Jumaat, 1 Mac 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Venezuela rejects "absurd" rumours over Chavez's death

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 07:12 PM PST

CARACAS (Reuters) - Senior aides and relatives of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez countered on Friday a crescendo of rumours that the socialist president may be dead from cancer, saying he was still battling for his life.

A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds up a portrait of him while attending a rally in Caracas February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez holds up a portrait of him while attending a rally in Caracas February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

"There he is, continuing his fight, his battle, and we are sure of victory!" his older brother Adan Chavez, the governor of Barinas state, told cheering supporters.

Speculation about Chavez, 58, hit fever pitch this week, fed in part by assertions from Panama's former ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Guillermo Cochez, that the Venezuelan leader had died.

"The launching of absurd and bizarre rumours by the right wing simply discredits them and isolates them further from the people," said Chavez's son-in-law Jorge Arreaza, adding that the president was "calm" in a hospital with his family and doctors.

Apart from one set of photos showing Chavez lying in a Havana hospital bed, he has not been seen nor heard from in public since December 11 surgery in Cuba, his fourth operation.

The president made a surprise pre-dawn return to a military hospital in Caracas last week, with none of the fanfare that had accompanied his previous homecomings after treatment.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro, the OPEC nation's de facto leader and Chavez's preferred successor, urged Venezuelans to stay calm, patient and respectful of the president's state.

"The treatments Commander Chavez is receiving are tough, but he is stronger than them," Maduro said after a Catholic Mass in Chavez's honour at a chapel in the hospital.

"He's in good spirits, battling ... . Leave him in peace. He deserves respect for his treatments, because he's a man who has given everything for our fatherland."

Opposition politicians accuse the government of being deceitful about Chavez's condition, and compare the secrecy over his medical details with the transparency shown by other Latin American leaders who have suffered cancer.

"Maduro has lied repeatedly to the president's supporters and to Venezuelans about his real situation," opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Friday. "Let's see how they explain to the nation in coming days all the lies they have told."

Panamanian diplomat Cochez said Chavez's relatives had switched off his life support several days ago after he had been in a vegetative state since the end of December. He challenged officials to prove him wrong by showing the president in public.


Across the South American nation of 29 million people, Venezuelans are extremely anxious, speculating almost non-stop about Chavez's condition and wondering what the potential end of his 14-year rule might mean for them.

Adding to the tension, several dozen opposition-supporting students have chained themselves together in a Caracas street, demanding to see the president and arguing that Maduro has no right to rule because he was not elected.

With the country on edge, the relatively routine shooting by police of a murder suspect during a gun battle in downtown Caracas on Friday forced Information Minister Ernesto Villegas to take to Twitter to issue reassurances.

"(Some people) took advantage of the episode to try to sow panic in the city centre," he said. "The situation is calm."

Should Chavez die or step down, a vote would be held within 30 days, probably pitting Maduro against Capriles for leadership of the country which boasts the world's biggest oil reserves.

The stakes are high for the region, too. Chavez has been the most vocal critic of Washington in Latin America and financed hefty aid programs for leftist governments from Cuba to Bolivia.

Amid the flurry of rumours, Spain's ABC newspaper said on Friday that Chavez had been taken to a presidential retreat on La Orchila island in the Caribbean off Venezuela's coast with his closest family to face the "final stages" of his cancer.

Venezuelan officials have frequently lambasted ABC as being part of an "ultra-right" conspiracy spreading lies about Chavez.

"The bourgeoisie harass him and they assault him constantly," added Maduro, singling out ABC and Colombia's Caracol radio for particular criticism.

"Stop the attacks on the commander! Stop the rumours, stop trying to create instability!"

In the latest of a series of short updates on Chavez's health, the government said last week that his breathing difficulties had worsened, and he was using a tracheal tube.

Officials say he suffered a severe respiratory infection following the six-hour operation he had in December for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region in June 2011.

Chavez has never said what type of cancer he has.

Remarkably, two opinion polls this week showed that a majority of Venezuelans - 60 percent in one survey, 57 percent in another - believe he will be cured.

Chavez's millions of passionate supporters, who love his down-to-earth style and heavy spending of oil revenue on welfare policies, are struggling to imagine Venezuela without him.

"Of course, he's coming back, back to government," said Jose Urbina, 47, though he was also buying photos of Chavez at a pro-government rally as mementoes. "I want to remember him. I want to put them in my house."

(Additional reporting by Girish Gupta; Editing by Kieran Murray and Xavier Briand)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Assad forces take Aleppo village, reopening supply line

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 02:41 PM PST

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces seized a village southeast of the city of Aleppo on Friday, reopening a supply line to the country's biggest city where they have been battling rebels for eight months, a monitoring group said.

A man shouts into a loud hailer while demonstrators chant slogans and wave Syrian opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Bustan al-Qasr district in Aleppo March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib

A man shouts into a loud hailer while demonstrators chant slogans and wave Syrian opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Bustan al-Qasr district in Aleppo March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the capture of Tel Shghaib marked the last step to creating a land supply route north into Aleppo from Hama province, crucial for Assad's forces who have lost control of part of the main north-south highway.

Rebels say they hold most of the city itself and nearly all the rural hinterland. But they have been unable to achieve a decisive victory and complain that they are outgunned and vulnerable to Assad's air force, artillery and ballistic missiles, which killed dozens of people in Aleppo last week.

The United States pledged direct but non-lethal aid to the rebels at a meeting in Rome on Thursday, disappointing Assad's opponents who had hoped for more tangible military support to tip the balance of forces on the ground.

Activists reported another day of fierce fighting around Aleppo, including the military airport at Nairab, three miles (5 km) north of Tel Shghaib which Assad's forces retook.

"It's a significant gain for the regime," the British-based Observatory's director Rami Abdelrahman said of the army's push north, which reversed many rebel advances when they moved south into Hama from Aleppo province at the end of last year.

Further east, on the Iraqi frontier, government troops also managed to wrest back control of the Yarubiyah border crossing after insurgents seized it 24 hours earlier, he said.


The revolt against Assad, which erupted in March 2011 with mainly peaceful protests, has escalated into civil war between mainly Sunni Muslim forces and troops and militias loyal to Assad, from the minority Alawite community whose faith derives from Shi'ite Islam.

The United Nations says 70,000 people have been killed, nearly a million have fled the country and millions more have been displaced or need aid.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday that Syria, a major Arab state on the fault lines of broader Middle East conflict, would fall apart if the government and rebels keep fighting instead of seeking a negotiated peace.

"This is a very small window of opportunity which we strongly support and encourage them to use that. The opportunity may close soon," Ban said in Geneva.

The government and opposition have both edged away in recent weeks from their previous rejection of dialogue. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Monday the government would even talk to armed rebels and opposition coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib has said he is ready to meet Assad's representatives.

But Syrian officials say any serious talks must be on Syrian soil under state control, and have shown no readiness to discuss Assad's departure - the central demand of the opposition. For rebel fighters, who do not answer to exiled civilian opposition leaders, Assad's exit is a precondition for any negotiations.

"I continue to urge the Syrian parties to find their way to the negotiating table. The horrors of the last months and years prove beyond doubt: the military solution in Syria is leading to the dissolution of Syria," Ban said.

He also called on the U.N. Security Council, paralysed by a standoff between the United States and European allies on one side, pushing for U.N. action against Assad, and Russia and China, who have backed Assad, to unite and address the crisis.

Moscow criticised Thursday's meeting in Rome of largely anti-Assad Western and Arab states for taking positions and steps which "directly encourage extremists" to topple the government by force.

But the Kremlin also said presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama had told their foreign ministers to keep in close touch and seek new initiatives to end Syria's civil war.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday Washington would provide non-lethal aid including medical supplies and food to rebel fighters, as well as $60 million to help the civilian opposition provide services including security, education and sanitation.

The European Union said it had amended sanctions on Syria to allow the supply of armoured vehicles, non-lethal military equipment and technical aid.

The steps still fell well short of what rebels are looking for - more arms, and prompted the opposition to postpone a Saturday meeting where they had been due to choose a prime minister to head the administration of rebel-held territory.

Alkhatib said he was tired of hearing Western concerns over the growing role of Islamists in the Syrian rebel ranks - one of the main obstacles to greater military support, saying it paled into insignificance alongside the prolonged civilian suffering.

"Many sides...focus (more) on the length of the rebel fighter's beard than they do on the blood of the children being killed," he said, standing next to Kerry after their meeting.

(Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Alissa de Carbonnel in Moscow; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Related Stories:
U.S. aid to Syria should be "non-lethal," new Pentagon chief says

Obama, Putin see need to advance Syria transition - White House

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Turkish PM's Zionism comments "objectionable" - Kerry

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 02:11 PM PST

ANKARA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday criticised a comment by Turkey's prime minister likening Zionism to crimes against humanity in a disagreement that cast a shadow over talks between the NATO allies.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Ankara March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Ankara March 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

Kerry, on his first trip to a Muslim nation since taking office, met Turkish leaders for talks meant to focus on the civil war in neighbouring Syria and bilateral interests from energy security and Iran's nuclear program to counter-terrorism.

But the comment by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at a U.N. meeting in Vienna this week, condemned by his Israeli counterpart, the White House and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has clouded his visit.

"We not only disagree with it, we found it objectionable," Kerry told a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, saying he raised the issue "very directly" with Davutoglu and would do so with Erdogan.

Erdogan told the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations meeting in Vienna on Wednesday: "Just as with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it has become necessary to view Islamophobia as a crime against humanity."

The Turkish prime minister's caustic rhetoric on Israel has in the past won applause from conservative supporters at home but raised increasing concern among Western allies.

Kerry said Turkey and Israel were both key U.S. allies and urged them to restore closer ties.

"Given the many challenges that the neighbourhood faces, it is essential that both Turkey and Israel find a way to take steps ... to rekindle their historic cooperation," Kerry said.

"I think that's possible but obviously we have to get beyond the kind of rhetoric that we've just seen recently."

After Kerry and Erdogan met, a senior U.S. State Department official said that the secretary of state "had a respectful but frank discussion of the (prime minister's) speech in Vienna, and how to move forward. The Secretary made U.S. concerns very clear." .

The official said the two sides also discussed Middle East peace, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Gulf security and how to deepen their economic relations.

Washington needs all the allies it can get as it navigates the political currents of the Middle East, and sees Turkey as a key player in supporting Syria's opposition and planning for the era after President Bashar al-Assad.

Ties between Israel and Turkey have been frosty since 2010, when Israeli marines killed nine Turks in fighting aboard a Palestinian aid ship that tried to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"If we must talk about hostile acts, then Israel's attitude and its brutal killing of nine of our civilian citizens in international waters may be called hostile," Davutoglu said, adding Turkey had always stood against anti-Semitism.

"No single statement carries a price higher than the blood of a person ... If Israel wants to hear positive statements from Turkey it needs to reconsider its attitude both towards us and towards the West Bank," he told the news conference.

Turkey has demanded a formal apology for the 2010 incident, compensation for victims and their families and for the Gaza blockade to be lifted. Israel has voiced "regret" and has offered to pay into what it called a "humanitarian fund" through which casualties and relatives could be compensated.


Erdogan appeared displeased when Kerry arrived late for their evening talks, remarking there was not much time left, according to a U.S. media pool reporter who attended the picture-taking session at the start of the meeting.

Kerry, in turn, apologised, saying that he had a good meeting with Davutoglu, according to the pool reporter.

Erdogan, speaking through an interpreter, replied that they "must have spoken about everything so there is nothing left for us to talk about." In a joking tone of voice, Kerry said: "We need you to sign off on everything."

Turkey's relations with the United States have always been prickly. And Erdogan's populist rhetoric, sometimes at apparent odds with U.S. interests, is aimed partly at a domestic audience wary of Washington's influence.

Ahead of Kerry's talks with Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, officials said Syria would top the agenda, building on this week's discussions in Rome between 11 mostly European and Arab nations within the "Friends of Syria" group.

After the Rome meeting, Kerry said on Thursday the United States would for the first time give non-lethal aid to the rebels and more than double support to the civilian opposition, although Western powers stopped short of pledging arms.

Turkey has been one of Assad's fiercest critics, hosting a NATO Patriot missile defence system, including two U.S. batteries, to protect against a spillover of violence and leading calls for international intervention.

It has spent more than $600 million sheltering refugees from the conflict that began almost two years ago, housing some 180,000 in camps near the border and tens of thousands more who are staying with relatives or in private accommodation.

(Additional reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Nick Tattersall and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Michael Roddy)

Copyright © 2013 Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Sports

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Formula One: Grosjean sets best time in testing

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 05:31 PM PST

BARCELONA: France's Romain Grosjean, in a Lotus, set the fastest time in Formula One testing on Friday, making the most of dry afternoon conditions, in marked contrast to the wet surface of the morning session.

Grosjean's time of 1min 22.716sec was half a second faster than McLaren driver Jenson Button's best of the morning at the Catalunya Circuit.

Button, the 2009 world champion, had clocked 1min 25.936sec before improving to 1min 23.181sec in the afternoon.

"Even though the weather was far from ideal it was a pretty good day for us and it's certainly a better feeling to end the session with the fastest time on the board rather than the slowest," said Grosjean, who will hand testing duties to Kimi Raikkonen for the final two days.

"I wish I could have more time in the car before the season starts, but if we're in the same position on the monitors when we get to Australia I'll be very happy indeed."

World champion Sebastian Vettel was fourth quickest in the Red Bull, a day after teammate Mark Webber had been the fastest man on the track.

"I didn't do that many laps today, but to be honest the weather wasn't great and it was a pretty rough day in terms of the wind," said the German, who drove 63 laps.

"It's very cold as well. The tyres aren't really working properly and I think everybody is suffering the same problem, struggling to make the tyres last for more than a lap."

The four-day testing session ends on Sunday ahead of the start of the 2013 season in Melbourne on March 17.

Leading times

1. Romain Grosjean (FRA/Lotus-Renault) 1min 22.716sec (85 laps),

2. Jenson Button (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes) 1:23.181 (70),

3. Pastor Maldonado (VEN/Williams-Renault) 1:23.628 (72),

4. Sebastian Vettel (GER/Red Bull-Renault) 1:23.743 (63),

5. Nico Hulkenberg (GER/Sauber-Ferrari) 1:23.744 (77),

6. Adrian Sutil (GER/Force India-Mercedes) 1:24.215 (62),

7. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/Toro Rosso-Ferrari) 1:25.483 (59),

8. Max Chilton (GBR/Marussia-Cosworth) 1:25.598 (73),

9. Giedo van der Garde (NED/Caterham-Renault) 1:26.316 (48),

10. Nico Rosberg (GER/Mercedes) 1:26.655 (117), 11. Fernando Alonso (ESP/Ferrari) 1:27.878 (100) - AFP

Tennis: Federer beaten by Berdych again in Dubai

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 05:28 PM PST

DUBAI: Roger Federer's defence of the Dubai Open title came to a dramatic end in the semi-finals after he failed to convert three match points against Tomas Berdych, the man who also upset him in the US Open.

The world number six from the Czech Republic thrillingly turned the match around after a neck-and-neck second set tie-break, going on to win 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 against the five-time champion and set up a final against Novak Djokovic.

The Serbian world number one extended his unbeaten run to 17 matches and reached the 55th final of his career with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win over Juan Martin Del Potro, the former US Open champion from Argentina.

Federer was on the verge of success at 6-4 and 8-7 in the tie break, with the second of the three points coming on his serve, only for Berdych to somehow get into a rally and win it with some fierce ground strokes.

One break of serve halfway through the final set then proved decisive, as Federer gambled more and more on rushing the net instead of continuing the bruising baseline exchanges which characterised the first two sets.

"It's obviously unfortunate, you know," said Federer, for whom this is a tournament in his second home. "Pity to lose that one, but Tomas did well to hang in there.

"Obviously I leave this match with a lot of regrets I'm feeling: serving for the match, with the serve, having chances in the beginning of the second, you know, when he wasn't quite in the match yet, to go break up, you know, set and a break, you know, a few points where things just didn't happen for me."

Of his best chance, the second match point, Federer said: "That's just disappointing right there, because the match was in my racket.

"You do all the right things for so long, and then at the end you've got to explain why you didn't hit two shots decent, you know. So it's disappointing."

Berdych was pleased that he avoided the perils of tension in the later stages, as he closed the match out. "Staying calm is definitely the big thing I have been working on," he said.

"And I am still working on it, especially with the serve. When I serve well I can do a lot of damage."

Earlier, Djokovic was again in fine fettle for a man who had not played a tournament since the successful defence of the Australian title nearly five weeks ago, and, after three solid wins already, he raised his level once more.

Djokovic was made to.

Del Potro hit fierce first serves and heavy ground strokes mixed in with thunderbolt accelerations with his forehand, advancing to a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Djokovic responded superbly when behind, containing brilliantly, moving superbly, and counter-attacking with excellent timing and accuracy.

However, his break back to 2-3 came amidst controversy. Umpire Magdi Somat imposed a time violation on Del Potro when he took a longer to prepare at a vital moment, at 30-40, break point down.

The Argentine walked up to the umpire to protest, gesticulating as he did so, and accompanied by a spate of boos from spectators.

By the time the situation had calmed, the delay was at least twice the permitted 25 seconds.

There followed a forehand-to-forehand exchange ending with a mishit under pressure by Del Potro costing him the game.

When they sat down at the change of ends there was another exchange between the umpire and Del Potro, with further jeering from spectators.

Djokovic was critical. "I don't know exactly if the chair umpire gave him unofficial verbal warning before that. If he didn't, then I don't agree with that decision," he said.

It muddied the waters and proved to be a turning point. It also landed the Argentine with extra pressure in his next service game and although he diligently saved two break points amidst a sequence of excellent rallies, Djokovic eventually broke serve.

"It was very important point for the game, for the match," Del Potro said of the timing of the umpire's decision.

"Maybe he doesn't know about that, you know.

"I mean, in that moment, if you call warning or if you do something different, you can lose the focus and that's what happened with me." - AFP

Cycling: Armstrong could be stripped of top French honour

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 05:16 PM PST

PARIS: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has already had his record seven Tour de France victories wiped from the record books, could now be stripped of the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest honour.

Armstrong was awarded the title Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 2005 in recognition of his seventh Tour win, but moves are now afoot to have the honour rescinded, according to a spokesman for the order.

In January, Armstrong, 41, admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his record seven Tour de France championships from 1999-2005.

He was stripped of all seven Tour titles last year after a devastating report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which accused the cyclist of taking part in one of the biggest cheating operations in sports history.

An investigator from the council of the Legion d'Honneur is preparing a report on whether to deprive Armstrong of the title in the wake of revelations about his drug-tainted career, and he will have three months to present his defence.

According to the order's code, French citizens who are awarded the Legion d'Honneur can be suspended or expelled after a conviction or "acts contrary to the code of honour".

And since 2010, foreign nationals, who do not officially become members of the order, can also be stripped of the honour.

British couturier John Galliano, who was convicted and fined in 2011 for racist insults, was stripped of his honour in August last year, having been awarded the Legion d'Honneur in 2009.

Last month, the US government decided to join a doping lawsuit filed by one of Armstrong's former teammates alleging that the disgraced cycling champion defrauded government sponsors. - AFP

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Business

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Eye on Stock

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 06:35 PM PST

YTL Power International Bhd has been in correction mode since peaking out at an all-time high of RM2.76 on Nov 9, 2010.

In the wake of an apparent profit-taking activity, prices fell to an eight-year low of RM1.50 on Dec 17, last year.

Thereafter, they made an effort to recover, but a futile attempt to stage a breakout prompted the bulls to abandon the idea. Subsequently, the shares retreated and they tested the RM1.50 level again on Tuesday before turning range-bound.

Based on the daily chart, the prevailing trend is bearish, but a re-test of the RM1.50 level recently, offered hope of a "double-bottom" formation, meaning prices has ebbed and the trend ahead would probably be base building or recovery.

Further supporting the fact was the rising daily slow-stochastic momentum index, with its oscillator per cent K and the oscillator per cent D ending at the 52% and 30% respectively. It had issued a short-term buy at the grossly oversold area on Thursday. Similarly, the 14-day relative strength index improved moderately from the neutral zones to settle at the mid-range.

Also, the daily moving average convergence/divergence histogram was on the verge of flashing a buy. Perhaps, traders can consider accumulating some at current levels, if one is optimistic.

To the upside, stiff resistance is pegged at the 200-day simple moving average of RM1.65, followed closely by the RM1.68 barrier, of which a clear penetration would see the fate of this stock turning brighter.

As for the downside, a crack on the RM1.50 floor would signal a downtrend continuation. In this case, the lower support, resting at the RM1.30-RM1.35 band would be vulnerable.

The comments above do not represent a recommendation to buy or sell.

New uptrend ahead?

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 06:34 PM PST

REVIEW: After posting gains for two consecutive days, Bursa Malaysia kicked off the week on a slightly easier note, with the FBM Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) dropping 0.96 of a point to 1,621.12 owing to an apparent profit-taking activity.

Market sentiment was weak, with retail investors and local institutional players either staying on the sidelines or in liquidation mood in early business.

Fortunately, selling pressure was quickly neutralised thanks to foreign funds buying blue chips.

In the wake of fresh bargain hunting interest, the key index reversed early losses to finish at 1,627.35, up 5.27 points but despite the positive close, the broad market was generally mixed, with the scoreboard showing winners, decliners and counters traded flat, almost evenly matched on Monday.

Overnight US equities took a change for the worse the next day, with the Dow plummeting a steep 1.55% to 13,784.17, the biggest percentage plunge since November, 2012, as a strong showing in Italian elections by groups opposed to the economic reforms sent investors running for cover on worries that Europe's debt problems may once again undermine the global economic recovery.

As usual, stocks in the region swooned, led by the Nikkei 225-share Average, slumping as much as 2.3%, as investors dumped risky assets while renewed uncertainty spooked markets.

Against the negative backdrop, the local bourse succumbed to tremendous stress to reverse course, but losses were somewhat marginal, as continuous nibbling from foreign funds, especially on weakness, helped keep Bursa within a narrow band.

At the final bell, the FBM KLCI suffered only a small drop of 3.17 points to 1,524.18 in lacklustre trading on Tuesday.

In another sluggish session, the key index flirted within an intra-day high and low of 1,627.07 and 1,623.92, a very tight 3.15 points throughout before ending at 1,624.14, shedding 0.04 of a point on Wednesday, ignoring the strong rebound in global stocks, boosted by positive US housing data and comments by the US Federal Reserve reassuring investors about its stimulus policy to boost the world's largest economy.

On Thursday, world markets climbed higher on follow-through interest, as strong demand at an auction of Italian government debt added to the upbeat note.

Apparently, investors could not ignore the bullish offshore tone any longer and they came out to indulge in value buys.

Heavyweights led the way, driving the FBM KLCI up 13.49 points to 1,637.63 on Thursday.

And yesterday, the key index ended almost flat, down 0.19 point to 1,637.44 due to mild profit-taking.

Statistics: Week-on-week, the principal index was up 15.36 points, or 0.9% to 1.637.44, against 1,622.08 on Feb 22.

Total turnover for the week stood at 4.435 billion shares valued at RM7.76bil, compared with 5.021 billion units worth RM7bil done previously.

Technical indicators: The oscillator per cent K and the oscillator per cent D of the daily slow-stochastic momentum index retained the buy call but were fast approaching the top.

Likewise, the 14-day relative strength index sustained the upward thrust to settle at the 66 points level, up from a reading of 32 the previous week.

Meanwhile, the daily moving average convergence/divergence (MACD) histogram and the daily trigger line continued to strengthen, inching nearer to the zero thresholds. It had issued a buy on Monday.

Weekly indicators also were on the mend, with the weekly slow-stochastic momentum index triggering a buy and the downward pressure of the weekly MACD slowing.

Outlook: Bursa rebounded on renewed bargain hunting interest the past week. It was a sweet recovery although gains were small and volumes were missing.

Going forward, overall market sentiment is expected to improve, with the closely-watched Dow flirting within a striking distance of its historical apex and most stock exchanges in the region trading at multi-year highs helping to boost investors' confidence.

Based on the daily chart, the key index had breached the important 200-day simple moving average (SMA) and it is now firming towards the 100-day SMA and the 50-day SMA.

Combined with the pictogram of the 14-day SMA reversing up and the landscape painting an imminent "golden crossing" against the 21-day SMA, it looks like a new leg of uptrend may be in the making.

Technically, indicators are changing for the better swiftly, implying more upward momentum in the immediate term.

If the bulls can clear the 1,647-point barrier and charge forward to pierce the heavy resistance of 1,652 points, a re-test of the historical peak of 1,699.68 or the 1,700-point psychological barrier is on the cards. Thereafter, resistance can be expected at every 20-point or 30-point interval.

Current support is envisaged at the 1,625 points and the lower 1,590 points will act as the concrete floor.

Tan returns to JWT KL

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 06:32 PM PST

NICOLE Tan (pic) has returned to Malaysia to helm JWT Kuala Lumpur effective March 4.

The advertising agency says in a statement that Tan, whose career with JWT spans multiple roles in Malaysia and China, replaces Param Sakia as managing director.

Tan, who has been in the industry for more than 16 years, began her career at JWT KL in 1996, where she worked on a range of accounts, including De Beers, Kraft and Roche. She later moved to Grey, where she spent four years working on a regional P&G role.

She then returned to JWT KL, rising to the position of business unit head and leading accounts such as Nestle, Nokia, Ford, Sony, Reckitt Benckiser and YTL Communications.

In 2010 Tan moved to JWT Beijing, where she served as the business director for the Nokia China account.

During her tenure she led multi-agency teams to develop insight-driven creative content that worked across social media and offline channels.

JWT Beijing won multiple awards for the Nokia N9 campaign, including the 2011 Nokia Global Sales & Marketing Grand Prix Award and the 2012 China ROI Gold Award.

Tan says she is delighted to be coming back to Malaysia and to lead the agency she grew up with. "I look forward to working together with the talented team at JWT KL to ensure the growth and momentum of the agency," she says.

JWT Asia Pacific chief executive officer Tom Doctoroff says Tan is passionate about great creative that works. "She knows the Malaysian business environment and our team on the ground, inside out. She is a shrewd strategist, boasts extensive experience across a broad range of industries and, finally, has a winning combination of heart and drive."

JWT, headquartered in New York, has more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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Twist to child abuse case

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 02:20 PM PST

A seven-year-old boy in Damansara Damai was beaten by his mother after he was caught drinking beer, reported Harian Metro.

The boy's school teacher had initially lodged a police report against the mother after bruises were found on his hands, back and shoulders.

"However, investigations later revealed that the boy had in fact been punished by his mother for drinking beer while he was at his neighbour's house. He has been sent for counselling," said a police source.

The boy had been playing at his neighbour's house when he sneaked away to the kitchen.

The neighbour was later shocked to find him chugging down beer. When confronted, the boy had said that he wanted to try "grown-up water".

He was later handed over to his mother, who "disciplined" him by lashing him with a wire hanger.

>The daily also highlighted the case of a religious teacher at a school in Kuala Lumpur who was threatened by two of her students after she told them off for having tattoos on their hands.

In the incident on Thursday, the teacher, 28, had scolded the two 14-year-olds when they disrupted her class before noticing their tattoos.

When she told them that having tattoos went against the school's regulations as well as religious teaching, one of them threatened to kill her if she meddled in their affairs.

Realising that the students were out of control, the woman then contacted the disciplinary teacher. A report was subsequently lodged at the Salak Selatan police station.

It was later found that one of the students had previously been investigated by the police for a criminal offence.

> Kosmo! reported that a former bank clerk had been charged with misusing a debit card to extract RM50,772.40 from actress Lisa Surihani's bank account.

Shawallinah Jaffar, 31, from Kudat in Sabah, claimed trial to two counts of misusing the card at the Kuantan magistrate's court on Thursday.

She had reportedly committed the offence by withdrawing the sum from a joint account held by the Istanbul Aku Datang star and her mother at a Maybank branch in Kuantan between Jan 7 and 10.

She was charged under Section 408 of the Penal Code for criminal breach of trust and Section 403 of the Penal Code for dishonest misappropriation of property.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ' >'sign, it denotes a separate news item.

S&O factory workers hold peaceful demo

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 02:20 PM PST

SOME 300 factory workers of S&O (formerly Sharp & Roxy) held a peaceful demonstration in front of their factory in Bakar Arang Industrial Estate in Sungai Petani as they were unhappy with their salary review, Makkal Osai reported.

Electronic Factory Workers Union spokesman N. Balakrishnan said the management had only agreed to a 3.5% salary increase while the union had asked for 5%.

> Doctors at KEM Hospital in Mumbai, north India, removed a napkin from a 30-year-old woman's abdomen on Thursday after she complained of severe pains, Tamil Nesan reported.

It was reported that Kalpana Sarate was diagnosed with a tumour near her uterus and underwent surgery at a private hospital in April last year. Somehow, doctors forgot to remove a napkin from her abdomen.

Within a month of the operation, Kalpana had pains in her abdomen again. When she went to the hospital, doctors gave her medicine and sent her home. But her condition worsened over the months and finally her family took her to the KEM Hospital.

> A taxi had to be hired to call the fire brigade when fire broke out at the Surya Sen Market in Kolkata, north India, on Wednesday morning, Malaysia Nanban reported.

The fire started at 3.45am and when calls made to the fire station went unanswered, someone rushed to the fire station in a taxi.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ' >'sign, it denotes a separate news item.

Boss orders workers to do daughter’s homework

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 02:20 PM PST

A COMPANY boss in China forced his workers to do his 12-year-old daughter's homework, China Press reported.

Nine employees from the firm in Jinhua city, Zhejiang province, spent three days and two nights to complete the task.

One of them, who complained to the local Qianjiang Evening News, said it was not the first time they were asked to do homework for the primary school pupil.

"Before, we usually helped her with mathematics and assembled small models, but this time, it was a big project. She had to describe her hometown with words or pictures," he said.

He added that the team wrote an essay, took photographs, made a videoclip and drew a four-column comic and a painting for the girl.

"The most difficult thing was forcing myself to think like a girl," said another 35-year-old man.

> Major Chinese dailies reported that The Voice of China, a popular singing competition, planned to launch a talent search in foreign lands, including Malaysia, in its second season.

Chief director of the show, Jin Lei, told a press conference in Beijing that auditions would also be held in the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand and several European countries.

The show is the Chinese version of American reality show, The Voice, and the first season of the programme saw a strong panel of judges comprising Chinese heavyweights Na Ying, Liu Huan, Yang Kun and Taiwanese singer-songwriter Harlem Yu.

It was rumoured that the organiser was currently persuading Faye Wong and Jacky Cheung to be judges.

Other News & Views is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ' >'sign, it denotes a separate news item.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Director Chan-wook Park seeks to intrigue with 'Stoker'

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 01:43 AM PST

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -- In a high-tech bungalow on a back corner of the 20th Century Fox lot, the South Korean auteur Chan-wook Park is chiseling his opus as the clock ticks toward 9pm.

Park, the toast of Asian cinema and hero to hordes of genre-film enthusiasts, is editing Stoker, a coming-of-age Gothic thriller starring Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman.

It's his first film in the U.S. and first in English. For hard-core fans of the director's blood-spattered Korean work -- including Oldboy, the 2004 Cannes Grand Prix winner being remade by Spike Lee -- his arrival on the shores might be compared, with less exaggeration than you may think, to the landing of the Beatles.

At one end of the bungalow sits a monitor the size of a large flat-screen television, where images of Wasikowska's loner character unfold -- absently playing piano, intently making snow angels. Park, 49, is perched on a leather couch with an air of quiet authority, an iPad on his lap, his fingers every so often whisking scenes to and fro.

Alongside him are the veteran Hollywood editor Nicolas de Toth and Wonjo Jeong, a cheerful, British-accented South Korean who travels with Park as translator and all-around aide-de-camp.

For hours, Park has been tweaking two scenes that will comprise barely a minute in the finished film. "Director Park thinks we should put the beat sooner, then show her walking," Wonjo says to De Toth, who is doing his best to pretend he's not tired.

The editor gently asks a question of the scene, which involves synchronizing a metronome to an actor's movements, and says he'll give it a shot. Images and sounds are mixed. There is quiet, a short burst of Korean from Wonjo, then a flurry back from Park.

Finally, De Toth offers another suggestion. After a quick volley of Korean, Wonjo utters the magic words: "Director Park agrees."

To spend time in the editing room with Park -- who practices a brand of arty, at times exploitation-y, cinematic violence that might be described as "Tarantino-esque with less winking" -- is to watch the movie equivalent of a scientist manipulating bacteria under a microscope.

"Some people say I'm obsessive about detail," Park said, via Wonjo, at dinner later that night. "I ask the question: 'Do you mean other directors aren't worried about detail?'"

On Friday, the director's meticulousness will be put to the test. That's when Stoker, following its premiere last month at the Sundance Film Festival, opens in limited release in the States, offering a serial killer-themed story about a disaffected teen, her aloof mother and the teen's enigmatic uncle.

"I wanted to make a movie that showed the root of evil," he explained, adding, "You might not find a more brutal torture scene in any other film I've made than you do in this one." (Park didn't specify which scene he was referring to, though an image of a severed head may qualify.)

As the film seeks to unleash its Korean cinema-flavored violence in a post-Newtown America, there is a lot at stake. If Stoker succeeds, Park could stand at the head of a new wave of East-West cinematic collaboration. If he fails, Stoker will be more kindling for those who say the American mainstream just doesn't want to see films directed by Asian auteurs, especially those full of violence.

Perhaps some extra editing isn't a bad idea.

In 2010, a mysterious script began making the rounds in Hollywood. It was set at an isolated, well-appointed estate, and its story seemed to exist outside of time and space.

Its title, Stoker, evoked Dracula, though there were no discernible vampires. Its writer was one "Ted Foulke," a man for whom, as several baffled agents noted at the time, there was no known entry in any of the Hollywood databases.

After months of rumors, the identity of the script's author was revealed, and it came as a huge surprise: Wentworth Miller, the actor best known for playing the hero Michael Scofield on the Fox show Prison Break.

But it was the story on the page that was most intriguing. Stoker told of India Stoker, a young woman whose father died on her 18th birthday. At the funeral, the father's long-lost brother Charlie shows up, speaking of his closeness for his niece, who doesn't appear to know him. India's mother, on the other hand, seems well acquainted with Charlie and flirts with him.

As the triangle grows tighter, Charlie's dark impulses emerge -- impulses it becomes clear India, with a penchant for stoic violence, will either imitate or quash.

The studio specialty label Fox Searchlight, known for a kind of populist artiness, snatched up the rights. The script ended up on the year's Black List of top unproduced screenplays -- just behind Safe House and several spots ahead of Argo.

Before long, Park had flown to Los Angeles for a three-hour meeting with Searchlight executives, eventually agreeing that he and his longtime cinematographer, Chung-hoon Chung, would come aboard. The director had long wanted to make a Hollywood movie but had never found the right script. In Stoker, however, he believed he had something different.

"I could use character and violence more gracefully than in my other films," Park recalled. "This was a rite-of-passage story, and I was very interested in the idea of how violence can break someone out of that."

Producers -- they include Ridley Scott, his late brother, Tony, and their longtime collaborator Michael Costigan -- first negotiated with Jodie Foster, Carey Mulligan and Colin Firth to star. Scheduling and contract issues arose, however, and the final result, budgeted at about US$12 million, is a more Australian affair, with Kidman and Wasikowska as mother and daughter and the Brit Matthew Goode, a frequent BBC presence, as Charlie. (All play Americans.)

They signed on to star in a movie that may have sported Western celebrities but would offer Park's distinct visual palette, its exactingly composed frames featuring splashes of bright color on its Gothic grays. (In the edit room, Park had a mantra of sorts. "I like it because it feels different," he would tell De Toth.

The movie also invokes some unusual symbolism; production designer Therese DePrez says she and Park talked about bird themes -- notions of both mama and baby and hunter and hunted -- before the shoot.)

As the movie prepared to shoot in 2011 in the sweltering Nashville summer -- an accommodation to Kidman, who calls the city home -- Park began introducing the cast to his exacting techniques. "He hired a storyboard artist to draw every scene of the movie. It was more meticulous than anything I've seen in a long time," Wasikowska said. And as someone who's worked with Gus Van Sant and Tim Burton, she's seen meticulous.

Kidman joked that she and other actors said to Park, "We'd do anything you like," holding her arms in front of her in the manner of a zombie. But she acknowledged that Park's method "did prevent me a little bit from improvising."

Before De Toth began editing the film, Park handed him a nearly 300-page tome describing every beat of the sessions that would follow. De Toth, who has worked on numerous studio films, politely mentioned that the process went somewhat differently in Hollywood.

The edit also involved some back-and-forth with Searchlight, with an earlier Park cut heavier on atmospherics nearly 20 minutes longer than the 98-minute film.

Perhaps because Park has such vaunted status in his home country, where he enjoys a Spielberg-ian level of fame, there is an air of intense if even-tempered seriousness around the director.

His speech can almost seem surgical, and even his laughs, when they happen, seem to be measured out in teaspoons. (Though Goode let slip that the filmmaker enjoys a night out and a glass of whiskey, while De Toth offered an even more colorful detail: Park sometimes likes to giggle at iPad photos of fluffy kittens.)

Park's high-precision approach didn't start on the set.

A student of philosophy at Seoul's liberal arts Sogang University, he began his career as a film critic, a job that seems particularly suited to his scalpel-like dissections.

Though known now for screen blood (Park directed the Vengeance trilogy of which Oldboy is a part as well as the 2009 vampire tale Thirst), his first features were more conventional dramas and comedies. Most notably, there was 2000's Joint Security Area, a politically themed tale about his country's relationship with North Korea that became a hit at home.

Armed with some financial freedom, Park set out to explore the question of violence, a force he felt wasn't being investigated honestly on film.

With Stoker, he thinks there's more potential than ever to bring that subject to the masses, in part because most movies with a message about violence don't use shiny celebrities as their delivery vehicle.

The director said he was nervous about working with big-name actors and their potentially matching egos. But he felt reassured upon his first meeting with Kidman. "She came without an entourage and got down to brass tacks," he said. "There was no talking about the weather. I liked that."

To what degree a broad American audience will like Park's style, though, remains to be seen. Though some directors have toggled between Asian and American modes of filmmaking -- John Woo and Ang Lee come to mind -- their Hollywood films tend to incorporate Asian influences but remain, in key areas such as dialogue and plot, more recognizably Western.

With its brooding tone, complex structure and deadeye look at the evolution of evil, Stoker feels more like an Asian film that happens to be made in English. "It's the idea of nature and nurture, and whether there's a predisposition in the blood lines," Goode said of the movie's themes.

Stoker opens in cinemas nationwide on 7 March. eCentral is giving away free tickets to Stoker. For details on how to get your pair of free tickets, check here.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: Central

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Help cancer patients by joining Founder’s Run

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 05:21 AM PST

National Cancer Council Malaysia (Makna) president and founder Datuk Mohd Farid Ariffin set up Makna in 1994 after watching a family with a leukaemia-stricken son struggle not only to look for a cure but also to pay the high hospital bills.

"The whole process cost the family some RM1.2mil, a sum which is not small for any family, more so for those who cannot afford it at all," he said, adding that he then asked his wife to assist him with the ground work for them to start an organisation assisting the less fortunate in combating the disease.

Today, the 71-year-old Mohd Farid is the proud man behind the organisation that has helped up to 24,000 patients since its inception and continues to help 4,500 patients annually.

However, collecting funds to keep Makna's work going is not an easy task, hence they are always organising events to keep the public abreast of their work.

This year, Makna is celebrating its 19th anniversary with their very own Makna Founder's Run to be held next month.

"We have participated in various charity runs but there was never one which we could call our own," said Mohd Farid.

"Participants need not worry if they cannot run as it is a fun event for a good cause," he added.

The run will be held on March 31 at Padang Merbok, Kuala Lumpur.

In the 12km run; men's open, men's veteran, women's open and women's veteran.

Those who want to run a shorter distance can opt for the 7km run or the Fun Run where they can dress up in their wackiest ensemble.

Registration for the run is from RM45 onwards.

The public can register at the event's website www.maknafoundersrun.com

A total of RM14,000 in cash prizes awaits the top five winners in the competitive categories.

Celebrities who are expected to grace the event are models Amber Chia and Wilson Tan, national marathon runner Shaharuddin Hashim and Miss World Malaysia 2009/2010 Thanuja Ananthan.

Closing date for the run is March 10.

Teen fencer turns on power to help foil team emerge runners-up

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 05:20 AM PST

TEENAGER Bryan Mok spearheaded Malaysia's challenge to finish as the runners-up in the boys' cadet (Under-17) foil team event at the South-East Asia Fencing Federation (SEAFF) cadet and junior (Under-20) championships in Brunei recently.

In the semi-final against Vietnam, Bryan played a pivotal role in leading his side to claw back a two-point deficit in the decisive bout before Malaysia prevailed with a hard-earned 45-43 victory.

Bryan was entrusted with a key role to anchor the team and he did not let his side down when they were trailing 38-40.

Touche Fencing Club chief coach C.W. Mok praised Bryan for showing nerves of steel in the match-up against the more fancied boys' cadet foil individual runner-up Quoc Qai Nguyen.

"He was all fired up and scored an impressive five consecutive points to put the side ahead again. He allowed his opponent to accumulate another three points before he wrapped up the encounter," Mok said.

Earlier, Bryan lost 1-5 to the same opponent and suffered another 2-5 defeat to favourite Joshua Ian Lim of Singapore in the preliminary rounds of the individual contest to enter the knock-out stage as 11th ranked entry.

However, the Malaysian youngsters found it tough going against their peers from Singapore and went down tamely 26-45 to settle for second in the boys' cadet foil team event.

The line-up comprising Imran Seth and Tristan Cheng as well as reserve Chung Hanwen were the best performers for the Malaysia camp with their respectable performances in the recent regional cadet and junior meet.

Bryan also secured another bronze medal after he ended his campaign going down 12-15 in a rematch against Joshua in the last four of the individual competition.

Earlier, reigning Malaysia Games boys' foil champion Andrew Mok also picked up a bronze medal in the boys' junior individual foil.

Singapore's Joshua, who bagged a double winning both the cadet and junior individual sections, prevented Andrew from advancing with a commanding 15-9 win in the semi-finals.

Mok admitted that Andrew committed several costly mistakes because he was not able to control his nerves.

"Joshua has also ready established himself in the world cadet meet last year. Joshua was definitely deserving winner because he was very alert and quick on the counter attacks.

After analysing Joshua's approaches, Bryan put up a closer fight against him in the cadet section. We are confident that Andrew will offer him better resistance in the future," he added.

Meanwhile, it was a good outing for the Malaysia camp when they returned with another four bronze medals.

In the cadet section, the foursome of Bryan, Imran, Tristan and Hanwen took home another bronze in the boys' epee team event and the girls' foil team of Tyanne Fong, Daevina Summugam, Yap Jia Ann and Brittni Tye also chalked up the podium finish.

The other bronze medallists from Malaysia were girls' junior epee team (Perle Alexis Lo, Lim Yin Yin, Liza Liew Zhun-Ying and Athirah Che Aziziddin) and girls' junior sabre side (Liong Yueh Fong, Giok Oh Kah, Ainul Latifah and Joanne Jalizha Chen).

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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Energize Your Day with the Essentials of Protein

Posted: 28 Feb 2013 02:42 PM PST

What did you have for breakfast today - a hearty dose of Nasi Lemak with fried chicken, completed with Teh Tarik? Or perhaps a much-needed steaming cup of coffee to go with the morning paper?

For some people, it is a norm to skip breakfast in the morning for an extra 10 minutes of snooze time or to beat the traffic jam. For those who do have breakfast, you'll have to admit that we are spoilt for choice when it comes to the selection of food we can have to start our day.

The question is, are you eating right for the right start to your day?

While bread or cereal may seem to be a convenient option, they are high in carbohydrate and may lead to elevated blood sugar levels which drop quickly and leave you feeling hungry and drained. Research have showed that a breakfast high in protein helps with stabilising blood sugar and prevents hunger for a number of hours.

According to the Malaysian Food Guide, Food Pyramid and Food Composition, breakfast should account for 30% of our protein intake – which translates to approximately 21 grams. While there are many types of food we can consume to meet the 21 grams of protein intake for breakfast, we have to also be mindful not to take in too much calories and fats, which may lead to obesity.

Each person's protein needs depend on several factors such as age, size, physical condition, and the level of physical activity. Nutritionists use a standard method to estimate a person's minimum protein requirement daily, which is to multiply a person's body weight (kg) with 0.8, as the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) in the US for protein is 0.8 grams per kilograms of body weight of adults.

Take a typical Malaysian breakfast for instance. According to Nutriweb Malaysia 2000-2012 Database of Nutrient Composition of Malaysia Food, three pieces of Roti Canai can provide you with 21 grams of protein for your first meal of the day, but that also comes with 31 grams of fat, and 136.5 grams of carbohydrate. Likewise, in order to have 21 grams of protein, you will need to have 2.2 packets of Nasi Lemak, but provides you with 28.8 grams of fat and 128 grams of carbohydrate.

Understanding the importance of a high-protein breakfast, leading direct selling company Amway have introduced its NUTRILITE™ All Plant Protein Powder to help you boost your protein intake and get a right start for the day. With 2.5 scoops of NUTRILITE All Plant Protein that can be mixed with any of your favourite beverages or food, it is an easy and convenient breakfast option that can help you achieve the needed 21 grams of protein, with only 1.3 grams of fat and 0.8 grams of carbohydrate.

"Certified Halal, lactose-free and safe for vegetarians, the NUTRILITE All Plant Protein Powder caters to many people as it has no cholesterol and contains only minimal fat content and nine essential amino acids to aid the body's digestion," said Dr. Gene Maly, Senior NUTRILITE Research Scientist.

"This complete, nutritious alternative to meat and dairy products is suitable for those seeking a lean source of protein in their diets, with its naturally sourced with a unique tri-blend of soy, wheat and pea," Maly added. "It is a boost to your diet to load up your day's essentials, giving you an energized start in the morning."

Energize your day and start it right with NUTRILITE All Plant Protein Powder, available through Amway Distributors nationwide and at the 20 Amway Shops located in Petaling Jaya, Seremban, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bharu, Batu Pahat, Bintulu, Penang, Klang, Wangsa Maju, Mentakab, Taiping, Malacca, Segamat, Brunei, Alor Setar, Kuantan, Nusa Bestari, Seberang Perai, Sibu, and Ipoh. For more information on NUTRILITE All Plant Protein Powder, log on to http://www.amway.my/nutrition/nutrilite/energise-your-day or call Amway at (03) 7946 2800.

*Source: Nutriweb Malaysia 2000-2012 Database of Nutrient Composition of Malaysia Food

This article is brought to you by Amway.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Ayer Hitam has good bargains, it lacks affordable living

Posted: 28 Feb 2013 08:47 PM PST

AYER HITAM: This town is a popular stop for tourists plying along the North South Expressway looking for good bargains of handicrafts and pottery.

Located about an hour's drive from Johor Baru, many couples, who are planning to tie the knot, also throng this town looking for decorative items, plastic flowers, baskets and other handmade items for their wedding.

This parliamentary, which is carved out of the state seats of Yong Peng and Semarang, is also popular with street peddlers mainly old women moving around the coffee shops selling their organic produce including carrots, ladiesfingers and others from nearby farms.

Yong Peng which was once regarded as a "black area" during the communist insurgency in the 1950s, is also popular with its noodle dishes, as a fruits collection centre and also a "favourite stop" for bus drivers plying between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

While the easy access to the highway has brought about a lot of economic spillovers and development to this area, the local residents are concerned about the bread and butter issues including higher cost of living, increasing housing prices and job opportunities for young people.

For housewife Junaidah Hassan, 36, the Yong Peng town lacks affordable houses for those in the low and middle income.

"Some of us are forced to just rent a house as it is too expensive to own a terrace house in the area," she said.

Juniadah said she and her husband had been looking for a house for their family for the past one year since they have moved to the town from Johor Baru last year.

"At first, we thought a small town like Yong Peng will offer cheaper properties for those from the lower income group.

"To our surprise, most of the houses in the town area are terrace houses and all of them cost between RM100,000 and RM200,000 or more. We cannot afford," she said.

She added that her family had decided to move to Yong Peng and even became the voters here to get closer to her family in Paloh and her husband's family home in Labis.

"Besides, Yong Peng offers a better business opportunity because many tourists stop here for food," she said.

Her husband is a satay seller and presently all their income is used to support the family comprising five schoolgoing children, she said, adding that she hopes to own a house in the area one day.

"My husband is only a satay seller and his income is not enough for us to own a house here.

"It is very difficult to find a unit below RM100,000 and for all families, a home is a basic necessity.

"I hope there will be low-cost housing built in the future for those who are unable to afford medium-cost houses that cost around RM50,000," she said.

Kasmo Ahmad, a 74-year-old retiree who has been through Malayan Emergency era and effects from World War 2, said nothing is more important than living in harmony society.

Born and brought up in Kampung Kangkar Baru, Kasmo said the life in his village was good as all races were living together happily.

"I see better changes in the past few years when the local community leaders are having more community actitivities where more people meet more often and get to know each other better.

"Lately, I notice more people in my village visit their neighbours and friends of different races during festive seasons and during normal days.

"I don't see much of this visitings in years before and I feel it is a good effort and should be continued," he said, adding that unity is very important especially for multi-racial Malaysia.

"Those who had been through uncertainties in the past would definitely appreciate peace and harmony more," he said, adding that people in small village do not face much of other issues such as cost of living, crime rate and traffic jams.

"It is a peaceful place and life is quite laidback here," he added.

Farmer Tai Seng Cheng, 53, said local infrastructures and facilities are important to the residents in Yong Peng and Ayer Hitam as it affects their lives directly.

"We need a proper road to transfer our vegetables and crops to the markets and a good drainage is important so that it prevents our areas from flooding," he said.

He said roads have been improved and floods reduced following major flood mitigation projects carried out last year in Yong Peng and Ayer Hitam town area.

Tai said he hoped all the infrastructures would be maintained from time to time to ensure they were in good condition.

He added that he hoped infrastructures would continue to develop here as it would help the local economy to grow.

Housewife Ngor Seu Lee, 52, said the Yong Peng and Ayer Hitam are having more senior citizens nowadays.

Due to lack of job opportunities for the young people, she said many were forced to travel to big cities such as Johor Baru, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore for jobs as there were more jobs with higher pay in the urban areas.

"It is a pleasant and peaceful town with low crime rates and we feel more job opportunities for our children will make it a perfect place for living," she said.

Ngor suggested that the government could further develop the existing industrial area in Yong Peng to attract more investors to set up companies here.

Rubber plantation small holder K. Anthemuthu, 58, said he was happy with the currently system by the government that helped many underprivileged people.

"The welfare aid and free medical treatment at the government hospitals and clinics are excellent.

"Many of us here in Ayer Hitam are small time plantation holders and we always want to see continuous economic growth and good commodity prices. Good economy will keep everyone happy," he said.

Anthemuthu added that he was glad to see the government taking efforts to solve flood issues in Yong Peng and Ayer Hitam, which were among the worst hit areas in the state during monsoons.

R. Kannan, 52, a cendol seller in Jalan Besar Yong Peng, said business had been good and he noticed tourism in Yong Peng and Ayer Hitam was booming.

"More tourists, especially foreigners are visiting the town over the past few years.

"I would say life is quite good over here, we can live comfortably as long as we work hard as there are so much of business opportunities available here," he said.

Businessman Chew Long Fatt, 51, said pipe water used to be the concern of Yong Peng residents.

He said the latest complaints came six months ago.

"The water was murky and had a bit of smell and many residents complained that their water filters at home were very dirty," he said, adding that the complaints had been raised to the relevant agencies for actions.

Chew said tests had been done by the authorities and they were assured that the water was save for drinking.

"We feel that the muddy water came from old piping and now the water is clean," he said, adding that the residents here used to face acidic water supply many years ago.

Handicraft trader Wang Sin Ee, 34, said he hoped the government would further promote Ayer Hitam as a tourist destination.

"Besides, Singapore it should be made know to people in other parts of the country and even international tourists that Ayer Hitam is a special place that has its niche market that is handcraft products such as artificial flowers and ceramics," he said.

Wang said the traditional handicraft stalls along Jalan Johor had been in existance for the past 50 to 60 years.

"There are plans by the government to relocate the stalls to the new township and we hope such plans can be reconsidered because the stalls along Jalan Johor is a heritage and unique to visitors because they are stalls not in premises.

"It is visited by people of all races," he said, adding that he was afraid that relocation could affect the livelihood of the traders.

It was reported earlier that traders at Jalan Johor would be relocated to a permanent business location soon.

The Ayer Hitam constituency has largely a Malay population. It has a total of 41,550 voters as of end of last year and the racial composition of its voters is 57.57% Malays, 38.47% Chinese and 3.95% Indians and other races.

RM24mil allocated to buy rubbish bins with wheels for Raub residents

Posted: 28 Feb 2013 08:50 PM PST

RAUB: The Government has allocated RM24mil to purchase rubbish bins with wheels to be distributed to the people, Raub MP Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said.

Dr Ng said each of the rubbish bin costs about RM170 in the market.

"In Raub, more than 13,000 residents who have settled their assessment fees would receive the bin for free.

"I urge them to take good care of it by writing down their name and address to prevent any possible theft," she said told a Chinese New Year gathering in Dataran Raub recently.

Dr Ng, who is also the Tourism Minister, said the distribution of the rubbish bins would help to maintain cleanliness and spruce up the surroundings.

In addition, she said the various tourism products in Raub such as homestay programmes would attract the influx of visitors.

"Today, we again show to the world that Malaysia is a peaceful and harmonious country in which the people of all races come together to celebrate a major festivity.

"This is also the aspiration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to foster unity and love for the country in line with his 1Malaysia concept," she said.

Dr Ng said she was optimistic that the Year of the Water Snake would bring more progress and prosperity to the people and country.

Last year, the homestay programmes in Pahang generated a revenue of RM6.5mil compared to RM3.5mil in 2011.

Under the 10th Malaysia Plan, a number of development projects were approved including upgrading of tourism facilities for the benefit of the people.

Later, Dr Ng presented red packets to the children and mingled with the crowd.

Some 8,000 people from all walks of life attended the event which saw performances by several local artistes, lion and cultural dances, Chinese acrobatic show, a fireworks display as well as lucky draws.

Also present were Dong assemblyman Datuk Shahiruddin Abdul Moin, Batu Talam assemblyman Datuk Abdul Aziz Mat Kiram, Pahang Wanita MCA chief Senator Datuk Lim Nget Yoon, Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab Beg Mirza and Pahang Tourism Ministry Office general manager Idros Yahya.

Dozens of donors give out rice and cash to 400 poor and needy

Posted: 28 Feb 2013 08:52 PM PST

MALACCA: Heritage City's Long San Kong Temple with the help of a dozen donors and sponsors handed out rice and money packets to over 400 poor, needy and senior citizens who came from various places within the Kota Melaka parliamentary constituency.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam who was invited as the guest-of-honour thanked the temple under the leadership of Michael Soh and Lim Seng Ann for organising an event like this in conjunction with the Lunar New Year.

Mohd Ali also praised Barisan National (BN) Kota Melaka Parliamentary Supporters Club chief, Muhamad Ahad for spearheading the numerous programmes with the people in the Kota Melaka including reaching out to temples and non-government organisations.

"I am indeed very happy to meet so many residents living in this part of Kota Melaka constituency at this event," he said.

Later, Muhamad in his speech urged those present to understand the importance of caring for each other especially in family circle and said the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, Chap Goh Mei was a good time to share loving kindness.

He also added that under a caring leader, Mohd Ali has successfully "united" and brought together people from different races in the state.

Muhamad urged those present to emulate the righteous leader. He illustrated how the traditional Chinese rice dumpling was created to honour an honourable in China's history, the divine Qu Yuan who a once home minister and later a self-trained poet.

According to the record, the famous pioneer poet of ancient China, Qu Yuan, who was then a minister of his home state, advocated reform to his state of Chu, which angered the King.

The King continually refused to listen to Qu Yuan's advice and instead banished him from the state of Chu.

In exile, Qu Yuan wrote poetry expressing his concern for his country and people and when Qu Yuan heard that his home had been invaded, he committed suicide by drowning himself in the famous Ni Lo River.

The people of Chu rushed to the river to rescue their beloved leader but too late to save Qu Yuan. Subsequently, they splashed furiously and threw steamed rice wrapped in reed leaf into the river as a sacrifice to his spirit and to keep the fish away from consuming his body.

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