a breakthrough in efforts to end a worsening conflict in the country's south that has claimed over 5,000 lives since 2004.

The agreement, signed in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, by senior Thai security officials and members of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) group, opens the way for the first formal peace talks with rebels in the south.

Secretary-general of Thailand's National Security Council, Paradorn Pattanathabutr (L), shakes hands with chief of Thailand's National Revolution Front (BRN) liason office in Malaysia, Hassan Taib (R), as they exchange documents during the signing ceremony of the general consensus document to launch a dialogue process for peace in the border provinces of southern Thailand, in Kuala Lumpur February 28, 2013. Witnessing the process is National Security Council of Malaysia's secretary Thajudeen Abdul Wahab. Thailand's government agreed on Thursday to start talks with a major Muslim rebel group, marking a breakthrough in efforts to end a worsening conflict in the country's south that has claimed over 5,000 lives since 2004. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

Secretary-general of Thailand's National Security Council, Paradorn Pattanathabutr (L), shakes hands with chief of Thailand's National Revolution Front (BRN) liason office in Malaysia, Hassan Taib (R), as they exchange documents during the signing ceremony of the general consensus document to launch a dialogue process for peace in the border provinces of southern Thailand, in Kuala Lumpur February 28, 2013. Witnessing the process is National Security Council of Malaysia's secretary Thajudeen Abdul Wahab. Thailand's government agreed on Thursday to start talks with a major Muslim rebel group, marking a breakthrough in efforts to end a worsening conflict in the country's south that has claimed over 5,000 lives since 2004. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad

The document launches a "dialogue process" for peace in the southern border provinces.

Successive Thai governments and the military have made contact with rebel groups and claimed some success in tracking down key operatives but they have never openly held talks with the various militant groups that operate in the south.

"This is a major milestone," said Anthony Davis, a Thai-based analyst at security consulting firm IHS-Jane's. "This is not just business as usual. This confers a level of legitimacy on the armed opposition in southern Thailand, from which realistically there is no going back."

Malaysia, which helped broker a peace deal between the Philippine government and Muslim rebels in October, has brought the Thai rebel groups to the table and appears set to play a mediation role in the talks.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak, are due to hold a joint news conference in Malaysia later on Thursday.

Thai authorities say the attacks in the south are organised by the BRN Coordinate, an offshoot of the Patani Malay National Revolutionary Front established in the 1960s to seek greater autonomy.

"We'll do our best to solve the problem. We'll tell our people to work together to solve the problem," said Hassan Taib, who was described in the document as the BRN liaison officer for Malaysia.

Hassan is described as "a senior separatist figure" in a December 2012 report by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think-tank.

The agreement follows an escalation of violence in recent months. Sixteen insurgents were killed in an attack on a Thai marine base on February 13, with no loss of life among the marines. Rebels hit back with a string of counter-attacks including an explosion in Pattani province that killed two security volunteers.

Resistance to Buddhist rule from Bangkok has existed for decades in the predominantly Muslim provinces, waning briefly in the 1990s before resurfacing violently in January 2004.

(Reporting by Siva Sithraputhran; Additional reporting by Andrew Marshall and Amy Sawitta Lefevre in Bangkok.; Writing by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alan Raybould)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Miyazato out of Singapore tourney after car crash

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 04:15 PM PST

SINGAPORE: Former winner Ai Miyazato pulled out of the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore yesterday as she battles whiplash injuries from a car crash which also left American star Paula Creamer struggling to recover.

The Japanese world No. 9 said she had stiffness in her neck, back and shoulders after Sunday's five-car pile-up in Bangkok as the players were en route to the airport following the Honda LPGA Thailand.

"I still have some stiffness in my neck, shoulder, and back area but it is also a precautionary measure so as not to risk further injury this early in the season," the 2010 champion said in a statement, adding that she was "very disappointed".

"I now plan to return to Japan to see my trainer for a few days."

Creamer also cut short her appearance in Wednesday's pro-am to seek extra treatment for similar injuries. But the American, who earlier said it was "pretty amazing how we walked away", tweeted that she hoped to tee-off on Thursday (today).

World No. 1 Tseng Yani heads a field featuring most of the globe's best players at the US$1.4mil event, considered the most prestigious women's golf tournament in Asia.

The "Pride of Taiwan", winless for nearly a year, has started the season with back-to-back top-three finishes, and she insisted staying at number one was not her main concern.

"World No. 1 is not as important as before now," said the 24-year-old.

"I've already reached there and I've been there before. I'm still here, but I just want to enjoy myself more. Because I know if I'm not looking at the result, I just want to play the golf and enjoy every swing and enjoy every tournament."

Yani admitted she had burdened herself with "too much expectation" last season when a run of missed cuts, which contrasted with her seven titles in 2011, left her struggling emotionally.

"I think I put too much expectation on myself. I think people, the fans and the media, they give lots of pressure. You know, if I don't finish top 10, I'm in trouble, like 'What's wrong with Yani?'."

Yani now has a slim 1.35 average points lead over South Korea's Choi Na-yeon, who will also tee it up today on Sentosa, a wealthy resort island in tropical Singapore.

Missing from the field is 25th-ranked New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko, 15, who has become the most talked-about player on tour after winning last year's Canadian Women's Open and coming close at the season-opener in Australia.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn, 17, will hope to make up for her heart-breaking triple bogey on the final hole which cost her victory and left her in tears at last week's event in Pattaya.

Former teen prodigy Michelle Wie, currently ranked 73rd and playing on a sponsor's invite, and defending champion Angela Stanford will also contest a tournament whose other previous winners include Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb. — AFP

Djokovic continues unbeaten streak by defeating friend

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 04:13 PM PST

DUBAI: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic did not let friendship prevent him from carrying on where he left off last month when he made a successful defence of his Australian Open title at the Dubai Open here on Tuesday.

Djokovic's attempt to win back the Dubai Open title began with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Viktor Troicki, the fellow Davis Cup player with whom he grew up and shared tennis courts many times in the city of Belgrade.

The top-seeded Serbian moved so swiftly and turned defence into attack so suddenly that it was hard to believe four weeks had passed since he last played singles on the ATP Tour.

The only blemish in Djokovic's performance was letting slip an early break of serve in the second set, when he delivered a moderate second serve and missed with a backhand drive to allow Troicki back to 4-4.

But he intensified his focus and broke again immediately, with some resilient containing and counter-attacking, and then closed out the match without fuss.

"Because I have not played for a while I was extremely focused and committed to starting well," Djokovic said.

"I played really, really well in the first set. I read his serve well, and I was aggressive in the court.

"So altogether I am satisfied with my performance and I hope I can continue," he concluded. That will be against Roberto Bautista Agut, the world No. 55 from Spain.

Earlier Djokovic was asked if he might be starting on another long unbeaten streak, as he had the season before last.

"Yes I am definitely am (on a streak)," he said.

"But I am not thinking about it or trying to better the one I had in 2011, because it's really hard to ask from myself something which may be impossible.

"But knowing that I have done it gives me that mental edge and confidence I need in to approach every tournament with self-belief."

Djokovic should have a semi-final against Juan Martin Del Potro, the former US Open champion, although the Argentinian nearly did not survive beyond the first round.

Del Potro had to save four match points to beat Marcos Baghdatis, the former Australian Open finalist from Cyprus, by 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

Baghdatis, ranked 36, got his chances as Del Potro was serving at 4-5 in the final set, when the seeded player went 15-40 and then advantage point down.

On the first two match points Baghdatis was a little passive, allowing Del Potro to work his way out of difficulty, and on the third Del Potro launched a good first serve and a fine follow up forehand.

Nikolay Davydenko, who hopes to return to the top 20 this year as part of his farewell to the tour, reached the second round too, the former world No. 3 from Russia beating Janko Tipsarevic, the sixth-seeded Serbian, 6-0, 7-5.

But Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the fifth-seeded Frenchman, was beaten by his Davis Cup team-mate, Michael Llodra.

Tsonga was back on court less than 48 hours after winning in Marseille, and more than 3,000 miles away, with depleted energy, and, as the match wore on, declining motivation too.

Tsonga expressed annoyance with a replayed point after a disputed line decision on a serve in the seventh game, when Llodra broke back.

"My first serve was in, and the line judge said, out," Tsonga said.

"But he said, out, after the hit. Michael hit the ball back, you know, but into the stands. And the umpire said, replay the point, but the ball was good." — AFP

Siti-Dayang blow lead to bag another silver in Auckland

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 03:15 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: It was a frustrating day for Malaysia in the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championship as the Siti Shazwani Ahmad Suhaimi-Dayang Khairuniza combination blew an early lead in the women's doubles to settle for silver in Auckland, New Zealand.

The pair knocked down a total 2,709 pins to finish second – just seven behind Singapore's Bernice Lim-Geraldine Ng, who scored 2,716.

It was Malaysia's second silver in the tournament after Siti's runner-up effort in the singles on Tuesday.

Australians Bec Whiting-Ann Maree Putney knocked down a total 2,602 pins to take bronze.

But it could have easily been Malaysia's first gold medal of the tournament as Siti-Dayang came charging out of the blocks to take the lead in the first four games.

Dayang, who was woeful in the singles, was all fired up as she notched high lines of 258, 244 and 263 in the first three games.

But the Malaysian pair faltered when it mattered most, posting a low combined score of 386 in the fifth game to hand over the lead to the Singaporeans.

A frustrated Dayang admitted that they blew it.

"It felt good to have my rhythm back ... I don't know why I always struggle in the singles," said Dayang.

"But it's really frustrating indeed to lose the gold medal by just seven pins. We weren't really aware of the results during the competition and had no idea Singapore had caught up so fast.

"After the good start, I figured that we had a healthy lead and it was only in the last game that we knew we had lost."

Siti blamed the lane condition in the fourth game for their troubles.

"We were struggling to get strikes on lane 21 and 22. It was really quite frustrating not to hold on to the lead," said Siti.

In the men's doubles, the pairing of Isaac Russell Paul-Mohd Rafiq Ismail could only manage a total of 2,601 to finish fifth.

Singapore's Javier Tan-Jaris Goh emulated their female counterparts to take gold with 2,702 pinfalls. England's Christopher Oates-John Wells (2,691) took silver and Australia's Sam Cooley-Brendan Meads (2,651) bronze.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Kulim slips after posting Q4 losses

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 06:20 PM PST

Published: Thursday February 28, 2013 MYT 10:21:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Shares of Kulim (M) Bhd fell on Thursday after it reported a net loss of RM1.28bil compared to a net profit of RM120.55mil a year ago for its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2012.

At 10.08am, it was down six sen to RM3.51. There were 389,400 shares done at prices ranging from RM3.50 to RM3.58.

The FBM KLCI rose 1.48 points to 1,625.62. Turnover was 180.89 million shares valued at RM134.94mil. There were 177 gainers, 131 losers and 202 counters unchanged.

The losses, compared to a net profit of RM120.55mil a year ago, was due to the impairment losses of its associate and lower crude palm oil (CPO) prices.

Kulim made an impairment loss of RM1.28bil due to an impairment test made on its 49%-owned New Britain Palm Oil Ltd, based on Financial Reporting Standards 136.

Market steadier in early trade, UMW, PPB up

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 06:04 PM PST

Published: Thursday February 28, 2013 MYT 10:04:00 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Blue chips edged up in early trade on Thursday amid a steadier market, with some buying seen in UMW and PPB Group.

The FBM KLCI rose 2.09 points to 1,626.23. Turnover was 139.63 million shares valued at RM81.64mil. There were 168 gainers, 113 losers and 168 counters unchanged.

PPB Group rose 12 sen to RM12.34 after its posted a stronger set of earnings while UMW gained eight sen to RM12.38 on plans to list its O&G assets.

Dutch Lady was the top gainer, rising RM2 to RM46.40. Ibraco surged 48 sen to RM2.10, DKSH 14 sen to RM2.83 while Perak Corp added 12 sen to RM1.33.

United Plantations fell the most, down 30 sen to RM27.40, EngTex 7.5 sen lower at 82.5 sen while APM, Wing Tai and Ingress lost seven sen each to RM5.26, RM1.85 and RM1.52 respectively.

Tune Ins lower after stabilisation measures ended

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 05:25 PM PST

PETALING JAYA: Tune Ins Holdings Bhd fell four sen yesterday to RM1.30, five sen below its listing price of RM1.35, after the firm's underwriter ended its stabilisation measures for the shares.

Tune Ins was traded at between RM1.29 and RM1.35, with 1.97 million shares changing hands.

RHB Investment Bank Bhd (RHB IB), the principal adviser and underwriter for the company's initial public offering (IPO) on Feb 20, said in a filing with the stock exchange that it had ceased stabilising action for the shares on Tuesday.

"During the stabilising period between Feb 20 and 26, we had undertaken stabilising actions where a total of 31.5 million Tune Ins shares were purchased at a price range of RM1.33 to RM1.35.

"The last purchase was made on Feb 26 at a price of RM1.35," the bank said.

As at Tuesday, RHB IB had acquired some 4.2% of Tune Ins' total share base of 751.8 million shares.

"Thus, we have fully covered the 31.5 million Tune Ins shares that were over-allotted in the IPO of Tune Ins and there is no over-allotment option exercised," RHB IB added.

A greenshoe is a clause contained in the underwriting agreement that allows underwriters to purchase up to an additional 15% of a company's IPO shares at the listing price.

The greenshoe option and the price stabilisation mechanism are used to manage the supply of shares post-IPO, which helps steady fluctuating share prices.

In the case of Tune Ins, the 31.5 million shares represented 15% of the 210.2 million shares put up for sale under the listing.

The shares bought by RHB IB as the stabilising manager are to be returned to the issuer, Tune Money Sdn Bhd, which will have a 56% stake in Tune Ins following the listing.

The IPO raised gross proceeds of RM193.6mil from the sale of 143.4 million new shares, the bulk of which (68.7%) will be used to repay debt.

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British investors sue ex-Umno Treasurer Azim over RM12.8mil

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 07:16 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Sixty British investors have filed a cvil suit against former Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi and his IT company, Doxport Technologies Sdn Bhd, and two others, for allegedly misappropriating US$4mil (RM12.8mil) in 2009.

They filed the suit in the High Court here last Wednesday against Abdul Azim, who is the chairman of the company, T. Sivalingam, who is a director and CEO, accounts department staff Gurmeet Kaur and Doxport.

The statement of claim was made available to the press on Wednesday.

The investors want the defendants to pay back the amount which was paid to Sivalingam; general aggravated and exemplary damages; statutory interest, costs and other relief deems fit by the court.

The statement of claim said that the investors' representative, British citizen Sheraz Aslam, was offered an investment in telecommunication switches in the late 2007 or in early 2008.

The investors through their company Fiscal City Capital Sdn Bhd, the plaintiff in this suit, said Doxport Technologies, through Sivalingam, had prepared several documents, including a license to operate an internet service from the Cambodian government to Anco Brothers Co Ltd.

They claimed that through several representations and e-mails sent by Doxport Technologies, the firm had informed the investors that the telecommunication switches were installed and operated in cities which included Phnom Penh, Hanoi, Saigon, Hong Kong, Singapore and Manila.

The investors alleged that in a bid to reassure the plaintiffs on the operation, Sivalingam had furnished a falsified "Master Payment Schedule" addressed to Singtel in Singapore and also Doxport invoices.

Counsel for the investors Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin said that the case management has been set on March 21.

Azim, who is the Bukit Bintang Umno division chief, was Bank Simpanan Nasional chairman from 1999 to 2009, and the vice-president of World Savings Bank Institute from 2006 to 2009.

The investors have also set up a website outlining their grouses.

Two workers sleeping above restaurant die in fire

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 06:44 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: Two restaurant workers suffocated to death after the second floor of the workers quarters located above a restaurant in Section 14 here caught fire.

The workers, who are Indian nationals, were sleeping on the third floor when the fire occurred at about 8pm Wednesday.

Fire and Rescue department operations commander Esa Aini said firemen managed to rescue five workers using the fire ladder while another worker jumped to safety.

"We managed to have the fire under control at about 8.15pm while the fire was finally put out 25 minutes later.

"We finally managed to recover the bodies of the two workers at about 8.40pm," he said.

Esa said initial investigations revealed the victims died of suffocation.

"The five workers rescued were unharmed while the one, who jumped suffered minor injuries.

"The injured victim was sent to Universiti Malaya Medical Centre for treatment," he said.

He added 27 firemen and three fire engines were deployed to the scene. "We are still investigating the cause of the fire," he said.

MIC wants action taken against Ridhuan Tee for racist remarks

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 04:40 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: MIC president Datuk Seri G Palanivel has taken up the issue of "vicious racial remarks" by Universiti Pertahanan Nasional senior lecturer Ridhuan Tee Abdullah with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Palanivel who raised the issue on Wednesday, is expected to brief the party's central working committee soon, said MIC strategic director S Vell Paari.

"The MIC will announce their stand after the deliberations in the CWC," he said in a statement.

Vell Paari had pushed Palanivel to call for stern action against Ridhuan for penning an article last week that was considered disparaging of those who professed the Hindu faith.

He said MIC which represents Indians of all faiths cannot remain quiet on racial issues any longer, which tend to crop up with increasing frequency.

Vell Paari said the MIC Youth would be submitting a memorandum urging the Higher Education MInistry to investigate allegations of plagiarism against Ridhuan.

Meanwhile, MIC Youth information chief S Subramaniam handed over a memorandum to the Home Ministry in Putrajaya, calling for stern action against Ridhuan.

"We hope the ministry would take immediate action against him" he told reporters after submitting the memorandum to Deputy Principal Secretary of the Security and Public Order Division Shamril Faizalis Shamsul.

Several police reports have been lodged against Ridhuan following the publication of his article.

Sinar Harian has since apologised for its role in the controversy, but Ridhuan has remained mum.

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Seth MacFarlane says he won't host Oscars again

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 11:18 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Seth MacFarlane said on Tuesday that he would not host the star-studded Academy Awards ceremony again, after TV critics panned Sunday's show.

Family Guy creator and star MacFarlane was asked on Twitter whether he would host the Oscars a second time after making his debut in Sunday's show, and replied: "No way. Lotta fun to have done it, though."

MacFarlane's response came after TV critics slammed the telecast, in which 40.3 million Americans saw Iran hostage thriller Argo take home the top prize for Best Picture.

In a night of risqué jokes about female nudity and zingers about gays and Jews, MacFarlane, 39, poked fun at himself in an opening sketch with William Shatner and the Star Trek star told him he was in danger of being deemed "the worst Oscar host ever."

While some critics lashed out at MacFarlane's hosting, others placed more blame on the overall song-and-dance-heavy show, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, which ran for 3 1/2 hours.

MacFarlane's appeal among young people did though provide an 11 percent bump in the 18-49 demographic coveted by TV networks and advertisers. And overall viewer ratings were up, making for the largest Oscar audience in three years.

MacFarlane was also a hit on social media, where 13 percent of conversation across Facebook, Twitter and blogs rated him the "best host ever" according to social media research firm Fizziology.

MacFarlane, the creator and voice star of Fox network's animated shows Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show, made his directorial debut on the big screen with the R-rated comedy Ted last year.

He is currently working on his next project - writing and directing a live action comedy film A Million Ways To Die In The West, starring Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron.

Jennifer Lawrence's clothes from 'Silver Linings' up for auction

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 10:46 PM PST

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Clothing worn by Jennifer Lawrence in her Oscar-winning role as an outspoken young widow in comedy Silver Linings Playbook went up for auction on Tuesday, just two days after the Academy Awards ceremony.

Memorabilia dealer Nate D. Sanders put the skin-tight white dance pants, winter coat and sports bra Lawrence wore in the film up for sale in the online auction that will end on Thursday.

The items are expected to fetch between US$500 and US$1,500 following the 22-year-old's Best Actress win on Sunday.

"She's now on the record for having an Academy Award, which definitely gives it (the items) status now," said Laura Yntema, spokeswoman for auction house Nate D. Sanders.

The Hunger Games star also won awards from the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild in January for her Silver Linings Playbook performance.

Five items, either worn by Lawrence or from her wardrobe on the film, are up for auction with starting bids at US$100.

They include the custom-tailored skin-tight white pants Lawrence wore during the film's climactic ballroom dance scene with co-star Bradley Cooper.

The black, full-length double-breasted Moda International wool coat is a size six. The teal sports bra by Gap Body will be sold together with an extra-small blue Threads 4 Thought long-sleeved shirt.

The auction also has nine clothing items either worn or from the wardrobe of Cooper, and two items from the wardrobe of supporting actor Chris Tucker.

Movie studios often hand off costumes to auction houses, where even small outfits can fetch high prices from fans and collectors.

Justin Timberlake to work on Coen Brothers film

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 10:37 PM PST

REUTERS - Justin Timberlake has brought his movie and music work together by teaming up with British singer Marcus Mumford from Grammy-winning folk band Mumford & Sons on the soundtrack for an upcoming Coen brothers film.

Timberlake, 32, said in a British radio interview this week that he and Mumford worked with veteran T-Bone Burnett and folk band The Punch Brothers on the soundtrack for Inside Llewyn Davis, a film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and starring Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan.

Mulligan married Mumford in April 2012.

"We all kind of worked on the music together and I don't know any other world where we would get the opportunity to collaborate like that, but it was so much fun. So not only will it be a great movie, but the music to it will be fantastic," Timberlake (pic) told Britain's Capital FM radio station.

The film, co-starring Timberlake, John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund, follows a singer-songwriter exploring the folk music scene in 1960s New York. It is expected to be released later this year.

The Sexyback singer, who first gained fame in the 1990s as lead vocalist of the boy band 'N Sync, stepped away from music five years ago to focus on films such as The Social Network and Friends With Benefits. But last month he released lead single Suit & Tie ahead of his album The 20/20 Experience out on March 19.

Timberlake is also starring in upcoming crime drama Runner, Runner, alongside Ben Affleck and Gemma Arterton.

Mumford & Sons won two Grammy Awards earlier in February, including Album of the Year for Babel.

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Fifty underprivileged kids take part in football clinic

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 06:12 AM PST

THE Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (M) Bhd (BTMU) hosted a football clinic for underprivileged children at the SMK La Salle Brickfields' football field recently.

A total of 50 children, aged nine to 16, from Rumah Keluarga Kami, Ozanam Service Centre, Rumah Ozanam, RPX Boys Home and Rumah Kanak-Kanak Tengku Budriah Cheras participated in the one-day programme, coached by volunteers from BTMU.

Putting on their new football attire including jerseys, pants, socks and futsal shoes sponsored by BTMU, the children and volunteers had a great time at the event.

BTMU president and chief executive officer Masato Nakamura said this was the bank's first CSR event planned for 2013.

"I am very excited about the event today. We are planning another event similar to this and are already focusing on bringing in several other orphanages next. We want to contribute to the community," Nakamura said.

Nakamura also hoped the children would learn something new during the clinic and he hoped it would encourage them to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle in the future.

Backed by solid support, Ervin sets on result-driven endeavours

Posted: 27 Feb 2013 06:12 AM PST

CHANG Ervin, one of the most promising junior golfers in the country, is all game for new challenges.

After an impressive season last year, the youngster has decided to play in amateur competitions as well as concentrate on his studies.

Chang said this year would be a crucial one for him as he has to prepare for his Checkpoint examinations.

"The examination is important for me. A good result could earn me a place in Cambridge so I am dividing my time between my studies and golf. My ambition is to be a golf professional but I want to excel in my studies as well," said Chang, a Year Nine student at the Real International School.

Chang, a two handicapper, had an impressive season last year. Besides winning several age-group competitions, he also finished among the top 10 in senior amateur tournaments. He was sixth in the North Malaysian Amateur Open; 10th in the Malacca Amateur Open and seventh in the Kedah Amateur Open.

He also made an impact in the 100Plus Malaysian Junior Open championships. In the competition played at the challenging Saujana Golf and Country Club, Chang emerged as the boys' Under-14 champion. He had scores of 76-79-76 and pipped Hong Kong's Philip De Souza by two strokes.

Another impressive outing was in the Malaysia Games in Kuantan. Chang's two-under 70 on the final day helped Kuala Lumpur win the bronze medal in the team event.

Last month, Chang attended the national trials in Kuala Lumpur where he had rounds of 76-77-79-70 (302) to finish eighth in a field of 44 participants.

Chang started the fourth round in the 14th spot but he struck it right and managed to shoot a two-under 70 to take him to the eighth spot.

"My ball striking is now more impactful as my swing has improved by leaps and bounds. My coach, Rily Soon, has made me understand my golf swing better. He has been a big inspiration and motivated me to do well," added Chang, who started playing golf when he was six.

After going through several training programmes, Chang, supported by his aunt Esther Low, started playing in age-group competitions including the SportExcel junior circuit. Of course, it was tough as the competition was intense and he was up against older players.

But Chang was determined to earn his stripes and trained diligently under various coaches.

"I was ambitious and wanted to excel in golf. My father was also supportive of my ambitions. With his support as well as the coaches' guidance, I trained almost everyday. Soon I was getting some good results in competitions," Chang said.

The coaches include Tony Maloney, Lim Siew Ai, Dean Hartman and Rily Soon. However this season, Chang believes he would gain a lot experience in amateur competitions.

"It will be against seniors and the exposure will make me a better player. My aim is to keep improving in all departments — skills, strategies and mental. I also want to improve on my fitness and I have already started a fitness regime. I have to be prepared for the challenges in amateur Open championships," he said.

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Johor Premium Outlets are going a long way to boost tourism in Kulai

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 05:13 PM PST

KULAIJAYA: This area used to be regarded as a "black area" during the communist insurgency in the 1950s with vast tracks of forests and hilly terrain.

However, the landscape in this district, which is about 45 minutes drive from Johor Baru, has been rapidly transforming in the last two decades with the emergence of rubber and oil palm plantations by major conglomerates mainly IOI Bhd and Genting Bhd.

These two companies, which have been credited for bringing development into the area, have now started going big into real estate and has now put Kulaijaya, in the world map with the opening of South East Asia's only Johor Premium Outlets (JPO).

This has resulted in huge tourists arrivals to the JPO looking for bargains for their branded goods.

Genting is expected to invest up to RM1bil investment for the JPO project, which will include 130 stores, a 2,000-room hotel and a water park.

Kulaijaya is also easily accessible and well connected via land and air through its two highways and also Senai International Airport.

Although there is a lot of modernisation especially via infrastructure projects under Iskandar Malaysia, the old parts of Senai and Kulai towns, mainly comprising two rows of shop lots, still remain until today.

The district is also a popular "enclave" for locals working in Singapore due to its cheap rental compared with houses in Johor Baru as each day, dozens of buses ply between Singapore and Kulai ferrying local factory workers.

The Kulai parliamentary is carved out of three state seats mainly Senai, Bukit Batu and Bukit Permai.

Although Kulai has rapidly changed in the last 10 years, the local residents have voiced their concerns especially with the increasing crime rate in the area, rising cost of living, not enough of Tamil schools to cater for the local population, poor cleanliness, increase in house prices, too many flies in the area due to chicken farms and congested roads.

Retired Tay Kim Chang, 74, who moved to the area after being posted to the Kulai English School in 1963, described the area as a cowboy town previously.

"Those days there were only two rows of shophouses in the area and you can close your eyes and cross the road but nowadays, the traffic is heavy," he added.

He explained that in the 1960s, land was being sold for RM200 per acre.

"Now there is so much development taking place here," he said, adding that his three children were all grown-ups and now were working in Singapore due to better job opportunities there.

Tay, who now spends his time working at the Kulai Rotary dialysis centre, added that his children have now all registered as first time voters.

"I hope that they will be back to vote in the coming general election," he said, adding that he enjoyed living in Kulai as he still has a lot of friends and looked forward to visits from his children during the weekends.

On improvements needed for the area, he said the roads needed to be paved as they were riddled with potholes and also needed better system as there were too many traffic light junctions and also more police presence to curb snatch theft.

For cook Noraini Jamian, 40, who has five children aged between five and 19, the rising cost of living here was a huge burden for her.

"I was forced to borrow from friends and relatives to make ends meet after my husband was retrenched from a furniture factory recently," she said, adding that she earned about RM40 per day cooking Malay dishes in a restaurant in Bukit Permai.

"Sometimes we only have egg and rice with ketchup for meals in our home," she said, hoping for more assistance from the government especially through the RM500 Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M).

Noraini said she was lucky that she was able to use her savings to purchase a low-cost house in 1996 worth RM25,000 as house rentals have also doubled.

For couple Thomas Chia and his wife Sally Yap, both 56, crime was something that needed to be addressed in the district.

"There were two robberies at my shop since I started business two years ago," Thomas said, adding that one time his shop was ransacked while end of last year he was robbed by a drug addict at knife-point.

He added that in the second incident he was fortunate when he managed to nab the addict and handed him over to the police.

"There are a lot of drug addicts loitering, looking for opportunities to rob people," said the father of four.

Chia lamented that it was difficult to get licenses even to sell gas at his sundry shop with him being "kicked around" by various government agencies.

"Finally I decided that I will not bother selling gas at my outlet. Everything needs licenses but it is so difficult to get approvals," he said, adding that he presently had six licenses for various products including for rice and sugar.

For businessman S. Suresh, 31, the district was still a nice place to live in as there was more greenery than staying in Johor Baru.

He said although the price of houses had gone up, he blamed speculators as the reason for the huge increase.

Suresh explained that he purchased his double storey home for RM160,000 several years ago and the bank's valuation recently was about RM195,000.

"The same type of house was launched recently and the starting price was RM500,000 onwards.

"I believe that the property market could be artificially boosted up by speculators wanting to make quick gains," he said, hoping that the government would step in and curb such unhealthy practices as it was a burden for middle income earners.

Suresh explained that Kulai was also facing a huge problem with flies as there were quite a lot of chicken farms in the area.

"We also need wider roads as there are frequent traffic jams and bottle necks especially during rush hour," he said.

Kulai also has several major Felda estates namely Felda Taib Andak and Felda Bukit Permai.

For housewife Salmi Ahmad Mahmud Yusof, 52, who was raised in Felda Taib Andak since she was two years old, the area has changed tremendously over the years.

"My parents managed to put all their nine children through school until secondary school with their income from the 10 acres of land planted with palm oil.

"Now I have siblings who are teachers, doctors, in the police and also in the army," she said, adding that she decided to remain a housewife and helped her husband at the orchard to support their family comprising seven children.

Salmi added that she also did not mind the simple life in a low-cost home in Taman Anjaria as it allowed her to be close to her elderly parents who were in their 90s.

However, she said that it was sad that many youths from felda were now dabbling in drugs, which was a huge problem in the area.

"We are now trying to work with agencies and among the local residents to keep proper checks on our children," she said, adding that there were also a lot of illegal Indonesian workers employed in the plantations.

For former Kulai Rotary president A. Ganggayah, 50, some of the issues that needed attention here includes regular rubbish collection, another Tamil school in Senai to cater for the growing student population and a crematorium for the people.

"The present Tamil school in Kulai Besar is too far and there is a sizable Indian population in Senai," he said, adding that a government-run crematorium was also important as for now they were privately run which were too expensive.

This elections, Kulai will be a hot seat with Barisan Nasional going all out to recapture the Senai state seat which fell to the DAP in 2008.

Both sides are expected to keenly contest this seat, which is one of the biggest non-Malay seats in the state. The constituency has 82,253 voters.

Terengganu expects four million visitors

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 05:14 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: Terengganu expects to receive about four million local and foreign tourists in conjunction with the Visit Terengganu Year 2013.

The Terengganu rural development, entrepreneurs and cooperative chairman Datuk Muhamed Awang Tera said the figure would be double from the two million tourists the state received yearly.

He said the state had already recorded about 300,000 tourist arrivals as of this year and anticipated some 500,000 visitors would have visited the state by end of March.

"They are so many attractions in Terengganu that will be of interest to local and foreign tourists," Muhamed said when met at the launch of "Teganu Kite 2013" carnival at Angsana Johor Baru Mall.

Some 40 small and medium-sized entrepreneurs took part in the four-day event offering a wide range of items such as batik, songket, ready-made apparel, food products, leather goods, jewellery and tourism-related information.

He said Singaporeans were the main foreign visitors to Terengganu followed by tourists from European countries, Japan and China.

Muhamed said on the average the domestic and foreign visitors spent four days and three nights visiting the state and high on their list were the islands off Terengganu waters such as Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian.

"Lake Kenyir is also becoming popular among them as well as home stay programmes," he said adding that among the popular homestays were in Teluk Ketapang, Setiu and Kuala Berang.

Separately, Muhamed said Terengganu's famous keropok lekor would be made available in Malaysian restaurants in London this April following the success of free sampling of the food held last year.

He said 12 tonnes of frozen keropok lekor would be exported to London monthly adding it was an achievement as the food had passed the stringent requirements imposed by the British Government.

Muhamed said the "Teganu Kite 2013" would be held in Miri, Sarawak next month and in Alor Setar, Kedah, and the date to be determined later.

"The carnival is a good way to promote products by our entrepreneurs and promoting tourism attractions in our state," he said.

China crewman slips off ship and falls to death

Posted: 26 Feb 2013 04:03 PM PST

JOHOR BARU: A crewman from China drowned when he slipped and fell into the sea near Pasir Gudang here while carrying out works on a vessel in Tanjung Langsat Port that was set to sail to Singapore.

The victim Ling Fu Zeng, 33, was walking on the gangway, a passage leading to the ship's upperdeck, when the incident took place at around 4.30am.

Several other crewmen who were working with Ling at the time noticed that he had fallen over when they heard him screaming for help.

Tanjung Langsat Port head of operations Captain Abdul Rahim Omar said the other crewmen rushed to Ling's aid but was too late and he drowned.

"He was working on MT Ocean Dragon, a Singapore registered tanker that transports oil, which was parked at the Langsat Terminal One.

Meanwhile, Seri Alam OCPD Supt Roslan Zainuddin said that the body was found eight hours after the incident.

"Ling's body was discovered by the Fire and Rescue Department's scuba unit at about 10m deep," he said.

The body has been sent to Hospital Sultan Ismail and have been classified as sudden death.

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